I Hate The Way I Look in My Wedding Photos

Kat, Gala & Shauna_191

I‘m aware that you like to help people with the planning of their wedding, however mine has now passed. It was a beautiful day and I’m so in love, but I hate my dress. Everytime I look at my photos, I feel sad. I’m a large girl and unfortunately my chest seems to have taken over my photos. When buying my dress I specifically stated that I didn’t want my chest to be very obvious in my dress and it was just a nightmare. I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to love my dress and feel happy when I look at my photos? 

I receive emails from women worried about their wedding every single day. “Will it be cool enough?” “How do I deal with my meddling mother-in-law?” “Why are my bridesmaids being such arseholes?”

But sometimes I get an email like this one, and more than with any of the others, I want to drop everything, find the person in real life and give them a massive hug.

I know just how you feel. I spent years loathing the way I looked, critiquing my appearance in every minute detail, hiding behind big, baggy clothes and turning and running if I saw anyone holding a camera. Even though I still struggle with my appearance on a daily basis, I’ve come a long bloody way. And you can too.

While you might not like the way you looked on your wedding day and every single photograph makes you cringe, that’s not the big problem here. The real obstacle is the way you’re thinking about yourself.

Yes, your wedding is a special moment in your life, but it is just one day. The relationship you have with yourself lasts a life time and so that’s the thing you should be focusing on. So I want you to put away that wedding album and start focusing on all the blessing you have in your life.

Kat, Gala & Shauna_205

Whenever I feel shitty about the way I look, I like to force myself to do this. I’m going to share some of my own blessings with you today, in the hope that it might encourage you to do the same.

♥ I have a wonderful husband who loves me more than anyone else in the world.
♥ I have a family who care about, love and support me.
♥ I have the best god damn friends in the world.
♥ I’m healthy.
♥ I have a career that I adore.
♥ I have cats that entertain me endlessly.
♥ I live in a world where I can dress the way I want, and act the way I want.

Yes, it’s a little cheesy, but reading that list back makes me feel so incredibly grateful to be me, whatever I might look like on the outside.

My friend Gala Darling‘s whole mission in life is to help women fall in love with themselves. Through her Radical Self Love movement, she has helped thousands of people let go of their self-loathing shackles, allowing them to reach their true, wonderful potential.

Last week, she released Radical Self Love Bootcamp, a six week online course and she actually interviewed me for her lesson on body image. We had a completely amazing (and crazy-honest!) talk about my personal journey from self-loathing to self love, which is included. I would love for you to check it out.

Learning to love yourself can feel a little bit scary and a little bit ‘woo-woo’, but it’s something that I now believe all women should do more of. I didn’t always feel that way, and I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself to get there. Gala has really helped me, not just by knowing her in person, but by the things she writes and shares online. I truly believe she can do the same for you too.

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19 comments

  1. Rebecca

    I hated our wedding pictures, because our photographer was just rubbish. I ended up having them edited by someone else in the end and now I love them!
    x

  2. My hair flopped spectacularly on my wedding day, and I can barely look at some of the pictures. I hate the way I look in a lot of them and really cringe and feel sad. But you’re right, it’s one day, and it’s not the most important thing. Lovely post. Made me feel better! I don’t like to face it that I looked awful in lots of the pics, I bury it. Thank you x

  3. We get married at the end of March and although we’re having a small wedding I was determined to have fantastic photos (I even knew who my photographer would be before I met hubby-to-be!) A couple of years ago I lost quite a bit of weight and thought that would make me feel better about myself. Unfortunately it did anything but that. I was even more aware of the lumps, bumps and imperfections and have avoided being in front of the camera as much as possible.

    Back in October, after a year of unsuccessfully trying to lose even more weight, I decided the only way to end up with wedding photos I love was to find a way to start liking myself. When I look at our wedding photos I want to see the love, joy and excitement of our day.

