Category Archives: photography

I Tip My Hat to You

Wedding budgets are always difficult. It may feel like you spend more every time you even look at something but part of you says it’s your one day to indulge. There will always be unexpected costs, some of which can be minimized or completely avoided. Others, such as gratuities for your vendors should at least be considered.

Officiant: Time and energy is spent making your rehearsal and ceremony perfectly fitted to you. This is done on top of regular job duties and already busy schedules out of joy from uniting couples in marriage. A cash gift should be given by an attendant at the rehearsal. If he/she is connected to your location (and your budget permits), a donation to the venue space is an added way to show your gratitude.

Wedding Planner: Because what is provided is done as a profession, tips are optional and don’t have to be monetary. In fact, they are usually not expected. If you feel inclined, send your gift after your honeymoon (10 – 20% is appropriate). A free option is to send some photos for your planner to enhance his or her portfolio.

Hair and Makeup: Stylists should be treated as you would in a salon if not better. Often, rates are higher for wedding days and wedding parties, but the gratuity should not be affected by that. The styles are more complicated, everything must be perfect and often, hairdressers and make up artists travel to your location. Show your thanks at the end of the service and allow photographs, if requested, for portfolios or look-books.

Reception and Entertainment: Bands or DJs and catering, transportation companies etc. typically add a surcharge to their base rates so additional tips are optional. If you give extra, follow the same guidelines you would on a regular day. However, put an attendant in charge of handling payment(s), all of which should occur at the end of your big day.

Whether gratuities are expected, optional (but typical) or out of the norm, they are always welcome. Everyone likes to know they have done a good job. However, especially at weddings, vendors understand the huge costs you have already incurred. Handwritten, individualized thank you notes are a very cost-effective and special way to show your gratitude if your budget doesn’t allow for monetary tokens of appreciation.

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

On your big day, it feels like every moment will forever be ingrained in your memory and many of them will. Like everything else though, time will blur and erase some of them. As life progresses and other monumental events happen, memory banks are replenished, hence the importance of photographs. There are pivotal shots every bride focuses on but some that are equally important that may not be considered. Here are a few of those:

Before Shots:  You will have countless glamorous photos looking more beautiful than you ever have. The moments before you start getting ready will highlight your inner glow, undeniable excitement and the naturally beautiful woman your fiancé is committing his life to.

First Look: The first time your fiancé sees you walking down the aisle is priceless as his emotions are unplanned, can’t be hidden and are as heartfelt and unfiltered as can be.

Decorations: While you will never forget the time spent planning every detail, the vision of exactly how it all came together will likely fade. While most brides focus on their guests and festivities, as the saying goes “it’s all in the details” and reminders of those are equally important.

Your Gown: Snap your dress on the hanger before it’s been worn. The instant you put it on, dirt, makeup, food etc. will leave marks that are nearly impossible to remove. Take time to memorialize all its glory after it’s been prepared for you to step into.

Candid Moments: Some of the best shots are those that aren’t posed or planned. Capture everyone when they think no one is looking. Perhaps not the most flattering, these are the most realistic and fun reflections of your special day and the wonderful time had by all.

There are standard photos expected of every couple that every photographer takes. While those are important, equally so are ones that document the smallest details, unplanned moments and emotions that cannot be found in a posed picture.

What a PURRfect Idea

Many people have pets with whom they have spent many years, treated as children and shared some of the most important moments of their lives. There is no reason your wedding, from beginning to end, should be any exception as not only does it trump any special time as of yet but would ease your stress load and add to the fun of the entire process. Following are just a few ways to do so….

Engagement: Although it would be out of your control, how wonderful would it be if your fiancé proposed to you by tying your engagement ring around your pet’s neck with a bright ornate bow or fancied a “Will you marry me sign?” for him/her to walk into the room and surprise you with?

Ceremony: Have your furry friend escort the flower girl down the aisle on a leash or with a collar adorned with flowers that match your bouquet. Alternately, let your little one act as the ring bearer (assuming they are the type of animal who can do so). Even if they don’t make it directly to you, it would provide comic relief and entertainment for all your guests.

If your animal is small enough, forgo your bouquet all together and carry him or her down the aisle instead, whether in your arms, a basket or any other type of bag.

Photos: If you want your special one to partake in your wedding but worry about their temper, guests with potential allergies, restrictions from your venue etc., you can add them every step along the way beginning with your Save the Date cards, including them in your engagement photos and even make arrangements for their presence during your day of photos taken outdoors and away from your invitees.

Added Extras: No matter what species your beloved pet is, consider having bride and groom replicas as that type as your cake topper. You could also choose something reflective of your someone who plays such a special role in your life and incorporate it into your reception, whether it be paw print stones leading to your reception space (if you have a cat or dog), using feathers in your centerpieces if your favorite friend is a bird and so on.

The options are limitless as is the amount of fun you can have and just how much of a difference including your animal will make not only to you but to your guests and to him/her as well. It is important, however, to ensure that someone is available to tend to their needs so, while you are able to share your wedding with them, you and your groom are not constantly distracted by looking after your little one.

Let’s Take a Shot

The fundamentals of wedding planning are synonymous with stress, a sense of inundation and often even some hair-pulling moments. When all is said and done though, the frustration and angst are forgotten. No matter how overwhelming things may seem, there are a few that should be nothing short of enjoyable, one of which being your engagement photos.

