Do This- Grandmotherly Flower Girls

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! 

Flower girls are absolutely gorgeous but depending on the age, some have the attention span of a Terrier puppy.  A cute alternative if age is a factor, or you know no little ones, is to offer the position up to your Grandmother.  We saw this recently, with the grandmother’s pelting guests with petals!  Great photo ops and laughter from guests!

Check out more images from Amy & Bobby’s wedding at Ironstone Ranch!

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Do This- Wedding Pinatas

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! 

Pinatas, you know the fun beat-the-shit-out of it decor that held the best candy when you were a kid?  If you’re a playful couple, consider hanging pinatas at your outdoor cocktail hour for guests to smash and grab.  Fill the paper mâché wonder with candy of course and maybe add in some pony bottles of your favorite alcohol for a twist.

Another pinata idea takes the place of your guest book which for those DIY couples you can make your own with instructions found here!

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Do This- Personalized Shoes

Welcome to a new Blog series posted every Friday morning called Do This.  Do This is 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! 

11223334_10153785188137259_5472463784636007111_oEvery wedding is personalized but take it one step further by having your attendants write super sweet messages for good luck on the bottom of your shoes!  For a spin, you could also write messages to your soon to be husband or wife or just doodle some hearts, unicorns, or rainbows.  All are awesome and completely acceptable:)

If you’re planning footwear WAY in advance and want a super unique touch that would make any photographer drool check out Figgie Hand Painted Shoes12010530_926183517428577_822339659944737136_oDeborah creates magic on each shoe she hand paints which, for those already married folk reading, she will paint any shoe including your little ones!

 

Do This- Alternative Reception Entertainment

Welcome to a new Blog series posted every Friday morning called Do This.  Do This is 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! 

Before you start thinking adult entertainment in the “bow-chicka-wow-wow” way, this post is strictly G rated as in a great idea (this is why I don’t do caffeine while blogging.. such bad jokes).  Anyway, lately we’ve notice the reception dance floor ranges from jam packed all night to the same 8 people cutting a rug and thought what about other forms of guest entertainment aside from the typical DJ/dance floor combination.  If you’re a playful couple who loves to embrace their inner 8 year old, check out rentals of bounce castles or ball pits.  Not feeling kid like, check out renting casino games, dunk tanks or even bring some of your favorite games from home like cribbage, cards against humanity, or just good old fashion chess.  For bonus points with your guests, rent some comfy lounge furniture for the non-dancers to break away from reception tables.Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 5.38.10 PM

 

Do This- Alternative Floral Bouquets

Welcome to a new Blog series posted every Friday morning called Do This.  Do This is 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! 

I love a gorgeous bouquet regardless of what it’s made of but I have to highlight this gorgeous masterpiece created by Leah McMaster of Weddings and Blooms in Mechanicsburg, which features kale and an artichoke!  Along with the greens and beautiful succulent, this bouquet is seriously amazing and completely different from the traditional flower alternatives!IMG_1458

Be sure to follow all of Leah’s gorgeous creations on Facebook or give her a call if you’re still in need of an amazing florist! (Photo courtesy of Leah McMaster)

Pros To Know- Klock Entertainment

Pros To Know is an ongoing blog series featuring the best of Central PA wedding vendors!  See his/her perspective on emerging and popular trends, tips on wedding planning, and what they love outside of the wedding industry.

Klock Entertainment is one of Central PA’s leading entertainment options, implementing the latest in technology, multi-media, music, and talent.  This group of highly trained entertainers specialize in providing a unique, memorable, and individual experience for your special event.  Klock Entertainment continues to win Couples Choice and The Best of the Knot awards year after year!ProsToKnowKlock_0001_MMP

  1. What makes Klock Entertainment Unique?

What makes Klock Entertainment unique is the dynamic in talent bundled with us being a full-time engine and licensed business.  With these two things, it allows us to properly produce and execute our couples’ wants, loves, and needs for their special event.  Another thing that makes us unique is our staff who work with their heart and work events because they love doing it.  Everyone I hire and including myself has a true passion for helping our clients maximize the celebration of life’s moments. 

  1. What are the popular entertainment (and/or design) choices 2015 couples are making?

In 2015 we are seeing many couples create an elegant light package that can still progress with the energy of the event.  Instead of just place some up lights around their venue space, we are working with couples to create a programmed lighting experience to help enhance their special moments such as first dance, parents dances, and opening the dance floor after dinner.  The term used for this is “Programmable Intelligent Lighting”.  We are also seeing many of couples choose to pin light certain objects in their venue space such as their cake, picture table, or dessert table. Up Lighting is still extremely popular and can completely enhance any space.  We are finding it is becoming more what we can do with the Up Lighting or Programming of other types of lighting, which is what truly adds a proper design for each individual reception space. 

