It helps to visualize your desired wedding. Women have long planned their ideal wedding day, but with the strong influence of celebrity marriages the modern fashion for weddings has spread far and wide, and is no longer limited to the vastly rich. The choices you now have are amazing, and many old traditions are being ditched or refined for more modern day ones. So where do you start?
Well, there have been plenty of movies to watch for inspiration or ideas; The Knot, Love actually, My Best Friends Wedding, even TV hits like “Friends” had its share of weddings. These are great, but these weddings are about particular characters and personalities. They are fine to poach ideas that you can build on and refine, but ultimately…
Start it with YOU! That’s right, think ‘huge ego’, ‘no limits’ and start at the top! Pretend for a moment you have a bottomless pocket and go ahead and draw up your ideal wedding because you are about you!
So design it all on your pad, look and learn from the best weddings that inspire you- from the wedding dress to the ceremony and on to the reception(s). Yeah that’s right, you can have more than one and it does not even have to be one day either as some weddings go on all week. It’s a one-off special day for you and there will be no others to match it.
So now you have a rough ideal wedding planned right? Well, maybe your budget is a consideration, so time to start making your dream wedding work for your realistic wedding. Keep in mind your dream wedding though as it may be possible for to overlay some of it onto your realistic one. Hopefully, you have months until the big day so maybe think about starting with the easier stuff first; things you can go and find right now and work into your budget. In a wedding there are things you must have, things that should be there (but not essential) and things that you can easily afford to lose, especially if it does not work for you.
The wedding dress and the venue are the first to arrange. Put yourself in an imaginary white room and visualise your dream dress appearing on you. Next imagine the white of the room turning into your venue. So which one looks better, cheaper, and functional in your mind? A Church or a registry office… ?
Themed weddings are a current trend in 2014, and from what I am seeing as a photographer there are also popular colour and food themes. If a favourite colour is important to you then this could be start of your theme. Since the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, a new traditional style benchmark was set and also since the movie “The Great Gatsby” there has been a definite move towards the 1920’s look.
Now themes do come with a price tag, but will certainly stand out for years to come. For theme inspirations take a look online and see what catches your eye.
THE DRESS & THE SHOES
The choices out there are more varied than ever before, and ultimately you your dress and shoes are going to be the centre of attraction and remembered. Your photographer bases the wedding images around you. Everyone else who brings their cameras are going to be pointing them at you as well. Therefore, one thing to keep in mind: place your dress and shoes at the top of the budget list.
So what’s current right now? Functional dresses that can be used again and again? Or something that sparkles glamour and taste?
“Less is More” 1855 poem “Andrea del Sarto
Wedding dresses in colours other than shades of white are certainly something different – creative and bold. They can be used again and again. Blush colours, like pink or peach are making a comeback. A stylish, pale, shimmering pink is certainly something to consider but in my opinion you cannot beat white. The classic white dress still sits at the top and has done for hundreds of years.
Depending on where you have your ceremony, there are some considerations to keep in mind. A church wedding traditionally means hiring a special car to get you there. You should also think about the time you have in the day as well; how long will the journey be from A to B and then to C. If you’re having a professional photographer, make sure you plan with him/her where, how long and what type of photography you would like.
What’s hot right now is total coverage, and I find the most interesting photos are the pre-wedding ones: the bridal prepping photos of the make-up artist at work, the hair being styled, the wedding dress hanging up ready to be worn, the shoes, the brand new sparkling jewellery. As a society, we are now, more than ever interested in the who, how and what went into making a big event. Look at any popular movie on DVD and Blu-ray today and you will often find the making-of documentaries are actually longer than the movie.
We like seeing the leading actors in between takes, behaving naturally and offering a little insight into their real personalities. The same applies to you, your bridesmaids, the Groom and grooms men. You really are going to be a celeb for the day and seeing the bridesmaids having a little fun getting ready is exactly what you are going to want to look back on… no matter how old they are.
A ceremony in a hotel may mean no car is required, and you can relax a bit more because everything’s central; all roads point to one venue for everyone involved. Also guests can book rooms for the night so your reception does not have to have a set finish time.
Now let’s not forget some key details either, have you thought about how the ring gets presented during the ceremony? A favourite at the moment is a decorated pillow with pins on the rings, or the family dog carrying it down the aisle on call. Just be creative, it’s the little things that add that speciality.
