Crazy Wedding Story Of The Week: Please Pay To Work For Free

Whether you hate the wedding-industrial complex, are a bride planning a wedding and want to feel better about your own demands, or just need something to read, we’re doing a new series where we share the craziest, most out-of-touch wedding story we found on the internet that week. Submit your own crazy wedding stories to [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story, and we just might feature yours. And make sure to follow @BetchesBrides on Instagram and subscribe to our podcast, Betches Brides.

Today’s wedding story is dual-purpose for me. For one, it is a great expression of how batshit unreasonable crazy brides (and occasionally grooms) are. And for two, it deals with a situation that is near and dear to my heart: artists being exploited for free services/for exposure/because you’re friends. By “near and dear to my heart,” I really mean, “ask me for free work and die”. K? We good? PSA everyone: artists have to pay bills, too, and you can’t pay them with “valuable exposure.” I’m not sure what causes the sickening, all-encompassing entitlement that makes brides be completely abusive and take advantage of their friends, but it’s creepy and gross, and we’re gonna call it out. What you’re about to see though, is even worse than the 10,000 emails I get from people who promise to make me a *star* as long as I work for free. Because this crazy-ass bride thought her photographer friend should pay HER to work.

The Set-Up

This story comes straight from Reddit’s Am I The Asshole forum, as so many of our psycho stories do. Our bride was getting married, so she asked The Photographer to do her photos. Pretty reasonable. Then the bride gave The Photographer the rate:

“You pay us $50 and then start taking photos that you can sell at the wedding to people who want them. That way we can use the money for the wedding and you still might get paid.”

Did you read that? And then read it again? And then read it one more time? Yes, THE BRIDE is asking The Photographer to PAY HER TO WORK FOR FREE, because then she can harass random wedding guests into buying the photos all night and therefore still “might get paid.” The photographer is also apparently now helping fund this wedding. I mean, I don’t see how The Photographer could refuse such a great opportunity. For the low, low price of $50, s/he can work for free, be a burden on everyone, and STILL might get paid. It’s like the dream.

The Crazy

Somehow, The Photographer didn’t just punch The Bride in the face, but calmly and kindly explained why s/he could not do the wedding. The Bride cried and made a big deal out of it, so The Photographer negotiated that s/he’d do the wedding photos for a fee of $50. At this point, The Photographer is either an insanely nice person, or a really shit photographer, because wedding photos usually cost between $2,000-$10,000. The Bride then lost her mind and called The Photographer a bad friend. I mean honestly, if you don’t have $50, you really should not have a wedding. You should probably use that money for living expenses and reconsider your life choices. But that’s not all!

Because The Bride then sent her army of skanks and her family to harass The Photographer into doing the wedding—again, for free, and while paying The Bride $50 to be there. Who even are these people? How would anyone think this was reasonable? If her friends and family were so concerned, why didn’t one of them front the $50 to pay the extremely cheap photographer? Am I on drugs, here? Am I missing something? It’s $50!

BUT THEN. Our poor Photographer tries to be even nicer:

“The messages got more and more entitled and demanding as this girl kept riling them on. Soon I’m getting messages from people saying I’m selfish and that I’m ruining my best friend’s wedding (they overestimate our friendship) and even that I should be ashamed for leaving a friend ‘out in the cold’. So I said I’d do it for free, because why not. Free booze. That wasn’t good enough. She was insistent I pay her.”

Because why not? How about because The Bride is a registered nutjob and this sounds like the wedding from hell? Also, I like how s/he’s ruining “my best friend’s wedding” when it doesn’t seem like The Photog was even actually invited to the wedding in the first place and was just asked to take free pictures and pay for it. But STILL, our hero, The Photographer, gallantly agreed to do this shit for free. For me, I would have upped my price to like $100k to have to deal with the crazy. That’s how much it would cost to get me to this wedding at this point. But no, still not good enough for The Bridezilla.

After the harassment continued, and got even more aggressive, The Photographer gave in and agreed to do the wedding and pay the $50. However, s/he never had any intention of going and just said it so that The Bride and her crazy family and friends would f*ck right off.

The Photographer is left alone, finally, until the wedding day, when the crazy messages start coming in again:

“Where the fuck are you? Where’s my money? I can’t believe you ruined blah blah blah.”

The Photographer received 100+ texts in 30 minutes, half a dozen phone calls, angry voicemails, and then, THE BRIDE’S DAD showed up to The Photographer’s house, screaming and banging the door down. He eventually left, but the next day, more texts/calls came in about how The Photographer ruined the wedding.

