ShootAnyAngle.com Wedding Photography Blog

What story will your photos tell? We're a husband and wife photography team, and we want to capture your special day so you can relive it every time you look at your photographs! On this blog, you'll find all things wedding to inspire you for your big day! Check back often for posts on photography, DIY, dresses, decorations, and more!


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How To Make Your Own Bouquets

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 Flowers can be very expensive, but you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on your boquets.  Do them yourself!  You can get flowers at Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco, and many other places for good prices.  Then, assemble them!  Plus, it’s a good skill to have not just for weddings, but for other events such as Mother’s Day!

When I assemble bouquets, I use florist tape, scissors, and then whatever ribbon I want for the stems.  You can get florist tape from Michaels for a couple dollars.  I’ve found it best to make little bundles of 4 or 5 stems and wrap that in florist tape.  Don’t wrap too widely though.  Keep the tape area as narrow as you can so you don’t have to cover up too much with the ribbon.  Once you’ve made all the bundles, add them all together to make the final bouquet.  If you want it to be a rounded bouquet, make the center bundles the highest point, and lower the side bundles to give it the desired shape.  Once everything is secured, cut the bottom of the stems to even them out.  Sometimes, I like my bouquets to have more of a “mussy tussy” look, so I’ll purposely leave a lot of the bottom stems showing and vary the length of them slightly.  If you want a more formal look, wrap the stems tightly and fully, and trim evenly.

There are several options for the stems.  You can wrap them in a criss-cross pattern with ribbon, tie a single ribbon around to cover the florist tape while keeping most of the stems visible, or you can use fabric or wide ribbon to cover most or all of the stems.  If using this last option, secure the fabric in place with florist pins (also available at Michaels).  If you want the stems completely covered, cut a circle out of fabric that is about 2 inches wider in diameter than the diameter of the stems.  Place the stems in the middle, and wrap the sides up around the stems.  Then, wrap your ribbon or fabric starting from the bottom up to hold that fabric in place and secure with pins.

Making your own bouquets also opens up a lot of area for creativity.  You can use fake flowers or a combination of real and fake.  You can make bouquets out of pinwheels or pearls (Pinterest, anyone?), and make it truly unique.  So, have fun with it!

Photos and bouquets by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.


    

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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“What I’d Do Differently”: Brides and Grooms Look Back at Their Weddings

Odds are that everything will turn out great on your big day, but there are some things brides and grooms wish they’d done differently looking back. Hindsight is 20/20 after all! So, we talked to past brides and grooms to see what they would have done differently. Here are their actual responses so you can learn from their experiences.

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Eat! I got so busy socializing and making sure everything was on track that I only took 2 or 3 bites.”

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[I would have] taken more pictures, especially candid shots.”

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“I worked on a lot of different craft groups, and when they heard that we were doing the wedding all ourselves, they offered to help.  I felt awkward taking them up on it since they weren’t actually on the guest list (which was primarily family).  What I didn’t understand was they truly wanted to help as a way of paying me back for the work I had done for them.  The answer to that offer should be, ‘yes, thank you!’”

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“I wish I had a day of coordinator.”

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Regarding photography, I would have the guest area far away from the photo action.  Camera happy family and friends are a distraction and you end up with many pictures of the subjects looking at different cameras instead of one perfect set. Have the shutterbugs help with candid shots of the party while you are away doing your formal shoot instead.”

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“I would have booked more than one night at our ‘night of’ hotel so we could relax.  We were absolutely exhausted after the wedding, but because we had so many out of town guests for our destination wedding, we ended up spending all our time with them up until the honeymoon, and it took too much out of us: brunches, day outings, shopping, tours, dinner parties…  The first day of our honeymoon, we ended up sleeping the whole day.”

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[I would have hired] a planner.  Not a full on wedding planner as our wedding was too small. Rather a wedding assistant- to be sure my vision of things were being implemented by those helping us and to help with clean up etc.  I was paying attention to table settings and flowers in the hours leading up to the ceremony instead of relaxing.” 

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“[More detail to the ceremony.] I’ve been to too many weddings where it was all about the reception with no real in depth thought to the wedding [ceremony] itself.”

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“I would have gone with more professional equipment instead of using what I already had.  Even though it worked out fine in the end, the stress and worry wasn’t worth it.”

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“I would have paid off my [credit] card the week before.  I’ve never gone over my credit limit – except the day of the wedding when my caterer was scheduled to charge me!  Whoops!”

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“[I’d] pay more for the photographer than the other vendors; the majority of our vendor budget went to our DJ, who was awesome, but if he hadn’t been awesome we would only be stuck with him for one night, but since we spent significantly less on our photographer we are stuck with pictures we aren’t crazy about forever!”

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“Nearly six years later… I still wish we had eloped!”

