'Helpful Wedding Ideas'

August 15, 2014
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Most Wedding Photographers Can’t Do This…so choose wisely. Recently, Ovation Images received the following email from one of our 2008 brides…

I was cleaning out one of my rooms and came across my wedding photos.  I love them.  It made me very sad that I never had a photo album made. I would like to have an album made.  The date of our wedding was September 13, 2008 at the St. Clair Country Club.  Thanks again for the beautiful photos.  My husband and kids would love to be able to look through an album. –Elizabeth

Most wedding photographers can’t show you any e-mails or comments they received from a 2008 bride becasue they were not around in 2008! Small Business Administration statistics show that most businesses that claim to be “photographers” last less than 3 years! So they don’t stay in business long enough to collect any compliments from their customers six years ago!

William and Elizabeth, September 2008, by OvationImages.com

William and Elizabeth, September 2008, by OvationImages.com

Experience matters. In wedding photography, experience may be the single most important question you should ask. We at Ovation Images have positive client comments and reviews on our web site from six years ago. We have photographed over 425 weddings since 2001! How long has your second-choice wedding photographer been a full-time wedding professional?

Please DO come visit Ovation Images in our Shadyside studio. There you can browse our collection of thank-you cards from satisfied brides including appreciative cards they sent us on their anniversaries! Wedding photography experience is additive; more is better. Ovation Images is Pittsburgh’s most-trusted wedding photographer since 2001–because experience matters.

 Ovation Images is Pittsburgh’s most-trusted wedding photography studio since 2001.

Where else can you see over 100 real Pittsburgh weddings except on our YouTube Channel?
Mention our BLOG when you meet with us and receive
Eight FREE 8×10 prints added on to any wedding photography package purchase!
Please also visit the Ovation Images wedding blog! And check out our high school seniors blog!

Photographer? Come join us on PhotoBurrito.com

 

Details Add Wedding Sparkle!

Fun Wedding Shoes and Jewelry by OavtionImages.com

Fun Wedding Shoes and Jewelry by OavtionImages.com

Details add fun and sparkle to your wedding day! When you get your girls together as you’re planning your wedding, ask them what kinds of fun details they noticed at weddings they have attended. Call in your team, ask for their suggestions. And naturally, read online. But don’t search on “details” when you search. Instead search on “wedding style” or “wedding themes”. You will soon have a big list of ideas to sort through.

Bride Wedding Details by OvationImages.com

Bride Wedding Details by OvationImages.com

Another good source for an overview of wedding styles is the Ovation Images YouTube Channel. Over 100 real weddings are shown in detailed slide show format–everything from rustic barn weddings to Carneie Museum extravaganzas!

Wedding Reception Table Details

Wedding Reception Table Details

Detailing your wedding is a big part of what will make the event your wedding. Personally-selected details are especially important if you have purchased a “complete wedding package” from your wedding venue. You personal details will be tugging at your heart strings years later when you are looking through your Ovation Images wedding album!

Wedding Cake by OvationImages.com

Wedding Cake by OvationImages.com

Have fun with your wedding details! As always, if you need help with anything related to your wedding or wedding photography, please don’t hesitate to contact Pittsburgh’s most-trusted wedding photographer, Ovation Images!

Wedding Rings by OvationImages.com

Wedding Rings by OvationImages.com

Ovation Images builds lasting memories! The pictures of a lifetime, captured in a single day! Call us for your dream wedding photography!

  Ovation Images is Pittsburgh’s most-trusted wedding photography studio since 2001.

Where else can you see over 100 real Pittsburgh weddings except on our YouTube Channel?
Mention our BLOG when you meet with us and receive
Eight FREE 8×10 prints added on to any wedding photography package purchase!
Please also visit the Ovation Images wedding blog! And check out our high school seniors blog!

