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A Day for Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. In honor of those very special women, today’s post takes a shift from our usual focus and talks specifically to Moms of Brides-to-be.

So your daughter (or son) is getting married. Congratulations! You have probably thought about this day for 20+ years, wondered who their spouse will be, imagined how beautiful/handsome they will look all dressed up, and cried over losing your sweet baby. I know I have and my kids haven’t made it out of elementary school.

What do you do now that the day is arriving? Here are a few tips to help you get through one of the most momentous days of your life.

1. Remember that the wedding will only last a day, but your relationship with each other will last a lifetime. When I got married I honestly sat around trying to think of one good thing about my Mother, and had trouble thinking of anything. Now, as a mom myself, I have a list a mile long of reasons I am grateful for her. Something comes over your brain when you are planning a wedding and I am sorry to say that brides often have trouble thinking of other people when they are overwhelmed with choices to make. Please don’t take it personally. It happens to the best of us. Remember that if you can show her how to ride through this difficult time with grace and compassion, she will be stronger for it.

2. Offer to help in any way that she/he needs. This is a hard one. Especially if you are an expert with flower arranging, or a decorator, or a photographer. Even though your taste is impeccable, it might be that the bride and groom need to make these aesthetic choices together in order to grow in their relationship. Which means you might be able to help them with their marriage by licking envelopes rather than trying to design and bake the wedding cake yourself. But when in doubt, offer to help.

3. Be ready to catch when things fall apart. Things will fall apart at one point or another. The wrong cake will arrive, the caterer will go out of business, the hotel will catch fire, etc. This is when Moms shine. We spend years washing boo boos, fixing scrapes, and kissing the hurt away. Don’t wait around hoping stuff will go wrong – so you can swoop in and fix it, but be ready to help at a moments notice. Consider carrying a stage manager’s kit the day of the wedding. In a theatre, the stage manager is the person in charge of fixing everything so that all the audience sees is a flawless performance. They often bring a kit, with duct tape, safety pins, needle and thread, sharpees, etc. You can do the same by bringing a wedding kit. Include clear tape, markers, paper, needle and white/black thread, extra buttons, bobby pins, hairspray, a pen, fabric glue, and anything else you can think of. If her dress gets a tear, you can whip out your needle or your glue and fix it. Hair falling down, grab a bobby pin. Knowing you have her back is going to help your baby enjoy the best day of her life.

4. If you live far away, volunteer for jobs that keep you in contact with the couple. Accepting RSVP’s is great for this, as you get to update the couple on who is attending and it keeps you in contact with them.

5. Listen

6. If you end up doing most of the work, check in with the Bride and Groom to confirm the choices you have made will suit them best.

7. Laugh a lot.

8. Breathe

Getting married is a sacred journey: terrifying, wonderful, stressful, exciting, horrendous, and joyous. Watching your child take that journey… well there are no words that adequately express the experience. Love each other. Embrace your new child-in-law. Respect the adult you have raised. Most importantly, savor each moment.

You are the single most influential person in the life of your child, and you will always be. Way to go Moms. We salute you. And if you wanted to use your influence recommending Captured Emotions as the wedding photographer, well we would salute that too.

Fun Idea Friday: The Kissing Album

 

When my Grandma and Grandpa had been married for 50 years, the whole family got together to celebrate their anniversary. With 7 kids, most of whom had children of their own by then, this was no small gathering! Someone put together a photo album of the couple through the years and it was fascinating to watch them literally grow old together in the album.  

That is when it hit me, why not start thinking now at the beginning of my marriage about what I want my 50th anniversary album to look like? And then I hit upon “The Kissing Album”. Every year for the first few years of marriage my husband and I seemed to have someone take a picture of us kissing each other. So what if we make it a point to kiss each other at least once a year on camera, and then we can end up with at least 50 pictures of us loving each other by the time we hit OUR 50th wedding anniversary.

This is great on multiple levels:

1. It helps me to stay focused on the idea that we will be together for 50 years. With so many relationships ending in divorce, it seems important to be planning on staying together forever, no matter what the future brings. Planning for my album is just one way of reminding myself that I am in this for the long haul.

2. My kids may someday be mortified by all the pictures of Mom and Dad kissing. Why have kids if not to mortify them by all the embarrassing lovey dovey stuff you do?

3. I just love kissing pictures. When we photograph engaged couples, weddings, re-commitment ceremonies, or anniversary celebrations, we always end up taking pictures of the happy couple kissing each other, because that is what two people who love each other do to show affection. Kiss together, bliss forever!

Now, maybe the kissing album is not your cup of tea, but its not too early at the beginning of your marriage to be thinking about what kind of relationship you want your grandkids to see in 50 years. Maybe if more people had a 50 year plan, we would learn to let go of the bad things and revel a little more in the joyful times we have together.