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If you can’t see rental supplies yourself (due to out of town or state wedding) have someone else look at them for you & take pictures. Or have the vendors send pictures so you know exactly what you’re getting. Confirm your orders and have someone in charge confirm they are the right item when delivered. All the food at our wedding was supposed to be in sterling silver trays with lids and burners below and they arrived in tin containers, and I didn’t find out until the reception.”

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“We had so many guests offering to help, and I should have taken them up on it more. Even assigning them the task of handling an unforeseen circumstance would have helped us a lot!”

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What I WOULD do over again: Don’t stress out & go with the flow! Even if everything isn’t exactly how you imagined it, there’s not much that can be changed in the moment and your job as a bride is to enjoy yourself with the one you love!”

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Congratulations, You’re Engaged! What’s Next?

Our proposal in Disneyland.  James had hidden cameras on tripods to capture the moment.   http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Our proposal in Disneyland. James had hidden cameras on tripods to capture the moment.
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Congratulations! You’re engaged! You’re grinning ear to ear, and you’re distracted by your sparkler all the time (stop looking at it while you’re driving!). It’s a very exciting (and tiring) time in your life, but now it all the sudden dawns on you that you have to plan a wedding, and that’s no simple task.

When James and I got engaged in Disneyland (yes, he proposed in front of the castle – he did good!), we were immediately overwhelmed by all the “congratulations” and attention we were getting. Actually, at one point, a Disneyland cast member came up to us to offer his congratulations (we were wearing the Mickey and Minnie Bridal Ears, so we were easy to spot). Though he was actually saying intelligent and clear words, we both heard the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher coming out of this guy’s mouth! We just stared at him dumbfounded until he repeated himself. We were just so tired from all the emotional excitement that our brains had completely shut down. This became especially difficult when we were immediately asked questions that we couldn’t possibly know yet – like when and where the wedding would be. Yes, you just got engaged and yet people are going to ask. So, here is a quick set of guidelines to help start the process (after you take a nap and eat some food, that is!).

Step 1: Set your budget.

Now, when I say “set your budget,” I don’t just mean your overall budget, though that’s also necessary. You need to also set your budgets for each aspect of the wedding. There’s a basic breakdown at The Knot: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget/articles/wedding-budget-101-establishing-your-budget.aspx?MsdVisit=1.

Going along with setting your budget, make sure you and your fiancé know what is most important to you. For me, it was 1, photography; 2, details; and 3, location. Each of you should have your top three important aspects chosen, so you can adjust your budget accordingly. Setting a budget now also helps pull in the reigns on your spending. My first few trips to Michael’s, I was tempted to buy all of their bridal pieces. I ended up buying some that I never used, so hold back on the spending until you know how much you can spend and on what.

Step 2: Set a basic time for your wedding.

Not the actual date, of course. That would depend on your chosen venue’s availability, but choose a basic time when you’ll be tying the knot. It can be something as simple as “in about a year” or more specific like “spring” or even a specific month, but something. This is mostly so you have something to tell people when they ask, and so you can start the preliminary planning.

Step 3: Determine where you’ll get married.

This generally happens awhile after the proposal (as opposed to the first two steps, which should be completed soon after), and that’s just fine. Talk with your fiancé, and write down a list of areas you both like (or specific venues, if you know of any). At this stage, you should also be thinking about who you’re going to invite (more on that next), and who you really want there. This is important because if you really want “Aunt Nancy” to be there (and she’s in a wheelchair), then that venue that your guests have to hike up a volcano to get to (though impressive and a bit terrifying) is probably not the best option. On the flip side of that, if you want to cut down on the guest list, having a destination wedding can be the way to go.

Step 4: Determine your basic guest list.

Every bride is going to have a massive headache over her guest list, so stock up on the Advil now. I also advise creating a “Relax” playlist that is ready to go whenever the stress becomes too much. Though it is your wedding, those around you also believe they have a say in who attends, and they will verbalize it. The sooner you know your list, the better prepared you’ll be for those moments. Think of it this way, if the venue only allows 75 people, and you already have 90 on your list, you simply cannot accommodate other invite requests. That being said, you need to also pick and choose your battles. Inviting a cousin’s new boyfriend is a small price to pay if it means you can get out of inviting the parent’s nosey and obnoxious co-worker.

Step 5: Determine what you do and don’t want.

If it’s really important that you be married in a Church, let people know early on. That way, you won’t have people suggesting that you get married elsewhere. If it’s really important to you that children are not invited, express that as well. Basically, figure out what battles you will fight for. That way, you’ll know what other areas you can compromise on. I also suggest that when telling others your feelings on these topics, that you make it clear that the decisions are final – but in a polite way. If you’re not clear on that point, people will try to change your mind.

Of course, there are a lot more steps involved in planning a wedding, but these first tips should help you get the ball rolling. Being organized and knowing what you want in the beginning will make everything go a lot smoother!

And, of course, congratulations 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 One of Three)

Let’s face it. Though a wedding is a very important day, it is just one day. Sadly, some couples spend so much on their wedding, that their savings are hit hard. There are ways to make the day great without breaking the bank though. After all, being able to afford a home someday would be nice!

