Don’t worry, this article is NOT about that sitcom situation between the mother-of-the-bride and her daughter arguing about wedding details.
It is quite the opposite, really. With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I wanted to write something that’s been on my heart for a while now and just might bridge a small gap between our brides and their Moms. It’s time to talk about why MOBs (mothers-of-the-bride) often have such differing opinions on wedding design, planning, photography, etc. than our current, millennial brides.
So, put on your patience pants and keep reading!
Your Mom was once a bride too. She likely had her big church wedding in the 70s or 80s when weddings were handled very differently than today. I feel I can clearly speak to both MOBs and my current brides because I was married 20 years ago (yup- can I get an amen for 2 decades of marriage to Mr. Old South??), BUT we are also capturing modern weddings every single Saturday. Our Old South brides want to respect tradition and family legacy but they are also planning weddings that are very different than those shoulder-pad/permed-hair 80s affairs!
So, let’s talk about how much has changed since your sweet Mom wore the veil?
- Digital photography v. Film photography
30ish years ago, hiring a wedding photographer meant the entire day would be captured on film (remember, this was pre-digital photography). Her photographer brought 5-6 rolls of good ol’ Kodak 400 and if your Mom was lucky, she got between 70-100 quality images from her wedding day.
Today, in the digital photography era, our studio will deliver 600-700 images/wedding day to each bride who hires us (that is 7 – 10 TIMES more images than your Mom ever received). Things have definitely changed!
- Digital negatives (and other new terms like RAW and jpeg)
The digital photography era also ushered in some changes in printing. Back in your Mom’s day, the photographer NEVER sold or shared his/her film negatives with clients. Your Mom was mailed a “proof set” of images (usually 4 x 6 images of each shot) and she had to order all reprints through her photographer. An 8 x 10 for grandma? Order it through the photographer! A few 5 x7s for their little newlywed apartment? Order them through the photographer! She could never have walked into a retail photo lab and reproduced her own wedding images. That simply was not done.
Now, we include a reproduction release with all digital negatives (jpeg files) for our couples so modern brides have the option to print the images at any lab of her choice.
In essence, we are giving you a free pass to print any images we captured without necessarily having to order through our photography studio/pro lab. **DISCLAIMER, while we believe Costco, Snapfish , Tiny Prints, etc. might be an OK retail lab choice for small prints, a 16 x 24 bridal portrait still deserves to be produced by a professional lab. Quality differences will be very evident at larger sizes!** But my point is, modern brides have choices that your Mom never had.
So, when she raises an eyebrow at the cost of photography Collections, be sure to reminder her that she can print any/all images OUTSIDE of our professional lab (if she so chooses). Maybe she did only pay $2000 back then for her wedding photographer BUT she likely spent another $500-1000 on reprints. And remember the quantity of images she received? We are delivering 7-10 times that amount today PLUS the “digital negatives” have essentially been included in the wedding collection. Our jpegs are the modern day version of the negatives she never had!
- Wedding Albums
Back in the 70s, 80s and even 90s, the only option for wedding albums were those HUGE, heavy black leather albums where the prints were slipped into matted openings. Heck, I bet you’ve even flipped through your Mom and Dad’s 10 pound black album (with gold edging if they went with the Cadillac version) admiring her killer legs and Dad’s SA-weet mustache!
We still believe every bride should have a gorgeous leather wedding album but now they are quite different in look and feel. Our professional lab produces lay flat, seamless albums with a storyboard feel. The images can be touched/felt and the level of creative graphic design is endless. We highly encourage all brides (and their Moms) to flip through our albums in our studio to show her how far our industry has come in terms of album design. We can still emboss names onto covers and offer gorgeous leather albums but they are quite different than her big black album from 3 decades ago.
- Wedding Photography Timelines and First Looks
First looks DID NOT exist 30 years ago. So, don’t just drop this hot little bomb into your traditional Mom’s lap and think she will automatically see the benefits of this newer trend.
In her day, Emily Post ruled and the etiquette handbook was far different than today’s standards. She and her mother (your grandmother) were playing by a different set of rules, and back then, a bride and groom would never, ever (and I mean NEVER) have considered seeing one another before the ceremony. So, give her a minute to warm up to your new idea, mmmkay??
