All Framed Up: Our Anniversary Photo Tradition

Deck progress drags on, so we’ll be back with more details for you on Monday (wish we had more full days to devote to it, but it’ll probably be a weekly update situation like our first house’s bathroom reno and our kitchen redo since it’s such a big undertaking). But I just couldn’t resist sharing this in-progress picture of John and his dad telling the auger who’s boss:

Oh but the time it’s taking us to build this deck isn’t what I meant by the title of “half a decade” (at least we hope it won’t take us five years to get ‘er done). That has to do with our five year wedding anniversary, which is coming up on July 7th. How crazy is that? We can’t even grasp that it has been half of a decade since our little backyard wedding. And it means that seven years ago we shared our first kiss (we picked 7/7/07 as our wedding day because 7/7/05 was when we started dating – yes we kissed on the first date, haha).

There are some parts of our wedding that we remember so vividly it easily could have been a month ago. So funny how time flies. And as some of you know, it has been a little tradition to take a picture of our family on July 7th in honor of our wedding day, like this:

This was last year’s picture, with just one wiggly kid…

… and with both of them…

We like to frame each year’s picture in small differently shaped capiz frames that we’ve found over time (from Target, thrift stores, Hobby Lobby, etc). But our sink was getting cluttered with four full frames and the latest empty one that we snagged from Target a few weeks back in anticipation of our fifth photo. So we decided to tackle a little photo-hanging project to get them off the sink and enjoy them in a nice little grouping on the wall next to it.

For some reason hanging frames seems to be something we get asked about the most, so we thought we’d break down the process for getting these guys on the wall without any oops holes. Either folks are just plain intimidated to hammer a nail into a pristine hole-less wall or they’re not sure how to settle on “the right” arrangement. The good news is there are probably always at least ten arrangements that would look good, so we just like to put the frames on the floor and play around until we have a little grouping that we like. Like this:

The next step is to make little paper templates for each frame, so you can map out where you want to place them (and only make one hole in the correct spot for each frame instead of ten bad ones). We just laid the frame on top of white printer paper, traced the outline, cut them out, and taped them to the wall, shifting things around until we liked what we saw:

We had also taken a second to mark where the nail hole needed to be on each one by holding it up against the back of the frame before taping it up and pushing a nail through to rest on the hook on the back of the frame. So when we taped them up they already had these nail guide holes to completely take the guesswork out of things.

Some of our frames didn’t come with hooks for hanging them on the wall (since they’re meant to be tabletop frames) so we just picked up a pack of picture hanging hardware at JoAnn for 99 cents (for four of them). Then I crazy glued them to the back of the frame and pulled off the little flap that you use to stand them on the counter (since the flap would make them sit away from the wall more than we wanted them to).

Next we just hammered through the pre-made hole in the paper template where we knew the nail should go for each one.

Which looked a little something like this:

Then we left the nails in the wall and pulled the paper templates off. Less then a minute later we had everything hanging. And then I ran outside to grab some flowers, because I’m girly like that.

It’s sweet to see four anniversary photos all together on the wall, with that blank fifth one just waiting for our latest family pic in a few weeks.

Think Clara and Burger are going to cooperate this year? Nah, me either. But that’s half the fun.

Oh and we thought this could also double as a budget blooms post since we’re woefully overdue for one of those. See all these flowers I mentioned running outside for? Yup, they’re all free from the yard! They’re clippings from the hydrangea bushes out by the patio, and a giant man-eating (not really, but it’s huge) butterfly bush in the back yard.

I just stuck a little glass vase full of water in the middle of this giant ceramic planter (from HomeGoods a while back) on top of a cardboard box to lift it up so the stems of everything didn’t have to be impossibly long.

I love the little pointy butterfly bush clippings mixed in with the lace-like balls o’ hydrangea. I wonder if they’ll live long enough to see us put our next picture in the empty five-year-anniversary frame?

Probably not, but they sure are pretty for now.

I especially love how you can appreciate all the different types of capiz frames since they’re not all jumbled in front of each other on the counter anymore.

And come to think of it, hydrangeas are pretty fitting for that vase beneath them since they were in my little homemade wedding bouquet.

Oh my gosh, was that really five years ago? I’m in denial. Haha. Anyone else have any anniversary traditions or frame groupings you’ve been hanging up? Do you use paper templates to simplify things? Or do you have another easy hanging method? Share and share alike!

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner, so click here to see if it’s you.


  1. Kim W Rily says

    You know, I tried the taping paper thing up last time, but I forgot the part about holding it up to do the nail spots first. VERY important step.

    Now I know. We just hit 8 years. With two kids, it’s all we can do to get a date. First few years, we went on a beach weekend, hot air ballooning in Temecula, Mexico. Now it’s dinner and a movie, which is just fine with us, because we can still wake up with our kids and hang out all day too.

  2. says

    omg when you said here we are with one wiggly baby I thought it was going to be a clever way of saying you’re pregnant! I don’t know why, I don’t know if I’ve ever thought that about anyone. So weird!

