From the PR Desk: Blizzard Ruin a Wedding Planned by a New Englander? Nevah!

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From a recent media side gig for a very talented woman…click above to read about my friend Tara’s adventures planning a New York City wedding with a very unwelcome guest. Feel free to use and share this blog post.

A Halloween Wedding

Blogtoberfest Guest Post #6, by Sara Wentworth





I never thought marriage would be something I would consider, growing up and watching my parents and others I figured, Why bother?
I mean, a ring, ceremony, a parade and a lifetime of misery wasn’t something I wished to ever experience.

Like every child that says they’ll never, you find yourself saying I do.

One of the major deterrents to marriage was the wedding itself…the stuffy dress, the uncomfortable posing, the family that interferes with every detail, or the drunk bridesmaid (my usual role). The fantastic cliché photographs on the beach perfect like the perfect couple. One thing I learned from being a drunk bridesmaid, is that weddings are the most stressful for the bride in expectation of a perfect day and everything working perfectly.

My husband and I have an unconventional relationship.
We decided our wedding day should be on Halloween, because we both love Halloween. It’s one of the only days nobody cares what you are and everyone has fun being something else. We also imagine being old and senile, how could we forget that day?

We had planned to elope and have a private ceremony, we had everything we needed. When we woke up, the sky was grey, and it was cold and the air was full of foggy mist.

I decided that the day would be perfect despite that, and went about starting the day preparing myself for one of the most important days I’d never thought I’d ever have with the most amazing person.

I went to the bathroom and realized, that my perfect day was just an idea in my head when I looked at the toilet paper and the red tide rolled in. Great!  So, I put on my wedding dress that fit perfectly just a week prior, and I was so bloated I could not zip the zipper! I began to panic, then flew into a rage taking off the dress, throwing it across the room, hitting the space heater, landing in the dog’s food dish with wet food in it.

I didn’t think things could get much worse, so I sat down sobbing in my stockings, and Adam sat down next to me and comforted me. He helped me put on my dress and grabbed this huge safety pin off of an old kilt I had, fastening the back for me. He said, “See, it’s going to be fine. You look beautiful.”

I guess the reason I’m writing this, is because I hear and see a lot of cynical people that don’t believe in love because they’ve been burned, or they envisioned love or marriage being a certain way. That marriage was an ownership, or just something people do because they’re supposed to.

I know I have something rare, but one of the things that makes us different, is we love each other for our imperfections, our quirks, and our understanding. Though I expected a perfect day like every girl, things didn’t go perfectly, but it was perfect with him.

We’ve had awful arguments, we learn from each other, and we communicate with each other and choose our battles. We grow together because we want to. Perfect doesn’t exist, it’s an illusion.

The right thing sometimes is wrong, and many people place more value and importance on why things don’t work, won’t work, devaluing the contract between lovers, pushing their needs and the willingness to put your own aside…marrying the wrong person or someone they thought they knew, who never was.

Everything happens to teach us something, whether it be about ourselves or others, what we want or what we don’t.
People place more value on things, than partnership, people, or interactions. Some people view people as things as well, and things get old and once something is old you get rid of it and find a new one. That is why marriage doesn’t work…mental laziness, lack of empathy and the unwillingness to communicate or compromise. The me first world with the comparing and competition with the Joneses. (who are total assholes by the way.)
I am not writing this to critique humanity and its decisions, or to compare myself to anyone else. I’m writing this because I see so many skewed misconceptions that actually devalue the essence of the rituals society adheres to. The politics, people themselves and religion have all taken a stab at the ceremony of love, making it the “marriage industrial complex.”

Perfection is an illusion, it’s surface. It’s not concrete real or attainable. It is what you learn from the imperfect things and what you do with what you learn that makes things real.

Photo: Miming a rectal exam

Sara Wentworth is an artist, writer, and status-quo-bunker based on Cape Cod. She and her husband Adam are the crazed minds behind Secret Society Art.   Check out their stuff – but the Aldous Huxley portrait is mine

A New England Autumn Wedding and tips for ‘Guest Photography’

We attended a fall wedding this weekend, one of my favorite things to do!

I’m a sucker for any wedding, but as autumn is my favorite season and October my favorite month, weddings this time of year are sort of a nuptial hat trick.

This ceremony and reception were held in two different Berkshire towns — the ceremony by a small private pond in Hinsdale and the reception at the quaint and totally New Englandy Morgan House in Lee.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

In addition to posting some shots from the big day, I thought I’d share a few of my guest-at-the-wedding photo tips in the process. Most of us are armed with the cameras on our smartphones these days, and guests taking photos at weddings is a ubiquitous affair. Throughout every moment of the ceremony and reception, guests will be glued to their devices at varying times, snapping photos, editing them, and posting them online faster than you can say ‘cheese.’

The very first rule of ‘guest photography’ is to be a guest first, and a photographer second. The professional who’s been hired to capture images that day will thank you, too…go ahead and have fun, and if taking photos and video is part of the fun (it is for me), snap away. Just make sure that, when your nose is two inches from the cake as you try to take an artful shot of the rosettes on top, the professional photographer isn’t behind you trying to do the same thing.

That leads me to tip number two: not all of your photos need to be perfect. The urge to delete that picture obscured by Uncle Bill’s giant noggin immediately is great, when the little trashcan icon on your camera is right there egging you on.

