I had the pleasure of photographing Aleigha and Tyler a month ago on April 8th of this year. I had never shot at the venue that they had chosen and it was a pleasure to photograph them through out their big day. They were such a sweet couple and you could tell that they love each other dearly as the day and night went on. I also must say, for anyone who does weddings, the bridal sweet at the Venetian Room, VERY nice. Check out some of my favorites from the day below!
So a while back, I was speaking with a friend of mine about the wedding industry and various things that could be done to help SEO and what have you. We were discussing blog postings, and really just writing in general. During the conversation, I began to think of and idea. That Idea was that over time, I wanted to compare and contrast various types of weddings. With that said, I have decided to start series that I will post specific compare and contrast blogs over the next few months, and maybe longer (of course they will be spaced out) that will describe Western style weddings vs other around the world.
With that said, I contacted my best friend Tim. I have known this guy for over 20 years. We lived in the same neighborhood growing up, same high schools, a lot of the same thing. Out of us and all of our friends we were the most "creative" of the bunch so the amount of things we have in common is very vast. Although, he did catch more of the travel bug and nomad mentality more then I did.
Tim had lived in Japan for a little under 3 years, also traveling through out Asia-he is very versed in the culture and what goes on. Tim has had the privilege of contributing to various publications and blogs in the Tokyo community. Being a DJ/Music producer and creating his own music promotion he gained a lot of notoriety. On top of this, he has also started a growing and successful night life photography blogs (www.tokyonightowl.com) that focuses on various after hours establishments and "cultural norms" in Tokyo through the evening. One that is a good source for people who are complete unfamiliar with Tokyo and what goes on.
Below, you will find an article that he has written for us here at The Photo Collective in regard to Western weddings Vs. Japanese.
If given the choice, would you rather have a Japanese wedding or a Western wedding?
Not sure? Good. It’s a trick question.
“Japanese weddings” are not what you might think. Your mind may gravitate towards kimonos, cherry blossoms, and temples, but surprisingly, this form of union has gradually been on the decline as the influence of Western culture and globalization has grown.
Traditional weddings of Japanese past were Shinto ceremonies; Shintoism being the indigenous religion of Japan. However, since the 1980s, Shinto traditional weddings have had began to decline in popularity. According to the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/08/world/asia/here-comes-the-japanese-bride-looking-very-western.html?_r=0 less than 25% of marriages take place in these types of ceremonies.
So what gives? What’s the other 75%?
Quite surprisingly, it’s none other than what many of us are well accustomed to: the Western Wedding.
Western Style Japanese Weddings (About 75% of new weddings and counting)
Despite less than 2% of the population identifying as Christian, the majority of Japanese weddings take place in a traditional chapel setting. The pastor or priest may be more for show than actual effect, but it still takes place in a church (or a place that looks like a church).
The flow of the ceremony mirrors that of a traditional Protestant ceremony. One of the few differences being that the groom bows to the bride's father; and the bride’s father bows in return.
The service itself even includes a mixture of English and Japanese. And after an exhange of vows (seiyaku) and rings; the traditional wedding kiss.
Outside of the Japanese language, and the absence of religious connotations, you may feel surprisingly at home in a Western style Japanese wedding.
Traditional Shinto Japanese Weddings (About 25% of weddings)
3. Spaztakular on Flickr
What was once the staple of Japanese union is no longer. However, some families and couples still elect to partake in this beautiful, and culturally unique, form of union in Japan. This is the type of wedding most people think of when they hear “Japanese wedding,” as it’s specific to the culture.
Unlike Western style weddings, there is no “fake” pastor and the service is entirely in Japanese. The groom wears a hakama (a pleated pant-like garment) with a black kimono jacket as opposed to a tuxedo. The bride wears a white and embroidered silk kimono (called a shiromuku) with long sleeves, as opposed to a Western wedding gown.
Instead of a wedding kiss, sake (traditional Japanese rice wine) is exchanged. Blessings are bestowed on the sake and the final sips culminate with the recognition of marriage.
4. Michael Hawkings from Pinterest
Like the Western style Japanese ceremonies, gifts of money are also standard affairs for these ceremonies. However, one can also contribute more traditional Japanese gifts and get a few culture know-how points. Popular gifts at these ceremonies are konbu (a type of seaweed), white hemp (representing old age), and an ornate folding fan (source: The Knot https://www.theknot.com/content/japanese-wedding-traditions).
So what makes a “Japanese” wedding?
While the ceremonies may differ, what ties them together, outside of the common language, is the exchange of gifts. The standard for all guests (and family), regardless of the ceremony, is to give money to the bride and groom (as the couple pays for the wedding). An individual is expected to give at least 300 USD http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2010/06/how-much-money-to-give-at-japanese.html. Families should give 500 USD - 1000 USD. One would need to choose the weddings they attend wisely!
Both types of ceremonies have after parties as well, much like the Western counterparts, with a final afterparty culminating at a bar. After all the gifts, and the after parties, you may find yourself a bit low on cash. Especially if you’re the one getting married. But it’s all in good fun, and is always intended to happen just once in a lifetime.
