Relationships

How Sweet Are Gemma’s Anniversary Photos?

gemma burgess anniversary photos

My bff Gemma Burgess takes a photo on her wedding anniversary every year in the same place. Here are 10 years of photos (with glittery Converse!), plus some of the behind-the-scenes stories…


We take a family photo on our wedding anniversary every year, in the same spot, outside City Hall in downtown Manhattan. Each year the photograph is different – the angle, the light, our pose, all of it. The only consistency is that it’s us, it’s the same location, and it’s late April. To keep the experience as simple as possible, we always ask a stranger (or two) to take the photos. We never want to annoy them so it’s only like 90 seconds at the most. We end up with 25 or 30 photos to choose from. In most of the photos, someone is talking or jumping or sneezing or picking their nose. I try to have everyone hold hands or touch so we’re connected, and then Fox and I kiss.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2010
The first photo! This was snapped early one morning in April 2010, a few minutes after we got legally married. I carried flowers from a deli and wore a dress I bought from Portobello Market and silver sequined Converses, and we jumped on a ledge outside the City Hall doors for a kiss and a photo. It wasn’t planned. It just happened. It was perfect.

About six hours later we got married, again, in a big wedding ceremony surrounded by about 140 of our nearest and dearest. I held fancy flowers, and we had a proper photographer and band and cake and all those big shiny wedding things. It was wonderful. But this spontaneous little photo is the one that I love the most, because it was just Fox and me. When I look at it, I tingle. That’s how you want to feel about your wedding day.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2012
We moved to NYC in March, walked past City Hall early one morning, bleary-eyed, with our new baby, and decided to come back for our anniversary and re-take the photo. It was very hot, and I wore a dress that was basically the black version of my wedding dress, so my legs were all sweaty. After we took this photo, we went to the Square Diner in Tribeca and had pancakes, and baby Errol sat in the highchair they provided and grabbed everything in sight.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2013
Look at sweet bald Errol! He didn’t get hair until he was almost three, and even then, it was mostly around the back. We had just decided to try to have another baby. I remember thinking that I knew he would be a boy, and I knew we would name him Ned, and that in next year’s photo, I would be holding him in my arms. And he was and we did and I did.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2014
Darling newborn Ned with his serious little face! I don’t remember this day very well. Actually, I don’t remember this year very well. Both our fathers had passed away just weeks before this photo was taken. After the shock wore off, I found comfort in other people. We both started volunteering more, and I had long chats about death (and grief) with friends and strangers, people on airplanes and taxi drivers and television executives in L.A. Grief is a universal experience. It’s the flip side to love, the other universal experience. Ned had silent reflux and screamed all the time (ALL the time, no, seriously, all the time). I was also stressed about finishing a book for my publisher. I cannot even tell you what happens in that book now. Not a thing. Isn’t that odd?

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2015
By the way, the kiss pose is bizarrely flattering. It makes you all neck and cheekbones. You don’t have to think about your wonky smile or the way you always tilt your head at a weird angle when someone takes your photograph, which is an incredibly boring thing to think about.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2016
Yes, Ned is wearing a trenchcoat and he was NOT in the MOOD. If you have the chance to buy a baby trenchcoat, do. It will make you happy, over and over again. After this photo, we got our first outside ice creams of the year and went to the playground.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2017
I’m pregnant here, but a few weeks after this photo was taken, I had a miscarriage. It was my second miscarriage of 2017 – the first was in early January. Then I had a third miscarriage in October. I was just so sad by the end of 2017. I got up and wrote and mothered and did all the normal things people do, but inside, I was drowning in sadness. Unlike with my dad, this grief was too intense and painful and personal for me to talk about. People often can’t understand miscarriage unless they’ve been through it. This was the only time we dressed Ned and Errol to match, and I wish we hadn’t, as it’s cute but a tiny bit forced. If they’d dressed themselves, four-and-a-half-year-old Errol would have been an astronaut with a karate kid headband. Would have been much better.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2018
You can see that I am clutching Ned’s hand rather than holding it, because he was hopping around like a bunny and I was worried he’d fall off. I’m pregnant again here. But after the experiences of 2017, I had zero faith that everything would be okay. So, I dressed to hide the bump and my giant preggers boobs. And I basically put my back to the camera. This is not a good photo, at all, and I feel affectionate towards it because of that. I was very scared that entire year.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2019
Baby Arthur’s first family photo! What a little honeybun. I’m wearing a sequin skirt that Errol and Ned picked out for me. I remember laughing this entire day. We went to the playground afterwards and I left a bunch of sequins on the slide. That’s what happens when you wear sequins.

