'Engagements'


Wedding Day Schedule

The time between your ceremony and reception is a great mingling time for your family and friends. They are enjoying each other amid a fine selection of drinks and hors d’oeuvres in a marvelous party atmosphere! And yet, while you are planning your day, someone will inevitably say “well, you don’t want to keep your guests waiting too long!”

Time is the enemy—never more so than on your wedding day. When you sit down to schedule your day, you may have to wrestle with the schedule to keep even a small part of the day for yourself! Among the most valuable blocks of precious time on your wedding day will be the time in between the ceremony and the reception. For most couples, that is the only actual personal time you will have during the day. You need that time to enjoy each other, enjoy your bridal party and to create the photographic memories of a lifetime!

So goal numero uno for your wedding day scheduling is to protect this time for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that your cocktail hour can’t be “too long” because  “your guests are waiting.” They’re not waiting—they are mingling and having a good time!  Why be in a rush to cut that short! Make your first scheduling priority to have that time for intimate fun and personal memories with your new spouse and your closest friends in between your ceremony and reception.  Your guests will be busy reconnecting with each other and enjoying the food and drink.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings Selection, 2012, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, as featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 14 of 30: Last Thing On Your List? Your dress!  Scandalous to think (and worse to say out loud!), your wedding dress probably should be last on your wedding shopping list.

Engaged? Savor your dress shopping!

You’re Engaged! Now What? Go dress shopping right? Or not. Even though we know that almost nobody will pay any attention to this suggestion (!), we recommend that you save your dress purchase for later. That doesn’t mean you can’t shop! Knock yourself out. Just don’t buy anything at the first place you look.

Why do it this way? Well, it’s probably a unique look for you, right? (!—again!) So it is better to see all the style options. Also, your wedding is probably about a year away. Styles will change—new choices you may like will be coming out very soon. Then there is the issue of the dress salon staff.  Take the time to find out if you like working with them. Right or wrong, almost every bride we have worked with has told us that the quality of the salon’s staff had  an impact on their wedding dress experience.

Best reason to wait: Save the best for last. Include your maid of honor and Mom and friends—you can make some awesome girls’ nights out while dress shopping!

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings Selection, 2012, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, as featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

It helps to know the other guys in your wedding—not just your fiancé!

Know your Men - Part 13 of 30 of Ovation Images' You're Engaged! Now What?

When you buy your wedding cake, you don’t need to spend some time in the kitchen to meet the baker (though that would be cool!). When you buy your flowers, there is no need to go to the greenhouse and see them growing—maybe do a little weeding while you are there. But for the people who will have their personality on display as well as their talents during your wedding—yes; You definitely do need to meet them and get to know them.

Crazy as it sounds, some people will sign up with a photographer, DJ or limo driver without ever meeting them. Not meeting these folks is super-risky. All your guests, your family and friends will be seeing A LOT of these people. These wedding specialists must be able to represent you well. They have to interact with your family like a long-lost uncle or aunt. You have to know you can trust them.  So be sure to meet the actual folks who will show up at your door in these roles. Don’t just talk to the smiling sales girl—it’s her job to be nice.  Insist on meeting and talking directly with the guys and gals who will be there helping you on your wedding day.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings Selection, 2012, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, as featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

Let’s talk about the right, wrong and upside-down of bridal show shopping.

Bridal Show Shopping - You're Enaaged! Now What? - Part 12 of 30

Since a some of your friends are probably getting engaged too, you may have attended a bridal show even before you got engaged. If so, you know the deal: A bridal show is an overwhelming rush of everything you need and don’t need for your wedding. Many local vendors are gathered together for your convenience. A bridal show can be a good source of discounts and a great source of confusion!

Even a moderate-sized bridal show will present you with an amazing amount of information. The problem is that it quickly drives most people into overload—“they all seem the same”.  To get the most out of a bridal show, you have to go with a specific goal and purpose “to find a caterer”, “to meet people from dress shops to see who I like”, “to see different kinds of photography so I know what I want” and so forth. Just walking in and trying to see it all is a trap. You may see it all. But it all comes in an avalanche and you will be quickly snowed under.

