Last week was inspiration week here on United With Love.  We featured amazing styled shoots from vendors around the DC area.  Styled shoots are all the rage on wedding blogs these days and for good reason – the photography is gorgeous.  It makes for great blog posts with lots of pretty inspiration!  But, no inspiration week is complete without a little truth.  There are some realities to weddings-in-the-real-world that aren’t captured in styled shoots.  We offered a few tips of our own at the start of the week.  And, today we are fortunate to have VA wedding planner, Janice from Bellwether Events, to give you the real truth to styled shoots.  Take it away, Janice…


Magazines and blogs feature many “styled shoots” to provide you with inspiration during your wedding planning.  But it is important to remember a few things.  The stylists on these shoots spend hours tweaking every detail and posing the models in the carefully selected attire and accessories.   The vendors participating in the shoots bring stockpiles of props in order to make sure that the feeling and message they wish to convey is perfectly executed.  The photographer often selects the location and times the shoot so that the lighting is exactly what they are looking for.  These photos are perfect!  Stunning!  Yet, I worry that they set unrealistic expectations, and also might miss the real meaning of weddings.

Photo shoots, in essence, are designed to have many options, unlimited time and no budgetary restrictions.  In other words, they are not reality.  Very rarely do they even depict a ceremony set up, which is the whole point of the day – the getting married part.  They are not designed to actually feed and entertain one hundred and twenty guests.  Your wedding photographer doesn’t have unlimited time in perfect light with you and a box full of props and accessories.  So, your wedding photos are not going to look like what you see in magazines and on blogs.

If you decide to see each other before the ceremony, your photographer will be limited in time and location with this portrait session.  During the ceremony your photographer will likely be restricted to the back of the room and may not even be allowed to use flash.  By the time he/she gets to the reception room, some guests will have already put down their coats and purses, thus “ruining” the wide room shots.  When your people of honor give toasts, there will probably be something less than perfect in the background, such as an exit sign.  Tent poles are unattractive. Thermostats and outlets are eyesores.  You will not see these things in styled shoots.  These are the realities of real weddings.


But, do you know what real wedding photos trump the styled shoots on?  Emotion.  You cannot fake the look on a groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time, or the pleasure a mom exudes when her little girl is getting married.  Styled shoots will never capture the perfect combination of elation, excitement and terror that is the Hora, or the pure joy of a bride dancing with her father to their special song.  As much as I like to “ooh” and “ahh” over pretty pictures, what brings a smile to my face is the photo of a couple singing their face off to Journey.  These are the moments you will remember and cherish.  These are the photos that will get framed and hung on the wall or inserted into holiday cards.  Not the photo of your table centerpiece or your escort card display.

While it is important to collect pretty pictures from blogs and magazines to help explain to your wedding team what you want them to do, please don’t get distracted from what really matters:  getting married and celebrating afterward!


Thank you so much, Janice!  For more from Bellwether Events, check out Janice’s website here.

Photo Credits:  Kurstin Roe Photography

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