How to save time on your wedding day – wedding family photos
I am a Indian wedding photographer based in the South Florida. I often shoot Hindu Indian and large Muslim weddings. As you know, Indian and Muslim weddings are extended ones with many hundreds of guests invited spreading over many days. To manage and take family photos with a large number of guests without making the family portrait session too long is not an easy task. I am going to talk about everything you need to know when it comes to wedding family photos. If I miss something please feel free to ask me.
The goal with family photos is that you want to avoid the bride and groom, family members and guests to stand and wait forever. Of course, you want to take beautiful photos but also keep the family session fairly short and effective. It does get really exhausting standing in the same place and smiling at the camera. When you’re the bride or groom, you typically are standing in the middle for an extended period of time and let’s be very frank, it can be very draining. Also keep in mind that taking too much time with family photos may to cut into couple portrait or bridal party photo time. If you value the couples’ portraits or you want a lot of bridal party pictures, you may want to get extended family photos done as quickly as possible.
First of all, I suggest that you the bride or groom stay in the middle and everybody else comes in and out. This way we can make everything very simple.
Also, I suggest to keep your groups minimal when it comes to your actual family photo list. For those extended family photos and especially if there’s a huge group of extended family you can just go from chunk to chunk. I think that makes the whole process a little bit more manageable rather than trying to cram hundreds of people in in one photo in 5 minutes. Most of the family photos are going to be the immediate family, grandparents, siblings. For smaller extended family groups what I recommend is that we either do a big formal group photo or you grab certain extended family members and take photos with them during cocktail hour. It is easy to be done, you find your photographer or the photographer’s second shooter and ask them to take a photo of you.
Lot of times I direct and set up the photos and I ask my second shooter to have my camera to shoot the family photos. I think it speeds up the process and I can make sure that everybody looks great and background is kept clean. I know in my mind how I’m going to do the individual groups and the way I want to shoot them.
I love when my clients follow the directions. What sometimes takes a lot of time time that people just don’t listen. I appreciate when the family members are paying attention instead of talking to each other because we can get this done a lot faster and everybody can go to the cocktail hours. Please, tell all of your family members to pay attention to the photographer and keep quiet and listen up. This might sound really strict but honestly it makes the biggest difference in the world. Often, we can save 15 – 30 minutes for couple photos. If groups of people do not listen to me . we may end up taking 30 to 45 additional minutes extra in case of a big Indian weddings. It is just really stressful for everybody, I usually see the bride getting very tense and stressed because she knows it’s running late and she knows that nobody’s paying attention. So please make sure that you tell everybody to listen up and we can finish faster… Read more here: Wedding family photo tips
Wedding Photographers’ Favorite – Jewish Wedding Traditions
A Jewish wedding is full of rich tradition, including rituals that honor not only the bride and groom but also their obligations to the Jewish people. The wedding day is regarded as the happiest and holiest days of their lives, when all of the couple’s past mistakes are forgiven and they merge into a new and complete soul. The wedding day is regarded as the happiest and holiest days of their lives, when all of the couple’s past mistakes are forgiven and they merge into a new and complete soul.
Prior to the wedding, it’s customary for the bride and groom to not see each other for the entire week prior to the ceremony. This helps to build the excitement of the big day. Fasting is also a large part of many Jewish holidays, and a wedding ceremony is not any different. The bride and groom fast for the day before the ceremony until the reception.
The actual wedding ceremony is relatively short, only lasting 20-30 minutes. Both the bride and groom walk down the aisle with both of their parents. The ceremony takes place under a Chuppah, a canopy on four poles that can decorated with flowers or draping. The Chuppah symbolizes that the bride and groom are starting a home together that will always be open to guests, which is a biblical tradition of the wedding of Abraham and Sarah.
Once the procession is complete, the couple signs the Ketupah, the wedding contract. This is an ornate and beautiful document that outlines the expectations and duties of the couple once they are married and is displayed in their new home.
Then, the bride circles the groom two times while blessings are recited over the wine that both the bride and groom drink. Following this is the giving of the rings, which are simple bands, with no details, no stones, and no engraving on them so there is nothing to distinguish the beginning from the end.
Since this is a religion rich with history, after the exchange of the wedding bands is one of the most important parts. The Sheva Berachot, or seven blessings, are recited over another glass of wine. A parent will wrap the couple in a Tallit, a prayer shall. The couple may invite seven friends or family members to recite each one of the blessings or have the blessings sung in traditional Hebrew. This is to recognize the intimacy and significance of the moment. The Sehva Brachot is the real heart of a traditional Jewish wedding. This liturgical part of the ceremony celebrates the themes of joy and celebration and the ongoing power of love. It’s not an accident that there are seven blessings as they relate to the seven days of creation.
