Kids at Weddings - Part 1 - Children in the Bridal Party
I have been meaning to write on this topic for quite some time so I will be writing it in parts as there is alot of different view points to consider.
We all LOVE images of kids at weddings so there is no need for me to talk about that part. When you want children in the Bridal party, you may call them flower girls, page boys, ring barers etc… essentially you have to consider their involvement, their needs and their safety and care. Here are a few tips I have seen done well:
1) If they are at the getting ready, let them be free and play. Get them into their outfits just before the bride but after the bridesmaids.For the boys, try dressing them at the same time as all the fellows are getting dressed. It is pretty fun to be one of the big boys.
2) Make sure someone is there for them who is not in the Bridal Party eg their Grandma. Someone they can go to who is not distracted by everything else too much. No matter what age, kids are very sensitive to their own needs, and the need to know they are being cared for especially if they are under 7.
3) Kids love jobs - be it carrying rings, or putting on your bracelet. Create one or two little things for them to do before the wedding that they have responsibility for and they tend to rise to the occasion. They will also focus on the job and not get too nervous about everything else.
4) Keep the food plain, I have seen kids lose their tummies early in the day, not great. As a parent, explain what is happenning but not the importance of it. Just the joy and the party.
5) Relax - if they do not walk down the aisle dont worry, weddings are quite overwhelming and if you have nerves about you grand entrance, they will too. Try saying “Walk to grandma” or “Walk to Daddy” if they are really little. If they are walking into a church, try not to make them walk alone, perhaps with the first bridesmaid would be nice, or an older child. It is really cute to have a little boy escort your mum to her seat if she has traveled with you in the car.
6) Figure out when their job is done. If they walk down the aisle, and you have a photo with them outside the church, consider letting them be. Some kids are able to be there for the location photos, but generally they are the older ones. In fact, older teenage kids will probably really love it.
7) They may want to change clothes and it is a good idea for mums and dads to be ready with this.
8) Trust their mum and dad to help you work out what they can and cannot do. If they are coming on the location photos, you need to have one person who is not in the bridal party, there on hand with all their needs taken are of. If there are two locations for photos, maybe bring them along to the first one and not the second.
9) They need to eat a little more regularly than us adults too! And they need water. Make sure you consider this.
10) I think that kids can be very distracting to brides and grooms during the only time of the day which you have to be just the two of you. I tend to arrange a time for the bridal party and the kids to all be finished with photos so you and your partner can have some time just the two of you, and also I can capture you truly being together. Even if the kids are yours, get the beautiful family photos done first, then prioritise yourself for about 15 minutes. You will not regret it.
11) Safety is so important - parks near roads, beaches, cliff tops, etc all make very beautiful images and very dangerous spots for kids. Consider this and work around it. You cannot relax if you are the ones who have to supervise the kids, and it is certainly no fun for the kids if they have no freedom. This is where the second set of hands comes in handy!
12) At the reception, sit all the kids together if you can, and put out party bags with things for them to do. Glow sticks, hats, cameras, colouring in, paper table cloths etc all work really well. They will have more fun. Also try to have a quiet spot for parents to feed, or for a kid who has passed out to fall asleep. It is not always within your control, but if you can, tell the parents ahead of time what is there for them.
13) Talk to your photographer. Tell them what is happening so they can work with you and the kids to get the best images
Hope this helps!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
When it comes to choosing your wedding photographer, the task can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is easy to get distracted and talked into things in all of the excitement.
In case you have found this blog via a search, please note that I AM A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. And although I have tried to be impartial writing the below, I just want to say that up front so you know :o)
A personal recommendation is great. But here are a few tips to help you decide:
1) Consider using an AIPP Professional Photographer - There are some great photographers who are not AIPP accedited, but it is like a little extra reassurance that the person you are hiring is truly a professional. There is often no price difference as well. The link attached has more info on Why to choose an AIPP Professional Photographer for your wedding.