At your next bridal show, narrow your focus, go with a purpose in mind. Sure, look everything over. But stick to your goal. That approach will get you the most out of your bridal show experience.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings Selection, 2012, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, as featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

February 25, 2012
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You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 10 of 30: Wedding Photography: Your Parachute. Photography is your wedding day parachute. Make sure it opens!

Your Wedding Photography Parachute

Expenses are piling up and you’ve already spent more than you want to. But keep this important fact in mind: Budget wedding photography is about as risky a decision as you could ever make. It’s extremely chancy to skimp on something that you will use for the rest of your life—but you can never get a different one!  It’s the same as negotiating a discount with someone to pack your parachute and then going skydiving–the money you saved won’t mean a thing if that chute doesn’t open.

June and October are the two most popular months for weddings .Weddings are like a clothing outfit —  everything has to go together. You can’t pick a rock-star summer or early fall wedding date and  then  budget bargain-basement wedding photography. Those two choices just don’t go together.

Great photography is cheap wedding day insurance. Guard your photography budget like a skydiver checking her chute before getting into the plane. Be certain that your parachute will get you safely on the ground. It is far better to spend more that you had planned than to look at those pictures afterward and wish you had spent more. That is the very definition of heartbreak.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is the choice of Pittsburgh brides for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings Selection, 2012, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, as featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

Your Constant Wedding Day Companion!  (Part 9 of 30).  Who will YOU spend the most time with on your wedding day? Mom? Sister? Fiance? The answer might surprise you.

Your Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer is Your Constant Wedding Day Companion

Going in, realize that, with the possible exception of your maid of honor, the person you will spend the most time with on your wedding day is none other than….(wait for it)….your photographers! In these days when candid story-telling is the most popular form of wedding photography, your photographers might start by meeting you at your hair salon and end by joining in your circle of friends at your last dance. If they are telling your story, they can never leave your side!

Does this sound like a person that you want to have met just that morning? No way! Make sure you know who is actually showing up on the day of your wedding. Be sure you have a  chance to get to know them.  This is why we always encourage our couples to do an engagement session with us, and why we always include it in all our wedding packages.  Great wedding photography is personal.  How could it be otherwise?  Be certain that  you get a photographer that you WANT to have around all day long. They need to be sensitive enough to stay in the background at the right times, and diplomatic enough to make friends with your guests, while taking charge during your hectic family pictures. They need to know you well enough to know that what you’re going to want goes WAY beyond what you actually asked for. Your photographer will be your constant companion on your big day.  Do the work required to pick the right photographer for you.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is the choice of Pittsburgh brides for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings Selection, 2012, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, and featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

February 21, 2012
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Reception Venue Service Packages For Everyone–Or For No One?

FOUR: This is our fourth and final posting related to the biggest wedding day decision you have to make—your reception venue selection.  Most wedding reception venues will offer a package of wedding services or a selection of packages to choose from. These are well worth the time to consider in detail on the basis of price alone. But don’t stop there.

www.OvationImages.com You're Engaged! Now What? Part 8

Some of the packaged services come bundled in such a way that your flexibility to customize your wedding becomes limited. In other cases, the bundled food and/or liquor may not fit your vision. Check the liquor service hours. Get it into the details—like “do the bars stay open during dinner?” “Can my fiance’s Aunt have a table for the Groom’s Cake she is going to bake?” And so on.

The point is that the details will end up making a difference. It is impossible to list all the exception cases we have seen. But keep your antennas up for extra charges for customization that you want to do for your reception—even subtracting a service  or changing your schedule can result in extra charges. You simply cannot ask too many questions when it comes to your package. So have your questions ready and get some sense of how flexible your venue is going to be when the inevitable changes to the plan are necessary.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  Pittsburgh Magazine Real Weddings, 2012 Selection, 2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, and featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

February 17, 2012
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You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 7 of 30: 150 of Your Closest Friends Are Coming To Dinner! They are counting on your hospitality.

www.Ovation images.com You're Engaged! Now What? Part 7 of 30

THREE: This is our third posting related to reception venue selection (and one more still to come—do you think venue selection is important?!).  Your guest list will also help you choose your wedding reception venue. How many names are on that list? Where are they coming from?

