Traditionally, a couple’s 60th wedding anniversary is their “diamond” anniversary.
Shalyn Nelson, though, decided to give her grandparents something else that would last forever for their 63rd anniversary.
Nelson, a professional wedding photographer, arranged a glamorous photoshoot for her maternal grandparents, Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson. She also went the further step of setting up her grandmother with a new gown, professional makeup and styling and floral arrangements for the shoot, courtesy of her network of professional friends.
Nelson shot the couple at their ranch in Jewett, Texas, “where they’ve worked their entire lives,” she told ABC News.
The pair are still very much in love, as is evidenced by the photo set. “It was so awesome seeing them so excited and flirting. They just looked so in love,” Nelson continued. “My grandfather said, ‘Shalyn, this is the most action I’ve gotten in a long time.’ I said, ‘You’re welcome, Papa. That’s what granddaughters are for.’ ”
Nelson asked her grandparents to write love letters to each other, a theme she’s hoping to expand into a series with other couples and eventually, a book.
The Austin, Texas-based photographer, who’s expecting a child with her husband of seven years, said her grandparents taught her that “marriage is forever.”
But, she added, “No marriage is perfect … they’ll be the first ones to tell you that.” Still, Billy Wanda and Joe Ray “just never gave up on each other. They’re just the best people I know and they just set a really good example for me and my family.”