Tips for Saying Yes to Your Perfect Dress

tips for choosing the perfect wedding dress Wedding gown shopping... where do we begin?!  There are SO many options, from styles to designers to even colors to choose from- it can almost be overwhelming, right?  When I was a bride, I never went wedding dress shopping (I made my own), but it's something I do wish I would've done, looking back.  I met up with Kim Keck, owner of Exclusively You, a full service Bridal Boutique located in Bloomsburg, PA recently to get some advice from a pro on tips for saying yes to your perfect dress.  From gowns to accessories (tuxes, too!) this lady has you covered.

  •  Come with Ideas  You know, way back in the day when brides used to earmark magazines with their dream dresses?  Well, these days it's Pinterest or whatever else, but the women that are going to be helping you find the perfect dress want to know what your vision is for the day.  The consultant will use your inspiration as a starting point, and then can help expand on your ideas with their expertise!  On the flip side, try to not bring too many opinions.  Keep your shopping pals to a tight knit group of must have people you need by your side.  You want opinions from a few close people whose opinions you trust, but that also have your best interest in mind.  People that know and understand your taste can be beneficial, but too many conflicting opinions can leave you overwhelmed and upset.
  • Stick to Your Budget  A budget for all things wedding, whether it's a strict budget or a loose one, will help you keep on track with what is the most important to you.  You might want a specific designer for your gown and place a large part of your budget toward that, or you might want a certain photographer and spend more in that department (I swear, this is not a sales pitch- haha!).
  • Location & Time of Year Are you getting married on the beach in August or at a cabin in January?  Ok, it's probably somewhere in between for most of you, but keeping your location and time of year in mind is pretty important to the overall look on your wedding day (as well as your comfort level).  If you're planning a winter (or even a Spring or Fall) wedding, consider sleeves.  Strapless seems to be the go to right now, but I photograph so many brides who don't love their arms.  If you don't love your arms, why are you wearing a strapless gown?  There are some amazing little lace & sheer top options that you can pair with gowns these days that are simply stunning.  If it's a top that you're adding over the bodice of your gown, you can even take it off for the party portion of your wedding.  Fun, right?
  • Your Body Type  A good consultant will take your vision seriously, but will help work on any 'trouble spots' to get you to that perfect gown.  With comfort being a primary goal, consultants want you to not only look great, but feel great all night long.
    • A Line - A great option for anyone.  This is a classic cut that looks great on everyone!
    • Ballgown - The princess dress.  Try. It. On.  Just do it.  Even if you don't want it, try it on!  It looks great on most body types and is especially flattering on pear shapes or those with broad shoulders, as it evens out the frame.
    • Sheath/Slip Dress - Exactly how it sounds, this dress will look best on well proportioned frames.  These are gaining popularity recently and designers are using texture and dimension to add a little extra something to the simple cuts.
    • Trumpet - Fitted through the body and flaring out mid-thigh, the trumpet looks great on anyone with a defined waist
    • Mermaid - Fitted down to the knee, the mermaid gown is ideal for petites and hourglass shapes willing to show off some serious curves!
  • Keep an Open Mind You might go in with your heart set on the most amazing trumpet gown you saw on Pinterest but after trying it on... it's just blah.  Don't let your expectations of what you thought you wanted overshadow all the options on the table.  Let the consultants do what they do best and find the perfect dress for you, even if it's the exact opposite of what you thought you wanted.  It's their job to make you feel more beautiful than you've ever felt before.  Trust them!

tips for choosing the perfect wedding dress

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Want more wedding tips to help you through this crazy process?  Download my FREE wedding day shot list for brides... You know, a handy dandy PDF of all the 'Must Have' pictures you need to have on your wedding day.  Check it out! 

 

Nicole DuMond is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the rolling hills of Stillwater, Pennsylvania and serving the surrounding areas of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, including the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia areas.  Nicole is also available for limited travel along the East Coast & Worldwide.

View more weddings by Nicole DuMond: http://www.nicoledumondphotography.com/category/weddings/

Follow Nicole DuMond Photography on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/nicolemichelledumond

Sweetheart Table vs. Head Table... say what?

A sweetheart vs. head table… what gives!?  Seating arrangements are a drag most of the time, so when it came to making a decision on where my husband and I sat at our reception, I was clueless!  I honestly didn’t think it mattered all that much, so when I relied on my wedding venue to tell me what was best, they basically did what was best for them (which kinda stinks!).  Well, fret no more, I’m here to give you the skinny on the two options so you can make a decision based on what matters to YOU!   head table vs sweetheart table

First, let’s break down each option with a little description.

Sweetheart Table: A small table setup exclusively for the two of you.

head table vs sweetheart table

Head Table:  You’re setup at a long table with your husband and your whole wedding party.  

head table vs sweetheart table

Sounds simple right?  Ugh, if only that were the case!  The sweetheart table has grown in popularity over the years and is something that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.  It’s what my venue sold to me as a bride on my wedding day and what many of my couples choose to do.  They can be adorable and sweet, but I have to admit that I would not choose this option again if I got married all over again.  Let’s break down some pros and cons of each!  

Sweetheart Table

Pros:  Your venue or caterer can serve the two of you first and not worry about having an entire head table of meals served together.

Cons:  You’re missing out on on enjoying your wedding day with your dearest friends.  It’s a little secluding, honestly!  Also keep in mind that during the Mother/Son dance, you'll be sitting alone.  People will tell you that having a sweetheart day is a little more intimate and allows you alone time with your husband throughout dinner.  The exact opposite happened for me… people kept coming up to us to ‘congratulate’ us when we were trying to eat!  

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Head Table

Pros:  You have your people next to you.  You can laugh and cry with not only your husband but your closest girls during the toasts.  You have your bff next to you to tell you there’s a giant chunk of arugula in your teeth.  

Cons:  Umm… are there any?  Ok, yes there are.  Anyone in your wedding party that is married or in a relationship, would not be sitting with their spouse or significant other unless they are also in the wedding party.  This sometimes creates tricky seating arrangements if they don’t know other people in attendance at the wedding.  But meeting new people is kinda fun, right?

head table vs sweetheart table

Of course I have photographed some perfectly lovely sweetheart tables, but I must say that I personally feel that selecting a sweetheart table for my own wedding was a mistake.  I would’ve loved to be spending dinner surrounded by my favorite people… and guess what?!  The last time we actually had dinner with some of those friends was at our rehearsal dinner five years ago, which is a little sad to be perfectly honest.  Life happens after your wedding day and families happen and kids happen and it can get… busy.  But do you know how many times I have had dinner alone with my husband?  I can’t even count them- so many! What are my thoughts as a photographer?  I love the dimension and mood created at a head table.  I can typically easily get great shots of both the speaker and the bride/groom, and also focus on getting shots of family members expressions or other members of the wedding party.  Obviously you know that I’m a big partial to the head table decision, but of course I have seen some amazing sweetheart tables too!  Sweetheart tables can be a lot of fun to decorate with some special touches and add to the details of your day, so I’m by no means telling you to not have one.  I do think that where you sit on your wedding day should be a decision that you take into consideration carefully and plan based on what works for you (which might not be what works for me… and that’s okay).  Hey, you’ve made it this far… go get that seating chart started!  

Some good examples of each, so you can make your own decision!  

Sweetheart Table Examples

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head table vs sweetheart table

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head table vs sweetheart table

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head table vs sweetheart table

Head Table Examples

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Did you decide on a sweetheart table or a head table on your wedding day?  Are you happy with your decision or do you wish you would've chosen something different?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!  As always, if you're currently planning your dream wedding and want to hear more about Nicole DuMond Photography, be sure to submit the contact form - I can't wait to hear your story!

 

Nicole DuMond is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the rolling hills of Stillwater, Pennsylvania and serving the surrounding areas of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, including the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia areas.  Nicole is also available for limited travel along the East Coast & Worldwide.  For more wedding tips, be sure to follow Nicole DuMond Photography on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicolemichelledumond

 

View more weddings by Nicole DuMond: http://www.nicoledumondphotography.com/category/weddings/

'Unplugged' | The Real Deal on a Cell Phone Free, Unplugged Wedding Experience

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Have you heard of an unplugged wedding ceremony?  I went to one once as a guest.  It was amazing.  It was an intimate wedding and guests enjoyed listening intently on the brief stories, laughing with the couple, and reading a few passages from 1 Corinthians.  Unfortunately, these ceremonies are few and far between anymore, although the trend of going unplugged for at least the ceremony portion of the wedding day is gaining ground.  As a wedding photographer, I couldn't beg and plead enough on why I think this is such a wonderful idea not only for my couples to have the best possible photography experience, but also for guests to truly live in the moment of your wedding day.  I do want to start by saying that the images I'm sharing are in no way shape or form intended to offend or hurt clients who may have had a lot of cell phone users at their wedding.  I love each wedding I have the opportunity to photograph in it's own, unique way, cell phones and all, and these images were all photos that I delivered in final wedding galleries.  I simply want to show the difference in images from unplugged wedding experiences without cell phones, vs those with bounds of them to educate future couples on how they can affect the overall wedding photography experience they receive.

What is an Unplugged Wedding?

Simple!  An unplugged wedding is when guests are kindly asked to keep cell phones, cameras, etc, put away during the ceremony portion of the day.  Since you've hired a professional photographer to document your wedding, there should be no need for guests disruptively trying to get the 'perfect' iPhone shot (which will almost certainly be blurry, grainy, and out of focus) instead of just enjoying the event they were invited to.

Why should I have an unplugged ceremony?

I feel like this is a no brainer, personally, but a lot of people can't understand why an unplugged ceremony is a good idea.

  • The number one reason for me, is for your guests to actually enjoy their day, instead of looking at your wedding day through a cell phone.  The ceremony is only a brief portion of your day, but also the most sacred.  Why wouldn't you want your guests to sit back and relax, and share some laughs (or maybe even tears) with you as a couple.  That's why they are there, isn't it?
  • Another extremely important factor to consider, is that you've paid a professional photographer to document your day.  What often happens to me during a ceremony in particular, is that I have my camera settings in place, and then I have flashes from entry level DSLR cameras or cell phones firing off.  While the bride is walking down the aisle, this poses some serious problems for the professional photographer and can lead to overexposed, blown out images that are virtually unusable.  There are simply not a ton of options for a professional photographer in this scenario, and it often leads to the client receiving images that could have been better, which is something I hate to admit.  If I ever use lighting gear during a ceremony, it's most likely going to be an off camera flash setup, to avoid harsh shadows and the unflattering 'flash bulb' look of those entry level DSLR cameras.  So when those are firing, you better believe it can affect my shots.
  • You are going to receive all of your images from me, that you can also share with ALL of your guests.  There truly isn't even a need for them to be taking these photos in the age of online galleries.  I have also had some situations where guests taking photos got dangerous at one point!  During a season I was pregnant, I was back pedaling down the aisle as the bride & groom were exiting, so that I could follow them and take the shots I like to take as they leave the ceremony.  It's a time of celebration and I love having the bride & groom reaction as they are coming down the aisle toward me, right after they are married.  I tripped over someone crouched down in the aisle behind me trying to snap photos!  Luckily, I caught myself before hitting the ground (I was 6 months pregnant at the time), but that could've turned out a lot worse had I not been an athlete in my former life.  By having an unplugged ceremony, guests are more likely to stay in their seats until they are dismissed, making a safer environment for your photographer, who wants to be there for your entire wedding, not causing a scene sprawled out on your church floor.
The Typical Wedding
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How to ask guests to put away the cell phones

There are a ton of different (and cute) ideas for this!  Using one or a combination of the ideas below is a great way to ask guests to respect your wishes for an unplugged ceremony.

  • The simplest way would be to have your Pastor/Priest/Officiant make an announcement once all guests are seated, right before the processional.  When the person running your ceremony speaks, everyone listens.  I believe this is probably the most effective and straight to the point way of doing things.  A general announcement would be "We are gathered here to celebrate the wedding of XX & XY.  They have requested that as their guests, that you be fully present in the moment and turn off your cell phones and cameras for this portion of their day."  Some clients have also made an announcement stating that they have hired a professional photographer who is capturing the day, to help deter guests who like to play photographer at these events from doing so during the ceremony (you know we all have that one relative).
  • Place an announcement in your Program
  • Make a cute sign to place at the entrance to your Ceremony.  Even better, hire a wonderful Calligrapher like Sarah over at Flourish Grace Calligraphy to create something custom for you.  Her signs are so amazing, take a look!  http://www.flourishgracecalligraphy.com
Here's What it looks like when Guests put away the cell phones
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unplugged wedding

Are you considering an unplugged wedding ceremony?  I'd love to hear about it!  I just love the intimacy and emotion of a wedding sans electronics, at least for the ceremony portion of the day if nothing else.  If you're searching for a wedding photographer with a passion for these emotional moments, please contact me!  I want to document your wedding story.

Nicole DuMond is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the rolling hills of Stillwater, Pennsylvania and serving the surrounding areas of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, including the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia areas.  Nicole is also available for limited travel along the East Coast & Worldwide.  For more wedding tips, be sure to follow Nicole DuMond Photography on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicolemichelledumond