My worst wedding photo is my favorite wedding photo

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by SamanthaPink
Photo by Milestone Images.

I cried (almost) the ENTIRE way through the vows. There simply wasn't going to be a picture of us in the courthouse without me doing the ugly face. And yet, when I saw this picture, I felt before I saw. What I mean is, I didn't see my ugly cry face. I felt those feelings I felt then: the overwhelming love that broke my face into tears and snot and can't-pull-myself-together.

This is what wedding pictures have done to me.

I no longer see myself for my imperfections. I see myself for the beauty of the things I feel, the honest ways they're expressed through my skin. In an almost ironic twist of the expected, being a bride didn't make me feel fat and ugly. It made me finally aware of how gorgeous I am — even, and especially, with a face covered in tears.

My favorite wedding picture isn't the one with the best lighting or the most flattering fall of my dress. It's the one where I am sobbing while sputtering out my forevers to the man I love so much. It's him holding my hands and keeping me from dropping to the floor. It's even the judge's face of love and patience as he takes it all in. It's all of that, and it's beautiful.

  1. HOLY moly, that photo is perfection. I love you crying and the way they're both smiling at you so sweetly. It's totally an "awww" moment, and a beautiful one at that. Good for you. πŸ™‚

  2. I laughed at this photo. Not in a mean way though. I laughed because I know I'll be making that face come October. And because I can see in your husband's smile just how much he loves you, no matter what face you are making. πŸ™‚

    • You and me both! I giggled as well thinking "yep, October, that's me." I hope my guy holds me up and smiles at me the same πŸ™‚

  3. What beautiful sentiments! I love the way you described your feelings about this photo and can relate. My favorite shot of my wedding is a simple shot where I was beaming up at my husband – my photographer was snapping at me to stop smiling (she wanted oh-so-serious shots for some reason) and my heart and face just refused to oblige!

  4. Awwwwww! So sweet. You made me tear up a little. I feel the same about my love and did the same thing. I wish I had a picture like this!

  5. I LOVE this picture! and I can totally relate to this article because every picture I have within minutes of giving birth to my son I look exactly like this…everyone laughs at my horrible face and says that I look like I'm still in pain even though he's out and laying on my lap but that ugly face is me feeling an indescribable emotion that we are only lucky enough to experience a few times in life…the first moment you see your child being one of those, and I'm assuming the moment I say my wedding vows will be the next (we've been engaged for years and still no date in sight, but I'm sure my wedding photos will look just like this too!)
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. This photo just made my day. And I just sent a link of this post to my fiance and warned him that this is what he can expect from me!!! Absolutely wonderful. πŸ™‚

  7. I have photos like this, but instead of crying I am doubled over laughing or pulling the most ridiculous faces. I showed all of them off, because in each one was the extreme joy I felt. Even if my face was twisted into the most undemure expressions πŸ™‚

  8. I absolutely love this picture. You can feel the love these two experienced at that moment, and it makes me smile.

  9. This will so be me on my day too. Thank you for an uplifting perspective. I bawled my way through a reading at my brother's wedding & felt horrible about it. Now, not so much.

  10. Add me to the list of laughers – this was me last September, actually, it was me and my groom! I had the "Beautiful" cry face going and despite my best attempts to speak clearly and loudly, all I could manage was incomprehensible squeaks. I would've loved to have had a picture like this one. πŸ™‚

  11. Thank you for sharing, and for making me feel less nervous about doing my own vows. Now, maybe I'll HOPE I'll cry.

    Okay, maybe not. But since I know I will anyway, might as well make the best of it!

  12. I KNOW I'm going to be a basket-case during my vows, so thank you for your beautiful and insightful way of looking at this part of the wedding and appreciating it. <3 to you.

  13. Hey all! Samantha has given me permission to chime in here- I'm Angie, and I am her wedding photographer who shot this photo. Um, hi!

    Anyway, I want to say first and foremost that both Sam and her husband Andrew are both beautiful people, inside and out, and their wedding was lovely because THEY are lovely. I personally adore this photo, and I'm glad Sam loves it, too.

    She's given me permission to share a few more photos from their wedding, and I'd love to tell you about them. Their courthouse wedding was a SURPRISE for starters. Their parents thought they were coming to a family Christmas photo shoot and instead found me, my camera, and Sam and Andrew holding a sign that said, "Surprise! We're getting married today." If you think Sam's cry face is awesome, you should see her dad's. πŸ™‚

    Their plan was always to elope, which their families knew, but oh, when Sam's dad realized he got to walk her down the aisle after all? I swear, it made ME cry. Then we got REALLY lucky with an amazing Christmas-y snowfall, which- when you're shooting a bride in a black wedding dress- is about as lucky as a girl with a camera can get.

    Sam might be doing the "ugly cry" here, but you guys, she looks like some kind of Queen of Winter (in faux fur boots!) in the others.

    You're welcome go to my blog to see it here:
    http://www.milestoneimages.us/blog/?p=2553

    Also, for more gorgeous photos of Sam, Andrew (and their cats Library and Love), you can see their highlights slideshow here: http://milestoneimages.us/121010/

    Thanks for letting me share, and thanks to all for seeing the same beauty in Sam's tears that I witnessed in the moment.

  14. I got married in December and I also cried right through the vows – my photographer took a shot of the church and everyone crying with me.

    That is my favourite for the same reason – It make me realise how much people love us.

  15. I fully expect to have tons of pictures of me making weird cry-laughy faces. I expect I'll cherish them as well.

    (And I'll agree with everyone who said this post made them a little sniffly.)

  16. Awww! Your husband looks so sweet! And you are right, even I FEEL what you are feeling. That's a great picture!

  17. Thank you so much for this post. As I type this comment I am allowing a few tears to roll down my face as I really sit with what you said. It's so easy to get caught up in the superficial beauty of a wedding… the dress you've always wanted, the carefully applied makeup, the beautiful decor…. but as you have so simply put, the real beauty is the reason we are there (in the dress, makeup and flowers) to share something beautiful with someone we love. You are beautiful in your honest expression of emotion. I can't wait to feel that beauty, too. (3 months and counting!!!)

  18. perfect!! you describe your feelings perfectly in the text… and the photo shows it all even better. love it!

  19. What a perfect moment! The love in your husband's face and the sweet patience in the judges face are wonderful. They are all so full of emotion. I'm so glad you see how beautiful you are.

  20. This completely broke my heart. In the greatest way possible! These are also my favorite kind of photos. Thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous "ugly face". This photo almost made me burst into tears. You can literally FEEL the love. Beautiful!

  21. Thanks for sharing this photo (and writing) with us — it is indeed a beautiful photo! Willing to bet that years from now, you and your husband will look at that photo, laugh (in a good way!), and agree that it evokes nothing but pure love.

    And have to admit, I'm hoping my future hubby (and our minister) will have the same smiles and looks as I try to say my vows while crying/hiccuping/trying not to throw up or faint at the same time. (If anything, you did an awesome job keeping it together)!

  22. This seriously did so much for me. Not only did it help me calm down about my own upcoming wedding, but made me realize that I'll be so focused on the emotions that I won't really care how I look all teary and snot-nosed. You look gorgeous, by the way!

  23. I started tearing up myself. I know that's going to be me in November and I've been worrying about it for months! I'm super self conscious about just about everything and being super emotional in front of everyone I love has freaked me out for days. Somehow this post made me feel a million times better about it, I don't even know why it has bothered me, it is going to be on front of everyone I love after all! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome photo <3

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