Planning for your big day is filled with copious amounts of pressure and stress. Between picking a reasonable guest list, booking your perfect venue and finding your dream wedding dress, the entire process is no easy feat. And on top of all of that, brides-to-be feel like they should look like a Victoria's Secret Angel on their wedding day. But one photographer is changing these bridal beauty standards, one boudoir photo at a time.
Ciara Boyle is getting married to her fiancé, Michael, in November. Prior to tying the knot this fall, she wanted to give him an early wedding gift — sexy photos from her own private boudoir photoshoot.
"I thought it was more about showing off your sexy body to give to your fiancé, which at the time, I didn't feel confident in my body," Boyle said of the photoshoot. "When I would search images of bridal boudoir, it would be girls that were skinny and had white lacy outfits on that they looked great in. I just knew I wouldn't fit into the same outfits they were wearing."
Boyle had followed boudoir photographer Cheyenne Gil on Instagram, and decided to take her chances and book a session with her. Despite her hesitations, Gil's direction and positivity gave Boyle the confidence she needed to complete the amazing shoot in her lingerie.
"You kind of come in thinking, 'There's no possible way I'm going to have fun doing this or feel good doing this, and I shut that down really fast and really bluntly," Gil said. "There's no self-hate talk allowed in my studio."
But to Boyle's surprise, the boudoir shoot she initially feared had the complete opposite effect— it became a major self esteem booster. She enjoyed the way she felt during the session so much that she returned for more.
"They come in with the intention of giving their partners a real hot present for their wedding day," Gil said. "It always turns into, 'Oh my gosh, this made me feel so amazing for me first, and if I give it to him, then great.'"
Gil's journey in the world of boudoir photos (which started with her own mom!) says that each session is a lot like therapy. Prior to the shoots, most of her clients will open up to her about why they want these photos, and many explain that it is for their own self acceptance and love.
"I think through photos there's just so many ways to heal," Gil said. "If you're on a certain point of your journey and have boudoir photos done, there's just so much to celebrate. We're just celebrating our bodies and having fun and hanging out."