{#2} UHH, CAN I DO MY WEDDING OVER? | How one photographer ruined their wedding day… and how another saved their memories. | Images by Diana Rush Photography

just to be clear ↑ these are the saved memories, thanks to the incredibly kind and talented Diana Rush.  The photographer who committed the wedding fail in today’s story?  Will not be named.  Homey don’t play like that.  (I’m homey, if you were unsure.)

Happiest of afternoons to you, my darlings.  How’s your day going?  How’s your face?  How’s your complexion – is it to your standards, or is Shark Week unleasing its nastiness on your pores?  I certainly hope not, that s*** is insufferable.  It’s enough to get me to choose the date for my wedding based entirely upon my menstrual cycle.  And maybe on the availability of my immediate and extended family.  But menstruation is going to trump second cousin availability, for sure.

But I digress.

Here, get a cup of tea, grab your Snuggie or whatever accoutrements to which you’re accustomed when spending some free time with me on this blog, sit down on a comfortable chair (or if you’re at the office, a ‘chair’ since only the fancy higherups get the fancy ergonomic ones which is so unfair) and have a listen.  Because things just took a turn into Seriousville.  You see, sometimes… something terrible happens on your wedding day.  But guess what?  There’s something you can do to make the memories 1000% better than they had to turn out.  And I feel slightly uncomfortable talking about this, because it talks about the unfortunate negative side of how things can go, but that just pretty much means I HAVE to blog it now, right?  What the hell am I doing blogging if I’m not telling you things can go wrong.  So here we go.   Well, naturally, we begin with me being a ridiculous.  THEN, the story.

When I sit down to blog I like a thick, aggressive mix of puppy poopsies and truck exhaust in my midst.  It’s the only way I’ll do it.  You can understand why I live in NYC, then, I’m sure.  Something about that concoction gets the juices flowing.  Probably mostly cancerous juices but ‘the juices,’ nonetheless.  And you know it’s the right potency when you have trouble seeing and struggle to craft meaningful prose.  But here’s the thing… these specific types of fumes make for some of my best, most worthwhile reads.  By best and worthwhile I of course mean hardest fought, least legible and most insufferable to mold into anything trying to work its way into a cohesive arrangement of ideas and sentences on my blog.  This is upsetting to me because I’m trying really hard to word this post properly, as it addresses a very serious issue that happens probably a lot more than one might suspect, but all I can smell is puppy farts as I type – bad ones, the really bad kind that make you ask yourself, “is it ok that I’m inhaling this?  Is this going to negatively impact my health, like down the road?” – and they’re making me loopy and the opposite of discerning and seriousfaced.  Come on Alison, put on your seriousfacicle!  Seriousface is going to require gasmaskedface or immediate-handling-of-puppy-butt-proximity.  I really love having Bam close to me but alas all my gasmasks are in storage so I’m going to have to move this buttblaster.

Ok.  Now.  You guys know how I feel about the First Look on your wedding day, right?  If not, you can brush up on it by clicking here, or you can just let me tell you right here right now – I’m am FOR the first look.  For so many reasons, all of which I identify in that post.

HOWEVERISTAN.  Just because I’m for it, doesn’t mean you have to be.  This is what we in the business call human rights.  You get to choose if you wanna see one another before your ceremony, or if you wanna wait for the walk down the aisle.  Totes your call.  It’s a beautiful thing, choice.  Isn’t it?

Unfortunately, before Megan and Adam met Diana, of Diana Rush Photography, they faced a situation involving a different photographer, and it wudn’t pretty.  Here, is their disturbing (and then all of sudden uplifting THANK GOODNESS) story, as told by Diana herself:

I originally met Megan at a wedding where I was the photographer & she was doing the bride’s make-up… I ended up hiring her myself later to do my hair & make-up for my brother’s wedding.  While she did my hair & make up she began to share with me about her own wedding experience & how her photographer had ruined her wedding day. As a photographer, this is something that you never want to hear, but it was also a good dose of reality about how (as a wedding photographer) you can really set the mood for the day.  Megan had shared that the week before her wedding, the photographer had contacted her & started pushing the First Look, because she didn’t think the lighting would be good enough after the wedding.  Megan & Adam are both very traditional and wanted to wait till the ceremony to see each other, because of this, they ended up getting into an argument with the photographer who told them that their photos wouldn’t turn out good because they had chosen to not do a first look.  As a result, when the wedding day arrived, the tension between the photographer & Megan was pretty high… as any bride knows, you spend your entire day with your photographer, so being stuck with a person you are angry with for 8 hours straight might be rough & from Megan’s account it was.  She felt that she wasn’t pretty when looking back through her photos, and as a result didn’t have an album or pictures printed from her day.  As we continued talking I shared with Megan that she could always do an after session or Trash the Dress to get some of those moments back, and the next thing I knew, we were planning just that!

