How would it feel to be a cod fish in a sea of tuna? You might feel a little lost, possibly wondering why everyone else is swimming in one direction while you’re trying to get somewhere else. At the end of the day, we’ll never know, because we’re not fish (although I wouldn’t mind being a fish at a time like this). But I imagine this might be what it feels like to be a gay couple at a ‘straight’ wedding fair.
You walk in, confident, looking for freebies, pleased to hear Madonna playing through the speakers. But when you stride through to the main hall where all the exhibitors are congregated, Champagne in hand and ready to haggle, all you see are those huge, great wooden letters spelling out the words Mr & Mrs, swathes of pink and white fabric samples, and smug couples strutting down a makeshift catwalk. At first glance, those letters may as well spell out ‘turn around, you meringue. You’re not wanted here.’ Meanwhile, the straight couples on the catwalk may as well be shagging, just to rub it in your face.
So you feel like a cod fish in a sea of tuna. At least you’re not a fish out of water, flapping around somewhere like… I don’t know… The Westboro Baptist Church. Think about it like this: all of these exhibitors can help you throw an amazing wedding - even if it may not look like it on the surface. Sure, a cake maker might not have a three-tiered rainbow extravaganza (complete with mini pride flags) ready for you to sample, but I’m sure they’d be able to clear out an unsuspecting Lakeland store’s coloured dye section in order to make you one. To all the suppliers that I’ve made friends with over the years, business is business, and they’re not likely to turn you away if you want something as simple as Mr & Mr lettering on your wedding stationery. They might be a little weary about printing ‘F*** you, straight people’. But I’m sure that’s never happened.
However, I know that it’s not the same experience for everyone. I once photographed a lesbian wedding where one of the brides had previously approached a tailor asking for a suit for the big day. The tailor apparently got very animated and proposed a hot pink monstrosity, with a nipped-in waist and peep-toe heels (she had never worn heels in her life). I asked if she slapped the tailor Cher-style and shouted ‘snap out of it!’. Unfortunately, she didn’t; instead, she ‘accidentally’ caught her handbag on the thread of a vintage Armani suit, pulling off an entire sleeve. Oops.
With that in mind, I totally get that some wedding suppliers can be clueless. However, we’re not all like that. When it comes to your wedding photography, a camera doesn’t discriminate. A photo is a photo. The only time that a camera might not like you is if you’re invisible, or maybe on fire. But then, to my knowledge, I don’t think I’ve photographed any of The Fantastic Four.
And in terms of the person behind the camera - which is really all that matters - I don’t care if you’re straight, gay, bisexual, one-dimensional, have 14 different personalities, or identify as a tree. If you buy me a bottle of gin, I’ll count you among my very close circle of VIP clients. You won’t get any physical benefits from being in my circle, but I can guarantee you that it’s a good thing.
So, next time you’re thinking about going to an LGBT wedding fair, give a ‘regular’ wedding fair a go. There’s a chance that I might be there, and if so, come and say ‘hi’. I like to think of myself as fairly non-clueless (I still don’t understand Grindr, but then, having been married for so long, I’m hoping that I’ll never need to). But if I manage to say something out of line, feel free to slap me Cher-style, and I’ll get the memo.