Tag Archives: weddings

Sunday Scraps 104

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1. MUSIC: The sign-language interpreter steals the show at this Wu-Tang performance (Gawker). 

2. DATING: If you’re familiar with the sniveling “Nice Guys” who are very upset that their “niceness” doesn’t make girls want to sleep with them, you might enjoy this bit of satire from Insert Literary Reference.

3. HEALTH: Why is a colonoscopy 26x more expensive in the U.S. than in Canada? It’s complicated, says Mother Jones. 

4. BRO: What exactly is a bro? Venn diagrams to the rescue! And who is at the middle of it all? Lochte, of course.

5. VOWS: I thought nothing would top the wolf wedding announcement, but I was wrong.

6. BOOKS: Publisher’s Weekly explains some big name books in pie-chart form.

Related Post: Sunday 102 – Founding father pin-ups, rich kids of Instagram, authors annotating their first editions.

Related Post: Sunday 101 – Soldier portraits, cartoons about depression, Rihanna’s hairdresser

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Sunday Scraps 77

1. GENDER: The Stranger has brilliantly skewered Rolling Stone’s annual “Women Who Rock” issue by turning the tables and throwing the dudes a bunch of ridiculous softball questions.

2. WEDDINGS: As a soon-to-be maid-of-honor, I was tickled horrified by this bride’s instructional email to her bridesmaids (Gawker).

3. FOOTBALL: Now that this ref strike is over, hear how it went from the scab side with a Time interview with replacement ref Jerry Frump.

4. POLITICS: Apparently, some foreign governments are learning about democracy through viewings of The West Wing. The Atlantic explains why this is perhaps not the most realistic model…

5. WEIGHT: Author Jennifer Weiner writes for Allure. What’s a fat mom to do when her thin daughter pulls a Mean Girl move and calls another girl fat?

6. RAHIEL: Urban Cusp founder Rahiel Tesfamariam, born in Eritrea, now an internet celeb, sums up her epic tweet series on her path to success.

Related Post: Sunday 76: fast food nation, Zadie Smith, xkcd, and Vice Magazine.

Related Post: Sunday 75: Moms-in-chief, best word ever, library tattoos

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Further Thoughts on Bling

Thanks to everyone who sent stories, gchats, comments, and responses my way after yesterday’s Role/Reboot engagement ring piece.

There were two substantive threads that came out of my follow-up conversations that I kind of wish I’d addressed in the original essay:

On Dudes

A number of people pointed out that I neglected to really consider the gentleman’s perspective on the engagement ring issue. How do they feel about the cost of a ring? How do they view the tradition? Does it feel burdensome and unfair? Or does it make them feel manly and mature? Both? If I purport to being all about equal partnership etc etc, where was the male perspective on this ancient tradition? Super valid points, folks, so valid that I’m contemplating a Part 2 specifically focused on how men approach the traditions and conventions of proposals. If you want to chat, shoot me a note/tweet/post etc.

“Ultimate”

Another facet of this conversation I neglected (this one more intentionally) is the emphasis on “showing off” the ring. You’ve all seen it; a woman walks into the office tentatively waving her ring finger around, waiting for someone to notice. When the first person does, a free-for-all ensues, a stampede of coworkers to see who can get closest to the gem and emit the loudest, most appreciative  “ooooooh!”

Some women I talked to described the feeling as “like you’ve won a prize.” People treat you like the newest lottery winner, possessor of a trophy marking some sort of status earned. The bigger the trophy, the more admiration bestowed on you. Here’s an example from the old standby, People:

For women, the indication that someone wants to marry you and is willing to prove it with a big diamond is still considered your biggest achievement. Really? An engagement ring trumps Olympic medals?

Related Post: What should girls aspire to be? Popstars and bridesmaids!

Related Post: A practical guide for buying toys for girls.

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Thoughts on Bling

A week ago, I would not have told you that I had any sort of strong feelings about engagement rings. I generally think super expensive, super ostentatious stuff is overrated, but that’s a ship that has sailed on the wedding industrial complex.

Then, through a series of conversations with friends, a lot of internet reading, and a handful of texts with my mom, I realized that the engagement ring tradition is actually one I want no part of. Here’s why:

Related Post: So what does a wedding photographer do exactly?

Related Post: Surprisingly pleased with the Grey’s Anatomy take on marriage…

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So What Do You Do Exactly? Photography Edition

Helen, with one of the vintage cameras she and Lindi collect

I’m super pumped to share today’s So What Do You Do Exactly?! This is Helen. She and her wife Lindi own their own photography business in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They are also the masterminds behind lifestyle blog Bettencourt Chase (which I have written about here and here).

