A Wedding Deconstruction

So. My wedding photos. They were awesome. In some of them I felt like I looked amazing – in others I had about 50 double chins, weird facial expressions, a giant chewbaca arm, a phantom gut I blame on the dress because let me assure you – there is no pooch, but magically in a good amount of the photos – POOCH. And! There are a few where I actually look about 4 months pregnant. It doesn’t help that there are also pictures of Kamel holding one of his baby cousins – a beautiful little Mexican girl who could totally pass as our kid. Every time she was in a picture we would say, “Oh look… and there’s our baby!”She was a total doll.

Anyways – the photos I shared were the good ones. The ones that I thought looked shockingly good, or had some amazingly badass moments of emotion. And when I posted them everyone kept telling me how gorgeous I looked and how stunning they were, etc etc. And I was literally sitting on my couch the whole time this was happening, with effed up hair, a big pimple on my NOSE (which is the worst place, really it is… except for maybe anywhere near the lip region… *shudder*), in my PJs. And I remember distinctly walking to the bathroom and glancing in the mirror and thinking, fuuuuck. Who is that girl in those photos? I will never ever be that person ever again. And how bizarro to be putting myself out there as that person when here I am, normal Lauren without fake eyelashes (love those, love those so hard), no makeup, not even a shower, sans the pretty dress and up-do.I am really not that glamorous.

And of course, none of us are THAT glamorous. Wedding glamor and the wedding glow is a unique thing for certain. A once in a lifetime look, for sure. But you know what? There were moments of glow and I definitely felt like the best version of myself at my wedding, but it’s not attainable. That look and those moments will never be captured again. And let’s just be real about all of that ok? Nose pimple and all.

So let’s look at some more realistic shots… the shot that aren’t amazingly on point because life moves. Let’s do it. Let’s take a leap and be super honest.

I don’t know… I thought I looked cuter than I did, apparently.

And you thought previous shots of boob were intense. I mean, look at that cleave!! Put those away, Lauren! You’re about to enter a church! Fuuuck.

Oh! finally a picture of us sitting. And a terrible, terrible attempt at a wink. Wink fail.

Claire is the boob whisperer, and let’s all just take a moment to appreciate that this moment, the moment of tucking my boobs back into my dress, has been documented. Lauren Carroll is a freaking rockstar, I’m not even kidding.

What a pair of fat kids we are in this photo. I mean, have you ever seen two people MORE excited about a cake?

There is nothing “cute” about this photo. PUT THAT CAKE IN MY MAW!

And finally… WHY do I keep pulling my face back like that? I mean… REALLY. It’s not attractive, Lauren, keep those chins at bay!

Of course these aren’t horrible, I mean… there aren’t any nip-slips or really distorted faces. But I’m not that air brushed. I’m just not. We are goofy and real. And with all of the untagging and “don’t you put that photo on the internet!” and digital photo retakes, “Take it again, no, I hate it – do it again. No, not that either, again,” I thought maybe we could all take a deep breath and acknowledge that even on our wedding day, we look like normal people. Even with the best of photographers capturing the best moments while we are the best selves we’ve ever been.

And sometimes emotional moments are messy and imperfect. I’ll be the first to admit it. Chair wedding and all. Let’s all be a little braver about showing reality vs perfection.

54 thoughts on “A Wedding Deconstruction”

  1. What?! I thought the ‘boobs’ one was an example of the best pic you could find. I mean, girl you look so freaking beautiful in that pic, absolute old school movie star. That belongs in the awsome pile!

    Thanks for sharing these, made me feel ok about not loving all of my wedding pics, what is it about wedding dresses and the belly?? Its like they’re willing us to get preggers!

    1. I agree with Allie – I saw the “boobs” photo and wondered what it was doing in the least favorite collection! Sure, you have a lot of cleavage, but your silhouette and your expression completely reflect the gravity of getting married and you look gorgeous besides.

  2. I don’t know. I’ve seen your wedding photos, and I’ve seen your baking with Flo photos. I think you look like the same pretty girl in them all.

  3. Here’s a little of what I wrote about it, after my wedding… and really, the more distance I get, the less I give a crap. Looking at those “least fav photos” on my blog, I wonder now why I didn’t like them?


    And of course, I still look 100x more “pulled together” than I do right now (sweatpants, glasses, dirty hair in a bun). There are some pretty awful candid photos of me on facebook… I try really, really hard not to un-tag myself, even w/the most unflattering shots… I just don’t want to be That Person – ditto for making people re-take digital photos, if I don’t like the result… I know it’s probably stupid, but it’s a “thing” of mine.

    At the same time, I also try not to put TOO much stock in photos – people never look exactly like that in 3D, when they’re moving around, talking. Photos are great for catching double chins we never notice when standing next to a person. And honestly? I thought all the photos you posted above were sweet. Esp. that last one. It’s SOO much easier to notice little “flaws” when you look at yourself vs. a friend or stranger.

    1. That is FASCINATING because I totally loved both of the photos you posted. So much emotion and joy. Like, I see why you would not like it, it’s a little raw, it’s a little showing too much of your insides on the outside. I get it. But it’s also SO Beautiful.

