You've decided that your wedding day is going to be stress-free… You and your sweetheart are opting out of the "traditional" big wedding ordeal and settling for a small, intimate evening with your closest friends and family. You don't want to cater for 200 people, pick out 25 floral arrangements, hire a band, coordinate 12 people with weird dietary restrictions, etc. You want a simple, yet memorable time with your love and those you hold so dear.
I applaud you! Really, I do. So many weddings these days get so large that, as a couple, you can't truly soak it all in and it can often become overwhelming. (Don't get me wrong here - I love big weddings too! "Different strokes for different folks…" right?) I've seen a rising trend in smaller, "private" wedding celebrations over the last couple of years and I'll admit that I'm quite fond of it. They are usually far less stressful on the bride and groom, and allow ample time to soak up everything that's going on - which is exactly what you want to do on your wedding day!
Now, with all this being said, there is one very serious problem that I have also encountered with these small nuptial gatherings as well: couples seem to think that hiring a photographer is no longer a need. I understand the thought process behind this concept, but let me tell you that you are sadly mistaken. Regardless of the "size" of your wedding, it's absolutely essential that you have a photographer there to capture the day. Even if you're having the smallest of weddings, you NEED a wedding photographer!
So, in order to help couples grasp the importance, I've complied a list of 7 Reasons to Hire a Photographer for Your Small Wedding! Take a few minutes to read through these - I promise they'll change your perspective!
1 - The number of guests at your wedding does NOT determine how important your wedding is.
So many times, people refer to their guest list to explain their wedding, and tend to forget about the rest. Don't get me wrong here, your guests are your friends and family, so they're important - but they're not what the wedding is about. Your wedding day is about YOU as a couple, and those guests are there to celebrate YOUR love and commitment to one another. With that in mind, why on earth would you let the number of people in attendance determine the importance of your wedding day?
At weddings, we always shoot images of guests having fun and enjoying themselves, but the majority of the images in a finalized wedding collection are of the bride and groom because, again, that's who the wedding is all about! Your wedding photos are intended to help you remember how special the day was for you as a couple - not how many people were there.
2 - Memories and emotions are the same, no matter how many people are watching.
Your wedding will be filled with some of the most exciting moments you will ever experience, and the emotions and memories made that day will last in your heart for a lifetime, but in order to share those special times with your future children and grandchildren you need them preserved through photographs. Those moments will happen regardless of how many people are in attendance, and you want to remember them.
3 - How will you share your wedding memories with those that didn't attend?
Small weddings are fantastic for a multitude of reasons, but let's be honest - one of THE biggest drawbacks with smaller celebrations is the fact that you can't invite all of your friends and everyone that would really like to be there to celebrate with you. (That would turn it into that "big" wedding you were trying to avoid… see?)
Those friends and family members that were not at the wedding are still going to want to share in the celebration and hear all about your wedding, but if you don't have photos that captured all of the details of the day then you will have nothing to share with them other than your memories. Memories are a wonderful thing, but like the famous saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words - sometimes more!" you often cannot put into words what a photo can instantly convey.
4 - For your friend. For "Uncle Bob." For "Sarah's friend that has a nice camera."
Oh so many times, I've been told "We're just gonna get my sister's friend to take some photos. She has a nice camera, and she wants to help us with it." There's a-million-and-one reasons why statements like this scare me, but I'll leave those for another post sometime.
Here's the thing, anyone photographing your wedding cannot fully enjoy it - that's just how it is. A couple of months ago I shot a wedding for two friends of ours. It was a beautiful wedding and I enjoyed shooting it, but I wasn't able to fully take it all in. At one point I let my assistant fly solo and I slow danced with my wife (who was a bridesmaid) for one song, but then grabbed my camera again and started working. See, when I'm shooting weddings I'm totally focused on the job at hand. I'm "in the moment" to make sure I don't miss anything, but I can't really let my guard down and "experience" everything that's happening. I usually eat cold food and I'm lucky if I get a bite of the cake. (Not at ALL a reflection of my clients, I'm just busy capturing the day and I put myself on the back burner - which is what a good wedding photographer does!)
All that to say this: do your friend a favor and let them enjoy your wedding by experiencing all the moments fully and being there to celebrate with you. You take that away from them when you ask them to "take a few photos" at your wedding.
5 - The most important people in your life will be there - you need good, quality photos with them.
Weddings usually contain those people that are closest to the bride and groom. At a small, intimate wedding that's even more true - ALL of the people are very close to the couple. With all of the most important people in your lives surrounding you, it's the perfect time to capture your relationship with them. Often times it's hard for everyone to get together because of the busy lives we all live, and many times weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime moment where all those people are gathered together. Take advantage of that!
6 - Reduces the level of stress on YOU.
Chances are that one of the biggest reasons you have chose a small wedding is because you don't want to deal with crazy amounts of stress - am I right? Well if that's the case, why would you want to add the stress of trying to make sure you had someone snap a few shots at the wedding so that you'll at least have "some photos" of your wedding day?
As a professional, one of the main reasons I'm hired (other than to provide my artistic style and high quality) is to insure that the right images are captured and nothing is missed. I shoot weddings full-time, so it's ingrained in me to capture all of the details, as well as all of the important moments that take place. (It's practically second nature to me at this point in my career) Hire a photographer to make sure all of that is taken care of - let that huge stressor go and hire someone you are confident in. I promise you'll never regret it!
7 - Your wedding day is still YOUR WEDDING DAY!
Your wedding day is one of THE biggest days of your life, and it's important no matter the size! Not investing in photos of your small wedding would be like saying your small family of three is less significant than someone else's family of eight. That's crazy to say, right? Well it's crazy to think that just because your wedding won't have hundreds in attendance that it's not worth remembering. Your wedding day is one of the very few days in life that will ever be solely about YOU and celebrating your love as a couple. Cherish that day and treat it just like anyone else would - no matter the size!