What really matters on your wedding day?

If you hire a traditional or modern wedding photographer, or even one who claims to be “mostly” photojournalistic, you will inevitably have less time for guests. 

Most of the day will be spent rushing from one commitment to another, often with the photographer making additional demands on your time and posture.

Your wedding guests might end up feeling like nothing more than extras on a movie set in this fantasy world being created around you.

Whether it is getting ready in the morning, or right after the first dance in the evening when you are exhausted, the modern wedding photographer will be keen to get the best photo.

How many disruptions depends on how many formal group shots you have planned, how long your couples portraits session is, and whether you are doing separate shoots with the bridal party.

Posing and setting up everything makes their job easier, but it makes your job much more exhausting. It also means precious moments cannot be spent with your friends and family, which means less authentic photography can be captured.

At my wedding at Palazzo Versace in 2014 I asked my photographer to get as many candid shots as possible and to leave us alone after the formal group shots and couples portraits. What mattered to me was spending time with guests, and frankly the karaoke seemed like much more fun too (and made for better photos).

I am not suggesting that you need to cut out these traditional parts of a wedding, but many of them can be less posed and simply done more efficiently, resulting in you having more time for guests during the day.

I was privileged and lucky enough to do that because I didn’t hire a modern wedding photographer. I hired a documentary photographer. I actually got to enjoy my wedding reception, and I certainly never regretted not doing things the way everyone else does them.

I didn't enjoy the posing during the couples portrait session, and I think this shows in the photos. I couldn't wait to get out of that suit, it was 33 degrees in the shade!

Our wedding was a small affair, with about 35 people which was fantastic because it gave me the chance to spend 5-10 minutes with each guest. One of those guests was my dear auntie Myrna, who had flown over from Auckland that afternoon (despite being scared of flying).

We had a 10 minute chat and I thanked her very much for coming over. It was such a privilege to just have those 10 minutes to sit with her and show her my appreciation. She was diagnosed with alzheimers a few weeks after she got back to Auckland.

All I am saying is this. If you can shoot family group portraits efficiently, do short couples portrait sessions and otherwise not get disrupted every five minutes by your photographer, you may have hours more on during the day to interact with guests. For me, that is what really matters on my wedding day.

Chris Jack