Weddings: a history in pictures

Where does wedding photography feature in your planning? How much importance have you placed in the longevity of your wedding images?

Why do I ask? Because I have had time during this cover related wedding hiatus, to think about what exactly I am offering to my couples when they book me to photographs their big day. I have always felt privileged to be chosen to capture someones important moments, but a recent wedding I photographed highlighted to me just how precious and loved your wedding photography will be to your future generations.

To future us out there in a time where the current climate might be a distant memory, the wedding I speak about took place in the midst of a global pandemic. At the time where weddings were pretty much shut down and the most you could expect from your big day was a very small, socially distanced wedding ceremony with your closest family and friends, most of whom are probably wearing face coverings.

The wedding itself was really special, it was intimate and lovely and the couple were just so happy to be getting married. They got married in the parish church of the grooms parents, where they had their wedding. Before the wedding the couple sent me some cherished family photographs of the parents on their wedding day, and asked if they could have something similar on their day to connect the families stories. I was struck by how special these old photographs were to the family; how much pride, joy and narrative was held in them and how my photographs could be the same for this next generation.

Wedding photography style is very varied, it moves with the trends and can, if not treated carefully, date very, very quickly. I have always believed in keeping my editing style classic and timeless, not following any particular trends and keeping the images I present authentic to life and the moment they were captured. This seems even more important when you consider how these images will be passed down through the generations. Your potential children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews, may use them to place you in a time and place, to use as a basis for a narrative about you and your wedding day. Do you want to have to explain to them why all of your images have no green in them because your photographed edited them to follow a fashion? Or why it looks like you got married on the golden coast rather than at the quaint English barn where you actually held your wedding, because everything has a distinct orange tone from a trendy edit?

It’s a contentious issue, and many people enjoy the super trendy wedding photography edits. I appreciate their aesthetic myself, how consistent they look as a collection and how much easier an edit like that would be in comparison to a more true to life edit. But no matter how tempted I am to try a different direction in my editing, to move more with the trends and probably make life easier for myself, I am always drawn back to that one huge and important factor. These images are forever.

Below are the treasured images that the couple sent to me, and the photographs I captured on their wedding day with the parallels in mind.