I market myself as a wedding photographer for the rule breakers. To me, this simply means being unafraid to wave traditions that don’t reflect you goodbye, and to embrace your eccentricities. Once upon a time, weddings were nothing more than a formality. However in the last ten years, the industry has been totally reawakened. Things are becoming so much less formal, more personal, and frankly, funner.
Now, I’ve no doubts that thanks to the likes of Instagram, weddings are becoming more and more competitive than ever before. We’re all up to our knees in pin boards and collections, saving the latest viral trend for inspo. Well, this blog is a little less about what looks good, and more about what figuring out what feels good.
There are plenty of ways you can slather your personalities all over your wedding day. In this post I’m going to share, what I believe, are 5 of the most effective ways to do so – tried and tested at some of the hundred plus weddings I’ve been to. Ultimately, it comes down to being bold enough to say no to the things that don’t sit comfortably with you, and to embrace the changes you want to make irregardless of what ‘other people’ might think. Let me tell you exactly what I mean…
#1 First & foremost, remember who this day is about – you two.
It can be easy to fall in to the trap of people pleasing whilst planning your wedding. Your family and friends may offer their opinions where they’re sometimes not necessarily wanted. It’s almost inevitable. Don’t let that deter you from putting the things that make you and your future spouse happy, at the forefront of your mind. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding, not theirs. Follow your heart. This is exactly what some brave young soul did once upon a time, that allowed couples to not have to serve fruit cake as standard at weddings any more! No offence fruit cake, we love to get you out at Christmas time.
#2 Decide which traditions don’t excite you – make a good list and a bad list.
There’s a number of traditions laced within the fabric of a wedding day. Some of which include cake cuttings, first dances, Groom speeches, and more. However, just because something is to be expected from a wedding day, doesn’t mean any one will miss it if it doesn’t happen. And more so, if the idea of cutting your cake does not tickle your pickle; you should be brave enough to scrap it. Forget the gasps of horror from edlerly relatives if you decide to walk down the aisle together, rather than being given away. And honestly, if you as the Groom do not want to give a speech to a room full of people, don’t put yourself through the stress. You’ll have other friends and family members that may actually enjoy the performance of doing it instead. Maybe you’re a Bride that wants to say a thing or two. The energy in the room when the Bride takes the mic is always palpable! There are no traditions worth being unhappy about, so make a list of the things you like the idea of, and a list of the things that you don’t.
#3 Use the decor to tell your stories – make personal touches.
Going DIY is a great way of sprinkling your quirks and personalities in to the aesthetic of your wedding day. Make decorations from scratch, rope family members in to helping you design them, and go to markets and car boot sales to pick up bits and bobs. That being said, going DIY isn’t the only way to express yourselves. Finding a stylist or hire company that takes time to get to know who you are, or listen to your wants and dreams, goes an awfully long way. Plus, they’re experts in the field. They’ll know exactly how to dress your venue up if you give them enough of a brief; whether you’re big on travelling, reading books, or watching films. Trust them to deliver it, if you’d rather take the stress out of managing it all on your own. There are tonnes I could recommend to you, but Penny from the Little Lending Co is a great lass to start with if you’re getting married in or around Norfolk.
#4 Shall we go to Church, hire a celebrant, or use a registrar? That is the question.
Feeling like you absolutely have to get married in a Church, or use a registrar, in order for your day to feel remotely like a wedding, is not unusual. However, be aware of how doing so may infringe on your freedom to personalise your ceremony. There are still a lot of rules when it comes to marrying in God’s house. In fact, in my experience, there are some Churches that still don’t even permit photography. Registrars aren’t the only alternative to that either, as a lot of the time they can over formalise your ceremony too. Make a list of what’s important to you when it comes to the ceremony, and explore other routes that may better suit you as individuals. After all, you can hire independant celebrants nowadays that specialise in creating an emotive, intimate and genuinely personal ceremony experience for their couples and their guests, and they’re no less legal. I mean, have you even heard of a sand ceremony? Give it a Google, these things might be for you.
#5 Think outside the box when it comes to entertainment & food.
You don’t have to hire a regular wedding band or serve a three course meal in order to fit the mould of a wedding. If you’re trying to aim for something uber traditional, then so be it, and you know it will be good! However, there’s nothing wrong with saying “Actually, I’d like something far less formal and far more, like, scrappy.” I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up this year that are serving street food and encouraging their guests to see their day as one big party. One of those in particular is opting for Sri Lanken street food. I mean, gosh! One of my first ever weddings also opted for paella, allowing guests to just come and eat as they pleased. Yum! As well as food, you can have something less predictable when it comes to the entertainment. At the same wedding that served paella, they had a Bucking Broncho in the evening and a Spotify playlist that the Bride and Groom had curated. There’s also a band I recommend to all of my couples called Back Chat Brass. They’re a band that actually turn up ‘unannounced’ to your day playing brass instruments to the tune of modern songs. Great fun! So many of your guests will let their hair down and get stuck in, walking away from it wishing they’d been brave enough to do things their way too. It’s kinda radical – sort of, but bloody good fun. Be the radicals. Be the rule breakers!
So, there you have it. Food for thought, I hope. There’s plenty of ways you can break the rules and form new traditions. Be bold, be brave, and always be yourselves. This is your day – don’t let any one make you feel otherwise.