While wedding party stereotypes still exist, most people realize there’s more to being a bridesmaid than looking beautiful, more to being a groomsman than adding life and excitement to the reception party. But even the bride and groom might not fully understand just how helpful these roles can be, long after the train is bustled and the speeches given. With a little direction (and not that much effort), members of the wedding party can facilitate great wedding photojournalism—a favor that will elicit enduring gratitude every time you look at the wedding pictures.

WPJA award winners offer some insight on this matter:


Don’t assume that everyone in your bridal party understands wedding photojournalism. And it’s not your wedding photojournalist’s job to spend the day educating everyone. You have picked (and paid) your wedding photojournalist for his documentary style and creative eye, so you don’t want him fielding too many special (cheesy and posed) requests from your wedding party—taking away time from the natural moments you hired him to capture.

WPJA award winner David Crane, who has had mostly positive experiences with wedding parties, attributes his good fortune to working closely with




A wedding is a special event for all involved, and children are no exception. With little boys suiting up in tuxedoes and young girls stepping into gowns layered in satin and lace, it’s a milestone for your smallest guests as well. It’s that rare occasion when they receive a glimpse into the adult world in all its ceremonial splendor. But in the thick of wedding planning, many brides and grooms often forget the little ones. Well, you need not be one of the forgetful.

With a bit of forethought, you can help create an environment at your wedding that allows your wedding photographer to capture your smallest guests at their best. It’s well worth the effort. The innocence and spontaneity of children can make for colorful, unique memories and photographs. A bright-eyed ring bearer teasing the flower girl symbolizes the carefree and overly joyous tone of the entire day.


Every wedding photographer has good and bad stories of children at weddings. WPJA member Frederick Ng won first prize in the Ceremony Category for a picture he took of the bride and groom’s first kiss with



As one of three certainties in life, taxes cannot come as a surprise to any wedding photographer, although you can certainly be forgiven if you push the thought of them into the back of your brain. As a creative professional, you’d likely want to devote most of your energy toward honing your craft.

But when the taxman comes, he leaves nobody untouched.

Still, by keeping some basic topics in mind, and adopting some tidy bookkeeping practices, you can help prevent that teeth-pulling feeling that taxes induce.

Essentially, most wedding photographers will adhere to many of the same standards a small business uses when it’s time to pay taxes. Much of the task comes down to keeping track of money coming in and going out.

But there certainly are some facets of tax law that stand out for wedding photographers, and to make sure that all the bases are covered, it may be best to hand the reins to a pro.


Finding a tax preparer or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to wade through the nuances of tax law, would seem to be the best way to relieve most of the tedium of tax time,

Real Wedding – Verity Benson and Nick Davison

After almost a year of living apart, Verity Benson and NICK Davison moved to Orange in New South Wales. When Verity was 5 months pregnant with their first baby, they hosted a baby shower. Nick proposed that same day and their baby shower soon turned into an engagement party!

As a wedding planner, Verity had gathered ideas and inspiration from many of the weddings she had seen and arranged over the years. Keen to host a country wedding that showcased the region of Orange, Verity and Nick decided on all the details of their wedding together to create a day that suited them as a couple.

“When NICK and I would stroll through the Botanic Gardens, I always thought, ‘The function centre here has real potential.’” The barn style venue had recently received a facelift and the surrounding orchard, vineyard and solitary windmill made for a romantic backdrop.

A ceremony by the Orange Botanic Gardens’ billabong attracted local wildlife, much to the delight of guests. “Ducks were quacking very loudly. It was hilarious and really eased my nerves,” Verity said.
The beauty of nature was brought inside at their reception. Potted trees were up-lit to create dramatic shadows, draped foliage hung above the

Vintage wedding car hire

The romance and charm of vintage wedding car make them a popular choice with couples the world over, especially with those having a traditional or classic themed wedding. Vintage wedding car hire can be more complex than hiring a modern car, however, so here are seven tips to make sure you get the ride of your life:

Look for a significant make or model

If you want to hire a vintage car, try to find one that has special meaning to you. Perhaps you could hire a similar car to the one your parents used at their wedding, or you could find a model that was built the year you were born? If your father or grandfather used to drive a particular car you could hire one of those.

Check out the replacement policy

Most wedding car suppliers will have a policy whereby they will replace your chosen car with a suitable alternative if it should break down or be unavailable for another reason. If you are hiring a vintage car it’s more likely that you will need the replacement service than with a modern car, so it’s a good idea to check out the supplier’s replacement and make sure you are


As a wedding photojournalist, the client contract is central to your business. However, a good contract is critical to your business. How good is yours?

