A to Z Guide to Wedding Planning!

  • A is for Atmosphere

Setting the scene for the perfect wedding can be a daunting task and with wedding trends changing rapidly over time, it can mean decision making is hard. Often the best place to start is by thinking about the formality of the event and how you would like your guests to feel on your wedding day! Whether you choose a relaxed garden wedding with subtle coloring and natural tones or a themed wedding at a wild venue with bold wedding colors and outlandish wedding decorations, whichever way you go it is the wedding atmosphere that you create that will generate the most memories!

  • B is for Bachelorette Party & Bridal Shower

Second to choosing your bridesmaids, this is often the next stage in the planning of your pre-wedding activities! This is the event, other than the wedding itself, that the girls look forward to most! Renowned as the tamer of the two, a bridal shower is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding, it is a time for the females in your life to get to know each other and to share advice before your big day.

The Bachelorette Party also known as a hens night, hens party or hens do on the other hand is deemed “an evening of debauchery,” a girls night out in honor of the bride-to-be in the style that is common to that social circle. This is when the bridesmaids take control, organising silly outfits for the bride, dares and games along with gifts for the girls including name tags, fun drinking straws along with personalised bachelorette koozies for a unique gift idea!

  • C is for Ceremony

Ultimately your ceremony, the moment where two people are united in marriage, is the reason you are planning this special day. The way that you choose to perform your ceremony and the wedding reception that follows are often linked in formality and theme and the options are endless.

For the ceremony you will have to give some thought to the location, a church or temple, beach, garden or formal venue often this is driven by the choice for a civil or religious ceremony. Most ceremonies have a similar structure, with your vows, readings and music making a personal service.

  • D is for Destination Wedding

More and more couples are escaping the traditional big celebration wedding in favor of a smaller more intimate ceremony in an exotic location. Whether your destination wedding is overseas or interstate it can still take a lot of organization, not only for the couple and the wedding day itself but in making it fabulous for the guests that have gone that extra mile to share in your special day!

  • E is for Engagement

Congratulations on your Engagement, let the fun begin. Start with your engagement announcements, maybe a notice in the newspaper to inform the community or an item that you can send in the mail to let your friends and family know the good news! If you are moving fast you could even add your wedding save the date to your engagement announcement to help with your planning budget.

Some couples will choose to have an engagement party, an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends and for future guests to get to know each other before the big day. Engagement party favors are often handed out to the guests as a thank you for attending, such as candy treats or custom beer koozies to take home as a memento.

  • F is for Favors

Wedding favors also known as bonbonniere are small gifts given as a gesture of thanks to guests from the bride and groom. Wedding favor ideas have become a major part of wedding planning, with modern gift trends including: CDs with the favorite music of the bride and groom, candy jars, picture frames and wedding koozies. Gifts may also be personalized with the couple’s names, initials or wedding date and even an individual guest name to create a gift and place card.

If you choose wedding Koozies as your wedding favors then it is a great idea to start browsing the designs a few weeks before you need them to be delivered. There is an extensive range of designs available to help you create the perfect match to your wedding color scheme, theme and more. Please read a previous article to help with your design; Personalized Wedding Favors on a Budget – Inspiration for Wedding Koozies to Wow Your Guests!

  • G is for Gift

A wedding present is a gift taken by a guest to congratulate the couple on their marriage. There is usually some etiquette when it comes to gift giving, some couples may choose to take the hard work out of this for their guests and have a gift registry with a wish list to choose from. Others may have a wishing well, this is where guests can anonymously drop cards and monetary gifts into a box known as a wishing well to help the couple on their way to starting a new life together.

  • H is for Honeymoon

A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in seclusion. Jetting off to somewhere exotic and romantic is not uncommon although the holiday should be something of choice that suits the couple’s outlook and interests. For couples on a budget a destination wedding can be a great way to spread the cost making the addition of a few days for a honeymoon easy.

  • I is for Invitations

Wedding invitations are a great way to set the scene for your guests. As a follow on from your wedding announcement or save the dates, your wedding invitations can be fun or formal but should be informative and hold an RSVP date so that you can keep to a deadline in your wedding planning.

In modern times the way an invitation arrives is becoming more and more imaginative, you might choose a link to an online wedding website where guests can respond electronically or include a link to a video message. Items sent in the mail can also be creative and unique such as origami style folded gifts, printing a message on a balloon that can only be read once blown up or sending custom wedding koozies for your guests to enjoy at home and on bring on the day!

