I have noticed much attention is spent these days on creating “The Bride’s Perfect Wedding Day”. I find that amusing for two reasons. The groom is entirely left out of the sentence, as if he is just an accessory and somehow the day does not apply to him. Secondly, that for me, it is the imperfect things about our wedding I cherish the most twenty-two years later.
I look back with great fondness on all the ways our wedding was less than picture perfect. The beautiful bouquets we spent days creating that were somehow left behind before we walked down the aisle, the lovely shoes that hurt my feet so bad I went through the reception barefoot (with no one but my husband the wiser), and the wedding cake fight we all had in front of my mother’s house when it was all over. I treasure those memories as much, if not more, than the moments that were perfect.
We hired a photographer to document “Our Perfect Day” and I love those “Picture Perfect” photographs. The one with me looking down at my bouquet (which thankfully, finally, made an appearance) with my new husband leaning in to give me a sweet kiss on the forehead, and the one that somehow miraculously took off an extra ten pounds (really twenty, it is that good!) as we stare into each others eyes with love. There are many other pictures from our wedding I love, but again, for me, the two pictures I cherish the most are the ones that capture the imperfect moment.
The other photograph I cherish is of my family. They are all outside enjoying the patio, the light is soft and gentle and dappled by trees. My father is holding my niece in his arms, my grandmother is sitting close by, my mother and my sister are standing next to them, and they are all laughing as if they just heard an amusing story. There are two pictures of this moment. The first is a normal picture, everything is in focus and in frame, no eyes are closed or mouths open unattractively.
The other version though is perfect to me. It is taken a millisecond later, as if the photographer hit the button again in error and had not meant to take this picture at all. No one has changed position and everything looks just the same, until you really look. This picture is just slightly out of focus, each person is slightly blurred but the background is still in focus. Perhaps the photographer was moving just a bit, but I think that my family was struck even more by the laughter from the imagined story. Each set of eyes are gleaming just a bit brighter.
I love this picture for many reasons. It is one of the few pictures I have of my beloved grandmother, as she never felt she took a good picture and rarely allowed it. I do not often have the opportunity to see my father, as he lives far away and is often not well enough to make the trip. My niece was a newborn and it was one of the first times my father was able to hold her. My sister was beaming with the joy of being a new mother, a joy that had proved difficult for her to achieve. My mother is also rarely seen in pictures, as she too feels that the camera does not like her. So this group is rare to see together and that alone would make the first picture of this moment perfect.
I love it more than the other normal picture because it looks as if in that blurred focus that they are frozen in that perfect moment of joy. All the people I love, in one picture imperfect moment.