Bridesmaids and groomsmen have a couple of key tasks on a wedding day: Stay calm, tackle the aisle, mingle, make speeches and keep watch over their bride and groom.
Now, however, you can add jumping, running, walking, beach walks and hamming it up to the list. And it’s all in the pursuit of creating the most memorable of wedding photos.
According to Andy Song, one of the founders of Dreamlife Photos and Video, modern couples are embracing the chance to take wedding party photos filled with personality and fun. These build on more traditional posed shots to capture a real sense of the joy, love and atmosphere of the big day, and the relationships between the key players.
“Weddings are a very daunting experience,” says Andy, who has watched the photography and videography business grow from a garage in Auckland to encompass operations in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and New York.
“There’s so much pressure on the bride and groom to make sure that everything they have planned runs perfectly, so the last thing they want to do is to endure a one or two-hour photo session that is dull and boring.”
Enter the idea of having a little fun in front of the camera and injecting a real sense of themselves – and their friends and siblings – into the images.
“The brides and grooms of today are looking for something a little bit more unique and edgy for their wedding party photos,” says Andy. “It’s not about moulding them into the same shots you see day in and day out; it’s about capturing their day and their personalities.
“So what will often happen is they will get the more formal images out of the way straight after the ceremony and then look to relax with their wedding party and let the real them shine through.
“For example, you might have a more laidback couple who enjoy going to the beach, so you shoot them strolling along the sand with everyone, holding hands, having conversations and basically just enjoying the afternoon with their friends and a few glasses of bubbly,” says Andy. And if a bridesmaid or two decides to dip her toes into the water, all the better.
The end result is a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, which then shines through in the photos.
Other elements to draw on in creating memorable wedding party moments include great lighting, backgrounds and foregrounds, and even props, paying heed to the different trends favoured in different cities, from an elegant and glamourous focus in Sydney and Melbourne to a softer, more candid experience in Brisbane.
Then there’s the idea of turning expectation on its ear, such as the below shot of a groom and his attendants, with nary a cufflink or bow tie to be seen.The groom and his best man, but not as you’d usually see them.
“This sort of attendant shot is quite interesting, because it’s not something people are used to, or expect to see,” says Andy, who notes Dreamlife is regularly voted among the top 10 photography companies in Australia.
“We’ve all seen images with the bridesmaids kissing their bride, but it’s not so common for the men to do, as they’re often less inclined to display their affection.
“So when we do suggest this type of shot, you often find the groom might be a bit shy and embarrassed about the whole thing, and of course his groomsmen make full use of the situation.”
But it’s something they ultimately really love, as do the girls.
Andy opened up the Dreamlife portfolio to share a showcase of other possibilities for fun attendant photos choc full of personality.Such a fun and great way to make your groom the centre of attention among your attendants. Then you just need to get him back. After you’ve done the same shot with his groomsmen of course… Wedding lore has it rain on a wedding day means a happy and prosperous marriage to come. With this in mind, surely it’s worth getting the brolly out for a celebratory shot or two? If you had to write a description to go with this, it would probably just say ‘Ewwwwwww’, which is something only kids say about grown-ups kissing. But what a fun approach to revisit to create an image choc full of personality. There’s not a fixed grin or stiff-shouldered pose to be seen as the couple’s closest confidents spell out the best ever final ending to a fairytale romance: “And they lived happily ever after.” Getting married is thirsty work, and if anyone deserves a cold tipple after all those weeks, months and even years of planning, it’s your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Plus, we already know who they can toast to…. We’re not really sure where they’re going in such a hurry. Perhaps someone is trying to make them put their shoes back on. But either way, an action shot captures affection and spontaneity in equal and beautiful measure. We can’t put our finger on why we love it so much (OK we can, it’s the dog), but this shot is absolutely mesmerising, from the framing to the bold colours and the overall feeling of earthiness. A great touch of difference for the groom’s party. The addition of a photo frame and a few moustachioed props turns what could have been a perfectly lovely shot into one that no one can forget. Fizzing with personality and vibrancy, just like the wedding itself. You could take a shot of the veil billowing out behind the bride as the maid of honour wrangles it into submission, or you could do something fun and drape it all over the bridal party. Just make sure their heels don’t get caught… Wedding party photos can sometimes encourage everyone to bunch in together, but when height is already part of the equation, and you have a great backdrop, a bit of personal space can be a good thing. If you’re getting married on a golf course, some sort of shot featuring a series of golf buggies is almost de rigeur. Just make sure you watch out for sand traps – and bogies. White socks are a no go with a dark suit and shoes. But pink socks? Absolutely. Such a small touch, but one used to great effect. Although we’re not sure what the groom is planning to do with those bouquets. Wow, just wow. Mother Nature can certainly turn on the charm, with equal dashes of rain and sunshine. We can’t take our eyes off this gorgeous bride and groom – and neither can their attendants. If you’ve gone to the trouble of sourcing wedding day transport that’s a little quirky, or has a personal connection, don’t just wave it goodbye at the church. Put it front and centre of your photos. It’s also a great place to sit for a minute. Got a role call of extroverts by your side as you tie the knot? Then hustle them behind the bushes and encourage them to create an action sequence told purely through the expressions on their faces. Priceless. What’s the bride hiding under her robe? That’s for her to know and the groom to find out. A great shot to take when a bride, as many of them do, injects a sense of glamour into the big day by gifting her attendants with silk robes in which to get ready. Another spontaneous and unplanned shot, which will bring back memories of the day itself – what the wedding party was doing, where they were going and, just as importantly, their gorgeous sense of camaraderie. What are you doing up there? Oh, nothing. Just hanging out with the boys. Well hold that ladder, I’m coming up too. That’s not to say everyone will have access to a massive piece of machinery, but they do make for amazing shots.