“Dear Nervous Bride
I just wanted to drop you a line to hopefully offer some reassurance and to say that I completely understand. You really aren’t alone and I’ve photographed literally hundreds of brides who have all been concerned about what they are going to look like in their pictures, being the centre of attention all day and having to live up to everyone else’s expectations.
It’s definitely a bit of a stress!
Firstly, I have to say that almost everyone thinks they look a bit weird in pictures and I think it’s something to do with seeing our faces the “right way round” rather than as we more commonly see them in a mirror. We’re also always our own worse critics! For some reason, we seem to be pre-programmed to see the flaws in ourselves yet completely overlook them in others.
No one else sees you this way or is anyway as critical as you are – I promise!
I’ll be looking for pictures where your expression is full of love and warmth for your partner, where there’s joy and fun – pictures that are, well, just “you” in all of your wonderful glory. The “you” that your partner adores, that your family and friends love and the “you” that’s real and human.
Dear god, we’ve all got our flaws to live with – have you noticed the size of my nose!?
And I would also hate being the centre of attention all day. All of those people looking and wanting to chat and the smiling and all the small talk. I might be a ridiculous 6′ 5” tall but often I too want to disappear unnoticed and become part of the background rather than having people demand of me all the time.
It’s OK to be you, in fact, it’s amazing to be you, and if being you means taking time out, or being a quiet bride or simply not “working the room” like you probably think you should then that’s just fine.
There’s too many wedding films, and wedding blogs and wedding magazines pedalling too many pre-packaged ideas of what “perfect” weddings should be.
It’s all sickening marketing hype.
The best weddings I’ve been to are the ones where the couple are just themselves. Where they embrace their quirks, embrace their wants and desires, and just have a day that’s a celebration of their love and the beginning of their journey together in a way that just feels right for them in an authentic and personal way.
I’m not saying it’s easy to get it right, I just think that you should give yourself a break. Do what the hell feels right for you and not what you think everyone else expects. The only thing you absolutely have to do is to make your vows to each other – the rest is, quite literally optional.
But, whatever you choose to do I’ll be there with you to record it. I’ll quietly be photographing away and I know that on the outside I look professional, confident and assured in my silly 6’5” stature, shirt, tie and camera bag and, with a camera in my hand, I’m as confident as I ever get.
But inside, I feel as vulnerable as you, as unassuming and uncertain and it took me so many years to realise that rather than being my weakness it was my strength.
So, whatever happens on your wedding day and however you choose to celebrate it let’s make a private unspoken pact that when we’re there together in the hubbub that we’ll both just do our thing. Yes, we will both probably play to the audience a bit because it’s impossible not to but underneath let’s remain steadfastly true to ourselves.
And, as the beautiful, quiet, shy and retiring, or zany or unfathomable real “you” shines out I’ll be right there beside you to record it. To gently gather the looks and expressions, the gestures and reactions that, when you look back at yourself in the pictures in years to come, you’ll recognise as being the real authentic you. The pictures that are of your heart and soul.
Let’s not worry what anyone else thinks, or what we think people expect us to do. Let’s embrace being ourselves and be happy.
With all best wishes
If you are planning your wedding and looking for a photographer then GET IN TOUCH – I would love to hear from you. You can also download a copy of my detailed client guide “Planning Your Wedding Photography – Everything You Need to Know” by clicking the image below – enjoy!