wedding advice

10 Types of Wedding Photos That Make Great Canvas Prints
by Christina Child

There’s no denying the lasting power of a good photo, especially on your monumental wedding day. Your wedding photographer will capture all the classic moments but candid photos capture all the emotions a staged photo might not and help you remember all the small details and memories from your big day long after it’s over. (Plus, you'll need awesome images to place in your wedding photo book). The best part is that your wedding guests can snap some of the most memorable photos of your wedding that you’ll want to enjoy as canvas prints at home or just scroll back through after the big day because the best photos aren’t always the ones taken by a photographer (even though those photos are pretty great). Whether you’re going to a wedding as a guest or getting married yourself, be sure to check out these 10 types of photos that make great canvas prints!

 Photo Credit:   Micah Bowerbank Photography

 1.  The silly wedding party Is there anything better than a funny picture with the people you love most? Absolutely not.

 Photo Credit:  Jason Hudson Photography

 2. The wild cousins Because you have to admit—they’re definitely the life of the party. And they’ll give you lots of chances to take a hilarious and candid photo as they show off all their moves on the dance floor.

 3. The happy grandparents letting loose Grandparents add a little flair everywhere they go. Make sure someone snaps a good pic of the most adorable guests while the night is young! 

 Photo Credit:  Stacey Lee Photography

 4. The one with your pet Let’s be honest--pets make everything better, even wedding photos. 

 Photo Credit:  Rylee Hitchner

Photo Credit: Rylee Hitchner

5. A photo of the beautiful flowersDon’t forget to get a photo of the bride’s beautiful bouquet. They’re works of art worth remembering! 

 Photo Credit:  Erin Trimble

Photo Credit: Erin Trimble

6. One with the playful backdropYour ceremony backdrop is the place where you became a spouse! The moment you got married is the perfect one to turn into a canvas print to hang up at home. 

 Photo Credit:  Dark Roux Photography

Photo Credit: Dark Roux Photography

7. A cute pic of the tiniest wedding guests File this photo in the “things that make you go ‘awwww’” category. 

 Photo Credit:   Brandy Angel Photography

8. A sentimental photo with family Do you really need an explanation for this? It’s one of those photos you’ll love to look at over and over again. And hint hint--it also makes an amazing canvas prints gift idea for family members! 

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9. One with a chalkboard sign Photos of you and your new spouse holding a chalkboard sign are trendy for a reason. They’re a great opportunity to get a jump start on your thank you notes or holiday cards, too!

 Photo Credit:  Onelove Photography

Photo Credit: Onelove Photography

10. The amazing getaway Let’s not forget the moment they happy couple drives off into the sunset. It marks the end of the night but the beginning of a many more adventures together! 

7 Common Wedding Flower Mistakes to Avoid
by Christina Child

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Picking out the perfect, dreamy wedding flowers for your special day is usually a much anticipated checklist item for many brides and grooms. However, there is a right and wrong way to go about it!  Scrolling Pinterest to find floral inspiration can be fun, but at some point you'll have to get down to business and make a selection with a florist or wedding vendor. If you want to make sure you choose gorgeous AND affordable flowers, here are seven wedding flower mistakes wedding planners and florists say you can easily avoid.

1. The Inspiration Obsession For many brides who get inspired by a certain type of flower, they often become obsessed with trying to replicate the image they've seen on Pinterest or in a magazine. However, most florists and wedding planners agree that instead of trying to duplicate an image, it's best to use that image as a starting point for a new interpretation of that image.

2. Saying No Too Soon For some couples who decide early on that wedding flowers aren't a top priority for their ceremony, they may say no far too soon. Rather than decide to fill your venue with non-floral objects such as candles because you think you'll save lots of money, check into online wedding flowers that are far less expensive than traditional florists. In many cases, DIY wedding flowers or simple (but beautiful!) can cost as much as 50 percent less than the standard floral arrangement.

3. A Strict Color Palette When it comes to color palettes and flower types, be sure to always keep an open mind. If you're able to stay loose and flexible during the floral selection process, chances are you'll be able to purchase online wedding flowers that will make your wedding day even more beautiful. And along with this, you'll be able to take advantage of some rare flowers that may be in bloom when you're ready to walk down the aisle.