2) Make sure you view entire weddings shot by the photographer. For our marketing and advertising, we tend to use the location photos by default, as they are often the most suitable for magazines and flyers. BUT the whole wedding is very important. Take special note of the ceremony photos - especially if you are getting married in a church as the lighting in churches really does separate professional photographers from amateurs. Also take note of the family photos, was great care taken.
3) Have a list ready of what you are looking for - both at enquiry stage and when you view their portfolio. This is really helpful to the photographer too, we want to know your wish list as you may be surprised how little some of the extras can cost.
4) Choose based on the photography not the albums. Alot of couples get distracted by product, but almost all photographers can access the same or similar albums and products. It is important that you like the photographer’s style and taste in how they present an album, but look at the individual images themselves, and the photographers ability to capture all parts of your wedding day.
5) Try to resist saying yes after one meeting with the photographer. Just go away and think about it, but most importantly discuss it with your fiancee so you are both in agreement before booking. I always think planning a wedding is like a template for planning your life once you are married, so work together on it.
6) Make sure you know ahead when your photos will be ready after the wedding.
7) When you choose a company that has more than one photographer, make sure you are looking at the work of the photographer who will be shooting your day. It sounds simple, but I have heard most of the horror stories around photography come from this situation. Even if you get a cheap deal, is it really worth spending a cent on bad photography for such a special day?
8) Second photographers - if you are paying for second photographers, you should also view their portfolios. Professional photographers to shoot as second shooter would normally be paid between $60 and $100 per hour so if you are paying less than this you are probably not getting a second professional.
I hope this helps!
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Check out some photos on my facebook page of Nicole and Matt’s wedding there: http://www.facebook.com/HappinessPhotography or visit the Belgenny Farm website
Do I sound like I am trying to sell it? I kind of am! It is so beautiful I want to shoot mroe weddings there!!
Little Pockets - Wedding Day Timing Tips No 7 - Your Reception
Who ever decided to write a blog through peak wedding season! Lol… sorry for the delay on the final installment….
Ok, first of all, your wedding reception venue will be your guide as to how to create great food service and optimal timing. Listen to them, they generally know what they are doing! And also be a little understanding that they are trying to provide hot delicious meals to all of your guests.
If you choose to surprise people, or to change something, the general rule is bring it forward. Speeches, dances, cutting cake etc, can all be shaken up but bring them forward. The mood of the room can be lifted by following the tradition, or by bringing one or two forward on the timeline… BUT it will all flop and become ‘boring’ if you drag out your reception and put things back to later… I will explain a little further down.
There are millions of tips I could give, but I have tried to narrow down where I thinkg alot of people go wrong…..the speeches and the dance
If you have lots of people to give speeches, space them out. A great idea I did at my own wedding was have the two dad’s and my husband give their speeches right at the beginning. We started our reception at 5.30 with cocktails in a room beside the main reception room, and it was a very relaxed feel. The gentlemen all got their speeches out of the way so to speak, so they could relax and enjoy the rest of the wedding. Many a dad has been nervous and many a groom furiously writing notes through the reception when they should be enjoying themselves. This one is easy for the reception center to time dinner around too.
Try not to put more than one speech between entree and main. This time is crucial to your chefs and wait staff, and their timing needs to be perfect. Please note that you cannot really tell people how long to make their speech with any great accuracy. I have seen ten minute allocations go for over half and hour and although the crowd was thoroughly entertained the whole time, their meal was sitting in the kitchen waiting to come out and was not as fresh as it should have been. That said it is fine to slip two speeches in before desert as long as the reception center knows you are doing it. Desserts are quicker to plate up.
The traditional way is to put all of the speeches at the end after desert service. Most people in the room are ready to fall asleep after three courses. Think also of the elderly guests, and those with kids who have been up since 6am. I think spreading them out a little is a great idea. If you have speeches after 9.30pm should be extremely funny ones, or heartfelt thank yous.
Cutting Cake and Dance
I love it when my bride’s and groom’s change things around. A great fun thing one of my beautiful young couples did once, was walk straight into the room to their favourite song and immediately do their 1st dance. It was awesome! Great party atmosphere continued and they got full benefit of the amazing band they had hired.