Today’s weddings are a much bigger affair than those of decades past. My Mom remembers people in her little, southern town putting an announcement in the church bulletin and/or local newspaper and the entire town was invited to the ceremony. The….. WHOLE….. TOWN! But, the reception was very simple. The one hundred-ish guests simply moved to the church’s fellowship hall after the ceremony, had a glass of punch, a slice of cake and a few Jordan almonds…then left one hour later. Three hours of an afternoon were devoted to the wedding and then life moved on.
Now, modern brides are hiring bands, elaborate designers and hosting seated 5-course dinners at venues far away from her church. What used to be a 3 hour event is now 8-10 hours in length and much more complicated. Don’t get me wrong, we love the epic parties we capture but these were not the norm in your Mom’s day.
First looks became more popular in the past 10 years because couples didn’t want to miss out on joining in the party. That post-ceremony hour of formal photos of the bride/groom with their bridal party and all family members could easily be moved PRE-ceremony allowing the newlyweds to experience more of their own wedding day.
Now, would Emily Post agree with this new trend? That is for you and your Mom to hash out but as a photographer who has captured 250+ weddings, I can tell you that over half of our couples are now choosing this more modern timeline. They also get about 30% more images of just them…the bride and groom…alone. Which, in the end, are the portraits generations to come will treasure most.
We arrange a special, private location for the bride and groom to see one another and give them a few minutes to soak in that very special moment. Then, we dive right into formal family photos and all bridal party portraits. Nearly 90% of all photography can be captured BEFORE the ceremony allowing the bride’s parents to actually attend and host cocktail hour with their guests. It even allows our newlyweds relaxed time with their bridal party, the option to join in their own cocktail hour or even a private dining experience together pre-reception. The possibilities are endless and the stress levels are so much lower with this modern timeline. Again, this is something worth discussing with your Mom since we fully recognize it is very different than when she wore the veil.
- Receiving lines, table photos and bird seed
Immediately following a 70s, 80s, or 90s wedding ceremony, the bride/groom often stood outside the church doors greeting every guest as they left. That traditional has definitely faded in popularity but it might be something your Mom mentions. In my 8 years of photographing weddings, I have seen it done twice.
Also, back at her reception, it may have been customary for the couple to go around and greet each table of guests. Very often, the wedding photographer followed them and captured a group photo at each table. This is also an older tradition (and one we very rarely do now), but worth discussing with your Mom since it was common practice when she was a bride.
Oh, and psssttttt, bird seed is now illegal to throw during your getaway. Too many dead birds post 80s weddings have ushered in the bubble, sparkler, confetti exit era. Just worth noting
- Bridal Portraits
Old South brides are on the more traditional end and well over half of our brides still opt for a Bridal Portrait session.
However, when your Mom “sat” for her bridal portrait, it was in a professional photography studio with a selection of black or white backdrops and maybe a masterpiece canvas (if she hired the big gun in town!).
Today, we capture bridal portraits everywhere BUT our studio. We do still have one of the last remaining indoor studios in Charlotte (and yes, I do have 2 canvas and 4 traditional backdrops still in operation) but I have only had TWO brides (in 8 years of business) ask for this look.
So, you might want to prepare her for the idea of capturing your bridals at the Duke Mansion, Separk Mansion or your particular wedding venue. We have you sit, stand, twirl, frolic and yes, even go outside in your gown (gasp!). Of course, we will take excellent care of your gown, but this scenario is very new to her.
We love when she tags along too for the bridal portrait session. This day is truly one of the best mother/daughter days you will have along the wedding planning year. Although it is hard to top the day you actually found your gown (and she immediately cried those big alligator tears in the boutique), but bridal portrait day is a close second!
So, to all of my millennial brides, have a little patience with your Mom. She’s been looking forward to the grand title of “Mother of the Bride” for a long time now. Be sure to share this article with her and have some discussions on the many differences between weddings/photography from her day and yours.
Oh, and go get her some flowers and a card before Sunday. Aren’t we all so very lucky to have sweet Mamas who love us so? She really is trying her hardest to be kind and helpful during this chaotic year of wedding planning. Take a deep breath and try to remember that you really are on the same team. And Moms are truly our biggest cheerleaders for life!