iPhones at Weddings – Should We or Shouldn’t We?

Camera phones / iPhones at weddings. We’ve all seen guests use them. But do they really need to?

cell phone at wedding ceremony

We’ve all seen this Microsoft commercial. You know the one where all the wedding guests have their camera phones out during the ceremony, and everyone ends up in a big brawl.

Sure, it seems funny, but in reality, this is becoming a big headache for the wedding industry – and it’s not a make-more-money scheme to prevent anyone else but the hired photographer from taking pictures so guests have to shell out money to purchase photos either.

No one wants to prevent Aunt Sally or your BFFs from taking pictures at your wedding. But . . . very real issues can crop up when other people decide to take pictures at someone’s wedding.

Handling wedding guests with camera phones so that the privacy and security of the wedding events is preserved, not to mention preserving the sanctity of the wedding ceremony, and provide non-interference for the professional photographer to whom you’ve paid a lot of money for your wedding pictures, is a growing challenge.

Unfortunately with the increase of better technology which is supposed to make our lives better and easier – the problem has gotten worse! The proliferation of camera phones and other devices has made taking – and sharing – pictures so much quicker and easier that people don’t stop and think if they should be taking a picture right now.

I asked Jennifer Gilman with Mark Garber Photography for her thoughts on camera phones / iphones at weddings. Here are her comments:

1. Underneath it all, what bothers us the most is the fact that the vast majority of people never print or even download the photos taken on their phones. While an official study or poll hasn’t been conducted yet, it’s been estimated that fewer than 30% of people print their cell phone photos. In this digital era, cell photos get uploaded to instagram, Facebook, etc. where they get instant gratification, but then disappear into cyberspace forever. Good stats on those numbers: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hunterschwarz/how-many-photos-have-been-taken-ever-6zgv

Our thoughts are this: As professionals who are there to ‘document’ and ‘archive’ an event to be cherished and viewed by generations of family members, it’s extremely annoying and detrimental to get once-in-a-lifetime moments ruined by a wedding guest who just wants to just update their Facebook status. Isn’t that like saying to the bride, “I know this is a big day and all, but my instant gratification on social media is far more important.’

Technology and Your Wedding Day

2. From a professional photographer’s view it can ultimately hurt your creativity and what you deliver to the client. Two common issues that occur are slowing down the day’s timeline and reducing creativity. First, guests with cameras/phones are always slow. They never have their camera turned on, set in the right mode, flash turned on, etc. and therefore say “I want this photo, but I need to stop everything while I get my camera figured out.’ They then take minutes to take the photo. Most count to 3, snap, look at the photo, and then try to take another. This takes minutes, while a pro would take seconds. Repeat this process with a hundred guests and it gets tedious and slows down the day. Second, every so often we get the ‘stalker’ guest. The one that feels compelled to follow us everywhere and photograph over our shoulders all day. This has to be the equivalent of a heckler to a comedian…basically someone there to just give you grief all day. These pesky stalkers instantly change our moods, which in turn effects our creativity, patience and ultimately our end product. While we have things in our contract to help prevent this, it still happens and can make for an awkward and annoying situation on the wedding day for both us and the bride and groom.

3. People have a ‘flash or smile limit.’ Brides and grooms don’t know this because most have never done an 8-10 hour photo shoot before their wedding day, but everyone reaches a “I’m tired of looking and smiling at the camera’ moment. By the time the reception hits, I can see the weary look on brides and grooms’ faces as they are stopped for the millionth time for a photo op by a guest. You do get very tired of having a camera in your face all day and it’s only gotten worse with the increased use of cell phones. And again, what’s the point if they are ultimately going to fade away into digital dust.

4. There is a time and place for everything. Turn the phone off. Unplug from the world and enjoy the presence of the people in front of you. Relish in the moment and enjoy what is around you. Be involved in what is happening and not be partially present as you try to figure out your phone/camera and then upload to the Internet.

