I'm a lover of love who is addicted to Starbucks and goes through weekly phases of favorite foods. I'm a wifey to a firefighter and a dogmom to a grumpy Whippet. I love having lunch dates and dream of traveling the world.
I’ve been taking a 30 day online bootcamp from Justin and Mary (who are amazing photographers and people!) this month.
The course has been pretty deep and right off the bat started with asking us to really sit down and think about our Why. Why we’re wedding photographers. Why we do what we do. Why we capture what we capture.
I know I’ve shared my story before in why I made wedding photography my focus. But now, thanks to this deep self discovery (lol), I’ve been able to put into more meaningful words like I couldn’t before.
The third day in, we were encouraged to write down 10 statements we believed in. It really wasn’t until the past week that I found my I Believes.
Number 10 is it. It’s the whole reason I do what I do. The whole reason I feel like being a wedding photographer is what I am meant to do.
And here’s why:
When I think about my wedding day, it’s funny how I don’t remember it the way I thought I would. You plan and plan and plan, and stress and stress and stress. All for one day. For a twenty minute ceremony that flutters by, just to feel exactly the same as you did the day before. You’re just adding a few extra diamonds and a new set of initials.
I don’t remember how long it took to do my hair or what color eyeshadow I wore. I don’t remember what salad dressing I poured onto my leafy greens or whether I had red wine or white. I don’t remember the congratulatory words people told us or what gifts we received.
But here’s what I do remember. I remember seeing my bridesmaids disappear down the crackling wooden steps one by one as a warm, salty breeze filled the air, and knowing who was down there waiting for me. I remember feeling the sand between my toes and seeing the little specks of it dance between the lace as my dress moved. I could hear the waves applauding and see the glimmers of sunlight reflecting off the surface of the sea like a million little toothy smiles grinning back at us. I remember in that moment, after we had been pronounced husband and wife, I could feel every second of the past 737 days, explode into one giant firework of happiness and almost disbelief that this was real life. It was more than just one day. It was the 24 years, 9 months, and 15 days that I had lived up until this day. It was the next uncountable amount of years, months, and days that would follow after this day.
I remember telling my photographer that I wanted her to capture the moments. I wanted her to see them, feel them, and freeze them. I didn’t want to look through my images and only see my husband and I. I didn’t want to look through them and see a moment that was posed or faked or forced. I wanted to look back at those wedding day photos and feel something, someone, and everything I had soaked in.
Three years later, I looked at those wedding day photos and wished with every fiber in my body that Grandma was still here. Seeing the frozen moment of joy on her face at my wedding, I could close my eyes and hear her wheezing belly laugh, see her wrinkled hands clasp the gold watch around her wrist. I could remember feeling her hold back tears when I squeezed her as tight as I ever had before in my life.
Four years later, I looked at those wedding day photos and realized that no matter how hard marriage is, it’s worth every fight, every hardship, every doubt, and every sleepless night. I could look at the frozen moments of our vows and remember that we didn’t promise perfection, or smooth sailing, or constant positivity. We promised in good times and bad. And as vague as that promise is, it’s as specific and as raw and as real as anything I’ve ever said to someone and heard from someone.
Six years later, I looked at those wedding photos and thought about the person I used to be and the person I am now. The Alayna that was staring back at me seemed like an Alayna from another world. The major life changes and health scares that have come into my life and my family’s life- they weren’t even an inkling of a thought back then. I was never invincible. None of us were. But seeing those frozen moments of laughter and excitement, tears and embraces, dancing and invincebleness. I could look at those moments and know that no matter what happened or what curveballs were thrown at any one of those smiling faces I saw in those photos, we were all in this together. For those uncountable amount of years, months, and days that had followed this day.
And now, eight years later, I look at those wedding day photos and I know it was never about that one day. It was never about Jon and I. It’s about this entire life and every person we share it with. More than anything, that’s what I want to give to you. I want you to remember every moment and every feeling from your wedding day. I want you to look back on those photos years from now, and remember the ones who might not be with you anymore. To realize that the hard times and the challenges are worth it. To remember that every face you see in those photos belong to people who love you more than anything in the world. Your wedding day is not just about one day- it’s about those years, months, and days that follow.
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