Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Fun Idea Friday : Pinterest

Planning your wedding can be so much fun, but for most people it’s the first large event they’ve ever planned and it can be really overwhelming.   There are so many great ideas out on the internet that you can use for wedding planning and the best way to keep them all organized is Pinterest!  If you aren’t on Pinterest yet, you need to sign up TODAY!  It will make your life so much easier as you plan your wedding to keep all of your ideas organized.

One of the perks of Pinterest is that you can search for wedding ideas on there and look at inspiration boards other people have created without having to know them or be friends with them.  But the people you ARE friends with probably have boards already that you can use for inspiration.  Ask your friends, family, your photographer, florist or anyone you are already working with for your wedding if they are on Pinterest.  I’ve been married for almost 12 years, but I still see great wedding ideas every day, so I keep a board of wedding inspiration for my brides to check out.

This is one of my favorite ideas I found recently on Pinterest.  What a great way to save your wedding bouquet!  You can read the full post with instructions at http://www.comeonilene.com/2011/12/16/wedding-memory-capsule-christmas-ornament/

So head over to Pinterest and start pinning away for your wedding! 🙂

Fun Idea Friday : Customized Wedding Hangers

Who doesn’t love seeing pictures of your wedding gown?  You have spent hours, maybe days or weeks picking out the perfect dress for you and you want to have beautiful pictures of your dress in all its glory.

Taking pictures of your wedding gown is one of my favorite things to do, but those generic plastic hangers that the bridal shop gives you aren’t exactly a thing of beauty.  This is where Customized Wedding Hangers come in!  There are several companies now that make adorable personalized hangers with your name on it that you can purchase.

We recently discovered WeddingHangerShop.com who make custom wedding hangers.  They have so many options to choose from and have been kind enough to offer our blog readers 10% off any purchase until the end of the month!  Here are some examples of their work:

Find the perfect personalized bridal hanger for you today, and use coupon code CAPTURED10 for 10% off your order until the end of April.  Thank you WeddingHangerShop.com! 🙂

Wedding Decorations for Binghamton, NY Weddings

During your wedding planning, there are so many decisions to make about flowers, colors, dresses, tuxes etc.  One of the things that is sometimes overlooked is decorations for your reception.  There are so many options you can choose from as far as decorating your ballroom, but there are some simple things you can do to make your reception both beautiful for your wedding guests and look amazing in your photographs.

One of our favorite event decorators in the Binghamton Area is Stacey Webb with Webb Events & Decor.  She always does an amazing job and is wonderful to work with.  Ceiling Decorations and uplighting can add so much to the look of your ballroom, and look SOOOO fantastic in our pictures.

Take a look at some of our favorite decorations that Stacey has done at the Owego Treadway Inn.

This ceiling that Stacey decorated was for Rachel & Mike’s wedding at Traditions at the Glen.

Tips for Bridesmaids (Part 2): Preparing for the Wedding

Previously, we posted tips for surviving the bouquet/garter toss as a bridesmaid. This week we are taking a step back to prepare you from the beginning of the preparation process. So here goes….

Congratulations! Your friend/relative/acquaintance has asked  you to be in your wedding. Here are some tips for making this transition from everyday-person to Bridesmaid extraordinaire:

1. Look at your calendar. Hard. There is nothing worse than agreeing to be in a wedding and having to back out last-minute because you forgot it was your brother’s graduation day or your mom had a scheduled surgery, or you already paid a down-payment on a cabin in Michigan. Check your calendar and then write/type the wedding into the calendar so you don’t schedule anything else.

2. Be realistic about the finances. Weddings are expensive, but you may not have realized what type of financial commitment you just made so I want to break it down for you. The average bridesmaid’s dress is $150 unless your bride doesn’t care at all about committing your money and then you are in trouble. But plan to spend $100-$200 for a dress, and $30 for shoes. This is not usually included in the wedding budget since you get to keep your dress and shoes after the wedding, so you are on your own. Additionally, plan to be at the wedding at minimum two days before, the day of, and the day after the wedding. So that’s at least 4 days of doing nothing but helping out the bride. You have to be able to attend the rehearsal, typically the night before, and there may be a bachelorette party the night before that. This means you have to take vacation days from work, or go without pay if you don’t have any paid vacation time coming. Now add in travel. If you are lucky, the wedding is close to where you live, but if not, add in cost for flight/gas, hotel stays, car rental, meals etc. Finally, factor in the cost of gifts: engagement party, shower, bachelorette party, wedding gifts.

