Every now and then I’ll have a bride requesting that she does not require an album and only wants photography done. I clench my heart and always wonder why? I suppose the main reason is to cut down the collection’s price.
If you ever happen to find yourself pondering upon the idea of whether to get an album for your big day or not, then continue reading.
I want you to question yourself – “how would I like to share my wedding day with my grand children?” If you just answered ‘via Facebook albums or Instagram’ then hold onto the thought…are you 110% sure Facebook will exist in 10, 20, 40+ years? Remember MySpace? Still use it? I didn’t think so….Albums, on the other hand, are timeless. Pricey? May be, but they are absolutely priceless. Regardless of the size of the album, a printed book will never go out of style. No batteries/recharging required, and doesn’t need to keep up with the fast-changing-technology. Trust me! You’ll thank me later…Another good reason to consider is how much you are spending overall on your wedding? The venue – one night rental. The stage – one night rental. The makeup – you will wash it the same night. The dress/bouquet – you won’t use again. Jewelry & shoes – yes, they are reusable but how much can you use them? Photography + video – the only things you get to keep. Forever. Am I saying the other things are not important, not at alllll!!! You can’t expect great photos if the makeup/venue is not good or your dress/shoes are not the right fit. But again, spend the money wisely.
The best time to order the albums is with your photography package because as the days, months, years pass by after the wedding, couples care less for the day. If you are on a budget and need to wait to order the albums after the wedding with gift-money, its still perfectly fine. What you do with your images, how you display them, care for them, is just as important as making sure to hire a professional photographer for your wedding day.
I strongly believe that albums are your legacy.
And your legacy is worth it!
The first step in planning a wedding day of your dreams is to budget for the wedding. I always tell my brides to budget wisely and spend on things that are more long lasting, create experiences for the couple and the guests, and things that are absolute necessity.
If you are a bride on a budget, here is my advice for how you can avoid (or reduce) some of the costs of your wedding:
- The Venue.
- The venue to host the wedding party marks up to 48-50% of the the entire budget. Instead of looking for a 5* hotel, opt for a wedding hall. It will dramatically save you lots of money. Dubai itself has some amazing new wedding halls that host weddings and provide all the needed services (security, valet parking, bridal-room, etc).
- The Dress.
- If you want to save money on the dress of your dreams, ask the designer if you can rent it instead of buying the dress. If your designer doesn’t rent dresses, buy the dress and you can rent/sell it after the wedding because you will never, ever, wear it again. Ever. Oh but you get to keep & wear the shoes & jewelry again so spend well on it 😉
- My university professor of ‘Consumer Behavior’ course once said “people will forget the details, decorations, and everything else of a party, but they always remember the food!” and I can’t agree with him more. Instead of 10 fancy welcome drinks, 15 types of desserts, 20 types of teas and what not, spend a good amount on the main courses. I mean, not everyone will drink all 10 types of drinks & I’m not suggesting to reduce the cost for this one, but adjust the cost and really spend on things that everyone gets to enjoy such as the main dinner.
- Bouquet / Flowers.
- Brides, please note that I absolutely loveeeee centerpieces with real flowers because they look gorgeous in the photos but if you are on a budget, I highly suggest you choose centerpieces that don’t need too many real flowers.
- Also, the cost of your bouquet will be reduced if you ask your stage decorator to provide you with a bouquet. First, they know the theme/colors of the wedding & can make you a bouquet accordingly. Second, they get flowers in whole-sellers price and can help you save AED 2,000+ on a bridal bouquet. Third, you don’t have to wait for the bouquet to arrive or pick it up yourself as the decorator will be present at the venue and can deliver the bouquet to your bridal room.
- Live Band vs. DJ.
- Live bands are fun. No joke! If they are good, the can really take the party to the next level. Are they cost-friendly comparing to a good DJ? I’m assuming you answered this one yourself already 😀
- Wedding Stationary & Party Favors.
- Personally, I love invitation cards. But lets be real, do you really need thank you cards placed on the dinner plates or fancy tissue boxes? I’ve seen them lying around at the end of the wedding with the couples’ names on it and it breaks my heart. I suggest you pay attention to these little details when budgeting for the wedding.
