NAMPA — A Nampa woman and her daughter have gained attention globally for a family birthday tradition. Every year, Brandy Yearous takes a photo of her daughter Allison, 12, in her wedding dress.
The photos of her daughter growing up through the years have been featured in People Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Redbook Magazine, Huffington Post and the Today Show. Yearous said magazines and websites in Germany, Australia and China also have used the photos.
“My mother is teaching English in China and she saw Allison in a Chinese magazine,” Yearous said. “She called me to tell me we went global. It was crazy.”
Yearous said the tradition started when she was pregnant with her oldest son Ryan.
“Before Pinterest was a thing I was reading about birthday ideas in a magazine,” Yearous said. “I read about taking photos of your child in a piece of their parents’ clothing every year to see how fast they grow. When my son was born, we took a photo of him in his dad’s jeans.”
The photo of Ryan was so adorable, Yearous decided to take a new photo every year on her son’s birthday.
When Yearous was pregnant with Allison, she wanted to follow the tradition but didn’t want to have the photos taken in the same pair of jeans. She said she wanted to use a piece of clothing that wouldn’t look dated and she knew she’d never want to throw away. So she chose to take the photos in her wedding dress.
Yearous writes for the Today Show’s parenting tip website and decided to share her birthday tradition with her readers.
“Everything I share I know is public domain,” Yearous said. “But I had no idea it would go global. I don’t know why it became so popular, it’s just photos of my daughter.”
After Yearous shared the photos online, they were featured on the Today Show. After the initial story premiered on television, Buzzfeed picked up the photos, and the story gained traction from there. Yearous’ photos were Buzzfeed’s top 11 trending story for a week.
“This whole thing has been so fun if you don’t read the comments,” Yearous said.
Many people loved Yearous’ photo tradition, but others had negative opinions about Yearous’ outfit choice.
Many commenters said Yearous’ idea to use her wedding dress was “creating a gender norm” for Allison. Others said the idea was forcing the tradition of marriage on Yearous’ daughter. Some even called the idea “creepy.”
Yearous hasn’t batted an eye to commenters, saying there was no other reason she picked the wedding dress except that she knew she’d keep it forever.
“My daughter loves this tradition,” Yearous said. “It’s just a wedding dress. There’s no secret meaning to it.”
Not all of the comments were full of criticism, Yearous said, but instead other families want to use the idea themselves.
Allison told reporters at Huffington Post that she would like to keep the tradition when she has children in the future.
The fame is starting to wind down, but Yearous said she’s going to keep taking birthday photos of Allison and Ryan to share with her friends on Facebook.