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Guest Post: Pro Photographer Taylor Golden on 7 Must-Have Wedding Day Photos

Guest Post: Pro Photographer Taylor Golden on 7 Must-Have Wedding Day Photos

Photo: Taylor Golden Photography

Your wedding day will come and go…FAST. And your wedding photos and wedding video are the only ways you’ll be able to look back and reminisce. Plus, planning a wedding is basically a full-time job, not to mention that it’s more than likely this will be your first time putting a wedding together, so it can be difficult to predetermine what moments or images are going to be important to you.

Aside from the standard “first” shots—your first kiss, first dance, etc.—this is a day for gathering family members and dear friends. Having so many loved ones in one place, at one time, all beautifully done up and turned out, happens…almost never. So make sure you take full advantage of the occasion by capturing the most important people in your life in photographs to cherish.

Here are my 7 must-have wedding photos of the wedding couple, family and friends, to help you prepare for your big day. Oh—and one more thing: When selecting a wedding photographer, make sure she or he has ample experience in photographing each of the elements below. You can do this by asking to see at least a couple of weddings the photographer has shot, to make sure their talent and capabilities are consistent. And now, it’s time to smile…

1. Family Formals

This may seem pretty basic, but these classic family wedding portraits are also incredibly important. Remember, your wedding is likely to be an activity-filled day, and you may not be actually be around your family members all that much. These family photos may be the only pictures you have with your nearest and dearest, so you’ll want to make sure you take a family photo with anyone that is important to you.

It’s also important to select a photographer that is comfortable and experienced in a variety of different lighting scenarios. Family formals typically happen immediately following the ceremony, and if that ceremony happens to be in a church, the lighting may be extremely dim and poor quality—for photos, that is.

When selecting a photographer, be sure to look at that photographer’s examples of family wedding formals to see if you like the posing, lighting and composition the photographer offers. It also helps to create a list of the different family groupings you want to document. Your planner or maid of honor can assist during this part of the day by calling out people’s names for each picture, grouping them, and crossing them off your list once the photo has been shot, to ensure you don’t miss anyone!

2. Individual Spouse Portraits

Surprisingly enough, these individual portraits are often overlooked by many couples and photographers. There are a few variations of each portrait you’ll want to consider. For each portrait, you should have a close-up, a mid-waist, a full shot and an artistic shot. Diversity is key, so you’ll also want to include a mix of expressions, such as looking at the camera vs. looking away, and maybe some shots with movement, such as twirling the dress, or straightening the bowtie. It’s up to you!

3. Family Candids

These unposed, joyful shots are some of my favorites. As I mentioned previously, pictures with your family on the day of the wedding are sometimes hard to come by. For this reason alone, I always suggest that my clients have their immediate family with them while they are primping and getting ready for the big day. This is a great time to capture candid family moments that show more personality, and are often more emotional than family formals. I’ve also seen some fun parents join the bridal party for pictures on location—again another great opportunity to capture some unique and candid images with your family.

4. Wedding Party

There are many variations for this category. They may include:

  • The entire wedding party together
  • Groomsmen together
  • Bridesmaids together
  • Bride one-on-one with each bridesmaid
  • Groom one-on-one with each groomsmen

To optimize these photos, I encourage my wedding parties to have fun and be themselves. Showcasing the group’s energy and personalities are what will make your wedding party photos unique.

5. Couple Together Close Up

Of course you will want some full-length photos of you and your spouse, but don’t forget about the close ups! Think of the 5×7 frames you’ll want to fill. Have your photographer focus on your gorgeous face, hair, makeup, jewelry…and the mega-watt smile you’ll be sporting on the happiest day of your life!

6. Bride and Groom Artwork

I like to give my couples artwork rather than photos for their home. What I mean by this is a dramatic image that incorporates nature, architecture and stylization. The couple themselves may only fill 1/8th of the image; my goal here is that when people walk into your home they say, “Wow what an amazing piece of art! Oh, wait, this is your wedding??” Many couples don’t care to have their faces plastered, larger than life, all over their walls. By creating a piece of artwork, I provide my couple with the story of their day without their appearing vain or self absorbed.

