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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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!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

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!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

     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!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

     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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“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!”

~~~

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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