Extreme Wedding Cake Makeover Ideas

Are you tired of seeing the traditional three tier wedding cake with simple white frosting and the little bride and groom wedding cake topper. We all know the iconic wedding cake look and feel. If you are after a very formal or classic wedding then this is the exact cake you want. However, today many couples are opting for alternative wedding themes and a more relaxed feeling overall. With popular wedding themes like fairy tales, Dragonflies and other fun and light or even whimsical themes a traditional wedding cake no longer fits correctly in its place. It is nor time to take that old wedding cake out of the closet it and give it a whole new look. America seems to be in love with the idea of a makeover from the hit TV shows like Extreme Body Makeover, Extreme Home Makeover and the ever popular Pimp My Ride America seems to be in a love with makeovers. Well, wedding cakes are no different and today’s couples are going for more unusual, light and fun ideas for wedding cakes. So why not try some of these custom wedding cake ideas.

Creative and Custom Wedding Cake Toppers

There are a ton of different wedding cake toppers on the market today and you are no longer stuck with what your local bakery has. You can now easily shop online and find retailers selling a wide variety of wedding cake toppers. You can have anything from the traditional bride and groom to the whacky and wild. If you are willing to pay a little extra you can get a custom wedding cake topper sculpted out of special non toxic clay like material and created in the likeness of you and your husband. If you are really into a sport or want to show something unique about the two of you as a couple then a custom wedding cake topper is the way to go. The artists can easily make a couple doing just about anything. So if you are avid rock climbers then you can have a bride and groom fashioned in your likeness that are on the top of Yosemite Half Dome, or whatever sport or activity you like.

If you don’t want to be that adventurous then you might want to go for a custom initials wedding cake topper. These are beautiful wedding cake toppers created from your initials and then decorated with small crystals. Whatever you choose there is a wedding cake topper either already made or that can be custom made to fit your wedding theme.

Themed Wedding Cakes

If you just go to your local bakery or even a small wedding cake shop you are likely to just find the standard wedding cake offerings or the traditional cake. However, if you really want to do a wedding cake makeover ask if they can do themed wedding cakes. There are a wide variety of options for a custom wedding cake and some of the ways that you can customize are listed below.

Decorations

If you are not sure about all of this and want to stick somewhat to tradtion then why not go for the traditional cake but add some flare to it through the decorations and frosting. Most wedding cake bakers can add a wide variety of different ornaments and decorations to the wedding cake to really make it stand out. Sure you can go with the traditional shaped cakes like the three tiered circle or even a tiered square cake but that does not mean you can’t go a little crazy and get some interesting decorations put on it with unique frosting ideas. Try to pick up on the theme of the wedding as much as possible.

Sculpted Cakes

Now this is where a custom wedding cake baker really can show off their talents and the types of projects they often love to do. A baker who can do a sculpted cake might take a little work to find however once you find one you are only limited by your ideas. Do you want a big castle wedding cake? They can easily do this to make a fairy tale wedding cake. If you want a beach themed wedding cake why not get a picnic basket or a beautiful sand castle wedding cake. If you are contemplating getting a sculpted cake you can really have any three dimensional design that you can think of. Why not try a hamburger and fries for a fun and light hearted beach wedding cake. The sky is the limited once you get a sculpted cake.

Mini Cakes and Cup Cakes

Again if you don’t quite feel ready to make the commitment to such a grand cake like above and want to keep a little bit on the traditional side yet with a flair of fun why not try a mini wedding cake or even cupcakes. These are fun because they are small individual serving sized cakes that your guests will love. If you are planning on having a small wedding it can be a lot of fun to create personalized mini wedding cakes for the guests.

Whatever you choose always keep in mind that there are options out there to customize, tweak, alter and change just about every factor of your wedding cake. Let you mind wander and have fun a bit and go for something a little different. Always make sure to plan ahead and leave enough time for the baker to do the extra job well. Otherwise you are all set to go with a fun and unique wedding cake that is a definite extreme makeover from the traditional three or five tiered wedding cake.

Wedding Photography for Beginners: How to Photograph a Wedding

I’m super excited to share this with you, a full overview, behind the scenes description of what goes on, the fun stuff, the stressful stuff, what needs to be prepared and basically just a really awesome summary of the whole day, start to end.

Weddings are a serious matter, the real deal and you don’t get any second chances. That’s why you need to be prepared, organised and know your stuff!

So, let’s set the scene: you have booked the wedding a year ago, regularly communicated with the couple throughout the year, had a pre wedding meeting to go through the timeline of the day and all other details (I’ll go through this in detail in another post), and now the time has come, tomorrow is the wedding day!…

Day before the Wedding:

There is a little bit of work that needs to be done before the wedding day, not much, but just enough so you can wake up stress free and ready to rock here is a little checklist that I do the day before EVERY wedding!

