Jessica & David’s Romantic Nature Wedding

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Jessica and David’s beautiful day was at the historic Rengstorff House in Mountain View, California.  They chose a romantic nature feel for their wedding, and it was perfect.  We loved it all – from the floral crown to the lego tie clips to the moss and wooded centerpieces.  There were so many beautiful little details that we were just head over heels for!  Plus, it made the wedding so much more personal to the couple.  Jessica even had a handmade gown designed and made by one of her bridesmaids, Janelle Yee.  We absolutely adored it!  Not only did Janelle make the wedding dress, but she made her own dark green, stripped bridesmaid dress!

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Instead of choosing just one color for the bridesmaids, Jessica chose two – mint and dark green.  The combination was simply beautiful for photographs, and they blended great with the guys’ floral ties and grey suits.

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The centerpieces brought in a fantastical woodland element complete with little butterflies and birds as chandeliers and bistro lights hung from wires above.  To add in an even more personal touch, the bride and groom used a family heirloom cake topper on their own cake!

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The best part of the wedding was the bride and groom themselves.  Jessica and David are so fun to be around, and every moment with them is a blast.  They and the father of the bride even requested that they get a photo with us!  It was so sweet. They are the perfect match, and it’s such a treat to watch the two of them together.  There is never a shortage of love or laughter, and everyone can feel it.  We love these two!

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Photography:  ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

Venue:  Rengstorff House

Wedding Dress:  Janelle Yee

Catering:  Caterman Catering

Lighting:  Magical Lighting

Lichy & Ken’s Wedding in the Golden Hills of California

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Lichy and Ken chose the stunning venue of The Ranch at Little Hills in San Ramon, CA for their gorgeous June wedding.  The venue provided so many fun backdrops, including a beautiful forest for their ceremony!  It was the perfect fit for the couple who love the outdoors.  They love it so much that they even got engaged on a 30 mile backpacking trip!

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Their beautiful forest ceremony was straight out of a fairytale.  Bridesmaids shone in mint, and groomsmen were dapper in their navy suits.  Instead of an arch or statement piece at the front of the altar, the couple chose to let nature be their decoration – and we loved it!  They also put a piece of pallet art at the entrance to the ceremony space, which was the perfect minimalistic touch.

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When we learned that one of their favorite activities is rock climbing (and noticed there was a rock climbing wall at the venue), we mentioned posing with the wall to “stage” a climb.  We should have known these two would want to actually ROCK CLIMB IN THEIR WEDDING CLOTHES!  We were blown away when Lichy kicked off her shoes, and started climbing!  Needless to say, that was a first!

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Lichy and Ken made sure to make their guests feel at home with a great reception.  Guests danced under the stars and bistro lighting and enjoyed Gelati Creation popsicles.  The minimalist decor was perfect and well-suited to their laid back style and personalities.  The wood slices, succulents, baby’s breath, and tea lights looked great with the natural backdrop of the venue.  We loved everything about it!

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Photography:  ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

Venue:  The Ranch at Little Hills

Hotel:  Hyatt House San Ramon

DJ:  The Day Entertainment

Videography:  Reel-Motions

Cake:  The Olde Towne Danville Bakery

Flowers:  Repetto’s

Wedding Dress:  David’s Bridal

Makeup/Hair:  iMagic Beauty

Popsicles:  Gelati Creation

 

Jessica & Daniel’s Mad-Hatter Tea Party Wedding

ShootAnyAngle Wedding PhotographyIt was such a treat to photograph Jessica and Daniel’s Mad-Hatter tea party themed wedding in Napa Valley. Not only was the couple completely and madly in love, but their big day also had amazing and unique details that were simply gorgeous. The couple loves all things Disney, so their violinist played Disney songs during the ceremony including “I See the Light” from Tangled, “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen. They also had some hidden Mickeys in their decorum, so we created some more through photography (in their ring shots and in shots of the desserts). The couple even planned their wedding to correspond with Dapper Day in Disneyland. Their Friday wedding allowed them enough time to drive down for the fun themed Disney day.

