Why I Love Anniversary Sessions

I wrote this post in 2015, and I wanted to share it again today, since we've just finished our engagement session series. Romantic portraits aren't just for engaged couples!

Ryan and I are coming up on our 4th wedding anniversary. And we have been told that the way we feel about each other will change. That we’re “still newlyweds.” Like one day we’ll wake up and not be in love anymore. And that we should expect that to happen and be ok with it.

But I don't want being newlyweds to just be a phase. I want to be that cute old couple that goes to the grocery store together and holds hands while buying toothpaste. I don’t want to accept that falling out of love with my husband is normal. Isn’t that like setting myself up for failure? 

I know that still loving someone 50 years after you said your vows is hard work. Because it’s not just giving 50%. It’s giving 100% all the time, regardless of what your spouse is giving. That's why marriage is hard. It's hard to give 100%. It's hard to serve when you'd rather be served. Sometimes it's hard to remember the butterflies and goosebumps you used to get when you were together.

When you've been married a few years, when you've passed the "newlywed" stage, love is quieter. Love is emptying the dishwasher and making a bank deposit. Love is going to the store for crackers when your spouse is sick. This quieter love doesn't seem romantic, but in reality, it's so much more important than all the flowers and fancy dates in the world.

We asked our pastor to read an excerpt from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis during our ceremony. And it's not the most romantic wedding reading. Because it's real. It talks about the choice to love, to serve, to fight for your marriage. And that's why I picked it. Because I knew our marriage wasn't going to be a fairy-tale. Because we are real people with real problems.

If the old fairy-tale ending "They lived happily ever after" is taken to mean "They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married," then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?

But, of course, ceasing to be "in love" need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense-love as distinct from "being in love"—is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.

They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be "in love" with someone else.

"Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

Caitlin + Ryan - October 2013-0032.jpg

I love anniversary sessions because they combine the quiet servant love with the cuddly romantic feelings. An anniversary session is the fancy date night you've been missing. It's the perfect opportunity to cuddle and hold hands and stare into each other's eyes. It's the perfect way to remember the butterflies and the goosebumps and why you couldn't keep your eyes off each other.

As much as I love engagement photos, I think anniversary photos are even more important. After the marriage has already begun, after you've settled into your lives together, there's something different about the photos. Because there's something different about you! Your love is deeper... richer... perhaps quieter... and more true.


I love to shoot anniversary sessions for my past couples but you don't have to be a #cgpbride to do an anniversary session with me! Contact me here to find out more.

Photos by Bit of Ivory Photography

Want to read more about anniversary sessions?
Why I Love Anniversary Sessions
Why We're Doing Another Anniversary Session
Choosing a Location
My Favorite Hampton Roads Locations
What To Wear
What Not to Wear
What Happens if it Rains
How I Chose My Outfits
Maternity Session Tips