Planning > Wedding 101

3 Wedding Photo Opportunities Others Miss

Engagement and Wedding Photos are a beautiful and traditional way to preserve your marriage memories.

But, while you have a professional photographer at hand, what other hidden opportunities can you take advantage of?

  1. Registry/Sign In Photograph: Sure, a book is traditional, but a book goes on a shelf, while a picture can hang on a wall and be enjoyed often. Have a picture taken of you and your fiancé in a romantic setting, or a fun pose. Have the picture enlarged and placed on a neutral coloured mat board so that there is plenty of room for wedding guests to sign.
  2. Thank-you Cards: We all know that the hard work doesn't end when the doors close after the reception. There are still thank-you cards to send (amongst other things). A cute pose and a simple thank-you sign can add a great personal touch to an old wedding tradition. Attach the photo or print it directly on a simple card and you might be surprised at how cheap and cheerful your thank you notes can be!
  3. Holiday Cards: A simple Santa hat or other costume can make for a great holiday feeling. While you have the services of a professional photographer, why not make use of them to cover off the holiday card season as well!

Don't let your photographer off the hook easy! You can get a whole lot more value than just your wedding photos! Just be creative.

Take a Mini-Vacation before your Wedding

With only days before your wedding, you are probably by now fraught with nerves. With all the scheduling and arrangements having been constructed and in place for your wedding, take a breather. Treat your mind, body and spirit as a whole entity to a day off. There is no better way then a visit to one Canada's many day spas. Spas offers massages, facials and many other enchanting treatments for men and women to indulge in.

Prime yourself to a mini-vacation of calmness; after all, you can't go wrong with a place that promotes an overall atmosphere of pampering and relaxation as their foundation.

Calgary, Alberta

SwizzleSticks SalonSpa : What better way to begin at SwizzleSticks than with a massage or a facial that will fully hydrate your skin, leaving you refreshed? The "Ancient Wisdom Healing" is not to be missed and will release your physical and mental tensions at this first and finest day spa in Calgary.

Of course, in the great outdoors of Alberta, you need not even go to a spa. Take the weekend and go to Banff, or Lake Louise. Not only you will be able to relax in the mountain meadows, but you will also be able to "scout" some amazing Alberta wedding locations, if you haven't already selected a spot for your ceremony / reception!

Montreal, Quebec

Aqualud Spa Essentials: Exclusively incorporating Guinot and Phytomer products; the "Renew Package" does just that, "renew" you, with a facial, marine body scrub, mud wrap and a 30 min relaxation massage. Adding other treatments a la carte can add to the tranquillity that Aqualud provides and you seek.

St. Johns, New Brunswick

Ambiance Day Spa : The "Spa Escape" package at Ambiance is the source for your nourishing and energizing body massage, facial, hand and foot treatment for an extravagant five full hours. They incorporate all treatments with Aveda products, which are well-known, tried and true to their claims.

Toronto, Ontario

Nova Set in motion to renew your spirit with Nova's offering of a special treatment package known as the "Superior Relaxer." With aromatherapy filling the air in your treatment room, plan to stay a few hours and totally escape with their signature facial, massage, manicure and pedicure. You will leave refreshed, invigorated and ready for your wedding.

Vancouver, BC

Solarice Wellness Spa: Relaxation is taken seriously in this unique wellness spa and the tantalizing treatment menu reads like a fine dining restaurants´. Anticipate your treatment to consist of Asian, Indian, Swiss, Hungarian or Swedish therapies. A deep tissue massage is designed to release all tension from you and is a top choice among most visitors.

Alternatively, take a weekend and go to Tofino or Saltspring. Those are primarily known as west coast honeymoon in canada destinations, but there is no reason not to turn the weekend into a honeymoon practice run, is there?

Story by Veronica Shine &

Answers to Your Bridal Woes

What are some unique wedding poses?

(Question from Yahoo! Answers)

Dear Tim S.,
First off, I'm thrilled you are planning ahead to ensure your wedding photos will be unique. Planning not only helps keep you on budget, but ensures your perfect day goes smoothly.
Since you're not willing to opt for cookie cutter wedding shots, below are three steps to coming up with innovative ideas to ensure you and your bride look exquisite in your wedding photographs.
Best of all, they're also very cheap methods and offer fast and efficient results.

1. Peruse Wedding Photographer Portfolios Online

Not experienced posing in front of a camera together? No problem. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of ways to scour other people's wedding photos. One of my favourite sources as a wedding photographer is this Wedding Photographers in Canada Directory, which includes almost 1,750 listings.

Flickr is another great source. The photo sharing site has millions of photos, all catalogued by tags, so you simply need to put in your search terms, such as "wedding photo ideas," "Canadian wedding locations" or "Vancouver wedding" will bring up excellent results.

2. Make a Wedding Photo Collage

Pour yourself and your wife-to-be a glass of wine, put on a romantic CD (your song, perhaps?), break out the scissors, and start snipping up bridal magazines. Or go high tech and peruse and print off an online wedding gown website or something... Collect all the photos that inspire you, whether it's the setting, the pose, the lighting or angle. You'll learn a lot about what you like in terms of how you'd both like to be perceived by others as well.