  1. What is your best piece of advice for couples on the hunt for the perfect wedding DJ?

The best piece of advice is to make sure you like the person you’re hiring.  I know that may sound silly, but regardless if they are a DJ, Photographer, etc.  you have to spend time with that vendor during very important moments of your life.  Additionally, I highly recommend going with somebody who is operating a licensed business.  Whether they are a solo-opp or Multi-Opp that doesn’t matter as much as them being able to prove legitimacy through a strong track record, reviews, and longevity.  Our Event Specialist and Full Time DJ, Nick Fortini has recently written this blog on choosing the right DJ for your needs.

  1. Outside of the entertainment industry, what brings you the most happiness?

When I’m not working for Klock Entertainment or working an event, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Jess and our twins Avalyn & Elijah (who just turned two).  We also have a third on the way due around Christmas!  I also try to spend an hour a day or so doing some sort of personal fitness to keep the mind cleansed and fueled for the next opportunity life may bring!

Where can people find you online?

Website: www.klockentertainment.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/klockentertainment
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KlockEnt
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/klockentertainment

Want Great Getting Ready Images? Here’s How!

Not every gal wants getting ready images but for most brides after a photojournalistic (story telling) wedding portfolio, the ceremony pre-game is a must have.  If going the family heirloom route, starting your album with gorgeous images of final touches, dressing, and details are pertinent to recanting your wedding day and sparking those fun memories.

Cantarera_0147_MelissaMcClainPhotographyFrom the photographer perspective, I love capturing this part of a couple’s wedding day.  It’s the anticipation, catching natural candids, nervous expressions, and emotions that can make this small part of your wedding day that much more special when looking back years from now.  Although not hard to capture great images during this time, there’s always a few things to keep in mind if getting ready images are important to you.  Not to neglect the gentlemen, but as Jason describes to almost every couple, Bride getting ready shots are always fun, elegant, and beautiful where for the men… it’s basically putting on another pair of pants!  Yes.. we gals are super jealous that our grooms can roll in two hours before the ceremony and still look like rock stars while we’re up at the crack of dawn getting primped and prepped:)

Here’s a few food for thought items on achieving kick ass getting ready images:

*No Junk in the Trunk– Okay a total expression, however getting ready images are much more elegant when bags, trash, and other must have prep items aren’t scattered in various places throughout the getting ready room.  cohen_0122_mmpAs a gal, I completely understand us ladies have baggage and NEED a ton of products and things to feel our most glamorous, however asking your maids to sequester their items to a specific area of the room can take your prep images to the next level of photojournalism.  I usually recommend, depending on the location, to “junk” areas farthest away from natural light windows since the majority of getting ready images are captured in that vicinity.  Along with the amazing images, keeping things orderly will make the end of night departure so much easier instead of scavenging for your items in a potential drunken bliss.

*Open the Curtains– Within reason of course!  If your getting ready room has the means, throw open the curtains and let the natural light pour in for the most beautiful light.

*Gather the Details- With months of planning out the details of your dress, shoes, and accessories, I want to make sure we’re capturing those special, well-thought-out items before you don that gorgeous gown if possible.  I usually recommend for brides who love details, to have your MOH or bridesmaid gather the items you want photographed into one location.  Upon arrival those are the go to items I typically will capture first and REALLY want to capture if possible as potential publishing opportunities on blogs and magazines will always want to see your well planned details.baughman_0025_mmp

*Everyone Dresses Before the Bride– Completely aesthetic and your bridesmaids might thank you for it, but consider having your dressing assistants in their gowns before zipping you up.

*RELAX! Your Face Tells All– Most brides during the getting zipped, fastened, tied into her dress beam a gorgeous natural smile or relaxed thoughtful expression.  In some not so perfect dressing moments such as the 32nd loop on the corset, it’s easy to hit that “OMG are we done yet” or “What do you mean it’s not _____”  expression which is captured on camera.  Take a breath and relax!Baranowski_0204_MMP

*Keep the crowd to a minimum– It’s easy to invite close friends and extended family into the getting ready room, however keep in mind that it can crowd up your room and make grabbing different angles and perspectives a challenge, not to mention potential added stress.  Either opt for a sizable getting ready area if expecting a large group or keep your posse to a few close important people.

What do you recommend for the best getting ready images on a wedding day?

