Wedding photos are heirlooms

We always tell our wedding clients in Washington DC and worldwide that we want to ensure that they have photo memories to pass down to future generations. We also impress upon them that wedding albums are heirlooms that they will treasure forever! And this week, those words that I have repeated over and over again to our brides and grooms became a reality for me.

A personal story

We recently found out that my aging uncle is very sick. His illness has progressed to the point that he might only be with us for a few more weeks. With that in mind, we decided to make the trip to visit him so that we could see him one last time and say goodbye.

He had been in the hospital until the day before we arrived. By the time we saw him, he was at home in hospice care. When we went to his room, the first thing that I noticed was that the strong and powerful man that I had known growing up had transformed into a helpless elderly man. He was also drifting in and out of consciousness. It was heartbreaking for me to witness.

The family photo

While sitting there and trying to make sense of this situation in my head, my eyes drifted to the wall next to the window. There I saw a picture of my entire family that was taken at an event in 2015. Though we had photographed the event, we gave our cameras to someone else for the family formals so that we would be in them. That bystander did their best. But the picture hanging on my uncle’s wall is a mess that makes us laugh when we see it. Except for Pete and me, every single person in the frame is looking in a different direction and not at the camera. The photo might have some technical shortcomings, but I will always love it.

The image captures perfectly the essence of my crazy family. Every time we all get together, there is laughter, stories about the old days, little dramas and an abundance of love. It is a big, unruly group, and corralling them for a photo is next to impossible. So a shot in which no one is cooperating reminds me exactly of what it is like being around my relatives! I suspect that those elements are the same things that my uncle likes about the image. And that it is the reason why he wanted it nearby when he fell ill.

Wedding photos that are passed down from generation to generation

This experience was humbling for me. It reinforced the importance of what we do for our brides and grooms. It reminded us that the work we do lasts much longer than the individual moment caught on film. Or even the entire wedding day. We give people something to take with them for their entire lives and to pass on to their children. We give them something to look at on their journey through life and leave behind as a legacy to be remembered by. That is a sacred task and one that we will always take seriously.

My uncle has since passed away. And we miss him dearly. But I will always be grateful to have documented the last moments of his life and preserved them for our family forever!