Why Your Adoring Fans Need to Leave Already

You love your family.  You really do!  And they love you, too.  Which is why they descend upon you like a plague of locusts, intent on wishing you well, hugging you, giving you advice, warnings, repeating the same tried-and-true cliches, telling you stories about their own marriages, asking you endless questions about things like where the reception is and why didn’t you wear white instead of ivory? 

All at the same time. 

And the clock is ticking, your coordinator is trying to get everyone settled down, and the photographer (me), pressed for time, tries to direct you into some picture-taking.  Since that’s what you hired me for, after all.

  • Rule #1: Don’t make eye-contact with the locusts… er, your family, as you escape down the aisle.

 

Your family lines up, boisterous and happy, and blinking and making faces at the camera.  When they’re done, they settle down to watch the rest of the pictures getting taken.  They talk about the wedding, their pets, their families, their jobs, and wish loudly for beer or wine.  Can you hear the photographer?  No.  But you think that you can read her lips.  Maybe.  Did she ask you to hug your hubby, or did she just call Grandma chubby?  And behind the photographer, Aunt Maude, Uncle Bob, and Cousin Sally are all shouting at you to “Look over here!” so they can take sup-par badly angled photographs on their $80 digital vacation cameras, trying to copy what you’re paying the photographer to take on her professional equipment.

Unfortunately, with the well-meaning chaos your family provides, it’s nearly impossible to relax enough for a good smile.  Your pictures look good, but you know your own face well enough to see the wildness in your eyes, the edge of grimace to your smile, the tension in your shoulders and the white knuckles of your fists strangling the bouquet.  Forty years later your grandchild looks up at you and asks, “Why were you mad, Grandma?”

  • Rule #2: Once a family member is no longer needed for portraits, they’re hereafter classified as “distractions”.  Distractions should really go enjoy the cocktail hour.

 

When necessary, I can and will direct your family out the door, to provide you with as stress-free an environment as possible, to prevent the above from happening.  But if you wanna cut me a break, you can always give Uncle Bob a job; Designate him as the GTOU, or Get Them Out Usher.  Preferably, your GTOU will have a booming voice.  If he’s got experience directing troops in a battlefield, that’s always a plus.  The GTOU’s job is to direct people who are done with their picturs toward the alcohol.  Who can argue with beer?

  • Rule #3: Reduce the chaos and designate a GTOU.

 

The last person the GTOU should direct toward the booze is himself.  Yes! You can finally breathe.  Who’s that standing next to you?  Oh, right, your new husband – he’s been here the whole time.  Now that the defening chaos has been traded for a bit of quiet, you can have a few minutes of romantic smoochy-time.  Pay no attention to the flash going off at a discreet distance.

This is the first moment you’ll be able to relax with each other and enjoy the fact that you are finally Man and Wife.  Later, when you get to see the intimate, stress-free portraits of you and the hubby, you’ll be glad you gave yourself the time to make that special moment with no distractions.  Or locusts.

Rule #4: Don’t forget your husband.

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  • Erika - December 31, 2010 - 5:11 pm

    Here here……I usually go in to coordinator mode and just say “hit the road”. It once took me 1.45 hours to shoot a 8 groom and 8 bridesmaid formal shot, because EVERYONE was there. These were frat boys. I finally had to get my whoopin spoon out, only for threatening purposes only (mother of 2 boys), and get on a chair and say..or more like yell…..”shut up!, all you boys are going to shut up and mind me or I am going to whoooooop your a..s…s…!” SILENCE……as all the boys are visualizing memories of their childhood days with their mama.

  • Caitlin - January 1, 2011 - 9:57 am

    I generally do have to “raise my voice” to get people out of there. I warn all of my brides during the consultation that I don’t allow people to stick around and will make them leave, and they are always really glad about that. I don’t wait until it becomes an issue, though. I do it immediately after the main family pics are over and avoid that issue. I don’t have the mommy factor going for me, but I do have the surpriseing tiny firecracker aspect!

  • Amber - January 2, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    I am not going to lie, I am a little worried about my family. My aunts and grandma on my fathers side have tourtured me pretty much from birth with incesecent annoying photo arrangments. I am a little worried they are going to take my wedding potraits and turn it into family portrait time lining all of my cousins up by height (this used to be a yearly tradition we all HATED). I have already been prepping my father and mother to help keep them in check. I figure this is going to require a proactive/preemptive approach… I also have 2 day of planners so… Here’s hoping!

  • Caitlin - January 2, 2011 - 7:01 pm

    I really don’t mind being the one to tell them to scram if you want me to be (I don’t have to see them again, haha), but I’ve had someone say they were cool with it and then complain about me later that I was “mean” to their family. I DO raise my voice, but I am usually polite or at least humorous about it so people don’t take it too badly.

  • Jen - January 4, 2011 - 1:22 pm

    I feel like this was written right after my wedding ; ) Thanks for handing the family Caitlin! My mom, who is not afraid of anyone, made it a point to get outta your way ASAP! She went straight to the cocktail hour after the ceremony and never looked back. Now if only everyoe were that easy…

  • Caitlin - January 5, 2011 - 9:43 am

    Lol. This wasn’t written specifically for yours, but just a generalized message after MANY weddings with this kind of thing. Your family was actually pretty cool for the pre-ceremony shots and I had a few laughs with them.

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