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to know what aspects of the wedding are the most important to you. Those are the aspects where you should spend the money. For me, it was photography, details, and the venue that were the biggies. Photography was the number one because, besides the marriage, that’s what will last, so it better be good!

Catering

Save money by using a restaurant instead of a wedding caterer! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Save money by using a restaurant instead of a wedding caterer!
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Catering is really expensive – I mean REALLY expensive. When we were planning our wedding, I talked to several caterers and provided them with our catering budget and our overall budget for the whole wedding so that they knew what we were working with. Every single caterer came back to me with a quote that was more than our ENTIRE wedding budget! How is that right? The second they heard the food was for a wedding, their quote skyrocketed.

So, we decided to have a restaurant cater. A restaurant doesn’t care if it’s a wedding or a birthday party or a small dinner with friends – their prices remain the same. They are also a lot easier to deal with, in my opinion, because they aren’t trying to sneak in extra costs like the caterers were doing to me. You also can spend a little more to give your guests more options and yet it still comes way under the price of a wedding caterer. We used the Old Spaghetti Factory, and everyone loved the food at our wedding, and it worked out perfectly!

By going this route for our 150-person wedding, we saved around $4,300 when compared to the 2013 average for a wedding caterer.

Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses

Always check the sample rack, you may just find the one! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Always check the sample rack, you may just find the one!
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Buy special occasion dresses online rather than from a bridal store. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Buy special occasion dresses online rather than from a bridal store.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I was quite lucky when it came to my wedding dress. I love fashion, and I do feel the dress is one of those places where it’s okay to spend a little more. I’ve seen women who bought a cheap dress just because it was cheap, and they were not happy with it. That shows on their face, and this should be the happiest day of your life – so feel your best! Luckily, I found THE dress straight off the rack. It was a sample dress. The price was so low that it cost the same as my mother’s dress cost 30 years ago! So, don’t forget to check that rack – you may just find the one! As for the veil, I knew purchasing one was out of the question for me. As a seamstress myself, I’m just amazed how much money a bit of tulle can go for once it’s labeled as a “veil.” So, I made mine. Grand total cost to make it? $3. Yup, $3. That’s much nicer than the 2013 average of $128 (and they can go for a lot more than that!)

For bridesmaid dresses, I was determined to find something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s important to realize that though the wedding may be the center of your life, it is NOT the center of theirs. When I was a bridesmaid, the bride did not take into account how much each girl was spending on her. It ended up totally over $1,000 each, and that was money we didn’t really have to spend on someone else. I was determined not to do the same to my girls. Instead, I went to Amazon.com to get ideas. I ended up finding a pretty mint/turquoise dress by Ever-Pretty. The cost? $43 plus another $5 for the add-on lace.

By buying a sample dress and making my veil, I saved around $805 when compared to the average. By buying a dress online instead of an official bridesmaid dress, each girl saved around $75-$250.

Flowers

Get flowers from local stores, and assemble them yourselves! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Get flowers from local stores, and assemble them yourselves!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

I was very blessed to have a bridesmaid who is an absolute natural when it comes to all things “wedding” – including flowers. That being said, we still needed to buy them! She came up with an alternative to a florist: buying them from Costco and Whole Foods! We went with Baby’s Breath, Chamomile, Hypericum Berries, and Spray Roses. Then, she assembled them herself. They were stunning!  I also added fabric flowers that I had made.  Each had a memento from a family member.

By going this route, we saved $1,500 off the average cost of flowers.

Cake

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. 
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Like catering, cake can also be very pricey – especially if you have a multi-tiered masterpiece. We liked the idea of cupcakes better (and it’s becoming more and more popular), so we used a local bakery that is actually quite famous for the heaven that is their confectionary goodness. This way, you also don’t have to worry about cake cutting fees (which are just silly!). We also made the cake stand ourselves – or rather, my father did. He’s an expert wood-worker, so he created the perfect stand for our cupcakes.

So, by buying cupcakes and a small cutting cake instead of going the traditional route, we saved around $290 off the average cost.

 

Decorations

Beautiful gold mason jars hanging from the chairs.

Beautiful gold mason jars hanging from the chairs.

Old cameras and books as centerpieces.  Perfect for a photographer-author couple! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Cameras and books from our own collection with handmade table numbers. 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! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Handmade sign!   http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

I love crafts, and luckily, so did my bridesmaid! Between her, my mom, and I, we made most of the decorations at the wedding. The signs were all handmade by my bridesmaids using frames I had bought for cheap at garage sales. I made the props for the photo booth, my mom made the table numbers by hand, and I made the guest book online using a freebie coupon. Though not handmade, the old books and cameras that served as our centerpieces were from our own collection, so we’ll continue to display those for years to come.

By making most of the decorations, we saved around $850.

Stay tuned next week for Part Two!

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

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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