Love is love: One of Europe’s finest photographers talks about his experience covering gay weddings

Who we fall in love with starts with a chemistry we have little choice in. Strange then that some people still cannot accept that this chemistry has long brought together people of the same sex, and always will. Love is a precious commodity, and the love same sex couples feel for each other should inspire everyone. To capture these unique love stories in a way that really does them justice requires an artist with a creative flair but an unobtrusive discreet style, allowing the couple’s love story to tell itself. Gaetano D’Auria does exactly that, with experience covering gay and lesbian weddings across Europe, this is the go to guy for your wedding day photography. We asked him for his take on the perfect gay wedding.

1. Same sex marriage is still something that divides opinion. We think a gay wedding has all the hallmarks of any other, ultimately being based on the love and commitment of two people to each other. What’s your take?

This is an issue that’s really important to me. I’ve always been in favor of civil partnerships and gay marriage. For me, I think it’s only right that society and the law recognises the union of two people who love each other and happen to be of the same sex, in just the same way as it does for heterosexual couples. Gay and heterosexual couples have such a huge amount in common, yet gay couples will very likely have been discriminated against in different ways as they have gone through their journey together. They’re the same kind of people wanting to take the same step in life, they each pay their tax and do their civic duties, so why should one be treated different to the other?

2. You’ve covered a number of gay weddings across Europe. What kind of vibe do they tend to have, and how do they compare to straight couples weddings?

I normally shoot video at weddings with my partner Mirella taking care of the photography. Together we’ve had some really phenomenal experiences at the weddings we’ve worked on. Just like with straight weddings, they each have their own unique charm and there isn’t really a particular vibe that is common to them all – it depends on the personalities of the couple, their culture and religion, the venue and countless other things.

There is one thing I have really noticed to be exclusive to gay weddings, which is probably best illustrated in the stories of the first two same sex weddings we covered. The very first was back in 2013 in the north of France, and was the marriage of a couple who had been together for a long time and had two children. Every wedding is moving, but there was an extra element to this somehow. It was like we weren’t just celebrating their love, but the victory for them and so many others in the long overdue law allowing their marriage to go ahead. We often talk about the idea that love conquers all, and this wedding had exactly that feeling to it. I’ll confess I sometimes like to watch the video back, and it always reminds me of that feeling. Take a look at it and you’ll see what I mean. It was also shot documentary style with a single 35mm lens, which back in 2013 surely made me ahead of the curve on trends!

The second same sex wedding we covered was a little over a year later, when a young couple from Zurich tied the knot. It was evident that the Swiss girls were able to marry in a different set of circumstances altogether, at a time of their choosing and a stage in their relationship where they felt they wanted to take this step to cement their commitment and celebrate their love. It was a staging point for their next chapter, just as it has long been for heterosexual couples. This generational difference was symbolic to us of the progress that had been made.

3. What three things make for a perfect gay wedding?

Well, I’d say the same things that make for a perfect wedding of any kind, if such a thing exists at all. I guess it’s more about having the perfect wedding for you, rather than the perfect wedding. If there are three things that have got to be there it’s probably these.

Have your nearest and dearest with you. Surrounding yourselves with close family and friends that truly share an appreciation for what this special day means to you is crucial. Having loads of guests who were invited because you felt obligated, or ones who are only there because they’ve never been to a gay wedding is to be avoided! So maybe I’m biased here, but choosing the right photographer and videographer is crucial. Make sure they understand you as a couple, know what you want, and can find a way to discreetly capture the special moments that occur in plenty on a wedding day. Last, but definitely not least, love! It’s really the key to a happy marriage, of course, but when it comes to what makes weddings great you can forget lavish venues and exquisite dresses if there is that all important air of love enveloping the whole occasion.

Enormous thanks to Gaetano D’Auria for giving us the benefit of his experience. Gaetano’s insight serves to remind us that whether you identify as gay, straight or otherwise, love is love and marriage is the ultimate way to cement that commitment.

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Foto: Ricardo Hara
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