Does your wedding look timeless?

12 September 2017

John and I are celebrating five years of marriage this week! (Our anniversary is on Friday!) I have some deeper thoughts coming your way soon, but today, I have a question for you: if you’re married, do your wedding photos look timeless?

I ask because I kind of keep waiting for mine to look dated, but at least to my eyes (and I do admit my eyes could be biased), they don’t. Maybe in another five years?

Maybe. Maybe not. After all, we made a lot of traditional choices: I wore a blusher veil. John wore a black tuxedo. I carried a white bouquet. My makeup was minimal. We were married in a chapel. Our centerpieces were in collected silver. We swayed on a black and white dance floor under a sailcloth tent, to the tunes of a big band.

formal groomsmen

Of course, there were other details that were more unexpected: we served donuts and cookies as our dessert. In lieu of favors, we made a donation to a pet adoption agency, and shared the news via watercolor portraits of our cats.

Each of those decisions, whether traditional or unique, was carefully considered, and chosen because it felt fitting for our story and relationship. Rooting our wedding in classic style was a way we honored the enduring legacy of marriage in our families. (Similarly, I love how our gold wedding bands link us to some of the treasured people in our lives with beautiful marriages — our parents, our grandparents — many of whom wear gold bands.)

Tanja Lippert

I’m pretty familiar with weddings these days, and from my viewpoint, we are certainly in a “classic moment” (having shifted out of the rustic, shabby chic “moment” that immediately preceded it!). Blame it on the Duchess or Father of the Bride (a millenial childhood staple!), but I hear people talking about wanting to have a classic, timeless wedding a LOT. No one wants to look back on their wedding photos and cringe. While I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a “classic” wedding (obviously!), I think choosing something simply because it’s classic, not because it’s meaningful to you, is a missed opportunity.

wedding vows

After all, when your kids look at your wedding photos in twenty years and laugh at your choices (because they will certainly find something to laugh at!), don’t you want to be able to tell them why you made those choices? Why they were meaningful to you, why you loved them at the time? And don’t you want a better reason than “because it was trendy”? (Even if, ironically, the trend is classic style?)

Wedding photos looking dated isn’t a bad thing — it just means you’re lucky enough to have celebrated several years of marriage! :)

Alright, getting off my soap box. Friends, I would LOVE to hear: If you’re married, do your photos look “timeless”? Is that something you were striving for when making decisions? If not, what dates them? Do you care?

P.S. I think it can’t be understated that photography makes a big difference in whether a wedding photo seems dated. A big reason why our photos seem timeless is Tanja’s crisp, clean, true color film wizardry. Certain posing styles and processing techniques could make any wedding appear dated!

P.P.S. The best kind of dated wedding photos.

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September 12, 2017 6:57 am

I LOVE this, Emily! Dillon and I were very intentional about ultimately planning our wedding around our story and the details that brought us together. I’m thankful that our decisions mostly fell into the traditional, classic, and timeless category.

There were plenty of fun, memorable details that set our wedding apart in the minds of our guests but didn’t contrast the traditional aesthetic. For example, my bouquet included bright peonies, we offered guests ‘bells and bows’ outside the church (modeled after your wedding!), my bridesmaids wore carefully-chosen dresses in differing short styles (a choice I NEVER thought I would choose previously but loved), the flower girls handed out roses instead of tossing petals, and we included family pictures throughout our reception space.

We ‘broke rules’ as we saw fit, creating an atmosphere and experience for guests that was incredibly us without fitting a mold of weddings that came before ours. Thankfully, we are pretty traditional people and had lots of inspiration (especially Southern Weddings!) to pull fun details from. Here is a little sneak peek!

September 12, 2017 8:03 am

I love that we share wedding anniversary months! :) (Ironically, our hubbies both have July birthdays too – ha!) We’re coming up on EIGHT years (!) and I loved considering this. First of all, your wedding and photos are all stunning! I’d say our wedding was very classic and simple, mostly due to budget. :) And as a photographer, I have to agree – when we got married, everyone had digital photos that were slightly more edited/processed to leave the artist’s mark. We LOVE our wedding photos and for the most part, I’d say they look timeless, but not as timeless as film photos do. Even amongst film photographers, I love how classic and true to color Tanja’s work is! :)

Oh, and at the end of the day, we don’t care! I love looking back at our photos and the choices we made because they are all part of our story! What a blessing to have been married long enough to see shifts in the wedding industry! Happy anniversary week!!

September 12, 2017 8:14 am

Oh this is such a good topic – and oh so relevant these days! I admit, I totally look back upon your wedding, even five years later, for inspiration. It’s definitely a timeless wedding, and it doesn’t look one bit “dated.” (And if it did, that’s not even a bad thing, really!) It’s hard to believe it’s already been five years – major congrats to you and John!!

Though our wedding was only 5ish months ago, I have a strong feeling we’re going to love our wedding memories and wedding photos just as much in fifty years as we do now. I deeply believe the images reflect us, our style, what is MOST important to us, and the joy and emotion from the day. When I designed our wedding, I made decisions (both logistical and aesthetic/design) that were/are truly reflective of Rob and myself – and not just what is popular/trendy in the wedding world today. We had many, many classic, traditional elements, but we also included a plethora of personal details and meaningful touches that are a nod to our love story, our histories, and our families/traditions. I also think our photographers (Ally + Bobby are incredible!) captured the day exactly how I wanted with gorgeous film photography: the portraits are filled with emotion, so many joyful candid moments, beautifully photographed details, and the perfect reflection of our love-filled day. There’s nothing I would have changed about our wedding, and I don’t think I’ll ever think of it as dated. Anyway, all that really matters is that Rob and I were joined as husband and wife amongst our closest family and friends!!