Although I am a BIG fan of the first look & letting a couple have those special moments together before the ceremony, I also know that it’s just not right for every couple & would never want a couple to feel pressured into it or get upset with me for pushing to do something they weren’t comfortable with…. hence the creation of the after session.  For Adam & Megan, an after session was the perfect choice, and in planning it we wanted to make it around them & the things they are into.  For these two, hiking, camping, off road biking & all things outdoors are what they love, so when I searched for a location I knew it needed to be something off the beaten path & something pretty rugged! The session was literally a dream as Adam & Megan are gorgeous & so much fun to be with.

A few months after the session, Megan shared with me that she felt that their after session was like getting married all over again & how special the experience was to both of them.

Here is what Megan had to say:

Adam and I wanted to do something special with our after shoot for many reasons. We were a little disappointed with out wedding photos and when we found Diana Rush Photography we knew that she was the one that would deliver something amazing. After being married a year we wanted to revisit our wedding day and celebrate our marriage in a unique way, it was so incredible to slip back into that dress and celebrate our marriage. As a hair stylist and makeup artist, I wanted to do something edgy and editorial, something I would see in a magazine. Now we are blessed with the most creative and beautiful photos we have ever taken.  It was such an amazing experience.  My husband said he actually had fun! You know men: they don’t like being in front of any camera.  He had an amazing time!  I love getting to gaze into his eyes and pose with him.  It’s any girls dream.  Diana worked so well with us to capture our lifestyle and personalities on film. We are outdoorsy, adventurous, and playful and we had a blast on site.

They look AMAZING.  I would be elated to look back upon these photos.  Clearly so worth it!

So, my friends… zee questions, zey begin.  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts, on one (or two or three or all if you wanna go FULL TILT) of the below, or just what’s going on inside your brain right now.

1) How do you feel about the First Look?

2) Have you ever worried that your wedding photos wouldn’t come out the way you’ve been hoping?  Worse, did this happen to you, in your own personal way?

3) Have you had trouble choosing your perfect wedding photographer, in part, because you have a little concern about possibly being disappointed when the proofs come in after your big day?

4) Would you consider an after wedding session?

Excited to hear what you have to say!

xoxo!  – Alison

Diana Rush Photography is a member of TKB’s Vendor Love.  You can explore more of Diana Rush Photography in our guide!

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, {M-Session}

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  1. libby on November 3, 2011

    I’m in the low percent of brides who don’t favor the first look. To me, the walk down the aisle is the climax of the wedding. And, yes, I’m a bit traditional.
    I did not do a first look, and looking back I don’t have a million portraits of my groom and I. I thought I had made a mistake, but I decided that the actual moment we had was far better than any picture. And the amazing photos we do have capture the day as we planned it. I’d skip the first look again if I had to do it over.

  2. Kerry on November 3, 2011

    I can’t understand why a wedding photographer would want to push their point so hard that they would actually end up ruining any bond between them and the couple before the wedding… that is seriously the most retarded photographer strategy I have EVER come across, for so many reasons!
    A: it’s their wedding, not yours… you may have a point about the light, and are entitled to mention it, but if they’re not into your suggestion, drop it and move on!
    B: it is virtually impossible to get real, beautiful, touching imagery of people who are pissed off with you, and don’t trust your judgment… and the fact that you, as the photographer, created that mistrust and awkwardness just goes against everything you should be trying to acheive with your work.
    C: as a wedding photographer, you should be able to get amazing images regardless of the time of day or the lighting situation… this is why you are a professional, this is why you charge what you do, we try our best to get the best light to work with, but sometims it doesn’t work out that way, and you just have to roll with it and go with plan b… if you can’t do that comfortably, consider a career change.

  3. Ilana on November 3, 2011

    I am all for the first look. Since my fiance and I are basically planning an event titled: “We’re Going To Elope, But You Can Come Along,” I feel that we’ll probably enjoy a first look – because it’s about us having a special moment, and not an exhibition of the first time we see each other in front of everyone else.