– Text the bride telling her how excited I am to be shooting her wedding and basically just checking in (so she knows I’m 100% coming!).

– Gather all my gear and make sure camera batteries are charging, flash batteries are charging, quickly clean my lenses and clear all my cards.

– Double check the schedule and refresh my memory about where I’m going and what I’m doing. These days 99% of the time I find I have already shot at the locations or venues so this does not require much prep, but back in the day I used to do a recce and plan out the whole shoot, shot by shot, pose by pose.

– Check the GPS so I know how long it takes me to get to my first destination. I always like to rock up 5 mins early as I feel it just sets me up for an awesome day!

– Make sure the car has petrol in it. I don’t like stressing about this on shoot day.

Morning of the Wedding:

You have woken up, super excited and it’s time to get moving! I usually start the day with a massive breakfast to keep me as full as possible for as long as possible. Everyone is different, but I can get seriously ‘hangry’ when I don’t eat and can get a little grumpy! So on that note, I ALWAYS BRING FOOD WITH ME on the day. I meet so many photographers and videographers that don’t eat all day and I seriously don’t know how they function! As I’m running around all day on high alert and high energy, I like to graze all day while driving between locations and stay hydrated.

OK, time to get moving! Last checklist before we are on our way:

– Gear is packed and in the car. Double check that everything is there and batteries and cards are back in the camera bag and not still charging in the house!

– Lunch is packed and in the esky!

– Dressed to impress, looking professional ready for a wedding. Imaging yourself as a guest, make sure you dress the part! In my company, no jeans, t-shirts or anything else that looks sloppy. You’re representing yourself and your brand, make sure you look good!

– Make sure you have all your paperwork. I use an amazing cloud based studio diary system called Tave. Seriously couldn’t run my business without it (more about that in another post)

OK, lets go!

Groom Coverage (45 mins – 1 hour)

It’s time to put my game face on and nail the groom coverage. The second I walk in the door, I’m smiling, I introduce myself to everyone (within reason, some big European weddings might have 50+ guests already partying!!), make sure the groom is happy and relaxed, and start building rapport with everyone important, inc Mum, Dad and bridal party. Half the job is making sure everyone likes you and feels comfortable around you. If you can nail that, then taking the pictures will be sooo much easier!

I briefly just want to touch on what to shoot, but I will also go into way more detail about this in a future post. Although photography is a very creative industry and some photographers like to just ‘wing it’ on the day, I personally like to stick to a very specific, systematic shot list that I’ve developed to make sure all my bases are covered and nothing important is forgotten. Especially because 9 out of 10 times I’m shooting to create a wedding album, so I need to make sure I have the coverage so I can fill the album and hopefully more.

So, back to it, I always start with the details, rings, cufflinks etc. This gives me time to chill out, suss out the surroundings and gives the boys a little extra time to get ready. Once the details are done, I find the prettiest room in the house with the best lighting and least distractions in the background (photographer with their back to a window) and the fun begins! In a nutshell I always shoot the following:

Natural Light Shooting Indoors (again most of the time with my back to a window)

– Details

– Boys getting ready

– Combos with groomsmen and individuals

– Spend a little bit of time getting portraits of the groom

– A ‘cheers’ series with some beer, scotch or whatever their poison!

– Family shots, all different combos

Video Light Shooting Indoors (close the curtains, turn off the ceiling lights and create some mood)

– Fun shots of all the boys trying to be cool!

– Portraits of the groom

Outdoors

– Walking shots

– More silly combos having fun

– If there is time I will also pull out my Elinchrom Quadra and take some commercial/fashion style shots too

**Business Tip** This may seem like a lot but like I said earlier, most of the time I’m designing a wedding album and ideally each new scene is an additional double page spread in their wedding album, and ideally again, hopefully the images are so ridiculously awesome that they couldn’t possibly remove them from their album! From a business point of view, we have 10 scenes here, so just the groom coverage could fill 20 pages of their wedding album (more about this in a future post)

Bride Coverage (1 hour – 1.5 hours)

The beauty of shooting the bride coverage is that it is very similar to the groom coverage. 80% of the same rules apply except the images will be brighter, more colourful and a little more playful. Remember – big smiles on arrival, followed by introductions, building rapport and making everyone your best friend!

As before, I always start with the detail shots (engagement ring, flowers, shoes etc) which gives me time to relax and get a feel for my surroundings and gives the girls time to finish fluffing around with the final touches of hair and make-up.