Photographer? Come join us on PhotoBurrito.com

 

 

March 26, 2014
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Heinz Chapel Closed – Alternative Cathedral Ideas From Ovation Images

With Heinz Memorial Chapel  closed January 1- May 10, 2015, you may find yourself looking for alternatives. As you would expect, we at Ovation Images, Pittsburgh’s most-trusted wedding photographer since 2001, have some suggestions for you!

Heinz Chapel Embrace

Heinz Chapel Embrace

Of course, if you are having a Catholic wedding ceremony, then you have your choice of cathedral-style churches from St. Paul Cathedral to St. Mary Of The Mount. The switch will be simpler if you are having a Catholic ceremony.

But if your wedding service is non-denominational, you have a different problem entirely.  One of our 2015 brides was caught in this closure and she was kind enough to share her thoughts: “The reason I liked Heinz Chapel was the interior style–the cathedral look–and I wanted to keep that a part of my wedding.” Her suggestions for cathedral-style alternatives to Heinz Chapel are

East Liberty Presbyterian Church – http://cathedralofhope.org/ – “This was one of the closest in looks to Heinz Chapel, however you or close family have to be a member of the church and have to go to classes to get married.”
Downtown First Presbyterian Church – http://www.fpcp.org/
Trinity Cathedral Downtown – http://www.trinitycathedralpgh.org/
Calvary United Methodist Church (north shore) – http://www.calvarypgh.com/
Smithfield UCC – http://www.smithfieldchurch.org/

“I really liked Smithfield UCC because it has a little of that gothic look and is brighter than the other churches we saw (less wood). You do not have to be a member and you can bring in a different officiant if you want (it just need to be approved). They seemed less structured, which we really like.”

Other suggestions will be in our next blog post–watch this (cyber)space!

NOTE: In case you missed it, this notice is from the Heinz Memorial Chapel web site:  ” Heinz Memorial Chapel will be closed from January 1, 2015 to May 10, 2015 and will reopen on May 11, 2015.  This is to allow for the installation of a climate control system. We will not be taking reservations for any events, including weddings, during that time. The climate control system is an important part of plans for the preservation of the building, its pipe organ, and woodwork.  Thank you for your understanding as we undertake this historic project”

For alternative ceremony venue suggestions and wonderful wedding photography, please call Ovation Images at 412-735-4959.
Ovation Images is Pittsburgh’s most-trusted wedding photography studio since 2001.  

Please visit the Ovation Images wedding blog! And check out our high school seniors blog!
Photographers, come join us on PhotoBurrito.com

March 19, 2013
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Wedding planning can be stressful, especially when you have to meet with so many people and it all seems to get pushed to the weekends. Let Ovation Images, Pittsburgh’s Best Wedding Photographers, help! We offer meetings all week long in our Shadyside studio. So don’t add one more meeting to your busy weekend- meet with us about your wedding day photography on a weekday evening. Plus, many of the fantastic restaurants in Shadyside offer you a discount on the night that you meet with us! So don’t think of it as another wedding meeting- make it a date night!

 

couple kissing as the sun sets in front of the pittsburgh skyline

March 12, 2013
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The warm weather this weekend reminded us all that spring certainly is approaching quickly, and that means wedding season is right around the corner! We still have some dates open for 2013, so if you are looking for an award winning wedding photographer contact us today to see if your date is available!

Bride and groom kissing in a large field with beautiful clouds and a blue sky.