If you like to stick with tradition, you will find people will flow along with you because they are comfortable and they know what to expect. If you walk in the room and cut the cake in front of everyone, they will be pleasantly surprised. Same with the dance. Same with a couple of dad speeches as the welcome.
BUT if you have a traditional 3 course meal, then speeches, then cut the cake and just go back and sit down, people will wonder what happened. They go back and sit down too. Sometimes they wonder if you are even having a dance. They might just get up and onto the dance floor themselves. So when your special first dance happens, no one pays attention… They have been somehow interrupted perhaps. It is just awkward. Consider that when you cut the cake, the attention of the whole room is on you, and the atmosphere of the room lifts up and buoys you along… the people are really with you! they love you! and they are back into the celebration with you, so keep them with you!go and get your booty on the dance floor! It really does flow and prevents the boring awkward bit.
A kind of funny thing I see happen at alot of wedding receptions, is after dinner, a few people hit the dancefloor. Older couples who have been having salsa lessons, young kids, and most often, groups blokes who are, lets say, a few sheets to the wind. You guys are supposed to get the first dance! But leave it too late and you will be sharing the floor.
I actually think the best way to avoid alot of these problems is to have the last of the ceremonial parts of your reception, the last speeches, the cake cutting, and the first dance, after your main course has been cleared. The reception staff can lay out dessert while you are dancing, and the guests will inevitably wander back to their tables and eat it… or you can have your cake for desert. If the reception center is serving your cake for desert, after you cut it, go have your dance. And after about three songs you will find it ready on the table. This is still traditional and flows nicely, but happens that hour early enough that you still have people’s full attention.
So remember, traditional is good but don’t drag it all out as people might love you but they do lose interest. And if you want to spice it up, Do! Just work with the idea that you bring things forward to back.
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From make up artists, to fireworks, celebrants to hand made invitations, wedding photography and video to florists and formal wear hire, pop along and view the amazing range online. If you can get to one of the expos wonderful, but especially for couples overseas and couples interstate who are looking to have their wedding in Sydney, the online resources of the NBWE group are fantastic way to meet everyone you need.
Little Pockets - Wedding Day Timing Tips No 6 : “Family Photos and Location Photos”
This is the one pocket of time that people usually allow enough time for, in fact, sometimes by allowing a little extra time here, if anything else has run late, it is during the family photos and location photos time that we catch up and get you to your reception on time!
Part A : Family Photos:
Talk to your wedding photographer, and give them the list before hand of all of the combination’s that you want. I go through this very carefully with my bride’s and grooms as I think these photos are very important to alot of people - it is not often many families are all in one spot these days and weddings are one of the few beautiful, dressy occasions that bring us all together.
Handy Tip! - In the weeks before the wedding, tell your family and friends who are going to be in the photos that they are going to be in the formal family photos after the ceremony. It is a quick phone call, and your guests will appreciate the thought, as well as appreciate that they are important. You can tell one person, say, in the McPherson Family to get their group together for you as well. People love to know that they are in these photos and I think it helps as a wedding photographer, that when the McPherson Family are called out, all 27 of them are ready!
Once again, this is discussed in detail with your photographer. For my Bride’s and Groom’s, we do a run through out on location prior to the wedding. This is great, we work it all out and I can get a great feel for you and your partner as to how you are together. We work out the path we will take, where all the photos will happen etc, so on the day itself we can just relax and enjoy.
Handy Tip! The main thing people underestimate is how long it takes to move a group of people in and out of cars. If you have a large bridal party, and you want to spend an hour doing photos, you need to allow almost ten minutes either side of the traveling time just for getting in and out of the car. Generally, Bridal cars also travel slower than normal cars, as they are moving in convoy as well. If they are convertibles, limos, horse drawn carriages or vintage cars, you need to allow time as they are a little slower by design as well.
It is also a good idea to let your photographer know if there will be a videographer there as well. Both artists will want to have their time with you but also respect the other artist.
