There are few gifts as personal and exotic as a nude portrait gift. The first half of every year here in our Calgary studio is filled with women creating just that for their perfect wedding night gift. It’s a magical session.
There is so much excitement, such love being expressed, so much anticipation. It’s very infectious.
The reaction to their bold gift is so worth the effort. We have gotten phone calls at the strangest early hours by thrilled husbands wanting to thank us. It’s very bizarre because we know our client with her maiden name, but her husband identifies with the new last name, all while a few months have passed since the session. It takes a few sleepy moments to grasp who is thanking us, but not so much the why.
Sally was a nurse when she met the man who would propose on the ski slopes in Banff. He was a wealthy fellow who collected things like African artifacts by flying to Africa. The rarest thing she felt she could give him would be nudes of herself. It was a gift he could not buy – it could only be given. He was stunned, speechless, which was very rare for him. He put them on his bookshelf between two of his rarest first edition books. They’re pulled off the shelf for viewing a lot more than those books are.
We have even had a few clients who thought of the gift too last minute to do the session in time to get images back for the big night. We created a very interesting gift package with them to give that night, for a session experience scheduled after the honeymoon. Their husbands had a great time coming up with ideas, props, and a wish list. Plus, they got the thrill of being there when the session happened. It’s a lot of fun to watch. Especially when she surprises them with a request that he be photographed with her.
We have even had a few vow renewal gifts created. One woman was so cute, her original wedding dress no longer fit but she thought it was even better to use it to partially hide her, at least the bits that no longer fit in the dress. While it, he thought, showcased perfectly her assets he still loved.
So what makes this gift so perfect? Well, it’s intimate and very personal. He cannot buy it, unlike any other gift he might be hoping for but did not get. It’s a very symbolic gift. One bride told her husband that night as part of her emotional sharing, “This morning I gave you my heart and my soul, tonight I give you my body, you have all of me.” With that she gave him her book. I think she followed that up with the more traditional wedding night follow up, too.
I am always thrilled to be part of such a special gift, such a touchstone moment. We are always told our sessions are considered a rite of passage; our wedding gifts appear to become bound with an even larger passage moment.