Thanks Jennifer for your insight!

If you feel that cell phones or other electronic devices will be a problem, I suggest putting a notice in your wedding program that states that the ceremony is an “unplugged” event. Reinforce this request by asking your officiant to remind the guests to silence their electronics. Also post signs at the entrance to the ceremony or by the guest book asking people to refrain from using electronics.

Be sure to visit Mark Garber Photography for your wedding photography needs!

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you have questions, or are looking for ideas, contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Bride & Groom Q & A – Backyard Weddings

Backyard Weddings

Q – We are doing backyard DIY non-traditional wedding at my parents house. I want them to be comfortable, but I am worried that after the reception is over people will just stay because they are already comfortable there.

A – I love backyard weddings. There is nothing more personal or unique than having your reception at home.

But, you make a good point about people getting comfortable and staying. The one thing that you can do to help is even though it’s at your parents home, don’t treat it like “oh, we’re just hanging out and partying at home.” Treat it like a wedding reception.

Outside Only
Don’t give your guests the run of the house like you normally would if they are just over for a visit. Since the reception will be held in the backyard, and not in the house, make inside off-limits. Of course, you’ll probably have a few exceptions to who can come in – such as grandma and grandpa if it is really hot outside, or a friend who needs some privacy to nurse her baby. But for everyone else, all the action is outside so they can stay there.

Rent a port-a-potty. They make styles that look like a regular bathroom, so your guests don’t have to feel like they’re at a construction site. This eliminates the need for people to have to come inside (and feel more like home), and for most weddings, a home bathroom isn’t enough to accommodate the number of people who will be there. Do you really want a hundred or so people traipsing through the house looking for a bathroom?

Rent a tent. This not only helps define the space where you want your guests to be, it also helps defend against Mother Nature. It will keep your guests out of the hot sun, (or out of the rain if the weather isn’t cooperating), and won’t give your guests any reason to have to go inside.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Do you have a wedding question, or are looking for ideas? Contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

3 More Ways to "Go Green" On Your Wedding Day

Be a Locavore
When selecting your wedding menu, choose items that feature ingredients grown or made at local businesses. Dairy products, beverages including wine & beer, cheeses, and countless vegetables can be found from local companies and farms.

Use Recyclable Place Settings
I don’t mean cheap paper places. Serve your meal and desserts in style on recyclable dinnerware, such as bamboo or palm leaves.

Be Pesticide Free
Keep mosquitoes away from your outdoor ceremony or reception by using an eco-safe mosquito repellant such as “Don’t Bug Me Natural Bug Spray” (found on etsy).


For more wedding tips and ideas, or if you have any questions or need help with wedding planning, contact me at 937-235-2586 or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

Book Review – Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning

Book Review – Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning

This post may include affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission for products purchased, at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own, and I only share products that I love. Please read my full disclaimer if you are interested to know more.

take back your wedding

These days too much emphasis is placed on having the `perfect wedding’ and `it’s all about the bride.’

Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning by William J. Doherty addresses the important aspect of dealing with the difficulties that are frequently brought on by friends and family members (including family dynamics such as divorce and stepparents), those who have a stake (financial and/or emotional) in the wedding, and their often varying, opposing (and unsolicited) opinions.

5 Proven Ways to Beat Your Wedding Planning Stress

In this book, Doherty (Professor and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Social Science, College of Education and Human Development, at the University of Minnesota) is always mindful that a wedding goes beyond just the bride and groom. He gives practical advice in dealing with these situations, which can quickly make the road from engagement to wedding a bumpy one.

Take Back Your Wedding never relegates you, the couple, to a `back seat’ position. Instead it gives you the tools needed to respectfully express your thoughts and wishes, maintain and lead the lines of communication so this journey is smooth and stress-free, so you can end up with a wedding that you want.

Take Back Your Wedding is ideal for any bride (and groom).

