I love being a wedding photographer, but I was in for a special treat recently when asked to photograph a 50th wedding anniversary. Since I market wedding photography, this was my first 50th anniversary party and I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. Jan and Travis were celebrating 50 years of marriage, and their children planned a party to celebrate with their family and friends. Their daughter, Kelli, was in charge of organizing the party, and she wanted the party to be fun, classy, and focused on her parents and their relationship. She also didn’t want to tie herself or a family member to a camera all night, so that’s where I came in to take photos they could keep to remember such an important evening.
When I arrived at the party, I was so impressed with everything Kelli and her siblings had planned to make the night a success for their parents. The event was held at LaVela in Wichita, Kansas, a banquet hall and event venue located next to Candle Club. This was also my first time at LaVela since it is a new venue in Wichita, and I was really impressed. I walked in to classy black table cloths with touches of gold throughout the room that Kelli had used on candles, picture frames, 50th anniversary signs and balloons, and even gold-flecked desserts. There were wine glass favors and a place for guests to leave messages for Jan and Travis. One of my favorite touches was the beautiful cake. It was white and gold with intricate patterns in the frosting and a topper that read “50 years loved.”
Aside from the decor, there were personal touches throughout the room. There were picture frames on the tables with photos taken throughout Jan and Travis’s marriage. There was also a projector with a slideshow of more pictures of their wedding, family, friends, and so many moments throughout their lives together. I’ll admit that I was repeatedly captivated by the slideshow and would stop and think about all of the time they’ve spent together and the milestones they’ve passed by each other’s sides. There were moments with young children, family vacations, holidays with friends and family, and so many more. In each of the photos, the constant was the two of them together. The slideshow also included their wedding photos. Despite all of the trend changes in wedding dresses, tuxes, decor, and wedding photography, the thing that remains the same is the celebration of commitment between two people. To see their wedding pictures from 50 years ago and then to see them in the room together, with their family and friends, was really incredible.
What I love so much about weddings and wedding photography is documenting the start of a life together, a commitment that two people are making to stick it out and simply do the best they can each day. Of course there are both wonderful and incredibly hard days in any marriage, but the commitment on even the toughest of days is what really tugs at my heartstrings. To see Jan and Travis celebrate this commitment after 50 years was truly a joy and an event I won’t soon forget.
A special shout out to La Vela staff who were so friendly and professional all night and Matthew Johnston of Sound Advice who did an amazing job performing the music.