Wedding photographers are tasked with capturing some of the happiest moments of your life and this job involves a fairly intimate connection with the couple.
Over an entire day (and the many meetings in the lead up) they're intensely watching the subtle cues in body language an behaviour between the betrothed than many others might miss. That's why a recent Reddit thread on the topic made for such interesting reading.
A user posted the question: "Marriage/engagement photographers/videographers of Reddit, have you developed a sixth sense for which marriages will flourish and which will not? What are the green and red flags?"
And the answers were gold.
1. It's how you handle the hiccups
"I think you can kind of tell if they are going to stay together forever based on how they handle all the little (and sometimes even big) problems a wedding day can bring," one photographer wrote.
"You can tell somewhat based on how the couple treats each other on the wedding day," another photographer commented. "If they are respectful toward one another (and toward me) during a day full of stress then I think that’s a good indicator of being able to deal with other problems that may arise during a marriage."
2. Shared values are important
"I am a videographer. Most weddings we video are fairly smooth. Couple is happy. Family cries tears of joy. Lots of laughter. That bit. We did film one wedding that seemed fine right up until the aisle walk...
Now everyone is seated in the ceremony hall. Groom and all his men are up front with the officiant. Bride’s Maids start walking down the aisle. All beautiful. The bride walks in with her father. At this point I’m filming the groom and his reaction. We get a wide shot because we can always zoom in during post. My partner is recording the groom and her father. I see the best man in my viewfinder pull out a flask from his jacket pocket—the rest of the men do the same except Groom. So this is clearly planned. The best man speaks loud enough over the music so people turn to him away from the Bride. He raises his glass high and shouts “Here’s to Bride Name, here’s to Groom Name; may you never disagree. But if you do…” He points at the bride with his flask hand and finishes “FUCK YOU, here’s to Groom Name.”
They all drink to their frat boy toast. The best man hands the Groom his flask and he drinks it laughing!!
I have never watched a video more than I have the reaction of the Bride and her father. Jaw dropped speechless. The ceremony went on. And it’s not done. The officiant asks the Bride “do you take Groom yadda yadda…” and she surprisingly, yet weakly, says yes. The officiant asks the same of the Groom and instead of just saying yes, he screams “Fuck da fuck yeah I do!!” Bride just face palms herself in embarrassment.
The look of disgust on her whole family’s face the entire night after that was priceless and highly awkward to film. I could go on with more stories about this wedding, but this just about the bride and groom. Needless to say I think that’s a big red flag.
3. Mutual respect is essential
"Photographer here. I swear that all of the couples that have split up have smashed the cake in their SOs face. None of the nice cake couples have. Just my weird anecdotal experience. Maybe it’s a sign of respect for each other."
"I’ve found that the microcosm of how the couple feels about each other comes usually comes out during the cake cutting," wrote another videographer. "If they’re drinking then they’ve usually had a few by that point and it’s a moment when everyone is watching you do something potentially awkward with your new SO. When I see a new bride or groom aggressively smush cake into the other’s face I usually feel like that’s a strong sign of an unbalanced relationship. Sometimes they’re both having fun with it and you can tell it’s cool, but most of the time you can tell that the person with cake on their face is either shocked or angry about it."
4. Flirting with the staff is never ok
"Red flag: The groom winking at both my assistant and I during the ceremony. He was not winking in the sense that he might have been tearing up or had something in his eye but there was a part in the ceremony where the couple sat down and he would lean his head back in his chair look past his soon to be wife and wink at me or look over his left shoulder and wink at my assistant. It was bizarre."
5. Embrace their interests (and don't try to change them)
"Wedding videographer here: I try to get to know both people beforehand, so I can work in their hobbies/unique traits into my product. A big red flag is when one person is clearly trying to change the other. I had one dude who loved poker, craft beer, cigars, hanging with his rowdy friends, video games, etc. I planned a cool shoot where I had all his friends in an old west saloon, and he sees his bride to be, etc... but she steps in and declares "oh, he won't be doing any of those things any more." Poor bastard just sat there in silence as I awkwardly had to plan them shopping for a Yorkie puppy instead. Half way through post production after the wedding, he called and said he was getting an annulment. I wanted to say "could have told ya so!" But I try to stay neutral. Green flags are just the opposite. Embracing the other person's habbits/hobbies/interests, basically not being a controlling freakshow."
6. Team work makes the dream work
"Typically I saw red flags when the bride or groom is super quiet," one photographer explained. "I mean silent and just watching.One instance was a groom who barely said ten words to anyone during the ceremony or reception afterwards. The bride and her mother were extremely loud and excited the entire time. The bride needed everything to be “perfect”. I dropped off the photo bundle with them two weeks later and he was still quiet. She however complained about all of the pictures because the groom wasn’t “smiling enough”. She wanted a discount because I couldn’t make him look happy enough. They got divorced about a year later. I know because I did his engagement photos with his new fiancée about four years after his first wedding. His engagement photos showed him much happier."
"It was pretty easy to tell which couples were going to last and which ones would soon be divorced," another photographer wrote. "The main behaviour differentiating the two was whether they were on the same team, helping each other and lifting each other up in the face of the inevitable problems and stress that come with weddings. Good couples tackle problems together. Bad couples take sides and fight/blame each other when something goes wrong."