April 24, 2018

Weddings in the Renaissance Period

Weddings during the Renaissance Period:

I had the opportunity to visit The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Los Angeles, CA. Watching all the merry people in their medieval clothes I wondered what a typical wedding was like back then. With a little bit of research (thank you Google!) I stumbled on a few interesting facts.

In the medieval ages, the consent of the father of the bride was more important than the consent of the wedded couple. In 596 a decree was issued that stipulated death penalty if the bride was abducted from her parent’s home. This meant that it was regarded to be abduction if the couple got married without the approval of the family (i.e. the father). The couple could face either the death penalty or exile.

Then, fortunately, came the Renaissance period and it was generally accepted that only the mutual consent of the couple was necessary to create a binding marriage.

It is also interesting to note that so many rituals as we know it today, originated from this period.

The giving of the hands symbolized the contract between the couple while the kissing of the bride and the exchange of rings symbolized the unity between the bride and the groom and became part of the betrothal ceremony.

The bridal procession also had its origin during this period. In England “the bride was led to church between two sweet boys with bride laces and rosemary tied about their silken sleeves. There was a fair bride-cup of silver gilt carried before her, wherein was a goodly branch of rosemary, gilded very fair, hung about with silken ribands of all colors. Musicians came next, then a group of maiden, some bearing great bride-cakes, others garlands of wheat finely gilded; and thus they passed into the church; and the bridegroom finely appareled, with the young men following close behind.” This procession was seen as the proper way to celebrate marriage in a public manner.

When the legality of a marriage was challenged the testimony of the people that eye-witnessed this procession was considered to be the proof of the marriage.

The Renaissance Wedding in Modern Times

The Renaissance period is regarded as the period with the most beautiful and rich traditions in European history. So why not let your wedding resemble the traditions of this wonderful age.

Find yourself a gothic church, a knight arriving on his white horse to take your hand in marriage and who will sweep you away into a new life in a victorian style coach.

Also forget about the white dress! Wedding dresses in those days were burgundy wine, deep purple and hunter green with a metallic braided ribbon running through the design. They were normally laced up the sides and/or back, had long, pleated skirts and were floor length and long-sleeved.

Herbs like rosemary, thyme and basil played an important role in the flower arrangements. This custom originated from the belief in the significance of various herbs in health and destiny. Wheat was also to be considered a symbol of fertility and played an important role during wedding ceremonies.

Flowers to be used include the gloriosa lily, ivy, red roses, amaryllis, birch twigs or holly branches and parrot tulips. All the flowers should appear rustic and natural for in those days flower shops and Styrofoam did not exist.

But please, get a modern day photographer with the necessary equipment to commemorate your Renaissance Wedding!



  1. “Medieval and Renaissance Marriage: Theory and Customs” by Kirsti S. Thomas.
  2. “Having a Medieval/Renaissance Wedding: And Updating it for Modern Times” by Rachel Broderick.
  3. http://www.renaissance-weddings.net/index.htm




Is This What You Want for Your Wedding?

I stumbled onto the following web advertisement while browsing on the internet:

Wedding Photography (Budget) $200 first hour, $100 each additional hour. Basic editing only. $100 deposit to hold date. Semi retired photographer training up coming visual artist in the fine art of photographing that very special day. She will be assisting me. Meal must be provided for any wedding after 5 hours. All images will be provided on CD in 1 week.”

I cannot imagine that a wedding photographer who is serious about his or her work, will offer this kind of service to you as a potential bride. This is the one day that mistakes cannot be afforded as a wedding cannot be repeated. You want the best and you deserve the best.

What is meant by basic editing? Can a photographer be proud of his finished product if only so-called “basic editing” is done. I can only imagine that all the photos are batched and a ‘one size fits all’ approach is followed. The same editing is applied to the photos of your dress than to the photos of the table setting. No wonder that this photographer can give you your images on a CD after a week.

I wonder if this photographer shoots in RAW or in jpg. With only ‘basic editing’ I can imagine that it will be in jpg format. This means that no RAW corrections like camera sharpening, correcting of light balance, etc. can be made. And they are willing to give this to you.

I think that the wedding photography industry really needs some form of regulation to protect the innocent consumer.

The so called BASIC PACKAGE or BUDGET PACKAGE is to the detriment of the industry and clients. There may be exceptions where the photographer’s so called BASIC PACKAGE is of better than average quality, but you will not find that very often.

I’ve seen work on the web where I have asked myself: “How can this person call himself a Wedding Photographer?” I actually wanted to post a bad quality image with this post. But is that me? No, I can’t do that.

