Archives for Wedding Tips

Tips for your Wedding Ceremony

THE AISLE ~ With more & more guests taking pictures during the ceremony, it’s best to have a nice wide aisle. At least 8′ wide is ideal so we have a clear shot of you down your aisle rather than the backs of your guests’ heads.

UNPLUGGED CEREMONY ~ As much as you love Uncle Bob, we doubt that you want his head or cell phone to block our shot of your first kiss. Consider posting a polite sign letting your guests know that you’ve hired pros to take care of photos & video and/or ask your officiant to announce that your wedding is unplugged & to please just enjoy the ceremony. We’ve also seen couples tie ribbons from chair to chair down the aisle (from front to back), with guests entering from the sides. That way well- intentioned guests with cameras won’t step into the aisle during your ceremony & block our view of you (your photographer also appreciates this!)

ALTAR / ARBOR SET-UP ~ Please leave at least 8 feet of space between where the two of you will stand and the front row of chairs. Also, please have your wedding party stand at least 3 feet from you so we can get a shot of you during your vows without them blocking you. If there will be an arbor at your altar, it’s best for your officiant to stand between the front two posts and the two of you to stand in front of the arbor (if you’re inside it, the posts will block our view of you during your vows).

SEATING ~ You might consider having your front-row guests sit opposite from each of you, rather than on the same side of you. That way they can see your face instead of the back of your head.

THE PROCESSIONAL ~ Be sure to leave a lot of space in between couples when your wedding party walks down the aisle (a good rule of thumb is for the next couple to start walking when the couple in front of them is midway down the aisle). And remind them to walk slowly. The same applies to you, of course. If you notice your photo/video team, don’t feel the need to look at the camera. Just do what you would do if we weren’t there.

THE VOWS ~ This is the key moment of your ceremony. Take a moment to really look at each other and think about what you’re saying. If you’re reading your own vows to each other, write them on thicker paper (like a notecard) since notebook/printer paper is thin and makes a lot of noise on windy days. If you are repeating vows that your officiant says, try to think about their meaning as your repeat them… that way you won’t sound robotic. We will place a small lapel mic on one of you (or both of you if you prefer) and your officiant. If you stand facing your officiant, your guests & video will see the backs of your heads, so stand with your bodies facing each other. It’s okay to turn your heads toward your officiant while they are speaking, but don’t forget to hold hands and really look at each other during your vows.

YOUR VEIL ~ If you wear a veil, try to remember to have it rest behind your shoulders instead of in front of them. That way your guests can see your face instead of your veil.

SHADOWS/SUN ~ If you have an outdoor wedding, visit your ceremony site a day or so before your wedding at the same time of day your ceremony will take place. Will the sun be in your eyes, causing you to squint? Will your arbor cast odd shadows on your faces?

UNITY CANDLES ~ As you can imagine, we’ve seen many unity candle malfunctions over the years. An easy fix is to burn each wick for a minute or so at some point before your ceremony. They’ll light much easier. A wind-safe alternative is unity sand or a wine ceremony.

SOAK IT IN ~ Chances are your ceremony will be a blur. There are a few moments that you might consider just taking a moment to let take it all in:

*  During your processional, consider pausing for about 5 seconds just before you reach the aisle (literally stop walking, and take a moment to look at your guests and each other)

*  After you’ve had your first kiss and are announced, rather than bolting down the aisle, just take a moment to look at your guests (they’ll be cheering for you!).

*  As you exit, maybe give each other another kiss part way down your aisle… this makes for a great photo for your photographer since you’ll be surrounded by your guests

*  Rather than getting bombarded by well-intentioned friends and family immediately after your ceremony, consider taking 5 minutes, just the two of you (not even photo/video), to let it soak in that you just got married.

PRETEND WE’RE INVISIBLE ~ We’ll try our best not to be noticed on your wedding day, but if you do notice us, just do your best to pretend that we’re not there. You don’t need to look at the camera (in fact, it’s better if you don’t). We’re just there to capture the moments as they happen, so the general rule of the day is if you see a camera, just ignore it.

Suggestions for your Wedding Timeline (reception)

Reception Entrance – Even at small weddings, it’s nice to be introduced as you enter your reception since most of your guests were just at your cocktail hour. Some couples choose to go right into their first dance when they’re introduced, which can be a really sweet moment that brings everybody back to what the day is about.

Dinner – If you’re having a dinner buffet, be sure to allow plenty of time for guests to go through the line. Plated dinners don’t need quite as much time. Your caterer would be the best resource for determining how much time to allow for dinner.

Toasts – Speeches are typically given about 15 minutes before you anticipate guests will finish eating. We recommend limiting the toasts to a few key people and maybe even suggest that they limit their speech to “X” minutes each. Passing the mic around the crowd makes it really difficult for us to track who is speaking (& you never know what people are going to say!)

Cake Cutting – This usually takes about 5 minutes. Be sure to have a knife, fork, and small plate at your cake table beflower-1468820_1280forehand. It’s also a good idea to discuss whether you’ll smash the cake into each others’ faces!