After the wedding vows have been exchanged, the groom steps on a wine glass as family and friends yell “Mazel Tov” (literally meaning “good luck has occurred” and is used as a way of saying congratulations). Every Jewish wedding photographer loves this moment. The breaking of the glass has a few different interpretation. One symbolizes that human happiness is fragile, which is a staple of Jewish history. Another is that the marriage will last as long as the glass is broken. A third is that people need to remember those who are suffering even in this joyous moment. The bride and groom as also left alone together for a few moments right after the ceremony (called the Yichud).
The Sheva Berakhot is also recited again at the wedding reception following the Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals). This second time of the seven blessings gives the couples another time to honor their family and friends. At this time, the wine is divided into two cups, which represent the couple. After the bride and groom have taken a sip, the rest is poured into a third cup, which is shared by the community. This tradition shows how the couple is connected together as one and how their new life is intertwined and shared with the community.
The most favorite of all Miami Wedding Photographers is the Jewish wedding reception. The wedding reception is a joyful and fun event filled with singing and traditional dances. One such dance is called the Hora. This lively Israeli dance is when their guests lift the bride and groom into the air on chairs while they hold onto either end of a handkerchief. This dance allows the couple to be celebrated as king and queen of the night.
Another tradition celebrated at the reception is the Krenzl, which means crowning. This ritual honors the bride’s mother when her last daughter is wed. The mother is crowned with a wreath of flowers as all of her daughters dance around her. When parents whose last son has been married, they do the dance called Mizinke when the guests circle the parents and give them flowers and kisses.
In keeping with the Sheva Berakhot, the bride and groom are treated like royalty for the seven days following their wedding. While most couples are anxious to get away to a tropical spot for their honeymoon, Jewish couples spend time with the community to start their marriage on the right foot. For each of the seven nights, they are invited to dine at the home of a different friend or relative and following dinner, the seven blessings are recited again. Back in the times when marriages were arranged, these meals served as a way for the couple to get support from the community and to get to know each other.
The Jewish people have a true passion for their religion, which is evident throughout all of their holidays. These traditions and rituals reign the most true when a wedding ceremony happens because it’s the joining of two hearts who become one within the community. To the people of Jerusalem, a marriage is considered to be the ideal state of existence because a man who doesn’t have a wife, or vice versa, is considered a life that is not complete.
Traditional Indian Weddings by an Indian Wedding Photographer
Indian weddings are colorful and joyous events, which can last for several days depending on the bride and groom’s religious and cultural beliefs. With a traditional Indian wedding, it is not purely about uniting two people, but about bringing together two families, as well as rituals, which emphasize the day in a stunning array of dance, music, food and celebrations.
Major Religious Groups in India:
India is a gigantic country with many religions, including; Hinduism, Sikhism, Muslim, and also Buddhism. With each of these religions there are different festivals that take place during the wedding ceremony.
Traditional Indian Wedding Venues:
The venue of each wedding depends on the religious beliefs of the families. A Hindu wedding takes place in a temple which can be a preferred temple of the bride’s family. A Sikh wedding takes place either at the groom’s home or in a Gurudwara, which is a religious Sikh building. A Muslim wedding is a grand affair and can either take place in the bride or groom’s family home or in a large banquet hall. A Buddhist wedding is focused more on the social binding of two people, and can therefore take place in a licensed Buddhist temple or a court. Each of these venues are selected for their own religious significance.
Indian Wedding Costumes:
In India the predominant traditional wedding dress among Hindu brides is called a Sari. Sari is a beautiful piece of clothing a long time favorite by Indian wedding photographers. A sari is an uncut and unsown piece of cloth that is wrapped around the bride’s body, and is worn over a choli (tight-fitting blouse) and a chania (skirt petticoat). Brides also wear a lahanga suit, or a salwar kameez. The lahanga suit is a full skirt, which is worn with a choli and odhani. Salwar kameez is a complete outfit which consists of trousers gathered at the ankle, and a three-quarter-length embroidered tunic with a dupatta shawl of red and gold.
Relatives of the bride will spend several hours dressing her so that she will look her best, thus ensuring her good luck and future prosperity. Wedding garments are generally made of materials such as silk and velvet, and are often embroidered and trimmed in gold thread, which is also believed to bring good fortune and prosperity.
