Now that I’ve done Part 1 of my memory keeping framework, I’m hoping Part 2 will be a lot easier to write! Thanks for all your kind words in response to that post too – I’m glad that you guys found it inspiring and helpful. So last time, I wrote about how I’ve documented, organised and stored all my photos and memorabilia from childhood till my post-university/pre-Rick years. This time, I’m going to share with you how I’ve documented and organised all our photos and memorabilia as a couple.
Our memoir books
I shared this on the blog with you last week: our R&R memoir books. Basically, these are a record of our personal journey as a couple, and also of all the milestones and important events that we celebrate and continue to celebrate together.
The items that are included in these memoir books are:
- our notes and letters to each other
- head shots of us which we like to take ourselves
- photos from our dates and weekend aways by ourselves as a couple
- photos of my pregnancies
- photos from important events in our life together, including our birthdays, the birth of our children, their subsequent birthdays, Cameron’s anniversaries and our family holidays.
These memoir books are only updated once a year, and I deliberately choose to only include a handful of photos from every event or special occasion. The aim is not to document all the every day details like I do with our Project Life album, but to establish more of a bird’s eye view of our life together whilst also providing a place for me to include all our notes, letters and cards to each other and to highlight the dates and trips we go on as a couple (even more precious nowadays since they’re so rare). These books are also a great reason for me to remember to take photos of just Rick and myself (sans children), which is something that increasingly slips my mind these days.
These R&R memoir books are precious to me because they are about us: Rick and Ronnie. These scrapbooks celebrate us as a couple, because as I wrote in my other post, at the end of the day, our relationship/marriage comes first – even before our family. Yes, we are father and mother to Cameron, Angus, Peter, James and Edward, but even more importantly, we are husband and wife to each other.
Our engagement/pre-wedding album
Somehow, we managed to take only a handful of photos at our engagement party nine years ago, so consumed we must’ve been with excitement at the prospect of marrying each other! Because of this, I was able to include all the photos as well as all the cards that we received from our family and friends into this one album by Coral Coast. I chose a black leather look dry mount album, as I liked the classic look and also because I knew that I would probably choose similar albums for our wedding photos. For the cover, I simply chose a photo of the engagement cake which Rick’s mum had prepared for us.
As there were still many empty pages leftover after I’d stuck in everything from the engagement party, I decided that I would also include all the photos and memorabilia from my hens party, my kitchen tea, Rick’s bucks and our wedding eve (where traditionally, in Chinese culture, the father of the bride combs his daughter’s hair surrounded by family and friends). This included all the camera photos, Polaroid photos, e-invites that were sent out, and the messages my family and friends wrote for me at my hens and kitchen tea. Just flipping through the album now reminds me of all the fun and festivity of those six months.
Our wedding albums
These were albums that I put together – separate from the official one that we received from our photographer, Matt Lee. The package that we’d chosen included a hard copy proof of all the photos that he took on the day of our wedding, so all I had to do was go through, choose my favourite ones and stick them down into a set of dry mount albums. I did this in chronological order (naturally) and ended up filling four albums with his beautiful photos. I did no captioning whatsoever in the albums, as I wanted to keep it as minimalist as possible. I still love the leather look of the albums that I chose, and I’m glad I went with black instead of any other colour as they look timeless to me. Being able to customise the cover with a photo was also wonderful, as it meant you could see from a glance which part of the wedding day a particular album was about.
Apart from the professional photographer, I had two more friends who took photos for us on the day, and so I filled two additional albums with their photos. Because we also had a Chinese banquet the day after our wedding (organised by my wonderful parents), I did one more album just for those photos. I made sure that I converted all the cover photos to black and white, to match the other four albums.
Our wedding scrapbook
I’d chosen this scrapbook from Coral Coast before the wedding. It came pre-loaded with white acid-free paper that you could easily remove from the page pockets. So on the day of the wedding, we laid these out on a table near the church entrance, and guests were asked to sign their names and leave a message as they arrived. This meant that after the wedding, I was able to simply slip ‘the guestbook’ (so to speak) back into the sleeves of the scrapbook. Worked a treat!
