Favorite Wedding Photo
A former bride of mine (shout out to Katie and staying in contact all of these years) recently asked me, “Why don’t you share any of your wedding photos?”
There is a long answer, and a short answer.
The short answer is, both my wife and I are pretty private people. Not private as in grumpy old curmudgeons, but private in the sense that, I believe social media has many potential, psychologically damaging side effects. I actually wrote a blogpost, aptly titled “Why I Hate Social Media.” The funny thing is, when I sat down to write the blog, I was planning on writing a blogpost to help couples plan their wedding as I was doing the same at the time. Once my fingers started typing, my mind went off in a tangent and laid out a pretty interesting read. You should check it out.
Years ago, my godfather mentioned something to me in passing. He said, “What is good for the group is normally bad for the individual. And what is good for the individual is bad for the group.” Ironically, I love it when everyone else uses social media. It allows me to keep in touch with former clients, friends, associates, acquaintances, etc. It enriches my life and makes it easier too. However, I am concerned about social media and our use of it. Aside from being a wedding photographer, I am a high school teacher. I see everyday the decisions students make to put one’s social media presence at a higher priority than it should be. I see the false realities that people present on social media. I see the death of joy as life comparisons take place based on what we see others doing or how others live. We never look down and count our blessings; we always look up and ask “why not me?” I don’t think that is healthy.
The long answer…
When I work with couples, I want to know, what is your story? and how can we incorporate that into your wedding day? When a photo reflects the relationship of the couple, it goes beyond being just a pretty picture and becomes emotionally valuable.
Becky and I have known each other 18 years. That is a lot of memories, a lot of inside jokes, and a lot of stories. I met Becky in May of my senior year of high school. She was a sophomore. While I was getting ready to go to college, she was still thinking about the next two years of high school. The spark and infatuation was there; we decided to make it work long distance (before FaceTime and Snap!) Friday nights, I would start the 3 hour drive from Kalamazoo to Metro Detroit and get in around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. Like most college students, I was broke. As much as I wanted to wine, dine, and impress this cute girl, my wallet wasn’t allowing it. Instead, I would scrap together whatever money I had and would take her out to National Coney Island at Hall Rd. and M-53 as soon as I got home. We wanted to spend every minute we could with each other. She would order a baby Greek salad and chili cheese fries (remember the days when calories didn’t matter?) and I would order either a chili cheese omelette or blueberry pancakes. It wasn’t much; it wasn’t romantic, but it was all we had. It was the foundation of our early days. So many stories, jokes, dreams and hand holding was shared at that coney island.
Fast forward to November 24, 2017. We got married at the Westin Book Cadillac and wanted a moment away from our party to just be alone and soak it all in. Across the street from our venue – a coney island.
As the bell rang and a cold breeze swept through the restaurant when I opened the door to enter, guests turned, stared, and congratulated us. We sat down at the table farthest away from everyone else, like we always used to. We held hands, shared a coney, and couldn’t believe that our journey came full circle.
The photo from that moment might be my favorite wedding photo.
It won’t win awards. It won’t make the cover of a bridal magazine. But to me, it is perfect. It is my favorite wedding photo because of everything that it represents and everything that it took to get there.
So Katie, thanks for encouraging me to share one of my wedding photos. Truth be told, I have a lot of favorite wedding photos (I hope you do too.) I hope you can understand why I don’t share many (or any, really) of my wedding photos online. I never want likes, emojis, or retweets to cloud or replace the happiness that hugs, kisses, laughs, and memories give me. I will take some real and private over public and popular any day.