I am probably going to come off very out of touch and old-fashioned here, but at least I have a good reason: I have been married for over 20 years, and when we were married having a videographer wasn’t all that common. Cell phones were still uncommon, and those bricks were only used for … phone calls; there were no camera phones, or even digital cameras for that matter. And photography was mostly traditional pre-wedding, wedding and reception stuff. Our albums were filled in by friends and family who took shots over the weekend and at some of the after-parties.
So I have not been all that receptive to some of the new trends in wedding photography. I will completely set aside the entire Bride-zilla industry that seems to celebrate over-indulgence and bad behavior instead of celebrating the love and union of a couple. I am not personally enamored with so-called boudoir photos as becoming part of the standard package, but can see that for some folks it would make a nice gift from a wife to a husband.
I am also not a fan of proposal pictures – I enjoyed a few of the flash-mob style YouTube videos as a novelty, particularly when they fit the personalities of the couple so well. But for most people, it is yet another thing to take the intimacy out of the experience. I made sure when I proposed I had a camera for AFTER so we could capture the memory … but at the time all I wanted to worry about was MAKING the memory!
And even traditional photos have changed: when we were engaged, we got a set of pictures done in a studio primarily for the newspaper announcement, but also got a couple of prints to distribute to our parents and keep for ourselves. Now these engagement sessions have exploded into major outdoor set-pieces and huge undertakings … with exploding prices as well.
My problem with these is reflected in this article about a growing backlash:
“Weddings have become more than about getting married: It’s all about the stuff, and that’s what [people are] backlashing against. We’re forgetting the actual point of the day, the actual standing up there and getting married. People are more into the cake topper than making sure grandma’s okay. It’s kind of funny, right?”
As I have seen too on many of these wedding ‘reality’ shows, the focus has definitely shifted from a celebration to an ‘event’ sometimes punctuated with a ‘Save the Date’ trailer. Given that the divorce rate hovers around 50%, and gets higher when you look at failed second and third marriages, my cynical viewpoint has me wondering if the payments on the bills for some of these events will still be going when the marriage ends.
But the newest trend that really pushes things too far in my opinion is the ‘morning after’ shoot. I am not talking about ‘wreck the dress’ stuff where the bride jumps in a pool the next day or goes water skiing or something. What I read in TheWeek is that a new trend has gained traction where a professional photographer comes into your hotel room very early the morning after your wedding to capture the newlyweds in various states of undress, in bed, in shower, and so on.
Here is a quote from someone less than enamored, calling it “a little weirdly self-absorbed”:
It’s an “appalling” reflection of our over-sharing, celebrity-crazed culture, More magazine editor in chief Lesley Jane Seymour tells ABC News. “I think it’s just an incredibly sad statement of, Is nothing private?… There’s something wrong that people need all this public adulation.” The even more perverse thing is that these kinds of intimate photos are what celebrities “hate about their lives,” Seymour adds. “I can’t understand why somebody wants to take the part celebrities hate and make it their lives.”
Now on our wedding night, we had to be at the airport the next morning for a 5AM flight to start our honeymoon after being out the night before (at least it was a time when you could arrive at the airport an hour before the flight and have no concerns). We were totally exhausted from the wedding and dealing with all of the people, so all we wanted to do was sleep and get ourselves on our trip. But even if we had the time, there is NO WAY we would have wanted to anything but celebrate our love for each other.
So what is next … professionally taped ‘wedding consummation videos’?