Guest Book Alternatives

Guest books are nice, but they also just end up in a closet forgotten. It’s time to make it something more interesting, something you can enjoy every day. Here are a couple ideas for you to get the hamsters running.


My first idea is the photo guest book…It’s sort of like a traditional guestbook except it contains images from your engagement session. If you don’t want to do an engagement session with your photographer you can also use images you’ve taken yourself. There is room left on each page so friends and family can leave messages of love.

My second idea is the signature frame. All your friends and family can sign the matt and leave you wonderful messages. Then you pick your favorite image from the wedding to put in the matt. It’s something you can look at and love every day, a wonderful reminder of your wedding day.

My next idea for you is the ceramic plate. Guests sign a white ceramic platter using Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint markers. You can find these in a variety of colors and sets. Guests sign, draw and design on your platter and then it is baked in the oven at 300 degrees for a half hour. This makes it completely permanent and dishwasher safe.

An intersting idea one of my clients came up with was a photo puzzle. Have one of your favorite engagement images turned into a puzzle and have your family and friends write messages on the back of the pieces. It will be fun to put the puzzle together with your spouse or future children and read the messages on the back.

My last idea for you today is the wedding guest book quilt. It’s a wonderful keepsake that you can use everyday! Guests sign fabric blocks at your ceremony or reception. Then A quilt is made from the signed blocks and fabric based on the color or theme of your wedding. It’s something you can keep warm with for the rest of your lives together. You can even have blocks made with images from your wedding.

Click here for Bouquet Alternatives!!!

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What Wedding Photographers Dream About

Last night I dreamt I was dressed in a beautiful silky, flowing Vera Wang wedding gown. I don’t know why I knew it was Vera Wang, I just did. Perhaps in my dreams I’d never be caught dead in anything less. I was in what looked like an old, abandoned building surrounded by my fellow paparazzi. Just the kind of place we would swarm to for a shoot. I was the model for the day, something I would normally be completely uncomfortable with because of my missing tooth, crooked teeth, and super thin lips, but today I was enjoying myself. Because I’m a wedding photographer, I had inside information, I knew exactly how to pose for my shooters, they didn’t have to say a word.

I grabbed the hand of my fake groom and led him to another location in the room that had wonderful window lighting, but my paparazzi didn’t follow me. I caught the tail end of them as they disappeared down the stairs. I waited a few minutes thinking, “They’ll be back when they notice their bride is missing.” I waited. I became paranoid and ran to look out the broken window near by. I saw all of them walking away toward the forest gabbing excitedly with each other.

“Quick we need to go!” I said and grabbed my fake groom’s hand again and dragged him down the stairs. I never did take a good look at my fake groom’s face. I should have. He may have been Orlando Bloom dressed like a pirate. Then I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to leave.

 We caught up with the group of photographers and followed along the edge of the forest with them. In front of us was the most beautiful scene ever! A mound of moss-covered logs stood majestically among the tall trees that surrounded them in a perfect photographic configuration. The ground and surrounding trees were also covered in a soft deep green moss. There were brand new spring flowers dancing in the soft breeze and freshly opened leaves with the most colorful butterflies hovering above them. Sunbeams came in from the side perfectly illuminating the area with a god like charm. It was breathtaking, a photographer’s dream location. It wouldn’t  have surprised me if a unicorn came out of the woods with Orlando Bloom dressed like an elf on it’s back to greet us it looked so perfect.  

I excitedly ran up  ahead of everyone else to hop up on the logs to strike my best bridal pose, but when I got up close I could see huge, fat-butt red ants swarming all over the logs. I jumped back. I cringed. There was no way I was getting on those logs. I laughed to myself. How many times had I been disappointed because I bride was unwilling to do something I asked her in her wedding dress. I thought it was pretty ironic. Everyone’s faces looked expectantly at me.

“These logs are covered in ants. There’s no way I’m getting on them. We can use them as background.” I said to their waiting faces. They looked disappointed, some even angry. The girl, who I knew somehow was pretending to be a senior for the day, walked over and sat on the edge of the logs and struck a pose. I could see hundreds of ants feeling around her arm trying to figure out what was blocking their path. The presence of her little arm seemed to make them grow larger. It was just a matter of time before they started biting her.

“It’s alright,” she said, “We can just use the edges and it will be fine.” As I watched her arm, other types of insects joined in with the fat-butt ants and crowded all over each other trying to get past the girl’s arm. The pile of bugs grew bigger and bigger. I could imagine them biting all over that poor girl, crawling around in her clothes. Her whole body would be covered in little white itchy bumps tomorrow. Then came the Florida water bugs. Their gigantic black roach bodies creeped me out to the point I wanted to scream. I really hated those things.

“There’s no way I’m ruining my honeymoon to take pictures on some bug infested logs!” I shouted. I don’t know why I said that, I was only pretending to be a bride. I wasn’t going on a honeymoon. It did occur to me that the scene I once looked at as magical was now a bunch of bug infested rotten logs. It was no longer a place for unicorns to visit.

