top of page

A Wedding Photographer's Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

I've always been a lover of writing and telling stories in different ways. Before I became a wedding photographer in New Hampshire, I actually lived in London, UK, and started up a blog to write down the musings I'd think about. I no longer keep that blog, but I did stumble across a post I wrote up for it the other day, and it felt fitting to share here as well, as I'm a wedding photographer now, and in this piece I talk about my experience wedding dress shopping.

So I hope you'll enjoy the change of pace in today's blog post. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this piece, so feel free to comment, e-mail me, or message me on Instagram about it!

Without further adieu, here's the piece called, Familiar.

A Wedding Photographer's Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

In a store with glass windows, I expected to be extremely conscious of how seen I would be. I felt dirty beside the white chiffon, and too rough next to the delicate lace. I hesitated pushing the shop door open before I even walked in, fearing how juxtaposed I, in my leather jacket and jeans, would be in the middle of the frilliest, most girly store I had ever seen. It wasn’t until I came face-to-face with a beautiful woman whose eyes seemed so familiar that I finally felt at peace.

I stood there, both in shock and comfort, knowing that I recognized this woman from somewhere. She immediately made me feel at home but also like a stranger at the same time. She looked just like me; I saw the way her hair slid off her shoulders, and I saw the parts of her body that filled out the dress she was wearing, which were the same parts of my body that I usually spent too much time fretting about. Yet there she was, undoubtedly, staring back at me and not batting an eyelash. She was looking into my eyes but I could tell she was seeing past me, picturing herself in the future and seeing how everything would fall into place, and be almost as beautiful as she looked in that moment. She was certain, like she wasn’t an opinion, she was a fact. She was confident and graceful, and still just a little bit edgy. She was soft and hard, bold yet subtle. She embodied contrast, but instead of it being harsh, the opposite sides of herself complimented each other, emulating an understated beauty.

I almost didn’t recognize her at first. Our eyes were not locked the whole time but when they did meet, I couldn’t help but smile. I was happy for her. I slowly began to place where I had seen her before: perhaps she was just a stranger I had seen on my morning commute to work; maybe I spoke to her briefly on the trail during a hike; did she go to camp with me as a child? As I tried to place where I had seen her before, I kept looking at her from head to toe. The dress she wore was made for her. I wanted to tell her that but I felt shy and I didn’t know how - it would be weird to say something so intimate to someone you don’t really know. Still, I admired her. I saw the way she looked at herself, doing the same thing as me. Her eyes moved from the hem of the dress to her hips, up to her neckline and to her shoulders, stopping only when her eyes met mine. She gave me another smile, as if we were thinking the same thing, and I smiled back in approval. Then she’d start again, as if her eyes were trying desperately to find something wrong with the dress and with herself but they never could.

Hem, hips, neckline, shoulders.

Hem, hips, neckline, shoulders.

Over, and over, and over.

Until, at once, she stopped.

When our eyes met this time, it finally clicked. I remembered where I had seen her before, where I had seen such happiness in those eyes. Once, it was late at night when I was 16 as I was watching myself brush my teeth in my bathroom mirror. A boy and I had reconnected after a year of not speaking much, and discovered our feelings for each other were real and that a year had been wasted. I saw those eyes again when I was 18 and holding our fluffy, grey kitten up to the mirror to see if he would recognize his own reflection. I was overwhelmed with cuteness and happiness that when I glanced at myself in the mirror, I saw tears forming in the corner of my eyes. I felt that feeling again when I was 19 and my friend and I stripped off our clothes in the middle of the California desert and swam in a hot spring, with only the moon and the Sierra Nevada mountains as witnesses. I felt vulnerable, yet strong, alive, and completely free.

Glancing into this familiar woman’s brown eyes and seeing how sure of herself she was, I was transported back to a time when I was standing in the dorm bathrooms at camp, brushing my teeth in the mirror yet again. I had just walked up the hill from the waterfront after watching the sun set down by the lake with Tre. I remember looking at myself but not really seeing me. I saw someone else, a happier version of myself than what I was used to. My head was in the clouds and I was picturing his arms around me, how warm they were and how perfectly I fit between them, like a puzzle piece, like we were meant to hold each other. I kept replaying that moment in my head, totally in a daze. It felt like I was not in my body but in a dream, and I only came back down to earth for a moment when my toothpaste became too foamy in my mouth. My eyes slowly refocused on the face looking back at me in the mirror. I smiled to myself, toothpaste and all. We both knew, my reflection and I, what was going on. We knew what this feeling was. We didn’t know if we should say it out loud or just keep this lovely little secret to ourselves. L-O-V-E. The letters of the word kept scrolling through my head like the news headlines do in Times Square, just less flashy and more calming. I bowed my head into the sink and cupped water from the faucet into my mouth to rinse it out, standing to meet my reflection once more. I wiped my lips with the sleeve of my shirt but I couldn’t wipe off my smirk. I decided to leave the moment as it was – unspoken and undeniable.

“Shall I get some bubbly to celebrate?”

A voice I had heard in the background of the shop brought me back to the present. “Uh, yes, please,” I uttered as I tried to pull my head from the clouds and bring it back down to earth. I looked around me and saw the white garments and the frills again. I saw the beautiful woman standing in front of me, remembering now exactly who she was, and admired her once more. I glanced down at myself; I saw the same hem of the same dress that the beautiful woman was wearing. My eyes danced over the same hips, up to the same neckline and, finally, to the same shoulders. I placed my hands softly by my side, feeling the fabric and running my fingers over it so I knew that it was real, that it was me in that dress. I raised my head and met those familiar brown eyes again in the mirror looking back at me. I smirked. We both knew this feeling, my reflection and I. We knew what it meant. We knew we should say it out loud, but just for a moment, we soaked it in, unspoken and undeniable. L-O-V-E.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post 🧡

If you're looking for a wedding photographer who just kind of gets it, then please get in touch! I'd absolutely LOVE to capture the true essence of YOU on your wedding day.

Speak soon,


Follow along on Instagram


bottom of page