5 Tips for Perfect Wedding Photos (385)
(NewsUSA) - Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion -- something to be celebrated and cherished. Planning it, on the other hand, can feel as if you're preparing for war -- between ensuring that Uncle Sal isn't sitting next to his brother, who owes him money, to budgeting for everything you want and need. The one thing you don't want to skimp on is the memories.
Which is why choosing your photographer is one of the biggest decisions you will make. To help ensure that you get the most romantic photos of your fairytale day, Professional Photographers of America, a 29,000-plus-member association, offers these suggestions:
* Express yourself. What kind of photos do you like? Do they tend toward the journalistic or is your style more whimsical, classical, or romantic? Whatever your style, be clear with your photographer so that he or she can capture your personality.
* Say yes to the dress. It starts and ends with this iconic garment. What will make you feel like the bride you've always dreamed of being? Is it a flowing sundress, a formal gown complete with train and veil? Or maybe your idea is more modern and it's a strapless dress, in a color other than white. Whatever it is, dare to wear your dream dress.
* Buy the shoes?or not. Carrie Bradshaw knows shoes. And you should too. Will you walk down the aisle in stilettos or kitten heels? Maybe cowboy boots are more your style? Can't decide? Then leave the shoes at home, and feel free to walk barefoot.
* Rejoice in style. Your wedding day isn't just a ceremony, it's a celebration that brings all your family and friends together (for better or worse), and pictures of this memorable party are a great way to inject your own sense of style. Be it a backyard BBQ, a tail gate at your favorite stadium, or a formal dinner, pictures of this event are a must-have.
* Decide on your ride. Some people prefer to be whisked away by horse and carriage as if they were Cinderella herself. Others prefer luxury limos and cars as their modern equivalent. For the unique free-spirits of the world, maybe a motorcycle is more your thing. Either way, a great photo opp awaits as you leave your wedding.
For more information, visit FindAPhotographer.com/weddings.
Saying ?I Do' and Enjoying It Too (685)
(NewsUSA) - For many brides, the quest to plan the perfect day can quickly turn into a nightmare trip down the aisle. Here are a few tips to keep your wedding day bliss from turning into the honeymoon blues.
* Marriage Planning 101: Once the ring goes on, the race to plan the perfect wedding begins, giving couples little time to think about the marriage itself or how their wedding spending decisions could affect their future. But smart couples are now setting aside time to address pre-wedding issues such as what they will do when it comes to financial planning, spending money, raising children and family politics.
With nearly half of all newlyweds taking on debt to finance their "big day," couples should take every opportunity to make their wedding-related and everyday spending count toward their future.
One unique new rewards program, uTANGO.com, offers couples $10,000, $100,000 and even $1 million in cash rewards to stay married and shop with uTANGO's 250-plus merchants such as Expedia, Target.com, Nordstrom.com and BlueNile.
In addition to helping couples save for their future, uTANGO.com offers free advice from wedding, financial and relationship experts. By taking a proactive approach, couples can leverage their wedding spending to ease financial worries and start building toward their future.
* Destination USA: While destination weddings, especially to international locales, continue to be one of the hottest wedding trends in recent years, they can also present challenges such as increased costs, security concerns, language barriers and unreliable vendors.
A less expensive alternative is to pick a centrally located U.S. city like Chicago, known for fantastic wedding and party venues, choice accommodations and activities to suit any taste and budget. It may not be as exotic as Tahiti, but couples often find that more family and friends can attend and planning challenges are drastically reduced when the nuptials stay stateside.
* Managing wedding expectations: For many brides, planning the perfect wedding is a major life event decades in the making. With this in mind, it's easy to see how wedding expectations can get out of hand in a hurry.
With wedding euphoria taking over, busy brides and grooms can quickly lose sight of spending, causing the perfect wedding to turn into fights over money. By managing expectations of what a "dream" wedding should be, it is still possible to have a lovely and elegant wedding without breaking the bank.
* Bridezilla-free zone: The term "Bridezilla" has been used to describe a difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride whose obsession with planning the perfect wedding day leaves frustrated family, friends, bridal vendors and even her groom distraught in her wake.
Belligerent Bridezillas beware: Horror stories of fist fights, hair pulling, kicking and screaming from out of control brides-to-be have put wedding planners, vendors and bridesmaids on the offensive. Some wedding vendors now go as far as to include language in their contracts reserving the right to cancel if the bride's behavior is determined to be "out of control or abusive." So, whether you hit the gym or hit the spa, have a plan in place to handle wedding-related stress and keep Bridezilla at bay.
* Just say "no": Brides place such demands on their bridesmaids these days that it is not uncommon for them to decline, even when it's one of their best friends. Not only is the financial responsibility of being a bridesmaid staggering, but the time commitment demanded by some brides is also daunting.
The massive to-do lists handed out by brides, coupled with the obligatory appearances for shopping, parties and showers, can leave bridesmaids feeling underappreciated, overworked and broke after the wedding is over.
Brides should be upfront about both time and financial expectations with their friends when asking them to join their wedding party and understand if the answer is no.
Martie Duncan is a nationally renowned wedding expert who has worked in the bridal industry for more than 20 years. Duncan has consulted on episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and the film "My Best Friend's Wedding" and is currently editor in chief of the
uTANGO.com LifeMatters e-magazine (www.utango.com/LifeMatters).
Just Engaged? Your First Wedding Planning To-Dos
you should definitely take your time celebrating your engagement—but when you're ready to officially start planning, here's how to dive in.
by The Knot
Once the initial shock of being engaged wears off (and you take a second to peel your eyes away from the new ring on your finger!), you'll need to start making decisions. Here are the 11 most important things you need to do to really kick off your wedding planning.
Set a Timetable The minute you get engaged, everyone will be asking for your wedding date. But in reality, you won't be able to set an exact date until other major decisions--like choosing (and booking) your venue—are made. So first, focus on determining a range of dates that'll work for you. The average engagement lasts 15 months, but also think about what season you'd prefer, any major holidays or family events you'd like to avoid conflicting with, and how long you predict you'll need to plan.
Dream Up Your Style and Pick a Location Before you try on a single gown, book a band or sample a bite of cake, look at the big picture and imagine what kind of style and vibe you want to set for your wedding—and where you want to hold it. Close your eyes and picture your fantasy wedding. What do you see? Is it a candlelit ceremony in a mansion? Are you walking barefoot on a beach in the tropics? Or maybe it's in your hometown's botanical garden. While you're picturing your perfect wedding, here are some key questions to consider: Big (everyone you know) or small (just close friends and family)? Outdoors or in? Home (one of your hometowns or your current city) or away (a destination wedding)? Modern, classic, romantic, vintage, rustic or all-out glam? Fancy, casual or somewhere in between? To help you get a better idea of what you want (and what you don't want), spend some time gathering inspiration. Check out magazines, books and real wedding photos online, but don't limit yourself to the obvious sources. Something as unlikely as a wallpaper pattern, a scene from a favorite movie, or a family heirloom can spark your creativity. Bottom line: Always keep your eyes open for inspiration.
Set Your Budge tSit down with your families and figure out how much everyone is contributing. This number will affect every decision and purchase you make, so be sure to work out your budget before you start planning with our online wedding budget tool. It can be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it's better to get it out of the way now so you have a realistic picture about what you can spend.
Draft a Guest List As you begin to build your guest list, you'll need to consider a number of factors. If you have a particular ceremony or reception site in mind, for instance, you're going to be limited by how many people it can accommodate (you can't squeeze 300 people into a lighthouse). Would you rather have quality one-on-one time with each guest or throw a once-in-a-lifetime party for all your friends and family? If mom and dad won't budge about inviting throngs of friends and family, you'll have to hear them out—especially if they're footing a major part of the bill. Keep in mind that more guests means higher prices, as catering costs are generally calculated on a per-head basis. So, in addition to location, your budget will have a big influence on the size of your guest list.
