Monthly Archives: February 2014

From The Expert: Three Ways You Are Ruining Your Wedding With Social Media


Photographers know a lot as they are on the front lines of wedding planning and the wedding day. Ashleigh Henning of Ashleigh Taylor Photography is here today to tell us the three ways that social media is ruining your wedding experience and what you can do about it.

Wedding Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay! And while it can be a great resource and add a lot of fun to your wedding planning process, it can also ruin your big day! Wait what? As a wedding photographer, I have seen it happen. The good news is you don’t need to fall victim to the social media induced wedding day blues. Here’s three ways social media can really ruin your wedding experience and what to do about it so it does not happen to you!


Sharing big life moments on Facebook has become the status quo. It’s easy on a big day like your wedding to want to update your status, check out all your likes, and all the lovely words of congratulations people are writing on your wall! However, I am always amazed by how many brides spend a lot of their time in the hair and make-up chair looking at their phone & Facebook on their wedding day.

The Problem: There are three big problems with this. 1) It makes it much harder for your hair and make-up artist to do their job when you are constantly checking your phone for updates. 2) It doesn’t really look that great in photos to see a bride engrossed in her phone. It’s totally not that idealistic image of a bride looking excited as she’s being primped, but rather one where a bride looks concentrated on something else other than her wedding day. 3) The biggest problem of all is that it is actually taking you out of the moment of enjoying what is actually happening. Your wedding day only happens once, but your Facebook wall will still be full of messages tomorrow. It’s so much better to live in the day rather than the social network because, well, YOLO.

The Solution: Turn your phone off or give it to your MOH so you don’t feel tempted to check it. Maybe your friend can even periodically check your fb for you and report back. But you should really do your best not to check it and enjoy the moment!


Pinterest is practically synonymous with wedding planning these days. Most brides have several Pinterest boards dedicated to wedding inspiration with everything from their dream decor to must-have shots they want for their wedding pictures. I do love Pinterest and think when used wisely it can be a great resource, but it also has its pitfalls.

The Problem: Pinterest creates a LOT of unrealistic expectations for your wedding day which can lead to a lot of disappointment for brides. Keep this in mind: when you are pinning photos you are pinning one or two of the BEST photos of someone’s wedding. So your Pinterest board is not actually representative of every shot every person gets in one wedding but rather a “best of” compilation of photos from hundreds of different weddings. And there are a lot of unique factors to each wedding such as location, scheduling/timeline, whether or not a couple did a first look, weather and lighting conditions, etc., which may make recreating these “best of” shots hard to accomplish. Each wedding is unique so it is very unrealistic to think your full wedding folio will look like the highlights from many other weddings. That’s not to say your photos won’t be AMAZING, it’s just to say they might not be a shot-by-shot recreation of your pin board. Beyond just unrealistic expectations for photos, pinterest can also create unrealistic expectations for what is doable in decor. A lot of stuff that is popular on Pinterest is from styled photo shoots — not even real weddings — and to execute that look for a real event would cost $$$$.

The Solution: I am not saying you need to get rid of your Pinterest board, just to keep your expectations in check. Use the boards to figure out the overall style you’d like for your pictures or decor, and then find a vendor who fits that style and can create something ORIGINAL just for you within that style. Your original photos created by a photographer you trust are going to be so much more genuine, beautiful, artistic, and meaningful than recreations of shots on your pin board. And heck, a few of them may even end up being popular on Pinterest down the road too.

3) INSTAGRAM (or similar photo sharing apps/sites)

Your friends, family, and even your bridal party are whipping their phones out to live-Instagram your wedding day! That might seem great in theory, as you are excited to see some photos from your day right away, but there is a real trade off for this.

The Problem: First, by live-Instagramming the day, your friends and family are not being in the moment with you. I’ve actually had to ask bridesmaids to stop taking photos of the bride getting into her dress so she could actually be in the photo with the bride and be a part of the getting ready process. Really?! Yes, really. I’ve seen moms so focused on getting a photo of the bride walking down the aisle with their phone, that their face registered no actual emotion as to what was going on other than the concentrated look of “must take this photo.” It is really so sad, especially since part of the reason you hire a professional photographer like me is so you don’t have to get the shots yourself and can enjoy the moment of the day! Second, it actually ruins your pro-photos when you have a bunch of people trying to take amateur pictures. It can be as simple as looking at your ceremony photos and seeing a sea of hands holding iphones where your guests’ heads should be. But it can be much worse too. I’ve had guests get up and stand in the aisle to take pictures during a ceremony blocking or limiting my shots. I’ve even had a guest during the cake cutting ask me if I could move out of their shot, but I am pretty sure at the end of the day the bride preferred my pro-shot to her guest’s blurry Instagram one.