    On the subject of photography: my FH’s parents own a business and one of their employees does wedding photography on the side. I am in the process of trying to decide if we want him to shoot our wedding but as time progresses I”m realizing it’s making me nervous. I discovered he’s only actually shot 8-10 weddings over the past 15 years, doesn’t have the ability yet to show his photos via the interweb, and looking at some of his nature photography, I’m not thrilled with the light. Wow, as I write this I’m realizing exactly how nervous I am about hiring him…anyway, I think we might hire a professional. Yup. Thanks for bringing this one up. I feel like photos are so important and to be nervous about the documentation of the one day ever in which all this happens is huge and scary and unneeded stress. Sooooo yes. Thank you for helping me make up my mind!

  4. Kristine {In Love, Engaged} on November 3, 2011

    Ok, ok. First things first, I don’t know how Megan could have taken a bad picture. That girl is gorgeous! But what an awful experience to look back on–being so upset with your photographer that you can’t relax or look yourself in your photos. Which goes to show that you have to be comfortable in front of your photographer! And a good photographer is someone who makes even the perfect stranger feel like a friend.

    And about this first look business, it was one of the best moments of my wedding. The ONLY thing I wanted to do that day was see my soon-to-be husband. I was feeling stressed and a little overwhelmed all morning but after I saw him, I relaxed. Oh, and also–our photographer (and good friend) was due with her first baby around the time we wanted to get married so instead of finding someone else, we moved our date up. THAT’s how important it was! :)

  5. Such a huge debate, always!

    I’m a wedding photographer and I never push the first look, because if you’ve always dreamed of your wedding a certain way I don’t want to ruin that with my preferences, we can still make it work!

    BUT… I do let couples know (as early as I can) that if they are having an evening wedding and the ceremony won’t be over until after sunset they aren’t going to get the same images they would if they pushed the wedding back a bit or did opt to do photos before.

    Yes, we can handle flash and off camera lighting, but we can’t recreate the sun. We LOVE sunsets, sunrises, diffused light, window light…light in general. If you want the wedding photos you see and love on blogs, the time of day you choose is very important!

    I do recommend day-after sessions for couples who might not have as much time for their individual photos, or who want photos somewhere different without worrying about the dress getting dirty.

    Basically, really know what you want (and why) and schedule accordingly. Talk with your photographer, fiance, and venue in advance and work it out!

  6. Corinne Krogh on November 3, 2011

    I don’t know how a photographer can be like that and live with themselves! I don’t think they’re in the right business, I feel awful for the couple.

    I had a first look and it was totally worth it for me and my guy. But then again our whole wedding was relaxed and we had a cocktail hour before getting hitched in a meadow. I found my photographer last minute but liked her portfolio, and the pictures turned out great. Although we didn’t get one with us both smiling directly at the camera… but that’s really the only disappointment. I’m happy for what we paid. I think more importantly for us we’d invest in an anniversary shoot rather than reliving our wedding. Been there, done that, I want to document the story of our life together! Not just the beginning of it.

  7. Stephanie// Vintage Modern Bride on November 3, 2011

    i actually love first looks, but not for myself. i pride on being the “vintage modern bride” and although many aspects of our wedding will be “modern” we like the traditionalism of plain ole down the aisle pics. there’s something so magical about seeing your husband for the first time as you walk down the aisle.

    i’m sorry to hear that Megan and her husband were unhappy with their wedding day pictures, but geez these are AMAZING.

  8. Stephen on November 3, 2011


    First off – a good photographer can make great images with any kind of light!

    Second off – never push your bride into doing something she doesn’t want to do!

    I’m so glad you got some good images in the end!

  9. Nicole on November 4, 2011

    Well this little bride looks fab here andplusalso I think her hubby looks like ryan gossling. Drool!

    Anyway, I am all for the first look. It was right for us, but didnt turn out exactly all firstlookish. It was more or less a chaotic dash to get all the photos in including bridal party and family while contending with flooding.

    I too had a listed a bad photog for the wedding. She said the date was a go and she would def be there. 2 months before she fell off the face of the earth and my cousin from MN flew in the week of to save the day. Still waiting on those pics, but I know they will be great. To date all attempts to contact photog numbero uno have been a fail!

    I was thinking about a Trash the dress, but I’m liking anniversary pics better.