The written agreement that exists between you and your client can serve many everyday purposes, from defining your services and the expected deliverables, to clarifying the ground rules and limits for the use of your images after they have been turned over to the bride and groom. However, a good contract should also protect you from liabilities that may stem from unanticipated events and circumstances. That part is like an insurance policy: You hope that you’ll never need it, but you really need to have it for that one-in-a-thousand situation.

WPJA’s members are a highly successful group—talented and exacting professionals who often shoot for the world’s top publications in addition to their matrimonial coverage. Not surprisingly, they tend to have paid particular attention to this aspect of their businesses, and a few of them have given us some valuable advice.


Aside from the journalistic considerations, your work for a bride and groom can usually be considered from two perspectives: what you have promised to provide for them, including your services and deliverables, and what rights both


It’s the single most terrifying thing a parent can hear: “Mommy mommy! Heeeelp! …Daddy’s doing the Macarena!!”

That’s right, couch potatoes—it’s wedding time. Time to slip on those comfy dance shoes and slip off those itchy inhibitions. Jane Goodall might think she broke new ground in mammalian research, but she never crashed a wedding reception in the third quarter of an open bar. So a Tanzanian chimp can sign ‘I love you’? Big whoop. If you want to see the best that humanity has to offer, look no further than a Minwaxed parquet floor and a thumping remix of Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.”


Ever since early man learned to beat a stick on a rock, some guy has embarrassed his family by dancing to it. The primordial urge to shake your booty can be traced back thousands of years, when cave dwellers learned to ward off strangers by loudly grunting and jumping around like maniacs. Luckily, not much has changed.

Few theorems apply universally across our species. One of them is this: If you can dance, you know it. If you can’t, you definitely don’t.

The after-vows hoedown is often a hotbed of rhythm-based research and enlightenment. Even though the behavioral microscope


Amid all the chaos of a wedding day, scenes of patterns can help restore a sense of calmness to the moment, creating order from disorder.

And patterns will abound at wedding ceremonies and receptions. For one, you’ll have a number of ushers decked out in the same tuxedo, coupled with bridesmaids wearing the same dress, without any pangs of jealousy. A unifying color or color scheme usually ties all the visual elements together. And there are also numerous props—from chairs and place cards, to champagne glasses and silverware—that all can provide broad canvasses of patterns.

Each pattern presents an attractive opportunity to capture an interesting photo, adding a contrasting dimension to many of the other photos of the event. It’s a breath of fresh air for the eyes too, since patterns appear so frequently in daily life, whether on a tile floor or in slats on a picket fence.

“In general, I think the brain likes to create order from disorder,” says wedding photographer Kelly McCord. “I like finding patterns and repetition that are occurring naturally. It’s not something I purposefully try to do. It’s just the way I seem to see things.”

That’s why many WPJA members keep an eye out for patterns


The first time you envisioned your wedding, you probably didn’t see a long list of details to attend to, decisions to be made or negotiations to be undertaken. Surely, your vision involved you and your partner. It was filled with tenderness, sweet melodies, pure bliss…and romance. After all, a wedding is romantic—the consummation of your everlasting love.

A skilled wedding photojournalist knows how to anticipate and capture situations that convey those special feelings. When the day is over, your memories will be enhanced through photographs of the two of you looking at one another or simply being together, thus narrating the story of your love. That is what it’s all about. We talked to three WPJA members to find out how they zero in on the romantic moments.


A glance, a quick kiss or a sigh shared between the betrothed amidst the whirlwind of activity and emotion on their wedding day are moments that tend to happen quickly. They’re intimate exchanges that represent the strong feelings the bride and groom have for one another. They can be gone in a flash (no pun intended). The guests may not notice them, but the perceptive wedding photojournalist does.

Your photographer’s portfolio should reflect


Destination weddings offer stunning scenery and exotic atmosphere, providing the conditions needed to enhance those fabulous memories. However, since these types of weddings are often at resort locations in foreign countries, they’re subject to the unusual and the unexpected, creating logistical and scheduling factors that can affect your entire agenda, including the photography. A few of our most traveled award-winners have weighed in with their own experiences and advice for ensuring a smooth and wonderful event.


It’s hard to imagine a more picture postcard-perfect wedding location than Haiti. Few islands in the Caribbean rival its beautiful beaches, mountains, rain forests, rich culture…or political upheaval. Even though the present government is stable, two centuries of bloodshed over politics and power should make you cautious about making wedding arrangements there.

No matter what idyllic wedding location you might choose anywhere in the world, popular attitude and local politics can shift. So when you plan your destination wedding, WPJA member David Murray of Kennebunkport, ME, suggests you scan the news to make sure the country you choose isn’t experiencing instability. The last thing you need on your wedding day is to be rescued from a political revolution.

“Having worked as a photojournalist in Haiti, I


A celebratory toast to the bride and groom is deeply ingrained in wedding tradition, but do you know how the venerable custom came about? In Bottom’s Up!, a 2005 book of cocktail lore, former maritime reporter Robert McKenna solves the mystery.