A little trick I like to use at the girls house is to do a lot of the photography in the master bedroom. It’s usually well lit, has enough space, is clean and gives me a nice setting for portraits too. Best of all, I can close the door and keep everyone else out while I get some one on one time with the girls and can get all the shots I need without distractions!

To break down the shots, I basically follow the same regime as the boys coverage

Natural Light in the master bedroom (ideally with my back to a window)

– Details on the bed or coffee table

– Girls helping the bride get ready

– Combos of the bride with her bridesmaids and individuals too

– Get some beautiful portraits of the bride near the window and on the bed

Natural Light in the lounge room (again, ideally with my back to a window)

– A ‘cheers’ series with some champagne

– Family shots, all different combos

Video Light Shooting Indoors (close the curtains, turn off the ceiling lights and create some mood)

– If I have time I try and do a few more portraits of the bride with video lighting. It gives the bride more variety and adds value to the overall shoot when you deliver the images.

That pretty much covers the bride coverage, so it’s time to hit the road, eat some grub, re-hydrate and make our way to the ceremony!

Ceremony

I hate to start on a negative, but I have to tell you, even after 10 years this is one part of the day that can still be a little stressful. If the wedding is all in one venue then it’s never a problem, but if it’s a city wedding and there is a significant drive involved from the brides house to the ceremony, I’m often a little worried about traffic, parking and getting to the church before the bride! Luckily this has never happened yet, but there have been times that I have been late because of traffic but then the bride was too, so I got away with it!

So, back to work. We are about half way through the day and this is a section that I feel I can relax a bit. What happens at the ceremony is totally out of my hands and out of my control so my job is simply to just capture what goes on to the best of my ability. Apart from being technically challenging as churches are notorious for being dark and yellow, I find it fun, and always love hearing the couple say their vows, especially if they make them up themselves.

Some key shots to get here are:

– Bride walking in and almost more importantly the grooms reaction!

– A nice wide angle shot of the church from the back.

– Close up of each of them saying their vows.

– If you can get it, get a close up (with a long lens) of the rings going on the finger

– Keep a close eye on the parents, if they shed a tear, make sure you get it!

– THE KISS! In 10 years of shooting I have only missed the kiss once! It just happened to so quickly and unannounced and was over before my camera even had a chance to focus! I looked over at the videographer who was standing next to me with as the blood drained from my face and he just gave me a big smile, he emailed me a still from the video the next day! Close call!

– Get some shots of the signing

– Lastly, I love walking out (backwards) with the bride and groom taking shots as they walk through the cheering crowd.

Congratulations, Group Photos & Family Photos

Congratulations Shots

We are outside (weather dependent) and all the guests are flooding out of the church or ceremony area towards the bride and groom. There are a few shots that I really like to get here:

– general wide angle shots to show the atmosphere and size of the crowd

– close ups of the couple being congratulated by their parents and siblings

– and then I make an effort to run around the crowd and get photos of people in groups as a family or a group of friends.

**Business Tip** Although running around getting shots of everyone can be a lot of work, I find it’s a really awesome way to meet people and get photos they were not really expecting, and then most of the time those people will visit your website to have a look at the photos (and maybe purchase) on your web gallery! Great for website traffic and marketing!

Then usually 1 of 2 things will happen that you need to keep an eye out for! People will slowly start to leave or disperse OR I’ll notice the bride is starting to get a little fed up with all the hugs and kisses. If I notice either of these two things happening, I’ll grab the couples attention and check if they are ready for the group photos!

The Group Shots

Time to get up on that trusty ladder and put your public speaking to the test! When I was starting out I used to HATE doing this and was terrified of being the centre of attention in front of 50-300 people! But like with anything, over time you get better at it and build confidence, and now I love it! Again it’s a great marketing opportunity where you get to put yourself out there in front of everyone, including potential future wedding clients. So I usually crack a few jokes and get everyone laughing, and take a few different combos of photos for variety.

Family Shots

This was another part of the day that I used to dread, but with a bit of training and a good system, I can now do it with my eyes closed! I find this is usually a part of the day where the bride and groom can get a little frustrated and impatient, so it’s your job to step up and take control of the situation.

**Tip** At the end of the group photo, make an announcement that you will be doing family photos, point to where you will be doing them, and then make it very clear that you require all the immediate family to make their way over. This was everyone knows what is going on, there is no confusion and will make the family photos way quicker and easier to coordinate!

