I feel like I’ve become a professional wedding guest. Between my business and the number of friends’ weddings I attended in 2019, I’ve seen it all: traditional wedding, spooky wedding, blended family wedding, DIY wedding, and wedding clothes ranging from kilts to this rad nontraditional wedding dress.
Given the amount of wedding content we see on Instagram and Pinterest and dedicated wedding planning sites, it can be hard to feel that your wedding is unique. But what I’ve found is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make something feel different and special; you just need to infuse your love story into the day.
I recently photographed David and Matt’s wedding at Philadelphia’s Free Library. I know David through my work with the LGBT Elder Initiative, and was thrilled when he and Matt asked me to shoot their wedding. What I loved about the day was how they kept the traditional structure of the ceremony and reception, but inserted these beautiful moments and details that were uniquely them. Here’s how they did it:
1. The program: David and Matt are avid theater goers and this was obvious the moment the guests saw the program. Designed to look like a Playbill, the program had all of the necessary components to walk guests through the ceremony, but was authentic and personalized and communicated something important about the couple. It also made a great talking point during cocktail hour.
2. The players: David and Matt didn’t have a wedding party, but they opted to have their loved ones be a part of the ceremony in other ways. Instead of being married by an acquaintance or stranger, they asked one of their grandmothers to perform the ceremony. Other family members were involved in the ceremony, as well as the reception. Besides the fact that this personalized the wedding, it also is a great way to save some cash!
3. The show: Often times the vows are the only personalized element of the actual ceremony. But not for David and Matt. In the middle of the ceremony, the couple shared their love story to the crowd in an endearing back and forth retelling. You might think that this wouldn’t be news to anyone, but think about it: usually your friends and family only have bits and pieces of your love story, and poor Aunt Debbie might not know it at all. And even if you write your own vows, they hardly ever tell a cohesive story. By working with your partner to write your love story, you own your narrative with your partner, and you are inviting your friends and family into that space. Is there anything more special than that?
I love a good nontraditional wedding, but there is also something special about sticking with the traditions and just adding your own flair here and there. You don’t need to go to great lengths to change things up; just lean into your own, unique love story and go from there.
I’m your friendly neighborhood photographer here to capture all your intimate moments! Whether you're planning an elopement, family session, or lifestyle photoshoot, I would love to work with you! Check out my services for more information.
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