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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Wedding Day “Hacks”

There are lots of small things to think about on the big day, and those often slip through the cracks while you’re busy dealing with flowers and caterers.  Here are some simple hacks to help deal with those little things you may have forgotten!

1.  Tuck a handkerchief in the back of your bouquet.  

This way, you’ll have something to dab your eyes with when you inevitably get emotional because you’re so happy to be marrying the love of your life.  If you tuck it in, it will blend with the rest of the flowers.

2.  Stash a bag under your table at dinner.

By that time, you may be needing some touch-ups.  You can keep make-up in there, bandaids in case those cute shoes start to hurt, oil blotting papers for your face, hair pins, etc.

3.  Bring an “emergency” kit.

I never go to a wedding without one, even if I’m the photographer or just a guest.  My kit always includes a sewing kit (with thread colors that match the outfits of the bridesmaids, groom, groomsmen, and bride), floss (both for getting food out of your teeth and for extra strong thread in case of a big sewing emergency), oil blotting papers, deodorant, hair spray, lint roller, static cling spray, and mints.  I use the travel section of Target to re-stock it.  For the most part, you can keep this in the “getting ready” room or in the car in case it’s needed.

4.  Use an Anti-Chafing Stick between your thighs and/or wear Spanx.

You are going to be sweating under that dress (ah the joys of Polyester!), so make sure your thighs can’t chafe.  It puts a damper on things when each step is painful.

5.  Choose a garter that can’t ride or roll up.

If the garter can roll up and scratch your thighs, it will create the same problem as above.  Make sure to choose wisely.

6.  Get a travel cup with a straw for getting ready.

Most of us don’t want to eat or drink before the wedding for various reasons, but if you get dehydrated, that can lead to serious problems.  One of my bridesmaids assigned herself the job of “watering the bride.”  So, she made me a cute travel mason jar mug that said “Bride” on it, and filled it with water.  Even if you don’t want to, push yourself to take little sips periodically to ensure you’re hydrated.  Using a straw will help keep your lipstick intact.

7.  Eat smart the day before.

We all want to eat lavishly at our rehearsal dinner, but if you eat something too rich, you could be sick the next day.  This is especially true of anyone who is lactose intolerant or has IBS.  Thus, you have to be smart about what you eat the day before.  Make sure it’s not too fatty or particularly large.  If you’ve had problems with a certain kind of food, avoid that at all costs the day before and the day of your wedding.

8.  Assign a bridesmaid to grab you an appetizer plate for in between photographs.

You probably won’t eat a lot prior to the wedding, so having a plate of appetizers to eat in between taking photographs is wonderful.  Just make sure she checks your teeth before you jump back in for another photograph!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

9.  Pack an “after the wedding” to-go dinner.

Most brides and grooms find they can’t eat much at the reception (tight dress, talking with guests, nerves, etc), so you may find yourself starving later that night.  Ask for a to-go dinner that you two can enjoy later that night.  We did this for after our wedding, and food has never tasted as good as it did then!

10.  “Contact anyone on the day of the wedding, except the bride!”

The day of your wedding, you should not be having to answer any calls.  So, create a contact list for your wedding party with the names and phone numbers of who they should contact for specific issues.  Make sure to include your vendor contacts as well.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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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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How to Transform Your Old Bridesmaid Dresses!

“And the best part is you could just shorten it, and wear it again.” Whether it was in the movie 27 Dresses or a bride has said these words to you, we’ve all heard this line. Maybe we’ve even believed it. But, did we actually shorten it and wear it again? Most likely not.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a bridesmaid, I spent $280 on the dress. Back in 2012, that was the most expensive dress I had ever bought, and I could only wear it once! Until now, it has sat in the closet everyday since.

So, what can you do with the dress (without throwing all that money down the toilet)? Well, you could donate it or you could trash it, but neither of those options make the money you shelled out for it really worth it. Instead, why not alter the dress to fit your style?

