Wedding Photographers Reveal 'Red Flags' That Indicate a Doomed Marriage

Wedding Photographers Reveal 'Red Flags' That Indicate a Doomed Marriage

Wedding photographers have been discussing what they describe as the biggest “red flags” when shooting a couple on their big day that signify the marriage is unlikely to last. Taking place on a Reddit thread (where else?), many of the contributors agreed on tell-tale signs of a doomed partnership.

Fighting On The Day

It’s definitely not ideal, and it’s probably a sign of things to come, but managing to have an argument on the wedding day itself is high up this list. One contributor talked about how maintaining respect, both for each other as well as the photographer, during a stressful day was a “good indicator” of being able to tackle problems further into the marriage.

A photographer duo wrote:

The one couple we hope we never see again fought the entire wedding day. The couple barely looked at each other, it was so bad. Then we had to Photoshop a smile onto the groom a couple of times so he at least looked happy in the ceremony of all things. I have no idea if they are together still but I would say not.

Trying To Change Who Their Partner Is

Believe it or not, some couples make it to their wedding day whilst still trying to control their partners wants and needs.

On meeting couples before the big day to discuss requirements, one photographer wrote:

I try to get to know both people beforehand so I can work in their hobbies/unique traits into my product. A big red flag is when one person is clearly trying to change the other. I had one dude who loved poker, craft beer, cigars, hanging with his rowdy friends, video games, etc. I planned a cool shoot where I had all his friends in an old west saloon, and he sees his bride to be, etc... but she steps in and declares "Oh, he won't be doing any of those things any more. Poor b*****d just sat there in silence as I awkwardly had to plan them shopping for a Yorkie puppy instead. Halfway through post production after the wedding, he called and said he was getting an annulment. I wanted to say "could have told ya so!" but I try to stay neutral.

Getting Married Outdoors

One user name-dropped a popular outdoor venue he’s shot at many times – appropriately titled Omen Meadows – which he claims has a 100 per cent divorce rate.

Apparently, even without the prophetic name, this superstition rings true. It seems many other professionals saw the post and confessed outdoor weddings they too had photographed had a terrible success rate. "Just try to be under some sort of cover. Whether it be rain or wind, you'll want some kind of protection from the elements – or it could lead to unnecessary fighting on the day," one advised. 

You can see the full article with further talking points here.

Lead image credit: David Thomaz on Unsplash.

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18 Comments

Rob Mitchell's picture

Many moons ago when I did weddings,
I glimpsed the groom snogging someone other than the bride.

I made double sure the photos and invoice were delivered sharpish, before the shit hit the fan. Which it did.
Luckily I’d received payment.
Needless to say, there were no extra print orders after that lovely day.

Daniel Sandvik's picture

This taken from that Reddit thread a few days back?

Patrick Hall's picture

I think he mentioned Reddit in this article..

stir photos's picture

hmmm, i dunno... the data seems a bit sketch, but in the realm of what most might consider within the realm of what the common majority to be sensible, i guess i could understand the points...

#4 when couples dont dance together on the dance floor and are mingling with different people for much of the wedding.but not together
#5-no holding hands no hugging or kissing.
#6 when couples are more into the guests then remembering that the wedding is because of the 2. its subtle but when you shoot weddings long enough you notice the body language.

Possibly agree but I have noticed that if a couple are getting married and have been together a really long time you don't see quite as much of the intimacy on display at a wedding. Maybe it is because they are so far in their relationship and life together that they just dont need to display it in public perhaps as much as they used to.

Although I do thin that on a wedding day the couple should make a conscious effort to make they day about each other. Nothing else is as important.

its true that many couples are together many years and the lovee touchee days may have slowed down. but on your wedding day? if a couple isnt showing some discreet type affection to one another, I will say something is off. otoh, there are people who are happy not showing any pdoa

also he type of intimate affection for couples who have been together for many years will definitely be different then those who are 1-2 years together.

I do very much pay attention to how the couple interact and I also have to adjust myself to them when it comes to how ill shoot them. couples who are into the super romance loving mood, Ill have them kiss more and couples who are less so, ill just tell them walk hand in hand and shoot that.

T Scarb's picture

... odd article from virtue signaling button pushers... time to relax.

In 2019 people do like to use this term "virtue signalling" quite a lot don't they?

Paul Asselin's picture

I think the problem starts when one or both of the couple believe the wedding day is the most important day of their marriage.

Spy Black's picture

Pretty fascinating stuff. I bet it's all spot on.

I shot one wedding once. That was enough for me. Wedding photographers have my respect. You're one notch below war correspondents shooting in a deadly battlefield...

Kornel Flint's picture

What is this, marriage advice forum now? Seeing those symptoms are you going to take the groom or bride aside and say 'are you sure you want to do this?' C'mon... The clients personal relationship, and the strength or honesty of it isn't the photographers business, capturing the interaction between them on the day in the most pleasing and complimentary way is, regardless how good or bad they get on.

Spy Black's picture

You didn't read the article I see.

Paulo Macedo's picture

You bet this is true!

I've shot a few weddings to notice these patterns in people.
The bride and groom who keep talking to other people at the wedding.
The no kiss policy.
The "don't do that" though the whole party.

From the weddings i've shot, I could say that at least half ended up in divorce and if I recall my memories on those weddings, the couple was not comfortable with the whole situation.

Those who were happy, kissed and were together, somehow managed to survive. Two of these couples even went to work abroad together and keep on travelling the world.

On my last wedding, even knowing they already have a child, I'd bet on a divorce soon.
The bride was alergic to smiles, the kisses all forced, they got pissed at each other a couple of times, there are almost no pictures from the bride smilling and the groom seemed nervous all the time.

and you have to be the middle guy to try and calm/arrange things to make the situation go smoothly. A lot of shooting weddings isnt about the photography.

knowing how to "read" and adjust the couple so it goes smoothly. a lot of psychology is involved. and you have to be stable and calm everyone down, while everyone is late and you know you have to work under immense time constraints and to do it with a smile

Paulo Macedo's picture

How? I'm not a relationship councelor =/ the fights were on way before I even started working on the weddings. Personal stuff, that I as a professional / stranger won't put my finger into.
No pose would help out man, they might laugh about a joke or two, but the resentement between the couple is still there.

Given the relatively high rates of divorce & the high number of weddings a wedding photographer attends it isn't hard for them to believe they have some sort of sixth sense about who is and isn't going to get divorced.

Counting the hits, forgetting the misses.

Sam David's picture

Several of the images from the only wedding I ever shot ended up in an immigration hearing three months later. The couple had split, the bride was Brazilian and the Immigration folks alleged her marriage to a US citizen was a sham to get her status. The pictures were apparently used to prove nobody would spend that much money on a sham marriage. I never knew the truth, but I was well aware the bride was paying for everything out of her meager earnings as a receptionist, so I'll go for the husband was a real jerk.