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Weddings are a time of joy!

Posted by + on September 20, 2013

MT Ceremony 098

A time for laughter and joy for Mike and Tian!

Watching the reactions of the minister in a video that has now gone viral (where the videographer and photographer are kicked off the outdoor altar area) has raised some fascinating questions for me.

Now when we talk to brides to be, we ask, how do you imagine your wedding day?  We hear certain words over and over: Joyful, light, upbeat, casual, warm, friendly, relaxed and wonderful.

But, in the past nine years I’ve never heard a bride and groom say that they want a solemn/serious wedding. Nope. Not ever.

Watching a minister create a “memorable
moment” for the couple.

When did a joyful wonderful day turn into a solemn serious event? No mater what religion you are, you go to a wedding to share the moment they finally say “I do”. This is a wonderful time, cheering, laughter, tears of joy knowing two people have pledged to be together from here forward.

CJ Ceremony 143

John and Conchita had a such a joyous affair that their priest could not stop grinning.

When I hear the words solemn & serious I think of something I have to endure, not be excited for.

Perhaps — and I’m going to take a wild guess — maybe some people have confused two entirely different definitions on the word solemn. Yeah, I know, who wants to look up words in a dictionary? But Krystal and I did.

So you don’t have to:

sol·emn  [sol-uhm] from
grave, sober, or mirthless, as a person, the face, speech, tone,or mood: solemn remarks.
gravely or somberly impressive; causing serious thoughts or a grave mood: solemn music.
serious or earnest: solemn assurances.
characterized by dignified or serious formality, as proceedings;of a formal or ceremonious character: a solemn occasion.
made in due legal or other express form, as a declaration or agreement: a solemn oath.

MB Ceremony 153

Megan and Brent shared a private joke during the ceremony.

And I think some folks, the like minister in the video, have combined all these definitions into one big one. Marriage should and does cause serious thoughts. But since when did this have to mean grave, sober or mirthless?

And I can’t even say the religious beliefs enter in to this. I’ve seen — within the same religion — weddings and sermon/homilies that are fun and all about the bright future.

And then some that are so thinly veiled as “you will be condemned to hell” sermons that seemingly choose to chastise the couple and the entire group of guests. Huh? I thought this was a wedding and not a guilt-trip.

Maybe I should start asking the couple not only how do they want their day viewed, but what is the actual ceremony going to be like?

Final note — photographers and videographers are hired to document the days’ events. The couple want to preserve the images of the day so they can recall that day many years later. And so they can show their children and grandchildren their beautiful day.

Why would someone, i.e., the minister in this case, want to take that away? That one small event in a wedding day is what the whole day rotates around.

In this digital age we document everything (maybe too much as I really don’t want to see the plates of food people eat during lunch). So why would a couple want their ceremony skipped or badly documented on this joyful day? I don’t get it. Perhaps someone could explain this to me.

And — have to add this — we’re talking about professional photographers who’ve learned how to shoot a wedding day. Not the Uncle Bobs of this world.

Oh — and as a personal thing — I can’t fathom any really good reason why the videographer and photographer would choose to stand behind the minister and emphasize his bald head. . . But I wasn’t there and so don’t know the actual situation.

SA Ceremony 153

Sarah and Alex walk happily down the aisle after the ceremony ends

If you want to read more about this . . . including comments from the photographers check out the PetaPixel site at:

6 Responses to Weddings are a time of joy!

  1. Reba

    As a Christian I would say religion has a LOT to do with the ceremony and the seriousness of it. However, that being said, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong at all with having some light-hearted moments in the wedding as well.

  2. Edvydas

    I’m not sure what being a Christian would have to do with anything. Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Islam and many, many other religions consider marriage also as a serious ceremony. As do atheists, agnostics and others. We’ve photographed many weddings of many religions and I have to say, one of the most solemn and most joyous ceremonies at the same time happens to be Sikh. It’s not the religious aspect that I am addressing. I think the exact same situations have occurred with many other religions — just this one is getting more play than others. What I think I’m addressing is a serious communication breakdown that should have been handled before the ceremony ever took place. I’m not finding fault with any specific person — but open and complete communication before the wedding would have easily handled all of this. And that means with the priest, photographer, videographer AND wedding couple.

