Maine Wedding Photography
My nephew Nolan having found ‘his’ tree at the Christmas farm this year.

When Wedding Details Actually Harm the Big Day

I am a detail oriented person. I come with a plan. I’ve done my homework. I know my couples and what we want to capture together on the big day.

Yet there are times when the details get in the way of the life that’s right in front of us.

It’s the week before Christmas, and I can’t help but feel the same way about it as I do so many weddings.

Last night Magan and I finally picked up a tree and threw some decorations up around the house. My days are spent fulfilling pre-Christmas print orders and finalizing a few remaining wedding collections. And the thought of making an 8 hour trip this upcoming weekend is enough to cause a little stress to creep in. And that stress, along with the busyness, is enough to rob me of the season.

The same happens with weddings and wedding details. To put the comparison into context, here’s a question:

Which do you think matters more, the pre-Christmas running around, or quality time with your loved ones? What about when the same thought applies to your wedding?

Know what matters to you before the wedding day.

Two nights ago I met with a bride and groom to show them their wedding photographs for the first time. We went through over 1,000 images from their day, and took several hours together to select the top 80 that will go in their Unbound Album.

That type of time with my clients is where I learn the most about what I do. It allows me to see what my couples value in my images; to see which ones draw their attention the most; to see through their eyes as they choose the photographs that move them the most.

The bride’s comment after a successful few hours of narrowing the images down: “I can’t believe how much of the day you captured. Everything is here, and there is so much that I never even saw happening.”

That’s the truth to the matter. Your photographer will see more of your wedding day than you do, and what we see is what will stay with you for the rest of your life.

This couple did a fantastic job of being present during their wedding. They planned ahead well, but also prioritized what mattered ahead of time and let the rest go.

That’s the key. It isn’t just the planning. It’s letting some of the less important details fall by the wayside.

Many couples miss much of their own weddings because they fail to prioritize what matters most.

At my sister’s wedding, I wasn’t hardly present. And given that I was asked to stand in her wedding as a groomsmen, I should have been.

I arrived a day early, left long after she left. I was there the entire time, but hardly present.

Some of the day was spent running to get something she forgot. Some of it was preparing music for the reception dances. A little while was spent greeting the ceremony musician and seeing that he knew where to go, when to begin. I lost some time picking up our grandmother to drive her to the reception after the formals, and was subsequently late to the introduction line up.

It was all very important, helpful, needed, and I didn’t mind in the least.

In fact, I take the blame for it. She hadn’t asked me to help with Grandma, someone else could have. The ceremony musician was my idea, something that I added with her permission.

Family often takes on more than the couple ever intended, and that’s exactly what I had done in my attempt to help, to be useful.

But what I missed was sitting with the family over breakfast that morning, telling stories. I failed to spend hardly any time at all with the groom, my new brother in law, and the men that came to support him and welcome him in to a new family. I wasn’t relaxed and rested during the formals, smiling easily or showing the joy that comes with rest. And I didn’t even make it up to dance with my sister during the reception.

You see the tendency is to try to handle some of the details yourself like arranging the table settings, the flowers, or being the one to coordinate where everyone is supposed to be on the wedding day.

When it becomes too much, we often rely on family to step in.

And in both cases, what we loose is the time when the most intimate and special moments happen.

Just like what we see every Christmas.

The only way around it, is to do less.

Prioritize what is important. Hire someone to take care of those details, or do without them.

But let yourself, and your family, have the moments that make great memories, and great images.

I have about 40 Christmases left with my family. Less with my parents. And a wedding is a once in a lifetime day.

Make the most of it.

And Merry Christmas from Maine.

P.S. Listen to Will Wohler’s new audio interview with me on my website by clicking here.

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