I loved the top of this dress, but I knew I was not going to wear a floor-length number like this again. Even shortening it wasn’t enough for me – it would just look like a short bridesmaid dress! So, I decided my alteration would keep the top as-is while altering the bottom. I knew I wanted it to be a short dress – with a satin strapless top, a floor-length would look too fancy no matter what fabric I chose. To really keep the look as anti-bridesmaid as possible, I looked for a geometric pattern, and I found this blue and white chevron, which I loved.

To alter the dress, I first cut it short. The blue and white fabric needed lining, so I used the actual dress underneath to serve that purpose. Then, I cut out the blue and white fabric into a wider A-line, and sewed the sides together. Next, I carefully pinned the top fabric into place under the waistband of the original dress and along the zipper down the back. Once that was done, I simply sewed it into place! It only took around 2 hours for my un-useable bridesmaid dress to become something I’d actually WANT to wear!  It’s great as a party dress, and you can even add a little sweater to make it more casual.  A MUCH better alternative to keeping your old bridesmaid dress in the closet (or worse, in the trash)!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Our Bohemian Sunset Inspirational Styled Shoot

We had the pleasure of getting to photograph a blonde beauty on the side of a stunning hill at sunset: ingredients for a great shoot! Of course, there’s a lot of work that goes into the planning and styling, but it was all a blast to do. Here are some behind the scenes shots and a sneak peek at the finished photos. For more, visit our portfolio!

Fun with the flowers!  It’s always good to take a moment to smell the roses!  We created the floral creations from flowers found at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  They were so bright!

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We started at the parking lot of Russian Ridge, and hiked up the hill to our location.  Our model, Erin, was such a trooper.  She hiked up in the dress and changed shoes whenever we stopped to shoot!

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I wanted the dress to be unique, so I cut appliqués from lace and sewed them on by hand to create the effect.  What do you think?

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Even when being goofy, she’s still stunning!

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Smiles at the end of the shoot!

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And, here’s a sneak peek of the final photos:

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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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How to Pose for Photos

They say the camera adds 10 pounds, so let’s figure out how to lose those 10 and then some! While at my Bachelorette Party at Disneyland, the girls and I were constantly trying to correct our poses to look the best we could. It was Dapper Day, and since we were dressed up to the nines, we wanted these pictures to turn out the best they could. I remember having a conversation with my cousin about it, and we agreed to help pose each other. In truth, posing is not easy, and it takes lots of practice to finally be able to do it without thinking. However, if you know some basic tips, you can start posing better right away!  The tips below work for either gender (with the exception of a few), but it’s mostly geared towards women.

Posing is not natural, and it can be uncomfortable.

It’s not natural at all. I’ve often joked that if a pose feels really awkward and painful, it probably looks great. Now, that’s not always true, but it can be true more often than not. Posing is an exaggerated form of your natural stances, so it requires you to pay attention to your body more and twist and turn and arch in ways that sometimes feel awkward.

Don’t slouch.

Yes, the lesson your mother has been teaching you since childhood applies here too. Slouching looks bad – and not just on camera!

Relax your forehead muscles.

If you aren’t going for a goofy photo (I love goofy photos, personally, but there is a time and place for them), then relax your eyebrows and forehead. Otherwise, the wrinkles will be obvious.

Bring your face forward.

This is a big way to make your photos look better. Bring your head, as a whole, closer to the camera. Your chin should still be level with the ground, so it’s your neck that is doing all the work. From the side, you’ll probably look like a turtle, but straight on (so, for the camera), it’ll look great. Plus, this gets rid of the dreaded “double chin” look. You can also try tilting your head slightly. This lets your hair hang more freely (if you have long hair).

Leave space around your waist.

You want to emphasize your waist in photographs and the best way to do this is to leave space between your arms and the waist. Putting your hands on your hips is a good way to do this. Or, you can just lift your arms away from the waist slightly as they hang down. Space should be left on both sides.  If you have your arms against your side, your body loses its shape.  This is true for men too.

Twist your waist, but not your chest (as much).

It kind of sounds like we’re becoming contortionists here, huh? If you can twist at the waist so your bottom half is at an angle (so, the camera sees a 45 degree angle of the bottom half) and keep the chest relatively straight on (but not perfectly), your waist and legs will look thinner.

Rotate the shoulders and relax them.

This may sound impossible, but it is doable. This is why your chest shouldn’t be perfectly straight on. Having your shoulders twisted slightly will make them look more shapely, but if they are stressed and raised, your neck will be shortened. So, twist and lower your shoulders into a relaxed state even though it may not feel relaxed at all!

Lean forward slightly from your waist.

This technique will make your legs smaller and be more engaging if a full body shot, and more engaging if it’s a close-up headshot.  However, if you do it too much, or if you already have broad shoulders, it won’t look great. Try some pictures leaning forward and some without to see which works best for your body.  This technique will also make men look like they have a slightly larger chest.

Put one leg just in front of the other, but close together.

Think of a ballerina’s stance. This makes your legs and thighs appear to be thinner. And point the toes towards the camera. If they point out to the side, they can look like clown shoes.  This technique is more for women than for men, but they can still do this pose in a wider stance.

Arch your back.

If you’re sitting in a chair or have your arm around someone, arch your back. I’m the first to admit that this is not the most comfortable position, but it looks better for the camera. I’ve used this technique at our wedding while posing in wooden sunglasses, and it worked great.  This is primarily a pose for women.

Keep your nose on your face.

At least, as the camera sees it. This may take the photographer guiding you or just practice in the mirror, but you shouldn’t turn your head so much to the side that your nose’s shape is clearly defined since it’s outlined by the background. To put it another way, the nose shouldn’t be at a 90 degree angle from the camera. When you look at the resulting image, the nose should be completely surrounded by your face, not by the background.

For the bouquet shot, lower the bouquet.

For the classic shot of your bouquet, the photographers tend to photograph you straight on. Make sure your bouquet is not held right up to your bust, but rather have your hands below your natural waistline. This will allow the photo to show details of the dress, and it will keep your arms looking more natural (instead of showing off pointy elbows like when the bouquet is held higher). Again, make sure there is space between your arm and your waistline on both sides.

For the ring shot, relax the hands.

Think of it like posing for a Dove soap commercial. Your hands should be slightly limp, and fingers should be mostly straight (but relaxed). This will make your fingers, nails, and (of course) the rings better.  Men can do a more firm stance with their hands (such as being the one to wrap their hand around the lady’s), but a relaxed look is great too.

I understand that learning to pose properly can sound daunting (and uncomfortable), but with a little bit of practice, it is possible to pick it up quickly. Try each tip individually prior to combining them. That way, it’ll be less complex. Also, these are just guidelines.  I’ve seen plenty of photos that I found to be spectacular that were not the epitome of perfect posing.  That’s why it’s good to play around with these tips and see what works for your body and what doesn’t.  That way, you’ll know the perfect pose for your own body.  And, most importantly, have fun!  A person having a good time is the most photographic of all!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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Valentine’s Day is this weekend, and whether it’s the first with your sweetheart, the year that he might just pop the big question, or a holiday that you and your honey have had almost every year together, it should be special. So, we decided to create a table setting to give your meal a little extra romance! We’ll leave the cooking up to you though!

The color red is always a typical Valentine’s color, but we decided to add in some champagne, gold, and green as well to give it a bit more class. The red is also a darker red, which we like better than the bright red and purple we tend to find in the store. Actually, the plates and decorations are mainly all gold and champagne, so the red is brought in through the flowers alone. You don’t need to have a lavish floral display to impress. Here, we just used loose flowers bought from Safeway amongst the candles to create this relaxed yet classy look. It’s much easier than getting the floral tape and Styrofoam and taking hours to design an over-the-top centerpiece, and it looks just as nice.

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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For the wine glasses, we wanted something special, so I created something specifically for this date night. Those started off as plain, clear champagne flutes. First, I taped off the diagonal line on the top of the glass, and mixed Mod Podge with gold glitter. Just use a brush to paint it on. I recommend a few coats. By mixing the glitter into the glue, the glitter will not come off at all. It’ll also be relatively smooth to the touch. It’s the best way to apply glitter, in my opinion. My husband, James, hates loose glitter with a passion, so he’ll only use it if the glitter won’t come off. Next, tape off the top of the flute, including the glittered portion, and use gold spray paint on the rest of the glass. I found Krylon’s gold spray paint to work best.