Register (Before Your Engagement Party!)Worried that you'll look gift-grabby if you register too early? Don't! With all the engagement parties, showers and well-wishing relatives in your future, everyone will appreciate your foresight. And although gifts are optional for engagement parties, some of your guests may want to give you something to commemorate the occasion, so register for at least a few items beforehand so they don't have to ask (or guess) what you'd like. One thing to note: Don't include registry information in your engagement party invitations or in any other formal manner. Stick to using word of mouth or links on your wedding website.
Choose Your Wedding Party Now it's your turn to propose to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Remember, the earlier you ask, the sooner you can enlist their help. And keep in mind that your wedding party is agreeing to spend their money and donate their time—be considerate and kind by informing everyone about all your plans (including costs for attire, bachelor and bachelorette parties and more), showing them a good time and making sure they know how much you appreciate them.
Consider a Consultant If you're a super-busy couple, have demanding jobs or have big (read: complicated) dreams for your wedding weekend, then you should hire a full-time wedding planner to help you prepare your entire event, from the engagement party to the honeymoon. You can also hire a part-time consultant to devise a wedding blueprint—including budget, schedule, and lists of good vendor and site choices—before you launch solo into the preparations. Another option is a day-of coordinator, who will make sure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day. (Find a consultant in your area with our local wedding vendor search.)
Book a Venue (and Set Your Date)Your reception venue will become the backdrop for virtually all your photos and can influence everything from heavy hitters like your budget and guest list to smaller details like your menu (if you choose a venue with in-house catering). Ensure that you get the look, price and extras you want by scouring local listings, shopping around, scheduling visits and booking early. Bonus: By signing your venue contract, you will officially have your wedding date (congrats!).
Hire Priority Vendors If you just can't imagine getting married without a certain local band playing at the reception or a photographer whose work you love, act fast. Many top wedding photographers and other in-demand vendors are hired more than a year in advance, and once they're booked, they're gone. Translation: Figure out what your highest wedding priorities are, whether it's world-class catering or exquisite flowers, and snap up the vendors whose work you love.
Shop Dresses! Begin your search by browsing dress photos online (and saving your favorites—you'll want to take them with you to your appointments). Then, learn the lingo before setting foot in a dress salon. Read up on silhouettes, necklines, trains and hues that might flatter you. The season will also affect your choice. Getting married in the sweltering summer? Go with lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, linen or organza. Having a winter wedding? Brocade, faux fur and velvet will keep you warm. Satin, shantung, silk and tulle are perfect year-round.
Every couple have great dreams about their weddings as weddings are highly special events occurring just once in most people's lives. Therefore, it is highly appropriate that we innovate and land on some incredibly stunning kind of ideas to make them unique and highly original. There are a lot of wedding ideas and barn weddings have infinite potentials to accommodate variety and a novel kind of experience to all your guests.
Owing to the huge demand for barn wedding venues, a large number of farm owners are equipping their farms with several sophisticated kinds of arrangements and facilities to make them highly suitable and convenient for arranging wedding ceremonies. Therefore, you need not have any apprehensions whether barns shall suit and satisfy the needs of the guests who are going to grace the wedding ceremony.
Once you plan for a barn wedding, in the first place, it makes a great sense to visit the barn wedding venue of your choice. While a great deal of information about the various facilities and pricing of barn wedding venues are available online, you can also contact them to know the recent updates if there are any over phone. Once you are satisfied that the venue you have chosen shall suffice your needs and expectations and meet your budget, then you can make a personal visit to the venue to explore the setting, ambience, facilities and arrangements by yourself so that you get a firsthand experience that shall enable you make the right decision.
