Because they are ultimately what last forever, the memories are worth planning for.
In this section, something old, new, borrowed and blue—and how to perfectly preserve those items—are all laid out before you, so that years from now they will be as fresh as the memories you still hold in your mind.
Be Our Guest: Guest Book Ideas for the Modern Bride
By Emily Hedrick
When it comes to planning a wedding, the following items and services are typically near the top of the checklist: wedding dress, venue, photographer and flowers. It is fitting that the most expensive and time-sensitive aspects of your big day receive priority, but it is easy for brides-to-be to get burned out when tackling one large task after another. If you want to check something off your list without much stress, consider the guest book. It may be near the bottom of your list because it is a small purchase that sometimes seems uninspired, but guest books don’t have to be boring; in fact, they can be vibrant and touching reminders of those who shared in celebrating your marriage.
And consider this: guest books needn’t be books at all! For minimal investment, you can choose a concept unique to your and your partner’s personalities that preserves the memories of your day.
THEMED SIGNATURE BOOK
Adding a few whimsical touches to complement the theme or style of your wedding keeps a signature book from being ordinary while still keeping it low-maintenance. For instance, if your wedding is themed around a book, movie or TV series (or if you just want to pay homage to your fandom of choice), you can purchase or make a book that represents an object or character from your chosen fandom. Harry Potter fans can buy or construct The Monster Book of Monsters and provide a wand pen or quill that guests can sign with, “Doctor Who” fans may want to consider a Tardis guest book with a sonic screwdriver pen, and Star Wars fans could offer a space-themed book with a lightsaber pen. Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner nerd!
Photo albums have a unique ability to transport us to a treasured time and place, a fact that makes a photo guest book an ideal medium to remember your guests. There are two main options for incorporating guest photos into your book: Polaroid cameras and photo booths. For the former option, either provide one Polaroid camera at the guest book station or one camera per guest table. Be sure to include a brief note near the camera with instructions. If you decide to splurge a bit on your photo book, you can rent a photo booth. Place a sign outside the booth to encourage guests to take two sets of photos: one for themselves and one for the guestbook.
WALL DISPLAY PIECE
If you would rather not store your guest book on a shelf, there are myriad options for guestbook wall display pieces. You may want to use a photo service like Shutterfly to create a canvas print of you and your fiancé for guests to sign; just be sure to allow plenty of time for shipping. If you would prefer to display artwork, you can buy a canvas and have someone draw or paint the image of your choice. Guests can sign the artwork, or you can involve them even more by leaving out stamp pads and having guests add their fingerprints; they may add leaves to a painting of a tree, petals to flowers or balloons to a house as seen in the animated film “Up.” To give your guests even more creative license, have them make fingerprint doppelgangers of themselves, using markers to add personal touches. Other potential wall art projects include a burlap board lined with small envelopes containing guest advice and well wishes, a large wooden rendering of your new last initial signed by your guests and “autographed” LP records.
STAND-ALONE DISPLAY PIECE
For those who want their guest book to be a stand-alone part of their home décor, the range of choices is considerable. For a sweet and simple display, put out smooth white stones and permanent markers and store the signed stones in a clear vase. If you are inviting guests from a variety of locations, provide a globe and pins with paper flags on them; guests may sign their names and write their hometowns on the flag and place the pin on the globe accordingly. If you want a standout stand-alone piece, you can have guests sign a quilt, guitar or bench.
The most modern guestbook option is the digital guestbook, a medium that captures your guests on film and allows you to experience their excitement again and again long after your wedding. The easiest way to create a digital guestbook is to assign an attendant to your iPad or video camera and have him or her record guests as they congratulate you.
Regardless of which guestbook option you choose, you can’t go wrong. Amidst the stress of dress alterations and catering decisions, approach the guestbook as a fun diversion that you will treasure on your wedding day and beyond.
