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  • Writer's pictureDonnna Coulon

Manifesting the Happy in your Happily Ever After - Even if married life isn't what you expected

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While online, I came across some sweet christening photos of a new baby named Vera Figueroa! I’d photographed Vera’s mom and dad, Katelyn and Simon, when they were engaged and again on the day they said “I do”.

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When Katelyn called me to meet about her wedding, I remember being so excited. I’d photographed Katelyn’s sister’s wedding before hers and working with their family was just lovely. My experience with Katelyn and Simon was equally amazing.

So often, we get a front-row seat to watch the most beautiful love stories unfold. We meet couples at a time when they are young and so in love. Just like with the Figueroas, we learn how our couples met and what made them fall in love: we meet their families and attend their weddings. After the nuptials, we put together their films or lock those memories into beautiful photo galleries, wishing them well and promising to stay in touch. The story is not over when our contracts are up, but my husband/business partner and I discussed our sadness that some chapters in those stories do “end.” It is a fact that statistically speaking, not all of the love stories we film or photograph will find their happiest endings - or rather, not the one they imagined anyway. I was once asked, “You do realize that in the wedding industry nearly 50% of the 'art’ (said with sarcasm) you produce is a total waste and might end up in the trash, right?”

What a heartbreaking thought. First, love should always be celebrated, even if future versions of ourselves forget the feelings that our past selves felt so vividly.

Second, there is way more to document than a happy couple on a wedding day, including all of the sentimental details and family moments throughout the day. Even if you are the type to cut your ex’s head out of your old vacation photos, there would be hundreds of special images worth keeping without having to go all Edward Scissorhands on your wedding album; images of a bride with her best friends, or a groom getting a kiss on the cheek from his momma. I’ll never, in a million years, feel like my job is a “waste” and will always celebrate love; past, present, and future.

Rather than dwelling in that sort of negative space, we focus on stories like the Figueroa’s. Stories where two great people find each other, build a family, and continue to spread that love with everyone around them!

As a mom, I know welcoming a new baby, or two, is one of THE greatest chapters in a love story. It makes us so excited to see our clients graduate from a couple to a family, and the transition is so much fun to watch. As a married woman, I also know that a great deal of work, love, and patience is necessary to keep that family happy and healthy! Remember the love and excitement that was in the air before your wedding date and do your absolute best to bring that energy to your marriage every day after.

Spoiler alert, it’s way easier said than done. Some days you feel like you’re failing as a spouse, some days you feel like you’re failing as a parent. Other times, you feel like you’re failing as a friend, daughter, co-worker, etc; having totally altered your social priorities and living by a new set of rules in terms of time management. If you’re like me, at times you feel like a failure in general, comparing yourself to others and personal benchmarks that you set on yourself at age twelve; before you knew anything about what adulthood and marriage would actually be like.

wedding photography near me lafayette la
wedding photography near me lafayette la

This blog is not merely to share amazing photos from one of our favorite past weddings (which I’ll be honest, was how it started before I put pen to paper), nor is it to give advice that I am certainly not qualified to offer. It’s simply a reminder. Value love in your life, no matter what phase it’s in. It’s fun and fresh to have “young love” during the honeymoon phase, but it’s precious to have “old and wise love” that has been strengthened over the years - even if you have to work a little harder to find excitement. Appreciate “growing love,” as your heart burst at the seams with every new life you bring into your family, or even “self-love,” after moving on from a failed relationship.

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Life is a lot like this post; I had an idea of how it was going to go and as I started writing, it took some unexpected turns. I embraced the new direction and still ended up with something I’m proud to share. We don’t know when chapters will close and new ones will begin. We can’t know how our stories end. We can, however, appreciate the journey and capture every moment of it.

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PS - Just to recap: Our career is not a waste! (“Boo on you” to the person who tried to rain on my parade!) #stillsalty #onlyalittlethough

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