"What's with all the brides in downtown Chicago?" A visiting friend recently asked. Since I write a wedding blog, I assumed she was about to ask me about a trend in dresses or flowers.
"Why are they all in the street?" My friend asked. "I saw three different wedding parties all just standing in the street. One bridesmaid almost got hit by a car and one party was causing a huge traffic jam." I was surprised for a minute, and then I realized that earlier that same day I saw a photographer standing in the middle of the street trying to take an "artsy" photo of what I assumed to be a recently engaged couple under a viaduct. The next day as I was pulling out of a parking lot I almost hit another photographer standing in the middle of the street as her recently married couple posed in front of a hotel.
Why are couples and wedding photographers risking life and limb for wedding photos? As with most wedding related problems, I blame it on the rise of celebrity culture. For many couples weddings have become a "red carpet moment." Their moment to buy expensive clothes, throw a big party, and shine like celebrities. Well, part of being a celebrity is of course, the photo shoot.
Wedding photographs have always been big business. Over the past few years that's spread to more and more elaborate engagement shoots and, if some sources are to be believed, even morning after shoots.
Celebrities have always had gritty and artsy photos in the street, on railroad tracks, in the water and under viaducts. So, in many couples' minds it follows course that they too should have the same kinds of photos. There's a major difference though ... photo permits.
When you see models posed in gritty, urban, illegal looking settings, it's a photo shoot. No matter how dangerous it looks, someone has filed a lot of legal paperwork and gotten a permit. That permit has blocked off traffic and made sure everyone is safe. Neither the model nor the photographer is risking life and limb to take that cool photo. While some people may be slightly inconvenienced, the area is well marked and it's unlikely that a car will come through and hit anyone. The same is not true of your artsy wedding photo.
I'm all in favor of people feeling special on their wedding day. I want couples to hire great wedding professionals and have an amazing day. But, I also want couples to realize that just because it's your special day doesn't mean the rest of the world stops. So, do us all a favor, get out of the middle of the street!