Do This- Pre-Ceremony Cocktails

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your thoughts! 

This might be one of my favorite new trends we’re seeing with couples planning their wedding day- hosting cocktail hour before the ceremony.  Best catered to couples who choose to see each other before the ceremony with a first look, the pregame cocktail hour allows mingling and relaxation among guests.  Celebrating with that glass of wine also aides for out of town guests to have ample time to arrive for the ceremony.

A few variations we’ve seen that might strike your fancy:

*Cut cocktail hour in half, with 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after ceremony.

*Join in on the mingling with guests, especially if your guest list is sizable.  It’ll save time for the rounds needing to be made at dinner.

*Opt for a private cocktail hour with just the two of you or with bridal party only.

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Do This- Night Shots

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Woohoo!  Our “Do This” planning tips series is back after a bit of a summer hiatus in the McClain household.  We had some wonderful news late spring plus add in a busy wedding season and a growing toddler- life has been hectic but amazing.  We hope our readers love the quick wedding tips and as always we love feedback if you want to see something specific on the blog!  Happy reading campers!

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your thoughts! 

Night shots (photographically not the liquid kind) are growing more and more popular these days and we love doing them!  Three tips for the perfect night photography creation:

  1. Build it into your timeline.  If wanting to create a night time photo, chances are you’re going to need to slip out of your reception for at least 15-20 minutes.  Be sure to work with your photographer on the best time that doesn’t interfere with dance floor festivities or plans your entertainer/DJ may have in their timeline.
  2. Add an element for an additional image pop. Adding in a natural element like your bouquet, sparkler, an umbrella if raining, or a veil can take a night photo to the next level.
  3. Pick the location. Shooting near a tree, water element, or structure at night is pretty magical for your image.  Bonus points if your venue has some sort of lighting like globes, patio lights, or Christmas lights.  Urban locations are great as well to gather traffic movement with tail lights.

Do This- Reception Lighting

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 

For modern weddings, lighting is key to carve out a unique reception space.  I’m loving the trends on creating a gorgeous and romantic venue for both guests and kick ass photos.  Here’s our top three loves for the season:

  1. Carnival/ Marquee Lights– Seriously.. your dance floor could be this kick ass with these letters.  Also great at your head table or cake table! Find them locally with Klock Entertainment.Zugay_1341_MMP
  2. Lots of Candlelight– Nothing is more romantic than candlelight, especially at your wedding.  Check out Cudge.net for some of the cheapest candle options around or contact Shumaker PDT who created this gorgeous set up.Sipe_0320_MMP
  3. Bulb Lighting– Bulbs are hot on the wedding trend scene this year with Edison, glass, or jar lighting topping the charts, especially in those rustic or shabby chic venues. You can find these babies anywhere from Target to Etsy, or hire a company like Stray Productions to set the mood. BWS_0022_MMP

Do This- Creative Cake Toppers

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 

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Gosh.. remember attending weddings as a kid and not only were the dresses standard with puffed sleeves, but the same ol’ generic cake topper was on every cake.  Bride and Groom, standing there atop a cake or if you were at a fancy wedding, Bride Groom and bridal party on a separated tier cake.  Gag!

Cake toppers have been getting more and more creative and lately, we’re in love with the monogram style twist!  Sure you can go, Mr & Mrs, Mr & Mr, or Mrs and Mrs but who wouldn’t love a “Turn Down For What” cake topper?  P.s. these photograph fantastically as shown in Julie and AJ’s wedding topper!

Gotta have it?

Turn Down For What Topper– Host and Toast Studio Etsy Shop

Better Together– Leanne Madeline Etsy Shop

Game Over– Bridesmaid Gift Hanger Etsy Shop

Do This- Unfancy Food

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 

Jason and I were talking over dinner the other night how damn tasty “normal dinner” food is compared to some over the top wedding meals.  We were guilty of it too, having sea bass and chicken as our meal options with tasty sides, all in way too much butter of course, at our wedding in 2008.  Although delicious, some good ol’ fashion BBQ (or Pig Pickin’ as we’ve learned from one of our favorite couples a few years ago), kick ass pizza, or bitchin’ tacos would also be well loved by guests just as much as the expensive fancy dinner.  What do you think.. should wedding food always be fancy or more appointed to fan favorite dinners?