Despite how casual your ceremony may be, some of those in attendance will be guests of guests who have never met you nor have any inclination as to your personality, relationship or sense of humor. As well, even the most relaxed and informal weddings typically include traditions which tend to take away from your individuality.

While the photos of your special day will most likely be more formal than not, the engagement pictures that accompany your invitations don’t have to be so at all. Nonetheless, some consideration should be taken so you don’t look back and either feel regretful or as if your choice was simply cliché.

If you got engaged while having a picnic date, consider recreating that moment with the news written on a napkin. Maybe you’re avid hikers and can include a shot on a trail with your backpacks on. If there is something (anything) that everyone associates with your fiancé and yourself, depicting that is an option if you’d rather not share something unforeseen.

However, notifications written on a sandy beach, dates spelled out in scrabble tiles, snapshots wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m marrying him” and so on should probably be avoided.

Your wedding does not consist of a single day but the entire length of time beginning the day you get engaged and the planning starts. Each moment and aspect, no matter how mundane or irritating they may feel, should give your guests a glimpse into who you are and set you apart from every other bride.

Polite Guestures

Expectations are placed upon everyone both consciously and subconsciously in everyday life and the closer those individuals are to you, their significance increases and the more disappointing it is when they are not met. Under many circumstances, such expectancies are unwarranted but there are occasions when they are absolutely reasonable. One of those times is your special day and no one should be either angered by or less than accepting of your requests.

You don’t typically invite people to your wedding unless they mean something and/or are close to you. Each guest is chosen thoughtfully and for a particular reason especially if you’re getting married in a small venue but even if you’ve chosen a larger one as the numbers go up the costs do too.

While most people don’t immediately respond or even give much thought to what they get in the mail, it is appropriate for guests to RSVP promptly to your invitation as the attendees are a large factor in the size of venue required, number of favors to be purchased, amount of food necessary etc. Even if you do quickly receive an RSVP, conflicts sometimes may arise but it is only polite to be given notice if something comes up rather than simply not take part in the festivities. On your part, no offense should be taken on if it turns out that someone cannot attend despite the fact that your guests are chosen wisely and hold special meaning to you.

Aside from the obvious inclusion of your ceremony time on your invitations, it is always a good idea to add (in the fine print) a separate expected arrival time for your invitees. Unlike dates or family gatherings, tardiness to your wedding is both disrespectful and distracting as it takes the focus off your vows and the permanent merging of your life with that of your fiancé.

Consider suggesting appropriate attire (no matter how formal or relaxed your ceremony may be) as it is YOUR day and the focus should be on YOU. Unless you specifically request so, it is not appropriate for women to wear white for example. Additionally, perhaps someone just purchased a new and beautiful gown they’ve been waiting to wear and opt for your wedding as the place to do so. That is completely inappropriate so you need to kindly insinuate the motif of your affair so as to insure you are not outshined.

Let it be known that the only one taking photos of the ceremony is the photographer. If attendees want copies of their favorite moments, they can get them at a later time. If guests are taking shots during your ceremony at random times, flashes will be going off from every angle and not only distract and you and the officiant but also interfere with the professional pictures.

It goes without saying that one of the most important days in your life is one to be shared with those who are closest and most important. Being that they are just that, all should understand and even appreciate how important each (even the smallest) details are to you. You should not feel any sense of guilt, embarrassment or regret for assuming adherence to those things which will help make your day play out as flawlessly as you dream of.

Give Us a Shot

We all take photos in our everyday lives whether with phones or digital cameras to capture things that are funny, sweet or just something new and different. They are moments that mean something and can be looked back upon fondly and create wonderful memories whether they are pictures of family, friends, pets or anything else. Photos of your wedding day are distinctive, and while perhaps you have some others that mean just as much, they should be treated differently as you don’t hire someone just to capture a random moment. Who you hire to memorialize your special day is something you need to take some time to think about.

Get some background information and see some of the previous work from anyone you are interested in using. Many photographers have a certain style that they are best at and, while they may be amazing in that sense, it may not be what you are looking for. Most likely, it is best to select someone who has taken pictures of weddings prior to yours. That way, they will know the shots, angles and poses that mean the most, are most important and most flattering of everyone from you and your new husband to the bridal party, guests etc.

Inquire as to how your photos will be delivered to you. Sometimes can only get them in a tangible form that you would then have to replicate for your invitees on your own which would be an additional cost, some will give you a CD that can easily be copied and sent to everyone and yet others post them on their website for anyone to download (usually with a password) those that they choose to.

Something else to consider is when and how the moments will be commemorated. Some venues have restrictions and don’t allow photography inside of the location so the actual wedding ceremony will not be captured. More often than not, pictures take quite a while to take. You should consider whether or not you are willing to let your groom see you prior to walking down the aisle so they can be done beforehand or whether it is important to you to not show yourself before the ceremony and insist on taking them afterwards. If you choose to do the latter, you need to have something to entertain your guests in the interim.

There are countless things to contemplate when planning your wedding and many seem like easy choices that will take a minimal amount of your time. Who will be in charge of the tangible memories of your wedding day is one that should be researched and that some thought should go in to. After all, there is only one chance as you can never relive or recreate the day.