The tradition of marriage spans most cultures. Marriage and having a wedding is a right of passage that all religions, cultures, and countries observe, though the act of getting married looks very different from place to place.
I think this is something that I love most about marriage and weddings and why I love that I’ve been able to build a career for myself photographing this epic time in a couple’s life. The act of marriage does not just unify one couple and their families. It’s something that we can all do regardless of sex, religion, culture, political belief, education, etc. It’s a right that every human being on this beautiful planet can dream of and participate in. It truly is a unifying ritual.
When I was first starting out as a wedding photographer I found a book published by National Geographic. I recently re-discovered this book on the shelf in my living room. Page after page is depicts wedding rituals from around the world and the images span decades. It is a beautiful collection of wedding photos and it is inspiring! Not only do I wish even more that I would be commissioned to photograph weddings all over the world, but I feel inspired to adjust my shooting style to an even more raw, documentary approach. Seriously, these images are not “pretty” but do they ever pull you into the moment and make you feel like you were actually there. Seeing images in print also does this to me too!
“From time immemorial, the rituals of marriage have been at the heart of every society’s cultural tradition; affirming it’s values, weaving new threads into its tapestry of connections, and offering everyone the promise of a good cry and a great party into the bargain.” – National Geographic Weddings.
Rediscovering this book and thumbing through the pages made me feel ever-more grateful to have been invited to Toronto, Ontario to photograph Jeffery and Jean’s wedding at the Guild Inn Estate this past summer. It’s always an honour when a couple believes so much in my work that they would go to the added expense of “importing” me. But that their wedding day began with traditional Chinese wedding games and tea ceremonies with their families made the whole opportunity that much sweeter, and set the tone for a perfect wedding day filled with good cries and a great party!