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Wedding Photo Do's & Don'ts

After months of planning the finer details of your special day – the dress, the location, the guest list and more – your head will likely be spinning. But with so much to think about, it is important not to overlook your only opportunity to permanently capture your special day - your wedding photography.

Each year couples spend nearly R52 billion on wedding photography, but your investment could fall short if you don’t plan ahead. Without realizing, there are 10 easy ways that you can take your photography from perfect to forgettable.

Top 10 Mishaps of Wedding Photography:

1. Not carefully choosing your photographer
Before choosing your photographer, take time to review their portfolio. If you don’t have someone with experience and skill, your photos will pay the price. Studios should provide album examples to review before you make your choice. If the studio does not allow you to choose your photographer, quickly move on!

2. Not chatting with your photographer a week in advance
It is important to discuss everything in detail with your photographer prior to the wedding day - don’t be afraid to be up-front about your expectations. Do your check in one week prior to the wedding so all instructions are fresh in the photographer’s memory. If you have specific requests, ideas to explore, or important don’ts to cover, express them. This is especially important because churches, synagogues, mosques and chapels may have specific areas that cannot be photographed. You don’t want any unwelcome surprises!

3. Not creating a photo "wish list"
Have you always dreamed of a romantic photo on top of a hill, in the middle of a field, or on a median along a busy street? Show pictures in magazines, old family photos, or any other visual to convey this to your photographer. From there, your wedding photographer should make your “wish list” happen.

4. Taking only stiff, posed pictures
Every album must have formal photos of the wedding party, but don’t let it stop there. It is important to have shots in a more relaxed setting – whether on the dance floor doing the electric slide or strolling around the reception.

5. Shooting at high noon
The sun is shining, the sky is bright, but what you may think is a perfect time to shoot is far from it. High noon sunlight creates harsh shadows on the face and doesn’t cast you in the best light – wait until the afternoon.

6. Sweaty, shiny photos
Of course it will happen - standing close together in full formal gear can turn up the body temperature. But don’t let shiny faces and (eek!) sweaty armpits take away from the special occasion. Be prepared with powder, anti-perspirant deodorant and paper towels!

7. Not scheduling enough time for the photo sessions and driving time
It takes time to shoot pictures of the entire family, arrive at several different shoot locations and get all of those perfect shots with you and your hubby. Make your life easier – allot extra time for photography! As a plan of attack, get the large group shots finished first, starting with children and the elderly. Next, take pictures with the families and bridal party. Lastly, spend some alone time with your man and the camera, while the impatient herd heads towards the cocktail hour. After all, it is your day!

8. Badly positioned hands and feet
After several shots, you and your wedding party may become antsy – tapping fingers, leaning on one foot and fidgeting. It is important that your photographer works with you to keep everyone photogenic, focused and above everything else – comfortable.

9. Missing the small moments
There are signature special moments in a wedding – the bride and groom’s first kiss, the first dance between a father and new bride, the garter ceremony and cutting of the cake. But small moments - such as the flower girl smiling from the pew, a proud moment between the mother and father, grandma on the dance floor – cannot be missed!

10. Stopping photographs before the reception is over
Many couples want to turn the cameras off at 9 p.m., but some of the most memorable and interesting photos happen when the party really gets going. Keep shooting!

Candles in a Wedding Ceremony

It's hard to imagine a wedding without candles! Candles enhance an intimate, romantic mood no matter where the ceremony is being held. The soft glow of candles lends a feeling of solemnity and significance to a formal religious wedding ceremony. Candles can also create a lighthearted impression in a more casual wedding.

Unity Candles are often used to symbolically "join" the couple or families during the ceremony.

Two tapered candles, each representing the bride and groom, are placed on either side of a larger pillar candle. These candles are placed on a small table on the altar area. Make sure it is located where the bride and groom can easily reach it, yet is out of the way when the bridal party enters or exits the altar. The side, taper candles may be pre-lit by attendants, family members (often the mothers of the bride and groom), or by the bride and groom themselves during the ceremony. It is customary for the ceremony officiate to include comments during the ceremony regarding the significance of the lighting of the Unity Candle. Then the bride and groom each use a taper to light the Unity Candle, the blended flame symbolizing their new life together as one unit. The side taper candles may either be left burning or extinguished. One important safety tip: It is a good idea to have an extra set of taper candles lying on the table, just of out sight. If the lit candles have burned down too much to safely handle, simply pick up the unlit tapers, ignite and proceed with lighting the center Unity Candle. The symbolism will be intact and the bride and groom will not suffer burns or damage clothing with hot wax.

Memorial candles are often used alongside the Unity Candle.

These candles represent loved ones no longer living but significant in the lives of the bride and groom. They may be placed on the same table as the Unity Candle or on a separate table dedicated specifically to the memorial candles. The memorial candles need not match, just as each individual person had his own unique personality and impact on the couple. Often, the ceremony program will note who each candle signifies and their relationship to the bride and/or groom.

Candles may be used in conjunction with flowers as part of the wedding décor.

Large candelabra on the altar area are quite beautiful and are available in many shapes, styles and finishes. Rows of votive candles along ledges, on tables or placed in lantern-style holders are inexpensive, yet dramatic decorations. Consider placing candles on or in front of mirrors to multiply the lovely reflection of the flames. White candles are popular choices, yet colored candles also may complement your chosen color scheme.

