Anniversary Photos That Prove Lifelong Love Is Real
On your wedding day, you and your spouse will make a commitment designed to last a lifetime. In the middle of all the merriment, as you exchange vows, slice cake, and celebrate with family and friends, it's impossible not to think of what that life will look like—and what your relationship will be and feel like—30, 40, or even 50 years down the road. If you're lucky, your grandparents will be present on the day you tie the knot, and if they're anything like the couples you're about to meet, they'll serve as proof that relationships only grow stronger and deeper over time.
Ultimately, that's what your wedding is all about—a mutual decision to walk through life with your partner by your side. A lifelong commitment is an incredible (and oftentimes difficult!) thing, which makes the following photos of real couples who have done it all the more powerful. Truthfully, it's easy to mistake their landmark anniversary photoshoots as wedding photos since these twosomes look as in love now as they likely did on the day they were married. If you ask them, though, they'd probably say that they've only grown to love their spouses more with each passing anniversary.
We'll warn you: You might want to grab the tissue box before you begin flipping through. Whether you've just become engaged, are in the thick of wedding planning, or are navigating that first year of marriage, these couples are examples of what's possible when two people promise to love, mutually respect, and continuously commit to each other. And who knows? They just might inspire your own anniversary shoot decades from now.
Wedding Photos, 61 Years Later
These two have just one photo from their wedding day—their wedding photographer stood them up! In honor of their 61st anniversary, their grandchildren (including Lauren Wells of Lauren Wells Events) organized the adventure-themed wedding photoshoot they never had, complete with balloons and blooms.
Photographer Morgan Kempker took this celebratory photo of her grandparents (holding trendy balloons!) in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary. "During the session, they read love letters to each other, sharing their life story and what the last 60 years has meant to them," she told us of the happy day. "They both teared up while sweet words were read to them. Their letters to each other are a true testament of how love continues to grow into a deeper love over the years."
Amber Robinson snapped this shot of her parents to commemorate their 47th year of matrimony. Her mother, Wanda, slipped into a sequined shift after hair-and-makeup had finished; her father, Marvin, donned his favorite suit. "They took their wedding vows seriously and are visibly more in love today than they ever have been," Amber said, of their obvious bond.
Photographer Sophie Epton is beyond grateful for this image of her husband's in-love grandparents, taken on a sunny beach day. "They hired us for a shoot commemorating their 70th wedding anniversary," she explained. "We are so glad we did—Papa Jerry passed away about 3 months later last year, so we really cherish these images."
A Strong Bond
A photo might be worth a thousand words, but this one's worth all the wedding vows in the world. The bond this couple shares was put on full display with one simple gesture.
An Anniversary and a Wedding
This photo may have been taken just after this duo's wedding ceremony, but the celebration was more like an anniversary as they'd already spent 50 years together, their photographer told us.
An Impromptu Dance
Photographer Tara Barnes says her grandparents broke into dance during their wedding anniversary photoshoot—a testament to 60 years of love and laughter.
In honor of their 65th wedding anniversary, Floyd, 90, and Dixie, 85, posed for this glamourous photo—taken by their granddaughter, Erica Jones—at the home they shared for 30 years. "I wanted to give them the kind of session that I give my newly-engaged clients," Erica told us. "It has been at least 20 year since they have had any professional portraits taken and with so much to celebrate, there was no better time to put this together for them."
Fight for It
Larry and Caroline's family asked Abigail Thomas to photograph the couple's love, 54 years after they said I do in Caroline's family's living room. "These two are still choosing to say 'yes' to one another, every single day. Their granddaughter and I put together a little shoot to celebrate their love that was reminiscent of their actual wedding day. So we surprised them and photographed them at their home that they have been sharing for decades. They are proof that true, unending love still exists if you choose to fight for it!" said Abigail.
Photographing Ken and Phyllis on their 50th wedding anniversary was a privilege, said photographer Kylie Martin. "Being able to photograph a couple that has weathered the storms of life and has decided to choose each other every day was such a rewarding experience," she said. "I love the idea that their family will be able to look back on these images and revisit Ken and Phyllis' love story and example whenever they want."
While commemorating her grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, Amanda Fogarty recalled a particular moment in her childhood that blew her away. "When I was 13, we were all sitting around my grandparents' table and my grandfather looked at me and said, 'Your Nana has the sexiest signature.' And that has always stuck with me," she told us. "In that moment I thought to myself, well, that's true love right there. A love so deep that you admire the way she puts pen to paper and the way her name looks with your last name."
Wrinkle After Wrinkle
For Shalyn Nelson, photographing her grandparents—who've shared 65 years of wedded bliss—reminded her of the meaning of love. "It's growing old, hand in hand, wrinkle after wrinkle," she said. "It's taking two heartbeats and working together to make one."
Brina Debalinhard had to convince her grandparents to pose for 60th-anniversary portraits, but she's so glad she did. "Sixty years of marriage—now that is the real #RelationshipGoals," she said.
Against All Odds
Megan Vaughan had the privilege to photograph Ruby and Harold not once, but twice (first for their 60th anniversary, and then again for their 65th). Ruby, who suffers from dementia, didn't remember the first photoshoot, or Vaughan—but she'd know her husband anywhere. "Despite her dementia, she'll always remember Harold. Watching them together is such a treat. Her eyes are bright and wide when she's with him. They're so lovey-dovey! Just like a young, married couple," said Vaughan.
Simple and Extraordinary
Photographer Kate Ignatowski marked her grandparents' incredible love story with a photoshoot. "My grandparents are the cutest and quite inspiring. Married in a simple ceremony 69 years ago this June, they have managed the ups and downs of life together. Still living on their own, my grandfather handles all of the shopping and cooking while continuing his career in law. They have fulfilled a promise to take care of each other. It is that simple and that extraordinary," said Kate.
A Lifelong Blessing
"To have the blessing to live into your 90s with your spouse is a true gift, and one they don't take for granted," Kristen Duke said of her grandparents. "They lived during the Great Depression, have lost parents, siblings, friends, and even a daughter over the years, and their love for each other grows stronger with each passing day. May we all have the blessing to share our life with a companion by our side."
Balloons and Bikes
After a friend convinced Andy and Margaret Bryceland to celebrate their 46-year-long love story with a photo series, they connected with photographer Ben Yew, who shot the couple in Perth, Australia. The photos show the twosome riding bikes and holding balloons—a whimsical testament to their early youths, when they first met.
This twosome posed in their best finery to celebrate their lives together—and made quite the impact on photographer Cliff Mautner. "I was truly touched by their incredible, warm chemistry, and the photograph captures that tenderness which was obviously built by 69 years of marriage," he said. "I love this image, and all it depicts. It's authentic, timeless, and represents the best of what I do."