Out with the OLD, in with the NEW…

I’ve shot quite a few weddings here in the last 5 years.  I’m so lucky in that I get to see all of the planning, efforts, and thoughts put into planning the big day!  I see so many cute ideas!  Many are similar- and every once in awhile, something new will jump out and catch my eye and I absolutely love it!!

So many ideas are fresh and new and adorable in weddings these days.  I blame Pinterest.  But also I point to brides and grooms who are looking to make their wedding one of the times, one about them, and not a repeat of their parents’ performance.  I see this trend especially in photography!  The couples who are seeking the completely formal portraits the day long are becoming more and more scarce!  The art of wedding photography is growing which makes this girl super happy:)

On the same hand, there’s still some things done at weddings that are…well, the same.  Tradition if you will.  I’m a Catholic- I get tradition.  I crave it.  But, in my opinion, there are some things in the wedding world that are becoming a bit overdone and should have stopped a few years ago…or like, 10 years ago.

Take em or leave em- but here are my (and yes, only my opinion) top 5 new and adorable things I love to see at weddings, and my top 5 gotta go things at weddings:)  don’t hate the hater.  but I promise you- I think I range in the top 10% of the country of attendance at weddings every year.  I think that qualifies me as a self-proclaimed wedding expert.


Kara’s Top 5 ‘I  LOVE THIS’ ideas for your wedding:

1- the non-guest book guest book:

Gone are the days of just a simple guest book.  Couples are super creative in this route and I love seeing what they come up with.  Photo books are cute and a nice transition for mom who wants signatures and a bride who wants something different.  The ever-cute thumb print tree art to be framed are so cute and modern.  I had a couple use a globe and ask ‘where should we travel’.  It was adorable.  I had a groom who was a member of the Air Force use a pilot log book as their guest book (how cute is that!)  One couple made quilt squares and guests signed the squares to later be sewn into a quilt for the couple!  Go outside of the box (or book in this case) and think of something fun that you can enjoy for years:)

View More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/taylor-weddingView More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/hall-weddingView More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/glasbywedding


2- the father of the bride reveal:

I love this.  We’ve been photographing reveals to the future groom for awhile.  But recently- we’ve started photographing when dad sees his little girl as a bride for the first time.  It’s a special moment and one I feel should be a priority.  I remember being a bride and being so caught up in the flurry of things I barely had time to talk to my new husband, let alone my parents.  I think this time is a special time for just you and dad (and mom too).  You’ll remember it forever (especially with the killer pics we take, right!)


View More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/ethridge-wedding


3- the ‘all fathers/daughters’ and ‘all sons/mothers’ dance:

I love father/daughter and mother/son dances.  As a momma of both a girl and a boy- it’s the times of the weddings I cry the most:)  I envision my little girl dancing with my husband or my freckle-faced dimpled boy dancing with me.  Augh…tugs at the heart strings.   Even sweeter than watching the bride and her dad dance for 4 minutes is watching them dance for 1 minute alone- then the DJ inviting all of the fathers/daughters to the dance floor.  What you get is a dance floor filled with guests dancing with their dads.  The mother of the bride is up dancing with the bride’s grandfather (picture they’ll cherish!!)  The brother of the bride is dancing with his 4 year old flower girl.  It’s simply adorable.  Then you do it again with the mother/sons.  It’s such a precious dance and takes it one step further.  Love.


View More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/whitaker-wedding


4- fashion fun for the bridal party:

In my opinion, gone are the days of everyone having to match.  There’s nothing worse for me as a photographer than to see miserable bridesmaids shoved into dresses that don’t match their body type at all, while the girl standing next to her looks like the dress was painted for her body.  That bridesmaid doesn’t feel good about herself, isn’t ready for photos, isn’t having fun, etc.- and all because of a dress.  Come on girls- you know what it feels like when you don’t feel good in your clothes.  I am IN LOVE with the trend of ‘here’s a color- pick a style that suits you’.  Even more- I am in love with- here’s a color, pick something in that hue (light blue, royal blue, navy blue, etc.)  So fun, so unique, I love it.  I’ve talked with some bridesmaids who were able to choose this route- and they love it.  My own sister is getting married in May.  I’m personally shopping for a bridesmaids dress right now.  I could go to a bridal store (if she made me) and have to purchase a bridesmaids dress in the price range of $200-400.  For a dress.  I’ll wear once.  And it’s not even my wedding.  Or- I can get my description from her (black, long, and I don’t care what style)- and now I can shop online, at Macy’s, etc. and get a dress that fits me and fits my price range, and *gasp* actually maybe wear again.  No joke- one of my favorite bridesmaids dresses ever was from a wedding where they got to pick their own dress in the color of light pink.  Her dress?  From Forever 21.  Cost- $19.  Boom.


View More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/tabor-weddingView More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/shields-weddingView More: http://karakamienskiphotography.pass.us/glasbywedding

Not to forget the boys though.  Tuxes always look nice and suit a fancy/formal wedding very well.  I’m a huge fan of the suit.  Particularly the grey suit.  It looks nice, but it’s definitely something the boys can use again.  I love the patterned ties, the cute bow ties, and the ever necessary (in my opinion) fun socks for the boys.  One of my favorite ever groomsmen looks was grey suit pants, navy blue and white checkered shirts, and then solid colored suspenders and bow ties.  It was different and handsome and so well done:)


5- photography:

I obviously can’t point out my favorite changes in weddings without pointing out a change I hope I’m a part of.  Photography.  The transition from formal portraits to photojournalistic-style.  Don’t get me wrong- there are moments of a wedding day where a traditional, timeless portrait is not only desirable- it’s necessary.  And I do those.  I really do.  I don’t ever showcase them because it’s not how I want my work identified- but I definitely recognize the need for them and I shoot them.