While candles are undeniably a beautiful tradition, do not overlook safety when deciding where to place lit candles.

Votives and hurricane glass help protect the flame from an errant breeze or brush of cloth. Do not place flammable ribbons, cloth or silk flowers near the flames. Protect surfaces from hot, dripping wax. Keep the candles away from the traffic pattern of guests who are arriving or departing and certainly out of the way of the bridal party as they enter and exit the ceremony. Remember, the clothing worn by the bridal party (such as the train of the bride's dress) usually requires more space than everyday clothing so measure to ensure proper candle placement. Finally, make sure any candles are well away from any small children, including the flower girl and ring bearer.

Wedding Instructions for Make-up + Contact Lenses

This article discusses the common problem contact lens wearers face when managing their lenses while applying make up. Eye infections and damaged lenses are frequent incidents that could happen on any day, and your wedding day is no exception. Since it is in our interest to keep your wedding day perfect, here are a couple of eye care tips to add to your list.

Assuming you wear contact lenses on a daily basis and will do so on your wedding day, there are some special rules you will have to follow.

Just in case the stress and million other things you have to think about clouds your memory, here is a quick reminder.

Do not sleep with your contacts.

Unless you are wearing daily disposables, contact lenses need to re-moisturize in special lens solution every day. If you forget to place them in the solution, the contacts will dry up overnight, which means that they could stick to the cornea, and inevitably cause damage to eye.

Do not let anyone else wear your contacts.

This may seem a bit unnecessary to stress, but it is actually the most common cause for eye infections.

When removing the contact lenses at night, remember to keep them in the special contact lens container, submerged in the solution.

Never use water or any other alternative liquid. If you have never worn contacts, you should schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, who will give you a prescription. The optician will instruct you thoroughly on how to insert, remove and take care of them. Schedule these appointments well in advance to make sure you will be able to handle them in the right way before the big day. It can take one or two months for your eyes to get used to contacts.

Applying make-up can easily become a cause for eye discomfort.

Make sure to insert your contact lenses before applying make up. If someone else is fixing you up, ask them to be careful when applying eye liner and eye shadow. Contact lenses are extremely sensitive and may not only be damaged if cosmetic chemicals enter the eye, they may also cause damage to the eye itself.

Try to avoid any contact between the lens and the make up: close your eyes when applying blusher or other powder products.

If the make up sticks to the lenses, they could be damage or causing irritation. The same rule applies when using hair spray or fragrances. It would not be nice to go to the altar with red eyes.

Saying I dos to Cookies than Cakes

When it comes to alternative desserts, there are so many yummy treats that could replace your wedding cake. One of the main reasons why most couples chose to shift to cookies as wedding desserts is that they are already tired of serving usual treats like cake. Another imperative reason is that the couple does not want to spend lots of money for a serving of cake. Whatever the reason is, picking delicious cookies vs cake for wedding ceremony, is indeed a good choice.

Non traditional

Wedding cakes are the usual desserts being served in a formal event like wedding. If you want o break the tradition, serve delicious cookies and everyone will be happy. There are so many types of cookies; some are loaded with sugar and some are even sugar-free. Other cookies are loaded with rum or liquor as well for which is god for adults.

Easy to customize

Like cupcakes, the selected variety of cookies could also be arranged in 3 to 4 tier design, like a wedding cake. In order to do this, you will only need a cake tier stand. Arrange the variety of cookies on each respective level to look like a real cake.

Healthy

Cakes are usually very sweet but with cookies, you can add some other ingredients like pecan and other forms of nuts. These nuts especially pecans could help you fight high blood pressure level, breast cancer and other medical conditions.

If you ever decide to get delicious cookies vs cake for wedding ceremony, then you need to plan out with your catering service ahead of time. Your caterer or baker will give you options when it comes to flavor preferences for your cookies.

How to Achieve those Good Looking Wedding Images

Many couples expect to get stunning, clear and sharp images for their wedding from their professional wedding photographer. Yes, photographers do know the poses that would make you and your partner romantic together, how you will look thinner on this or that side and the angles that work best in your location. However, photographers are just focusing their cameras and shoot. You will be the subject so it is also your responsibility to look normal and relaxed in your wedding photographs.

Wedding photographers suggest the best wedding photography tip for the bride is to relax and smile.

Photographers understand that brides can be anxious on the day of their wedding, but being relaxed can help in posing a natural smile. As long as everything is planned ahead, the bride should not be stressed or uptight. Being calm or relaxed will give you the vibe of enjoying the day and the photo shoot. If your photographer is kind of a comedian, then it could probably make you feel relaxed and laugh a little.

When a bride is relaxed, she can be confident in front of the camera and the person behind it. Being confident will make you forget about how you look. You are enjoying the moment, thus in the wedding pictures will reflect how you felt during the photo shoot.

It is not every day for most brides to wear a gorgeous wedding dress, with a beautiful hair-do and a make-up that makes them more beautiful. It is important to enjoy and let go of the worries even just for the day. For the ladies, the best wedding photography tip for the bride, is to relax and smile. Everything else will follow once you keep yourself calm.

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