After receiving nearly 100 entries from hopeful married Oklahoma couples who would love a chance to redo their wedding portraits in a styled wedding shoot, I am proud to announce the winner of this 2nd chance couple search. To say it was a tough decision would be the understatement of the year. And by the time I was down to my top 5-10 entries (painstakingly), it was like comparing apples and oranges. So many of the love and wedding stories I received were so inspiring, poignant, and/or heartbreaking in one way or another. I wish I could do a wedding portrait redo for everyone who entered. But as difficult as the decision was, one entry in particular really stood out to me…Layla and Bobby Barger of Chickasha, Oklahoma who tied the knot in June 2009. So I am honored to give them this opportunity for a portrait redo.
This was their story as told by Layla…
“Bobby and I went to high school together, but he was a little older than me so we never really talked. After he graduated life started and he moved away and joined the military. After I graduated from high school I attended OU where I majored in Human Relations. We reconnected my senior year of college and decided that we were meant for each other. Together we have one son, Noah, who is 5 years old and a wonderful Golden retriever named Jemma. We both work in the oil and gas industry, he is a Well tester, which means he is often gone for a month at a time, and I do HR. We love to run together, go on vacations, go to movies, and we are total foodies!
When Bobby and I got engaged we originally planned on having a destination wedding. A few months into the planning we found out that my mother had breast cancer and had to undergo 2 partial mastectomies, chemo and radiation. It was very important for my mom to see me get married so we wed quickly at a private ceremony at her house and then planned a local wedding for family to attend. When I married my husband I weighed over 300lbs. I hated my wedding dress, but it was all I could fit into and look semi decent. I despise seeing the pictures of that day mostly because I hate to look at myself and see how far I let myself go. With my husband’s support and love, I have lost over 160 lbs, and while he was proud to marry me and loves our pictures from our wedding, I can barely stand to look at them, and do not have any on display in my home. My mother has asked me endlessly for wedding pictures to put up at her house next to my sister’s wedding pictures, and I basically dodge the questions. My mother bought matching frames and wanted to sit us both on display in our wedding photos, but I just couldn’t bear to see my heavier self next to her, looking more beautiful than I have ever seen her (she’s always gorgeous), and then me, 50 lbs heavier than my already heavy self, shoved into a let out gown. I am embarrassed, and I am angry at myself for not getting control of my diet and exercise long ago so that I wouldn’t need a redo today. On your wedding day, you should feel like the most beautiful person ever. The very event is a promise of all good things to come and indicative of a future full of hope and togetherness. I just don’t have those feelings, and my forced smiles in the pictures show it. I was happy to be marrying my husband, but so unhappy with myself.
I have too many blessings to complain about a bad picture: a mom who battled cancer and kicked its butt, a dad who has told me that I’m special every day of my life, a husband who has loved me so fiercely that I realized I was worth loving, a sister who has always believed in me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, a God who never gives up on me, and a son who is more beautiful (inside and out) than I ever imagined possible. My smile now reflects all of those things that I just couldn’t see about myself before.”