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The amazing wedding planner, Christina of Emelina, created these gorgeous tea cup floral centerpieces (with the help of Mack Floral Design) with books and antique knickknacks. They also created a giant keyhole through which the guests and bridal party would enter through to transport them to the magical world that they had created for the ceremony. The venue was a great backdrop, and the couple chose it because it reminded them of Alice in Wonderland the moment they laid eyes on it.

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Jessica and Daniel really broke the mold with their wedding, and we love that! Even the bride’s wedding dress was a unique step away from the traditional white gowns. It perfectly fit with the whole feel of the wedding. We’re a big believer in the fact that weddings should reflect the couple and be specific to them, and this couple did just that!

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Photography:  ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

Venue:  The Vintage Estate

Planner:  Emelina

Florist: Mack Floral Design

Dress:  BHLD

Hair:  Brenda Manalac, Reign Artistry

Desserts:  Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar

Violinist:  Briana Di Mara

 

Jenna & Jack’s Sweet Winery Wedding – Complete with the Milky Way!

ShootAnyAngle Wedding PhotographyAfter a sweet ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, Jenna and Jack created a beautiful wedding in the scenic Los Gatos hills to share with their friends and family. Every moment of the wedding was simply stunning – straight out of a magazine! The wedding had a very intimate feel both in setting and in feeling. As a photographer, we absolutely love when couples have sweet private moments in which they can only see each other despite being surrounded by others. Jenna and Jack had so many of these moments. You can tell just by looking at the photos that they truly are each other’s best friend and the love of their lives.

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As Jenna and Jack got ready for their big day, there were no nerves or fears, just tranquility and pure joy knowing what was coming. You could feel the support and love from all the couple’s friends and family as they prepped for the big day and entered the ceremony site. The ceremony was officiated by the couple’s good friend, Sean, and included little anecdotes about the couple – such as their love of Netflix and Facebook!

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After the ceremony, the guests delighted in taking a big group shot with the couple and mingling with a glass of Regale Wine in their hands as dinner was set up. The long rows of tables had a gorgeous view looking out over the mountains (and bocce court!) under beautiful bistro lights. As wedding photographers, we’ve heard lots and lots of toasts. These were some of our favorites. To start, the groom’s siblings gave them funny gifts for their lives together – including a flag that had been created especially to combine their two home countries, Canada and the United States. The maid of honor and parents of the bride had truly touching toasts about their beautiful daughter / sister and how clear it was that the couple constantly made each other better and happier than they had ever been before.

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ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

Once the dance floor opened up, the guests really started to show off their skills! The floor was constantly occupied, as was the nearby photo booth! We managed to sneak the bride and groom away for a special photoshoot though. In the Bay Area, it’s rare to find someplace where you can see the Milky Way, and it’s quite hard to photograph surrounded by so many lights of the city. We knew the couple loved the idea of night photography, but we didn’t tell them until that night what we hoped to get. At this mountain venue, we had limited lights around us, and the venue kindly turned off their outdoor lights as well. As the saying goes, “the starts aligned perfectly” to get the shots we had hoped for – the beautiful bride and groom under the Milky Way.

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ShootAnyAngle Wedding PhotographyAs we watched everyone leave at the end of the night, every single person had a huge smile on their face. Jenna and Jack wanted to make sure they had a wedding everyone could enjoy and cherish, and they certainly did just that. These two light up when they are together, and their life together is sure to be a beautiful one.

ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

Photography:  ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

Venue: Regale Winery and Vineyards

Flowers:  Bouquets by Janet

Catering:  Cafe Primavera

DJ: Kevin Combs of Elite Entertainment

Cupcakes: Kara’s Cupcakes

 

Summer Inspired Shoot!

Summer is in full swing, and it is HOT out there!  To celebrate the summer months (and outdoor weddings), we did a styled shoot a little while back that was featured on Wedding Chicks in correlation with Coca-Cola!  Here is a sneak peek at the photos, but see the full feature at Wedding Chicks!  Keep cool out there!

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And of course, our end-of-shoot selfie!

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Photography by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography

How My Wedding Changed My Life

Mostly, we hear about how our marriage has changed our lives, and it absolutely does.  I was with James eight years before we got married, so he was changing my life long before we actually tied the knot.  He has made me a better person, he brings such pure and complete joy to my life every moment, and he is my absolute best friend.  I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be his wife, and I love him more and more everyday.  So, my spouse has absolutely changed my life, but the wedding day itself changed my life in very surprising ways.

