Two weddings, Two roles, One day
I photographed my last wedding of the season today and am feeling extremely grateful for all the wonderful couples I had the privilege of photographing!
This year as I reflect back on the wedding season there is one stark yet wonderful difference! I felt amazing and healthy after each wedding! For the past few years I've been coming down with an extremely painful, nauseating headache near the end of all my weddings. The first time it happened, I remember having 1 hour left at a reception and wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed. At first, I blamed it on dehydration because I knew I wasn't drinking as much water as I should with how much activity I was doing in often hot temperatures. I forced myself to drink more, and snack throughout the day which helped a bit but I was DETERMINED to find a way to feel better than just mediocre. Saturday, June 9th was the perfect push for me to figure it out once and for all. The first Saturday of June I photographed AND stood in a wedding all in one day. Not one wedding with dual roles, but two separate weddings 100 miles apart! Awww it was a crazy, exhausting day! Let me explain…
Over a year ago, Lyndsay and Jim booked me to photograph their early June wedding in Marquette. Then, earlier this year my good friend Alexa got engaged and set a summer wedding date of July 14th. I was so excited I was free that weekend and was honored to be a bridesmaid! Alexa's fiance (now husband!!) is in the National Guard and his training dates conflicted with their originally chosen wedding date. I was devastated when the only other date that worked was June 9th because I knew that meant I wouldn't be able to make it. Well, thank goodness for a relaxed bride and a morning wedding I was still able to!
That day came with an early wake-up call to prepare for the 10am wedding. I was able to spend the entire morning in bridesmaid mode, enjoying everyone's company, smiling for photos and indulging in the delicious breakfast buffet! By 11:30 I had changed out of my bridesmaid attire and was headed to the next wedding!
The minute I walked into the getting ready room for Jim and Lyndsay's day I forgot to be tired and jumped right into photographer mode! I truly LOVE photographing weddings and getting to spend Saturday's with my wonderful couples! :)
I am very happy to say that this wedding was the first one in 2 YEARS that at the end of the day I walked away PAIN-FREE!!! yayyy!! Want to know the best part? Using all the tricks I figured out, I made it through the entire wedding season without the dreaded headaches!!
In case any photographers out there experience the same problem I wanted to share the products and tricks that have worked for me! The exact reason behind my headaches I am unsure of, so the methods I've adapted and products I use are aimed to treat the many potential causes including dehydration, stress, hunger, neck muscle strain from heavy equipment, and eye muscle strain from squinting into the viewfinder. (Phew!! get all that?!)
1. A camera backpack. In the past, I carried around an over the shoulder bag that stored batteries, memory cards, lenses and anything that I needed immediately on hand. In case you were not aware, camera equipment is HEAVY! I decided wearing a backpack that would more evenly distribute the weight may be a better option. This winter, one of my clients was selling a backpack that she bought and never used and it just so happened to be PURPLE!!! Mine is similar to this one and it's actually a diaper bag! 😂 All the pockets work really handy to keep everything organized and the side bottle pockets are essential so I can keep my water on me at all times! The padded bag insert I made for my first makeshift camera bag happened to fit in the backpack perfectly keeping my equipment snug and protected!
2. Water and snacks. I buy these water bottles with the handy flip tops because ain't nobody got time for screwing a cover on and off on a wedding day! ;) I also keep healthy and quick snacks like granola bars and almonds on hand to snack on throughout the day. I try to drink a full water bottle on my way to a wedding day to ensure I have something in me JUST in case I slack when I get busy. Any drive between locations I eat a quick snack and down more water. I have found that eating a little throughout the day is key. If a bad headache hits you and you haven't eaten anything, trying to eat on a nauseous stomach is not easy! Take my word for it!
3. Peppermint Oil and Ibuprofen. Contradicting right? A natural supplement with a general over the counter pain reliever. Hey, I'm just telling you what works for me. I don't use oils very often, but I have found that peppermint oil feels AMAZING on my tense and painful neck and gives immediate relief while I wait for the Ibuprofen to kick in. Both were used in the past after a headache presented itself. While doctors may not recommend it, this time I took ibuprofen as a precautionary measure so I wouldn't get a headache!
4. Tonic Water. One of my favorite nurses recommended I try this. I don't know the science behind it but apparently, there is something found in Tonic water that can help relax muscles? Interesting right? The internet tells me different, but something stopped my headaches and I'm not ruling this out! :) I alternated regular and tonic water all day to help relax my neck muscles. Tonic water on its own is quite bitter and not very tasty so I added fresh lemons and strawberries to mine and it wasn’t bad at all!
That's it! It takes some prep work from me in advance but it is so worth it.
All in all it was an fun, exhausting, emotional, and beautiful day! I wouldn't necessarily recommend it though! ;) Hopefully this post can help someone who might deal with the same thing. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!
xoxo - Natalie Carolyn