The Solution: Have an “unplugged” wedding or at the very least an unplugged ceremony. This means asking guests to put away their phones and cameras and not take pictures during the ceremony (or sometimes the entire wedding). You can do this really nicely by putting up a cute sign, a note in the program and/or by having the officiant say something about it prior to the start of the ceremony. I’ve had several couples do this and it has had a tremendously positive impact on both the photos and the whole mood of the day!

In conclusion, I think the common thread here is that all three social media outlets (Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram) detract from your wedding day because in one way or another they take you out of enjoying the moment of your day. Whether it is referring back to your Pinterest board to make sure all your “must have shots” got taken, or checking your Facebook feed for messages from friends, or your guests jumping up with their phones to take tons of pictures during your ceremony instead of actually watching it, all of these things prevent you from fully experiencing one of the huge milestones of your life. Your wedding day will go fast. Enjoy it fully.

ashleighBased in Santa Barbara, California, Ashleigh loves to be behind the camera, documenting the most important moments her couples get to experience. She loves getting to know her couples and offering them guidance and direction so they can look back at their photos and feel happy about their time in front of the camera. Ashleigh’s work has been featured in many major wedding print magazines and on high-end and frequented wedding planning web sites. Her favorite part about the gig: connecting with real couples, telling their story through vibrant images, and helping people see themselves as beautiful as they truly are.

Visit Ashleigh Taylor Photography, “like” her on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest and Twitter. … just not during your wedding day.

  • ashleigh says:

    thank you for sharing my article with your readers! i truly hopes this helps some brides have a better wedding day and live in the moment!!

  • julia says:

    Very well said Ashley!

  • Kathy says:

    You have managed to impress me with your interesting innimratoofal article. That¡¯s no small feat. I share many of your same views that you¡¯ve expressed very well in this content.

{Real Jewish Weddings} Florence, Italy

Having developed a love of fine shoes late in life, it was upon wearing a newly-acquired pair of red velvet Marc Jacobs heels that Lauren met Joe — or rather Joe spied Lauren’s red shoes — as she crossed the road to attend a plush London soiree. It so happened that Joe was also attending the same event and spent the rest of the evening trying to find the owner of the red shoes. Eventually, after much searching, he did and they hit it off immediately. The rest, as they say, is history and Lauren and Joe were married in the incredible grounds of ‘La Sorgente di Francesca’ — a lovingly-restored Borgo dating back to 1400, which nestles gently in the rolling Tuscan hills of the ancient village of Fiesole, just outside Florence.

Before the wedding. the couple were photographed around Florence with Lauren wearing her red shoes in a nod to how they first met. The following day, wearing an elegant, beaded strapless dress, flowers in her hair, and carrying a bouquet of cream roses, gardenias and jasmine, Lauren married Joe who wore a suit he’d had handmade in Venice with a Scottish thistle as his button.

Following an intimate chuppah ceremony, their guests enjoyed an aperitivo of local delicacies and fine wine and relaxed by the poolside in the warm afternoon sunshine, as the sound of jazz filled the air. After the official photographs that included shots of the beautiful surroundings and Tuscan scenery, the couple and their guests were piped into dinner by a Scot’s piper before dining on a feast of Italian specialities at a square table decorated with sunflowers. Later in the evening after the sun had gone down, the courtyard became their dance floor where the jazz band took to the stage once more to entertain Lauren, Joe and their guest as they danced under the stars.

Mazel tov, Lauren and Joe!

Italy Jewish Weddings

















Photographer:  Belle Momenti Photography

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

{Real Jewish Weddings} Baltimore, MD

You know it’s going to be a good day when you walk in & the bridesmaids are doing the Soulja Boy dance together! That fun energy set the tone for Alyssa and Jonathan’s Sheraton Inner Harbor wedding, and the rest of the day followed suit! Even though it was freakin’ COLD out, Alyssa and Jono did their First Look out on the convention center walkway, and the rest of their bridal party joined them. Afterwards, they signed their Ketubah, Jono veiled his bride, their sisters lit the 4th candle of the Chanukah menorah, and their moms smashed a plate — all before they headed down the aisle to wed.

Alyssa, a huge Disney fan, was escorted down the aisle by her parents to “When You Wish Upon a Star” performed by a string quartet, bringing smiles to all who know her. Under their custom-made Chuppah, they opted to read love letters that they had written to one another, instead of saying vows. Beautiful, emotion-filled love letters. A joyful “Mazel Tov” filled the air, and rose petals were tossed, as the newlyweds made their way back down the aisle.

