Monday, 13 June 2016

Looking Good for your Wedding NZ

Pre-Wedding Preparation for the Happy Couple

Having been in the boutique wedding industry for some years now and with plenty of experience for unusual locations, unpredictable weather and situations out of our control it occurred to me, that as professional planners we should do more to advise and prepare our couples to get the best out of their day and photos or video if they choose to have one.  There are plenty of common mistakes which can be easily rectified when you have the knowledge before your celebration.  It’s always sad when you get the photos back and find something glaringly obvious that could have simply been different had it been thought about beforehand.

This blog is about high lighting the things that many best friends, partners and Mums don’t always have the heart to say but if you start the conversation I am 100% sure you can have a lot of fun with them and they will start to be more openly honest in a way that will not offend you. I believe as a professional wedding manager I should be able to sympathetically give advice to my couple that would normally be uncomfortable to discuss and when I have quietly mention that someone’s clothing label is showing or the price tag is still on the bottom of your shoe its meant with the best intention and I have always been rewarded with gratitude.  It saddens me when I see a bride squeezed into an hour class dress when they have a pear shaped body, yet no one has pointed out the glaring mistake.  It might be the most beautiful dress on the shop manikin but if it is not a style that suits your shape it will be the ugliest. This is the problem with buying on line, your head says yes but your body says not! When it arrives.

Photography and Video are two of the largest investments of your day but also the one thing that will give you years of delight or on the other hand disappointment.  So here are a few home truths to consider.

·         Finger nails: Most ladies have their hands beautifully manicured but what for the grooms?  I have seen several beautifully posed photos of the couples hands and wedding rings only to be discarded because the groom’s hands were rough, chipped nails and even on one occasion car oil stains.  You may argue, well that is who he is but it simply detracts from the beautiful investment of the rings and will never be a wow photo.  Take the time a few weeks in advance to manicure your nails, soak and exfoliate the skin and moisturize.  A really good tip for gardeners or mechanic is to scrape your finger nails into a bar of soap before going to work, this will block out the dirt and make cleaning your hands and nails much easier.  
Good or not?

·         Sunburn: Once again one of your biggest wedding investments is in the dress and off the shoulder seems very popular these days.  However this is not a great look if the brides have been out in the sun with a vest or strapped top on, leaving obvious sun marks.  At least three weeks before the wedding (Which is generally the time it takes for the skin to re-generate) cover all the area which will show on your wedding day for the style of your dress, by using a very high factor sun screen to give yourself an even tan or make sure you are strapless when sun bathing.  If for any reason this wasn’t possible and you have obvious strap marks it’s advised to discuss the options with your make-up artist (She will already be onto it, if she is a professional and understands the photography element of the day?) Today’s make-up is not just for the girls or face and there are great cover up make-ups. However they may not work well at the edge of the dress, which will be easily stained and marked.  It’s also advised if you have an off the shoulder dress that you bring a shawl or a simple jacket to wear, should the sun get too hot or there is an unexpected chill in the air.

As well as the look its the health issues

·         Eyes: As above with the strapless dress it should also be considered that sun glasses leave your skin in two tones.  This is not really a problem in your everyday life but when you invest $1000 of dollars on a photographer or video it’s not a good look.  The camera’s these days are extremely high quality and seem to pick up on all the detail.  It simply will not be possible to photo shop every picture. I advise at least three weeks in advance of your wedding to put on a high factor sunscreen and wear a hat to avoid these distraction and it may save your life?

Not the best look on your wedding day
·       Tags:  Before the day make sure all tags in clothing have been removed, again they are glaringly obvious in a photo and detract the eye from the real attraction.

