Why should wedding albums still be relevant in an age when the entire physical reality of your wedding can be captured and sorted in a matter of a few bits and bytes? Why do the older generations always hanker about their wedding albums and cannot imagine a wedding without it? The answer that we are looking for may indeed be quite simple – sentiment. Yes, there are always sentiments and emotions attached with social events like weddings. If it is your own wedding, it would perhaps be the most important social event that you will ever attend in your life – unless, of course, it happens to be that of your daughter’s or son’s. But sentiments and emotions do play upon you much more forcefully when you relive the entire experience through the filmed footage, so why must wedding albums still be relevant?
To explain the significance of wedding albums with an analogy, it would perhaps be quite easy to point out that a day of independence would not merit celebration or being remembered by generations of a populace if it did not have the narrative quality of history, events and stories about people who lived in those times wrapped all around it. On a similar note, there would be little meaning to your recorded memories unless they have a story to tell to persons beyond the immediate participants in a social event. This is a stark difference between wedding albums and videos. Recorded video can only be enjoyed by people who have actually participated in the process somehow. By participation, I do not mean that he or she would have to physically present at the wedding; I simply mean people who already know about the wedding or know enough about the people involved in the process to provide the video with narrative attributes. Two or three generations later, that lot of people walking around laughing on screen would simply seem weird or amusing – simply because the person watching it has lost the narrative faculty to interact with the reality presented by the recording.
It is important to remember here that a recorded video is nothing more or less than a recording of the physical reality of the event. This is in striking contrast with photographs that cannot be taken without some form of intervention on part of the author in form of a narrative. It is an outsider’s look at the reality of the wedding, but in the process of the composition of a shot that reality gets attributed with meaning by the author’s gaze. There cannot be a meaningless photograph. However this crisp narrative hold on reality is not possible in the case of video since the reality of the set is dynamic with people moving in and out of frame, gesticulating, laughing or frowning. Much of the significance of these gestures, often quieted by natural reserve on part of social beings, can easily slip through the focus of the camera unless they are deliberately highlighted, since the physical reality being filmed is so dynamic.
This deeper gaze allowed by photographs and the narrative qualities conferred on the subjects of a photograph by its composition are what allow wedding albums to survive for generations to come. Unlike video, they do not need the narrative crutches of foreknowledge and bestow subjects with an aura of naturalness that can be lacking in video.
If you are planning on having a theme or a destination wedding, there can be no greater complement to your plan than to accentuate it with a compatibly designed wedding album to cherish those memories for generations to come.