Photography has a transformative effect. When we look at an image we are taken back to the moment when that photo was made. We remember how we felt at the time, who we were with, what we were doing. We have a genuine emotional investment in that image. That is the POWER of photography. This image was made at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve last year. I remember the energy in the room and how everyone was sharing in the couple’s joy. It truly is a privilege to be invited into people’s lives, even if it is only briefly, to experience such moments.
While most brides will opt to walk down the aisle in heels, many brides are choosing to be a bit more comfortable and lacing up a pair of sneakers. Why not, no one sees the bride’s shoes under a floor length gown anyway. When you consider all the running around that occurs on a wedding day, not to mention the fact that she will be on her feet for 12 or more hours, sneakers begin to sound like a more practical choice. Also to consider are beach or lawn weddings where heels are just not feasible. A more traditional bride may wear a sexy pair of heels earlier in the day and switch to her casual kicks once the dancing begins. If you are concerned about dragging that gown that was tailored to your heels, don’t, wedding-appropriate platform sneakers are readily available from many manufacturers. Many companies like Keds, Toms and Converse are now designing sneakers specifically for the bride. Some companies like Nike have made it possible to create custom sneakers with your wedding date and your new last name embroidered on them to add that personal touch. While sneakers may seem to provide a more affordable alternative to the super fancy and pricey wedding heels that are more customary this may not necessarily be the case. As this trend becomes more popular expect to see sneaker companies designing more elaborate kicks for the bride. One thing is certain; you will get more use out of a pair of Converse after the wedding than a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos. While I am seeing more and more brides embrace this trend, grooms are not excluded. They too are choosing to throw on a pair of Jordans instead of those cheesy high gloss rentals. Check out some of my BAD ASS BRIDES (and grooms) that have chosen to express themselves in this creative and bold way.
As the world we live in becomes more culturally diverse so do the weddings we plan. Weddings that combine two or more religions and/or ethnic traditions are increasingly popular. So it goes without saying that the tact and consideration necessary in planning such an event can create a great deal of stress for engaged couples. There are a few steps you can take to insure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Communication is Key
Planning any type of wedding requires a lot of compromise so discuss with both sides of the family early in the planning process what traditions you would like to incorporate. It is essential to have a clear vision of how you would like the day to look and feel. The goal is to host an event in which both families feel comfortable and included. Try to and keep an open mind about your family’s ideas and concerns. Educate them on what would be considered appropriate behavior. You will definitely want to avoid any potentially embarrassing situations.
Keep it Personal
Many officiants from differing faiths are open to conducting the ceremony jointly. Let them know while this is your wedding you also want to honor your families’ customs and traditions as part of your day. While different cultures have different wedding customs, often the underlying meaning and purpose of these traditions are similar. If you plan to include unfamiliar elements in your ceremony, such as the Filipino custom of wrapping the couple with a cord and veil, provide brief explanations of the significance in your wedding program. This way your guests can appreciate the symbolism.
Don’t feel that you need to incorporate every custom and ritual into your wedding. If it is not possible to equally represent both the bride and groom’s backgrounds into the ceremony there are other ways to honor each family’s traditions. For example, you can feature the bride’s heritage during the ceremony and the groom’s during the reception. Offering a multi-cultural menu or including ethnic music can be great ways to incorporate the traditions of each family.
Timing Is Everything
One of the biggest challenges of a multi-cultural wedding is to make sure you allot the appropriate time for all the different religious and cultural ceremonies. For example, there may be multiple wardrobe changes throughout the day. Some religious ceremonies are much longer than others. For instance, if you plan on having an Indian wedding you may have to allow time for the groom’s procession called a Baraat. Or if you are planning a Jewish ceremony you will need to schedule the Katubah signing before the ceremony begins. If you are working from the perspective of a typical American wedding day timeline, you will need to allow for extra time to address these customs.
Even though a wedding is full of logistical complexities, ultimately the day is really about celebrating the love two people share. During planning process it’s easy to lose sight of this. In the end, the bride and the groom should mutually agree upon which religious and cultural traditions are most important for them to include.
Everyone wants to look amazing in her wedding photos. You have picked the perfect gown, spent hours on hair and make-up, found the right jewelry to accentuate your outfit and hand picked a second-to-none photographer to capture it all. Here are 5 things to avoid if you don’t want to negatively impact your wedding day experience.
