The height of bridal party picture taking in Downtown Cincinnati parks has passed for the year. In June and early July, bridal parties descend en masse in their fine attire, oblivious to anyone outside their nucleus. They horn right into the “good spots” in the parks, posing in various family configurations, until they schlepp over to another photogenic spot. The group tries hard to listen to the photographer’s prompts to make sure their photos will have the proper modern tone, the first official images of what they hope is a life-time of recording moments large and small.
The series of bridal party photos, staged and taken by a professional photographer, says a lot about the class of the families. In the age of the cell phone camera, it’s not like there aren’t commemorative images of every single aspect of a person’s life. The decision to buy a special set of pictures is part sentimentality, part money.
But back to the ones who have the money and the desire for these special pictures. I’ve seen dozens of these groups and there’s definitely a point where every one in the party (including the bride and especially groom*) looks like they’re on some terrible errand that will not end. The only time they smile is when the photographer says to. They’re over-dressed for the park, obviously, and because they look out of place they cling to each other as if an assault from a sandal wearing hipster is imminent. Often you see Grandma and Grandpa bringing up the rear of the group as it goes to the next photo location and they have that weird look of proud and pissed off.
Anyway, I’m obsessing about this today because this weekend was the first in a long while that I hadn’t seen a bridal party photo shoot at Washington Park. I was happy about that. By Sunday evening, I wasn’t even thinking about the possibility of seeing brides and grooms.
Then I went to the Cincinnati Symphony at the Taft Theater. I made it all the way to half-way through intermission when I came back to my seat to find the young couple in front of me scrolling through wedding photography sites on her cell phone, trying to choose what they wanted. I could see the phone clearly and watched them for 10 minutes. They were very into it. I guess I was too. Dammit, I hate being sentimental. I expect to see them again in the fall, probably at the Washington Park Gazebo. #ClassicPhoto
*Not to be sexist, but the stereo-typically, the groom and the groomsmen don’t seem as into it as the women.