Grandparents Celebrate 63 Years of Marriage With Heartwarming Photo Shoot

Photographer Shalyn Nelson captured the moment for her grandparents.

ByJoi-marie Mckenzie
July 31, 2016, 2:51 PM
PHOTO: Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Shalyn Nelson

— -- One granddaughter celebrated her grandparents' 63rd wedding anniversary with a gift that will last a lifetime.

Professional wedding photographer Shalyn Nelson decided to stage a photo shoot for her maternal grandparents, Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson. She even tapped her friends to make over her grandmother, giving her a new gown, professional make up and hairstyling along with custom floral arrangements.

The two-hour photo shoot took place on her grandparents' ranch in Jewett, Texas, "where they've worked their entire lives," Nelson told ABC News.

"It was literally the best day ever," she said. "I remember I got really watery-eyed and I had to take a minute to just soak this in because it meant just so much to me."

PHOTO: Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Shalyn Nelson

"It was so awesome seeing them so excited and flirting. They just looked so in love," Nelson added. "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.'"

PHOTO: Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Nelson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Nelson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Shalyn Nelson

The Austin, Texas-based photographer even had her grandparents write love letters to each other. She's hoping that this photo shoot will continue as a series.

"My goal is to compile a book of love letters and stories with my photos," she said.

PHOTO: Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Shalyn Nelson

Nelson, who is expecting her first child with her husband of seven years, said she hopes her grandparents' photos will help other wedded couples.

"With the divorce rate so high, I really want to inspire people to look at marriage differently. Everyone thinks they can just throw it away so easily these days," she said. "I'm so tired of people not valuing marriages and their vows and thinking the grass is greener on the other side."

PHOTO: Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Texas photographer Shalyn Nelson helped her grandparents Billy Wanda and Joe Ray Johnson celebrate 63 years of marriage with glam photo shoot.
Shalyn Nelson

As for her, Nelson said she's learned a lot from her grandparents' decades-long love affair.

"They taught me that marriage is forever," she told ABC News. "No marriage is perfect...they'll be the first ones to tell you that, but they 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."

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