“People saying I really fucked everyone over, the bride needed $50 to pay her officiant which they had to then crowdsource. There were no pictures other than cell phone shots from guests. Apparently I was ‘called out’ in the best man’s speech.”

Wow, it’s almost like they should have hired a photographer. And paid them. Or even accepted the one that offered to do it FOR FREE. Why are these people acting like $50 to pay the officiant is such a huge deal? If you are having a wedding, that is the ONE THING you actually need to pay for. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it? I’m spending exactly zero dollars on weddings right now because I chose the spinster life. Try it.

The Photographer is currently getting roasted on social media and even by their own mom.

The Verdict

I’m sorry, there is just no way The Photographer is the asshole here, IMO. Why would it be their job to fund the officiant at the wedding? Offering to do the pictures so cheaply (and then for free) was way too generous to begin with. If you want wedding photos, you pay for it. Or you at least accept free help and don’t charge them for it. I’m super confused as to how The Bride convinced so many people that she was in the right. Was this wedding her own version of Jonestown? What kind of story did she spin that made this okay? Most Redditors seem to agree that The Photographer is NTA, with some exceptions coming from the fact that the OP did say s/he’d do it and then didn’t show up. But what was The Photographer really supposed to do? The crazies were harassing them endlessly until they gave in.

What would you have done in the situation? Do you think The Photographer was the asshole?

Do you have a crazy wedding story? Send it to [email protected] and we just might write about it.

Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (4)

What A Shot List Is & Why You Need One For Your Wedding

If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that I planned my brother’s wedding in full. From the place cards, to the lighting, to the f*cking cupcake tower, this bitch did it all. *Pats self on back* Now, you may notice that I’m using the past tense here because, after the longest and most stressful year of my life of planning a wedding that wasn’t even my own, it’s finally over. Was I nervous it would be a raging dumpster fire? Honestly, no because I hired professionals who are experts in their respective fields, so I wasn’t worried about them. I was, however, worried about my sh*t show of a family who can’t take a group photo to save their damn lives. When I imagined how the family portraits—an essential part of any wedding—would go down, I imagined the infamous Vanity Fair shoot with the cast of Desperate Housewives. If you don’t get that reference, you’re too young to get married. 

So I reached out to a woman who, six months ago, I thought of as a talented wedding photographer and now think of as my favorite person in the world, Washington Metropolitan-based Stefanie Kamerman. Now, if you remember from exactly one paragraph ago, the only thing I was worried about re: this wedding was my family during our pre-ceremony photoshoot. Before I even had a chance to get into the Kardashian-level pettiness that is my family during an event, Stefanie assured me not to worry because she uses a shot list. What is a shot list, you ask? Well, it’s an amazing little list that includes all of the moments I wanted captured throughout the course of the wedding. Some items on the list included my parents with the newlyweds-to-be, the bride’s parents with the newlyweds-to-be, the ladies, the gents, the grandmothers thinking no one can see them giving each other some serious side eye…you know, the usual stuff we want to look back on fondly. But I’d never heard of this before she brought up the term, so I thought I’d break down WTF a shot list is, why you need one, and the types of shots you should put on your list. 

What Is A Shot List?

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It only seems natural to go for a walk when you are wearing your absolute best. I mean, I kinda think so 🙃⁣ ⁣ .⁣ ⁣ ⁣ .⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Venue: @stonetowerweddings⁣ Hair: @thestylistabroad⁣ Makeup: @laurahenderson_makeup⁣ Dress: @grace_and_ivory⁣ Bridesmaid Dresses: @shopthevu118⁣ Suits: @shopthevu118⁣ Florals: @westvirjeni⁣ Coordination: @roseandlilyevents⁣ ⁣ .⁣ ⁣ .⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #stefaniekamermanphotography⁣ #realwedding⁣ #virginiabride⁣ #northernvirginiabride⁣ #loudouncountybride⁣ #dcbride⁣ #dcgroom⁣ #stonetowerweddings⁣ #stonetowerwinery⁣ #vineyardwedding⁣ #2020bride⁣ #2021bride⁣ #2022bride⁣ #weddingday⁣ #weddingdaydetails⁣ #bridaldetails⁣ #bridalinspo⁣ #bridalparty⁣ #bridalpartyportrait⁣ #weddingphoto⁣ #weddingphotography⁣ #weddingphotographer⁣ #dcweddingphotographer⁣ #vaweddingphotographer⁣ #destinationweddingphotographer⁣ #marthasweddings⁣ #theknot⁣ #weddingwire⁣ #huffpostido⁣