I woke up then to the sound of my cat at the end of the bed about to hack up a hairball on my sheets. I grabbed her and put her on a towel near by before she popped her load, relieved it didn’t end up on my new mattress.

Maybe it was the sound of my cat huffing that turned my dream ugly or maybe it was my husband’s snoring.  I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s interesting how people can see the same scene so differently. I’ll always keep that in mind. Not that I didn’t before, I’d never ask a bride to do something I’m not willing to do myself. It’s just more vivid now. I feel like I’ve lived  it, even if it was just a dream.

Front Royal Photowalk

I finally made it out of the house and away from album designing for a day. I went on a photowalk in Front Royal and had a wonderful time with a bunch of other photographers. It was great because I liked being around the other photographers who’s skills ranged from beginner to pro. They asked me questions, I asked them questions and got to see photography from another persons perspective.

I don’t get to be around other photographers very often and it was so fun to see how they saw the same scene I was seeing. It’s unbelievable how all of us got completely different images of the same subject! It was fun watching them crawl around trying to get that perfect angle.

I can’t wait to do another one. Maybe we should have one here in Martinsburg.  

Rehearsal Tips from a photography standpoint

1. Rehearsals generally start out a little backward. Normally a rehearsal will start with everyone standing at the altar so the bridal party knows the order they will stand in during the ceremony and know who their partner will be for the recessional. It is a good idea to place a small piece of tape in the place each person will stand to keep things even.

2. Next everyone practices walking out. The bride and groom will go first and it is customary to let them go the whole way down the aisle before the maid of honor and best man start down the aisle. It is important for each couple to wait until the couples in front of them are at least half way down the aisle before starting so the photographer has enough time to get each bridal couple. If the couples come down right behind each other the photographer will only get a clear shot of the couple in front. The ushers or groomsmen will need to remember to walk back in to escort out the mothers and then the grandparents. The bride’s mom is escorted out first then the groom’s mother and the fathers walk behind. Occasionally the fathers will escort the mothers out instead of the ushers.

3. If you’re having a receiving line then everyone will line up in the back in the order they will stand. Some receiving lines only include the couple while others have the couple and their parents. If there is enough room you can also include the bridal party. If you don’t want a receiving line you’ll need to hide somewhere out of sight of the guests or you’ll have one whether you want one or not.

4. Now it’s time to practice the processional. The bridesmaids will line up at the back of the church while the groomsmen go behind the altar with the minister. Before any of the bridal party walk in the grandparents and mothers will be escorted in by ushers. First the grandparents, grooms side first then the brides. Then the mothers are escorted in, grooms mother first and then the bride’s mother. If there is a unity candle this is when the mothers will go up and light the two side candles. It is important at this time to assign who will be walking the mothers or on the wedding day there will be confusion. Next it’s time for the minister, groom and groomsmen to walk in. None of the bridesmaids should walk in until all of the groomsmen have walked in and are settled into place. It is common for the first bridesmaid to get nervous and start too early. By the time the photographer is done shooting the men and turns around to get the first bridesmaid, she is already up the aisle and the photographer can’t capture her. So wait until the men are completely in place. Next the bridesmaids will come in and they should space themselves so one is at least half way up the aisle before the next one starts. This gives the photographer time to catch each girl. They also need to remember to walk slowly and should practice it that way the night of the rehearsal or they will walk too fast on the wedding day. The flower girl and ring bearer will come in just before the bride. Once they are completely up the aisle and in place then it’s time for the bride and her father. When you come down the aisle don’t look at the photographer, you should be looking at your groom. You did go through a lot of trouble not to see each other before the ceremony so you should be looking at each other and nowhere else.

5. You’re finally at the altar. It’s time for your dad to give you away. Make sure he gives you a kiss or a hug before he leaves. So many fathers just walk away and that’s a lost opportunity for a wonderful shot. If the minister will allow it you should face each other so that everyone in the crowd and your photographer can see you and not your backs. You may want to practice putting your rings on each other so you do it in a way that it can be seen. When you say your vows look at each other. So many couples look at the minister. Remember, you’re not marrying the minister, look at each other. It is also wonderful if you hold hands and be affectionate with each other during the ceremony. These are some of the best images from the ceremony. If at all possible try to arrange it that you go around the table that the unity candle is located on so your family (and photographer) can see your faces as you light it together. Most couples walk up and completely block it with their backs.

6. The first kiss. It should be something wonderful, rememberable, and should last longer than one second. You may be shy but for this one time let your passion out for each other. You won’t regret it when you see the gorgeous images.

7. Now it’s time to go out again which you’ve already practiced so this time it should be a snap. You should repeat everything at least one more time to make sure everyone understands their job.

8. —Note: the people last out of the recessional are the first people down the aisle of the processional—except for a few adjustments. Don’t put someone at the end that is too young or shy to be the first person out.

