The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman’s servant.” Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support… A doula may also provide support to the client’s partner, family, and friends. The doula’a goal, and role, is to help the client feel safe and comfortable.”
There are three major life-changing moments in one’s life. The first event is when you meet your soulmate/twin flame and together decide to hold a ceremony expressing each others’ love and promises to one another…aka a wedding. The second event is when that love expands and if you want to start a family together…birth of a new life. Lastly, when either you, or a close friend and family member passes on…death. During these pivotal moments, you need the most love and support around you, and sadly some people don’t receive it in the best way, or sometimes receive it at all. This need for support is so common that there is a profession created for it as old as the ancient Greeks: a doula. However, the doula profession only serves two out of three of these life-changing events. That’s right, you know where this is heading: weddings. Now I know you’re probably thinking, ‘wait Kelly, isn’t a wedding coordinator someone who helps you during your wedding?’ In all honesty I haven’t YET seen a wedding coordinator successfully fill that role in over 11 years of my wedding photography career, but I know they’re out there.
I have been given the honor to have many amazing photographers assist me during weddings, and I have assisted many amazing photographers, now friends, as well. Some of these colleagues said they’ve never worked with wedding coordinators simply because the wedding photographer helped so much with the client’s wedding needs. These needs include creating a timeline, finding other vendors, and sometimes even finding a venue. Out of the 167 weddings I have photographed/done videography for, about 90% of my couples have come to me before even booking a venue or any other vendor. That gives me the honor to help suggest a venue and go through my rolodex of vendors to recommend.
Over the years my duties have not just been to photograph my couple. In addition to finding venues and vendors, I have helped my couples find their suits and dresses, created their day-of timeline, held brides’ dresses while they peed, made sure the couple had a drink in their hand if they wanted it, calmed down mom and dad, gave uncle Tom water when he had a few too many, shoveled snow for safety, helped put up and tear down reception tents, cleaned and cleared out reception venues, made bouquets, pinned boutonnières, chauffeured family members around, helped dress the ring bearer and flower girl, and most importantly, made my couples laugh, feel as comfortable as possible, and treated them with the most respect and love. It’s your fucking wedding day, you deserve it all. All. of. that. love.
Thankfully, I am not the only wedding photographer that naturally and genuinely does all those things for their couples. Again, I’ve had the honor of working with colleagues with hearts of gold that go above and beyond for their couples. The line of wedding photographer and wedding coordinator is becoming grey and blended to the point that a new kind of wedding photographer is evolving: THE WEDDING DOULA.
In a separate post I will share a list of vendors (LGBTQ, and LGBTQ-friendly) I personally worked with and have witnessed go above and beyond their vendor duties, worthy of being coined as your #WeddingDoula.