  10. Laura {Photography by Laura Babb} on November 4, 2011

    First Looks aren’t all that popular here in the UK, they are still a bit of a novelty that we haven’t totally caught on to yet. I’m a photographer and I’m getting married myself next year and I’m probably going to have one but I’d never dream of pushing one on to my couples if that’s not what they wanted.

    I wrote a blog post the other day about the wedding industry and how some vendors need to realize that we are here to provide a service to customers. It’s patronizing and wrong to assume we know what’s best for their weddings better than they do. It’s very, very sad when you here these stories of weddings being ruined by vendors because they simply haven’t listened or properly considered the needs of their customers.

  11. mary on November 4, 2011

    There are two sides to every story. I believe the bride may have wanted a certain look to her pics and the time of day was going to make that impossible. But, brides rule. As you photogs know, it’s not financially smart to “ruin” a bride’s day, word of mouth being what it is to the industry — that’s why I think there may be more to this story and believe it is a disservice to give only one.

  12. Melissa Jean on November 4, 2011

    It sounds like their first photographer wasn’t confident in herself and her skill. If the couple wants things that way find a way to make it work. Wedding photography is where nothing goes as planned and you gotta think on your feet.

    As to the couple– oh my freaking wow! Hello sexy couple! They must make movies about you two.

  13. Laicie on November 4, 2011

    Well this is perfectly timed.

    Last night, I had a wedding nightmare… a big one. It was the day of and we only had the things we’ve planned for now (a whole year out). No band… no hair and makeup… half-assed decor.

    It was awful.

    But also kind of hilarious because it was so absurd… like the naked-in-front-of-a-crowd dream.

    Of course, the real worry under it all is something like this! The fear that your wedding day might actually be ruined — and the pictures are a HUGE part of that for us. How comforting to see just a gorgeous redo! In the end the really important thing is the day itself… and honestly I’m not sure I could have stuck with said photographer if they were going to be such a jerk.

    … I’m not actually for the first look. I want that moment. I would die if my photographer tried to bully me into it.

    (I love him like crazy though… I’m pretty positive he wouldn’t.)

  14. Alicia @CharityWedding on November 4, 2011

    AH! This photos actually made me a little emotional, mostly because I knew how incredible they must be to the couple. I can not imagine having bad wedding photos or angst with my photog on the day of! The photos are so stunning and I am so happy for them! I AM a HUGE fan of first looks for me but as a guest at weddings there is nothing I love more than watching the groom’s face as the bride makes an appearance. It is priceless. So I am cool either way. For us it was an intimate moment that relieved a TON of anxiety and made the ceremony a little less terrible in the nerves department.

  15. Nicole on November 4, 2011

    um this is happening to me as we speak. we are slowly getting sneak peeks of our photos back and i am so disappointed at the way i look in the photos. a lot of them are from a low angle (which you know is not that flattering for the face, ifyaknowwhatimsaying, and there aren’t any full body shots of the two of us together posed so far … i mean why wouldn’t you take a full body shot of the 2 of us since i was wearing a full length gown with a train? ok maybe im freaking out and i haven’t seen them all yet but i really haven’t seen one yet of just the 2 of us that i’m dying to frame and put on our Christmas card! hopefully one exists and i just haven’t seen it yet…

  16. Christina on November 4, 2011

    I’m glad that you asked these questions.

    1) I’m all for the first look, and I had it at my wedding 5 months ago. The day was a whirlwind of events (from 5:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.) , and just being able to have that 5-10 minutes of calm together where it was just the two of us was sweet and tender. It allowed us to fully take in the magnitude of the day.

    2 & 3) Unfortunately, my wedding photos did NOT turn out the way I thought they would. We had a hard time finding a photographer who captured pictures in the style we wanted. In the end, we went with a photographer that is quite well known and whom my husband liked. I wasn’t in love with this photographer’s style, but he was good, so I didn’t object. Fast forward to our wedding, I kept asking him when he was going to take pictures of me and my bridesmaids or the wedding party together. He kept saying later. That later never came, and because I was so occupied with everything else going on that day, I completely forgot (do you blame me?). Then I had to hunt down my photographer to take detail pics of our rings…

    Then the proofs arrive. Wow! Why was the whole ceremony taken in black and white? Why are there no photos of me at my grand entrance? Why are there no detail shots of the ceremony? Why are there no reception details close-ups that we discussed beforehand? We spent a year hand-making elements of the decor, and none of it was photographed! And why, oh why, are there no shots of my husband and I with my immediate family?