Barn wedding venues have so much to enhance the wedding experience. Right from additional arrangements for your guests that you shall feel appropriate and decorations, barn wedding venues have several arrangements in place to meet your precise needs. In fact, they can help you make use of the facility in a more constructive, innovative and productive way. You can plan the different events and ceremonies of the wedding in different spots and settings. Your guests can also try out some new experiences in the barns depending on what is available there. Thus, once you plan what you can do, there are infinite possibilities to explore.
The only hassle probably you might have with regard to barn weddings is to transport the entire party from their places to the barn wedding venue. However, given the availability of sophisticated, cost effective and convenient travel modes today, you can solve this issue easily with a proper planning and systematic approach. However, when it comes to thrilling your visitors with a highly novel kind of experience, no other choice can ever beat barn wedding ideas and therefore, it is really worthy giving a try so that your wedding ceremony stands out from the rest.
(NewsUSA) - Caterers, event halls and wedding planners are gearing up for fall wedding season, one of the busiest times of the year for hopeful couples. Fall guarantees exquisite photo opportunities without the heat of summer -- and the wealth of in-season decorations are beautiful and affordable.
In fact, September and October are the most popular and third most popular months for weddings, respectively.
If you're planning a fall wedding this season, read on for some helpful tips:
1. Keep warm. Since outdoor fall weddings have the potential to get chilly, keeping your guests warm is a must. Offer hot cocoa and homey baskets of soft blankets or cozy shawls. Set up fire pits or outdoor heating stations where guests can shake of the chill.
2. Location, location, location. Select a locale that is known for its fall scenery. For example, as much as it's known for history, Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa. is celebrated for its brilliant autumnal hues and stunning landscape -- a picture-perfect place for memorable fall nuptials in a historic area of southeastern Pennsylvania. Named among the top 10 national parks for fall foliage, the 3,500-acreValley Forge National Historical Park offers a perfect fall backdrop. Learn more at www.valleyforge.org.
3. Incorporate fall colors into the wedding party wardrobe. Chocolate brown compliments a variety of fall color schemes, and it's flattering for most women. But if brown doesn't suit the plans, burgundy is another great fall shade that makes the bridal white pop.
4. Select in-season flowers and decorations. Unless the bride has her heart set on lily of the valley or orchids, there are beautiful in-season flowers to choose from. Dahlias, chrysanthemums, asters, roses, zinnias and sunflowers all create elegant bouquets and floral displays with a lovely hint of fall. Add some crab apples for a playful, non-floral element.
5. Mix and match gourds, pumpkins and squash. Pumpkins can be tacky or a little too reminiscent of Halloween, so class them up by serving pumpkin soup, pumpkin cocktails or tiers of mini pumpkins. Gourds also make eye-catching vases, and all three can be arranged as charming centerpieces.
How to Seat Your Guests at the Wedding ReceptionIt's one of the final tasks on your to-do list. Here's how to make playing musical chairs a breeze.
by The Knot
If you're having 25 guests at a buffet, you may or may not want to give people specific seating assignments. But if you're having 75 guests or more and serving a seated meal, you'll want to make sure everyone's got a specific place to sit. Why? For one, people like to know where they're sitting—and that you took the time to choose where they should sit, and with whom. It's also helpful if you're serving several different entrée choices, because the caterer and waitstaff can figure out beforehand how many chicken, beef and vegetarian dishes a given table gets, because they know who's sitting there. Read on for stress-free tips on how to seat your guests.
There are couples who've been at kitchen tables the night before the wedding (or even wedding morning) just starting their seating chart. Don't let this be you—you've got more important things to think about at that point. Sure, it's fine to make last-minute changes, but try to get the chart mostly done at least a week before the day.
Break It Down
Create a new spreadsheet. If you haven't already, insert a column into your guest list document categorizing all the invitees by relationship: your friends, your family, your partner's friends, your partner's family, your family friends, your partner's family friends and so on. This way, you'll be able to easily sort the list and break it down into more logical table assortments. Now you'll need to separate these lists into distinct tables.
