Monday, October 25, 2010

Wedding Cheese

Unfortunately, I'm not talking about that sort of delicious cheese today (mmm cheese). Instead, I'm talking about engagement photo cheese. And the wedding wedsite cheese. And the sort of kissy, gaze-into-my-eyes posed photos that go hand in hand (pun indented) with wedding-related announcements. Because these sorts of things make my skin crawl. Maybe it comes from my years as an independent single lady, but I still don't love the public celebration of schmoop that happens leading up to weddings (on the wedding day, however... totally acceptable. Obviously). And engagement photos, partially because they're so polished looking, feel like my old online dating days when I'd screech "Did he get a professional to take his dating profile picture? Is that a headshot? Noooooooo!" I always preferred context and honesty. Maybe a picture of him with his friends. Maybe a snapshot at the beach. It didn't matter, so long as it hinted at a person who had real experiences, a personality, and looked cute enough without a professional's help.

Part of my issue with engagement photos as wedding advertisements has been that a) they seem contrived and b) they also seem to focus on the wrong thing. Because to me, a wedding isn't a MeMeMe or UsUsUs day of running around downtown Los Angeles gazing longingly into each others' eyes (which we did during our photo shoot. And which was a lot of indulgent fun).  If that's what were important to us about a wedding, we'd elope. Instead, for us, a wedding is about a ceremony and an amazing celebration that's much bigger than our individual or coupled desires. We've been warned that there won't be much schmoop time, except for our 15 minutes alone after the ceremony, because we'll be both hosting a celebration and partying our little feet off to the music. This is about building a new family. This is about sharing something with them. This is about having and excuse to see so many people who matter to us, in a way that we'll probably never have an excuse for again. It's not about us and our schmoop.

And yet, we decided to put our schmoop front and center in our save the date and wedsite, since we have some really great, albeit schmoopy, engagement photos that actually capture something of who we are and places in Los Angeles that we love. Yes, there might have been more kissing than usual, but there was probably the same amount of hand holding as on any other day.  And, as much as I wanted to dismiss engagement photos as cheesy, I'm realizing that it's nice to have a few decent photos so our far flung families can all exclaim "why, he's such a handsome man/pretty woman, I can't wait to meet him/her in person." And so, despite having never loved the idea of plastering our schmoop all over our save the dates or our wedding website, that's exactly what I did. Because it was easy. And at this point, easy trumps almost everything else. 

Photo by Rachel Chapman Art in the Union Station train tunnels


  1. I think a certain amount of schmoop is perfectly acceptable. Would you want to go to a wedding where there was no indication that the couple was actually in love?

    Also, that photo is particularly fantastic-- schmoop and all.

  2. You got me, I saw the title in my reader and thought it was about schmoopiness (schmoopyness? schmoopitude?) and then got thrown by the picture of actual cheese ("Ok, sure, I guess this is a post about sourcing cheese for the reception, I can go with that") and then back to schmoop.

    Anyway, HEAR HEAR on the shmoopiness that is the blatant celebration and idealization of couplehood but also going with the easy and yes, it is nice to have a few nice photos of us together. When we started telling extended family about the engagement, people would always ask me for a photo and there were no decent ones to be found on Facebook anywhere. The horror!

  3. @Sarah - oh, we can't avoid schmoop if we wanted because we're in love like that. So the wedding will certainly have schmoop. Buuuut, it's not the focus. We have people to greet and food to eat and dances to go crazy to. If couples rarely have time to eat at a wedding, they also rarely have time to schmoop - that's why we have the yichud (15 minutes together, right after the ceremony) and the honeymoon. Of course there needs to be gooey love, but the idea that it's the focus of the wedding makes me uncomfortable.

  4. @Elizabeth - I like subtle artsy schmoop. The internet doesn't need to see much more than that from me.

  5. The ones where the couple is staring off into the distance crack me up. Sorry, I can't take you seriously when you are looking so longingly at something I can't see. (Friends recently posted pictures like this, and uh, do not like.)

    But I think a little schmoop is ok. As long as it looks natural. It's a tricky balance, but a good photographer will make you feel comfortable enough.

    And here, here for whatever is easy! This whole process isn't, so if some engagement photos with a little schmoop are the easy way out, I say go for it!

  6. Collin and I are pretty damn schmoopy. So I'm pretty sure our engagement photos will exhibit every cliche icky schmoopy thing that wedding bloggers hate. But I'm not going to put in the effort to play it cool. Effort doesn't photograph well.

  7. @hitchdied - Huh. I generally feel like a wet blanket in the blogging world because I'm uncomfortable with public schmoop and there's generally so much cooing over perfect engagement photos. But then again, I happily ran around the city with Jason being loving and gross in photos... because that's just how we feel about each other. We were not remotely cool in our photos, because we're not remotely cool. We're schmoopy goofballs and it showed. What I'm saying is, it weirds me out in a big picture sense, but I'm embracing it anyhow on a personal level.