Time to Ditch Your Pinterest Account?

Take a break and think about how well connected people are to social media these days… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.  All are great tools when planning a wedding or could be if used correctly.  Lately I’ve noticed a decline in Pinterest fandom among professional creatives and although some valid points were made, I have to agree with NOT using much of pinterest in wedding planning.  Before bringing out the pitch forks and torches.. let’s discuss.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 10.00.54 PM*It’s Recycled Ideas.  I’m all for inspiration however it should be taken lightly in planning.  The best weddings photographically in my opinion are those with a touch of the couple’s personality more so than handfuls of pinterest recreations.   I still remember weddings where the couple made DIY items or creations that may have had some pinterest inspiration, however they twisted it to fit their wedding design dream which made their celebrations even more personalized.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.48.05 PM*Stylized Images.  Okay hope you’re sitting for this one, but a lot of those pinned couple images are stylized sessions.  Stylized shoots are fantastic for inspiration, but should be known that it’s designers, photographers, or publishers who are setting these up, gathering every detail surrounding the couple and the photographers have hours to shoot with perfect light.  Not every image is from a “set up” session thankfully but be aware that some are and although can be “inspiration” for your own images, will take time to set up, so plan accordingly for your timeline if that’s a heart set item.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.37.28 PM*Backfire on Trying to be Unique.  Although I don’t believe that every plan in a wedding needs to be unique, I do feel the couple IS unique and shouldn’t aspire to recreating poses in images that may not fit the personalities of both you and your spouse.  If you’re a fun and goofy couple, pulling off that sensual pose you pinned months ago is going to be more work than one would think, especially to make it look natural and “fitting” for who you guys really are as a couple.

*Out of Date Boards or Unrelated Pins.  I tend to look up pinterest boards of our clients to see where your image preference is more so than the details planned.  Like your guests, I want to be a little surprised when I walk into your reception to enjoy my own personal ‘Oooo’ and ‘Ahhh’ moment.  Don’t laugh.. I seriously love this part of the day:)  The hardest part of scoping out boards is that preferences and poses may change over time and with trends (i.e the jump shot.. hated personally but done upon request although I’ll sigh internally as I shoot it).  Also pinterest is tricky and it’s so darn easy to pin tomorrow night’s dinner recipe up with your wedding inspiration boards. Although I love new recipes, I’d rather just cruise your inspiration on it’s own.  Keep it clean and keep it up to date.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.56.48 PM*Does it Match?  There are tens of thousands of wedding venues all across the nation and most rarely look the same.  Pinning a grand ballroom photograph of a couple’s first dance in NYC doesn’t really match your chic rustic B&B style wedding here in central PA.  When looking over boards as a viewer, it’s hard to see why a couple may have pinned an image that isn’t the same “feel” as what was described for their wedding venue, especially if the pin remarks at the bottom of the image are passed along from pinner to pinner.  Best recommendation, if you’re going to pin and have others ogle them, make appropriate inspiration remarks such as “Love the lighting, love the pose, love the dress” to avoid that ‘Say wha…’ moment to your viewers.

So to ditch or not to ditch is up to you, however when it comes to wedding posing, inspirations and creations, trust your professionals such as your wedding planner, DJ, or photographer… after all, they’re typically at a wedding almost every weekend in the spring, summer, and fall months.

Wedding Pre-Game Tips Most Blogs Forgot to Mention

It seems to come with the ring and proposal.. the god-forsaken checklist of all the things you as a couple need to accomplish before the wedding day arrives. Slightly overwhelming, the checklist can be helpful but also tedious as some sites seem repetitive with the must have essentials… i.e. research photographers, meet photographers, book photographer, pay photographer… um.. we got it!  On a popular site Jason and I still have 102 outstanding and overdue items unchecked, however considering we’re nearing our 6th wedding anniversary in the fall, I think we’re good:)

In the 6 years we’ve been rocking the wedding photography, there are some items that are either missing from the checklist or are so far buried in the massive lists that overlooking can be so easy.  Our thoughts are definitely not a must have X on your check box but good food for thought when coming down the home stretch of wedding planning.

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Corsage Magnets- Okay I would SO add this to the must buy before the wedding list, especially if opting for pin corsages over wrist corsages for the special ladies in your lives.  Most mothers or grandmothers wedding fashion choices opt for chiffon, satin, or lace material which pins can bitch up the fabric or end up having a heavy corsage drooping for those family pictures.  The magnets simply wrap around the base of the boutonniere or corsage and have a magnetic backing that holds extremely well.  Probably one of our best personal wedding finds so many years ago and one we rarely see but Mom’s would love.. I promise!

