A Wedding in the Family

“Don’t fret about the weather. Some of my best wedding photos were taken on rainy days.” – Neil Sjoblom

About the Photos
from Neil Sjoblom Photography, Geneva

* Don’t skimp on the photography. Hire a professional.

* Get a feel for a photographer’s style on his or her website and then schedule a meeting. Look for membership in associations like the Professional Photographers of America – it often indicates high artistic standards and ethical business practices. The Professional Photographer’s Society of New York State has a Finger Lakes Section that meets each month in Geneva.

* On the wedding day, start getting ready early – hair and makeup take longer than you think. The bride should be the first one done so that she can be ready for preliminary pictures.

* During the procession, nervous bridesmaids rush to the altar. Slow down to let guests take in the moment. Some churches suggest a length of six pews before the next attendant starts walking.

A word to the bride’s father: after you hand off your daughter to the groom, don’t turn and trip over her train. It happens almost every time.

* Make a list of special groups you want photographed – family members, classmates, work associates – and assign someone to identify and corral them for a photo.

* Don’t fret about the weather. Some of my best wedding photos were taken on rainy days. When it clears, you might even get a rainbow. Little mishaps give your wedding personality, like the bat that swooped down over the congregation, the neighborhood cat that walked up the aisle, and the ring bearer who got his head stuck in the spindles on the altar. I took the most beautiful pictures at a candlelit wedding caused by a power outage.

With a studio in downtown Geneva, Neil Sjoblom has photographed thousands of weddings. He loves his job. “In what other profession do you get invited to the best party of a
person’s life and get paid for it?”

About Tuxedos
from Jeff Anthony, Dick Anthony Ltd. men’s clothing, Canandaigua

* We follow one main rule – the groom should be dressed as well or better than the ushers. Either they can all wear exactly the same thing, or the groom can wear dressier accessories than the others. There are no other rules. It is your wedding; do what you think is right. An experienced tuxedo store will make sure you achieve what you desire.

* The newest style in formalwear is a fitted, tapered look. Done properly, it’s sharp. The groom’s build may be right for it, but it may not be the case for all the ushers. I might suggest that the groom go with the tapered style while the rest of the party goes with regular-fit tuxes.

* Another new concept for weddings is suits instead of tuxes. The idea is becoming more popular as tuxedo rental prices increase. When all the groomsmen wear the same color suit it can look great, albeit a little less formal than tuxedos. In my store an average tux rental (tuxedo, vest/tie and shoes) is about $100. Our suit prices start at $179, so buying a suit that can be worn again and again may be a better investment.

* Make sure the staff of your formalwear store is willing, capable and interested in helping you if your tuxedo needs adjusting. You pick up your tuxes just a few days before the wedding, and we have encountered situations in which measurements sent to us from out-of-town ushers were incorrect. Their tuxes did not fit. We like to treat people the way we would like to be treated, so I have made trips to Buffalo on Saturday mornings to correct problems I felt were my responsibility to make right.

Jeff’s full-line men’s dress and casual clothing store was begun by his father, and has been a Main Street, Canandaigua, fixture for more than 40 years. It’s an affiliate of Tuxedo Junction, so customers get high-quality tuxes and Jeff Anthony’s expert personal service. Dick Anthony Ltd. is involved in approximately 150 weddings each year and rents hundreds of prom tuxedos.

About Surprises
from Joe O’Toole, Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum

* If you plan the wedding day with the guests in mind, it will truly be special for everyone. Does a grandmother need help to her seat? Are children going to be restless during a long ceremony? How long is “too long” for guests to wait during a photo session? One of our brides pulled together her entire event in one week because she wanted to make sure her ill, elderly relative would be there. That’s what she remembers most about the day.

* A wedding has lots of moving parts, so go with the flow. If you expect the unexpected, you won’t be as stressed when it happens. For one of our weddings, the flower girl’s dress was left at home 20 minutes away. Rather than keep her guests waiting, the bride chose to laugh about it. The flower girl went down the aisle with what she had on: polka-dotted shorts and pink boots. Now that’s memorable!

* Ask lots of questions when you meet with venue coordinators, photographers and caterers. For a wedding last summer we were asked, “Can the bride ride her Harley across the lawn?”

Built in 1870 as the primary beacon for Sodus Bay, the lighthouse today is a local history and maritime museum. Its grounds include sweeping views of Lake Ontario and the channel to Sodus Bay, including the stunning Chimney Bluffs. The lawn, and perfectly manicured gardens that bloom from spring to autumn, are available for outdoor weddings from May 1 through October 31.

About Jewelry
from Erica Bapst, Adorn Jewelry, Canandaigua

* Brides, moms and attendants should not stress out about the jewelry they will wear on the wedding day. It’s an incidental; a little enhancement. Once they realize it’s not going to make or break the beauty of the wedding, they can relax and enjoy jewelry shopping.

* Along with a photo of the dress you will wear, bring a fabric swatch for a true representation of the color.

* If you want your jewelry custom-made, begin with a budget. I design best when I know what I can work with.

* Smile, try on lots of pretty things, and have fun.

Just about half of the jewelry in this little gem of a store is handmade by Erica, a graduate of Syracuse University’s jewelry and metalsmithing program. Custom-designing jewelry for the big day is her specialty. She works in sterling silver, 14k gold filled, copper, semiprecious stones, freshwater pearls, Czech glass, Swarovski elements and more.

About Delighting Your Guests
from Carmen Brennan-Bain, Belhurst Castle, Geneva

* Brides and grooms are placing more importance on delighting their guests. Favors have been replaced by small gift bags that contain treats guests can enjoy in their hotel rooms. One recent suggestion of mine for a fall wedding – a basket of wrapped shawls for the ladies (which, with some research, was very inexpensive) and a cigar table after dinner for the men – was a great success.

* Make the wedding a weekend-long experience of the surrounding region. It will delight your guests, especially if they are coming from far away. They will delight in a picnic or boat-tour rehearsal dinner, or a post-wedding brunch.

* I always recommend late night snacks, like a French fry station or pizza station. Everyone loves that. The comment I hear most is, “How thoughtful of them to do this.”

Voted one of the most romantic places in New York State, Belhurst Castle was built in the late 1880s as a private home. It was designed in the Romanesque Revival style, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Belhurst boasts three choices of lodging, plus two ballrooms, two restaurants, a spa and a winery.

About Dresses and Gowns
from Antoinette Infurna, Antoinette’s Bridal and Prom, Canandaigua

* Brides and bridesmaids should not order their gowns in a smaller size thinking they will lose weight by the wedding. Taking in the dress if it’s too big is not a problem. Making it bigger if it’s too small is.

* It should be understood that everything talked about in the bridal-gown dressing room remains confidential. Women confide in me that they have medical issues (for example a diabetic pump), are pregnant or have tattoos that need to be hidden from their fathers. I always tell the bride that whatever we talk about in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.

* When you’re shopping for your dress, bring along only two or three valued family members or friends. Too many opinions make the experience stressful, not joyful.

* The bride should buy the wedding dress that makes her happy. On your wedding day, the people who shopped with you will not remember the gowns you did not choose. They will simply look at you and think you’re beautiful.

* When it comes time to shop for bridesmaids’ dresses, brides should
a. Choose the gown the bridesmaids are going to wear, or
b. Give the bridesmaids a choice of two or three gowns.

It can be overwhelming to try to make everybody happy. It’s the bride’s wedding day, so she should make decisions that make her happy, with no regrets.

This family-owned bridal shop, now in its 25th year, offers gowns, shoes, headpieces and veils, undergarments, handbags, gifts and more. Antoinette and her husband Libertino bring new sample gowns into the store at least once a year. Antoinette learned to sew as a small girl in Sicily, and does all the alterations herself.
antoinettesbridal.com, themothersshop.com

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