Wedding photographers spill on obnoxious brides and guests at pandemic receptions

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All the wedding photos here are stock photos unrelated to this piece

Texas monthly has a new piece that I saw on Twitter where they interview wedding photographers who are trying to make a living in this dark time. Some say that they’ve had respectful clients whose receptions have been distanced and somewhat masked, but most have nightmare-like stories about people partying maskless, spit and sweat flying. It opens with an insane story of a bridesmaid revealing to the wedding photographer, who has asthma, that the groom has tested positive but that it’s ok because he doesn’t have any symptoms! It’s a look into how selfish and oblivious people will be when there are no restrictions on them. I know it’s not going to happen, but I would love it if Biden set a nationwide limit on gatherings of unvaccinated people.

The wedding photographer had already spent an hour or two inside with the unmasked wedding party when one of the bridesmaids approached her. The woman thanked her for still showing up, considering “everything that’s going on with the groom.”

When the photographer asked what she meant by that, the bridesmaid said the groom had tested positive for the coronavirus the day before. “She was looking for me to be like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy,’ like I was going to agree with her that it was fine,” the photographer recalls. “So I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she was like, ‘Oh no no no, don’t freak out. He doesn’t have symptoms. He’s fine.’”

The photographer, who has asthma and three kids, left with her assistant before the night was over. Her exit was tense. The wedding planner said it was the most unprofessional thing she’d ever seen. Bridesmaids accused her of heartlessly ruining an innocent woman’s wedding day. She recalls one bridesmaid telling her, “I’m a teacher, I have fourteen students. If I’m willing to risk it, why aren’t you?” Another said everyone was going to get COVID eventually, so what was the big deal? The friend of the bride who’d spilled the beans cried about being the “worst bridesmaid ever.”

After the photographer left, she canceled her Thanksgiving plans with family, sent her kids to relatives’ houses so they wouldn’t get sick, and informed the brides of her upcoming weddings that she’d be subcontracting to other shooters. A few days later she started to feel sick, and sure enough, tested positive for the coronavirus. She informed the couple. “But they didn’t care,” she says. They didn’t offer to compensate her for the test, nor did they apologize for getting her sick.

Many couples have rescheduled and/or significantly downsized their guest lists. They made adjustments when Greg Abbott said wedding venues could hold events only at 50 percent capacity (now 75 percent). But in many cases, that just meant that what was once a 500-person wedding became a 250-person wedding. And even at much smaller weddings, precautions quickly fell to the wayside.

[From Texas Monthly]

It’s a long piece and well worth reading if you have the stomach for it. Some photographers were more generous than others and one said that while people have “good intentions… when you get a group of people together with alcohol and socializing, at a certain point, everyone just kind of lets loose and it gets a little dicey.” Another photographer is quoted as saying that at “about fifty percent of the weddings I’ve shot, there’s been no masks at all. It’s like we’re living in the pre-COVID parallel universe.” This is exactly why I’ve sat my ass at home except for going hiking with one person only a handful of times. Even then I was super careful.

I guess I’m not surprised. I’m just so sad, burnt out and ragey when I think about people like this. I’m ready for this pandemic to be over, but as I wrote yesterday everything has changed and we’re going to be feeling it for years. At least we’ll be able to get vaccinated, even though other people won’t and we’ll be seeing cases of it for so long.

Also, The Atlantic has a long read piece about this lost year called “2020: a Year without Parties, Celebrations or Ambition” It’s sad and hopeful and puts things in perspective.

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photos credit: Marius Muresan, Zoriana Stakhniv, Genessa Panainte on Unsplash

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44 Responses to “Wedding photographers spill on obnoxious brides and guests at pandemic receptions”

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  1. Ellie says:

    I wonder how long until the vaccine is available to the general public. We need to get some these idiot super spreaders vaccinated ASAP.

    • Joan Rivers says:

      The photographer got was infected at the wedding needs to file a suit in Small Claims Court. I think Judge Judy would agree that in this case, she was right to leave.

    • smlstrs says:

      I agree… and I wish I had any confidence that these types of people will take the vaccine when it’s available to them…

  2. Gigi says:

    Yeah I get it. This year has been hard on everyone. I had my first child in May and living overseas means my side of the family has only seen the baby via facetime and photos. I know they have paid money and they will lose money rescheduling or canceling but freaking millions of people have died and lost their jobs because of the virus, nobody knows if you will get a light or a severe reaction to it but why don’t we party?