    It’s not the easiest challenge I’ve set myself! After almost 32 years trying to persuade myself to see things differently is a huge shift, but I’m making progress. Over Christmas I followed a Holiday Challenge focussed on self-care that really helped me move forward (there are more photos of me from the past month than probably the whole of 2014!!!) and I’ve now started Gala’s Radical Self Love Bootcamp. To keep myself on track I started blogging about the ups and downs… I know it will take a while but now I’ve started I am not giving up. I will get to a place where I can look at photos of myself and see a fabulous woman who is having the time of her life!

    p.s. I’m pretty sure that a big part of getting this far is down to reading Rock n Roll Bride for so many years. Thank you for believing that we all have the potential to be awesome x

  4. Sanel

    I hate my arms in my wedding pictures. 7 months on and I have just about chosen my photos but now putting it off getting printed. My photographer promised to sort my arms out but I still can’t bear the thought of people looking at our pics !
    But what you wrote Kat has inspired me…. I will get them printed I have my amazing hubby and family which I adore and I’m sure they don’t care about the size of my trunk arms. Thanks XX

  5. Andrea

    So don’t make a rubbish decision by choosing a rubish photographer. Do your research first about photographer’s style and be 100% sure you want that person to capture your memories. Don’t be cheap and pay a good photographer, because pictures are the only thing left from that day.

  6. Sara

    I hate my wedding photos. There isn’t a single one of them on display and there NEVER will be. I’m a big girl anyway, but due to a medical condition I was on crutches for almost a year before our big day which made me pile on even more weight. When I look at the photos all I can see is a huge white blob! I also caved into pressure to grow my hair and wear contacts. I felt awkward on the day and whenever I look at the photos that the only thing I remember. I wish I hadn’t bothered paying for a photographer as I never look at them and tell people that I haven’t got any photos of the wedding as I don’t want anyone to see them.

  7. Such a great response. Learning to love yourself is so important. Our friends, family and partners see past our imperfections because they love us. As much for those imperfections as in spite of them. So it is sad that we often are our own worst critics. We see our imperfections magnified. They take over our lives and bring us down. Radical self love is the way forward. Definitely. x

  8. steph

    I’m getting married at the start of May and I am dreading my photos, I have a wonderful photographer but I prefer to be the one behind the camera, it’s so bad that every holiday or special occasion there is at most two photos of me and they are kept in a photo album and not up on the wall with the others! I hate being caught on film and am very critical of myself. But its thanks to people like you that tell me that I am not on my own and that there are dozens of people out there going through the same and encourage me to look on the positive side of things.

  9. Rachel Mayes

    I am getting married next month. Last May I discovered I had cancer. I am one of the very lucky ones and I finished treatment on 31st January 2014, all ready to get excited for 2015 & to really look forward to our wedding.
    My body looks different from how it used to & worse of all I have to get married in A WIG rather than my gorgeous long thick brown curly hair.
    Body image means different things to different people and I have been through a lot of upset at how I have changed, especially at the loss of my hair, which deep down I know is a small price to pay.
    However we all have wonderful friends and family, and most of all loving husbands to be/husbands.
    I’m not posting this to play the cancer-card, just to say that it is that we are all lucky and happy and blessed in many ways.
    Come on girls we are beautiful, so please love yourselves.
    xxx

  10. Hey, this is my first ever comment on RnRB but as a wedding photographer I was so sad to read that you don’t like your wedding photos 🙁

    Everyone has given you some really great advice but as an alternative idea you could get a post wedding shoot done with a photographer who will help you pose to suit your body shape & feel more confident – Kat has posted an article on these kind of pose do’s & don’ts before. You & your hubby can wear your wedding outfits again but you could do your hair different or something & just have fun with it!

    Take care xXx

  11. Sometimes within a picture you will find more than just the pose,there’s emotion & a story unfolding.Think about asking you photographer to concentrate on the details,the emotion & the story,this can be done with some clever cropping & design layouts at the edit stage.We are our own worst critics so don’t be hard on yourself.

  12. caroline

    I Too hate my photos. I had my dress made as I wanted a blue Victoria style dress. It’s not what I’d choose now but at the time I loved it. I was fine with my pictures until one particular person made a comment about my size. I’m not a small girl I know that and I’ve always been pretty good at just shrugging off such comments but this comment was so hurtful and cut right to the bone…. The comment was made by my own grandmother.
    Now I can’t look at my pictures without feeling sad. I look at other brides and feel so jealous..
    My grandmother is still alive but now lives with dementia. Most of the time she doesnt know what’s going on and is away in her own world but occasionally she will look at me and say I’m fat or gosh look at the size of your arms…. even though I’m sure she isn’t fully aware of what she is saying it still hurts.
    I’ve been married 12 years… The comment was made about 6 months after the wedding…..

