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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Behind the Shot: Camping Styled Shoot

Since James and I love camping, and had such a trip already planned, we decided to take advantage of our time in the outdoors by doing a camping themed photoshoot!  It was a lot of fun, and our two models, Jenn and Chris, were such great sports (and it wasn’t an easy shoot).  They needed to pose out in the lake and even have a water fight.  On another night, we kept them up until midnight to get nighttime photos!  They were more than willing to try everything, and they seemed to have a lot of fun too.  We know we did!

We love the way the final pictures came out (here’s a sneak peek), but we also loved what when on behind the scenes.  Take a look!

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Photos 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.

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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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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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Wedding Fails

shootanyangle.com/weddings/When I was planning our wedding, I had one stress-reliever I could always to – I read articles and watched YouTube videos about wedding day fails.  I admit, this is an odd stress-reliever.  Here I am working my butt off to make sure that everything goes perfectly, and yet I’m watching videos of weddings gone horribly wrong.  Still, in some weird way, it calmed me down.  It made me laugh even when I was cringing, and it also made me happy to know that these disasters couldn’t happen to me.  After all, I wasn’t getting married on the edge of a pool.  And we didn’t have a tent with a center support poll and none of our guests were amateur poll dancers.  And we definitely were not going to have a horse-drawn carriage.  And our wedding cake wasn’t multi-tiered.  See what I mean?  Though cringe-worthy, these videos are also hilarious – of course, it’s much more likely to be funny when it isn’t happening to you!

Here are some real wedding “fails” from our readers.  Luckily, even though these events weren’t the best thing to have happen, they also weren’t all that bad in hindsight.  The motto of the story?  Even if everything doesn’t go absolutely prefect according to plan, the wedding will still be great!  After all, none of these things will stop you from marrying the love of your life!

“I was at a wedding where they had shrimp as an appetizer.  I was running around a lot, so shrimp was an easy thing to eat on the go.  Well, I didn’t think about the fact that it had been out all day.  It gave us all food poisoning!”

As someone who has had food poisoning before, I feel for this guest.  It’s a good lesson for all brides though: Be aware of how long your food can stay out and how long it has stayed out.

“My maid of honor didn’t get off work until super late the night before [my destination wedding] and then she needed step by step directions to get to town.  I was up all night the night before my wedding to get her there.”

This poor bride got no sleep before her big day, which is exactly when she needed it the most.  Bridesmaids, make sure to let your brides get some much needed rest during crucial times.  There’s always someone else to contact.

“Our wedding planner said that the weekend before us, a bridesmaid fainted just before the ceremony. Gotta keep hydrated in the tropical locations!”

Yes, you do!  Even if you aren’t in a tropical location, make sure to stay hydrated.  We don’t think about it much, but dehydration is the quickest way to have people drop like flies!

“My sister was getting married in her yard in Alamo. The chairs were setup in a row on the grass, the caterers had come in and set up a cocktail table for before the ceremony, along with the beautiful wedding cake table. It was a beautiful sunny, warm day under the umbrella a huge oak trees. As my sister and her husband were exchanging vows, I looked over at the cake table, seeing something in the corner of my eye, and found it was ‘Buddy,’ their black cat, licking the frosting off the wedding cake……. it was hysterical!!”

Even cats like cake!  If you are having a wedding close to animals, make sure they are put away in a back room with a water and food bowl.  Or at least keep the food out of range in the case of a dog.

“My mother-in-law called her friends and, knowing very well we hadn’t been able to invite them, told them all they were invited.  Then she called us, told us exactly what she did, and said ‘Now if you don’t want them there, YOU have to tell them!'”

Cringe!  This one particularly is like nails on a chalkboard.  Parents, this is your child’s big day.  Sure, you can ask that certain people are invited, but the final decision is up to the bride and groom.  Please don’t become an example of a “dreaded in-law!”

“When one of my husband’s cousins got married, a different cousin got so hammered that she tore a cabinet door off in the bathroom.”