gemma burgess anniversary photos

2020
This photo was delayed because of lockdown, of course. We had discussed looking fancy for this one, because it’s our 10-year anniversary. But with much more important things to think about this year, we decided to do it without a fuss. My lovely sister took it, so it’s an extra-good one (asking a stranger was not really going to happen in a pandemic). Everyone has lockdown hair. Ned is wearing Errol’s clothes and Arthur just wasn’t feeling that shoe.

We never look at the photos until we get home. If you look at them, the part of you that wants to control everything will just think ‘if only we could try one more time it will be perfect.’ There is no such thing as perfect. That’s what’s perfect about it.


Thank you, Gemma!

P.S. Gemma’s beauty uniform, and 11 wedding dos and don’ts.

(Photos courtesy of Gemma Burgess.)

  1. Mary says...

    This was so lovely to ready and I loved seeing your family progress. My heart goes out to you for your miscarriages – we go through such hard things while still putting on our game face for the world. You have a beautiful family.

  2. Bekky Harsha says...

    When I read this, I was pregnant with our second child. I read about your miscarriages and the pain there and was thinking, “Oh, jeez, how awful that must have been.”

    Well, I just had one too. I weirdly feel very connected to you in my head. Worst club ever. Thank you for opening your secret heart to readers. It made me feel less alone for a moment, and I needed that badly.

    • Jessica says...

      Sending love xxx

  3. Madalena says...

    I had already seen most of this photos and love them! Such a sweet idea and their kids and grandkids will have them allways. Love the pandemic hairs too!

  4. Adinda Wahyuningtias says...

    wow love this!

  5. Faith says...

    I just think that in times like these, these posts bring smiles much needed. And I love her style! Makes me think I can be more vulnerable to mixing styles, dress up paired with dress down items and colors and just be a fun mom!

  6. Claire says...

    Oh, Gemma. I’ve been reading these posts for a few years and they always make me cry. You have a beautiful family and you write like an angel.

  7. Carrie says...

    The 2020 photo is the best yet.

  8. Deborah Young says...

    I just sent this link to my 23 year old daughter. It’s such a marvelous idea.

  9. Mary says...

    This is beautiful. When you’re a newlywed, you just can’t imagine what will happen down the road. Last month , my husband found a picture of the two of in our bathing suits on our honeymoon in 1982. Wow, did we look hot! Tomorrow is our 38th anniversary. We’ve had many ups and downs through the years but he is still my best friend. Last week I had a mastectomy so obviously do not look anymore like the girl he married. Initially I wanted to rip up the picture but finally decided I don’t need to be that person anymore. None of us stay the person we were ten, twenty or thirty years ago, on the inside or outside. But we are still in love and it’s deeper and stronger than ever. I bought some cute camisoles and when I’m ready, we will celebrate our love again just like we did on our honeymoon. Celebrate every year, the best is yet to come!

    • CoffeeSLP says...

      Thank you for this, Mary. My 25th wedding anniversary was yesterday and I’m not that girl anymore, either. But he’s not that boy and I still like both of us a lot, anyway. Gemma, your anniversary pics are a treasure!

    • Mollie says...

      Now I wanna see your 1982 pic!

  10. Sarah Smith says...

    Lovely! Thank you for sharing Gemma, your words made me a bit teary.

  11. Leo Cruz says...

    Laughed and cried through this. Simply beautiful to see you grow as a family. :)

    • Nicole says...