Gram It! The Latest in Photo Trends to Capture Your Day in Style
By Danielle Verderame
Wondering what hashtag Queen Victoria may have used to tag her trend-setting white dress makes us realize just how much bridal portraits have evolved. While the wedding is shaped around timeline and budget, the storytelling method ties together trends. Some studios, like Stone Blue Productions, are bringing cinematic filming techniques from the big screen down to your private event. Other couples are mixing modern technology with the help of friends. Whatever methods you select, the pattern is clear. Start recording early and keep the cameras rolling until after the big day has finished.
Sharing The Engagement
As engagement ideas get bigger, so has coverage of the special moment. Paparazzi proposals are popping up as a new trend complete with photographers hiding out in the bushes to capture the special moment. Some couples have also incorporated flash mobs composed of family and friends to be part of that “Yes!” moment.
Before your engagement grows into a wedding, it’s time to start your story with Save The Date postcards. Engagement photos are a great option for personalized cards. Many couples are also now creating introductory videos. Bringing guests up to the moment, these videos play like movie trailers. They can be either cinematic or documentary style bringing your romance to the small screen.
Planning for the Big Day
When interviewing photographers, ask them about trends like stop-motion photography or family first looks. And that Pinterest board you’ve been building for the past year will also come in useful to show your photographer a sense of your style. Jeremiah Guelzo, owner of Stone Blue Productions, explains, “Use that board as a basis for creativity.” Instead of exactly recreating your favorite pin, the photographer can use
it to inspire a shoot to suit you and your style.
For less stress on the actual day, Guelzo suggests breaking up the big moments into the weeks leading up to the nuptials. If you plan a separate portrait session, far-off family can get a sneak peak of your dress or you could display your bridal portraits at the reception. Planning separate times for portraits also guarantees that you won’t feel as rushed and can take as much time as you would like to get just the right shots. And remember that if you plan to run a wedding video at the rehearsal dinner or reception, the footage from these little moments will add to the presentation.
Think about your loved ones and ask, “What do I want them to remember?” Aim to have a mix of little memories and big moments; making a brief timeline helps prioritize coverage of your big day and lets your photographer know which highlights are really important to you both.
Recent photography trends can truly set apart your wedding footage. The setting for your wedding can be captured using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Although UAV photography started in the commercial field, innovators like Guelzo and his team offer it for weddings. He explains, “UAV photography really shows the venue from the start with a sweeping shot over the trees or a pan up over the building like in a movie.” Preferring to film before the ceremony starts, Guelzo says, “[UAV] isn’t limited by the venue—just the creativity of the operator.”
The rise of social media has created competition as camera phones can cloud shots during the ceremony. So some brides are opting for a “digital blackout” during the vows, meaning they request that guests don’t have phones or cameras out. If you’re not comfortable restricting your guests, find an experienced photographer who can work around random flashes and guests even jumping into the aisle. Guelzo says, “During a ceremony, you can’t control everyone. So some ask for ‘no flash’ photography.” Guelzo explains that an advantage of professional photographers is their expertise and equipment. “I have lenses that allow me to shoot from all ranges,” he says.
Of course, the positive aspect of camera wielding wedding guests is their help in capturing many different moments from the day. Post a custom wedding hashtag at the entrance of your reception and at each table to maximize tagging by guests. This allows you to gather all of the photos into one place for easy saving later on. “Selfie stations” with selfie sticks and vintage props are one step beyond last year’s photo booths. Freeing up your second shooter and giving instant access to photos can also be a way to entertain and engage your guests. And, after the event has wound down, your photographer may be able to share a few same-day shots on social media.
Add a Big Finish
Finally, the party doesn’t stop when the reception ends. Follow the festivities with gestures of gratitude. A creative way to thank everyone is with an online video of opening gifts. Just as personal as penning thank-you notes, a video can include small stories and shout-outs.
Another trend turning into tradition is gifting portraits of bridal party members as a thank you. Surprise each member of your wedding party with a printed, framed photo of you together. This keepsake will have special meaning and show the appreciation you feel for their participation in your wedding.
As you’re working with all those raw moments to put together an album—printed, digital or video—you’ll find that a little foresight went a long way. You’ll remember the joke behind each smile and the tale that sparked your “something blue.” As the years go on, the memories you preserved will only increase in value.