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10 “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Wedding Ideas I love

I’ve been shooting weddings for over a decade. In the wedding photography world, that’s almost ancient. Which is sad because people burn out all the time but that’s a story for another day. So having shot maybe 300 weddings in my career, I have seen some good ideas and some bad ones. I was going through some old photos, drinking wine and reminiscing and laughing and crying. I do that sometimes when I need to unwind, it’s weird and also kind of sad how much I work but it all evens out in the end. Anyway, I was going through photos and decided very quickly to throw together this article of 10 Most Useful “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Wedding Ideas I love“. Not the most elegant of titles but it’s got the gist.

These are by no means THE BEST IDEAS IN THE WHOLE WORLD but they are that to me. Knowing I still have like 15 weddings to shoot this year this list may very well change but for now, I think they make so much sense and makes for a really good wedding day.

And these ALL happened at my weddings over the last decade or so. Hopefully you’ll find these to be useful at yours!

Wedding Ideas I love #1: Getting Ready Together

I’ve been selling this to my less traditional couples versus a First Look. It’s intimate, it’s sweet, low-key, unpretentious, no-stress in terms of having to hide from each other. Logistically it also saves you some money in having to get two rooms at a hotel, or even two locations to maintain all the suspense. So if you’re all modern and don’t like surprises, this is an option for you and I LOVE IT. Here’s Robert and Wilson, helping each other get ready for their wedding. Just makes me want to cry every time I see this.

Columbia Winery weddings Robert and Wilson

Wedding Ideas I love #2: A Bacon Bar for Cocktail Hour

For us keto folks, this is GENIUS. And delicious. I mean, even if you’re not on keto, this is amazing. The hors d’oeuvre’s are nice if people can spell it right most of the time, but throw in a bacon bar? Your cocktail hour will be the talk of the town for years, like Portia and Derek’s wedding reception at the Sahalee Golf and Country Club.

I mean, this was three years ago and I still cannot stop dreaming about it and wishing someone would remember to put a bacon bar in their wedding.

Sahalee Country Club: Bacon Bar for wedding cocktail hour! Wedding Ideas

Wedding Ideas I love #3: Bejeweled Add-on Cap Sleeves 

Do I even need to say more? If you are wearing a strapless, this is the easiest way to bling up your gown. Tuvy here looks like instant Wonder Woman, I think. It even came with a cape of sorts. Just amazing. And amazingly no-brainer and no-fuss. Check out Tuvy and Brian’s fun Vietnamese wedding here.

Blessed Sacrament Weddings Tuvy and Brian Wedding IdeasBlessed Sacrament Weddings Tuvy and Brian

Wedding Ideas I love #4: Crochet Needle for Dress Buttons

Another magnificently simply hack for those many, many button-ed dresses.

Sahalee Country Club weddings: Portia and Derek

Wedding Ideas I love #5: Magnets for Boutonnieres

This is another no-brainer and fabric-preserver. Magnets are in everything these days – even weddings! Stick one on to one side of a boutonniere (another word I often have to spell-check using Google) and the other behind a lapel, BOOM. I want magnets on everything. Stick a piece of bacon on me for easy snacking!

Willows Lodge wedding: Emily and Preston Wedding Ideas

Wedding Ideas I love #6: Wedding Programs that are also Fans

Now let’s be clear: We Pacific Northwest dwellers love our summers and hence, our summer weddings. We also hate them a little bit when the sun becomes too intense and we have to stand or sit under it for more than five minutes. Which is why when you make your wedding programs into useful little fans like Hannah and Brent did for their wedding at Roozengarde! GENIUS!! People have been fanning themselves with programs for millennia – evolve them!

Roozengarde wedding: Hannah and Brent Wedding Ideas

Wedding Ideas I love #7: Officiant officiating from the other end of the aisle

This. THIS.

Emma Byfield is a genius for doing this and I’ve not seen it done anywhere else other than at Allison and Matthew‘s wedding at the Sole Repair Shop a few years ago. She officiated their intimate wedding from ACROSS THE AISLE. Made SO much sense. All focus is on the couple. The couple’s focus is on each other. When they look over at Emma, they’re also looking over at their loved ones.

I can’t even.

Good play, Emma. Good play. Hire Emma for your wedding. Emma is so clever.

Sole Repair Shop weddings: Allison and Matthew

Wedding Ideas I love #8: Asking guests to take photos first before ceremony begins

So this is a new development that I think 2018 can claim it invented. Officiants inviting guests to take all the photos of the couple they want before the ceremony begins and then putting their cameras and phones away. Because let’s be honest – your friends paid a LOT of money for me to be there and the last thing they want is for you, their honored guest, to do work. It is work, y’all.

Camp Moran wedding on Orcas Island: Amelia and Adrian

Wedding Ideas I love #9: Dancing Lessons at the Party!

This is also another fun one and an idea I’ve seen only at three out of the 300 weddings I’ve photographed. Adrian and Amelia here hired Squirrel Butter, a band that performs traditional and original music influenced by Appalachian, early country, jug band, and blues artists from the late 1800’s through 1950’s, to teach some old-timey square dancing like the Virginian Reel at their wedding reception. It was SO MUCH FUN.

Orcas Island weddings Amelia and Adrian at Camp MoranAnd at Jen and Sage’s wedding, they had a legit Cuban Salsa dancing instructor come and teach their guests a quick lesson while Pearl Django played.

Tacoma wedding photographer Jennifer Tai: Jen and Sage

All-time favorite wedding idea: Hiring Babysitters!

This is definitely my all-time favorite wedding idea.

Seattle Tennis Club weddings: Lesley and John

Inviting guests with littles is always tricky because you know they’d have to get a babysitter and the added expense may be a deterrent. And if they bring their littles, there’s only so many high chairs you can stick into a wedding reception table.

I shot a wedding where the bride and groom hired a few babysitters, stuck them in a room full of pizza, chicken nuggets, board games, comfy pillows, a TV and an XBOX. Parents with kids dropped them off the room which was right next to the reception and came in to check on their babies intermittently, and went on to enjoy themselves in the next room without worry.


As a parent of teenagers today, I would still stick them in the room.

So there you have it. My 10 Most Useful “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Wedding Ideas I love. Do you have any to add? Tell me in comments!

Also, wanna hire me for your wedding? Drop me an email!

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