      I love this so, so much. I haven’t smiled so much or felt such a warm heart towards this sweet family (her words! so human and real and vulnerable) in a long while. Thank you and love to Gemma and her boys. ❤️

  12. Vero says...

    Wow, really misty eyed over here for lots of reasons. I love your posts Gemma. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

  13. K says...

    so much to love in these photos, but so especially sweet that they’re so perfectly imperfect. That shoe!

    Also, I’ve noticed this about kissing face too! I usually hate taking pictures but the kissing ones almost always look great, not just because you’re probably in a good mood when you kiss someone, but I always subconsciously think they’d look duckface-y irl. they don’t!

  14. Robin says...

    Ahhh I love these photos so much, and even more than before seeing sweet Arthur here. Gemma I’m so sorry for all your losses. Thank you for sharing them, and your beautiful family, and all the sparkles.

  15. Cynthia says...

    Such a beautiful tradition

  16. J says...

    Wow, this made me cry. Thank you for sharing the life behind the annual photo. How very poignant and precious ❤️

  17. Jules says...

    This is so fun. Thank you, Gemma, for sharing. It makes me realize that we really need to take more whole family photos!

  18. Annie says...

    I love this post, it’s so beautiful to see the mix of love, sadness, celebration, and the mundane. I’m curious about the sparkly Converse! Does Gemma always have sparkly Converse/everyday sequins in her wardrobe? Is it just a nod to the wedding shoes? I’d love to know more. :)

    • Gemma says...

      Hello! and YES. I wore wedding sequin converse for the City Hall wedding, I wore heels for the big wedding later that day (but I changed into the converse at about 8pm, for dancing). And yes… I wear a lot of converse, and a lot of sequins, in general. I am sequin-positive. I like to wear sequin skirts with big cozy jumpers or striped Breton tops. Or band t-shirts. . And I like all converse, with anything. For the past year I’ve only worn plain beige hightop converse – but I have been thinking about a pale pink pair. Maybe before winter…

  19. Liz says...

    A very beautiful family!

  20. Emilie Walker says...

    Absolutely LOVED this post – and really took my time reading every word and looking at each photo. So so sweet (and a wonderful idea!) But especially – THANK YOU Gemma for being honest about the behind-the-scenes sadness or grief that was happening behind some of these photos. It would have been easy just to assume that every photo was a happy one, that every anniversary was a picture-perfect one in NYC, and your honesty makes this post so much more real and moving. Loved every word.

  21. Vanna says...

    These are so beautiful and precious. I love this idea so much and pray that one day I can make this a yearly tradition with my future family.

  22. f says...

    So sweet! Hope you put these in a little book with the captions… so good.

  23. JennP says...

    How lovely!

  24. Nicole A says...

    Haha the little shoe <3

  25. L says...

    So needed to see this today. I am another 3 miscarriage survivor and have felt unbelievable loneliness as it seems every single person around me has gotten pregnant and given birth to perfect, healthy babies while I remain in pregnancy limbo. While I would never wish the grief, anxiety, and uncertainty upon anyone, I do find it comforting to know that I’m not alone and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, Gemma, for sharing your experience.

    • R says...

      Hi L, same here, I had 3 miscarriages but went on to have a healthy baby girl who is now almost 8. I was always trying to find people who had 3 m/c and went on to have a baby – it is possible! Make sure to have your thyroid checked! And also: check for an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome. Sending you love, I know how difficult it is.

    • NH observer says...

      Hello there. I had three miscarriages as well. There is nothing remotely comforting anyone can say while you’re going through the hell of it all, so just know that there are others out here who share your experience and are thinking of you and rooting for you. If advice would be helpful, please don’t hesitate to ask, but I also know how difficult it can be to hear endless suggestions, even well-meaning ones.

    • Gemma says...

      I am so sorry for your losses, L. It is an overwhelming and relentless sadness. My heart aches for you. Please email me if you want to talk about it. (I mean it.) gemma at gemmaburgess dot com.

