The Guest Book
“We can get so caught up in the day to day stresses of life that we lose sight of the bigger picture and that is the great things about weddings, it is really about the bigger picture, appreciating life”
As a wedding videographer for over 20 years now, I have filmed many guest books. I have never thought much about it. It is one of those things that you just always have to shoot along with the cake, gifts, and other decorations. Recently however, the guest book has taken on a whole new level of importance with me. My mother died when I was 4 and my dad died when I was 19. My dad raised me as a single parent so I had many years with him and know the importance of his role in shaping me. My mother was a different story. My only memory of her was the day she died, I just remember the ambulances coming to take her away (There were 2 because one broke down in our driveway). Although my dad told me about my mom, I really didn’t know much about her. Recently through Facebook someone from my mother’s family contacted me and actually had a rare picture that had my mother and 3-year-old me in it. (left). She is someone who knew my mom and could tell me more things about her, what a blessing.
So I decided to look at the trunk of my dads that stores his items. In the trunk I found the guest book to their wedding. It had pictures as well as information on how my mom and dad met. Information that at the time may seem insignificant. Now 30 years later, in the eyes of the offspring from that relationship, each detail is very significant. I saw people’s names in it that had my first name. The name where my name came from, Randall. I was very interested in seeing who was there at my parent’s wedding. And thanks to God’s timing, this member of my moms family was able to tell me who I was named after. My Mom & Dad were married on August 31st, 1963, 2 months before President Kennedy was shot. Ironically as I’m writing this blog I’m listening to 60’s music to put me in that setting of that era. The song “My Boyfriends Back” by the Angles comes on, which was the number one song in August of 1963. The picture quality of the photos stashed in this guest book by todays standards are awful, but it doesn’t matter. The old photos are something that I can visually see, (even if they are a little out of focus & grainy). A visual aid to appreciate an important day of their life, and for that matter, an important day for me, due to the fact that, that moment would lead to the creation of my life. Can you imagine future generations being able to see HD quality video of todays weddings. Wow, what a treat to be able to see parents, grandparents weddings.
I have focused my skills for wedding photography because I appreciate life, given to us by our creator. When I shoot a corporate job, I know that video or pictures will be valuable to them only until the training session or the marketing purpose they want to use it for is complete. When that use is over which is probably 6 months to a year, most likely that video will be thrown in the trash. I know a wedding video will never be thrown in the trash… we’ll maybe for a couple that has a hostile breakup, but in most cases it will be cherished and it’s value will increase over time. I often think when I’m shooting; “who is going to be looking at this video 100 years from now or 300 years from now” (if Christ does not return before than). Even during the dancing when it can seem repetitive and boring, it is easy for a videographer to get lazy. I look for those special facial reactions, maybe of a grand parent who is enjoying the moment, but 20 years from now will probably be gone from this earth. I know that, that facial reaction will be cherished by those who are still alive watching that 3 second clip. On last Saturdays wedding, during dinner, I happened to notice that the guest book was being passed around, I raced over like my life depended upon it to shoot the parents signing the guest book. Yes might see insignificant but to the person opening up this time capsule in the future, it can be significant.
We can get so caught up in the day to day stresses of life that we lose sight of the bigger picture and that is the great things about weddings, it is really about the bigger picture, appreciating life. It’s often said that wedding is “all about the bride”, well that is not really true. Yes she is the boss and we cater to her, but the wedding is so much more than all about one person. Its about life, its about moments, its about family who will not always be with us. And just recently I found out that it is also about future generations, who can look back and appreciate their parents, thanks to the guest book. So mom and dad, even though you have long departed this earth, I want to wish you happy anniversary, and thanks mom for putting so much information in the guest book.