Wedding Tips, Part 1 (September 2009)
by Christopher Marchetti

Over the course of many years, I have had the mixed privilege of photographing close to seven hundred weddings. And I am still upright and smiling–something that I hope you will be doing after the day of your wedding!
So let’s get right to it– Christopher Marchetti’s unofficial guide to wedding day photo-fun!

First–Talent. Choose your photographer on the basis of their work. A decent photographer should have a great website. Preview a photographer on the web before making the appointment to meet them in person.

Second–Personality. Can you really trust this person to guide you through this very important day? Your photographer is usually the first professional to arrive at the ceremony site and the last to leave the reception. Food, flowers, friends and relatives all come and go, but your photographer stays the course. Make sure the chemistry between you works!

Third–Price. If you are shopping on the basis of price alone, you are in trouble. So put the keypad down and get out there and face-to-face with living talent! They will help you make a tough decision an easy one.

Getting Ready. Every wedding dress should come with a warning label that reads: WARNING: MADE BY MURPHY. For every hour you have scheduled for getting ready, add another one! Wedding dresses come with all sorts of time-eating gadgets like shoes that someone forgot to bring, heirloom jewelry that’s in the car, veils that don’t fit, etc. If you don’t use the whole extra hour, great! Get started on your group shots. But wait– “I don’t want him to see me dressed ahead of time because it’s bad luck.” Nonsense! I’ve never once heard of someone divorcing because the bride was seen dressed ahead of the ceremony! More importantly, the groom is not going to see the dress coming up the aisle anyway, it just doesn’t happen! Unless he is a rock star and used to being on stage with a couple hundred people staring at him, a groom is more than scared standing up on the altar. Not to mention the fact that right about the time your dress begins to promenade up the aisle, that’s about the time (perhaps the first time) that the great barrier of denial that lives within most men, starts to break down! “Oh, I’m at a wedding…oh my God, I’m at my wedding!” He says, as he stares into the hyperspace that once was your dress.

So brides, be nice to your groom. Create a special event. Let him actually see you dressed in your wedding finery. Make it a private and romantic event before the ceremony. Maybe it’s just the two of you (and your photographer!) alone in a room–one of you enters, as up the aisle, and you are both free to share your feelings.

So what have we accomplished? We can now get all those outdoor portraits, wedding party & family group shots, etc. done without the post ceremony chaos. Now, when you come down the aisle, you can run right into the arms of your relatives, and join your friends at the party!

I’m sure you’ve all been to a wedding where the bride, groom, wedding party and families are a full hour late in arriving at the reception because they elected to favor some nonsense about bad luck. Their guests have come from all over the country and sometimes the world to be with them–but instead everyone is waltzing around with a photographer while they could be visiting with the people they love the most. Alas, common sense may become common again! In my next column, I’ll discuss the organization of a successful reception. Until then–will someone please find the groom? I think he’s still with R2-D2.