Industry means depersonalising and replacing human agency with processes, policies, efficiency and replication. This is the definition of industry.
The wedding “industry” occasionally focuses more on the industry part, not the wedding part. I have been lucky this year to have worked only with creatives who focus on the wedding part. This is the people who see far beyond their official job description. They see beyond the contracts, the standard floral arch, the mere logistics, the video of the “normal type”. Instead, they invent a whole new paradigm. The paradigm that does not see processes but people. These are the role models that have noticed the opportunity to enable human connection, validate human dignity and further our understand of individualism and culture.
The wedding “industry” is at a crossroad. It has to decide whether it will focus on the wedding part or on the industry part. Industry seeks standardisation with the least amount of effort. But art seeks an opportunity to create something we get to do – not have to do.
And it all goes back to a basic question: what do we even need weddings for? Weddings do not belong in the basic needs of humans. It is quite possible to get married at the municipality without guests. Most marriages in medieval times were formalised only by a public announcement and a kiss over a local blacksmith’s anvil. It wasn’t until the 19th century that people began to hire vendors to assist. And a primary reason for this (beyond the fact that women started having jobs and less time to plan their own weddings) was… personalisation.
Personalisation and industry do not belong in the same sentence. Industry seeks to depersonalise in pursue of efficiency.
Weddings are an opportunity for people to be seen, to be part of something, to feel connected to each other and to the broader culture. If we are to create weddings that embrace this opportunity, then we need to stop for a minute and think: As photographers, planners, HMUAs etc, are we creating art, or are we replicating a recipe? Are we treating people with dignity or are we providing pretty flowers? Are we enabling the gift of human connection, or are we snapping away pretty pictures? Are we allowing people to be seen for who they seek to become, or are we simply planning logistics? Are we applying a primer on someone’s face, or are we making that person feel that she matters?
So back to the idea: can we hold a couple by the hand and ask them “where is it that you want to go”, vs taking them where it is easier for us?
If we can do that, then, in the spirit of generosity, we can be the pioneers who create a paradigm shift: Because couples nowadays are clever enough to know that it doesn’t take much to click the button of a camera and take a decent picture. It is more effort to engage with their emotional needs, their need to belong, to be respected. If couples are going to pay good money to us, then what they should be getting is not a wedding of the standard kind – but humanity. The humanity of dignity; feeling and becoming remarkable, even if for a single day. And this is priceless.
None of all this is about… “industry”!