Our wedding is going to be one pearl-studded, vintage-inspired day of science and literature and love.
And since weddings are, for the most part, a shining beacon of tradition, I’ve been going through vintage family photos. I started out curiously, just wanting to see how my mom, grandmothers and great-grandmothers dressed, but then a comment at A Practical Wedding got me thinking about how beautiful a display of our family wedding photos would be at the reception.
I have my maternal great-grandparents’ photos from the 1930s (one set is pictured at right). I have my grandparents’ photos from the 1950s. I have my parents’ portrait from 1980 and, soon, my fiance’s parents’ photo from the 1970s. Seeing our families through the ages, making a pledge so important that we wouldn’t be here without it, has added extra weight to our day. Come November, we’ll be adding another branch on the family tree — and, in due course, welcoming children who will someday peer at our wedding photo.
The women in my family all dressed differently on their wedding days. I mean, check out Great Grandma’s rockin’ hat up there. My other great-grandmother wore a very long veil, while my mom and grandma chose shorter ones. My paternal grandmother looked radiant and sophisticated in a sleek ensemble; my maternal grandmother wore a poofy, lacy gown. Similar eras, different choices.
How do I want to look on my wedding day? I ask myself and daydream, staring at Etsy-generated favorites lists of jewelry and pouring through websites of shoes, hairstyles, makeup tips. With my vintage-inspired dress, I know I want the red lip/red shoe look. I want to look sophisticated, too, but still playful and fun. And I just want to feel . . . like me. Like me on my wedding day.
Can there be a more surreal experience?
Regardless of whether the women in my family chose short or long, lace or taffeta, there is, of course, a theme in each portrait: they’re beaming. Smiling with their lips and their eyes. And in the photo I have of my paternal grandparents, their beautiful tiered cake sits ready to be sliced on a table. Maw Maw is looking right at the camera while my grandfather, a man who sadly passed when I was young, is looking at her.
I could do with a photo like that, too.