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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.

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.

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.