Monthly Archives: August 2010

Fun idea Friday – New twists on old traditions


We thought it might be nice every so often to pay some homage to those creative brides and grooms who wanted to put a new twist on an old tradition – creating something unique to their personalities. So here are some great ideas we’ve found for taking traditional wedding elements and changing them up a bit, for a quirky new take on old ideas.

The Unity Candle

Now a unity candle is a beautiful tradition. The bride and groom’s mothers each light a single candle, representing their respective children at the beginning of the ceremony. Then during the ceremony, the bride and groom each take their candle and together light one larger candle, representing that age old idea that the two have now become one through marriage. Its truly lovely, and plenty of brides still want this symbol as part of their wedding.

Potential Problem Number 1: You have to keep the candle, but you can’t keep lighting it after the wedding day or it will disappear into nothing as the wax melts.

Solution: Rather than have a candle you can’t light again or it will eventually melt away, why not consider using an oil lamp instead? Have members of your family or wedding party fill the lamp with oil while they share personal memories or readings of your choosing. Have someone other than the bride and groom carefully put the wick back in the top, and then bride and groom light the oil lamp together. Now you have a keepsake you can re-light again and again and hand down to your own children someday. Plus, every time you light it, you can remember how grateful you are for all those people who have helped to guide you and support you along the way. Oil comes in just about any color so it is easy to match to your wedding colors and then replace later with something that coordinates with your room decor. Added bonus, you have a lamp to use when there is a power outage!

Potential Problem Number 2: It involves fire – which might make you or your parents uncomfortable.

Solution: Consider a wine ceremony – mothers of the couple bring onto the platform two different bottles of wine. The couple pour their respective wines into a shared goblet, creating a mixture which they both drink. No fire involved, and it might just turn out to be your new favorite flavor of wine. This website has some other great ideas for unity events:

Potential Problem Number 3: You can’t include friends and other family members who have helped to make you the person you are today (what if your stepmother raised you but you can’t insult your real Mom by not including her). This may be especially important to you if one or both of you have kids you want to include, or feel closer to non-relatives and want to honor them too.

Solution: Think about incorporating a sand ceremony. It’s a similar idea – have family or friends fill a beautiful vase with different colored sand. This has become very popular in the past year and is really great for people who have more complicated family situations. For more sand ceremony ideas and a place to buy vases, try visiting this website:

Engagement Pictures – Time for a Reenactment

So now you are engaged! Congratulations! Your fiance got down on one knee (at the least in the metaphorical sense) and asked you to spend the rest of your life with him (or her – hey girls can propose too). Welcome to wedding planning! So the first stop on your ever growing “to do list” is get some engagement portraits taken. Put your pictures on your save the date cards, wedding invitations, wedding websites, thank you notes, etc. Great for any type of wedding, these are essential if you have long distance friends and relatives who may not have had a chance to get to know your future spouse. At captured emotions we can bundle your engagement pics with your wedding package – so we’re happy to be your one stop wedding photography shop.

Recently, we had the chance to photograph Nicole and Brett, who plan to be married in 2011. They met at church and after a rousing church volleyball game, Brett found the courage to ask Nicole if she would like to go on a date. Fortunately for our story, she said yes. When it was time to pop the question, Brett took Nicole back to Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, the same park where their dating relationship began, and presented her with a romantic picnic for two, where he asked Nicole to be his wife. Fortunately for our story, she said yes again!

When it came time for engagement pictures, it just made sense to bring them back to Otsiningo Park and re-enact the picnic that changed their lives forever. Re-enacting your engagement helps to make your portraits personal – and the people you love feel connected to your big moment, even if they weren’t able to be there the first time.

First Look – Seeing each other before the wedding?

Something that is becoming more of a trend lately is the First Look – where the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day in a private moment between the couple (with a non-obtrusive photographer present to capture the moment of course).

This is fantastic because you don’t have all those eyes gazing at you. You have the privilege of taking each other in privately on one of the most momentous days of your life.

It is also incredibly practical, because it allows you to take your traditional posed portraits with the bridal party and your families, before the ceremony begins. Which means you can just ease on down the road (or just down to the church basement) to your reception directly after the ceremony.

Bad luck you say? Well, if you are superstitious, or a traditionalist, this idea may not be for you. But if you like to live on the wild side, step on cracks freely despite the risk to your mother’s back, walk under ladders, and have no trouble when black cats cross your path, you may find the first look is a treasured moment for you and your future spouse to have some time for quiet connection before the hustle and bustle of the ceremony takes over.

Before the Ceremony – Moments worth keeping

When you are planning your wedding, one of the last things you think about is that time on your wedding day before the ceremony, when it is just you and the girls (or guys if you happen to be a groom who peruses the web for wedding blogs or you are a bride with a lot of mans-maids or bridesmen). But that time together with your close friends may really be your last “girl” time together as a single woman and it deserves a little respect. You need these people in your life and getting ready together is a great way to make them more a part of your big day. Consider some of the following:

1. Get ready together – Have all your bridesmaids get appointments at the same hair salon and travel as a group. Or if that isn’t possible for financial reasons, get dressed together after the hair salon. Remember, chances are you can’t get fully dressed in a wedding ball gown by yourself anyway. Plus its nice to be pampered a little bit while people wait on you. But remember to go potty before you put that dress on – it’s not as easy as you think to use the facilities in a large dress.

2. Bring snacks or drinks or games – Why not celebrate together with a toast (best done BEFORE you put those fancy dresses on)? Maybe wedding themed mad-libs or a rousing game of Apples to Apples can help keep your nerves in check and your girls happy while you wait for the ceremony to begin. Consider mess free snacks like frozen grapes, dried fruit, trail mix. If you have an evening wedding you don’t want to discover during the ceremony that you forgot to eat anything and you are feeling light headed!

3. Choose your present for the bridesmaids wisely – It’s traditional to give your girls a gift since they probably shelled out a lot of cash for a dress they very likely will only wear again on Halloween, no matter how badly you wish one of them would sell theirs to you. Some standards include jewelry (buying necklaces and earrings for them insures everyone will be wearing the same jewelry and is more likely to be something they can use again on a special occasion), personalized items like totebags or compacts. You might also consider hiring a masseuse to come on sight and help everyone relax before you dress – it’s a gift that you can also give to yourself!

4. Include your mother – I cannot stress this enough. Your wedding day is at least 50% about how much your mother hoped this day would come for you and can’t believe it’s finally here. She probably imagined it as much as you did, and it’s a very emotional day for her to give away her baby. Give her the honor of putting your jewelry on you and helping you into your dress. If your Mom isn’t around anymore, think about the women who are important in your life and include them in your pre bridal moment.

5. Consider including a First Look moment – where you and your future spouse get to see each other alone one last time before you tie the knot. You get to see the look on his face when you walk in the room, but you can keep it all to yourself. (See our blog post on First Looks for more information).

Does your wedding photography really matter?

Of course you expect us to say yes, since we make our living photographing weddings.  But before you simply click away, hear me out. When I got married almost ten years ago, I figured the photos wouldn’t matter much because I was also getting a video and friends would take pictures. After all, we have a lot of photographers in my family. I was wrong. In the last ten years, I can count on one hand the number of times we have taken out that wedding video (which by the way, was an actual video, not a DVD, so I no longer even have the means to play it!). However, our wedding album still frequently finds its way down from the shelf where it is prominently displayed whenever someone wants to talk about our wedding. Every friend getting married wants to know what our ideas were, and I love to share them because it was such a wonderful day.

Here’s the problem: because so many members of my family are photographers, no one wanted to work on my wedding day, so we chose a photographer we didn’t know who would give us the negatives when they were done.

Mistake number 1: I never bothered to look through her albums. I went online, looked at the 5 photographs she had on her website, imagined they represented thousands of similar photos, and signed a contract.

Mistake number 2: I did not request she attend the rehearsal. If I had, she would have known that the pastor did not want any flash photography during the ceremony. I’m not sure why that was important to him, but when a photographer can’t use their flash, they have to be prepared with a lot of fancy tricks in order to get you pictures that aren’t blurry or dark. This takes warning, preparation, and skill.

Mistake number 3: She was incredibly cheap. It should have raised a warning flag that she does not value her skill ability very highly when she was willing to shoot the whole wedding and give me the negatives (this was back before digital photography was as common) for less than $600.

Anyway, to make a long story slightly shorter, my photos were horrible, boring, dark, and out of focus. The only interesting poses she took were ideas other people had and requested she take. At one point a college friend posed everyone for a picture on his camera and she said “hey, that looks neat” and took a picture too. Every single ceremony picture was blurry or too dark. EVERY SINGLE ONE! We barely took any outdoor pictures, even though it was gorgeous outside that day. She never even took a picture of me with one of my brothers. When you only have two, it’s embarrassing to discover you missed one.

So please, even if you don’t choose Captured Emotions as your photographer, please take the time to choose someone who knows what they are doing. Your wedding album will come out again and again, and normally people put up wedding portraits on the wall. But , if you don’t have any good pictures to display, you can’t display them.