If you have children in your bridal party and you want them to come to the location photos, please allow at least an extra half an hour. It is also best to bring someone along who is not in the bridal party, to help take care of them and keep them safe especially if they are near water.
There are lots of time tips that will be appropriate to your wedding choices as well, eg if you go onto a beach, if you want to have a little picnic, if you want to go to several locations, if it is a week day, etc The most important thing about this part of the day is to talk to your photographer and have everything planned out with some spare time so you can relax as well. Remember this is your downtime before the whirlwind that is your reception!
Planning a wedding? Consider using live wedding favours such as succulents, small potted herbs or plants etc. This way your guests will have a little something they can take away, plant and watch grow long after your wedding day is over. The icing on the cake? These plants can also act as part of your wedding table decorations, adding variety, colour and life to each table and eliminating the need and cost of table centrepieces.
Image courtesy of Happiness Photography based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Little Pockets - Wedding Day Timing Tips No 5 : “Congratulations Time”
You might walk back down an aisle, or you might have everyone congratulate you up the front, but either way, at the end of your ceremony, your guests will flow toward you and congratulate you and this is a little pocket of overwhelming fun I like to call the “Congratulations Time”.
If you have 60 - 100 guests, you might want to allow at least 15 minutes for everyone to congratulate you. If you have more than this, there is a possibility you might need to allow a full half hour. Either way, allow time, it is so fun and there is no need to skip it or rush it.
If you want to skip the “Congratulations Time” and go straight into family photos, then something I have noticed in all of my years shooting is this - it makes no difference. Each time a photo is taken, the people will congratulate you after the photo and it all takes alot longer anyway.
So my tip is to allow your guests time to congratulate you and embrace this Little Pocket of time as another little section of your day. It is certainly a section of photography in itself as it is lovely to capture all the hugs and candid moments of joy.
Because there is nothing to pay for and nothing to plan, brides and grooms often dont pay much attention to this time in their planning. But keep it in mind for your timing and your run sheet. It sometimes take about 15 minutes for 100 people just to file out of a church!
If you like natural, candid photos of your guests enjoying themselves, this is one of the best opportunities for photographers to capture both you and your congregation enjoying the day. I love this time as I also take group photos and the expressions on faces is of such pure joy, it isn’t forced at all, because the guests are all on cloud nine seeing you both so happy.
Though this may be a Little Pocket you have not even thought of yet, many Bride’s and Grooms will also relay to you how overwhelming this moment really is. And in years to come, it is a feeling and a pocket that you will look back on warmly I am sure.
Only two more little pockets to go….
Little Pockets - Wedding Timing Tip No 4 - The Ceremony
At most weddings I go to, if the bride arrives on time, the wedding all goes to plan. This is mainly because the celebrants are very good at what they do! All ceremonies are personal, and depending on your religious and cultural requirements, your choices, whether you have additional ceremonies, readings, songs, prayers, etc a ceremony can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. My best advice to you on ceremony timing is actually to speak with your celebrant and they will tell you how long to allow for your unique ceremony.
I have covered the time getting out of the car in Little Pocket No 2 so I wont repeat myself.
The only thing that I come across which I would like to address is the idea that your ceremony will be 15 minutes. There really is no such thing. I hear this alot from very relaxed couples who want informal ceremonies and I have photographed some very short ceremonies, but never has a ceremony gone for 15 minutes.
Walk down the aisle - 2 minutes, Welcome - 2 minutes, Vows - 4 minutes, Ring exchange and kiss - 3 minutes, Sign the register 4 minutes, Witnesses sign 4 minutes, Introduce the new couple - 1 minute.
Using military precision and the fastest flowing vows it is still 20 minutes. The signing itself always takes longer than you might think it does for at least 5 people to sign three documents each.
If you want a quick ceremony, this is pretty quick! Even if you tell your celebrant you want a 5 minute ceremony, please allow a full half hour in your run sheet for the day as it simply makes sense.
