Confessions of a Wedding Videographer: The Rise and Fall of the Bride
I used to take photos for newspapers, so whenever I needed extra money I would do photos and videos for weddings. It was pretty much a word-of-mouth thing, although I would usually have a standard advertisement for my services running in a few local papers.
It was not typically hard, although it was time-consuming and you needed to make sure you shot the highlights, a lot of the bride and groom (of course), as many family members as possible, action shots (mostly the dancing), the cute little kid stuff, grandma doing the Irish jig and anything else you would expect a bride and groom to deem memorable.
When shooting weddings, I never knew exactly what to expect, other than how many people would be attending and where the wedding and/or reception was located. But frankly, nothing could have quite prepared me for this particular wedding. The couple saw my ad in the local paper and called me. I met with them, told them the price and what to expect, and they signed a contract on the spot.
It all started out as a fairly typical wedding with about 150 family members and friends, bride and groom, groomsmen and bridesmaids. The crowd seemed to break up into two separate camps -- like in 'West Side Story' with the Jets and the Sharks. As I learned through simple eavesdropping, the groom's family could not stand their son's choice of a bride.
Apparently the bride was painfully aware of this, as every time I spotted her she was downing another shot of something. I guess she was putting away so much alcohol as a means of fortifying herself for the evening. She was never without a drink in her hand! I do try to get shots of the bride and groom unencumbered of items like beer bottles and wine glasses, to make for what I think is a better video. This wasn't going to happen, as she never let the booze out of her clutches.
But after a few hours the bride couldn't even hold a glass, and she was having an even harder time holding herself up. She was tripping on her train, her veil was all amiss and I was trying desperately to find "normal" looking shots, but they were becoming non-existent. So I basically was running around taking tons of footage of everyone else I could find, including the seemingly sober groom in most of the shots. I tried getting shots of the bride from the side, the back and in distance shots so as not to close in on her inebriated condition.
Suddenly, the bride collapsed into a heap on the dance floor, completely passed out -- flowing dress, long train, veil fanned out around her body on the floor. I froze, and I didn't dare take a picture of this, for I thought it was too awful, a horrible memory for both of them.
Then in one fell swoop the groom came over, picked his bride up off the floor, swung her over his shoulder and walked out of the reception. Now, that I caught on video for posterity.