- Choose party-favors that remind guests of your wedding day & something that they want to keep and use later on (mirrors, bakhoor, atr or perfume, book-marks, etc).
Brides, if you ever feel stuck while making the budget for the wedding, ask yourself these questions: “will this product/service benefit me or the guests after my wedding? Do I or the guests keep this as memories?” If the answers are NO, chances are you don’t need to spend too much on that product/service.
I really hope this blog post helps you save tons of money that you can use for your honeymoon and/or for your new house. Again, I hope you make budget wisely and spend on things & experiences that you and your wedding guests get to keep & cherish even after the wedding.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
I’ve always been a fan of wedding vows & promises that brides and grooms make to each other. They promise to love and cherish each other in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.
Here are my set of promises to my future couples who hire me to document their document day.
I promise you to be at your wedding day as more than just a photographer.
I promise that I understand how important of a day it is for you.
I promise to hand you tissues if you cry. I promise to hold your dress if you need to use the bathroom & to carry your bouquet on our way to the ballroom.
I promise to make you feel like the most beautiful couple & get rid of any insecurities or stress you might have.
I promise to put my heart & soul in documenting your wedding day to the best of my ability. I promise to capture your legacy that will be worth showing to your children & grandchildren.
I promise that hiring me will be the best decision you will make for your wedding day.
I promise you good times & countless smiles in front of my camera.
I promise you that I will take care of you. Not only on the day wedding but throughout the entire process.
I Promise You! ❤
P.S. Here are all the #lo0oveletters that my past couples have sent me. Alhamdulillah for best of the best clients who become amazing friends ❤
It may sound simple if I say to “Practice your Dress” but if it was this simple, I wouldn’t be writing an entire blog post about it. Trust me on this one! 🙂
It is very usual that I come across brides who have trouble wearing the dress. They don’t know how the crinoline/jiboon is supposed to be worn. I’ve seen broken zippers and buttons, and what not. To make your wedding day stress-free, here are 5 tips to prepare and practice your dress beforehand.
- Practice wearing your dress at least 3-5 times before the wedding day to be comfortable with the fitting, buttons, zipper, lace, ribbons, etc.
- Know how to wear the dress with the crinoline (aka jiboon – the underskirt to make the ballgown fluffy).
- Try the dress with undergarments to make sure nothing shows & everything fits perfectly. Choose undergarments wisely (ex: strapless garments for strapless dress, etc).
- Wear the shoes/heels to practice walking in the dress. It will also help you be sure that the dress’s length is what you like.
- Last but not least, PLEASEEEEE try sitting in the dress to be 110% sure that it is possible!
Lovely Brides, I hope this blog post is helpful to you. May you shine in your dress like a rockstar princess!
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
Hello lovely Brides-to-Be,
When I spoke at the Pre-Wedding Extravaganza event hosted by MyList.ae, I shared insights on how to prepare for the wedding, setting timelines, communication, and expectations.
Here is another installment of UnOfficial Bridesmaid‘s post, for those who weren’t able to attend the event, to help brides-to-be with the pre-wedding planning & how to set expectations for wedding vendors & for yourself!
1. Setting Time
- remind all the vendors of your wedding date and location.
- discuss timeline with the decorator, makeup artist & hair stylist, photographer, ballroom staff, DJ, etc. All of Them!
- make sure the checks/payments are made/cleared a week before the wedding.
- keep grace period for everyone. If the makeup artist told you she will be there by 4pm, don’t expect that your makeup is starting at 4pm. She needs time to arrive, parking, setup her stuff, and then she starts her work.
- set aside plentyyyyyyyyyyyy of time for the photoshoot.
- please make sure to discuss details with all appropriate vendors.
- ask questions & explain yours concerns so the vendors can answer them.
- if you have a certain concern about photography, like one side of your face better than the other, don’t like the curtain colors of the bridal suite, make sure you discuss it with your photographer.
- don’t assume you will receive things (projectors, screens, extra pages in the album, extra tables/chairs in the ballroom) that are not mentioned on contract. If you want/need something, discuss the details beforehand with the specific vendor.
3. Setting Expectations
- how you set expectations of the wedding vendors is what you will receive. If you are late for a meeting, the vendor might think it is okay for you if they are late. Set their expectations right.
- make sure to explain each vendor how important time is for you. If everything is going in a timely manner, you will enjoy your wedding to the fullest. I PROMISE!
I hope these tips help you plan a wedding of your dreams. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section and I will be more than happy to answer them.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
I feel so humbled when MyList.ae invited me to speak again (for the third time to be exact) at their Pre-Wedding Extravaganza event to help the future brides-to-be hosted at Bloomingdale’s, The Dubai Mall.
I was able to speak alongside some wonderful wedding vendors including We Do Weddings & Events (wedding planner), Pret A Papier Design (invitations & stationary), MyList.ae (party favors & gifts), Magnolia Bakery, The White Boutique (catering), Bloomingdale’s professional team of makeup artists & jewelry specialist, and florist. All the wedding experts gave extremely useful tips to the future brides to help them plan their fairytale wedding.
I spoke about how to prepare for the wedding, timelines, budgeting, communicating with the vendors, and setting expectations. I will blog about these in details under UnOfficial Bridesmaid category for the future brides who were not able to attend.
Thank you super much to Line & Stefanie from MyList.ae for inviting me to speak at the event & for such an educational and successful event. I hope the brides use all the ideas, tips, and tricks while planning their wedding day and it helps them achieve the day of their dreams.
P.S. The past two MyList.ae’s events that I spoke at can be found HERE & HERE.
Dear Brides & Photographer Friends,
This blog post is for both of you ❤ ❤
Lets chat about Wedding Timeline because it is not one of the mostttttttttt, but THE MOST important thing when planning a wedding (for brides) and setting expectations of the clients & getting things done (for photographers).
those who Fail to Plan,
Plan to Fail!
That’s exactly why I love talking to each bride and discuss their wedding timeline way in advance. This gives me insight of their plans, how the wedding day will unfold, & helps me not to miss any details.
While discussing the timeline, I always ask all the vendors’ names for credits, give tips and insights of the wedding to my brides and answer any questions/concerns they might have. I also make sure to let them know how much time I need for specific section of the photoshoot and to keep some grace time for prayers, late makeup artist, hairstylist, mishaps, etc.
Following are some of the questions I always ask my brides and write them down.
- Is the bride getting ready at a salon, the venue, bridal room, or hotel suite?
- helps me determine travel time to/from the ballroom.
- Who is the makeup artist, makeup start & finish time.
- Is the makeup artist doing makeup on family members or only the bride? This can make/break the entire timeline.
- Who is the hairstylist, hair start & finish time.
- Is the groom coming for the photoshoot before or after the ceremony?
- Brides, feel free to read my recommendation about first look – it is super useful, promise!
- Ballroom/kosha ready time.
- Expected number of guests. Expected arrival time.
- helps me plan how much time I have for the ballroom decorations’ photos.
- Bride’s entrance time.
- helps me know time for bride-groom’s photoshoot from her prep until her entrance.
- Any entertainment, singers, performers, Zaffa, belly-dancers, violinist, etc.
- anything the couple spend time/effort/money on must be documented.
- Groom’s entrance time.
- I also ask if the groom is coming in alone or with family/friends. Helps me choose the right lens in advance 😉
- Cake cutting & drink exchange times.
- Family photos time.
- Expected exit time.
I hope this post helps you plan the wedding day even better. If you have ANY questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’d be moreeeeee than happy to answer them.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid & PF (photographer friend) 😉
My darling Brides-To-Be,
Writing the last blog post about the 5 things brides forget on the wedding day, I thought a detailed post with a bride’s must haves is essential. Although you may buy Sephora’s Minimergency Kit that is ready to use but making one with things from your favorite brands is more fun (& useable).
Bridesmaids, it is a wonderful idea to make this emergency kit for your girlfriends 😉 Just saying….
Following are a handful things that you may need/want on the day of the wedding day and honeymoon.
- BreathMints/Chewing gum – to get your mouth ready for that first kiss.
- Tweezers – for stray hair and clamped lashes.
