So you want a wedding at a music festival? I have photographed many festival themed weddings and they are becoming very popular. There are even new venues specialising in festival weddings but the holy grail of these is to get married at a true music festival. Now I am a veteran festival lover, I spent the best part of my youth attending free festivals, raves and Glastonbury, among others. I was given the opportunity this year to photograph a wedding at Camp Bestival well…I jumped at the chance. Little did I realise the different challenges that a true festival wedding brings with it. Here I’ll share a little with you.
What is a Music Festival?
Music festivals in the UK started in the 1960’s with events such as the infamous Isle of Wight festival where Jimi Hendrix made his statements to the UK. Others followed suit, the big names being Reading and Glastonbury. Through the 80’s and 90’s the Rave scene inspired many free festivals illegal and legal, these developed into the festivals of today. There are numerous festivals now and it seems that there are new ones every year.
Are you the right type of bride?
In order to enjoy a festival wedding you need to be a certain type of person. You’ll need to enjoy the attention that wearing a wedding dress will bring, people at festivals have a special bond with each other and wont think twice about running up and hugging you. Happy with that? great! One other thing that a lot of people would struggle with is to relinquish control, Things happen quickly especially when a headline act hits the stage and there are a lot of variables you cannot control.
If you can accept the challenges of this type of wedding there are many unique and exciting things to look forward to. Where else can you walk among thousands of people with a wedding dress on and feel comfortable? You will be able to join in many events and be able to pull the ‘wedding card’ over and over. Free drinks, festival attractions, even the champagne in VIP area back stage and appearing on main stage are all possibilities.
From this experience I’d like to share with you a few tips from a photographers perspective.
- People. There are literally thousands of people that are not part of your event and that you cannot control. 90% love and respect your space and celebration but you will have to accept there will be the odd drunken photo-bomber.
- Other photographers. At a festival, there are press photographers everywhere, paid to represent the festival and get paid for the most saleable shots. A wedding is like honey to a bear waking from hibernation, you will get surrounded by them. This, for me, was the most difficult and unexpected part of the festival. These photographers do not respect the intimate nature of a wedding and definitely don’t understand how to stand back and observe as this image illustrates, their style of photography is that of a paparazzi not a professional service for a client.
- Drink. Lack of water and abundance of alcohol. A wedding is always an excuse to party but a festival encourages us to go from dawn to dusk, pace yourself and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
- Crowd control. Trying to keep your guests together is pretty much impossible so create meeting places around the festival at different times of the day with an advance party to claim the spot and set up camp for people to arrive.
- Lost people. Lost little ones are a difficult one to deal with, all parents get a little (understandably) frantic when their child goes missing in a large crowd. Make sure the children know who to ask for directions (officials) to a safe prearranged meeting place and make sure they stay close with an assigned and sober family member.
- The Weather. This is a biggy, if you get a wet festival, go with it, get the wellies out and get muddy. It will be awesome fun as long as you let go, One of my favourite festivals was a wet Glastonbury when I stopped trying to keep clean and dry. Skin is waterproof and mud is great for the completion. You will have the most amazing photos and epic memories.
Your day will be full of absolutely unique wonder, Some will be planned while others will be spontaneous. Your Festival Wedding will be the once in a lifetime event that you will NEVER forget. I loved photographing at this festival wedding, having done it once I now have the bug, and the experience to do it all again.
If you are planning a festival wedding please get in touch Id love to hear your ideas and share my thoughts with you.
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