A wedding angel nearly gets her wings
A couple of months ago my good friend/wedding MC gave me a CD with the pictures she took at our wedding last summer. I thanked her and put the CD on my desk to gather dust. I didn’t feel the need to see more pictures of myself in a wedding dress (even if it was a freaken gorgeous dress) – I already had hundreds. But mostly I ignored the disk because I was afraid of it. Along with pictures, I knew that it had a series of short videos of the wedding taken on her point-and-shoot camera – the only videos that exist of our wedding day.
We didn’t get videography because I didn’t want a literal record of the day. I wanted beautiful still images that let me fill in the story with my own fuzzy, dream-like memories. I didn’t want to see if I looked terrified, or cringy, or awkward. I didn’t want to know if people weren’t laughing as much as I remembered. Reality can be so jarring; I thought seeing it might change my perspective of everything.
So the happiness that rushed into my heart yesterday when I finally, reluctantly, watched those videos was completely unexpected. My perspective did change, and it was exactly what I needed. I initially felt such pride and happiness over our wedding, but after my memories spent months stewing in a toxic sludge of over-analysis and self-judgement, they mutated into something quite different. My stress about the things that weren’t perfect outlived the happiness, until it seemed to be the only thing left. I could still logically say that yes, our wedding was joyous, but I didn’t really feel it in my heart anymore. And I still hadn’t fully forgiven myself for not achieving wedding Zen.
Watching those videos flipped a switch in my head. It was like I had been looking at one of those optical illusions that can be two completely different things depending on your perception, and once you manage to flip your view you can’t believe you hadn’t been able to see it that way all along.
Yes, the clouds in the sky were a little darker than I remembered and there were awkward moments, but mostly the reality was so much better than I had allowed myself to remember.
I had forgotten how beautifully our friend’s saxophone solo of “When I Fall in Love” had floated through the park as I walked out with my parents. My heart warmed when I heard snippets of John’s best man’s speech and the cheers for our first dance. I laughed (though my heart also ached a little) when I saw glimpses of all the hilarity I missed on the dance floor, including limbo! I would’ve loved to limbo in my wedding dress – I couldn’t believe I had missed it! Then I saw a clip in which I was pulled away from the dance floor for hugs and a chat by a family friend – and I remembered why I had to miss so much.
I won’t go as far as to say I regret not having videography (oh how the WIC would loooove me to say that – I believe a bride expressing regret over money not spent is how a wedding angel gets her wings, or at least how a wedding magazine writer gets her bonus) but I will say that yesterday, video saved my wedding memories. I didn’t need to see the whole wedding – it was probably better I didn’t – but I needed those little glimpses to put things into the right perspective again. And now I have to fight harder to keep it.