The Art of Smiling

Madison had waited her whole life to get married. Like literally. If Pinterest had been around when she was three, she would have been pinning dresses. She’d dreamed and dreamed of her wedding day. The flowers and candles, and dancing, and the KISS. Then, she met the guy. They dated for a while and then FINALLY, David built up the courage to propose. They planned their perfect wedding. The food was bought. Her favorite photographer was hired. She’d even been able to get a cake for free!


But, as is almost always true of weddings, things didn’t always go strictly according to plan. It’s as if Murphy has a special little bag of tricks that he only takes out on wedding days. After MONTHS of planning, a tropical storm rolled through on HER WEDDING DAY, forcing the entire event indoors! And not just a little sprinkle of rain. NO! Like, the wedding dress could have been carried off by the wind if someone wasn’t there watching it. Sheets of rain sporadically came down during the bridal party images. Umbrellas inverted and winds threw everyone’s hair out of whack. Then, due to the rain, the ceremony itself had to be delayed a few minutes for the simple reason that the guests couldn’t find the driveway in the storm.


To the average bride, this is what we would call… well… a disaster. Yet, despite all that went wrong, Madison remained as serene as ever. Walking into a building that was not NEARLY as pretty as the pavilion outside, it may have taken her five minutes to recover before she began to one against BEAM with beautiful personality.




Now that I have a good number of weddings under my belt, I am quite comfortable saying that I have worked with a WIDE variety of brides. There’ve days when the bride seemed as if she could burst at any moment. I’ve had others where the only thing that could have made it better was a cool glass of eggnog in my hand and a wonderful tune to dance to. I definitely haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen a good bit of it! So, after photographing a wedding in a tropical storm and conquering the horrors of malfunctioning equipment, what have I learned from all this? I’ve discovered something quite extraordinary and it has to do with the bride.


To fully explain this… I first need to share a little about how I envision my wedding going one day. First off, there will be an eggnog bar. An absolute must. I will wake up that morning and start the day off JUST breathing. I will not stress the little things and I expect the girl I am to marry won’t either. You see, my top goal when my wedding comes around is to marry the girl I spend my life with. As long as that happens and there are good pictures of it, I’m fine! That really is it. The cake can topple [as long as the photographer’s there to see it]. A bridesmaid can trip coming down the aisle [as long as she’s not injured] and for all I care the ring-bearer can lose my ring [just not her’s]. But at the end of the day, those are moments. Unplanned ones, but moments nonetheless. It’s actually really cool seeing it from my perspective as a photographer. For instance, I LOVE when people include kids in their weddings. They are so unpredictable! One minute they are walking down the aisle tossing flowers everywhere, and then… well they get tired… and they sit down in the aisle… GREAT photo moment to be remembered forever!


And in the middle of this. In the midst of the mess, I have found that above all others, the bride is the one who sets the emotional mood of the entire event. I want to marry a girl who just enjoys getting married to me. There is hardly ever a wedding that goes completely as planned. People show up late. As I learned a couple weeks ago, tropical storms force beautifully planned weddings indoors. Babies cry during the “I do.” But, despite all this, at the end of it all, if the bride is smiling, everyone else smiles, too.


So, how can brides help their photographers? It’s rather simple really.


Realize something. At the end of it all, would you rather remember fretting over a couple drops of rain, or dancing with the man you will now have forever? Would you rather get upset when the bridesmaids wear the wrong shoes, or laugh with them because of how silly the situation is? I for one will definitely be smiling. I will enjoy my wedding because it is the only one I ever intend to have.


But how does this all actually help the photographer? Smiling? That’s the secret? Personally, I do my absolute best work when BRIDES are having fun. The groom and guests will pretty much just follow the mood of the bride as well. If the bride is happy, the job gets x1000 times easier for the photographer.


So brides, do yourself a favor and like Madison, choose to smile. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Smile. Laugh. Be in love. You’ll be SO thankful you did and your images will be something you’ll want to cherish forever.

To God be the glory,

daniel jackson