I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

joy

client tips

expat life

TRAVEL

it's personal

sessions

photography tips

read more

categories

simplicity

the Archives

More Categories

hello!

I'm Helena

Resources

Check out all my favorite photography gear, travel must-haves, resources, books I love, business hacks and so much more!

let's see 'em!

Enter:

Be Notified When I Post a New Blog Post

layflat albums

photo cards

family albums

view here

view here

view here

my favorites

20% off code

HELENAW

There is this saying that I love: “Marry someone confident enough to allow you to spread your wings but humble enough to be your stronghold if you need it.” 
 
This quote was the beginning to my written vows said aloud in front of 20 of our closest family members one year ago on our wedding day. And that is exactly what Alex and my partnership has been like from the view beginning: an equal partnership of grounding, lifting and balancing one another as we evolve through life. 

One year ago, Alex and I got married!

A few days ago, as Alex and I picnicked and nibbled on pain au chocolates with the swans along the shady banks in our home of France, we looked at one another, glimmers of silly shock plastered on both of our faces, “it’s been a year…already!? Where did the time go?” 
 
But where did the time go? Well, it was spent doing a lot of things. Like spending two months in Egypt, moving to France and spending all of our money month-to-month – traveling and creating memories to look back on. What can I say – priorities! Good thing we align on the same values, eh? 
 
But as we are now celebrating one year of marriage together, relaxing at home (our favorite hobby) gleaming at one another – the soft, faint, smile wrinkles around our eyes already settling in – we realize the impact of this special day, and how for the rest of our long lives together, we will never again have our first wedding anniversary.

So, it’s time to create some traditions!

Wedding Album

As a Christmas gift to Alex, I custom-made this wedding album from Artifact Uprising. While I often create my client albums from WHCC (the quality is honestly much better), I wanted to try something a little new and different for my creative, artsy soul. I splurged on this bad boy, but the quality is still super lovely!

Our wedding photographs were printed on 10” X 10” ultrathick cardstock paper, with lay-flat binding and custom foil stamping marking our date on the binding.

We have our linen wedding album, next to our bed on a side table for easy perusal anytime we wish to glance back nostalgically at these memories from our lil New York backyard wedding. We also have our vows printed and framed in our home, but I would like to find a way to incorporate it into the album. 

Creating an Anniversary Tradition Letter

Recap Letter

Along with looking over these memories in our album every year on our wedding anniversary, we also have decided to write a letter together on all that has happened in the year.

This letter includes:

  • What happened during our year of marriage and our favorite memories
  • Our peaks and pits – blessings and challenges from the year
  • Our dreams, hopes and wishes for the next year are
  • The predictions of our life for the following year
  • Our “Favorites” – a stat rundown of our current favorite films, books, foods, shows, nightly routines, habits, and hobbies

As Alex and I have seen over the years, we are continuously changing. While he will be the first to admit that I have changed the most – I mean, obviously, I did meet him at 20 years old – I have loved observing and documenting the ever-evolving and growing interests, beliefs and perspectives of our young selves over the years. 

With time, memories fade.

There is so much that Alex and I have forgotten from 5 years ago at the beginning of our journey together. Luckily, I have countless journals with all the details (including ALL the quotes conversations from our courtship days), but I don’t ever look back and read my journals. The 40+ journals are in a trunk back home with my mother in California, and the few times I do go out west to see her, I have limited time to look through and read all of them. It’s exhausting thinking about it.

A simple 1-2 page recap letter makes this easy and manageable to look back on these early years. 

Artifact Uprising layflat wedding album photographs with Helena Woods Artifact Uprising layflat wedding album with Helena Woods Artifact Uprising layflat wedding album with Helena Woods

Letters to our Future Selves

I love the idea of having a collection of anniversary letters. Letters that together we will write year after year to weave our personal story of our marriage and life together.

When I was 18 and newly graduated from high school, I enthusiastically asked my two friends from middle school if we could write future letters to ourselves and bury them in a box, along with a few prized possessions, in their backyard. 10 years later, we are slowly inching our way to 2022, and in a few short years, we will meet and open this box and reread these words. Knowing that I have this to look forward to brings an extra dose of joy and pleasure to my life! Just like this buried box from high school, I can’t wait to start this new tradition with my husband. 

I am a huge lover of words. Long letters and genuine words mean more to me than any act of love and looking back on these letters will be something Alex and I will cherish over the years, as we grow older. 

Print Your Own Photo Album

I print my photo books and albums with Artifact Uprising. You can find all their beautiful custom embossed albums here!

This post and album is not at all sponsored. I just purchased it and love it so much!

1 Year of Marriage and Our New Anniversary Traditions

May 31, 2019

  1. Alexander Vera says:

    So excited to start these traditions with you my love! Happy Anniversary!

Enter:

Receive my latest blog posts via email

Get access to the latest Simple Joys blog posts as soon as they're posted!

I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

hello friends

meet the blogger

follow the daily

adventures

Featured on:

Living France Magazine

Airy Fairy Feminist Podcast

Betrothed Magazine

Daily Dog Tag

Amor Latino Unveiled

resources

Check out all my favorite photography gear, travel must-haves, resources, books I love, business hacks and so much more!

let's read 'em!

Studio Updates

from helena

Sign up for Helena's newsletter to get instant early access to upcoming session dates as soon as they come out and the annual Fall "minis" - only available for those on the client list

let me at that newsletter!

Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

Explore

ABOUT

PORTFOLIO

MEET HELENA

PRICING

TRAVEL

CONTACT

BLOG

FAVORITES

back to top


© 2016-2020, Helena Woods Photography, All rights reserved | France, New England, New York City, Massachusetts, Connecticut 

@mshelenawoods