The bride is usually the one planning the wedding, so we’re forced to learn the ropes very quickly.  We’re all the sudden the CEO in company that we’ve never worked for.  Brides have to not only learn what it takes to put together the massive production of a wedding, but we also need to understand each aspect well enough to make the best decisions.  That’s a lot of pressure on us, and it’s extremely stressful.  Some brides crack under the pressure.  Some brides plan out of necessity and are quick to forget it.  But, some brides bloom and become more confident and better decision makers.  That’s what happened to me.  I guess it’s that whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing (something I previously didn’t subscribe to).  There were days I thought my head would burst from the stress, I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue with all the tasks on my list with a smile on my face, I felt I didn’t have enough time, and I believed I didn’t have what it took to be the CEO of my own wedding.  But I did.  It all taught me a very important lesson: there was a power inside of me that I didn’t know I had, and when utilized, I could move mountains.

On the big day, I also felt the most beautiful I’ve ever felt.  I could finally see what James and my family had been saying all those years, except now, I felt it from within.  For months later, I would feel blue that I’d never be that beautiful again, despite my husband constantly telling me how beautiful I am (even with crazy bed hair and toothpaste drool down my shirt).  It may seem like a vain thought, but our self-image is a critical part of our mental health.  That’s why we often feel upset when we don’t think we look nice, or when we feel under or over dressed at an event.  It’s because we care about how we are perceived by others.  For awhile, I let myself wallow in self pity.  Then, something flipped in my brain.  I started trying to recapture the beauty I had on my wedding day.  I started trying to learn new hairstyles, I was more careful when applying makeup, and I started paying more attention to my everyday clothes.  I always liked fashion, but I put more effort into it post-wedding.  I was slowly reflecting on the outside what I had felt on the inside, and that in turn enhanced the confidence I had earned from the wedding.

With this newfound self-image, I started becoming a different person.  Or, at least, a more improved version of myself.  I started pushing myself harder and taking more risks with my work.  They started paying off left and right.  With each success, I found my creativity opening up.  I trusted my instincts.  I found that things that normally would make me anxious or scared no longer had that affect on my nerves.  I was calmer, collected.  Instead of wondering if things would work out (as I had always done), I just understood that they would.

I always knew my marriage would change my life for the better, but no one ever told me about the wedding gift that first day would bestow upon me.  It was the best wedding gift I could have received.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Wedding Guest Attire Rules: Brides Tell Us What Rules They Do and Don’t Care About

A well-dressed pair!  http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
A well-dressed pair, and such a good-looking couple!
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I don’t know about you, but I’m personally utterly confused about the rules of wedding guest attire. Some rules are easy to understand (i.e. don’t wear white), but it’s the gray area that always confuses me. What about a print that includes white? And do all these rules really matter anymore? Personally, at our wedding, all I noticed was that everyone looked so nice! I didn’t have a single negative thought about anyone’s attire. Likewise, all the images you see here are examples of very classy and appropriate wedding guest attire that we love!  Still, we wondered what rules are still in effect, so we talked to brides of all ages (past and present) to learn their thoughts.  We found out this list is actually more of “guidelines than actual rules” (to quote Pirates of the Caribbean).  Here’s what they told us!

We love this well-dressed (and handsome) pair! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
We love this well-dressed (and handsome) pair!
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     Rule 1: Don’t Wear White     

100% Agree!

A full white dress is inappropriate to wear to a wedding (that color is reserved for the bride) as are outfits that are mainly a cream/beige/ivory color (and I’d go a step further and say avoid very, very light colors that could be misinterpreted as white). It seems everyone we talked to was in agreement on this point, but they also said that dresses that included white were okay as long as it wasn’t the main color. A print on a white background? White and blue stripes? All the past brides we talked to were fine with it! And men can certainly wear white dress shirts.

     Rule 2: Don’t wear black unless it is an evening wedding     

70% Disagree!

