What are you MOST looking forward to on your wedding day?

I’ve had this question on my website email contact form for the last few years, “What are you MOST looking forward to on your wedding day?” 

Wanna know the #2 most popular answer? 

“Marrying the love of my life”

Wanna know the #1 most popular answer? 

“Spending time with our friends and family”

I’m paraphrasing of course, but, in general, the overwhelming response I hear from my couples is “We can’t WAIT to celebrate our big day with our friends and family!”

Maybe not the answer you thought, right? I mean weddings are all about romantic love, right? 

Or maybe not so much. 

Let’s be honest. Weddings are indeed about love. The love between two people and their commitment to spend the rest of their lives together. That’s where it all starts. There simply is no wedding without that.

But for the couple getting married it’s about more than that. It’s about spending quality time with those that mean the most to them – their best friend growing up, their college buddies, their grandmother, their grandfather, their favorite uncle, their mom, their dad, their brother, sister, cousin, nephew, niece, etc. etc. 

And, if I’m being honest, it took me a while to realize this. 

When I first started out, I followed what all the other photographers were doing – perfectly styled photographs of the shoes, the dress, the invitation, the rings, and of course, bridal portraits. I would spend (what felt like) hours arranging the shoes and dress just so to get the perfect photo. I would even sequester the couple from their friends and family for over an hour doing pose after pose and creative shot after creative shot. 

And back in the studio, after the wedding, culling through and editing all the day’s take, I felt like something was missing. The photographs were fine – well framed, good light, flattering poses. 

A quality product for sure. 

And, when I delivered the gallery, my couples were happy – ecstatic in fact! Which is all I really cared about. 

But I had this nagging feeling inside that all I had really done was photograph a bunch of inanimate objects and perform an extended photoshoot of two people. There was no context to the photos. No sentiment to why those details were important. No story about the two people in the photographs. It could have been anywhere, anyday, anybody.

And that really bothered me. It bothered me because I realized that I was photographing in this way just to keep up with other photographers. I mean if they were doing it this way then I should too … right? If I wanted to get published on a wedding blog, like they did, then I needed to shoot a certain way. 

In short – I believed that to be considered a professional I had to shoot like all the other professionals. 

Boy, was I wrong!

And the funny thing is – the answer was staring me right in the face. Couple after couple who emailed me literally said that they are “MOST looking forward to celebrating with their friends and family!” That nothing else mattered to them, but to be surrounded by their loved ones. 

So, why was I posing couples and styling things and trying to look professional?

Well, sometimes comfort zones are hard to break out of. 

But I did.

And the funn(ier) thing is – I didn’t really have to change that much. I just shifted my focus (no pun intended) away from styling things and posing couples to simply observing what was unfolding in front of me and capturing the authentic moments that were happening between people there … the loved ones who helped get you here.

So, I want to know – When it comes to your wedding day, what are you most looking forward to?