The Story Behind a Set of Keepsake Albums

A destination wedding was inevitable for the Marr family. Daniel Marr met his bride, Sara, soon after he moved to Sweden to attend graduate school. The two fell in love, got engaged, and set their wedding date for August 2019 on the Island of Gotland, southeast of Stockholm.

The downside of a destination wedding? It can be difficult for everyone to make the trip. But to the delight of the groom’s parents, Dave and Lis Marr, a large group of their family and friends from the United States (including me and my husband Tom), traveled to Lis’s native country of Sweden to join in the festivities.

And we brought our cameras!

This is the story of how we helped Lis gather photos from family and friends to create some beautiful keepsake albums.

Multiple Friends’ Cameras Captured All the Moments 

As a native, Lis knows the wedding “culture” in Sweden is much different than in the U.S. In Sweden, you can’t tap into a huge network of wedding professionals. Lis loves photography herself, but as Mother of the Groom, she already had a long list of wedding duties.

“I arranged all of the flowers the morning of the wedding. There were lots of moving parts, and the last thing I wanted to worry about was what pictures were going to be taken,” said Lis.

Daniel’s friend, an experienced photographer, took wonderful photos, but in Sweden, posed portraits are not common, so he took a lot of candid shots. Lis regrets that they didn’t give the photographer a specific list of photos they wanted him to take, including the people they wanted to see in those pictures. That was another reason Lis was motivated to get photos from the wedding guests.

Daniel & Sara's first look photo on the island of Gotland, Sweden.
Daniel & Sara’s “first look” photo on the island of Gotland, Sweden.
Dave & Lis's group of friends at Daniel & Sara's wedding.
Dave & Lis’s joined by their group of friends at Daniel & Sara’s wedding.

Lis and her friends also took amazing photos of the fairytale venue. The wedding and reception took place in St. Nicolai Ruin, a cathedral from the 13th century in the walled city of Visby on the island of Gotland.

History of the ruins state that when Germans pillaged the island in 1525, they damaged the cathedrals. In the following centuries, Swedish citizens used the decaying buildings as quarries, taking stones from the cathedrals to build their homes. 

Wedding setup inside the St. Nicolai Ruin.
Wedding setup inside the St. Nicolai Ruin.
Wedding reception setup inside the St. Nicolai Ruin.
Wedding reception setup inside the St. Nicolai Ruin.
Nighttime look inside the St. Nicolai Ruin.
Nighttime look inside the St. Nicolai Ruin.

In addition to the wedding, Dave and Lis’ trip to Sweden included some time in Lis’s hometown after the wedding. 

It was so special to Lis to have her friends visit the place where she grew up, and to meet her extended family. “Some of them told me they understand me so much more, now that they’ve seen the place I came from,” she said.

Lis and her Mom at a gathering at Lis's family home.
Lis and her Mom at a gathering at Lis’s family home.

One day trip included an excursion to the home of Lis’s cousin. They all got to see and ride on his miniature railroad that winds all through his property.

Friends gathering to ride Lis's cousin's train.
Friends gathering to ride Lis’s cousin’s train.

When everyone returned home, it was time to help Lis gather everyone’s photos. 

SmugMug Serves as the Hub to Gather the Photos

We suggested SmugMug as the photo gathering place. Lis liked the idea because with SmugMug, her kids and relatives in Sweden can log in, share and view everyone’s photos. It’s a way to comment and pick the best of everyone’s photos for the projects she has in mind.

We set up SmugMug galleries for everyone who wanted to share their photos. Then each person used the link we provided to upload their photos to their gallery.

Sweden Trip SmugMug Gallery
Sweden Trip SmugMug Gallery

The key is to keep things manageable so you don’t have all the photos from all the photographers in the same folder/place. That can get unwieldy! 

Lis found SmugMug a convenient and easy website to use. “It completely removed my stress from this multi-piece project,” she said.

A Large Photo Gallery Provides Choices for Several Album Gifts

Friends and family are still uploading photos from the trip. But once all the galleries are complete, we can help Lis choose photos for her album projects. And Lis loves having so many photo choices from all the different cameras!

Her initial desire included albums for her mom and Dave’s mom, because neither of them could attend the wedding. 

Lis also wants us to create two different albums for Daniel and Sara: a fun album that includes engagement photos, bachelorette pictures and fun wedding photos, but also a beautiful heirloom wedding album. We might also help Lis create a wall collage of wedding photos for them.

Finally, Lis will give smaller albums to her brother, uncle and cousin. These will serve as thank you books with photos, memories, and notes from all of us who visited her hometown. 

Consider Telling Your Story Through the Eyes of Multiple Photographers 

Dave and Lis didn’t expect so many of their friends would be able to join them in Sweden, but they were honored so many made the effort. 

Now their albums will include memories seen through the eyes of their friends. 

If gathering photos from several photographers at one of your special events seems like a daunting task, contact us and we’ll help you get the project started. 


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