  3. Dave Pickel

    After close 20 years of photographing wedding I retired in 2005 (I think) Many things have changed since then but one thing, I believe will always be the same. Weddings are meant to be a joyous occasion as two families join together to celebrate. It was and always will be the photographers duty to capture the memories of that occasion in the most professional manner possible. Many times I heard the officiating minister, no matter what religion, intersperse his own humor into the ceremony.
    Over the years I saw grandparents die at the ceremony, groomsmen and ringbearers faint, a candleabras set aisle runners in the church and paper plates at receptions catch fire and brides that were more then an hour late for pictures. You name it saw it. One thing I always reminded the bride and groom on these “unique” occurances…At the end of the day you still love each other and you are still married. God Bless you all both and now you will have a story for your grandchildren someday.

  4. Robert E Handley

    Many ministers seem to forget that we the photographers and videographers are hired by the same people who hired him or her to perform their ceremony. I have had ministers go off on me over the years. And I always stayed in the back of the church, and photographed the wedding as the guest viewed it. My close ups were with telephoto lens. But still they freaked out. They would tell me all the things I could not do, which was almost nothing. Never did they go to the parents, or the bride. They always dumped every thing on me. Then the couple would get mad that I did not get the photographs they requested. I think as long as we work in a professional manner and don’t get in the way or interfere with the ceremony. They have no reason to act like an ass. I do feel that for the most part the guest should not see us on or around the alter area. They came to see two people become one as man and wife. It should not look like a Hollywood production.

  5. bill hoffman

    Well, I’m not sure how much can be taken from this video. It would either be nice to hear the ministers view point or see the 5 min. before the submitted video. They could have been making real jerks of themselves and the minister was trying to preserve some order. I’m not sure if has been established were they the real hired photographers? Who was that guy off to the right at the end of the video with the big lens? Their placement is interesting since they would be obvious in the video camera at the end of the aisle in the back. Thought photographers were to blend into the background. It seems that they were very close, inside the wedding party. If they were using a 70-200 lens, what kind of picture do you get? Did not know macro was in for weddings. Being in front like that it had to be a distraction. I was at wedding as a guest where the video guy was in a baptistry set up high in the wall plain as day. I think more people watched him as he got up and left, came back, set down then fiddled then up again during the service. If I had been paying for it I would have yelled at him to get out of there. Then again arguing with the minister, they helped caused the scene more. If told no, have the sense to follow directions get out. Was taking official photos at a street fair not to long ago up front and close to a band. Got a tap on the shoulder told to leave by singer’s security. Left, another photographer, stayed and argued. Eventually got out. Asked what was the matter, told by the security guy, could only take pictures for three songs, said I understood no one had told me, other guy complained. Saw security guy short time later at fair, just smiled, nodded to him. Later, at next performance, while I was deciding if I had enough pictures and where to take, I was called over by security, told to stay in a certain area could take pictures as long as I wanted. Not the best but still got good shots and by myself. Guess it pays to be nice. Many religions and ministers are different. If this was their first shoot with this particular minister, in today’s world how hard would it be to call and find out the dos and don’ts days, weeks before the service. Did they even scope out the area they would be shooting at? If there is then a conflict, contact the bride and groom and let them work it out way before the wedding. But, everyone has their own thoughts on the matter. Just a few of my own.

  6. Krystal

    I have also learned that when someone from the church starts into the rules and places the photographer can go, I am now always taking her/him to the bride. Because we have talked and she wants a photo of her mom & dad looking at her as she is up front, which means a photographer has to be up near the front off to the side. If the church doesn’t want a photographer up on the side. I have the church tell the bride that they do not allow it, it’s amazing at what ‘rules’ are not as important when the communication is there with the bride and or groom. And like Bill said above, it’s amazing at what being nice can get for you.