Wedding Photography

I was at a very dear friend’s wedding 2 days ago. It was the first traditional Filipino wedding I’ve attended since 2003, so not only was I all choked up about my friend leaving the ranks of singlehood, I was feeling quite maudlin about my culture and my memories of attending Filipino weddings as a child.

I was also quite happy to not feel pressured to take photos. I did not bring my dSLR with me because 1. I didn’t think it would be appropriate when there was already an official photographer, 2. people always think that you can “help” the official photographer if you look like you have a semi-decent camera in your hands, and 3. my camera so did not go with my dress. I did bring my little Olympus C-7000 Zoom along because, well you know, I have to take some photos to make me happy 🙂

The veil & the cord

There are a lot of rituals and tradition surrounding weddings. In the Filipino wedding, there are “sponsors” who witness the wedding and represent people who can give the new couple advice and support. They’re kind of like the godparents at a child’s baptism. In fact, the sponsors are given the title Ninong and Ninang, the same titles given to godparents.

“During a specific point in the ceremony known as the Sanctus, the veil sponsors carefully pin a large veil on top of the bride’s head and onto the shoulder of the groom. The veil symbolizes unity and that the couple shall be “clothed as one.” The other set of sponsors are called the cord sponsors. After the veil is placed on both the bride and groom, the cord sponsors place a white cord loosely around the necks of the couple in a “figure eight” configuration. The cord symbolizes the lifelong bond or tie between the bride and groom.” (from Filipino Weddings)

The bride and groom

I don’t know if this is specifically a Filipino thing or not, but the ceremony was at 11 AM. The reception started at 6 PM at a different location. While growing up, I thought all wedding were supposed to be like that. Then I started going to non-Filipino weddings as an adult, and I started watching those sappy reality wedding shows on Slice; I guess that not how most weddings are scheduled.

Have you ever done wedding photography? I have. It’s hard. It’s very stressful. I will try very hard to not do it again. I like to take my time with my photography; enjoy the process and think about what I’m trying to achieve for the photo. You can’t do that at a wedding. It’s shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more just in case you didn’t catch the right look or moment. And I don’t have the right skill set to do that kind of photography. (Nor the right equipment, but that’s a whole other story.) And I stressed out so much about whether the couple would like my photos that I couldn’t enjoy being a guest as well. Oh yeah, don’t agree to that kind of scenario ever. Either be a photographer or be a guest. Trying to be both means you won’t enjoy being either.

If you’re my friend and you’re reading this, please don’t get me wrong. I enjoy taking photos for your events; hey, I’m going to be taking them anyway. But weddings in particular are too hard and too emotion-laden for you to rely on a friend who does amateur photography as a hobby. I can give you pretty photos of cakes and candles but please don’t ask me to capture everything from such a special day.

And, someday, if I ever get married, I am going to have that veil and cord ceremony and the coin ceremony (Arrhae) and the unity candle and maybe even groomsmen in barongs tagalog.

© All rights reserved, missmylin 2010.


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© Myra Madrilejos, missmylin and "itaga sa bato", 2010 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. All photography on this blog is copyright protected. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Myra Madrilejos and itaga sa bato with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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