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 Timelines

I’ve seen that one area of difficulty for a planning bride is how to create a timeline and what comes when.  It varies from religion to religion and culture to culture, but here are the basics so you can create your timeline!

Let’s start at noon:

12:00-3:00pmSet-up

  • This will depend on your decorum and your rental company, but some need 3 hours to set up all tables, chairs, lighting, and decorations.  Talk with your rental company (or venue, if they are handling it) about how much time they need.

3:00-4:00pmGetting Ready

  • An hour may seem like a lot, but if you need hair and make-up and to get in your dress, an hour is a good idea.  Plus, you’ll be followed by your photographers during this time as well as your bridesmaids as they get ready.  If you just need to get in your dress, you can cut down this time.  If you want posed photos or a “First Look” prior to the ceremony, add an hour after getting ready for that.

4:00-4:30pmCeremony

  • Ceremony lengths vary.  We’ve seen 5 minutes, we’ve seen half an hour, and we’ve seen a full hour-long mass.  For the purposes of this timeline, we’ll assign it to half an hour.

4:30-5:30pmCocktail Hours and PhotosEJ17WM

  • It’s always a good idea to allow an hour for posed photos.  This will (hopefully) take you away from your guests, so this hour is a good time for them to mingle, grab appetizers and a drink, and sign your guestbook.  We recommend having the cocktail hour in a separate location from where you are taking your photographs.  Otherwise, you’ll get curious guests mingling around you and potentially disrupting the photos.

5:30pmAnnouncement of Couple and First Dance

  • Once you finish with your photos, it’s time to greet your guests as husband and wife.  Generally, your DJ or a bridesmaid/groomsman will announce you so you can enter the party formally.  Many couples follow this announcement with their first dance and then go straight into dinner.  Others choose to hold off on the first dance until after dinner.

5:30-6:30pmDinner & Toasts

  • Even with the appetizers, your guests will be hungry – though probably not nearly as hungry as the two of you will be!  So, this is a good time for dinner.  Toasts can happen before dinner or towards the tail end of everyone eating.

6:00-7:00pmGolden HourJAH_6882WM

  • This is just an estimate, but if you want to shoot at Golden Hour (the hour just before sunset when the sun is low and there is a golden glow over everything), then check to see when sunset is, and schedule the photos for the hour approaching sunset.  These photos are best if it is just the two of you.  Everyone else can finish up dinner, while you take some shots in this magical glow.

6:30/7:00pmFirst Dances

  • If you haven’t had your first dance yet, have it now.  That’s followed by the Father-Daughter Dance.  If you wish to have a Mother-Groom Dance, you can do that with the Father-Daughter or just after.  My personal feeling is that each dance should be kept separate in order to give each couple their own special time.  If you wish to do a Money Dance, this is a good last dance of the “First Dances” because it can lead into everyone dancing.  After the first dances, it’s a good idea to ask your DJ to announce free-for-all dancing.

7:30-8:30pmDancing

  • Dance the night away!

8:30-9:00pmBouquet, Garter, Cake Cutting

  • About an hour into dancing, it’s a good idea to switch gears to the bouquet toss and garter toss (if you are having this event).  For our wedding, we used the song “Single Ladies” as a transition and had it announced that all the single ladies come to the dance floor for the bouquet toss.  Then, you can go straight from that to cake cutting.  You don’t want to wait too late to cut the cake because some guests will want to retire early.  Once that’s done, start the music again, and let the party continue!

9:30-10:30Dancing

  • More dancing!

10:30-12:30Breakdown

  • This may need to be longer, so again, talk with your rental company or venue.

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Photography by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography


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Necklace or No Necklace?

When planning our wedding, I remember being torn as to what necklace to wear.  At the time, it had never crossed my mind not to wear one.  So, I bought several possibilities, put on the dress, and tried one after another after another.  As excited as I was to have an excuse to buy sparkly jewelry, I wasn’t loving any of the necklaces with the dress.  Each and every option ended up going back to the store.

A little while later, I sat with my bridesmaid and wedding planner, Hayley.  I told her about the necklaces and how none had worked.  I asked her what she thought.

“I don’t think you should wear a necklace at all,” she laughed.  “With your beautiful dress, a bare neck will look a lot more elegant.”  Wow.  It was like a light bulb turning on.  I had the option not to wear a necklace.  I fought it for quite awhile after that, but in the end, she was absolutely right. A bare neck was a lot more elegant.

