Monthly Archives: April 2013

Having a friend photograph your wedding

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A lot of times I hear people tell me that a friend is photographing their wedding. On a rare occasion, this may be a fantastic idea but the majority of the time I don’t believe it is. Not just because I have a photographic background and know the stress that photographing a wedding can cause, but I love wedding photos and I think that they are really special and important part of your family history as shown in my post here about wedding day photography.

The more I hear people say that a friend will be photographing the wedding, the more apprehensive I become. I know a lot of photographers and they all cringe when they are asked by a friend to do their wedding. Not because they don’t love photography or their friend, but simply because it is a HUGE job to successfully and tastefully photograph someone’s special day. The majority of the time it is not just a few snaps, there are huge number of ‘shots’ that the photographer needs to get on the day, and this extends further than just a few of the Bride and Groom. They have to get the kiss, cutting the cake, first dance and they also have to get photos of all of the family.

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Wedding Photographers generally  love what they do; they put time, money and love into their craft. They must take on the role of portrait photographer, landscape photographer, architectural photographer and product photographer, all rolled into one! They must also deal with strict time constraints and almost no control over the lighting conditions that they are shooting in. Generally any other photographer loves one or two of these things and if they are a landscape photographer they may wait 3 hours for the light to be just right for the shot that they are taking. These photographers may take some of the best photos that you have ever seen, but what they shoot are more often than not things that they love photographing and some of them may have taken hours to set up or some of them may have had hours of work done to them in post production.

You also have to consider what your expectations are of the photos that you are to get back from the day. If you just want 1 or 2 photos from the day that you can be totally happy with and you are not interested in having all of the family shots done, a friend photographing the day might be an option, but it is unrealistic to expect your friend to put together a full album or magazine-type coffee table book especially when it is not their normal area of photographic interest.

The other thing that is good to think about is the value of your friendship. What happens if something goes wrong and the photos don’t come out as planned? You can always  ask your friend to photograph on the day as well, and by letting them know that you have hired a professional for all of the vital and family photographs they will be able to still take photos for you without feeling the full pressure of making sure that they capture everything on your day. This also allows them to have a great time and enjoy themselves at your wedding.

It is a huge job that the majority of the time should be left to the professionals, and it is really an investment for the future. Have you or a friend had your wedding photos done not by professionals and had great or not so great results?

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Thank-you to Untamed Images for the photos in this blog, have a look at their website here or like them on facebook on their page here.

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Alternatives to giving away

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A lot of brides today don’t want to be given away; they often want someone to walk them down the aisle, but not to ‘give them away’ as such. Traditionally whoever walked you down the aisle (you can read my blog here about walking down the aisle) would be asked, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” and they would respond, “I do”.  I have often thought it was unfair for the mum who never took part in this tradition – the older I got the more I thought the bride shouldn’t be referred to as a possession to be passed on to the groom. Most brides feel this way too, they don’t feel like they are owned and don’t want to be ‘given away’, many couples are living together and the tradition seems wrong and old fashioned.

I am by no means saying this tradition should not be a part of the modern wedding, or if you are attached to this past time and would like it to be included in your ceremony it shouldn’t, but there are alternatives.

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Recently during one wedding I conducted, I asked both the bride and groom’s parents a question and had them respond during the ceremony. I asked:  (Name) and (Name), your daughter (Name) has chosen (Name) to be the person who she will share her life with. Will you continue to receive him into your family, with love and acceptance, and support them together through their marriage?  All the parents were included; therefore if you do decide to have your father walk you down the aisle, your mother will have her special moment during the ceremony, as do the groom’s parents.

This can also be a great way when there are children involved from previous relationships and you would like to have them included in the vows, making a new family unit, you can ask all the parents: (Name), (Name), (Name) and (Name), (Bride) and (Groom) have decided to that they want to spend their lives together will you support them in their decisions, through good and bad times, and accept (Child), (Child) and (Child) into your respective families and want only for their happiness through all the years ahead?

This is another perfect example of how you can tailor your wedding to you and your partner’s wishes, while still keeping to tradition.

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Thanks again to the lovely guys from Vision House Photography for the stunning shots on this weeks post. Check out their website here, or like their facebook page for current updates.
Also feel free to like my facebook page here too.

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Including animals in your ceremony

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Animals are such a huge part of many people’s lives and some really want to include them in their ceremony. I think it really depends on what sort of wedding you are having and what your expectations are for the big day.

If you want your wedding to run smoothly without anything going wrong don’t include animals or children. They both cannot be relied upon to do exactly what you want on the day. When it comes to animals you can’t explain to them what you would like them to do, at least with children you can go over what you expect on the day at the rehearsal. This doesn’t guarantee they won’t get nervous or stage fright on the day, however in comparison when including animals there is even less chance that they will do what you want. Think on whether your pet is a people person or not and if this will be an enjoyable experience for your pet too? The last thing you want is to put your pet in a situation where it is distressed or upset. Consider how your pet deals with crowds and noise. Appointing someone, as the ‘pet nanny’, so you are sure your animal will be looked after during the celebration is a great idea. If you don’t think that your pet would cope with the crowd there are lots of other ways that you can mention or include your pet without them even being present. You may also decide to include them in your photos, mention them in your vows or have their photo part of your theme or decoration at the wedding.

