Wedding Ceremony at the Oregon Gardens by Photos By Orion

What is a typical wedding ceremony look like?

You’re engaged, planning your wedding, and are super excited to start meeting with vendors. They ask you about your ceremony and you suddenly realize you have no idea how to put together a wedding ceremony! You start to freak out as you add yet another thing to your list of to-do’s that is already a mile long. But…DON’T PANIC!

A wedding ceremony can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Realistically, the list I have compiled below is what happens in a typical American ceremony. Different cultures will change this accordingly. I have tried to keep this list as bare-bones as possible, just the things that are typical and/or necessary, and labeled everything else optional. If you follow this simple formula you can have a ceremony plan in a few short minutes!

Wedding Ceremony Elements

Processionals – where the wedding party and parents of the couple walk in. Typically the parents are seated by ushers or groomsmen/attendants (attendants = the people standing with the couple up front, not the guests) first, then the groom/partner#1 walks in with the officiant, then bridesmaids/groomsmen/attendants walk in, followed by the ring bearer. Finally, the flower girls/grandmas/people walk in just ahead of the bride/partner #2.

žBride/Partner entrance

žOfficiant opening remarks – These are typically short comments welcome, of what makes a marriage work.

žCharge to the couple – This is the remark about the couple coming together seeking a committed relationship and that they are here to take the other person as their husband/wife/partner.

žVows – These are your promises to each other. They can be the same to each other or completely different. They can be repeated after the officiant or read from a paper. However and whatever you choose to promise to your soon to be spouse, this is the important part of the ceremony as it is what will bring you together. Spend time on your vows, be honest and committed to what you say here.

žRing exchanges

žUnity event – (optional) I have included this because about half of all weddings have some sort of unity event. Some examples I have seen are unity candles, hand-fastenings, and sand/bead/candy ceremonies, although this could truly be anything that brings two things together into one.

žPronouncement of marriage – “…By the power vested in me…”

žThe Kiss

žClosing Remarks and presentation of couple – “May I be the first to present…”

žRecessionals – wedding party walks back in reverse order.

 

There are many ways to make the wedding ceremony all your own, but as long as you start with this framework you will be good to go.

Comment below to let me know if I missed anything. These are the elements I have noticed in my wedding photography career as going into a typical ceremony.

Getting started on your wedding photo “Must Have” list

Your “Must Have” list is a very important part of your wedding planning. It not only determines the amount of time you need for your photography, but it also helps you with your timeline planning, with the order of events, with knowing if you need one or two photographers, and if there are other options like bridal portraits that will help you keep your wedding on track and on budget.

The list given below is a general list that I have used to help my clients over the past 10 years plan their wedding day photography. It is by no means completely inclusive, but I have found it helps my clients start the process of making their own list. While the list is written in “Bride and Groom” language, the ideas and concepts can be used for any wedding couple!

For planning purposes, plan to set aside 3-5 minutes per pose/picture on your list. This is a great starting time reference.

“Must have” wedding photo list ideas

Pre-wedding/Getting Ready

Rehearsal area before guests have arrived/details

Prep Shots – Bride & Groom getting ready

The Dress – Hanging or Draped

The Rings – with invitation, bouquet, etc.

Zipping Dress

Bride Applying Make Up

Groom Fixing Hair

Attaching Boutonnière to grooms lapel

Ceremony

Groom waiting at altar

Church Wide Shot (with & without guests)

Bride walking down aisle ( Side Profile & Front )

Father giving away bride

Groom over the shoulder shot of bride ( & Vis Versa)

Holding hands – Bride and Groom

Bride & Groom Kiss

Bride & Groom Leaving Church ( Receiving Line)

Reception

Reception/Banquet Hall Outside shot

Food Shots (Cocktail Hour, Drinks, etc.)