It’s pretty clear that the facility you choose must be able to accommodate all the guests on your list. Pick a size that is a comfortable fit. At the low end, say under 100 guests, there are some lovely restaurants and B&B’s in this area with delicious banquet facilities. They will deliver a memorable wedding experience. (Slideshow time! Two of our favorites are Hyholde in Moon: http://ovationimages.com/2011/02/03/wedding-and-reception-at-the-hyeholde-restaurant/ and Morning Glory Inn on the South Side: http://ovationimages.com/2011/03/04/pittsburgh-wedding-reception-at-morning-glory-inn/). At the other extreme, with 350 guests and up, the number of venues in this region that can comfortably accommodate your wedding without using outdoor space can be listed on half of a single page.

Where are your guests coming from? If they are almost all local, then that is an ideal situation. In that case, every available reception venue option is open to you. But if one family is not from Pittsburgh and large numbers of your guests will be coming in from out of town, it’s time to look closely at a hotel for your wedding reception. A hotel reception has so many advantages for out of town guests that the hotel option becomes nearly unbeatable. Cost (for your guests) is among the advantages, but convenience should not be overlooked—especially for the elders of the family. With a block of rooms reserved, many hotels will break out their top-drawer services, providing you with suites for getting-ready and private moments, plus a range of “free” add-ons to your wedding package that can range from special desserts to extended bar service hours. This is an area where a good wedding planner will earn their keep. An alternative to a hotel is a banquet hall or country club with shuttle service to nearby hotels. But the convenience advantage of a hotel reception is virtually lost once a shuttle service is required.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, as featured in the Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012. 

February 15, 2012
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You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 6 of 30: God’s Cathedral? Or Yours?     Indoor? Outdoor? Ceremony and reception in the same location? Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

www.OvationImages.com You're Engaged! Now What? Part 6

TWO: This is our second posting related to reception venue selection. There are two (more) questions you should ask yourself: 1. Can I have my ceremony and reception at the same location?, and 2. Can this location or can my reception location be outdoors?

If your family has strong ties to a local church, or if you want a specific minister who only works at one church or parish, then obviously you will want to use that church. Otherwise, having your ceremony and reception at the same location has worthwhile advantages including no limousine expense and no travel time in between. Staying in one place is also a big convenience to your guests. Many country clubs have great accomodations for indoor and outdoor ceremonies, as well as beautiful reception banquet halls. If you are not tied to a specific church, give some thought to combining your locations into one.

What about an outdoor event? The poets have referred to the great outdoors as “God’s Cathedral.” If you have ever been to an outdoor wedding under blue skies on a beautiful, sunny day, then you know how gorgeous and romantic an outdoor wedding can be. Obviously, the weather is the questionmark. But every outdoor venue will have a rain alternative—a covered area that you can use in a pinch. Equally attractive, outdoor venues are often less costly than a traditional church and reception banquet hall wedding. If it appeals to you, you should give some thought to an outdoor wedding. Here is an OvationImages.com example of how marvelous an outdoor wedding and reception in the same location can make your wedding day: http://ovationimages.com/2011/02/09/pittsburgh-wedding-and-reception-at-shady-elms-farm/

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, and  2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, featured in Whirl Wedding Guide, 2012.

February 13, 2012
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You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 5 of 30: Your Reception (Venue) Rules!  Choosing your reception venue is not as hard as choosing a mate—but it might seem that way!

