The Perfect Wedding – Notes from a photographer

Don’t believe the magazines! The perfect wedding and why real and natural photography is still important in 2023 by wedding photographer Wes Simpson.

I am frequently asked, “What is the perfect wedding?” And, having been named two-time Wedding Photographer of the Year, I found myself reflecting on this and why I do what I do.

I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings and there’s one thing that I’ve noticed. The best weddings are always about people rather than the details or the event.

However, when we think about the perfect wedding, we often think of pictures of couples in luxurious settings with impeccable decor that are often published in magazines and blog articles.

But don’t let magazines fool you into what the perfect wedding is for you…


The perfect wedding photo

Have the magazines got it wrong?

I’ve previously submitted wedding images to popular magazines and blogs. All of them were real weddings that captured emotion, life, and love. I was thrilled to share the stories I had captured.

However, I would frequently receive the following response:

“The pictures are all really nice, but we need to see more details…

We need images of the floral arrangements, table settings, and other touches. Brides want to find inspiration in our Real Weddings features for organising the perfect wedding.”

And I get it. They need to sell advertising and they want to sell “the dream of the perfect wedding!” by showcasing products and services. But it’s not real.

The purpose of wedding magazines is to provide ideas for the industry and to market vendors, such as florists, venues, and photographers to the thousands of couples planning their weddings.

My work has appeared in these publications. I’ve been mentioned on several wedding blogs. I’ve even paid to advertise in magazines that “reach high-end brides.”

But as I reflect on the hundreds of weddings I’ve photographed worldwide, one thing stands out. And I can’t emphasise this enough:
Every wedding is perfect.

Yes, details matter! A couture gown, designer shoes, and a stunning location provide a lovely backdrop, but they are meaningless without the people we love and care about the most.

I love a good party.
I adore cake.
I love matchy-matchy bridesmaid dresses.
I enjoy photographing flowers, shoes, and designer watches.
But do you know why I REALLY do what I do?

To photograph your parents as they cry together in the first row of the church.

To capture your sister dancing with the man she will marry in three years.

To capture those children who will grow up quickly. To capture images of your grandfather, who will pass away next spring.

To photograph your first kiss as husband and wife, the flower girl sleeping under a table, and perhaps even your ex looking wistfully as he hugs you a little too long in the receiving line.

You already know that your dress will end up in the loft, your flowers will wilt before the ceremony ends, and no one cares about the chair covers. But those photos… they’ll last forever.

You’ll have them when your own children are born. When you have the biggest fight ever with your partner and need to be reminded of how much you truly love each other.

You’ll have them when your parents pass away and you realise the last time you danced with them was at your wedding…

I’ve nothing against wedding magazines and their never-ending pursuit of “the perfect wedding” details. PLEASE throw the party of your lives down to the smallest detail. EXACTLY as you envisioned it.

But it’s my job to see past all of that. My job is to provide you with photos that remind you why you threw that ridiculously expensive party in the first place.

“Life passes most people by whilst their busy making grand plans for it.” – Jonny Depp

Please close the magazine if you are currently planning the perfect wedding. Log off of the internet. Take a look at the person you want to spend your life with and remind yourself of the reason you’re planning this wedding.

And when the day arrives, truly CELEBRATE. Stop worrying about the perfect wedding, your shoes, cake, and flowers.

When it’s all said and done, you’ll be married and surrounded by the people who know and love you the most.
That is, without a doubt, the Perfect Wedding.


Useful links:

About Wes


What is documentary wedding photography

7 Bridal preparation tips for beautiful photos

Wedding photography for couples who want to cherish their special day.

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