    I WAS DEVASTATED!! Our only explanation from the photographer was that he didn’t know what happened because it’s never happened to him before. Right…that’s not an acceptable answer. That’s all we got from him (photographers have a clause saying there are no guarantees). We paid a shit load with a reputable photog for this?!!

    I’m so disappointed in my pics that I didn’t want to buy anything at all…still don’t…

    And what stabs is that people who see our pictures point out those issues. And we all can’t understand why my wedding photos look so different from all the other weddings he took…So it’s a wound that continues to fester…

    4) Sigh…hubby and I plan on doing after shots to capture some of the shots the photographer didn’t. So yeah, we are all for after shots!

    (P.S. Thanks for letting me vent. I feel comforted talking to people who understand.)

  17. Lesley on November 4, 2011

    Thanks for this post. I LOVE the idea of a session after the wedding and hadn’t really considered it before.

    For me, I don’t want a First Look – only because I like the traditional. But I agree with what everyone else is saying – its up to the couple. You’re paying your vendors to help you create the day YOU want.

    This couple is beautiful and I’m so glad there is a happy ending to their story.

  18. Lena on November 4, 2011

    How on EARTH could you make a woman that gorgeous look bad? I guess if you’re pissed at her…

    I’ll be honest, I am still torn on my feelings about first looks, but I think that’s for every couple to decide. I also think it’s probably helpful to know if every single couple your photog has ever shot has had a first look, or done an e-shoot with them beforehand, or if there are generally things your future photog will rely on throughout the day. Because if you’re not into that stuff, as much as you might like their work, maybe they’re not the right people.

    I’m amazed how often I hear, “I HATED my wedding photos” or “I cried when I saw them” and that breaks my tiny, cold heart. Thank goodness for gorgeous after sessions like this one to make those girls smile

  19. Courtney Murray on November 5, 2011

    I am a photography student who is graduating in a few short months. I have already photographed three weddings and I am in the middle of starting my business. As a photographer I know that my main goal is to please my customers and that means making suggestions for ideas that they may not have thought of, but never pushing them into something they did not want to do. These photos are all about them. I think it is tragic what that other photographer did. Shame on them! Congrats to Diana Rush Photography though, she did an amazing job. They really deserved this wonderful session. Such a beautiful couple!

    As for first looks, I have no preference. If a couple wants them then that is a new and exciting opportunity for more photos, if not, then I just make the bridal portraits after the ceremony. The goal is to make the couple happy :) I think that is the best part about being a photographer: showing a couple how amazing their love is and how beautiful they really are.

  20. bridal girl on November 9, 2011

    I wasn’t that much involved with my wedding back then and if given a chance to do it all over again, I would have wanted to do it totally different. And if possible I would have searched for a better photographer.
    I’ve been marred nine years already and with two kids. So is it still possible to have a post wedding shoot?

  21. Alyssa on November 12, 2011

    I was a bridesmaid in a wedding October 30, 2010. The photographer was just short of horrible. She yelled at my little brother to not take pictures while she was (mind you, he was not taking pictures, just had a camera with him and she approached him). She did not do any of the posed shots the Bride specifically requested – even after I made sure we had the opportunity and set up the scene at the awesome antique bar. Almost all of the photos that look decent are the, “one standing next to the other, look here, smile, okay now turn” Nothing in the moment gorgeousness – all standard (and for the amazing venue and surroundings) quite boring. The images she enlarged of the e-shoot to use at the reception might as well of been an ad for her photography her name was SO LARGE and almost center of the images… it was absurd. And to top off all of that, the photographer had to be threatened with legal action for my friends to get/see any pics of the wedding (which had all been paid for) After over 6MONTHS of waiting, they received an unlabeled burned cd in the mail with the crappy images on it… never got the album that was to be included, or the prints that were paid for. Yep, and this was supposed to be a professional, paid pro rates. Really sad.

  22. Sara on November 30, 2011

    Your blog is amazing.


  23. Stephen on March 24, 2012

    It’s their day, let them do what they want.

  24. Nicole Rene on April 3, 2012

    awwww well the after session is absolutely BEAUTIFUl!!!!

  25. Norbertmomsen on February 22, 2013

    i need a photographers for my wedding


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