x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Wedding memories trump photos

Are wedding albums a nostalgic treat or an embarrassing reminder?

In a quiet little corner of our home, on a nondescript bookshelf, behind a pile of used paperbacks, I have a hidden secret. Or, to be more exact, they are 507 secrets, divided into two piles, each pile in a separate envelope.

I have hidden them quite well, in an attempt to help me forget they exist, and so I may not be reminded, each time, of my one and only wedding-related regret. "Out of sight, out of mind," I tell myself, as I try to make myself believe that it is absolutely normal not to have organised one's wedding photos more than 16 months after said wedding took place.

Ignoring them, however, is no easy feat. Two large wedding albums, in various shades of cream and ivory, lie neglected on the bottom shelf of our bookcase-full-of-secrets. The wedding albums are large and bulky, adamant at making their presence known. They lean against the side of the bookcase, taunting me, a constant reminder that they remain abandoned and barren.

The albums can taunt all they like; I can take it. I'd rather be faced with the daily reminder that my number one item on my post-wedding to-do list, "Organise wedding photos in wedding albums", is yet to be crossed out, rather than have to look through photos that lack flare, creativity and a multidimensional look into one of the most magical days of my life.

For that is exactly what my wedding was: magical. And yet I am left with pictures that provide no proof. Instead of candid shots of Mr T and I, caught unaware, so obviously in love, I am left with stiff poses. Instead of unexpected angles and an eye for detail, I had to contend with a photographer who had no idea what it means to frame a photo. Instead of being pleasantly surprised with pictures that perfectly captured the happiest night of my life, surrounded by everyone I loved and everyone who cared about me, I did not have a single picture with either of my parents, despite the many moments we shared together that night.

There is a lesson learnt here, certainly. Prioritise what is most important to you on your wedding day, be that the food, or the music, or the centrepieces, or the skills of a talented photographer, and go all out. Do not make do with a photographer you knew, deep down inside, would not give you what you want, and then just pray for the best.

So my regrets have been hiding the offending pictures in an innocent bookcase, rather than organising them and having to be reminded yet again that the final product is not the one I had always dreamt of.

Unfortunately for me, ignoring my own wedding pictures does not necessarily mean forgetting my one wedding regret. People continue to get married, as they are wont to do, and Facebook continues to exist, as it should, and wedding albums continue to make their way on to my news feed.

And because I cannot help torturing myself, I will always gaze at other people's wedding photos through a bit of a haze, frustrated tears blurring the edges of each perfectly taken shot. I am happy for the couple in love - always - but a little part of me flares up in anger, all over again, that I am not left with the artistic pictures I always craved, as testament to what I will always believe was the best wedding ever. My own.