Wedding Jitters Part 1

Apr 23, 2019

August 2018. It was time. Time to photograph my first wedding. To become a wedding photographer. The whole reason Roses & Scars Photography was born.

The Bride and Groom chose to host their wedding and reception about 2.5 hours out of Saskatoon. I left the afternoon before the wedding to join them and their wedding party (one of which was my Soul Sister) and to scope out the venue.

In Dysart, Saskatchewan there is an old school with a gym which is used for community functions now. This was the venue for their wonderful day. The village proper was tiny, so I was able to walk from one end to the other scoping out potential locations for the formal photos. In the gym, I pulled my cameras out, loaded them with lenses (one of which I had rented from and tested the indoor lighting. Being a school gym, the ceilings were very high and the entire room was not as well lit as your eyes would lead you to believe. Lying eyes.

I stayed in a hotel room with my Soul Sister. I made sure all my batteries were charging, my memory cards were formatted, my bag was packed and my pose cards repeatedly reviewed.

This was the big one. If you f**k it up, there is no second chance. But no pressure.

Being a slightly anxious person who prefers to have control over things in my life, I was finding myself with wedding jitters. I wasn’t even getting married! A part of me kept saying, What did you get yourself in to? Is it too late to back out? Why did you do this to yourself?!

Then I had to talk myself down from the ledge. It will be fine. You’ve prepared and prepared and prepared. You have your pose cards, you have an eye for photography. You can do this! You got this!
You are the wedding photographer!

The morning started early the next day. I had agreed to photograph the entire wedding from getting ready until after the bouquet and garter toss for a sweet $800. I was happy to have the income, but had already spent it before receiving the check. I had purchased a second camera body and loads of lighting equipment in preparation.

In my plan, the preparation photos were meant to happen in the hotel we had been staying at. I had a plan in my mind that I would work on getting detail shots of the rings, the dress, the bouquets, the shoes at the same time as I was working on taking photos of the girls getting their hair and makeup done.

This wasn’t how it happened. The ladies were getting their hair done at a salon in town. I followed, of course. There was only one hair dresser so it was a long morning while the Bride, the Maid of Honor (Soul Sister) and the Bridesmaid had their hair done one by one. They also chose to do their makeup there. I did enjoy having the somewhat lazy morning with them, joking with them and just enjoying their company while I occasionally pointed a camera at them, though.

In hindsight, I could have walked back and forth between the hotel and the salon to work on getting the detail shots. Or perhaps asked them to bring some of the items to the salon so I could have worked on it at the salon. Seemed to me I didn’t have enough time to focus on the detail shots.

Hair done, we headed back to the hotel. I worked quickly to try to get photos of the Bride getting dressed by her Bridesmaids and to capture the detail shots before we had to leave. We didn’t have the bouquets, unfortunately, as they would be meeting us at our first photo site. I was able to capture the rings, the jewelry, the shoes, her dress, and a wonderful fine shawl she had made for herself while still capturing the Bride getting dressed. We also took the time to do a First Look with the parents. I stood behind the Bride capturing her shoulder in the shots as her Mother and Father entered the room and saw her dressed for her magical day. I love those photos. So much emotion on their faces.

Previously, I had arranged with the Bride and Groom to do their Bridal Party formals and family photos prior to the ceremony since they had planned the ceremony and the reception so close together prior to hiring me.

I followed the ladies to Dysart to a beautiful yard near the venue. It was green, lush, thick with trees, flowers and some wicker furniture. We didn’t have the bouquets yet, or the Groom and Groomsmen so I worked on solo photos of the Bride until the bouquets arrived, then got more group shots of the ladies once they had.

Finally the Groom and Groomsmen showed up.. We knew he was coming by so we hid the Bride so he couldn’t see her until we were ready for him to see her.

I met the fellas on the walkway to the yard and orchestrated the ‘First Look’. With the Groom facing the road, the Bride snuck out from the bushes where she was hiding. The Bridesmaids fluffed her dress. The Groom looked at me as I stood in front of him, pointing my camera over his shoulder but capturing him in full focus. The Bride snuck up behind him, she paused, then I repositioned myself behind her so I could capture his face when he turned around.

It was priceless. Perfect adoration and joy captured at his first sight of her. Some of my favorite photos of the day.

More formal photos of the Bride and Groom with their families, with individual members and in large groups. Then formal Bridal Party shots using the little village. We used the yard, the fence, the field across the street, some rusted farm equipment, and a Grain Elevator.

I won’t lie. I was feeling extremely pressed for time. I had an hour and a half to get the large majority of the Bridal formals and family formals. It wasn’t easy to wrangle the number of people who needed to be involved and who sometimes had their own ideas about how things should go.

It was a struggle to stay in control of the situation and to ensure I got all of the necessary photos. I DID have a shot list with me, but the list got tossed around and misplaced a lot because I only have two hands.

We ended the formals session near the Grain Elevator with just the Bridal Party before going in to the gym for the ceremony. I lost a half an hour of time prior to the ceremony secondary to a very large storm cloud that was threateningly rolling in. Don’t get me wrong, it made for some incredible photos, but we definitely didn’t want to get caught in the rain.

I was glad to have some downtime, anyway. We were seven hours in to the day and my body ached already.

I looked down at the worn Airwalk Sneakers I had chosen to wear and cursed how bad my feet ached.

I wore the wrong shoes.


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