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A shot list is a list of all the photos you want to make sure are captured. Generally, when you hire a photographer, you make your decision based on both their photography style and ability to get the moneymakers. However, if there are a few shots you want to make sure they will take, enter a shot list. Stefanie says there are two kinds of lists, the informal and the formal. The informal one is the obvious photos like “a photo of the groom’s reaction as he sees his bride walk down the aisle, a photo of the cake cutting, garter toss, first dances…etc. You know, the standard stuff you would see in a wedding gallery,” she says. The formal shot list is the one that may or may not cause some serious family rifts. Stefanie says, “It’s usually comprised of family photo groupings, unique wedding day details you want documented, poses, and venue highlights. Sometimes a shot request is as simple as a photo of a punch bowl that your great-grandma Edna, four-times removed, lent you for your wedding reception table decor and your mom asks you to make sure there is a photo of it.” Don’t forget about Edna, people! 

Who Should Be On A Shot List?

This is where I struggled and asked Stefanie for her advice… at midnight the Sunday before the wedding. I didn’t want the wedding to get so political to the point of having to include in the shot list my second aunt who’s been divorced from my second uncle for a decade because she’s technically family. Stefanie offers, “For the formal family aspect of the shot list, immediate family and sometimes grandparents, for sure. Extended family? Reserve those photos for the reception or not at all, because let me explain: family photo time is one of the most stressful parts of your photographer’s job.” So if you’re not going to save yourself from your family, save your photographer. “It isn’t that we can’t handle the stress or the multiple personalities all at once, it is just a lot of people-herding—especially with extended in the mix,” she says. Also, don’t forget that there is a timeline and a schedule to stick to, so if you’re taking photos of groups of 15, that’s going to slow sh*t down and delay your time spent at the bar.

How Detailed Should A Shot List Be?

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It’s a very Greek DC wedding with a baptism today. Looking forward to documenting Brooke and Mike’s baby girl’s big day as well as theirs! ⁣ ⁣ In 2011 – when we lived in beloved Lone Star State – we endured 100 days over 100 degrees with a decrepit home AC unit. If I can get through that, I can get through the heat this weekend 👏🏻 ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #weddingday⁣ #wedding⁣ #weddinginspo⁣ #weddinginspiration⁣ #weddingbouquet⁣ #bridal⁣ #bridalportrait⁣ #bridalbouquet⁣ #bouquet⁣ #bride⁣ #2019bride⁣ #2020bride⁣ #dcbride⁣ #dcwedding⁣ #dcweddingphotographer⁣ #virginiaweddingphotographer⁣ #virginiawedding

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Obviously, every shot list is different, but they should all be very detailed. Most good photographers will send out a questionnaire to get a sense of who you are and how crazy your family is, but will trust you to fill out a detailed shot list so that nothing gets overlooked. “The more I know about what you—my client—wants, the better I can serve you and manage your photo expectations,” Stephanie says. “Going back to Edna’s punch bowl, if you want a photo of you and mom with the punch bowl, I can tell you when I can get that shot. My point is that if I don’t know about a special detail or person, that shot may not happen.” Photographers are truly amazing people with myriad talents, but unfortunately, they are not mind-readers. If you want them to take a shot, no matter how weirdly specific it is, tell them. On the contrary, if you don’t want them to take a shot, tell them! For instance, my grandmothers would rather keel over in the middle of the ceremony than be in a photo together; that is information Stefanie needed to know. 

How Does The Photographer Use The Shot List?

Your shot list is kind of like a grocery list in that you walk up and down the aisle making sure to check off everything on the list before calling it a day. Stefanie explains, “For formal shot lists, I keep a digital copy in my Apple Watch and a paper copy on-hand. I check off the formal shots as I take them. When I sit down to eat, I go through my camera to make sure I got the formal requests. In the event that I missed something, and I can recreate it, I use the reception time to go back and retake that missed shot if it is possible.” Yes to all of this, especially the part about her eating. Another important thing to remember is that you hired the photographer based on their skills, so after you give them the shot list, trust that they will do a fabulous job and let them be. Don’t follow them around to remind them of the things on the list they are currently holding. They know to take a pic of the groom’s parents with the soon-to-be-newlyweds!

Images: Stefanie Kamerman