How to Contribute as a Wedding Bystander
I’m shooting a wedding today. I LOVE doing photography and honestly, today I’m not feeling it. I’ve been through a lot lately and I would love to stay at home and rest.
Today, I get to choose into what will serve the bride, groom and guests as I get my gear together and rev up for a long day.
I don’t know the bride and groom well (and I often don’t when I show up to do photography). We may have had one or two conversations, however I don’t REALLY know them.
I know what my mission is though — to focus on them completely and make their day even better by being there.
I ask myself how I can best do that each time I shoot a wedding an there are a few things I tend to do every time I shoot.
I always pray for the couple getting married. This is a magical day and love is in the air, but not long from now reality can set in and life can take its toll.
I pray for their wellbeing, their happiness, their ability to work through hard times when they come.
Some may not believe in the power of prayer and I say that the energy created by prayer, whether you believe in God or not, can be extremely powerful.
I say that it sets a tone, an intention, a goal and a mission for the couple. I pray that they feel the positive energy in the air today.
I also observe. I see everything, often through a literal lens. When people don’t think I can see what’s really going on beneath the surface, I can. To zoom in on people means zooming in on their feelings, the vibe they’re giving off, their hurts and hang-ups, success and failures.
I look for the ones who are struggling. The people who aren’t happy to be there. Often single people are at weddings and wish they were up at the front, marrying “the one”. There are many couples who choose NOT to do the bouquet toss anymore because it can make the single ladies in the room feel bad.
Some people have just gotten divorced or been through a break up. One woman I spoke to at a wedding I shot a few months ago had just lost her husband to cancer.
Even though weddings are primarily happy days, they aren’t for some people. Those are the ones I want to meet and pour into. Maybe, just maybe, I can make their day a little brighter by shining some light.
As I take photos, arrange family members into groups and pose the couple, I do my best to seek out these people out and start a conversation with them. I ask them how they’re doing, make them laugh (to the best of my ability ;), compliment them and otherwise make them feel good and included.
I don’t ever want to be a photographer without a mission to be a light in some way. Even on a windy, overcast day like today when I am not really feeling it; when I would rather stay home and rest, put up my feet and watch a movie.
I get to choose to be the BEST me I can be for them…ALL of them. I get to step into focus, joy, support and peace. I get to change my mindset from the focus being on me to the focus being on EVERYONE ELSE.
And the beauty of it is this — when I’m focusing on THEM, the joy comes. I get out of my head, give to others and don’t care about the things that aren’t perfect in my life anymore. I get to fill my soul by watching others’ happiness and pouring into the ones that need an extra dose of it.
Today will be a magical day and I will be there as the best version of me possible.
As I finish writing this my mindset has already changed. Here’s to a fantastic day!