The Lovettes (Laura) – Pyjama Pants, Lasik, and Portia de Rossi: How to Feel Beautiful on Your Wedding Day

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Our blogging bride and Lovettes member Laura is due to marry her fiancé Jon at Greenacres in Cincinnati, Ohio in April 2016. Laura and Jon’s wedding will be photographed by the award winning British wedding photographer, Ross Harvey. You can connect with Laura on InstagramPinterest and via her professional website and blogThis is Laura’s second post for Love My Dress. You can read her first post here. Enjoy folks!  


I write to you tonight, at the ripe hour of 2 AM, clad in plaid pyjama bottoms, a nightshirt that reads “Coffee or Die” (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN), and a leftover Bunbury festival wristband that has been on my arm for four days because I apparently haven’t had twenty free seconds to grab a pair of scissors and cut it off.

In other words, I’m a big hot glamorous mess, and that’s okay.

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Here we are at Cannon Beach this past week.  It was a bit windy!

I’ve been mentally planning this particular Lovettes post for months.  I thought about all the awesome things I was going to write to sound all Super-Bride and impress you lovely LMD readers.  Awesome DIY centerpieces that I’ve been collecting wine boxes for!  A super organized free online wedding planning spreadsheet!   How to go dress shopping like a boss!  Wedding style to rival Portia de Rossi’s!*

But here I am–unwashed hair, nonsensical pyjama tee and all–and not particularly feeling like a Super Bride tonight.

Jon and I started off as masters of the wedding planning game.  We were focused, on track, and getting sh** done ahead of schedule.  Venue?  Boom.  Guest list?  Shoop.  Photographer?  Being a wedding photographer, I was a little (JUST A LITTLE) particular about that—but we found the perfect photographer and all was well.

Things hit a wall shortly after that.  Spring arrived, which meant that wedding season picked up—and so did my work.  Jon and I found out that we’re moving to Chicago next year for his radiology residency, which is incredibly exciting, but requires a lot of preparation for both of us.  And amid all this, we hit our most tedious part of the wedding planning process: finding a caterer.

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An image from Laura’s professional wedding photography website

If I could give one piece of advice besides ‘wear sunscreen,’ it would be this: find a venue that can provide all of your rentals (bar, tables, chairs, linens, china, glassware, breathable air, etc), and—even better—can provide food for your guests.  It saves a LOT of time and hassle.  As for us, we are incredibly lucky to have (truly) our dream venue, but we have to furnish everything ourselves.

With all of the photo editing work I had piling up on the business side of things and another wedding to shoot this past weekend, I reached full-blown-existential-crisis-mode.  So instead of a Super-DIY-Awesome-Bride post, let’s just have some plaid pyjama bottom real talk about how frickin’ crazy the expectations of women planning a modern wedding are.
I made the mistake of attending a bridal exposition recently.  I had a free ticket, and thought it would be a good idea to mosey down to the convention center for an afternoon of wedding ideas and inspiration. I imagined I would stroll around the booths, find some great local vendors, and maybe even sample a free macaron or two.

Instead, I found multiple circles of hell.  Bridal shows—or at least this one—are a lot like a noisy fish market.  You’re being peddled to buy someone’s goods, but not because you’re a good fit; rather, because you’re a pair of moving legs that didn’t avoid the overzealous DJ wearing a neon green light-up suit quickly enough.  (And the macarons, darling, are not free).

Most appalling to me, however, was the sheer amount of booths that focused on pressuring women to change their physical appearance for their wedding.  The most frequent culprits: teeth whitening, weight loss, skin clearing & acne medication, Lasik, and orthodontia.  There were multiple representatives for each of these procedures, touting brochures of ‘beauty’: supermodel-looking women in wedding dresses and before/after images of brides who ‘improved’ themselves for their big day.


First, let me say this: I have nothing against wanting to make healthy decisions for your body and mind.  I’ll take any motivation I can get to jog my lazy butt up a hill, whether it’s a little white dress or a full-grown Grizzly chasing me.

But what’s up with the expectation that you need to physically alter your appearance in order to marry the person you love?

Nowadays, the newly engaged bride-to-be is inundated with an insane amount of advertising and planning paraphernalia about weddings that preach nothing but ‘perfection’—an impossible level of achievement in both her appearance and the appearance of everything related to her nuptials.  God forbid her teeth aren’t perfectly white or she gets a zit the night before!  Wedding ruined, obviously.

When did this become the focus of the celebration marking two people in love beginning their married life together?

I had a client ask me a few weeks ago if I Photoshop the women in the images I create—she cited an example of another photographer who had digitally altered the bride’s arms and neck.  “No,” was my answer, “I don’t.”  Just as I believe that the women I photograph are beautiful exactly as they are, I need to believe in this myself when I look in the mirror on the morning of April 16 next year.  (And every other day, really, for that matter).