4. Arrangement Overload While some couples feel as if they need few if any flowers in their venue, other couples do the opposite and decide they've got to have flowers in every nook and cranny. As a result, every table may find itself filled with flowers. However, once the venue fills up with guests, the tables and other parts of the room may start to look cluttered. Look to have a few floral arrangements that will be incredible statement pieces, like your alter or photo backdrop, and tone down the rest.

5. All Your Eggs in One Basket Since flowers are very seasonal, you may find yourself preparing to use one flower and then have to change plans at the last minute if poor weather results in you not being able to get the flowers you had your heart set on from day one. To avoid being disappointed and having to make a last-minute change, find out what's in season at the time of your wedding and choose accordingly.

6. Unreal Inspiration While it's nice to be inspired, don't let your inspiration cloud your thinking when it comes to reality. If you do, chances are you'll pay more for your flowers and you'll also be disappointed if you have to make an alternate selection.

7. Not Considering Your Venue Whether you've selected a grand ballroom or a simple country church for your wedding, choosing the right type of flowers to fit your theme can make a big difference. By taking into consideration the venue's size, lighting, colors, linens, and other aspects, you will have little difficulty choosing the perfect flowers to fit your venue's style.

Since your wedding day is supposed to be perfect in every way, you'll naturally want to avoid these common wedding flower mistakes. Whether it's taking your venue's style into consideration, not putting all your eggs in one basket, or letting your inspiration get the best of you, taking the time to think clearly and follow the advice of seasoned floral professionals will ensure your wedding day will go off without a hitch.

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Carol Combs has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years. A mother of one, latest vogue and fashion trends keep her living hale and hearty. She aims to impart herself knowledge and experience to refine the look of womenfolk to look better than ever. You can also connect with her on Twitter.

Dos and Donts of Booking a Reception Venue
by Christina Child

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It's no secret that the overall tone of your wedding is largely decided by your own personal preferences and taste...  no two people are alike and no two weddings are just the same.  But knowing exactly where to have your wedding and reception - in a place that reflects your personal preferences - can be a daunting task when there are thousands of different venues to choose from!

Our friends at WeddingWire have put together a quiz that helps you choose which wedding reception venue is best for you!  Answering “Which Wedding Reception Venue is Right for You?” will help you get a jump start on the decision making process by ruling out options that might not be the right fit for you.  And after taking the quiz you'll be given a list of REAL wedding venues local to you!

Don't book a venue without checking out our advice!  Here are 5 Dos and Don'ts of choosing a wedding reception venue...

1. DO make your guest list before you book a venue - you'll need to know a general estimate of how many people will be in attendance to make sure there is enough space for everyone.

2. DON'T sign any contracts without reading through them first - make sure you read the fine print to avoid unseen costs and issues.

3. DO make sure you're in the loop about catering and alcohol - food and alcohol minimums can come with a hefty price tag.  Make sure you know the venue's policies on outside food and alcohol, and any preferred vendors.

4. Don't wait until the last minute! - engagement season is from Thanksgiving until Valentine's Day.  That's a lot of brides looking to be married within the same window of time and places book up quickly!

5. DO follow your gut - did you get great vibes from the coordinator at one venue and bad feels from another?  Good communication and a ready staff is an important aspect of the venue.  Trust your gut (and definitely peek at reviews!).

Want to skip straight to perusing local venues?  Check out Wedding Wire's wedding venue locations!

Happy venue hunting! :)

Q&A with a Wedding Videographer
by Christina Child

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Are you on the fence about hiring a videographer for your wedding?  You're not alone!  Squeezing another big item into your budget can feel like unnecessary expense, especially when you've already hired a wedding photographer...

BUT, when we've asked real brides what they would have done differently on their wedding day an overwhelming number of them regretted not opting for a wedding video!  We sat down for a Q&A with wedding videographer Kathryn Ray, the face behind the camera at Evergreen Era Films, to get an industry insider's take on wedding day film.  

What would you say to someone who is not sure about hiring a videographer? Film is very different from photos. A lot of people seem to think it is redundant to have both, when in reality it is a totally different experience than flipping  through still pictures. The beauty and purpose of film is that it is an all-encompassing sensory experience, where a mix of movement, music, and voice pull you back into each emotional moment. A lot of the most important parts of a wedding day aren't just visual, and things like personal vows or kind speeches are things that can quickly be forgotten. Therefore I always encourage people... if you can make it happen, hire a videographer!   

Why is wedding cinematography so "expensive"? I explain this in more detail on my blog, but in general there is a lot of time and expensive equipment invested in filming weddings.  The amount of hours spent with you before and during the wedding day pales in comparison to the amount of time spent in the editing room turning hours of raw footage into something beautiful... not to mention music licenses, USBs, shipping, packaging, travel, and many other costs associated with each wedding film.

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What is your specific approach to capturing a wedding? Being present when I need to be and being hidden when I need to be. My goal is that the only time anyone will notice me is when the couple needs me to make them laugh, help make a decision, or bring them back to the present moment amidst all the chaos. I don't like to be the boss and controlling the day; I like to let it flow naturally and capture the honest moments that occur between people and their celebration.  I don’t follow a guidebook... but that makes things real, and I think that is more important than following a strict formula. 

How do you make couples feel comfortable in front of the camera? One of the most important things I do is make couples feel comfortable with me first. I make sure that we meet, either in person or on video chat before we move forward in booking, where I ask them questions about themselves and what their relationship is like, along with sharing more about myself. I am naturally a positive, joyful, and gentle-hearted person and I think that creates a space of immediate comfort in most people.

I also use smaller and simpler gear rather than huge rigs, so instead of making people feel like they are on reality TV, they are less aware of my presence and interact more honestly.

What can couples do to help YOU ensure they'll receive a video that they love? I think the first thing is to make sure they love my previous work. I make each wedding unique but my style stays the same.

Secondly, HIRE A SECOND VIDEOGRAPHER, always! This is super important to have a more dynamic film, to capture more footage, and to keep a solo videographer less stressed and more focused/present throughout the day.

I also have all of my couples tell me what is most important to them throughout the day. Communicating this is critical!  That way I am able to create a film that has a strong focus on those unique specifics that depict a more intimate and personal reflection of the couple.

Any other tips for the wedding couple? Your photographers and videographers are going to be with you a lot throughout the day and you will be communicating with them quite a bit beforehand. Make sure you really enjoy them personally, along with their work, and want them to be a part of that day. I think it's important that they bring positivity and purpose to it and that they aren’t just there to capture it.

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About Evergreen Era Films Kathryn is a gentle heart with a contagious laugh. She finds respite when immersed in the wilderness, sipping on Earl Grey Tea, and surrounded by people she loves most. As an adventurer with a travelers spirit she will always call the Blue Ridge Mountains home, where she was born and has worked as a filmmaker for the past year after graduating with a photography degree from Appalachian State University. She prefers hugs over handshakes, honesty over perfection, and individuality over tradition. She strives to serve others the best that she can in all things her heart pursues. She gets motivation from learning more about the world and it’s incredible people, exploring new ideas, and growing in her person-hood.

18 Pieces of Advice From Real Brides
by Alexis

We’ve all heard the advice, “Don’t stress, just enjoy the day!”, “All that matters in the end is you and your husband!”. However, we all know it’s hard to keep that perspective in the moment!

We asked realbrides what one piece of advice they wish they had known on their special day, and, what they wish they hadn’t stressed about!

Check out below for the priceless advice!

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1.

 “Don’t buy things that you think you might need. Wait until you know exactly what you want. I’m now the proud owner of 2 dresses and loads and loads of table decorations I do not need!”  (Submitted by Helen Lambert-Little)

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2.

“One of my bridesmaids actually ended up buying the wrong dress without me knowing and you know what? She looked beautiful and I’m just happy she’s a part of my wedding.” (Submitted by Carolina Hylton)

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3.

“Get a coordinator or a very very organized friend! I had no issues at my wedding, at least in my head I didn’t because my friend handled everything!” (Submitted by Nadine Zap)

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4.

“I had chosen a dress that was completely different from the one I envisioned . I was worried that it wouldn’t be the best dress for me. But afterwards I realized, I could have trusted my first reaction to the dress and all the lovely reactions of the people that I was with.”(Submitted by Sharon Van Der Meulen)

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5.