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      I followed the link to read the full piece, and the photographer who got sick told a bridesmaid she has kids, and what if her kids die? The bridesmaids response was “yeah, but it’s her wedding day!” As much as I think I am can no longer be shocked by the selfishness of people, I am still shocked at the selfishness of people.

      • Chris says:

        I don’t care if this is a controversial thing to say, but weddings aren’t nearly as important as our culture thinks they are. I feel like most couples know this, but unfortunately some do not. No one cares as much about your wedding as you do and shouldn’t be expected to. We already have numerous stories of brides and grooms expecting everyone to bend over backwards for them. This is the most extreme version of it. A party to celebrate YOUR life event isn’t worth people’s lives and you’re a selfish a-hole if you think it is. Honestly to this bridesmaid, “F you, no one give a sh@t about her wedding.” I wish people could sue others for knowingly exposing people to coronavirus. If you test positive and decide to risk infecting others, you should be held monetarily and criminally responsible. It just makes me furious.

      • Anne Call says:

        Every wedding we were invited to in 2021 (including my son’s) got cancelled and they either postponed or had small 10 person immediate family ceremonies. Some will have a big wedding next year or some will realize that it’s not so important and that their small intimate family wedding was perfect. The people who choose to carry on with big weddings in the middle of a pandemic have been moronic and selfish their whole lives. This was just a very obvious manifestation of their idiocy.

      • Thirtynine says:

        Weddings do often seem to bring out the worst in people.

      • phaedra says:

        Chris, I agree. Our culture has lost sight of the fact that the entire purpose of the wedding day is to get married. If, on your wedding day, you get married, you have had a successful wedding. “It’s my special day!” What kind of toddler bs is that? Snowflake bride culture infantilizes women.

  3. Feedmechips says:

    Good Lord. The stupidity of people is amazing. I got married over the summer at my dining room table. The officiant appeared via Zoom. If you want to get married badly enough, you can manage to do it without an unnecessary vanity project that needlessly exposes the world at large to a deadly virus.

    • Dee Kay says:

      Good for you @feedmechips. I applaud you and your spouse for holding your wedding via Zoom. I’m sure that was difficult but it was most definitely the safest and most responsible thing to do. I hope that you have a big reception post-pandemic if you want one.

      People who have had big parties, like weddings, during this pandemic and didn’t make the sane, smart choice that you did are truly stupid and terrible.

    • liz says:

      Congratulations and well done! I wish you and your spouse a long, happy and healthy life together. You certainly started off the right way.

  4. ME says:

    I got so mad reading this. My God. WTH? How selfish and absolute f*cked up of a person do you have to be to do that? Why are people even getting married during a pandemic? What is wrong with people ???!!!

    • JayNay says:

      this isn’t just a people failure, it’s a political failure. Of course people want to celebrate, and there have been very few specific guidelines across US states (that I’m aware of).
      Here in my European country, there have been hard limits on gatherings, such as “no more than 5 people from no more than two households getting together at one time”. That’s clear, and it gives people something to follow. On the other hand, if you’re doing this free-for-all, of course you end up with situations like this. And then it’s supposed to fall to the people who have the least power (such as staff trying to get paid) to enforce whatever minimal guidelines exist.
      Long story short, it seems like large parts of the US live in complete denial regarding Covid. I predict a rough awakening come January.

  5. Chaine says:

    We are a nation of sociopaths

  6. Emily says:

    It’s awful being an event photographer right now if that’s how you make your living. People are so entitled and think the world revolves around them. I’ve told this story before but my sister was supposed to travel to Texas for her high school friend’s wedding in October (rescheduled from April already). She was supposed to be a bridesmaid and she had even bought the dress. She hesitated for awhile before deciding that no, she would not be going. My parents were also invited and they decided early on that they would not go either. My sister’s friend called her up to essentially guilt her into into coming saying things “I always envisioned getting married with you being there” etc. My sister tried to downplay it as her friend just expressing her disappointment, but it was her Texan way of calling my sister out and trying to convince her she was just being paranoid. My sister did not give in and she did not go. Later on social media, I saw pictures of the reception and no one was wearing masks, everyone was dancing on the dance floor, basically acting like there was no pandemic. We haven’t heard anything but I’m 100% sure COVID got spread around that wedding. The dumbest thing is the couple was already married. They did a very intimate solo ceremony on their original wedding date. Sure, it would have been a pain to delay a second time but they could have done it and they chose not to.

