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DIY Keepsake Wedding Anniversary Shadow Box

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Growing up I never understood the hype behind 50th wedding anniversary celebrations. As I got older I understood a little more but it wasn’t until I was married that I truly understood the celebration. Marriage can be hard work; sometimes real hard work. But it is also very rewarding too. These days the likelihood of reaching 50 years of marriage is slimmer as most people put career first and marry later in life (such as myself). That’s not to say I won’t reach 50 years of marriage; I might reach it but just not know it (for example, an aging mind?). Let’s hope that’s not the case!

Today happens to be my in-laws’ 53rd wedding anniversary which also made it the perfect day to share this easy craft I created for the both of them. Sadly, we lost my mother-in-law in 2020 but to me, and I’m sure her family, today still represents their parents’ anniversary and always will.

While this isn’t my first DIY framed wedding invitation or shadow box memento craft, it is the first one I’m sharing on the Behind the Designs. I’ve been giving framed wedding invitations as gifts for years and years. It’s the perfect personalized gift to give and something that could be displayed in the couples home too.

This anniversary gift was something my sisters-in-law asked me to do many years before I actually completed it. They both saw how I framed my own wedding invitation and wanted me to do the same as a gift for their parents. In the end it worked out perfectly (that I had forgotten) because it was a great gift to give on their parents’ 50th anniversary celebration.

It was important to me to keep in mind their style and wedding when creating this keepsake gift. They are both unfussy, frugal, simple, good people and I wanted this gift to represent them and their devotion to each other. The first place I always start is with either a wedding invitation or wedding pictures and then the colors of the wedding.

Since this DIY craft was something I was asked to do many years ago, I had already purchased most of the supplies and don’t recall where I purchased them from. But, the gold puffy letters and numbers stickers came from Michaels. In fact, I had more supplies than I actually used mostly because I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to assemble this shadow box.

In their case, the bride wore light blue but the men were in white. Their cake topper was a white double wedding bells decoration and their wedding colors were blue, yellow and white.

Supplies Used

  • Vintage wedding photos
  • Flower picks of little blue flowers and yellow silk roses
  • White, yellow and light blue ribbon
  • White wedding bell decoration
  • White silk flowers
  • Scrapbook paper in light blue
  • Scrapbook paper in a pearly white with a rose textured pattern on it
  • Strand of small white pearls
  • Floral tape
  • Gold puffy letters and numbers
  • 8×10 Dark wood tone shadow box frame (see the link at the end of this post to get a similar shadow box)

Shadow Box Details

As you can see I did not use all of the supplies shown in the picture above. My in-laws had a small, unfussy wedding so there were not a lot of features to incorporate so instead I focused on their wedding cake and photographs.

  • To keep the vintage photos from disappearing into a busy background, I kept the background simple by using light blue scrapbook paper.
  • Three of the four vintage wedding photographs were the highlight of this DIY shadow box and were placed front and center at the top. I added three small white silk flowers in the corner of two of the photos.
  • Next, I had to create a wedding cake. For that, I cut two strips from the textured scrapbook paper and glued the light blue ribbon across the top and a strand of pearls across the bottom, of each strip. Then I rolled each strip into a circle and glued the backsides to the light blue scrapbook paper.
  • Once the cake strips were in place I was able to gently glue down some of the same white silk flowers to each cake tier.
  • To fit the wedding bell decoration into the shadow box, I had to cut off a piece from one side of the bell and then glued the bell down in an angled position (I tried to mimic their cake topper as best as possible).
  • To create the bridal bouquet, I took a bunch of the small light blue flower picks and added in some yellow silk rose flowers. Once I was satisfied with the shape, I used floral tape and ran it down the “handle” of the bouquet to hold it all together. To finish it off I tied short strips of both white and yellow ribbon to the underside of the handle on the bouquet. This bouquet was also glued down to the light blue scrapbook paper.
  • The last step was to add their names and wedding date using the gold puffy letters and numbers.

Happy 50th Anniversary!

They both loved their wedding anniversary shadow box gift and the custom card my daughter made to go with the gift. This shadow box now resides on their family picture wall as a reminder of their special day.

With the DIY craft details done, I just want to throw in a little thought for the day. The picture above was taken three years ago at our annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Little did any of us know that my mother-in-law wouldn’t be here for her 53rd anniversary. She will always be dearly missed.

Our days are busy and we are all working off of fumes sometimes, but it’s at those times we have to stop and remember just how important it is to treasure every day because you never know what tomorrow brings.

Anniversary Gifts by Year

The idea of setting anniversary gifts by year is thought by some to be the commercialization of the celebration. But that’s only true if you buy your gift. Take inspiration from this post and be creative in your gift giving, year round. Let me give you an example, the 4th wedding anniversary gift is fruit or flowers. If you can’t or don’t want to buy these, why not make a card or paper flowers using this theme; or draw them out on canvas to paint.

The possibilities to create are limited only by your imagination and passion for uniqueness.

Behind the Designs

The anniversary gift ideas given below are for each year up to the 15th; and then every 5th anniversary year after that. Many interpretations of this list exist and those ideas listed below are just a suggestion.

  • 1st Anniversary -Paper or clocks
  • 2nd Anniversary -Cotton or china
  • 3rd Anniversary -Leather or crystal/glass
  • 4th Anniversary -Fruit/Flowers or linen/silks
  • 5th Anniversary -Wood
  • 6th Anniversary -Candy or iron
  • 7th Anniversary -Wool or brass
  • 8th Anniversary -Bronze
  • 9th Anniversary -Pottery or copper
  • 10th Anniversary -Tin/Aluminum or diamond
  • 11th Anniversary -Steel or fashion jewelry
  • 12th Anniversary -Silk/Linen or pearls
  • 13th Anniversary -Lace or textile
  • 14th Anniversary -Ivory or gold jewelry
  • 15th Anniversary -Crystal
  • 20th Anniversary -Porcelain
  • 25th Anniversary -Silver
  • 30th Anniversary -Pearls
  • 35th Anniversary -Coral
  • 40th Anniversary -Ruby
  • 45th Anniversary -Sapphire
  • 50th Anniversary -Gold
  • 55th Anniversary -Emerald
  • 60th Anniversary -Diamond

Get Similar Supplies

If you are inspired to create a wedding anniversary framed invitation or shadow box don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!

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