Choosing a wedding dress for the beach

So you're getting married on the beach? Awesome. Maybe you're picturing a golden circle of sun drifting downward through a purple-orange sky as you and your soon-to-be spouse tune into the melodic sound of the ocean crashing into the sand. If not, you probably are now. That's good, hold on to that.

Disclaimer (I've never bought a wedding dress)
When choosing a dress I would first find a female friend since I'm a guy. I have been to lots of beach weddings though (like, hundreds). These are the things I've found to be true. Individual results may vary and results are not guaranteed!

The sand is gonna get you
Now back to the rosy sunset picture. There's probably some sand in that vision somewhere. Sand has an amazing ability to get and stick E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. Also, sand is wet and can be dirty. We have nice sand in The Bahamas but it's still not something you want on your white dress. I know the idea of a long train trailing in the sand and contrasting with the raw nature of the beach is enticing. But understand that if your dress touches the sand it will likely be wet and dirty faster than you can say "make it a double". If what you're interested in is a few amazing photos then worry not. But if you plan for your dress to remain immaculate you may want to keep the hem above your ankles.

It's the heat
Remember that sun we talked about? The sun is hot, really hot. Especially at the wrong time of day. Add the bulk of a wedding dress and it's unbearable. You've probably never been to the beach fully-dressed much less in the many folds of a wedding gown. In theory it's easy to brush this aside and decide to just tough it out. But I have to warn you, that's hard to do when sweat is flowing liberally through your very expensive makeup and hairdo. This is not an ideal time to take photographs, trust me. Think of wearing your dress in a sauna for a few minutes to help you evaluate it's sun-friendliness. Easy and breezy are good watchwords. It's also super-important to choose the right time of day, especially if your wedding is in the summer.

Getting there
Getting to the beach can be a chore. Stairs and brush are just two of the obstacles you are likely to face. A long walk is also more probable than not. This is a good time to mention shoes; heels and sand don't mix. Bring a pair of flip-flops or sandals for the transition to the surf.

Final words
As usual, knowing what matters to you and a bit of planning are all you need to make your dress a timeless part of your day instead of a looming problem. Picture yourself in your dress at all your locations and transitioning between your locations. What moments matter to you most? Are you willing to pay for transportation between locations? Would you prefer a few amazing moments or lots of great candid moments? Answering these questions will help you prioritize and make your dress decisions much simpler.

It's tempting to imagine that "pride knows no pain" and that a few moments of wonderful are worth hours of suffering. Maybe. That's not been my experience though. On the photography side most folks seem to prefer natural moments of happy. Few things are more attractive than a genuine smile and those can be rare when you're not feeling comfortable. At the end of the day your wedding is a time to celebrate, not perform.

Choose your own photographer? Not at some Hotels.

It’s true. Some hotels and resorts do not allow any photographers except their own at their weddings, or, if they do, they charge a fee. And by fee we mean lots of money.

We’re not big fans of this at Stop Motion Productions. We think photography is an incredibly important choice and would never want to limit your options. Of course weeeeeeeeee are your best option (hint, hint) but if for some reason you wanted to choose someone else we don’t think bullying you is the best way to win you over.

If your hotel restricts your choice of photographer there are a few options.

Skip the hotel
There are lots of locations to get married in The Bahamas including great beach options available at no cost. And there are lots of locations that are happy to welcome outside vendors.

Pay the fee
One of the reasons you might want to get married “on property” is to save time and money. We like saving both of those but we don’t think you should settle when it comes to your wedding day. Paying a bit extra for the photographer you want will pay you back every time you look at your photographs.

Go AWOL
Get your ceremony and run! Most of the hotels and resorts lead directly onto a beach where you are free to take whatever photos you want. Get the formal stuff out of the way and use your entire hour for your portraits and family photos.

Look around
Not all hotels treat weddings the same. Some properties take a great deal of pride in their weddings and others not so much. Some aim for a customized experience and some work within predefined packages. Take the time to find a good fit and don’t forget to ask about their photography policy.

