Stupid Is As Stupid Does – Wedding Planning Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Even the the most educated, organized, well-intentioned couples can make some of the biggest mistakes when it comes to planning their own weddings. Here are some whoppers that, with a little forethought and planning, you can avoid.

1. Spending Without a Budget

Absolutely the first thing you should do when it comes to the actual event planning is to decide together what style of wedding you want, which vendors are the most important to the both of you, how much money you can afford to spend on your event, and how to allocate those funds. Spend a little time researching general vendor costs so that you will know what to expect and then outline a budget and put it on paper. As you begin spending your money, stick to your budget. If you find you need more money than budgeted for a particular vendor, reallocate those funds from another vendor rather than over-spending altogether. Be realistic… sure, this is your wedding and you want it to be perfect, but keep these two things in mind. First, the real purpose of your wedding is to join the two of you together as husband and wife. As long as is happens, your real goal is achieved. Second, your wedding day really is just one day out of a lifetime of days with your partner. Do you really want to be in debt for years to come because of one party? It’s nice to dream, but a lavish wedding on a shoestring budget can easily turn into financial nightmare – and a source of recurring arguments – once the party is over.

2. Not Researching Legal and/or Religious Requirements Early

Find out where and when you must obtain your marriage license. In Illinois, you must obtain your marriage licence at the County Clerk’s Office in the county in which you will be married, regardless of your home address. No blood tests are required for Illinois marriages; however, even if you are a resident of Illinois, blood tests may be required if you plan to marry in another state or country. Equally important are the requirements imposed by your religious affiliation and/or the church in which you will marry. You wouldn’t want to pay for flower petals to be dropped by the flower girl and then find out that your church doesn’t allow it. Or show up for the ceremony in your $10,000 strapless gown and find out your church doesn’t allow bare shoulders. Many churches also require pre-marital classes, as well as approval for your music selections, readings, vows, and more.

3. Choosing Bridesmaids’ Attire Not Flattering for All Bridesmaids

Before you even go out on your first gown shopping trip, you should have a discussion with each and every bridesmaid as to each bridesmaid’s likes and dislikes. Likely, your bridal party will be composed of bridesmaids of varying body types. Several of your bridesmaids may also feel self-conscious about a particular part of their body. Yes… you are the bride and it is your day; however, you’ve asked the closest of your family and friends to stand up with you and in support of your union. At the very least, you should want each and every one of them to feel your love and support for them as well. If you’re not able to shop for dresses as a group, make sure to bring the one or two women who will best keep in mind the desires and needs of other members of the party and not simply their own.

4. Poor Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Planning

How many times have we seen blooper videos of grooms passing out during the wedding ceremony, or falling face first into the wedding cake? Getting completely trashed the night before your wedding makes for a miserable wedding day, complete with hundreds to thousands of dollars of you looking sick, faint, or simply hungover in wedding photos and videos. Momentos that were meant to remind you for a lifetime of the love you shared for one another on that special day can quickly turn into constant reminders of your insensitivity, thoughtlessness, and lack of consideration for both your spouse and guests. Make it clear – very clear – to your family and friends long before your wedding date arrives that, under no circumstance, will you attend any bachelor or bachelorette party on the night before your nuptials. Equally important is to make wise choices for your rehearsal dinner; it is just that, a rehearsal dinner, not an excuse to throw down pitchers of beer with your bridal party the night before your wedding! If you can’t take seriously the ceremony – the one day – that binds you together as husband and wife for the rest of your lives, how seriously can you possibly be taking your marriage vows?

5. Asking Friends/Family to Act as Wedding Professionals

While it may be true that Uncle George takes some beautiful pictures, it is still NOT okay to ask him to act as your wedding photographer! Why, you ask? First of all, real wedding vendors are trained specifically for providing services for weddings. Wedding photographers, as opposed to Uncle George, know exactly which pictures to take and when to take them, as well as the etiquette involved in providing those services. Secondly, you contract with wedding professionals to provide particular services; with Uncle George, you have to hope for the best and end up doing much of the detail work (ie: photo editing, cropping, printing, etc…) yourself. With wedding professionals, you have recourse if you don’t receive what you’ve paid for; with Uncle George, you have only hurt feelings and regret. And lastly, Uncle George is a relative and a “guest” of your special day. Shouldn’t he be able to enjoy your event without the pressure of providing you with perfect wedding photos? Now, do we really need to get into why Aunt Betty shouldn’t bake your wedding cake?

6. Choosing Wedding Professionals Based Solely on Price

Ever heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for?” There’s probably a reason why Videographer X is only half the price of Videographer Z. Just ask to see samples of their work and you’ll probably see why. When it comes to the “big” vendors (ie: reception venues, photographers, florists, bakeries, etc…), interview several in varying price ranges and compare not only samples of their work, but years of experience, references, and training/education. Also, when talking to each vendor, try to assess whether you would be comfortable working with this vendor and how well their “style” melds with your vision of your special day; this is especially important for vendors who will provide services throughout the day (ie: photographers, videographers, djs, etc…). Your make up artist may be top of the line, but if she makes you feel ugly and self-conscious about your nose size right before your wedding pictures, who needs her!

