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Ten Years | Our Anniversary Album |musings on marriage

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This past weekend Jordan and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We said goodbye to the kids and headed downtown to one of our favorite hotels there, the Little America. Jordan asked me what I wanted for our anniversary and the only answer I had for him was a storm door and a love note. Random I know. But my living room is so dark and I think being able to open the door and let the light flood in would make me so happy each morning. The other things I wanted I’d already ordered and made happen because I’m a little on the inpatient side: a temple art piece from our actual wedding day and an anniversary album. I hung the art print immediately, but I did manage to wait to open this album until our anniversary.

It’s an artONE album from Finao with a canvas panel image and “masqueradiance” leather. The inside features giclée printing on Hahnemühle German etching paper which has a nice watercolor paper feel to it. I designed the album using the amazing images Kristen Thenlin Photography captured for us at a blacktie session we shot in April just for this occasion! Our anniversary is May 20th which is exactly when Temple Square switches from spring flowers to summer….aka the week of no flowers on Temple Square. Our original wedding pictures lack the gorgeous blooms available only a few weeks earlier so this decade around, we didn’t make that mistake.

Some have asked if this is my original wedding dress and the answer is no. Truth be told I don’t “fit” my original dress. Yes, I can still zip up the waist but I’m pretty sure when I got married I was wearing two gel bras stacked on top of each other to fill out the bust. Oh the things we do at age 20 when we’re still unsure of our bodies. Lucky for me, ten years later I’ve learned to be at a happy place with my curves, or lack there of, and wanted a dress that actually flattered me! Enter NPS. I know I’ve blogged about this store before, so I won’t go on here, BUT if you need a formal dress, be it wedding or other, this is the place to get quality on the cheap. Jordan wore a black tux when we were married but I’ve since learned blue is his color so we remedied his attire as well.

Getting ready for these pictures made the whole anniversary that much more exciting. Versa Artistry got us all dolled up and after planning and altering my dress to fit perfectly, plus making my own bouquet with Trader Joes flowers, I felt like a bride all over again which was so fun. I spoke about this at my “life balance” PPA class I mentioned the other day, but I think it’s SO important to invest in showing your spouse and yourself that you still love, cherish, and are attracted to them. One easy way Jordan and I do this is by taking pictures together every so often (see our 5th anniversary and 30yrs old sessions). The resulting images decorate our home, but specifically, our bedroom, the place that’s just for US! I have a no kids allowed on my walls rule in my bedroom because I really want that room to be about just Jordan and I. The rest of our home can be filled with family pictures and shots of my kids, but our room is OURS. It’s a celebration of us and a room that puts me at peace.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to give Jordan for an anniversary gift. Sure he likes the album and art print, but REALLY it’s me that loves those things. And then one day at Petsmart I found the perfect gift: an aluminum dog tag. Yup. Here’s what I wrote about it in his anniversary letter:

“As you told me, according to tradition, “aluminum/tin” is used to celebrate our first decade of marriage. Albeit somewhat unromantic, this aluminum dog tag symbolizes one of the hardest things about you that I’ve had to learn to love. Pretty much everything else about loving you has come easily to me so in a way I’m grateful for this challenge. I bought you Raika and so it was never really fair that I resented her. I’m sorry for that. I love to see her with Peirce wrestling on the tramp and am happy she accompanies you on your runs. She is part of our family now and a reminder to me that if something is important to you, no matter what it is, with time and patience, I can and absolutely must find a way to make it important to me. And so I’m happy to gift you an aluminum updated jingle for her collar should she decide to make the expensive decision to run away, plus a new leash so she can comfortably accompany us on our summer walks and runs.”

The back story is I bought Jordan a puppy when Peirce was 6 months old. Three days later I found out I was pregnant with Sienna, total surprise. Ever since then it’s been rough between the dog and I (I’ve never loved dogs and grew up with cats). With kids up to my ears I just didn’t have the time to train her. As a result, most of the times you could say Jordan and I ever “fought” it was over something to do with her. I can laugh about that now, but at the time it wasn’t funny. We’ve lived at our new house for almost 2 years now and though he’s meant to, Jordan’s never updated her tags with our new info. It’s a small thing (and something I could’ve done as well but never wanted to), but I remembered this need and saw to it (which for me meant admitting I wanted Raika returned if she did happen to run away…).

In my mind, marriage is all about meeting another’s needs, and trusting that they’ll do the same in return. Jordan is ALWAYS there when I need him. He’s not a magical creature who without fail can read my mind and know exactly what I need in any given moment. BUT he is someone who I can responsibly tell my needs to (emotionally healthy people strive to know their own needs and communicate them to others rather than expecting others to just know) and trust that he won’t make fun of them AND that he will do what he can to help me meet those needs. I believe we have a happy marriage largely because of this. He is so kind to me and I try to not take advantage of that kindness. I do my best to care for him, and together we experience so much joy, a joy that I truly wish for every couple to experience.

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To end my musings for the day, I wanted to share a portion of a talk I heard recently entitled, ” In praise of those who save” :

“In so many societies around the world, everything seems to be disposable. As soon as something starts to break down or wear out—or even when we simply grow tired of it—we throw it out and replace it with an upgrade, something newer or shinier. We do this with cell phones, clothes, cars—and, tragically, even with relationships. While there may be value in decluttering our lives of material things we no longer need, when it comes to things of eternal importance—our marriages, our families, and our values—a mind-set of replacing the original in favor of the modern can bring profound remorse.

I am grateful that I belong to a church that values marriage and family. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known throughout the world for having some of the finest marriages and families you can find. I believe this is, in part, due to the precious truth restored by Joseph Smith that marriages and families are meant to be eternal. Families are not just meant to make things run more smoothly here on earth and to be cast off when we get to heaven. Rather, they are the order of heaven. They are an echo of a celestial pattern and an emulation of God’s eternal family.

But strong marriage and family relationships do not happen just because we are members of the Church. They require constant, intentional work. The doctrine of eternal families must inspire us to dedicate our best efforts to saving and enriching our marriages and families.”

Jordan and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this sacred building is a place where we go to worship regularly. It’s also a place where we believe families can be sealed together forever. Having this temple art piece (below) in our home reminds me and my family daily of how important our relationships to one another are. Whether or not a temple holds that significance to you, I challenge you to think about what type of an image/art piece would remind you of your commitment to family and love and to put plans into place to bring that art into your home.

(Image taken by Stephen Bair, painted by me. Printed on fine art watercolor paper. Framed by StyleCraft.)

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Loving my kids is difficult some days, but at the same time, it’s genetically wired into me. Loving a spouse isn’t quite the same. It takes thoughtfulness and effort, but the rewards and joy are endless. My marriage is far from perfect, but it’s something I value and am publicly willing to stand up for. If you want to make any changes in your home or marriage, don’t be afraid to invest in those you love in any way you can. Consider their needs. Be kind. And fill your home with reminders of what matters to you most!

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