LOOKING AT THE CAMERA ALL THE TIME
This is definitely one of my biggest pet peeves. You spot an amazing moment unfolding from across the dance floor, you get into position and compose your shot and then someone becomes camera aware and ruins the moment by saying “Hey everybody there’s the photographer – say cheese”. A wedding is the celebration of two families coming together. How would you like to remember this event, with a bunch of photos of people mugging for the camera or a collection of images of those people who are dearest to you interacting with one another in a genuine and meaningful way. This is not to say that you should never look at the camera. Certainly during those more posed photos it is necessary to do so. But when it’s time relax and enjoy the party, pay no attention to the camera. Let the real moments unfold and allow the camera to capture it. The photos will definitely look better if you do.
REQUESTING TOO MANY SHOTS
Trust your instincts, if you have done your homework and hired and experienced and established photographer there is no need to provide him with a 6 page shot list with every conceivable combination for family portraits. This is your wedding not a photo shoot. Lets be honest, there is only so much that you can accomplish in a given period of time before quality begins to suffer. Giving your photographer a lengthy list of photo requests is only going to give you quantity not quality. The goal is to document the day not to provide every family in attendance with a photo for their holiday card.
FALLING FOR PHOTOGRAPHY TRENDS
Trends are fun, but rarely last. Do you want your wedding memories to be clichés in 35 years? Remember the best man grabbing the groom’s arm preventing him from running away or the double-exposed photo of the bride and groom superimposed over their ceremony. Keep your photos authentic and timeless. Photos of real moments and honest emotions always stand the test of time and can be enjoyed for generations to come.
TRYING TO MAKE THINGS PERFECT
It’s your wedding, just try to have fun. Even if everything doesn’t turn out exactly as you hoped, roll with it, and enjoy yourself. It’s always those moments that are unscripted that make your day unique and different from every other wedding in history. Embrace your individuality and let serendipity unfold. A happy bride always makes for better photos anyway.
We live in the digital age for sure, even 90 year old grandmas have iPhones. I understand the thrill of getting that great shot, I’m a photographer after all, but the trend of guests using iPhones and iPads to photo bomb the wedding is getting out of control. Oftentimes the groom’s view of his bride coming down the aisle is completely obscured by a sea of mobile devices being held out into the aisle. Guests no longer experience the wedding first hand because they are all fixated on their phone screens. Guests need to realize that the couple has hired a professional to capture the day’s festivities and they should just enjoy the wedding.
There are so many things to think about after the big “YES!”. Two of the biggest decisions you will likely make first are the when and where to get married. After that there is a long list of details, both big and small that need to be addressed. One of the most important is who is to photograph the wedding. Imagine having secured the most idyllic location, wearing the most glamorous bridal gown, at the most elegant reception venue and no one to capture all these details.
Each week I get a handful of inquiries from brides looking for a wedding photographer for 6 months from now, for next month, or even crazier; next week. In almost every case I have to turn them away because I am already booked. While the thought of loosing the opportunity to work with an amazing couple is disappointing, I am more troubled knowing how difficult it is going to be for them to find a quality photographer on such short notice. The simple truth is many in-demand wedding photographers book over a year in advance. As your wedding date gets closer, it will be harder to book your first choice photographer.
Because we are living in a time where we are inundated with photography, more and more, brides are placing an increasingly higher value on quality photography for their wedding. So, needless to say, finding the right photographer is pretty important.
So when is the “right” time to contract your wedding photographer? The simple answer: book your wedding photographer as soon as you secure your venue, if not sooner. I have been booked on a number of occasions before the reception hall has been retained. Some vendors, such as the florist, bakery, limos, or even hair/make-up artists may be able to schedule more than one wedding in a day. Their services typically do not extend from the bride’s preparation through the end of the reception. Photographers, on the other hand, don’t typically schedule more than one wedding in a day. So once you find a photographer that you know is THE ONE, don’t delay.
Keep in mind that there are certain times of year that are more popular for weddings. Here in the North East, October tends to be the busiest month, so if you’re hoping to get married during peak leaf season, perhaps look into booking everything that much sooner.
What if you did reach out to your favorite photographer well in advance and he is still unavailable on your date? Don’t panic, ask them for recommendations. They may know of a colleuge with a similar style who is available.