7. Bride and Groom Candid

This is all about your personalities. If you are anxious and stiff on your wedding day, it will show in your pictures. I tell my couples to escape into each other. Be yourself with your new husband or wife; laugh, kiss, do what comes naturally to you! It also helps to have two photographers on hand to do this, so that the primary shooter can focus on getting the must-have and more difficult posed images, while the second shooter can “stalk” the couple for special candid moments!

Multi-international-award-winning photographer Taylor Golden counts politicians, professional athletes and celebrities among her clientele. Newly returned to Houston after a long Midwest hiatus, Golden is HOT on the wedding scene. Find out more about Taylor Golden Photography & check out her gorgeous pix right here!

Guest Post: Pro Photographer Taylor Golden on 7 Must-Have Wedding Day Photos

Photo: Taylor Golden Photography

Joe Knows Weddings: Photographer Joe Cogliandro on How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors

Joe Knows Weddings: Photographer Joe Cogliandro on How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors

Photo: J. Cogliandro Photography

Today you’re in for a special Houston Wedding Blog treat, darlings! Renowned fine-art, portrait, wedding and boudoir photographer Joe Cogliandro joins us for the first in a series of guest posts we’re calling “Joe Knows Weddings.” Why? Because, with 14 years of experience shooting many of the most magnificent nuptial celebrations in Texas (and across the country), the founder of J. Cogliandro Photography does know weddings—and the brides and grooms having them–incredibly well.

For our first installment, Joe responds to a recently engaged friend who’s having difficulty deciding on vendors—and offers his thoughts on the power of personal connection:

Bride-to-be, Leah: “Joe…. Did you get the message I sent you on Facebook a few days ago? I know it was sorta out of the blue since we had not talked in a while but I wanted to let you know that I recently got engaged! Yes…yes, I know, pretty crazy and super unexpected, since we have only been dating two months. But you know how things happen… one day you don’t have a clue what life is going to bring you then suddenly everything is clear.


Greg and I met at yoga class a few months ago and have pretty much been inseparable since. I wanted to let you know personally since you have been such a good friend through the years and (of course) I wanted your opinion on a couple of vendors. We are getting married in six months and I only have the location and coordinator picked out, and I have had tons of advice from everyone on who to use for all the other things.


The problem is…they all seem pretty good, they all have such good recommendations and many have been used by my friends. I know you are in the industry and thought I would get your professional opinion. We are currently looking for a florist, DJ/band, photographer and videographer. My mom and a few of my bridesmaids just attended a big bridal show and though it was helpful and answered a ton of questions, I feel like it left us with many more questions unanswered. We have already met with about three or four vendors in each category, but I am at a loss on how to choose. Some of them seem the clear choice but others seem like they can go either way… so…clarity…I need some clarity!”


Joe Cogliandro: “Leah! So good to hear from you and so excited for this craziness happening in your life! I have the simplest advice for you regarding your vendors. I am going to assume since you are not bringing up finances that all of these vendors pretty much fall into your budget, and that since you have met with them and you still have a few for each category, that they are all good at what they do. You also said that each one has been recommended by someone you know, right? If all of these factors have already checked out, then all that is left is for you to choose the people that are going to make you the happiest. If you are certain of their professionalism and you trust they will all follow through with what they say they can deliver, then it’s just about relationship at this point.


Over the next few months, each of your vendors will play a pivotal role in your life. Now, they may not be your best buds, they may not meet up with you for drinks after work or attend your Christmas party… but the energy they bring into your life will either positively or negatively affect much of what is happening in the rest of your personal life. These people are helping you plan the biggest day in your life, so it’s only natural that the relationship you have with them will be an emotional one, to an extent.