  • J is for Jewellery

Wedding jewellery can be simple and sophisticated or bold and colorful. This is a very personal choice that that bride will make when choosing her wedding dress and bridal party attire.

Sometimes traditional jewellery will be passed down the generations within a family, bridal accessories can include earrings, bracelets, tiaras and hair combs to name a few.

  • K is for Kiss

“You may now kiss the bride”… the words that the groom has been waiting for all day! Many couples will have a discussion prior to the wedding about the kiss, some even finding this the moment that makes them most nervous! Questions like, how long should it be? Should it be a full-on smooch? Or just a peck? What is the etiquette in wedding kisses? The answer to which is that there is not really an etiquette, just show each other how happy you are to be making this promise to each other and show this off to your guests, just bear in mind that you might be in front of your parents, grandparents and young children.

  • L is for Love

LOVE. An intense feeling of deep affection and the reason you have been ploughing all of your time into planning the ultimate wedding celebration. Say no more.

  • M is for is for Music

One big question for your wedding reception, DJ or Band? Often the answer to which is dependent on budget, formality of your event and location. There is also the decision of which music you should be walking down the aisle to, creating an amazing playlist that will get your guests on their feet and of course the first dance! Here are our choices for a first dance song;

Top 5 First Dance Wedding Songs

  1. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
  2. You Are The Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
  3. Kiss Me – Ed Sheeran
  4. The Way You Look Tonight – Michael BublĂ©
  5. Better Together – Jack Johnson

  • N is for New

If you are following tradition in the sense of the rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” then this is your something NEW! You can include your wedding dress as your something new if it is made to order, or perhaps one of your bridal accessories or a fancy new pair of shoes. Let’s face it when it comes to your wedding there will be a whole heap of items that you can consider using to tick this box!

  • O is for Outdoor Wedding Venue

Weddings are often planned for the perfect weather, the most popular seasons for a wedding are spring and summer so that you can have great light for your wedding photographs and that you have the best chance of enjoying sunny spells outdoors with your guests over welcome drinks.

Your outdoor wedding venue might be in a national park, flower garden, winery or a beautiful beach, whichever you choose for your outdoor wedding be sure to have a wet weather plan on hand, just in case!

  • P is for Photographer

Wedding photography for a lot of couples is a big box to tick. It is lovely to be able to capture your big day and all of that hard work into images that you can cherish for years to come. Choosing a photographer can be a daunting task, be sure to ask around for recommendations, view portfolios of previous work and get to know your photographer so that they learn to capture what is important to you. Looking at your photographs together as a family is a beautiful way to connect after the event, each image will tell its own story and each story will be a memory captured for life!

  • Q is for Quiz

The Mr & Mrs Quiz, the ultimate quiz that any bachelorette should have to complete on their ‘last night of freedom’..! It is a fun way for the maid of honor to connect with and get to know the groom before the event. She will prepare a series of questions that the groom will answer, things can of course get a little cheeky depending on the formality of the bridal shower or bachelorette party, the bride will then need to see how many answers she can match to the groom’s responses, often followed by a forfeit for every wrong answer.

  • R is for Reception

Wedding reception, this is the fun part, after you have nervously said your vows in front of your family and friends you can relax with food, drinks and dancing at your wedding reception. Wedding reception ideas include a formal sit-down meal, cocktail reception or a casual beach BBQ. You can usually leave this up to your wedding planner or venue to organise, that way you can enjoy the celebration and spending time with your guests.

  • S is for Save the Dates & Stationery

Your wedding announcement and first item of wedding stationery is your Save the Date! An ideal gift used for long engagements this is designed to be sent out to your guests well in advance of the formal invitation, once you have your date set you can mail these out so that your guests can save the date in their diary. Some popular methods of sending a save the date include; postcards, calendars, tickets, magnets, custom beer koozies and more.

  • T is for Table Plan

T is also for troublesome, often considered one of the most controversial parts of the wedding planning process, the dreaded table plan! Great aunt Joan cannot be near second cousin John and really you’d like to sit with your pals rather than follow the traditional top table style with your parents… at the end of the day this is your wedding and as a couple you should be able to choose a seating plan to suit your wedding formality and your guests.