Why we don't do CDs

There was a time when we liked CDs. We think it was before the internet. Nowadays there are much better ways to get your photos. 

What's wrong with CDs?
We spend a lot of time on your photos and we want them to look great. That’s why we take up to a month to process your images. That means if we wanted to send you a CD we’d have to mail it. Paying $50+ for a shipper such as FEDEX or UPS adds costs to your package without much value. We’d send it through the national post office but you may be celebrating your golden anniversary before it arrives. And don’t get us started on tracking.

So how do I get my pictures?
Instead of a CD by snail-mail we send you a link by email. When you click the link, your computer will begin downloading a file with a name like album-13380583. Once your file is done downloading, double-click on it. Enjoy your photos. Total investment? Three clicks.

Now you have all your photos and they are the same size and resolution as they would have been on a CD. You can download your photos to as many computers as you like (Mac and PC) as many times as you like in as many countries as you like.

The Touchy-Feely factor
We’re betting that one of the things you like about CDs is the ability to touch them. It’s nice to have your photos in a tangible form. We get that. The problem is, CDs are not as reliable as you might think. When you have handled as many CDs as we have (hundreds) you know that they are not fail-proof. Over time they can be scratched, warped or otherwise rendered unreadable. It’s a sad moment when the CD you have carefully labeled and archived refuses to hand over it’s data.

If a hard copy if your thing then we recommend some sort of solid-state storage such as a flash drive. After putting one or two through the washing machine we can attest to their hardiness.

Noteworthy

  1. Your downloaded pictures are yours forever but your download link will only work for two weeks. If your time expires and you need another two weeks just let us know.
  2. Depending on the size of your wedding you may end up with more than one Download link to click (we’ve never seen more than 4). That’s not so bad though since more links = more pictures and more pictures = more awesome.

10 tips for the groom for wedding awesome

There are four words that grooms have repeated to us over the years when we ask for their input on wedding decisions.  “It’s. All. About. Her.”

In many senses that’s a fair statement and one that will often prevent bloodshed or at least limit it. The bride is usually the glowing celestial body around which a wedding orbits and a wedding is rarely a success if the special lady does not feel like the most important woman in the world, nay the universe.

However, we would change one of those four words (please don’t hurt us ladies). Instead, we prefer, “It’s mostly about her.” Yes, she may sometimes refer to you in a manner more suitable for a piece of furniture or the decorations but it’s usually because she takes your support for granted. And even if she’s not worried about you, we are. It’s partly because we’re nice people but mostly because we need you.

You see, when you are having fun it’s more likely that she’s having fun and as a result we’re more likely to have fun. It’s an investment really, an investment in our fun level. So with that in mind here are 10 things that will make sure everybody has a good time (especially you).

  1. Relax. Deep breaths. We’ve seen lots of things go wrong and none of them matter if you stay cool. It’s a party!
  2. Be early. Time is one of the best ingredients to have if you need to solve a problem.
  3. Practice your smile. You have to do it a lot and it’s easier if you’ve looked at yourself in a mirror. Practice = easy. 
  4. A clean handkerchief or small towel is a life-saver.
  5. You have the easier clothes and no bouquet. Use your wardrobe advantages to help her move around easily. Pro tip: Big, fancy dresses often have a loop underneath. Have fun finding it.
  6. Keep an eye on her make-up, hair and clothes to make sure they look they way she wants. You’re gonna be the closest to her so you will often spot something that needs attention first.
  7. Take advantage of your best man, he is one of your greatest assets. He can help keep people in line and get things. Things that were forgotten and things that are served with ice are popular items.
  8. Scribble down a few ideas for a thank-you speech, preferably at least a day before the wedding day. A few notes or names can help you concentrate on your feelings instead of worrying about forgetting something.
  9. Enjoy your portraits! We know, we know, you don’t really like having your picture taken but give us a few minutes. She is going to look at your photos hundreds of times and she’ll be staring at the expression on your face. Remember when you look into the camera you’re looking at her.
  10. When in doubt, repeat softly that she is important woman in the world. It’s okay if only she hears this.