Capture What's Real


Two of my closest friends are newly engaged, and watching their Pinterest boards grow and to-do lists get checked off brings me back to my own season of planning. Designing a wedding is a tricky endeavor, whether or not you have the help of a fantastic wedding planner. But, even for a not-so-creative person, the age of social media has given us an endless slew of options to choose from. When Ross and I planned our wedding, two of our biggest priorities were wedding photography and videography. Thankfully, we found phenomenal vendors for both. I treasure our wedding photos because they capture an emotion that I couldn't possibly describe with words. They are a joy to look through because I see the faces of those I love the most reflected through our photographers' work.

However, I'll always remember a conversation that I had with one of our photographers during our engagement photoshoot. She talked about how so many brides often want to replicate pictures they see online. In fact, some go so far as to provide a list of "wedding photo ideas" that they want to recreate on their big day. If you go on any wedding website, it's not uncommon to find a similar list or planning tool to help you do the same.

How ironic, that on the most important day of our lives, we want to make sure that our moments fit the mold of someone else.

A few days ago, I was giving my teacher a correction after her Pure Barre class because her music was overpowering her voice. As I talked with her, we discussed the importance of not just finding your own style, but having a firm understanding of your voice. This is a lesson that far exceeds group fitness classes or performing; it deals with our constant tendency to imitate others, even in the most personal moments.

It's so easy to put out content that fits a set of social standards. We Instagram our best outfits and fake laugh until we convince ourselves that it was real. No one takes photos of a Friday night spent at home with leftovers and their dog. In fact, if we have nothing good to show the world, we dig up a "throwback" to remind people of how great our lives "typically" are. I'm not criticizing. I fall into the same boat, but I do believe that our hesitancy to show anything less than a manicured photo makes all of us a bit insecure.

You don't have to be famous to have a brand. Your brand, your voice, is the content that you display on a daily basis. It's the way you tell and retell your stories. Do you keep them honest, or do you add in details for the extra laugh? Are you comfortable with telling the truth how it really happened, with giving your friends the real answer to the "how are you" question, or are you painting pictures that are edited just enough to remove the gritty details? If we can't learn to be authentic in the little moments, we are in danger of becoming the type of person who wants to copy other peoples' photos on our wedding day.  

When I look back at my wedding photos, I don't want to see posed images of my family and friends, who have been neatly arranged into a camera-friendly formation. I want to see my arms flung around my best friend after she caught the bouquet. I want to see countless people filming my new husband as he sang onstage, and my friend's parents dancing the night away after one-too-many Moscow mules. I want to feel the emotion that I felt right before I walked down the aisle with my dad, and see my flower girl falling asleep in her father's arms after a long night of excitement. The photos from the best day of my life should capture what's real, not a contrived depiction of another Pinterest-worthy wedding.

In all aspects of life, make sure your voice is an echo of who you really are, not an imitation of someone you're trying to be.