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I’ve never once seen an engagement photo of my parents. They didn’t have a sunset shoot in the back alley of a restaurant gazing deep into each other’s eyes. There was no photographer that asked my mom to stand behind my dad, wrap her arms around him, rest her head on his shoulder, and strategically flash her engagement ring to the camera. My dad never posed with his hands on my mom’s face as they laughed with their foreheads touching, only to have to do it again because the photographer wasn’t entirely sure if the first photo turned out.
But something in the last thirty years has changed, and the world requires these photoshoots for newlyweds now. It’s a “if they didn’t get photographed lying on the ground in a pile of leaves, did they even get engaged?” situation. Quite frankly, the world doesn’t need to see you guys giving each other piggyback rides and holding a chalkboard with your wedding date on it.
Where did you even get these vintage wood signs that say “His” and “Hers” with arrows pointing to each other? Is there an engagement photo accessory market that I’m unaware of? The signs might as well point to each other and say, “I wear the pants” and “I’m just here so I don’t get yelled at.”
Why are you guys standing in the middle of a field? How did you get that perfect glow around your heads? Why are you sharing an ice cream cone? Why did you make your fiancé wear that gingham shirt from J. Crew that every other guy in the world has? I just fundamentally don’t understand why you’re sitting in a rowboat looking like Tom Sawyer with your jeans rolled up.
What happened to the days where my Facebook and Instagram timelines were filled with college girls in Halloween costumes and drunken party photos that would just get deleted in the morning? Now, I’m just facing constant reminders that I’m the most single person out of all my friends, and that’s saying a lot.
With every subtle engagement ring flash and every picture of just your feet pointing at each other in a perfectly manicured lawn, a part of me resents the institution of marriage a little more. I get it — you love each other, you’re playful, and society has created a standard that you have to take these cheesy photos before your big day. And you two look beautiful, you really do. But can’t you just frame these photos for your bedside table and desk rather than shove them down our throats on Instagram with your wedding hashtag? We’re tired of seeing them and it’s just redefining what it means to be “basic.”
I’m to the point where for every fiancé-holding-his-wife-in-the-air-while-she-has-one-foot-up photo that I see on Facebook, I’m knocking twenty bucks off their wedding gift until it’s just me showing up giving high-fives and slipping the groom a ten dollar bill when I shake his hand before dinner. And don’t talk in secret about how shitty my “gift” was — this was your doing, guys. You got me to this place.
When I find The One, am I going to have to do this some day? Yes, but that’s just because y’all have set the standard for me that I have to. I might as well get “happy wife, happy life” tattooed on my forehead because I’m already tired of fighting with my wife and I don’t even have a fiancé yet. If she lets me be a stay at home dad, I’ll take as many standing-in-the-middle-of-an-empty-barn-with-light-pouring-in photos as she wants. But until that day comes, I’m going to unjustifiably hate-scroll your albums until I consider not even going to your wedding.
But that being said, you guys having an open bar or…? .
Image via Shutterstock