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You are Beautiful

Advice from an alternative wedding photographer who’s gotten sick of bullcrap.

“When’s the wedding?” the woman asked, excitedly pressing a goody bag into my palm (which may or may not have been in a cold sweat at the lies I was telling).

“Oh we haven’t set a date yet. It’s very speculative,” I lied, fingering the white gold ring in my pocket.

“…congratulations anyway!” She seethed before turning to her next victim.

I had what felt like 50 such bags of samples in my hand. I sat down to go through them. No less than four contained samples of products that were only ever designed to make me feel like utter shit.

Diet cake squares, zero calorie fizzy drinks, some kind of tooth whitening paste and other crap that made me feel like a bride just can’t be herself. Like she has to pinch this, tuck that, whiten god knows what and do every cleanse/fast going.

Brides (and grooms, of course) aren’t immune to being made to feel shitty by someone who can see them and their bank balance coming. I’d been given free tickets to walk around one of the biggest wedding shows in the country, and as I stuffed that bundle of sexist drivel into the nearest bin, I decided I wouldn’t be going back.

Weddings are happy occassions!

How did it feel when you talked about your relationship, and decided, together, that marriage was the next step for you? It’s intensely personal, that feeling. And it’s one of pure joy – the recognition that you’ve found your favourite weirdo, that you want this person in your life with you forever, and they feel the same. 

And then, getting all your favourite people together to celebrate that with you. 

That’s what weddings are, at their core. Celebrations of love and joy. And sure, it’s stressful planning a wedding, and the day itself can be overwhelming. 

But the biggest concern I hear from my clients? “I have a double chin.” “I’m a bit fluffy.” “I don’t like the way I look in photos.”

Honestly, it breaks my heart. Not only because these people are beautiful, but because on one of the most joyful and memorable days of their lives they’re preoccupied about their looks. And I don’t blame them, not at all. Not in 2019 when selfies are still a thing, the likes of real life goddess Jameela Jamil are having to take magazines to court over photoshopping natural body parts.

In an ideal world you wouldn’t have to contend with any of this horseshit on your wedding day. 

 

Choose your suppliers with great care.

Sometimes I’d love to publically share the misogeny that gets shared in closed Facebook wedding supplier groups. I’ve seen photographers gushing over how beautiful a bride is on a particular day, and then seen the pictures immediately all over social media. I’ve seen photographers boast about looking at a bride’s arse when photographing the back of her dress.

The fact is that the wedding industry is almost completely unregulated. We’re mostly all self-employed, and I’ve seen suppliers throw each other under the metaphorical bus because hey, it’s business. 

The good news is that there are lots of talented suppliers with bags of integrity, and they usually have personal relationships with other suppliers with bags of integrity. Finding one supplier can often lead to finding more suppliers, and being satisfied that none are going to “see you coming” or objectify you in any way.

Plenty of us understand just how important your wedding day is, and will do what it takes to ensure it all goes as smoothly as possible. As I said, most of us are self-employed. Many of us put a limit on how many weddings we’ll take on each year, so that we can be available for any questions you might have, and to make sure we can chat about wedding stuff. Interacting with suppliers through Instagram or Facebook is a great way to get to know them, and build a sense of trust.

Look after yourselves first.

I can’t stress enough how you should take care of yourself in the run up to your wedding. Don’t go on any ill-advised crash diets or drink weightloss tea. Not just because it’s incredibly unhealthy – you also don’t need it. 

You’re marrying the person someone who loves you for who you are, and you feel the same about them. It sounds corny as anything but it’s true. Don’t let any diet product pushers or pervy photographers make you feel any different.

You are perfect as you are. You are enough.