    • AMA1977 says:

      My childhood friend’s daughter got married this summer in a potential super-spreader event and I really couldn’t believe they hosted it. No masks, people all shoulder-to-shoulder for photos, just a regular wedding. We’re not close enough for me to have been invited, but I saw the pictures on FB and was shocked and so disappointed. So selfish. And this couple got engaged after the pandemic started, so this was the intended plan all along.

      By contrast, my husband’s friend/office-mate and his fiancée scaled back their long-planned “regular” wedding to a tiny one with just family outdoors, and sent out beautiful announcements showing them in their wedding-day outfits to those of us who would have been invited in “normal” times. We sent a gift worth twice what we’d usually spend as a thank you for their responsible, caring choice.

  7. TaraBest says:

    My god… The selfishness of some people knows no bounds. Everyone I know who planned on getting married this year has either postponed their wedding or eloped and will hold a reception some time in the future.

    All of my plans for the year were cancelled. I haven’t seen my sister in a year, and it’s the longest amount of time we’ve been apart in our entire lives. I should have had Christmas with my parents this year (first time since 2016) but won’t be doing that. My friends who I typically have Thanksgiving with had a new baby who I haven’t been able to meet yet (and he’s being deployed to Europe in January and will be gone for 9 months).

    So many people are missing our loved ones and big life events this year but these horrible brides and grooms really think they’re so important they deserve to have a wedding…

  8. TheOriginalMia says:

    Thank God she canceled her Thanksgiving plans and made arrangements for the other weddings. If not, she would have spread COVID from that one wedding to hundreds of others. The stupidity and selfishness of that entire wedding party is beyond the pale.

    • ME says:

      Just think of the assholes at that wedding that later went home and infected A LOT of innocent people because they are selfish jerks and couldn’t be bothered to isolate.

    • MissMarierose says:

      If that bridesmaid hadn’t let it slip that the groom had COVID, that poor photographer would’ve done just that. They weren’t going to tell her at all; that’s what so sick about it.

  9. Redder says:

    I read this really smart twitter thread that I won’t be able to do justice here but I’ll try. It explained why relatively healthy people don’t care about the virus because they’ve never had to struggle with dr visits, etc. Their concerns have never been ignored by their doctor, they’ve never been failed by medicine. So they live in this bubble where even if they do get sick, medicine will help and they’ll live. Those that have disabilities or health struggles are aware that medicine is not always a guarantee, and they know they aren’t invincible.

    Then there’s just stupid people like those in the article.

    • lascivious chicken says:

      @redder: 100% this, thank you! The chronically ill understand how fragile health is and how little help is actually available when things really go south.

      • Chris says:

        It’s absolutely unconscionable. I know young people who are going about life about as normally as they possibly can. It’s ridiculous. I don’t have a chronic illness and am relatively healthy. I just realize that others aren’t so lucky and have empathy for other humans. My desire to go out to eat or have holidays with family isn’t worth other people’s lives. I never realized how entitled and selfish people are. Quarantine sucks, but so what? It’s not forever. Get tf over it, bunch a babies. Sorry, I’m just at the end of my patience.

      • Alarmjaguar says:

        And they clearly don’t study history — our moment (pre-Covid) was the anomaly. Before WWWII people had a lot more experience with terrifying diseases. My dad had polio, my grandma said the sound of a baby with whooping cough is the worst sound you can imagine. We’ve forgotten about all of that.

    • Emm says:

      Agreed! We have a daughter with special needs and I went through IVF and I’ve seen more doctors and been to more appts in the last decade then many people have during their lifetimes three times over. We are the only ones taking this seriously in our huge family. I blame half of it on them being magas but the whole medical side of it definitely has a lot to do with it as well. My MIL has even told me she never had a miscarriage or scare and had five healthy kids. This was given as one of the reasons she couldn’t empathize with my miscarriage or fertility issues. People have no prospective and I learned that when I first started going through fertility treatments and even more so when we had our daughter. Also, most of these people, the ones who are the most selfish about this, in my experience are also the biggest “Christians”.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      yeah, just wait til those previously healthy individuals who are exposed & think they’re fine because they have minimal or no symptoms find out that they’ve actually done enough damage to their lungs to now be considered at higher risk when it comes to respiratory tract infections & air quality. Since people acclimate to decreased lung function, they’ll find out when something knocks them on their ass and they find they have a very hard/long recovery. Of course, they’ll be the first to rag on others for being selfish by then

  10. February-Pisces says:

    The photographer should sue the couple. They knew the groom had tested positive and continued with the wedding and knowingly put people at risk. They didn’t tell the photographer and knowingly exposed him only to tell him afterwards. Report them and sue the sh*t out of them.

