The hot sun is beating down on your perfected curls. You glance over at your Groom, who is calling to his grandparents again that they can’t leave yet; his family photos aren’t finished. Your cheeks are tired of smiling and your hands are starting to get sweaty from holding your bouquet in the same place for so long. Grandma Rose pops in on your left, the photographer adjusts your dress for the hundredth time, you quickly smile as the camera clicks and the next group is called out.
Oh, dear Bride. I understand well how these family photos go. You might be dreading it or forgetting about it, but at some point during your wedding planning process it will come up. You may not be particular about the number of your family photos if, but the reality is that these photos are not as much for you as they are for your relatives.
These are the moments that will be printed for your great-grandmother’s coffee table, our grandma’s foyer, and your mother’s living room. You won’t see a photo of you and your Groom stylishly overlooking your venue or a photo of your bridal party throwing bouquets up in the air. Those photos are for you, but the family photos are for all those who are supporting you.
For your family’s sake, let your mother and your future mother-in-law tell you what photos they want.
For your family’s sake, ask your photographer to start with large extended family photos.
For your family’s sake, let your smile shine, even if you don’t feel like it.
The one thing I’ve been learning recently that has changed both my perspective on family and weddings is that it’s not about you. I know that’s a countercultural idea. According to the wedding industry, you should be able to make 100% of the decisions regarding your day. From what you wear to the decor on your reception tables, the wedding industry says you should have the final say. But as Catholics, we know that our weddings, marriages, and lives in general are about the gift of self.
Just like Jesus patiently welcomed the messiness of human life, I encourage you to do the same when your ringbearer won’t look at the camera while your aunt’s new baby cries. In the moments that you feel most frustrated, continue to love them and embrace the mess of life, just as Jesus did. On your wedding day, take advantage of the opportunities you have to serve, love, and support those who have been doing exactly that for you and your Groom for longer than you know.
Sinikka Rohrer is a daughter of the King, wife of a man she'd only imagined, and lover of waking up quietly. She is the owner of Soul Creations Photography, a business on mission to capture testimonies, encourage hearts, and inspire marriages, and is a Spoken Bride Vendor. You can see more of Sinikka's beautiful photography here, and read her reflections on engagement here.