You're Engaged! Now What? Part 5 of The Ovation Images Series

Choosing a reception venue for your wedding is BIG. Everything other choice you make will build on your choice of venue. There are a variety of considerations and we will go through them all in the nest several posts. They are: 1) Proximity to your church, 2) Reception and ceremony in one? 3) indoor or outdoor? 4) the number of guests you are expecting and where they are coming from, and 5) pricing and the total service package you want. Let’s dive in!

ONE: Proximity To Your Church. It is a hard fact that  the location of your church will limit your reception venue choices. The heart of this issue is the driving time for you and your guests after your wedding ceremony. 45 minutes is a long drive at that particular moment. The drive time will take time away from other things you may want to do like traditional pictures in front of the altar, intimate pictures with just the two of you together for the first time as husband and wife, a receiving line, or even just being able to attend your own cocktail hour! Drive time also adds to your expenses—like limousine service and anyone else who is being paid hourly.

So the first reception venue decision you have to make is “How far away from my church am I willing to drive?” — unless of course, your reception venue and your “church” are one and the same! We’ll look at that option in our next article.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, and  2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice, featured in the 2012 Whirl Wedding Guide. 

February 11, 2012
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You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 4 of 30: Shopping With A Plan.  There are good reasons to shop for some vendors before others!

You're Engaged! Now What? Part 4 of 30

At this point, you realize that the availability of your church and reception venue is a big factor in selecting your wedding date (see Part 1 here: http://ovationimages.com/2012/02/08/youre-engaged-now-what-part-1-of-30-its-all-about-the-date/). Well, okay—once you have your church and reception venue locked up, now what? Go dress shopping, right? WRONG!

Some wedding vendors can only do one wedding on the date you select. So if you love the photographer who did your best friend’s wedding pictures, call them now! If someone else gets there first, then you have to go shopping for photographers because they can only do one wedding on any given day. This is also true for good DJs, bands and videographers. On any given day, your favorite band can only play one gig. So if your band is high on your priority list, call them the very next minute after you sign the contract with your reception venue!

What about caterer, cake, florist and so forth? Well, actually they can and at the height of wedding season, they usually do serve 4, 5 or more weddings on a given day. So you can still get the ones you want later.  There is no need to be in a big rush.

Going back to our very first posting in this series about selecting a date, remember that from May through October, competition for the best services on a Saturday will be an issue. Your timing can make all the difference between getting exactly what you want and settling for less.  From November through April and on Fridays and Sundays, there are fewer weddings, so there is less competition for quality wedding services. In fact. Many vendors offer discounts for non-Saturday and off-season weddings for that very reason.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, and  2012  Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice.

February 10, 2012
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You’re Engaged! Now What? Part 3 of 30: Wedding Planners Are Smart—and Romantic!

A good wedding planner costs a lot but saves even more. And we’re not just talking about money!

You're Engaged!

Once you’re engaged, we recommend that you talk with local wedding planners and get a sense about whether a planner would work for you. Wedding planners are the absolute experts. And like any expert, you must pay for their expertise. They will assemble the right package of services for your wedding, select the best vendors for those services, secure discounts for you on every service and make sure that your wedding day will be memorable for all the right reasons.

Best of all, a professional wedding planner can save your romance!  Face it—pricing chair cover options and deciding the exact make-up of the 120 dozen cookies that you need are not the most romantic parts of your wedding. In fact, when you add up all these “little” tasks, with their associated quotes, confirmations, payments, delivery schedules and checking to see that what you paid for is what you got, the romance of the day can easily get buried. Romance might be the last word you think of on your wedding day—because the planning effort  and level of detail might just have sucked it all out of you. If you are a natural detail person and love this kind of thing, then go for it—you probably wouldn’t want a planner involved. Otherwise, consider your options—meet with a few planners and look closely to see if a professional wedding planner would be a good fit for your wedding.

Copyright 2012 OvationImages.com, may not be reproduced in any form. These articles condense and combine all that our brides have shared with us over the years. OvationImages.com is Pittsburgh’s source for elite wedding photography:  2012 Pick: The Knot Best of Weddings, and  2012 Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice.