I believe Goat Rodeo is an adequate description of my wedding day.

It’s a bit tiresome (for me) when people assume that anyone with a nice camera is a professional photographer.
On a similar note, it’s exasperating (for me) when people armed with nothing BUT a nice camera assume they are professional photographers.

Our wedding photographer sucked. SUCKED. And while I can sort of blame him for sucking, I also have to blame myself for choosing him. (His portfolio was really good! Then again, of course it was! He’s not going to showcase crappy photos, right?)

Because tomorrow is our anniversary, this morning I pulled out our monster wedding album to show the girls what we looked like on our wedding day. As expected, they loved my dress and laughed at how much younger we looked back then. (It was eight years ago. Did we really look that much younger?!) While flipping through the album, one of the first questions Meredith asked was, “Why weren’t you smiling?”

I’ll tell you why I wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t smiling because the photographer told me not to smile. After taking a few photos, he came up to me and whispered, “I’m going to have to ask you to not smile in your photos today. Your braces are giving my flash a ding.” And because I’m spineless, every wedding photo finds me portraying an awkward combination of Smug and Your Angry Mother.

wedding

Get this. Within thirty minutes of the start of the wedding, the pastor told us that the photographer is not allowed to take photos of the ceremony as it’s taking place, and that includes photos of the wedding party walking down the aisle. (What?! Thanks for leaving THAT out until the last minute!) The photographer scratched his head and came up with the brilliant idea of us PRETENDING to walk down the aisle. Yes. I now have photos of my family standing still in a big room but posing As If They Were Walking Down An Aisle. Ridiculous.

usher

One of the requests I made of the photographer when we signed our contract was “Don’t use any filters.” (We didn’t want sparkles or rainbows to appear where there were no sparkles or rainbows. We are ADULTS, you know.) Anyway, because he wasn’t allowed in the church during the ceremony, the photographer decided to stand outside of the church, open the doors, and take photos of the ceremony taking place from behind. Those photos were filled with pews and backs of heads, and to add insult to injury, he used a filter to make everything look smoky—as if the church was on fire. (Sadly, we didn’t purchase any of the Church on Fire photos, and he didn’t let us keep the proofs.)

Finally, as we were eating our dinner at the reception, the photographer approached us and said, “Look. I need to get out of here. Can you take a break from eating so we can do the first dance and the cake?” Because we were basically trick monkeys at this point, we took a break. And we danced. And we ate cake. And when we got the photos back, there was no evidence of us dancing or eating cake. However, there’s a really awesome shot of us toasting to a long life. And in that photo, a headless German boy is dancing on Jeff’s head.

Entering Our Marriage with a German Boy Dancing on Jeff's Head

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40 thoughts on “I believe Goat Rodeo is an adequate description of my wedding day.”

  1. I don’t know if maybe I need a nap or what, but by the time I got to the end of this I had to talk myself out of finding your photographer and jamming a smoke filter down his throat.

    It’s lucky you two are so naturally gorgeous or this might have been a real problem.

  2. Well, Happy Anniversary you two lovebirds, and here’s to many many more!

    :-)

    (And what is WRONG with our children, I am asking myself. Son #2 and beloved daughter-in-law have *also* been married for 8 years now, but do we have anything resembling a Meredith Claire and a Harper to show for it yet? No, we do not. Sigh!)

    ((Plus, we still desperately need a wife for son #1. Come *on* family!!!))

  3. Aw, what a douche!

    My parents wedding photos were horrible. My dad HATED the photographer so he has this horrible plastered on smile throughout every photo, as if he has just been smashed in the face with a frying pan.

    Anyway, you showed that guy by you know, actually liking each other and staying married! Well done! xoxo.

  4. Happy Anniversary!

    Did you ever see an anniversary ep of Mad About You? They had a similar mishap with their wedding photog so for their anniversary Paul arranges for the whole wedding party to surprise Jamie in their outfits from the day so they can reshoot. I think you should do that. I’m just some jerk with a fancy camera but I can do better than the asshole who told you not to smile and if you recreate your wedding cake photo I will be happy to photograph it…as long as you promise to smile.

  5. I have so much sympathy. Our photographer SUCKED, too. Well, his pictures weren’t bad, but he ended up losing all engagement photos – I have a few that he had emailed me. And then he sent me a disk with our wedding photos on it and none of our computers would read it. And then I started hyperventilating and told him if he lost our wedding photos I would COME TO HIS HOUSE AND START SNIPPING OFF PARTS OF HIS ANATOMY and suddenly there was a working DVD of photos in my mailbox and I never heard from him again.

    So I made my own album using digilabs and it turned out awesome. THE END!

    Also: awww, you guys look so cute! The headless dancing german boy really adds to the ambiance.

  6. I’m so sorry about that! Is it against some webby code to say who the photographer was? ‘Cause I’d love to pass the word so this dingleberry is gig-less. Or at the very least, the Better Business Bureau might like to know. If you ever take anniversary photos or family photos or anything, I have the name of an awesome photographer!

  7. Happy Anniversary!

    At my BIL and SIL’s wedding, the photographer made everyone who was wearing glasses take them off in the formal pictures so that his flash wouldn’t reflect off of people’s glasses. So now their photos have people squinting in them.

  8. professional photographers freak me out. especially at weddings. why anyone bothers with them i will never know. at our ‘non wedding party’, i gave two cameras to two (willing) friends and told them to snap away. many photos are not perfect, but some of them came out superbly.

  9. Ah, the evil wedding photog. We had one, too. She lost most of our reception photos. We believe she actually didn’t have film in the camera. She was horrible to us when we tried to rectify the situation with some kind of a discount as well. The BBB has been notified.

  10. Sort of like my wedding photos where the giant cross hanging at the altar appears to be growing out of the top of my head. I can so relate.

  11. Well, as an amateur photog about to do her first wedding, I am oddly comforted by this post. I don’t think I could do much worse than that.

  12. Man, that makes me want to find the idiot photographer and beat him with the long lens he should have been using to shoot the ceremony.

    I apologize on behalf of all professional photographers who actually give a crap about weddings. See, there are a LOT of “pro” photographers who feel that wedding photography is BENEATH them. THEY were destined to take photos of anorexic models or something, and they’re just biding their time until someone discovers them.

    These people do not care about what is likely the most important day of your life thus far. They don’t care that you’ve gathered your entire family and all of your best friends together to witness you making a permanent bond with the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with.

    They’re not interested in capturing the look of pride on the father’s face as he walks his daughter down the aisle, or the utter joy on your faces when the rings are slipped on, or the happiness of your guests at the reception as they celebrate your bond.

    No, they’re interested in the paycheck and getting a few good shots for their portfolio. And since they want that check, they’ll do their best to convince you that they’re not like that at all.

    It makes me sad and angry that a lot of good people don’t have a decent record of their wedding day, or if they do, that it’s marred by some jerk with a camera who sees you as an inconvenience.

    Ok, I think I’m done with my rant now. Happy anniversary! And if you ever decide to renew your vows, you know where to find me. :)

  13. Ah but you DO both look gorgeous. And I’m slightly jealous because we didn’t actually have a photographer for our wedding. I wrongly assumed that friends would take hundreds of fabulous photos. Oops. Oh well, I was 12 weeks pregnant on the day and sick as a dog and checked out all the fire exits of the registry office in case I needed to throw up during the ceremony at any time. For example when they say ‘does any one know of any reason why these two persons may not be joined in matrimony’. Thankfully it didn’t happen but I wish I’d have known that beforehand.

    You both look grand, and I love your blog.

  14. Well I think think you look quite regal sitting there with your closed mouth smile. And yes, just a teensy bit younger.

  15. In my religious tradition we have the headless German boy dance on the groom’s head BEFORE the toast, but I’m sure your way was good too. At least it distracts one from the giant glare that is not at all coming off your braces in that photo.

    Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

  16. I’m going to pretend that you did the following after he asked you to stop smiling:

    You: [whispering] This is my special day you Jabba-theHut-looking ass snorkeler, so I’m going to be a pretty pretty princess and do whatever the hell I want while you make with clickity click.

    That’s what really happened, whether you want to admit it or not, because otherwise I’m going to go home angry and yell at the dogs.

  17. Happy Anniversary. Hopefully, you have more memories of your wedding than just a bad photographer.

    I know I could put a laundry list of mishaps on our wedding day, from it pouring down rain to prisoners sandbagging the street in front of the church, to my eyes being closed in every picture except two. But, what I do remember is that it was our day…and I don’t think I’d change one thing.

  18. I am strangely comforted to read all of the other stories about horrible wedding pictures. We, too, suffered from a crap photographer, and as result have exactly one 4×6 on display, and it’s not one of the ones he took.

    Our photographer was the father of our sister-in-law (my husband’s brother’s wife), who fancied himself a bit of a whiz with the camera. Turns out, not so much. Just because my brother is 6’4″ and the rest of us are not, doesn’t mean his forehead can be cut out of every picture!

    As well, his daughter decided that she hated my husband and I a couple of months before the wedding (but after we’d already asked her Dad to take the pics). So we had our pictures taken by a man who felt we had wronged his super-special snowflake. It was awesome.

  19. OMG you look exactly the same! What is your secret? My photos were all facing the sun and squinting (outdoor wedding) – do you think any one of us could have thought to not face the sun? NOOOOO. And we were sweaty!

  20. Our photographer was wonderful (grandfatherly type, not cutting-edge by any stretch, but kind and patient).

    Our videographer, though … OMFG. Let me say that I did not want a videographer, but when a few certain people (*cough*Mom*cough*) insisted that we record the day “in more than one medium”, I caved. I swear the guy had never picked up that camera before, though, because at least twice, you hear him say, “Huh. Let’s see what this’ll do! Cool …!”

    Klassy.

  21. My sister’s wedding photographer fancied himself an all-knowing wedding consultant as well. As she was talking to a guest at the reception he came up to her and said she had to cut the cake because “no one’s having a good time.” Just what every bride wants to hear. And as ludicrous as being told not to smile on your wedding day.

  22. Our wedding photos turned out great. My only problem was that it might have been nice for the uber-goth photographer to wear something other than an entire black outfit… with chains. And maybe tone down the thick, black eyeliner. And I’m okay with piercings, but over 20 that are visable was a bit much. Blend in sweetie.

    And I know it wasn’t her fault – but in the pictures of us saying our vows – my creepy, 6’7, combed-over, greasy haired uncle is right in between us the entire time. But other than that… wonderful!

    The priest at my mom & dad’s wedding told her to not be smiling like a clown – this was serious business and she was just LUCKY he was going to marry them since she wasn’t Catholic.

  23. I know a guy who used to do wedding photography while in college. Back in the days of expensive film, bulky cameras, etc. On more than 1 occasion, his photos developed and were completely BLANK!! Yeah, he must’ve really sucked! And I bet he didn’t make many repeat customers back then, either.

    Even if your photos weren’t perfectly orchestrated, you both look happy and in love (which is a GOOD thing), and you’ll have hilarious stories to tell for the rest of your lives. I’d say a good trade off to being miserable together with fabulous wedding photos. Get me?

  24. Happy anniversary!

    Go sign up someone good to do some new photos of you two — love your dress, btw.

    My photog was great, except that he kind of scared my MIL. He had a system, and woe betide the family member who stepped out at the wrong moment!

  25. That last photo is beautiful, and I wouldn’t have noticed the headless German if you hadn’t pointed it out.

    We had great pictures, but the photgrapher kept telling us to say MONEY! as our smile word and that was awwwkwarrrdd….

  26. My sister’s wedding photog showed up late because he’d been photographing the competition pigs at the fair. He didn’t stay long because he needed to get back (to do the heifers?). But the photos are ok. Not stunning, but fine.

    I generally take my good camera with me to family weddings and follow the photographer around to get those just-before and just-after posing pics (because that’s when the funny happens).

  27. Congrats on the anniversary! I could have done the same job with my old camera and I would have just asked for some free booze at the reception! C’est la vie.

    Time to renew your vows and get some good pictures. Or at least some with you smiling and no headless German boys.

  28. My most vivid memory of my friend Kelly’s wedding was her nearly ripping the head from her videographer’s body because that person so lacked the skills or temperament to handle a wedding.

  29. Your story reminded me that at my wedding, the photographer just left without saying a word. POOF! When it was time for cake and dancing, we were all wondering where he’d gone to…apparently he had another gig. Moral: never pay in advance!

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