3. Find an Engagement Photographer online

Do a pre-wedding photo trial run. Before you start complaining about keeping on budget, keep in mind that there are plenty of aspiring photographers looking to build their portfolios. Many of these photographers jump at the chance to photograph and will often do so at a highly discounted price. Prices vary depending on photographer, so it's worth shopping around. This directory is a good starting point.

There are a lot of good articles on this, to help you get some basic engagement photo ideas. Search them online. Here is two of my favourites:

  • Amazing Engagement Photos, with examples of one of the true "masters", HEE Photo in Vancouver, and
  • Dramatic Engagement Photographs, with some more examples of particular poses, by Jesh de Rox.
  • You'll be left with romantic pre-wedding photographs perfect for sending out as Thank You notes, for your own scrapbook and, potentially, for you to hire your actual wedding photographer. If your engagement shots are stellar, you know there's no risk on your actual wedding day, so you could hire a photographer you trust!

    Tips for Hiring a Wedding Photographer

    By Nancy Johnston

    Wedding photography expenses are traditionally the responsibility of the bride's family. This is one of the areas of the wedding budget that can skyrocket. So how can you keep this area of the wedding budget under control?

    By being realistic about what you can afford and what you actually need. Here are some things to keep in mind when hiring a photographer for your wedding.

    Most couples spend at least $2,500 on photos, and some spend a lot more. Of course you can get packages on smaller budgets that have all the important shots.

    The package is the total cost of your wedding photography and usually includes an album, a proof book, a collection of prints and a block of your photographer's time. Many photographers charge for services on an "a la carte" basis, with a flat fee for their time and albums or extra services added on.

    Find out the type of services offered, such as how many hours of the photographer's time are included in the price, how many images you will get and if that includes black and white film as well as colour. Make sure that all the details you discuss are included in the contract.

    Visit several before deciding. Browse a wedding photographers directory, click on as many websites as you have the time for, review portfolios, then book appointments. (you can use an online request quotation service, to "batch" contact dozens of photographers at once). Make a short list, then book your appointments. When you sit down with each one, ask to see work from an entire wedding and look for styles that you want in your wedding images, such as photojournalism, black and white, and special effects such as hand tinted, infrared or fish eye.

    **Photos courtesy of Eric Lau, Professional Photographer, Toronto Ontario

    Wedding Q & A: Your Questions Answered..

    Story by Heather Matthews

    Brides-to-be always have a lot of questions..about everything! I've spoken to some brides-to-be in Vancouver, Canada, and answered their questions here. If you want to read about other women, future brides just like you, have a look at our Wedding Q & A..

    Question: I have trouble getting along with my mother-in-law, and agreeing over wedding plans. This is stressing me out, and I don't know what to do..please help! - Carrie in Vancouver

    Dear Carrie: It's common to feel stressed as wedding plans escalate: any big event is a lot of effort, and it can strain relationships. Step back from reacting to your mother-in-law: put things in perspective. If giving in to some things she wants will ease the tension, it might be worth it.

    Question: I feel stressed because our wedding is going over budget. What can I do to stop this, as our plans have already been made, and we still need a lot of things..? - Anonymous

    Answer: It's unfortunate that financial worries have to intrude on such a happy event, but you do need to stop the overspending right now. Sit down with your husband, and talk about it: you must find a way to economize on your remaining purchases.

    A Canadian Wedding

    When you are planning your wedding, you want to make sure all the basic elements are included prior to moving on to something more fun in your preparations. The basic elements obviously include the ceremony location as well as that of the reception. You will need to choose your wedding attendants, the wedding date of course and probably narrow down the type of meal that you will serve your guests.

    Once that is out of the way, you can move onto the fun portion of the planning. This is when you start looking at décor options as well as bridal attire. Once these things are narrowed down, it is time to consider the details.

    The details are the little things that will undoubtedly make your event stand out over others and that will make your wedding memorable. Coming up with the details is not necessary an easy task and brides are constantly looking for interesting wedding ideas to add to their event to make it all the more special.

    You may choose to do something different with the bouquet and garter toss. Or, you may have your wedding party dance instead of walk down the aisle. Perhaps, your centerpieces and favours are personalized making sure everyone remembers whose wedding they had attended.

    Another interesting detail many couples are now choosing to include in their planning is to use something inspired by their surroundings. For example, weddings that include many out of town guests could include something synonymous with the area where the event is being hosted. For example, a truly Canadian wedding idea would be to give maple syrup as favours especially if many of the guests are not from Canada.

    Using the seasons or approaching holidays as inspiration also work well when deciding on finishing touches for your wedding.

    Above all, remember that this is your day to showcase to your friends and family what a memorable couple and wedding you have put together for everyone to enjoy. Don’t be afraid to add your personality in the planning because in the end, the day is about you and you want your guests to feel that connection throughout the festivities!