Feeling overwhelmed? You don’t have to be, you can do this on a budget, but you do need to be honest about expense vs. income and try to work with the bride and other bridesmaids if you need help. For instance, as a bridesmaid I have had many brides find me a place to stay when I was coming from out-of-town, frequently in their house with them up until the wedding night. Some brides will let you wear your own shoe selection, as long as it is the appropriate color, which means you can look for a cheaper version or use something you already own. Gifts can be made, rides can be shared, your boss may allow you to take on extra shifts if you plan ahead. But don’t take on more financial responsibility than you can fiscally chew.

3. Disclose early if you have special needs. As a bride, I chose all of my bridesmaids carefully and would not have wanted a single one to be left out, but some of them required special accommodations and lucky for me they told me in time for me to do something about it. I am not just talking about physical disabilities, although now is the time to disclose that your false leg doesn’t bend at the knee, but other needs you may not have thought of right away, such as:

– Modesty requirements for your religion or to cover up a scar, etc.

– Allergies (especially to specific types of flowers or metals)

– Stage fright/fear of public speaking

– Preferences (if you hate to show your arms and would rather have sleeves, think your knees are ugly and need a long gown, have a preference for a type of material or a type of dress cut, delicately bring these up. Most brides want you to love your bridesmaid dress and want to wear it again. If you don’t speak up now, you will have to forever hold your peace).

4. Offer to help. Often. In ways that are as specific as possible. Wedding planning is stressful and full of crazy little details so if you can take any of the work off the bride’s hands, she will be so grateful, but she may be so overwhelmed she doesn’t even know where to start. You don’t need prior experience to be super helpful: anybody can stuff invitation envelopes, seal them, put stamps on them, and mail them out. Someone slightly more organized can easily maintain the RSVP list on a spreadsheet. You don’t have to be craftsy to stuff doily cones full of flower petals, all you need are hands. I attended one wedding as the wife of a groomsman, and discovered that not one of the bride’s 8 bridesmaids who actually lived in the area took the day off work on the day before her wedding. Which meant that three of us spent all day decorating her backyard for the rehearsal dinner luau, cleaning up afterwards, stuffing rose petals into cones, and one of us WASN’T EVEN IN THE WEDDING PARTY. Be classy, help out. I am sure those ladies never even thought about the fact that she would need help, but 10 years later it still ruffles my feathers how insensitive they were to their friend’s needs.

5. Get contact info for all the bridesmaids distributed to each other ASAP. This is usually the maid of honor’s job, but you guys will want to be in on planning showers and bachelorette parties and it is nice to get to know each other before the big day.

6. Get the bride something small. The night I got engaged, my friends knew it was going to happen and my roommate left my first Bridal magazine on my pillow. It was the icing on the cake of one of the best nights of my life. One of the things many brides fear is losing all their friends after they get married. Let her know from the beginning that you support her and will be there for her, and then follow it up by actually being there.

Those 6 tips should get you started. On to the fun parts….

Tips for bridesmaids: Surviving The Bouquet Toss and Garter Placement

As a former bridesmaid myself, I feel for you ladies. You shell out a couple hundred dollars of your hard earned money on a dress you will probably never wear again, and may regret having to wear the first time, you take time off work, travel across the country (and sometimes the world), and all for the honor of trying to not be as pretty as the bride. It is a pretty thankless job which often involves a lot of grunt work and emotional triage. But it is such a huge honor that you accepted all the woes and responsibilities out of love for your friend/relative. Now, there are two big problems in your future we hope to help you overcome with grace.

Problem 1: the bouquet toss
Typically, either you are desperately hoping to catch the bouquet and be the next in line to play bride, or you are desperately hoping to avoid catching that thing at all costs.

