Wedding Photographer Recaptures the Romance With Grandparents’ 63rd Anniversary Shoot

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Source: Shalyn Nelson

Source: Shalyn Nelson

One photographer is putting the love back into wedding photos.

Shalyn Nelson has been photographing weddings since 2011 with her husband Andrew, who is her assistant on all of her photoshoots. However, after a few years photographing weddings, Nelson thought the love in the photos was escaping

“With social media and all the pressure nowadays, people can get caught up in details and forget that they’re getting married — that they’re in love,” Nelson shared with Today. “I see them getting divorced, not fighting for it.”

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She continued, “As a photographer, I wanted to tell stories that inspire people to value marriage like they used to.”

Source: Shalyn Nelson

Source: Shalyn Nelson

In order to get the spark back, Nelson turned to her grandparents, Joe Ray and Billie Wanda Johnson, to show that romance can still live in pictures.

So, for her grandparents 63rd anniversary, Nelson photographed the couple to showcase Nelson’s “appreciation for romance,” shared Today.

After picking out the perfect outfits, Nelson and her “Mamaw” and “Papaw” were ready. Nelson got a team full of florists and hair and makeup artists to make the perfect photoshoot.

Wow. Just wow. I'm pretty sure this photo describes how my grandparents and I have felt these past 48 hours. I have been everywhere on the emotional scale: from feeling my heart beat outside of my chest, to shedding tears, to laughs, and of course, there have been some very big smiles. I don't know how to express how I truly feel, but I wanted to first say hello to all of the new faces around here who have taken the time to comment, share their love, their stories, and most of all your prayers. I have read every. single. one. After @buzzfeed shared my heart and my grandparents shoot, I haven't been able to even process the kindness and love we have been shown. It truly blows me away. There is so much good in the world…full of good, good people. I know it's been hard to see it lately in the news, but I can truly attest to this. The magnitude of the reaction we have been blessed with has come down to one thing for us… and that is Him! Glory to God! I have no doubt in my mind that He has had a huge hand in this all with the timing of my Papaw's health. And the prayers have been heard. My Papaw is not out of the woods yet…but he is on the mend. I know the power of prayer from all of you made this happen. Words will never do justice for the amount of gratitude I have for y'alls support. Some of you have been there every step of the way, and some of you just started following my journey for my #lovethenelsonsproject. Regardless, y'all have my back, given me encouragement when I needed it, and have even been frustrated when I got busy and let my project sit aside while life got in the way… Which in turn, fueled my fire. My heart, sweat and tears behind this project are very real and just knowing I have support from old friends, and new (hi guys!!!) makes this that much more special. I'm in awe of the blessings in my life and that includes YOU. So basically, what I'm saying is THANK YOU. I hope to create something beautiful for y'all and promise to make this happen. No matter what. Stay tuned! I promise it will be worth it! Sending so much love and the biggest freaking hugs I have y'alls way! ❤️

A photo posted by Shalyn Nelson (@shalynnelson) on

Nelson got what she asked for and more. The wedding photographer didn’t expect to get emotional behind the lens.

“I went to take the very first picture, held the camera up and pulled it back down,” Nelson explained. “My eyes got watery. I thought, ‘This is just so special.’ Even my friend who was doing hair said, ‘Shalyn, I can’t watch!'”

"Dearest Wanda, it’s been a long time since I have written you a letter. I think it was when I was working in Canada, that I wrote you last. Anyway, I still love you just as much, probably more. The years have gone by fast. One morning you just wake up and you are OLD. Anyway, I wouldn’t trade them for all the gold in Alaska. We had 3 great kids and lots of fun raising them. Most of the time. We carried them to movies, playgrounds, swimming, ballgames, parties, etc. I wish that we could bring back some of those days. Now they have kids of their own which we have watched them grow, and some now with kids of their own. We must be real old. The days we had at the Freez-It at Fairfield and The Dixie Queen at Jewett and built the Rocket Drive-In with a 30’ rocket ship on the roof, those were the very hard years with lots of hard work and no vacations. I still worked my engineering job in Houston thru the week, and weekends at the drive-in businesses. Later, we got smart and got out of the drive in business. Later I retired, and we moved back to Jewett. We got into the ranching business. We made a lake and called it Hidden Lake Ranch. Found out that was a lot of hard work too. Now that we are in our Golden years, I think that we have turned to rust with all the Dr.’s we see. Anyway, I will close this letter to you saying I love you as much today as the day I married you. And just think, the license only cost $2.00. The best bargain I ever made. With all my love for you, Joe." Happy 65th Anniversary Mamaw and Papaw! I love you both so so so much! 💗 #lifegoals #lovemygrandparents #oldlove #oldlovebook #lovethenelsonsproject

A photo posted by Shalyn Nelson (@shalynnelson) on

She continued, “They were laughing; their eyes were sparkling. My Papaw is a big goofball … He said, ‘This is the most action I’ve gotten in a long time!'”

Mamaw and Papaw even added to the romance of the day by writing letters to each other and then reading them out loud during the shoot. Nelson’s favorite moment of the day came when the couple was silent, simply staring into each other’s eyes.

"Walking through life together… But the trail is getting short." – My Papaw, Joe R. Johnson I've been quiet around here lately. There are many reasons, but most importantly, I've been a ball of stress and nerves because my Papaw went back into the hospital last week. On Thursday, we were told that he wouldn't make it through the night. Oddly enough, I got this news right after I watched Miracles in Heaven. (You should watch it if you haven't!) My Mom tried to prep me for the inevitable because he's been in and out of the hospital a lot these past few months and hasn't got any better. I decided to be stubborn, naturally, and forced myself to stay positive and hopeful through many tears that took over my face when she told me things weren't looking good. I got off the phone and I went to my knees and prayed hard for God to give my Papaw strength more than I think I ever have before. And here we are, a week later, and the man is still fighting. The Dr.'s performed a heart ablation surgery on Friday that they didn't think he would be strong enough to make it through. But he did. He has fluid on his lungs and his kidneys are slowly starting to fail because of all the medications, but he's still fighting. Because he's a bad ass. 😎 As you know, this man means the world to me. So when I saw that @buzzfeed featured my grandparents today on their blog… My heart swelled. The timing could not be more perfect. It's such a beautiful reminder to us all. Because when our lives want to fail us… in the end, the only thing that matters and remains is love. Head on over to check it out. Link is in my profile. ❤️ And please keep my grandparents in your prayers if you can. My Mamaw hasn't left his side. #lovethenelsonsproject #oldlovebook #ohwowyes

A photo posted by Shalyn Nelson (@shalynnelson) on

“He was holding her face and looking into her eyes. You can see every wrinkle. It was so intense,” she said. “I think they forgot how to look at each other. Now it’s something they’ll never forget.”

After debuting the photos on wedding blog Style Me Pretty, they were quick to find a large audience. The pictures have now become part of a collection called “Love, the Nelsons,” where Nelson hopes to travel the world collecting “old love stories.”

(H/T Today)

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