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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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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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.”

~

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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What Not To Do Before the Wedding

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There is lots and lots to do before the big day, but there is also a lot NOT to do.  Here are the top five things not to do in the months (and days) before your wedding!

1. Don’t try anything new in the beauty department.

Never tried eyebrow waxing?  Don’t start the day before the wedding.  You could break out in a rash, and that’s the last thing you want!  Never tried spray tanning? Never dyed your hair?  Don’t start before the wedding!  The color could be all wrong with no time to fix it.  Never used mousse?  Don’t start the day of the wedding unless you want to turn your hair into a hard shell.  We’ve all heard of hair and makeup trials, and they’re popular for good reason.  Try things WELL in advance to avoid beauty mishaps.

2.  Don’t starve yourself.

You’ll be stressed out enough before the wedding.  Starving yourself will only make it worse, and it’s not necessary (or healthy!).  Be kind to yourself, and eat well (throw some treats in there too).

3. Don’t second guess your wedding choices.

A month out, your choices in vendors, colors, dresses, etc are pretty much set in stone.  True, some last minute changes are possible, but keep them to a minimum.  Otherwise, you’ll just drive yourself crazy (and your fiancé too), and you may end up with no vendor at all!

4.  Don’t spend too much time out in the sun (especially with straps).

Too much time in the sun isn’t good for anyone, but especially not before the wedding.  You don’t want a sunburn, awkward tan lines, or peeling skin on the big day.

5.  Don’t push yourself too hard.

It won’t be easy during the crunch time, but you need to take some time for you (and for the two of you).  Get enough sleep, go for walks, take breaks from your phone (which will probably be constantly notifying you of something or other), and do whatever you need to do to stay calm and marry on!

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How to Deal With Post-Wedding Blues

Photo courtesy of Susie Hannibal

Your wedding day is bound to be the happiest day of your life thus far.  It’s a busy but fantastic day that is the cumulation of generally a year of planning and years of courtship prior to that.  For that day, you feel like a princess, a celebrity.  Everyone knows you and is complimenting you, giving you gifts, taking pictures of you – and whether or not you are generally someone who likes all that attention, it will become very odd when it’s suddenly all gone.  And it will be the very next day.

Sure, weddings are really about vowing to spend the rest of your life with the one you love, but it does become more than that whether we want it to or not – and we get used to that.  We’re only humans after all!  But what happens when all the planning is over, and the attention is gone, and you realize the big day that your life was circling around has now been completed?  Well, for many brides and even some grooms out there, it can lead to post-wedding blues.  Even though the wedding is over, the marriage is just beginning, so what are some things you can do to get past it?

Take a Breather

We all need a bit of a breather first.  Weddings are exhausting!!!  So, allow yourself the relaxation time.  It’s okay to take an extra-long soak in the tub.  It’s okay to watch a few more episodes on TV than you usually do.  It’s okay to sleep in on the weekends.  Take some down time.  Your new hubby will need some too, so take that breather together!

Do Wedding Related Projects

Oddly enough, even if the wedding is over, the projects aren’t.  You still have thank you notes to write (and only a month to do them in), social media albums to make, photo books to make, canvas prints to order, etc.  Most couples have pictures of their wedding day and photo albums of it in their home, so now is the time to get those done!

Plan a Couple-Only Day

Since odds are that you both took time off work, you may find yourself overwhelmed after returning from the wedding and honeymoon only to be met by a wall of work that accumulated while you were out.  It may seem hard to carve out a moment just for you two.  It’s really important to get that time though.  You’re newlyweds after all!  Plan a time to do something just the two of you.  Even if you can’t get away for a full day, and even if money is tight (it usually is after a wedding!), you can still find free and short things to do: go for a walk in the park, watch one of your favorite DVDs together, make dinner together, go to the beach and watch the sunset.  There are lots of options in regards to activities, but make sure it’s just the two of you.

Plan Something To Look Forward To

Let’s face it: a wedding is really just a big party, so you’ve really been a party-planner for a year or so.  If you have post-wedding blues, it may be the planning that you miss.  So, plan something new!  Offer to plan someone’s birthday party, or plan a tea-party, or plan a thank-you-to-everyone-who-helped-out-at-our-wedding party.  Put those new-found skills to good use!