Haha!  This would have been pretty funny to witness, but it also probably fell to the bride and groom to pay for.  As a guest, you are certainly welcome to have fun – but in moderation.  And if you ever cause damage to any property, you should pay for it.

“Our bathrooms broke down at our reception hall.”

Yikes!  Luckily, in this case, there were other bathrooms on the property that were accessible, albeit a bit of a walk away.  Though I never would have thought of it for my own wedding, it’s probably not a bad idea to ask your vendor where the second closest bathrooms are in case the closest ones become unusable.

“At one wedding, a bridesmaid got really drunk and tried to do a table dance.  All she succeeded in doing was shattering champagne glasses.”

Many times, the biggest setbacks come from drunk guests, so being able to control the alcohol intake (one glass per person or asking the bartender to cut people off) is a good idea.  And again, if you were the drunk guest, you’re paying the bride and groom back for those glasses that they inevitably got a bill for.

“The food came in catering tin containers and were supposed to be in stainless steel platters with lids and burners underneath to keep them warm.”

A warm dinner is definitely ideal, so it’s a shame that the caterers messed this up.  Though there is not much you can do at the venue if this situation arises, do ask your caterer for a portion of your money back or a coupon for future services to make up for their mishap.

‘[When sending out my invites] I had terrible luck with the mail.  Three invites and two RSVP cards were sent back ripped.  Then, a contract…”

We luckily only had this happen to one of our invites, but I still cringe to think of this poor bride’s position.  What are they doing at that post office?  Are rabid dogs working there?  In this case, the bride did talk to the post office with no luck, but that is a good first step.  Another option is using a different location.  And don’t worry, guests understand it was the post office, not you.

“[I was at a wedding where] when toasts were being given, some guy drunkenly got the mic and slurred something about a goat, and ‘Let’s give it up for Dave!’  To this day, none of us know who ‘Dave’ is.”

I love this one.  The lesson here is keep the mic guarded.  Ask the DJ to stay with it, or have groomsmen keep an eye on it.  Otherwise, it becomes a loud speaker for someone who has had too much to drink.

Have any other wedding fails, big or small?  Let us know, and we’ll add them here!

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Photography by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography


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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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What to Know About Vow Renewals

I recently had the pleasure of photographing a vow renewal of a couple in their 80s.  It’s so inspiring to see a couple still happily married years after their first “I do.”  A Vow Renewal can be a really sweet and great way to renew the marriage.  Some couples prefer a quiet ceremony with just the two of them, but others prefer to have a party along with the renewal.  Both are great options if you’re interested in re-committing to each other.

When is a Renewal appropriate?

An anniversary milestone

Celebrating your 10 year anniversary?  15?  20?  30?  That’s the perfect time for a vow renewal.  Some would argue that 5 years is a bit too early, but it is still a milestone, so it’s acceptable!  If you can’t do it on the milestone for whatever reason (interfering with another wedding, illness, absence, etc) then you can do it off of the milestone year.

Anytime past the age of 70

If you’re over 70, you don’t need to wait for a milestone because you’ve had plenty already!  Plus, at that age, you’ve most-likely been with your partner for a long time, so a renewal at anytime is fine.

There are no other weddings happening

If you’d like a big party for your vow renewal, but there’s another wedding going on in your family or in your small group of friends, it’s not the right time (even if you’re celebrating a milestone).  It’s the other couple’s time for the spotlight, so you need to let them have their moment.  So, if a wedding has occurred or will be occurring within a year of your renewal (and you want to make it like a second wedding), then hold off.  If you’re just having a private renewal on the beach and no party element though (or if you’re over 70 years old), then it’s fine to do at anytime.

Are guests required to bring gifts?

The short answer is “no.”  The purpose of wedding gifts is to help the couple start their life together and to provide supplies for their new home.  Since a renewal couple has already been living together, the couple shouldn’t expect gifts.  That being said, if you wish to give a gift as a guest, you certainly can.  Focus on sentimentality versus functionality.  For example, have a print made of their wedding picture or a photo album of their lives together thus far.

Is the couple required to provide a meal to guests?