  • U is for Ushers

An usher, also known as a groomsman is normally a friend of the groom that has been recruited to direct guests at the ceremony, and generally be available to the bride and groom for assistance throughout the whole wedding event. The ushers would generally be dressed in the same wedding attire as the groom and best man and would feature in the formal wedding photographs alongside the bridesmaids.

  • V is for Vows

The exchange of wedding vows is an important part of your wedding ceremony. It can be a very romantic moment and often the perfect place to express your feelings for each other. Vows can be modern or traditional, led by a minister or celebrant, written for you or by you and can be tailored to your individual personalities.

  • W is for Wedding Dress

Almost every girls wedding dream begins with the dress! There are so many gorgeous styles available and all designed to suit different shapes and sizes… you can find the perfect wedding dress style amongst these… Ball gown, mermaid, A-line, Sheath. Strapless, V-neck, halter-neck, one-shoulder, illusion and more!

Once you have found the perfect style, you can start to create a unique look through the color and density of the material, heavier fabrics such as brocade and jacquard or lighter materials like silk and chiffon, traditionally a wedding dress would be predominantly white or ivory in color, but these days anything goes!

  • X is for X -rated (entertainment at bachelor party)

Although it is not necessarily the way every groom will spend their last night of ‘freedom’, the bachelor party, as portrayed in the movie The Hangover, certainly has a reputation for being a night or indeed a weekend of debauchery! Some will go all out with a weekend in Vegas, but generally the party vibe will include trendy bars, nightclubs and, most importantly, strip clubs!

Much like the bachelorette party, this is where the best man and other members of the bridal party will shine with ideas, organising embarrassing outfits for the groom, along with drinking games and dares! Gifts for the guys might include matching t-shirts, shot glasses, beer horns or custom beer koozies personalised for each of the guys!

  • Y is for Years

The number of years spent together, number of years engaged and then number of years married. Once your wedding day becomes a wonderful memory you have the many years of wedding anniversaries to look forward to and to celebrate. Each anniversary that passes will have a symbolic gift that is presented, there is both a traditional and modern gift here is the traditional list;

  • 1st Paper
  • 2nd Cotton
  • 3rd Leather
  • 4th Fruit/Flowers
  • 5th Wood
  • 10th Tin/Aluminium
  • 15th Crystal
  • 20th China
  • 25th Silver
  • 30th Pearl
  • 35th Coral
  • 40th Ruby
  • 45th Sapphire
  • 50th Gold
  • 60th Diamond

  • Z is for Zero Regrets

In a perfect world, every bride and groom would have the perfect wedding with absolutely no mishaps. However, this is not the perfect world and every turn makes for a new story! Our only advice is to enjoy every minute of your special day, spend as much time with each guest as you possibly, and have zero regrets!

Wedding Traditions and Superstitions That You Should Observe

Over the past fifty plus years that I have been alive I have had many occasions to watch friends and loved ones marry. There are more than a few things I have learned about weddings as a result of all this, but adhering to some of the most common traditions and superstitions associated with weddings are the most important. Why? Because it just so happens that many of those who chose to ignore these seemingly nonsensical and sometimes almost comical steps to get to the alter have often paid a high price for their disrespect of these long standing customs.

The Wedding Dress

We have all heard that it is bad luck for the groom to see bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony. The truth is that a longer standing tradition says that it is bad luck for the bride to wear the complete wedding outfit before the day that she takes her wedding vows. That is why you almost never see a bride trying on a wedding dress with her wedding shoes, veil and so on. A female college friend of mine knew a young girl who decided to ignore that tradition and display her complete wedding outfit to her bridal party for the purpose of having “some photos taken with her friends” the night before her wedding. So she said, most of those present think she was just showing off. The dress seemed unusually tight to some who saw the bride all decked out that night and soon gossiping tongues spread the news quickly.

The next day the groom decided not to show up for the ceremony after my college friend said that she called and told him that his bride looked “fat or pregnant” when she saw the bride in her outfit the night before. My friend was not being mean, but she felt sorry for the groom who had gone out of his way to keep his bride pure (she had claimed to be a virgin) by abstaining from sex with her. He had never seen her in the wedding dress, but even his sister said that she noticed an unusually rapid weight gain in the bride who was not one known to fluctuate in her weight or overeat. There could have been a lot more to the story than that, but I have no doubt that the catalyst for the groom’s cancellation was that phone call from my friend and the call would never had been made if the bride had not been showing off and scoffing at a long-standing tradition.

