Why I Don’t Feature Styled Shoots On We Are The Wanderers

Have you ever scrolled through Pinterest or another wedding blog and wondered why there are so many frickin’ perfect looking weddings? Elaborate tables set for 2 in the woods with a perfect bohemian styled couple who look like they are from the pages of a magazine? A bride getting ready for her wedding without a single item laying around in the room? Perhaps you’ve seen the term “cliffside elopement inspiration” or “adventure inspired mountain wedding”. So many of the images across the wedding industry are from what is known as “styled shoots” or “inspiration shoots”. These are where a team of wedding industry professionals come together in order to create the perfect “fake wedding” scenario to inspire couples and to expand their portfolios. So why don’t I feature these styled shoots on We Are The Wanderers?

Styled Shoots vs Keeping It Real

Before I was a photographer or a blogger, I was a bride. As someone who is pretty outdoorsy, with a curvy figure and not what I consider a “girly girl”,  I felt pretty overwhelmed with wedding planning. I read wedding blogs and I pinned things to my heart’s content. I saw things that I loved on Pinterest and I tried to create my own version, with a budget I could afford. My budget wasn’t super tight, but I didn’t have a few thousand Euros to spend on flowers or stationary, which is what I soon realised it would cost if I wanted to have my dream Pinterest wedding. It was actually while I was planning my own wedding that I fell in love with photography. I realised quickly that it wasn’t a photographer’s ability to photograph table settings or insanely good-looking couples that resonated with me. It was their ability to capture emotions and tell a story. When I looked through portfolios of photographers, I wasn’t interested in their most extravagant weddings. I wanted to see how they photographed real people like me.

Unrealistic Expectations

I completely get the reason for styled shoots. It’s a great way for vendors to showcase their work and to try and attract the types of clients that want something with a similar aesthetic. But what upsets me across the industry is when vendors are not honest on their own websites about what is real and what is “faked”, as it can provide such unrealistic expectations for couples for their own wedding day. When vendors get together to create a styled shoot, they can pretty much control every element of it. They can find a couple who fits the right aesthetic, choose exactly the styling that they want, plan the shoot in and around where the best lighting is going to be, spend as long as they need to get the right shots. Jump to a real wedding day and everything changes. The florist might have only had a modest budget to work with, and the photographer might only have 10 minutes to photograph the reception details before guests start putting things on tables, or the light during the ceremony might be all kinds of tricky to photograph. I firmly believe seeing how a photographer can capture a real wedding is much more of a testament to their skills.

The bride and groom celebrate their elopement with snacks and champagne from the back of their car in Lofoten Norway by Thomas StewartThe bride and groom walk through yellow fields of wildflowers in Lofoten Norway by Thomas Stewart

We Are The Wanderers Ethic

There are plenty of wedding blogs out there that showcase incredible styled shoots and real weddings packed with stunning details. They are wildly popular and loved by couples and industry professionals. But the world doesn’t need another blog to follow in their footsteps.

I set up We Are The Wanderers as a way to inspire couples who didn’t want a cookie-cutter wedding, who were more inspired by nature and adventure than by design and details. I wanted to inspire people with real stories, real weddings, real couples, and to show the world that you can totally have the most unforgettable wedding day in your own way.

Austria Elopement by Wild Connections Photography

Click Here To See Some Real Weddings On We Are The Wanderers

Thanks to the awesome photographers Hannah Hall Photography, Thomas Stewart & Wild Connections Photography for the images from real weddings & elopements in this post.

Editor of We Are The Wanderers Cat Ekkelboom-White at Lake Prags in the Dolomites in Winter

Author: Cat Ekkelboom-White

Cat is the founder of We Are The Wanderers as well as a photographer for Wild Connections Photography and mentor at the Adventure Wedding Academy.