      And we did the exact same thing. One of my favorite photos Kamel hates. And he made a comment while we were going through – he said that he wished he hadn’t smiled SO hard because it he looked like such a goober. And I was like “Noo!!! It’s AMAZING you were SO HAPPY and i’m glad you didn’t hold anything back, that would have been terrible!!” but it’s interesting how seeing ourselves really really raw is scary.

      1. Yeah, B generally HATES photos of himself. He dislikes his “receding hairline” (it’s so not), his smile, the way he stands, etc. I asked him to approve all of the photos I sent to APW for my wedding grad post, and he nixed one of my favorites… he was griping about the expression he’s making in it, but I truly can’t even see what he’s seeing. He just looks like himself, only excited and maybe a teeny bit nervous, and I love it.

        I mean, neither of us look like models, but once you move beyond that (and I’ll admit, I often STILL have trouble getting past that, sigh), we’re all just kind of funny-looking human blobs, but at the same time, beautiful.

    2. Exactly! People don’t look the way they look in those awkward photos in person. You are constantly moving, and yes the camera captures a split second making you look somewhat odd. But I assure you, that that wink photo looked nothing like that in person.

  4. YES. Yes yes yes. Those imperfect moments will be the ones that are the most fun to remember in the future, anyway.

    I went through a lot of the same feelings with my wedding photos though. We’d be looking through them, and I’d go, “Hate this one, look at [x feature or x pose that I hate].” Or I’d say, “Now this one, I love.” And my husband would say, “No way, look at the face I’m making!” And it would occur to me that I had hardly even seen him in the photo. That’s when I knew I was taking it too far. LOL. It’s not just about me and my vanity, after all!

  5. look theres your baby!! this is so funny that you posted this, because i was JUST the other day thinking about babies, and you guys, and what THEY WOULD LOOK LIKE, cause I’m a crazy stalker creepster šŸ™‚

    that picture is stunning!! seriously glam but also “look im a model but theres my equally beautiful baby!

    1. I have some excellent excellent excellent bridesmaid bloopers but didn’t have the cuts to out everyone. I think i will email you one that just continually CRACKS ME UP.

      1. i want to see the bloopers! they make me roll around laughing every time šŸ™‚ and claire will forever be known (for the rest of our lives) as the boob whisperer

    1. oh my god I laughed outloud at that! hahahahahahahaha. And I hate our big kiss photo tooooooooooooooooo because kamel is like stiff as a board and I look like i’m about to crawl on top of him! hahahaha

      1. You guys, mine is bad too! Like Michael is trying to hold himself up against this giant force of me. Like my face is pushing so hard on his that he’s got double chins. It’s kinda embarrassing.

  6. Lauren, I think you’re a pretty cool girl for putting this out here. I agree with Liz, that au natural or best-looking-bride-self, your photos show you’re a pretty person. But thanks for the reminder that the camera often captures the cringingly-awkward expressions and events that probably don’t look so ridiculous in live action. I think you’re right, that maybe it’s best to average the stunningly gorgeous moments with the triple chins and raptor faces that also make it into the collection, to acknowledge that in the end, we’re normal people. šŸ™‚

  7. I think it’s funny that you cringe when you see these photos. I’m reading what you wrote, but still all I see is cute. Sure maybe the cake pictures are a little silly, but I don’t think they are unflattering.

  8. So, with our photos, a LOT of them were “bad”. I have a severe case of Wonky Eye when it comes to photos. In others, I look like my dress is too small. Also, I don’t like how I look when I smile really widely. (I never have liked it, so yah.) And so on.

    Interestingly, when I go through the photos now, the ones I like the MOST are those that I originally cringed at. Extra chins and all. Because they are the ones that seem the most real, maybe? I’m not exactly sure why it is … but it really did happen.

    I bet it happens to you, too. Especially with that last one and it’s out and out joy.

    PS – I <3 hoods. I wear them all the time. So does Skye. She looked stupidly cute in them. And yet, in photos, we both look like idiots. I blame it on the 2 dimensional nature of photos. Don't worry about it. šŸ˜‰

  9. Oh man, something about dancing pictures brings out the face-smooshing double chins like no other. In at least half the photos of our first dance, Jason’s looking at me tenderly while 2 extra chins erupt from my neck. What’s up with that?!

    (Seriously, though, I look at these pictures and all I see is joy. :D)

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about your reaction to your wedding photos and the difference between wedding photos (or really any professional photography, magic I tell you) and goofy messy sloppy real life. It’s something not often acknowledged and I appreciate you for doing so! (Also, PRECIOUS little girl in the first one. Awww, your not-baby.)

  11. i just want to tell you that your facial expression in the picture where we are waiting outside of the salon- priceless. i think we should have a caption contest for that picture, where everyone guesses what lauren was saying at that very moment šŸ™‚

    1. Probably: “Why the fuck isn’t the salon open? I CAN’T FUCKING BELIEVE THAT EVER APPOINTMENT I MADE IS TOTALLY FUCKED UP! rolling with it…. rolling with it…. rolling with it….”

