However, it doesn’t take long before that divide is bridged, and children are children again, with neither girls nor boys particularly preoccupied with their clothing. Shortly after the ceremony, they are all tugging at their outfits, finding the fastest route to the greatest fashion faux pas imaginable. The reception begins. General roughhousing ensues. Add to the mix a child’s unchecked emotion and lack of inhibition in front of a camera, and the results can be award-winning photography.
The start of the great divide between the sexes can be witnessed a lot earlier in life than most believe. Girls and boys participating in weddings around the world demonstrate this time and time again. Frequently, little girls will relish the opportunity to dress up in their finest, while the boys do so begrudgingly, kicking and screaming all the way to the altar, so to speak.
What is it about little ones dressed in dainty white dresses or miniature tuxedoes? Is it that they look like smaller versions of the bride and groom? Is it the personalities that these clothes bring out? Often, the little girls bask in the spotlight, imagining themselves as the one being wed. The boys can cause a stir, fighting the constrictions of their clothing with all they’ve got. Both are a sight to behold.
The secret elixir to these magical moments lies in a combination of impulse and lack of self-awareness. Kids, in general, are not aware of the camera so they naturally react as only kids do. Big personalities are amplified while softer ones tend to draw you in; holding your heart still for one innocent moment of time.
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
Many brides put significant consideration and energy into determining the outfit scheme for their wedding party. The children who are participating in the ceremony are usually no different. Next to the bride, they often garner the most attention. It therefore makes sense to carefully choose their outfits. Keep in mind that their clothes will have a hard time making it through the entire event unscathed.
And if you choose to dress them in white? Well, you asked for it.
Stereotypically, little girls love to dress up in adult clothes. A wedding provides a prime opportunity for them to shine. Unlike little boys, girls may want to put on their finery hours before the ceremony has begun. In an effort to guard against any outfit disasters, some parents prefer dressing the kids just moments before they’re needed to walk down the aisle.
As history has proven, boys can make for some very endearing wedding images. The new experience of this “grown-up” social tradition mixed with an innate curiosity helps propel children to seek their own parallel adventures. And this only magnifies when multiple boys mingle and start to discover common ground. There’s a “tribe” mentality among them; a comfort in shared experiences that releases their inhibitions and emboldens their personalities.
And if they happen to be sporting identical wedding party outfits, the resulting visual alliteration is simply beautiful.
Clothes can help to bring out something in children that wasn’t obvious before. This is most evident in girls. A wonderfully peculiar thing about little girls is how they’ll commonly see an image of themselves in their tiny gowns of silk and lace that they truly value. There is a lot of future planning going on in those young minds. And WPJA members are expertly trained to read exactly what’s happening behind those excited eyes and freeze it in time.
LET CHILDREN BE CHILDREN
Humor plays a big role in capturing those quintessential images of children dressing up. Fitting a mature-looking outfit onto a small body can be a challenge and can provide for some hysterical moments. Any experienced wedding guest can attest that it’s not uncommon for the boy’s tuxedo to be a tough fit. Many photographs have been taken of suits that were pinned together or that had sleeves which were hemmed with rubber bands so they wouldn’t hang down to the floor.
There’s a balance to be met between dressing children in formal clothes and not covering up their innocence. That goes for hair and cosmetics as well. There’s nothing more disappointing than seeing a sweet little girl whose parents applied her makeup with a spatula. In an attempt to get the young ones more excited in the event at hand, some moms may unwisely go overboard on the rouge and mascara.
It is more conducive to good wedding photography to let children be children. If that means allowing them to change out of their clothing shortly after the ceremony, okay. No child is happy wearing those constrictive threads, so the sooner they can break free of their formal binds, the better chance they’ll have of really enjoying the wedding. And this also helps create wonderful photographic moments.
Dressing boys and girls up for the special event is a classic ingredient in a recipe of memories. It’s a tradition that does not grow old. And it’s important. Still, kids have their limits. If you can get them to keep their outfits on for most of the ceremony, you’re winning. Anything beyond that is pure gravy.
Just don’t get the gravy anywhere near that white tux.