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Do This- Donuts!

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 

This might be because Fat Tuesday or Fastnacht Day as we Pennsylvania Dutch call it, is coming up on February 9th, but damn I hope to see some donuts at weddings this year! Donuts are actually making way to wedding dessert tables, sometimes replacing the cake all together (no boohoos here).   If you missed our previous post on food trucks, these two trends could be combined as some mobile snack shacks are pushing out piping hot, fresh doughy goodness.  Where to get some delicious and unhealthy fried pastries?  Check out PA Bakery, Desserts Etc, or Pronio’s Market.

Do This- Guest Entertainment

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 

Wedding planning is definitely about the couple coming together in marriage, however a huge amount of expense is paid towards guest entertainment.  From the meal to the music to the favors, each couple thinks of how guests will enjoy his/her celebration. Some simple ideas to further guest involvement and enjoyment:

-Photo or Video Booth.  In planning many are choosing a photo booth, however the video booth is a HOT new trend and a ton of fun for guests to create candid memories.  Check out Klock Entertainment for video and unique photo booth options!

-Outdoor Games. Adult size Jenga, Corn-hole (which sounds so dirty), Badminton, or Croquet are all great games for guests to play throughout the night without gaining a beast mode sweat

-Literary Fun.  MadLibs are always fun and a great test to knowing your noun, adverbs, and adjectives.  Crosswords, cribbage, chess or other board games are also great for some after dinner throw downs.

-Kid-centric items. Face painting, Play-doh, or other creative measures are stellar ideas to keep kiddos entertained and parents relaxed.  Many also choose to hire a designated baby sitter for the night (which sounds so sexy as parents of a one year old;-).

What are your favorite guest entertainment ideas?

Do This- Food Trucks!

‘Do This’ is a biweekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 


As we move into 2016 I’m thrilled to bring new and unique ideas to our readers in our Do This series.  Rather than a weekly Friday post, Do This will be published every two weeks and we’re aiming to feature MORE local vendors we love and trust!

Long gone are the days of “roach coaches” as today’s food truck vendors are hip, gourmet, and damn tasty!  From a kick ass grilled cheese to good old fashion ice cream, food trucks are going to be super popular in the wedding industry.  Think late night grub or hot coffee for those cooler months when planning additional amenities for your guests.

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Here’s some of our favorites:

Soul Burrito

Lancaster County Coffee Roasters

MAD Sandwiches

Lancaster Cupcake

Naters Taters

 

Room View- Changing Portraiture

Technology is amazing!  I still remember back in junior high school when the internet was introduced.  Coming from a single parent, low income household, we didn’t have a computer in the early 90’s. The cool thing was to hang out at a friends house on the weekend who had at least WebTV so we could jam to Bell Biv DeVoe and chat to random strangers in AOL chat rooms.

Flash forward over 20 years (gosh I sound old) and technology continues to transform our way of life.  My new favorite transformation in the portrait world is our new Room View program we introduced this year.  Room View removes the guessing game of size and layout for portraiture on your very own wall.

Room View is beyond simple- starting with an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper taped to your wall. Snap a simple photo with your phone camera (fitting as much of the ceiling and floor into the frame as possible) and send it off to us. Behind the scenes we transform your favorite images into collages and get these archival items on your wall in as little as two weeks!  Simple and the design is FREE!

Think 3 8×10’s will fill up your wall.. nah.. check out these gorgeous collage ideas we designed for a family recently.  Complete night and day!

Oliver Three 8x10

Do This- Comfy Lounge Seating

Do This is a weekly blog series created to be a super quick read, highlighting awesome wedding ideas that you may want to incorporate into your own event!  Got an idea for our Do This readers?  Email me at mmcclainphoto@gmail.com with your idea! 

Reception seating is constantly evolving, with the past few years seeing a huge spike in more comfortable, lounge like seating.  Some venues may offer additional seating options or you can rent great furniture from places such as Swoon Vintage Rental or talk with your DJ to see if this is an add on offering. Freeze Entertainment  creates amazing seating areas for their clients and aims to customize to fit your theme or colors.

(Thanks to Ray and Elena from Freeze Entertainment for some of their lounge layouts shown below)