The Wedding Shoes

Both bride and groom should know that the superstitious among us say it is unlucky to wear any shoes for the ceremony that are not to be used specifically and only for the wedding. They claim that it is also bad luck to wear the shoes before the day of the ceremony, or to ever wear them again after the bride and groom take their vows. The shoes should be ripped apart or burned sometime shortly after the ceremony and never given away to anyone else. This tradition began sometime in the late 1800s and probably came from merchants eager to sell shoes. However, there may be some truth to it.

A friend of mine reports that a neighborhood friend of his who got married about twenty years ago had some very bad luck as a result of ignoring this odd superstition. Ben was a thrifty guy who hated wasting money. Sometime in the year before he was married he had purchased an expensive pair of shoes to wear for weddings, funerals and other special occasions. When my friend went out with him to help choose an outfit for his own wedding, he asked Ben about shoes. Ben told him that he was going to wear his best pair of shoes because they had barely been worn and were like new. After all, even back then a new pair of quality shoes could easily cost over one hundred dollars and Ben felt that money would be better spent elsewhere.

My friend told Ben about the wedding tradition regarding shoes that he had heard about from his mother, father and grandparents. My friend took the advice himself, got married without incident and has remained married ever since. Admittedly, he and his family are very superstitious about things like weddings, but there have been few divorces in his family line and many successful weddings and marriages. Ben wore his “best pair of shoes” on the day of the wedding despite the warning he received from my friend. Amazingly, his bride had her own unique plan for wedding footwear. She decided to wear sneakers for the wedding as a kind of joke as to say that she might be a runaway bride. The joke backfired.

Ben and his family were highly insulted by the presence of the sneakers and an argument began during the wedding reception which continued throughout the honeymoon and for weeks afterward. Things really came to a head when relatives on both sides viewed the wedding photos. The photographer became fixated on the bride’s sneakers and kept taking pictures featuring them. Many of the guests were captured displaying a scowl on their face as they spoke to the bride and stared down at the sneakers. The couple broke up and divorced within three months of their wedding. I say that we should add wearing sneakers to a wedding to the bad luck list for wedding footwear, apparel and choices.

Placing a coin (especially a silver dollar) in one of your wedding shoes is considered extremely good luck. Although this applies mainly to the bride, I suppose that the groom has nothing to lose by trying it as well. This tradition goes back to the “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe” wedding superstition from old England. Relatives and close friends would give the bride small tokens of their affection to wear or carry with her on her special day. These items were presented just before the wedding began and were not wedding gifts, just mementos to remind the bride that she has family and friends that care about her and support her decision to marry.

Something Old was usually a token carried by another bride at a previous wedding who has had good luck or a successful and happy marriage. This gift is about sending the previous bride’s good luck and fortune on to the present one. Something New is supposed to impart good luck to the bride giving her hope and confidence for the future. Something Borrowed is said to represent happiness that is imparted to the bride from her family and friends. Any happiness that they have experienced they offer to loan to the bride while she makes her own happy memories. Something Blue is given with the hope that the bride’s marriage will be filled with an honest and pure love, as well as fidelity. A Sixpence (Coin) In Your Shoe is said to impart a financial blessing on the marriage. Few brides dare to ignore this tradition which many consider the most important of all. I know one that did.

She insisted on a marriage ceremony with included just her, the groom and a clergyman. Most of the bride’s family and friends, as well as those of the groom, were against the marriage due to a huge age difference between the bride (who was very young) and the groom (who was thirty five years older). Most of the groom’s family thought she was a gold digger because he had a substantial fortune and his family was well known in the city where they lived. However, the bride also came from money, but it was new money. Sadly, I think her decision to marry this man really had more to do with the fact that she may have wanted to enjoy the status of being married into a family with a major standing in society than real love. Anyway, she decided to punish all the nay sayers who were against the marriage and prove them wrong by insisting that her wedding be held in a public park with no guests. The couple spent the money that a huge wedding would have cost on an elaborate honeymoon.

That bride broke nearly all the rules of tradition and superstition involving weddings. This included the tradition of bringing tokens to her wedding given to her by a friend who thought the age difference thing was no big deal. That friend could not attend the ceremony regardless of whether she was invited or not because she was living in another country at the time, but she hoped that the tokens would bring the couple good luck. And they might have done their job if those items had been brought to the small ceremony by the bride. They were not. Despite what seemed like a marriage filled with bliss during and just after the honeymoon, the couple divorced after just five years citing irreconcilable differences.

