Archive for Wedding Resources

There are more resources than you can shake a stick at when it comes to preparing for your wedding.  Most of us dig like crazy to find and use a good amount of that information because our wedding day is one of the biggest and most important days in our lives and requires enormous amounts of logistical planning.  Plus it’s something that we don’t do regularly, so it’s unfamiliar to us.  In planning your wedding, you probably have or will invest hundreds of hours trying to make sure everything is perfect.  Yet it’s only for one day.

In the midst of all the planning, how much investing have you done in the marriage you’re about to have that will last much longer than your one magical day?  For those of you like me that are already married, how much investing in your marriage have you done since your wedding day?  Some people really do invest in their marriage, but not every thinks to do so.  Regardless, I want to pass a piece of advice that I received at one point: read one good marriage book a year.  Yes, this applies to both of you.

Amanda and I got married on June 28, 2003.  Neither of us expected an ounce of the battles we later had to face.  We learned a lot of lessons over the years, and it still requires constant attention.  Otherwise the working parts of our marriage will become weak, rusty, and in danger of failing.

Most people never go into marriage expecting it to crash and burn.  Do you remember my comment of unfamiliarity?  That applies to marriage also.  Dating is one thing, but living together as a married couple is a completely different story.  It takes work, commitment, and self-sacrifice from both parties.

Over the years, Amanda and I have benefited from reading books, listening to programs and sermons on marriage, and learning to listen to each other openly.  You are either already married or on your way, so I really wanted to pass along the advice that has benefited us so much.  So make the commitment to invest in your marriage and read one marriage book a year.  I’ll even give you my recommendations.

The first book I’d recommend is called The Most Important Year in a Woman’s Life/ The Most Important Year in a Man’s Life.  The cool thing about this book is that it’s two-sided, being one for the man and one for the woman.  But it’s fun to read both sides and get even greater perspective.  I really consider this a must-have marriage book and strongly encourage you to buy it now and start reading it.

The next book I’d recommend is His Needs Her Needs.  This was actually the first book that Amanda and I went through together, and it helped us out immensely.  What we both remember the most is the Love Bank.  It is an analogy that better helped us think about what we do and say for each other and how it either hurts or helps our marriage.  It’s a great book and also a must-have.

Our second favorite to recommend is The 5 Love Languages.  I know it’s been out for a while, but we just finally decided on it last year.  It really was an eye opener for both of us to learn more about how to show love for each other.  It breaks down into five areas, but Amanda’s dominate love language was quality time, where mine is acts of service.  Though we at times forget this, at least we know so we can better get back on track when we’ve strayed.

As parents, I found that reading the book To Train Up A Child also served as a great book for our marriage as well.  Though it wasn’t directly about our marriage, you have to learn even more about how to work together as a team.  That and how to be more critical of your own character since you’ll now be influencing a younger you.  I highly recommend this for any parent, or expecting parent.

The last one I’ll recommend is His Brain Her Brain.  No, it’s not the same author, but it’s a great book, especially for us guys.  This one exposes the literal design differences between men and women that sometimes make it difficult to understand each other.  I loved this book, but Amanda wasn’t able to finish it.  Understanding the differences helped me to better understand Amanda.  My favorite example was that women are equipped to hear more audible tones than men are, so when a woman complains about using tones that men don’t understand (“don’t use that tone with me”) it’s because women hear what men don’t, literally.



I hope that these resources are a helpful start for you.  Even if you are already investing in your marriage, these are great additions.  Sometimes you’ll find what you’re doing right, or you might find how you can do things differently.  If you have other books that you’d like to share, please comment on this post so others can see.  You might help me find my next book as well.


Thanks and best wishes on your marriage adventure!



If you found this post helpfully in anyway, please let me.  Plus I appreciate Likes and Shares when I can get them.  Thanks for reading.

Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography

When planning a wedding, most people don’t make it past the many essentials (venue, flowers, photographer, etc).  Part of what gives a wedding extra character can sometimes be those little extra touches here and there.  A fun way to do this is by looking at the various wedding traditions from around the world, as well as some fun activity ideas.  To get you started, I’ve put together a great starter list of websites.  There are tons of great ideas out there.  Which ones will you add to your wedding day?




Traditions and Superstitions

The Knot has a list of 50 traditions and superstitions.  Some of these most people will know, but others will be new.  It can be fun to see what people come up with.  Here’s some of my favorites:

The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below.

The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Yikes!

In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.

Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.

Brides carry or wear “something old” on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.

The “something blue” in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love.

In Denmark, brides and grooms traditionally cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits!