Of course, my choice won’t be the best for everyone, so let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Necklaces are pretty and can really dress up a plain gown.
  • It’s a way to bring in personality, whether that’s by bringing in some sparkle or by introducing a new, bold color.
  • It can easily be your something new or borrowed or even blue.
  • It can cover up any scars or beauty marks on your neck

Cons

  • It can detract from the gown.
  • It can shift and not lay right, which doesn’t look good in photos
  • It’s one more thing to buy or find.
  • It’s one more thing you may need to constantly adjust.

Here are some inspiration photos to help you make up your mind!

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Photography by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography


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Wedding Etiquette Breakdown

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Who knew there were so many rules when it came to weddings?  I never knew how many there really were until I was a bride myself.  It can be hard to keep track of for sure.  So, here’s a quick breakdown for you!

Announcing the Engagement

Make sure to call everyone close to you to notify them about the engagement prior to putting it on Facebook.  It’s very hurtful when a close friend or family member gets engaged and you find out on Facebook, not from the person directly (and I know from personal experience!).

Engagement Party Gifts

Simple answer: they are not required.

Rehearsal Dinners

This is up to the groom’s family to plan, host, and pay for.  Though the bride and groom can certainly give input, they should not help plan it as they have enough on their plate.  Likewise, guests with questions should go to the groom’s parents with them.  An invitation for the dinner is needed, but it can be as simple as an emailed notice of the event – just something so the guests know where to go and when.  Generally, the bridal party and their dates (along with the parents of the couple) are the guests to this event.

Invites & Save the Dateshttp://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Save the Dates should be sent to people on your “A” list (i.e. people you really want to come), but not necessarily the full list (and do not send out more than your max capacity).  They should be sent out about 6 months prior and should include the wedding date and at least the city and state of the wedding.

Invites should be sent out to everyone on your “A” list (which should match your top number of guests) approximately 6-8 weeks before the wedding.  If it’s a destination wedding, feel free to send those out sooner.  It should include the date, the exact location, the time of the ceremony, and a way to RSVP.  This could be in the form of an RSVP card or a link to a website where they can learn more about the wedding and RSVP there.  And guests, RSVP as soon as you can.  Do not wait until the deadline, and above all, do not send it in late.

Brides and grooms, offering guests a “plus one” option is not mandatory, so you can choose if you wish to allow guests that option or not.  Weddings are certainly expensive enough without a plus one, so it’s fine if you choose not to offer it.  If you are okay adding some “plus ones,” but you want to put a limit on it, reserve those for guests who won’t know anyone else besides you.  Also, if you know someone can’t come, you should still send them an invite anyway (unless they’ve asked you not to).  Otherwise, they could feel offended.  It’s best to include a note with the invite that explains you know they can’t come but wanted them to have a copy of the invitation as a keepsake.

If the bride’s parents helped pay for the wedding, the wording should begin with both of the bride’s parents’ names followed by “request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter” (or something similar) followed by the bride’s name and then the groom’s.  If the couple paid for the wedding on their own, the wording should begin with the bride and groom’s name followed by “request the honor of your presence at their wedding.”  If both sets of parents helped out financially, the wording should begin with the bride and groom’s named followed by “and their parents request the honor of your presence at their wedding.”  Of course, these are just guidelines, and they can definitely be altered to fit what you want to show on the invite!

Giftshttp://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Gifts are typically given for bridal showers and the wedding itself.  How much to spend really depends on the guest’s budget, and they may choose to make something versus buy if that’s easier.  Typically, guests tend to spend around $100 a gift on weddings, and they can spend around $50 on shower gifts, but again, this is entirely up to the guest and what they are comfortable with.  It is best to stick to the wedding registry when choosing gifts, but a sentimental or handmade gift is also appreciated.

Brides should send out thank you notes as soon as possible, but the general rule is that they have one month to send out thank you notes from the time the gift was received.  In the note, it’s a good idea to mention what the gift was (i.e. “We love the gravy boat!”) so it’s personalized.  Also, it’s good to have them handwritten (I know, I wasn’t a fan of this one either because my handwriting is horrible) and both the bride and groom should sign it.

Guests, if you are writing a check to the couple, make sure to check if they have a joint account.  If they don’t, and you write the check out to both of them, they’ll have to go down to the bank and open a joint before they can cash or deposit it.  When in doubt, put the check in one name only.

Brides, you may get the majority of the gifts, but you still have some to give.  Brides give gifts to their parents, their bridesmaids, the groom, and anyone else who really helped out.  Grooms do the same on their side.

