Can you predict if a marriage will fail – even before the couple has tied the knot?
Well, wedding photographers think so.
Here are a few warning signs they’ve pointed out after being hired to take photos at weddings.
1. One of the partners is uninterested in taking photographs.
A groom hired me by phone. When I arrived at the wedding and introduced myself to the bride, she gestured towards my camera and said, ‘Don’t point that f**king thing at me today!’ That made it a pretty rough day.
They divorced three months later.
I think that a willingness to happily consider the needs of your partner is key to a fulfilling, long-term relationship.
2. The newly married couple don’t spend any time together at the reception.
After the wedding ceremony, most couples are excited about the reception.
I have photographed an entire reception and only captured a handful of images of the couple together ― that’s a very bad sign.
- Gretchen Wakeman
3. Focusing on the wedding rather than the marriage.
My photography business partner and I talk about this a lot. We spend eight, 10, 12 or more hours in a day looking at the bride and groom through a frame that isolates them alone and together, largely stripping away the broader context and focusing on their interactions.
We are looking specifically for moments of contact, of intimacy, of emotional connection. It pretty quickly becomes evident when those things are there, and when they are not.
We also spend a lot of time listening to the language they use in pre-meetings, engagement shoots, on the wedding day, etc. It becomes pretty clear in a short time what the focus is.
Many couples, particularly young couples, pretty clearly have in mind a wedding, but have put little thought and planning into a marriage.
The difference we see between a young couple and an older/second marriage couple is pretty significant.
4. Being on the phone at the absolute worst time.
Don't know if they are still together, but one groom was on his phone while walking down the aisle. And he was in jeans. She wasn't the happiest.
Sadly I did not get any of her reaction shots.
5. No chemistry between the couple.
My very first wedding was a couple who was getting married by the art museum in Philly.
I had my friend whose been a wedding photographer for ten years with me to show me the ropes after doing a lot of second shooting with him.
So he poses a kissing shot of the couple, and when he asks them to kiss the bride goes, "Oh, no, no thank you," in this weird little mousey voice.
He has shot over a 100 weddings and said he never saw a couple so not into each other as much as they were.
6. The way the cake is cut.
This is going to sound totally cheesy, but I feel even more strongly about this: what happens during the cake cutting. Sweetly feeding one another? Good sign. A playful smear of icing on the nose? No problem.
But every once in a while someone will retaliate – bad sign. I think it's indicative of the sort of contempt which will doom the relationship.
Even if you don't want that fondant on your face, you need to be able to laugh it off and have a good time.
7. They have different views on money.
As they walked into my studio for me to present my pitch for why they should choose me as their photographer, [the bridge] asks for a bathroom break. As she walks away, [the groom] says to me, ‘This wedding is taking me to the cleaners. Our budget is double what it was at the beginning.'
Six months after their fabulous wedding with over 150 guests, they separated.