Because the person I’m making a vow to thinks I’m beautiful the way I am.  I don’t need to change myself to tell this person, I think you’re beautiful too, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

Whenever I’m needing to remind myself of this, one wedding I’ve shot in particular comes to mind: Tammer and Heatherwho now reside in London, but were married two years ago in Utica, Illinois–are one of my all-time favorite couples I’ve worked with. (Tammer rocked an Indochino suit, and Heather was absolutely stunning in Soft by Rosa Clará).

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But what really stands out to me about this couple is their emotions.  Is there anything more beautiful and contagious than pure, unabashed joy?

Even though it’s been a couple years since I shot their wedding, Heather and Tammer still stick out in my mind as a couple who truly finds joy simply in the other’s company, whether it’s sharing a warm cup of tea or a quiet, sentimental dance on one of the most significant days of their lives.

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So here’s the thing.  It’s okay to want to look pretty on your wedding day – I’m not saying that you shouldn’t.  Personally, I found an incredible dress and some awesome Benjamin Adams shoes (on sale, baby!) and I am going to hire someone who actually knows how to do makeup for once in my life.  But I’m making a promise to myself that it is not matters of physical appearance that will make me feel like the bomb-dot-com on my wedding day.  It’s the person waiting for me at the end of the aisle, and our friends and family surrounding us.  This is my reason for being all smiles on April 16, and for many more days throughout the rest of our lives.

So if all goes awry and I’m forced to walk down the aisle in pyjama pants, so be it – I’ll still feel 100% beautiful.

Laura xx

*PS – 1. Here’s someone else’s wine box centerpiece DIY tutorial;  2. Google has a free wedding planning spreadsheet and it’s awesome; 3. If you’re going dress shopping, read Yelp or Google reviews of the bridal shop first (and listen to them, dammit!), and don’t be afraid to be firm about your budget; 4. Nobody can top Portia de Rossi’s effortless Zac Posen princess – casual.  Sorry.

6 thoughts on “The Lovettes (Laura) – Pyjama Pants, Lasik, and Portia de Rossi: How to Feel Beautiful on Your Wedding Day

  1. LOVE this post! It so eloquently reflects my own thoughts (and fears) before our wedding day but Laura… I’ll let you into a little secret…

    Before our wedding day, I panicked a lot about how I was going to look. Like you said, you’re constantly bombarded with the expectation of looking your ABSOLUTE best on your wedding day, whatever that means. I don’t have great skin and I’ve never had hair that did what I want it to do and I know my husband loves me the way I am, but I didn’t want to risk looking back at my photos of our wedding day and cringe or not be happy with what I saw of myself. I stressed out majorly (which probably didn’t help the aforementioned bad skin!).

    When I woke up on our wedding day (after only a couple of hours sleep!), all those worries just melted away. I looked exactly the same as I did the day before, but something about the day (and this was before I’d had my make up and hair done), just made me feel beautiful. I suddenly felt like I didn’t need a lot of make up on and I didn’t need to do anything with my hair. Jim and I got married in the morning in a private ceremony at a registry office before we got all ‘dolled’ up for a second ceremony later in the day but that morning ceremony… I went with barely any make up on and my hair unstyled. And I felt like a million dollars. Beauty is 100% in your head.

    1. Thank you, Holly 🙂 Your words are so refreshing to hear! I’m a person who normally wears zero makeup, so it’s good to hear that it’s more about the emotion and significance of the day that makes you feel beautiful. Love it.

  2. What glorious words to read! So, so true and so well written! Whilst I count myself among the many brides reading this as someone who wants a day filled with style, crazy perfect make up & a dress that makes people weep its just so damn gorgeous, its also so necessary to take a moment and remember what the day is actually about. Celebrating LOVE with the people most important to you in world. YES, I hope my Wedding is Love-My-Dress-worthy (the dream) BUT Id take the big smiles of my friends and family and the feeling of marrying my best friend over anything, EVEN a Jenny Packham dress. And I actually mean that!
    Thanks for sharing your wise words Laura!

    1. Ahhh so true!! Thanks, Emily. I think it’s totally natural to want to look amazing on such a special occasion, you know? But at the end of the day, it’s all about gathering together family and friends to celebrate a loving union–one that will last a lot longer than make-up or flowers or hairpieces.

      (Let’s be real, though, is there anything more amazing than Jenny Packham’s dresses?! If you need me, I’ll be over here sighing wistfully whilst browsing her collection online…)

  3. I’m bookmarking this, sending the link to my fiance and insisting he reminds me of it each and every time I have a fat-arse related meltdown during the nine months to our wedding. Thank you!

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