Any Other Photo {Lauren and Gerry)

Lauren sent this in to us with an email saying ‘I’m not sure if this is allowed, because it isn’t a wedding photo, but I thought I might as well submit it and see’, so it was with some trepidation that I opened the attachment; ‘Is this going to be something we’re happy posting as an AOP’ I wondered? But as I read it I realised that this was a perfect Any Other Photo, regardless of the fact that there was no wedding involved. It shows a moment that Lauren wants to remember forever, it defines their relationship, and it represents them as a couple. What more could you ask for from an AOP?

It’s also about Lauren, and her processing the knowledge that she will very likely not have a wedding day, and how that makes her feel.

Thank you Lauren, for sending this in. For reminding me (us?) that a life together does not have to mean a marriage. And that an AOP does not have to mean a wedding.

AOP always seems to be wedding photos. I don’t think anything in the rules said it had to be, in fact are there any rules? Well, it’s looking increasingly likely that I won’t be having a wedding, the reasons for which I won’t get into here. It’s a surprisingly difficult thing to accept. One day doesn’t compare to whole life, but it still feels like a loss.

I didn’t want to be left out so I thought I’d share my favourite photo. This was taken only a few months after me and my man got together. We’ve been together almost 5years now. We’d probably only actually seen each other a handful of times at this point as he was working abroad. It remains my favourite though, and screensaver on my phone, as I think it’s a perfect reflection of us.

I very much carry my heart on my sleeve. Those around will always know however I feel. If I’m happy, I have a big smile or a rather loud laugh. Upset, I’m probably crying, it doesn’t take much to set me off, never has. Falling in love, I’m probably looking adoringly or smothering the person in kisses, cue the photo. My man, on the other hand, is the strong silent type. He doesn’t give much away but he’s always there when I need him, and I know he will never do me wrong. I am a hopeless romantic and he’s not one for grand gestures. Every now and then he really puts in the effort & surprises me with something special. I appreciate these periodic romantic expressions all the more for the knowledge of the work he puts into them.

So, as I said, the photo represents us splendidly. There I am dramatically kissing him, eyes closed committed to the gesture. He appears nonchalant, but then there’s that pointing finger and slight smirk, revealing that he’s really just as smitten as me. I love how perfectly timed the photo is, you maybe won’t believe it wasn’t posed at all. That too has a parallel with our story as we met at just the right time, we may have been living hundred of miles apart but it was perfect in terms of where our lives where.

So that’s us. I might not get married but we’re happy. We live together which means we share a home. We have a joint bank account which links us financially. We have Seb, our gorgeous chocolate lab, which makes us a family and that I guess means more than any golden band or piece of paper.

Categories: Any Other Photo
19 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Lynsey
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I love this, and I think it’s exactly what an AOP should be – 2 people very much in love.

  2. Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I am totally in love with this piece. I think it’s a lovely, honest tribute to all the different loves out there. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much guys, I was very nervous sending it in!

  4. Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I love this! You’re so right, marriage is more than a ring or a piece of paper, what matters is the love and the commitment to building a life together, an you can do that without marriage or with it, but the love is just as important. You two just look like you’re in a whole other world in this photo, like no-one exists but the two of you. Perfect AOP.

    K x

  5. Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    1. You raise a valid point – I’ve always wondered what non-religious people see as the difference between a marriage and a life together as you describe. You’re a family either way. (Anyone want to write a post on that?)

    2. You’re beautiful, the photos lovely and it exactly captures what I believe an AOP should capture – a special moment :)


    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      That was one of the parts I liked the most about our marriage-preparation class. Our very open-minded catholic priest explained that marriage is considered a sacrament because the love between humans is a manifestation of God’s love and greatness and therefore it’s sacred. This understanding really goes with the way I feel about faith… I see God in harmony and perfection in nature (I will be forever in awe at mitochondriae), in what Jung called synchronicity, in these kind of things.

      Within this definition I guess that a life of love together would still “qualify” as it is still a place where we could see/find God.

