Do you ever have that sudden rush of blood to your head that makes you think that you are far more skilled at something that you actually are? I did it last summer when I volunteered to be the photographer at my eldest daughter’s wedding.
At the time of agreement I felt sure that I could do it having dabbled a little with a camera whilst at college. As the wedding day grew nearer I began to feel a certain dread at the thought that so much relied on me. To give me comfort I arranged for my old pal Nigel to be available with his telephoto lens as a backup.
Suitably armed with a list of everyone who should be included in the after service snap session, and as many digital memory sticks as I could beg steal or borrow, I set up the tripod and camera in the grounds of the hotel that had become temporary home to the extended Molineaux clan.
I noted that several guests had not seen other family members for ‘over twenty years’; with such a lack of family commitment I wanted to ask them how they could justify costing me money by being present now. Instead I kept my thoughts to my self and set off on my mission to make everyone smile for long enough so that future generations would believe we were a fully functional family.
You would think that people would be sympathetic to the needs of an amateur photographer at his daughter’s wedding but I have to report that everyone (and by everyone I mean a few) were so busy enjoying themselves that they would often ignore my calls for attention.
People fell into five distinct camps that I am sure is typical for a wedding party:
There were those whose only aim was to ensure that they used all five of their disposable cameras standing in front of my more than expensive digital SLR. I tried to be polite but by now the sweat was starting to drip on to my lens as I developed a mild panic at the thought that I was out of my depth.
Then there were those who seemed to have temporarily forgotten their names; no matter how loud I shouted for them, or how near I stood to them, they were oblivious to the fact that I was actually addressing them.
Next there were those who could not remember which group they belonged to; no matter how many times I asked for ‘all the Brides school friends’ I would not end up with the correct group. I have eleven photographs of this group containing a selection of different people including an elderly female relative who thought she was joining a queue for food.
As with every wedding there were a few who had decided that there was far too much alcohol in the hotel and it was their mission in life to solve this problem. As soon as the ceremony was over they had loosened their ties and headed to find a position where they could simultaneously drink and complain at the prices.
There were, of course, those who happily joined in with my manic display of poor photography management. Aunties helping to throw confetti on the count of three. Children who did their best to not pull funny faces when I asked them to smile. Old men who didn’t feel offended when I suggested that they straightened their ties and combed what little hair they had.
As my time in charge grew to an end I was comforted in the fact that I had a digital camera and was sure that I had a good bunch of photographs to choose from. Fortunately I was reminded at the last moment that although I had included everyone that moved (and a few that didn’t) in my picture taking I didn’t have any with the Father-of-the bride on. I handed my camera to Nigel (everyone needs a Nigel) and stood proud, if not a little hot and bothered, with my precious family for a permanent reminder of our special day.