Drinking to a person’s health or happiness dates to Greek hosts who wanted to assure guests that the wine they drank was not poisoned. But the word “toast” comes from the Latin word “tostus,” meaning roasted or parched, and it came about during Roman times. Wine wasn’t very tasty then, so drinkers plunked a bit of burnt bread into their goblets to improve the flavor. The custom continued into the 1600s on European waterfronts, where seaman dropped a bit of toast in their glasses of ale or mulled wine. When the crouton grew soggy and sank to the bottom, inevitably one of the drinkers would call, “Toast!” and they’d race one another to see who could finish the drink first and eat the saturated bread.


These days, raising a glass to toast a bride and groom has a higher purpose: to wish the couple happiness and success. Toasts can be emotional or funny, sometimes embarrassing, but always heartfelt. They


South Africa boasts some of the most beautiful wedding venues in the world, and with the number of available venues being infinite, couples have quite a bit to consider before choosing the one. Too often we see our brides being blinded by the beauty of a wedding venue and not taking the logistics and packages offered by the venue into account. With all the excitement in the “honeymoon phase” of wedding planning, brides-to-be often find themselves falling in love with the aesthetics of a venue too quickly and soon after regretting not reading the fine print of their package. Today I speak to Monte Vista Venue about the advantages of all-inclusive packages and how to say I do to the space that you love with confidence.


Surrounded by the famous Cradle of Humankind hills and offering a sunset view that dissolves all life’s stress, Monte Vista invites couples to experience tranquility. Guests will be mesmerized by the beauty that nature has to offer, with gardens, water fountains and picture perfect surroundings that all form part of making your day a memorable one. At Monte Vista they know that when it comes to special ingredients for


Ola and happy spring dear brides! Rather than bombarding you with blossoms this September, we have decided to bring you a Latina Love Story filled with wedding inspiration from the South. To start off the journey, we though it wise to attain a better understanding of the cultures at hand. Today we share with you a variety of Mexican wedding rituals and traditions that promise to fire up those fiesta feelings for the festive season ahead.

Mexico is known for their fantastic parties, and what better occasion to celebrate than a wedding! Mexican weddings include customs from surrounding Southern cultures, and while the bridal couple tries their very best to host a cheerful event, it is also important that they pay respect to these traditions.

Who Pays for Wedding

In the Mexican culture, both families are responsible for the wedding planning and expenses. The couple’s parents, their Madrinas and Padrinos (see number two) and even the bridesmaids and groomsmen jump in to assist. They are paired up in teams of two, and then each pair is given a specific element of the wedding to cover – whether it be the bouquet, the Lazo (see number three) or the Arras (see

From tacos to sangrias and piñatas to tequilas, the South Americans sure know how to host a festive celebration – and what better occasion to rejoice than your most special day! A fiesta-themed wedding can be ever as elegant when incorporated stylishly and subtly. By opting for a few key décor features, a Latina beauty regime or a sultry Spanish number, you can ensure that your big day has fiesta flare without looking like a dress up party gone wrong. Today we have asked a few of our top wedding vendors to give their insight on how to host a fabulous wedding fiesta for your big day.


No one says it better than the Spanish “I love you “, which pales in comparison to “Ti Amore”! No dance is more sensual than the Tango, and no romance story is complete without a smouldering Latin Love Affair. What better setting then for an idyllic wedding, the day you’ve dreamed of all your life, than a zealous, Latina-themed day. At Ikhe Cakes we understand your dream and your vision, because passion is our motto – we pour out heart into each cake design we do, and we become a

Who Has the Busier Bedroom: Single People or Married Couples?

I pose this question to the students in my Human Sexuality course every semester and invariably get the same response: “Isn’t that kind of obvious? Single people, of course!” My students are not alone in thinking this either—it is a pretty widely held belief that singles are always getting it on, and that sex after marriage is, well, improbable (to say the least). It does not surprise me that so many people believe this, given how popular media portrayals back up these stereotypes. For instance, TV shows like Sex and the City and Entourage depict singles as having a never-ending supply of partners and sexual exploits. Likewise, the whole premise of the recent movie The Change-Up is basically that married Dave (played by Jason Bateman) dreams of trading places with his single friend, Mitch (played by Ryan Reynolds), so that he can finally get some action.

So are my students and the Hollywood producers right? Are singles really the luckiest people on the planet? It may surprise you to hear this, but there really is no truth to this stereotype at all! Research shows that married couples actually have sex with much greater frequency than single people.1 For instance, just consider

Bridesmaids and the Changing Role of the Bachelorette Party

The movie Bridesmaids opened this weekend and its raucous hilarity departs from the standard female-led romantic comedy – it rivals the bawdy glory of Old School, Wedding Crashers, and The Hangover. Although not all women’s pre-wedding events resemble the movie (which is probably a good thing), Bridesmaids demonstrates that women too can be profane and outrageous and get laughs for it, and reminds me that roles for women have shifted, not just in romantic comedies but as bridesmaids in real life.