The Wedding Rings

It is considered extremely unlucky to go shopping for a wedding ring on a Friday because that is a tradition Sale Day and a highly discounted ring set is considered bad luck overall. It is even more unlucky to wear a wedding ring (other than trying it on) for any length of time before the ceremony. I know of at least a dozen occasions where either the bride or groom wore their ring (for whatever reasons) for hours or days before the wedding and could not for the life of them remove it. This not only caused physical and emotional discomfit, but ultimately ended up in arguments that broke up four of those couples before the day of their weddings. There could have been a million other reasons for those break ups, but why take the chance?

There are other things to watch for when it comes to wedding rings. Too loose and that could mean a husband or wife might stray from the marriage bed because they would forget the full meaning of their wedding vows. Too tight could curse the couple to a marriage full of arguments and fights bringing out the worst in one or both people. Wearing the ring on the left hand is considered very good luck. That tradition goes back centuries to when most work was done with the right hand making it appear more aged or dirty than the left. A plain wedding band is good luck compared to a highly decorated one in some societies, while a ring with religious or cultural icons on it is considered very lucky in nations with people from a Celtic background.

I cannot say that anyone I know has ever broken up over a plain or decorated wedding ring, but more than a few have had major disagreements over the cost and style of wedding bands which may expose a lack of character on the part of the bride, the groom, or both. The biggest superstition surrounding a wedding ring involves dropping it. Superstition says that a bride or groom who drops a wedding ring during the ceremony will be the first to die. This is said to be almost guaranteed if the ring rolls to a stop on a memorial or remembrance stone in the church or chapel. Wow! Be careful not to drop the ring.

The Flowers

Tradition says that the best choice of flowers for the bridal bouquet are either orange blossoms or roses. Orange blossoms are said to represent chastity and fertility, while roses stand for true love. It is also considered extremely good luck for members of the wedding party to wear garlands. This is a very old tradition, but one which has been making a comeback over the past several decades. If the bride tosses her bouquet and it is dropped, the bad luck is not on the bride, but on the person who failed to catch it; so no worries there. It is thought of as good luck to catch the bouquet even if that does not lead to the person catching it being the next to marry. No good or bad stories to share here, but fresh flowers do often help make the wedding and/or reception photos all the more precious when the wedding album is complete. Beware of the presence of wilted flowers which are considered extremely bad luck.

The Wedding Cake and Reception

There are many traditions involving wedding cakes. One of the most popular has been that when a couple agrees to place a statuette of the bride and one of the groom on the cake these should be of equal height. This is said to represent equality in a marriage. However, more often than not, people these days choose not to include likenesses of the bride and groom on their wedding cake. Instead, many are choosing eatable representations of their favorite flowers on the cake presented in various styles and set in all kinds of positions. Another popular trend is for the wedding cake to include the favorite flavors of the bride, while a separate cake is prepared called the Groom’s Cake which is designed to please his taste buds.

It is considered bad luck for anyone except the bride or groom to be the first people to taste the wedding cake. So I guess the tradition of getting a piece of cake shoved into your face will continue for some time to come. The bride usually does that to the groom first, then some grooms reciprocate. Others fear the wrath of ruining that expensive make up job that most brides have professionally applied shortly before most weddings. On multi-tier cakes it is considered very good luck to save the top tier, freeze it and eat it about three months later or after all the wedding photos have been entered into the wedding album. Most couples serve the remainder of the cake to a small circle of family and friends who stop by to view the completed wedding photo album.

Many brides like to include special charms into their bridal shower or wedding cake. This long-standing tradition brings good luck and normally includes gold or silver charms in the shapes of hearts, clover, horseshoes, wedding bells, baby carriages or money purses donated by bridal shower attendees or wedding party members. Sometime in the 1980s it became a new tradition to include one or more French-style Cream Puff Trees (croquembouche) in the bridal shower and wedding reception among with the cake. This amazing creation is made of many individual cream puffs covered in caramel and presented in the shape of a tree. Guests can use a small spoon or fork to remove as many cream puffs as they care to eat and place them on small plates.