Most of the brides we talked to said black was just fine, though a few agreed that it should be more for an evening wedding. Of course, what exactly is considered an “evening wedding” is a whole other issue entirely! It was very hard to find a set answer on this point, but the majority of my findings point to a start time of 6pm (though some say that’s for the ceremony start time and some say that’s for the reception start time). I’ve also heard as early as 4pm if the reception goes through to the night.  A couple also pointed out that whether or not a particular dress would be acceptable depended on its style. If it was a fun type of dress (such as a floral print on a black background), that would be acceptable. I personally love black dresses (it looks good on just about everyone), and I’d be fine with guests wearing that color to my own wedding.  Those who agreed with the rule felt it was an important rule to follow, though, so it’s possible that other guests won’t agree with the color choice. I will note that wedding photographers typically wear all black when photographing a wedding.

Great dresses for wedding guests! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
Great dresses for wedding guests!
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     Rule 3: Don’t wear red     

57% Disagree, but it was a close call.

This was a close one, but the majority disagreed with this point. However, we did have a few who pointed out that they personally wouldn’t feel comfortable in the color as a guest just because it draws too much attention to themselves, and they have a point there. Red does draw the eye, so it suggests that the wearer wanted the attention. So, it may be best to stay away from it if it’s “fire engine red.”  Maroon and other shades are great to wear though!

     Rule 4: Don’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids     

85% Disagree…

…but they would avoid it if they had been informed of the color ahead of time. Still, they agreed that wearing the same color was fine as long as the dress wasn’t a perfect match. Plus, it’s likely to happen on accident.

A very dapper gentleman! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
A very dapper grandfather-of-the-groom!
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     Rule 5: Don’t wear something skimpy     

100% Agree.

The issue becomes what is considered skimpy and what is not. When I asked this question, the answer I got the most was that it was skimpy if too much of the lady’s breasts were showing, but that’s certainly not the only way a dress could be considered skimpy.  I think one bride described it best, “Rule of thumb… if you go tight, don’t go short. Show off legs or cleavage, not both. Backless can be elegant if done tastefully…. Lastly, if it’s going to ride up or fall out while dancing, just don’t wear it!”

     Rule 6: Don’t wear casual clothes     

100% Agree.

Across the board, brides (and their guests) agreed with this one – especially the “no jeans” rule. Brides work very hard on their invitations to give the guest a general feeling for what their wedding will be like. Use that as a guide, but casual, everyday clothes aren’t appropriate.

A well-dressed family!  http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
A well-dressed family!
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     Rule 7: Don’t overdress     

100% Agree.

Again, brides seemed to be very adamant that guests should stick to the style detailed or dictated by their invitation. You should always look nice, of course, but leave that tailed tuxedo or full ball gown at home unless the wedding calls for it.

     Rule 8: Don’t wear an old bridesmaid dress     

85% Disagree.

Overall, the brides disagreed with this one on the condition that the dress wasn’t obviously a bridesmaid dress. In talking with them though, it sounds like they were more concerned that the guest would be uncomfortable and feel out of place rather than a bride having an issue with it. Plus, if you re-make the bridesmaid dress to disguise its original purpose, a wedding would be a fine place to show it off.

     Rule 9: Don’t wear too much bling     

A beautiful looking pair of wedding guests. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
A beautiful looking pair of wedding guests.
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60% Disagreed, if done well.

Brides are okay with you wearing your finest jewels, but several did tell me they’d prefer to see a fancy statement necklace only, or fancy earrings only. So, it’s okay to go big in one area, but not in all. And they did say “no tiaras” across the board, unless the bride asks you to wear one, of course!

     Rule 10: Don’t wear office wear     

90% Disagreed (if it was done right).

There are lots of ways to dress up your office wear with a statement necklace or little strap heels. There is something so completely classy about a nice pantsuit. Overall, brides were fine with that idea. As someone pointed out, “If a man wears a suit, that’s considered office wear and wedding attire!”

They look so lovely! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
They look so lovely!
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     Rule 11: Don’t wear a loud tie     

80% Disagreed.

You can probably tell the bride and groom’s opinion on this one based on their personality and the feel of the wedding. If it’s a classy black tie event, a loud tie may not be the best. If it’s more casual and the bride and groom are laid back and fun-loving people, it’s probably fine if you are comfortable wearing it. Personally, one of my favorite attires at our wedding was my cousin’s outfit. He wore a bright yellow button up shirt, a bright purple tie, and matching purple sneakers with his black dress pants. I absolutely LOVED it, and so did my other guests!

