Inspired by / images by London wedding photographer Jordanna Marston
I’m half hoping you’re reading this blog post because you think I’m a little insane… who on earth is actually out there looking for wedding photos that aren’t perfect?! Surely we should all be carrying out a careful search for the very best wedding photographer our budgets will allow? And with all the time and effort we’re putting into planning our weddings, we want the day not only to be perfect, but to look perfect in our pictures?
What even is perfect, though?
What does perfect mean, when we’re chatting about weddings?
I like to feel like I know you guys. I know you love indulging in a little wedding pretty on the internet – scrolling through fabulously pretty, beautifully styled wedding editorials and bridal photoshoots on blogs and Pinterest. Hey, so do I! And I imagine you’re reading this post because the last thing you are is Princessy. But maybe you’re still a little unsure about your wedding photographs being less than ‘perfect’. Shall I explain?
The planning phase – styling your perfect wedding
Right now, you’re probably planning your big day – having venue meetings, talking to suppliers, coordinating colours for your flowers, decor, stationery, bridesmaids dresses and everything else. And it’s kind of important that they all work beautifully together. You’re reading wedding blogs and Pinterest, browsing Etsy and flicking through wedding magazines for ideas for ‘little extras’ for your wedding day. Perhaps you’ve even bought Perfect Wedding magazine. Everything you see and read is trying to sell you the ‘perfect’ wedding.
… and the reality
But life carries on around you, even while you’re planning a wedding. And life is never perfect for long: little things go wrong every day (ever forget to take a bag with you to the supermarket? stub your toe? get toothpaste on your black top just as you leave the house in a hurry? Yeah – me too!) So it figures that something will go wrong on your wedding day. After all, you’re not taking a day off from life: and with all those people and everything going on, more things will go wrong on your wedding day than they do on an average Saturday. That’s just logic.
Only the other day we published a beautiful wedding on the blog, where the bride told me her florist had totally forgotten about her booking. I’ve heard so many stories of less-than-perfect things happening at weddings – there was the vintage wedding bus that didn’t quite fit under a low bridge. And the registrar who read out the wrong names at the start of the ceremony. A friend of ours went to Cyprus to get married without his trousers, and realised on the morning of his wedding day that he only had beach shorts. (He is about 6’6″ tall.) Then there was Dangerous Dave, who had a few too many and decided to hop onto the band’s drum kit for a quick ‘tune’ before throwing a pint at the chandelier and heading for home. And there will always be a drunk auntie, a noisy toddler and some kind of injury during the day. Human stuff happens.
On a more serious note, big things can go wrong too. Wedding insurance matters, folks. I was contacted last week by a bride whose father was terminally ill, and who’d decided to bring their entire wedding forward, changing everything they’d planned, just so he could be there. Priorities change.
That sort of thing really puts matching napkins in perspective, don’t you think?
When imperfect becomes perfect
In such a situation, the definition of a ‘perfect wedding photo’ is flipped on its head.
The perfect wedding photo is of your dad’s expression as he grasps your hands before the ceremony. Or it’s the one of your baby niece throwing a wobbler outside the church, because your mum’s giggling in the background.
Your perfect wedding photo won’t be the two of you posed beautifully under the wisteria, where your hair is immaculate and your dress falls symmetrically to the ground. Not any more.
Wedding photography is about capturing life and love.
It’s about all the little things we do: the glances, the interactions between people. The way his parents look at each other lovingly as the two of you say your vows. The moment the best man gets the giggles and nearly drops the rings. It’s your flower girl getting shy and hiding underneath your dress, or your bridesmaids in a group hug as they reminisce over uni days. It’s the ushers reenacting dirty dancing. It’s all the moments you miss, from Dad rushing to protect your flowers from the rain, to Mum celebrating the jenga win of the century.
Great wedding photography isn’t meant to be perfect. It’s not meant to be posed, but natural and authentic and all the more beautiful for it.
Imperfect wedding photography captures people at their best, and at their funniest. Imperfect wedding photos are full of personality to make you laugh, cry and relive your day the way it really was. They capture memories, not staged representations of how society thinks a wedding should be. And they’re a whole world of bloody wonderful.