Set up the bride and groom in a good location, ideally with their back towards some greenery, or the prettiest background you can find. Be aware of the sun and the shadows it is casting on everyone. Try and get everyone in the shade if possible, if not, their backs towards the sun to prevent squinting and just watch for flare in the camera! Once the bride and groom are good to go, start calling out the combos. Another quick tip, always take 3 or 4 photos of every family just to make sure you get one where no one is blinking, even count them in, 3, 2, 1, shoot!

And we are off again! Back in the car to nibble on some food, drink some agua and off to my favourite part of the day, LOCATIONS!

Locations

I love this part of the day, it’s just you and the bridal party. Generally the mood is a lot more relaxed, the ceremony is over, beers come out and everyone chills out. But, while the bridal party is relaxing, this is the part of the day that I find the most challenging!

In a nutshell this is what you need to remember and need to do:

– get heaps of beautiful photos of the couple that are worthy of putting up on the wall

– in a variety of different locations

– using a variety of different compositions

– getting them to do a variety of different things

– while making the whole experience super fun

– without repeating any of the same shots (ideally)

– and make sure you are keeping track of time

– and getting to 2 or 3 different completely different locations

– while being challenged with traffic, lighting, backdrops, parking and even random people in the backgrounds

AND… don’t forget the bridal party photos and photos of their transport (exotic or vintage cars etc… )!

Reception

We’ve made it! The last part of the day is upon us and I can totally relax. I find the reception very similar to the ceremony in terms of difficulty. Everything just happens and it’s out of my control, so I’m just there to capture it to the best of my ability.

I usually stay at the reception until the first dance. I personally find that everything up until the first dance is super important and afterwards just become repetitive.

This is what I do:

– Get plenty of shots of the guests (again for meeting them and also driving traffic to the web gallery later)

– Shots of the venue

– Details inc the cake, table settings, name place cards etc

– The bridal party and couple being announced

– Some shots of the couple and bridal party at the table

– During entree I generally chill out

– Then (usually) the first dance begins and I finish off the night by getting plenty of photos of the couple, then the bridal party is announced and then (usually) the dance floor is opened to everyone with some final wide angle shots of a dance floor full of people with the couple in the middle.

AMAZING! WE HAVE MADE IT TO THE END! I always say goodbye to the couple, tell them how much fun I had (which is true) and wish them the best time on their honeymoon! Time to pack my bags and hit the road!

After the Wedding

Just when you thought the day was over and you could go to bed, not quite. There is one more thing that MUST be done. This is my 100%, unbreakable, must do, golder rule for every single wedding no matter what my plans are that night!

As soon as I get back to the studio or home I ALWAYS UPLOAD ALL THE CARDS AND CHECK THEM ON MY COMPUTER before doing anything else!

Once the photos are uploaded and safe, then I can finally relax. Or, if I’m shooting again the next day, I put everything on charge, clear my cards and get ready for round 2 tomorrow!!

Traditional English Weddings

Wedding Ceremony is the most important aspect of the life of any person as it bonds two people in the relationship of love and trust for the rest of their lives. People take every measure to make this occasion the very best day of their lives.

There is no dearth of ideas for planning your perfect wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Couples prefer to opt for beautiful countryside to manor homes to host their beautiful and unforgettable wedding ceremony. The quiet rural accommodation gives the perception of a very beautiful English wedding. A traditional wedding is enjoyed by the couple and the guests alike.

In a traditional wedding, little girls preceding the bride scatter flowers on the pathway. The flowers are symbolism of hope and anticipation of a happy life ahead for the bride. The bridesmaid also wear the dresses which are very much like the dress of the bride to wee off any evil and curses coming to the bride.

There are many traditions and customs attached to traditional English wedding. The custom of tying shoes to the cars of the newlyweds also goes back a long time. Initially, the guests present at the wedding used to throw shoes at the bride and groom as they were leaving the church as a symbol of good luck. The tradition has evolved to just tying the shoes to the car of the newlyweds as a symbol of eternal good luck and happy life together.

Traditionally, the guests are thrown a cocktail party or dinner party as part of the wedding celebration after the wedding reception. For this purpose, a traditional English wedding country manor home can be chosen. You have to however keep the number of guests and your budget in mind.

The traditional English wedding cake served at the wedding reception is a fruitcake, usually made with raisins, ground almonds, cherries and marzipan. The upper most layer of the wedding cake is called the christening cake, which the couple saves for the baptism of their first born child.

Another Victorian wedding reception event is called a “ribbon pull”, in which a silver charm is purchased for each of the bridesmaids. The charm is tied to a ribbon and baked within the layers of the wedding cake. It is a custom to pull out the charm by the ribbon and be given to each bridesmaid as a future good luck charm, before the bride and groom have their first bite of the cake.

