Survey says, REMINGTON and MOSSBERG  are the preferred choice of the celebrants in a Shotgun Wedding.  Etiquette requires the shotgun with full stock to be draped in a white organza sheath and tied with red bows. The survey also tells us Buck shot or number three shot is the preferred round.  Tho' the pump shotgun is preferred, several traditionalists still go with the double barrel even though the Remington above holds nine rounds.

A shotgun wedding is a form of forced marriage occasioned by an unplanned pregnancy. Some religions and cultures consider it a moral imperative to marry in such a situation, based on reasoning that premarital sex or out-of-wedlock births are sinful, not sanctioned by law, or otherwise stigmatized. The phrase is an American colloquialism, though it is also used in other parts of the world.

Shotgun weddings have become less common as the stigma associated with out-of-wedlock births has gradually faded and the number of such births has increased; the increasing availability of birth control and abortion, as well as material support to unwed mothers such as welfare has reduced the perceived need for such measures.

But, people never cease to amaze me. There is nothing prettier than a six month pregnant bride and the two families looking at each other with blood in their eyes.  A very colorful combination!  I had the pleasure of shooting one of these when I was working for a Wedding Mill in NYC.

It was the Northern version of the Southern style shotgun wedding. The difference? The guns were worn under the tuxedos whereas in the south they used holsters. Or just slung them over the horses. 

From the minute I walked in the hall, I knew I could be dead. In fact one half of the room told me that if I spent too much time on the other side of the hall I would be dead. I felt I was living West Side Story while traversing the North-South Korean DMZ. 

Then the brain kicked in, why not shoot two weddings here? I just shot twenty four rolls of 120 films, carefully marked them, family A and family B. I was exhausted. These were 120 square format shot on Rollie, Mamiya, Yashica Twin Lens cameras and  #5 bulbs. I had scorched fingers for a week. 

The boss made separate albums for both sides and I got paid double commissions from the shooting and the additional prints. I was really proud of myself. And the “sellers” really worked them, each side wanted to know what the other ordered and then they increased their order week after week.. In the end run it was double the work and triple the commissions. 

Planning the Shotgun Wedding:

You will need a license. Most states won't honor anything on the back of a paper bag.  Make sure the judge knows you are coming and there are no open warrants on you or your bride. Make an appointment at the courthouse.
Borrow two people, or rent hourly labor if you have to as your witnesses.  Purchase large 3/4 inch nuts from Home Depot to use as rings. Make sure your jeans are pressed and your denim jacket is clean.  

Her sneakers should be recently  bleached white in the washing machine and the hand me down dress should be long enough to cover her buttocks.
Go to the courthouse, do the paperwork and vows, hop into your Orange Dodge Charger with the knowledge shotgun wedding was complete and you stood up like a man.


Racially mixed weddings sometimes have a major problem with skin tones. If you don’t know what a Grey Card is, learn quickly. It will really save your butt, and prevent screwing up your lighting and making a nightmare out of the prints. It’s a top conversation in many pro Wedding Sites. Relying on your cameras “P” mode doesn’t work. 

We call it the “perhaps mode”. Perhaps the shots will come out. You must rely on the grey card as using the light skin tones will underexpose and give you the “AL Jolson Look” and shooting for the dark skin tone will blow the highlights. 

It’s really bad enough with a black tuxedo and white shiny dress. There are a couple techniques even including double negatives but good Photoshop techniques can save the day. It seems this is a problem to some but really it’s nothing more than the fact you are exceeding the dynamic range and you have to expose somewhere in the middle. That’s what the grey card will do for you. In addition another important point is get that camera off average mode for the sensor, you want spot metering.


Here are some of the problems that may arise. Who is the alpha? Really there shouldn’t be. It’s a union of two people. But be prepared and body language will be the clues as to how you handle the situation. One of the two will show their dominance.  The problem arose in some states because they couldn't decide on their printed forms who is the she or the he.  Since it's really a they, they settled for Celebrant one and Celebrant two.  Not joking here, this became an issue involving changing a court document and we all know how fast government whether it be state or federal moves.  It replicated itself in NY's recent same sex paperwork.

This is a very tough subject here for some.  First realize everyone invited there knows the situation and if they were not comfortable they would of not shown up.  The toughest times for the shooter involve intimate moments. Just do what you have to do, and it's your job, so do it to the best of your ability.  If it becomes a show, or beyond what you feel are your standards, back off.

But regardless of your beliefs, let the other half live and if you are not comfortable, don’t accept the work. Someone else will and some photographers specialize in it. Several of the confirmations I have done went absolutely great and the players went out of their way to make everybody comfortable. 

I actually had a good time at a few and got referrals. Again, you are there to record, not judge. I will tell you though, if there is a lot of booze, just keep a camera ready for a cat fight or two, but that’s true in most weddings. 

If your community has a strong market in same sex Weddings and you have no problem with it, there are guides such as Gay & Lesbian Wedding Resources from the "Complete Guide to Gay & Lesbian Weddings" and the "Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Weddings" to general resources regarding same sex marriage. Find a great guide to help you plan your same sex wedding, commitment ceremony or holy union ceremony.



Nudist Camps, It's a Cultural Thing. 

In this case blocked out so I don't get shellacked by GOOGLE…

From a Yahoo site, the question was asked "What do you wear at a Nudist wedding"?

First of all the invitation should let you know if it is clothing optional, which it really should be. 

If you are not really sure what to wear talk to your friends that are getting married. 

Granted they will probably try to get you to go all natural, but if you don't want to go that way just wear something casual and comfortable.  For the men, a bow tie around your private and for the ladies a transparent scarf or two bandaids and a G string.

Remember it is their day even if they are nude, I would bet she will still wear something like a Vail, It probably wont be a full veil, but something simple, he will probably wear a bow tie. So just make the phone call and ask.  

The Honeymoon should be at Mountain Creek (Pleasure) Grove in Georgia. Here are some of their rules and the current trend for morning after wedding pictures might be approved here.

The Mountain Creek Grove is a private membership resort. No person under the age of 21 will be allowed on Grove property, common areas or roads.  The Grove is a clothing-optional resort. Lifestyle friendly. Partial or full nudity is encouraged. No clothing or sexual activity is allowed in the pool or hot tub.  No glass is permitted in the public areas of the resort, especially around the pool and the hot tub. 

Guests and members interested in photography or videotaping while at the resort are required to contact the resort’s management. Unauthorized photography or videotaping may result in film/or media being confiscated and destroyed and/or erased.

For hygiene sake, please bring a large towel to sit on at all times when nude. Always shower before entering the hot tub and pool. 11. Members and guests may wear whatever clothing makes them comfortable at any time, except that everyone must be nude in order to get into the pool or hot tub. At times, nature can work on male visitors. Visitors may cover up with a towel but are not required to do so, some may be rather proud.


Retreats, Wiccan, Druidic rites and Satanic worship. Some I will shoot, some I won’t even go there, I usually forward those requests to someone I hate. See


Get it in writing, get a deposit, do it by the book...enough said. That’s it for the more unpopular and unconventional Weddings.  

 © copyright aljacobs Stardate 10-18-2012