Tips on Preserving Today's Wedding Memories.
Is a couple in your family planning their dream wedding? The union can also be a dream for tomorrow's family historians, if you follow these tips for making wedding memories last:
A good place to start is a traditional, time-tested keepsake: the wedding album. But how do you optimize photos' heirloom potential? First, don't limit yourself to a formal album professional pictures. You can give your descendants a real feel for the quirky circumstances, incidents and personalities that characterized the wedding—and your family—with a scrapbook or custom-designed photo book on a site such as MyCanvas or Snapfish. This allows you creative leeway in combining photos with scanned invitations, cards and clippings, and your personal stories. Plus you can design it any way you want.
Your best bet for lasting videos is to use a digital recorder with an external mic, make copies for storage and duplicate your clips in different media. When filming, take more footage than you might actually need (you can always cut out scenes later). Move slowly and take context shots (the guest book, the cake, the decorated tables) for perspective. See our tips on using videocameras.
Want the best of both worlds? Combine photos and videos on a CD or DVD. You could do this yourself with video-editing software, or many wedding videography services will custom-design a digital wedding album using your shots and clips. They're pricier than adding pictures to a book, but they carry a promise against deterioration, and you can buy copies for friends and family.
A wedding gown can be one of the most treasured mementos of the event—if it's cared for properly. Start by minimizing damage to the dress before and during the wedding. Clean the frock soon afterwards—photos are better reminders of the cake cutting than icing stains— and store it following these tips.
Services such as the Wedding Gown Preservation Co. will clean, press and shape your dress in a "preservation chest" that displays the gown and veil through an acid-free window, then deliver it to your door. A company may offer a lifetime guarantee against yellowing, provided you store the gown properly. These services are sold through bridal shops, so prices vary by retailer.
Julie Gershman, owner of A Time To Remember Flower Preservation in Woodland, Calif., recommends treating live flowers with silica gel, spraying them with acrylic and presenting them in a shadow box. This article has do-it-yourself tips on drying and other flower-preservation methods; try out your method and have supplies ready to go before the wedding. Companies such as Suspended in Time will press and display your flowers for you; your florist also may offer this option.
This is an inexpensive way for forward-thinkers to capture their wedding memories for posterity. It's easy to compile a collection of mementos that illustrate the wedding and symbolize the era. You can assemble your own with photos, the invitation, news clippings, messages from friends, etc. Or, for some guidance, The Original Time Capsule Co. sells a pre-assembled Our Wedding Time Capsule kit that includes a container, instruction manual, "letter to the future" stationery, seals and information the couple can fill out. The capsule retails for about $20.