    Ultimately people only care about themselves and do know give AF about other people.

    • mtec says:

      I agree, i feel like the photographer has grounds for a lawsuit.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      yeah, that was my reaction, too. sue the ever-loving SH*T out of them.

      for intentional infliction of illness and loss of wages and pain and suffering.

    • Dee says:

      I’d take my time editing their photos as well. Unfortunately, there’s probably not a clause in the photographer’s contract to cover personal injury during the ceremony, but there should be one for idiots who put their photographer in danger.

  11. Other name says:

    I live in Texas. None of this surprises me at all.

    I went to my only cousins wedding, in FL, in September. It was small, outdoor venue, we were told there would be precautions. We tried our best to stay safe and took precautions like driving ourself to the venue. But masks were a joke, a handful of people wore them at the ceremony and zero people wore them at the reception. Other than me, my husband, and the caterers/bartender and photographer. It was like there wasn’t a pandemic going on. My husband and I had so much anxiety while we were there and for two weeks after that. Nobody caught the virus luckily, but it was right before the second spike. I don’t think I’ll be doing something like that for a very long time.

    Here in Texas, I can’t count how many weddings this year I’ve seen with photos on social media of tons of people inside, no masks, like there was no pandemic. Other events too. Somehow people just don’t care. It’s been the most disappointing thing to me, to realize the selfishness of fellow human beings.

  12. Amber says:

    where I live in Orange County there have been tons of big weddings splashed around on social media. It’s terrible. A friend of mine did go to a wedding in Nevada in the spring that had ten people at it in total and they held it outside and everyone quarantined before. My friend had committed to being the officiant for the couple before the pandemic but that also made it a smaller gathering since they didn’t need a justice of the peace. He was the only friend they invited, the rest were family. No bridesmaids or groomsmen. They’d just been engaged for two years and wanted to be married. I can understand why people do something like *that* in the circumstances. Not 250 people partying the night away. We can host big ‘wedding receptions’ once it’s safe.

  13. (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

    “I know it’s not going to happen, but I would love it if Biden set a nationwide limit on gatherings of unvaccinated people.”

    THIS is what should’ve been done from the beginning. But same as a mask mandate, if there are NO REAL CONSEQUENCES, something with real “teeth” to it, people STILL won’t follow it.

    We’ve had a mask mandate here in CA since the beginning. I can’t tell you HOW MANY people were NOT wearing masks when I took a walk on the bluffs by the beach yesterday. Not even one they could pull up if they come near others! I was zigzagging away from them over and over… finally gave up, drove back home, and just walked around the emptier neighborhood streets.

    The stupidity and selfishness of these people just will NEVER fail to amaze me.

  14. Regina Falangie says:

    I’m a wedding photographer and luckily the weddings I was contracted to shoot this year made the right choice and postponed. I have language in my contract that protects me, Force Majeure. I’m thankful that they made the right choice so I didn’t have to back out.

    I’ve been surprised by the inquiries that continue to come in for my services this year. Not as many as usual but they still trickle in. NO WAY am I working a wedding during a pandemic. I realize how lucky I am to turn down work and I am so grateful. We are surviving but I know how weddings are and what a mess they become by the end of the evening. Since I’m female people feel the need to “man handle” me as the day and evening go on. I get grabbed and people talk inches from my face. I always get grabbed for photos, physically grabbed. Another annoying phenomenon I experience is mansplaining how to take pictures. Every single wedding, every single time, at least one dude, usually older, will talk at me about how I don’t really know what I’m doing. They usually get physical, throw their arm around me and pull me close. Dude, I’ve been paid lots of dollars to be here, step up out of my business!!!!!!!

    It’s hard physical work and no matter what I have to keep a smile on my face and be agreeable. I work my ass off at weddings.