Shot of each table full of guests

Bride and Groom Hand & Ring Portraits

First Dance

Bride & Father Dance

Groom & Mother Dance

Bouquet Toss

Guarder Belt Toss

Cake Cutting

Bride and Groom Feeding each other

Misc. Guests Dancing

Best Man & Maid of Honor Toast/Speeches

Bride & Groom Toast/Speeches

Centerpieces & Flower/Decorations

Guestbook Signatures

Bride & Groom “Just Married” Vehicle – Driving Away

Thank you picture (if doing one)

Posed Photography

Bride alone

Groom alone

Bride and Groom

Bride and Groom at alter

Bride and Groom with Officient

Bride and Groom kissing

Bridesmaids/Flower Girl(s)

Groomsmen/Ring bearer

Bridal Party

Bride with Groomsmen

Groom with Bridesmaids

Bride with Bridesmaids

Groom with Groomsmen

Bride with flower girl(s)

Groom with ring bearer

Bride and Groom with bridal party

Bride with parents

Groom with parents

Bride and Groom with bride’s parents

Bride and Groom with groom’s parents

Bride and Groom with both sets of parents

Bride and Groom with bride’s grandparents

Bride and Groom with groom’s grandparents

Bride’s parents alone

Groom’s parents alone

After a bridal show: Now what do I do?

Beautiful green and orange bridal bouquet by Stem Designs in Salem, Oregon

Beautiful flowers by Stem Designs

So you just got back from a bridal or wedding show. You have tons of materials from all sorts of vendors and you are on wedding overload! You are probably asking now what do I do?!? If you read our previous article Bridal Shows: 5 tips for couples then you are prepared for this moment and I recommend you skip to step 3 and take a week or two off! If you haven’t read that article that is ok, there are a couple steps to do right away before you take your time off.

Step 1 – Take notes and Sort the materials

When you get home from the wedding show, or very shortly after (hopefully within a day), you will want to clear the floor and dump out your bag (or bags!) of information you received and start going through them. You will want to start separating the information into categories (venues, caterers, photographers, etc.). As you do, take a minute with each to remember each one and takes notes on what you remember. Think about how each one made you feel, a memorable quote or experience at their booth or while you were talking with them, your likes and concerns about their work and how they would work with you, and anything else you can think of. You want to do this while it is still fresh in your mind and when you can remember the most.

Step 2 – Order the categories by which you want to hire first

Next you want to order the vendor types into the order you are planning on booking them. This helps balance your priorities and all your desired pieces. It will also help you in step 4 to stay focused and should make decisions easier. If you need help on when to book there are several helpful articles available online, such as this compiled timeline from MyDeejay. I like this timeline because it gives you the suggestions from the three biggest wedding websites (The Knot, WeddingWire, and Brides.com) as well as the author’s suggestion and why they suggest it.

Step 3 – Take a break!

Now that you are all organized, you deserve a break! Take a week or two off to relax and recharge before you get into actually choosing your vendors. This will not only help you clear your head, but should help you narrow down your choices in each category.

Step 4 – Choosing your vendors

While each couple will approach this part differently, there are a few tips I can pass on here. First is to choose one vendor at a time according to your organized categories. This will let you more easily compare packages/offerings from vendors in this category and will let you deeply explore what you want from that type of vendor. Next, You will want to discuss each type of vendor together and make some choices before you start talking to vendors. For example, do you want a religious ceremony? Do you want the ceremony and reception all in one place? Do you want a DVD or digital files of your picture? How much are you hoping to spend on this category? And many other questions.

Once you have narrowed down what you want from each category, then take the first category and read the materials you collected, looking for those elements which you decided were most important for you.

Finally, choose your top 3-5 from each category based on what you want and your budget, and call them for a consultation. This will allow you to get a better feel for them and a personalized quote for your wedding. If you find what you feel is your perfect vendor from these consultations, put down your deposit and move on to the next category. If you are still on the fence and can’t seem to make a decision, move on to the next category and come back to it. The important thing is that you can make the decisions without feeling pressured or frustrated with the process. Planning your wedding should be a wonderful experience. And always remember the experts are there to help you. There are many wonderful planners and vendors out there that can help you along the way.

 

Happy Planning!!

Looking for delicious catering with style? Yes Please!

Chicken and pasta dish from Iggy's Catering

Such good food, my mouth is still singing it’s praises the next morning.

So last night we had our monthly meeting of the Willamette Valley Wedding Professionals (WVWP) at Hubbard Chapel. The venue is so cute, and they have done so much work to the inside, it is well worth a look. Their pricing is extremely reasonable too. But what stood out to me from last nights’ meeting was the catering. Iggy’s Catering provided the meal and it was absolutely mouth watering. Even looking at the photos this morning had me craving more!

Hubbard Chapel in Hubbard Oregon

Hubbard Chapel in Hubbard Oregon. Super cute little church that will hold up to 150 people for weddings and events.

Ian (the owner) served us yummy roasted chicken under a hollandaise sauce with a slice of tomato and avocado, with a side of pasta and steamed broccoli. For dessert he served a light and fluffy vanilla mouse cake with chocolate shavings and a berry tort. I came away wanting more, and not for a lack of serving size. Just look at it and tell me you are thinking of eating some right now!

The best part is, I have had Iggy’s food several times now and have yet to have something mediocre. Everything Ian serves is absolutely delicious. He has a Hawaiian chicken he served at the Oregon Wedding Showcase this past January that was so good he ran out each day even after cooking more at the show.

If you have a wedding or event coming up soon and are looking for a caterer who has versatility, style, and taste that makes your stomach dance with delight, call Iggy’s Catering (here is his number so you don’t even have to look, just call now! 503-983-6289)

IMG_2009 IMG_2016 IMG_2010 IMG_1976 IMG_1979

The top 4 things to consider when choosing a wedding photographer.

wedding hands in heart

Your wedding photographer will spend so much time with you, make sure it is someone you like!

There are many things to consider when looking for a wedding photographer, it can be very overwhelming. Before you go with the first person who has an opening, here are a few things to consider which can help you find your perfect wedding photographer.

  1. Style

With so much difference between the styles of wedding photography, it is important that the photographer you choose has a style you enjoy. While most brides will want a combination of styles, some find that they enjoy only one style, such as photojournalistic or artistic, and so should choose a photographer who specializes in this style. For those brides who like a combined style, consider hiring a pair of photographers who have different styles. There are many husband and wife teams where each photographer specializes in a different style (kind of like our team!). The key is to identify your favorite style or mix of styles and then to look for photographers who use those styles. A photographer’s portfolio(s) should be a really easy way to see their style. (For more information on styles see our blog article)

  1. Availability

Once you have established a style you like, then comes the hardest part, finding photographers who are that style and finding out who has availability. Make a list of the top 5 photographers you like whose work is similar to the style you want and request availabilities from each of them. Then, try to schedule consultations with the top 3 of those photographers who have availability. You definitely want to meet with more than one photographer because …

  1. Personality

At the consultation with your 3 chosen photographers, pay special attention to the chemistry between you, your fiancé, and the photographer(s). Does he/she/they make you feel comfortable? Are they easy to talk to? Do they easily visualize what you are describing? Do you feel you could spend the whole day with them and still be comfortable at the end of the day? All of these questions are very important because your photographer will most likely be spending a great deal of your special day with you. How comfortable you are with the photographer is especially important if you are looking to have “getting ready” pictures taken. You don’t want to have someone you aren’t comfortable with in your dressing room as you are in only your underwear putting your dress on! Be sure to keep notes at each consultation so that you can go back after all of them are done and remember feelings, impressions, and likes/dislikes about each photographer.

  1. Price

Finally, I will mention price. While ideally price would not be an issue, we do not live in the ideal world. Price is important, and should be considered, but it should not be the first thing to shop for when choosing a photographer. It has been said many times before, but your photography is one of the only things that you will have left after the wedding, so getting someone of quality who you are confident will get you the pictures you desire is worth paying a little more for. Really, price should be something that is considered in the background of doing the first 3 steps. If you know you absolutely cannot afford to spend $6000 on wedding photography, then photographers with starting packages of $5000 are probably not going to be in your budget, so look cautiously at their sites. They can give you great information about styles and numerous other things, but they are probably not one you should call for availability when you get to that point. Keep in mind also, however, that many photographers make personalized quotes, so even though their range may seem a bit high or low for your budget, if you really like them it never hurts to ask. (For more information on photography budgets in Oregon, see our blog article)

A comparison of photography styles. Which style is right for me?

Couple Kissing in vineyard

Which photographic style is your favorite?

In several of the last few articles posted, I have discussed the different styles of portrait photography without really describing what those styles are. I hope this article will shed some light on the subject (pun intended) and help you decide which style or combination of styles most fits you.

Traditional studio posed

When most people think of portrait photography, this is the style they are thinking of. This is where you go into a studio, have a solid or specialty backdrop, everyone is positioned around one family member (usually mom) and you all smile towards the camera. Although it has evolved some over the past century as photographic equipment has gotten better, for the most part this has become the staple of portrait photography and is consistent over different types of portraits (family, individual, business, etc.). There are some things which can be added into these types of photos which will spice them up but still keep the essentially a traditional studio shot. Some of these things include instruments, sports equipment, toys for children, or your family pet. This type of portraiture is still the most common, where you are posed by the photographer and they take the portrait of all of you looking at the camera.

Child in swing, portrait from Photos by Orion

Lifestyle photography is great for kids and families!

Lifestyle/Candid

Lifestyle and candid photographers are very common now. While they are not the same, they share many similar traits. Lifestyle photographers typically will take a subject, put them in an environment and will ask for eye contact while get photos in that setting. For example, when I do outdoor portraits with children I will usually employ a combination of posed and lifestyle photography. I try to take the child to a local park, will get some posed photography in the beginning in the lush greens, then will end at a playground where I only ask the child to look at me and smile when I ask for it. Otherwise I just follow the child around and capture photos of them doing what they love to do, play.

Candid photography is similar, except that there is no asking for eye contact. A candid photographer would take the child to the playground and get photos of them playing on the equipment, but would not get too many photos of the child looking at the camera.

Photojournalistic

The photojournalistic style has been greatly romanticized over the last 5 years or so. A true photojournalistic style is similar to lifestyle photography, but with a black and white touch and a “did our photographer even show up” feel. When you hire a photojournalist to document your wedding, their job is to observe without interference. If they have done their job correctly, you should see them when they arrive and when they leave, but not really notice them throughout the day. True Photojournalists do not ask you to look at the camera, do not edit much beyond conversion to black and white (besides maybe some contrast adjustments), and are excellent storytellers. You should be cautious to really get a good look at the work of photographers stating they are photojournalists, as it is rare to get a skilled photojournalist. There are many photographers who claim to be photojournalist but are really candid/lifestyle photographers. Photojournalistic wedding photography, is both an acquired taste and a hard skill to master, so if this style really speaks to you be prepared to pay more for a skilled photojournalist.

Artistically desaturated bride by Photos By Orion

Artistic portraits can add a little class to your portraits.

Artistic

Artistic portraits are done with some specialty settings. It can either be your outfits, such as Victorian or western dress, lighting, such as all black except for your face, or it can be specialty tones such as sepia or selective desaturation. Any of these elements, and many others, can create an artistic feel to a photography session. All photographers are artists, but each photographer will develop their own style. This is again why it is important to research your photographer and find one whose style you like.

Wedding Photography budgets for Oregon: What should I plan to spend?

Wedding Rings displayed on a flower.

Wedding Photography in Oregon: How much should I budget for?

How much should I budget for wedding photography?

Creating a wedding budget is a very important, and very stressful, step in the wedding planning process. It can also be extremely difficult because there is such a range of prices for wedding services. In no service is this truer than wedding photography. Depending on where you live, wedding photography can start anywhere from $300 to $10,000! So what should you budget for your wedding photography? This is a question that only you can answer, but I hope this guide will help you either choose a budget, or if you have already chosen a budget to know what to expect from a photographer in your budget.

*Oregon Wedding budgets – This guide is geared toward Oregon couples, but the general guidelines can be applied to any area. Price ranges will be different*

Photography Budget: Under $1000

This is a small budget for Oregon. The key to working in this price-range is knowing that the quality of the photographer you will get for this price is poor to moderate. The further under $1000 you go the less likely you will be able to get a professional photographer for that price. A photographer in this range is most likely an amateur, beginner/student, or a part time photographer (meaning they have a job other than photography). If you are looking for professional quality photography, be cautious of photographers in this budget range. Many times they will try and entice you with offers of “all day photography and get all the photos on CD for $600!” What they are really saying is something like: ” I only do this for extra money, I have no insurance, I am not registered as a business, and if something goes wrong you are basically S.O.L.” This isn’t every photographer in this category, but be sure to ask about insurance and if they are a registered business. It is absolutely ok to ask for a federal EIN (employer identification number) and state registry number. If you ask, businesses are required to give this information to you and it is public record to look up the information on the business, so do your homework. You can also check out if the person/business has any complaints with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). If your budget is in this area then wedding photography is not one of your top priorities (which is ok, photography is not everyone’s top priority!) and you may want to look into photography students or young companies looking to build a portfolio.

Note on Craig’s List: Many times couples in this budget range will post on Craig’s list looking for less expensive photographers. Be careful when receiving responses to see a portfolio or know that you are taking a risk when you go with someone without a portfolio. You get what you pay for!

Photography Budget: $1000 – $3000

This is a good, mid-range budget which will allow you to hire a high quality photographer and receive a good number of pictures. You can get digital copies of pictures in this price range, or you will most likely receive a print credit if a CD is not included. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this range in Oregon so you can expect to hire a professional wedding photographer with a budget in this range. This budget infers you believe photos of your wedding are an investment in your memories. With so many choices within this budget range, it can be difficult to choose. I recommend our article Finding Your Perfect Photographer if you are having trouble choosing.

Photography Budget: Over $3000

This is a high budget, inferring you consider your wedding photography one of your top priorities. You will be able to hire an excellent photographer and build a package to suit your desires. You can expect some sort of digital files, whether that is a high resolution CD or a DVD slide show, in this price range. Also an album is most likely to be included at this price point. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this price range in Oregon, so finding a photographer in this price range should not be too difficult.

 

If you haven’t set a wedding photography budget yet, I hope this is helpful information which will help you decide which budget range you want to be in. If you have set your wedding photography budget, I hope this information helps clarify what to expect from a photographer in your budget range.

Bridal Shows: 5 Tips for couples

Wedding photography book for Photos By Orion at the Oregon Wedding Showcase

Our both at the Oregon Wedding Showcase in January

Photos By Orion has been in many wedding shows and events, including the Oregon Wedding Showcase, for many years now. Over the years I have developed some tips for couples who are going to a bridal show about how to get the most out of your trip. While these tips are geared toward couples who are just starting their wedding planning, most of the tips will apply to couples in any stage of planning. Also, while the examples are mainly for photography, the concepts can be applied to any wedding vendor.

I hope these tips will aide in your wedding planning!

  1. Research – It is always good to do your homework, and a bridal show is no different. About a week before the show, you will want to check out the show’s website and see what types of vendors will be at the show. You also will want to sit down together and decide how much you of your wedding you will want to do yourselves and what you want to trust to the professionals. Keep notes and make a list of the professionals you are looking to hire. Then prioritize your top three types of vendors you want to visit at the show. This will give you a good road-map for traveling through the show.
  2. Bring a notebook and Address labels – When you go to the show, be sure to take your notes and some extra paper to take more notes as you go through the show. Take notes on elements you like or don’t like (for example: I like black and white photos, I don’t like pictures of the bridal party jumping, etc.) as you walk through the show. Also, have address labels printed out before the show that have your name, phone number, email, and wedding date on them. This will help you sign up at booths quickly and save your hand from cramping!
  3. Walk before you talk – You will want to make a round through the whole show before you stop to talk to any vendors. During this walk through, take your notes, get some good ideas about your likes and dislikes, and make notes on which vendors look interesting and which don’t. Many shows will give you a map or list of the booths when you register, which gives you a really good way to mark booths to visit or booths to pass by.
  4. Visit your priorities/favorites first – Once you have finished your once around, then visit vendors you marked as interesting which are in your three priority categories first. Talk with them, ask any questions you have about their area of expertise, and get a feel for if you could work with them. Keep notes, collect information, and most importantly have a good time!
  5. Be willing to sign with a vendor for a great deal, but don’t sign unless you are sure – When you are first starting your planning, take time to consider everything you take in at the show. There will be many show deals and inevitably some vendors who will try to hard sell you to “sign today.” (Can you blame them? This is their livelihood after all) I am defiantly not saying you shouldn’t sign with them, but to be sure they are who you want before you sign. I know I (and my fellow photographers at PBO) have high quality work at a good value for your money, but I am not for everyone. I would never want you to sign with me to “get the deal” and then feel like you were pressured or cheated in any way. Professionals are there to make your wedding day smooth and easy! If you are within 6 months of your wedding date, then booking at a show to get the deal is a much better idea because (theoretically) you have already done your homework on what you like/don’t like and what each vendor needs to bring to your wedding, making it much easier to know that “this vendor” is the one for your wedding. The wedding industry is all about relationships, so like any relationship you should never rush into it.

I really hope these tips help you make the most of any bridal show you attend. And for any brides in the Willamette Valley, I hope to get to meet you at the Oregon Wedding Showcase in October!

Happy Planning!