A traditional English wedding is just incomplete without flowers. The florists take care of all the interior floral arrangements as well as the flowers that need to be carried by the attendants. Poises work best for a traditional English wedding as compared to formal and stiff wedding flowers.

There are many ways in which you can make your traditional English wedding much more special. The ceremony at a traditional venue with beautiful floral decoration and perfect attire for the bride and the bridesmaids can all help to make your wedding special, charming and picturesque and an event to remember forever.

A Few Suggestions on How to Dress For a Wedding Reception

The wedding day is a very special day and a little bit stressful too, not only to a wedding couple but also guests who were invited both to the church and to the wedding reception. The most popular dilemma is what to wear. The dress shouldn’t be too casual and too attractive. So what to wear to the wedding reception?

Guests should look tasteful, with style not to offend the couple with their dress. That is why they shouldn’t be dressed too casual, unclean or too provocative. It’s obvious that guests want to look nice – many people will be there with them in the same room! But it is also quite obvious that all of the guests shouldn’t look too good. Why? Because we can’t outshine the couple. That is why dressing on the wedding might be such a difficult matter.

There are some signs of what to wear on the first thing that connects you with the wedding ceremony and the reception: the invitation. You can read a lot from this small piece of paper – literally speaking or not. There might be a note “black tie” which means that is a quite formal wedding. You might also find there a different type of dressing code which will help you dress appropriately, like for example casual or sport.

More things that you can look at is the type of invitation and the place where the ceremony will proceed. If the invitation has very original fonts with sophisticated ornaments as calligraphy, thick cardstock you will know what it means. And the place. Look carefully at the invitation where the ceremony will suppose to happen. Maybe it is a swimming pool (that kind of place were very popular last years) or a Hilton Hotel. In first case take a swimming suit with you and in the second white tuxedo won’t be an extravagance.

The easiest time to get a dress, specially for women, on friends or family wedding is summer time when almost every dress will be accurate. Dresses in all kinds examines well. Of course not too short – most preferable are the ones down to the knees, and if it’s a very formal wedding, proceed at the even longer one, like evening wear. But dresses in stripes, colourful with big flower ornaments or really small ones will look great, bring even more sun into the happy day.

There is also something that will rescue not decided guests and match all types of weddings – little black dress for her and a dark suit for him – if he don’t have his own, best will be formal hire, which will help avoid to many costs for the wedding that isn’t even ours.

Adding Flavour to Wedding Favours

The wedding is over and, the bride and groom are zooming off in their limousine towards their new life together. There on the little dimly lit tables are sweet surprises for the guests. Wedding favours are little gifts from the bride and groom to extend heartfelt thanks to those participating in their joyous event. On the little mats are little porcelain bells, or tiny swans with intertwined necks, or even miniature fruit candy filled baskets adorned with the names of the bride and groom as well as the date of the wedding. Each little favour is a unique reminder of the wedding, the bride and groom, the date, and all the memories created during the ceremony and the reception. The wedding favours are tiny slices of happiness that a guest can take home with them.

Wedding favours should be as unique and well thought out as the wedding couple themselves. The world-wide search for a compatible wedding gifts can be akin to choosing a wedding dress or wedding flowers. It can be a daunting task for the bride and groom without a few smart and savvy tips. Choosing a wedding gift should reflect the style of the bride and groom as well as the wedding. It should remind those attending of a wonderful, fun, joyous day that began as two people walked down the aisle apart, and left hand in hand to a new future. Wedding gifts don’t have to be expensive, just well thought out. The ribbons on each gift should match the colours of the wedding itself. The tiny figurines should echo the style of the cake or the bride’s dress accordingly. The wedding favour should be an article of reminiscence, a bubble of time held in the palm of the hand.

Choosing a wedding gift shouldn’t cause stress or extraordinary effort, it should be simple and cute, and most of all memorable. It should remind those who receive it of the wedding day as well as the bride and groom. A great wedding favour has personality, cuteness, and especially thoughtfulness. The wedding favour is like a little piece of the wedding that its brought home with the guests. Favours come in many forms, tiny hearts filled with love, images of swans, tiny pictures of a man and his wife in silver frames, or even graceful figurines of a man and wife entwined in a little dance. These things are inspired like a painting is inspired, something that leaps to the bride and groom’s mind as they are choosing a little gift that they give out. All throughout history a wedding favour has been made out of precious things, silver or gold, or even precious jewels in royal weddings. A modern wedding favour doesn’t have to be so ostentatious, but it has to be a special little reminder of a wonderful wedding day that the guests took part in. Each wedding favour is like a tiny time capsule that captures the happiness of a couple, and brings it home.