Sunday, November 14, 2004

Doom! DOOM!

Okay. I shot Passive Aggressive Bride's wedding on Friday, and I think that was the last wedding I will ever do. Except for Shauna, if she picks me. But then that's it! Never again. Or at least, not until 2006, when AJ and Kelly's weddings are finished.

Oh. My. God. First of all, there were 25 people in the wedding party, including six children under the age of seven, all of whom were emissaries from Crack Babies of America - so hyper, so badly behaved, so uncooperative, so insistent on picking their noses when I'm trying to shoot their photos... (I am not making that up. One jr groomsman did it, and then the others thought it was funny and wouldn't stop.)

It was a classic case of "You get what you pay for," honestly. The bride had a matron of honor, a maid of honor, seven bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids, and two flower girls. But they only reserved two rooms at the hotel for them to get ready in. (DOOM!) She wanted elaborate, full centerpieces, but she ordered them from a grocery store florist to save money. There is an employee from the flower department of Stew Leonard's (a grocery store that features animatronic cows on mechanical swings above the dairy section) running around with permenant scars somewhere. To give them credit, the women's bouquets *were* gorgeous...

The bride insisted that I do all of the portraits of the wedding party in fifteen minutes, so that she could enjoy her full cocktail hour. WTF? That's like asking me to bake a wedding cake in a toaster oven. It may have been workable, ideal even, if she would have agreed to see the groom before the ceremony and get everything shot then. I tried to explain the benefits of that arrangement for months. No deal. We were supposed to at least shoot the bridesmaids' photos before the ceremony, but then the bride had a meltdown (a sobbing, makeup ruining meltdown). The hairdresser ended up putting her back together, and I ended up screening visitors at the door like the Curly Mustache Guy in the Wizard of Oz: "Nobody gets in to see the wizard! Not nobody, no how!"

I told her that I hate pulling couples out of the reception for formal photos, and she insisted that the cocktail hour was more important to her and was certain we "could make it happen." Actually, she missed a bit of the cocktail hour after all because she almost passed out after the ceremony, in her first of two fainting spells. The matron of honor and I ended up pulling her corset off of her in the bathroom, and making her sit and sip Sprite for the first 15 minutes because otherwise she was going to have to end up going up to her hotel room to lay down. (Lay down? Lie down? Gwen?)

Meanwhile, in addition to the Must-Take List that was already two pages long, her extended family kept asking me for poses of "The bride and all her cousins" or "Me, all my adult children, and grandchildren." Also, the parents and grandparents were expecting to shoot the formal photos between the ceremony and reception, as is customary, and were extremely concerned we hadn't done so by 10:15 p.m., with the reception scheduled to end at midnight. Tell me about it. Did I mention that the cake wasn't cut, and the special dances (other than the First Dance) hadn't taken place yet? DOOM!

I finally managed to get everyone together for photos around 10:30 p.m. I have my work cut out for me with PhotoShop, because everyone was drunk and disheveled by then. At one point, when I went to straighten the bride's extremely crooked veil, she actually *stamped her foot* and snapped: "@ngel@, can do this any faster? I want to dance! I waaaannnt to daaance!" Her aunt whispered, "You're going to be twitching by the end of the night" in my ear, but I was sort of speechless at that point.

Finally, the Very Aggressive Grandmother managed to corral everyone into her most desired pose (20 people), and I shot it. I didn't know that the Grandfather's New Wife (referred to all day as "The Slut") was in the shot. I didn't know she wasn't supposed to be in the shot. (DOOM!)

Massive family fight ensues, wherein Evil Granny yells at her Daughter, Daughter yells at the Bride, and Groom yells at Evil Granny. I try to smoothe things over by explaining I can digitally remove the Person in Question (a.k.a The Slut) from the photo, at which point, Evil Granny shouts "Excuse me!" and physically removes me from the coversation with a firm tap/"gentle" shove.

The Happy Couple returns to their reception, and everything goes as planned without further incident. I seek out The Grandmother, who agrees that digitally removing The Slut from the photo is the best course of action. Cake is cut, dances are danced, reception ends. At 12:15 a.m. I'm just finished packing up- the last extension cord is wrapped, the last umbrella folded, the last lightstand collasped, when the bride asks me if we can re-gather the troops and re-shoot the Fight-Causing Portrait Sans Slut.

No. No, we cannot. As I type this, I am retrospectively temped to stamp my foot and snap, "I want to dance! I waaaannnt to daaance!" I'm os glad I didn't think of doing that then. Instead, I tell her politely that I will take her out digitally, and I've already spoken to the Grandmother about it. I drive home from the Mountain Resort in a sleet/snow storm and crawl under the covers, where I have been camped for the last 48 hours.

Actually, wedding bullshit aside, I'm sick. I haven't felt like this since I had mono- exhaustion, body aches, enormous swollen glands. Luckily, you aren't supposed to be able to get mono twice. I have another day off tomorrow, and plenty of sick time to use before December 31 if needed. Feh.

Anyway, be good to each other, dear readers and fellow union bridesmaids. If I learned anyhting this weekend, it's that we should all take our birth control pills, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid operating heavy machinery in the presence of bridal magazines. :)

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