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Photographing Multiple Generations on Wedding Day

July 18, 2019
Wedding Photojournalist captures generations | The bride shares a moment with her mother and grandmother before the ceremony

Photo by: Pasquale Minniti, Reggio Calabria, Italy

When you hire a WPJA member to document your wedding, you will most likely receive original, dynamic photos that capture the story of the day. Often this story contains many intimate moments that might appear insignificant to an outsider. But to you, they have tremendous meaning; able to always bring you right back to the people, the place, and the emotion of that day.

Obviously, the emotional aspect of a wedding isn’t just about the love between the bride and groom. Family plays an important part in many weddings, and grandparents and older relatives bring a deeper meaning to the ceremony and festivities. Photographs of your grandparents and other family and friends from older generations help to celebrate the bonds of your heritage that you cherish as you prepare for the future. A good wedding photojournalist recognizes this special connection.

Grandparents and older relatives at the wedding - photography of multiple generations.

Photo by: Indra Simons, Overijssel, Netherlands

KNOWING THE BACKGROUND

A wedding photojournalist’s goal is to guarantee that you remember the day vividly for years to come. To make sure they don’t miss a moment with anyone special to you, particularly older relatives who may be present for only part of the event, many photographers like to do a bit of reconnaissance beforehand.

By bringing your photographer up to speed on the family tree and which branches you’d like memorialized, it allows them to better prepare for your event. Photojournalists are experts at identifying and predicting family dynamics, and this important information will open up more opportunities for capturing cherished moments.

In today’s breakneck world, occasions for multi-generational gatherings are rare. Which is why a wedding is a perfect place to gather your loved ones and weave together all their hopes and dreams. Your photojournalist understands the import of this tapestry, and will skillfully document the people who matter to you most.

The goal, of course, is to depict a memory that will live on. One day you will be flipping through that wedding book with your grandkids. And certain pictures will stir up memories for you; particularly ones with relatives who have passed on. What a wonderful opportunity that will be to share a treasured family story with the younger generation.

Wedding photograph of the bride holding and the hand of an elderly woman seated in her wheelchair

Photo by: Gaelle Le Berre, Victoria, Australia

FOREKNOWLEDGE AND DETAILS

With elder relatives, having all the information also makes it easier to take into account any special considerations. Your photojournalist will be more sensitive to the needs of elderly or mobility-challenged guests and can plan ahead by visiting locations more accessible to them.

The intimacy of taking time out for older relatives can lead to some special moments. A growing trend among brides is to invite the grandparents up to the room while they are getting ready. This gives them some quiet uninterrupted time together, before the frenetic demands of the day set in. The older family members get a personal viewing of the dress and wedding day particulars, and the bride gets to share a private moment with special people who are dear to her heart.

Any such plans like this should of course be shared with your photographer. These kinds of treasured interactions add so much texture and richness not only to your wedding but to your life as a whole. You’ll hold these images as some of the most priceless entries in your living storybook.

The Bride has a moment with her grandparents in this wedding day photograph.

Photo by: Martin Almasi, Slovakia

THE MOMENT AND THE MEMORY

Your wedding day is not just about what’s next, but sharing with your new partner where you’ve been in your life. Older generations are often a sign of the joy that lies ahead.

Wedding photojournalists will often try to keep tabs on the grandparents’ locations throughout the event. At some point, the two generations are going to come together, and this is where the magic happens. There’s something riveting about the contrast between a young couple’s new “beginning” and the grandparents’ “developed” partnership. One almost senses a “passing of the torch”, but with a warm loving flame filled with wisdom, humility and promise for the future.

One caveat to this kind of documentation is whether to document it at all. There’s a meaning to some of these private family moments that sits deeper than the square corners of a borderless photo. A heartfelt exchange between a bride and her grandmother could be neutralized by the overt presence of a camera. A tightrope must be walked here, and if the photographer cannot grab the image from the shadows, sometimes it’s better to just let it exist solely between two hearts.

The love from our elders is genuine and transformative. They inform our family history and help shape future generations. Special care should always be taken at weddings to ensure they have a voice in the living narrative. For one day it will be you who is the oldest generation. And to pass on what we ourselves have been given is a gift that can never be equaled.