Some churches and registrars have rules you need to be aware of and this is made clear when you are booking with them. They usually insist on only one official photographer being allowed to photograph the event. This is not intended to be mean or too controlling but it is a data protection issue and in some cases a copyright issue as well with regards to the venue. For example, when it comes to the signing of the official register no photography is allowed – full stop. This is a policy all officials will follow. But once this formality is completed the photographer is free to capture the happy couple signing a fake book instead.
Respect and Social Media
Something to consider is the release of guest photos onto social media on the night of the wedding. You may or may not have an opinion on this, but some couples ask their guests to hold back their photos and not post them straight to social sites till the official ones are released to in order maintain their ‘exclusive’ quality. What I suggest is to ask everyone on their invites to send their photos to the bride and groom afterwards, and let them be the first to see their own wedding.
Now I must point out a few facts here: amateur photographers are everywhere and most people own some pretty good cameras that can rival the photographers own equipment. Does this mean that uncle David is going to get the same photos as your hired photographer? Do you really need a photographer at all?
I can honestly say I have never been wowed by these snaps. People do get lucky sometimes with maybe 1 in 50. I have however seen most of them end up online in social media sites with titles like; top 100 worst wedding photos though.
The point is, you need a professional for quality and peace of mind. Like Jamie Oliver cooking a Wedding Breakfast or Maggie Sottero designing a special dress, professionals in their field have the correct equipment and skills to deliver. A professional photographer knows what to look for and where to be. You cannot expect a family member or friend to take on such a responsibility. The professional brings back-up facilities so no image is lost. He/she has the skills to process your images and store them properly afterwards. Your hired photographer will have be versed in adjusting your images, sharpening and cropping them to fit industrial print standards ready for printing.
DETAILS OF THE RECEPTION
Hunger – After a ceremony, most guests are hungry and thirsty. When planning your wedding reception it might be wise to offer canapés/appetisers with any reception drinks. These will revive any flagging guests, and potentially prevent any early inebriation.
Cake – The wedding cake is a tradition that people seem to be re-vamping and modernising. Recent weddings I have attended have seen the cutting of the traditional iced fruit cake take a backseat and sometimes just not appear at all! This can be seasonal choice, for example, winter tastes veer towards chocolate and rich flavours, whereas in summer I have seen light sponges, lemon cake or even just a good old cheesecake. Wedding fairs are currently promoting ice-cream cakes that double as a dessert for the Wedding Breakfast, or layered tiers of frosted cupcakes that can be distributed on the big day without the need to cut the cake.
Messages – The traditional way is a guest signing book, it’s a great keep sake to take home. But there are already new ideas out there. How about a wishing well that guests can put little notes into? Once you’re finished with it after the wedding, stick it in the garden and let nature grow around it.
Presents – A great way to make the speeches more interesting is giving out presents to those that have helped and been there for you, you could even try a fun raffle or give out lottery tickets.
Kids – If there are children present, you can be sure that they will be bored and ready to start running around, having fun and generally getting under your feet. You can plan for this too, by having bubble blowing bottles available to hand out. It looks good on the photos too and is such fun even the adults join in!
Staff – If you’re having a large themed wedding, it’s worth checking with the caterers if they have some form of uniform. A suggestion here is request staff wear white gloves, they just look classy and clean.
Food – The modern take on the Wedding Breakfast is less traditional with more spicy cuisine on the menu. Styles vary but, over the years peoples tastes have certainly changed. The more creative your food the more memorable your day will be, and depending on how much time and money you have, how about trying an 8 course meal? It’s all about the taste.
Music while you eat – If you go to any wedding fair you will find some great musicians to choose from. They can accompany your meal playing the piano or harp and will often play anything you request. At one wedding I covered recently the theme was rock, so the pianist was playing hits from ACDC, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Queen, Slip Knot and many, many more. It was different and cool!
Up lighting effects – Hiring some lights for the evening is a great way to completely change the mood of your event and give it an amazing look. Up lights point at the walls and ceilings and can be set to a colour to match your theme. White fairy lights can create a pretty background on your night photo’s and are particularly effective after dark.
Night Music – Cover bands are popular at the moment and there are some great groups out there that specialize in weddings. They will play your favourite tracks on request. Disco’s, well do you need a disco? Technology is good enough now for you to pretty much create your own custom playlist that blends into each track from a laptop or iPod/iPad. Just plug that into the band’s amplifier and click play. You can alternate your own music with the band to give them a break. By the way… don’t forget to feed the band!
Flowers – Real or Fake? its a tough one to decide upon, and it can be quite nice to have flowers to hide parts of hired halls. For others its something to maybe forgo and forget altogether. It really matters on how much importance it has for you.
By James McConnachie