As styled wedding shoots become more popular and accepted within the wedding industry, perfect wedding-styled imagery is at our fingertips. It’s very typical for people who are planning a wedding to go online to find inspiration, and often those perfect images we find aren’t of actual wedding days. Most brides-and-grooms-to-be probably don’t even know that styled-wedding shoots exist, but these days they are extremely prevalent. In short, a styled wedding shoot is when a group of professionals (florists, photographers, designers, models, hair/make-up artists, venue coordinators, etc.) come together to create what looks like the perfect wedding day (minus many of the details). They spend as much time as they need meticulously creating perfect images and then they use the images for whatever they need them for (marketing, blogging, portfolio, etc.). They post them to their blogs and websites as inspiration for engaged couples, and they pop-up all over Pinterest and wedding planning blogs.

It’s important for people to know however, that real wedding days are very different from styled wedding shoots. Styled wedding shoots are more commercial then photo-journalistic. Their purpose is to inspire, and to sell.  On the contrary, wedding day photography serves one purpose, and that’s to tell the unique story of one couples wedding day. It takes a completely different set of skills to be able to create beautiful images at a live event versus a styled shoot.

Knowing that styled wedding shoots are so prominent right now, I encourage all people who are planning a wedding to view entire wedding day galleries from the photographers they are choosing between. And keep in mind that comparing styled wedding shoots to real wedding days is like comparing apples to oranges. As seasoned wedding day specialists Courtney Lively Photography only showcases real life wedding day images.

To me, weddings are about one thing. Love. It’s about the union of two individuals who are madly, deeply in love, looking each other in the eye and committing to spend the rest of their lives together. It’s about their loving families and dear friends coming together in support of them, prepared to help them through the good times and the bad. It’s a day full of joy, smiles, tears, celebration, and beautiful chaos. And to many, it’s the most important day of their life. I want to tell that perfectly imperfect story through my imagery because to me, it doesn’t get any more beautiful then that.