A few years back during a wedding up the country, I was sitting having a meal with a videographer, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, and he or she told me a story about a wedding where the photographer suggested that the couple drive out to a “lovely freshly cut field with bales and stuff” out in the country.
So, after a 40 minute needless excursion they get there, and here’s the best part, they line up behind the two other wedding cars that are apparently already there. Knowing how some photographers work you can imagine how long it took as they stuck it out, with the married couple probably bored senseless once the champers ran dry. Apparently the couple arrived at their venue at 7:45 that evening, or should I say night. Which is fine I suppose, though some guests will get bored because ideally they would prefer to be in a room where the couple should be too, they are after all the focal point of the day, and it leaves the married couple starting from scratch when it comes to meeting and chatting once they do arrive, and if late then how long before they both sit for their meal? It certainly tends to push it out a bit.
I have always been of the opinion that if you pay for a drinks reception then that is where you should be, that is where the buzz is, that is where the fun is, this is where the married couple should be in my humble opinion, it’s always so very lively with a room buzzing around the newly married couple.
As stressed in early postings (or rantings as some might say, of course I disagree), any session with the just married couple should be swift, on your terms, and at a place that means something to you both and a pace that satisfies everybody. I do not think that in over 400 weddings that I have photographed and documented that I have suggested somewhere for the couple to go. In my view this is not my place, why? Because it would be meaningless or just downright photographically generic.
From experience most couples that I have been lucky to work for are eager to be at one place, the venue where the drinks reception is, they are talkers, and they want to have fun, be entertained by the music they have provided, not piss around some hay bales (and that has now been done to death) or whatever the current trend now is. If they do decide to go somewhere for some pictures then generally it means something to them both, that is very important. This is your choice, not mine. I will merely document the moment and in most cases it is a place that I have never been to ever, and this is what excites me. You are bringing me to someplace that is important to you and as your documentary wedding photographer I have to nail the moment.
I think most really get it, and I’ve lost count of how many times somebody will excitedly say to me “really looking forward to the drinks reception!” And not for a swift token 15 minutes before being dragged into your banquet, but a couple of hours of that drinks reception, and in doing so you will meet a share proportion of your guests, friends and family and get right into the swing of it.
I know with may client type that if I suggested driving for the guts of an hour to play posing in a field somewhere for an hour or two I’d get some raised eyebrows, and rightly so. The day can whizz by, enjoy most of it with those who have been invited to share your day.