Some couples opt to have their wedding cake divided up carefully and plated by serving staff out of sight of the wedding guests after the cake is shown to everyone and the bride and groom take the first piece or pieces. This is a popular way to make sure the cake is carefully and equally divided. However, the bride and groom should always be sure that the first piece or pieces of cake are cut with a silver cake knife and silver server. Those first pieces should be placed on fine china and eaten with silver or high quality forks. This is considered extremely good luck. Having been to a number of wedding receptions, I can tell you that nothing says cheap and nasty like a couple who choose to cut their cake with a regular kitchen knife and serve it with a pie server. The only thing worse is slopping those first pieces of cake on to paper plates. Once the bride and groom are served, cake should always be served to guests on ceramic plates.

Beware of cracked or damaged plates. The presence of cracked or nicked plates is considered extremely bad luck for the bride, groom and wedding guests. I have never personally seen this (or, I should say I am personally unaware of it), but some of my older family members claim that almost anything bad that happens during or after the reception is brought on by the improper presentation of the wedding cake and other food items. I have heard of everything from fist fights to auto accidents and missed flights blamed on bad or improper presentation of the cake and food during the wedding reception. Even bad toasts are extremely unlucky and usually the cause of spats and fights, so never hand a microphone to someone that you know will say something stupid or improper.

The Wedding Vows

People who write their own wedding vows may think this is the best way to express their love, but wait! A newer wedding tradition says that writing your own vows is not the best of ideas and could mean disaster to a newly married couple. This is probably because of all the hippie marriages that took place in the sixties and seventies. People used pet names for each other and authored often long, convoluted and embarrassing vows that made no sense to anyone at the ceremony and sometimes had nothing to do with the couple’s promises to each other. I sat through one of those types of weddings and wished I had not. No one knew what the couple was talking about and they even appeared to confuse each other. This is why people should never do drugs. The couple I spoke of broke up within two years and now hate one another.

A long-standing tradition says that wedding vows should be set by the minister. A more recent tradition states that it is good luck for the vows to be written by the bridesmaid for the bride and best man for the groom when the minister suggests the couple provide their own vows. Superstition says that parents should keep quiet during the ceremony accept for occasions when a father or mother is asked if he or she gives their daughter or son away to marry. Having a stand in for the bride’s father is considered bad luck. I know of at least two weddings where both the parents refused to attend and both marriages later ended in divorce. I am sure there were other causes for those break ups, but why take the chance?

The Parent’s Blessing

Finally, it is extremely good luck for the groom to be given the blessing of the bride’s parents or parent. This goes back to Biblical teaching and tradition, and also happens to be a tradition that I think is essential for a long and happy marriage. That is just my opinion. I guess I have just seen too many couples torn apart by family influences and interference because someone had something against the groom (or the bride for that matter) to begin with and that remained a matter of contention until it caused an eventual break up and divorce. Only the strongest of couples can stand up to that kind of pressure, so I do not recommend ignoring this tradition. If worse comes to worse try to get on the good side of the family of the bride or groom well before you announce an engagement or wedding date.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer – Wedding Photography Styles Explained

You’ve chosen your date, booked your venue and started shopping for dresses. Now you’re looking for a wedding photographer. There are a lot of styles of wedding photography out there, and while people in the industry might know these styles inside out they be confusing for couples. Remember as well that not only are you picking a style of photography, but different types of wedding photography can make different demands on your time on your wedding day.

Picking the style of photography you want at your wedding boils down to three things. What style of images you want, how long you want to spend with a photographer on your wedding day, and most importantly of all your own personality and comfort in front of the camera.

There are plenty of different photography buzzwords out there. Vintage, editorial, artistic or contemporary are just a few. Perhaps more confusingly they are used by different photographers in different ways. Ultimately it is up to couples to ask plenty of questions and do plenty of research before picking a photographer, and to rely on seeing full set of photos from completed weddings Do not rely on the best five or six shots from several weddings to make a choice.

Wedding photography styles are a compromise between producing fantastic work and keeping to a timetable. A photographer might produce brilliant photos, but if he takes too long to produce them you probably won’t enjoy the experience.

Traditional (or Posed) Wedding Photography

A lot of people think of traditional wedding photography as endless stuffy group photos where everyone looks stiff as a board. Worse still, the different collections of people seem to go on forever. I think there is a fashion to be down on traditional wedding photography, but the actual working framework is still the same for most wedding photographers. The photographs may be more stylish but the actual experience on the day for the bride and groom is very similar.

