Tag Archives: ceremony

The Kiddo Quandary: Inviting children to your wedding and reception – Pros and Cons

14 Aug

As a wedding photographer’s assistant to (and one-time wedding planner with) Roberto of Roberto Farren Photography, I’ve seen a ton of different approaches to the wedding day. Some are more serious, faith-based ceremonies, some are itching to get the drinks poured and the music blasting, and some are relaxed, laughter-filled events focused on friends and family.

Kids are, at minimum, a part of most extended families (hey, we were all there at some point) but it’s not always clear if it’s appropriate to include them in your wedding celebrations. Here are some pros and cons to think of if you’re considering this question for your own wedding.

Pros of including kids:

  • Cuteness: Who doesn’t love watching a tiny flower girl and ring bearer toddle down the aisle? Stick a flower crown on a niece and a bow tie on the nephew, and you’ve got great wedding photos at the ready!
Cambridge Harvard wedding photography

These two cuties led the way to the party after Caitlin and Aaron’s Harvard wedding ceremony.

  • They’re usually hysterical: Whether they’re sprinting down the aisle or asking questions at full volume at the ceremony, kids keep it real. If your ceremony is relaxed and not overly formal, these funny interruptions just add to the laid back, family-focused feel.
  • They get the dancing going: If you’ve ever been to a wedding with kids, you know that they’re usually the first ones on the dance floor. Kids love dancing, and definitely break the ice for adults to join them.

Cons of including kids:

  • Unpredictability: Even the most well behaved munchkin is prone to freaking out when they’re in constricting clothes, with 100 people looking at them and they’re supposed to sit still for an hour.
  • Catering: You’ll probably have to accommodate for younger palates when planning your menu, and this might incur an extra cost. Talk to your caterer or event planner for options.
  • Early departures: Members of your family will most likely be drawn away from your reception early in order to get little ones washed up and into bed at a reasonable hour.
London wedding photographer

Claire’s two nieces wrote and read the sweetest note to Joe and Claire at their recent London wedding.


  • The Kids’ table: Don’t separate super young (or anxious) kids from their parents, but designate a kids-centered area where more independent kids can hang out.
  • Plan activities: Keep them occupied! Depending on the various ages that may be attending, plan some activities for the kids. Things like games, coloring books and little toys, will keep them happy when they get bored with a three-course meal, and they always love a photobooth!
  • Hire a sitter: Make sure you include the parents when making this decision, but getting outside help to look after kids can be a great help. Ensure everyone is clear on the guidelines (what times the sitter is around, responsibilities, location, etc) but this takes some of the pressure off of parents and lets them relax a bit more while they celebrate your wedding with you.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Be realistic about what you want on your wedding day, plan accordingly, and communicate clearly. People would rather know ahead of time what’s expected of them and their families. They’ll appreciate knowing what the plan is, and the ability to prepare their little ones will help the day run smoothly for both of you.

Thanks for reading,


Don’t forget to ‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.


Pets and animals at weddings – tips

25 Jul

To many people, pets are an important part of the family.  In addition to being fun to play with and cute to look at, they have awesome side effects like lowering blood pressure, lowering risk for depression and even lowering cholesterol.

It’s no wonder that couples often incorporate family pets into their wedding day. Whether the family pooch is serving as the ring bearer or a member of the wedding party, getting your pet involved is a great way to personalize your wedding day, and you’ll get some great wedding photos as well!  Here are some tips and things to consider if you’re thinking about incorporating your pet in your wedding ceremony or celebration:

  1. Practice. Humans practice at weddings, and the same should go for any animals involved. Allow them to be familiar with the path they’ll be taking, and make sure they’re responsive to any commands that you’ll be using on the day.
  2. Don’t forget that pets, dogs especially, are little emotion barometers. Darwin knew it, you shouldn’t forget it. If you’re nervous, sad or scared, your pet may pick up on it, and react accordingly. Know your pet, and be mindful of how they’ll act and react in certain situations.
  3. Be realistic about your pet’s “bolt factor” before trusting them with anything that’s critical to the ceremony (like a reading) or expensive (like a ring).
  4. Get to the groomer. You’re looking your best, make sure Fido gets spiffed up as well! In addition to having them look dapper, this will hopefully also minimize a bunch of shedding on dark suits or muddy paws on white dresses.
  5. If you have an overly rambunctious pet, or a breed that some people might consider intimidating, don’t forget to consider your guests, especially little ones.

A number of cultures also incorporate animals that aren’t pets into their wedding ceremonies and celebrations.  Here are some of my favorites:

Elephant – The elephant is a large (har har) part of the groom’s procession, or baraat, in North Indian and Pakistani culture.  If you’ve got the budget and space for this, renting an elephant is a tremendous way to make an entrance!

White Horse – If you don’t have an elephant hanging around, a white horse is also a traditional conveyance for a groom. A female white horse is symbolic of pureness, practicality, and love.

Doves – Doves are a symbol of peace and eternal love, and you sometimes see them released during the wedding ceremony.

Thanks for reading,


Don’t forget to ‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook!

Shoes, Crowns and Tea: Weaving Traditions into your Wedding Celebration

24 Jun

Depending on your cultural, ethnic or religious background, there may be traditions that are already built into your wedding celebration.  As an assistant to wonderful wedding photographer Roberto Farren, I have the opportunity to see the the wedding traditions of so many people, and it is fascinating to learn about different cultures by experiencing the way they celebrate love and marriage.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Roberto Farren Photography

Dirk and Dior play the ‘shoe game’ at their German wedding reception.

  • Dirk and Dior were married in Germany a few years ago, and played the ‘shoe game’ at their reception.  Organized by the maid of honor and the best man, this game seats the newlyweds back-to-back.  After removing their shoes and swapping one, they answer questions by holding up whoever’s shoe they think best fits the question.  This game is hilarious, and watching the couple battle over who does the dishes or who is the better driver is always a crowd-pleaser at weddings.
Roberto Farren Photography

Cassandra and Sean share a quick moment together after their Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony.

  • At Cassandra and Sean’s Greek Orthodox wedding in Boston, the couple opted for a full religious ceremony.  Celebrated at Cassandra’s family’s parish, the wedding celebration was a wonderful ritual combining the symbols and words of the sacrament.  From the traditional Greek Orthodox crowning with the “Stéfana”, or wedding crowns, to the ceremonial walk which symbolizes the bond between man and wife, the ceremony was a wonderful display of their commitment and faith.
Roberto Farren Photography

Will and Christine celebrated their wedding with a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony.

  • Christine and Will’s autumn wedding last year included a Chinese tea ceremony.  Already married on the west coast, they included the tea ceremony in their New England wedding celebrations in a nod to the heritage of Will’s family.  During this lovely ceremony, the newlyweds serve tea to members of their families, who then present the couple with a ‘lai see‘, or lucky red envelope, which contains a gift.  Interestingly, the amount of the gift will traditionally reflect a number that represents good luck, good will, or happiness.

However you decide to celebrate your wedding, don’t forget to incorporate traditions.  Your marriage is a new chapter in the much longer story of your families, and honoring the traditions that have passed down through the generations is definitely not something you will regret when planning your wedding.  And if you don’t have or don’t want certain traditions in your ceremony, you can always have fun starting your own!

Thanks for reading,


Roberto Farren Photography