How To Be A Good Wedding Guest

How To Be A Good Wedding Guest

This may get you thinking a little along the lines of “whaaat?!?”, but believe me, there are weddings where you come across one or people who seem determined not to have a good time. I must admit, I don’t get it, surely if you don’t want to go to the wedding, it would make more sense to just not go. Well, unless you are a child, in which case you really don’t have a choice but thank you for reading my blog post and I should point out that the wedding you are dreading is probably far more enjoyable than reading this. 

First of all, remember that the day is a celebration and you are one of a select few who have been invited to celebrate, so enjoy it! You’ve got a day off work, you’ve got an excuse to get dressed up and apart from getting there and back, the whole day has already been planned for you – result!

The Ceremony 

Sarah and Eddie wedding ceremony at Tankersley Manor

As a great wedding guest, try to get involved with the day and not just your mobile device. You may have seen the recent article on the wedding photographer who had a great photograph ruined as just at the crucial moment a guest left in front of them to get a not so great photograph on their phone. So many walks down the aisle by the newly weds, seem to resemble a rugby scrum of phones and iPads being thrust in front of the bride and groom that it can be a minor nightmare for us photographers to get the shot. I like to get the walking down the aisle shot from the back of the ceremony room/ church. The reason for this? I do this because I want the guests see the couple walk down the aisle and not a view of my backside. As for the mobile phone shots of the walk down the aisle, can I ask what happens to them? Does anyone actually do anything with them? Most wedding photographers provide the couple with their digital images, so it’s not for the couple as they’ve already got it (well unless the rugby scrum spilled over too much). It’s almost as if it has just become a reflex action, couple walks down aisle, thrust camera out in front of them.

Group photographs

No photographer wants to spend hours staging a group photograph. Well, I hope they don’t, although I’ve heard rumours…. Personally, I want to get a great photo and then let you get back to the party. This translates that if you are asked to be part of a group photograph, the sooner everyone is together, the sooner everyone is finished with and the sooner you can get back to celebrating. 

The Whole Group Photograph

I have one thing to say about this and that’s if the person in front of you is taller than you, swap places and keep on going until there is no one taller in front of you. Obviously the exception to this is the bride and groom, probably not best to push them behind you if you are shorter than them! If everyone did this with the whole group photograph, it would be over in minutes and you wouldn’t have to listen to the photographer repeatedly shout out random colour/ clothes combinations to try and get them to move into the right place.

The Reception

Put your phone away, seriously, put it down and enjoy the day. I have absolutely no problem with people taking photographs during a wedding day, it is part of the fun of it (except for the walk down the aisle, I refer you to the ceremony bit above in case you have forgotten it). As a wedding photographer of a numerous years, one thing that has really changed is the increase in the number of guests who are not talking to each other. Instead they are photographing their food, updating their social media and sending texts. This isn’t just for a few minutes, this seems to be for the whole meal. Take some time out from your phone and enjoy your meal and the company (and also be safe in the knowledge that there are not going to be photographs of you with double chins as a result of you looking down at your screen).

Evening Reception

Louise and Stephen first dance at the Midland Hotel

I love evening receptions, this is the time when everyone is having a great time. There is just one thing though to complete your job as a great wedding guest though…. First dance. No, I don’t want you to put your phones and cameras away, I love a first dance when people surround the dance floor. That’s the thing, I love it when people surround the dance floor. For those 3-4 minutes, if you can just support the happy couple when they hit that dance floor that would be great and if you do that, thank you because that helps to make a great photograph.

Ultimately, how to be a good wedding guest? The best way is simply to enjoy the day!

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