- Blotting Paper – to absorb the oil & remove shine.
- Face Mist – to refresh the makeup & calm the skin.
- Tissue Papers – to dab away happy tears.
- Safety & Bobby pins – always come in handy.
- Stain Remover – God forbid you need to use them.
- Adhesive band-aids – for small cuts/injuries.
- Earring backs – I lose them like a magician.
- Deodorant towelette – in case you are not carrying a deo.
- Nail polish remover pad – for girls who need to pray.
- Tooth paste & brush – are not included in most hotels’ toiletries.
- Lip balm – for chapped/dry lips.
- Nail filer – always carry one. Alwaysssss!
- Hair spray – to hold hair in place.
- Dental floss – for a picture perfect smile.
- Mending/Sewing kit – I had actually sew a bride’s ripped dress.
- Double-sided tape – for falling hemlines & plunging necklines.
- Pain reliever – for head/stomach aches.
- Lipstick – Ladies, don’t ever underestimate the power of lipstick 😉
Here is a bonus tip – if you are a hijabi (mohajibba), a few hair-ties and a nude-color scarf will definitely come in handy!
I hope the list helps you prepare your emergency kit. For any questions/concerns or to add something to the list, feel free to leave a comment.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
Words can never explain how much I love my brides. To the moon & beyond…
While my brides have proven to be very organized and amazing planners, I’ve seen a constant pattern of things that most brides tend to forget on the wedding day. Although it is never intentional and totally understandable as the wedding planning is not a piece of cake, but a little reminder is always nice.
Here is a list of 5 things that most brides forget & my two cents about those things. May this post helps you plan your dream wedding day even better, inshaAllah.
- Have the groom’s wedding ring with you.
You’ll need all two/three for the detail photos so make sure the groom’s ring is with you on the day of the wedding.
- Wedding invitation card.
Invitation cards/suite/stationary often tends to get lost years after the wedding. Have them incorporated within the photos. Also, invitation cards provide great ring shots with bride & groom’s names/logos.
- Hangers/mannequin for the dress.
Make sure the hanger is not colorful/flashy to take the attention away from the dress. Also, the hanger should be able to bear the weight of the dress & its hook should be TWIST-ABLE! If you are getting a mannequin, check if the dress fits on it properly and the base is stable.
- Emergency kit.
A sewing kit, bobby pins, safety pins, Tide pen (stain-remover), tissues, face-mist, small scissors, double-sided tape, mini deodorant, nail-filer – are just a few things you might need on the wedding day.
- Eat!!! Pleaseeeeeeeee.
OMG! There is nothing more frightening than watching a malnourished bride faint on a wedding day. I HAVE SEEN IT!!! Not only it is terrifying, it sucks out all the fun and also reduces so much time for photos. Make sure to eat well before the makeup starts.
The ONLY thing I actually wish the brides forget on their wedding day is worrying! Don’t get caught up in the midst of tiny imperfections, a loose thread, a missing flower from the bouquet, etc. Try to enjoy your day to the fullest despite of the small stuff.
May you have an UNFORGETTABLE wedding day, ameen.
Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
She had tons of questions…
Being the first one amongst her siblings to get married, she was lost in all the wedding planning process. As I was answering her questions, a past bride of mine came in to meet me. I asked her to join in and the conversation went to a whole new level.
I sat back and watched both of these amazing girls. It was like watching an amateur meeting an experienced one. The crazy idea popped into my head and I asked the bride-to-be if she’d be interested in meeting my other past & future brides to help her plan the wedding. She agreed in a heartbeat. Before leaving, she turned back and said thank you several times to my past bride and myself for being the reason that so much of her stress was reduced.
In that moment, I felt like I was the missing link! I decided that I haddddddd to take a step forward & plan a friendly get-together for my future brides-to-be. To help them connect the dots, help each other with the tiring wedding planning, bring and share ideas to plan and have the best day of their lives.
With that being said, I feel sooooo very nervous & super excited at the same time because I actually did take the step…..the venue has been booked, invitations have been sent, and I can’t wait to see what this small step will result into…
Cheers to a step forward!
The Missing Link,