The research suggests that men and women’s pre-wedding activities look more similar today than they did previously. One example is the bachelor/bachelorette party. Letting loose for a “last night of freedom” before a wedding was traditionally exclusive to men.1 Because marriage is often linked to monogamy, the bachelor party was meant to mark the end of men’s sexual freedom. The double standard held that women were not meant to have a sexual past, so there was no need to mark the end of it. Instead, the bridal shower was the main pre-wedding event for women, and gifts of toasters and hand towels were meant to initiate them into their new domestic roles.

Today the bachelorette party is eclipsing the bridal shower as

Got “Cold Feet”? Watch Out for Marital Woes Ahead

Remember that classic scene from Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts bolted from the altar and trotted across the horizon in a wedding dress? Or when Chandler in Friends left a note for Monica before he fled just hours before their nuptial? These storylines are common in TV and movies, but it can happen in real life too. Many people get cold feet before their big days; it is so common that friends and family usually tell the bride/groom-to-be to just brush it off as a little blip on the path to living happily-ever-after. Indeed, people often have more doubts about themselves, their partners, and their relationships when they face significant changes in their lives.1 But are we right to ignore these doubts? Not so, according to recent research.

In one study,2 researchers interviewed and surveyed 232 newlywed couples within the first 6 months of their marriages about their pre-marital experiences. Couples were then asked to complete a measure of marital satisfaction every 6 months over a 4-year period. The results revealed that premarital doubts were in fact very common: one or both spouses-to-be experienced doubts about getting married in 85% of the couples.

Interestingly, men reported feeling wedding jitters significantly more often than did women

For Better or Worse…In Marriage, Men May Get More of the Better

True confession time: Before we (the authors of this article) got engaged, Charlotte already had a specific date and time reserved for the church where our wedding would be held.1 Although no ultimatum was ever given, it was pretty clear to Patrick that after living together for several years, it was time for him to think about marriage. Needless to say, the ring was bought, the wedding occurred on the given date at the nonnegotiable location, and we have been living happily ever after. Our story is hardly unique. Common wisdom suggests that young women can’t wait to walk down the aisle whereas young men grudgingly make the trek to the altar. Women may start planning their weddings long before their partners have a ring picked out, but perhaps women need to think more carefully about what they are getting into.

Men benefit more from marriage than women do – at least as far as their health is concerned.2,3 Although marriage appears to benefit both men and women’s health in some ways, some of our research suggests that women spend more time taking care of their husbands than men spend taking care of their wives.4 Perhaps this is why single men have a

City park weddings are cramping Trump’s style

It can cost $150,000 to get married at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, a price tag befitting its namesake.

But at $585 for city residents and $915 for nonresidents, couples can get a similarly spectacular ocean view while saying their vows at a small city park next to the golf course.

Now Trump, which manages Founders Park rentals for the city, either wants out of the discount wedding business or to raise the price for a three-hour ceremony in the city park to $2,670 for residents and $3,000 for nonresidents.

Of that, $2,250 would go to the golf course.

David Conforti, Trump’s general manager, informed the city in a letter that the golf course is losing money on the current deal. He said that because people say they are getting married at “the Trump,” guests assume they have the same use of the facilities as the $300-a-round golfers and those paying full fare to get married at “the Trump.”

Wedding guests, he wrote, take over locker rooms, wander around the golf course, annoy people by taking group photos and get rowdy.

Bridal parties, Conforti added, “naturally expect to be able to use the facility

As Iranian American weddings grow more lavish, some call for restraint

Shahbal Shabpareh and his band Black Cats — a premier Iranian American pop group — have performed American hits with a Persian twist at upper-crust Iranian celebrations almost weekly for years.

They’ve seen lots of lavish weddings, but one stands out as the most over-the-top.

As guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres outside the banquet hall, the bride was placed in a glass coffin. The groom fitted on a white half-mask. Then, the carefully planned Phantom of the Opera theme devolved into chaos.

Condensation formed inside the coffin as guests delayed filtering in. When the groom finally took his cue to present the bride, the lid wouldn’t budge. Before long, he was slamming the glass trying to break through as the bride wailed inside, her makeup running down her face. It would be an hour before she was finally freed.

For Shabpareh, the night crystallized the breakneck rise in ostentation at weddings hosted in recent years by L.A.’s wealthiest Iranian Americans. For some, party hosting can be a competitive sport, with spending used as a yardstick for status. Weddings boasting guest lists almost a thousand deep with price tags nearing half a million dollars are not unheard of.