The dark side of weddings is something you possibly wouldn’t expect a wedding supplier to write or give wedding advice about. So many of these stories and situations happen more often than you’d like to think. Some of the difficulties during wedding planning and marriages are made by personal choices and some sadly beyond everyone’s control.
As photographers we become privy to information and stories that may be shared by the bride and groom (or their wedding party) which we always keep confidential. We would like to share with you some of the regrets and wedding advice given by some of our past couples. We will help you to avoid the same traps and start your marriage in the best possible way.
WEDDING ADVICE: WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS
… or does it? We aren’t here to judge. Think about what happens on a wedding day when you all get together again and have had a little too much beer or wine? Do not do something that you will later regret if your other half found out. There is nothing worse than the awkward (supposed to be funny) moment when a sordid tale is recounted during a speech with families looking on (more so if captured on video). We have witnessed the nerves of both bride and grooms that pray that infidelities on the hen or stag do aren’t revealed.
If something has happened and you have made a mistake; come clean before your wedding day. You don’t want to spend your entire day (and indeed married life) in fear of revelation. Say your vows with a clear conscience. Be clear to your bridal or stag party what you are and aren’t comfortable with to avoid situations you are unhappy with. True friends will understand.
THE FINAL FLING
Only get married if you are marrying the person you wholeheartedly want to spend the rest of your life with. Life is short. Whilst the Office for National Statistics report that in 2017, divorce rates are much lower than their peak in 1993, there were still 101,669 divorces of opposite sex couples and 338 divorces of same sex couples in England and Wales.
A number of our couples have gone on to divorce less than a year after marriage, primarily due to a third party who was present prior to the marriage. Thankfully we have not yet witnessed a jilted bride or groom. If you are having an affair before the wedding, chances are it will continue. You owe it to yourself and your partner to have the opportunity to find Mr or Mrs Right. Marriage will not fix what is already broken.
OUR BEST WEDDING ADVICE: THE DRUGS DON’T WORK
Imagine organising group shots when the entire party is high? Drugs are becoming an unpleasant feature of many weddings. Besides being illegal, drugs can create many disappointments on a wedding day including not being able to remember the day at all (at least you have the photographs eh?)!
We have photographed many weddings at which venues had to call the police with arrests made for criminal damage (including the bride and groom), stop the wedding party and break up drug-fuelled fights. The police are able (and have) contacted us to request images and video footage to be used as evidence in prosecutions. You do not want to spend your wedding night in a police cell and we certainly aren’t contracted to follow the police car!
MONEY MONEY MONEY
Money can be a sore point during wedding planning. Our number 1 piece of wedding advice is not to overstretch your budget. Your wedding is one day. It doesn’t matter whether you had the best quality champagne versus sparkling wine. Look at where you can make cost savings. So many couples argue because they are pushed to the limit working overtime to try to pay for additional luxuries. Stop.
Remember why you are getting married and what the wedding represents. Some of the best weddings we have worked at have been small, intimate, DIY-filled celebrations. Create a list of your must-haves. Decide on a budget and stick to it. You are celebrating your love for your partner not 4 carat diamonds.
WEDDING ADVICE FROM QUEEN ELSA
Elsa tells Anna in Frozen ‘You can’t marry a man you just met’. Kristoff adds… ‘Have you had a meal with him yet? What if you hate the way he eats?’. While Disney is usually full of whirlwind romances, you should heed this cautionary tale! After all, your soon to be husband or wife may indeed be attempting to overthrow your empire! Whilst we are clearly joking on the last point, with the exception of a pre-nuptial agreement, there is little you can do to protect yourself.
Take time to get to know someone and being sure in your decision or the decision of your family in an arranged marriage. Do you share the same family values? Do you both plan to have a family in the future? It is much easier to iron out the big stuff before you marry or simply acknowledge that you are unsure what the future looks like for you. Share your goals with your partner.
FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MARRIAGE, THEN COMES A BABY…
As soon as the wedding date (or engagement) is announced, people start to ask about children… even in 2019 when many people have children before marriage. It can be a hard and hurtful question to field if you haven’t made a decision about a family and more so if you are the 1 in 8 couples that have fertility issues. Many people who ask this question are asking in a well-meaning nature. They are excited and want to share your potential future plans with you but do not think of the consequences.
Speak to your partner and decide on a united message that you want others to know. It is wise to be cautious when asking about children to anyone at any point in life. You never know the difficulties that someone may have or be currently experiencing. They may have experienced the loss of a baby. Celebrate in the present moment and redirect attention to the marriage. After all, you do not wish to undermine the importance of the wedding to the couple.
COPING WITH LOSS
Grief from the loss of a loved one can be brought to the forefront of your mind when planning a wedding. Many wedding traditions can be a painful reminder to those who have experienced loss such as choosing a wedding gown without your mum or wishing your father could walk you down the aisle. Nothing can replace a loved one which can make a wedding bittersweet. Many bride and grooms may falter on the day, whether during the morning preparations or the ceremony itself. Don’t be ashamed. Death and grief are emotions that all of us experience in our lifetime.
You can remember a loved one in many ways such as through a piece of music, a reading, photographs pinned to your bouquet or in a locket. Some couples choose to spend some private moments together in the church, cemetery or lighting a candle to take a small pause from the bustling nature of a wedding day. If a close family member has passed away very close to the wedding, you may feel like you shouldn’t be celebrating or have a right to smile. Talk to your family and think about how the loved one who has passed would have revelled in the happiness of your day. How would they have wanted you to feel?
FAMILY FEUDS AND BRIDESMAID BLUES
We ask our couples to fill in pre-wedding questionnaires so that we have the details of those most important to you on the day. It does not come as a surprise to us when we arrive to find one less bridesmaid, groomsmen or an absent aunt. Friends and family row over who was and wasn’t able to attend the hen do. Why children are not invited to the wedding. The new mum in the bridal party who didn’t feel able to leave her baby. The long-standing argument that means that Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Edith can’t possibly be in the same photograph and so do not want to attend the wedding if there is a possibility of a group image together.
Have discussions in advance with those who may be uncomfortable on the wedding day. Tell your photographer as much information as possible. Trust us when we say we have heard it all before and it is simply part of the job. Remember it is your day and adults should be able to put differences aside for your happiness and wishes. Remind them of this and if they love you, they will respect you.