The Five Love Languages theory proposes that we all tend to show and prefer to receive love in one (or more) of the following ways: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
Words of affirmation: This means using words to build up the other person. For example, “Thanks for doing the dishes, I really appreciate it.” or “I’ve noticed how hard you’ve been working lately and I’m really proud of you.”
Gifts: It’s the thought that counts and size doesn’t matter! Gifts may be big, small or even handmade. It isn’t about their monetary value but the meaning behind them. The more sentimental, the better!
Acts of service: This can include tasks that you like having done for you (such as cooking a nice meal) or that you’d rather not do (such as taking out the rubbish). They might not seem all that romantic, but to some, they mean the world.
Quality time: Phone/screen/social media-free time where you have one another’s undivided attention. This can be as simple as a coffee or as deluxe as a holiday. In this modern world, it’s easy to forget to schedule in this valuable time together.
Physical touch: Not just sex! Intimacy is built on a series of small acts of touch including holding hands, hugging, a simple hand on the shoulder, kissing and cuddling, which are all equally important.
Do you feel most connected to your partner (and other loved ones) when they give you a compliment, drop everything to spend time with you, bring you flowers, clean the house or give you a hug?
Similarly, do you tend to show your partner you love them by thanking them often, scheduling regular date nights, buying little treats for them, cooking dinner or initiating sex?
Your preferences define what your ‘love language’ is.
Understanding your own preferences (both to give and receive love), as well as that of your partner (which can be very different from your own), not only helps to strengthen your relationship, but to create magical wedding photos!
When I photograph a wedding, I am privileged to be part of one of the most intimate moments of that couple’s entire lives.
It’s important that this is reflected in their photos – their clear sense of connection.
It is very helpful for couples to communicate what their love language/s are – preferably ahead of time. Then I can tailor how and where I shoot them.
Helpful information includes how you interact with your partner, what you are/are not comfortable with (your boundaries) and any little quirks or rituals in your relationship.
Some of this information will be obvious and observable; other information I can extract through mindful questioning to find out little nuggets of information such as funny stories, grand romantic gestures and secret gifts.
When I know these intimate details, I can be sure to incorporate them into the shoot.
Words of affirmation: For these couples, I really focus on ‘capturing the moment’ (and their expressions) as they’re saying their vows. This will likely be something they particularly want to look back on in years to come.
Some couples also like to write additional vows or love letters to read to one another in private after the ceremony. (This is where we see the real waterworks!)
I also encourage couples to whisper ‘sweet nothings’ and ‘I love you’ into each other’s ears throughout the entire shoot. This helps them to relax into their comfort zone, connect intimately, be present and just be themselves.
Quality time: If a couple craves quality time alone together, I encourage them to carve out some private, quiet time together during their day where they can simply enjoy each other’s company and really soak in all the ‘just married’ feels. I will shoot from further away and look for locations that are a bit more private (and away from prying eyes).
Some couples also like to break tradition and have a pre-ceremony shoot together, book in for a more casual shoot in the days after the wedding or have an engagement shoot. (Plus, there’s always elopement!)
Gifts: If one partner has given the other a special gift on the day, I will be sure to shoot this as a featured item – in fact, I often suggest it.
This could be as simple and earnest as a beautiful note, as exquisite as new jewellery, something funny to spark reminders of an inside joke (and calm the nerves), as sentimental/heartfelt as a memento of a loved one who has passed or a grand romantic gesture – I’ve heard of couples giving each other puppies, cars and even houses!
Acts of service: This can be done in the lead up to the big day to build up intimacy, such as taking wedding ‘to do’s’ or household chores off your partner’s plate. It can also be done prior to the ceremony, such as making breakfast in bed. Or it can be done throughout the day, such as acts of chivalry, helping an older relative to their seat, entertaining the kids on the dancefloor or running interference with an annoying relative.
Many of these little moments make for some of the most candid, fun and personalised you can imagine.
Physical touch: During my initial meeting with a couple, I can always tell if they’re comfortable with PDAs by their body language – they tend to touch each other (a lot)! This being the case, I would incorporate lots of kissing, hand holding and cuddles into their shoot to put them at ease.
Conversely, if the couple is more reserved, I honour their boundaries by finding out what they are comfortable with and then going in another direction for the shoot – not everyone wants to make-out in front of their whole family!
By learning how you and your partner give and receive love, I can tailor my photographic style, timing, location and directions to best suit the two of you.
Do you know what makes you feel loved? Do you feel more loved when your partner hugs and kisses you? Do sweet words from them fill your heart?
My partner and I love to spend quality time together, but you and your partner’s love language may be different. Take the Five Love Languages Quiz and find out: www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language
This leads to the most genuine, individual and beautiful photos possible and… you may just fall in love all over again!
If you would like a beautiful shoot that perfectly captures your individuality as a couple, please feel free to check out my portfolio at www.taylajayne.com.
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Happy wedding planning!