When Your Wedding Photographer Doesn’t Do Albums, “I Do”!

My own destination wedding

I had a storybook wedding on the Ligurian Coast of Italy, in a thirteenth-century church high above the ocean, waves crashing romantically below. To say this locale made for some stunning photographs would be an understatement.

My now-husband and I planned our wedding from afar, with the help of a tremendous company called Moonrings (also not local to us). Besides the fact that I wanted the smallest wedding possible—we had 4 guests travel with us, then celebrated back home in New York City with a much bigger party upon our return—I was a pretty laidback bride. 

Whatever flowers are in season, please. No, I don’t need to hear the violinist you recommend beforehand. I allowed Moonrings to guide me, stressed a bit only about the choice of photographer. If we were traveling across an ocean and embarking upon the trip of a lifetime (both literally and figuratively), I wanted the images to capture the magic of the moments and the essence of the place.

And then, coming from a magazine and design background myself, I wanted the resulting wedding album to be perfect, and to beautifully reflect my own aesthetic. I chose to purchase only the high-resolution images from my photographer, giving me the flexibility to order a book to my specifications once I got home rather than negotiate language barriers and time differences. 

I have since learned that this is a common choice for many destination-wedding brides, who return home married, with a boatload of special memories, and a disk of digital images but no wedding album. I also soon learned that ordering an heirloom-quality album on your own is not as easy as I had thought.

Overlooking the resplendent Ligurian Coast from just below St. Peter's Church in Portovenere. Photograph by David Bastianoni

Overlooking the resplendent Ligurian Coast from just below St. Peter's Church in Portovenere. Photograph by David Bastianoni

No access to wedding album vendors 

Like most brides, I wanted my wedding book to be special—to feel more substantial than the year-end albums I would order from Blurb or Shutterfly. But the companies who print those luxurious wedding albums cater only to professional photographers. I ended up discovering an exquisite handmade album of the old-fashioned variety—with a leather cover with a relief of angels and vellum overlays between every page—and, after having my photos professionally retouched and printed, I adhered them into the book with good old photo corners (albeit silver ones).

My book is a handmade treasure, to be sure, but it was a pain in the you-know-what to produce. And I don’t think that DIY approach is for everyone. Indeed, if I had an alternative back then, it would not have been my preference, either.

Since launching Modern Heirloom Books—and now having access to the book vendors that I had not years before—I redid my own wedding book. Of course I still keep my original, scrapbook-like version. But I now also have an archival, modern book that I adore.

I mentioned that we had four guests at our Italian wedding. Three of them—mine and my husband's mothers, and my grandmother—have since passed away. The pictures that include our matriarchs have even more meaning to us now, and we decided to include a few more of them in this updated version, making the endeavor even more meaningful.

From left: It took me a year to find an old-fashioned photo album worthy of my wedding photos, which I adhered to the pages with silver photo corners; years later Modern Heirloom Books created a lay-flat wedding book with a modern acrylic cover; the new photo book has silver gilded pages edges.

From left: It took me a year to find an old-fashioned photo album worthy of my wedding photos, which I adhered to the pages with silver photo corners; years later Modern Heirloom Books created a lay-flat wedding book with a modern acrylic cover; the new photo book has silver gilded pages edges.

What about your wedding album?

Did you get married in a destination wedding and choose not to order a book from your photographer? Could you, perhaps, not afford the amazing wedding album you wanted back when you married, and now want to order something befitting the occasion? I’d love to help bring your vision to life (and to see—and do justice to—your pictures) with a professionally designed and printed wedding book.

Since Modern Heirloom Books always offers the option of purchasing a digital edition of your book, too (and we archive everything for our clients), the chance of your losing your precious photos is minimized greatly when you order from us. Which makes it a wonderful idea for a milestone anniversary gift, as well: We can easily transform your parents’ old wedding album, digitizing, restoring, and retouching old photos, even adding in current pictures celebrating their years together. 

Interested? Contact us to discuss the options (and relive some incredibly happy memories in the process!).

You might not buy into the old adage that a rainy wedding day brings good fortune, but you can't deny that often—with the right photographer behind the lens—Mother Nature styles some powerful photos. This one is cover-worthy, don't you think? Photograph by Hugo Juarez

You might not buy into the old adage that a rainy wedding day brings good fortune, but you can't deny that often—with the right photographer behind the lens—Mother Nature styles some powerful photos. This one is cover-worthy, don't you think? Photograph by Hugo Juarez