I once had a teacher who went on a school trip with us overseas. He never brought a camera. When asked why, he'd always smirk and say, “If you take too many pictures, you'll miss your trip.” I still have those pictures from that trip and I love them. But what he said really stuck with me over the years. It especially rings true now that I'm planning a wedding in the age of cellphones with cameras, instant uploads, and Instagram.
Between making sure my makeup is “photo-worthy” to chronicling the planning progress (Offbeat Bride Tribe, you are my enabler!), the era of instant documentation and weddings is a match made in heaven. Who doesn't want an excuse to show off pictures of their wedding day? Now you have a reason to take photos of the knitting project you've been toiling over for months. Who doesn't love to get feedback from others fawning over your dress, décor, music, etc?
But when does celebrating a day become validating an event?
Do we NEED to show these pictures off? Do all of your Facebook friends need to see the video of your first dance? How about your guests “checking in” at the event and making sure they're in at least one picture to document their presence. At what point does the day go from pictures of the new couple to “pics or it didn't happen!”?
How many people Liking (not liking, but Liking) my wedding will it take to validate it? How many social media shares or comments are needed to make my marriage official? The answer is, obviously, none.
I already know that no matter how gorgeous the professional pictures, the way I will feel that day will be 100X better than anything captured on camera. The music will always be better on the day than in the video, as will the laughter and the smiles. The food will obviously taste better. The pictures will be a great way of remembering the wedding (and let's be honest, I'm pretty proud of those homemade bouquets), but if no one were to ever see them, the day still happened.
So as I excitedly post Offbeat Bride Tribe journal entries of progress and fantasize about submitting my wedding to Offbeat Bride, when the day comes I'm keeping myself in check and making sure it's for the right reasons.
I don't want to miss my trip down the aisle because I'm busy wondering which Instagram filter would look best for the moment.
How are celebrating and validating-seeking different? How do you navigate the difference? And is anyone doing an unplugged wedding?