Get Dressed Up

Brides sometimes don’t feel as pretty after a wedding.  After all, their hairstylist and make-up artist and dress designer aren’t there everyday!  We all look our best on our wedding day, so the days that follow are a bit of a let down in the beauty department.  So, get dressed up!  Do your hair and make-up, put on your favorite dress (no, not the wedding dress) and go out to dinner with your hubby, or plan something at home.  It’ll help give you a little pick-me-up.

Pick Up a New Life Project

Your life was circling around the planning of the wedding, and now you find yourself with free time on your hands.  Put that energy towards a new life project.  Want a different career?  Put that energy towards that.  Or maybe you want to re-do parts of the house, or rejuvenate your relationship with family.  Whatever it is, use the new free time for that.

And most of all, focus on the positive – you just married the love of your life!

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Wedding Guest Attire Rules: Brides Tell Us What Rules They Do and Don’t Care About

A well-dressed pair!  http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A well-dressed pair, and such a good-looking couple!
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I don’t know about you, but I’m personally utterly confused about the rules of wedding guest attire. Some rules are easy to understand (i.e. don’t wear white), but it’s the gray area that always confuses me. What about a print that includes white? And do all these rules really matter anymore? Personally, at our wedding, all I noticed was that everyone looked so nice! I didn’t have a single negative thought about anyone’s attire. Likewise, all the images you see here are examples of very classy and appropriate wedding guest attire that we love!  Still, we wondered what rules are still in effect, so we talked to brides of all ages (past and present) to learn their thoughts.  We found out this list is actually more of “guidelines than actual rules” (to quote Pirates of the Caribbean).  Here’s what they told us!

We love this well-dressed (and handsome) pair! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

We love this well-dressed (and handsome) pair!
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     Rule 1: Don’t Wear White     

100% Agree!

A full white dress is inappropriate to wear to a wedding (that color is reserved for the bride) as are outfits that are mainly a cream/beige/ivory color (and I’d go a step further and say avoid very, very light colors that could be misinterpreted as white). It seems everyone we talked to was in agreement on this point, but they also said that dresses that included white were okay as long as it wasn’t the main color. A print on a white background? White and blue stripes? All the past brides we talked to were fine with it! And men can certainly wear white dress shirts.

     Rule 2: Don’t wear black unless it is an evening wedding     

70% Disagree!

Most of the brides we talked to said black was just fine, though a few agreed that it should be more for an evening wedding. Of course, what exactly is considered an “evening wedding” is a whole other issue entirely! It was very hard to find a set answer on this point, but the majority of my findings point to a start time of 6pm (though some say that’s for the ceremony start time and some say that’s for the reception start time). I’ve also heard as early as 4pm if the reception goes through to the night.  A couple also pointed out that whether or not a particular dress would be acceptable depended on its style. If it was a fun type of dress (such as a floral print on a black background), that would be acceptable. I personally love black dresses (it looks good on just about everyone), and I’d be fine with guests wearing that color to my own wedding.  Those who agreed with the rule felt it was an important rule to follow, though, so it’s possible that other guests won’t agree with the color choice. I will note that wedding photographers typically wear all black when photographing a wedding.

Great dresses for wedding guests! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Great dresses for wedding guests!
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     Rule 3: Don’t wear red     

57% Disagree, but it was a close call.

This was a close one, but the majority disagreed with this point. However, we did have a few who pointed out that they personally wouldn’t feel comfortable in the color as a guest just because it draws too much attention to themselves, and they have a point there. Red does draw the eye, so it suggests that the wearer wanted the attention. So, it may be best to stay away from it if it’s “fire engine red.”  Maroon and other shades are great to wear though!

     Rule 4: Don’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids     

85% Disagree…

…but they would avoid it if they had been informed of the color ahead of time. Still, they agreed that wearing the same color was fine as long as the dress wasn’t a perfect match. Plus, it’s likely to happen on accident.

A very dapper gentleman! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A very dapper grandfather-of-the-groom!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

     Rule 5: Don’t wear something skimpy     

100% Agree.

The issue becomes what is considered skimpy and what is not. When I asked this question, the answer I got the most was that it was skimpy if too much of the lady’s breasts were showing, but that’s certainly not the only way a dress could be considered skimpy.  I think one bride described it best, “Rule of thumb… if you go tight, don’t go short. Show off legs or cleavage, not both. Backless can be elegant if done tastefully…. Lastly, if it’s going to ride up or fall out while dancing, just don’t wear it!”

