Etiquette: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
As wedding photographers, our job is to capture on camera the events throughout a wedding day. We enter every wedding day with optimism and excitement, as people rely on us to help provide a boost of stability when things run behind or when family photos get a little hectic and so on. Our job is to show up, make pretty photos and to help the day flow with ease. We treat everyone kindly. And we simply expect the same in return.
Unfortunately, we can't control the actions of others. At this weekend's wedding, we were talked down to, barked at and treated like utter trash by an important member of the couple's family. From the moment this individual arrived, they began questioning every move we made and every word we said. This person, upon arriving, did not greet us or introduce themselves. They went immediately into a tirade of entitlement, questioning the timeline, barking orders at us angrily while we were photographing vital wedding day moments and even began to lie to and intimidate their future in-laws. This person never once consulted the bride and groom about their opinions or thoughts; they instead chose to take over and talk to us like we were animals.
This is not acceptable and we will absolutely never allow this to happen again.
Moving forward, we will be implementing the following etiquette code at every event that we are hired for. If a wedding guest or family member creates a hostile working environment for the photographer, we will work through the following system:
1) A warning will be given to the individual. We will nicely, yet firmly, state our policy on wedding day etiquette and what is expected of everyone.
2) If the individual continues a hostile working environment, the photographers will stop what they are doing and immediately alert the bride and groom of the situation.
3) If the individual continues a hostile working environment after the first two steps, we will offer an ultimatum to our couple. Either the individual leaves the premises or we do. There will be no exceptions to this. If the couple chooses the individual, we will leave immediately and no refund will be given.
It saddens me to write this blog post as we always try to find the good in people. We understand that wedding days can be rushed or stressful. Mom may start sweating. Dad may get frustrated when he loses his tie. Aunt Sarah may ask for the 100th photo from of us. That is what we are there for. We are there to take that 100th photo. We are there to help dad find his tie and calm his nerves. We are there to grab mom a handkerchief and put her inside in the AC. However, we are not at a wedding to be degraded and defiled. When someone creates a hostile working environment, we are not able to work with our full energy, creativity, and efficiency. Thus, we will absolutely not allow ourselves to be put into this situation again.
We live in a country where people are newly encouraged by our leaders to degrade others. It's sad but true. By hiring The Happy Bloom, you are signing up for love, kindness and the belief in treating everyone with respect and dignity.