Little Pockets: Wedding Timing Tip No 3 - The Groomsmen Getting Ready
This is not too hard, really boys rarely cause a wedding to run late. I find most guys take the wedding timing very seriously and after all, there is less to coordinate.
I think it is nice for the timing that the groom arrives at the ceremony 1 full hour before the ceremony start time. This way he and his groomsmen can be there to greet the guests which will not only set the feel of a really welcoming and inclusive day, but will also help calm nerves.
More great reasons to arrive at the ceremony early are as follows:
1) You may have one care driving the groomsmen and then the brides side which saves money
2) If anyone is in touch with the bride and they call her side, she will be relieved to hear that you are already there and ready. This puts everyone at ease, bride and guests.
3) The groomsmen can meet people and be introduced to your guests as a contact should they need help with anything. People who only know the bride and groom are sometimes nervous to ask, so your groomsmen can be of great value to your guests.
4) Your celebrant, especially in a church, will want to speak with you, and may want to pull you aside for a little time out. You have time to be both with your guests and prepare yourself mentally for the ceremony ahead.
5) If you are having a civil ceremony and you arrive and they whole set up is in the wrong place, you have time to move it and your beautiful bride will never know.
The same applies to the boys as it does the girls, tell all the groomsmen a time with which you all need to be showered by. It is quite nice if the shirt and pants are on before the photographer arrives, and then the rest of the details, vests, cufflinks, ties, jackets etc, can all be put on during the photography. Try to allow about 15 minutes for dressing at least, and about another 15 minutes for photos.
A sample time might be as follows
3pm ceremony starts
2pm arrive at ceremony
1.30pm leave house (for a 15minute drive)
1.15pm photos dressed
1pm photos dressing
12noon - eat lunch!
Little Pocket No 2 : Advice on Wedding Timing; Leaving the house and traveling to the ceremony.
It is the most common cause of weddings running late, the ceremony starting late. Even if you have timed your getting ready perfectly - what causes the ceremony to start late?
It is in fact a little pocket of time is responsible. Most people do not allow enough time for the journey from the place you get ready to the place you are having your ceremony. If your ready to walk out the door at 1.45pm, the drive is 15 minutes and your ceremony starts at 2pm, is that good timing? No ! You will be late and here is why:
1) It takes at least 10 minutes for a bride to leave her house and get into a car, then for the bridesmaids to also get in the car. Consider your dress and shoes and bouquet and veil etc, you move much slower on your wedding day that you do normally. Mum and dad might need to lock up, someone might forget something and have to pop back in.
2) Most wedding cars drive slowly, especially older ones. It is a nice thing to enjoy the journey even if it is only 5 minutes. Don’t rely purely on what the capabilities of the car are, they are not always the best judge. Limo’s make turns very slowly and take different routes sometimes.If you are having a cabriolet you will want it to drive very slowly so your hair is not ruined as well!
3) When you arrive your photographer will photograph your bridesmaids getting out of the car, then you. Your dad or mum might open the door, might want to put your veil down if you have one etc. You may want to pray before you go into the ceremony. You will get into the order with which you will be walking. The celebrant will greet you, check your ok and ready, go back to the congregation, announce your arrival, everyone will stand the music will start….. Then your ceremony starts.
Without actually running late, your ceremony is not late because the schedule was incorrect in the first place. This is the pocket of time which sets weddings back without anything even going wrong!
I would say, allow 10 minutes either side of the drive time and you should be safe if nothing holds you up. 15 minutes is probably better.
Here are a few of the things I have seen go wrong at this time of day:
Cars ran out of petrol, traffic bank ups over ten blocks due to carnivals and fetes, carnivals close roads, shoes break, flowers forgotten, driver not known where ceremony was and everyone in the cars from out of town, limo caught on speed hump, mother-in-law not picked up, sister in my car as no one arranged a way for her to get there, dress stepped on and ripped in a hurry, and most common of all - ceremony starts late.
If you are staying in a hotel the night before, do not arrange to check out in your bridal gown. It might sound funny, but I have seen brides in queue with their suitcases checking out before they leave for their ceremony. Try to avoid this!
