My paper anniversary photo book

Even though my wife Arielle isn’t a huge fan of surprises most of my gifts to her involve something unexpected. This year, as we approached our one-year anniversary, I wanted to do something truly special for her. I’m really big on the anniversary themes (yes, even after one year) and I thought a photo book certainly satisfied the “paper” anniversary. Our first year of marriage was such a blur—7 weddings, 5 friends with new babies, cross-country travel, and new jobs—that I needed to slow things down and help us both remember our first year as a married couple. With all those events in the last 365 days I had a lot of photos to choose from. Here are a few ways I used my words and photos to make a personal, emotional book for my wife:

Title Page Poem
One of my favorite pictures of my wife was taken while I read her my wedding vows. I have it displayed proudly at my desk. For the introduction to my book I wrote my wife a poem describing that beautiful view of her and how I felt in that instant.

Use of Black and White
Shutterfly has a lot of great photo book layouts and one of my favorites uses a large photo as a background image and overlays four photos on top of it. I made the background image black-and-white then used a sequence of 4 color pictures on top. These pictures are from one of the 7 weddings we attended this past year!

Text Layouts for Vows
I wanted to capture the promises we made to each other in our vows using a layout that allowed for lots of text. I used two side-by-side pages containing our vows and a photo taken during them.

When I gave this to my wife she was completely blown away! She loved it so much that she read it twice and it’s now displayed proudly in our living room. For those of you about to celebrate your first anniversaries, I highly recommend a paper anniversary photo book.


  1. kjkoehn says

    For our 1st anniversary, and all those that have followed, I do the “last name” Gazette. Year (enter # here) in Review
    I have it printed at kinko’s – on ledger paper – so that it looks like a real newspaper. I insert photos and have columns. We love it. It is fun to look back at each year and see what all we have accomplished or done together. It has grown from 1 page to 3 for a single year. It is a project that is near and dear to my heart.
    I commend you with finding another creative sollution to the paper anniversary gift. I hope you continue with it.

  2. TammyM5 says

    Such a heartwarming article. I also agree, this is the perfect gift for any event! Shutterfly has so many options, thanks for a great article.

  3. Joey says

    Wow Adam, you are a true romantic. I like in your description you said you proposed to your wife (then fiancee) through a photo book. I love the beautiful photo of her as you were reading your vows. I like the layout of using a b/w photo w/ four photos below. Wow, you attended lots of weddings – it was an eventful year and how sweet of you to make a book of your first year of marriage. So romantic! So perfect being that paper represents the first anniversary too! I can imagine your wife being blown away by this book.
    Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your 1 yr marriage!

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