Create a Paper Trail
If you're more visual, draw circles (for tables) on a big sheet of paper and write names inside them (make sure you know how many people can comfortably be seated at each table). Or you could write every guest's name on a sticky note and place it accordingly.
Head Up the Head Table—or Don't
A traditional head table is not round, but long and straight, and it's generally set up along a wall, on risers, facing all the other reception tables. Usually the newlyweds sit smack-dab in the middle (where everyone can see them), with the maid of honor next to the groom, the best man next to the bride, and then boy/girl out from there. But you don't have to do it that way. All the bridesmaids can sit on the bride's side, and all the groomsmen on the groom's. Or maybe you're not into being on display, or you don't want your wedding party to feel isolated from other guests. Let your wedding party sit at a round reception table or two with each other and/or with their dates, and have a sweetheart table for the two of you (to get a little one-on-one time). Another option: You two sit with your parents and let that be the head table, with the wedding party at their own tables.
Place Your Parents
Traditionally, your parents and your partner's parents sit at the same table, along with grandparents, siblings not in the wedding party, and the officiant and their spouse if they attend the reception. But if your or your partner's parents are divorced and are uncomfortable about sitting next to each other, you might want to let each set of parents host their own table of close family and/or friends. This could mean up to four parents' tables, depending on your situation—or have the divorced parent who raised you (or your partner) and their spouse/date sit at the table with still-married parents.
Remember, the parent-seating question is a flexible one. Set it up in whatever way best suits everybody. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to talk to the parents in question about it before you make your final decision.
There may also be situations in which certain family members just do not get along. Maybe they haven't spoken in years. Maybe the last time they saw each other at the last family wedding there was a drunken fight. Understandably, you want to keep them as far apart as possible. Think about these kinds of relationships (or lack thereof) before you even start making your chart, so you can take them into consideration in the first place and begin by seating Aunt Jane at table three and Aunt Lucy across the room at table 15. Trust us—they'll appreciate it.
Provide Reunion Time
All of your college or high school friends will be psyched to sit at a table together. It also gives them all an opportunity to catch up with each other, because they may not have seen each other for a while.
Your guide to wedding reception seating etiquette, here.
Four reception seating mistakes your guests don't want you to make, here.
Your Complete Ceremony Site Checklist Read these seven steps to ensure every ceremony detail is accounted for.
by The Knot
From booking the site to saying your vows, here's every box to check off for a seamless ceremony at the venue of your dreams, whether it’s a house of worship, a botanical garden or a beachfront property.
1. Find and Book Your Site First, you need to find the right ceremony venue. Researching ceremony sites should be one of your first to-dos, so if you’re getting married in 14 months, start the search process about 12 months out. You’ll need someone to perform the ceremony too, so research officiants around the same time to make sure you can score them at the same time as your venue.
Think you’ve found the right spot? Amazing! Before you book, have a chat with the site manager to make sure all your questions are answered and your ceremony needs can be met. Same goes for your officiant—ask them these important questions and iron out all the details before you sign anything.
Now it’s time to make it official, and, as with all your pros, you should absolutely get it in writing. Along with the basics, like the date, location and time of your wedding, here are specific points to include on both your ceremony site contract and your officiant contract.
2. Rent Ceremony EssentialsNot every ceremony venue will have everything you need. If your site doesn’t include essentials like lighting, electricity, tables, chairs or suitable restrooms, you'll need to contact a party rental company to complete the space. On the other hand, you may only be missing ceremony-specific items, like a ceremony arch, mandap or chuppah. Here are some must-have items you might need to rent for your ceremony:
4. Meet With Your Officiant Again Set up a second meeting to discuss any literature you intend to incorporate with your officiant. This is also the time to ask your officiant for any ideas and advice if you’re stuck on which readings or customs to use.
Have your officiant give you a copy of their standard ceremony so you can ask questions, clarify uncertainties and make changes to suit you (if allowed).
If premarital counseling is required, this is the time to schedule it and go. (Here’s what you might expect from a premarital counseling session.)