Pick the people that you would have share this time with you. Which florist made you smile the most? Which photographer could you actually see holding a conversation with you (or more importantly your friends and family)? Which DJ do you believe will help project the environment that you want for your friends and family to share? Which of these people, given other circumstances, could possibly be your friends? Which have shown you that they care about you and your needs, not just about what they do and have done? You want people on your team… that are working together for your sake, not for their own individually. Here’s my advice in a nutshell:


  • Pick people that will add energy not take it away… life is too busy to hire someone negative.
  • Pick People that will LOVE you and your family.
  • Pick people that you want to do life with for the next few months because they will bring more joy into an already joyful occasion.
  • Pick people that will make you happy.


So, Leah my answer is simple pick the person, not the vendor.

Joe Knows Weddings: Photographer Joe Cogliandro on How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors

Photo: J. Cogliandro Photography

Guest Post: Recent Houston Bride Emily on Why Do I Do!

Guest Post: Recent Houston Bride Emily on Why Do I Do!

Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Speaking as someone who dreamed of her wedding day long before she was old enough to date, I know the joy and excitement that comes with getting engaged. You’ve found the love of your life and he’s asked you to be his forever. Now the only thing standing between you and your happily ever after is the wedding planning— which, let’s be honest, you can’t wait to dive into. What could be more fun than choosing flowers for your bouquet, tasting multi-layered cakes and trying on gorgeous gowns, right?

Right! That is, until it hits you that you have absolutely no idea where to start. The truth is, planning a party of such large proportions can seem a bit daunting at every stage, especially if you don’t have a team of supportive (or crafty) people available to lend a helping hand. Less than a year ago, this is where I stood. While I couldn’t wait to get married, I felt overwhelmed by the giant to-do list staring me in the face and was in desperate need of some inspiration.

Enter the I Do! Wedding Soiree, a luxury bash hosted by Weddings in Houston Magazine. This awesome event is not just a one-stop shop for everything wedding, it’s also the total opposite of those overwhelming convention-center bridal shows that seem to pop up all over the place. It’s relaxed, super elegant, fun…and you get to go home with major swag. Like, more than $100 worth.

If you’ve recently gotten engaged and are even the least bit confused about planning your big day—or are just looking to treat yourself…because the Soiree is a party, after all, with tons of bubbly, yummy bites, entertainment, beautiful things to look at everywhere—don’t miss the I Do! Soiree at the Four Seasons next Sunday, Oct. 18.

The best wedding experts in Houston will be there to answer your questions and give you the ideas and support that you’re looking for. Being a bride or groom is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it should be fun—NOT stressful. Take it from me. Oh—and by the way, my wedding was amazing. Yours will be, too.



How to Match Your Hairstyle to Your Wedding Dress by Marlene Montanez

Guest Post: How to Match Your Hairstyle to Your Wedding Dress by Marlene Montanez

Photos: Tom Carson

When I started dress shopping for my wedding, one question that came up again and again as I tried on dresses was, “What kind of veil do you want?” To be honest, the question always caught me off guard because I knew there was only one answer: “It depends on the dress!” Your entire wedding look, including your jewelry, veil and wedding hairstyle, should absolutely match with the wedding dress you pick! So how can you match your hairstyle to your wedding dress? Don’t fret, we’ve got some great tips on coordinating your hairstyle to your wedding dress with ease.

Backless Dress
Backless wedding dresses are very on trend. And whether it’s completely open in the back, partially so or just the illusion of an open back with lace detailing, you’ll likely want to show off that sexy back! Consider an up-do for your wedding day hairstyle to give your back the spotlight. If you aren’t feeling an up-do but still want something that’s flattering, you can also try a longer hairstyle where your hair is pulled and styled to the front and side. Think: An ultra-glamorous low side pony with curls.

One-Shoulder Gown
A one-shoulder gown is great for showing off fabulous arms and a little skin; so don’t have your hair covering that up! A half-up half-down wedding hairstyle is a great way to balance off this asymmetrical look. If your wedding is a bit on the formal side, an up-do works really well with this look, too. And since the focus on the gown is showing off the shoulder, you can also rest assured that just about any veil length works.

Strapless/Sweetheart Dress
Strapless and sweetheart-neck dresses are still some of the most popular wedding dress styles. The good news is, they not only flatter just about every figure, they work with just about any hairstyle, too! If you are having a church ceremony or concerned about showing too much skin, consider a long hairstyle instead of a half-up or formal up-do.

