So much of contemporary society is about instant gratification and connections via the digital world—while we have easy access to countless digital photos on social media, we’ve lost the art of a beautiful photo album. Even, gift giving isn’t what it once was. My etiquette expert Carey Sue Vega might correct me, but gifts have a more transactional feel, of late. When a guest to a wedding or a baby shower “goes rogue” and buys an item that is not on the registry, it may be met with confusion, or even dismay. Other honorees forego the illusion of proper gift giving and opt-for a cash only registry—with proceeds going to a honeymoon or new house down payment. All of this runs counter to all that I hold dear about offering up gifts for friends, loved ones and relatives.
I have always known my celebrancy practice was, in part, driven by the absence of happy occasions in my own youth. But for a while our family was somewhat stable and my mother organized life-long keepsakes for my sister and me. Although Kathryn and I were seven years apart, we shared the same Christening gown, had similar copper dipped baby shoes, the same framed birth announcements, and portraits wearing the same outfit, passed from the older sister to the baby. Among our prized possessions were silver baby milk cups.
Some years ago, I picked up such a milk cup in an antique store. I know this item had many stories to tell, but unlike my own, it had not been engraved with initials. I purchased it, knowing that I would gift it someday. Well, lo and behold, it magically appeared in one of my mini-storage units, just as my friend and colleague Gianna was having a baby girl. Gianna, a photographer with whom I perform many weddings for Simply Eloped, and I have different tastes—I’m old school, vintage, and retro. She’s an edgy NYC artist and street photographer. But, today, I lovingly polished up this old keepsake for her new little lioness, born just a few months ago. I hope they like the memento of baby’s first milk cup, even if it feels super old-fashioned!