·         Off the shoulder dresses: Off the shoulder dresses can look wonderful on some and not so good on others.  When trying on dresses ask a friend or family member along to take a camera and photos of you.  However here is the point, it’s not to take profile pictures to show everyone how beautiful the dress is, it’s to mimic situations on the day which portray the dress and wearer in a less attractive light.  Try sitting down at a table and pretending to sign the license, take photos from all angles, as it’s not just the professional taking photos on the day, at least you have control of them but your guests maybe more free with the share button or even live stream the event without your knowledge. The places to look out for are under arm, when you throw the bouquet for example, how will this look? These are examples of questions you should ask yourself; even if the under arms had Laser treatment, we can have heat rash!  Does your flesh drip over the corset, when it’s done up tightly are your bossism spilling over the top or do you have to keep pulling the dress back up?
Yes or No?
·         Stretch Marks: Stretch marks can show up more on camera.  Again ask your make-up artist to cover these if they can but start using a good bio oil at least three weeks before the event and these could look less obvious.  Another way to cover this is to use an artificial tan cream but be mindful to read the instructions to get an even tone, blotch artificial tan can look even more terrible.

·         Corset dresses: I have witnessed so many brides suffering through the day because of the style of the dress.  Too much skirt makes them heavy, tightly boned corsets make sitting uncomfortable and I did witness a bride fainting in the heat when she simply couldn’t breathe easily.  When you try the dress on think about it. In the fitting room it’s on only for 20 minutes.  It’s the same as shoes. We see a pair we love and squeeze into them hoping that they will stretch.  We all know they don’t and it hurts! They end up in the charity box.  A dress does not make the picture look good if the bride in it is unhappy and uncomfortable.

·         Short Dresses: If you’re wearing a shot dress. Practice how far you can bend before the dress becomes more reviling than you had ever imagined.  It’s also important with that friend you can trust to show how potentially the way you place your legs can look attractive or not.

Yes or no?

·         Shorts or not: As with a short dress for men you need to consider if you’re in an environment where a pair of shorts will be more practical or not. However if you go for shorts, think ahead! White sock lines can look as bad as off the shoulder strap burn.  Are you an active and accidental person? Scabs simply do not look great!  Again take care of yourself at least three weeks before the event. A good bio oil can help soften scabs and limit scars.

·         Shoes: Think about where you have chosen to hold your celebration and buy shoes that suit that terrain. If you simply have to wear the slippery soled dress show or high heels then always take an alternative.  We also advise you take beach or sailing shoes.  These can be worn to save your feet when your rock hopping for the best shot.

Getting ready for the photo shoot.

Again reminding you that one of the biggest investments on your wedding day is the photographer or video, you want to be ready to give it your best shot.  I would like to point out some other common mistakes and some suggestions to help you relax behind the camera.

·         Pre-wedding photo shoot: Keep a little of your budget back to have a pre-wedding photo shoot with your chosen professional.  Some offer a special deal when you book them for your wedding day but you could negotiate as most will be happy to discuss prices and options.
·         Your own photo shoot: Gather your bridal party together and suggest a picnic out on your local beauty spot. Take camera’s and practice posed shots.  Look over the results and with a high light or black market put circles around things that take your eye away from the actual point of the picture.  You will be surprised at how you carry yourself and can then make a conscious effort to improve that look. Shoulders are a common problem, especially as we spend so much time in front of a computer.  We often round our shoulders forward, it’s also a habit when we are feeling shy or conscious about ourselves.  Wouldn’t we feel less conscious if we practiced to look and feel better? I know its cliché, but try walking around the room with your I-pad on your head. Actually use a book that won’t break. When you’re confident enough to use the I-pad, I expect you’ve got it!  Walking up right and proud will improve your look immensely.

·         Hands: One mainly for the boys, Please Please Please don’t put your hands in your pockets.  It looks like you don’t care and as the bride the suit is often a big investment and will become you when you simply clasp your hands together in front of you or behind you.

·         Advanced Planning: If you have a plan in advance of the day the photos will always look better.  Your professional should have a check list to help you to consider all your shots.  Sit over a glass of wine and talk about what kind of look you want for your photos.  What are you comfortable with?  If either of you are at all conscious of the camera, you might prefer to go for the candid style, where you don’t have to think about it and just allow the professional to put their artistic touch the pictures.  If you want posed pieces of artwork then it’s important to practice.  Again have a play with the camera.  Gone are the days where we all have the stand to attention because we only have one shot, digital cameras can take 1000’s of photos at a time and in my experience I have been quietly delighted with the shot I took without even thinking about it. It just happened, the light, the angle, the back drop and the person’s expression all lined up perfectly! And just about anyone can do it these days, however a relaxed couple will always give a better shot, photo shop is not always going to put the problem right.

