Three things to remember if you decide to go ahead with a gatecrash
You know the drill.
You, the groom, have decided to make the most decisive step in your life by marrying your longtime girlfriend.
On the auspicious, Saturday morning of the wedding day, you step out of the Mercedes, appearing suaver than your past 29 years of existence combined.
You think you are ready to fetch your lady from her childhood domain but, wait - in between her room and the corridor leading to the family home is either gonna be a walk in the park or the gate of hell.
Yep, we are talking about the gatecrash.
The gatecrash - a series of challenges for the groom before he is granted access to his wife-to-be. These can sometimes take a rather twisted turn that they might as well make a Japanese game-show.
Most people are fine with this peculiar activity of the wedding day. Some love the zaniness of it all. A few shun it like a plague.
In general, nearly all grooms would have taken the gatecrash in stride. But it is tempting to go overboard with the whole thing because we assume the man is game enough for it.
For a wedding photographer, the negative moments that ensue are the least we should avoid for wedding photography.
So, how should the bride’s entourage proceed with the gatecrash without ever crossing the line? Here are three things to remember.
1. It’s all about having fun - don’t end up killing it.
The bride’s entourage is never short of antics to vex the groom and his groomsmen. Still, it does not have to be a perpetual cycle of doom.
We have heard enough horror stories when the gatecrash has gone too far - whether it’s one of the brothers who got sent to the hospital after ingesting something potent or the groom getting run over by a car, as in a case in China!
If you think about it, the whole point of the gatecrash is to enliven what could otherwise be the groom’s nonchalant arrival at the bride’s home. Fun is the keyword - be careful things do not escalate that it induces a flashback of the groom’s first week in BMT!
From the perspective of wedding photography, it’s important the groom can smile for the cam throughout the day. And why not - it’s his most joyous day yet.
It is also good that the couple could look at their wedding photos years back and reminisce happily - without the husband recalling the worst he had suffered!
2. Ensure the groom has the energy for the whole day - don’t wipe him out in the first 15 minutes.
One has to wonder why push-ups is a seemingly common component of the gatecrash challenges. If the groom’s brothers are a band of triathletes, marathoners or MMA fighters, exercise would not have been a big deal.
However, what if one of the guys has an asthmatic problem? What if the only exercise your soon-to-be-husband did was that one week he prepared for the once-in-a-year IPPT test?
For the couple’s sake, keep in mind that it is going to be an intense 12 hour-plus of activities at various places. You don’t wanna incapacitate the groom with a Sasuke-like torture as he needs the energy to make it from morning preps to seeing off the final guest at the wedding dinner.
More than just physical ability, energy is also the mental and emotional aspects of it. A wedding day shouldn’t have to be stressful if not for the logistics and coordination that have to be managed by a more hands-on couple.
So, be kind. The gatecrash isn’t the crucial part of the wedding. Ensuring both the groom and bride enjoy their day to its fullest is the priority.
Moreover, as a wedding photographer, I would like to capture the groom at his best - and not looking spaced out by 7pm.
3. Respect the groom for his commitment - don’t demean him for it.
I once saw a video where the groom and his brother were made to consume some chocolaty stuff from diapers during the gatecrash - and, trust me, anything that entails eating things that look like they come from the toilet is not a flattering sight.
It shudders me to wonder whether this dare even makes (don’t mind the pun) tasteful photos.
Unless the groom is OK with such challenges, it is usually better to be respectful, especially when you are not too familiar with him.
One word of advice: communication. Pre-wedding-wise, the groom and bridesmaids could discuss a list of challenges the former would be up for. The sisters could even add a surprising twist to some challenges as long as that does not hurt the groom’s pride.
Most gatecrashes I witnessed were conducted with ample restrains. However, it is the mean-spirited ones - such as demanding even more ang bao monies at the gate to the point of near-extortion - that miss the point.
A bad gatecrash can indeed ruin the entire day and risk devaluing the milestone of marriage as well as the prior journey the couple has made together.
A positive gatecrash celebrates those achievements, respecting the man for his devotion to his lady and not punishing him for it
Furthermore, wouldn’t it make more sense that the groom remains perky on a rather demanding day?
As part of the bride’s entourage, you should help to create more celebrated moments. These are, after all, the most treasured elements of wedding photography - and pictures of which the couple could reflect with more fondness as the years pass.
Therefore, do it as it should be: The gatecrash is simply subsidiary; an enjoyable wedding for everyone is the goal.