      Gem xxx

    • P says...

      L, I’m so very sorry that you’ve faced such loss and grief. I had two miscarriages in a row and the loneliness, heartbreak, and anxiety were so intense. I now have a healthy 2 year old girl, but my heart still aches when I think of that time. You’re not alone. Hugs to you.

    • MTM says...

      I also needed to see this today. Just had miscarriage #3 last week and everything is feeling heavy right now. These photos gave me some hope and really brought a smile to my face. Thank you to the ladies on this mini-thread for your vulnerability and solidarity. Thank you for sharing, Gemma.

    • Barbara says...

      Sending you big hugs. I am now 57 but your words brought me instantly back to that place over 20 years ago. Same feelings. Everyone around me with babies seemingly without trying. Give yourself a ton of grace. Life isn’t always easy but we are strong and know you aren’t alone!

    • Mollie says...

      I would also get checked for Factor V Leiden which is a blood clotting thing. It can make you more fertile but also more likely to miscarry, and is very easy to treat with blood thinners while pregnant.

  26. Ann says...

    We’ve been doing this exact same thing for the last 19 years! We have 2 years of pictures with no one in them. My mom when and took photos those years because we were in the NICU over our anniversary with our boys who were preemies born 2 years and 4 days apart. My husband always says if he would’ve known we were going back to where we got married every year we would’ve gotten married in Hawaii. Our boys are now 15 and 17 and it has been so fun to see our family grow over the years. I think we are going to stop at year 20 and then switch to every 5 years as its getting harder and harder to corral everyone….but we’ll see. :)

  27. Bridget says...

    beautiful, honest, heartbreaking, heartwarming, inspiring. i just love this post and gemma’s writing.

  28. Leah says...

    They are all perfect, including the year you can’t remember, including the lost shoe. xoxoxoxo

  29. CAroline Rosengarden says...

    OMG, I just love this. The lack of trying to control the moment yet having this moment captured in time every year. I am a firm believer that photos do not have to be perfect, especially the school ones! That the job of photos is to capture the moment and everything about it. Hey, there are stories in those wrinkles!

    • Eliza says...

      Agreed!! I always purchase one set of 5×7 school photos of each of my sons and let them choose their outfits every year. I never wanted to force them into fancy outfits that didn’t reflect anything about who they are or what’s important to them. Yes, our photos may have band t-shirts, wild hair, and awkward smiles, but they’re my boys through and through. :-)

      Gemma, this series of photos is so special. Thank you for sharing the stories behind each of them. It’s lovely to watch your family grow through ups and downs.

  30. Sharon says...

    I love Gemma! I have seen and loved these photos before, but did not know all the details around the feelings on the days. Loved getting to know a bit more about her. I think I started following her on IG in 2018, and I remember one video where she is dancing and quite suddenly hugely pregnant! Love her sharing about the difference in grief around the miscarriages. She’s just the coolest. I crack up at her IG posts all the time, but also find her activism so refreshing. I also can relate to how not fun it is to worry about a flattering smile photo.

  31. Rebekka says...

    Dear Joanna, one of the beste parts of your blog is Gemma. :-) she’s like sequins on your site. I love these photos even though I have seen them before, but these little stories make them come out alive even more. Thanks for sharing so personally, Gemma! <3

  32. Tina says...

    This is the best thing I‘ve seen on The internet in a loooong time.

  33. Escondista says...

    3 miscarriages In a row here too! There is something about 3s! So many people I know had 3 and the 4th was the charm. I’m also so happy to have my baby As well and I also lost my parent right before those happened too.
    I’ve never loved reading about a Glamorous (yes Emma you are glamorous to me) stranger’s life and thinking how much we have in common!
    My favorite photo is 2020…. imagine that! This weird, cooped-up year made the best photo with the missing shoe and the healthy family of 5.

