The funniest thing I remember seeing at a reception was when the bride's sister got up to make her wedding toast. She said that as everyone here knows, the bride was extremely boy crazy as she grew up. Everybody there laughed a knowing laugh.
She then pulled out the bride's own personal childhood diary and did humorous readings from different bookmarked sections of it for a good fifteen minutes about how hung up the bride had been on different boys she had known and how she had thought this one or that one was so dreamy or good looking.
Everyone there got a good roaring laugh out of it. It was better than most professional stand-up comics' routines! The bride took it all in stride and seemed to enjoy it as much as anyone there.
A newly married couple arrived at their country club reception site in a horse drawn carriage; one of those used on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis for carriage rides. Seeing a photo opportunity, I had the wedding party line up, before going into the reception, with the horse and carriage as a photo backdrop.
Just as I was ready to take the photo, two of the girls in the wedding party let out blood curdling screams and jumped at least a foot up in the air. It turns out that they were standing near the business end of the horse, when it felt the need to take a whiz.
Those girls, the ones who screamed, had gotten soaked before they knew what had hit them. The horse's whiz had bounced off the concrete, splattering and thoroughly soaking the entire back sides of their long gowns. Boy, they were really popular the rest of the night! Say, does that shoot down my super hero status? I hope not.
While waiting to start formal groups once, a minister made a point of telling me his favorite story about an encounter with a videographer from one of the Dayton, Ohio, television stations who was hired to video a wedding in his church, way back when that wasn't done very much.
The minister told him what the rules were about how he could do his video. The guy responded that he was a TV cameraman and knew what to do. Not to worry.
The ceremony got underway, with the bride and groom starting to say their vows at floor level, when the minister saw really shocked looks on everyone in the audience. Jaws were dropping open! He turned around to see what was going on. There was the TV cameraman, perched high above the minister's head with TV camera balanced upon his shoulder. He was shooting down over the minister's head and shoulders from that vantage point, standing with one foot on top of the pulpit and his other foot on the railing,. He was about four feet off the floor, shooting down.
The minister said he wasted no time in running him down from his brazen perch and banished him to the back of the church before continuing with the ceremony. Now that's funny! The minister swears it is true, too!
At another wedding, the groom clued me in to be ready for something special when he removed the bride's garter at the reception. I was really on my toes and nailed the expression on his face when he came out from under her dress with a pair of red bloomers that were big enough to fit a full grown elephant! He put on such a shocked look on his face, as he held them high in the air and stretched them out for everyone to see. (See Photo Number 9 leading into Chapter 9.)
While photographing a huge high society wedding party at the pond, fountain and outdoor steps at the State Office Buildings in downtown Indianapolis, I had to keep backing up a hill in order to get back far enough to get the entire wedding party and the water fountain in the photos. I didn't have my wide angle lens with me during this part of the assignment and had to make do without it.
Wouldn't you know it, suddenly I felt something brush me across the shoulders as I backed. I had run into a row of tall hedges and gone pretty deep into them before I knew what was happening to me. The real problem was that tons of pigeons had been roosting in and on the hedges for ages and the hedges were totally covered with an over abundance of white bird poop and now, so were the shoulders of my dark suit. See Photo Number 9 leading into Chapter 6 to see the photo I was taking when his happened.
The rest of the assignment had to be finished without me wearing a suit coat, after I showed everyone my coat and explained what had happened to it. Everyone got a laugh out of it and I wasn't penalized for not being formally dressed the rest of the day. After that, I kept a spare suit, spare white shirt and a couple of spare ties hanging in my car.
At another wedding, the ring bearer stole the show and made his statement that he wasn't wild about being ring bearer, when he stopped half way down the aisle, turned and threw the ring bearer's pillow like a Frisbee towards the back of the church.
During the ceremony, he totally stole the show again, when he went up right behind the bride, groom and minister and sat down on the steps there, facing the audience. He proceeded to stick his finger inside his shirt collar and kept tugging at it, trying to stretch his collar out. He made faces, rolled his eyes, stuck out his tongue and pulled his tie over his head like he was being hanged with it. He brought the entire audience to a roar of laughter. Got to watch those kids. They'll steal the show every time!
The smallest church wedding I ever photographed was in Richmond, Indiana and involved just me and, minister and the bride and groom. Now, that's keeping it simple.
At a Rush County Fairground reception in Rushville, Indiana, about twenty years ago, all the single ladies were lined up for the bouquet toss. One woman, who was wearing a tube top, seemed to really want to be the one to catch it. She out jumped everyone else, but in the process, her hooters went into motion, too. They rose and rose and kept climbing, not stopping until they had seen the light of day and said, "Howdy!" to everyone present. She was even quicker getting everything rearranged properly again. Yes, she caught the bouquet, too. No, I didn't get it on film.
Buckle up your seat belts. We are off on a wild ride down memory lane through my world as a professional wedding photographer for about 45 years. Very few people ever get a peek into what professional wedding photographers see, do and encounter in carrying out our wedding assignments over the years. I'm inviting you to enjoy just such a peek into my world and to see it through my eyes.
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