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you have questions, or are looking for ideas for your wedding, contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Non-Traditional, But Wonderful, Wedding Ceremony Songs

wedding ceremony music Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” are beautiful songs, and popular choices for wedding music. But, there are other options for your wedding processional, as well as your prelude and recessional. Check out these unexpected, emotion-filled pieces of music that are perfect wedding ceremony songs!


Unforgettable by Nat King Cole

God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
How Sweet It Is” by James Taylor
One Hand One Heart (West Side Story)” by Leonard Bernstein

Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison
Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan
“Sunrise” by Norah Jones

Ceremony Music – A Twist On Tradition

Bride’s Entrance
When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge
“Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Lullaby” by Dixie Chicks
Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

Baby, I Love You” by Aretha Franklin
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder
“What a Wonderful World” by Joey Ramone

Modern Love” by David Bowie

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you want more ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

My 2014 Wedding Trends Predictions

Ok, I’m no fortune teller, but I love to keep an eye on what’s “in” and what’s “out,” especially for weddings. Based on what I’ve been seeing in recent years, here are my predictions of what’s to come in 2014.

1. Vintage/Retro decor that accents/enhances the theme and venue

2. Hand tied bouquets that incorporate personal items (locket, necklace, rosary, grandma’s hanky)

3. Mini bites (fun hors d’oeuvres, desserts)

4. Colors that are softer, yet muted & sophisticated (Greens: Teal, Sage; Yellows: Pantone Sunflower, Snapdragon; Purples: Iris or Tahiti

5. Neutrals (especially taupe & gray) will still be strong

6. Wedding gowns with sleeves (light – like lace, or off-the-shoulder)

7. Wedding gowns that aren’t white or ivory (think light pink, blush, pale blue)

8. Shorter wedding dresses

9. Bling will still be “in” & we’ll see it on wedding gowns, centerpieces, bouquets and cakes

10. Fun desserts (cake pops, mini cakes, candy buffet tables, donuts)

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you’re looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586.

photo credit: Lynn Friedman via photopin cc

Funny Things Kids Think About Love

funny things kids say about love - love is

We all know what love is, don’t we? Well, maybe. When asked what they thought about love, here are several funny love quotes by kids and what they think.

    • Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.

Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.

Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.

Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.

Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.

XOXO – Kisses and Hugs

Love is hugging. Love is kissing. Love is saying no sometimes.

Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.

Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.

Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken.

Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.

Hope this made you smile.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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Meet the Pros – Brian Harris / Brian Harris Entertainment

What is your background?
I come from a very musical family. My dad is a trombonist and leader of his own big band orchestra that he’s had for over 50 years. My mom used to teach piano lessons back when I was a young boy, my two older brothers are also musicians – a guitarist and a drummer. I started playing drums at the age of two. And I have continued drumming to present day and it is something that is also a huge passion of mine.

As a young boy I would serve as dad’s “roadie” and help him set up the bandstand. Then I would hang out at most of the events and sit back with my brother who played drums and watch him play. Once I got to an age where I was able to sight read music, I would sit in on a couple songs. Then around high school I was ready to play the entire event as a full time drummer.

So because of this experience with wedding receptions in the band, it gave me a head start in knowing the ins and outs and basic timeline of wedding receptions. And when I finally got into the DJ business in 1997, I already had a head start, and I truly feel that it really helped me with timing and knowledge of how a reception should flow.

When did you first realize you wanted to work with weddings?

Immediately. That’s where I started so it has always been my passion. I don’t mind doing non-wedding events, but weddings are not only where my heart is, but also where I am able to do some personalized things for the bride and groom to really make them shine that day. In turn, it really allows me to show guests at the wedding that there truly is a difference amongst DJs. There’s a good chance they have never witnessed a fun grand entrance like I do, that shares info about each wedding party member (but rather, just names only being introduced), or a poignant Love Story that I share about the bride and groom. People are used to the “same old same old” when it comes to DJs and what they do at weddings. So my goal is to break the stereotype that “all DJs are the same”.