     Rule 12: Don’t wear sequins     

100% Disagree (if done tastefully).

Brides all said that wearing some sequins were fine. Again, it should fit the style of the wedding. A full sequin dress to a casual wedding wouldn’t be appropriate. So, use your best judgment as to how much is too much based on the invitation and what you know about the couple and the wedding.

What a beautifully dressed grandmother-of-the-bride! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
What a beautifully dressed grandmother-of-the-bride!
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     Rule 13: Use a clutch purse, not your everyday purse     

70% Agreed.

This seemed to be more of a personal preference rather than a rule that a bride would feel the need for. A bigger bag can be a nuisance to carry around all night, and it would probably be left unattended at some point. Thus, those we spoke with felt it was easier on guests to have smaller clutches or cross-sling purses for convenience.

     Rule 14: Don’t wear inappropriate shoes     

100% Agreed (80% say “no flip flops”).

Stilettos aren’t appropriate if the guest will be walking on sand or grass, and flip-flops aren’t appropriate for a fancy wedding. Guests should always pick their shoes based on the venue and their outfit, but avoiding flip-flops is a good idea.

     Rule 15: Don’t wear tulle     

65% Disagreed.

Tulle is really back in nowadays, and it can be done quite tastefully. That being said, they felt a tulle dress should look classy and not like you’re an adult flower girl. So, it’s a judgment call based on the dress itself.

Such a cute couple, and so well-dressed! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
Such a cute couple, and so well-dressed!
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Overall, these rules (whether relevant or not) were created in order to keep guests from upstaging the bride. As long as you look nice but don’t take any attention away from her, then you’re all set. If in doubt, it’s best to ask a friend or one of the bridesmaids. The bride has enough to worry about as her big day approaches, so it’s best to leave your outfit off of her list.  Funny enough, it seems these brides didn’t care so much about what people wore to their own weddings but more about what they would deem appropriate or not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest themselves.  Hopefully, these notes will help you pick great attire for the next wedding – or will provide a quick link to send to guests when asked what to wear to your own upcoming wedding!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography (all photos of well-dressed guests!).

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Pretty Little Details: Inspiration Shots for Your Wedding!

When planning a wedding, you should know the three things that mean the most to you (apart from marrying the spouse of your dreams because that’s just a given!). For me, it was photography first, details second, and location third. I feel the details are what make a wedding special. It’s a glimpse into a fairytale romance. Little details and two people in love make for the best photographs! Take a look at the following photos for inspiration for your big day! Remember, these are just inspiration shots, so alter the details to make the final product your own. In my opinion, a wedding should always be unique to the couple. That’s what makes it special!

A sweet bouquet filled with mementos from family members: brooches from Grandmother, and even the wedding ring of Grandfather! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
A sweet bouquet filled with mementos from family members: brooches from Grandmother, and even the wedding ring of Grandfather!  The brooches were the center of fabric flowers made by the bride.  These flowers were then mixed in with real flowers to create a unique look.
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Beautiful gold-painted mason jars filled with flowers.  A great decoration for along the aisle! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
Beautiful gold-painted mason jars filled with flowers. A great decoration for along the aisle!  It’s amazing how just painting the jars makes them look so much nicer!
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Beautiful white and pink flowers. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
Beautiful white and pink flowers.
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A more unique take on the traditional cake topper. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
A more unique take on the traditional cake topper.  The bride even “glitterized” the shoes to match her own.
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These were my wedding shoes.  They were covered in around 1,000 Swarovski crystals - all of which I glued on by hand!
These were my wedding shoes. They were covered in around 1,000 Swarovski crystals – all of which I glued on by hand! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding.  He made it look like a tree since we love the outdoors.  He even carved in our initials and wrote a special note to me in Italian. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding. He made it look like a tree since we love the outdoors. He even carved in our initials and wrote a special note to me in Italian.
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Happily Ever After! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
Happily Ever After!  This sign is great because it can hang in your home after the wedding!
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This beautiful (and huge!) sign was made for us on our wedding day.  We'll hang it in our home for years to come! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
This beautiful (and huge!) sign was made for us on our wedding day. We’ll hang it in our home for years to come!
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Old cameras and books as centerpieces.  Perfect for a photographer-author couple! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
Old cameras and books as centerpieces. Perfect for a photographer-author couple!  Time to hit the flea markets!
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Red roses for a beautiful contrast from the ivory dress! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
Red roses for a beautiful contrast from the ivory dress!
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Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Photography Night Magic

