My horror wedding story

If you’ve read my previous posts you would’ve seen how much of an excited bride to be I was. I dreamed about my wedding day since I was twelve years old. Here is my story about how it all went wrong and what I learned. 

I’m gonna try and make this story as short as possible. …

Everyone knows this: you sit down and thing about your guest list. First you’ll think of the people that are closest to you and who you love the most. They are a definite and maybe even someone who this wedding can’t happen without. Sometimes it’s the parents and sometimes siblings. But really good friends can also go as number one. So that is easy. You will think of your top 10. Maybe 15. Then you continue. And sooner or later you will come across the people that you just cannot ‘not’ invite. 

For me it was two of my aunts. They had always been there for me and were always kind. Were. So naturally I had to include them. My fiancé was against it but agreed, for me. 

It started when I sent out the invites. I didn’t hear from them. Not even a text. Eventually I called and geez that was such an akward call. After we hung up I sent my cousin (who I also didn’t want to invite but felt like I had to) a message, asking if there was something wrong and telling them as friendly as I could that if they didn’t want to attend that would be ok. All I wanted was harmony and peace on my wedding day. No reply. It felt odd and I should’ve listed to my instincts once again but I brushed it off. 

The wedding week started with our arrival (we rented a little Tuscan villa for a week) and I thought that everyone would’ve been happy to see me. Well the greeting was average. Before the wedding we asked our guests to respect our wishes for a smoke free wedding and that smoking outside the house would be ok. That pissed my father in law off in sending me a rude message about how disrespectful that was. Good start aye? Harmony remember… then when we arrived my aunts greeted me as if someone tortured them to. Then my brother in law complained about his room. It was a mess but I kept my happy smile. I must’ve forgotten that the wedding was about me being happy…

I went to our room being so sad. I sat on the floor crying for half an hour. What did I do wrong? I tried my best to please everyone. I arranged rooms so everyone was happy. I thought about seating arrangements so everyone had someone to talk to. Hey I even budgeted and sent everyone a list of shops where to get affordable food. At this stage I didn’t feel like my wedding day was two days away. I felt like I was in a nightmare. You see it in movies where everyone talks at once and you try to fix things but it doesn’t work and the world starts spinning. 

So the wedding day was here. The morning was a lovely day. Then I got ready. The hair dresser was super friendly but I didn’t love my hair. I didn’t have a trial so I suppose it was my fault. But I was too afraid to tell her. I looked nice. But it wasn’t how I really imagined it. The bouquet – peonies my favourite – had the ugliest ribbon I had ever seen. I tried to fix it but I couldn’t get all of it off. It was alright. Again not how I imagined it. At that stage it didn’t matter. About twenty minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin, it started raining. (A sign from above? Run away bride here is your chance….) but the ceremony was probably the best part of the entire day. I had never witnessed a more beautiful speech in my life. The Italian celebrant did so well. Only after the wedding I noticed that my aunts sat all the way at the very back. There were huge gaps between the chairs. It looked ridiculous in the video. Not one smile on their faces. As if it had been torture for them. I did get a congratulated hug. Kinda forced. But at least something. The day went on well considering that I didn’t think about the fact that it does rain in Tuscany. So we had to move the tables and chairs on the balcony a few times. This resulted in delays. Happens I suppose. Dinner was lovely. It did stretch a bit but I suppose that’s Italian culture. I didn’t mind. Then it rained again and we had to move the first dance indoors. All we had was a small common room. I wanted to dance with my husband under the stars in candle light so that kinda blew it. 

When the party started and we all slowly got into the dancing mood one of my aunts told me that if we didn’t dance to ‘our music’ we should play ‘adult music’ (whatever that means). That being said we didn’t hire a DJ. We created a playlist with all of our favourite songs. I’m a bit of an indie folk fan. But we also added some standard dancing songs. Wasn’t good enough for them. They went to bed. At that stage it didn’t bother me. So many things went wrong and their faces were off the entire day. 