Probably the most preferred color for the traditional wedding dress is red. The reason is that red symbolizes abundance, joy, life, energy and fertility. While red is considered the most auspicious color for weddings, it is totally up to the bride and groom to decide which colors they are going to wear. Most colors can be worn at an Indian wedding, however both black and white are considered inappropriate colors for a wedding. Pink, and maroon are popular colors for garments as well. You can seem my Indian Wedding Photography Portfolio here: Indian Wedding Photographers in Florida
Traditional Muslim Weddings as seen by a Miami wedding photographer
I have recently photographed a traditional Muslim wedding in Fort Lauderdale. I have always been interested in different cultures and was very pleased to participate in a real Muslim wedding. First let me share with you what I have found out about Muslim wedding traditions.
While Islamic weddings have been known to be multi-day festivities, the actual wedding ceremony is simple and to the point. The wedding is not restricted to just the ceremony and is instead divided into three ritual stages: pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding.
Prior to the wedding, the pre-wedding stage, sweets and fruits are exchanged and family and friends visit the bride and groom’s homes. This pre-wedding time increases the excitement among the families. Traditionally, the bride is not seen for forty days. Only family is allowed to see her as she rests at home in preparation for the wedding day.
The bride and groom may also choose to hold a “dhoki” (meaning drum) a few weeks before the wedding. This party is a time for singing, dancing and beating on a drum in anticipation of the big day.
When it comes time for the wedding, brides are decorated in beautiful and various ways for the wedding ceremony. One example is decorating the bride with lots of jewelry that can tend to be very expensive. Twenty-two karat gold bracelets, rings and necklaces often adorn the bride.
Another example, and perhaps the most well known, is the gorgeous henna that is painted onto their hands and feet the night before the wedding in a “mehendi” ceremony. This ceremony is the most festive and filled with, again, lots of singing and dancing. The bride to be will wear yellow and henna paint is applied on her as well as other female family members. The groom may also receive henna, but only gets a single dot in the palm of his hand. The henna represents that the bride is changing from a woman into being a wife. The future mother in law applies the first dot on the hand. Traditionally, the groom’s initials are written somewhere in the design as well.
Muslim weddings are best known for welcoming guests. A wedding offers a family the opportunity to entertain many guests at once while also strengthening the social bond that they all have. After henna, there is another celebration called the “baraat” which is more time for the family to sing and dance. At this event, two parallel lines of the bride’s family and friends greet family and friends.
Muslim wedding photographers favorite event is the Nikkah. This happens usually the next day and it is the actual wedding. The Nnikkah and it is the most important ceremony for the Muslim people because it’s a charming and elegant ceremony of two souls coming together. Having hundreds or thousands of guests is not unheard of as this is a large affair. Conservative families on the other hand, like to skip the lavish ceremony and instead give the newlyweds money to start a family and home.
The actual wedding ceremony can be held anywhere. To begin the wedding ceremony, both the bride and groom are placed in separate rooms. The bride wears a red “ghaagra”, which is a pleated skirt with a long blouse that is embroidered in gold. On her head she wears a “dupata” that wraps around her shoulders, but does not cover the gold jewelry she’s wearing. The groom can choose to wear a suit or a “sherwarni” which is a high-collared long sleeve coat as well as a turban. The Nikkah is the most important part of the Muslim wedding photography.
One interesting fact in the Muslim culture is that the faith is passed down through the father. Because of this, men may marry outside of their religion without having their future spouse convert to Islam. Muslim women on the other hand, can’t marry a non-Muslim unless he converts to the religion.
The officiant for the ceremony can be any man who is familiar with the Islamic law since there is no official clergy in the country. The officiant goes to each room, asks the bride and groom if the marriage is of their own free will, then the marriage contract is signed and the two are brought together and become husband and wife. However, in order for it to be official, there must be two male witnesses that sign the marriage contract, and either two males or a male and two females must be wedding witnesses in order for it to be recognized as well. Sometimes, a “wali” may answer on behalf of the bride. You can see many Muslim wedding photos here on my website: Muslim wedding photographer
The marriage contract is called a “mehar” and also has a statement in it declaring the monetary amount the groom will give the bride. There are two amounts of money, one is giving before the marriage is consummated and the other is given to her throughout her life. The elder family members actually get together the morning of the wedding, and decide what this nuptial gift and amount will be. Today, the groom may use the ring as the first form of money. The later amount can be anything from money to land to jewelry, even an education. The reason that there is the amount given prior to the marriage is because it’s considered the bride’s security and guarantee of freedom within the marriage.
And finally is the reception, which is known as the “valima” which the groom’s family hosts. Many prayers are said before the dinner. Typically, men and women sit separately, including the bride and groom. After dinner the newly-weds sit together for the first time and the father will officially give her hand to her husband and ask him to protect her.
While some Muslims choose to have lavish ceremonies, others prefer to make it a more simple day that is just focused on the bride and groom. But no matter how much many is spent on the big day, the main thing in this culture is that the day is focused on the love and affection of the new married couple.