Barefoot and wet on the busiest day of their lives

wedding photography

Does the stress of the wedding day give some couples the courage to kick off their shoes and get soaked?

On three separate occasions, I have seen wedding couples walk barefoot, on purpose, into a body of water on their wedding day.

On each of those days, the couple also had family members or members of their bridal party remove their shoes and get in along with them.

In none of these instances were the wet feet premeditated. No one had a plan for what to do when they stepped, dripping, back onto dry land. No one had a towel handy.

I love it when couples have a spirit of adventure on their wedding day. But after they’ve spent hours getting dolled up, why give in to the urge to go wading like five-year-olds, and take their equally dolled-up loved ones in with them?

I think it may have to do with how people respond to stress. Let’s face it, a typical wedding is about the most stressful happy occasion there is.

Let’s quickly put the stress in perspective: Take the whole concept of marriage out of the equation. Imagine it’s an ordinary weekend. You’re off work, and the moment you wake up, someone hands you a To Do List with everything that wedding couples have to manage that day:

  • Supervise and approve the work of a bunch of independent contractors
  • Get yourself and a group of people to several locations (sometimes without being seen by the person you’re closest to)
  • Be on time to each location–if you show up late at any point, people may be frustrated with you and/or assume that something has gone horribly wrong
  • Visit with every one of your relatives, and their plus-ones, in the span of a few hours 
  • Let photographers and videographers follow you around all day
  • Get dressed up in formal wear and/or elaborate makeup; maintain your pristine appearance while taking care of everything on this list
  • Stand in front of a large group of people while they watch you have a series of personal, tender moments
  • Host a party attended by many people whom you love dearly; talk to all of them because you may not see them again for years

On any other day, just one of those items would be a significant source of pressure. And on top of it all, you’re going to make an official lifelong commitment to your soul mate.

Everyone deals with wedding stress in their own way. Looking at that list, it’s easy to understand why most people stay focused, follow the plan, and don’t even consider getting wet.

But for some, the wedding fills them with a sense of opportunity. A license to act on any whim they like. For these people, the buzz that accompanies the wedding day is about two drinks’ worth of “what the hell, let’s do it.” 

I’ve seen all kinds of reactions to wedding day pressure. I get them. I get every one. But I sigh with admiration when I see people who can turn that stress into a spontaneous barefoot celebration. For these adventurous souls, the question is “Why wouldn’t we wade into a lake on our wedding day?”

If you’re that kind of couple, then God bless you. I tip my hat to you, and as a photographer, I absolutely adore that you give me great moments to shoot. I’d just like to offer one bit of advice:

Bring a towel.

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