  34. Vicki says...

    This is too cute! What a lovely tradition. I love the little things you can notice in each one, the kids faces, tiptoes, a vice grip she has on one if the kids – kissing while making damn sure one of your littles doesn’t fall, if that’s not motherhood in a nutshell!!

  35. Peta Trendall says...

    Oh I love this sweet tradition. I wish I could go back in time and start this tradition for our anniversaries.

  36. Melanie says...

    Beautiful way to capture time passing and all the highs and lows of a partnership.

    Having had 2 miscarriages in the last 12 months and now 23 weeks pregnant with (hopefully) our rainbow baby, I can relate so much to this time being captured through photos. I really appreciate Gemma’s honesty and the way she has articulated how I (and many of us, judging by the other comments on this post) have felt in this same circumstance.

  37. Christina says...

    Such a lovely idea. The photos really tell a story, especially with the captions. Wish we would have done the same, but it’s too late to start now.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      It’s never too late to start :)

    • Christina says...

      I get what you mean, but we have been married since 2003 and our youngest of three is 12…so it wouldn’t be that fun now!

  38. agnes says...

    I love the comments on each photo, the so sincere writing; you should print this post Gemma and make a little book of it, for your family, it is so beautiful. I love the kiss, on each photo.

  39. Really gorgeous couple which is showing the affection each other in the picture and article describe very well the couple romantic life.

  40. laura says...

    “We never look at the photos until we get home.” THIS is such great advice.

    I feel like moments are often made less by photographs, spending too much trying to capture the essence of a moment that you just need to be in. I love the idea of taking the picture(s) but waiting until the day/trip is over to view them.. I’m going to try this on my next vacation!

  41. Jen says...

    Gemma is a GEM, grief and spilled sequins and all. I love her voice and writing (I enjoyed her books and heart her blog) and I think you are so lucky to count her as a friend in real life, Joanna.

  42. B Geri says...

    Unbelievably cute. Love all that RED hair. Dying to know if no 3 will be red too. Great way to celebrate love, life and marriage anny!

  43. Nelly says...

    I have three boys, and have such a soft spot for other families with three sweet little guys. I cracked a huge smile when I saw Arthur had joined the family! This is beautiful. And I agree with everyone else, Gemma has the best legs!!!

  44. Monica says...

    Lovely and heartfelt and perfectly human. Thank you, Gemma. I, too, believe in sweet memories and candid photos and capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments. My favorite kids pics are the ones with sticky faces, bed hair, and scattered toys. Your family is beautiful, and best wishes to you.

  45. Kim says...

    The lockdown one is superb. I love this update. I remember another post way back with some of them. Cheers to you and your family and to many more great anniversary photos!

  46. Meghan says...

    Thank-you for sharing the intricate layers hidden in these beautiful pictures.

  47. Amy says...

    Love Gemma! Can she start a blog? Or maybe Jo and Gemma blog? I’d read it all. Cup of Jo is getting me through this pandemic. (As is Brene brown podcast! )

    • Kim says...

      She has a blog!

  48. Sma says...

    My heart. I also had three miscarriages in one year (my sad year was 2018) and I feel this sentence viscerally: “I got up and wrote and mothered and did all the normal things people do, but inside, I was drowning in sadness.” Thank you for sharing your experience.

  49. Ari says...

    This is AWESOME!!

  50. I love everything about this tradition. Wishing you many more happy years together.

  51. Elizabeth says...

    I love these, and I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! I found myself wondering at what point those boys will start to be like, “ew, I am not standing by you when you kiss dad.” I’m excited to see how the next 10 years look.

  52. Julie says...

    Big YAY over here when I got to 2019 and saw the new baby :) thanks for sharing these Gemma! So charming to look at them all together.

  53. Aya says...

    Each time I see an update to this, I love Gemma and the tradition, then get totally distracted by how gorgeous her legs are. Happy 10th, sweet family!

    • Rachael says...

      Hah! Same! Reading through, loving her words, and thinking at every photo “Dang that woman has fabulous legs!” 😂

    • Rachel says...

      Same, same, same!

