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10 practical tips for a picture-perfect wedding

Most couples who get married these days are very choosy about who handles the photo shoot at their wedding. No surprises here, as wedding memories live on through the photographs and videos of the day! This is indeed a one-time occasion, and getting all the details right is essential to framing those memories perfectly.

Wedding photo mishaps are common, especially when the person behind the camera is an amateur. However, there is no guarantee that there will be no unpleasant surprises even when it is a professional yielding the camera. A lot of it is luck; the rest is poor planning.

While it isn’t possible to rule out every single mistake, however hard you may try, you can at least do your part to make sure your wedding is documented well. Here are ten handy tips that will help you have that picture-perfect wedding album, that you simply cannot take your eyes of.

1.Seek inspiration, but don’t let it restrict your natural style

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Haven’t we all been smitten by perfect wedding pictures, with the bride looking like a dream and the groom like Prince Charming. Certain poses and certain angles seem just perfect, that you may quickly decide that you must also try it.

It is a great idea to find inspiration from other weddings, but don’t try to make your wedding a copy of all that you see elsewhere. One thing you may have noticed in all these fantastic wedding photos, is that the pictures usually look great because the models look natural in it. Additionally, the photographer has the talent to capture the love, happiness and chemistry between the couple.

So, the poses and location are secondary. It is the couple who make the pictures so beautiful. Don’t confine yourself to the same photography pattern as a couple whose wedding you loved. Take cues from why certain pictures look great. Don’t copy, instead use this as the inspiration to plan your own pictures.

2.Relax and don’t fake a certain look for the camera

You should know your best angles and the most photogenic profile. Discuss this part with your photographer ahead of the wedding. He may even be able to give you valuable tips to get it right, so you can plan your photo shoot accordingly. Nevertheless, don’t try to limit yourself to a specific pose or look throughout your wedding photos. It will definitely become boring, and a fake smile or a rigid pose will be obvious to all those who look at your picture. Enjoy the natural flow of things on your wedding day, relax when the camera is on you and smile from your heart. Remember that happiness just can’t go wrong, and your photographs will turn out superb.

3.Silly poses? Think of how you will feel about it in ten years time

It is a trend these days for couples to fill their photo albums with silly and non-sense poses and actions. Well, it may be fun, but how many of them do you actually want in your album. We often find that some of the best wedding photos are usually ruined by an unnecessary silly gesture.

You should really think of whether you will be excited about all these funny poses in your album, when you look at it ten years later. Just think of it this way—what would your reaction be, if you were to find your mom and dad in similar poses in their wedding album?

Your wedding day is all about having fun and enjoying yourself. However, it is also an occasion that you will look back on, many times in the future. So, let it be captured on film mostly as an interesting, grown-up affair. After all, you are celebrating an evolving and growing relationship with your partner, and this should be done with all due seriousness.

4.Prepare for a long day in front of the camera, and don’t let frustration seep in

Your photography session will usually start early in the morning, right from when you begin getting dressed. It will then go on for the entire day, mostly till the time you set off on your honeymoon, or go home for the night. Being under the spotlight for such a long time can be pretty exhausting. And when you are expected to stay happy and put your best smile forth, it can tire you out even more.

However, this is all for a purpose. So, remember that looking happy in your wedding photos will allow you to remember the occasion more fondly than otherwise. Prepare yourself for a long day, and don’t feel frustrated about how long you have to smile and pose and stand with crowds to capture hundreds of pictures. This is simply how this works, so make your peace with it.

The most important people in your life have all come together to celebrate your big day, and that doesn’t happen everyday. You will later realize that spending all those hours posing and clicking pictures with them, was definitely worth all the effort and time.

5.Follow the photographer’s directions for when you should look at the camera and when you shouldn’t

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Not all wedding photos will require to you to stare into the camera. When you must look at the camera, your photographer will ask you to. Unless you have been asked to, just do what you were doing naturally.

You will have to pose and smile in your group photos and portraits. At this time, don’t spoil the photo by looking away. The rest are usually candid shots, with everyone captured as they are. If you are unsure of how or where you should look, just ask to be certain. Or, you can always schedule an appointment with him, ahead of the wedding day and discuss how you want the pictures to be. This will allow him to plan his shots accordingly.

The aim is to have fun and trust your photographer to capture the actual essence of the day. Don’t make a big deal of how you should be standing or where you should be looking, when the photographer shines the flash on you. Just be yourself, and leave the rest to the professional handling the job.