Audio Photo-Video’s

Make an Audio Photo-video of Your Wedding Photos:

  • Annemi’s mother watched the APV of her daughter’s wedding with tear-filled eyes.
  • “Wow! Wow! Wow! I did not expect this. I thought you’re gonna send me a slideshow of my wedding photos. This is art!” – Irene Snyman.

Living in the digital era I don’t think there is any better way than an Audio Photo-video to show off your wedding photos to your family and friends.

You can play it on your PC, Mac, iPad, TV and even cellphone. The Audio Photo-video is not too long (10 – 12 minutes) and will hold the attention of your audience. It gives them an overview of the best photos taken on your wedding day – normally from getting dressed, right through to the reception.

Make an Audio Photo-video of Your Wedding Photos

Any Audio Photo-video we release has to be perfect quality. The planning, organizing of the photos and using the appropriate transitions are some of the essential ingredients.

I think that, after watching the following Audio Photo-video’s as well, you will agree that this must be an essential and non-negotiable part of your wedding memories.

You Versus The Royals: How Do You Measure Up?

A lot, and I mean A LOT, has been written and blogged about the royal couple of Britain and their soon-to-be royal wedding.  There are so many fun facts surfacing that I thought it good to stack them up and let you do some measuring yourself!  All the best to Will & Kate (hopefully never plus 8),  and thanks to them for putting weddings into the collective international news spotlight!

Royal Wedding Facts

Ok, here we go – how do you fare against these fun facts?

  1. At 29 Kate is the oldest royal bride ever. Hello!?  What the royals deem as “oldest ever”, society applauds as sensible and mature.  No one wants to recite divorce statistics on a wedding site, but here it is – all studies shows that marriage after 30 has a much bigger chance of success than those that happen in the early 20’s. Statistics can, of course, be proven wrong. Me and René, my wife, got married in our early 20′s and we are still going strong! Would you have been the “oldest royal bride ever”, or did you dodge the bullet?
  2. Most of the people on the invite list have never met Will or Kate.
    1900 guests, and only a couple hundred that is known to the bride and groom!  Maybe they have invited all their Facebook friends.   How does your guest list compare? Do you know most of the people?  Definitely not a royal wedding then!
  3. Really famous people have been left off the list.  They claim it is for security reasons, but what bride wants to be upstaged on her wedding day anyway?  I think it is a very clever idea to invite important people, and not ones that would take the attention away from the bride and groom.  If you could, would Oprah be on your list?
  4. Will & Kate is the first royal couple ever with a pre-nup. As I said before, who wants to think of divorce at a special time like this?  I guess the very public breakups of Will’s father and uncle have finally unmasked the reality of modern marriage. It’s better to have an open dialog about expectations before the big day.  It’s much harder to be that objective when things go wrong.  What’s your position?  Hopeless romantic, or pre-nup savvy?
  5. Kate got her late Mother-in-law’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring
    There are always two parties to the argument, but I think it is absolutely great and special to have a family heirloom as part of the wedding ceremony.  Not everyone has access to such a great tradition, but it might just be worthwhile starting it!  Are you getting married with your mom’s (or mother-in-law’s) wedding ring?  Would you have liked to?
  6. Of the 1900 invited guests, only 600 are invited to stay for lunch.
    Now this I think is a clever idea.  There are always a lot of people that you just cannot afford to invite (taking catering costs into consideration), but how great is it to invite everyone you know to be at the ceremony and only those really close (and that you can afford) to the buffet afterwards!  If the royals can do it, so can we.  What do you think?

Whether you are above or below 30, have your mom’s ring or not, what the royal wedding teaches us is that everyone enjoys a good wedding!  It is truly one of the happiest days you will ever experience and we, as photographers, would like to experience this day with you.  Good luck to Will and Kate, and to the million other couples walking down the isle this year.  Enjoy the big day!


Wedding Dress Photography


Wedding Dress Photography:

This was quite interesting. I Googled ‘Wedding Dress Photography’ and couldn’t find a single article or blog entry on wedding dress photography. Nowhere is there any advice to be found for the bride-to-be on what to look for regarding the dress when she is looking at a photographer’s wedding portfolio. Neither is there any advice to the photographer on how to successfully photograph wedding dresses.

Everybody is climbing on the ‘trash the dress’ bandwagon but nobody is paying any attention to dress photography on the wedding day.

The wedding dress is normally one of the single most expensive items in the wedding budget. Hours and hours of research goes into finding the right dress with the finest detail that will compliment the bride. After that some more hours will be spent in finding the right designer followed by hours of fitting and worrying about on the edge deadlines and final adjustments.

Then comes the Big Day and the princess will be out there in her fairytale dress embroidered with the finest detail overwhelming the groom and the guests with her radiant beauty and the dress, oh, the dress is complimenting her finest detail and features.

