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Perfect Wedding Photos: What Are the Real Stories of the Day?

With the royal wedding all over the news, it’s easy to drift into memories of one’s own wedding. Perhaps yours was a little simpler than the one that took place over in England but it is no doubt a remarkable and memorable day for you.

Much has changed about weddings over the years. They seem to get ever more elaborate and expensive. The photos in particular have become these extraordinary works of art where the happy couple is photographed in multiple locations, poses, and moods. It’s a far cry from my day when you simply looked at the camera and were arranged in clusters with family and attendants.

The photo stories of weddings today are gorgeous. They can also come with a gorgeous price tag. The average cost of a wedding photographer in the U.S. today is $2,000 according to Wedding Wire but you've likely heard of couples spending much more. A wedding is arguably one of the most important days of your life and certainly one of the most photographed. Invest in your wedding photos, they are a lasting and wonderful memento of that day. Yet, with all of the emphasis, money, and time poured into wedding photographs, do they truly capture the full story of day? Of course not.

To truly learn that, you have to ask what are the stories behind the big beautiful portraits? I found myself wondering this very thing as I stared at the official portraits of Meghan and Harry’s Wedding. Of course, they are quite stunning but what happened before and after? What were the participants thinking? With all of the children present, someone had to be fussy - right? Who stepped on the train? Who was ready to pass out from lack of food? Who couldn’t keep their hands to themselves? It’s these moments – these stories - that make a wedding real.

What memories do you have of your wedding? What is it that’s not reflected in the photos? As I think about my own wedding, I am glad we took the photos before the ceremony because I cried through our entire wedding. Had the photos come after, my makeup would have been a wreck! And that would have diminished our “perfect” photos. When my new husband’s grandmother asked me (in the receiving line) why I was crying, I told her it was because I was so filled with joy that it was leaking out of my eyes. Clever for on the spot but the truth was a combination of stress and overwhelming emotion. The fact that our friends and family traveled from such distances to witness our wedding was staggering to me. The love in the church and the awe of exchanging vows before God and these witnesses, did me in. And, by the way, I wasn’t a charming sniffle crier either…I was a snot-dripping-out-my-nose kind of crier. However, you'd never know that from the photos. "For richer, for poorer, in sniffles and in health...", he married me anyway!

We didn’t have cell phones back then so there’s very little record of the ceremony itself. We did try for a video (long story) but the videographer framed it in such a way that it looks like Bob is marrying the candelabra. There are a couple of other stories like the roaring applause before I ever even walked into the sanctuary, or our exceedingly stingy flower girl, or the topic of our first spat – which occurred in the receiving line. These are all the memories that bring that day alive and make it real and interesting. Pictures, no matter how stunning, don’t do justice to experiences. If you want the real story - ask. Then listen as it’s told to you by those who lived it.

Recently I interviewed a couple in honor of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. WOW! That’s an extraordinary story filled with wisdom that could benefit any newlywed couple. One of the funny little stories they shared about their wedding day is that they got married in mid-August…in Phoenix… the middle of the afternoon! Can you imagine? It was well over 100 degrees! Consequently, the ceremony and the reception were kept short but not short enough for the icing on their cake not to melt.

Yes, no matter how “perfect” the pictures look, something is going on behind the scenes and that’s life. And life is interesting and everyone has a story to tell.

Wisdom is a Gift. Save it Today. Share it Forever.