6.Do plan your photo shoots well in advance

On your wedding day, you will have to take group photos, photos of the various events, those of just the two of you and candid pictures. While the events and candid shots will be up to the photographer’s discretion, the rest are usually planned shots. Since you will have to stand and pose and spend time to have these pictures taken, it is a good idea to plan and organize when these will be done. Plan this in advance, into your wedding day schedule, and it will be easier to arrange.

Also, it is a good idea to spread the photo shoots out throughout the day, rather than have it all in one go. This way, your guests will not be kept waiting and you will also look fresh in every lot of the posed shots. On that note, if you have your wedding indoors, plan your outdoor wedding day portraits when the lighting is most suited for it. So, if you wish to capture the sunset in your wedding album, make sure you free up your time for that activity alone, at the said time.

7.Don’t dictate how your photographer should work

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Photographers are creative artists, who know what they are doing. You can always offer suggestions and tell them what you want to see in your photographs. Leave the rest of the work to the professional. They have more experience than you do, and know how to make what you want happen.

You should get a glimpse of their ability and talent when you check their portfolio, prior to signing them up. If you are happy with what you see there, trust them to capture your wedding in the best possible way.

Set up an appointment well ahead of the wedding day, when you can discuss your expectations with the photographer. Share notes and welcome suggestions from them. Run them through the wedding day plan and tell them where they should be and at what time. If you have very specific preferences for certain shots, it may be a good idea to demonstrate what you mean by showing them pictures similar to what you have in mind. Once this is done, leave them to plan their moves and shoot your wedding as they think best.

8.Don’t feel conscious of the camera

Just because the camera will be capturing many of your moves, don’t let it dictate how you act and behave. Be your normal self. Brides and grooms who are camera-conscious make either of two mistakes. The first is they become overly shy and hide from the camera. On the other hand, some of them believe in making the most of the attention and show off to the most. Overly exaggerated actions, fake laughter and very obvious posing can spoil the entire fun.

Photographs should be about capturing you in your natural element. So, avoid both the above mistakes. Just ignore the camera and do what you would be doing, in it’s absence. This way, you will have your wedding captured as it was meant to be.

9.Have a plan for group shots

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In all the commotion of a wedding and the reception that follows it, it is easy to lose track of the people to be photographed. Since you will definitely want specific people in certain group photos, plan this early. Decide on the must-have group photos, and list those who are to be in it. Designate a bridesmaid or groomsman to bring all these people together during the photo session, so you do not have to run around searching for them at the time.

Ask all those who are to be included in specific groups to stay close, and your photos will be more easy to take. It is also a good idea to plan the shoot in a particular order. So, your family members and friends will know when they will be required to be present. If there are guests in a hurry, include their pictures earlier on. Similarly if there are children who are to be in the picture, it is a good idea to be flexible with taking their pictures. You can then capture them when they are in a good mood.

For pictures with your flower girls and ring bearer, have these taken earlier on, before the children have fun and wreck their original look for the day.

10.Inform your guests to stay out of your photographer’s way

Your guests will certainly want to take their own pictures and will be clicking away on their mobiles or tablets. Nevertheless, make it clear that you have a professional photographer calling the shots, and ask that nobody click the group pictures at the same time as he is. It is natural that people can become confused with where to look, when there are several cameras clicking at once. If people were aware of this, we wouldn’t see so many pictures with members of the group looking in different directions, in a wedding photo.

Do inform your guests that you will be sharing the pictures across, once they are ready. This will save them the trouble of focusing on taking pictures, instead of enjoying the wedding itself.

With a little organization and clear planning, it is easy and practical to have your wedding captured perfectly. Remember that if your wedding is a happy occasion, where you smile from the bottom of your hearts, there is no way the pictures will reflect anything else. Just like you enjoy and savor every moment of your wedding day, make sure you savor your photo sessions too. Entrust the task to a capable and talented photographer, and leave the rest of the work to him and his team.

At Best for Bride, we offer brides and grooms a range of wedding-related services. Our list also includes photographers who are specialized in different genres of wedding photography. Contact us today, to find out who you would love to work with for your wedding.

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8 sentimental ways to include lost loved ones in your wedding

Celebrating with your nearest and dearest is at the heart of most couples’ wedding days and if you’re lucky enough to have everyone you love there, then you are truly blessed. Sadly, for many of us, we may have lost a parent, relative or friend who we wished could have seen us walk down the aisle and live happily ever after.

While nothing can replace a loved one being at your wedding, there are a few lovely ways that you can include them in your big day. Paying your respects in a way that is fitting to you and the relationship you shared with the person you lost will be more genuine and heartfelt than doing something completely out of style or character, so to help you out, I’ve put together a list of 8 different ways you could include them in your wedding, from subtle and sweet to quirky and unique.

Save them a seat

Some couples choose to leave an empty chair at the ceremony or reception as a tribute to a lost loved one, perhaps even placing their photo or a single flower on the seat. This makes quite a big statement and would be a fitting tribute to a deceased parent or sibling but may be very emotional for you if your loss is still very raw, so consider carefully how you’ll feel about seeing the empty chair and how that will affect your day.

Incorporate their favourite flowers

Flowers have the ability to evoke emotions in us and the combination of the sight and smell of your loved one’s favourite flowers are sure to conjure up happy memories while you walk down the aisle, eat the wedding breakfast and dance the night away. I always remember my nan loved Lilies and I still think of her when I catch the scent of them in the supermarket now. More subtle than an empty chair, this is a way for you to honour your loved one a little more privately.

Hayley decided to incorporate flowers in a different way; her granddad always carried Lavender in his pocket, so Hayley ordered one of my Lavender hair pins and a matching buttonhole for her mum as a tribute to her granddad. She also had a pin made in blue, for her “something blue”, which I absolutely loved!

Incorporate a piece of their clothing

There are lots of lovely ways that you could incorporate items of clothing.  You could stitch a small scrap from a shirt into your wedding dress, use one of their handkerchiefs to wipe away happy tears (I surprised myself by how weepy I was on my wedding day!), wrap one of their ties or silk scarves around your bouquet or even have their wedding dress refitted and restyled for you to wear yourself. A couple of nice buttons from a shirt or jacket sewn on to the handle of your bouquet, dress or suit would make a lovely subtle tribute too.

Wear a piece of their jewellery

Wearing a piece of their jewellery, particularly something sentimental like their engagement or wedding ring is sure to make you feel their presence, plus it doubles up as your something old and something borrowed, so a win-win all round!

Carry a brooch bouquet

And if you don’t want to wear a piece of their jewellery, why not incorporate it into your bouquet? Brooch bouquets are growing increasingly popular these days and can take a variety of forms, with some including a mix of fresh or artificial flowers and a few brooches, to complete vintage works of art, crafted from pieces of costume and antique jewellery. The beauty of brooch bouquets is that they last forever and you could even have a go at creating one for yourself if you feel like getting creative!

My favourite thing about designing brooch bouquets for brides is hearing all the lovely stories behind the pieces of jewellery they ask me to include. Katie’s grandparents had sadly passed away before her wedding so she sent me pearl necklaces and her grandfather’s cracked watch to put into her bouquet; They added a sentimental and vintage element to her bouquet and Katie said that she felt like her grandparents were with her on her wedding day – how lovely is that?

Dedicate a song or reading

Did your loved one have a favourite poem or song that you could include in your wedding? Save them a dance and twirl around the dancefloor when their favourite song comes on or use their favourite poem as part of the ceremony (depending on the nature of it of course!) or speeches, or even before the wedding breakfast to start the celebrations. Again this can be as subtle or obvious as you like and gives you a chance to honour your loved ones privately or publically.

Display photographs

Displaying photographs of your loved ones at your wedding is another way to include them. Go big and bold and create a display showcasing your happiest memories together or keep it subtle with a memory locket or bouquet charm.

Kelly’s dad sadly passed away when she was little and she wanted to carry a locket with his photograph attached to her bouquet. Her fiancé, Dan, wanted to honour his granddad too, so they sent me some photos of the two men and I resized them using Photoshop to fit inside a locket and a pair of cufflinks. I love this idea as it’s something you could easily do yourself with a bit of photo editing software to resize your images and you can pick up blank lockets and cufflinks from craft stores or online fairly inexpensively too!

Include them in your cake toppers

This is slightly offbeat, but an idea I love nonetheless! If you’ve decided to have a personalised cake topper, you could include elements that remind you of your lost loved one. Meg and Jerry did this beautifully; Jerry’s dad had sadly passed away and so he and Megan decided to pay tribute to him in their cake topper. Jerry wore a cap in honour of his dad, so we added that to the cake topper, along with the football gear that Jerry himself wore in his college football days. You can read more about Megan and Jerry’s story here (elsaroseboutique.com/blog/2016/10/12/behind-the-scenes-an-all-american-cake-topper)!

However you choose to honour your lost loved ones, I hope it brings you a sense of comfort and a feeling of their presence on your special day. What ways do you plan to include those you’ve lost in your wedding? I’d love to hear your ideas so feel free to leave a comment below!

About the author: Sarah is the owner of Elsa Rose Boutique and spends her days designing wedding accessories for brides that are looking for something a little different. From bespoke hair accessories and brooch bouquets to cute cake toppers, she captures the personalities of her brides and grooms and makes the sentimental details sparkle to create lasting keepsakes that will be treasured forever. Find out more at elsaroseboutique.com

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Marriage proposals—history, trivia, mistakes to avoid and 3 beautiful stories

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Have you ever checked out our wedding proposal contest on Best for Bride? If you haven’t already, you should! It is full of exciting stories of wedding proposals done right, and we are certain that you will enjoy reading the innovative and romantic ways in which the singular life-changing question, “Will you marry me?” was presented and accepted by different couples.

As I was going through these stories of love, I thought it’s a good idea to look at what marriage proposals are like today, and explore it a little deeper. So, join me as I dig into this subject and let’s have some fun. We also have three of our popular story favorites at the end of this post, so don’t forget to check them out as well.

Some history on the existence of marriage proposals

In many cultures around the world, it used to be and is still customary for the man to ask a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. This has changed in many cultures today, with women being in charge of their destinies and being asked for their hand in marriage, directly.

Accepting a proposal is not compulsory. Many couples choose to wait and see if they are indeed agreeable to spending a lifetime together, before they agree to get engaged. Nevertheless, a surprise proposal executed beautifully and thoughtfully is a thrill for every prospective bride, and one that most women dream of.

This article on the Wikipedia tells us how 29 February is the one day that women could propose to their partner, in countries like Scotland and Finland. Although proposals by women are more popular today, it is still considered the prerogative of a man to take this important step.

Proposing on bent knee

The symbolic gesture that has forever been associated with marriage proposals, most men (a whooping 76%) still favor the practice of proposing to their lady love on a bent knee. Although there is no definite history behind this practice, this article on the Love to know blog, sheds some insight.  It suggests that the gesture exalts the woman, as the man shows his respect to her by lowering himself. It is also comparable to the kneeling of knights when conferred an honor, and accepting a proposal of marriage is a similar honor. The practical reason suggested is that this pose of the man places the ring in an elevated position between the couple, This prevents the blocking of the light falling on the ring, and makes it more attractive. Isn’t that interesting? So, which of these reasons do you buy?

Now, let us look at some interesting trends, numbers and facts with regard to marriage proposals. Hopefully, this will give guys (or girls) a better idea of what would work, if they intend to pop their question sometime soon.

Facts, figures and trends

#Simple or showy?

We’ve seen plenty of romantic wedding proposals in sitcoms and movies, so which of these do you think would be the best for your woman? Is it the romantic and intimate style with just the couple there that the two of you would love? Remember the proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice? How romantic was it when Darcy proposed to Elizabeth on the moor at dawn. Is your girlfriend a fan of such scenes, or would she rather prefer the epic Flash Mob proposal on Cougar town, where Jules cannot deny the proposal because of how touching it was? (Despite her already being married, that is!)

Well, it so happens that 50% of women on the Robin Bros annual survey prefer that her partner spend majority of the funds on the ring, and keep the proposal simple. Despite this, a third of them wouldn’t mind having their engagement broadcast to the rest of the world, instead of keeping it just to themselves. After all, this is the age when reality shows rule us.

#Who should propose?

Traditionally, it was the man who proposed, except in specific cases and on specific days like we saw earlier. Now, things have changed a lot. 37% brides believe that it is fine to take on the responsibility of the proposal, rather than wait around for their partner to realize when it is time. This explains the new trend of engagement rings for men. In fact, the tradition of proposing on bent knee extends to this scenario too, but with the woman on her knee instead. Many men don’t really mind this type of proposal though, nor do they have any qualms about accepting it.

#When is the ideal time to propose?

Interestingly, women were more of the opinion that they had to wait for a while to make sure they were compatible as a couple, before deciding to get married. A fifth of the women on the Marriage proposal survey by Chillysauce mention that they would like to be proposed to on the anniversary of the day they got together. Men on the other hand, had no such personal dates as their preference, and chose Christmas Eve and Valentine’s day as the more likely dates to pop the question.

#Is it alright to propose on social media?

It is surprising how proposals, which were once considered very personal, are now finding more likes when executed in the public eye. A surprising 40% of women in UK, on the Chillysauce survey wouldn’t mind being proposed to over social media. Celebrities like Kelly Rowland and Kristen Bell have taken the leap to propose via the digital world, and more couples are following suit. However, the survey by Robin Bros in US suggested something different. Almost the entire population they surveyed deemed techie proposals as inappropriate and unromantic, even when followed by an in-person gesture. So, I think it differs from place to place, and person to person. So, give some thought to it before you make your move.

