Our Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly-Cry.

Our wedding photographer published our photos to a private website a few weeks ago. Like the good wife that I am, I waited anxiously until the new Mr. could view them with me (bless his soul). And as we scrolled through the three to four hundreds of photos, my most overwhelming feeling wasn’t “oh wow, I look so pretty!”. Instead, the thoughts playing through my mind were: “oh man, I have back fat hanging over my dress!” “Ugh, I hate my nose in those profile shots” and “I should have spray-tanned to cover up those tan lines”.

50Peach.com Wedding 1

Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

50Peach.com Wedding2

Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

Tank top tan lines, crow's feet and I swear I have something stuck in my tooth. Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

And this kind of destructive self-bashing? This makes me sad. I’m normally a pretty badass, confident, life-list chasing kinda gal. But with my wedding pictures, it’s almost as if I expected our amazing photographer to morph me into someone I am not. Someone with a perfectly dainty nose. Someone who doesn’t exercise outdoors to stay fit. Someone who didn’t get those sunburn blotches on her back on a pre-wedding Savannah getaway with the love of her life. Those are ME. That’s who I am. And I’m pissed at myself for letting those demonic voices poison the happiest day of my life in the slightest.

I’m not saying there weren’t many, many photos in which I feel I looked very pretty. Striking, even. But I was left eating my feelings that night over certain shots that haunted me. What if everyone secretly thought that my dress choice was awful? What if I was ruthlessly judged by the extra skin that crept over the strapless top of my dress if I leaned this way or that? What if I’d just tried harder to eat better and work out more before the wedding? Would it have made a difference in the way I feel right now? If that weren’t enough destructive self-sabotage, my stupid brain continued on with: Should I have not even bothered with a strapless dress? I am getting up there in age, you know. I’m a 36 years old and the crow’s feet and laugh lines show it pretty fucking well. Maybe I overshot my wedding fantasy.

It was that last horrible sentiment that started the ugly-cry.

So why the freakout?  Two reasons.

First, there were just SO many pictures of me. As there should be. It’s our wedding, for pete’s sake. But for someone who would much rather be the observer than the spectacle, the amount of ALLUPINYOURFACE and I CAN SEE EVERY PORE is downright bizarre and mildly upsetting. Yep, I am a weird bride.

Or maybe it’s the fact that the Great American Wedding Factory shoves nothing but perfectly posed, styled, airbrushed and photoshopped images of bridal perfection into every social media outlet possible. Seriously, months later I’m still weeding out the Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram overload of allthingsbridal from my feeds. I’m positive that I am not alone in feeling that we brides are expected to live up to a SchmyleMeShpretty stereotype that is virtually impossible. That is, unless you’re a twiggy, well-financed heiress with connections to the most expensive venues, florists, caterers and oh, yeah – access to a group of friends who haven’t eaten in the last 10 years, all who happen to be the same height and can each afford $500.00 dresses. Bottom line: To be expected to live up to this standard isn’t just daunting, it’s CRUSHING.

That said, believe me when I say that there is not one thing I would want to change about how our day went, or how it looks in our photos. My husband and I stuck with our wedding vision throughout the whole process and our simple, elegant garden wedding was perfect. Which just proves the point that you don’t need to have a damn succulent-filled peonies bouquet or tulle-strewn, twinkly-lit vineyards for it to be deemed a gorgeous wedding.

And I have no doubt that upon a second and third look (perhaps with a giant glass of vino) I know I will find that there are dozens and dozens of photos of myself that are pleasing enough to my critical eye. They will be lovingly shared with family and friends who will treasure the memories, not for whether or not my dress is pinching my armpit fat, but for the love that we all felt that day. And I know that in time, this moment of freaked-out-ed-ness will pass. Perhaps with many years and a few kids in between that day and this one, I’ll even look at the picture album I’ve yet to create and say… “damn, what was WRONG with me. I look smokin’!”.

Therefore, to the voices in my head that night, this recent bride would like to say “shut the fuck up”. I looked hot. And our wedding was awesome.

50Peach.com Wedding4

Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography

50Peach.com Wedding5

Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography



50Peach.com Wedding7

Makeup by Andrea Carter Artistry. Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography


50Peach.com Wedding8

Photo cred: Lee Patterson Photography


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Our Wedding Photos Made Me Ugly-Cry.

13 Responses

  1. I have tried and tried to come up with an insightful comment, but all I can think to say is, ohmygod me too. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. It was the morning after our wedding and my aunt had just sent me a link to a Picasa album of 100 or so pictures that she took of the festivities. I had been married for approximately 19 hours, my brand new husband was still sleeping, and I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of our beautiful hotel room scouring the pictures and in each one seeing only the things I thought were wrong. My dress fit funny in the back. The sleeves weren’t tapered enough. That back V was a mistake. I should have done my hair differently. My makeup should have been darker. I couldn’t get past all of that to see the smiles and the beams of happiness, the radiant pictures of our families, the incredible picture my aunt captured of my grandmas, one of whom would pass away 3 months after that night. And the truth is, more than 4 years removed from that morning, deep in the middle of this good and rich life, when I look at my wedding pictures my eyes still tend to wander towards those perceived “flaws” and skip over the thrill of it all.

