Any Other Photo – Sophie and Stuart

I am ridiculously honoured and excited that this is the first post I get to introduce on Any Other Woman because it is, quite frankly, brilliant and I really identify with what Sophie says. It reminds me that happiness doesn’t have to be about the big moments, the excitement and the euphoria. Happiness is also the quiet moments, the ability to be truly yourself and be loved for it. A perfect reminder for a Friday morning. And that’s not to mention that the picture itself is Actual Stunning…

I think the most appropriate introduction to this AOP is to declare up-front that while I loved so much of planning our wedding, and was so giddy on the day itself, and am so ludicrously happy and proud to be married to Stuart, we had faced some big old challenges in pulling everything together. There is a lot about a wedding that just seemed totally incompatible with who we are.

So here is a confession for you. Everyone asks, only some a sense of irony, whether it was “the best day of my life”, and I can honestly say… well… no. I’m not sure I’ve ever smiled so much in a day, and the gratitude I felt for the amazing people I have in my life – seeing them all together – was humbling and extraordinary. By some miracle we were canopied by breathtaking blue sky and sunshine rather than the greyest drizzle from the day before. Even my cheeky request for our guests to keep it colourful was granted and I could look at their glamorous get-ups all day. But one of my favourite pictures pretty much ignores all of that.

I love this picture because the “best days of my life” are really the quiet ones. The days on honeymoon when Stuart and I sat in a shady spot on the beach chatting for hours about not-very-much. The days we potter around London and come back home empty handed and exhausted to collapse on the sofa. I don’t even mind how soppy or, dare I say it, boring that makes me sound. But this picture captures a little perfect moment of our wedding day. We forgot the camera and the audience and the schedule and just breathed. Looking at it makes me feel calm and almost like I can feel the sun on my back again.

If I was going to be all romantic I would say, then, that I love this picture because its all about us. It makes me remember how hard we tried to make the day work for us – for two people who cringe at being the centre of attention and always prefer small groups to big rabbles. For two people who never throw parties and make an art of fleeing from a camera lense. For a girl who over-worries about things and can’t quite believe this all, actually, truly happened already. Basically it didn’t come naturally.

Somehow though, what emerged was a beautiful day that will always mean so much to me. It was beautiful because of everyone else who was there to celebrate with us, and because of everything you don’t see in this picture. But what you see in this picture, put simply, is the real us.

Categories: Any Other Photo
14 interesting thoughts on this

14 Comments

  1. Fee
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Ooooh! I am wildly excited about this – not only is Sophie one of my very good friends but I was there on their beautiful wedding day. And beautiful it was indeed.

    The weather was glorious, the venue was idylllic and Sophie was radiant. Plus, they served steak for dinner. What more could a person ask for?

    Sophie & Stuart’s wedding will also always hold a very special place in my heart as unbeknownst to me as I drank far too much champagne, I was 4 weeks pregnant with my baby boy. His first wedding certainly was an awesome one. Even if I did nearly pickle him.

    And Sophie, your writing is as gorgeous as ever. Big love xxxxx

  2. H
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Wow, just stunning! I love the colours and the light …
    I also LOVE your description as it matches perfectly with the reasons why my boy and I will (probably) never be married. Our love is also in the quiet moments. In the comfortable hours cuddled up on the sofa, both fully engrossed in which ever books we are reading but together nonetheless. In the (out of breath) silence as we climb a mountain and take in the view from the top. This is where our love is, that’s what a happy day feels like for both of us.
    I know there is no ‘one’ way to have a wedding and you shouldn’t make it about other people, but I know that the wedding that I would want is not at all the wedding my family would want for me. And as I would be doing it for them and not for me, it’s better if we just don’t. Sometimes I feel a little sad that I’ll never have the dress or the ring, but I’m very happy to exchange all the wedding bling for a lifetime full of quiet moments.
    H x
    P.S. Hurrah for Katie’s first post!

  3. Caroline
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful picture.
    Our photographer left me very underwhelmed with our pictures and it was photos like this that I was hoping to get but never did.
    You look beautiful and I hope your marriage brings you many many more moments like this.
    Xx

    • Fee
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      But your park pictures are bee-yoo-tiful!

      P.s. I’m still gunning for a re-enactment. Just saying.

      • Caroline
        Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Aah thanks fi-bone. I’m really pleased we did those!

  4. Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Absolutely stunning AOP!! I have to say I know what your am about the quiet days. Our wedding was flat out wonderful but days where it’s just the two of us, exploring new places in the sun are pure bliss.

  5. Hannah
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful picture… So many people told us to make sure we caught a few moments to be alone on our wedding day, I’m so glad we did xx

  6. Zan
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Wonderful. We had a full 15mins just the two of us on our wedding day after the drinks reception, before the meal started and we basically grinned at each other for those 15mins. And it was fab :)

    And I totally agree with everyone about the days/moments of real wonderfulness and bliss. Our wedding day was amazing, but sometimes we’ll just have what looks like a standard Sunday to eeryone else but it’ll be one of those quiet days of bliss and I treasure those just as much (and sometimes more) than the big days.

    • Zan
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      P.S. Not sure if ‘wonderfulness’ is an actual word, but it worked, so I used it!

  7. Yanthé
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This. All of this. Sophie this is beautiful, thank you for sharing.

    And echo the ‘hurrah’s!’ for Katie’s first post!

  8. Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous photo and a lovely write-up. Making sure we had plenty of time ‘just us’ was really important to us on our wedding day and still is. Some of the best days are those days spent pottering round the house/garden and cooking a simple meal together.

  9. Claire H
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Really lovely photo and I totally indentify with what you’re saying re cringing at being centre of attention. I didn’t realise quite how freaked out I am by that until we started planning our wedding. It’s great to hear that you managed to have a beautiful day that worked for you both :)

  10. Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful. Perfect words, so true. You have something very special :-) Xx

  11. Amanda M
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photo, beautiful sentiment – beautifully expressed.

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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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