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Top Ten Tips on How to Have a Stress-Free Wedding Day!


Wedding days can be stressful, everyone will tell you that. Here’s what they don’t tell you: many times that stress is self-inflicted.

You can actually enjoy your wedding day by avoiding the most common stress-inducing things brides do that are totally avoidable.

I can’t guarantee that your day will be completely devoid of stress, but I know you can greatly, if not completely get rid of stress if you follow these tips.


#10, How to Budget

There are many ways to budget a wedding. It really depends on your finances, must-haves, and what you typically should pay for that part of the party. Here is a general guideline for a $35,000 wedding budget.


                   40% Venue & food                                  $ 14,000.00

                   20% Photographer                                  $   7,000.00

                   5%   DJ/music                                         $   1,750.00

                   5%   Florist                                              $   1,750.00

                   5%   Coordinator                                     $   1,750.00

                   25% Everything Else                               $   8,500.00


Remember these Percentages and numbers are approximate, but it is a great starting point. Having this in mind will guide you to find the right vendors for you, clear stress from your mind about the costs and affordability for your party. Remember to include your must-have and remove anything that is unnecessary.


#9, Create a Must-Have List :

Woman laying on the floor with notebook smiling and laughing, isolated on white


I know there are some couples that don’t even want a wedding cake. I love cake, so I can’t imagine, but alas there are and they have other desserts instead… like pie, cheesecake or éclairs.  Seriously, if you want something at your wedding make sure you have it, but if you don’t want something, make sure you don’t! Cross it off the list. Why spend money on something you really don’t want at YOUR wedding party. Most people won’t even notice, or if they do it will be something to remember about your wedding party… Your love is unique and so should your wedding day. So sit down with your fiancé and talk about the things that each of you has to have at your wedding and only have those things.


#8 Take care of the big details early.

Some things book very quickly and way in advance, such as the venue and photographer. The book sometimes 2 years in advance. I would suggest you get the venue, photographer, DJ or band, and coordinator as soon as possible. Many times, most of these vendors have a list of their own vendors that they know and like to work with. If you like that vendor, then chances are you will like the people on their list too. As soon as you have your photographer hired, you will see that they will help to take care of a large portion of your wedding day. They will be in contact with you about the photography details and they will take care of them for you, so you don’t have to worry about that day. You can make the decisions, but the vendors you hire will take care of the details and make it happen.


#7 Hire Professional Vendors :

You want your friends and family to enjoy the wedding. go back to the hotel, get dressed and ready to walk down the aisle for your friend.

The other thing is, professional vendors, know what they are doing. If you ask your photographer friend to photograph your wedding and reception, and they have never done a wedding before, you are both in for an unexpected treat. It is very harder than it looks.  Sometimes you also think your friend is going to do it the way you want it, but they don’t know what to ask and what to say to make that happen.

Let your friends and family be guests. Even if they can do it, doesn’t mean they should do it. I know the thought of saving money is very attractive. Or think you are going to help them out, but in reality, even if they own a business; they are there to support your marriage, your love and have a good time. I guess the big question is… Is your friendship really worth $1000 in savings on the photographer?


#6, Be Flexible

Something’s just can’t be changed or have to change at the last minute. We had an engagement shoot on the beach with a couple just before sunset a few months back. 10 minutes before the shoot, the fog rolled in. Their beach shoot wasn’t going to happen. So instead we went to a park on the hill by the beach… and we got some of the most romantic images of this couple.  So her disappointment, turned into gold because she was flexible about the location for their engagement shoot. The same goes with your wedding day, the days and months leading up to it. No matter what the situation is, be flexible, no need to stress yourself out about things you can’t control. The love you have for your fiancé is not going to change because the flowers you adore are not in season when you plan to get married.