    This all makes me feel icky and complicated because we shouldn’t do this to ourselves, and yet we do. Anyway, this is all by way of saying that I get this in a visceral way, and you are so brave to have written it.

    Sam Merel December 16, 2014 at 10:24 am #
    • SAM. Apologies for the delay in response but my goodness I’m so glad I’m not alone and that this piece resonated with you! “Icky and complicated”… YES, well said. I cannot imagine seeing the pictures as quickly as you did! The trauma!! In the end, you and I both know that we’re fabulous and need to tell those silly voices where to go. Hugs to you. xox

      50Peach December 23, 2014 at 10:35 am #
  2. Well dang! This makes me super sad for you m’dear. It felt – to me – like the entire day was this beautiful protected bubble of love and happiness. I got the exact same feeling from looking at the pictures.

    These pictures??!!: You are the image of bridal perfection. Yes, you. Et, et, et!!!! Yes, YOU. From your gorgeous hair down to those killer shoes. But even moreso than how gorgeous each and every detail was, it was the fact that this day was about a strong relationship for nearly a decade that finally came to this and those of us lucky enough to be a part of it even felt special. I love looking at them because it brings all of those wonderful feelings back and takes me to that happy day and place, even if currently it’s been a tough day/time.

    Final thought: I love these pictures and I love you two so much so, BE NICE to my MOH! <3

    Nette December 16, 2014 at 11:07 am #
    • I love you for putting Angry Bird noises in your comment to me. But also, I love you for getting it. I feel the exact same looking at YOUR photos… all I see is love and light and beauty. I love you more, my MOH. xo

      50Peach December 23, 2014 at 10:39 am #
  3. This post brought tears to my eyes. Trust me when I tell you that you were absolutely stunningly gorgeous on your wedding day. You were glowing with love and it was beautiful to see you. The dress was perfect on you and accentuated your body in all of the right ways. When you came down the aisle, I had to fight back tears-it was a perfect moment and you were perfectly lovely. It is so hard not to be critical of the little things we don’t like about our bodies and those revealing wedding photos kind of bring it all front and center, but those little things (and they ARE little) are things only we notice about ourselves. Believe me, no one was looking at you with the kind of critical eye you’ve turned upon yourself. The only thing we saw was a knock-out bride filled with a beautiful love for her groom. Keep looking at those photos-they are amazing and so are you!!! Love you, Peach!!!

    Erica December 16, 2014 at 11:16 am #
    • Sigh, Erica… you are so right. I love you for being so kind and honest with me. Your words help ease the worry and boost my badassery a bit. Thank you, sweet friend. xo

      50Peach December 23, 2014 at 10:37 am #
  4. I’m proud of you for writing this. Though you realize that you had to, right?

    Christen December 16, 2014 at 11:19 am #
    • I do. Couldn’t have done it without you, though. Love and shit. xo

      50Peach December 23, 2014 at 10:36 am #
  5. we are our own worst critics! i thought you looked gorgeous. i hate to admit that i would totally use photoshop on my own wedding photos–not all, but some now that i’m so dang old.

    Ellesees.blogspot.com December 23, 2014 at 7:29 am #
    • We certainly are. And trust me, the photoshop thought crossed my mind, but then I said screw it… this is me. :)

      50Peach December 23, 2014 at 10:32 am #
  6. I came across your post through Google… I believe I searched for “I feel fat and ugly in my wedding pictures.” Then I clicked your link and saw this stranger who looked so psyched and beautiful. Your post gave me a revelation… We are bombarded by perfection from all these wedding blogs and magazines… We forget how much good are in those pictures, how great that day was. It’s helping me get past my terrible hair and the backfat and focus on the emotion. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Devon December 18, 2015 at 2:07 am #
    • You’re so welcome and I am glad to be of some help. It really is a shame that we let the image of what our day ‘should’ look like get in the way of the joy. Take care and thanks for reading!

      50Peach December 18, 2015 at 8:42 am #
  7. I have to say, I think you look absolutely STUNNING in your photos! My first thoughts were “wow what a beautiful bride”! Your photos look like ones you would find in wedding mags.
    I too got married and found myself looking at my photos in horror and crtizing how I look. We do this because we are surrounded by polished, heavily Photoshopping women who look nothing like that in person then they do in photos. We are constantly comparing ourselves to these photos of computer altered women! I remembering looking at myself in the mirror on the day and thinking.. Wow I look amazing! That is what I keep thinking back to. I felt a million dollars even tho I am not photogenic.

    Heather September 28, 2016 at 4:30 am #

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