I Never Wanted to be a Wedding Photographer - {Honest Thoughts}

The other week I came across an article on Facebook from a wedding website called "The Knot" that listed "Ten Things No One Tells You About Your Wedding Photos". I'm always curious to see what blogs and other photographers + writers within this industry have to say about being a wedding photographer, so I ventured to their website and started reading through the list. I was pleasantly surprised and immediately agreed with the first point stating that: "choosing your wedding photographer will be more about a feeling than your budget or anything else" (I agree with this 100%) but after scanning the remaining 9 points, I closed the webpage out of sheer annoyance. The remaining points were (almost) all about making everything perfect; about rescheduling your images if there's rain on your wedding day, or getting the best photos for your upcoming Christmas card, and overall about making sure everything is "fabulous". It's masking what I find most beautiful not only throughout a wedding day, but also simply in life, and that is HONESTY. Real, honest, quality, life. I just cannot agree with the idea of making sure everything runs so perfectly. I don't agree that you should hold your tears in on your wedding day because you're embarrassed if someone sees you cry, or that it'll ruin your makeup. I don't believe that you should workout and lose weight leading up to your wedding so that you "look good in your wedding pictures". First and foremost, you will never hear me refer to myself as being a part of the wedding industry. I've never jived with that term, and above all else, I truly believe it to be a horrible misrepresentation of my goal and priorities as someone who photographs weddings. I will never identify as a member of the wedding photography industry; you can just find me over here in my own corner filled with other community-orientated free spirited photographers who would rather share a meal with you than judge the way that you operate your business. In the spirit of being honest, I never wanted to be a wedding photographer. Not even a little bit. The thought of being a part of these big productions that stretch so far beyond a marriage and authenticity wasn't something that I even remotely enjoyed. More often than not, we see people: brides, grooms, photographers, etc get so wrapped up in the production that weddings turn into a cutthroat game of who can put on a bigger show for their guests, or who can charge the higher price, or who can get published on the biggest wedding blog.

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I will never be a part of that. I've come to learn that the most incredible thing that comes along with owning your own business, is that you're able to tailor it to suit who you are as a person, and who you want to attract as clients/friends. My goal is to always bring my couples into my life, to truly make them my people, to allow them to trust me not because I offer them a deal or a discount, but because I offer them honesty + transparency. My only wish, is that in return I am welcomed into their own circle of people.

There is so much that being a bride and having our own wedding has taught me (way more on this to come!), but the most valuable piece of information that I've learned through journeying through this process with Mark is that it's about those people. It's all about YOUR people. Those incredible individuals who are a part of your lives. On our wedding day, as we sat at the end of our dinner table and looked out on everyone who was lost in laughter, conversations, and food, I cried out of sheer gratitude and love for every single person that I could see down the length of our table. 34 remarkably talented, smart, loyal, kind, and incredible individuals who blended so well together throughout the entirety of our weekend. 34 pieces that made up the entirety of my heart. 34 individual voices, personalities, connections; all who had given up their own time to be a part of this time in our lives. Our marriage was for Mark and I, it was to commemorate who we are as individuals, and reflect on how much better we've become as a team. It's to cherish the goals that we've achieved during our time together, and promise to work towards always being the very best versions of ourselves, for each other. Our wedding was for us, but these people--OUR people--are the ones who truly put into perspective what it's like to be a part of something greater than yourself. They demonstrated to us what it's like to be a part of a family full of those members who we've always shared relations with, as well as those that we've chosen as members along the way.

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I'll be the first to admit that I don't like weddings that are about the production; if I'm being entirely truthful I also don't care how much you've spent on catering, or on your wedding cake, or on your jewellery. I have no interest in knowing that you spent more money on your wedding than your friend who got married last summer did. I care about you. That's it. I care about your honesty and authenticity and the fire that burns within your heart. I care about the way that you cherish those in your life who have made you a better person. I care about the way that you can't go a few minutes without talking about your partner. I care that you value marriage, not because it's a production for your family + friends, but rather because you want to start a family with the one person in this world who has helped you grow into the very best version of yourself. I care about you, and I care about your whole-hearted and unwavering connection with the person that you're marrying.

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I'll follow you to the riverside, to the 1000-year old chapel, to the base the mountains, to the edge of the ocean, to the dirt floor forest, I don't care where you choose to get married, I just care that you're remaining true to yourselves throughout this process, and that you're surrounding yourself with whoever else you trust to be a part of this sacred celebration. **all images are stills captured from the video shot by Kenzie Kate during our wedding weekend.

***I am in the process of BOOKING WEDDING CONSULTATIONS with 2016 COUPLES so if you'd like to hang out over dinner or drinks, send me a line at kaihlatonaiphotography@gmail.com and we'll set something up!!***I am almost allllll full for Saturdays in July**