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.
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.
Glenn, Joe and I shared a beautiful Saturday with an amazingly sweet and kindhearted couple. We knew from Kim & Chris' engagement session how great they were together. From the moment we arrived at the bridal prep we could see how cool and confident they were. The fellas readied themselves at The Hampton Inn & Suites in Fairfield while the girls prepped at Kim's parent's home. We all convened at il Tulipano in Cedar Grove for both the ceremony and reception. We kicked off a bit late because Father Caroll broke his eye glasses and could not see the vows. Once repaired it was smooth sailing all the way through the Viennese hour.