Memories money can – or can’t – buy (the brief encounter)

So I’ve decided to just continue yesterday’s post in a new post. Here it goes:

Note: This post is a continuation from this one. (Now that I think of it, this is also published on a public holiday, just like the previous one. I sure hope it wouldn’t take me til the next public holiday to finish the series!)

I do understand that the mister and I, as newly-weds, would be the stars of the wedding. After all, we would have paid a bomb a reasonable amount of money to make our customised outfits and to have someone make me up, so it’s also reasonable that we want our own photographs taken. After all, that day would mark a special beginning in our lives and that day would be the day we look extra handsome and pretty.

However, a wedding is much more than just being about the bride and groom. A wedding is a joyous occasion shared and celebrated with others. While it’s nice to see photographs of yourself as a gorgeous couple, after seeing X versions of yourself, it gets old. What I look forward to seeing in my wedding album would be photographs of my beautiful BIG family, both nuclear and extended: the usual ‘squeeze everyone into one frame’ shot, adorable kids just being kids, my pretty girl cousins, the ‘rilek one corner’ male cousins, the kecoh makcik pakcik who can be quite a riot in their sakat menyakat ways. And I would like to see them not just in formal pose-with-the-newly-weds shots, but also see them in action mingling, teasing, socialising, laughing, enjoying the food and basically enjoying themselves.

Therein lies my motivation to go ahead with professional wedding photography, despite the *ouch* it would do to my pocket. While that younger cousin (and anyone holding her camera) that I mentioned can come up with beautiful photos, most are posed in the sense of ‘Ok everyone, turn to the camera and smile!’ I would like to see more spontaneous and truly candid shots, and some ‘artsy’ details of the event, both of which only a professional wedding photographer with a keen and quick eye can capture.

So initially, I had this one photographer in mind. I had met him at the first wedding expo I went to with the intention of surveying wedding-related services. (Previously I’d go to expos only if my sister asked me along, and she wanted to go for the food; it just so happened that we would have to bulldoze through the front section where the wedding vendors usually were in order to get to the food section. We would never really be conscious that it was a wedding expo – we would just tunnel-vision-walk to where the food was.)

The first meeting with said photographer, or rather, encounter, was pretty brief. I had asked my mom along because the mister was working (in fact all my expo adventures have been without him, because he either has to work the weekend shifts, or he has to study for his part-time degree exams, or he has family commitments). It (this wedding surveying) being a totally new experience for me, I was actually clueless and very self-conscious. I had a vague idea what I wanted for my wedding – simple, not showy – and as we all know, vendors at wedding expos go all out to show what gaudy fancy setups they’re capable of. Hence, my self-consciousness stepped in because I would basically appear to be the most cheapskate budget-conscious bride-to-be (BTB) and I was afraid my idea of a wedding would sound too ridiculous to them – I didn’t even know if they would entertain silly questions from a clueless BTB.

It didn’t help that my mother, too, was averse to appearing interested to any wedding vendor. She doesn’t like pushy salespeople, and obviously in a wedding expo, the vendors are there to push their services. She doesn’t like to go through the whole experience of taking up said salespeoples’ time and effort in explaining to us what they can offer, only to dash their hopes of landing a deal by saying “We’ll see”. I’m just like her in the sense that we both don’t deal well with rejection; both as the one who dispenses rejection and the one who receives it. We would rather not be the one saying “No”, so we avoid attracting attention from possibly pushy salespeople and feign disinterest even if we are interested, because we’d rather just check things out on our own before we decide that that’s more or less what we want. As for being the one receiving rejection, we both don’t hide our disappointment well. My mom would have this down expression and tone (effectively turning it into a guilt trip for me if I were the one who had rejected her) and I would sigh and whine and complain out loud like the brat that I sometimes am. (My mister has been on the receiving end of this, and he has little patience for it so I foresee sighing and whining and complaining out loud over the phone to my second sister when we’re married, who also has little patience for it but somehow she listens all the same. Either that, or this blog or another would end up being the channel for my bratty alter ego.)

For my elder siblings’ weddings, my mom turned to the single personal contact – a couple with a small family business – for catering and decoration. Some time after my second brother’s wedding (he was the first to be married, technically pulling a langkah bendul on my first brother and first sister), the contact decided to retire from the industry so when it came to my first brother’s turn to be married, they referred my mom to their own contact. My mom just went along on the basis of trust, meeting the referred vendor at home and both parties just verbally agreeing on the basic services that would be rendered, with additional items to be discussed closer to the wedding date. I was told there wasn’t even any food-tasting done! My mom held on to that old-school concept of trust and reputation; her personal contact (who were in fact personal friends she and my dad knew for years and years already) were people whom she could trust, and whom she believes would not spoil their own reputation and the good faith established thus far by recommending a less-than-reliable vendor. Wait, how is this related to the surveying wedding-related stuff at the expo? Well basically, even though my mom has married off 3 children, she had never actually surveyed random wedding vendors for their services.

So with my mom being the reluctant first-time surveyor at a wedding expo, and me being the clueless and self-conscious BTB, we walked through the wedding section hardly even stopping to give proper eye contact to the vendors, instead fixating our eyes forward and at the flyers being pushed into our hands. We actually walked all the way past the wedding section without stopping to talk to anyone. We ended up in the Muslimah apparel section, where my mom looked at scarves for a while, and then the food section, and by the time we were done buying food, it was past 5pm, so my mom wanted to head home to pray Asar. I finally decided to pluck up the courage to talk to vendors, but since we were rushing, I think I only managed to talk to 2 or 3, with the said photographer being one of them.

I think I spoke to him for barely 10 minutes. He was polite and friendly, and he has a soft-spoken way of talking that would appeal to old folks. He explained his packages briefly, mentioning that for that expo he was teaming up with a videography company so there was a special price if I took up both photography and videography. I was initially attracted to the way his booth was set up; there was a photo ‘tree’ of some sort – a kind of stand that looks like the frame of an umbrella placed upright, with the metal ‘branches’ having pegs at the end where there were 3R photos clipped to each branch. There was also a canvas framed photo that caught my eye – I think it was of a couple on a jetty against a backdrop of beautiful blue sea. On the table there was a photobook (the kind with photos printed onto quality paper) with themed sections – first few pages for bridal gift trays (with perhaps the photograph of one tray being the focal point, with other trays in smaller photographs at the side), next ones for the solemnisation , next ones for posed family shots, etc. Everything looked professional and I was quite impressed. He also came across as sincere without being pushy, so that put me at ease. Since we spoke so briefly (my mom and I didn’t even sit down) I didn’t get that much information from him. I told him I’d consider his service and decide later, since that was only the first or second day of the expo and he would still be there for the weekend.

Little did I know then that that would be the start of quite a number of encounters… and that’s another story –  with a twist – which shall be told in another post.

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