Happy Wednesday, friends! Today’s post is about something that I keep really near and dear to my own heart. Before we dive in though, I wanted to let you in on a not so secret, secret: I really struggle with feeling “sales-y.” I was never the highest selling Girlscout during cookie season, our elementary school wrapping paper orders were usually only shown to my parents, the thought of doing in-person sales print orders in the present day makes me feel like I might break out into hives, and pre-booking phone consultations still make me feel crazy nervous every single time… so I need you to know heading into this that this post is by no means meant to be “sales-y.”
What are we talking about? Custom heirloom wedding albums! You may be saying… “Huh, Caity… what? What does this have anything to do with selling things?” Here’s the truth: I sell custom heirloom albums to my clients… they have the option to add them to their package before they book, or they can purchase one after their wedding. Custom wedding albums? They’re not cheap, and as I sat down to write this post, I felt like I was writing a PSA guilting my clients into purchasing custom albums from me. That’s not what this is at all. I want you to know that this post isn’t trying to sell you an album. In fact, all of my clients receive a personal print release with their wedding package (meaning they can make a custom album on their own!)… these are my genuine thoughts and feelings about printing your images.
This is something that means a lot to me, and this is something that I believe every married couple deserves to have sitting on their coffee table… which is why I have decided to offer custom heirloom wedding albums and design for my clients.
Now… with that out of the way, let’s begin!
Let’s set the scene: You’ve been married to your best friend for almost a month and you get an email ping on your phone! Your wedding images are ready to view!! Right away, you race to your laptop, you boot up your email, click the link, and load hundreds of images from your very favorite day right on your screen! You slowly click through your gallery, downloading a few of your favorites along the way. You smile as you reflect on the day, feeling grateful for the time that you were able to spend with your friends and family. You set one of the photos as your profile picture, upload a few to a Facebook album, and close your laptop. The downloaded photos aren’t touched again until a few months later when you are ready to order your grandparent’s Christmas gift: a framed family photo from the wedding. After that, your beautiful images simply live on your hard drive… that’s it!
If I’m being honest, when I think about photos just living tucked away on a hard drive, I get a little knot in my stomach and a pretty big lump in my throat. It makes me so sad! Yes, part of this is because I pour so much into your images and hope that you love them as much as I do. BUT, truthfully, the reason I feel this way is because these photos? They aren’t just photos. They are your memories. They are the memories of a day that you have dreamed about for years. They are the memories of a day where so many of your favorite people were together in one place for such a short amount of time. They are the memories of the day where you made one of life’s biggest promises. They are the memories that you truly invested time and money into creating.
Yes, custom albums can be a pretty penny, but they are a pretty penny for a reason. These moments? They’re important… really important.
I want to take a moment to talk about the future. We’re fast forwarding A LOT…. 50 years. You’re sitting around your kitchen table with your granddaughter. She’s asking you about your wedding day, and you’re telling her all of your favorite stories… the ones that have brought you the biggest smiles throughout the years: the first time you saw her grandfather in his suit on your wedding day, your walk down the aisle, the toasts that were so funny you still almost remember them word for word so many years later. You head over to a bookshelf to grab your wedding images to show her your dress and your flowers and your favorite portraits of you with her grandfather and your best friends… you don’t grab a hard drive or a tablet to show her the digital images. You grab a beautiful, hardbound book and begin flipping through the pages together.
This is a story that I hope each one of my clients will be able to tell one day.
I love online galleries and digital delivery more than anyone else. It is an incredibly efficient way to deliver my clients’ images. They can literally see their gallery just minutes after I export the final edits! However, we’ve got to face the fact that technology is changing… fast! Accessing VCR tapes is becoming increasingly difficult, and DVD’s are going the same way now that technology is shifting more towards streaming and away from CD drives. Apple has all but done away with USB ports on their laptop, meaning that flash drives will soon be just as difficult to access without a dongle or special cord. Hard drives can fail and long-term cloud storage can be pretty pricy. Truthfully, we have no idea what technology will look like in a few months, years, decades… What is almost guaranteed not to change in the next 50+ years? A hardbound, professionally printed book.
How do I know that? I’ve flipped through my grandparents’ printed wedding images 60 years after their wedding.
It’s true… you could lose a printed album in a fire, flood, or cross country move, but you could also lose a hard drive in the same way. Doesn’t it just make sense to have some of your most precious memories stored in a way that is guaranteed to last beyond a lifetime? A way that is both beautiful and easy to access? A way that will forever just make sense to the people that you want to share it with? I think so too.
While I do allow my clients to print their images however they would like, I also offer custom album design. This is a newer offering for me, but it’s one that I have dreamed of offering for years. Yes, a custom designed album is a bit of an investment, but I think it is well worth it. If you are married, have you printed your album yet? If so, how long did it take you to design and print it? Did you feel fully confident while selecting your images and arranging them on the pages? If you haven’t printed your images yet, when will you?
I’ve heard from so many clients and married friends that the months after their wedding? They’re a whirlwind. Some people find themselves moving across town or cross country, starting back at work or at a new job, honeymooning, visiting family, recovering from all of the festivities… the list goes on and on. Gradually, your wedding gets pushed further into the past, and with each passing day, you become less likely to get the project done.
The biggest reason I have started offering custom heirloom wedding albums is this: When you allow someone to design and print the album for you, you have eliminated so many of the hardest steps. I encourage my clients to select their images, but I also will pick the images for them if they ask. All album designs receive a few rounds of complementary edits and are approved before I place the order to ensure that client receiving the album will be absolutely thrilled with their final product. After you make it through the design process? Your album is printed by a professional lab and is sent directly to your doorstep. It’s beautiful and you can literally hold your memories in your hands! Your album is ready to be shared with everyone that sits with you on your couch or passes through your home. They can share in your joy, even if they weren’t physically there to share in your joy on your wedding day. Most importantly though, it’s done! You can breathe easy… you don’t have to keep the project on your to-do list anymore.
You may feel a little bit like you are just printing a pretty book of photos right now, but truthfully, you are doing so much more than that. You are preserving a huge part of your family history. You are creating one of your very first family heirlooms. You are creating something amazing for future generations to treasure. That is HUGE. Your family, now and in the future, deserves to know who you were on your wedding day.
PHEW… I think I’ll step off my soapbox for now, friends. But before I let you go, I want to leave you with this: even if you do not opt to create a custom album from your wedding day (through me, through your photographer or through an online provider on your own!), print your images. Print your images and store them somewhere safe. There is truly no better feeling than holding some of your very favorite moments right in your hands. I’ve flipped through boxes and boxes of my grandparents’ printed images, close to 60 years afer the photos were printed. You never know what these photos will mean to someone in the future 💕
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