Wedding photographers are hired to capture the moment - whatever it may be. They know the signs of a doomed marriage, so if you're engaged, give this thread a glance.
HHS2019 asked marriage/engagement photographers/videographers of Reddit: Have you developed a sixth sense for which marriages will flourish and which will not? What are the green and red flags?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
10. Best man came through.
Wedding band guitar player here. Drunken gorilla-sized groom physically attacked us when we cut off the music after already going over our contracted time an hour. Mother of the groom got into the mix and pulled him back. Bride was in tears. Best man pulled out a Bluetooth speaker and kept the party going. We did not get a 5 star review.
So that was a red flag. They lasted a few months.
9. Well if this isn't couple goals...
I am/was a wedding photographer: I think you can kind of tell if they are going to stay together forever based on how they handle all the little (and sometimes even big) problems a wedding day can bring.
There was one couple's story I love to tell. They are not your typical bride and groom, they had their wedding in a forest where you could also go climbing (sorry don't know what they are called) with a big wooden house and fireplace in front. All vegan food and a lot of friends with looots of dogs. Everything was perfect, except the special dress the bride had have made and painted didn't arrive in time for the ceremony and she was devastated.
She was in her sweatpants and a mickey mouse tshirt at that time and her soon-to-be-husband took off his suit, put on a big white shirt, stood there in his boxershorts and just said "well, we have to go" (cause the ceremony-person had to leave an hour later) and she just laughed and went with it. I was in shock but other than it being strange to have hairy man-legs in my wedding photos, taking the pictures was really fun and they were totally relaxed. I'm pretty sure they will be doing well.
8. Dude, do better.
And I have to tell this one too...I didn't need a sixth sense when I heard that on their honeymoon, the bride cheated on the groom, so the grooms parents didn't want the photos OR the video I had shot. Instead they wanted me to sue her for the remainder of the money they owed me. I told them I was sorry but they signed the contract so they had to pay.
The bride was a total b!tch to him all day at the wedding. It was no surprise she did this. He was absolutely heartbroken.
And yes, they sent me a check for the remainder, and I still have all the photos, developed and collecting dust in a pile still in the lab bag I brought them home in. This was in 2003, and I can't bring myself to throw them away.
The best part? The groom called me two years later to do his wedding photos and video because he was getting married again. I was all set to do it, and then the new fiancé pulled the plug. Turns out she didn't want any memories of the first wedding being involved. So I was fired as soon as I was hired.
7. You had the chance to walk away.
I am a videographer. Most weddings we video are fairly smooth. Couple is happy. Family cries tears of joy. Lots of laughter. That bit. We did film one wedding that seemed fine right up until the aisle walk.
We video the bride and groom prep. They have two suites—one for the ladies and one for the gentlemen. My partner and I were having an easy time running back and forth. Everyone is drinking. Not light beer either. I mean knocking back shots. Empty bottles everywhere. Offering us rounds too as they go by. Everyone is pretty carefree, upbeat, and ready to party, the bride and groom most of all. This is going to be the easiest wedding we film. Or so we thought.
Now everyone is seated in the ceremony hall. Groom and all his men are up front with the officiant. Bride's Maids start walking down the aisle. All beautiful. The bride walks in with her father. At this point I'm filming the groom and his reaction. We get a wide shot because we can always zoom in during post. My partner is recording the groom and her father. I see the best man in my viewfinder pull out a flask from his jacket pocket—the rest of the men do the same except Groom. So this is clearly planned. The best man speaks loud enough over the music so people turn to him away from the Bride. He raises his glass high and shouts "Here's to Bride Name, here's to Groom Name; may you never disagree. But if you do…" He points at the bride with his flask hand and finishes "F*CK YOU, here's to Groom Name."
They all drink to their frat boy toast. The best man hands the Groom his flask and he drinks it laughing!!
I have never watched a video more than I have the reaction of the Bride and her father. Jaw dropped speechless. The ceremony went on. And it's not done. The officiant asks the Bride "do you take Groom yadda yadda…" and she surprisingly, yet weakly, says yes. The officiant asks the same of the Groom and instead of just saying yes, he screams "F*ck da f*ck yeah I do!!" Bride just face palms herself in embarrassment.