September 12, 2017 12:01 pm

Your wedding images are gorgeous. I love your hair, veil, and flowing dress! And no, your images do not seem dated at all, but very timeless. Your style is quite elegant!!
I was just admiring our wedding images that are printed and hanging. They are timeless because my dress was traditional (ballgown) and the pictures were taken with natural backdrops. Our first look was in an area with bright green grass and leaves, so all you really see is us. I think backdrops really make or break an image. I’m a huge tree person (as we have discussed), and those babies will never go out of style considering they are part of nature :).

Kelly Strawberry
September 12, 2017 12:29 pm

Love this and your photos! I have only a handful of pictures from our elopement, but I would say they look timeless – maybe even more so than most wedding pictures I see, because they weren’t professional photos and there’s a lot of personal meaning to each one. We had a weekend in Asheville just the two of us. No photographer obviously, but the lady who owned the Inn where we got married took a few pictures of us. I just took a moment to look back on our photos now (5 years ago this November!). I think one of my favorites is a picture of our SUV parked at the Inn beside an American flag and the NC mountains in the background. I’m glad I took a moment to turn around and snap that picture of where we were parked as we were walking in. Everything in that picture brings back a flood of memories of that day!

September 12, 2017 8:20 pm

I’ve been married just over three years, so our pictures may not be looking dated yet even if we had made trendy decisions – but I think overall we made pretty classic and traditional choices, that won’t feel dated over time.

The most timeless element of our wedding was my dress: I wore the dress my grandmother was married in 60 years ago, and my mother was married in 30 years ago (my grandma said she’d never have been able to choose a dress if she’d known it would be worn for generations!). The dress is a very classic style, and hasn’t been altered at all since my grandma originally wore it. I love that at first glance, especially with some of the black and white photos, you might not know whether you were looking at a photo from the 50s or the 80s or today!

September 12, 2017 10:23 pm

Happy 5 years!! This was a really fun post to read. Your wedding dress will always go down as one of my favorite wedding gowns I’ve ever seen. It’s so unique, feminine, and you looked absolutely stunning in it!! Your wedding does not look dated at all. I agree that photography styles can really date wedding photos. This was one of the reasons we chose the photographer we did – I loved that her photos looked classic and not over-edited. We intentionally chose a pretty classic overall theme as well. One thing I do regret from our wedding photos is I didn’t take ANY photos the day of our wedding (other than photos taken during the ceremony) with my veil in my hair. I remember my photographer asking if I wanted to take it off for our portraits after the ceremony and for some reason I thought sure, why not switch it up since I wore the veil during the ceremony. I wish I would have gotten some portraits with my veil now, but oh well. Can’t sweat the small things. In the end we were still married and it was a day filled with sweet memories!

September 12, 2017 11:42 pm

Your wedding photos are gorgeous and definitely have a timeless vibe. My husband and I are coming up on three years of marriage, so our wedding doesn’t seem dated to me yet. We definitely leaned more toward a classic feel in our planning. It’s funny that you mentioned Father of the Bride because I used that movie as part of my inspiration. I’ve been enamored with that movie since I was a little girl and ended up having my reception in my parents’ backyard for that very reason. Even though we definitely wanted a timeless feel, we did make a few quirky choices that were especially meaningful to us. My favorite is that our wedding favor was apples from our favorite orchard, Mercier’s. The orchard shipped them to us the week of the wedding and sent them as a gift, which was a complete surprise! That was one of my favorite details!

September 13, 2017 10:53 am

I love this so much! I feel like more often than not I find myself choosing more “classic” things but this is for sure something I’ve leaned more towards as years have gone on. Looking back, something that really influenced my decisions as a bride was being a young bride. I was 21 and honestly things could have gone very, very wrong.. haha! I remember things coming together a lot more classic that I had even imagined. I 100% had a few shabby chic details that I wouldn’t choose now. I think about this “classic” factor a lot when planning for our family photos now.. I’d love to avoid looking back and seeing really “90s hair” or whatever haha!!

Sela Vaughn
September 15, 2017 10:30 am

Chad and I have been married 16 years so I’ve had a decade and a half to look at our wedding photos. I’m pleased to say that our photos, and our wedding, fell to the more classic end of the spectrum. We were married pre Pinterest, pre wedding blogs so I had very little in the way of outside influences guiding my way. I did have Martha Stewart Weddings magazine though! We had our ceremony at 10:00 in the morning at my husband’s family home and a brunch under a tent on their property following. Our photos were taken by 2 family friends who were photographers, but not portrait photographers, so our wedding photos have a much more photojournalist feel to them which was not typical at that time. I think that really contributes to their classic look. We have a large black and white photo of us walking back down the aisle on display in our home. I don’t know if its because we are not looking directly at the camera, the style of my dress and hair/veil, or the fact that it’s situated among old family photos, but it takes most new visitors to our home a while to figure out it is us in the photo. I have to say I kinda of love it when it finally hits them. Thanks Emily for making me walk down memory lane and for sharing your beautiful wedding photos!