Someone asked me recently about my wedding photography horror stories. It took me a minute to think of something to respond with. I don'‘t think I’ve had any “horror” stories in my four years of photographing weddings, but I have definitely had some misadventures! I won’t focus on the number of groomsmen and drunken wedding guests who have hit on me, or my number of equipment malfunctions (why I always carry back up gear!), but here are some of my more memorable “moments”!
The Time I Didn’t Protect My Armpits
My first year photographing weddings I was booked for an all-day job at a gorgeous winery in Independence, Oregon: Redgate Vineyard. I spent most of the morning photographing the bride and her party, before heading to the vineyard to take formal portraits of the groom and his groomsmen.
It was a SUPER hot summer day. The sun was coming down hard. Everyone was sweating. But the venue was gorgeous and everyone was just going with it… and drinking lots of water!
It was right around this moment that my day changed…
While I had my arms up in the “taking a photo” stance, a wasp decided to land on the droop of my camera strap right around my right arm. After I took the photo, and lowered my arms back down, the little jerk stung me… right in the armpit.
Thankfully, I’m not allergic to bees, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t in a fair amount of pain for the remainder of the afternoon. Plus, the swelling under my arm certainly didn’t help for lifting my camera for future shots!
The Time I Didn’t Watch My Step
Back in May I had a job at Grant Park Church in Portland. Grant Park is just a couple blocks from the church, and I took the wedding parties down there for their formal portraits. As we walked around the park there were several other neighbors enjoying the beautiful day. People were taking walks, children were playing, dogs were running around….
Yup. See those bridesmaids laughing at me? This was roughly the moment that I stepped in a big pile of dog crap.
Thankfully I was able to scrape it off my shoe on various patches of grass throughout the park, so that I was “clean” by the time we got back to the church for the ceremony, but now I”m starting to wondering if I should pack a spare set of clothes/shoes with me in my wedding go-bag as well!
The Time the Goats Wanted in on the Fun
I’m starting to think that, maybe, my formal portrait sessions are just cursed. Lol! This wedding, last spring, was at a gorgeous venue in Harrisburg, Oregon. Creekside Farm had an amazing set up for an outdoor wedding in June. And the little cottage that the bride and her ladies get ready in was super cute. And I LOVED that it was right at the end of the aisle to the ceremony location.
Talking with the bride before the wedding, she told me that the creek in the back field was beautiful and that she wanted to have formal portraits taken in the field along the creek. What she didn’t tell me (didn’t know?) was that the goats that lived back there liked to get “involved”…
A little “in front of the camera” versus “behind the scenes” for you! Those goats wanted a taste of the tulle… thankfully Grandma was there to keep them at bay!
The Time I Met the “Porch Puppy”
Having animals at weddings can be a ton of fun! Furry babies are often very important to a couple and it’s awesome when they are involved in the festivities! That being said… what if the dog is not your own?
Last month I worked a wedding at a HUGE Airbnb in Oregon City. The house was massive. The location was gorgeous. And, in addition to sleeping arrangements for 60 and a great room that could house QUITE the party, Three Goats Farm also came with two dogs… and older lab-looking-guy, and a young Great Pyrenees puppy. (Though, surprisingly, I didn’t see a single goat…)
The couple was told that the pooches were “Porch Dogs” and would just hang around among the guests coming and going. The puppy though? He had other plans…
The mother-of-the-bride’s dress was AWFULLY tasty! It took two people to get this pup to loosen his grip on that skirt, and another to pick him up, carry him away, and hold him throughout the rest of the ceremony!
Thankfully, the bride and groom were pretty laid back and laughed it off… and, luckily, I got some great shots of the event in motion! ;)
The Time That I Came to the Rescue… And Then Almost Ruined the Show
Another chill couple at another Airbnb… this time out on an awesome property in Veneta, Oregon. I believe this ceremony was in early October… and was slated to be outdoors. Which I knew, the entire time I drove out there… in the rain.
When I got to the venue, I asked one of the brides what the plan was since it was pretty wet and still raining outside. She told me that they still planned to have the ceremony outdoors, but would put the guests in chairs on the covered porch, and the bridal party would all squeeze under a couple of umbrellas out on the lawn.
The weekend prior I had been camping, and still had my big canopy in the trunk of my car. I figured, “why not?” and asked the bride if that was something that they may be interested in using. She jumped at the opportunity, and I went back out to my car, grabbed the canopy, and set it up on the lawn for the ceremony.
Throughout the ceremony I was running around, trying to get the best angles of the brides, their guests, and also to accurately tell the story… even if that meant getting pretty wet in the process.
After I’d gotten sufficiently soaked in the grass, I went back up on the porch under cover. The wood porch. The very slippery wet porch. While wearing very cute, very stylish boots… with absolutely no traction.
Thankfully, I caught myself before I landed on my ass on the wet, wood porch. But not before gasping out and calling attention to myself from several of the wedding guests… thankfully, I don’t think the brides saw/heard anything, and the ceremony went on uninterrupted.
I don’t wear cute boots to weddings anymore. =)
The Time I Got Sick
I’d need to be pretty close to death to have to back out of a wedding… and I proved that with this one. I felt absolutely HORRIBLE. So congested. So tired. I think I even had a fever. But the last thing I wanted to do was put this couple in a bind, so I rallied for them! Plus, it was my first year doing weddings, and I really wanted to prove myself, and not let anyone down!
These two were married at the Old Church in Portland. It was a beautiful venue with so many “prop” opportunities… like this awesome couch! I think I would describe their celebration as “Scottish meets Gothic”… not “all black” Goth, but more old Europe. There were bagpipes for the ceremony and haggis for dinner. The bride wore this adorable dress during the ceremony and then changed into a dark green number for the reception. It was definitely unique… and I really wish that I would have been feeling better and could have enjoyed it a bit more!
The Time I Photographed a Celebrity… Well, Sort Of
I went to high school just outside of Eugene, Oregon. So everything was “Go Ducks!” all the time (unless it was “Go Beavers”, but that has nothing to do with my story). Several of my friends went to the University of Oregon. As did my brother. At one point several years back, a YouTube video called “I Love My Ducks” made the social media rounds. We all thought it was a fun, entertaining video that a few U of O students had put together, and I didn’t really think anymore of it.
Fast forward about seven years later. I get hired to photograph a wedding at the Oaks Pioneer Church in Sellwood. The celebration was a combination of a traditional Christian wedding and the bride’s African culture. She moved to the US from Sierra Leone, and had several family members who were able to make the trip to celebrate with her.
It was a beautiful ceremony (some of my favorite church photos!), and the reception was so much fun (the wedding party DANCED into the reception. I loved it!).
When it was time for speeches, I set myself up so that I could see both the best man and the bride and groom (I’ve learned that the best man speech USUALLY gets the most laughs). I listened to the speech, and, yes, definitely lots of laughter and great stories… including one where he commented about the popularity of their college YouTube video and how much he loved his ducks. I froze for a second… and better believe that the first thing that I did when I got home was look up and watch that video again!
Lo and behold, there’s my groom… loving on his Ducks! =)