 #5 Back-up Plan

Every couple needs a back-up plan. If you are having an outdoor wedding and it rains… where will you have the ceremony? Talk to your venue about that one. If your dress hook pops, what will you do? Our bride this past weekend’s dress’s hook broke right after the ceremony. Lucky for her the coordinator had a safety pin. So it is good to have an emergency kit, with all the things that can quickly repair mishaps. Like a needle, thread, clear nail polish, safety pins, bobby pins, Band-Aids, etc…. just in case something needs to be fixed. These little details always seem to come up, being prepared will save you a ton of last-minute stress.

And with those little details… If you are a DIY bride, get those things done a week before the wedding. I have had brides putting together anklets for the wedding party, an hour before the ceremony. Talk about stressing out to get everything done in time. Like I mentioned earlier, the more you can get done ahead of time, the better.  You want to enjoy your wedding day as stress-free as possible.


#4 Hire a Coordinator

You. Are. The. Bride. And that is your role in the wedding day. As the bride, on your wedding day, you are the one person that gets to relax and enjoy the party you have been planning for months. You have paid for professional vendors to make sure that all the pieces of the wedding party are taken care of. It is time for you to sit back and enjoy. During the preparations on that day, people are trying to find things, get things in order and take care of them for you. Without a wedding coordinator in place, they come to you to ask all kinds of questions. We have had brides with their cell phones connected to their ears while getting their hair and make-up done.

Three things happen here, it takes longer for the make-up artist and hairdresser to get their job done, longer for you to get ready, you have images with the cellphone in your ear, and you are stressed out trying to take care of all the little fires that come up. It is the ultimate recipe for stress on your wedding day.

If you don’t have it in your budget for a coordinator, then at least have a contact person, someone that you trust to make decisions for you and is good at it. This person can take care of the details on the day of your wedding. You are paying a lot of money to have this lavish party, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing out about the details.


#3 Have a Realistic Timeline

Wedding. Time to get married. Bride with an alarm clock. Time flies when you are having fun. And this is one of the most important ones. You have got to leave enough time for the day to enjoy the process and the fun. Pad the time, I promise you; it goes faster than you think. This is especially true before the ceremony. Double all travel times, and add time to all activities. If you think it will take 10 minutes, make it 20. Make-up and hair will take longer than they say, and I have seen it make the bride late to her own wedding. As the bride, you need to be ready 3 hours before the “I Do’s”. I know it seems like a long time before your event, and I promise you that the make-up will stay and you will look beautiful going down the aisle and at the reception (these artists have amazing techniques to do just that, and they know you will be dancing and hot in your dress).

You want beautiful images and we want to take them, and we need the time to create that magic for you (that goes for after the ceremony too). Depending on how big or elaborate your dress is, it can take up to 30 minutes to get you into that gown (especially the lace-up bodices). The more people you have in the wedding party, the more time it takes to get from point A to point B. It takes extra time to get everyone in the same place and ready. If you run ahead of schedule, you will be less stressed out, and you will have a huge sigh of relief. However, when you start to run late, your stress increases exponentially for every minute. I have created a sample timeline that you can find here.


#2 This is YOUR wedding, Act accordingly

The biggest mistake you can make in your wedding is such a simple thing. No, it isn’t hiring the perfect vendors or having everything in your ceremony and reception going on without a hitch. It isn’t the perfect location or the right people in your wedding party. The biggest mistake is not doing everything the way YOU want it. Family and friends can be very influential and EVERYONE wants to give you advice on how your wedding “should be”.

The reality is, there are no rules. Traditions are merely suggestions; so if you like traditions, do them. If you don’t, doing them will make the wedding feel like it isn’t even your own, it will feel like someone else’s. Follow your heart when putting your wedding together, the people in your life will get over it. Believe me, it will stress you out to try and make everyone else happy, rather than yourself.

This day is about you and your fiancé, and it should be your creation together. Your wedding day is as unique as you are, not everyone else around you. Just remember to be tactful and dignified when talking to others about it. Thank them for their advice, and let them know you have it all taken care of.