Casual/Beach Dress
If you are having a beach wedding or a more casual affair, embrace the afternoon vibe with a non-fussy look. Long hair styled in beach waves or even loose braids and half-up half-down looks are perfect for beach weddings. This is one look where you’ll want to avoid the formal up-do and have fun with your wedding day hairstyle.

Click here for more wedding hair tips and ideas from Latest Hairstyles!

Guest Post: Brides Tell All in Latest David’s Bridal “Whats on Brides’ Minds” Survey

Guest Post: Brides Tell All in Latest David's Bridal "Whats on Brides' Minds" Survey

Photo: Awake Photography

While June marks the most traditional time of year to be married, this survey proves that the modern bride is anything but traditional – saying “okay” to former pre-marital taboos like buying a home and starting a family, fitting in one last fling before the ring or choosing a more comedic emcee to deliver the Best Man speech.  And an important note for those who will be attending as guests – don’t fret if you’re flying solo the day of, as 52 percent of recently married brides had guests hook up at their weddings.

First comes real estate, then comes marriage?

Back in the day, there was a perceived order on how a couple should start their lives together.  A big white wedding, setting up a home together and THEN having a baby.  But times have changed.  Although it may make our grandparents cringe, the modern bride believes it is okay to do things a bit “out of order.”

When asked what they thought was acceptable before marriage, brides proved they were less than traditional with 93 percent saying things that were once thought of as being taboo are now okay.

  • Living Single: A whopping 82 percent said living together before saying “I do” was totally fine.
  • Real Estate Partners: If you are living together, what about buying a home? Not a problem before tying the knot according to 56 percent of women.
  • Banking Buddies: Having a joint checking account prior to marching down the aisle is supported by 45 percent of brides.
  • Consummation Appreciation: 72 percent said having sex before marriage is acceptable.
  • Newborn Before Nuptials: 38 percent of respondents supported the idea of baby carriages before marriage.

Name Recognition

But fear not – the modern bride has not abandoned all traditions; most brides are saying “I do” to taking their husbands’ names.

  • 71 percent of brides have or will be taking their partner’s last name after the wedding, and another 17 percent will hyphenate her name.

A girl may dream about her wedding, but it’s the fantasies that are more fun!  According to the David’s Bridal “What’s On Brides’ Minds” survey, brides and brides-to-be can have a bit of a scandalous side…

Final Rendezvous Before “I Do”

Before she walks down the aisle, would the bride have one last romantic fling before the ring? According to the survey, many would if they could!

  • So who would they want to canoodle with? 44 percent of survey respondents said they would love a chance to be with their celebrity crush, while 17 percent admitted to wanting one last fling with their ex! Even more shocking…5 percent of women (GASP!) would pick the best man for their last hurrah!

A Celeb Toast with the Most

Let’s be honest – the best man’s speech can make or break the wedding reception.  One bad toast can set the mood for the rest of the night, so why not ensure a speech that has everyone in stitches?  If they had their pick, brides would love a celebrity funny man to deliver the big toast, with the most requested best men as follows:

  • Comedy vet Will Ferrell got the most love with 34 percent of the vote!
  • Coming in a close second, seasoned award show host Neil Patrick Harris snagged 26 percent of the votes.
  • Rounding out the list were “sexiest man alive” Adam Levine* with 20 percent, “Tonight Show” leading man Jimmy Fallon with 15 percent and movie heartthrob Chris Pine with 5 percent.

(*remember, 5 percent of women would want their last fling with the Best Man.  Hmmm…)

Love on the Dance Floor

Okay single ladies – rumor has it that the best place to meet someone is at a wedding, so if you are still looking for “the one,” RSVP “yes” this summer.  Attending someone’s nuptials might be a more effective way to couple up than online dating.  Maybe the next invitation will be for you “plus guest!”

  • A majority of respondents (52%) said they had guests “hook up” at their wedding. Love is in the air!

For more information on David’s Bridal and the brand’s wedding resources, visit www.davidsbridal.com.