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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Views on Wedding Traditions

Disclaimer: These are MY opinions and MY opinions alone and do not reflect the views of ArlethG Photography. OK they do. A little. But any mean hate mail resulting from this post WILL BE DELETED! Shoot this ma blog foo!  

I hesitated to hit the publish button when I read over this post. I sounded a little pissed of in my writing. Which I'm totally not. As you read it, just know that I'm not. Pissed off that is. Like at all. And if you have super deep duper traditional opinions on weddings, don't read this post ok? Just don't do it. I don't want you to hate me. 

Here it goes....  

Growing up in a Mexican ethnic enclave I know ALL about "politically correct" traditions. And when it comes to weddings? Oh, are there traditions!

A girl is encouraged and almost obligated to have "padrinos" and "madrinas" which is code for "sponsors that pay for everything at your wedding and hence get to choose your cake, flowers, invitations and everything else according to their budget even though their picks are hideous and you hate them." Not to mention, these sponsors make for a SUPER long thank you list that MUST be included on your printed invitation lest you betray formal protocol. Ok I'm exaggerating a bit. Sometimes you do get to have some say in choosing what you like but the sponsor tradition goes more or less along those lines. I am, however, not kidding about the super long thank you's on the printed invitation though. It's quite disturbing.

Internet and brides-to-be, this tradition is totally fine if this is your cup of tea. Heck- you may even have a batch of super rich sponsors willing to pay for everything exactly how you want it, side note- if this is you, I'm totally available for photography- end side note. However if you're more of a dicerning bride as I liked to call myself when I was planning my wedding, or picky as Mario called it, this tradition might not be at all that ok with you. You may not be completely traditional. And that is totally ok.

Which brings me to tradition number two. OK I'm just going to come out and say it. Who ever established that the groom seeing his bride before the ceremony was wrong? WHO? And most importantly why? WHY? I want answers! Ok I just read over the last few sentences of this post and I sound very pissed off. I'm really not. like at all. I'm just passionate haha! Anywho- I've heard some people say it's bad luck to see eachother before the wedding. I say, base your happiness and success on the foundation you have established as a couple and not a silly man made tradition. There I said it.

Don't get me wrong, I get the whole "it's so wonderful for the groom to see his bride for the first time as she's walking towards him down the aisle", I get it. But being a former bride myself I can speak with all authority when I say that Mario and I had NO time alone on our wedding day. We were surrounded by people the entire day which was great, but we didn't really have a chance to be alone and enjoy eachother at least for a few short moments on our wedding day. This would have been different had I scheduled a first look with my photographer to see Mario for photos before our ceremony. The moment when I walked down the aisle to marry him would have been just as special if not more. But wait, I'm not done, this post continues...

To be honest, not scheduling a first look with my photographer to see Mario before our ceremony is the one and only thing I regret most about our wedding day. Not to mention having to take all the formal photos after our ceremony. Can you say HECTIC? Come on say it with me, HEC-TIC! My family wanted shots of evvvrrrrything and in all combinations of cousins, tios, tias and great grandparents. The family we did need in the photos was nowhere to be found. Probably in the cocktail reception which is where I wanted to be. Meanwhile my dad was asking for a picture with us and his boss and my wedding photographer? I'm sure she was thinking the same thing I was. Dad, really? Really dad?

After we finally got through that chaos it was finally time for me and Mario's formal pictures which took about another 45 minutes. All the while, the people we love and that love us and were there to be with us were on the other side of the venue. Away from us. Enjoying the party. The party that me and Mario soooo wanted to be at instead of taking pictures.

Don't misunderstand, I wanted awesome pictures and so I allocated time for them and I did get some fabulous pictures thanks to my photographer who rocked.  But what I'm trying to say is that my wedding day would have been that much more enjoyable and memorable had I scheduled to see Mario for photos before the wedding. Because we didn't do that, 2 hours of my rental of the venue went into taking photos instead of enjoying the day. OUR DAY. Our day that we had planned for so long and had paid a pretty penny for. 

Now as a traditional bride you might be thinking, well that's not going to happen to me. My family and formal pictures will be organized and will go quickly. Uh, yea, no. Now as a wedding photographer myself I can attest to the fact that formal photos are the most stressful and hectic shots of the day. Family members are scattered everywhere and mingling, as they should, and will not be paying attention. And the ones that are paying attention are the ones that will be requesting a picture with you and their boss. And uncle Joe and cousin Billy and Aunt Mae. Trust me.

So what's my humble advice? Have a plan. A real written plan and stick to it. I would strongly suggest to take all immediate family formal photos and bridal party photos before the ceremony. Hands down. My second reccomendation would be to schedule a first look to see eachother before the ceremony and take most of your formal shots at that time. Not only will you have cherished moments alone but you will render so many more photos because you will have more time. Stress free time. After the ceremony you can have one large immediate family and extended family photo taken and perhaps another 15 minutes for more photos of the couple and then you're done. You can officially hit the party and avoid the hassle.

If you're still not convinced and you're determined that tradition is best, then young lady you shouldn't be reading this post and you are terrible at following directions. Nonetheless your wedding photographer is there to work around your needs and requests and if a first look is not what you want then a first look is not what you'lle get. And I'm perfectly ok and happy with that too. So long as we have the understanding that I am not liable for any nervous breakdowns during the family formals.

Before you go thinking that I'm a total rebel, I'm not. I like many if not most wedding traditions. The white dress, the bouquet toss, the money dance. Especially the money dance! Haaay, show me the mula!  There are some rules however, that are worth bending. And their bending is worth their weight in gold. :)

PS: My this was a super long post! Sorry. And sorry about all the typos too! 



  1. hahaha totally agree! very true. i must not be a traditional mexican then. we dont do the whole family pitching IN thing lol -natalia


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