  8. @Ms. Bunny Hahah those pics are so funny to me. I always ask my clients if they'd prefer that pose or if they'd like to lay on their stomachs and make arm-shelves. That's usually followed by looks of mutual horror, which in turn is followed by me cracking up and convincing them that I am, in fact, kidding. :P

    I don't know about all that schmoop; yes I do ask clients to kiss a little more than they probably would do in front of a camera, but I use e-shoot as an opportunity to just hang out with couples and get to know them, so I'm not a stranger on their wedding day. Cuz really, if some stranger showed up and followed me around with a telephoto lens, I'd be a little creeped out, too.

  9. @Emily - Ha! I love you for kidding around with the ridiculousness.

    Also, to repeat a point I made in a previous post about engagement photos: I'm really happy we did them. It absolutely helped us get comfortable in front of the camera in the same sort of way we'll need to be comfortable for the wedding. Unfortunately, we don't have time without out-of-town photographer until the rehersal dinner, but our e-shoot helped prepare us a lot. I highly recommend them for that alone. But doing them to "practice" and using the photos in wedding correspondence are two different things. I was trying to wrap my head around the second part more than the first, I think.

  10. I say WOOT! for the SCHMOOP!
    But then again, we are a schmoopy couple (OK, The Candyman is and I have come to love the schmoop).
    We used silly photos of ourselves for the website (us dressed as the undead) and nada for anything else. Although our photog gave us a giant 11x17 print of me gazing lovingly into The Candyman's eyes, clutching his arm in desperate love.
    The reality? I had to pee and was trying to tell him so with my eyes. And we were standing on a grassy slope, me in heels, and I was holding on for dear life, not wanting to tumble into the creek below.
    That pic? We have it framed and it will hang somewhere front and center in the new abode.

  11. i love the schmoop
    especially in this photo
    sometimes we could all use a little schmoop in our lives

  12. Such a cute photo! Loving the mush, it should be a little mushy sometimes, eh?

  13. it was a little weird for me to get into the schmoop of our wedding photos. but our photog kept telling me to "give him that cute, sexy smile" and uh, i kinda did. :)

    love that schmoop girl.

  14. I LOVE that schmoop of yours (and the word schmoop too)! And I agree with your comment that while it weirds you out in a big picture sense, you are embracing it on a personal level. That pretty much sums up what we did around all the required wedding schmoop. I'm actually a little bummed we didn't do engagement photos, but that just means we'll have to go to sears portrait studio for holiday cards, ya know?! LOL.

  15. I love the schmoop on the wedding day itself, and I loved the "just between us" schmoop of the engagement period kept between my and my now-husband. I do not love professionally photographed pre-wedding schmoop for myself but am very forgiving of it in others (cause, y'know. It's cute as long as it's not me).

    #1 best way to avoid it? Don't get engagement pictures. We didn't. We're happy we didn't. I could see why one would if it were a free add-on to a package deal but we had zero intention of paying for yet more photos was hard enough to budget 4 hours of pro photos for the wedding itself.

  16. (I do get the point about doing it to get comfy in front of another's camera, btw. Just that it wasn't something we were willing to pay for. It was an "extra" that others may really want - and that's great - but not an extra we felt any strong desire to budget for. Like a hair trial or pro florist: nice and all, great for others...not worth the money to us.)

    We did find it easy on our wedding day to be comfortable in front of the camera - maybe because we're both into photography so we know how these things work. It was really easy to lay on the loving gazes and schmoopy kisses then...with no "getting comfortable" period beforehand. Our wedding photos are total schmoop and I love them).

  17. I think they're nice. And easy does trump everything else, when it comes down to it. So if you want to serve a block of cheese, I say go for it, and I say can I come? :)

  18. Agreed. Whatever makes things easier works for me! (We're not doing an engagement shoot though so we'll need to take our own cheesy pics if we want any ;) )

  19. Ha. I'm usually kind of allergic to schmoop. I don't know why I have such a low tolerance for dreamy-eye-gazing and kissy-face-photos. B is much more romantic than I am (although in real life, when no camera's around, I can schmoop it up with the best of them ;)). When girls would ask what SAtC character I favored, I would usually claim Samantha, mixed with Miranda.

    However. I just posted a wedding photo -- of us kissing, eeek -- on facebook. Part of me wants to barf, because, am I THAT girl?! But at the same time, it's my birthday tomorrow, I miss my husband tremendously, and I haven't posted any wedding photos since June.

    I'm always surprised how hard it is for me to to temporarily allow some public mush into my life... sometimes it's really tough for me to let go of my single-girl "I won't ever fall in love" and "holding hands disgusts me" attitude. Part of me still rebels against the idea that I AM one of those couples, the ones I used to (still?) roll my eyes at (though I swear I'm not approaching territory). But tomorrow, I'm going to allow myself to revel in the mushyness.

    (though the photo will be coming down Friday ;))

    And I'm all for artsy smoo in small doses. I love the one you posted.

  20. great photo. I can't imagine you would do anything too schmoopy! you can always do your own kind of schmoopiness anywasy (ps I have never used this word before and probably won't ever again but love that I did here!)


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