There is certainly no right or wrong time to book a wedding photographer, however, delaying will certainly affect your options.
What is a “First Look”? It’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s the first time a bride and groom see one another on their wedding day. But more importantly when during the wedding day timeline should this special moment occur? There are definitely strong feelings associated with this on both sides of the debate.
Certainly some feel that it is bad luck to see one another before the ceremony. The origin of this superstition may surprise you. Back in the day when arranged marriages were the rage, the couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The wedding was merely a business transaction between two families. Fathers feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn’t attractive, he’d call off the wedding. This would embarrass the bride and her family. Therefore, it became the custom that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony. This way the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind and back out of the deal. The veil the bride wears was to keep the groom from seeing what the bride looked like until the last possible minute insuring the wedding would go off as planned.
With a “first look” the end game here is to create a less stressful day to insure the best wedding ever. There are definitely some benefits to doing a first look.
Enhances the wedding experience. The ability to relax and not hold back all your emotions is priceless. After photographing over 900 weddings I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times the groom got emotional when seeing his bride for the first time at the ceremony. Between all the guest leaning into the aisle to get their cell phone photos, the anxiety of being “on stage” and the realization of what is about to happen the only thing going through the groom’s mind is “try not to pass out”. When you have an opportunity to share an intimate moment and be at ease with one another the emotions can just flow. He can tell you how he is really feeling, how beautiful he thinks you look, how excited he is. I’ve seen this private exchange go on for more than 15 minutes. This would not be possible during the ceremony.
More time together. The truth be told, you will actually spend very little time alone with each other on your wedding day. People will be vying for your attention all day. After all everyone has gathered in your honor. Many may have travelled long distances to be with you. A first look will allow you more time to spend with each of them.
Attending cocktail hour. A first look often allows more control over the day’s schedule. This is especially true when both the ceremony and reception will take place at the same venue. This is because as soon as the ceremony ends the cocktail will begin. This only gives you one hour (at best) for ALL of your formal portraits. There are many portraits that need to be taken in addition to the bridal portraits. Immediate families, bridal party and extended families all need to be photographed. In most cases this simply isn’t enough time. An hour may seem like plenty, but when you consider the time it takes to rally the troops together and keep them all corralled during the portrait session not much time is left for the photos of just the two of you. You will probably want your photographer to spend some time in the ballroom photographing the room and all the details before your guests enter as well. Most couples would rather take this time to relax and enjoy that “Just Married” feeling and spend some time mingling with family and friends.
More/better photos together. When you have a first look you have more flexibility with the timeline. You can decide what photos are important to you, how much time you are willing to devote to them and block out the necessary amount of time. My experience has been the photos are generally better crafted, more diverse with more varied locations when a first look has been planned. The biggest obstacle to getting great wedding portraits is the lack of time.
Overall, the goal is to make the wedding experience more meaningful. A first look doesn’t necessarily diminish the tradition of seeing the bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle. You still experience that moment. When deciding whether or not to do a first look you must ask yourself what’s really important to you and what do you want to achieve from your wedding photos. Think about how you can realize these goals without adding any additional stress to your day. After all it’s your wedding and what better way to begin your life together than putting each other first.
It’s July and crazy hot out, so we thought it would be nice to cool things down a bit with Kate and Mike’s wedding from last February. Kate and Mike really put that personal touch on the day to make it uniquely their own from Kate’s custom turquoise inlaid cowboy boots to the burlap touches on her bouquet, even down to their choice of venue, David’s Country Inn. Built in 1840, it has served as an inn for over 150 years! Everything was true to their personalities and all looked awesome. With 150 friends and family coming out to celebrate, there was a tremendous amount of love in the room that was evidenced in all the emotion that we witnessed. It was truly an honor to share in this special day with them.
All too often our couples tell us “there were so many amazing photos that we can’t narrow them down”. I know that the selection process may seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you can’t visualize how they will all fit together in the final album. Don’t stress, just keep in mind that a little good planning will make all the difference in the world.
1) Pick your absolute favorites
When you are deciding which images to include remember that this is your wedding album, your first family heirloom, and not some generic off the shelf mass-market coffee table book. Select the photos that mean the most to you, not necessarily the pictures that you feel you are expected to include. Select the ones that stir your emotions, bring a smile to your face, that transport you back to that moment in time.
