Grandma Poses for Anniversary Shoot in Her 70-Year-Old Wedding Gown

Grandma's wedding dress

To commemorate her grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary, photographer Anna Behning’s grandmother pulled out her original 1952 bridal gown for a photoshoot that will be cherished by the family for years.

Unexpected Trip Down Memory Lane

Behning is a wedding, elopement, and engagement photographer based in Marshall, Minnesota. Three months ago, her grandparents, Melvin, aged 91, and Nancy Lubbers, 86, celebrated their seventy years of marriage. While visiting her grandparents, Behning had brought her camera along and asked her grandma if she still had her wedding dress.

“Grandpa then went searching through their tubs in the garage to dig out the dress,” Behning tells PetaPixel. “I asked Grandma if she would model it for us and to my surprise, she agreed! Then my mom brought out grandpa’s army uniform and we snapped some photos in their backyard!”

The spontaneous photoshoot turned into a day full of happiness for the whole family, as documented by Behning on her blog.

“I think grandma especially loved the photos, grandpa wasn’t as thrilled to smile for the camera,” she recalls. “However, they are priceless memories that our family will cherish forever.”

Wedding photographers capture unforgettable moments for many families throughout their careers but it’s not very often that they get to document memories for their own families. Knowing that these photos will be appreciated for generations to come, Behning was happy she was able to use her skills and creativity to contribute.

“[My grandparents] have invested so much into my life that this seems like just a small gesture to give back to them,” she adds. “I posed grandpa and grandma through this shoot, but some of the photos were more candid and expressed their genuine love for each other!”

After the photo shoot in their backyard, right outside their back porch, grandparents, particularly Nancy, have been sharing them with all of their visitors. Grandpa, on the other hand, was a little more reserved and his “only comment was that he looks old!”

During the shoot, he was, however, joyous to see his beloved wife in her wedding dress after 70 years. “Oh boy, that brought back memories – they were good memories,” he says.

1952 Wedding Dress and Relationship Advice

Nancy’s $35 dress and $15 veil were purchased from Jarold’s Shop in Mitchell, South Dakota. For reference, $100 in 1952 had the purchasing power of about $1,085 in 2021. Behning asked her why she kept her wedding dress for all these years, and she replied, “it was something special and I liked it really well, so I just preserved it.”

The pair have brought up five children, and now have a family of 12 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. When Behning asked them their secret to such long-lasting marriage, her grandma responded “forget and forgive and make the best of your life situations.

Melvin & Nancy Lubbers on their wedding day, January 6, 1952

Grandpa added to Nancy’s sentiments and noted that “you won’t always agree, sometimes you have a disagreement, but when you have one of those you sit down and talk about it and come up with an answer – don’t bring it back up.”

More of Behning’s work can be found on her website and Instagram.

Image credits: Photos by Anna Behning.