But don’t delete. Not only can you edit photos later, the moment is more important than the composition when it comes to guest wedding photos. The professional photographer is in charge of capturing the money shots… you’re in charge of capturing memories for yourself and the couple. There’s nothing visually special about this picture I snapped of the ring bearer, for example, but the bottle behind him — and the little hand in the right of the frame — serves as a reminder of the babies in attendance that day.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Because of the over abundance of the aforementioned smartphones and other gadgets, it also bears mentioning that a lot of your photos might end up being pictures of people taking pictures. That’s fine … I call them paparazzi shots, and in a few years, it will be interesting to see what kinds of phones and cameras we were using.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

It’s also an interesting angle to take a family photo from behind another person taking the same photo:

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Things the bride and groom aren’t likely to see while they’re bustling around in their own wedding haze are great things to look for when taking pictures… guests arriving, the ceremony space before it’s filled with people, candids of the people around you, etc. Not only will these be pictures they’ll want to see later, they’ll stand out once the barrage of photos from every guest begins to flood the social networks, and help to create a full, detailed timeline of the day.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

There’s something to be said for snapping pictures of little touches at the ceremony and reception. Chances are, the couple put a good amount of thought into their colors, decorations, and location; a snapshot of the flowers at your table, for instance, is not just a burst of color in your set of photos but also a great marker of the season.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Share your photo tips in the comments!

More Reading:

Getting Social with Wedding Planners

Nice Day for a White Wedding – Carrie and Kevin

The Art of the October Wedding – Rob and Sara

Shooting from the Hip with Lou Jones – Travel photography tips

On tour: Getting Social with Wedding Media and Planners

Media and event planners gather at a welcome reception for the Lenox Wedding Tour, which just wrapped its second year. As a former travel writer, being on the planning end was an experience unto itself.

Media and event planners gather at a welcome reception for the Lenox Wedding Tour, which just wrapped its second year. As a former travel writer, being on the planning end was an experience unto itself.

A project I’ve been involved with has just wrapped: an autumn showcase of wedding venues, lodging, and restaurants designed to promote the town where I hang my cool vintage hats. Naturally, I have thoughts to share.

Lenox is in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains, and the Lenox Wedding Tour invites luxury and destination wedding planners and bridal media to experience and learn about Lenox and to meet purveyors of fine food, flowers, fashion, photography, transportation, party rentals, and more. I was asked to join the planning committee last year, and signed on as the de facto PR/media relations member.

My role was to reach out to members of the media, including bloggers, who might want to attend the tour;  to publicize it locally and among wedding media, and to tag team social media efforts with fellow PR prof Tara Consolati, who also designed the tour’s marketing materials and planned much of its marketing strategy.

There were highlights when working on each of these aspects; sourcing media for the trip led to some great conversations and connections, which beyond being soul-fulfilling is one of the best ways to, in a phrase, get your story straight. The more I talked about the Lenox Wedding Tour with these dynamic, smart writers and producers, the more interesting nooks and crannies I found in the story.

When talking to our local Berkshire media about the tour, Tara and I were able to share some of the work we were doing in the social media realm: we created Pinterest boards and web badges and participated in a Live Twitter Chat organized by Wedding Market News. Plus, it’s always gratifying to get to talk about social in a ‘mainstream’ forum. Seeing the word ‘Tweets’ in newsprint … I don’t know, there’s just something about it. Something in between Validation and Worlds Colliding.
Web badge for attendees of the tour for use on their blogs or websites – designed by Tara Consolati

As the tour neared, I started to realize another interesting part of my involvement. I was a travel writer for several years and went on a lot of press trips – this time though, I was on the other end of things. Instead of being greeted by someone at the airport, I was the greeter — I took this role on wholeheartedly and made a homemade sign reminiscent of those at high school basketball games.Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 12.28.01 AM

Jeana was very gracious even when welcomed by someone with a penchant for scrapbook paper and markers (and when I had to borrow a dollar for the tolls), but in the future I’ll probably do the same thing the limo drivers who were standing next to me and use one of those newfangled computer machines to make my sign.

Being on the planning side taught me some other, more substantial lessons about the press trip (also known as fam tour) model to add to those I learned as a writer, and also gave me an interesting perspective on the Lenox Wedding Tour itself.
For example, it runs a bit larger than a usual press trip as it welcomes both event planners and media. The tour also includes a wedding showcase open to the public, so couples became a part of the mix as well. The high concentration of lodging options in one town makes managing the higher numbers of attendees doable, which I think adds weight to the notion of a press tour for small and niche communities.
I also thought the tour made more resources to put a great story together readily available than the usual trip. In addition to members of the planning committee, the group was surrounded by wedding professionals throughout the four-day trip who could talk to them about local and industry trends, and the planned events and activities aren’t typical excursions.

One of my favorite events was the welcome reception at Cranwell Spa, complete with mini-treatments for guests, champagne, desserts, and a Spanish guitarist. It was also held on my birthday, so I pretended the champagne, dessert, and music were all for me.

Relaxation came first, but later, guests were put to work: The Tablescape Design event challenged planners and media to set and decorate tables, and those settings were later used at the tour’s Dinner with the Designers at Cranwell Resort.

As I watched from the front of the room — I was on the Twitter Chat panel at the same time tour attendees were frantically choosing flowers and searching for matching glassware — I mused that it was a different, but very replicable activity that was dynamic, visual, and helpful for media and planners alike.

For planners, there was inspiration and a keyhole view at what trends other planners from across the country might be seeing on their own reception tables. For writers, it served as a sort of  assignment within an assignment; I felt as though an entire article could be crafted from the tablescape challenge alone.

Designers put the finishing touches on their tables … later, they were ready for diners.
The view from the TwitterChat table during the Tablescape Design Challenge.
As the tour moved along, those great conversations that started with publicity efforts continued. Attendees had great feedback on the town and its offerings, as well as great ideas. In the end, that was the most gratifying piece of the experience; that, and the apple tart at the farewell dinner.
Once a foodie, always a foodie.