There is always a trade off between the type of work a photographer does and the time it takes to shoot it. More formal posed photographs will take longer to set up and achieve. Any photographer who produces artistic posed work will need a certain amount of time to produce his best work. It is important that you find out how much time he will need, and work out how it will fit into your day. There are photographers who spend a couple of hours on formal shots. Make sure you are happy with giving over that amount of time on your wedding day. If you are not that comfortable in front of the camera you may find this type of photography more difficult. A good photographer should be able to help you and put you at your ease but for many individuals it can still seem a bit daunting.

Reportage Wedding Photography (Wedding Photojournalism)

If traditional is all about posed photographs, then reportage wedding photography is the opposite. It relies on capturing moments as they happen, and is more like a fly on the wall documentary. This form of wedding photography means that the photographer spends most of his time in the background, and so has become increasingly popular with couples. Weddings are also increasingly less formal than they used to be. Documentary wedding photography demands a different skill set from traditional wedding photography so you have to make sure that your photographer has the correct photographic background and can show you full weddings to back this up. Wedding photojournalism is more about a complete set of pictures from the whole day than a set of a dozen highlights. There are photographers out there who will jump on the latest bandwagon to gain business, but still use the same old style they always have. Wedding photojournalism is all about anticipation and being in the right place at the right time. It is not about closely directing people, so it puts many traditional wedding photographers outside of their skill set. There are some less ethical photographers who will use the latest buzzwords to improve their search engine presence, but still shoot the same tired old pictures.

If you are reticent about having your photo taken, wedding photojournalism is probably your best choice. The photography happens without you really realizing and you’ll look your natural best.

Although these two approaches might appear polar opposites, in reality most wedding photographers will offer a blend of these two styles. There are not many wedding photojournalists who don’t shoot at least some formal photographs and traditional wedding photographers will shoot informal pictures as well. Find out what proportion of each a photographer likes to shoot, and better still ask them what they like to shoot the most – chances are this is what they are best at.

Vintage Wedding Photography

Vintage wedding photography is a style that has been coming into vogue recently, but in lots of ways its a hard one one to quantify. Vintage can mean anything from using old film cameras during some of the wedding to just a different approach to post production to produce ‘vintage’ looking digital files. There are some great photographers out there, but bear in mind that if you are receiving files that are heavily edited in a certain style, you run the risk of your photos looking rather dated a few years later. If I was hiring a vintage style photographer, I personally would want at least some of the wedding shot on film, I’m not a huge fan of faking things. As always ask questions, see examples and make an informed decision.

Editorial Wedding Photography

This wedding genre is inspired by the fashion editorials of glossy magazines, at it’s best it can produce fantastic high-end images. To produce this successfully on a wedding day the photographer needs to be highly organised, and would probably need an assistant to help set up some of the shots in advance, although that would depend on his or her style. Do your research to make sure that the time requirements for this type of shoot fit in with your plans. If you really like this type of photography but don’t want to devote too much time to it on your wedding day, consider booking a separate photo session after the wedding. Often describes as a trash or cherish the dress shoot, a separate photo session might be the best way to get the wedding day you want and the photographs you’ll love without losing a huge chunk of your wedding day. It also means that you and your photographer can pick the ideal time of day for the right light and you have scope for rescheduling if it’s pouring with rain. In many countries, particularly the US, high end wedding photography is evolving towards three shoots: the engagement shoot, the wedding day, and an editorial session. Don’t necessarily think that it all has to be done in one day.

Artistic or Fine Art Wedding Photography

Essentially an evolution of traditional wedding photography, this type of photography offers a contemporary take on the traditional set of posed photographs, although these are both terms that have been somewhat over used by the photographic community, so again do your research. At its best this genre can produce moving romantic images, but some photographers can over use the same poses, so it can feel a bit impersonal. Ask to see lots of shoots and don’t be afraid to input your own ideas at your pre-wedding meeting.

Conclusions

There are lot of styles of photographer out there, but the main thing is to look beyond the catchy buzzwords and look long and hard at portfolios. Ultimately it is the competence of the photographer you are hiring that really matters. Experience, personal service and professionalism are what ensure a consistent standard of photography from wedding to wedding, and the consistency and ability to deal with the different shooting conditions that present themselves throughout a wedding day. Their portfolio should show a good balance of shots from bridal preparations to the first dance. Ask questions about how much time they will need to complete those all important formal and couples shots, and work out how much time you are happy to give. Even with more observational styles, planning and communication before the wedding is vital to get the best results and to get them efficiently. Keep to the guidelines and you are sure to have a memorable wedding day with photos to match.