The look of disgust on her whole family's face the entire night after that was priceless and highly awkward to film. I could go on with more stories about this wedding, but this just about the bride and groom. Needless to say I think that's a big red flag.
TL;DR Best man raises his flask as Bride is walking down the aisle and says "here's to Bride, here's to Groom, may you never disagree, but if you do, f*ck you *pointing at bride* heres to Groom." All groom's men drink from flasks including the Groom.
6. Cake smashers.
Photographer here. I swear that all of the couples that have split up have smashed the cake in their SOs face. None of the nice cake couples have. Just my weird anecdotal experience. Maybe it's a sign of respect for each other.
You're the second person I've heard say this. If it's not okay with both people, it totally makes sense. I feel like I would wanna do that, but plan it ahead of time.
Former wedding videographer. When doing the letter read the bride at the end said which I quote "well that was f*cking stupid." I cut that part out in the final video.
Let me clarify what im referring to. The couple reads their letter from their partner prior to the wedding. She just got done reading the grooms letter and was talking about what he wrote. To be fair, what he wrote was not exactly Shakespeare but still a harsh response.
She said it at the end of the groom's letter?
Yeah, we do letter reads. Bride writes one for groom and vice versa. Tends to add good emotion since 9 times out of 10 the speeches suck.
4. Stay off the lawn.
There is one particular venue that has a 100% divorce rate with our clients. It's a state park, which I've dubbed Omen Meadows.
Fascinating. Maybe I should stay clear of the outdoorsy types after all...
We are about to book another wedding there for early next year, so we'll see if it holds true.
Please tell us more about the horrors of Omen Meadows.
Beautiful location with a lot of civil war history, canons and 'pitch fences', or whatever they're called. It's a rustic open air 'barn variety' venue with a really pretty path along the water. It's really very charming and with basically no services built in, it's priced just around $300 for the whole day—literally like 6am to 2am, with very generous noise allowances—so it's great for the DIY crowd. I definitely understand why people find it so appealing, but it seems like some kind of bad mojo has taken up residence or something. 9/9 so far.
Red flag: The groom winking at both my assistant and I during the ceremony. He was not winking in the sense that he might have been tearing up or had something in his eye but there was a part in the ceremony where the couple sat down and he would lean his head back in his chair look past his soon to be wife and wink at me or look over his left shoulder and wink at my assistant. It was bizarre.
That's just Morse code for "I'm a douchebag."
2. There's something about cake.
Photographer here: to me the biggest sign is the cake cutting. Some people like to smear the cake everywhere as a joke, some people don't. Usually the couple is in sync about this. They know what the other would like and they don't smush cake on the others face if they wouldn't want that.
Sometimes one of them (usually the groom) will force cake all over the others face and embarrass and upset them. I've seen this happen a handful of times and all of those relationships that I have kept up with have ended in a divorce.
At my wedding, my husband KNEW not to do this. I warned him multiple times before the day NOT TO F---ING DO THIS. Guess what he does when we're cutting the cake...yup...I was FURIOUS. We lasted 2 years and he's now my ex-husband. So I can definitely attest to the accuracy of this lol.
1. This chilly experience.
Wedding videographer here.
Had a couple fly us out to Iceland for their engagement shoot. Now the first couple of days were fine and everything looked okay, but in Iceland, some lodging options aren't very luxurious. The groom chose to book what was essentially a tiny bunk house (the ones meant for those summer camps) and the bride lost it and complained the whole night.
Next morning things are pretty tense and our team continues the shoot as planned even though it is incredibly awkward. Most of our plans fall through because they start arguing.
In front of a beautiful, solitary glacier.
For two hours.
Our team can hear them yelling at each other half a mile away because there is literally no one else around for miles.
We finish up whatever we could of the last day of the shoot and awkwardly said our goodbyes. Later on I learn that they broke up a month before the wedding.