Sunday, November 23, 2008

Guests at the Party? Us?

Everyone knows we go to lots of weddings. But until a few weeks ago, Nathaniel & I had never actually attended a wedding together as guests. Crazy, right? We've been talking for years about how incredibly fun it would be to attend the wedding of a friend -- without the job of creating their photographs.

See, we've made a rule to our pals that we will attend their wedding as guests or they can hire us and we will document it for them. But we don't "just come and hang out, but also take all the pictures." Being the photographer whose job it is to cover a wedding is no small deal. Asking someone to both be a guest and the official photographer is, in our experience, truly impossible.

At a wedding five years ago, Nathaniel was a groomsman. In addition to being a groomsman and all that entailed, he was also trying to shoot it with me. We have a pretty airtight system for covering every angle of a wedding perfectly. The two of us can move like a well-oiled machine. But with Nathaniel out-of-play at this wedding on so many essential moments, it left only me to cover as one person what we normally do as two. The pictures were still lovely & our friends were thrilled, but to make a long story short, after that wedding the either/or rule happened. We just didn't think it was fair to have only part of our usual photographic coverage for our friends.

Since then, we have been at many friends' weddings ~ as their photographers. But we have not gotten to just sit down, enjoy a meal, dance ~ we were constantly working for our friends and family on their special days. It was an honor to document those weddings, still, someplace inside, you still wonder what it would be part of the party, not only recording it...

What a different experience it is to be a wedding guest!

This is us as wedding guests and yes, Nathaniel is hiding a camera in his left hand!

Our friend Ken recently got married to his adorable lady, Nelly. And he insisted we come and just have fun. Ken himself is a wedding vendor, so he gets it, the whole "come-be-a-guest-and-also-work" thing. It's not really a realistic request and he truly understands why we feel that way from his own life experiences in the industry.

So we arrive at Ken's wedding and our first impulse was to look for good angle for the ceremony. Duh. We had to remind ourselves -- we're not working at this one. The ceremony began and two times, I jumped out of my seat and lunged to the edge of the aisle to get a shot of the bride (yes, I admit it, we both had cameras!). Darn Rissa -- you're not working, relax! Alas, we stopped fighting it and took photos whenever we felt like it. Making sure, of course, to stay out of the way of Ken & Nelly's hired photogs and videographers.

We had to really focus on being guests and not photographers. We gave each other a pep talk at the cocktail hour and decided to refocus our efforts on being awesome guests. The kind of guests that make great images for the hired photogs & videographers. We stood and applauded the toasts; we cheered on the cake cutting; we danced all night. Turns out that being a guest at the party is quite a lot fun!

And in the mix a little, we still took quite a few pictures, without the pressure of being the official photographers. : )

Congrats Ken & Nelly ~ oh, and we have some photos from the wedding for you! Thank you both for inviting us to be part of your special day ~ and giving us the freedom to enjoy it as your friends!
~ Rissa

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