Last Minute Advice For Your Binghamton, NY Wedding

Your wedding day is one of the most exciting days of your life. As you prepare for the big day, here is some last minute advice.

1. Eat. Plan a set of light meals for your wedding day. Even though you may feel too nervous to eat or too busy to eat, having a lite amount of food will help you feel your best. By the time you get to your reception rolls around, don’t make the mistake of nibbling and then wandering to visit guests. You may find your excellent waitstaff clears your plates and shuts down the buffet before you get back to it. One bite of wedding cake all day will not sustain you!

2. Try to schedule some alone time for yourself on your wedding day. Take a bath, go out to coffee on your own, or find some other way to enjoy a moment alone, collect your thoughts, and be peaceful. It will help alleviate those pre-wedding jitters if you know this is a calm decision.

3. Assign a wedding coordinator or stage manager for your wedding rehearsal. I can’t stress this enough. On the day beforemy wedding I was bombarded with questions at the rehearsal that reay stressed me out. If I had found a coordinator and told them my plans then they could have ordered everyone around and I could have just prepared for the day. If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, choose a friend or relative who is bossy, organized, and a good listener.

4. Flow with the changes. Things will not go as you planned. Sometimes they will be better than you hoped, sometimes not, but the details do not matter as much on your fiftieth wedding anniversary, so what is important is your marriage, not your planning.

5. Enjoy yourself. This will be one of the top days you remember for the rest of your life.

Fun Idea Friday: Performing for the guests

Fun idea friday is our way of celebrating new twists on old traditions, and this week is no exception. Today we are celebrating those fun wedding ideas that brides and grooms use to entertain their guests.

The first dance: last weekend Sarah and Alan really changed things up with the first dance. It started off like a typical, romantic, slow dance until the two of them broke out into fun choreography that added a special touch to the day and kept their guests smiling.

The newlywed game: for some reason, this is really popular right now, and it might just be that it is so much fun! The bride and groom each sit in a chair with their backs to each other. Each one is handed two rubber duckies on a stick – one groom duck and one bride duck. As they are asked questions, they each answer by holding up either the bride duck or the groom duck, but since they can’t see what their spouse’s answer is, its fun to see how well the couple know each other.

Singing together: every once in a while a couple will both be musically talented. This bride and groom took out the electric guitar and performed for the guests. We think this is so cool, as long as you really do have a gift for music.

Picture slideshow: projecting pictures of the two of you growing up during the reception helps your family remember the good times you have had together. This is especially beautiful if you grew up together. I met a new friend yesterday who had known her husband since the 3rd grade, and although they didn’t date until college, there are tons of pictures of them growing up together. Now that would make a great slideshow!

Whatever your level of comfort is being in front of people, adding that fun performative touch to your reception will help make your nuptials an evening for your guests to remember.

Money Saving Wedding Tips

In this economy, or let’s face it, any economy, if you are planning a wedding, money is one of your major concerns. So let’s talk about realistic ways to cut down on cost and still have a wedding you are proud of.

Choosing which items to cut back on is a very personal decision.  But here are some ideas, and some cuts to avoid we think you should know.

Ideas:

  • Limit the number of guests at the reception. We think this is pretty self explanatory. The fewer people you have to feed and water, the cheaper your event will be.
  • Have a cash bar instead of an open bar. This decision is pretty dependent on the amount of drinking your friends and relatives are accustomed to. It certainly saves you money, big money, but it may feel cheap after the fact if people weren’t able to have a good time because they didn’t know to bring cash.

  • Don’t have a full dinner reception. This is tricky if your reception venue requires you to use their caterer, but I have always been partial to a dessert reception. Get married at sunset and then provide special coffees and teas and a whole host of desserts which includes but is not limited to the wedding cake.
  • If you don’t mind getting up REALLY early, have a morning wedding with a brunch reception – eggs and pancakes are much more cost effective than steak and chicken. Just keep In mind that you will have to get up while it is still dark out to have your hair and makeup ready for a brunch reception.

  • Hire a DJ rather than a live band – maybe. Check the prices. You really get what you pay for when it comes to wedding entertainment so you may find it is generally cheaper to get a DJ over a live band, but if all you want is a guitar playing acoustic melodies then you may be able to find a musician to do that for a similar price.

Ideas to avoid:

  • Don’t do your own hair and makeup. Having someone else do these for you is a pleasant experience, so enjoy it. You don’t get married very often and you need to have some luxuries, even on a tight budget. Plus, you will be the centerpiece of most of the wedding pictures so you need to look really nice.