How to make fancy champagne flutes ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

How to make fancy champagne flutes
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Since I had so much fun transforming everyday objects with gold spray paint, I did a run to the Dollar Store, and found a simple glass candlestick and a round vase that reminded me of a fish bowl. I spray painted the bowl and glued it to the top of the candlestick with glass glue (and I added gold glitter inside the candlestick to give it a little extra glitz). Leave the bottom of the bowl unsprayed, though, in order to ensure a good hold for the glue. This made it look like an old-fashioned lamp, so I added a candle inside, and used it in the center of our table.

A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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A Valentine's Table Setting Inspiration ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration
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With just a little bit of creativity, you can make the perfect setting for you and your sweetie without spending a lot of money.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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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.
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

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.
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

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!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

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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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

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

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

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

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

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part One!

Invitations and Other Paper

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called “light painting.”
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I was lucky to have such crafty people help me for our wedding. For invitations, I had a fantastic card-maker ready to make them for me – my mother! I come from a very crafty family, if you couldn’t tell already! My mom and I worked on the design of the invitations together, and then she made each by hand. This is a bit of a long process to be sure, but they came out beautifully. She also made my shower invitations even though friends hosted the event. She also made simple “reserved” signs for our front row. For the Save-the-Dates, my husband and I took point on those. We did a nighttime long-exposure shot that utilized a technique called “light painting.” We did the photography ourselves (it’s our job after all!) and I designed the final product around the image. I had them printed at Costco. By using these techniques, we saved around $450.

Ring Pillow

Use an object you already own as the ring bearer pillow. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Use an object you already own as the ring bearer pillow.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I think the ring pillow is a place where you can let your imagination really come out. James, my husband, actually came up with the idea to use an object we already owned that had special meaning for us. Since we had gotten engaged in Disneyland, and we had gotten Mickey and Minnie wedding ears to commemorate the occasion, we decided to tie the rings to his Groom Mickey Ears. It was adorable on its own, but to make it even better, our ringbearer ran down the aisle waving the ears behind him! It was so cute. By going this route, we saved around $45.  

Venue

Find a venue that isn't well-known for weddings. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Find a venue that isn’t well-known for weddings.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Odds are, you are going to spend a good chunk of your budget here, and it’s one of the places where you should if you want a specific look. It was very important for us to be outdoors in an area that we both loved. We had previous connections to the Rengstorff House, and we loved the grounds, so we went for it. They do quite a few weddings there, but it’s not well-known for being a wedding venue. That kept their cost down, so they were pretty reasonable. If you go with this particular venue (or any that does not have sufficient lighting), just note that you will have to buy twice as many hours as your event to allow for set-up and break-down of lighting. Of course, if you or your fiancé have a nice big property available to use for free, go for it, and save even more! By going with a venue that wasn’t known for weddings, we saved around $200 off the 2013 average for venues (their national average venue cost is listed as $1,993, which seems quite low to me – at least for the Bay Area, California, so this is an underestimation of what it saved us).

Officiant

Have a friend officiate! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Have a friend officiate!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

In some venues, an officiant may be assigned to you – like at a Church. However, we weren’t able to have a priest due to rules about being married outside. So, we decided on using a friend of ours as the officiant. He did such a great job, and he really cares about us, which made it much more special. He got “ordained” online for free, and then we gave him a gift as a thank you. So, we saved around $150 here.

Planner

Talk with your friends - some may love party planning! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

Talk with your friends – some may love party planning!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

As I mentioned earlier, one of our bridesmaids was a born planner, so she handled this role for us. We did get her nice gifts as a thank you, but even with that cost, going this route saved a lot. I worried that it was too much work for her, but luckily, she loved it! Check with your friends and see if any love planning parties. By using a friend, we saved around $1,600.  

Stay tuned next week for the conclusion, Part Three!

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

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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