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?