This whole photography thing, how’d that start? Lots of people take pictures, fewer people make a living at it: We had both done photography in some capacity for years before we ever thought about doing it as a business. We were both on newspaper staffs in our respective high schools, and then did student media in college as well. Photography was a creative outlet, something we did for fun. Eventually it just evolved into something we made money doing! It takes an enormous amount of work, but we both love it.
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You are business owners! That is extremely badass! Tell me a little about the process of getting up and running. Originally Lindi was the main photographer while I assisted. After a few months, though, we realized that we both wanted it to be completely a team effort. We scrapped the old business cards (with her company name), had a new one made.
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We were definitely not well-versed enough in state and federal tax laws before we started the business. In some states, including AR, business owners have to pay sales tax and income tax on services rendered. Because I’m from OK, where the law is different, we didn’t know about the sales tax when we started.  As a result, we were audited, which was frustrating and a little scary. It was a mess, but luckily not too traumatic and it was sorted out in a few months.
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Give me a little behind the scenes. How much time do you spend planning, marketing, at actual events and then editing? We finally sat down last year and figured out the ratio of working time to shooting time, and it tends to be between 3-6 hours to 1, depending on the project. If we shoot an 8 hour wedding, we might spend upwards of 60 hours meeting with and emailing the clients, doing an engagement shoot, editing, creating online galleries, ordering prints and so on. I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realize when they object to the prices photograpers quote them. Although a figure like $125 an hour might seem like a lot of money for a one-hour portrait session, after all is said and done that actually only evens out to about $15/hour each… before taxes.
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How do you market yourselves and drum up business? Our marketing has been mostly online and word of mouth. We have a website and a Facebook page, and we put up fliers around town once in a while, but most of our clients come to us because they know someone we’ve worked with who has recommended us. I love thinking about how working with one person branches out into other contacts and referrals!adf

Since we are sort of ‘jack-of-all-trades’ photographers and don’t just work in one specific field, we also often work with people for more than one thing. Someone we have done portraits with may come back later for their wedding, or a couple we’ve done wedding photography for may return for maternity or family portraits.

Do you feel like wedding photographers get a bad rap? I don’t know that many people would consider wedding/portrait photographers artists, but I do. We see and capture so much beauty and emotion with the work we do, and it is the sort of beauty and emotion that is relatable (and treasured) by everyday people. Certainly fine art/high fashion photographers do some phenomenal work as well, but I feel as though we do work that is often perhaps a bit more accessible.

I’ve met some lousy wedding photographers (one yelled during group shots, “Big girl, big girl, move to the left!”) What have you learned about managing families while doing this? I think the biggest thing we can do is to always be calm (or at least to seem calm, even if we don’t feel like it). We’ve been the awkward ones standing in the corner during family drama, and the ones who have ended up bustling more brides’ dresses than I can count. We’re there for nearly every moment on one of the most amazing, but also challenging, days ever for each of the couples we work with.

The most helpful tool we’ve found for group shots is to have the bride and groom make a list of all the combinations of people they want photos of during the group photos, and then just work our way down the list. That way we have the ‘authority of the list’ and we also make sure no one gets left out.

What are your views on the amount of money/energy/insanity that goes into the wedding industrial complex these days? As people who rely on the wedding industry for a fair amount of our yearly income, we are nonetheless both kind of freaked out by it. We try to keep our prices as reasonable and fair as possible, while still supporting ourselves, because things shouldn’t be more expensive just because they are for a wedding. We also don’t want to contribute to couples starting their marriages in debt.dsf

Lindi and Helen

Our own wedding cost about $2500 (which is less than 10% of the current national average for wedding spending) and we’re both pretty thrifty and crafty.  That being said, I do think everyone should have exactly the kind of wedding they want to have, whether it costs $100 or $100,000. I just don’t think anyone should be pressured in to having a wedding someone else thinks they should have. We had the wedding that made the most sense to us, and that is what I hope others are able to do as well.

You guys are married! What’s it like to be at the other side of the lens? I can’t imagine ever doing this by myself. We’re a team, and we work amazingly well together. I would guess that being married has strengthened our business, and also that it is pretty likely that working together has strengthened our marriage.