      In more or less the same sens I ike this quote I found the other day (sorry if it’s slightly off topic):

      “When you find yourself in a position to help someone, be happy because Allah is answering that person’s prayer through you.” — Nouman Ali Khan

    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Katy, I’m not married. And am not opposed to not being married since personally, i’m of same belief that ‘you’re a family either way’. However, there are a lot of undeniable social, economical and legal benefits to being married.

  6. Posted March 22, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    This is a beautiful photo, and like you described perfectly it captures *you* very well. I wish you a joyful life together, full of love and fun and all the good things.

    (I am also all about the drama and the great gestures, and my husband is kind of shy, but he is always there and he shows his love in a million little things, all the time).

  7. Amanda M
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Love it! Even though I’m a bit disapointed that Seb isn’t in there (oh how broody I am for a puppy. A labrador puppy).

    Our wedding photos are hilarious as I stared at P thoughout the ceremony because I was determined to make it meaningful. In the photos I look like Eddie staring at Fraser. Not what I had in mind but very funny. He too is more plegmatic (P not Eddie. Or Fraser) but it was him that wept a few tears in the ceremony whilst I didn’t skip a beat!

    And never say never on the marriage front. I didn’t think we’d ever do it and decided I’d rather not marry and be with P than marry anyone else. Then after a mere (!) 15 years together, he proposed!

    PS We had a labrador puppy at our wedding reception! In a bow tie!

    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      OMG lab puppy at your wedding is beyond cute! You can see my gorgeous little guy on Instagram if your on it, I’m constantly posting pics of him! Lol

  8. Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for all you know words. The non marriage isn’t anything religious, we’re both Catholics, very bad ones mind you.
    Plenty if photos of gorgeous Seb on my twitter and Instagram ( he’s also in my avatar)

  9. Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Kind words obv.

    • Posted March 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Lauren you know what I want to say but I won’t ;)

      I love that you have sent this in, it is so perfect for AOW xxx

  10. Posted March 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Aw Lauren, I adore this. You completely get what’s important – love and the sharing of it together xx

  11. Posted March 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad this was posted!

    In all honesty, I usually skip AOW on Fridays, not because the AOPs aren’t lovely, but because for me it has always felt a bit too like a ‘married people only’ club. Glad to see there’s room for people who aren’t yet, don’t want to be, or can’t legally be married!

  12. Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad this was posted!

    In all honesty, I usually skip AOW on Fridays, not because the AOPs aren’t lovely, but because for me it has always felt a bit too like a ‘married people only’ club. Glad to see there’s room for people who aren’t yet, don’t want to be, or can’t legally be married!

    Samesamesame me too Catherine! I never come to AoW on Fridays and only did because I wanted to copy and paste a line from one of my previous posts. I am the exact opposite of ‘all about the wedding’ as most people here will know. But this is lovely – I mean who doesn’t love the love? ;)

  13. Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    That’s exactly why I sent it in girls, who needs a wedding! So glad you all liked it!

  14. SB
    Posted March 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Lauren, I know exactly how you feel. I grieve a little for the wedding I’m sure we’ll never have.

    I know I would probably be a bit freaked out by the occasion (I behaved like a pouty teenager at both of my graduations, behaviour completely alien to me even as a 15 year old) and it would just be horrible for my ultimate shy boy, but even so I feel like I’m missing out. I suppose I want to celebrate our love with the one big, grand gesture to top them all, just as I want the spontaneous little romantic gestures that are the stuff of romcoms and chick flicks etc – none of which are likely to happen because that’s just not the way my boy ticks.

    So on days when I can be rational, I remind myself of all the things he does for me and why he is amazing. I remember that love is in the small, practical gestures and in the sofa snuggles after a bad day. I shout my love out loud when it’s just the two of us at the top of a mountain and it is enough. Wedding or no wedding, our love is enough.

    • Posted March 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      SB thank you for commenting! I can relate to every word of this, glad to hear I’m not the only one

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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