A celebratory toast to the bride and groom is deeply ingrained in wedding tradition, but do you know how the venerable custom came about?
Drinking to a person’s health or happiness dates to Greek hosts who wanted to assure guests that the wine they drank was not poisoned. But the word “toast” comes from the Latin word “tostus,” meaning roasted or parched, and it came about during Roman times. Wine wasn’t very tasty then, so drinkers plunked a bit of burnt bread into their goblets to improve the flavor. The custom continued into the 1600s on European waterfronts, where seaman dropped a bit of toast in their glasses of ale or mulled wine. When the crouton grew soggy and sank to the bottom, inevitably one of the drinkers would call, “Toast!” and they’d race one another to see who could finish the drink first and eat the saturated bread.
SURPRISINGLY TRICKY SHOTS
These days, raising a glass to toast a bride and groom has a higher purpose: to wish the couple happiness and success. Toasts can be emotional or funny, sometimes embarrassing, but always heartfelt.
They can also be tricky to photograph, logistically and artistically speaking, so wedding photographers have to remain alert, creative and nimble. For example, a bridal couple may be squarely in a photographer’s viewfinder during a toast, but when glasses are lifted, you never know if their faces will be obstructed, you may think you have a clear shot, but you don’t.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Photographing moments that epitomize the mood of a wedding are part of what wedding photojournalists do best. Capturing the essence of an emotionally charged wedding takes experience. You have to position yourself at the side of the head table in order to capture the couple’s faces. In a split second a father of the bride can become all emotional. The maid of honor may suddenly lend him moral support.Then in an instant she to may begin to cry and that pure emotion makes beautiful photography.
Often it takes creativity to visually translate a feeling. Choosing a quirky angle and an interesting background to show the effervescent atmosphere during a toast is not always easy, especially as so many couples have these backlit hanging backgrounds. There are so many photos to take and so much in front of us during a wedding, we just try to figure out how to make it visually interesting in a way that hasn't been seen before.
Laughing or crying, wedding guests lift not only their glasses but also their hearts in joyful toasts, and wedding photojournalists excel in visually translating the mood so couples can remember forever how the moment felt.