Emma Godfrey

Bride dancing for groom | Story of the photo | Poe Tahiti dance

A Tahitian bride dances

This was a wedding full of colour and emotion. As well as dancing and singing throughout the evening meal, we were treated to a dance by the bridesmaids and bride during the apéro. The bridesmaids began and then presented both the bride and groom with floral garlands before inviting the bride to join them to dance for her groom.

I love this photo for the natural joy of the moment, a slight look of apprehension as the bride tries to move in the same way in her wedding dress. I get the impression she would love to be in a floral skirt. I also love the way she hasn’t let go of her bouquet. There is an element of wanting the perfect parts of a wedding dream – the dress, the veil, the bouquet – and wanting to let loose to the music.

Bride dancing for groom with bridesmaids, traditional Tahitian dance.

The story

The bride stands in the middle, surrounded by colours and smiles. Her arms mirror the curves of her bridesmaids. A garland lies over her lace gown. In her hand is her bouquet of roses, long green tails hanging down. Her veil catches in the breeze, with the movement of their bodies. There is something more constrained within her movement, perhaps the restrictions of her wedding dress. The dancers’ heads are encircled with exotic flowers, their hair hangs down loose. Improvised skirts from colourful fabric are rolled up at their waists. Their bodies move freely, elegantly. Their feet are bare. There is one bridesmaid who seems to be leading the dance. Her arms move gracefully through the movements while her hips move to another beat. Each of the others looks to her for direction and the bride shares a moment of understanding. Perhaps she has been the leader before, in her days as a girl perhaps she moved more freely. And the groom and groomsmen look on. They laugh and clap and smile. Their dance will come later. 

Imperfect moments

For a long time I was focused on trying to capture moments perfectly but now I realise the power of an imperfect moment. There is a spontaneity in this image that shows just how much I let myself be a part of the moment and not an external observer. It shows in the facial expressions and the sense of movement. Photographs like this take you back to the moment whether you were there or not, and for me that is what wedding photography is all about. 

I hope you enjoy this new set of blog posts telling the story of one photo each time. We will leave this bride dancing for her groom for eternity in a moment of pure joy and happiness. Tahiti transported to Geneva on a cloudy summer’s day. See more from their wedding day and engagement photo shoot.

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