Tips for catching it:
1. Stand in front: most brides don’t throw far enough so you may have to dive. Watch out for ten year olds who always get to stand in front because they are short. If your bride is a softball player, this rule does not apply.

2. Just tell the bride you want to catch it and maybe she will turn around and aim it right at you.

3. If all else fails, get your pepper spray ready to beat down any girl that gets between you and being the next bridezilla. (Disclaimer: we don’t think you should do this. It isn’t worth it)

Avoiding the bouquet: This is an art-form frankly, especially if your boyfriend catches the garter and you’ve been together for a while but you just aren’t ready to commit. We have also been to weddings where everyone avoided the bouquet and it just sat like a lump on the floor with no one willing to touch it. Definitely not cool.

How to avoid the bouquet gracefully (i.e. so the bride doesn’t know and feel bad):
1. Stand in the back behind a tall person. Then take off your heels. Short people rarely catch things in this situation.
2. Act like you are really trying for it but make your hands flat so even if you touch the bouquet it will bounce right off your hands and hopefully be caught by someone else more eager than you. You cannot catch things if you refuse to use your thumbs.
3. After deflecting the flowers, look at your hands as if you broke a nail or it bruised your finger and that way you look busy while others take “the prize”.

Problem 2: the garter placing
Ok, this tradition is just plain awkward. Random girl catches the bouquet (often a ten year old girl because they stand in front and brides, as aforementioned, often throw short) and random guy catches the garter. Now guy puts completely useless garter on the leg of the victim… er… winner of the bouquet…. yay… that’s not awkward at all. Seriously, why has this tradition stuck around? We don’t use those garters for anything!

Anyway, on the off chance that lucky girl is you, here’s our advice:

1. Sit in a chair. Do not, for example, sit on two groomsmen’s knees. A strange man is going to be putting undergarments on your thigh. It is up to you to keep this moment from spiraling out of control. Let’s say you sat on the groomsmen’s knees and they get the bright idea to stand up to help the guy get the garter on your leg. Worse, let’s say they aren’t supporting the top half of you very well and suddenly you find yourself at standing height, lying horizontally while you show the whole wedding party your undies, including the complete stranger who is forcing an elastic band around your thigh.

2. Sit up straight and lean forward. If you lean backwards, you will flash your undies to the entire reception. But, if you lean forward, then you limit the headroom strange garter man has and he will not place the garter too close to your special places. Think defensively ladies!

3. Lift you dress up the leg in question to the height you are comfortable showing. Otherwise he may decide he has to put his head under your skirt so he can see.

If this advice hasn’t made you change your mind about participating in the whole affair, and we hope it won’t, be on the lookout for more Bridesmaid tips in future blogs.

Fun Idea Friday: For the Love of Dogs

On Fridays we like to highlight something new or fun for a segment we call “Fun Idea Fridays” and this week, its all about including man (and woman’s) best friend in your wedding celebration – after all, they are an important part of the family.

A few great ideas for including your pets but not letting them take over your day:

1. Have a pet wrangler for any event your pets participate in. Including your pets in egagement sessions is becoming increasingly popular, but the number one problem is that you probably also want to take some pictures as a couple – which is nearly impossible if you don’t bring another adult who can care for your pets while you focus on being photographed. If you decide to include pets in your wedding, you will also need a pet wrangler for the entire day.

2. Choose the role your pets will play wisely – your barely housebroken chihuahua may be adorable, but he won’t make a good church ring bearer. Sometimes having them make an appearance in your ceremony and/or reception is all you need. Not all pets are comfortable in strange places in front of lots of strangers and you want this to be a great day for your pet as well. If you choose to make your pet a wedding attendant, have a person assist them down the aisle (on a pillow, in a wagon, or with a beautifully decorated leash). This ensures they won’t get out of control (or relieve themselves on your decorations).

3. Bring treats! Don’t forget your pet’s regular food/water/potty times and make sure that if you include him in the ceremony or reception that you have provided plenty of treats to let him know he is doing a good job

4. Have a rehearsal just for your pet to explore the space and practice – with lots of rewards – doing whatever you ask him to do.

5. Don’t keep your pets with you the whole time. They will be overwhelmed and need a break from all the excitement.

Pets are a wonderful part of your family and if you are considering making them a part of your engagement session or wedding, remember to take your pet’s needs into consideration as much as your own. After all, for some of us, pets are people too.

Fun Idea Friday: Dessert Receptions Done Right

Cookies, cupcakes, and pie – oh my! As a person who does not particularly enjoy cake, dessert at a wedding is often a disappointing affair. But, what if the whole reception was based on dessert, rather than serving a meal? Brittany and Josh did just that at their recent Binghamton, NY wedding, and it was a hit.

They chose desserts that were family favorites: apple and cherry pie, cupcakes, cookies, and of course a small wedding cake to cut, and then they set up stations where guests could help themselves.

They served the apple and cherry pie in adorable mason jars - how clever

The signs were very simple but super cute.

This is brilliant for several reasons:

1. This type of dessert reception is easy to tailor to any budget – and more unique than a traditional dinner. Plus, who doesn’t love dessert?

2. If you are planning an evening wedding, a dessert reception makes perfect sense as guests will want to eat before they come to the ceremony.

3. It is brilliant because it is personal. These were their favorite desserts, which helps you feel more intimate with the bride and groom and their families.

4. It is easy to make the reception feel more casual in this type of setting.

5. If you have a lot of local relatives who want to help, they can bake their favorite desserts (make sure this is ok with your venue/caterer)

If you have never thought about having a dessert reception before, we think this is a very classy twist on a traditional reception. Some other ideas we had to make it your own:

1. Add a coffee bar and a barista where guests can add liqueur to their coffees or flavored syrups. Perfect for dessert pairing and a version of an open bar that is much more affordable. My husband would have loved this at our own reception.

3. Have some savory appetizers or snacks to pair with all this sweet stuff

4. Not into coffee? Offer a wine bar that matches wine choices with the desserts folks choose.

5. Consider ice cream. It’s my favorite.

A dessert reception is a great way to keep your wedding budget reasonable and still offer your guests something unique and classy. We gave this one two big thumbs up for originality and creativity. Have your own ideas for a great dessert reception? Leave a comment and let us know!

Fun Idea Friday: Building on a Theme – Themed Engagement Pictures in Binghamton, NY

On Fridays we like to take time out from our regular posts to celebrate fun new ideas in the world of weddings, and this week is no exception. After all, who wants cookie cutter boring engagement pictures? Why not personalize your session with something that is ALL YOU?

This week we had the pleasure to do just that with engagement portraits for Amanda and DJ. Not wanting to stop at just one theme, they actually chose two.

First, they decided to have a retro, 50’s style theme. Just check out some of the adorable shots.

Why choose a theme, you might ask? Well themed engagement pictures are a perfect way to set the tone for a theme wedding. They can help your guests get in the spirit of the era before they even start thinking about dressing for the wedding. Another good reason is if you just love it. I just love to dress up in costumes and this would have been perfect for me. A third reason: you want to bring out the real “you”. Thus we arrive at Amanda and DJ’s second theme, working on the house.

One of their favorite activities is working on the house together, so what better way to capture them as a couple than to photograph them doing just that?!

Whatever your theme, we love to do new and unique things with your session, so just let us know your ideas. Our next Fun Idea Friday Blog might just be about you and your great idea!

Fun Idea Friday: The Writing on The Wall at Binghamton, NY Weddings

Dynamic Lightscaping. Wall Monograms. Name projections. Uplighting. Whatever you call it, there is something exciting happening at weddings in Binghamton, NY and we are big fans.

More than just providing music, most DJ’s can now provide a whole lighting atmosphere, transforming your reception venue into something magical. Probably our favorite feature is the projected monograms or names on the wall. Check out some of the reception photographs from Jessica and Jon’s wedding at the Owego Treadway.

In this case their DJ was Jimmie Malone, who may have been the first DJ in the area to start offering this feature. (The House of Treasures did the decorating.) Did you notice all that gorgeous purple uplighting? Not part of the reception site or the decorations, but brought by the DJ. It comes in a variety of colors, and though we are only showing the purple lights here, Jessica and Jon had a rainbow of colors that changed throughout their reception.

Your wedding should project who you are to your family and friends – what better way than writing your name?