Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to Spice Up Your Posed Wedding Photos

Photography is often one of the most important aspects of the wedding for many couples. When the cake is eaten and the band has stopped playing, it’s the photos that will remain and showcase the memories from the big day. So, make those photos stand out with these tips to spice up your wedding photos:

Location, Location, Location

Take advantage of your surroundings! Your photographer is sure to know many options for scenic shots,so discuss possible locations with him in advance. If getting hitched in Chicago, there are seemingly endless picturesque scenes to capture some favorite moments of the special day.

Consider these unique photo spots in Chicago:

  • The Bean/Millenium Park
  • The Northeast side of Adler Planetarium
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • The Wrigley Building
  • The Old Water Tower Building
  • In a Horse-Drawn Carriage
  • The Intersection of LaSalle and Jackson
  • The Chicago Theater
  • The Lakefront off of Montrose
  • Morton Arboretum in Lisle
  • Lynfred Winery in Roselle

Have a Plan

Once you’ve decided on a location, it's time to tame the wild bridal party that comes along for the photos. The key to getting through your photos with a genuine smile on your face is organization. Make sure you and your photographer are ready for the shoot..

Create a photo schedule and stick to it. As much as your bridesmaid sorority sisters may want to catch up, they’ll need to save their gabfest for the reception so that you can squeeze in all of the photos you want in a short time-frame.

Decide on groupings ahead of time.  Getting everyone into the right photos does not have to be a difficult task! Give your photographer a detailed list of who you want in each photo. It’s best to specifically list each family combination so that your photographer doesn’t miss any important shots.

Let your wedding coordinator be the drill sergeant. Your wedding coordinator can help round up people for photos. Give your coordinator a copy of the photo list so she can help keep the photo process organized. With a “people-wrangler” putting family members on stand-by, your photos will fly by.

Create your photo order with a purpose.  Make sure to strategically plan those group photos. If your cousin and her family are only in one photo, take it right away so they can head to the reception area and be out of the way. Similarly, if your parents are in dozens of photos with different people, try to do them in a row. This can save time by keeping them in the shot and simply replacing the others in the photo.

Allow some extra time.  Your day is tightly scheduled as it is, but adding 10 minutes to your pictures can be a saving grace. You want to make sure that even if your two-year-old ring bearer has a fit, you can still get photos with him. Tacking on a few extra minutes can allow you to go with the flow and fix most situations without throwing off the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Be Realistic.  If your church only allows 15 minutes for photos after the ceremony, your photographer likely won’t be able to get through a three-page list of extended family members. Take photos of immediate family members and the wedding party at the church, and plan to take photos of extended family and friends either before the ceremony or later at the reception.

Laugh.  Everyone has that one family member that can drive you nuts. Instead of letting them get the best of you and add stress to your big day, laugh it off. Not only will you release built up stress, you can continue to enjoy your day, and create a GREAT shot. Laughing shots are some of the most genuine candids you can get, as an outpouring of happiness comes across on screen.

Be Creative

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your poses. You never know what may turn out to be a favorite moment from the day!

A few ideas:

Blindfold the groom! It's a great shot without spoiling the first moment the groom sees the bride. It captures real sentiments and can keep both the bride and groom calm before the ceremony.

The first moment the groom sees his bride is a moment you cannot recreate. Whether it happens before the ceremony or as the bride walks down the aisle, capture both sides to highlight a moment you’ll never want to forget.

Write a letter to each other and read them with a door or screen between the bride and groom. This creates a special moment, as the photographer captures the reactions.

Using signs in your photos can create easy captions. They can make for great beginnings or endings to a wedding photo album as well as adding a unique touch to your photographs.

Using signs can also come in handy later. Taking the time to take a few shots with “Thank You” signs can make for a memorable and personal thank you card for you guests. It also provides another opportunity to showcase those wedding photos you treasure so much!

What are you doing for your wedding photos? Tell us below....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Simply Elegant Wedding Showcase Recap

The Third Annual Simply Elegant Wedding Showcase was a beautiful event! All of the wedding pros had fabulous tables and gave out fun swag. And the workshops were packed with brides eager to learn tips and tricks to planning their weddings. Check out the photos:

Camille Victoria Wedding LLC - Chicago Wedding Planning

We gave away cute compact mirrors to the brides-to-be!

Brides could enter to win our Grand Elegance Prize Package!

Green Line Wheels

Fritz Pastry

Carnelian Creative

Missy Rusnak played beautifully on the harp.

House Red

Nancy Jackson did mini-makeovers

les Tableaux displayed luxury table settings

We had a blast meeting brides and grooms! If you missed the event, you can still sign up for a free initial consultation, and for a limited time you can still get 10% off any planning package by mentioning "Simply Elegant." E-mail me at
We are now in the process of planning our next Wedding Planning 101 event.  Tell us what you'd like to get out of a wedding planning workshop.....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wedding Show Survival Guide

I'm very excited to be participating in the Third Annual Simply Elegant Wedding Showcase on March 18th in Oak Park.  I'll be spending the next week preparing for the show.  So, I thought I'd share some tips for how the bride can also prepare for a wedding show to get the most out of the experience. 

I suggest that every bride attend at least one bridal show during her wedding planning process.  With free food and swag, bridal shows can be a lot of fun.  But I also encourage brides to take advantage of the show (and having a lot of vendors in one place) to actually accomplish some tasks from their wedding planning to-do list.  It helps to be prepared. 

Here are my 12 tips for surviving a wedding show (and getting something out of it):

1.  Choose Wisely - With so many bridal shows out there, it's important to choose to attend the ones that are right for you.  The bridal expos can be quite crowded.  You may not get much time to talk to the vendors, but there is usually a larger selection of vendors from each category of wedding service.  The smaller specialty shows, such as the upcoming Simply Elegant Wedding Showcase, tend to be more selective with the vendors that can participate.  So, you'll likely have more of a chance to actually talk with the vendors at length.  Most wedding shows will list the vendors that will be participating on their web site.  You can get a preview and decide whether the show will be beneficial for your wedding planning goals.

2.  Brand Yourself - Before you go, print out some sticky labels with your name and contact info to bring with you (include your address, e-mail address, and wedding date).  There are tons of sign-in sheets, drawings,  and giveaways, and you'll save time if you don't have to write down the same info over and over again.  Just be aware that if you enter a drawing or sign in on a registration sheet, you will likely be contacted by that vendor or sent informational materials.  So, if you're really not interested in that vendor's services, don't waste your time (or theirs) by entering.

3.  Register for the Show in Advance - If you register in advance online, you may get discounted or free tickets to the show.  Plus, it saves time when you arrive at the event.

4.  Wear Comfortable Shoes - Most shows are at an actual wedding venue, so you should dress accordingly in what I like to call "nice casual."  But wear comfortable shoes because you'll be on your feet walking from booth to booth throughout the event.

5.  Leave the posse at home - If you make the wedding show into a big girls' outing, you probably won't get much out of it, as your friends dart from booth to booth, eating cake samples and bombarding you with flyers.  Bring one or two people whose opinion you really trust, who will have your wedding planning goals in mind, and who won't mind holding your purse!

6.  Talk to the vendors -  Don't be shy! The vendors want to talk to you and hear about your wedding!  There is only so much that you can tell about a business by its brochure.  You'll get the most out of the show if you actually ask the vendors questions and see if they are the right fit for you.  You may even want to have lists of questions prepared ahead of time for the services that you need.  If a vendor you're interested in is busy talking to someone else, just stand close and listen.  If you like them and like their work, then ask to set up a consultation where you can talk more one-on-one. 

7.  Bring your calendar -  Use the show to set up appointments with the vendors you like.  You'll want to have your date book handy so that you can schedule the meeting.

8.  Use the Brochures for Notes  -  Try not to just pick up every brochure and throw it in a bag.  Jot down notes on the brochures, like "talked about Day Of Planning Package" or "really liked candy display," so that you'll actually remember the vendors you visited.

9.  Bring your Camera - Take pictures of booths, colors, and displays.  It will not only help you remember vendors that you liked, but it will also give you inspiration for your wedding.

10.  Be Wary of "Today Only" Offers - There are some great deals and discounts to be had at bridal shows.  But be wary of the vendors that offer "$100 off if you book today only!"  Ask yourself what would change that they could offer the discount today but not a week from today.  Instead look for coupons and discounts that you can get at the show and use when you have digested all of the information and are ready to book.

11.  Say "No Thank You" - If you're not interested in a particular service or vendor, just say "no thank you" and move on.  Don't feel compelled to take a flyer or brochure.  Vendors spend a lot of money on their promotional materials and will appreciate your honesty. But also don't say "no" too quickly.  There may be some unique products or services that you hadn't considered but may be the perfect addition to your wedding day once you hear about them.

12. Follow Up - When you get home, don't let your bag of show materials collect dust.  Try to go through the materials within a week or two and contact the vendors you were interested in so that you don't forget what you learned at the show. 

Happy Hunting!