Family portraits. . .an unknown treasure

When we first started shooting weddings 14 years ago, we noticed that almost every couple said something to the effect of, "Well, we know we have to get the boring family shots because Mom and Grandma really want them, but we don't want to really focus on it too much."  And since we were also so young and inexperienced, we pretty much agreed.  I mean, you've planned this awesome wedding day, and you want to spend it just having fun with your friends and family, not standing around being called up in groups for a bunch of standard posed photos, right?


We went on for a few more years with this belief.  We continued shooting family portraits at every wedding, but it was definitely our least favorite part of the day. Then, something happened.  We started getting calls and emails from clients whose weddings were a few years back, and they were saying things like, "My grandfather just passed away, and our wedding was the last time our entire family was together.  We are so glad we got those portraits with him."  Or, "We have a couple kids now, and we are really loving being able to share these family photos with them, because it's helping them learn about their family history." Wow.  Mind blown.  It was then that we realized just how important these photos are. . .that the value of them increases exponentially with each passing year.  It was then that we also looked at our own wedding album and realized that all of our grandparents are now gone.  But we have those photos of them, from that beautiful day where we were all together to celebrate our marriage.  And we realized that someday, our parents will also be gone, but these photos will remain.


We knew right away that we had to start educating all of our clients on this.  14 years later, almost every couple still says the same thing when we do a consult with them about their wedding.  But now, instead of agreeing with them and glossing over the subject, we tell them these stories.  And they are usually pretty caught off guard, but their interest is piqued.  We tell them that these photos may not be super important to them now, but they will be eventually.  We tell them that we completely understand that this isn't the part of their wedding day they are most looking forward to.  We tell them that we have a system in place where we can get family portraits completed in about 15-20 minutes, and get them back to the celebration. And they realize it's a win-win.  They get family photos, but we get them in and out and on to cocktail hour in no time flat.  Boom.

It's really hard for all of us to try to imagine what life will be like for us 5, 10, or 30 years down the road.  Heck, it's hard for me to imagine what next week will be like.  And that's ok.  There is no way to know what life will throw at us or how it will feel.  But what we DO know is that we have right now.  Right now we can take advantage of the time we have with the people we love the most, and document it in photos.  You DO NOT have to take an hour out of your wedding day for this.  But give us 15 minutes, and we will give you something you will value for a lifetime.

It's YOUR Day

So, you're engaged!  Congratulations!  This will be [should be] one of the most fun and exciting times of your life.  You may have dreamed of this since you were little.  Yep, I'm talking to you.  I know you have one those big wedding scrapbook notebook thingies you've been adding stuff to since you were like 7. But seriously, this is a big deal, and [hopefully] a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you want to do it right.  Right?


Way back when we got married [1997 yo], wedding planning was pretty simple and straightforward.  We didn't have all the magazines, and blogs, and places like Pinterest overloading us with information and ideas.  We just got referred to venues and vendors from friends and family, and we booked them!  We picked what we liked and just went with it.  Easy peasy. 

Nowadays, engaged couples are just inundated with resources and opinions from others [thank you, social media], and it is seriously enough to make you crazy.  I mean, it's actually kind of a catch-22.  All the resources you have are awesome. . .because resources.  Who doesn't love the fact that you can open up your laptop, look at all the pretty pictures, and basically plan your entire wedding right from your couch, while you wear pjs and drink wine?  BUT, there are resources and then there are RESOURCES.  Way too many resources.  And way too many opinions.  Your best friend says you NEED to get married at this particular place [cause it's the best] and you HAVE to have two photographers.  Your sister tells you that your bridesmaids will hate the dresses you chose.  And your mom just absolutely will not tolerate an ice cream sundae bar instead of a big wedding cake at your reception.  But why?  This is YOUR day, right?  Why should anyone else care what YOU want.  Well, because they do.  

Now, this is not to say that you should just completely disregard all advice and opinions that you get.  Some more "experienced" brides or couples might have something useful to say that could be very helpful.  And yes, planning a wedding is [for most people] a family affair, and of course you love your mama, whether she's paying for your wedding or not.  And there's nothing at all wrong with going online for inspiration and ideas.  I love Pinterest just as much as you.  Oooh, I found this amazing chicken enchilada recipe the other day!  Oh sorry. . .shiny Pinterest squirrel.

There's just a bit of a fine line between taking helpful advice or using inspiration as a guide, and letting other people completely take the reigns, resulting in your wedding day being something completely different than what you really want. 

The most beautiful thing of all is that in today's world, really anything goes!  Of course we still see traditional weddings with all of the "expected" elements.  And if that's what you want, go for it!  But we also see people getting married in the park on a Tuesday, with their 10 favorite people, and then going out to lunch afterwards.  We see black wedding dresses.  We see pizza and taco bars at receptions.  And it's all perfect.

So, as you embark on this full-time job that is wedding planning, just try to stay true to yourself.  Have open and honest conversations with your partner about what you both really want.  Don't hesitate to speak up to your friends and family if they are overwhelming you with their opinions and advice.  And for the love of all things holy, have fun on Pinterest, but don't try to plan your wedding to be just like someone else's, no matter how pretty it is.  This is YOUR day, and YOU are the ones who will still be looking at your wedding pictures 50 years from now.  So be the captain of your own ship.  You do you.  Plan the most kick-ass wedding ever and love every minute of it.