It helps to remember that there are five key segments in the day:
3) Family portraits
4) Bridal party portraits (this includes the portraits of the bride and groom)
Include a handful of key moments from each category. Remember that the goal isn’t to document every smile, tear and laugh that occurred during the day. Which leads me to the next point…
2) More doesn’t equal better
One to two images per page allows for a clean elegant more focused design. It is typically best to choose one strong image that best represents the moment rather than including four or five that are not as compelling. The idea is to allow your story to unfold at a nice even pace and keep the viewer interested and engaged. It’s not a minute-by-minute account of everything that went down that day. Show the parts that you most want to remember.
Weddings are one of the few times in life where all those people who are most important to you are present under one roof. So including a group shot is a must for most couples. However, half a dozen pages of family portraits may be overkill. It is not unusual to make portraits of the same people in various combinations. While they may all be great photos resist the urge to include them all in the album.
3) Tell a story
It’s all about creating a beautiful narrative. The best wedding albums tell a story and this one should tell the ultimate story… yours. Most stories have a beginning, middle and an end and so should yours so think chronologically. Your preparation photos should come before the ceremony and your ceremony before the reception. However, there are no hard and fast rules here. You can certainly mix some portraits throughout or start and end the book with an amazing portrait. What we really want to accomplish is for the book to flow.
4) Don’t forget the details
The details are what personalize your wedding and make it uniquely yours. Your décor selections are all extensions of your personality and were made with meaning and forethought. Without question, a lot of time, effort and expense was spent making these decisions so make sure that they are represented in the book as well.
5) Keep it simple
Focus on the best images and let them speak for themselves.
We believe that the final album is so important. The wedding album is a vehicle to relive all the emotions you experienced that day. But in reality the album is not as much for you as it is for your children and grandchildren. It is through this book that they get a glimpse into who you are and how profound your feelings for one another are. It will show them your deep love for family and how much you enjoy each other. We wrote about the value of making prints from your digital photos in a previous blog post (http://www.timothyglennphoto.com/blog/?p=1407) and the bridal album takes that up a notch.
BONUS TIP: Don’t Procrastinate
It’s not uncommon for a couple to set aside the project of selecting their album images until they have more time to sort through them. Unfortunately, this can turn into months and even years. We all become involved with life and time slips away from us. The sooner you get those selections to your photographer the sooner you will have that amazing heirloom album in your hands to cherish for generations to come.
I love fall weddings and this one was another great wedding for a great couple. We spent an afternoon with Allie and Albert back in June at Monmouth University. That’s when I saw just how perfect they are together. They are a joy to be around as are their family and friends. They all made us feel so welcome. A big congratulations to you both, and thank you for allowing us to be a part of this amazing day.
Allie and her girls gettin’ all “BRIDSMAIDS” on ya.
My homage to Richard Avedon.
They had this amazing bell choir at the ceremony that just blew me away.
The bridal party hamming it up for the camera.
The folks at The One and Only Westmount Country Club always do such a fine job.
This crew certainly knows how to party. The dancing was nonstop all night long.
Event Coordinator extraordinaire: Inez Bennett
Cinematography: Our great friends at Iris Cinematics
Entertainment: One of the areas absolute BEST bands, The Groove Shop
Wedding Gown: Pnina Tornai
Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Food Truck: Jaynees Party
I have been looking forward to Alexa and Dave’s wedding for months now. We had such a great time during their engagement shoot I wasn’t sure that we could top it. But let me back up a bit. You may recall back in September (yes, I am a little behind in my blogging again) there were rumblings of eminent government shutdowns. Typically this is of no concern to a bride and groom except that Alexa and Dave’s wedding was to be held at Fort Hancock within the Gateway National Recreation Area. Since the park is run by the National Park Service it was at risk of being closed the day of the wedding. Thankfully our goverment held out for two more days – crisis averted.
The day was a perfect fall day, sunny and just a little brisk. Alexa looked amazing in her Nicole Miller antique white crepe de chine lace back gown. The chapel train really added just the right touch of elegance. One of Alexa’s bridesmaids officiated the late afternoon ceremony which made it all that much more special. Just as they were walking down the aisle we were all treated to a spectacular sunset. Big thanks to our good friends Spinners Entertainment who kept everyone on the dance floor all night. Also in need of a special shout out is Nikki D. who did a fantastic job on Alexa’s make-up and Merri Makers Caterers.