Now, let us move on from these numbers and get around to a more serious topic. If you are planning to get engaged in the near future, these definite proposal mistakes might be helpful.

Proposal mistakes to avoid

#Popping the question too early

There are women who want to get married right away, and then there are those who just aren’t sure. Like the survey said, most women like to wait it out and see if the relationship is headed anywhere, before they commit themselves entirely. While guys may be certain that they’ve finally met the woman of their dreams, girls are usually more skeptical. So, our suggestion is to wait till you are past the infatuation stage, you have had your first few arguments and are still certain that this relationship will work. This will save you the trouble of being in an awkward situation if she seems undecided or says no.

#Proposing empty-handed

Marriage proposals and engagement rings are a match made in heaven. One isn’t complete without the other! Proposing without the ring is a big, BIG mistake. So, what do you do if you aren’t sure that she’ll like the ring you pick? This article on the Knot suggests that you choose one from a store with an exchange policy.  Doesn’t that sound good? Or, if you have been engaged for long and both know that a wedding is on the cards, you can take her ring shopping. Our proposal story contest winners in Season 1, Darren and Angela did this.  They were together for 6 years,before they were engaged to be married. Darren knew her style by taking her out to look at rings in advance, and everything ended out fine in the end. Or, you could always consider proposing to your lady love in a ring store, like Patrick Dempsey did in the movie, Sweet Home Alabama.

#Not personalizing the proposal to suit her personality

Not all women may revel in the idea of being proposed to in front of hundreds of onlookers. Many would rather prefer being a park, or in a meaningful place with just the two of you or few onlookers who you know and would like to have there at the time. Make the moment about her, and your proposal will be more impressive. Many women love being proposed at the place where you first met. So, if your lady is a real romantic, you may like to consider this option. Also remember that your partner may prefer it if you had it well-planned, instead of just going with the flow and not taking it seriously enough. It is a life-time commitment after all, so give it the due importance it deserves.

#Ruining the surprise

You may have painstakingly created the perfect plan for your proposal, but beware of sharing it with too many people. Sure, you can enlist the help of your trusted friends or family, if you want help with executing it. You may even give a hint to her parents when you ask them for their blessings, but don’t share the details. Make sure that it is a secret, and not something that is public knowledge. You do not want your girlfriend hearing about it from someone, and the surprise being spoiled. She may also appreciate it better if she could break the news to everyone afterwards, than learn that they all knew it beforehand and it was a surprise only for her. Wait for the right moment, and give her the joy she deserves when you propose to her. You could even have a meaningful engagement with just the two of you, and then break the news to the rest of your gang with an engagement party.

It’s now time for us to look at some of our favorite proposals from our engagement proposal contest archives.

Proposal Contest Winners

1.Kristen and Jason’s Catch Phrase Proposal

This is one of the most romantic proposals we’ve ever come across. Jason caught Kristen off-guard with his proposal, by leading her to the scenario through playing the board game “Catch Phrase.” When it was Kristen’s turn to guess, Jason’s clues began with “It’s something you do, when you love someone.” Kristen’s first comical guess was buy them stuff. Her brother who was also playing, finally guessed ‘Proposal’, and all of a sudden Jason was on his knee, asking Kristen to marry him. How unique was that. Read all about this wonderful couple who were the season 2 winners of our story contest here.

2.Sean and Paige’s touching cancer to engagement story

Season 4 proposal story winner Paige was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma cancer and was in the hospital recovering from surgery. On the second night of her stay, Sean had all her visitors leave early, and walked in with a bouquet of roses. After showing her that he’d shaved his head so she wouldn’t be alone when she lost hers during therapy, he went on to propose to her. It was a touching moment, as Paige was too overwhelmed and ended up with her vital signs running berserk. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful proposal.

3.Louie and Rosie’s Pizza Proposal Story

This couple, on their fourth anniversary visited their favorite restaurant in Woodridge. Rosie went on to order her favorite pizza, and was upset that it took them more than an hour to get it ready. Just as she was above to give the staff a piece of her mind for the undue delay, her fiance took over and went to meet the staff. Surprise, surprise, he returned with a heart-shaped pizza that had “Will you marry me” written on it. How unexpected, exciting and thoughtful! And here’s the pizza that did the honors.

Isn’t it refreshing to read these stories and appreciate the beautiful thought that went into each of them? Our proposal story contest pages are full of hundreds of exciting stories, just like these. Why don’t you visit them here and pick out a few to read when you have some time to spare? Perhaps, even add your own story and enter the contest that is on?

For more interesting wedding advice, stories, shopping related tips and more, keep visiting us at Best for Bride.