Where would you like this business to go in the next few years? Someday shooting Malia Obama’s wedding? Hah! That would be a lot of fun. In a few years, we may be supporting ourselves 100% with our art (right now I have a day job to provide steady income for pesky things like student loans and utility payments, while Lindi manages the business and our home). As it is, though, we are pretty busy and are just getting busier. It is amazing to be able to make an income with something that started out as a hobby and a love for both of us.
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One thing we do have to be careful of is not letting our photography just become ‘work,’ which is actually harder than it seems. Although we certainly love nearly everything we do and all the people we work with, we are super busy and have to make a concerted effort to take some time to do purely creative work.
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What do you make of Instagram, where everyone fancies themselves an artist? We both think it is great, although I do hope that people are still taking photos with actual cameras and printing them. Instragram is pretty trendy, but I also worry that in twenty or thirty or fifty years, no one will have photo albums the way our parents and grandparents had. Digital is so fantastic for so many things, but who knows how technology will look in the future? Printed photos serve as such a tangible record of the people and places and things we love. At any rate, though, it is great that people are finding creative ways to express themselves.
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For more info on Helen and Lindi, check out their website, Facebook page, lifestyle blog or Pinterest.
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Related Post: So What Do You Do Exactly? Parenting Craft edition.
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Related Post: So What Do You Do Exactly? Model UN edition.

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Notes on a Rom-Com

Exhibit A

Saw Something Borrowed. I will spare you my poetic waxings about rom-com traditions adhered to and defied and my unsettled satisfaction at the happy ending. For now. Instead, if I may offer a few observations:

1. Colin whatshisface with the eyebrows knows how to wear a shirt (Exhibit A).

2. Since when do we write wedding vows on an iPhone? What happened to the little folded piece of tear-stained paper with the shaky handwriting?

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Exhibit B

3. John Krasinski and his unparalleled ability to mold his face into funny shapes absolutely steals the show (Exhibit B). The other three stars are pretty much throwaway parts anyway: doormat, party girl and hunk-who-just-really-wants-someone-who-gets-him.

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Related Post: Who remembers Griff Hawkins? I do!

Related Post: Rom-coms are all well and good, but what about the real life-and-death dating situations? Like this one.

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Network Surprise Part 1: Grey’s Anatomy

This is the first of a two-parter on happy surprises from the ABC networks (part 2 here). Mainstream shows have a unique ability to address hot-button issues in a digestible, relateable way. Most of the time, they abuse this power in horrendous ways (see Gossip Girl), but sometimes, the tremendous forces of tv influence are used for good. Conservative  teens in red states aren’t going to watch overt “gay agenda” material like The L Word, but they just might watch Grey’s Anatomy, which is what makes the latest episode so effective.

Arizona and Callie's wedding ceremony, Derek and Merideth sign the papers

Show: Grey’s Anatomy* – episode “White Wedding”

Issue: Gay Marriage

Plot: Last week’s episode saw the unfolding of two marriage plots. In Camp Gay, Arizona and Callie held a wedding ceremony, despite the gay marriage ban in Washington State. In Camp Straight, Meredith and Derek strolled into a judge’s office and officially signed marriage papers, an after thought to the Post-it note marriage they’ve had for months.

Analysis: This is the second time Grey’s Anatomy has played up the unfairness of straight vs. gay marriage standards. Last season, a gay couple fought for visitation rights at Seattle Grace while Dr. Altman (female) married a patient on a whim to grant him insurance. I’m pretty sure there’s a whole host of legal reasons why Altman’s plan wouldn’t work, but the point remains. Straight people don’t have to prove they’re in love or committed to get married (see: all Vegas weddings). In “White Wedding,” scenes of Meredith and Derek nonchalantly strolling into the courthouse were spliced with Callie and Arizona’s elaborate (but legally useless) ceremony. Similarly, the courthouse judge races brusquely through the legal-ese for MerDer; never addressing the right or wrong of their union. Meanwhile, at the Callie/Arizona wedding, Bailey officiates the ceremony with all of her considerable emoting power despite parental disapproval and lack of legal clout.

Maybe this is Grey‘s attempt to undo the Isaiah Washington hate-speech fiasco from 2006. Or maybe girls making out just makes for good ratings.

Part 2: Reproductive rights on abcfamily’s Make It or Break It here.

*Yes, I know that Grey’s jumped the freaking shark when Meredith “died” and came back. Saner people than I am dropped the show on the spot. Alas, I have tv attachment issues. F you guys, it’s been great this season.

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Related Post: A brief defense of Sex and the City from haters who only see the stilettos.

Related Post: It’s speeches like this that make it hard to argue against gay marriage… and yet, somehow, people still do.

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