  54. Stasha says...

    I super liked this post. I loved the candid writing, the from the heart sharing, and the sweet little tradition. It’s really important to celebrate even while we grieve. Very nice piece, Gemma.

  55. Kate D. says...

    I love this so much!

  56. Alex says...

    Wait, where s 2011?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      They were in Europe that year!

  57. Tina says...

    Man, that is one stylish family, and I am drooling over Gemma s outfits, that’s some skill! But she can so pull it off!

  58. Tina Kittelty says...

    I love this so much! <3

  59. Savannah Wilson says...

    Gemma those stems!!! I have chubby white legs but you’ve definitely inspired me to just wear my legs out more. And I love the sparkly converse threaded through the photos- looking back I like to see what trends I’ve worn that have just been trends and what has ended up being part of my personal style.

    On a more serious note thank you for sharing about the agony of miscarriage and pregnancy after. This is a big community and that was brave.

  60. christine says...

    lovely stories behind the photos… perfect way to reminisce the day! ❤️ hello from Indonesia!

  61. Angela says...

    Seeing this makes me so happy! Thank you for sharing your lovely family photos, Gemma! I want to start my own series :)

  62. T says...

    These photos and the captions are the Christmas Cards I actually want to see each year.

  63. jennifer says...

    Wow! I love these pics and maybe even the commentary behind them even more! I appreciate how authentic she is with her experiences in these photos. Thanks for sharing them.

  64. Maclean Nash says...

    If I have kids, I want Gemma to name them!

  65. Kat says...

    This photo series makes me so happy whenever I see it featured. :)

  66. Alison D says...

    these photos truly made my day <3

  67. Hanna says...

    Thank you for sharing this! I secretly wish Gemma was my BFF…

    Also, I appreciate Gemma sharing about her losses – last year my third pregnancy ended in a late term miscarriage at 17 weeks, and I resonate with feeling so sad but not wanting to share about how deeply I was grieved. I don’t remember so much of last year, grief just takes so much from us. When I got pregnant again, I hid it for as long as possible because I was terrified to lose another baby and then have to explain “I was pregnant but now I’m not” to people.
    All this to say, even just hearing someone else’s story makes me feel understood. And congrats, Gemma, on your beautiful rainbow baby. Mine is napping upstairs right now :)

    • Gemma says...

      I am so incredibly sorry for your loss – that grief must have eclipsed everything. Truly truly awful. And I felt just the same about hiding – I wore a winter coat until June, and just kept myself and my bump hidden from the world, and then announced it on Instagram once he was out safe at the end of September.

  68. Amy says...

    What a beautiful tradition and honest writing about what was going on behind them. Thanks Gemma!

  69. Mak says...

    My partner and I take an anniversary photo with the Golden Gate Bridge every year :) Small traditions like that are the ones most cherished.

  70. Kellie P. says...

    I love your family, Gemma!!

  71. laurie says...

    Beautiful!!

  72. Maggie says...

    Gemma, you are my favorite.

  73. Beth says...

    THANK YOU for the feel good programming. Please continue this. <3 <3

  74. Sarah says...

    This and the stories behind each photo are so beautiful. I can completely empathize with the sadness behind 2017. I’m currently pregnant after a miscarriage and the fear is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Love to Gemma and her family.

    • Anna says...

      Beautiful family and I so appreciate the explanation behind the photos. Three days after our first anniversary, I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I wanted to tell people but felt like no one would understand my intense grief. I had been so excited to announce the pregnancy and share the joy of my baby but it was too painful to tell people that I had been pregnant and now I wasn’t. It also felt fake to just keep posting/sharing like everything was great when really I was just so sad. I remember telling my husband a few months after the miscarriage that I wanted to respond “TERRIBLE” whenever anyone asked how I was doing but felt like I couldn’t. Thanks for sharing the story behind the photos Gemma!

  75. Kristin says...

    I love this but mostly I love the back story. Gemma you capture the feelings of back to back miscarriages all too well. I unexpectedly burst into tears while reading bc it was as if I had written this. I have lived that life of feeling scared for an entire year. Like you I finally ended up with that 3rd (&4th baby) but I know not all are that lucky. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing such an adorable photo tradition.