In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”).



Reception Games and Activities


A website called Weddings And Romance have put together a list of Wedding Reception Games and Wedding Activities.  This is a great list of fun ideas to make your special day even more unique and memorable.  Here’s some of my favorites:

Guess the Truth

The bride and groom are asked a number of personal questions before the reception. The MC or someone in the wedding party makes up multiple choice answers for each question including the correct answer. Guests are asked the questions and by a show of hands we get the popular answers and compare them to the actual answers.

Guess the Bride

The groom is blindfolded and expected to guess the bride from feeling just the feet of 5 persons. First blindfold the groom. The MC/DJ points to 5 persons and seat them on chairs in front of all the guests – you can choose anyone but the bride. This is especially hilarious if the 5 persons are men with their pants leg rolled up and socks removed.

Guess the Groom

The bride is blindfolded and expected to guess the groom from feeling 5 men’s faces. First blindfold the groom. Point to 5 persons and seat them on chairs in front of all the guests – you can choose anyone but the groom.



Wedding Reception Games also has a list of some fun ideas.  Here’s one for you:

3. Balloonatic

The participants of this game are the guests who are still single.
There are 16 contestants, 8 girls and 8 boys. The participants must be
divided into two teams. Each team must have 4 ladies and 4 gentlemen. They
must be positioned in an alternate manner. There is a sausage balloon
given for each team which must be placed in between legs. The sausage
balloon will be passed from one player to another. Note: the balloon must
not be touched with hands nor be popped or else they will have to
repeat the relay all over again. In case the balloon burst out, it will be
replaced with a new one.


German Traditions

This one is more person after attending my brother’s wedding in Berlin.  His wife is German, so they had the wedding where her family and friends could partake.  That was still the most wild and fun wedding I’ve ever been to.  They are the ones that gave me the idea for this post because they use many games and activities in their wedding receptions where Americans do not.  Here’s some goodies for you:

Add German humor to the festivities whenever appropriate. During the vows, while the couple is on their knees, the groom could kneel on his bride’s dress to show who will be “wearing the pants”. When the two stand, the bride might step on the groom’s foot to show her disagreement.

Decorate exit doorways with garlands of flowers, greenery and ribbons. After the ceremony, the groom must “ransom” the couple out of the facility by promising everyone money or a party.


Some of the things not listed on this site that I witnessed included log sawing, cutting a giant heart shape out of a bed sheet that’s been signed by everyone and then carrying the bride through the cut-out into the reception, a game where the bride and groom sit back-to-back and have to answer questions, a poem where a package is pasted around the reception before finally ending with the bride, and more. has a story about a couple that incorporated the log sawing into their wedding.  Here’s the article:



Latin American Traditions

Again, the Knot has some great lists of ideas on their website.  Here’s another one that has some fun ideas.  Here’s your sampling:

Bailemos (Let’s Dance)

There is an endless variety of Latin music to choose from: salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, and samba, to name just a few. For a really dramatic first dance, take some tango lessons before your big day, and surprise your guests with a performance. Hire a Mexican mariachi group or Cuban big band to get everyone dancing. Before the dancing really begins at Mexican weddings, guests gather around the couple in a heart-shaped ring. Cuban weddings often include a money dance, in which each man who dances with the bride attaches money to her gown.

Donde Estan? (Where Are They?)

Can’t wait for the honeymoon to begin? Well, in Venezuela, it isn’t uncommon for a couple to sneak away from their own reception. But no one gets upset once they discover the newlyweds are missing — it’s actually considered good luck.

Regalos (Gifts)

In Puerto Rico, small favors, called capias, are presented to the guests in a receiving line. They are made of feathers tied with ribbon and printed with the couple’s names and wedding date. For your wedding, you can give guests little Mexican wedding cookies wrapped in tulle, Spanish fans, a volume of Pablo Neruda’s love poems, or note cards with paintings by Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera tied with ribbon. If you’re up for it, the little bride and groom skeletons used during the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, which is really a celebration of life) would be perfect favors.



Around the World Customs has an extensive list of customary things each country does for their weddings.  It’s fun to see what everyone else does to see if any of it can be added to our own weddings.  Here’s a few for you to enjoy:

In Peru they put charms (attached with ribbons) between the layers of the wedding cake. Just before the cake is cut and served there is a little tradition organized. Each single woman present at the reception pulls a string. Peruvians believe that the one who pulls out the ribbon with the ring is going to marry within a year.

Koreans believe that if the groom is smiling a lot at the wedding his first child is going to be a daughter. After the wedding groom’s parents throw some nuts and plums to the bride. If the bride takes some nuts she’ll get many sons.

