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Fun Idea Friday: Paying It Forward – Love and Growing up in Binghamton, NY

You’ve seen the movie Pay It Forward, right? The idea behind it is to do something nice for someone, and rather than asking for a favor in return, suggest that they repay the kindness by doing something nice for someone else – “paying it forward”. Well special events like weddings and Bat Mitzvas are usually a time when people focus on the happy couple or the teenager and make them the center of attention – but occasionally these stars decide to use their good fortune as a chance to bless others. Let’s take the special events of last weekend as examples.

This past week we had the pleasure of photographing two very special events. The first, a coming of age celebration; the second, a coming together of two great people in marriage. While each event was very different, both took the time to take the focus off themselves and use this as an opportunity to pay the love forward to someone else.

Ellie’s Bat Mitzvah

Now, when a young girl turns 13, she is thinking about a lot of things, but usually those things do not include other kids who have cancer. But maybe Ellie is not your typical 13 year old. After the ceremony, Ellie skipped the beginning of her reception and had a stylist come to the temple to cut over 10 inches of her hair to donate to Locks of Love, a charity that helps make wigs for children with cancer and other ailments. Not only did she get a fabulous new haircut and style just in time for her party, but she also helped make life a little brighter for someone else in the process.

The "Before" Picture

The moment of truth

and finally…

Way to go Ellie!

Fara and Jon’s Wedding

Fara and Jon

Fara and Jon also found a way to take all the love they experienced and pay it forward. Rather than distributing wedding favors, which if we are honest with ourselves often end up in the trash bin, Fara and Jon made a donation to St. Jude’s in each guest’s honor.

What other ways could you pay it forward? Consider some of these ideas:

1. For couples who already have all the appliances and towels you might need, register for charitable donations instead of gifts for yourself (great idea Prince William and Catherine – way to pay it forward!). Or register only for items needed at a local shelter and donate all your gifts directly to the shelter.

2. Apply for a credit card that makes a donation to your favorite charity and pay for all your wedding items on that card. Then everytime you spend money you can save a whale too.

3. Donate your leftover wedding decorations to a church or community center and help less fortunate brides have a spectacular wedding

While balloons won't last, items like vases, mirrors, and tulle are a big blessing for brides on a budget

4. Donate leftover food to your local food bank, or if it isn’t allowed send it home with guests as their favor.

5. Wear Toms Wedding Shoes. Super comfy, definitely not traditional, and Toms will donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you purchase. Outfit your whole wedding party in Toms shoes and you can help a gaggle of kids who need shoes. Plus you will find it easier to be on your feet all day, part of the added perks of paying it forward.

These aren't by Toms, by the way, but they are pretty

Have more “Pay it forward” ideas? Leave a comment and let us know! Whatever your bend toward altruism, we think it is worth it to take a moment out of your planning and consider how you can use this special time in your life to touch someone else. So go on, pay it forward!

Its all in the details

You work very hard to make your wedding day one that will be memorable, sentimental, beautiful, and uniquely “you”, and the proof is in the details; all of those little things that when joined together make your wedding, well, yours. At Captured Emotions, we think the details are important. Especially because you will have so much going on during your wedding that you may not even have a chance to see them until you get your pictures.

When someone says to you “the devil is in the details” they are trying to say that the hard part of planning a wedding is getting all of those details just perfect. We can’t speak to the involvement of the devil, but we can appreciate that making all of those details perfect is hard work. Which is why at Captured Emotions, we are “detail oriented”. We like to take some time to make sure we can capture as many details as we can. When we post your portraits on our secure website after your wedding, we like to make a folder just for those extra detail photographs.

So go ahead, sweat the small stuff. If you choose Captured Emotions as your wedding photographers, you’ll be sure to get a chance to see how it all turned out and you’ll be able to keep those details your whole life long.

Honey, Do you think we should have kids?

No, it’s not a few years into your marriage and you aren’t wondering if it is finally time to take that life changing procreation plunge.

You are engaged!

But right now, the decision of whether or not to have kids be a part of your wedding ceremony may feel like just as important a question.

Kids are adorable, photogenic, and downright cute, even when they aren’t behaving themselves. If you have kids you are close to, they make a great addition to your ceremony and often provide just the right kind of comic relief. Take Jessica and Jon, who were married in August. They used 4 super adorable kids in their wedding and it was great.

However, let us regale you with a cautionary kids-in-a-wedding tale. Years ago, my cousin got married in Minnesota, and they had chosen to have a very young flower girl (probably around 2yrs old) and her big brother (maybe 4 or 5 years old) as ring bearer.  Everything about the ceremony went beautifully and then it was time for the flower girl to walk down the aisle. Cute as a button that two year old walked down the aisle toward her brother, gracefully dropping clumps of flower petals in the aisle. It was sweet, cute, and lovely. At the front of the church she met her brother and they sat down on the platform in front of everyone where they were expected to wait for the duration of the ceremony.

Let me give you a tip: if you have very young children in your ceremony, let them sit down with their parents after they walk down the aisle. It is hard enough to keep kids behaved during a service when they are sitting right next to you and can be bribed with treats and pencils and toys. It is unrealistic for a two year old to sit still quietly for more than about 2 minutes.

Well, during the ceremony, at one point the flower girl hopped up with her basket and started back down the aisle, picking up all the petals she so nicely dropped. My guess is, that is exactly what they did in the rehearsal! A lady near the front, Mom perhaps, grabbed her hand, shook her head no, and then took her back up to her brother on the platform.

Tip 2: If you ignore tip number one, when kids start mis-behaving, bring them off the platform and sit them next to their parents.

Our little lady started to talk to her brother. Just whispers. Apparently someone had the foresight to stock her little basket with gummi bears in order to keep both kids quiet and happy. But flower girl was not happy about the way her brother was sharing the gummies and had to yell at him, loudly. He was mortified and clapped his hand over her mouth while shouting “BE QUIET”.

I cannot remember anything else about that ceremony except the look of horror on the Bride’s face that the kids were ruining her wedding. Now, it may have been one of the most fun weddings I was ever a guest at, but I am not sure the Bride would agree!

Kids are “unpredictable as weather” (to quote from the Sound of Music). They make a great addition to your ceremony, but you need to be realistic about how involved you want them to be, and have a backup plan in case your little ones shower you with personality. For some, a little comic relief from a little innocent angst may be just what you need. But beware… for better or for worse, having kids will change your life!