Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Bride's Guide To Putting One's Foot Down

Last night, during band practice, we were discussing Sunday's gig - it's a pig roast. The image of the luckless pig prompted my bass player's wife to comment, "Scott wanted a pig roast for our reception... I refused to celebrate my wedding over a dead carcass. I had to put my foot down."

It made me laugh - because in my tenure as a wedding photographer, I've seen many things happen where I wished the bride would've put her foot down. Note I'm leaving the groom out of this. Even though he's the one getting married, I've noticed that typically, men only want to get married and have a party. They have no real need to work the details.

So I'm offering my set of suggestions and observations so brides everywhere will be inspired to put their feet down when necessary.

1) Wear comfortable shoes: Look. If you're paying to have your gown altered anyway, why in the world would you need to take the extraneous steps of packing Isotoner slippers and making sure the wedding coordinator places them under your reception table? Then, as you dance all night, your gown drags. Why not opt for the flats for the entire day? If your gown is floor length, I guarantee no one's looking at your shoes anyway.

2) If your friends aren't classy, and you know this - don't give them a showcase to de-classify your wedding. Three stories:

Years ago, I photographed a bride who was larger than average. Her "best friend" was a man who was clearly in love with her, yet had too much pride to date a larger than average woman. I suspect the bride may have always known this, yet somehow decided to allow him the opportunity to propose a toast. (I'll change the names to protect the sadder-but-wiser): "What would Alan (groom) be without Christine? Well, a lot richer, first of all!!!" He proceeded to ask me, the photographer, to dance with him *during the toast...* After, he hit on Christine's sister for the remainder of the night, ruining the day for two siblings.

Recently, a larger-than-average woman caught the bouquet. The gooom slingshot the garter into the air. It hit the floor (I swear it made a thud as it hit the lovely parquet floor...). The entire entorage of single men walked away. Just like that. It was probably the worst moment I've ever seen...

One groom's stepdad astounded the crowd at the reception by hiring a stripping gorilla. Look, I guess this is all contingent on knowing your guests, but I find it a little curious how someone could hire a lewd act when little kids were present... The first thing the gorilla did was fashion a penis-hat out of a balloon. It was kind of odd watching kids wear that after the strip-tease segment was over...

3) Don't get so drunk at your wedding that you forget to pay your photographer.

4) Please, please, please don't forget to put a basket of necessities in the restrooms. For women, the basket should contain hairspray, mints, clear nail polish (to stop running hose), safety pins, feminine product, bobby pins, bandaids (for blisters from horrid new shoes), allergy pills, aspirin, spray deodorant, and lotion. Men's baskets should include the meds, bandaids, mints, deodorants, hair gel, and safety pins. It's just a nice way to let your guests know you care.

5) If you forget something, please be considerate to your guests. If it won't change the outcome of the wedding, maybe you can do without it. I guess the overriding lesson is to make a list, cement it to the vehicle you're travelling in and make sure you have everything you need...

My sister, at her wedding, for example, forgot her veil. The wedding was delayed an entire hour. The bridesmaids' feet fell off due to poor shoe selection, the young gooomsman got cold feet and decided not to escort my mother to light the candles, and one knight in shining armor ran to my sister's home to retrieve the veil... Which is lovely except he returned the first time with a crochetted shawl and asked, "Is this it?" and had to go back a second time.

Another bride forgot her flowers. I'm not sure how this is possible - but I forget things all the time, so whatcha gonna do? She returned for the flowers, got stuck behind an accident/construction zone, and again, the guests waited a long long time - Which may not have been horrible... but the wedding was held in an underground cave, which was a chilly 55-degrees.

6) Schedule time between the wedding and reception to take your photos and relax just a little. I was recently with a couple who left little time between events and missed some really wonderful photo opportunities because of it.

7) Don't lose control. It's your wedding... even if your high-maintenance relatives try to take over.

8) This one is for guests: I'm not a prude, and certainly not opposed to having a few drinks - but some of the drunken behavior I've seen at weddings is so unnecessary I don't know where to begin. I'm too embarassed to even tell you about it.

9) I just got a call from a bride who has a tendency to freak out. Lately she's been asking a lot of technical questions about equipment I use. I finally - gently - suggested she leave that to me. I thought she'd be upset, but thankfully she seemed to appreciate my advice. I guess the overriding thought is to let the professionals do their job. They're more well-versed in weddings than you know.

10) Request that if your videographer wants to include a comments from the guests section of the video, he set up an area for an hour of the reception. Have the DJ announce that if someone wants to say something nice to the bride and groom, go to the videographer.

When I was young and unexperienced, I volunteered to videotape a wedding. I stuck the microphone in people's face and asked for messages. The poor bride and groom were subjected to the following wisdom from crotchety relatives: "Marriage is hard work" "Don't expect too much the first night!" and the kicker, delivered by the divorced father of the groom: "I hope you do better than your mother and me!" No kidding! Yikes!

11) And finally, my biggest wedding pet peeve: The Bouquet/Garter Tradition... I know. It's tradition, but most of the time this just ends up being a tacky and lackluster activity - second to the DJ making guests pass the salt shaker for the centerpiece. Here are my words of wisdom regarding the toss...

Keep control of your DJ. If, like at many weddings, a young girl catches the bouquet, and a 20-something horn toad catches the garter - PLEASE - Make sure the DJ knows to instruct the guy to put the garter on the little girl's arm and not her leg. You would not believe how many mortifying moments I've seen - Embarassed girls, freaky men, shocked mothers and fathers who roll up their sleeves and wait to step in if necessary.

Better yet, if a minor minor (ie under 16) catches the bouquet, seriously consider wether you want to deal with the garter-up-the-leg tradition anyway.... Ladies, please! Consider the number of kids at your wedding! Don't think it won't happen. All the kids go up front - and brides in strapless dresses can't possibly throw very well anyway.

While I'm no the subject, I believe bouquets & garter participation should be voluntary. I remember being called out by a DJ at a wedding I was a guest at - and had just experienced a particularly difficult breakup.

Look, I'll tell you right off, I think the whole bouquet garter tradition is really tasteless anyway - but I'd never tell anyone not to participate if they wanted to. The turth of the matter is that little girls like to catch the bouquet. 20-somethings like the attention. 30-something single women have enough trouble being single without having it featured in front of their loved ones. So please, please, please make sure your DJ understands that this is a voluntary event.

I've seen some classy alternatives. If the bride is older and doesn't have many single friends, she's given the bouquet to either a grandmother, or the couple who introduced her to the groom. So there are options!!!


  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Trixie said…

    What the hell ??? Kell, you went from posting nothing to like...ummm..posting a billion things. All while I was dealing with one house disaster after another. Now I need to find an hour to catch up on all of your posts ! Yikes.


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