How long have you been in business?
Since 1997.

Why did you start your business?
Great question. I started my business the way that many DJs get into the business…DJing a friend’s wedding as a “gift” or “favor”! Haha! And as much as I discourage couples from hiring a friend to DJ their wedding (because a lot of bad things can happen taking that route), and as much of a hypocrite as I sound by saying that, I fortunately did have the experience with weddings as mentioned in the first question above. I wasn’t “wet behind the ears” as most DJs are, at their first 10 or so weddings. So yes, it had been something that I wanted to get into for a while. And when my friend asked me to be a guest at her wedding, I asked her if I could instead, be her DJ. She allowed me, and the rest is history!

What is your favorite part of a wedding?

When I get to share the couple’s Love Story. This is a vocal delivered presentation (by me) about how the couple met and the journey ever since. I have been formally trained to do this (by Mark & Rebecca Ferrell – “The MarBecca Method”) and I don’t recommend DJs trying this without the training. Seriously, it could be a huge embarrassment to the bride and groom, if not done with the finesse, dynamics and know-how that you would receive from the formal training. This is my favorite part of a reception because at that very moment, it is all eyes and focus on the bride and groom. There isn’t one thing that I could do, that would personalize it more for that couple than sharing their Love Story. It is how they met, and fell in love….and everything that has led up to their wedding day. How awesome is that?

The Grand Entrance would be a very close runner up as far as a “favorite part” of a wedding, because when my couples choose to share some information about their wedding party, it really makes it fun for all involved and lets everyone know that it is going to be a very fun night, starting right away!

What’s the best way to find the ideal band or dj?
There’s truly no better way to find the ideal band or DJ than witnessing them “in action” firsthand. A DJ can talk all kinds of “game” on their website, or even in person, but proof of their abilities and talents can be best found while they are performing.

However I don’t recommend DJs ever inviting someone to “demo” them at someone else’s wedding. You’d never want your DJ to bring in strangers at your wedding to stand in the corner and watch him perform, right? So it’s just bad etiquette for a DJ to ask a couple to come see him “in action” at someone else’s wedding. Besides, it’s not fair to the DJ or the couple watching him perform for just 10-15 mins, which is probably the length of time they would stay. To understand the full scope of what he does as an MC/DJ, they would need to be there from start to finish.

Of course, a strong recommendation from a friend that has either used a particular DJ or was a guest at a wedding and witnessed this highly recommended DJ….could also be a great way to find your ideal DJ or band, or at least narrow down your options.

What wedding music trends are you seeing?
A few years ago the “BPM” (which is the tempo of the song), trend was a very slow 80-90 BPM, especially in the hip hop and rap genres, which made it harder to create “energy” on the dance floor. But here lately, music has gone back to the upper 120-130 BPM, almost bringing back the disco sound with such great songs as “blurred lines” by Robin Thicke, or “get lucky” by Daft Punk. As a drummer, this type of music makes me very happy! Great beats, catchy melodies, and lots of groove!

Is there a musical mistake couples sometimes make?
Not too often, but I would say that one of the biggest mistakes that couples make is not reviewing the lyrics to a song before choosing it for one of their formal dances. Just because it has the word “LOVE” in the title or in the lyrics, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a positive song or fitting for a married couple, or the father/daughter dance, or a mother/son dance. Some “love” songs actually talk about a break up, or an unfaithful person. So just be careful with what you choose, by reviewing lyrics online. Google is your friend! Just type the song title and the word “lyrics” after it, and voila, lyrics!

Do you have any final advice for brides and grooms?
Absolutely! One of the things that I have found over the years that can help everybody enjoy themselves better is the setup of the room that the reception will take place in. For example, I s uggest putting your dance floor in the middle of the room, the guests tables in a “U” shape around that, and the head table at the top of that “U” shape. This guarantees that everyone is equally distant from the action that will take place on the dance floor. Also, with this type of set up, everything is now aesthetically pleasing to the eyes because it is symmetrical.