February 09, 2013
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Many of our brides and wedding vendor friends have shared wedding planning ideas with us over the years. It’s always fun for us to compare notes with them so we can pass along what we have learned to you! Here are some of the proven wedding planning secrets we agree with the most in 11 years of professional wedding photography in Pittsburgh.
1. Consider Hiring A Planner. You may think that planners are expensive. But quite often they will save you more than they will bill you. They are the ultimate wedding insiders. They leverage their connections and experience to get you deals you cannot get for yourself. If you have any doubt about planning your wedding on your own, at least go and meet with one of the top local planners like Trends to Traditions. You may be very glad you did.
2. Bridal Magazines Are Dangerous. When you read the advice in bridal magazines, keep in mind who the magazine is being published for. It’s not being published as a service to you, the bride. It’s a service to the advertisers. So everything they write is slanted to favor their specific advertisers and the wedding industry in general. That is who makes a profit for the magazine–not the people who buy it. So unfortunately, you have to read those magazines with caution. Take all that bridal magazine advice with a grain of salt. It may be good advice. Or it may be designed solely not to offend any of their advertisers.
3. Budget Twice What You Had Planned For Your Photography. We are photographers, so of course we would say that! But here it is from an impartial source (The book BRIDAL BARGAINS by Denise and Alan Fields): “Photography is typically high on everyone’s priority list and it is no wonder–the pictures are all you have left after the wedding. Trying to save money here is temping but we must say resist the urge.” That advice is from a 300 page book on how to save money on your wedding! Take it from the experts, saving money on wedding photography is risky. In wedding photography, you do indeed get what you pay for. Equally important, and here is where the RISK comes in, you don’t get what you don’t pay for.
4. Plan in Phases. Some wedding services are one-of-a-kind. As soon as you get engaged and settle on an approximate date for getting hitched, book the one-of-a-kind services immediately. This includes your church or ceremony venue, your reception venue, your photographer and possibly your band or DJ. These wedding vendors can only do one wedding on your date. If you want them to do YOUR wedding instead of someone else’s, call them first thing! What about the rest–florist, cake, limo, dress, video, tuxedo, etc.? They can all wait. All those vendors will do a minimum of 5-10 weddings on your date. The chances that you can still get the one you want on your wedding day are excellent no matter when you call them.
5. Spread Out The Planning. Most people in this area get engaged a year or more before they get married. Make sure something gets done every month after you have set a date. Book the one-of-a-kind services immediately and then relax a bit. The next month you can launch into invitations, engagement photography and save-the-date cards. Then take a break. Each month after that, pick one thing you WANT to do and one that you think will be less fun–and make sure to do them both. By the time your wedding is 4 months away, nothing but details will remain to be settled and you will feel completely in control. Perfect! (this “secret” is straight from one of the brides whose wedding we photographed!).
bridal party standing in front of a sunset
February 05, 2013
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One more batch of bold savings tips from previous Ovation Images brides and grooms…
7. Accessorize Carefully. All those accessories add up. Your bridal shop will parade a whole lineup of “necessary” accessories in front of you after you have selected your gown. And maybe some of them are necessary. But that shop is unlikely to have the best prices on them. Shop around.
8. Skip The Favors. The guests who take them home often throw them in a drawer and they are never seen again until the yard sale. Look around at the end of any weddings you attend as a guest and notice the number of favors left sitting on the empty tables.  Unless your favors are incredibly useful or delicious, it’s a good bet you can skip them as an overpriced table decoration.
9. Consign Your Dress. Many of you reading this will HATE this one…. As soon as possible after your wedding, take your dress to a consignment shop and pocket the cash from the sale. GASP! NO! My daughter will wear that dress! As one of our brides succinctly put it “Get real–no she won’t!” What are the chances that it will fit her? Or still be anything close to in-style? Or that it will still be in good enough condition to be worn 27 years from now?  If you want to save your dress and preserve the memory of how you felt wearing it that day, tell your photographer that you want to allocate extra time to get lots of pictures that feature you in your dress! Or better yet — schedule a pre-wedding or post-wedding “Bridal Session” with your photographer to capture you in all of your finery–hair and make-up–the works. Your photographer will use that session to create timeless images that your daughter and your daughter’s daughter will definitely want to hang on their walls.  That is the very best way to “save your dress” for her!
This concludes the Ovation Images blog post series on Saving Wedding Dollars. We hope you have found these suggestions from our past couples helpful!
bride standing in front of a large stained glass window
February 04, 2013
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More savings tips from Ovation Images brides and grooms…
4. DJ or Band Tip: If you book through an agency or service, they will have a rate schedule and they will stick to it. Instead, locate your desired DJ or band on the web and contact them directly. If they have your date open, ask for a discount. The DJ or band leader is often empowered to give discounts that the booking agency cannot or will not give.
5. Limo Tip: (Sit Down Before Reading This One!!) Call a funeral home! Funeral homes have limos sitting around unused on many Saturdays and they hire them out at rates that a limo service cannot match. It may take some nerve to call. But it could save you hundreds of dollars on your limo.
6. Wedding Bands: This should be obvious. Don’t let a jeweler sell you on 24 karat gold or premium platinum. Get 14K gold wedding bands or go for one of the new gorgeous modern metals available like tungsten or cobalt, they hold their shine virtually forever and save you money.
Coming in Part 3: The Savings Is In The Details
bridal party toasting in limo
February 02, 2013
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In 11+ years, Ovation Images has photographed over 400 weddings. We are lucky enough to get to know our couples quite well through our meetings and engagement session, plus the wedding and all the follow-up!  Many of our brides from five years ago keep in touch with us through facebook. That is part of what makes our work so rewarding. So it should come as no surprise that we’ve had a thousand discussions with our couples about how they’ve saved money on their wedding–or how they’ve tried to save, or how they didn’t-save-and-wished-they-had! Let us pass along some of the wedding dollars saving ideas we have heard….

Part 1: The Three Big Ticket Items
Discuss saving money on wedding expenses with almost anyone who has been there, and three common threads will definitely come up….
1. Number of Guests. The biggest single impact you can have on the cost of your wedding is controlling your guest list. Unfortunately, many couples consider this to be out of their control. Others booked smaller venues specifically so they could tell uninvited guests that the guest list had to be severely constrained to fit the venue. If you can get away with a strict guest limit, your wedding will cost less–that is guaranteed savings.
2. Non-Saturday Wedding: Every wedding vendor offers discounts for non-Saturday weddings. Even posh downtown reception venues will have a 33% or more discount on their event service for non-Saturday weddings. Memorial Day and Labor Day Fridays and Sundays are surefire dates that will leave more money in your bank account.
3. Know Your Priorities. Get any wedding planner book you want, review the services listed and rank them 1-2-3-4-etc. Be prepared to spend more than you planned on 1, 2 and 3 and be equally prepared to eliminate 9, 10 and 11 to pay for the increase. Sticking to a budget only works if you have your priorities clearly in focus (Ovation Images’ obligatory photography pun!).
Coming in Part 2: Wedding Savings You can Count On!
photo of the pennsylvanian set up for a large wedding, by Ovation Images, Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers
January 28, 2013
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Have clear goals for your wedding day schedule–and then time things accordingly. Do you want more time for fun with your bridal party? A special photography location? More time alone with Mr. Right? At Ovation Images, we can’t tell you how to plan your day. But we can tell you four common time traps you can avoid!

1. Don’t Start Too Early. Sure it’s heard to sleep in on such a day! But start slowly. Once the day gets going, it will sweep you up in a mind-spinning wedding whirlwind that ends in a haze of last dance euphoria. And you are wearing brand new heels and a dress that feels like it weighs 15 pounds. It WILL be exciting–and exhausting. Conserve your energy.
2. Don’t Allocate Too Much Time For Family Reunion Pictures. Mom wants all the uncles on this side, then that side, then all the nephews and nieces, then…..and YOU have to be in every picture. This is called the “how to miss your own wedding” trap. If Mom has a big family reunion photography agenda, get one of the new breed of “Open Air Photo Booth” where a live photographer takes the pictures and any size group can be accommodated (as offered by Ovation images). Have the DJ tell everyone to be sure and get their picture taken at the Photo Booth. Mission accomplished with no time lost. And everyone will have big fun with it!
3. Don’t Shortchange Your Limo Time. You have smartly allocated extra time for photography at the park or the pillars or your favorite spot in between your wedding and reception. But when that time comes, your limo driver says “well, if we do that, we’re going to run over time and I will have to charge you $175.” Don’t lose your precious photography for want of a ride. Make sure you have enough limo time reserved to accommodate your favorite location photography between your wedding and reception.
4. Don’t Schedule Reception Events Too Late: Don’t put off the dances, garter and bouquet, bridal dance, anniversary dance and any special reception events until late in the evening. People will start to lose focus and leave. At Ovation Images, our recommended reception schedule is: Grand Entrance, cake cutting, first dance (interchangeable), followed by toasts, blessing and dinner. After dinner, do your parent dances, anniversary dance and any events involving the old folks (grandparents dance, memorial dance, etc.).  Now have an open dance floor for 40 minutes. After that, do all your remaining events: garter/bouquet, bridal dance, and so on. Finally, now let your DJ or band open the dance floor for the night. Par-tee!! This is a schedule that ALWAYS works for all your guests–young and old.
bride and groom kissing after outdoor wedding ceremony
January 21, 2013
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One of the many exciting things you can do with your gorgeous Ovation Images engagement photography is create delightful and memorable save-the-date cards. Engagement Photography at your choice of location is included with every Ovation Images wedding photography package specifically because the pictures are so useful–and fun! Here’s what you need to know about save-the-dates:

  • When do I send out save the date cards? Five months before your wedding date is about right for people that need to make travel plans–especially if your wedding is on a holiday weekend.
  • What if I don’t have my guest list ready five months ahead of time? This is a problem because you could end up sending save-the-dates out to people who later can’t be invited because you have maxed out your space. So you pretty much have to have your guest list done in order to send out your save-the-dates.
  • Is there a formal structure for save-the-date cards? No. The formal structure comes in when you send your invitations. Have fun with your save-the-dates! Send them something they will want to keep up even after your wedding!
  • Do I want cards or magnets? Cards are less expensive but magnets have become popular. Check the price difference before deciding.
  • Can I use my engagement photos on my cards or magnets? If they are Ovation Images photos, the answer is yes–regardless of whether we supply the cards or magnets or you get them elsewhere. With other photographers the answer may not be so clear–check with them.
  • How do I design my cards? You can pay a designer or do them yourself online on any number of web sites. With Ovation Images, you have the option of using our designer to custom-design your cards or magnets at no charge, provided that you purchase the cards or magnets from us. Ovation Images custom-designed save-the-date cards and magnets are designed to your exact specifications. You work directly with our designer to get the card you want–even coordinated with your wedding colors if desired! The only limitation is that you must buy the cards and magnets from Ovation Images if we design them.

Here are two examples of Ovation Images custom-design save-the-dates:


Custom designed purple save the date cards Custom designed save the date cards

January 09, 2013
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Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Here are some little ideas we have seen at Ovation Images that made big positive impact for our brides.

1. Massage: If your hair stylist and makeup artist are coming to you instead of you going to them, hire a massage therapist to be there for you and your girls. It will create a spa-like atmosphere–comfortable and fun. And it will give everyone something to do while they are waiting for the other girls to get done.

2. Relax Your Schedule: Plan the itinerary for the whole day…and then insert ADDITIONAL time above and beyond what you have planned, as follows: 30 minutes before the ceremony, 60 minutes between the ceremony and reception, and 20 minutes to “duck out” during the reception. Leave those time slots open. Let the fun and happiness of the day spontaneously fill that extra time. That is your special time for each other or for whatever you want or need to do that may come up unanticipated.
3. Cappuccino and Craft Beer: A cappuccino bar and craft beers in bottles are delightful, fun additions to any wedding reception. It is just these kinds of touches that send people home all warm and happy from a great day with friends and family!
4. Friends With Talent: Dad sings? Brother is a singer/songwriter? One of your bridesmaids writes poetry? Invite them all to be included in the pageant of your day! That personal involvement will make your day extra-special–for them and for you!
Thinking through the little stuff will take your wedding day to the next level!
bridesmaids toasting champagne before the wedding