Them Vampires have a lot to answer for

July 06, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Whatever happened to the wedding march? Felix Mendelssohn's wedding lynchpin music, that song which, in the distant past, wafted across the entire country, North, South, East and West, every 3.40pm on a Saturday afternoon.

It's a rousing thing the wedding march, gets you in the mood for life's journey together, kinda shoves you out the door saying 'you're on your own now, enjoy'.

Those where the days, I guess from the 1950's onwards to the 2000's where you were either married in a church (3 o'clock, Saturday ONLY) or Friday/Saturday morning at a registry office. 

Literally nowhere else, or at a time different from those mentioned above.

Life for the wedding photographer was a lot simpler then, my time 1980 onwards. Granted, all work was taken on film so the pressure to get it right was through the roof, there was no Chimping in those days. Incidentally, the first professional digital camera I used in anger in 1995 (The £13500 Fujifilm DS515), didn't have a rear screen, so no Chimping at all, but I said to myself, in the future, I won't ever check the images on that rear screen. 

I've never needed to, I won't, that's the decision, I'm a professional. First live job, that promise was broken in less than 10 seconds.

Anyway, back to Mendelssohn and his one-hit-wonder.

When did weddings change? Well, the law changed in 1997, so a barn or a hotel could become a licensed wedding venue. 

Then the world got a little more complicated and Mendelssohn went out the window, literally.

You see, when I started in 1980, you had two options. (1) Registry office = 2 rolls of 12 shot film (2) Full Church = 3 Rolls of 12 shot film. Nothing other than that was acceptable.

Photos were all posed, you'd even hold 4 frames back on the last roll, 2 photos toasting each other, 2 pretending to cut the cake. You where done in 2 hours. But here's the bit that makes me feel depressingly old. Full blown 150 guest Saturday wedding photography cost (drumroll).....£50

This included the photographers time, travel, skill, plus a leather wedding album with 12 8x6 prints. Plus plus, we processed the film that day, made some rough 'proof prints' then went back to the reception and sold them. And all with no Chimping.

Mad huh?

The 1997 deregulation not only changed the venue space but also us photographers emphasis, we weren't suddenly taking posed portraits, we became reportage photographers telling the story of the day. Oh and whist we are on it, if you come across a photographer who calls themselves Documentary Wedding Photographers (which means they can't organise groups and thus shouldn't be photographing people) or even worse Visual Storytellers (what, the word photographer not good enough for you?), give them short shrift please, just for me, you'll be pleased you did, trust me.

So now, the day has gone from a structured 2 hours with 36 shots to a wild 10 hours with a 1000 shots. That's 10 hours of continually searching for a photo. 

Draining isn't the word I'd use, it's far worse than that.

What's this got to do with vampires I hear you ask? I'll tell you.

The deregulation of venues has also allowed couples to chose their own music and up to, I guess 5-6 years ago that was all fine, but not now. My particular favourite was the bride walking down the aisle to ADCD's Highway to Hell, good wedding that.

But now, from nowhere has come A Thousand Miles by Christina Perri. A loverly little ditty taken from one of the Twilight Films. It's everywhere and boy it really really hurts now. Us wedding professionals have had enough. 

We just hear the first few piano keys being plunged and that's it, despair in our eyes. The registrars, the videographer, the caterers, we all have that little look that says 'OMG, not again'

The thing is. it's a universal song, multi-use if you will. Just when you think it's gone because the bride hasn't walked down the aisle to it, it's the song the couple leave to. When neither events play the song and you think you're home-free, it's the first dance song.

Now, leading into May I guessed it was played at 70% of weddings. All 4 in June and the first wedding in July have ALL played it, so a message, 'It's not big and it's not clever', not anymore. And, you're not original, just think about that for a while. Mendelssohn to Perri, oh how the world is failing.

To end the rant, I'm going to tell you the two best first dance songs I have come across.

(1) Creep by Radiohead (2) Days like This by Elbow (which did have me proper crying behind the camera *idiot ED)

Both songs are the string of garlic to make the vampires just go away.

 

 

Jon

 

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