So which style of Japanese wedding would you like to attend? A traditional Shinto wedding or a Western style one?
I was driving home one day recently and began thinking about something that happens so regularly through out the period that is wedding planning for engaged couples. While, granted there are many things that take place throughout that very long process. The biggest thing that I am referring to (granted this is just my opinion), and the one that more then likely supersedes them all is the idea of budgeting. Deciding on a budget for the wedding is something that needs to be thought of right at the very beginning. Weddings are incredibly expensive, especially if wanting to be done right.
While a budget is regularly gone over, and over-and well over again. Having a starting (and hopefully set) budget is the first thing that needs to be agreed upon. Now, when I say budgeting, I am talking about how much to spend on those important things. You know; the dress, the venue for the ceremony, the reception, and all that food that comes with the catering! Oh, and we of course cannot forget about the photography and videography (which arguably is the most important item on the “to decide on and book” list). There is so much stuff to think about in a time frame that in reality is not that long enough time to plan. A year seems a long time, but honestly not at all. Below I have some things I view as important listed.
Yes, you can hate me all you want, but I am a little biased when it comes to this. But, I think most of you will agree with me. Getting the right photographer and or videographer is incredibly important. This person, or persons (depending on how many you have covering your wedding) are going to be covering possibly the most important day of your life. Why spare the expense? You want to get a photographer and or videographer that does a style you creates a connection with you, and is going to be the easiest to work with but know you will get exactly what you want when all is said and done. Deciding on this first should be the most important thing. To many people wait till the last minute and have to substantially cut the budget for the photographs, which can really hurt the product in the end.
2) Venue for wedding and reception
Venues I feel are the second most important part of the whole equation that is the ‘wedding day.’ If you decided to get married during a very busy part of the season, finding one that will suit both your significant other, hold the amount of people you want to invite, if its good for the photography, and possibly have the day open that you two are looking to get married on. Not to mention the location of the venue, especially if it is intended to be something special like a destination wedding.
I didn’t honestly realize how important the catering was for people at their weddings until one of the first weddings that I did, I had a groom ask me (after I had sent of the image to them) if we had any pictures of the food. Fortunately enough, he wasn’t to concerned about it. It was actually the “Momzilla” that was really adamant about pictures of the food. But then after a few more weddings, I could see why. You pay a lot for this food. Nine times out of ten is food that both the bride and groom know that the guests will enjoy. But, lets be honest here, it’s ultimately up to the bride and groom what is going to be eaten, which means normally its some of the newly weds favorite foods. With that said, make sure you pick the right caterer. Go on taste tests (just like you would when doing the wedding cake) meet with them, MAKE SURE that this is the right caterer for you. You don’t want any headaches during the day and at night when the reception happens.
Ok, so this could be a very broad thing that I am referring to. It really all depends on what you are going to have at your wedding. But lets be honest, your going to have a DJ. I think everyone has a DJ. And honestly, please do! If you are one to just have a couple of speakers and an iPod, come on-really?! You have to keep the people that come to see you on your big day, entertained. I mean, come on, they will probably be drinking right? They got to have something to do!
So I have been shooting weddings for a few years now, about 5 years to be exact. I didn’t really start shooting more on a consistent basis till a few years ago honestly. So yes, not that long, I get it, but I feel like the few thins that I have shared with you all today are a few things that I honestly think need to be addressed and be addressed without the thought of budgeting. If you budget on these things, I promise you will not like your choices. There is a reason things are the way that they are when you pay the amount you do, so that that day is the BEST DAY it can be.
So 2013 has been a relatively stellar year for us here at The Photo Collective. We definitely have had the privilege of making a bride andy grooms big day that much more awesome by making sure every moment was captured. This past August on a Sunday was no different.
We had been contacted by Caitlin Currier of Currier Creations (www.curriercreations.com) at the end of July for a last minute booking of a wedding at the end of August. We got in contact with the couple and met with them and began to line everything up!
We were already pretty excited about where the location was after seeing some pictures from the grooms cell phone. The venue looked pretty killer. The mansion is owned by an asian man who decided to turn it into a venue for events. This wedding was its first so that was pretty cool. The Mansion is located in Hampton, Ga off exit 221 after traveling down 1-20. Its well of the road, and honestly when we pulled up to it for the walk through about a week before the wedding, I think giddy school girl probably describes the excitement that I was feeling when I saw the layout both inside and out.
We ended up covering the wedding for about 10 hours that day, from the getting ready of both the bride and groom, to when they jumped in the pool at the end of the evening. Was a long but fun day!
Last weekend we traveled out to a beautiful venue about 2 hours outside of the city of Atlanta, near Helen, Ga. Neverland Farms is a little (well, okay, not so little) venue that I definitely recommend to anyone that is thinking about having an outdoor wedding. A horse and carriage brought the bride to the outdoor ceremony from the bridal cabin, and then carried the newlyweds away so that the guests could migrate to the reception held in an open barn. You should absolutely check it out!