People in Scotland organize “Blackening the bride”. Couple’s friends and family members kidnap the bride-to-be and then pour some rather smelly substance on her.

In Armenia, t is a tradition that groom must ask the bride’s family for the bride’s hand. Armenian do it by holding a meeting of members of both bride’s and groom’s family. More formal and more common traditional meeting of that nature is called “Khosk-Kap”. Less formal meeting called “Khosk-Arnel” is sometimes organized too.

“Breaking a plate” or “vort” (“word”) is well known Jewish engagement party tradition. It is done by mothers of the bride and groom. They stand together and break a plate. This act has a symbolic meaning. Once broken plate can never be completely repaired. It is the same with human relationship.



To see more tradition ideas from the Knot, check out this page.  Plus PixPod has some great wedding entertainment ideas you should check out as well.



There are tons of great ideas out there.  I know you are overwhelmed in your planned, but I challenge you to add those one or two extra things to your wedding that’ll give you a lifetime of memories to enjoy.





If you found this post helpfully in anyway, please let me.  Thanks for reading.

Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography




Jan 16, 2012
posted in Wedding Resources with 0 Comments


So how do you prepare for all of those group photos on your wedding day?  Well, to start, I have included a basic list below that should help you get the main photos covered, and in an organized manner.  Of course you can modify it according to your own needs.  Just having a list is important since it’ll help you know who and how to prepare so it can all be executed in a timely fashion.  Remember that the more elaborate you make your list, the more time it’ll take, and the more likely chaos and confusion will still happen.  Besides, only a select few will actually make it from digital to print as it is anyways.


Basic Shot List:

  • All in one (everyone in one big photo)
  • All family & wedding party members
  • All family members
  • Both sets of grandparents & parents
  • Both sets of grandparents
  • Grooms grandparents only
  • Brides grandparents only

* Grandparents are completed and may move on to the reception

  • Both sets of parents
  • Grooms parents
  • Grooms parents & siblings
  • Brides parents
  • Brides parents & siblings
  • Siblings only and other remaining family photos

* Family members are completed and may move on to the reception

  • Entire wedding party
  • Groom with bride’s maids
  • Bride with bride’s maids
  • Bride and each bride’s maid individually
  • Bride with groom’s men
  • Groom with groom’s men
  • Groom with each groom’s man individually
  • Bride & groom only

* Formal group photos are completed. Additional fun photos may be done at this point.

Possible Pre-Ceremony Shots:

  • Bride with bride’s maids
  • Bride and each bride’s maid individually
  • Groom with groom’s men
  • Groom with each groom’s man individually
  • Bride with family members
  • Groom with family members
  • Bride only
  • Groom only


Once you have your list, let everyone on the list know.  You can even share that list with everyone so that they can know their part and when they need to be ready, and when they are done so they can move on to the reception.  Ideally you want to take care of the grandparents first so that they can be off their feet as quick as possible.  Next you want to get anything involving family knocked so that you can then be left with your wedding party only.

In my list, you’ll notice the first item is a large group photo that includes everyone.  Some of my wedding couples really wanted to capture their entire wedding attendance in one big photo.  If you desire the same for your day, first consider if the venue you’ve select will have a place to facilitate the size of your guest list.  If so, then you’ll need to coordinate with both your photographer and your coordinator.  Plus, you’ll need to make sure all of your guests are aware of when and where they are to be for the photo, otherwise you’ll have people scrambling to organize a disaster.  So you’ll have to decide when and how to let everyone know.

The next thing you need to decide is when you want to have your photos taken.  I talk more about this in my post titled Pictures Before Or After The Ceremony, so I’ll just lightly talk about it here.  Many people hold to the tradition of not seeing each other till after the ceremony.  Others bypass the tradition by doing all of their photos prior to the ceremony so they can spend more time with their guests at the party they paid for.  It really is a very person decision, so you’ll want to make a decision you won’t regret.

More than anything else, have your plan, and let everyone know their part.  Having everyone on the same page will help avoid, or reduce, the cat-herding experience on your wedding day.  Make sure that everyone knows when and where they’re supposed to be, and that they really are there.  But remember that you don’t have to do this yourself.  Feel free to assign one or two people from your wedding party to take care of this for you.  Just getting the group photo part of your day planned and ready can take a huge amount of stress off of you, making you better able to enjoy one of the best days of your life.





If you found this post helpfully in anyway, please let me.  Plus I appreciate Likes and Shares when I can get them.  Thanks for reading.

Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography