“I do not need a Washington, DC, wedding photographer to take pictures of me getting ready. Why would I want photos of me getting dressed? Maybe we can just have the photographers show up for the ceremony.”
Does this sound like a conversation that you have had with your future spouse? Or at the very least, does it echo the thoughts in your head about whether to have DC wedding photographers present for that part of your nuptials? If so, you are not alone! A lot of prospective clients with whom we speak express these sentiments. Many grooms, in particular, have trouble seeing the point in having somebody photograph that portion of their wedding day. After all, who would want a bunch of pictures of themselves putting on a shirt and tie?
If that were all the getting-ready process is, then we would wholeheartedly agree. A bunch of images of you getting dressed are of questionable value. It is true that they would tell part of the story of your wedding day. However, it would be a tale that is largely devoid of any emotional content. In 20 years, you will definitely remember that you got dressed for your wedding. But it is unlikely that photographs of that process would trigger any significant feelings. As you look at your wedding photo album, you would probably skim past these shots to get to more meaningful images.
Again, grooms tend to think this way more than brides. This is because for most men, getting ready hardly qualifies as a process. Even when the preparations are for one of the biggest days of their life! Things are obviously quite different for most women. For a bride, going from sweatpants to the wedding dress generally requires a lot more steps. The transformation is much greater, and photos of it tend to tell a much more significant wedding-day story. But again, the process alone does not have much meaningful emotional content. You will probably want a Washington, DC, wedding photographer around to record what happens. But it is unlikely that you will tear up when you see the images on your 20th wedding anniversary.
All of this is only true, however, if you or your future spouse are getting prepared by yourselves. Then it is really just a process and nothing more. Everything changes, though, the moment other people are there to witness you getting ready. The presence of your family and friends injects emotional significance into the entire scene. A bride getting her makeup done is no longer just a step in a process. It becomes an opportunity to share a glass of champagne and, more importantly, a laugh with her best friend. Putting on a wedding dress is not just getting dressed. It is a emotionally meaningful moment when the bride’s mother and sister give her much-needed literal and figurative support on her wedding day. Modeling the dress in the mirror is no longer only about checking that everything is in place. It turns into a chance for the bride to see how beautiful she looks in the smiles and tears of her closest friends. Getting ready transforms from a dry process to the first chapter of a beautiful emotional journey through the day. And that is something that you will definitely want DC wedding photographers to document for you!
The interactions that a groom has with his closest friends and family while getting prepared are no less significant. Yes, even with groomsmen present, the process of getting dressed is still pretty bare bones. In our experience, most guys spend a lot of the time set aside for getting ready sitting around in their shorts and watching TV. At some point, someone will mention that it is time to put on wedding clothes and head to the ceremony. Within a half-hour, the entire group has typically cleaned up, gotten dressed and walked out the door.
As with brides, the getting-ready process for grooms often has some deeply significant moments when other people are present. The best man helping the groom put his jacket on, for example, is a great example. Or the father of the groom giving his boy a hug and a pat on the shoulder after seeing him in his wedding tux. Or the entire group of groomsmen sharing a toast with their friend/brother/cousin to wish him well. All of these moments take on greater emotional meaning when a groom shares them with people he cares about.
Even the seeming “dead time” before a groom and groomsmen get dressed is filled with important moments. Sure, sitting around having a drink and watching TV seems unworthy of capturing on film. And if you are talking about the activities themselves, that is true. But when a groom does them with the men closest to him, everything takes on added significance. That is because of what happens while they are “just sitting around.” They are not just watching football and sipping bourbon. They are cracking jokes and swapping stories about the groom. They are giving each other a hard time and sharing a laugh. They are reminiscing about good days and bad. And in doing so, they are subtly reaffirming their relationship with the groom. And more importantly, reminding him of why he asked them to stand by him on his wedding day. Who would not want DC wedding photographers around to capture that on film? Who would not treasure pictures of moments like that? Who would not feel something when seeing them years later?
We know that the groom pictured here valued the moments he spent with his groomsmen prior to his wedding ceremony. In fact, that time meant so much to him that he made a special point of asking each member of his wedding party to help him with a separate part of his wardrobe. One groomsmen assisted him with one shoe, another with the other. A close friend helped him into his vest, while another smoothed the lapels of his jacket. And in the scene depicted here, his best man helped tie his tie.
All of this played out at the Quinntessential Gentleman, or QG, a cool barbershop/bar/clubhouse in Baltimore. As we have mentioned elsewhere on this website, it is a great spot for a groom and groomsmen to get ready. The location offers hot-towel shaves on the ground floor and has a pool table, fully stocked bar and golf simulator in its clubhouse upstairs. One feature that we as photographers particularly liked, though, was the giant mirror hanging on one of the clubhouse walls. By taking a picture of the best man fixing the groom’s tie in front of it, we were able to produce an image with added depth and layers. An image that enhanced the beautiful emotions displayed in it.
Location: The QG, 31 S Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202.
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