If a party or reception element is part of the renewal, then it’s a good idea to provide food of some sort.  Appetizers are perfectly acceptable though!  It’s also fine to invite everyone to a restaurant.  As long as you’re clear about it being “dutch treat” up front, then you can all have a meal together without you paying for the bill.

Is a vow renewal a second wedding?

No, but it can still be a big party, though!  Some people do make it like a second wedding, especially if their first wedding was smaller than they had originally wanted.  Though this is done, be aware that some guests may look at a second wedding negatively especially if it’s really like a full wedding.  In those cases, some people may think the renewal is for a purpose other than the desire to re-commit (such as trying to get gifts).  A vow renewal is only appropriate if you wish to focus on the commitment of your marriage.  As long as that’s clear, that’s what matters.

Should I wear a wedding dress?

You don’t have to, but some women prefer to (it’s always fun to get to wear a wedding dress!).  It’s pretty common to see episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” where women are picking out wedding dresses for their renewals.  So, you certainly can wear a wedding dress, and you could even wear your original wedding dress if it still fits.  You can also wear any dress you’d like.  The dress doesn’t need to be white either.  Wear whatever you feel beautiful in!

Congratulations!

Photos by 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.”

~

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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How My Wedding Changed My Life

shootanyangle.com/weddings/Mostly, we hear about how our marriage has changed our lives, and it absolutely does.  I was with James eight years before we got married, so he was changing my life long before we actually tied the knot.  He has made me a better person, he brings such pure and complete joy to my life every moment, and he is my absolute best friend.  I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be his wife, and I love him more and more everyday.  So, my spouse has absolutely changed my life, but the wedding day itself changed my life in very surprising ways.

The bride is usually the one planning the wedding, so we’re forced to learn the ropes very quickly.  We’re all the sudden the CEO in company that we’ve never worked for.  Brides have to not only learn what it takes to put together the massive production of a wedding, but we also need to understand each aspect well enough to make the best decisions.  That’s a lot of pressure on us, and it’s extremely stressful.  Some brides crack under the pressure.  Some brides plan out of necessity and are quick to forget it.  But, some brides bloom and become more confident and better decision makers.  That’s what happened to me.  I guess it’s that whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing (something I previously didn’t subscribe to).  There were days I thought my head would burst from the stress, I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue with all the tasks on my list with a smile on my face, I felt I didn’t have enough time, and I believed I didn’t have what it took to be the CEO of my own wedding.  But I did.  It all taught me a very important lesson: there was a power inside of me that I didn’t know I had, and when utilized, I could move mountains.

On the big day, I also felt the most beautiful I’ve ever felt.  I could finally see what James and my family had been saying all those years, except now, I felt it from within.  For months later, I would feel blue that I’d never be that beautiful again, despite my husband constantly telling me how beautiful I am (even with crazy bed hair and toothpaste drool down my shirt).  It may seem like a vain thought, but our self-image is a critical part of our mental health.  That’s why we often feel upset when we don’t think we look nice, or when we feel under or over dressed at an event.  It’s because we care about how we are perceived by others.  For awhile, I let myself wallow in self pity.  Then, something flipped in my brain.  I started trying to recapture the beauty I had on my wedding day.  I started trying to learn new hairstyles, I was more careful when applying makeup, and I started paying more attention to my everyday clothes.  I always liked fashion, but I put more effort into it post-wedding.  I was slowly reflecting on the outside what I had felt on the inside, and that in turn enhanced the confidence I had earned from the wedding.

With this newfound self-image, I started becoming a different person.  Or, at least, a more improved version of myself.  I started pushing myself harder and taking more risks with my work.  They started paying off left and right.  With each success, I found my creativity opening up.  I trusted my instincts.  I found that things that normally would make me anxious or scared no longer had that affect on my nerves.  I was calmer, collected.  Instead of wondering if things would work out (as I had always done), I just understood that they would.

I always knew my marriage would change my life for the better, but no one ever told me about the wedding gift that first day would bestow upon me.  It was the best wedding gift I could have received.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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