  3. says

    My parents’ anniversary is also July 7th. It will be their 28th anniversary this year. My husband and I just celebrated 7 years together and 2 years married on June 12th. We decided to get married on our dating anniversary.

    We don’t really have any traditions but this year we went to this little shop near our apartment where you can paint ceramics and then fire them for you. I can’t wait to see how they came out. I painted a trivet with the design from our wedding invitations using our wedding colors and wrote our wedding date in the middle. I think I’ll get a plate hanger and put it on the wall.

  4. Angela says

    I really love your idea of taking an anniversary picture each year. I think we will start doing that on our third anniversary – July11. Happy anniversary in a few weeks – may you have many, many more pictures to add to that collection!

  5. says

    Congrats on your milestone, guys! Your little frame walls are always amazing. I love that this one lives next to the bathroom sink, so you guys can look at it every morning during your primping routine :)
    My wedding is planned for July 6 of next year and my dad’s birthday is July 7, so I’m a big fan of your anniversary date, too :D
    Hope you guys have a wonderful anniversary!

    ps- I never would have thought to take an annual anniversary photo, but now I definitely will. Thanks for the idea!

  6. says

    We do the same thing, but we take our picture at Christmas time in front of our tree. The first year it was just the 2 of us with 2 dogs and then last year it was the 2 of us with 3 dogs and a baby. :-) We were married a week after you guys. July 14, 2007. I need to do something like this in our house to show off our yearly picture.

  7. how2home says

    It’s great to see how much you’ve accomplished in half decade of time and I think it’s great that you and John did a small intimate wedding instead of spending spending so much money on 1 night of celebration. It’s more realistic to use the money for a house down payment or whatever it may be.

    The photo arrangements are really nice! I like the fact that you use paper as a guideline first, why didn’t i ever think of that! Do you usually follow the rule of using odd numbers than even numbers for any designs?

    • says

      We definitely don’t even think about that rule with frames! We love a grid of even or odd numbered frames, so we just mess around and see what looks good (we have eight frames over our sofa, so even can be nice and symmetrical too).


  8. Lindsay says

    We’ve started (and kept!) a few traditions since we got married almost five years ago.

    -We bought a beautiful journal before we got married and we write what we did for holidays, birthdays, vacations in there. We don’t write much – just a reminder of what we did, presents we gave, who we saw, etc. so we will always remember those occasions.
    -We collect sand from all the beaches we visit. We live in landlocked Minnesota so it’s not like we go to beaches all the time. We then put in the sand in these little square apothecary jars from Micheal’s and make a little label for them with the name of the beach and the date we visited. We display them on a shelf above our bed.
    -We create a Snapfish album for each year of married life to capture those times we had a camera – holidays, birthdays, weekend trips, just our dog napping, etc. that don’t warrant their own album. We make separate books for vacations. We have quite a few books so far!
    -We collect Christmas ornaments on every vacation. We then write where we were and the date on the bottom. When we put the tree up, we alternate hanging the ornaments and each tell the story of our favorite memory from the trip the ornament represents.
    -Similar to the journal, we bought a “Christmas Journal” from Papryus when we first got married and write in it every year. We write what we did for Christmas eve and day – who we saw, what we ate, what presents we gave and received, funny memories, etc. We then slip in our holiday card from that year. It’s a nice place to keep those things so they don’t get lost!

    I’m reading the Happiness Project right now and gave myself and A+ on the memory-keeping chapter!

    Happy (almost) anniversary!

  9. Missy in NoVa says

    My favorite picture hanging trick (which I probably learned from the comments here, I’m sorry I don’t remember exactly where I saw it, so somebody please claim it if it’s yours!) is this:
    Hammer a nail into a thin scrap of wood so it just pokes through the wood (I used a thin wooden book mark, but a scrap, or a paint stirrer would work great). “Hang” the picture on the nail with the wood flat against the wall (the nail just peeks out the back of the wood). Once you determine the exact placement of the picture (it helps to start the picture placement planning with the Petersik paper templates), take the picture off the nail, give the nail one or two gentle taps with a hammer, and remove the whole shebang (wood/nail). Then you have a perfect guide hole that is the right distance away from the top of the frame (since every frame’s hanger is a different distance from the top). This tip has been a life-changer for me in frame placement!

  10. says

    We just celebrated our 5 year anniversary on May 26th. It really does fly! I love the picture tradition.
    My anniversary tradition is to put on my wedding dress every year. It s gonna be a sad day when it no longer fits.

  11. Lucy says

    It’s a lovely arrangement, do you think you will need bigger wall space as the years go by? Hubs and I are hitting 14 years this year – that’s a lot of wall space!

    Here in the UK we call the butterfly flower – lilac, although it can come in other colours, but purple/lilac is always my favourite and smells the best.

    Have a great anniversary!

    • says

      We figure we might use the wall on the other side of the sink for the next five or ten (that wall’s bigger) and then figure it out from there! Haha.


    • Emily says

      FYI – Lilac and butterfly bush are two different plans. We have both in the states.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *