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 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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How To Make Your Own Bouquets

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/
 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.

Make sure to follow us on Pinterest and Facebook.


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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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Dress by ModCloth.