10 Trendy Wedding Ideas
(Which Should Stay for Good)
1. While weddings are meant to be the happiest of days, too many weddings have shadows cast by parents, friends, and relatives who do not show up because they don’t support the marriage. To this, I have just one bit of preaching to do: please rethink your absence. Whether it is an LGBT ceremony, a mixed-race wedding, or just someone who hasn’t won all the right approvals, the show will still go on. But your absence will tear at heartstrings and be the cause of much distraction and angst on an otherwise happy day.
I have shot too many weddings of brides who are crying before their walk down the aisle because their parents or brother or aunt have not shown up as a gesture of disapproval. To these folks I say, "Take a breath, put your shoulders back, a smile on your face, and get thee there!" Show support of your son, daughter, nephew or sister, whether or not you support the marriage. It will go a long way to making a happier day for all, and a happier family in the long run.
2. Several years ago, instead of a formal receiving line, I asked my two grooms to stand in a beautifully lit spot, drinks in hand, while I took pictures of them with each of their guests as they came to congratulate the couple. This idea gave the grooms a chance to say hello to everyone (in the spirit of a receiving line, but nothing so stiff), it gave them a chance to laugh and ham it up for the camera with friends, and it gave me a chance to get a shot of everyone at the wedding... and it was an awful lot of fun. While they waited their turn, every guest got to chat with friends and meet new people. It was a win, win, win.
3. Good lighting. Not only are light strings and Parisian-style street lamps romantic, but they also add much needed light for the photographer. No one likes flash. And while well-done, low light shots are lovely in limited number, a nicely lit reception area and dining table makes the job of photography much easier and the resulting pictures more stunning.
4. Smaller tables where guests can talk easily and enjoy getting to know one another—even those across the table—are too rare. While round is key to enable conversation at every angle, the large ten person rounds are just too big to be conducive to conversation.
5. For older or second-time brides and grooms who like the idea of a bouquet toss or garter throw but don’t have many single friends left, a candy bouquet to throw for the kids is a superlatively fun moment in lieu of flowers or garter. It is awkward when singles are called to the dance floor and only one or two come. The idea of replacing reluctant single women with a bunch of smiling, eager kids is a fabulous one to consider.
6. Venues and caterers which serve delectable dinners to vendors will be rewarded by good karma and by even better word-of-mouth PR. Vendors talk to one another, to families and friends, and vendors, too, have access so social media. It is always wise to treat them well. But I especially love the idea of serving vendors (and guests) family-style and putting the leftovers to good use (as the food has not been touched except by serving utensils) by donating them to hunger organizations or even to the hard-working staff to take home for dinner. Costanera, in Half Moon Bay, does this as normal practice. Kudos.
7. Weddings at unique venues, or with themes, which play to the personalities of the special couple are a special thing to attend. Aside from destination weddings abroad, some of the most memorable weddings I have shot have been on a ship and on the coast with guests dressed in Halloween costumes. I love the rustic barn, too, which allows guests to be more casual, but which can be gussied up to create a lovely, romantic ambiance. Remember, it’s ok to be off-beat!
8. A game and play area for kids is an ingeniously simple but effective idea. Whether it is a beach or just a cordoned-off area for kids, giving them something to do during what is an otherwise very long time to behave allows kids and adults to enjoy themselves more fully, too. Think of providing board games, or even beach-style games with bean bags, candy jars, or dress-up area and photo booth.
9. Using creative items with which guests can shower the couple down the aisle has already started trending; I hope it continues. Items such as bubbles, beach balls, lavender, streamers, sparklers, cap guns, paper airplanes, delight guests and are much more fun to photograph.
10. Professionally photographed proposals and elopements are too few and far between. Often these are overlooked, but what a lovely gift to give those who weren’t there, or to give to your bride after the exultation of the moment has passed. Stealth is key, so be sure to hire a photographer capable of using available light and being unobtrusive and inconspicuous.