“My advice is to keep good communication with your groom, this may seem like an obvious thing to do, but just simply talking out loud to him on your planning and thoughts can make him feel involved. I was surprised how much my husband wanted to be a part of the wedding planning and what good ideas he had!” (Submitted by Brandi Bonar)

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6.

“My advice is not to drink too much wine before the ceremony starts! I was so stressed and nervous that I thought in order to relax I had to drink wine, but I drank too much! I ended up laughing through the whole ceremony. Thankfully everyone was laughing with me…but I still do not recommend it!” (Submitted by Ana Lopez Soria)

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7.

“Do not wear uncomfortable shoes, especially if you have stairs to go down, I almost landed at bottom!”(Submitted by Vicky Brown)

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8.

“I wish I had considered when prom was in relation to booking hair appointments! Now all of my bridesmaids have to get ready separately. I wish I had known this before picking my date and also to not delay in booking beauty appointments!” (Submitted by Bonnie Jungbauer)

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9.

“Originally we booked a venue where all of our family could easily attend; although deep down it didn’t make us entirely happy. It was too expensive. So we decided on a destination wedding. We can invite more friends because it’s cheaper, and although not everyone will be able to come, we will appreciate those who do attend just that little bit more. It’s our day, and we couldn’t be happier.”

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10.

“Make sure someone packs you some food! We were so hungry by the end of the night and nothing was open around our hotel!” (Submitted by Allise Salinas)

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11.

“One thing I wish I wouldn’t have stress so much over was handmade programs. I made about 400 and only about 75 were even taken by guests. It was a waste of time! And money!” (Submitted by Brooke Alexandra)

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12.

“If you have to call your hair\makeup four times or ten, just do it! Make sure she is clear on what time she set you up for you!” (Miranda Bennett)

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13.

“If you have any concerns that your dress might be uncomfortable after the ceremony, buy a reception dress. I was stuck in mine from 1.30pm until 11pm and by the end of the night I hated it as I was so uncomfortable!” (Submitted Niki Wrigley)

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14.

“Don’t be nervous! I spent the whole day so stressed about walking down the aisle and getting stared at by everyone, but the second I saw my husband, everything was right. I didn’t even look at anyone else.” (Submitted Brianna Varley)

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15.

“My advice is to really talk with your photographer about what pictures you want. We did not and there were so many we missed out on! Also stop and take a moment to let it all sink in cause the day goes by fast so cherish every moment.” (Submitted by Brenda Gibbner)

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16.

“Make sure other people know what needs to get done in the last 48 hours before your wedding. All the organization & lists in your head don’t do much good if something happens to you the day before the wedding!” (Submitted by Elise Etelamaki Elegeert)

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17.

“Take 5 minutes together, sneak off somewhere with your husband to share your day by yourselves just to catch up and talk. It’s Perfect.” (Submitted by Ashley Burnell)

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18.

“Just let it go and let it be – its not about how it looks, just about two people in love.”(Submitted by Olivia A. Rodriguez)

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Thank you to everyone who submitted their wonderful advice!

Feel free to share!

5 Things I Learned as a Hired Bridesmaid by Jen Glantz
by Christina Child

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We're thrilled to have Jen Glantz of Bridesmaids for Hire back as a contributor to the Wedding Party blog!  In this installment she shares five things she's learned as a hired bridesmaid... Enjoy!

When I started Bridesmaid for Hire, two years ago, I never imagined that the strangers who welcomed me as a part of their wedding day would be the people to rock my view on life, love, and the endless pursuit of happiness. I also never imagined that working weddings, as a professional bridesmaid would completely shake up the fairy tale view I held onto for years about how my own wedding would look one day when I finally locked arms with the man of my dreams. After watching over 40 couples say I Do, some stomping on glass to kick off the marriage, and others just swapping a kiss, I’m ready to share with you the top 5 things I have learned so far as a hired bridesmaid.

1. Bridesmaids Need to Chill Being a bridesmaid is no easy feat and often times it’s a role that’ll cost you too much money, time, and a bit of sanity. But the easiest way to make it through your own personal bridesmaid adventure is to realize that the wedding you’re about to walk down the aisle at isn’t your special day, so you may be asked to do things and wear things and go places that you don’t particularly fancy. If all of that bothers you from the start, skip out on being a bridesmaid and instead be the ultimate wedding guest. If you’re okay with giving up a few of your weekends here and there and wearing a polyester dress you never dreamed of wearing, even in your worst nightmares, then leave your negativity, eye rolls, and even bridesmaidzilla attitude at home.

2. Laughter Cures All The morning of the wedding, when the bride is getting her glam on, and the wedding vendors are off making everything look like her not so hidden Pinterest board, things can and will feel stressful. The best thing anyone near the bride can do is make her laugh. It’s free, easy, and truly the only way to survive the hours before it’s time to walk down the aisle.

3. Old School Traditions Need to End If you don’t know why or don’t like why you “should” wear white to your wedding, toss the bouquet, or wear a veil, it’s okay to leave it out of your celebration. Old school traditions are old. Plan the wedding of your dreams, even if those dreams are a bit wild from any wedding you’ve ever been to before.

4. Weddings are Expensive When I’d go to friend’s weddings as a bridesmaid, I never knew how much of a tab they ran up to throw such a lavish party for 8-hours. But working with brides closely and seeing how much they spend on the venue and their vendors has made me realize that weddings cost more than most people pay for a car, a down payment on a house, or to attend college for four years and that is just oddly ridiculous.

5. People Get Married for Reasons Other Than Love It’s the truth, sometimes. I’ve seen it all. Extreme cases of cold feet. Brides admitting they aren’t marrying “the one” but just anyone. And even once a bride who told me that she was marrying a guy that was gay for reasons that didn’t quite make the most sense to me (you can read that whole story here).

Jen is the author of the new book Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire) and the founder of the head-turning business, Bridesmaid for Hire. She can often be spotted wearing old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store or on first dates. You can follow her adventure here.

A Genius Idea for Thank You Notes that Feel Super Special!
by Christina Child

A genius idea for writing thank you notes that feel super special | via Wedpics.com
A genius idea for writing thank you notes that feel super special | via Wedpics.com

I recently attended a wedding (the 7th of this year, in fact!).  A few weeks later, as expected, I received a card in the mail.  I fully expected the standard thank-you-for-the-crockpot note, but I was surprised to find a super thoughtful addition inside the envelope.

There was a printed photo of me and my date dancing at the wedding... a photo that I had yet to even see online.   The handwritten note was written on the opposite side.  What a great idea!  With photo prints costing less than they ever have, you can create a special custom wedding thank you card and include a personalized, special touch that will really set you apart!

Plus, if you used WedPics at your wedding, you will no doubt have lots of great photos to choose from of all your guests.

Wedding dance songs to start the party
by Ellyn Henderson

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Weddings and dancing go hand in hand, but when you're getting together a bunch of people who don't know each other, how can you be sure everyone will let loose and get jiggy with it?  Alcohol can help, but so can group dance songs that everyone already knows!  We've compiled a list of the best wedding dance songs for you to share with your DJ or add to your playlist to ensure that your guests have a blast on the dance floor all night long.  To make things even easier, we've included video links to the dances themselves so you can brush up on your moves ahead of time!

    1. Electric Slide, Marcia Griffiths - Young and old will know all of the steps to this classic wedding dance song!
    2. Cupid Shuffle, Cupid - A new classic that has all of the moves directly in the song lyrics
    3. Cha-Cha Slide, Mr. C The Slide Man - Another more recent one that is a crowd favorite, cha-cha real smooth.
    4. Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae), Silentó - A new song, but we promise any kids at your reception will love you for playing it. Plus it's hilarious to watch kids dance to this one; seriously, just check out the music video (get it tu-tu girl!).

5. Copperhead Road, Steve Earle - Possibly a little less known, but still quite easy an a ton of fun.  Don't be surprised if you break a sweat on this one.

6. Wobble, V.I.C. -  One of our favorites!

7. Shout, Isley Brothers - Okay, this one doesn't have a group dance, so to speak, but it is sure to get everyone out of their seats and on the dance floor.

What are your favorite wedding dance songs?  Let us know in the comments below!

P.S. Check out these awesome coasters from Etsy to help prevent guests (like me) from spilling drinks on the dance floor!  Oops! #sorrynotsorry