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:
An 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 full of 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. This allows you creative leeway in combining invitations, cards, clippings, personal stories and your own photos. Plus you can design it any way you want.
These extras do pose some risks for the life of your photos, however. Keep an acid-free test pen handy to check documents you want to include. You can use a spray such as Archival Mist to remove acid, or make color copies instead. And never allow newspaper clippings to touch photographs; it’s best to place them on different pages of the album (also acid-free, of course).
Unfortunately, video isn’t the ageless medium we once thought it was. But it will still last a generation or two. Your best bet for lasting videos is to use high-quality tapes, make copies for storage and, with digital video, duplicate clips in different media.
When filming, take more footage than you might actually need (you can always cut out scenes later). Set your camcorder to SP, move slowly and take context shots for perspective. For tips on videocameras, see <www.familytreemagazine.com/ articles/aproo/video.html>.
Want the best of both worlds? Combine photos and videos on a CD-ROM. Your Wedding Treasure <www.weddingtreasure. com> and Memories Interactive <www.miweddings.com/html/miwed.html> will custom design a digital wedding album using your shots and clips. They’re pricier than pasting pictures into 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.
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. The company offers a lifetime guarantee against yellowing, but advises not to store the dress in the basement or attic. The service is sold through bridal-shops, so prices vary between retailers. Call (800) 305-3108 or visit the company’s Web site <www.gownpreserve.com> for details.
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. See <www.weddingconcierge.com/OC/Tips/ preserve. htm> for a full list of supplies and instructions.
Companies such as Aiko & Co. will press and display your flowers for you. For more information, call (877) 245-6626 or see <aiko.safeshopper.com>.
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. For some guidance, The Original Time Capsule Co. sells a pre-assembled Wedding Time Capsule kit that includes an instruction manual, “letter to the future” stationery, seals and a book the couple completes called “What Life Was Like the Year We Were Married.” Ordering information is available at (800) 729- 8463 or <www.timecap.com>.
From the June 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine