Oh Those Traditions…

9 Mar 2018

Cutting the cake, the first dance and then tossing flowers and garters around. Traditions can be so much fun! And even though many couples decide to forego them, many others still like the idea of carrying through the tradition. But how to they fit into your day? When would be the best time to do them… and how now!?

Through my work I’ve attended many, many weddings. And it gave me a fly-on-the-wall kind of view on what works best. Of course there are no rules and each couple has to do what works for them. But here’s what I’ve observed…

It works really well to cut your cake as you walk into your reception. Why? Because all your guests are focussed on you. Everyone is cheering and everyone is very involved in the moment. It also gives the caterers plenty of time to cut the cake and have it ready for dessert – if that is what you wish to do with it. I’ve noticed that more often than not, when couples cut their cake after dinner, many of the guests are scattered around and few guests really pay attention to it. And when you’ve spent so much money on that gorgeous cake, why would you not make a big deal of it!?

So it’s just after dinner and your guests are getting fidgety – especially the younger crowd – the party needs to start! You guests are waiting for you to open the dance floor. It is very easy to loose track of time on your wedding day, so ask someone responsible (if not the MC) to remind you to open the floor on time. I’ve often experienced weddings where some guests start getting ready to leave because the couple hadn’t opened the floor by 21:30 to 22:00. Get that party going!

It is also a good idea to either dance 3/4 of your song just the two of you, or dancing the whole song by yourselves. As a photographer I love it when couples do that because I can get so many more great dancing photo’s! If your bridal party and family join in too soon, not only will there be fewer photographs and video footage of just you two, but why have such a special moment be shortened so soon? You could always ask the bridal party to join in on a 2nd special song you chose, right after.However, if you’re a tad shy and not too nuts about dancing… or just really suck at it… by all means, keep it at a comfortable length of time for yourselves.

Garter and bouquet tossing – usually the last “formality” before the party really gets going! Be sure to do

this before your photographer and videographers leave – you can get some very amusing shots if you’re lucky! Ladies first… and yes, aim for that special friend who has done so much for you! ;-) Then the guys are up! Grooms! Please listen – LOL! – once you have that garter in your hand, don’t just immediately toss it without warning – this makes it very difficult for your photographer to anticipate and capture – and many grooms do this. Hold the garter, and build up some anticipation before tossing it. It’s also really funny to see your friends eagerly hopping around like hungry puppies! :-)

These are just things I’ve noticed at weddings, but remember that each couple is unique, and each wedding is unique and you should just do what makes your little loved-up hearts happy!






Bridesmaids or bride’s maids? NOOO!

24 Jan 2017

So you’ve just said “Yes!” to a beautiful proposal from that handsome guy in your life, and then realize that you also have some proposing of your own to do! ‘Bridesmaid’ – a title of honour bestowed upon some of the most special women in your life. They will get to share your biggest day with you, closely by your side. One by one you ask them, and share hugs and excitement as they say “yes!”. Then you choose an extra special lady to be your Maid of Honour, and boy is she honoured by your request! But… now what?

You don’t want to be a “Bridezilla”, ordering your closest friends around like servants. And yet, they are in fact there to help you with tasks – on and before the day. Having experienced many weddings while photographing them (and also my own a few years back) I find that brides who plan ahead, and set expectations with their bridesmaids, have it the easiest when it comes to the big day. They understand in advance what their roles will be on the days leading up to- and the wedding day itself.

So… what would be fair expect of my bridal entourage? All good bridesmaids know they better throw you an unforgettable bachelorette party, but strangely, not all bridesmaids realize what their roles are when it comes to planning the actual wedding. Unless you have hired a fabulous wedding planner, your bridesmaids are going to be your life savers when it comes to little tasks like folding 100 invitations or making decorations. But you need to communicate this to them months in advance. It is important that they are able to set time aside and not be made to feel that you are just summoning them at whim, forcing them to cancel other plans as they are on “bridesmaid duty”. Have a short meeting with them right at the beginning of the planning process and set aside dates and times when you’d like them to help out with wedding related things.

Making little origami decorations or decorating 150 water bottles needn’t be a tedious, boring task. Arrange it for a Friday night, buy a couple of bottles of good wine and yummy snacks and have a blast while doing the work – the girls will appreciate being appreciated! The same applies to dress fittings or other areas where you’d like them to be involved. Don’t ever take for granted the time they’re sacrificing to support you through the planning process, and show them your appreciation.

So what should you expect of “Team Bride” on the actual day? We all know your Maid of Honour will hold your bouquet while you’re getting smooched by your brand new husband. But she can be so much more. Let her take charge of getting the family together for group photo’s, or ask her to hold your clutch bag with all your touch up make-up, and have her remind you to touch up your lipstick and powder your nose regularly. Her job is to make sure you look fresh and lovely right until you head off to your honeymoon suite. She can also collect wedding gifts and keep it in a safe place for you.

As for the rest of the girls, ask them to make sure that there is ample bubbly and snacks for the dressing room on the day – you’re going to be too busy with last minute details to be thinking about that. They also have to ensure that their dresses are steamed and outfits are as you wanted them. Allocate one bridesmaid to ensure important family members (including the groom and his guys) get their boutonnieres on time. And choose one bridesmaid to be in charge of “disaster management” – if the bouquets are late or the officiant is no where to be seen, it is her job to make calls and sort it out.

But most importantly, the girls should make sure that the atmosphere is light and cheerful and that you are as calm as possible while you get ready, and just enjoy these special moments you all get to share!