Like any 20-something with close ties to college friends, I've been to my fair share of weddings. When one also factors in that a percentage of my job revolves around photographing weddings, well, I'm an expert on the cusp of unmitigated genius. More expert than all y'all. At weddings. And love.
Stop laughing. What's true about the above statements are that I've been in the presence of many weddings. In my experience, whether on the frontline or as a bystander, the best or worst part about a wedding is the reception. Best case scenario? You've got a DJ (or band) who understands that people just wanna dance--yeah, even Grandmother. He gets the flow, doesn't abort songs too early, guides guests effortlessly through a sonic whoop-and-holler that ends with more than a few folks sweaty, gasping for breath, chucking their shoes to the side of the dance floor. I may be pickier than most about which songs are chosen, but I can't deny that there are certain tunes that, loathe though they may be, are sure-fire boogie starters. Open bar also helps, but who am I to judge a wedding budget? (Hint: MAKE ROOM FOR THE BAR. No one but you and maybe one of your bridesmaids cares about your shoes. Allocate that money, folks. Trust me.)
As a photographer, I can also attest to the fact that the photos taken of a wedding guest while in the throes of "I Gotta Feeling" will be alternately the best and worst photos ever captured of that person. It's science. Naturally, I discreetly shuffle the worst of the bunch to the farthest hinterlands of my hard drive, never to see the light. But if you're a bride or groom and you're reading this, I guarantee you your photographer has a file somewhere containing the best/worst from the various dance parties he or she has photographed. Also, science. Science backs me up on most of my claims today.
All's I'm saying is, if the photographers united and made a book of all those photos, GAME OVER. You'll just have to accept the fact that you have a quad chin, manic bug eyes, and rubbery arms. Oh, and you think that as a photographer, I'm immune to the immortalization? Think again.
There are times when the receptions are bad. There are times when the receptions are so-so. But once in a great while, if you're lucky, there are times when the reception is a party that just. Won't. Stop.
So I tip my hat to Stephanie and Andy, whose wedding I shot with Dustin Giallanza, for throwing one of the best bashes I've ever had the privilege of photographing. You know what makes a reception work? When your guests are having fun.
Here are six of my favorite party shots, the first three by me and the last three by Dustin.