  76. Capucine says...

    I appreciate the way miscarriage memories are presenced by Gemma with these photos. Thank you. I lost nine pregnancies with our two children, and it took so many years to do that, there are whole swaths of our albums that are tinged with the emotions of “I was pregnant in that photo. I had just lost a baby in that photo” and I close the pages with great gentleness for the realness of that time and compassion for the visibly absent eyes in my smiling face, and the cost my silent personal journey had on me, my husband, my first child, my second child, my never-to-be third child. When I look at my wedding photos, I feel sadness for that lighthearted woman who has no idea what is ahead for her, I dislike the photos and don’t keep them up on the walls now, frozen in time like they are before I became velveteen-rabbit real, a state of emotion I cannot return to before I lost my illusion of being healthy and so blessed to have found my partner. I think taking a photo on every anniversary is a great way to allow the real moments in life: here is the first one, starry eyed. Here is the second. The third…there was death that year. The tenth…everything was hard. It allows space for life to happen as it does, year by year, instead of that frozen starry-eyed photograph that cannot expand to hold all truths time brings. I don’t have any other shots beside the wedding day itself! We didn’t do this, and it’s OK, but I think for new brides it could be a gift to your future self as a way to acknowledge the change each year brings, whatever it feels like!

    • Michelle says...

      I’m so sorry for your losses. My daughter was diagnosed with a whole list of defects at birth and it took me years to be able to look at pictures of myself pregnant without feeling angry. I hope you can work through all the stages and find some peace.

    • Victoria says...

      I agree completely! Capucine, I’m so sorry for your losses (Gemma, too). What a resilient person you are! I can relate, to a degree. Today, I found out my second miscarriage in 2020 is inevitable. This entire year, photos have felt uncomfortable. I was either in a state of anxious optimism or in the in-between of healing. The concept of the lovely family photograph can be daunting when things are upside-down.

      The beauty of these photographs is in their consistency… all despite the inconsistencies of life. We all carry on and do our best to pull things together. Marking that annually, as a family, is wonderful. To allow space and authenticity in the traditionally and unnaturally-staged “family portrait” makes these an absolute treasure. Clearly this family cherishes them.

  77. Katy says...

    Man she has such a charming and warm voice. This led me to go read her beauty uniform and week of outfits again!!

  78. Alexandra says...

    Thank you so, so much to Gemma and Cup of Jo for sharing these photos. It’s such a beautiful reminder of both the joys and sorrows of life.

  79. Abby says...

    I love Gemma! If you’re not already following her on insta, do it. Baby Arthur is the cutest! Thanks for sharing these!

  80. Kate says...

    Love this so much! Thank you for featuring this!

  81. Eve says...

    I love this and Gemma always looks so stylish!
    We don’t have this tradition but we do have a different one: for our first anniversary I made us an anniversary journal where we stick a photo of us on our anniversary and write the answers to a bunch of prompts: what we did on to celebrate anniversary, what’s in the news at the moment, significant things that happened this year plus things we enjoyed and special memories, and our goals for the next year. We have been married for three years and it’s already really fun looking back at what we wrote in previous years and taking the time on our anniversary to reflect on the year gone by. Hopefully we’ll manage to keep it up!

  82. Sabrina says...

    I love love love this post!!!! Especially with the added commentary by Gemma – made me laugh, cry and smile all at once <3

  83. Rebecca says...

    So beautiful! What happened to 2011?

  84. Melissa says...

    These are so great! What a lovely family!

  85. Em says...

    I love this so much, Gemma and fam. <333

  86. efitz says...

    My husband and I do this, too! We got married about 40 minutes from our house, so we drive up to the rose gardens each year on our anniversary to take the photo. We only have three so far, as we married in 2018, and this year was tough because we didn’t feel comfortable asking a stranger to take our photo due to the pandemic. The dog has been the only addition so far, but next year we’ll be toting our six month old son!