The reception was kicked off by the band “Spectrum” and everyone joined in for the Horah! The dance floor was packed the entire night, and every last detail was attended to by the amazing Lemon+Lime design team. The purple uplighting, beautiful floral arrangements on the tables, and the sparkly table numbers added the perfect purple stylings to create a festive, formal, and romantic atmosphere. Jono appeased his guests by getting up on stage and singing his famous rendition of “Love Shack” with his best man – it.was.AWESOME!! At the end of the night, guests picked up a satchel of donuts on their way out the door, in celebration of Chanukah!

Mazel tov, Alyssa and Jonathan!

Baltimore Jewish Weddings













































Photographer:  tPoz Photography
Reception Venue: Sheraton Inner Harbor
Jewelry: Bespoke Fine Jewelry
Makeup Artist: Beyond Brides Hair & Makeup
Dress Designer: Christina Wu
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy Group
Lighting: Event Dynamics
Floral Designer: JJ Cummings Floral Co.
Event Designer: lemon & lime event design
Officiant: Rabbi Ari Sunshine
Dress Store: Renaissance Bridals
Band: Washington Talent Agency’s Spectrum

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Jewish Mourning During A Wedding Event

Usually around these parts of the inter webs, we talk about fun, happy, pretty things — the wedding equivalent to rainbows and unicorns and fairy dust. I like it like that. And clearly you do, too, since y’all are so loyal as fellow Yentas. But here’s the thing: sometimes, gefilte fish gets real, and we need to talk about things that aren’t as rainbowy and unicornish and fairy dust-like.

I’m going to be frank with you: sometimes, people die. Well, people always die, but sometimes it’s poor timing and they die within the year of your wedding. This could be a, how do I say this? a problem.

I once got a phone call from a hotel catering manager who was looking for some information about the Jewish mourning period because her bride and groom just notified her that they’d have to postpone the wedding. The wedding was set for summer of 2013 and a grandparent just passed away. They want to delay the wedding until the period of mourning is over, but the venue clearly stated that their deposit would not be transferrable as noted in the contract. Obviously, the couple is upset by this, and they are currently working on a solution that is mutually beneficial.

This sad tale brought the catering manager to me via phone call (she and I did not know each other previously as we live in different states and have never worked together on The Wedding Yentas) and we spoke about the significance of mourning in Judaism and why we both think that the venue should accommodate the couple and transfer their deposit to a TBD date.

So, not to sound like your bubbie, but, a thousand times POO POO (spit), in case you need to know, I thought I’d share some Jewish mourning guidelines and how they might be relevant to your wedding if the timing is unfortunate. As always, the way you choose to observe Jewish traditions is up to you and what’s best for your family, or consult your rabbi for guidance. As with most traditional Jewish observances, there are many layers to the restrictions. What’s covered here is literally the tip of the iceberg and should not be used as the absolute manual regarding the mourning period.

Basically, after a loved one passes away, there is a series of stages that the mourner goes through varying from solitary grieving to being comforted by others, from staying in the home to returning to the normalcy of life. Typically, the first seven days (Shivah) are the hardest for the mourner who, only at the end of Shivah, begins to take callers and well wishers. Shloshim lasts 30 days and the mourner begins to move on as he or she goes out into the world to do what he or she needs to do. However during Shivah and Shloshim, joining in on celebratory parties or taking part in joyous events is not acceptable as the mourner’s wounds are still so fresh.

When Shloshim ends, the mourner is bridged into the remainder of the year (the whole year makes a revolution from the burial date to the anniversary of the burial). According to Jewish observances, for the mourning of one’s parents, there is to be no attending celebrations of joy during that first year.

Now, who is to say what’s a joyous occasion? This can be such a subjective term. What if going for a walk with your dog brings you joy? What if eating ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies for breakfast brings you joy? The “joy” that the scholars refer to is religious joy or celebration like… you guessed it… a wedding celebration. Going to wish the couple “mazel tov” or attending the chuppah ceremony is OK. However, joining the festivities of a meal and dancing to gleeful music is not.

If a wedding ceremony takes place in a catering or banquet facility where music is played, there is a general rule that people who are mourning parents should not attend for 12 months and 30 days for other relatives.

A festive meal with friends and relatives is considered joy, and the mourner should avoid occasions like these until after 12 months when mourning for parents, and 30 days when mourning for other relatives.