5. Finalize the CeremonyBy now, you should have a pretty good idea of the overall structure and main elements of your ceremony, including readings, candle lighting, other special rituals and music, as well as who will participate in each. If not, now’s the time to enlist trusted loved ones to do a reading (this is a special way to include a dear friend or relative who isn’t in your wedding party).
6. Gather Ceremony ExtrasDetermine which of the following ceremony items you’ll need and start shopping or make arrangements to have them made or ordered. Don’t forget, your florist or planner may also be able to provide a few things.
Get more wedding ceremony inspiration, etiquette and planning tips right here.
Summer Wedding Myths Busted
We debunk five of the most common assumptions about summer weddings. Get ready to plan outside the box.
by Kate Wood
post credit: Theknot.com
The number one tip for planning a summer wedding? Don't be afraid to break the rules. Forget what you've heard about summer wedding dos and don'ts, and go your own way. Here, we crack open five summer wedding myths for good.
Myth 1: You have to have an outdoor wedding.
If you live in a cooler part of the country where the lush, green months of summer are precious, it may seem like you absolutely must head outside for your summer wedding. But if an outdoor wedding isn't what you've always dreamed of, an indoor space can be just as summery (and much more reliable). For one, if you're in a superhot climate, an indoor wedding will be way more comfortable for your guests who are dreading the heat. Beyond that, you can use your creativity and design skills to make an indoor space suit the season. Hang summer lanterns or create a summer flower-strewn indoor aisle, and choose a venue with large windows that let in lots of sunlight (or show off the moonlit night).
Myth 2: You need a bright, summery palette.
While many summer couples look to vibrant colors to reflect the season, it's most definitely not a requirement. If bold and bright just isn't your style, there's no need to force an intensely cheery palette into your look. Opting for a subdued color scheme is unexpected and lovely. For example, icy blue and gray lend a cool, refreshing tone to the atmosphere, and hints of black add an air of sophistication. For a surefire palette that works with almost any style—from black tie to relaxed and natural—consider a combo of white and ivory with green accents. An apple-green hue will give a preppy, fun feel, while a deeper green like loden or moss will imbue your nuptials with a subdued elegance. Peruse more gorgeous color pairings here for inspiration, for both bold and muted aesthetics.
Myth 3: You can't have a formal wedding.
Yes, high temperatures probably mean you should skip the stiff, heavy dresses made of taffeta and brocade, but you don't have to put your bridesmaids in dresses with high hemlines and have your groomsmen don loafers if it's not your style. Decide on a level of formality, and then work with your bridal salon and tux shop to explore your options. For a sophisticated, formal summer wedding, consider elegant silk sheaths for your bridesmaids and lightweight dark suits for the guys. You should be able to find attire that reflects the formality of your event, but won't leave you sweltering.
Myth 4: A city wedding won't work.
Summer is the season when many urbanites head for the hills or beach. But if you've always envisioned a chic city wedding, you can definitely still have it in the summer months. A rooftop ceremony or reception will give you an outdoorsy touch without sacrificing that quintessential urban feel. Loft spaces are also great for summer weddings. Awash in windows, you can avoid high temperatures while still taking advantage of bold sunsets and glittering skyline views.
Myth 5: The heat will ruin everything.
Of course, summers get hot—but don't let the naysayers get you down. If you know there's a decent chance it'll be especially toasty on your wedding day, make plans to avert any weather-related disasters. Avoid wilting blooms in the bouquets and boutonnieres by asking your florist to steer you toward hardier blooms, like orchids and lilies. Consider water-submerged centerpieces featuring Mokara orchids. Because the flowers are completely underwater, they'll keep cool all night long. And as for your wedding cake, get fondant instead of buttercream to avoid a melting mess. If you're set on the rich taste of buttercream, display the cake during your cocktail hour and then have the cake cutting at the beginning of your reception.
Everyone You Need to Spend Time With at the Reception
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.