Also, let your photographer have their time with you then go ahead to the ceremony. We have to park our cars, get our equipment ready etc and be ready to photograph you arriving.
As best as you can, allow time generously in the early part of the day. This is relaxing for all, but if you can start your ceremony on time, the rest of the day is quite likely to stay on track.
I hope this helps! Stay tuned for the next installment… the boys :o)
Little Pocket No 1 : Getting Ready - Brides Side
This little pocket of time is the most important, run late here and everything will run late. To get to the church on time you need to get out of the house on time!
I’ll break down for you the most important things to remember into key notes:
1) Don’t be last to have your hair and makeup done. Try to be second last at the latest in the queue. It is too risky if the makeup artist is held up in anyway. If you have 4 bridesmaids to be done, I recommend the Bride goes second. You can always be touched up after. If time disappears, do you want to be the one rushed through make up…. ?
2) Do hair and make up trials and be happy at the end of the trials. Take photos and ensure the same person is attending to you on your wedding morning. This will help you to relax and enjoy the experience of getting ready rather than trying to decide if you are happy or not.
3) Double check delivery addresses and times for flowers the day before with your florist, for both the grooms side and the brides. The flowers should be delivered before you start getting into your dress. If you are having flowers put in your hair it will need to be much earlier.
Take responsibility for your details and the night before, put them all in one spot close to where you will be putting your dress on the next day. This will help you feel organised. Your bridal details include veil, shoes, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, perfume, horseshoes and garters if you have them, and a little purse for your touch up makeup.
Bridesmaids and Mother of the Bride need to be 100% ready (this includes their hair, makeup, jewelery, and shoes on) before you get into your dress. Their job is to attend to you and help you (or at least look pretty for the photos!) If you are in your dress you should not be standing about in your wedding dress waiting for them to get ready. It also looks much nicer in photos if the girls are ready when they get you into your dress, help you with your jewelery and details etc. Work out what time you want to start getting into your dress and make that the time that they need to be ready by. You can help them to do this by telling everyone before your wedding day, who will be getting ready with you, the nominated time that they need to be ready by. I will put a sample timeline below that will show what I mean by this.
Getting into your bridal gown
Your dress may be easy to get on, but if you have chosen a corset lace up dress please allow at least half an hour to get into it and another 15 minutes for you details. Getting dressed as a bride is a ceremony in itself, it deserves time and you deserve to enjoy it. There is alot of nervous energy on a wedding day, and your bridesmaids and mum may be just as excited as you are, but they are also nervous and you need to allow them time to concentrate on what they are doing. You also need to allow time for something to go wrong - not that it will! But a shoe buckle could snap, a loop may need to be sewn in, you in fact may need to be sewn into your dress! People can help you but under time pressure, what should be a fun and beautiful experience can quickly overcook into chaos.
Talk to your photographer about the time it will take, but I recommend a full half hour that you are ready before you leave the house. This is a lovely moment to enjoy with your girls and your family. Photos with mum and dad, with all of the girls then each individually. Maybe have a sip of champagne together and a giggle. It is a lovely time I am privileged to watch many girls enjoy.
From the time you want to arrive at the church, work everything out backwards from there, and allow 10 additional minutes for traveling time in the car.
A sample time line for getting ready is below:
2pm ceremony start time on invitations (make 2.15pm actual ceremony start time!)
1.55 - Bride arrives at ceremony
1.35 - Car leaves house for 10-15 min drive to ceremony for example
1.30 - Bride leaves house to get into car
1pm - Bride completely ready / details and completely ready
12.30 - Bride starts getting into her dress (at the latest) and puts details on
12.15 - Bridesmaids and Everyone in house to be completely ready by this time, Bride to be finished hair and makeup, and have had something to eat!
So to sum up:
Try to be very organised before the day, so on you wedding day you can relax and enjoy your good planning. Remember you are no longer the event coordinator, you should be happily riding the rollercoaster on your very special day!
I hope this has been helpful - Please feel welcome to call or email through any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org