Tag Archives: Weddings

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.

Tips:

  • 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,

Erin

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

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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,

Erin

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

Forget Pinterest and Remember What Really Matters.

15 Jul

Your wedding is most likely going to be one of the biggest days of your life.  Other things might trump it (college graduations, your first child’s birth, finally standing in Julia Child’s perfectly replicated kitchen), but it’ll be up there as one of the flashbulb memories of your life.  It’s a celebration of you and your partner’s love for each other, and the commitment that you plan to share for the rest of your life.  Also, even if you’re only inviting a few people, it is still probably going to be an event that will take a fair amount of planning.  Special location, special clothes, rings, flowers, officiant – there are lots of parts of your wedding day that you’ll probably be arranging even if it’s just the two of you.  Add parents, friends, families, pets, children and other assorted guests, and I hate to break this to you, but you’ve got yourself an event.

Even if you revel in event planning and love getting all the details just right, planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Sorting out the logistics for two or tens or hundreds of people takes patience and no small amount of effort.  Add to that the increasing pressure to match the napkin rings to the shoelaces of your flower girls, and your “to-do” list just blew up.

As a wedding photographer’s assistant, let me tell you a little secret: The stuff doesn’t really matter.  Ask a friend about the best wedding they ever attended, and I can guarantee that they won’t mention the font on the invitations, the subtle hue of the chair sashes, or the style of the bridesmaids’ shoes.  They’re going to talk about the sweet vows that you shared with your spouse during the ceremony, the song that played while you danced with your father, the hilarious speech that the best man gave, and the great time they had dancing into the night.

Roberto Farren Photography

I don’t remember the meal or the name cards, but I do remember getting fairly weepy during the beautiful vows Emily and Carlos shared at their recent Boston wedding.

Weddings are about the people that make up your life, and those people you want around you while you pledge your love and commit your life to your partner.  Keep that in mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed about the wedding planning, and up to your neck in Pinterest, and don’t forget about your marriage while you’re planning your wedding.

One last thing: Here’s a wonderful article featured on Boston.com about a couple that completely changed their wedding plans in order to share their special day with someone who meant the world to them.  Kudos to the staff at Emerson Hospital for going above and beyond to make such a special memory for this family:

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/concord/2013/07/couple_weds_at_emerson_hospital_so_dying_grandfather_can_att.html

Thanks for reading,

Erin

‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook.

A DOMA round up: Love wins!

27 Jun

As a photographer’s assistant, I spend a lot of time at weddings (usually half in tears) with couples celebrating their love and commitment.  Whatever your personal thoughts on marriage are, yesterday was a pretty epic day in the USA with big wins for equality, civil liberties and love.  Instead of my own words, today I’m bringing together a group of resources that are more informed, heartfelt, and funny than I could ever hope to create.

Facts and Background:

How various news outlets reported the overturning of DOMA and Prop 8:

http://www.queerty.com/photos-new-yorkers-celebrate-with-edie-windsor-at-the-stonewall-inn-20130627/dod-marriage-equality-nyc-by-jj-keyes16/

Edie Windsor celebrates the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act with supporters at New York’s famous historic Stonewall Inn. Photo by JJ Keyes at Queerty.com.

Reactions:

Sigh.  Aren’t love and equality dreamy?  Are you new to wedding planning now that DOMA and Prop 8 are finally overturned?  We love love.  Drop us a line at Roberto Farren Photography to talk about your proposal, engagement, or wedding photography needs.

Thanks for reading,

Erin

Roberto Farren Photography

DIY Weddings or “How I Singed Off My Fingerprints in the Name of Love”

25 Jun

Weddings, by their nature, are beautiful events, but there is something particularly lovely about the touches that are made by hand.  Whether it’s the bride- and groom-to-be, their mothers, the bridesmaids, or some combination thereof, some people have the gift of craftiness.  Invitations, name cards and favors are common DIY items at weddings, but as a photographer’s assistant with Roberto Farren Photography, we’ve seen some spectacular shows of skill.

Roberto Farren Photography

For the year before their London wedding, Claire, Joe and their friends folded over a thousand paper cranes to decorate their ceremony. According to Japanese legend this granted them one wish, which they shared on their wedding day.

Don’t think you’re one of those Martha Stewart-esque DIY brides that can make a to-scale copy of the Eiffel Tower (with functioning elevator) out of organic, locally sourced crudités?  No worries.  You’d be surprised what you can pull off before your wedding if you’ve got the time, patience and willingness.

There are certainly amazing things that you can do, and there may be wonderful aspirations that you have, but my first tip is to be realistic and honest with yourself.  And I mean realistic and honest with yourself.  Know your strengths and (more importantly) know your weaknesses.  Not the most patient puppy?  Maybe don’t select a project where you have to paint, stamp and pin 350 petals per hand-made hydrangea.  Have no spatial awareness, nor a steady hand?  Maybe don’t try to address all of the invites in Merovingian script.

Another good thing to remember: If they’re invites, favors, or place cards, you are probably going to be creating these lovely, delicate tokens by the hundreds.  Start early and pace yourself!  You don’t want to end up ostracizing all of your friends before the wedding, or worse, end up on first name terms with the graveyard shift at your local Michael’s (shudder).

However you stretch out the task, at some point you will probably hit all of the following stages.  Be prepared, be patient, and know when to give yourself a break and step away from the grommet press.

  • Once you figure out the 1st one, you’ll be ecstatic (“Look how nice they’re coming out! This is going to be AWESOME!”)
  • By the 8th one, you’re hitting your stride and turning your living room into an assembly line, and starting to spew out pure insanity like: “Alright people, we’re gonna trace, cut, fold, glue, fold again, embossing powder, heat dryer, then you just need to carefully wrap, ribbon and tie on the hand-calligraphied labels!”
  • By the 42nd one, you’re half cut on glue fumes and glitter and running an operation that should probably be reported to the Department of Labor.
  • By the 87th one, you’re starting to question whether marriage is actually worth this and accidentally (on purpose) glue some of your hair to your grandmother’s place card.
  • (Time lapse.)

Time lapse

  • Instead of a clear memory of completing the last item, you’ll probably wake up from an origami induced blackout, surrounded by tiny scraps of colored paper that you’ll still be finding years later.  Congratulations!  You made it!  You’re ready for your wedding, where family and friends will “ooh” and “ahh” over the lovely DIY accents you’ve created for your celebration.
  • NOW: Go bandage those papercuts and get a manicure.  And you should probably make sure that your friends/sweat shop workers are still speaking to you…
Roberto Farren Photography

Mike’s unique boutonnière was handmade by his new wife Denise for their recent Cambridge wedding.

Finally, just a reminder to give your wedding photographer the details of the special items that you created (see my post on creating your shot list) so they can be sure to photograph them for you.

One last tip: Beware the Pinterest.  More on this to come…

Thanks for reading,

Erin

‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook

Quote

“To love and be loved…”

25 Jun

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”
David Viscott

Roberto Farren Photography

Emily and Carlos at their Boston engagement photography session.

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,

Erin

Roberto Farren Photography