I was drinking coffee at my friend Sandra’s house when the idea was born.
She asked me what I’d done over the weekend, and I started to tell her about an older couple I’d photographed. She watched me get animated, talking fast and gesturing wildly, sighing deeply and clutching my heart.
And she said, “I can tell you love it. The older couples. The way you talk about it and write about it.”
Sometimes it takes someone pointing out something obvious before you see it yourself.
I stopped for a minute, and thought about it. About the things that make me talk fast and gesture wild. And I said:
“It’s not the age. It’s marriage.”
Over the years of running a photography business, I’ve gotten several emails, instagram comments, and facebook messages, from married women who say: “I wish you had photographed our wedding.”
Some were young and broke and just wanted to get married, so asked a friend to shoot their wedding (raising my hand over here).
Others just didn’t know much about photography, hadn’t looked around much. Maybe asked a friend who shot their wedding and just hired that person so they could check “find a wedding photographer” off their overwhelming to-do list.
A woman I know told me she hasn’t had a proper picture taken of her and her husband since their wedding day – 20 years ago. She’d hired a photographer to photograph their newborn, and taken a family portrait to frame for her own mum on Mother’s Day.
But it had been years since she’d stood alone in front of a camera with her husband. Since she’d put on a dress that made her feel beautiful, and had him look at her the way he did on the day they said “Forever.”
20 years of honouring that vow. And isn’t that something worth celebrating?
Last year, two of my favourite sessions were of already-married couples: one on their 3rd anniversary, and one on their 40th. At completely different points in their lives, but both honouring where they were on the journey.
Anniversary Sessions are something I’ve put together because I believe in celebration. Big victories like 10 years of marriage, and new jobs, and 40th birthdays (not that I’m there yet…5 more years…). And little victories like “well done” stickers on reading books, and 2% pay rises, and Fridays. (GO FRIDAYS!)
And to me, there’s not much more in life worth celebrating than marriage. Honouring commitment and choosing love and faithfulness in a world that sometimes feels like it celebrates the opposite of those things.
You made promises to each other, and you are keeping them. And if that’s not worth documenting, I don’t know what is.