We’ve all seen those stunning wedding photos on Yahoo or social media sites that beg the question, “how did they do that?!”  It’s always a good idea to go for a wow factor in your engagement, Save-the-Dates, wedding, or newlywed photos, and it’s definitely possible. The nice thing about couple photos outside of the wedding day is that you can create shots that you couldn’t necessarily get at the event itself. An example of this is nighttime long exposures. These kinds of shots are really neat. They look as if they are Photoshopped, but they are completely real!

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A newlywed shoot as a long exposure at night!    http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

The funny thing about long exposures is that though the result can look quite glamorous, the process of doing it is anything but. For this shot, James and I had to hike down to the frozen over lake carrying all of our equipment in 19 degree Fahrenheit weather. Talk about freezing! We had only our flashlights and the glow of nearby houses for light. When we got down to the waterfront, we set up the gear, and put the camera on a timer. The flash fired in the first second, and then we stood perfectly still for 30 seconds to get the shot we wanted. Yes, that’s a long kiss!  We were quite cold standing still like that, but it was worth it!

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called
Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called “light painting.”
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For our Save-the-Dates, we were under pressure to produce something awesome (we are photographers after all!), so we decided to do a nighttime long exposure with light painting. For those of you who don’t know, light painting is using a source of light (flashlight, sparkler, etc) to literally paint something in the photo. So, for our shot, we set the camera on a tripod with a countdown timer. I stood out in the field to mark the spot, and James triggered the shutter. Then, he ran to greet me and pose. The flash went off, and we stood perfectly still in the pitch black. Next, he ran out of the frame, and I pulled out a flashlight. I wrote the numbers in the sky, imagining where they’d go since you can’t actually see them as you write. Then, I ran out of the frame too as the camera finished the exposure.  Our guests loved the result. We had several people ask us how we made it. Apparently, they were taking bets!

These shots both turned out great, and we really did have so much fun making them (even if we were cold!)  So, try something at night for your next photoshoot, and stay tuned for more shots from ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding: Lots of Tips to Save Over $20,000 and What Is Worth the Money (Part Three of Three)

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Parts One and Two.

Band/DJ

We decided against having a band or DJ. Instead, we used our pre-existing collection of AirPlay speakers and created the sound system with those. Then, we created our own playlists for each part of the wedding. We did a lot of tests of the system and even had backup plans just in case. We trained a friend to work the system, and it all worked seamlessly!

By using our own equipment and playlists, we saved around $3,900.

 

Tuxedos

Suits http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
Suits
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

This was an interesting learning experience. When we started our search for the groom and groomsmen’s apparel, our first stop was naturally a well-known tux rental chain. The prices were way higher than I had anticipated. We just couldn’t pull the trigger and ask the boys to do the same. Then, my husband’s aunt suggested Nordstrom Rack. We went and found that to buy one of their suits was CHEAPER than renting one – and they each got to keep it in the end!!  Plus, their sales brought prices down even more. There would be no rushing down to the store the next day to return the suit!  So, it was a no brainer.

By going this route, my husband (and each groomsman) saved around $50 each, and they got to keep their suit.

 

Photographer

Photography http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
Photography
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Yes, this is one of the places I’m going to suggest you spend the money on. That may sound biased, but I felt that long before I became a wedding photographer myself. The reason behind this is simple: the flowers will die, the wedding dress will be trashed or stored away, the food will be digested, the silverware will be put away, the alcohol will be ingested (and hopefully not regurgitated), the bridesmaid dresses will be donated, and the leftover cake will go stale…. So, besides the marriage and the rings you wear, only one thing will last from that day – the photography. That’s why this is an area I do feel is worth the money. That doesn’t mean you should spend an arm and a leg though. Do your homework! For example, we offer prices for those on a budget, and that’s the kind of thing to look for. We used our own side-shooters for our wedding, and to give a more realistic estimate of savings, I’ll calculate it as if we had hired ourselves to shoot the wedding.

