Once upon a time, wedding albums were ultra-formal, featuring all the best shots from your highly orchestrated photo session. Wedding photo albums were expensive to print and, as a result, were often swathed in an archival cloth for protection and placed on a high shelf in an out-of-the-way closet for added safety. While there’s something sweet about that level of preciousness, there’s also something lost. A wedding photo album that consists entirely of pretty pictures and stiff portraits can lack the rich dimension of what made the day so incredibly unique and special. After all, every aspect of your big day should be remembered – how you felt, what you said, how you looked, how you danced, what you danced to, what others said, what you drank, and the meal you shared. And, in my humble opinion, it should be remembered early and often. I say, down with looking at your album a lifetime later! Up with paging through your wedding album frequently! You’ll find the very act of flipping through your wedding photo album reaffirms the magic between you.
The Dress On the subject of things that get packed up and put away: the wedding dress. Have your photographer snap shots of your dress being carried by your bridesmaids, hung on a pretty door and, of course, being buttoned up on the beautiful bride. Images of the dress make a pretty opening photo series to your wedding photo album.
The Flowers Include photographs of your flowers up close and in color. Even if some of your favorite wedding portraits are in black and white, you’ll want to remember the exact color palette of your wedding bouquet.
The Music Use a page from your wedding album to make a list of all the pieces played during your ceremony, including preludes, processional and recessional. Even if they’re branded on your brain now, someday they might evaporate into thin air unless they’re recorded in your album. Include a photograph of any live musicians on this page.
The Vows Print you vows right into your wedding album. Whether they’re universal promises or custom pledges authored by you and your spouse, they’re important and always will be. Make them central to your album, just as they should be central to your life together.
The Rings I’m a big believer in the powerful phenomenon of imposing meaning onto objects. The more context you ascribe to your rings, the more significance they’ll carry. For example, have your photographer take close-ups of your rings in the box, in the small hands of the ring-bearer, and on your newly married, clasped fingers. When you look down on those rings a year or a decade (or more) later, the power of their symbolism will feel enormous.
The Attendants It almost goes without saying, but, of course, you’ll want to include plenty of shots of your attendants. Be sure to use images that are light-hearted and casual in addition to the shots that are posed and formal.
The Guests Include all the standard family portraits, but consider also taking some non-standard images, like lively conversations between friends and family members, or funny moments around the buffet table.
The Toasts Ask the Best Man and the Maid of Honor to gather printed copies of the toasts from as many people as possible (where appropriate, of course). Have them printed up in your wedding album so you can have a good laugh-cry anytime you’re in the mood in the years to come.
The Champagne Whatever you toast with, be sure to document it! Whether it’s sparkling grape juice or a fine French bubbly, you’re going to want to share the same elixir for special occasions in the future. Snap a photograph of the bottle on ice, scan the label or both.
The Wine Whether you serve a house red and a house white, or your wine menu is varied and nuanced, keep a list of varietals, vineyard and vintages for posterity. What’s an under-twenty bottle now might just be a sought-after cult wine in ten years. On that note…make sure you set aside six or twelve bottles (depending on how they’re predicted to age) for future anniversaries.
The Menu By all means, scan the menu and include it in your wedding album! No matter how delicious the fare tastes on your wedding day, memories of details like these tend to vanish with time. Someday you’ll want to prepare the same meal for a special occasion. Or, at the very least, you’re children might get a good laugh over what was once considered a stylish meal.
The Dancing Capture the formal first dance, plus the dance between mother and son, father and daughter, of course, but be sure to capture shots of friends and family members cutting a rug too!
The Play List Have the DJ print a complete play list of everything spun on the night of your reception. When you celebrate your tenth, twentieth, thirtieth (and beyond!) anniversaries, you just might want to boogie down to the same tunes.
Happy Mixbooking! Happy Happily Ever After!