May 29th has us looking back at Wedded Wonderland Director and Fairy Godmother Wendy’s own wedding seven years ago (she’s written a few words on marriage and commitment that you should probably check out too) and it’s gotten us thinking about anniversaries and the way to celebrate them.
Before you get far enough for a vow renewal, a great way to celebrate those early milestones is with anniversary photo shoots. If you’re after an excuse to get glammed up, or just want the chance to feel special again, having a small photo shoot will do just that.
Although deceptively simple, there’s still a lot of planning that needs to go into this. It can’t be a last-minute decision, so it’s important to get in early and decide all the finer details the moment you know this is what you want to do. To ensure it’s a stress-free process (it is, after all, supposed to be a joyous day of celebration), we’ve thought out a checklist that will help you get everything down pat. Instagram, here we come!
1. Know Your Photographer
This should be one of the very first things that you do. Know who you want as your photographer, and get in contact with them ASAP. There are so many photographers to choose from, and thanks to Instagram, anyone can throw themselves under the label of ‘professional’. It’s not always the case though, so do your research to know who’s the best in the business. People like Phao Photography are a brilliant choice and a fine example of photography done well – if you haven’t seen it, you only need to catch a glimpse of the moment of pure joy captured on WW Director and Fairy Godmother Wendy’s face on her wedding day.
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Growing up I always felt an insurmountable amount of pressure to get married. It may have been cultural, perhaps a reflection of being a migrant? My Parents wanting stability for us, and in that meant getting hitched. I was sold the idea that marriage was going to be one big party (I think my Parents were just trying to get rid of me 😉 I believed – and pardon my ignorance – that many of my problems would go away as a result of having a life partner now. Yes, being married has been the most wonderous experience, but don't believe what they tell you and definitely don't believe this new found love platform called Instagram. We have so much more pressure, that perhaps we have unkindly bestowed upon ourselves to lead these perfect lives. That a photo says a thousand words, but what about if we take a thousand photos? It is so important as women to kindly share the realities of being single/in a relationship/married/mother/divorcee the good and bad- whatever the case may be. We communicate more than ever yet share very little truth. As Theodore Roosevelt says, "Comparison is the thief of joy". Being Married for 7 years is something to celebrate, I am grateful for every day. But I am also grateful for the Friends and Family who have been there, my Partner who is navigating life with me in every way. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I say it takes a town to keep you balanced, happy and committed to living a life with love. Without the support and love and people rooting for your love, you may find the commitment to marriage be more difficult than what it should. Celebrate love together, and this union that evolves as we do in life. Marriage is not the answer to your problems. Children are not the answer to your problems, give what you want to receive, and I promise you the rest will follow. I celebrate this anniversary in the name of love, for those who believe in the commitment, joy, and sacrifices that come with it. I believe in the Agapi kind of love. Photography: @phaophotography #weddedwonderland #weddinganniversary #wedding
However, the better the photographer, the more likely they are to get booked out quickly. While scheduling for anniversary shoots aren’t as restrictive as your wedding day, getting in early will save you a lot of hassle.
2. Book Hair & Make-up
Hair and make-up is also an important factor to think of very early on. If you’re a creative genius and like to, nay, can do, a whole beauty look by yourself, then consider us jealous. In this case, it’d be a good idea to know what style you want to recreate well ahead of time. However, if you’re like the rest of us and can barely draw a proper eyeliner wing, booking a professional is a must. The more popular ones, like our gal Melissa Sassine, book out a good year in advance, so it’s a good idea to have a list you can go through – just don’t get your hopes up too high. There’s a chance you’ll be disappointed.
3.Think About Your Theme
An anniversary shoot is going to be quite different from the ones you took on your wedding day. They’ll be a lot more relaxed and give you the space for more fun. Take this opportunity to pick out a theme for your shoot. This will help you coordinate your outfits, location, and will give your photographer an idea of what direction to take the shoot. Think cute vintage scenes, enchanted forest, or even a lovely little picnic setup. Alternatively, you can go easy and just pick a stunner location and work around that. The options really are endless.
4. Will You Need Props?
Depending on the theme you want to have in your photo shoot, it might look good to have a few props here and there. Some balloons look great, especially now that they’re so in again, but you can also go for a cute vintage bike, some cool coloured smoke, or a glass of champagne. Props are a fun opportunity to get creative and let your imagination run wild, so go crazy here.
5. Location, Location, Location
Just as with your wedding, get your location right. The theme you choose can play in well with where you choose to go but bear in mind that you don’t have a wedding party that you need to get to in a few hours. This provides the perfect opportunity to allow you to travel a little bit further for some killer views. You’ll need to make sure your photographer is keen on the travel time, but this is still a perfect way to expand your horizons.
6. Outfit Goals
Again, theme! You want to look absolutely stunning for your photo shoot, so think of what you want to wear and how it’ll match the theme you’re aiming for. If you’re not willing to cash out on the perfect dress that you’ll only wear for a few hours, why not consider hiring a dress? There are so many different options to choose from, like Dresses For Hire. These guys offer a range of dresses that will work for any occasion, so you know you’ll be sorted.
The same goes for shoes and accessories! Think about your overall look and how everything will work together.
7. Sort Out Your Man
You might be super excited about your anniversary photos, but your man might not be. Make sure you know what he plans on wearing, so he doesn’t show up with a half-arsed outfit thrown on. Let him know about your plans for the shoot, and if he’s keen, try and involve him in the planning. You never know, he might have a few good location ideas that you hadn’t thought about.
Written by Hanan Merheb
Cover photo by Phao Photography