Featured StoryMagical Winter Weddings
Photography by Bradley Images.
Snowy wedding scenes provide beautiful backdrops for photos. Gleaming white, pristine snow offers a quiet, romantic atmosphere. Candles flickering in lanterns, a basket of cozy pashminas for your guests, and a beverage station offering mulled wine or hot buttered rum all create an ambiance like no other.
Mixi & Jon’s photos showcase an elegant December wedding. The event they jointly created, highlighted their personalities, individual heritages, and suited them perfectly. The photos show how cold it was outside, but you can see the love and warmth of their wedding in the pictures. Everything that you see in these photos can be utilized for any size wedding. For weddings taking place now during this time of COVID, you can enjoy all of these details for 10 or 20 people, and for those getting married in late 2021 or beyond, all of these things can be scaled to accommodate any number of guests and family who you invite.
Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats even a pet pig are the more common animals that play a part in weddings. From time-to-time, more exotic animals have graced the aisle and presented photo opps for the newlyweds, their family & friends.
Pets at weddings pose numerous challenges, so strategically choose how and where to include them. Carefully thinking through your options will eliminate stress on the animal, you, and the handler, the day of the wedding. Keep their part small and manageable so their good behavior shines.
Things to Consider:
- Let the photographer know what will be happening and specific shots that will be meaningful to the two of you.
- Make sure whoever is handling your pet on the day of the wedding is already someone your fur baby knows, trusts, and will listen to.
- Will your pet behave well in a new environment?
- Does your pet mingle well around large groups of people?
- Should your invitation state in some way that your pet will have a part in your wedding, so guests with allergies can prepare.
- Decorate your venue with photos of this important family member. Maybe a free-standing life size cut out, or a grouping of framed photos showing how your pet participates in your lives.
- Carry them with you through the day. A charm with their photo attached to the handle of your bouquet or in the groom’s boutonniere or cufflinks engraved with your pet’s name, will add that small meaningful touch.
- Name your signature cocktail after your fur baby and offer drink stirs that is a silhouette of them.
- Customized cake toppers that include your pet or a fondant icing depiction of your favorite four-legged somewhere on your cake is another way to have them remembered on your wedding day.
- Illustrations on your Seating Chart, Table Cards, Invitations, and Signage, will allow for positive thoughts about this important member of your new family.
A lot of time and thought went into choosing the perfect dress for your wedding. The overall look had to be something you envisioned and makes you feel beautiful. Before you could even get to that point, you considered the length, color, sleeves, (or maybe it’s sleeveless), neckline, embellishments, and the cost.
Your shoes, will help to complete the look that you are creating, and carry you through many hours; from photos to the ceremony, reception, and dancing! The “look” is important but make sure that your choice in footwear is comfortable. When your feet are pinched and blisters are forming not only are you uncomfortable, but it becomes hard to think about anything else. The considerations for shoes are as numerous as the dress; heels, wedges, block heels, sneakers, western boots, or sandals. Whatever shoe you decide on should complement your dress and suit your personality. Comfortable feet are happy feet.
Many brides will wear sky high stilettos that are greatly embellished with bling, for the ceremony. They will then slip on something a lot more comfortable, like a pretty hued ballet flat so they can enjoy hours on the dance floor with their guests. Getting married on the beach? Then consider wedding foot jewelry; from simple ankle bracelets to French lace, sequins, rhinestones, glass pearls, and beads for that Boho/Hippie style.
Purchasing and Preparing Your Shoes:
Do not wait until the last minute to try and score a great pair of shoes. We all know the best finds are made when we are not pushed by time. Whoever is doing your alterations should suggest that you bring the shoes with you for your dress fittings. The hemline and train of your dress will depend on the elevation of your shoes.
If you purchase a pair of shoes because you have to have them, even though on a comfort scale of 1 to 10 they are only a 6 or 7, there are accessories that you can buy and things that you can do that will help the shoes feel a lot better.
- Shoe Stretchers – These work best on natural materials like leather and canvas. They will provide up to half an inch of additional space in the shoes. If your shoes are already too large this is not an option.
- Cushioned Insoles – You can pick from foam or gel insoles. Memory foam allows the insoles to be thin and offers softness. Because the foam conforms to the foot it offers a higher level of comfort than gel.
- Non-Slip Sole Stoppers – Do you remember as children your parents sending you outside to “scuff” the bottoms of your shoes on the driveway or sidewalk, so they would not be slippery? Another option is to use sandpaper or a nail file.
It’s a good decision to have a pair and a spare for unfortunate occurrences like breaking a heel or if your shoes are fabric and the fabric tears.
Your beloved asked and you said YES, now you both need to say I DO!
There are several options for qualified people to officiate your nuptials and lead you both to a meaningful I DO.
If you are actively involved in a religion and have a home church, parish, synagogue, mosque, or temple, then you more than likely have a clergy that is ordained by your specific religious denomination. You probably know them, and are comfortable working with them as you prepare your ceremony.
Professional Officiants are an alternative when there is a blending of two religions or one or both of you does not have a specific religious belief.
Professional Officiants are a popular alternative. This is a person who can perform a civil or secular ceremony that is recorded and recognized by the state. These individuals are unaffiliated with any religious organization. Professional Officiants are an alternative when there is a blending of two religions or one or both of you does not have a specific religious belief.
Courthouse weddings have long lost the stigma of only being “shotgun” weddings. Many couples today choose to eliminate the stress of standing before 200 people, opting to keep the ceremony close and intimate with only immediate family and maybe a close friend or two in attendance. COVID-19 has made these small intimate gatherings currently the only choice.
In all three alternatives above, you will be dealing with professionals whose experience will go a long way in guiding you through all the nuances of the ceremony, writing your own vows, verifying all legal paperwork is done correctly and submitted to the proper places, even conducting your rehearsal.
Many people today have close friends or family members go online and complete the paperwork, pay the fee and almost instantly have the ability to legally marry them. Here are a few points to consider before making this choice
- Is this person comfortable speaking in front of a group of people, especially on a topic they may have never talked about before?
- If you are aiming for a more formal wedding, will this person make a good presence in your photos and project their voice out – nothing is worse than a flat monotone speaker where you only hear half the words.
- If this person becomes sick or has an accident, do you have a backup – Professionals always have another person in the industry that they can call.
- Can this individual help you with the rehearsal?
- Do they understand all the legalities of your state and how to process all paperwork so that your marriage is legal?
- If you are taking this route because you feel it is where you can save money; Stop and rethink this because it would be “Cheap at twice the price” – this is the part of your wedding day that must last forever.
Alternative Guest Book Ideas
Gone are the days of a book with lined paper and a quill pen for guests to write their best wishes. This would wind up on a shelf somewhere and maybe the two of you would take a peek on your anniversary.
Today’s couples are opting for ways to have their guest’s record their well wishes in a way that works into the everyday décor of the newlywed’s home. Choose something that is meaningful to the two of you; something that incorporates a hobby or your lifestyle and makes this time-honored tradition fresh and fun.
Mixi & Jon love to travel! They chose a timeless Globe, and asked their guests to pen their well-wishes on the part of the globe where they may have traveled to and enjoyed. This helped these newlyweds create a bucket list of trips and vacations for their many years ahead. Following are some other ideas to help get your thoughts flowing.
For Wine Lovers – Choose your favorite wine, something that will keep for a special 5 or 10 year anniversary and look nice sitting on a bookshelf or in your wine/liquor cabinet. Red wine or a dark bottle will allow signatures with a gold felt pen to stand out. By utilizing a larger than normal bottle of wine, when the time comes to uncork it, you can share it with family & friends. Following are some of your options for a larger bottle. (Keep in mind you will need to order these special sizes in advance)
- For a small intimate wedding a l.5 L Magnum – equivalent to two standard 750ml bottles
- 4.5 L Jeroboam – Equivalent to six standard 750 ml bottles (In sparkling wines a Jeroboam is 3 liters)
- 6.0 L Imperial (aka Methuselah) – Equivalent to eight standard 750 ml bottles
- 9.0 L Salmanazar – Equivalent to twelve standard 750ml bottles or a full case of wine!
- 18.0 L Solomon (aka Melchoir) – Equivalent to twenty four standard 750ml bottles
Create a yearbook style guest book. Find an instant Film Camera (think Polaroid) and have your guests take a Polaroid of themselves. Supply double stick tape and ask them to mount their photo in the book and sign with their well wishes around the photo. This is a great piece to keep on a sofa, coffee, or end table in your new living space.
Do you both like to walk the beach or hike along streams? While you are out walking/hiking collect beautiful shells or rocks, bring them home and clean them up. Provide a signing station at your reception with black, white, gold, and silver pens for guests to sign their names and maybe one inspirational word. Find a beautiful basket or an unusual container in wood or glass to accessorize your new home that is filled with these objects’ love and meaning.
Mixi & Jon radiate love as they leave their reception surrounded by their loved ones and the twinkle of sparklers.
You gave a lot of time and thought to creating the perfect entrance, down the aisle, for your wedding. Make sure that your sendoff completes your wedding with equal perfection.
Some couples do a sendoff from the ceremony en route to the reception location, while others choose to do this as they exit the reception. The original tradition was to throw something at the couple that symbolized fertility, prosperity, and implied best wishes, good luck, good harvests, and everything in between. Over the years we have seen this morph from rice to balloons, to birdseed, to flower petals, to confetti, to bubbles, and now the latest is oats!
Here is a fun sendoff that does not require any cleanup. Instead of tossing, your guests will be ringing. This is wonderful for a winter wedding. From elegant little bells to a leather strap with sleigh bells. Ask your guests to bring bells by including the request in your invitation. Will your wedding have a country, western or rustic vibe; include cowbells. The noise should scare negative spirits!
Looking for something colorful and a great photo opp, bust out the colored smoke bombs. These are more effective during daylight but with good backlighting they can be dramatic and fun at any time. You can offer them in just the color of your wedding, do a mixture of two or three colors or go crazy and create a rainbow of color.
Hopefully we have sparked your imagination. Let us know about the details you are planning for your special day or share photos after you are married. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.