The photographer is snapping away, the bride is posing and everybody is so excited about the end result – the album.

And then comes the pictures.

What do you see – a white dress with no detail whatsoever on most of the images. No sign of the detail that complimented the beautiful princess on her wedding day. Just white blobs. And then these photographers will remind you on their website and in their brochures that, after the wedding, only the photos are left to remind you of this wonderful day – and you cannot even appreciate the detail on that single, sometimes most expensive, item that you cherished so much.

A good photographer who knows how to handle exposure will show the detail on the dress – image after image after image. Non-negotiable.

I also find that some photographers will give you all the detail on your dress but then the background and surroundings is either over- or under-exposed. You are part of the surroundings and that is part of your wedding day. Therefore it is also important that not only the dress, but also the background, must be correctly exposed.

He or she will not only give you the detail on the dress.

And that is why it is so important, and I cannot stress that enough, to look at complete weddings when you meet up with a photographer and not just his or her best work. Ask them to show you one or two complete wedding albums. Only after you have seen that and you are happy with what you have seen, can you know for sure that this photographer knows what he is doing and will not let you down.


A Scene From The Wedding


Irene grew up in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.  She wanted her wedding pictures to be taken on the beach. When they took me to the beach the day before their wedding, I asked them about people on the beach the following day, a Saturday. Their reply was that I should not worry as the main beach is a couple of kilometers away and it will be deserted.

Arriving the next day was a different story. The beach was crowded and I could not take any pictures there! Off to a deserted railroad station we went and got some stunning couple and entourage photos there.

I promised them that, if they were back on the beach early the next morning, all dressed up, hair done and a redo of the make-up, I would take some pictures. While I was waiting for them on the beach, the rain was pouring down. As they arrived, the rain stopped, and we could do the shoot. The moment we were done it started raining again!

The Setup

Beautiful clouds just after the rain, a beach with some artifacts, a stunning dress and, of course, a beautiful couple!  What more can one asks for.

The Shoot

We took several stunning pictures on the beach, including this one. For the photographers out there, here is the Metadata:

  • Lens: Nikkor VR 18 – 200mm.
  • Focal Length: 36mm.
  • AF-Area Mode: Dynamic.
  • VR: On.
  • Aperture: F5.6.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/600s.
  • Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority.
  • Exposure: -1/3.
  • Metering: Matrix.
  • ISO: 100.
  • Flash: SB900, TTL-BL, Exposure Comp.: 0.
  • Image Data: Color Mode II (Adobe RGB), Captured with low contrast and contrast dramatically increased in pp.

Planning The Perfect Wedding Day

The Wedding Showcase:

So much has been written, blogged and explained about planning for your biggest day.  Remember this, forget about that, do this, don’t do that!  One would almost think that society in a whole has claimed your wedding day as a showcase for their collective thoughts and ideas.  I beg to differ.
Being in the wedding photography environment for while, I can tell you exactly which ones are the memorable ones.  They are not the ones with the most spending power, or the ones with the A-list attendees or even the seven-tier-cake-weddings.  It’s the ones that speak of clear personal taste, intimate details that communicate the couple’s view of love, life and happiness.

If there is one rule that you must apply, it is to throw all the rules you know out of the window.  Start from scratch with a simple question that needs to be answered: “What is unique about us?”  It might be a song, it might be a color, or it might be your love for pizza!  The more you wrap yourself into that perfect day, the more perfect it will be.  By doing that, you can easily conquer the big-three of your wedding day:

  1. Venue

    By this time you will have an idea of how many guests you would like to invite.  All you have to do is to choose a venue that you can relate to.  You want your venue to tell a story all by itself – about you and your big day!  Is it a romantic, intimate venue or an architectural wonder, or simply the endless stretch of beach where you first met?  I know there are so many possibilities to consider (will the steps be safe for children? will there be enough parking? etc.), but the most important one is: Is it special for you?

  2. Invite

    When it comes to your invite, the rule of “no rule” also applies.  Long gone are the days where specific decorum ruled all invites.  You’re announcing your biggest day up to date, go for it!  E-cards, jingles, postcards, you dream it and do it.  As long as builds on your theme of you!

  3. Dress

    Depending on your venue, time of day, theme and personality – remember that you now have the option of any color you like.   Not that there is anything wrong with white (or the 100 new shades of it!).  The focus should be, just as with your venue and invite, on you.  Let you and your significant other shine through in that special number.

After all is said and done, living in such a social and connected world, there is no room for elaborate wedding days that are disconnected from who you really are.  I know it might seem fun to throw a wedding that might make the Royals for Britain look like just another run-of-the-mill wedding reception – but it is truly not about that.  What it is about, are YOU.  So keep it real and relevant!