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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photographing Wedding Customs & Traditions

Have you noticed that the world today is becoming a much smaller place? We’ve become a world of mixed and blended cultures where today, the couple choose to marry each other out of love, with less consideration for cultures or race. When a marriage involves two different cultures, the wedding will often have elements of both family’s traditions, which will make it important for the photographer to understand the ceremony and what will take place.
And, if the photographer hasn’t taken the time to prepare for this, it might make for a wedding whose special traditions might not make it to the wedding album.
bridebearSince the photographer’s job is record the wedding day, he or she needs to take the time to ensure the couple has given forth any special events of the day, particularly if the photographer is dealing with family’s from a different culture, or if the marrying couple are from two different cultures.
Since the importance of symbolic rituals are different in each family and to each bride and groom it simply makes sense to ask the couple about the wedding ceremony and the parts of it that are particularly important to them in terms of photography. Many modern couples may not have symbolic traditions, while others will have a number of them.
OldCoin When I was a girl, all the brides of my generation, in my mother’s family walked down the aisle with an old penny in their shoe – a throwback to ‘a silver sixpence in her shoe’. It was a large canadian penny (rather than a silver sixpence) from the 1800s. My father had a collection of these that he had dug up in his yard when he just a just a boy. My mother and her sisters had the traditional sixpence.
The saying or old tradition that went with this is one I’m sure half the world has heard:
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
GrandmasHankiesIf your couple has an emotional attachment to some special family wedding tradition, take time to capture some of that for their wedding the album. While usually not “must haves”, photographing the “silver sixpence” in the brides shoe as she’s about to put her foot into it, will have significance, not only to the bride, but to her family.
When I was married, the something old were my grandmother’s Pearlescent pearls. “Something old” represented the bride’s family (traditionally) – not that they were all old, but that they were the ties to her single life. In some families, the borrowed item may be a handkerchief borrowed from a grandmother or mother.
weddingdress Something new was my wedding dress, as it is for many brides, but it can be anything new . Since some brides will wear a family wedding dress the bridge might choose something else, such as a special pair of earrings to be something new.
My “something borrowed” was my headpiece – a princess crown (not a tiara, but a full crown) belonging to a married cousin some years older than me. Something borrowed was traditionally meant to be borrowed from a happily married woman…symbolic of a happily married life, the borrowed item was thought to bring happiness from the established marriage into the new bride’s married life.garter
Something blue is most often the garter, but in modern times the garter comes in many colours, so something blue can be almost anything the bride chooses. That was meant to symbolize loyalty (as in “true blue”) and faithfulness.
As the photographer, it’s up to you to discuss any special inclusions in their wedding package – mainly because these are often parts of the ceremony that are taken for granted by the couple and their family – they might not even think to mention the special importance these traditions have in their ceremony. It’s a simple matter to include a section in your checklist for “special traditions and customs”, making it easy to remember to discuss this section with your couple.
Photo Credits:
wedding dress – Hickey Family Foto
teddy bear – Dave @ morgueFile

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