Inspiring Ideas for Incorporating Vintage Family Photos into Your Mother’s Day Celebrations
There are stories waiting to be discovered in your loved one’s homes. Where can you find these hidden stories? Just start looking through your vintage family photos. To celebrate matriarchs, we asked floral and visual designer Casey Godlove to share some of his inspiring ideas for incorporating vintage family photos into your Mother’s Day celebrations. Below are excerpts from our conversation with Casey.
Q. Casey, why do you enjoy looking through vintage family photos?
A. There is a certain responsibility held in exploring vintage family photos. Searching those faces helps us identify our ancestors and get a brief glimpse into their lives. For me, I love flipping an old photograph over to study the looping cursive handwriting that often graces these worn family heirlooms. You’re able to follow their journey through life and visit some of their happiest moments. For my family, that journey winds through the Philippines, Spain, Paris and all over the United States. These photos are often worn from years of love with folds and torn corners from living in a loved one’s wallet. From my earliest years, I have been drawn to these photos, the stories and parallels that might often apply to my life. Our family history is fascinating and full of happy, loving memories. I come from a long (loooong) line of strong, hardworking women and couldn’t help but see the opportunity to honor them for Mother’s Day.
Q. Can you share a bit about a memorable experience you’ve had looking through your own family’s photo collection?
A. My Mom and Aunt have preserved so many aspects of our family history. Beyond our collection of vintage photos, I have always found inspiration in the items that my ancestors would have used in their everyday lives. While sourcing some props to help tell a story along with photographs, I was able to pick from vintage Shalimar perfume bottles, sewing tins decorated in lavender and pink flowers and a sweet, felt glove used to hold sewing needles. My Aunt passed on to me a shadow box that held many of her grandmother’s favorite photographs and personal items. While opening it up, I couldn’t help but feel like I was discovering a time-capsule preserved for this moment. The glue no longer binds the photos behind glass, but there was one photo in particular that really grabbed my attention. It shows three generations of my family enjoying a beautiful day with gathered lotus flowers and lily pads, dated 1934.
Q. Wow, that sounds like a truly incredible discovery! Tell us about a specific photo that revealed something about your Great-Grandmother?
A. My great-grandmother, Manolita, is pictured here wearing sunglasses and holding a lovely bouquet of lotus flowers. Few photos exist of my great-grandmother in her younger years and I love how poised she looks. This photo has it all – fashion, flowers, old cars and a haunting quality. My Aunt also brought her grandmother’s filagree vanity mirror and other personal items that my great-grandmother would have used daily. They were small yet special. (Pictured below.) For me, it’s like pieces to a puzzle, a chance to connect to people that I grew up hearing about and knew were loved by my family. It is an opportunity to value and continue their memories. Holding my great-grandmother’s treasured photos and heirlooms, I decided I needed to help others learn how to incorporate vintage family photos and family heirlooms into their Mother’s Day celebrations.
Q. Thank you for sharing such meaningful memories with us, Casey. What would you tell readers about why family photos are important to preserve?
A. There are many powerful emotions associated in viewing vintage photographs. Old family photos are reflections of our ancestors – we can get a glimpse of our great-grandparents when they were our age. Family pictures, whether they were captured in 1916 or 2016, transcend time ad give us a deeper understanding of our ancestors’ stories. Sharing these stories – one photo at a time – is a beautiful way to celebrate our matriarchs.
Tips for Incorporating Vintage Family Photos into Your Mother’s Day Celebrations.
• Begin by pairing old family photos and heirlooms with florals. Flowers, family photos and heirlooms can make any celebration more personal.
• Curate a vignette, which is essentially a small scene that tells a story. Casey’s vignette incorporated his Mother’s favorite flowers along with classic family photos. This was a special way to honor his Mother and also showcase his passion for floral design. Remember, photographs provide your family with tangible triggers that help you delve into shared memories. Consider these vignettes “conversations starters” at your Mother’s Day celebration. Ask your guests to look around; ask which family pictures spark memories?
• Considering setting aside a space for family photos at your Mother’s Day celebration. Perhaps you have an entry table, or even a few coffee tables or side tables that would look lovely decorated with a combination of family photographs and florals.
• Use old family photos as place cards to assign seats at your Mother’s Day brunch. (Be sure to use copies of the originals.) You could even frame a few favorite family photos and scatter them around the center of the table. Here are tips for selecting frames for family photographs.
• Print a small copy of a favorite family snapshot on classic card stock paper and use it as a “gift tag” for your Mother’s Day gifts.
• Scan a few favorite family snapshots that feature your matriarchs. Then, create a guest book that family members can sign with their favorite memories of matriarchs – past and present!
By adding family photos into your décor and gifts, you can add an element of family history to your Mother’s Day festivities this year. As Casey says so eloquently, “preserving my family photos, helps me honor the creative drive that my ancestors fostered and instilled in me.”
We also hope Casey’s thoughts and tips will inspire you to incorporate vintage family photos into your homes and celebrations!
About the Author: Casey Godlove is a floral and visual designer, specializing in creating stylized events and gatherings. More than that, he loves putting together visuals for retail and residential spaces utilizing natural components and botanical elements. Casey’s education in design is one of constant change that is rooted in a lifetime of Saturday morning yard sales, spontaneous thrift outings, and over 10 years of floral and event design and styling experience. He spent several years designing events, creating visuals and buying for a high end, full-service event and floral company in Manhattan, dealing exclusively with Armani, Victoria’s Secret PINK, designer Nicole Gibbons and many other wonderful organizations. Now based in Richmond, Va., Casey creates thoughtful, curated designs for Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds, along with eclectic visuals for their retail space. He also offer custom styling and visuals for residential and retail clients in Virginia, Washington, DC and New York City. You can find more inspiring ideas on Casey’s Instagram
Styling + Words: Casey Godlove
Photography: A Girl Named Leney | Instagram: @agirlnamedleney
Florals: Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds | Instagram: @strawberryfieldsrva
Location: Wendy Umanoff | Instagram: @umanoffdesign
Model: Elizabeth Goldberg