There are SO many more moments and photographs that can happen on a wedding day that mean that much more.  That looking back- you’ll see and that photo will bring back all of the emotion.  Rather if it’s with your groom, with your mom, with your flower girl, with your best friend and maid of honor- I want to capture that relationship.  You have years and years ahead of you of formal family portraits for church directories.  and you hire us for a reason.  Let the art flow:)


So that brings us to- what I think is over.  Overdone. Overplayed. Over 5 years ago.  You get the point.

Does this mean that if you do this at a wedding- I’ll blog awful things about you or make fun of you.  NO:)  I did half of them at my own wedding.  I just think there are different ways of doing them (which I’ll note)- that may make it a little more fun:)


Kara’s TOP 5 of what not to do at your wedding:

1- the clinking of the glasses to kiss:  ugh.  so annoying.  for real.  Alternative:  one couple left a cute card at the table of each table.  It had a list of things the tables could do instead to get them to kiss.  They were funny, interactive, and got the tables getting to know each other instead of just banging the crap out of glass.  The DJ made a simple announcement at the beginning of the reception and referred guests to the card.  Way more fun.  Way more entertaining.  Super cute pictures:)  And they still got to kiss alot.  Win win.:)


2-  the Dollar Dance.  I get it.  You just paid a buttload for a wedding- and anything helps.  I get it:)  But nothing is more awkward than people standing in line forever because they feel obligated. and I’m saying this with full belief- it is a reception KILLER.  It usually takes place after the DJ has played about 30 minutes of music.  So just when you get everyone up and dancing and starting to break loose- you slap on some sappy music, tell them to stand in line like kindergartners, and pay you.  So not even fun when you think about it.   Alternatives:  the dollar dash is super fun.  People stay at their tables, wave dollars in the air, and you run around and grab the dollars.  It’s done in 3 minutes, it’s still upbeat, and it’s funny to watch.  WAY better.


3- 85 toasts.  I get it, I do.  People have some special things to say to you on your wedding day.  That’s so special.  85 toasts that last 5-6 minutes a piece featuring a bunch of inside jokes that no except you and the drunk groomsmen at the end of table who’s laughing at everything anyways gets.  A few toasts is great.  A sweet welcome from the father of the bride with a cute story about the bride and a sentimental message.  Perfect.  A great maid of honor speech and a funny best man speech each lasting 2-3 minutes- perfect.  But the buck stops there.  Your aunt, grandpa, other bridesmaid, brother, priest, and mother of the groom also don’t need to speak.  It’s usually right before supper- people are hungry- and your food you paid thousands of dollars for is getting COLD and nasty.  Limit the toasts, please.  Alternatives:  letters.  Can you imagine how sweet if the morning of your wedding- you have a stack full of letters written by your parents, your best friend, your grandma, etc. waiting for you.  You open each message that morning and read it on your wedding day.  And I get to photograph it:)  Or, work messages into a video somehow that plays on a screen during your reception.  Or have a friend help create a fun video that features your love story (how you met, etc.) paired with messages and funny stories from your parents/best friend/etc. as your entry into the reception.  My idea tank is so full in this area- but I’m too busy editing 1000 shots of toasts.  Just kidding.  But definitely, please consider limiting your toasts.  Your hungry guests and angry caterers will thank you.:)


4- receiving lines.  I promise you- your mom, the pastor, and some friend who got married last year will tell you it only takes 15 minutes.  Just like I tell my friends who are about to birth their first child that it didn’t hurt ‘that’ much.  Please, for five seconds, try to remember the last wedding you went to where you were stuck in a pew for 40 minutes following an hour long ceremony that you arrived 20 minutes early for.  Just TRY to remember that.  They ALWAYS take longer.  And think about it- chances are the only people who want to do it are your aunts/uncles or grandparents.  And your mom wants a picture with them anyhow!  Here’s a few alternatives:  1-  have ushers release guests from *gasp* back to front.  Your family is usually seated in the front pews anyhow- and we need them for a group photo.  Ushers release the rows, people file out quickly, and by the time they get to the first few pews- what’s left is your family. You walk in, visit for a few, and we rock through those photos and get you and your guests onto the reception!  Another great alternative- greet guests at the reception either via a receiving line during cocktail hour or mingling at tables.  MUCH better use of time:)


5-  stress.  I know that seems like a ridiculous notion- don’t be stressed at your wedding (haha!) but it’s true.  Things will happen.  All of the time and effort you’ve put into the plans will fall into place.  And the professionals you’ve hired are professionals- meaning we do this every weekend, and you’re doing it once (hopefully!)  When brides and grooms are stressed, it’s sad:(  They miss so much of the day and worry so much about things they aren’t much fun to be around:(  The best pictures come from brides and grooms who are just happy in love- happy to be surrounded by your family and friends.  as hard as it may be- just leave it to us:)

Words of wisdom- take em or leave em:)

:)- Kara