9. Every rehearsal I attend someone always shows up late. It is a good idea to tell everyone a half hour earlier than the actual rehearsal time. If only one person is missing, you should go ahead and start practicing. They will be able to get their part the second time around.

Recent News From Roxanne

My Charity for 2010 is the MS Walk on May 1 in Martinsburg WV

Why I walk

I’ve registered for the MS Walk because I have a brother-in-law named Lee who was recently diagnosed with MS. I also want to do something for the people who have been diagnosed – and because I want to do everything to prevent more people from learning what it means to live with this disease. Today, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and with a diagnosis occurring most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50, many individuals face a lifetime filled with unpredictability.

Please visit my MS page and make a donation. Every little bit counts. You can also join our team and walk with us on May 1, 2010 just click HERE to participate.

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Check out one of My recent Album designs!

The final product from your wedding day will be your wedding album. It is important that you look carefully at your potential photographer’s designs to make sure that you love their style and vision. It is possible for a photographer to be wonderful at taking wedding images but horrible at album designing so look at lots of sample albums before making a decision. You can view one of my album designs HERE. You can see other examples on my blog.

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I Offer Wedding Pricing That is Affordable.

Because I am a small business and work from my home, I’m able to offer prices that in these economic times are more affordable. I specialize in just weddings and can devote all of my time to editing and creating beautiful works of art from your images that other photographers would make you pay extra for. I can also do it in less time. Instead of waiting 6 to 8 weeks to see your images, you’ll only have to wait a week. Check out my Wedding Prices and see for yourself.
A lot of people think that if a photographer charges less that they are not as good. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes it’s because the photographer loves to shoot weddings, like myself, and wants to shoot a lot of them. It is a myth that if they charge more they are better. In a lot of cases photographers charge high prices because they actually don’t like shooting weddings and if they’re going to shoot one they want to make it worth it. So don’t be fooled, make sure you check the photographers work carefully. Meet with them and view their work in person. Make sure they seem enthusiastic about your wedding. If they seem secretive, uncooperative, or won’t show you a complete wedding from start to finish, don’t book them! Trust your intuition.
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Vendor Spotlight! GS Productions

Are you still looking for a DJ for your event? Here is a great one! Greg from GS Productions is more than just a person playing music. He will help you organize your event and keep it flowing smoothly the whole night so you ca enjoy your time with your guests! He is fun, creative, and will work hard to get everyone up and having a good time. Check out his website GS Productions.

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Sample Wedding Day Schedule for a 3pm Wedding

6:30am- Wake up! Shower and eat a large breakfast. You may not get to eat again till the reception. Load car with things you gathered over the past few days. You may want to load these things the night before into your car to save time.7:30am- Head for beauty salon for 8am appointment.

8am- Start beauty appointment. Tell them you need to leave by 10:45am. Schedule a stylist for each bridesmaid so everyone will finnish at the same time

10:45am- Leave salon with hair and make-up done. (Your bridesmaids should be following the same schedule so you will all be done at the same time.)

11:15am- Arrive at church.(plan 10 mins to park and get things from the car to the bridal room)

11:30am photographer arrives to setup equipment in the church

11:30pm- Florist arrives to ready church in time for 12:30pm photos.

12pm- Photographer starts getting ready shots with the bride and bridesmaids. The bridesmaids should be completely ready at this time so they can help the bride get in her dress.

12:30pm- photography starts of the bride, bridesmaids and bride’s side of the family. Groom and Groomsmen must be ready by 1:30pm

. 12:30pm- Any member of the Bride’s side of the family who are not already there must arrive by this time for formal pictures.

1pm- The Groom and Groomsmen should be pinning on flowers at this time.

1:20pm- Finnish photography and hide the bride.

1:30- Start photography of Groom, Groomsmen and family.

2:30- Stop photography, and start letting guests be seated.

2:45pm- Start lining up wedding party.

3:00pm- The big moment!!! (Ceremony 30 min.)

3:30pm- Ceremony over. Keep everyone together.

3:40pm- Start photography of couple together and group shots. Make sure that everyone you want in photos is aware of it and that they are to return to the sanctuary quickly.

4pm- Limo arrives.

4:15pm- photography ends.

4:25pm- into the limo.

5pm- Arrive at reception. Bustle dress. Dj starts lining up wedding party.

5:10pm- announcement of wedding party.

5:20pm- First dance.

5:35pm- Dinner and mingle.

6:20pm- Start pouring drink for the toast.

6:35pm- Cake cutting and toast right afterward.

7pm- father/daughter dance and son/mother dance.

7:10pm- crank up the dance floor!!!

7:40pm- bouquet and garter toss. Limo is ready outside.

7:55pm- pass out birdseed. guest move to outside. Couple says good-bye to parents.

8:05pm- The big send-off.

8:10pm- bridal party takes care of gifts and any other duties needed for the couple.

I suggest that the bride make a schedule like this and give it to all her vendors and people participating in the wedding. It will help your wedding day to go smoother and let everyone involved know what to do and when. Thank you and I hope your wedding planning goes well.