Sometimes, when you walk along Lake Superior, you can really get lost in your thoughts.
I grew up just a toss from the lake (as pretty much anybody in the Twin Ports does, amiright?) and, like so many of the people that live here, it has a completely different calming effect than what's expected.
And along my most recent walk, I started to consider how couples feel once they receive their wedding photographs. Because we have a big reveal party together, I see your face - your laughter, your tears, your excited screams - I see how you feel and immediately react.
But I still don't see how you react after that. When you sit down again, and go through them more slowly. When you truly savor and criticize each photograph.
And I want to give you a quick bit of permission: it's okay to not like every single photograph. It's okay to not cherish them all.
Something that gets lost in the digital era of wedding photography is the idea of scarcity - and that you don't need 2000+ images. Because yes, some wedding photographers literally deliver that many. How, I have no idea, but they somehow make it happen.
But if you were delivered 2000+ images, how in the hell do you choose your favorites? And even once you accomplish that, how many are truly your favorites? 10? 100? What happens to the other 1900+?
What do you truly value from your wedding day?
As both the photographer and the couple, it's easy to get swept away in what you're supposed to do. When the photographer arrives, the first thing they're supposed to do is collect your little detail items, lay them out in what are called "flat lays" or "detail photos" and take a ton of pictures of like that. And then the couple is supposed to obsess and say "SO pretty!" and love those photographs.
But I don't. And you don't have to either. Because those photographs are never going to go up on a wall. They might make it into the album, but that's not really what your guests are going to love seeing in your album. They love you, right?
So why do we keep taking these images?
Scarcity has become a non-existent idea in the wedding industry. Because you are told over and over again to get everything you can and do everything you can, and vendors are told over and over again to provide it.
Photographers sometimes deliver an obscene amount of images because we all have a fear of missing something or forgetting something. But it becomes impossible to figure out what you truly love when you are bombarded with so many choices of moments.
And that why is I again give you this permission: you don't have to like or cherish all of your wedding photographs.
If you're flipping through them, and you don't really care for photos of the bartender, or up close photos of your rings, or your dress hanging precariously on something, you don't have to love them.
It's okay to leave those out of your album, and only share the important photos. The moments. The ones where something is actually happening. The one where your friend of 10 years greets your, the ones where your bridal party is having an amazing time together, the ones where your dance floor is HOPPIN'. You only have to share the ones that truly align with your values.
Because maybe you value food so much you make it your centerpieces. Or you value another date night or two, so you skip buying boutonnieres. Because whatever your values are, you have permission to align your wedding with them.
And you have permission to only print the photos and share the photos you give a shit about. Because being trapped in the mindset of having to cherish everything is exhausting - and you don't need that right now. So forget about the things that you don't care about. Maybe you don't like cake - so don't have one. Maybe the thought of your future husband going up your dress in front of 100+ people sounds awful - so don't do it.
Time spent away from cake cutting and other things you truly don't care about, gives you more time for the things that matter. You may just love the photograph of your dad laughing with your grandma more than a photo of you stuffing cake in your face.