    • Dee says:

      That kind of stuff happened to my photographer husband as well, but I’m sure it’s worse being a woman. He had a set list of photos that the bride wanted taken in a short time period, starting with big groups and then working down to just the wedding couple, so he could send grandmas and ushers off to the reception. However, people (cousins, aunts, etc.) would interrupt shooting and start pulling the bride out of position to get “a cool shot next to the window” or something like that. He would tolerate it for one or two shots, but then have me pull aside the amateur photographer to remind them that the bride and groom had specific requests he was fulfilling. Then amateur photographer would stand behind him and take the same shots and he’d have to wait for them. It’s demanding work and you don’t need a bunch of questions about what lens you’re using or “Have you thought about taking that photo like this?”

  15. Andrea says:

    I have a friend who has MS who has been very vigilant since this pandemic began until…she was a bridesmaid at her friend’s 50 person wedding. I was appalled by the photos of everyone standing together maskless. It was an indoor venue too in Western NY. I couldn’t believe the selfishness of some people and how my friend thought or assumed that everything would be ok. She didn’t get covid, but STILL.

    I firmly believe everyone can hold off getting married for a year or two. This isn’t the 1950′s where you are pregnant and MUST get married before the baby is born. Had I been getting married in 2020, I would have postponed it until 2022 and called it a day or done what my friend did in October, got married by a JP with 2 witnesses and she will have a party when this all blows over.

  16. nemo says:

    that’s basically another form of terrorism.

  17. Emily says:

    I’m sure the fourteen students and their families would feel differently about the risk. In the full article, the photog says, ‘what if my children died’ and the bridesmaid basically says, ‘it’s her WEDDING DAY’ like a wedding without a photographer is a greater tragedy than death.

    People are so selfish it’s disgusting.

  18. Laura says:

    I understand that wedding photographers and others in similar situations need to find ways to make a living. But the difficult truth is that they are willfully putting themselves into these situations. If someone is holding an indoor wedding in this atmosphere, it’s a good bet that they aren’t going to concern themselves with people like photographers, wait staff, housekeepers, etc. I don’t know what the answer is, but they really don’t have room to be shocked by the wedding party’s selfish behavior.

  19. beff says:

    I work in event planning and had a wedding this fall with a grandma hauling an o2 tank. By the end of the night one of her maskless grandkids was drunk-shouting into her face. It was appalling and made me really hate people. Why do I care more about your grandma than you?

  20. Savu says:

    We “planned” our destination wedding for February 2021. It’s likely not going to happen, unless the vaccine is rolled out much earlier than we thought. We had plans for everybody getting tested, we’re sending shields to our 18 guests for the plane, and have chosen a place where the entire area has the World Travel & Tourism Council stamp for covid safety. Our plan has always been to reevaluate six weeks beforehand, since everything is constantly changing. I’m not worried about our stay there, we’ll be outside 95% of the time. I’m worried about the flights and travel. If we aren’t totally comfortable with our more vulnerable parents traveling, then it’s not happening. My fiancé is an optimist (I love that about him!) but I’m a realist. Him holding out hope is driving me crazy, I just want to feel the disappointment now instead of later. 💔

    But in planning this wedding, I’ve spent probably five times as much time on guest flexibility and safety than anything else. We haven’t even discussed food or flowers yet. It was super important that we make sure everything was flexible – we set it up with the resort where nobody would be charged beyond a one-night deposit until 2 days before their trip. Free cancellation, basically. If we have to cancel and postpone, we needed to make sure our guests don’t lose anything.

    I saw the comment above where she said people don’t care about weddings nearly as much as society tells us to. And that’s true! Fuck society. But we planned the wedding WE wanted, with the people we love, when we want – we will be facing fertility challenges, and we gotta get crackin’. I know it doesn’t really matter whether we’re married before we’re parents. It matters to me, though. And to be honest, the wedding means so much to my parents and his parents. Not in a pressure-y way, just a sweet sentimental way.

    It all just sucks. Being in this position sucks. Feeling like you’re postponing your entire future because of the pandemic (which lots of people are doing, not just brides/grooms) sucks. Doing the right thing sucks. 😞

    • Kate says:

      I’m sorry you’re feeling such pressure and uncertainty. This pandemic really does suck for a lot of reasons. I’m sure if something is really important to you and your fiance, you guys will make it happen eventually – be it a baby and/or a special wedding with your family. It’s disappointing that it might not happen on the timeline you hoped for. The only thing that helps me when I get super focused on something out of my control is to try to make time where I can be present and engaged and just enjoying the moment. It doesn’t make those worries go away forever, but it helps me to kind of refocus on and enjoy what’s happening right now which tends to give me a more positive mindset. I hope you and your fiance have some special holiday times together and wishing you luck with what comes next!