If we had used the second of our ShootAnyAngle packages, we would have saved $800 (and gotten an engagement shoot and canvas print out of the deal). Okay, enough of the self-promotion – onto the rings!

 

Rings

Beautiful rings! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings
Beautiful rings!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

Ah, yes, the big purchase that starts the whole thing – the rings! This is also an area I feel it’s okay to spend more. That being said, you need to do your homework. There is a lot of jewelry out there that is WAY too overpriced. The big name stores will charge you more for their name to be attached to it, so avoid that route if possible. On the flip side of that, don’t be stingy. These rings need to last a lifetime. Buy the best materials to ensure they will. That may cost a little extra, but it’s worth it. I’ve seen both sides of this coin. I’ve seen a groom spend more money on his ring than both my husbands’ and my rings combined! I’ve also seen a couple pick the most inexpensive ring they could find, and the bride still hates it to this day. So, do your homework, and get the right rings.

To the men out there, now I’m talking to you. Part of doing your homework is talking to your bride-to-be. Find out what she likes. James actually came to me six months prior to proposing and asked me to give him a list of rings I liked and the reasons why. The ring I liked best was a unique antique-looking ring that I had seen at a hole-in-the-wall shop. I actually kept going back to “visit” the ring. I just loved it so much – and that’s the ring I got! He did it perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier with my ring.  Not only did he get me my favorite ring, but he also had it already sized by the time he got down on one knee.  So, plan ahead!

As for the wedding bands, that took even more research. My engagement ring is a unique shape and design, and I didn’t know where we’d find a wedding band to match it – but I’m not afraid to do a little work. We ended up finding the perfect match to my ring online. It looks as if it was designed for it!  Then, to make sure we weren’t swindled, we took it to a jeweler to confirm that it was indeed gold and diamonds (it was!). We liked the ring so much that we ended up getting my husband’s band from them too. He’s an adventurer, so he wanted a very strong metal – Tungsten Carbide to be exact. The great thing about those rings? They are inexpensive! We’re talking around $20 even. Mark my words, as that metal becomes more and more popular (and it’s already getting there), then the price will go up, up, up. For now, though, it’s a great deal. Now, these bands cannot be resized, but since the price is so low, we just got him some back-ups in different sizes for down the road. I’ll probably even get a thin Tungsten band for myself to wear in place of my real rings for those adventures that are a bit too dangerous for my beautiful rings.

By doing our homework, and using the strategies above, we saved around $5,900.

 

Rentals

Rentals http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/
Rentals
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

For the most part, if you need rentals, they are going to cost a pretty penny. Again, always do your homework, and find the most inexpensive rental place you can. We lucked out by choosing William’s Rentals (located in the Bay Area, CA). They helped us out every step of the way, and I can’t recommend them enough! Since our venue didn’t provide tables, chairs, etc, we did have to rent it all, but we saved money in our choices. Yes, the silverware may mean a lot to you, but your guests are more interested in the food. Choose a more inexpensive setting. When in doubt, do something basic. If it’s not unique, odds are it won’t be noticed – and it probably won’t be noticed even if it is unique. Another option for a more eclectic wedding is to buy mismatched silverware from thrift stores. You can do the same with plates and bring the look together with plastic charger plates that you can find at craft stores or dollar stores. When it comes to linens, basic colors are just fine (and they cost less). To bring in some flare, put the money towards fancy runners rather than the tablecloth itself. You’ll save money, and it will look nice. Where the money should go to are the chairs and some unique pieces. We splurged to get a Farm Table for our cake stand. We only got one, but it looked really nice.

By going with the cheaper rental options, we saved around $1,000.

To recap, the areas where I personally advise spending the money are the venue, the dress, the photography, and the rings – but this all depends on what is most important to you. By following the tips in these blogs (and by finding other routes on your own!), you can have your dream wedding without spending your life savings.

And, what was the grand total saved by all these tips, you may ask? The total my husband and I saved off the 2013 national averages by using these strategies was $21,840!!  Which, by the way, is way more money than we spent on the entire wedding and honeymoon combined!!

Best of luck!

2013 averages from http://www.weddingstats.org/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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