7. Giving in to “Last Minute Beauty Panic”

No matter how “pasty” you feel the day before your wedding, do not hit the beach or tanning salon! There’s nothing worse than a sun burnt bride with bad tan lines in the wedding photos. No matter how fat you feel 10 days before your wedding, do NOT go on an all-cabbage crash diet! You’re dress won’t fit right and you’ll be weak, tired and cranky on your wedding day…and no matter how much thinner you look, who really finds beauty in a bitchy bride? No matter how large your pores look or how many fine lines you find, do NOT get an emergency microdermabrasion, chemical peel, or laser facial treatment in the week before your wedding, especially if you’ve never before experienced any major facial resurfacing. Scarring and pigmentary changes (light and dark patches) are common side effects of many skin rejuvenation techniques, such as laser resurfacing, dermal abrasion and chemical peels. In fact, don’t even try any new facial soaps, scrubs, lotions or acne treatments in the days before your wedding. Who wants to deal with red, inflamed, irritated skin on their wedding day! Stick to what your skin knows and loves, despite the fines lines and pores, and you’ll be a much happier bride. And lastly, no matter how flat your hair feels, do NOT surprise your hair dresser on the morning of your wedding with a new home perm or hair streaks. If you truly feel the need for a new look for your wedding day, discuss this with your hair dresser during your pre-wedding hair appointment and have her make any major changes needed at that time.

No matter how thoroughly you plan, some mistakes are likely to occur. Remember the real purpose of your wedding day, to marry your soul mate. As long as that happens, does anything else truly matter? If you focus on the mistakes, that’s all you will remember and talk about in the coming years. Resolve to enjoy the day with the one that you love, surrounded by family and friends, no matter what small things may go wrong, and you’ll look back on a wonderful day filled with love and happiness for years to come.

Photographing Children – Tips on How to Photograph Kids

Children can often be very difficult to photograph well. They move constantly, will not sit still, require you to move your body to get unique angles, and are never ready when you are. The perfect shot exists only for a moment and second chances are almost impossible to get. Adding fill flash or reflector light into the frame can make the difficult almost impossible. Yet, with careful thought and attention, amazing results can often be obtained. By paying attention to the emotion they portray, the perspective of the shot, and ensuring that our photographs are sharp, even with a quick moving subject, we can capture those perfect memories in a striking way.


Children show plenty of emotion. They a tendency to smile, laugh, and cry with all of their ability and capturing these moments will bring life to your photographs. For a long time I would follow my toddler around with a camera, getting myself in a comfortable position, and then calling her name in the hopes that she would turn around with the perfect smile. This method rarely worked and my photos lacked the emotion I was looking for.

By staying one step ahead of her, moving myself into the necessary positions, and making myself less distracting, I was able to obtain the emotion I was looking for to capture the moment.


Get on their level. Do not force a child to follow your lens on top of your almost immobile 6 foot frame. Stoop down to your hands and knees and see the world from their perspective. You may have to run, make yourself uncomfortable, and look a little stupid in the process, but moving the camera instead of the child will make a world of difference in your photographs.


Pay attention to focus, especially if you are shooting at a wide aperture. Obtaining sharp focus on a quick moving child can be a sport in and of itself. I recommend switching to a continuous or AI focus mode, selecting a predetermined focus point, and positioning your subject’s eyes directly on your focus point. This will keep your subject in focus, even as they move towards or away from you, as long as you can keep them inside the focus point. If you are photographing more than 1 child, you may need to close your aperture to leave more depth in focus, and never focus on the child furthest away from you. The area in focus will always be greater behind your subject than in front of them leaving more children in focus.

Photograph Flying Insects Like a Professional

Before I start the article, I must acknowledge, if you have found this guide after hundreds of tiring and unsuccessful attempts to capture bees (well not in the literal sense, because that would be easier to most than photographing them) then you are luck to find it. But if you are reading this before you are out on your conquest, you are luckier!

Okay lets not put salt on the the wounds, and lets get started!

Diagnose The Problem –

The most important thing you must have noticed about the bee or butterfly flying away is that it is not frustrating that it flies away, but it it tremendously annoying that it comes to ‘bug’ you around in the same space again and again. Seems like a big problem isn’t it? Not really! it is infact your friend to find solace in. Read on the next tip and you will know.

The Problem Is Actually the Solution!

I Sympathize with you for the insect flying away again and again but have you noticed that it comes back, after dodging your gaze, to the same spot it was earlier in. All insects have some natural tendency to get naturally attracted to some peculiar feature of the flower. Some like the colour, some like the texture, and some are plain charmed by the pheromones. But the fact is, every bug has a favourite flower (speak about having a good taste, I suppose humans are not the only ones!). The insect always comes to the same flower after some roaming around.

Take Out Your Weapons!

You may have long realized that it is not easy infact it it impossible to tame the insect without the help of proper equipments. What you need is a tripod. Fix the tripod such that you are able to focus your camera on the flower.

The Trick

(you will end up feeling how stupid you looked trying to chase the bug with hand movements)

Focus on the flower and not the insect. The insect is bound to come and pay a visit to it favourite flower in some time. Just wait and have an eye on it. Prepare your camera with the following settings,

Shutter speed 1/200 to 1/320

Aperture f/4. 5 to f/5. 6

focal length 100mm

ISO 100

Exposure time 0. 005sec

Your job is 90% done! As the insect comes just click swiftly. Be patient, dont scare away the bug with your movements, and always remember just because you are the proud owner of an expensive DSLR camera doesn’t mean the bug is going to give you what you want, so easily! Some times you need to take what is yours!