     Rule 6: Don’t wear casual clothes     

100% Agree.

Across the board, brides (and their guests) agreed with this one – especially the “no jeans” rule. Brides work very hard on their invitations to give the guest a general feeling for what their wedding will be like. Use that as a guide, but casual, everyday clothes aren’t appropriate.

     Rule 7: Don’t overdress     

100% Agree.

Again, brides seemed to be very adamant that guests should stick to the style detailed or dictated by their invitation. You should always look nice, of course, but leave that tailed tuxedo or full ball gown at home unless the wedding calls for it.

     Rule 8: Don’t wear an old bridesmaid dress     

85% Disagree.

Overall, the brides disagreed with this one on the condition that the dress wasn’t obviously a bridesmaid dress. In talking with them though, it sounds like they were more concerned that the guest would be uncomfortable and feel out of place rather than a bride having an issue with it. Plus, if you re-make the bridesmaid dress to disguise its original purpose, a wedding would be a fine place to show it off.

     Rule 9: Don’t wear too much bling     

A beautiful looking pair of wedding guests. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A beautiful looking pair of wedding guests.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

60% Disagreed, if done well.

Brides are okay with you wearing your finest jewels, but several did tell me they’d prefer to see a fancy statement necklace only, or fancy earrings only. So, it’s okay to go big in one area, but not in all. And they did say “no tiaras” across the board, unless the bride asks you to wear one, of course!

     Rule 10: Don’t wear office wear     

90% Disagreed (if it was done right).

There are lots of ways to dress up your office wear with a statement necklace or little strap heels. There is something so completely classy about a nice pantsuit. Overall, brides were fine with that idea. As someone pointed out, “If a man wears a suit, that’s considered office wear and wedding attire!”

     Rule 11: Don’t wear a loud tie     

80% Disagreed.

You can probably tell the bride and groom’s opinion on this one based on their personality and the feel of the wedding. If it’s a classy black tie event, a loud tie may not be the best. If it’s more casual and the bride and groom are laid back and fun-loving people, it’s probably fine if you are comfortable wearing it. Personally, one of my favorite attires at our wedding was my cousin’s outfit. He wore a bright yellow button up shirt, a bright purple tie, and matching purple sneakers with his black dress pants. I absolutely LOVED it, and so did my other guests!

     Rule 12: Don’t wear sequins     

100% Disagree (if done tastefully).

Brides all said that wearing some sequins were fine. Again, it should fit the style of the wedding. A full sequin dress to a casual wedding wouldn’t be appropriate. So, use your best judgment as to how much is too much based on the invitation and what you know about the couple and the wedding.

What a beautifully dressed grandmother-of-the-bride! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

What a beautifully dressed grandmother-of-the-bride!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

     Rule 13: Use a clutch purse, not your everyday purse     

70% Agreed.

This seemed to be more of a personal preference rather than a rule that a bride would feel the need for. A bigger bag can be a nuisance to carry around all night, and it would probably be left unattended at some point. Thus, those we spoke with felt it was easier on guests to have smaller clutches or cross-sling purses for convenience.

     Rule 14: Don’t wear inappropriate shoes     

100% Agreed (80% say “no flip flops”).

Stilettos aren’t appropriate if the guest will be walking on sand or grass, and flip-flops aren’t appropriate for a fancy wedding. Guests should always pick their shoes based on the venue and their outfit, but avoiding flip-flops is a good idea.

     Rule 15: Don’t wear tulle     

65% Disagreed.

Tulle is really back in nowadays, and it can be done quite tastefully. That being said, they felt a tulle dress should look classy and not like you’re an adult flower girl. So, it’s a judgment call based on the dress itself.

Such a cute couple, and so well-dressed! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Such a cute couple, and so well-dressed!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Overall, these rules (whether relevant or not) were created in order to keep guests from upstaging the bride. As long as you look nice but don’t take any attention away from her, then you’re all set. If in doubt, it’s best to ask a friend or one of the bridesmaids. The bride has enough to worry about as her big day approaches, so it’s best to leave your outfit off of her list.  Funny enough, it seems these brides didn’t care so much about what people wore to their own weddings but more about what they would deem appropriate or not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest themselves.  Hopefully, these notes will help you pick great attire for the next wedding – or will provide a quick link to send to guests when asked what to wear to your own upcoming wedding!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography (all photos of well-dressed guests!).

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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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