  87. Lisa says...

    I love these photos, they’re so sweet, and also a nice reminder of what was happening (good and bad) every year.

    We had two weddings – the legal (in London) and the religious one (main one, in France). The London wedding was just with our parents and sister in law, and very quick. At the time we lived on THE Abbey Road, and my favourite photo of the day is of the two of us trotting across the famous crossing, grinning and holding hands. I wore a green dress that my grandmother had made for my mother and black shoes. I really need to get it framed (and recreate it with our babies!)

  88. jane says...

    Love these! Could Gemma please do an updated beauty routine? Feel we are all ready for a beauty refresh

  89. Andrea says...

    I like the imperfect photo comment. When we travel, we often hand off our camera to a stranger for a photo that might make it on to our Christmas card. Some people get really concerned and ask if we want to review the photos, etc. We always decline and say the right photo will find us.

    ALSO: teenage girls take the best photos.

    • amanda says...

      Ha! As the mother of a teenage girl that makes so much sense! Will remember for future photos.

    • Savannah Wilson says...

      Best advice! Now to remember it by the time I travel again!

  90. b says...

    This is such a fun idea. Also, her kids’ names are fantastic.

  91. Ann Barkei says...

    Imperfect family photos… what a great concept! Loved going down your memory lane with you 😄

  92. Katie says...

    As you know, longtime COJ aaaand Gemma Burgess fan. Love you all. Thanks for all you share with us. Much love!

  93. Leigh says...

    My husband and I got married, just the two of us, at a City Hall (and had a party months later) and while I have no regrets, I do wish we had more pictures! This has inspired me to go back and take some pictures on our next anniversary!

    • beth says...

      My husband and I got married at City Hall years ago, with just our 3 year old son and my best friend present. Nobody took pictures! My friend left for work and we celebrated with some pastries at a little restaurant, and we took pictures of each other, but none together!! I guess we were in the moment, but it kind of kills me. Maybe we should recreate the moment, too!

  94. Taylor says...

    I got married in September, had my honeymoon in October, found out I was pregnant with my baby in November. Now she’s here and she’s 26 days old and I am 100% stealing this idea next month! We got married at my favorite restaurant in DC where we had our first date (I paid because I love it so much and wanted to impress him and it worked!!) (he also proposed to me there, S/O Iron Gate I miss you so much!!! Hope we can eat at you soon!!) and we’re moving to CA in November but I love the idea of coming back every year (maybe every other year) and recreating the photo of us kissing in front of our favorite magical restaurant and having lunch or dinner with our daughter and any future kiddos at the place where her parents fell in love and became a family. Such a gorgeous and warm tradition Gemma, thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Chiara says...

      Iron Gate is soooo romantic, what a lovely place to have those special memories!

  95. Miriah says...

    What an amazing idea! I just got married last month (also a courthouse wedding) and want to do this too.

    Can we please get a week of outfits from Gemma? I LOVE her style!! Classic and a little edgy but also very feminine.

  96. Paige says...

    Loved these photos and especially the stories!! What a fun way to mark the time and remember what life was like in each of them.

  97. Karen says...

    Love love love her writing and her honesty <3

  98. Maria says...

    Wow. Amazing how ten photos really tell such a full and beautiful story. I love the sentiment about perfection at the end. So true. Congrats!

  99. Lex says...

    An amazing reminder that the “imperfect” photos are actually the most perfect because they’re a snapshot of that moment in time, including all the sadness, happiness, frustrations, joys, love, and–of course– toddler moods.

  100. HeatherS says...

    I could look at this a million times over! What a great idea & what a cool, real, precious, imperfectly perfect family!

  101. Nina says...

    This is incredibly sweet and endearing.

  102. Julie says...

    Love this!!! Gemma has a beautiful family! I had seen this previously on COJ and decided to do the same! My husband and I get a picture in front The Love Park sign in Philly every year! I think it will be so fun to see how our life changes.