When news hit in the spring that vaccines were just around the corner, it wasn’t long until the slew of weddings would follow. And who was there to document every smile, every tear and every huge sigh of disappointment during this especially busy wedding season? Wedding photographers, of course.
With the chaos now firmly behind them, I reached out to five such photographers to hear about some of the biggest bridezillas (and groom… kongs?) they encountered while scrambling between church receptions and barn dance floors.
A Volcanic Eruption of Anger in Iceland
Bao Pham, wedding photographer in California: We had a couple fly us out to Iceland for their engagement shoot. The first couple of days were fine and everything looked okay, but there were some signs that things were going to go south. Starting with the fact that, in Iceland, lodging options aren’t very luxurious. The groom chose to book what was essentially a tiny bunkhouse — the ones meant for summer camps. The bride lost it and complained the whole night. Our team could hear them yelling at each other half a mile away because there is literally no one else around for miles.
The next morning, things were pretty tense but our team continued the shoot as planned, even though it was incredibly awkward. They started arguing again, in front of a beautiful, solitary glacier… for two hours. We finished up whatever pictures we possibly could have and awkwardly said our goodbyes. Later on, we learned they’d broken up a month before the wedding.
BHS, wedding photographer in Texas: I had one wedding where the mother of the bride took me aside before I started shooting and requested that I avoid videoing anything with the groom’s family in it because they hadn’t contributed financially to the wedding. At the same wedding, as we were doing photos, the father of the bride asked me to make sure to get a head-to-toe shot, then proceeded to pull up his pant leg to show off a pistol in an ankle holster. I live in Texas, so the gun wouldn’t have been an incident worth mentioning on its own, but it paired well with the first part of the story.
A Bride Who Could Hardly Contain Her Disappointment
Redditor FlyingTheDonut, wedding photographer in Iowa: We had a couple who read letters they wrote to each in private, which we then filmed. We sat the bride down in her changing room to have her read his letter that he wrote to her. It was myself, the bride and the bridesmaid in the room. We turned on the camera and audio recording gear and gave her the green light to start reading. Normally the bride gets teary-eyed and the letter reading makes for great video content; however, this wasn’t this case with this particular bride. As she continued to read, the look of disappointment and frustration was developing pretty clearly across her face. When she finished the letter she said, “Well, that was fucking stupid.”
The Classless (and Classist) Groom-hilda
Rachel, wedding photographer in Indiana: There was this wedding between two surgeons at a local hospital who paid for their own beautiful and in-their-means wedding. The bride was honestly very sweet. She wasn’t necessarily friendly, but she was understanding, calm and easy to work with. But there was a mixup the day of the wedding, as there have been in every wedding I’ve ever worked. For this wedding, there were 200 chairs that were supposed to be moved to the third story of this historic building that weren’t taken upstairs.
So my boss, the other assistant and the eight-month pregnant venue coordinator started carrying chairs up three flights of stairs. After the ceremony, we had to do it again, but down three flights. The father of the groom started helping us — we begged him to enjoy his son’s day, but he responded that if it were his daughter doing this, he’d be furious.
Soon enough, the groom came by and told his dad to stop helping the pregnant woman stack chairs. The dad looked at his son and asked how he’d feel if it was his wife or sister who had to do this. The groom then said, “Maybe if they’d applied themselves a little more, they wouldn’t be taking out the trash at a successful couple’s wedding.” Clearly, he didn’t know how much his wife was paying us.
The Cherry on Top of the Trashiest Wedding Ever
Rorie, wedding photographer in Australia: This is the final episode of a long night, one of the drunkest, sloppiest, trashiest weddings I’ve ever experienced — and it comes with a mild trigger warning. The following happens reasonably often but only to myself and the other female photographers I’ve talked to, and usually comes at a point in the night that I no longer do.
I was by the dance floor watching out for photo ops when I noticed two of the groom’s friends chatting near me. Like nearly everyone else by this stage, they were very drunk and red in the face, and they nudged each other and approached me. They’d come up with this “incredibly funny idea” to prank the bride and groom.
They suggested I take some dick pics of them to add into the photo album to surprise the couple — because isn’t that the funniest thing you’ve ever heard? “Let’s do it now,” they said. “Come on photographer, you’re just standing around anyway. Come outside with us.”
I politely and firmly told them that we weren’t doing that, and despite the whining and claims that I was just being boring and stuck-up, when I walked off, they thankfully didn’t follow me. The groom was nowhere to be seen, and the bride was dirty dancing with her mum and maid of honor. There is no way she registered that I was leaving; I’m surprised she was still vertical. So I beelined to the parking lot, clutching my camera bag close to my chest, with my car keys ready in defense in my hand, and got out of there as fast as humanly possible.