How Can We Re-Use Our Old Wedding Photos and Prints?
You’ve just gotten married. You invested 10% of your wedding budget in wedding photography, just like the Internet told you to do. Now you have a hard drive full of digital files, a framed photo of you with your guests, and a wedding album if you’re lucky. What good are the rest of your photos, now that you’ve posted them to Facebook and Instagram? What should you do with them?
Prints Are Important
Today, people are relying more and more on digital bits and bytes. Wedding photography packages include full-resolution digital files and in some cases, no prints at all. This makes me sad. In 10 years you likely won’t be able to find the photos you post to Facebook today. In fact, they may not even be there to find. And you probably won’t be able to access the hard drive you saved them to, either. This is why prints are so important. Because 70 years from now, you don’t want your family to just tell stories about you. You want them to be able to see those stories.
This is something my grandparents and generations before ours got right. Despite never having met my mother’s parents, I know exactly what they looked like. I know my grandma looked just like my mum. I also know that my cousin looked remarkably like our grandpa on his wedding day. Why? Because they printed photos and passed them down to their kids. Tons of them. Including their wedding album, which you can see above. Other than my mum and uncle’s stories, these prints are the only way I’ve been able to get to know my grandparents.
You may not be so vain that you want to fill every inch of your home with wedding photos. And I don’t blame you! The good news is that there are plenty of ways to use these photos. Below you will find meaningful and creative ways to preserve and enjoy your wedding photos for your kids and generations to come.
Create Albums to Gift Your Kids
You should get at least one album from your wedding for the reasons I’ve already listed. You’ll enjoy it for decades and it will be a great keepsake to pass along to your children. Just like my grandparents’ wedding album has been. But one book might not be enough for your growing family, lest your kids fight over it when you’re gone.
Use all of those 4×6 prints from your wedding to create scrapbooks. You can also hop online and design your own hardcover albums using your digital files. Create one book for each child and grandchild you have. Gift these books to your children as they leave for college, get married themselves, or start expanding their own families. These cherished gifts will keep your family close no matter where they move to or how much time passes
Build a Family History Photo Wall
A beautiful mix-and-match photo wall can be the most cherished feature of your home. Start your family history photo wall in your starter home. Start by framing those 5×7 prints you have lying around of your grandparents, your parents, and yourselves as children. Add your favourite photos from your wedding on canvas. Continue to build out your photo wall with prints from vacations, your children’s birthdays, and other special events.
The creative possibilities are endless! Lay it out in a chronological timeline, add name and date plates, hang your kids’ growth charts, and add your favourite or funny family quotes. When you move to a new home, pack up the whole wall and find a new space for it. And just keep adding to it. One day, it will be the most stunning and priceless piece of art you own.
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Gift Your Photos on Your Anniversary
Use your old wedding photos to celebrate anniversaries! This can creatively suit traditional anniversary gifts, as well. Here are some ideas for you for your first 5 years of marriage:
- 1st-Anniversary, Paper: Gift your new spouse a beautiful card featuring a photo of your exchanging of rings or your first kiss. Have the vows you recited printed on the back. Frame the card as a special and personal reminder of your commitment to enjoy daily.
- 2nd-Anniversary, Fibre: Make up a linen print box filled with 4×6 prints from your wedding. In the box, include a pressed Lily of the Valley (the traditional 2nd-anniversary flower).
- 3rd-Anniversary, Leather: Now that you are more established in your relationship and career, design and print a new and larger, leather or faux-leather album. Include all of those photos you loved but never had printed from your wedding along with beautiful photo memories from your last 3 years together. Have text commemorating your 3rd-anniversary embossed on the cover.
- 4th-Anniversary, Flowers: Gift your spouse an arrangement of their favourite flowers, or the flowers they carried or wore on your wedding day. Instead of a generic card, have a wallet-sized photo printed, and handwrite your anniversary wishes on the back. Your spouse can then carry it with them always.
- 5th-Anniversary, Wood: Have your spouse’s favourite photo from your wedding framed in wood or transferred onto a plank of wood to be hung in your entryway or office. Have your wedding date burnt into the wood.
Share Them With Your Loved Ones
Sharing photos with family and friends is a great way to keep memories alive. And your wedding photos are no different. You should, of course, include wedding photos in your thank you cards. And above, I suggested creating albums to gift your children on special life milestones. As time goes on and you replace pieces throughout your home, you can gift those prints, and other artwork to your loved ones just because. They will love holding these memories they’ve grown up with in their hands.
I’ve always fondly remembered sitting around the dining table with my dad (the family historian) and looking through literal piles of photo albums. He had meticulously recorded names and dates to every photo from his grandparents and other relatives. And somehow, he could point people out without ever having met them.
Your wedding photos, along with other photos you’ll take and collect throughout your lifetime will tell epic, heartwarming, and funny stories. Start writing them down in text! Every few years, go online and design a book of photos and written stories featuring names, dates, and locations. Gift these books to your children, your grandchildren, and other family and friends. These books will be cherished and shared, and your stories will never be lost.
Use Prints as Special Event Decor
You will experience many more special events together as life goes on. Your wedding photos can serve as inspiration and decor for those future events. Decorate birthdays and anniversaries with pieces you’ve hung on your family history photo wall and your wedding album. Print and matte a photo to be signed and framed as a creative alternative to the traditional registry at your vow renewal. You can even have decades-old wedding photos scanned and blown up with text memorializing your wedding. Gift these memories to yourself and your spouse to celebrate your successes.
Old Wedding Photo Print Inspiration
I hope these ideas have sparked motivation in you to take your wedding photos from the digital world to the real world. Not just for you, but for your family.
If you’re planning your wedding or just aren’t sure where to get started choosing, printing, and displaying your old wedding photos tap right here to contact me. Take the first step in creating a visual legacy for you and your family to relive for generations to come.
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Who do you know who is just starting to grow their family? They are so in love and want to feel these beautiful, warm-fuzzies forever. Use the buttons below to help them out. They will use these tips to document, display, and remember exactly all the good feelings they’re experiencing right now.