Three weeks ago, I married my best friend next to the ocean in a short white dress, wild hair, and bare feet. The weather was gray, our beach wedding plans changed and forced all guests to reroute last-minute, the best man forgot the boutonnieres, and the ceremony started late. However, when I got the cue to start walking, all the details I had spent months painstakingly outlining melted away into thin air. They didn't matter because, in those moments, everything in my world was perfect. Despite all of the hiccups, I felt confident and present as I walked down that aisle, ready to commit my life to the person standing there at the end. Later, Shawn, my partner, would tell me that he could barely look at me as I approached him, that I shined brighter than the sun, and I was the most beautiful thing he has ever seen (swoon, eh?).
In all of the days leading up to the wedding, I had envisioned the day going a certain way, hoping to provide a memorable party for our guests, planning the ideal boho up-do, and perfecting favors and décor, without turning my thoughts to what it was actually going to mean to be married. However, for the next three hours after we said our “I do's,” I stared at my new husband from across the reception dining room while attempting to have conversations that I can't at this time even recall because I was blinded by joy and contentment, doing everything I could to stop myself from just running into his arms. I hadn't written that overwhelming, life-altering feeling into my wedding day story, but why not? I had become so consumed by the physical aspects of the ceremony, how it and how I would be perceived to those attending, that I downplayed the significance of the commitment I was making.
It is something personal and, for the most part, indescribable to people outside of our relationship. That is the reason I am keeping my wedding photos to myself.
My partner put “marriage” into words better than I could have when he said, “everything in our relationship is now electrified, it's on fire,” and he's so on point. The day and the way we both felt from that point forward is a closeness we will now share for the rest of our lives. It is something personal and, for the most part, indescribable to people outside of our relationship. That is the reason I am keeping my wedding photos to myself and not putting them on the social media train for the world to see, to comment on, to judge — because a photograph doesn't capture commitment. I explained my feelings on the subject to a friend who recently said to me, “I've been waiting to see your wedding photos, but you're not posting them!” I told her, that she was right — I wasn't posting them because the ones that do best at showcasing the pure joy I felt on that day can be printed, framed, and hung on our bedroom wall for us to enjoy. Everything on that day had so much more meaning behind it than what the camera can show.
Facebook is the first lesson in wedding humility, letting your vanity go in cringe-inducing waves of overly indulgent boob shots and bad camera angles.
I am sure that I am not the only person who has hesitated to put her photos on blast to be the subject of acquaintances' conversations for a few days. Inviting people to your wedding who take blurry camera phone pictures of your first dance and your cake cutting and then put them on Facebook is the first lesson in wedding humility, letting your vanity go in cringe-inducing waves of overly indulgent boob shots and bad camera angles. The thing is, though, that I don't owe my social media community anything more than that. After all, I am just a normal, average person. Our most extraordinary day was a mere blip on my newsfeed map, but for me, it was so much more than that; it was the start to a lifelong journey of which I can only hope to be nothing but happiness. I'm not interested in having old friends from high school to whom I have not spoken in 13 years pass judgment on that exhilaration based on a collection of amateur and/or professionally touched-up photos.
May I eventually change my mind on a #throwbackthursday post to that one time I got married? Sure. One thing, however, that I know to be certain, despite the time and energy that I put into how people would perceive my wedding from the outside looking in, is that my day transcended anything photographs can capture. It's every person's right to keep close the sanctity of that private moment between them and their partner(s). So cheers to a little bit of privacy and a whole lot of self-love!
Very related wedding photo privacy musings: