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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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.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

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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A Valentine’s Table Setting Inspiration

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

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

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
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

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
ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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.

Make sure to follow us on Pinterest and Facebook.