·         The Couple: Ask yourself; why are you getting married, why are you investing in an expensive photographer?  Well I would imagine it’s because you’re in love and you want to capture the best day of your life in pictures to enjoy and be reminded of that fact for the rest of your life together?  OK so why is it I so often see couples scared to hold hands, touch, smile and have fun.  I know nerves might have a hand in that band it why I suggest you talk about it, practice and remind yourselves of your reasons.  I witnessed a wedding today and felt so touched when the groom gently took his brides hand after he put the ring on her finger and gave it a little kiss, I also see grooms just brushing away a stray strand of hair from his brides face, the groom picking up the brides train so it didn’t drag in the dirt, similarly I capture moments when the bride wipes away a grooms tear of joy, or takes his hand as he speaks his vows.  These are all unforgettable moments, go with how you feel, let go of any in-habitations for this one day and it will set your emotion for the rest of your lives together and it makes for a great photo if the photographer is paying attention.

·         The walk: It can either go well or not!  Firstly consider the dress and practicing walking with the dress and shoes on at the location or on similar ground.  Long dresses have a habit of tripping the bride up or getting caught in the heals, especially when walking down or upstairs.  Remember heal stoppers if on soft or uneven ground like cobbles.  Practicing to walk to the music is also important, is the beat right for your personal stride, will it work for the person giving you away?  I always suggest to the couple that it’s better to arrive a little early at the altar then have to walk to a sudden cut to the music.  Arriving early means you can take a moment together to connect and admire each other and catch your breath before entering into the ceremony.  If you’re not comfortable with a choreographed walk, then just remember not to rush it and maintain the same pace throughout.

·         Children: I love children at weddings and we can learn so much from them. As adults we lose that ability to just do things without a thought.  I know I have been asking you to plan and think but I also suggest to try and watch children and remind yourself how to be natural.

·         When placing on the rings: Think and discuss with your celebrant and Photographer how you want these shots to look.  There is no rule that states a celebrant must stand between the couple.  I will inform my couples that I move away, and work with the photographer to gain the best shot and back drop.  Remember (if you can, I know it’s a nerves’ moment) to angle the hand so your guests can see as well as the photographer. Don’t panic there will be more opportunity to take the rings at the after location photos if you don’t get it perfect.

Sadly the celebrant was in this picture as the couple were perfectly composed. but what do we see?
Although this doesn't show much else it does show the beautiful hand crafted ring.

·        Personal Vows: As above we discussed about being in the moment, go with your true feelings.  Shut out the whole world and be in that moment together when you express your personal vows, these are the true promises and devotions and how often do we get to express ourselves to the one we love and be guaranteed they won’t interrupt? Never right!! So this is your moment, give it all you have.  Feel free to hold each other’s hands, look in each other’s eyes and really connect.  It’s taken a lot of courage to write and say those heart felt words, enjoy it! Make sure your Celebrant knows to get out of the picture, its your moment not there's.

·         The Kiss: Well, is it going to be a peck or a passh?  Only you can make that decision but what I do want to high light is; think of the guests. You will have plenty of time in your married life to be passionate and that’s not to say you should only give a pack, again this is an opportunity to express the true joy of your official union and heads held in hands or a warm embrace is exactly what looks great on the camera and is acceptable to everyone.

All of this advice and the suggestions I have made are through years of observation and I offer it with the intention of helping you get the best out of your day and photos. We don’t get a second chance so leave the event planning to the professional event planner and spend the time you save on yourselves.  Make it a priority to work on yourselves and ask your bridal party to get into the spirit of it too.  If you chose to use the Dream Maker services you can claim your free Dream Maker couples advisory and planning consultation.
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