Same Day Edit Video (if applicable) – Depending on the timing of your event, we typically show your Same Day Edit video after your cake cutting, however we need at least 90 minutes after your ceremony ends to put the video together. If it isn’t ready by the end of your toasts, then we suggest that you show it after your bouquet & garter toss since that’s the next point in time that your guests will all be focused.

First Dance – If you didn’t have your first dance as you entered your reception, this is typically when it is done. If your song is particularly long, you might ask your DJ or band to fade it out after a few minutes.

Father Daughter / Mother Son Dances – By the time your guests have watched 3 special dances in a row, they tend to fizzle out, so we recommend that you have your DJ or band shorten each song or fade out after a couple minutes.

General Dancing – This is usually when your DJ/Band will invite your guests out onto the dance floor.

Bouquet/Garter Toss – It’s a good idea to plan this within 30 minutes of general dancing, because some older guests like to watch it but don’t want to stay up really late.

Sunset Photos / General Dancing – If you would like sunset photos, you’ll want to be ready for them about 15 minutes before sunset is scheduled. The sun sets very late in the summer, so we suggest that you check a sunset calendar.


Suggestions for your Wedding Timeline (prep through post-ceremony photos)

Many couples don’t know where to begin when trying to plan their timeline for their wedding day. Here are some of our suggestions for having a good flow to your day…

Bridal Prep – Allow more time than you think you’re going to need. Brides are rarely ready to go on time. The men generally only need about 30-45 minutes to get ready & have their pictures taken, so we suggest having their prep begin later that the women’s.

First Look – Most first looks take about 10 minutes, but don’t forget to build in time to get to the location where you’re going to have your first look.

holding-flowers-1729426_1280Bride/Groom Session – This typically takes at least 30 minutes, depending on whether you will have another bride & groom session at sunset.

Wedding Party Session – Plan on about 15 minutes, but there tends to be at least one member who is always running late, so make it very clear what time you expect them to be ready and where they should meet up.

Family Photo Session – It’s best to have a list of combinations of people you want photos with beforehand and have at least one person available to round them up for photos.

Pre-Ceremony – We suggest that you leave a 30 minute buffer before your ceremony just in case things are running late. If everything is on time, then just enjoy the last moments of calm you’ll have for the rest of the day! At this point, we will head to your ceremony site to get some shots of your decor before guests arrive & to set up our cameras and audio recorders.

Ceremony – Other than Catholic mass, most ceremonies in Central Oregon tend to last about 20 minutes. If you are having a friend or family member officiate your wedding, please ask us for our list of tips for people who haven’t officiated many (or any) weddings before.

Post Ceremony – PLEASE take 5 minutes from all guests, vendors, etc. to just soak in that you’re now married. Once you’re done walking down the aisle, continue right on to a private location so you won’t get caught up with well-wishers. They’ll have the rest of the day for that. If you didn’t do a first look, you’ll want to take your family & wedding party photos afterwards, so have someone begin rounding up family & friends that you will want your photographers to take pictures of with you while the two of you have your private moment together. We generally don’t film the family photo session since video of people standing in place & smiling just isn’t all that captivating…that’s more of a photo moment. We’ll use this time to film your guests at your cocktail hour and get shots of your reception site. Also, don’t forget to let your witnesses know when you’ll be signing your marriage license so you don’t have to try to track them down later. If you didn’t do a first look, most couples do that after family photos while their guests mingle at the cocktail hour.


Bridal Insider ~ Tips for Toasts at Your Reception

TRANSCRIPTION: This is Stephanie from Ace of Hearts Films, and I’m here with Insider tips on how to have great toasts at your reception. We’ve all been to one of those weddings where the toasts go on and on as guests pass the microphone around. Having an open mic session for your toasts can not only be lengthy but also risky, because you never know who’s going to grab the mic. Toast are more meaningful when limited to 4 or 5 friends or family members and last no more than 15 minutes total. Be sure to let them know before your wedding day, so they can think about what they want to say ahead of time. And ask them to limit their speech to “X” number of minutes, especially if they tend to ramble. If anyone is likely to bring up stories that you’d rather not have Grandma hear, it’s perfectly reasonable to set boundaries. A great way to end the toasts is for the two of you to thank your guests for all attending. With a little pre-planning your toasts are sure to run smoothly with these Bridal Insider tips.


Bridal Insider ~ Dealing with Wedding Contracts, Part 2

Here’s the part 2 of the Bridal Insider video that we made about how to protect yourself when signing wedding contracts.

So, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to sign a contract without reading the fine print. We learned this the hard way when 2 weeks before our wedding our photographer told us he was going to send his assistant instead of shooting it himself. It was completely legal for him to do that because the small print (that we obviously didn’t read) allowed him to send another photographer in his place. Your contract should also list the vendor’s cancellation policy & if any money will be returned if your wedding gets cancelled. Whoever signs the contract is liable, so if someone else is paying for it, They should be the one to sign the contract. Also, be sure that it lists overtime rates in case your wedding runs late. You don’t want to be surprised with a huge bill afterwards. There’s more you need to know about vendor contracts, so be sure to watch my other videos for more bridal insider tips.