The Bride’s Guide to Wedding Photography

Forget the bridal magazines and their list of questions to ask a photographer. They have no idea!  Most magazines are “publishers” and they have no idea of “REAL WORLD” concerns with regard to questions about photography that really matter.  Most likely they have never photographed a wedding.  Yes, they publish articles, but their bottom line is getting advertisers – that’s where they make their money.

As you begin looking for your photographer for your wedding, here are some questions that actually matter. These questions come from working wedding photographers who want you to cherish the most amazing images.

  • What makes you different from other wedding photographers?  This is one of the single most important questions to ask, and I’ve never seen a magazine suggest it. Photographers are not identical grains of sand. Photographers are all different. If a shooter can’t adequately define what makes his or her work or style different, they don’t really have a handle on it themselves.
  • How would you describe your style of photography? Don’t settle for a simple one or two word answer like “candid” or “traditional.” Ask them to elaborate. “I specialize unplanned moments and emotions. I’m drawn to great expressions and interactions between people.” I’m not talking about advertising tag lines, but they should be able to define their style with some degree of detail. This shows that they have a handle on their own priorities and aren’t simply shooting at everything that moves.
  • Why do you photograph weddings?  You’re going to have to read between the lines with whatever answer you get, but it’s certainly an interesting insight into the photographer’s motivations. No photographer is ever going to say, “Because I thought it would be a good way to make some weekend cash,” even though that may actually be the truth for some. Instead you want the answer to show some real passion and drive. You want someone who’s going to say something like, “I love people and telling stories of an amazing day in their lives.” Maybe even, “It’s such an important day, I want to do create photos that are meaningful and lasting.” A bit self-serving, granted, but at least there’s some real motivation beyond a paycheck. Regardless of the exact answer, you want to get the feeling that this person is genuinely passionate and motivated to do the very best job possible.
  • If a CD is included, are the photos enhanced or are they straight out of the camera? How much enhancement is done?  Nobody ever asks this, but it’s very important. Many photographers who offer digital images simply give you whatever comes out of the camera, good, bad, and ugly. All photos benefit from some degree of enhancement.

Want to know more?  Click here and download the Free “Bride’s Guide to Wedding Photography.”

More Creative Ways to Announce Your Engagement

One of the very best things about getting engaged (besides the handsome fiancé, gorgeous ring, and the prospect of love and happiness hereafter) is announcing your engagement to your friends and family!   Etiquette always expects you to tell your mothers and fathers in person first.  But after that, besides shouting it from a roof top, you can then proceed to more creative announcements (and with a lot less fear of dealing with parental pressure).

It’s a special moment that means more than just changing your facebook status.   So why not do it a little differently.  I’ll share a few ideas with you, and in turn, if any of you have something to add, we would like to hear how you made the big announcement.

Photo Announcement:   A photo of the two of you with perhaps a sign that says, “I said yes”.  It’s simple, easy and fun.  Or perhaps share a series of photos that starts with when you first met, and proceeds through the first date, first kiss and then a photo with the ring on the finger.  You can add some dates and notes along with these photos.

Say it with a Video: Most smart phones today have the ability to make a short video that you can share.

Say it with Fashion:  Get t-shirts made up that says, “The Future Mrs. ____”, “Soon to be Married”, or with a “Save the Date XX/XX/XX printed on the shirt.”  Wear a shirt over the t-shirt and at the right moment, take off the top shirt to make the big reveal (like Superman).

Flash Mob:  Got lots of friends?  Get them all in the action.

Host a Party:  Never a better time then when you’ve got everyone together.

So, how did you or will you make the big announcement?

All answers will be entered into a drawing for 5 FREE Tickets to the January 21, 2018 My Dream Wedding BRIDAL SHOW at The Christy in O’Fallon, Missouri.  Send your responses to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.  All responses need to be submitted by Nov. 13, 2017.

 

Brides who are “Mommies” Too!

 

In today’s weddings there are lots of brides who are also “Mommies.” I have seen first hand the challenge of meeting the needs of your children while trying to enjoy one of the biggest days of your life: your wedding day. Do yourself a favor, make sure to have lots of help with the little ones, and just focus on being a bride.

I’ve talked to a number of wedding planners and here are some tips that you might consider to make your day stress free and unforgettable:

First and foremost, you don’t have to have the traditional wedding with a big wedding party and a fancy reception with hundreds of guests. Many times when you have kids budgets are tight so a smaller wedding party and smaller reception will not only be cost effective but easier to coordinate.

Secondly; involve your kids, if they are old enough, in the planning. They could do a reading or even give you away. Younger kids are best as ringbearers or flower girls, and even consider having them pulled in a wagon if they are really young. Involve kids in the sand ceremony and perhaps have a special “gift” presented to them during the ceremony, as a token of their part in this new family.

Absolutely get someone to be in charge of the kids (especially those under 7 years of age) during your PREP TIME, ceremony, and reception. Just focus on being a bride, not a mommie, while you are saying your vows. Enlist the help of a friend or family member and be clear about their task ahead of time and make them TOTALLY in charge of the kids. Perhaps even in a separate area away from where you are preparing and getting ready.

Be realistic about your time, both as you are preparing for the wedding and the day of the wedding.  Don’t try to take on too much or it will all fall apart. Planning ahead to have help with the children will give you one less stress to worry about. Relaxed and happy mums make beautiful brides!

The Must Have “Barn Wedding” Checklist

Barns are the latest trend and rage these days for romantic, intimate weddings!  However, they come with their own set of challenges.  Unlike the standard banquet room, barns do have special opportunities and limitations.  Here are some things you might want to check out:

The Must Have “Barn Wedding” Checklist

  • How many guests can the barn comfortably accommodate?
  • What does the rental fee cover?  Some barn venues provide only the space.  Some provide tables, chairs, linens, and more.)  Be sure to ask.
  • Are there restrooms on site?  Are there enough to accommodate all your guests.  Where are they located.
  • Is the barn equipped with electricity or do you need to bring in a generator?
  • If there a plan for excessive heat or cold to keep your guests comfortable?
  • Is there get ready space for the wedding party.   If not, is there a hotel close by?
  • Does the venue have a liquor license?
  • What are the additional fees?
  • Does the venue have a list of preferred vendors?  Can you choose others that may not be on their list.
  • When can the vendors set up?  Can décor and rentals be picked up the next day. 
  • Is there an on-site wedding coordinator?
  • Is the barn rain-proof?  If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, is there a plan for weather contingencies.
  • Is there enough onsite parking space?  Can guests easily walk to the event area for the parking lot?
  • Is there room to play outdoor games?
  •  Are there great areas for scenic photography?
  • What other options are there such as bonfire, hay wagon, etc.?

Today weddings in a barn offer the bride and groom a chance to hold their wedding in a very personable and unique location. A barn wedding can be dressed up or dressed down to match the style and decor of your wedding and offer endless charm.

Photography compliments of J. Graeler Photography and Patrick Pope Photography.

Top 2017 Country Wedding Songs

As you know, this month we are all about “country”.  So, we wanted to share with you the 2017 Top 42 Country Songs that are perfect for your wedding ceremony or reception.  Stomp your boots on the floor, wipe the tears from your eyes  – this playlist has something for everyone – upbeat, slow and sexy.

And how well do you know the lyrics from your favorite country wedding songs?   Brush up because you just might win one of our many prizes, if you are the first to answer some of our “trivia country music” questions at our October 22nd Harvest Bridal Show at Valley Farms.  Keep watching our Facebook page, because we will be sharing some of our questions on Facebook here and there before the October 22nd Harvest Bridal Show, and then you’ll be one of our in-the-know brides.

Ain’t Always Pretty – Logan Mize

All On Me – Devin Dawson

Black – Dierks Bentley

Body Like a Back Road – Sam Hunt

Break On Me – Keith Urban

Chills – James Barker Band

Cinderella – Catherine McGrath

Circles – Jana Kramer

Criminal – Lindsay Ell

Die A Happy Man – Thomas Rhett

Expensive – Sammy Arriaga

For Her – Chris Lane

From the Ground Up – Dan & Shay

Give Up Your Heart – Levon

God Gave Me You – Blake Shelton

God Made A Woman – Jerrod Niemann

Good Time To Be Alive – Lady Antebellum

Greatest Love Story – Lanco

H.O.L.Y. – Florida Georgia Line

Happens Like That – Granger Smith

Head Over Boots – Jon Pardi

Heartbeat – Carrie Underwood

Hometown Girl – Josh Turner

I Could Use a Love Song – Maren Morris

In Case You Didn’t Know – Brett Young

It All started with a Beer – Frankie Ballard

Legends – Kelsea Ballerini

Love Someone – Brett Eldredge

More Girls Like You – Kip Moore

She Does – Jackie Lee

Sleepin’ Around – Austin Burke

Small Town Boy – Duston Lynch

Speak to a Girl – Tim McGraw

Still Fallin – Hunter Hayes

Strip It Down – Luke Bryan

Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton

To Learn Her – Miranda Lambert

Today – Brad Paisley

We Do Us – Ryan Hurd

What I Wanna Be – Jacob Davis

Yours – Wedding Edition – Russell Dickerson

Yours If You Want It – Rascal Flatts

Song List Courtesy of Popsugar Entertainment

How are You Going to Purchase Your Wedding Dress?

 

Today let’s talk about how you are going to purchase your wedding dress.    Why are dresses so much pricier when they’re meant for walking down the aisle?    Buying a wedding dress is not like buying a pair of boots or that new phone.  It’s an emotional purchase – after all, all eyes will be on you – you’re the star of the day.

So now that you have your ring, have you started the process of finding “the dress”?  Have you visited any of our great local bridal shops and tried on dresses?  Do you love the experience of sipping champagne, having your best friends and family with you, as you are trying on dresses?   Shopping for a wedding dress can be equal parts amazing and totally stressful.  And, trying on several dresses for a few weekends can wear you out.  Designer dresses are expensive so do you feel that going that route is stretching your budget?  After all, it’s just one day and there are other expenses like setting up a household that might need your funds.

And then, are you considering an “online” purchase.  Places like online retailers, Ebay, Craig’s List all have dresses that start even below $100.  You need to be very careful when shopping online, to make sure you don’t get ripped off.  That’s not to say every online store/contact is a scam, but you do need to be careful.  Plus, almost all wedding dresses need to be altered to fit correctly, and you will need to line up a good experienced seamstress.   If you have ordered your dress and received it, was it to your satisfaction?

So, we really want to hear from you how it’s going in your search for your wedding dress even if you have already purchased it.  Tell us what you have done, has it worked for you, and give us some feedback as to the pros and cons in your situation.  Even if you have not yet purchased your gown, tell us your concerns.   We want to share with our readers your knowledge and experience.  All comments will be posted and all people who send us their comments will receive a FREE Ticket to the Harvest Bridal Show.  Help us help you.  Send all replies to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.