Also, don’t put your DJ in the corner of the room away from the dance floor, and especially don’t put tables between him and the dance floor. Your DJ should be as close to the dance floor as possible so that he has access to it when he is serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Also being close to the dance floor allows him to interact with people dancing, and it makes it easier for them to come up and make music requests. I know I’m biased, but your DJ should not be an afterthought. When all the formalities are over, he will be the reason that the celebration will be a success, taking it all the way to the planned end time, or come to a close sooner than later.

Anything else you want to share with us?
Most definitely. Brides & grooms reading this, if you follow these 4 steps, you will find and hire the best possible MC & DJ to represent you on your wedding day:

1) INTERVIEW. Interview all potential MC/DJs face to face. Never book them over the phone or through their website without meeting them in person first. I can’t stress this enough because of all the things that you can see firsthand when meeting in person. You can learn a lot about their personality, their style, their professionalism, and if you’re going to be able to trust them. No way can you totally experience that through an email or phone call.

2) PLANNING. The person you hire should not only stay in contact with you throughout the whole planning process, but they should also provide you with planning materials. Never book a DJ that says “ok sign the contract and I’ll see you on your wedding day”. They should have some sort of detailed planning materials to help you prepare for your planning meeting with them, and that planning meeting should happen sometime before the wedding. I set mine for 1 month out.

3) PRO-ACTIVE. Your wedding should be fun, not stressful, not worrisome, and your MC/DJ should be very pro-active and hands-on with helping create the perfect day for you! So meet with that person, get a good feel for who they are and what they offer, and then make your decision.

4) PRICING. Do not hire on price alone. There is a reason why some DJs charge more than others. “You get what you pay for”! If you agree that your Entertainer/Master of Ceremonies/DJ is one of the top 3 most important parts to creating a successful reception, then be sure to allocate more money in that area so that you can afford to hire who you REALLY would like to have speaking on your behalf that day!

I invite you to view my website www.BrianHarrisEntertainment.com and see the difference. I would be honored to help you create the perfect day for you and your fiancé!

8 Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding Décor

If you need to save money on your wedding budget, your wedding décor is one of the first things couples think of. Here are 8 easy ways to cut costs, yet still have a gorgeous wedding.

1. Pick flowers that are available year-round. Not only are year-round blooms, such as roses, stock, & carnations more affordable, they also come in many different colors.

hydrangea centerpiece

2. “Something Borrowed” – borrow unique vases, bowls or pitchers. You’ll get a more personalized look, and save by not having to buy or rent vases.

3. Use bigger blooms. Larger flowers like hydrangea and peonies are money-saving since you’ll need less to make a beautiful arrangement.

simple floral centerpiece with pink peonies

3 Money Saving Tips Without Sacrificing Style for Your Wedding

4. “Go Green” – Save money by incorporating greenery into your arrangements. Eucalyptus, lemon leaf, or pittosporum are great fillers, and look great.

5. Have your arrangements do double duty. Reuse ceremony pew decor, altar arrangements and even your bouquets at the reception.

6. Instead of having a variety, only use one type of flower for all of your centerpieces. This allows your florist to buy in bulk, thereby saving you money in the end.

7. K.I.S.S. Choose simple arrangements such as a loose grouping of flowers, or just a few blooms in small bud vases instead of large labor-intensive, time-consuming centerpieces.

floral centerpiece in bud vases

8. Be open to the types of flowers used in your arrangements. Instead of insisting on a specific type of flower, tell your florist the colors and silhouette you want for your bouquet and arrangements and have him suggest budget-friendly options.

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you want more ideas, or need help with your wedding plans contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credit (hydrangea): Melinda Young Stuart via photopin cc