One day I found myself wondering- like you do- what is the tradition behind carrying a bouquet on one's wedding day? Here are the possibilities my research turned up.
-To ward off evil spirits
-People didn't bathe back in the day and the flowers helped mask the smell
-Flowers are a symbol of fertility
-Bouquets are pretty
And then I wondered, which of these still apply today? This depends on your personal beliefs, but in general, florists don't market certain bouquets as the strongest ward for djinn or guaranteed to cover up your own stink, so don't bother bathing on the morning of the wedding!
I like the last answer the best.
And so, on Kelsey & Peter's wedding day I found myself holding Kelsey's dress and contemplating the fluorescent light and cinderblock walls in the tiny getting-ready room, thinking, 'this simply will not do.'
During the previous year I'd read two or three separate blog posts by other photographers agonizing over my immediate dilemma: the decision to take something out of context and put a wedding dress on a tree (yes, this exact scenario, this is not metaphorical).
Why did I hang the dress on a tree? I have no idea! It made no sense! It had no bearing on the story of the wedding day! That tree was meaningless! The experience of hanging a dress on a tree made me question myself as an artist!
Which I think is great; growing your style, learning how you work best, those are great things.
But I knew at that moment that I was going to end up hanging Kelsey's dress on a tree. And I was perfectly okay with it.
Weddings are pretty. A bouquet's sole purpose is to be pretty. So what if I hung a dress on a tree just because it was pretty?
I suppose where we succeed most as photographers is where pretty meets storytelling.
And now I have a story about roaming the front lawn at the Atrium with two of Kelsey's bridesmaids laughing about hanging the dress on a tree, and some pretty pictures. I feel like it's a win.