Snap Judgement: A Pun and Then A Story About Photography

me and nick

One of a handful of existing photographs of us together- a situation that will hopefully soon be remedied.

A couple days after we got engaged, when I was still a little too excitable about this whole wedding thing, I entered a couple of giveaways, all pimped via email by I entered them for the same reason I applied for college scholarships awarded for best Christmas tree decorations and the reason I bought a lottery ticket on my 18th and 21st birthdays- I knew I wasn’t going to win but it would have been the BEST story if I did.*

So, flush with newly engaged excitement, I tossed my name into a couple of the proverbial hats, then promptly forgot about them.

Fast forward 3 months. Since we are planning to do virtually everything for this wedding ourselves, our vendor list is very, very short. Like, as in, food, photographer, and rentals. We just booked our photographer last month, and I could really not be more thrilled. He’s amazing, and after meeting with him, I felt a new feeling: pure excitement. Not excitement twinged with a slight sense of dread, not excitement tainted by anxiety- just excitement. It felt REALLY good to have something for the wedding figured out, 100%, with nothing additional that we need to do, other than show up and try not to look like demons.

Done deal, right?

Two days after signing on the dotted line, I get a mysterious email from a different photographer.

Congrats! You’ve won the photo and videography giveaway!


My initial thought is that this is a marketing ploy- once you sign up on any of those wedding websites- The Knot, Wedding Wire, blah blah blah- your email shall overfloweth with wedding spam. But after some facebook sleuthing, I determine it to be real. I had actually been randomly selected to win this photo giveaway. Whoops.

Now, there is absolutely no contest between our photographer and the giveaway photographer. Not even a little. But free is a very powerful word, especially for a cheapskate like me. And after dropping major $$$ on the deposit for the photographer, it made my heart (and by my heart, I mean my bank account) ache a little. And it didn’t help that Nick was all like, “Why couldn’t you have won flowers or a honeymoon?” Like I didn’t already think that. But we turned it down without much of a second thought- and I’m happy that another couple (hopefully someone who has NOT booked a photographer already) will get the chance to win the lottery.

I very decidedly do not believe that things happen for a reason. But in this case… you’ve ALMOST got me convinced, universe. I’m thankful that we didn’t hear about the giveaway results until AFTER we had already booked our amazing photographer. I can’t help but think that if we had heard about it before our meeting, we might have ended up with this photographer we didn’t feel much connection to- free IS really too hard to turn down, especially when it comes to the money-suck that is a wedding. The hard decision was made for us by the fickle mistress of time, and on this occasion, she f***ed us, but it all ended up for the best.

But it got me thinking harder about wedding photography in general. It is really the only remnant of the day that remains after the food is scarfed up and the dress is packed away. A great photographer will be able to transport you back to a time and place that should be one of the most significant moments of your life (or someone else’s- I actually started to tear up looking through the weddings of strangers in our photographer’s portfolio). They will be the artifacts that your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids sort through on the living room floor after you’re gone. That’s not something to settle for, in my opinion.

*A a show about an 18-year-old lottery winner would be a huge hit in the 8-16 year old demographic.  ABC Family, I give you permission to buy this idea from me for a seven-figure sum.

** That was supposed to be a record scratch, I don’t know if that came across.