The Dress

A virgin wears white right?  Wrong.  I’m not sure how the old tradition got switched from wearing a veil to wearing white, but for some reason, most now believe the sign of purity is wearing all white.  Fashions have changed though.  Now, wearing a non-white dress is becoming more and more popular since not everyone looks their best in white – and those color dresses can be absolutely stunning!  Sometimes, a veil doesn’t go with the bride’s overall look.  Sometimes, the dress isn’t white.  And that’s absolutely fine.  As the bride, you should wear what makes you feel beautiful.  So, guests, make sure you never comment negatively about the fact that the bride chose a color other than white or decided not to wear a veil.  Nowadays, it really has nothing to do with “purity” just with beauty.

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Bar

Alcohol can be a wild card to throw into the mix, so always make sure to discuss with your partner as to what you’d like to do.  The typical options are to have no alcohol at all, just wine and champagne, or a full bar.  If having no alcohol, make sure that is noted on the invite, or better yet, on the wedding website.  Some guests may choose not to come if alcohol is not served.  If you’re just having wine and champagne, you can limit how much guests drink by having your caterers provide one glass to each guest.  You don’t have to note this on the invite or wedding website, but you certainly can.  If having a full bar, it’s generally expected that it will be an open bar (i.e. free), and that guests can come back as many times as they want.  For any alcohol, you will need to talk to your venue about a liquor license (this is generally passed onto the bride and groom to pay for). Oh, and guests, do remember there are photographers there taking pictures!

Guest Attire

The look and feel of the invitation generally lets people know the style of the wedding, and thus what is appropriate to wear.  It may not specifically state the attire, but if it’s an evening ballroom wedding, you can expect to dress up a bit fancier.  On the other hand, an outdoor garden wedding would be a perfect place to wear a nice sundress.  Of course, there are some rules that guests should abide by.  Read more about which rules matter on a past blog post, Wedding Guest Attire Rules: Brides Tell Us What Rules They Do and Don’t Care About.  It’s always nice to let guests know the attire on the wedding website if you can though.  This is especially true if it’s a themed wedding or if you have a very specific style you’d like guests to match.

Behavior

You’d think it goes without saying that you should always be on your best behavior at a wedding (regardless of your role), but sadly, some people do need reminding (check YouTube for examples).  That’s not to say you can’t let loose and have some fun, though!  Just know when to sit quietly and when to party.

As far as taking pictures during the ceremony goes, take your cue from the couple.  If there are no signs saying you can’t, and the officiant doesn’t request that phones and cameras are put away, then you can take pictures.  Just make sure flash is off and don’t reach your camera over your head or in the aisle to get the shot – you may just block the professional photographer!

Bridesmaid Duties and Who Hosts the Bridal Showerhttp://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

To learn more about bridesmaid duties, visit our past post here: Bridesmaid Protocol: What to Expect As a Bridesmaid, and What Brides Should Know.

Who Pays for What

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, the marriage license, the officiant fees, the bride’s bouquet, the boutonnieres and the corsages, and even sometimes the honeymoon.  The bridesmaids handle their own attire, as do the groomsmen, and the couple pays for the rings.  So that means, the bride and her family would handle the rest (short end of the stick there, huh?).  That being said, things have changed, and brides and grooms are paying for a lot more than before.  That being said, if it’s your child, you should be pitching in some places, and not just the bare minimum.  If you can’t do that financially, then find ways to contribute your time to help take the pressure off the others.

Last names

Some women keep their maiden names.  Some hyphenate.  Some take their husband’s last name.  All are fine!!  It’s up to the bride as to what is best for her.

Social Media

Weddings are wonderful, but they are also incredibly stressful.  With stress comes tension and frustrations.  These are natural, but there is a time and a place to express that frustration – it’s not on social media.

Good luck!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Bridal Outfits Besides “The” Dress

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Every woman knows about looking for the dress, but there are several other outfits that the bride needs apart from that.  Now, these could be outfits you already have, or it could be a fun excuse to go shopping!

Bridal Shower

If you’re having a bridal shower, you’ll need a dress (and more than one if you’re having multiple showers!).  Wear what you feel good in, but don’t over-dress.  This is the time for shorter dresses or maxi dresses, not ball gowns.

Bachelorette

It really depends on your plans as to what is appropriate here.  It could be a club dress or even pjs!

Traveling to Venue

This can be jeans and a “bride” t-shirt or a button up blouse.  Just note that you need to be able to get the shirt off over your just-done-at-the-salon hair.  So, a button-up or a large neck is the way to go.

Getting Ready

Generally, this includes a robe and your undergarments so you don’t mess up your hair and make-up going from that to the dress.

Reception

This outfit is optional, but some women would like to get married in a ball gown, but party the night away in a slimmer dress. If that sounds like what you’d like to do, a reception dress is needed.  It’s usually also white (or ivory) but easier to move in.  Sometimes it’s shorter or a sheath fit, but it’s up to the bride.

Going Away

This too is optional.  If you can travel in your wedding dress to the hotel, then go for it!  If you’d like to change, a going away outfit will be needed.

Night of

As someone who opened a shower gift containing a negligee in front of all of her female family members and friends (and proceeded to turn bright red when I held it up trying to figure out what it was – I was the last to figure it out), I can tell you from experience that it’s generally assumed that the bride will wear nicer pajamas the night of her wedding.  That means a nice nightgown or negligee or sexy lingerie.  What you wear (and are comfortable with) is entirely up to you.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Behind the Photo: San Francisco Classical Elegance Shoot

We recently had a great shoot at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.  We had beautiful weather, and the fog cleared up just in time for our shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge.  It made for some great photos!  You can see a sneak peek at the shoot in this post, but one thing I’ve always been fascinated by is the behind-the scenes stories.  So, I thought we’d share some of ours!!

We started across from the Palace so we could get wide shots with our models.

We started across from the Palace so we could get wide shots with our models.  While taking those shots, we kept seeing a huge fish jumping out of the water.  We’re still not sure what kind of fish it was!

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For these shots, we had to lay on the ground to get both them and the dome in the shot.  Not the most glamorous pose, but you do what you gotta do!  Well, while I was laying on the ground shooting away, a tourist walked up to me and took a picture of me with his point and shoot and hurried off.  I’m sure I looked pretty comical on the ground, but with the gorgeous architecture around us (and two stunning models), I’m still not quite sure how I managed to win the honor of being the subject of the photo.  Anyway, if you happen to see a picture of a girl laying on the gravel ground wearing gray pants, black wedges, a tan chevron shirt, a black backpack, and a camera in hand – looking both a bit confused and a bit perturbed – that was me.  If you see it on the web, send it my way!

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For these stunning shots, we traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge, and up the Marin Headlands.  It was REALLY cold and windy up there, but those two were troopers.  We gathered our gear and hiked up to the shooting location in the dark.  We told them they could wear coats in the photo, but being the great sports that they were, they decided against wearing the coats and instead huddled together for warmth.  The pose was so cute that we asked them to keep it for the long exposure, and we love the result.  We were all frozen by the time we were done (mostly them – James and I wore coats), and we gathered up the gear and started our hike down.  We came across a GIANT ant that was a couple of inches long.  I’m sure it wasn’t actually an ant, but it certainly looked like it!  Ick!

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And, as is now tradition, we took our classic selfie shot!

Check out more shots on our website!

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Photography by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography


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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


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The Wedding Night

ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/Everytime I think about this topic, I just think of that “let’s talk about sex” song.  It can definitely be an uneasy topic.  Of course, the one thing everyone assumes will happen the night of the wedding is a consummation of the vows, aka sex.  Oddly enough though, that’s often what doesn’t happen.

A good friend of ours says it best as he tells the story of his wedding night: “I carried her across the threshold and into the bedroom.  I carefully unzipped her dress and slid it off her body…. And then we went to sleep.”  The truth of the matter is that you’re often exhausted that night.  It’s the culmination of a year or so of planning and stress, a full day of being styled and prepped and dressed to the nines, smiling and visiting with others, dancing the night away, barely eating, and a whole lot of emotion!  You’ll be lucky to even make it to the hotel room let alone have energy for amorous activities.  That being said, you definitely can manage to do it all, but it might take an extra cup of coffee!

After our wedding and at the hotel, my husband quickly broke out the take home containers that held our second dinner as I pulled the bobby pins out of my hair, counting each one as I did (32 – surprisingly, it fell short of my record of 52).  We quickly realized that we were missing something – utensils!!  My husband, ever the MacGyver, took out his pocket knife and two empty water bottles and cut off the tops to make two scoopers that we could shovel the food into our mouths with.  It was so much fun!  I love that we forgot utensils so we would have that fun memory forever.  We then proceeded to watch the end of The Time Machine. Yes, the part with the creepy underground dwellers and Jeremy Irons looking absolutely terrifying.  Still, in an odd way, it was relaxing to just watch a movie and know our wedding planning stress was all behind us.

