Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beautiful Truth

Excerpted from A Walk Down the Aisle: Notes on a Modern Wedding by Kate Cohen (New York: Norton, 2001)

[Photographs are the] ideal representation of a relationship. It's what weddings are too. Weddings and photographs are both ways in which we self-invent, present our ideal of ourselves....The bride and groom make vows before a god they have until then ignored. Later they carefully dance a complete, newly acquired waltz routine, though they had never before advanced beyond the junior-high cling and grope. These actions can be read as false, as distortions of reality. And photographs of that distorted reality will be false too: the bride and groom won't end up with an accurate, historical record of who they are and how they felt. They'll end up, in the worst case, with a record of who Hollywood and their parents and their photographer's portfolio taught them a wedding was supposed to be, and who they were supposed to be.

The hardest task a couple have when they wed is holding out against other people's images of what a wedding should be, and how a bride and groom should look and act. But if they can resist those forces, if they can build and then protect their own vision of their wedding and of themselves, they will end up with a truthful record. Maybe it won't reflect the true nature of their feelings for their in-laws, or their true comfort level on the dance floor. But the record will reflect something even more important; it will reflect what at that moment they wished reality had been. When we marry we get to create a day - and a photo album - devoted to our notion of our best selves. There is truth in that, beautiful truth.

And this is why we are striving to make each part of the day something that truly represents us and also why we're not using a professional photography but instead are using the talents of people who already know and love us.

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