Extra Black Socks- Gals this isn’t necessarily for you however it happens more often than not that one of the gentlemen forget to pack a pair of black socks which channels a flash back to an 80’s music video featuring Michael Jackson.  Although potentially coming back in style, this may not be the look you want in your wedding imagery.  Pack an extra pair and save yourself the trauma:)

Schedule a teeth cleaning- Very few people we meet love going to the dentist but having a cleaning scheduled close to your wedding date will not only freshen up those pearly whites but also make an impact on your wedding images.  Yes we zoom in to fix any blemishes but editing out that plaque or left over vittles from breakfast is sometimes nearly impossible depending on the size of your smile. Will it be seen in the end image.. most likely not, however for those close ups why chance it.  Plus what significant other doesn’t love a fresh clean kiss as their first to their new partner in life?

Make your Social Media Demands-  Every couple has different opinions and feelings on social media sharing.  Modern etiquette has that guest posts and pictures not be posted until the couple does, however this, like tearing into the salad course before you’re even introduced, seems to go out the window and can create a massive media bomb if not prepared.  A few options are to share your preferences with guests to not post images before you’ve kicked off the heels and popped on the dancing shoes, change your settings that others can’t tag/post images without your permission, or just go with the flow and take it as it comes.

Make an Appointment at the Social Security Office- If your local SS office is anything like ours, we highly recommend to make an appointment rather than drop by if choosing to change your name post wedding.  Although entertaining to people watch while you wait, after 45 minutes on a popular day, you may want to start pulling your hair out or rolling in the keg.. which actually may get you through the lines faster?

What are some pre-game tips or tricks that you’d recommend to other couples?

 

 

Where’s Your Wedding Inspiration Coming From?

storm_0010j_mmpWedding planning is never an easy project for most couples, however it amazes me how many fantastic planning and inspirational tools are available for today’s couples within a few short keystrokes!  Actually.. it makes me downright jealous!  Eight years ago when we were planning, we had magazines, books, and a few select websites which were all heavily geared towards more traditional style weddings.  Today you can find a blog or site that is specifically catered to your personality, orientation, or wedding style.  Did I mention I’m jealous?  For those new to your engagement or looking for a little special something to make your wedding more customized, here are a handful of our favorite inspirational sites.

*Offbeat Bride– One of our fabulous couples turned me on to this site a few years ago (thanks Rebecca & Mason) and I’ve been an avid creeper on their real wedding posts ever since!  Offbeat Bride caters to non-traditional couples who can pop over to their site for a daily dose of ‘wedding porn’, advice, and inspiration.  What I love most is there isn’t a one size fits all to their real wedding posts- GLBT, plus size, cultural traditions.. nothing is off limits and every type of offbeat style is covered.  Also after the wedding, you can still check in for your daily dose of offbeat with sister sites of Offbeat Home, Families, and Empire.

davis_0498_mmp*Wedding Chicks– I love poking through this site for the mass amounts of pretty, very much trend-setting, wedding images and of course real wedding inspiration. The coolest part of this blog is the DIY section for those ueber creative couples who not only save a buck or two but love the hands on details portrayed at their wedding.

*A Bicycle Built for Two– ABB2 is definitely geared towards lesbian couples celebrating their weddings and engagements but I love sneaking a peek at how other photographers are capturing these gorgeous ladies and customized details couples choose to incorporate in their wedding day.  This site is all about real wedding inspiration but the best part is reading about how couples made the planning decisions for their wedding day and of course their back stories which are always heartwarming.

*Green Wedding Shoes– Fabulous finds and gorgeous imagery geared towards the fashionista bride is what this blog is all about.  Along with a DIY section and the real wedding gallery, my favorite feature of this site is the Galleries section where images are broken down into different categories based off of what inspiration you’re on the hunt for.  There’s even a section for honeymoon planning which who wouldn’t want to ogle some fantastic vacation hot spots?

*When Geeks Wed– Okay so I married a geek, I have friends who married geeks, and a good chunk of our MMP client family are geeks in some fashion so this site was a given on my daily blog check in’s.  From ideas on how to DIY a Star Wars themed wedding to the best bridesmaid dresses for the geeky gals, this site is jam packed with unique awesomeness that caters to all forms of geekdom.Cullison_0350_MMP

This is of course not the end all, be all of amazing wedding inspiration out there but just a few of our favorites.  What blogs or sites can you not live without or do you recommend we check out?