Why I’m keeping my wedding photos to myself (& off social media!)

Guest post by Michelle
 | Photography by Ed & Aileen Photography
Why I'm choosing wedding photo privacy
Keeping a mask on your photos is one choice you absolutely CAN make
Photo by Ed & Aileen Photography via Sam and Justin's wedding

Three weeks ago, I married my best friend next to the ocean in a short white dress, wild hair, and bare feet. The weather was gray, our beach wedding plans changed and forced all guests to reroute last-minute, the best man forgot the boutonnieres, and the ceremony started late. However, when I got the cue to start walking, all the details I had spent months painstakingly outlining melted away into thin air. They didn't matter because, in those moments, everything in my world was perfect. Despite all of the hiccups, I felt confident and present as I walked down that aisle, ready to commit my life to the person standing there at the end. Later, Shawn, my partner, would tell me that he could barely look at me as I approached him, that I shined brighter than the sun, and I was the most beautiful thing he has ever seen (swoon, eh?).

In all of the days leading up to the wedding, I had envisioned the day going a certain way, hoping to provide a memorable party for our guests, planning the ideal boho up-do, and perfecting favors and décor, without turning my thoughts to what it was actually going to mean to be married. However, for the next three hours after we said our “I do's,” I stared at my new husband from across the reception dining room while attempting to have conversations that I can't at this time even recall because I was blinded by joy and contentment, doing everything I could to stop myself from just running into his arms. I hadn't written that overwhelming, life-altering feeling into my wedding day story, but why not? I had become so consumed by the physical aspects of the ceremony, how it and how I would be perceived to those attending, that I downplayed the significance of the commitment I was making.

It is something personal and, for the most part, indescribable to people outside of our relationship. That is the reason I am keeping my wedding photos to myself.

My partner put “marriage” into words better than I could have when he said, “everything in our relationship is now electrified, it's on fire,” and he's so on point. The day and the way we both felt from that point forward is a closeness we will now share for the rest of our lives. It is something personal and, for the most part, indescribable to people outside of our relationship. That is the reason I am keeping my wedding photos to myself and not putting them on the social media train for the world to see, to comment on, to judge — because a photograph doesn't capture commitment. I explained my feelings on the subject to a friend who recently said to me, “I've been waiting to see your wedding photos, but you're not posting them!” I told her, that she was right — I wasn't posting them because the ones that do best at showcasing the pure joy I felt on that day can be printed, framed, and hung on our bedroom wall for us to enjoy. Everything on that day had so much more meaning behind it than what the camera can show.

Facebook is the first lesson in wedding humility, letting your vanity go in cringe-inducing waves of overly indulgent boob shots and bad camera angles.

I am sure that I am not the only person who has hesitated to put her photos on blast to be the subject of acquaintances' conversations for a few days. Inviting people to your wedding who take blurry camera phone pictures of your first dance and your cake cutting and then put them on Facebook is the first lesson in wedding humility, letting your vanity go in cringe-inducing waves of overly indulgent boob shots and bad camera angles. The thing is, though, that I don't owe my social media community anything more than that. After all, I am just a normal, average person. Our most extraordinary day was a mere blip on my newsfeed map, but for me, it was so much more than that; it was the start to a lifelong journey of which I can only hope to be nothing but happiness. I'm not interested in having old friends from high school to whom I have not spoken in 13 years pass judgment on that exhilaration based on a collection of amateur and/or professionally touched-up photos.

May I eventually change my mind on a #throwbackthursday post to that one time I got married? Sure. One thing, however, that I know to be certain, despite the time and energy that I put into how people would perceive my wedding from the outside looking in, is that my day transcended anything photographs can capture. It's every person's right to keep close the sanctity of that private moment between them and their partner(s). So cheers to a little bit of privacy and a whole lot of self-love!

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Comments on Why I’m keeping my wedding photos to myself (& off social media!)

  1. Great article! I’m not shy about posting photos from the wedding day BUT I draw the line at video being posted online – I know my stepfather took a video but I’ve told him he may not post it. I feel like video is a bit too personal for everyone to see. If you were not there to witness it, you don’t get to hear our words. (And we literally had a generic ceremony so it’s not like it was overly romantic or personal even. I’d be even crazier about this policy if we had actually had a personalized ceremony!)
    If he is (finally) able to send me the video himself, I will forward it to 2 people who have requested it and could not attend for legitimate reasons but wanted to, but I don’t want it consumed by everyone.

  2. Thank you so much for this!! I am someone who posted a 300 picture album on facebook pretty much as soon as my pro photos came back, and will stalk ANYONE on my friends list who has a wedding, will scroll through wedding hashtags I see on instagram even if I barely know the couple, and pause at unfriending someone I haven’t said more than three words to my whole life because it would mean I couldn’t stalk their wedding anymore. I LOVE looking at wedding photos, and sometimes feel an unfounded pang of annoyance when someone doesn’t post them online, so it was nice to read someone else’s perspective. And to realize maybe its BECAUSE of people like me that they do it.
    I am wondering if you shared any of the photos with your friends and family who were there at your wedding?

    • Hi Abbynvm–
      I did happily share my photos with a lot of people! I shared them with people who attended the wedding and with people who I share physical time and space with on a regular basis. You were kind of right on target when you mentioned that you loved to see pictures from people’s weddings, even if they were of people who you rarely keep in contact with anymore– a lot of people do! While I am sure you had nothing but nice things to say about their photos of their special day, not everyone is as gracious as you may be, and it’s those judgments that I don’t want out there, circling the universe. Now, I will say that I have not been able to control other people’s postings of our wedding photos, and I’m also okay with that. If my mom, sister, matron of honor, whoever wants to post a photo that makes her feel as beautiful as she felt on that day, I am all for it! I am confident in the fact that my wedding day was one of my happiest days– and that’s all I need!

  3. It was great reading this, as I’m having some complicated feelings about our wedding photos. Haven’t gotten the professional ones back, but it’s been both exciting and uncomfortable seeing the ones guests posted. There are definitely a few that made me wince and rethink my dress choice. (The dress up until then that I LOVED and thought I looked great in). My father also took a video of the ceremony which I am grateful that he did but the angle is terrible. You can only see my husband’s back and I look hunched over. Still, I love the video and will cherish it, but am not posting it for strangers to judge and side-eye.

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