Your Wedding is Not a Competition

July 18, 2016

Your wedding is not a competition.
That's it.

If that is all you read of this blog post, please accept the freedom to that you can move forward knowing you are released from the feeling of "survival of Pinterest-est."  Doesn't that feel so much better?  Go have a latte or a glass of wine and revel in it for a while.

I love weddings and I consider it a privilege to capture them in photos that can be remembered for a lifetime.  Most of you who follow me at all know my absolute favorite thing about weddings is marriage.    I think marriage is the greatest journey we can ever go on.  I believe it is the hardest thing you will ever love to do, and that includes having kids.

There are a million things that go in to having a healthy marriage: communication, trust, intimacy, expectations, hope, finances and so much more.  Do you know one thing that has never been a make or break issue for any marriage?  Having your wedding published in a major wedding magazine or blog.
I get wanting to have a gorgeous wedding.  I'm a photographer!  I love pretty things that add to pretty pictures.  But the problem with things like Pinterest and the million and a half wedding blogs in the world is that what was once meant for inspiration now feels more like a mandate.  And when inspiration is no longer a dream and more of a dictatorship, there is no longer a party.  Think about it, no one wants to be mandated to have fun in a specific way, and you are not a communist.  (Maybe you are, welcome, be kind.)

I also get the rush that comes from thinking about your wedding looking just so, or having a publisher acknowledge all the hard work you put in to every single detail.

But before you obsess over the hand lettered-paper straws for your custom barrel-aged cocktail (which by the way sounds totally fun) let me give you a little perspective.

In the United States alone, 2.3 million weddings happen every year.  That statistic includes everything from courthouse weddings and Vegas drive-thrus to huge, illustrious, reality show affairs.

So think about that, more than 2 million brides and grooms, but mainly brides, are vying for the attention that wedding publishers make look easy to attain.  I mean all you have to do is DIY some burlap and candles, right?

Style Me Pretty, the number one wedding blog in the nation, receives between 400 and 600 submissions per week.  Now, any vendor worth their salt only sends the top of the top to SMP and most of them are rejected.  I myself have been rejected by SMP six times.  For example, not even this shoot made it in.  So if SMP publishes about 10 weddings per week out of 600 and those 600 are the top of the top of the nearly 44,250 weekly weddings, the chances of your wedding making it there is slim.
Now, don't go all super sad on me.  Think of this as freedom.  Because those picture perfect invites you are vying for, those $900 Manolo Blahniks you think are the only shoe you can wear (I know the feeling), those things are not reality.  Those brides in those photos on Pinterest are not mocking you and your lack of desire to have custom bridesmaid hangers.  You are not competing for "Best in Wedding" you are starting your life with the person you love.

In the last year I second shot with a wedding photographer who has a serious wedding following in her home state.  She has been published many times and she said me "I shoot every wedding like I'm going to get published, so if that means I spend 10 frames on the boutonnieres and only 4 frames on the family photo and someone's eyes are closed, so be it."  I tried really hard not to let my face betray my horror.

Because at the end of the day, NO ONE frames the photo of the boutonnieres.  The photos that go up in frames and photo albums are photos of family.  They are pictures that will make your kids ask questions about your wedding day.  They are the photos that will make your granddaughter want to try on your wedding gown or maybe even wear it some day.  There is no Pinterest pin or blog entry or magazine spread that can take the place of the people who surround you on your wedding day.

So, have fun planning your wedding!  Seriously, just have fun!  If there are pretty things you want because they are pretty, do it!  If it would be meaningful to have your aunt and uncle come but they can't afford it, buy their ticket!  If you think it would be amazing to have buffalo wings, get extra bleu cheese!  But don't feel like you have to do any of it because someone else did.  Let your wedding be filled with the people who have made your story possible and the memories you will tell in stories going forward.

Let it be filled with giddy anticipation.
Let it be filled with first looks that nearly knock your groom over.
Let it be filled with quiet and content moments together in the light.
Let it reflect you and your story because your story is already good enough.

You Might Also Like


  1. What a great blog post Ali! I love that you are encouraging brides to think outside the box and to stay true to who they are! Your quote at the end, "Let it reflect you and your story because your story is already good enough." is spot on!

    1. Thank you so much Casey!! It's sometimes an important reminder for myself as well! Feel free to share it with your couples if you like!


Blog Archive