When Chris and Martha got engaged, like literally minutes later, we started talking about me photographing their wedding. Soon there after, Martha asked me to be a bridesmaid. I was obviously honored in both aspects, but we needed to talk about whether it was reasonable to do both. After a long and honest conversation about what I needed and what that meant, Chris and Martha both felt this was what they wanted so I was on board!
Obviously being a photographer and being a bridesmaid are both huge tasks! I’ve gotten so many questions on how the heck I made this happen and I wanted to detail it all here!
HOW did I actually manage being a photographer AND a bridesmaid?
This is a great question with a complicated answer! It only worked because all of the things lined up in a way that I knew it wouldn’t be a detriment to either of my responsibilities. Here are the most important pieces to the puzzle:
- Timeline – I had absolute control over every moment of the timeline. I build timelines for most of my couples because I have the knowledge needed to build them in a way that will functionally work on the wedding day, and this day was no different. I just needed to add in a bit of extra time here and there for the moments in which I needed to be doing extra things.
- Additional Photographers – Not only did I have an amazing second photographer (Morgan Miller) but I also had a third (Justin Kelley)! Morgan was tasked with being my 2nd, and also jumping in as the primary whenever I was in the photo or needed to be doing bridesmaid things. In the morning, she went to the guys first (which meant that the guys had to get ready earlier than the ladies…notice my control over the timeline). After she finished up there, she met me with the ladies; I did a mix of shooting and getting ready all morning, depending on the moment. Once we got to wedding party portrait time, Morgan did most of the shooting and I did most of the directing / posing / etc. At this point, Justin arrived and started shooting details in the reception space; normally what I would send my second to do. During the ceremony, I put my camera down and Morgan and Justin did the thing. I gave a few directions beforehand of shots I wanted, but otherwise I let these talented people do what they do best and I enjoyed being a part of this moment. After the ceremony Justin went to shoot some candids at the reception, and Morgan went with me for more portraits of the couple, which we shot together. Once we hit the reception, Justin was done for the day. Morgan and I both shot as usual until the party started. I set my camera down for the rest of the time Morgan was there to enjoy a bit of the party. I did a bit of both throughout the rest of the evening and when we all left for the after party, I left my camera in my hotel room. I literally would not have survived this day without Morgan and Justin! 1) Because they were talented and I knew I could trust them to make beautiful photographs and 2) they really supported me in whatever way I needed that day.
- Extra hands – Not only was my husband a groomsmen (getting to walk down the aisle with him was a highlight of the day for me) but I knew the entire wedding party well. Every single one of them was there with no questions asked if I needed a hand carrying a bag or holding a battery because my pockets were full. We all love Chris & Martha, and helping me was a part of that.
- Pockets In My Dress – But for real, this mattered so much! Martha let us pick our own dresses, so I was able to pick something that I knew would work for my shooting needs. I picked something with a stiff bodice that wouldn’t get pulled around by my camera straps and that had pockets for cards and batteries. I shoot at least half of my weddings in a dress, so that part was no big deal 🙂
Did I actually enjoy doing both jobs?
Honestly, yes and no. Chris & Martha are both some of the most kind and supportive people in my life, and I loved getting to be there for them in both of these ways. I loved getting to create beautiful images for two of my dear friends; this is what I love about my job and getting to do it for people I love makes it all the more special. I also loved getting to stand up for them when they said their vows; I wept and cheered and loved and enjoyed every bit of being a bridesmaid. Did I love doing both? Maybe less so. Two stressful jobs in my brain at once was a lot. I was worried I’d drop the ball somewhere because I just had so much to think about. Luckily I didn’t (to my knowledge) but that stress was a lot to handle. In reality, I do look back fondly at the day. I only have good memories when I look at these photos, which is all I can ask for. And I know I supported my friends in the two best ways possible, and that matters more than anything else to me.
How did I make sure I was in the pictures too?
This was all Morgan! I did a lot of the posing, but once I was in the shot I trusted her eyes. She understood the fact that obviously I was close with the couple and thus should be included in all of the photos. She shot in moments when she normally wouldn’t (when I’m fluffing the dress to keep Martha cool for example) and took charge in moments where I couldn’t. She created some really beautiful images of me and this person I care so much about, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Any more questions? Hit me up in the comments below!
To see all of Chris & Martha’s wedding photos from a more traditional perspective, check out my previous blog post HERE!
Photography – Spencer Studios | Day of Coordination – Shelby Anderson with SC Events | Invitations & Paper Goods – Minted | Hair & Make-up – Salon Envie | Wedding Gown & Veil – White Traditions Bridal House | Earrings – Kate Spade | Bridesmaid Gowns – Azazie | Groom’s Suit – Rossi Clothiers | Groomsmen’s Tuxes – The Black Tux | Ceremony Location – Firestone Baars Chapel | Venue – Kimball Ballroom | Floral Design – Allen’s Flowers | Catering & Desserts – SC Events | Decor – Provided by couple | DJ – Safari Sound | Videographer – Peace Frame Productions | 2nd Photographers – Morgan Miller & Justin Kelley