Between being a wedding photographer and attending weddings I've celebrated with a lot of couples. I'm that girl who's crying during the vows and speeches. How can you not be happy for these two people who are committing their lives together? Marriage is such a beautiful thing.
I admit I'm a total sap about love. Photographing love for the past 7 years will do that to you I suppose. Now that I'm married each engagement session and wedding reminds me of that amazing day I said, "I do," to Lance. It's really indescribable. And to get to be a part of that day for someone else is such a huge honor. I don't take it lightly.
But after a conversation with friends I remember there is a dark side to weddings. Unfortunately I know that personally. I remember 7 years ago when I lost my job and my boyfriend broke up with me, I sometimes found myself miserable at weddings. I hated that I was single and all my friends were getting married. I'll be real with you, it was a hard time. I'm so sad that I wasn't completely happy at some of those weddings. It's shameful, really, that I made their beautiful day about myself.
So now having gone through both sides of a wedding I wanted to encourage people to put aside themselves and remember to celebrate the couple. Here are some explanations about a few things that people take personally and get upset about that I wanted to tackle.
You weren't selected as a bridesmaid or groomsman. My good friend Amelia got married and she didn't pick me as a bridesmaid. I would have loved to be a bridesmaid but I realized that the people she picked were much better friends and better equipped to be a bridesmaid than me. I was just overjoyed she was getting married. Sometimes people take that "rejection" a little too personally. Sometimes it's logistics (the bride may only want three bridesmaids and you were number 4) and sometimes you're not as close to that person as you think.
I know for me if my bridesmaids didn't make me their bridesmaid I wouldn't be hurt. Sometimes we have friendships that we feel are very close. These four ladies who were my bridesmaids could be my closest friends but they may have friends who are much closer to them to me. And that's totally fine. It's their wedding and they should have their besties with them whether or not that's me.
For me I chose my bridesmaids based on a lot of factors. There was no doubt I'd choose my cousin, Kristina, who's always been my friend and like a sister to me growing up or my sister-in-law, Alison, who's grown to become a real close friend since she married my brother. As for my other two bridesmaids, I chose them because I felt they knew me inside out. I felt they had always loved, encouraged and supported me over the years, and I knew that they would continue to do so in the future, even if we grew apart.
Choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen is a very personal thing and I think as friends we have to respect the bride and groom's choices. (On the upside... being a bridesmaid/groomsmen is a lot of work and costs a ton of money, so you can be a little grateful you dodged that bullet. haha.)
You weren't invited. This is another thing that causes a lot of drama. At Lance and my wedding we were paying for it by ourselves and couldn't afford to invite all our friends. We had over 100 family members to invite and could only afford about 130 total guests. We had to cut a lot of our friends. Weddings are really expensive. Each person invited could cost the couple $75-250+. Just because you weren't invited doesn't mean the couple didn't want you there. Sometimes it's just not within their budget.
Nowadays when I'm not invited to a wedding, I'm still excited for the couple. I still celebrate with them. One friend of mine sent her girlfriend a wedding gift even when she wasn't invited. I thought that was a fabulous idea so now when there's a great friend whose wedding I wasn't invited to I'll still send a wedding gift. Just because you're not invited to a wedding doesn't mean you can't celebrate with them.
You're single or you've been waiting for years to get engaged with your partner. I've seen this destroy people. And all I've got to say is... "I feel you." I know how hard it can be to want to get married and see your friends get married one after another, especially if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend and have been waiting. It's really unfortunate that you're not married yet. Really, it is. But everyone has their own time and this is their time. Try to put yourself aside and be happy for the couple.
I was once a bridesmaid with another girl who had been dating her boyfriend for years and was completely bitter that the bride was getting married before her. She was crazy and toxic. She made the entire wedding process an ordeal. She was constantly complaining and spreading lies about the bride and bridesmaid. Don't be that girl.
Be happy. It's not your time yet. Be happy for your friend whose time has come. And when it's your time, we'll be sure to party like it's 1999.
All in all I know that these things aren't a problem for a lot of people. Most people are happy and excited about their friends getting married. I just know it's human to feel a little upset about these things. I just wanted to remind people that weddings are exciting and wonderful and amazing. Don't let the drama overshadow your happiness for the couple.
p.s. These images are from Michelle & Gary's wedding which was really a blessing to be a part of. They were surrounded by an amazing and supportive group of friends and family. I loved their wedding!
Michelle & Gary's UC Berkeley Faculty Club Wedding. August 31, 2014 | Canon 5d markii