Freedom To Feel


As a wedding photographer, I am privy to many early morning, pre-ceremony conversations. These chats usually dance all around the many facets of a wedding day, always dripping in the excitement, nerves and the wonder that the day that has finally arrived. But there is one topic that seems to be universal. I find it more often than not appearing on the wedding day morning (and sometimes all throughout the day). It usually begin with one of these statements,

“I better not cry”
“I won’t let myself look at you, or I might lose it”
“I have to hold it together”

I have begun to wonder how much more we could enjoy our big day, how much fuller we could be, how much we could receive, if we began to give ourselves the freedom to feel whatever we liked on our wedding day. If we let our bodies do the thing they were created to do and tell us how loved we feel, how long we’ve waited for this moment, how it’s everything and nothing like we had imagined. After all, we only get to do this day once, so shouldn’t we really do it. Or really feel it?

When I think back to my own wedding day, I was a blubbering mess. However I still feel as though there was a part of me holding back, keeping emotions down, trying to “keep it together”. But now I wonder why? All the people that were there were for me and my husband to be. They love us dearly, and know how excited we must have been. It was silly of me to try and shut down tears, or smiles. I don’t believe that we can turn these symptoms off without somewhat disconnecting from the source – turning off our emotions.

So how can we feel wedding day, and not just do the wedding day?

Take the pressure off. Don’t put any expectations (especially on our guys) to cry.

Just ask him to be present with you in the moment. Focus on each other and you will see the most genuine reaction you ever could have asked for. And that is the wonderful person you are marrying.

Try not to compare. What someone else’s moment looked like is not going to be what yours looks like.

Focusing on someone else is detracting from the wonderfully unique, technicolor moment that is designed specifically for you. Live in that and you will find that not only will you love your memories more, but you will also be able to share in happiness for others greater.

And don’t stress to much about how you look. Makeup can be retouched, tissues can be found and photoshop can work wonders with red, blotchy, tear stained skin!

But memories cannot be remade, and moments cannot be captured that were never told. Your eighty year old self, your children, your grandchildren will be delighted to see raw, real emotions from your wedding day. These are irreplaceable and treasures for families forever.

Regardless of whether there are buckets of tears shed to be shed, or just ear to ear smiles, the main point is just to do you in whatever way that looks like. The uniqueness of the day can make it hard to prepare for, but it can be felt with your heart, and so I encourage you to do just that. Feel.

Hayley Barkla from Whites and Woods.


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