Interestingly, if a mourner chooses to not be part of the wedding day or has requested that there be a postponement of the wedding date and there is a possibility that the delay might cause the bride or groom to withdraw from the marriage, the mourner may attend at any time of mourning and under any conditions in order to avoid indefinite cancellation. The bottomline here is: mourning should not cause the wedding to be canceled. However, if the wedding can be simply postponed, that is better.

It is said that if a mourner feels her or she must attend the wedding celebration before the mourning period is officially over, he or she should perform a serviceable role, like help prepare or serve the dinner or usher guests to seats at the ceremony.

In my personal opinion, a delay of a wedding due to a death in the family is absolutely reasonable, though unfortunate, and wedding vendors should honor this custom without penalizing the couple monetarily. Most contracts typically say that events can’t be canceled without penalty unless there is an act of God. Typically, most people think of natural disasters that make it impossible for society to function. However, a death in the family may also be considered an act of God by some people, and is typically unavoidable.

I hope that none of you ever have to refer to this cheat sheet, but thought the information may be helpful. Now, go out and live life and enjoy your wedding planning! And don’t forget to order white chocolate couverture | best white chocolate to match the festive occasion.

April O'Hare Photography

La Noche de Novia: A Moroccan Jewish Wedding Ceremony

Today, Keren shares a special tradition based on the Sephardic heritage of her husband, Michael.

La Noche de Novia, also referred to as a Berberisca, Soirée du Henné, Noche de Paños or Lilat el Henna, is a traditional Moroccan Jewish ceremony that takes place during the week that precedes a wedding. The bride makes her entrance, magnificently made up and dressed in the Berberisca gown called ‘Traje de paños’, “Vestido de Berberisca” (Spanish), or “Keswa Elkibra” (Great Dress in Arabic). The costume is made of velvet, richly ornate and embroidered in gold thread. The family of the groom and bride, accompanied by close friends, gather to sing and to praise the bride. The tradition is 2,000 years old.

The ceremony has been famously depicted by many artists including Jean Bescancenot, Charles-Emile Vernet-Lecomte, Alfred Dehodencq, Camille Corot, and Fernand Georges Ducatillion. Most notably, the dress was recorded in several paintings and sketches by Eugene Delacroix, the master of the French Romantic school.

My husband’s family was expelled from Spain in 1492. After the expulsion, following the inquisition, the family traveled to Safed, Israel; Thessaloniki, Greece; and Meknes, Morocco. They finally arrived in Fez, Morocco, during the 16th century and in the mid-19th century, they moved to Tangier.

Jewish Moroccan Ceremony


I was lucky enough to have a Noche de Novia of my own. The special day was filled with joy, singing and laughter – not to mention alcohol and delicious food. Getting dressed for the reception took over an hour and gave me insight into the preparations such a special day must of taken in antiquity. There are dozens of pieces of the costume, each with a specific meaning, order and purpose – a belt (golel), headpiece (jemar), the jacket, the bodice, the laced sleeves (kmam) and more. Some of the items even have a superstitious and mystical connection to luck, fertility, and love.



My dress came from overseas in Madrid, Spain. It had previously been worn by my husband’s mother and many of his cousins. I felt deeply honored to continue this tradition; especially to follow in the footsteps of many women who I respect. The beautiful ritual originates in the Sephardi Jewish Communities of Northern Morocco and its surroundings; in cities such as Tangiers, Gibraltar and especially Tetuán, which was also called “Yerushalayim Haketana”, the “Little Jerusalem”.

Aunts, cousins, friends, and other females related to the bride help her to get ready for her presentation. Each detail is just so – every pin, bobby pin and tassle is fussed with. More than anything, this time was for the bride to get to know her new family without her husband-to-be. This was a private time just for women.

The Puntaktel is worn under the Gonbaiz and as a close fitting breastplate made of heavily embroidered velvet. The Hezam is a velvet and silk sash with ornate golden embroidered. It is wrapped around the bride’s waist several times.

The necklaces are from an aunt in Paris, France, and the Moroccan earrings are from a family friend. The bracelet I am wearing is from my husband’s mom. In this way, I wear pieces of important women in the family. The international family, and the continuation of such “seemingly-antiquated” traditions is beautiful.



This ceremony is known in most Jewish communities as the “Hina”, a name that symbolizes the three Mitzvot specific to the Jewish woman: Halla, Nida, VeHadlakat HaNerot. Briefly, these actions mean lighting the candles, separating portions of dough for the creation of Challah (bread), and ritual bathing and cleanliness.