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Including animals in your ceremony is super-cute, especially if the animal has been in your family for years or acts as a child to you and your partner. Just be prepared that things might not go as smoothly as you like and animals are just that, animals, they may relieve themselves at any one time – not be ideal during your ceremony. Some people choose to dress their animals up in outfits or adorn them with flowers or other wedding decorations. If you do decide to dress them up, make sure the outfits fit properly and don’t cause discomfort. If you are using flowers or any other decoration make sure it will not hurt your pet if chewed on or ingested.

Make sure that you check with your venue and other providers and confirm animals included in the ceremony will be permitted. Does the car company you chose let animals travel in their cars? Does the venue you are having your wedding reception at allow animals? If you are getting married on a beach or in a national park check the rules regarding pets too. There would be nothing worse than having your heart set on having your pet there and to turn up on the day to have the venue tell you your animal must not come onto the property. Also consider if there is any one guest or provider, like photographer or chauffeur that may be allergic to animals. It may be a good idea to mention something on the invites to avoid any problems arising.

Do you know anyone who has successfully included animals in their wedding, or would you consider doing it for your own wedding?

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Thanks to Lauren at Purely Taken. Photography for her photos on this weeks blog. Check out her website here and see what else she has been up to on her blog here.

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Speech order at your Reception

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Speeches are a lovely part of the wedding celebration. It is a great time for guests to get to know the people speaking and generally learn something about the bride and groom that they didn’t already know. Traditionally, speeches are done after the main meal  and before the desert (if there is a sit down meal) but nowadays a lot of couples are deciding to break with tradition and do their speeches earlier in the night. As it can be quite a daunting thing for people who are not used to public speaking to be asked to be the centre of attention, it can sometimes make it easier on them if the speeches are out of the way early in the celebration. It also helps if some people are nervous drinkers as there is nothing worse than a rambling drunk speech, even if it is lovely and heartfelt, it just doesn’t seem as sincere if someone is quite obviously drunk.

By all means, break the tradition and change things up! It is entirely your day and I am always one for doing things the way that you want them and not how others dictate they be. But for the people who want to know, traditionally speech order is as follows:

Father of the Bride.

The Father of the Bride usually goes first, as in the past the brides family would traditionally pay for the wedding and generally invited a great portion of the guests to the wedding. Generally, the Father of the Bride would thank everyone for coming, tell the Bride how lovely she looks, and tell some stories from her childhood. He also welcomes the Groom into their family, give the couple some marital advice and most importantly makes a toast to the Bride and Groom.

Groom.

The Groom usually responds to the Father of the Bride’s speech and thanks him for welcoming him into the family, thanks his parents for the formative years. He thanks people for helping with the wedding and all events leading up to the wedding, such as his bucks night or the hens night, he might say something lovely to his new Wife (everyone usually cheers the first time the Groom mentions his wife), thanks and makes a toast to the bridesmaids and other attendants of the bride, thank his attendants for the day, and lastly thank everyone for coming along.

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The Best Man.

The Best Man generally compliments the Bride and Groom and give them well wishes for their life together. He will traditionally thank the Groom for asking him to be the best man, tell some humorous stories about the Groom, thank the hosts on behalf of all the guests, and sends well wishes from absent guests.

Traditionally, The Best Man’s speech is supposed to be funny, with care not to offend anyone, and has to say something heartfelt to the couple, which can be such a tall order and a lot to expect of someone if they are not particularly funny, or overly sentimental. This can often be hard for some people and if your best man isn’t going to be comfortable doing this or it is really not his strong point, it may be best to consider someone else close to the couple. One of the other Groomsmen might turn out to be a more appropriate choice, or perhaps a brother, or even another close friend or relative that is happy to be in the spotlight and will do the speech justice. On the other hand, don’t ask your Best Man to try to be funny if he is just a sweet heartfelt guy.

All this being said, there is no hard and fast rule about who should speak or when they should speak. It is now more common for a Bride to give a speech, and at some point for the Maid of Honour or all of the bridesmaids to do a combined speech. Sometimes Mum’s of the Bride or Groom want to say something too, and this can be nice if someone has passed away or the parents are separated and they want to have something to say about the newly married couple.

It is really important to let people know what order they will be speaking in and make sure they know who they are after as it allows for the reception to be smooth and the guests’ attention to be held. Have a list or running sheet for your MC, ask your speakers to try to limit the speech to 4-7 minutes, as there is nothing worse than a speech that goes for 15 minutes or longer.

Generally, for anyone giving a speech the best advice that you can give them is to speak slowly, clearly and speak from the heart.

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Thank-you to Untamed Images for the use of their images on this weeks blog, check out their website here.

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