Bride Revisited

Dear Millicent,

Excuse my punned title. So, I think this is a thing people do: get bridal portraits on their wedding anniversaries.  They get back in their wedding clothes again, hire a photographer again, and look off in the distance or at each other in scenic locations, again.  This seemed like a horrible idea to me.  I would never undergo the barks of my wedding photographer asking me to do quirky things like kneel in a church aisle and kiss my husband on the cheek (who kisses cheeks anyways!). Especially because of the awkward power struggle with a photographer. They ask one to do things that seem humiliating, and then that greatest of humiliations, one does it.

But, BUT, I think I am wrong about these anniversary portraits.  Looking at them on the internet, they kinda broke my heart.  There’s something about seeing a bride or a couple back in the anticipatory frame without the anticipation.  They aren’t scared or hopeful anymore.  The few I could pull up from a cheap Google search were tender and showed couples that were very glad to be where they were, and a bit of an ode to peace with one’s decisions.

My aunt recently did this to celebrate her 10th, and, like all brides, she looks darn beautiful in the shots.  But, she doesn’t exactly look like a bride. In a way, she looks like what we hope we look like as brides. In one, her hand is behind her back and she is looking off to the horizon in a cactus garden.  She said this was because the dress no longer fits, so she had to hold the back together.  I want to say she looks like a domestic goddess, but that is too weak. Her muscles work against the poof of the dress, and her expression is satisfied.  And that may be the thing that is absent in most day of wedding portraits–satisfaction.  Instead there is the sweaty/happy/all-chips-in adrenaline pang or the great-expected-smile.  She looks like a woman who has had a child, who is older and less worried about people seeing her confidence and badassery.  She looks really happy that she got into that dress 10 years ago, and that she is happy to be in it again.

The marker of the same clothes and the same style of photography does wonders to show what an anniversary is often about: a look at where we’ve travailed and travelled, and if we are happy to be here.  So, I have taken to calling this kind of portrait “The Great White Hope.”

Would love to see more of these, and hope Chelsea does the same in 2020.

Yours,

CF

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