#1  Elope… Just Kidding!!!  Have Fun and Enjoy the Process

Cheerful groom and the bride in the retro car Ultimately this is your day. Make it yours with dignity and grace.  Be prepared for things to go wrong. They don’t always, but just in case, be ready to roll with the punches. No one wants to be thought of as a crazy out of control bride. If something is driving you crazy and creating a lot of stress… think about whether it is worth having it create chaos in your life. If you are going crazy over the tea-light being white instead of ivory… Stop, think about whether that is really going to make or break the love between you and your fiancé. Remember to let the little things go. This day is about the celebration of love between 2 people. So enjoy it! You aren’t getting it back! Just think, you will have some crazy fun stories about your wedding day to show your kids and grandkids as you look through your wedding album together, and how you had FUN anyway.


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What NOT to wear to your Engagement Shoot!


We get questioned ALL the time, so I thought it was high time to let you know What NOT to wear to your Engagement Shoot!  And quite frankly, we like it.  IT gives us a chance to EDUCATE our couples on wardrobe for their images that will be a part of their lives and their children’s lives.   This helps make images timeless or at least ones that you want to look at for a very long time.  Here are some basic guidelines for your engagement shoot on what Not to Wear (and really what to wear instead)!


Fitting or Uncomfortable Clothes

Nothing is worse than coming to a shoot in clothes that are ill-fitting or not comfortable to be in.  If you are self-conscious about your arms, then wearing a sleeveless blouse is out.  Don’t go out and buy clothes for a shot that would not be comfortable to wear again or that you wouldn’t wear again.


Dressing for Someone Else

Stay true to YOU and YOUR style Again pick clothes that make you feel good about yourself and ready to take on the world of modeling for a few hours.  This is about enhancing your inner beauty, when you feel good about what you are wearing, it shows.


Not Complimenting your Body

We all have one, and it is important that you pick CLOTHING that compliments your shape.  When the clothes you pick fit well and enhance your assets, your images will just shine.


Out of Season

No Bikini’s in 40-degree weather.  The last thing you want is to pick an outfit that is wrong for the time of day and season that you are shooting.  Yep, we can see those goosebumps on your arm. Remember we want you to look natural and in your element, this includes wearing the right CLOTHING for the season you are shooting in.


Not Coordinating or Twinsy’s

You absolutely don’t want to be twins And they might revoke our photography license for it.  However, matching colors and hues together do make you look great in an engagement shoot.  It shows that you are together and make it fun.


It Doesn’t Matter where we shoot!

Where the shoot actually takes place matters… The beach is a bit more casual than a Downtown nightlife shoot. Take that into consideration when you are planning your wardrobe. Remember you want to be timeless and dressing the part, is part of that.


Not Budging on your wardrobe

Bring some…. If you have questions or really can’t choose, or find something that might work, bring it.  We can let you know if it is going to work with the season, setting, colors, your body and most importantly YOU.


Accessorize What?

Accessories that are matching are finishing touches to your outfits, rings, bracelets, belts, necklaces, shoes, ties, sunglasses, earrings.  Sunglasses will not be in every image, but they can be fun and add some flair to your shoot, just like any props you might have.  Props can be fun if they are a part of you as a couple, and it is something that will bring fond memories in the future.


Don’t worry about layering

Layering makes it easy to have options in your outfits and change during the shoot.  Scarfs, tights, cardigans, sweaters, blazers, ties, etc. can show off your fashionista skills.  Layers just tend to look great on people as they can help camouflage areas that you are self-conscious of too.


Dress like You Know Each Other

IF you are dressed for a night on the town and he is in flip flops, a polo and shorts, it just won’t look like you are together and it will look awkward.  You want to have the same amount of casualness or formal wear on your engagement shoot day.  Again if you are unsure about something bring it to the shoot and ask your photographer.


Any Old Clothes will Do.