  12. My “putting on my dress” pictures are a series of me grabbing my boobs and then laughing wildly at my friends making fun of me for grabbing my boobs. Who knew weddings were so boob-oriented?! But like these pictures, they’re pretty awesome in their own way.

    1. Hah. Yes. My ‘putting on the dress’ pictures- of which there are only two, for some reason- consist of 1) me with the dress over my face, with my blue plaid underwear (yes! my something blue! Didn’t expect to get a photo of THAT!) and 2) me looking down at my boobs with a really concerned look on my face while everyone around me is laughing. I honestly have no idea what was happening at that moment. Whatever. I love those underwear, and hey, we all have boob concern moments, right? They’re real, and that’s awesome.

  13. Just thought of something else I wanted to share that made an impression on me:

    B and I were at a co-worker’s wedding this summer and we barely knew anyone, so we were doing a lot of sitting around, drinking, and observing. My eyes wandered to a stunningly beautiful woman near the dance floor, about 6′ tall with flowing blonde hair, chatting with a few other guests. Next thing, someone whips out a camera. I kid you not, it was like she SNAPPED to attention: one arm cocked saucily on her hip, chin pointed down, positioned 3/4 at the lens, with one foot slightly in front of the other, come hither look on her spotlessly made up face, and she let out a low, humorless, “ha ha!” laugh. It seemed kind of bizarre and fake. But I knew what she was doing; she was doing “the red carpet” pose, and she’d probably look slim and darling in the photo (probably). But… it just seemed self-conscious and bit sad, watching it all.

    All that to say: if you had been dancing w/Kamel and trying the whole time to remember to keep your face *just so* and your arms bent in the most flattering angle… it would’ve taken a lot of the life out of a sweet moment. šŸ™‚

  14. I. Love. This.

    I love cake face. I love wink fail.

    But girl, the cleavage? EMBRACE THAT SHIT! And praise whatever deity that you have a boob whisperer.

  15. Okay, so the bride is always the most critical of pictures. Because truly, the “cleave picture” as you term it? You look HOT. And the cake pic with Kamel sticking his tongue out? Adorable.

    I feel like I was incredibly lucky. My photographer heavily heavily edited the pictures she sent us. As in, she took thousands, and send us around 100-125. That’s it. Because everyone takes “icky pictures” (or what they think are icky pictures, because we’re our own worst critics), and someone should do the honor of weeding them out. I’m just sort of glad that Helene did it for me, so I didn’t have to see the multi-chinned photographs that I’m sure she took. And the mid-bite or mid-chew ones. Those are never attractive.

    1. Yes! My photog did this too. We got about 250 pics but none of the photos I would have hated to see. His theory is that he’s only willing to put photos out there that he wants people to see of *his* work. That’s not to say there aren’t photos of me pulling weird faces while singing along with whatever song I was dancing to šŸ˜‰

  16. Thank you, thank you. I’m still really unhappy with about 98% of my wedding photos and I can’t help but think that maybe it’s because I had unrealistic expectations about all of a sudden looking like a super model? And that they are actually ok? And if I give myself a year or so I’ll look back and like them? We’ll see . . .

    Also, your “baby” is maybe the most adorable baby ever – as I’m sure your real babies will be!!

  17. Thanks for this, Lauren. I think it’s something honest and real that everyone should hear about before looking at their wedding photos… and then they should read all the comments, because SERIOUSLY, girl, you still look amazing in all of these. Even the slightly goofy ones. Even the ones you don’t like. And that’s the point, isn’t it? You look so full of joy, because you were.

  18. I love this post. Right after we got the pictures back I was in love with all of them because all I saw was how happy I looked. But then after looking through the pictures way too much I started seeing all kinds of flaws and wondering why I had posted so many where my arms look giant, or there’s back fat, etc. I wish I could go back to only seeing the happy–that’s what I see when I look at your pictures! Especially the last one…the love between you two is loud and clear in that photo.

  19. Yeah, the double triple chins are the worse, along with the shiny face I own (and I had special powder on bla bla). And yeah… the pregnant look, starting with the fact that my dress was already empire cut, so that didn’t help.
    But I agree with Sarah though, with time, the ones that looked so weird or awkward in the beginning were the ones I kind of liked after a few months, because they capture real emotion. Also like Ms. Bunny said, the really really strange ones are just one split second, in real life you look better , šŸ˜‰ , it was only when we got to see little videos that my sister took with a small camera, a few months after we got the photos that I kind of “got ” that and reconciled with the whole things because what I saw matched how I felt and brought back the feelings. It was kind of the missing piece of the puzzle to join my memories of the day with the images that we had in pics.
    BTW I love the dancing picture and the pre cake picture , they are cute and fun and exactly like I imagine you guys in person.

  20. This is hysterical! Thank you for making my Monday morning cheerful. I can relate – I recently got our wedding pics back, and I have to say that in most of them I have an expression of “ehhhhhhhhh” (think whining voice) – I was feeling super self conscious and uncomfortable for a while there and it showed. And we skimped on our photography budget so we didn’t get any fabulous ones really. Still trying to let it go – making our family albums was tough to say the least! But we are certainly our own worst critics, and yours are more funny, and less BAD.

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