Even if you do plan to do, uh, something, I recommend at least taking a breather first, but it’s not critical for it to be that night either.  Whatever you both choose to do that night is fine as long as it’s about the two of you, together, starting your marriage.  Just don’t be too disappointed if those plans change at the last minute.  After all, you two have the rest of your lives for that.  😉


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Alternatives to Wild Bachelor(ette) Parties

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/The first word that comes to my mind when I hear about a bachelor or bachelorette party is “debauchery.”  And that scares me. My interests are far from anything close to that word.  In college while everyone else was out drinking, I was in my dorm room writing.  Yes, I was a weird college student, but I never drank, and the party scene didn’t interest me then and it still doesn’t now.  Still, in this society, if we are going to a bachelor or bachelorette party, we’re expected to understand that it will be a wild night that we should partake in.  I couldn’t disagree with this social norm more!  The idea behind these “stag” parties was to have one more wild night before you’re “locked in.”  This has never made sense to me.  To me, a night of debauchery sounds like someone trying to escape their life, but an upcoming wedding means the person is about to start a life with the one he/she loves.  That’s not being trapped or locked in.  That’s incredibly exciting!  For me, I had no desire to have “one last wild night.”  Any fun times I had I wanted to share with my fiancé, now husband.

James & Angela's Bachelor(ette) Disneyland Trip

James & Angela’s Bachelor(ette) Disneyland Trip (Angela is in the black and white dress, James is on the far right).  Photo taken by a kind passerby!

So, what did we do for our bachelor and bachelorette parties?  We had a joint party in Disneyland with our friends!  It was an absolute blast too.  We went for Dapper Day, and we all dressed the part.  It was such a great trip, and we were surrounded by friends who also preferred this idea as opposed to a wild night.  Our trip was so much fun that it was even featured on MiceChat!

Let’s look at non-debauchery options that will make your bachelor or bachelorette party truly fun!

A fancy night out

How about a nice dinner followed by the theatre?  Or going out dancing?  Dress to the nine’s and have a classy evening out with friends!

Head to Laser Tag!

Try a day of fun activities: mini golf, laser tag, bowling, go-cart racing, a drive-in movie theatre…  Find something fun you’ve always wanted to do and go for it!  I once attended a Laser Tag bachelorette party complete with dinner and dessert at a nearby restaurant, and it was a complete blast (literally)!

Go to a theme park

Disneyland anyone?  Yes, please!

Have a relaxing spa day

Grab your girlfriends and head to the spa.  Wedding planning is a stressful time anyway, so what better time to have a day of relaxation?

Go camping

If you’re into the outdoors, a camping trip is a great way to celebrate a bachelor/bachelorette party.  Plus, it’s an inexpensive way to have a full weekend trip away.  Make sure to bring plenty of s’mores makings!

Have a craft day

Enjoy crafts?  Make a day of it!  You can even work on wedding day crafts if you want to.

Go to afternoon tea

I love the idea of a girly tea for a bachelorette party.  Make sure to dress up!

Go paint-balling

Bachelor and bachelorette parties can still get a little wild without debauchery.  Plus, it’s a great way to let loose!

Have a slumber party

Yes, a good ole-fashioned slumber party complete with pjs, ice cream sundaes, and The Breakfast Club.

Does your wedding coincide with an event?  Use that!

Comi-Con?  Go as a group!  Halloween?  Go to the cornfield maze!

Go to the beach!

A day is the beach is always fun.  Have a big group barbecue or bonfire!

As long as it’s a day that will be fun for you and your guests, that’s all that matters!

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ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography


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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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The Guest List: How to Say “No”

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/One of the biggest headaches when getting married is the dreaded guest list.  In the beginning, you think it’ll be easy – just add family and friends, and done!  Right?  Wrong!  That’s before your mother gets involved, your mother-in-law gets involved, your cousin gets involved, and your bridesmaid gets involved.  “Not their call,” you may say, and you’d be right.  But, sadly, unsolicited advice is a common occurrence in life, but it’s REALLY common during wedding planning.  So, how do you deal with disputes that arise?

First thing’s first.  Pick and choose your battles.  A new boyfriend who is on the shy side is a safer bet than a likes-to-get-drunk-at-all-social-events co-worker.  You can’t fight and win all battles, so choose wisely making sure to keep in mind who the request is coming from and how both you and your fiancé feel about having that guest there.  If acceptable, invite those guests with a smile.  Then, it’s time to deal with the guests you don’t want to invite.  Here are the typical ones that will come up and some ideas for how to diffuse the tension and get the wanna-be-guest (or guest’s sponsor) off your back.  These are just suggestions though (and mostly untested), so always use your best judgement when coming up with your tailored response.  The final words need to be your own, and I find it best to keep it short.  After all, you know the person and the situation!

1.  Your Boss

Sure.  He/she may pay your salary, but weddings are personal.  As we all know, they are called “Personal Days” for a reason.  Your work is a different world than your personal one, so if you aren’t all buddy-buddy with your boss, you do not have to invite him/her.  So, how to dodge the question if it comes up?

Try:  “We’re limited on space and budget, so we have to stick to family and close friends.”

Or:  “We’d love to invite you, but then we’d feel obligated to invite the whole office and my fiancé’s co-workers too, and that’s too much.  So, we had to limit it to friends and family only.”

2.  A Guest’s New Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Every bride hates this one.  Here you are paying an arm and a leg for the wedding, and a guest wants his/her new fling invited without any thought as to how much more it will cost you.  Well, if he/she is a new flame, it’s not that serious.  So, if space is tight, you don’t have to extend an invitation to the significant other (or give the guest a plus one).  Now, if the couple has been together a significant amount of time (say, 6 months or more at the time of the invite – and especially if they’ve been together longer than you and your fiancé), then he/she should be invited.  Same goes if the guest has a significant role in the wedding (bridesmaid, groomsman, reader, officiant, etc).  If neither of those are applicable and space is tight, here’s how to handle that one.

“I’d love to invite him/her, but we just don’t have the space or budget to accommodate all the extra guests that we’ve been asked to invite.  Plus, he/she doesn’t know anyone at the wedding except you.  We wouldn’t want him/her to feel uncomfortable.”

3.  The Aunt/Uncle/Cousin You’ve Never Met

It’s funny how long-lost relatives all the sudden pop up once someone is getting married, but they do.  Some people believe that as long as there is a blood-line, then an invite is required.  As someone who has over 50 members on my mother’s side of the family alone (that I know personally – but there are more), I can’t afford to subscribe to that theory!  Even if you don’t have a huge family, a relative you’ve never met is oftentimes a guest brides don’t want to invite.  Here’s how to handle that.

“I’d love to meet him/her in the future, but we just don’t feel our wedding is the appropriate place.  As it is, the guest list is just too tight.”

4.  The Random Person Who Your Relative/Friend Already Invited

Shocking, but it does happen.  When it does, it can be very stressful, but try this approach.

“I’m very sorry, but there’s been a misunderstanding.  I’ve been told that you received an invite to our wedding.  Unfortunately, that person was not authorized to extend invitations, and we’re already at capacity for guests.  I’m terribly sorry for the position this has put you in, and I hope you understand.”

5.  Exes

Yikes!!  You’d think it’d be self-explanatory that exes are blacklisted from weddings (unless everyone involved are friends and alright about them coming – which is rare), but I’ve heard some horror stories about brides and grooms being pressured to invite exes.  Here’s how to deal with that one.

“Our marriage is a celebration of our relationship, not relationships of the past.  We want to look towards our future, not at what we chose to leave behind.”

6.  The Person Who Invited You To Their Wedding

People change and some drift apart.  Just because someone invited you to their wedding does not mean you are obligated to reciprocate – especially if things have changed.  You already gave them a gift after all.  Try this.

“We’ve decided to have a more intimate wedding, and we already have more family and close friends than we have room for.  I hope you understand.”

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Now, these suggested responses are all well and good if they work the first time, but what if you are dealing with someone irrational (we all know someone like that!), and they keep pressuring you?  At that point, I’ve found it best to be polite but firm.  Something along the lines of “I’m sorry, but we cannot invite him/her, and that decision is firm.”  If that still doesn’t work, it’s sometimes best to just ignore future appeals.  So much of our communication these days are via email and text, so those are easy to leave unanswered.  If the appeal is done in person, you can simply say, “I’m sorry, but that’s a stressful topic. Let’s talk about something else.”  Remember, try to always stay as polite as possible.  Anger will only lead to animosity, so keep that at bay.  It’s okay to say no as long as you do it respectfully.

Good luck!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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