In addition, I used the other pages of the scrapbook to store all our other memorabilia from the wedding: our wedding invitation, our order of service, the lunch reception menu, our place cards, our tea ceremony invite, a copy of all the speeches from the ceremony, reception and banquet, all the red packets that we’d received from family and friends, the guestbook pages that my parents had organised for our Chinese banquet and a printout of our gift registry. Amongst all the memorabilia, I included several of my favourite shots from the wedding as a sort of ‘divider’ to indicate the different parts of the wedding – the ceremony, the reception, the Chinese tea ceremony, the banquet, etc.
Our wedding cards
As for all our wedding cards, there were so many of them there was no way I was going to fit them into the scrapbook. I decided I liked how I stuck all our engagment cards into the dry mount album so I bought the same one and filled with it all the cards we received for our wedding. For the cover, I simply chose a photo of my wedding bouquet. I liked the end result of having all our wedding photos and all our wedding memorabilia on the same shelf, showcased in albums that looked similar to each other (you know how I like my sets!).
Our photo albums
When Rick and I met, he’d just purchased a digital Olympus point and shoot camera, which subsequently became our camera for many years. It was my first taste of digital photography and I remember how amazing it was to be able to pick and choose which photos to process (something I now take for granted). Even so, i was not shy about getting our photos printed!
For our photo albums, I chose these blue Buckram albums by Coral Coast (the same as the ones that hold my high school photos, just a different colour) and over the years, I managed to fill up eight of these albums (each holding 300 photos). My system was simple enough: photos were slipped in chronologically and for captioning, I simply wrote the date and name of the event or occasion. Remember, this was back in the day when I had no concept of taking photos of the everyday, so pretty much all our photos were event-based. For each of the album covers, I would choose my favourite ‘head shot’ photo of us from within that album. These eight albums cover the period from the moment we started dating till the birth of Angus.
Our photo books
A year and a half ago, I decided I would put together a photo book to document our journey together up until the birth of Angus (at which point I knew I would start making photo books for the family). Obviously there would be overlap with our other albums, but the point of the photo book would be to showcase some of our best photos from our years together. it wasn’t difficult to choose our favourite photos, and the process of designing the photo books probably only took me a few days. I ended up with two volumes, which I was happy with. Funnily enough, I still haven’t printed the books yet, but I’m planning to do so this year. When I do, I’ll be sure to share them here with you.
Our box of memorabilia
This is a box of all the letters, notes and cards that we’ve received from other people from the time we got together till the present (remember that the material we’ve written to each other goes in our memoir books). When I was going through the major cull of memorabilia before we last moved, I left no stone unturned. I think we had at least two or three boxes of stuff that I’d collected since we got together but by the end of the purging, I’d gotten it down to this one box. Basically I decided that I wasn’t going to keep any invitations to weddings, parties, etc or any orders of services (the latter took up a lot of room). In a way, those were other people’s memories – not ours. Instead, I decided that we would only keep personal letters, notes and cards that were addressed specifically to us both or either one of us (this included birthday cards, thank you cards and Christmas cards). Once I’d reduced the amount of memorabilia based on this criteria, I then sorted everything out by year, and grouped each yearly bundle with a Kraft envelope, a handwritten label and an elastic band where needed. I absolutely love this system I set up because it means I know exactly what I need to keep going forward and what I can throw out. Everything that’s to be kept gets put into a box in my studio and at the end of each year, I’ll bundle it all together and add it to this big box of memorabilia. (I’ll talk about our children’s memorabilia in the next part of this series.)
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I would love to hear how you organise and store your photos and keepsakes as a couple, if that’s something that you do.
And, even though I didn’t time this post deliberately for today, Happy Valentine’s Day!