This may seem obvious, however, we have had couples show up in torn, dirty clothes.  We have had a groom to be is in wrinkled pants, or the bride to be rolled up her clothing change in her bag creating lines and wrinkles in it.  Make sure your clothing is fresh-looking, ironed, pressed and well fitted. Bringing extra clothing on hangers… trust me it is worth the extra time.


CHECK out our other engagement shoots in the navigation menu.





How to Cut the Wedding Cake!

Cut the Wedding Cake!


Do you know how to cut the wedding cake? As a wedding photographer, one of the most exciting parts of the reception is the cake cutting.  Not just a tradition, but there is always the question of the guests… “Will they play nice or smash the cake in each other’s faces?” It is a time to let loose and have some fun, and have some dessert!

What is funny to me about this is…. Most couples don’t even know how to cut the cake!  And if there isn’t a wedding coordinator, I end up instructing them on how to do it. I want to get wonderful shots for the wedding album, so it is important to me that it is done in a certain way!

The entire cake is usually cut to serve to your guests.  So we always start with the largest cake or bottom of the tiers first when serving.  The top tier is meant for you to enjoy later, some freeze it and serve it on the first year anniversary. Be sure to freeze it carefully and if you have any real flowers on it, take them off before freezing a tradition, but there is always the question of the guests… “Will they play nice or smash the cake in each other’s faces?” It is a time to let loose and have some fun, and have some dessert!





So here are some easy instructions on how to cut the cake at your wedding.


  1. Go off to the side of the cake table, so that your guests and the photographer can see you. (Ask the photographer, which side would be better if there is a choice).


  1. Groom picks up the cake knife and the bride puts her hand over the top.


  1. Pick a spot on the bottom tier (or largest cake) and cut a V-shaped piece with both of you holding the knife, be sure to go to the bottom.


  1. Pick up the cake server and put the piece of cake on a plate (there should be one there with a fork and napkin). Now the cake is usually on a piece of cardboard, so when using the cake server, go about 1/4 inch above the bottom of the frosting.


  1. Now kindly or sassy-like feed a bite of cake (you can use the fork or your fingers) to your bride, and then the bride to the groom.


  1. It seems simple enough… but you would be surprised at the looks of confusion I get when they don’t know what to do.  You are sure to get some great images using these instructions.  You can see some of our great cake photos in the wedding portfolio.





What is the Biggest Wedding Mistake you can make?

The Biggest Mistake you can make at your wedding is such a simple thing.  No, it isn’t hiring the perfect vendors or having everything in your ceremony and reception going on without a hitch.  It isn’t the perfect location or the right people in your wedding party.  And by no means is it because you acted like a bridezilla or should have been a bridezilla.

The biggest mistake is not doing everything the way you want it.   Family and friends can be very influential and EVERYONE wants to give you advice on how your wedding “should be”.

The reality is, there are no rules. Wedding traditions are merely suggestions, so if you like traditions, do them.  IF you don’t, the wedding will not feel like your own creation, it will feel like someone else’s.  It will be hijacked by the traditions or other people’s ideas.  You will wish that you had done it differently.

The people in your life will get over it! So follow your heart when putting your wedding together.

A few weeks ago, we got the pleasure of being the guests at my friend’s wedding, she remarried her first husband.  It was a beautiful evening, in the backyard of her brother’s house in Colombo.  The evening started out with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres with the bride and groom mingling around, enjoying their own party.

Just as the sun was about to set we gathered around the Reception (a traditional Jewish ceremony structure) and as her other brother sang they walked out on the balcony to begin.  It was short, sweet, simple, and had some Jewish traditions mixed in.  When it was done we ate gourmet pizza (which was the bomb) and had little lovely desserts.

It was such a wonderful evening.  It was casual elegance mixed with some traditions and it worked out perfectly.  Making your wedding fit your style, and your life makes all the difference.  There is less stress to worry about what other people think and do what feels best to you.  Follow your heart, and do your wedding the way YOU want it done.


Cheers to you!


Hari Creation studio.