The horror starts now. The next day we all got up at 9ish. My aunts were gone. They cleaned up the cups from the night before and went on a day trip. That wasn’t the problem. The musical started that evening. Something triggered a huge fight and sirens were screaming. Getting right into it: They blamed me for having organised a bad wedding. The service was bad and they had to clean up in the morning (by the way, no one asked them to). That (although I had been moved out of home for years living in our own apartment in a different country) I was a spoilt brat that my parents did everything and I nothing. Mind you we paid for our own wedding and organised it all by ourselves. Apparently it was my fault for my parents not living close to one of the aunts. I tell you the list goes on. It cut me so deeply. And what did I do??? I sat there trying to talk calmly and not flipping. I could’ve just told them to leave. I was about to when they told me that there didn’t even come to my wedding for me but for my parents. As if They would’ve not been safe without them. Ridiculous. Everyone heard the fight. All the other guests. My fiancés family. My friends. I was so embarrassed. And to this day I don’t know what I did wrong. 

The thing is after behaving like mad hyenas you’d expect them to depart. Nope. They stayed there for the rest of the week amusing themselves. Sitting at a different table. Drinking every night. Being loud and disturbing the others. It was a nightmare. Most of our guests didn’t pay attention. I did. It was my dream being shat on. 

On the last day when everyone departed, one of my aunts, her partner and my cousin left early in the morning. No one saw them. And the other one left just after I got up. Her husband walked down the stairs and she followed. She looked back, saw me, turned around and left. Not saying a word. 

It took me months to think of the few happy moments I had of my wedding week without crying. Everyone got over it pretty quickly. Even my husband. When you take them out of the equation it was a nice wedding. I cannot deny it but this memory with them is to this day putting this dark cloud over it in a way that I can truly say, it was not the best day of my life. 

And every time I photograph a wedding I get sad. It all comes up again. I will probably never really get over it. If I could do it again, I’d get married without guests. I’d elope. Just like my fiancé and I thought about in the very beginning. 

One day, maybe not too far from now, I will renew my vows and have the wedding of my dreams. 

Be kind to one another. 

VJ xx


I’m getting there… baby steps

After years of critiquing myself, I think I’m finally on the right track. I’m starting to morph into the photographer I want to become.

When I first started photographing people I was 18 years old. My hair dresser was the first person to give me a chance. She saw my first landscape film series I shot in Southbank, Brisbane and immediately bought it. The first moment in my photographic journey I felt that my work was appreciated. Shortly after she hired me as her wedding photographer. I had never shot a portrait of a human before. Not to mention a wedding. But she believed in me and to my surprise loved her photos. Today I look at them and see things I could’ve done better. Yet I don’t regret a thing. Life is about learning by doing. Piece by piece, step by step. Thank you Lauren for believing in me. Thank you for letting my journey begin with you.

Now 7 years later I have shot almost 30 weddings, including my own. I took a bit of a break during my studies at university. In 2013 I came to Germany and started to shoot with my husband. Every couple gave me their trust and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to grow. I love my work, but I also criticise it – understandably I am an artist after all. With every wedding I found something to improve on. Something that needed to be done better next time.

Last Saturday was one of my biggest improvements. Before I shot this wedding I coincidentally had a chat with a very talented photographer named Andreas Holm who told me to look at the moments between a pose, between a portrait and to capture the emotions of a moment. And I think this talk stuck with me. I tried my best and looking at the results I can see the difference in my work. Thank you Andreas. You were the first professional to give me constructive critique and with it I learned.

I love soft colours, romantic emotions and beauty captured in the moment. I love pastels and lace. That’s the photographer I want to be. When you think of me I want you to think of those things. Think of me as the romantic kind photographer who shows you your beauty. “In a world where you can be anything… be kind.”

I still have a lot to learn and it might take me a few tries. But baby steps will get me there.