Monday, December 20, 2010

Photography Hell

I've noticed a trend every time I log onto one of the wedding websites: the ever-present threat of photography. Or, more accurately, photography that goes horribly awry and is ruined because you, dear bride, didn't put enough effort into your wedding to make it worthy of being immortalized in a .JPEG file.

This is a consistent theme. Like most things inspired by the MIC, the threat is never made explicit. Instead, it's written as if it were a scandal that can only be discussed in hushed voices and polite euphemisms. It's like the nuptial equivalent of the high school girl who "went away to her aunt's house for a year," but we all know that she actually got knocked up by a dude who just happened to be a heroin dealer, junior high drop-out,  and her second cousin.

Some cases in point: 

1. The flowers will be one of the most photographed elements of your wedding. Therefore, it's important to choose centerpieces and bouquets that perfectly fit your wedding style. (Underlying message: when people look at your wedding photos -- which they'll be doing in large numbers, since you'll set up a slide show at work and everyone will sit at rapt attention while analyzing your floral choice -- they'll notice if your flowers don't fall within the parameters of your pre-determined theme and style. They will notice, and they will be aghast at your lack of consideration for this most blessed of blessed details.)
  2. Your wedding dress will be photographed more than any article of clothing you ever own. (Underlying message: THIS DRESS IS SACRED! You'd best ensure that it's perfect, because it will be immortalized in your photos - and those photos will be occassionally worshipped as an object of transcendent beauty.)
3. Take time to select a good wedding hairstyle -- it will be heavily photographed! (Underlying message: your 90-year-old Grandpa, the one who can't make it to your wedding and will be relying on photographs of the big day, will absolutely pay close attention to your hairstyle. He'll want those close-ups of the updo! He'll want side-shots that show both your profile and the little curled wispy bits that frame your face! People care about these things! They care deeply!) 

4.  An insufficiently decorated cake table can ruin your reception photos. (Underlying message: when people look at your wedding photos, they will be appalled if you have an inadequately decorated cake table. They'll think you're lacking in proper judgment and, quite possibly, not fit to be a parent. After all, the lack of decor on your cake table ruined your wedding pictures forever. You can't expect that people who make such bad wedding decisions will be able to make good life decisions - and you certainly can't expect that such morally bankrupt people would be able to care for small children.)
Ok, so wedding photography is a fact of life. Pictures will be taken. None of that is a revelation. But somehow, the MIC makes the leap from photography being a mere fact to it being a compelling reason to spend a shitload of money on your hair, dress, flowers, and table linens.

This just strikes me as...a steaming pile of crap. I mean, yes, I fully anticipate that lots of pictures will be taken. But really, is it necessary to use that as a life-altering reason to spend phenomenal amounts of money on things that, if we're being honest, very few people are actually going to notice?

I really don't think that people are going to analyze the wedding pictures as carefully as the MIC believes they will. Maybe it's just the people I know, but I can't imagine any of my friends or family pouring over every detail of every picture and then sneering when they find one that they feel is lacking. And, even if they do pull something like this, it's not worth spending an inordinate amount of money just to make sure you have the perfect setting and subjects for the photographer. Anyone who finds themselves aggrieved over too few shots of the bride's hair can get over it.

The fact is, as with all threats of wedding failure and eternal infamy, no one will actually die if the cake table isn't festooned with cascading flowers and glitter. The world will not actually stop spinning if there aren't 100 perfectly-angled pictures of your hair. Your 90-year-old Grandpa, your mom, and all the people who care about your will simply be happy to have pictures of the event. Chances are, they'll be looking at your facial expression -- and swooning over the look of sheer joy and exuberance you and your new spouse have on your respective faces -- and they probably won't give a rat's ass about the flowers, your hair, or the cake table.

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