  13. Arianna

    Caroline, don’t feel jealous at other brides: look at this blog, there are zillions of “not small” women here who look absolutely fabulous and happy, like I bet YOU did!
    I perfectly know how negative comments can affect you: I was (and partly still am) a very shy and insecure girl, and comments about my awkwardness hurt me a lot. One time I even discovered two of my classmates kept making fun on me by watching every move I made and ridiculing it on Facebook: it made me mad, sad, and, above all, very self-aware. But in the end, like this post by Beauty With Plus says (http://beautywithplus.com/noone-can-hurt-me-by-judging-me/?lang=en) negative words are not the ones that define us! Don’t let this kind of remarks take away the happiness of your wedding day!

  14. Like any other industry, the wedding industry promotes false ideals about what a bride should look/dress/ like. More often than not they are using malnourished models to promote their ideas. As a documentary wedding photographer I capture people in real moments of joy during their wedding. EVERYBODY looks good when they smile. And if they are smiling/getting emotional looking at their future partner they ALWAYS LOOK GOOD! If you get a good documentary photographer you DONT NEED posed photographs because you have a collection of real moments from your day.

  15. oh god I want to give you all a great big hug! All of you. There’s so much pressure on us on “the big day” and then you get the photos and… wah. I LOVE the idea of getting photos done again and WE DIDN’t HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHER AT ALL. So what I’ll do this year is fit into my wedding dress and get some beautiful photos and have my daughter in some too and be grateful for 15 years of happy, crappy, solid married life.
    On a professional note, I’m another bride who hated her arms so I’m making customisable shrugs, wraps and stuff so that you will look radiantly confident because you won’t be freaking out all day about your arms or boobs. I know we should all love ourselves no matter what but that’s a hard road (for me anyway) and it’s a kind of compromise. I think. Thank you Kat for giving us a space to be honest and still have some sparkle and individuality x

  16. B Kearns

    Found this after a wee cry over my wedding pics. Well a few wee cries. Im starting to wonder if im just readjusting post wedding but ive fixated on how unsupported my large chest looks in a dress i paid a fortune for. I was told by an underwear salesperson it didnt suit my shape i needed to buy underwear off her for €500 to make up for the mistake the shop made selling it to me. After alot of tears and tailoring i wore it amd regret it. A dress i lived for years. Its silly really something so silly can put a sad thought in your head that doesnt go away.

  17. Katy

    I just got married 2 days ago, I had felt so blessed. I was enjoying myself so much I hardly thought about how I looked. Now photos are starting to be tagged of me on Facebook, my hair was a big frizzy mess and my make up I think just looks wierd! I don’t think I look like me at all! I’ve spent the evening sobbing and feeling annoyed at loved ones for not telling me. But that’s stupid because everyone had such a great time. The wedding industry has put so much pressure on us, pretending it is all about what we look like. When really it’s about family, getting together with the ones you love and a celebration. I was temped to untag some of the photos on Facebook, but now really I’m glad people enjoyed themselves and want to share their excitement memories of the day.

  18. Shell

    I got married last March. It took me 12 months to do the album because I get so angry and emotional when I see my hair.
    Big, frizzy, and ringlets instead of waves.

    I had a pretty big classic dress, so chilled out elegant waves in my hair were going to make it ok for a beach wedding. .. and despite successful trials I somehow ended up looking like truckin Scarlett O’Hara.

    I’ve only today- 14 months on -found my solution.

    I’ve found a handful of photos I can bear to look at and a couple I love (in which the hideous frizz of blonde is not obvious ) and have deleted all others off my and my husband’s Facebook. Untagged myself from guest photos showing the frizz and I’ve told family and husband that I love them and the enjoyed the day -but I need them to please use only these photos that bring back good memories for me if they have them printed and on display anywhere-all others need to go.

    I think this might be the key- find a few shots that you can enjoy (even if it’s a close up of your hands exchanging rings!) and make sure you only see those so the memories are happy .

    I gave it a year thinking I’d get over it… and to be honest I loathe my hair more every time I see a shot- i wonder why NOONE recommended running a brush through the ‘trendy’ birdsnest?
    Worst of all it was a good friend who did the hair, and she was nervous as hell , but didn’t show it until the day. She was a hairdresser, but I was her first bride-so I can’t really voice my anger at the look.

    So I just lock away the fugly shots and embrace the good ones and with them the good memories.

    You’d untag an unflattering photo from any other event, go for it if the one’s you’re seeing pop up online irk you.

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