  • Don’t forget to do your nails – even if you aren’t usually a manicure kinda gal. This is one you can probably do reasonably well yourself or ask one of the Bridesmaids to do if you are trying to save money. You will probably have lots of pictures with your hands in them, because that is where the rings are.
  • Don’t cook the food yourself. One bride I knew stayed up all night before her wedding making spaghetti dinner for all of her guests to cut down on the cost.  Don’t do it. It is not worth it. If you want a homemade meal, give your spaghetti recipe to cooks you know and have everyone bring some with them.  There will be food for all and less stress for you.
  • Don’t elope to save money. It will definitely save you money, but part of the fun of a wedding is sharing the day with people who love you. Don’t rob your friends and family of the privilege. If you must elope, have a surprise wedding instead. Consider renting a back room of a restaurant, a ballroom, or a park for a “family reunion” or a “surprise party”, invite the family and friends, and then surprise them with a wedding when they arrive. You pick an officiant and a photographer (Captured Emotions, perhaps?), they get to share in the day, and you have your low maintenance wedding. You could even wait until after dinner to spring the surprise and then all your guests will have paid for themselves! (this is  little bit tacky though so consider carefully)

Have more money saving tips you want to share? Leave a comment and let us know.

Fun Idea Friday: Replacing the Rice Throwing

On Fridays we try to write about some fun new versions of old wedding traditions – in celebration of creativity in wedding planning. This week:

Throwing Rice

It was traditional for the guests and members of the wedding party to line up outside the church (or the reception) with handfuls of rice (or paper cones of rice) and gently toss the rice kernels at the happy couple as they exit to the safety of their getaway car and drive slowly off into the sunset. Now we all know rice isn’t very good for the bird population, so some folks have switched to bird seed (ouch) or butterflies (beautiful, but hard to control whether or not they fly when released – like these butterflies below who refused to leave the Bride’s bouquet)

 

or bubbles (now we actully really like this one if you coordinate the bubble blowing timing well).

But have you ever thought about trying something completely different, like maple tree helicopter seeds?

Our backyard is full of helicopter seeds each spring, and once those seeds dry out, they look gorgeous when you throw them in the air because they take their time whirling to the ground. Why not collect a bunch of seeds in the spring, dry them out, and have guests throw them in the air as you leave the ceremony. This way no one is pelting you with birdseeds or releasing butterflies too early, there’s no mess on your dress, and they are larger and easier to brush out of your hair. Warning: there is some indication that when eaten, maple leaves or seeds maybe harmful to horses, so skip this tip if you are getting married on horseback or on grandpa’s horse farm.

Not into having things thrown at you, but like the idea of a grand sendoff? One wedding we’ve been to gave all of the guests sparklers to light just as they were exiting the reception. These were beautiful and would fit in great for either a July or a winter wedding. The only downside is training your guests to light them at just the right time (and of course being specific that no one throw them!). I am happy to report that no one threw any sparklers at the one we went to.

Want something softer? You could think about flower petals. Rose petals usually fit the bill, as you likely are using roses in your ceremony somewhere so your florist is liable to have tons of extra petals. These are one of the softer options we came up with, just be aware that they don’t fall slowly to the ground, you have to have the right technique to make them seem to float in the air. But you could consider using smaller petals, like daisies, that might remain airborne a tad longer.

Going green? How about paper from a shredding machine? Then you can have someone else sweep it up and put it into the recycling bin – the price is certainly right and it won’t harm the environment. Just make sure guests can’t string together their pieces and get your personal credit card information, or the wedding may cost you more than you thought!

Throwing rice may seem antiquated, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer your guests the chance to send you off in style with a little creativity, and a little help from us.

If the Slipper Fits…

Finding the right shoes for your wedding is a very personal and possibly overwhelming task. Do you find a pair of white chuck taylors to make a statement, find some ballerina flats to be more comfortable, or wear some heels to take you to new heights?

Whatever your choice, here is some advice about shoes we think you should know:

1. Buy your shoes early and bring them to your dress fittings. Your alterations personell do not want to have to guess how tall to make your dress.

2. You will be wearing your shoes for a very long time on your wedding day – so go with something comfortable enough to wear for 8 or 9 hours. If you need to take off your shoes because your feet hurt during the dancing, your floor length dress will be too long and it will either get dirty or stepped on.

3. Just because you have a long wedding gown does not mean your feet won’t show. Shoes matter!

4. If you have chosen an ivory gown, choose your shoe color carefully as there are many shades of white. Bring a fabric sample shoe shopping in order to get a good match. Or consider going with a different color entirely. Perhaps your ruby slippers will be a better match for your rainbow themed wedding! 

And of course, let’s not leave out the guys. They have feet too. Here are some shoes we’ve seen lately. We hope you have as much fun choosing your shoes as we will photographing them.

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!