For the traditional wedding photographer the Southern Redneck Shotgun Weddings are fun.  That is if they made sure none of the guns were loaded. There have been tragic consequences.  Having designated people to keep a lid on things if they get out of hand.  Sometimes what starts crazy gets crazier and off the rails.  Sometimes old feuds like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s come out of the swamps...

Actually they fit into several categories.  The heavy consumption of liquid libation tends to add to the fuel not just under the propane turkey cooker (an essential explosive part of redneck cuisine) but to the loins of the participants and the phrase is “ If it can happen it will happen”.  

Expect drinking, that's normal, then there are more conservative theme weddings which are the best. They are well planned and organized to the nines.  Like Star Wars though,  there is a dark side. 


Survey says, REMINGTON and MOSSBERG 12-gauge, 3 inch are the preferred choice of the celebrants in a Shotgun Wedding.  Etiquette requires the shotgun with full stock to be draped in a white organza sheath and tied with red bows.  


The survey also tells us Buck shot or number three shot is the preferred round.  The pump shotgun is preferred, several traditionalists still go with the double barrel even though the Remington below holds nine rounds.   Traditional wood stocks are preferred over the Black Synthetics.

The shotgun wedding falls into two categories or more depending on the psychiatrist you speak with. 
First an  off the grid celebration of those who are off the grid.  Usually they are cleverly done and very expressive of a simpler form of living.  They simply and orally express their heritage and style, and many are really clever aberrations.

Two I attended were a blast and well-mannered folks and great food, dancing and ceremony.  A high-end shotgun theme wedding.   Another I was asked to shoot after hearing about what it was about, I chose to have a conflict of dates.  

One event in my life was enough while photographing wrestlers for the local T-Shirt company during a bout with I think featured the Briscoe Brothers and these two aberrations, Bulbar the Barbarian and Sultan Sulliman, who was supposed to grab the dummy camera at ringside and smash it.

The Neanderthal grabbed my brand-new Nikon F3 with drive, flash and power pack and smashed that. I was reimbursed by the vendor of the show.   There is risk in covering some events, but there are more than one kind of risk.  The stupid risk is the worst.

The second type is the form of forced marriage occasioned sometimes by unexpected and unplanned pregnancy or violation of the Laws of Virginity.   Go do some research and see what really got the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s riled up.

Some religions and cultures consider it a moral imperative to marry in such a situation, based on reasoning that premarital sex or out-of-wedlock births are sinful, not sanctioned by law, or otherwise stigmatized. 

The phrase is an American colloquialism, though it is also used in other parts of the world. In addition,  in some areas the marrying of cousins is frowned upon but necessary to keep peace in the family.   

Shotgun weddings have become less common as the stigma associated with out-of-wedlock births has gradually faded and the number of such births has increased; the increasing availability of birth control and abortion, as well as material support to unwed mothers such as welfare has reduced the perceived need for such measures.  On the other hand,

The availability of cheap overseas ammo has increased the amount of nine-millimeter weddings with the Kalashnikov 7.62 AK series in third place.  

But, people never cease to amaze me. There is nothing prettier than a six-month pregnant bride and the two families looking at each other with blood in their eyes.  A very colorful combination!  

I had the pleasure of shooting one of these when I was working for a Wedding Mill in NYC.   And the proper dress for the Northern Sullivan Law Violations was .45 and 9 mm in black shoulder holsters under the suit jacket or buried in the cummerbund.

It was the Northern version of the Southern style shotgun wedding. The difference? The guns, Colt 1911’s or S&W revolvers were worn under the tuxedos whereas in the South they used garish hip holsters decorated with pearls and sequins for the ladies.   Or just slung them over the horses in leather cases.

Modern Shotgun Wedding -  Always check with the caterer to see what they are serving, it appears fresh turkey will go well with the possum and gator tail.

•  You will need a license.  Most states won't honor anything on the back of a paper bag.  
•  Check the guest list with the post office, and request DNA samples when they arrive. 
•  Make sure the judge knows you are coming and there are no open warrants on you or your bride. 
•  Make sure the food ( Wings, Hot dogs and Pig Knuckles ) are fresh.  And for sure,  you make sure the dress code is enforced.

•  Order a huge supply of Mountain Dew fortified with bottles of Vodka
Make sure the BUDWEISER truck arrives on time.   
•  Make sure the Wedding cake is big enough  to sport an Olympic size cake food fight 
•  Proper wedding decorations consist of recently shot dead animals like Raccoons and Squirrels, Deer Antlers...
Proper dress etiquette requires the women to wear bras if they own  or have one, open toed shoes after they wash their feet in strong detergent, and also shoes for the men, flip-flops not acceptable.
•  The DJ should have the appropriate music planned, including ritualistic and occasional pig hollering.

•  •  Be careful when cutting the cake with a rusty cavalry sword not to lose fingers or hands.
Make an appointment at the courthouse.  Borrow two people or rent some hourly labor if you must as your witnesses.  
•  Purchase large 7/8-inch nuts from Home Depot, polish them and use as rings. 
•  Make sure your jeans are pressed and your denim jacket is clean of those barf stains from the bachelor’s party.  
Her sneakers should be recently bleached white in the washing machine and the hand me down Goodwill dress should be long enough to cover her buttocks at least till she dives into the mud pond.
•  Go to the courthouse, do the paperwork and vows, hop into your Orange Dodge Charger with the knowledge shotgun wedding was complete and you stood up like a man.