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When it comes to planning the ultimate destination wedding, a lot of questions may start running through your mind. But, when you’ve decided to have your wedding in a different state, you start to wonder where the perfect place will be that will really provide that unforgettable wedding. There are a broad variety of wedding venues throughout the world, but the ones that really stand out tend to be located within golf courses. Many times, golf courses are designed for those beautiful scenic wedding photos, and may be the perfect outdoor solution for your wedding. When asking yourself, “what are the best golf course wedding venues near me?” you may not know where to start, but if you start in Texas, you’re sure to find a gem.
When you think of the most beautiful wedding photos, they are mostly outdoors with lots of greenery, beautiful sunlight (or sunset) and totally flawless. One perfect venue, located in Texas, is the Avery Ranch Golf Course. This specially designed venue has two separate options for your reception. They accommodate your wedding guests according to how many are attending and offer a fully catered event, with memories to last a lifetime. Located on the beautiful banks of Bushy Creek, this wedding venue is sure to give you all the feels. They promise a spacious, beautifully decorated venue with their four thousand square foot event center located right on the course itself.
Whether you live in Texas, or you’re looking to find the destination wedding of your dreams, Avery Ranch Golf Course can be just that for you. Nestled right in the center of it all is their signature infinity pool which makes for even more breathtaking and dramatic photos. Not only does this unique venue fully cater to any of your needs but they also offer different wedding packages according to your budget. Their accommodations include venue, linens, catering, flowers, set-up, dj service, photography, open bar and so much more. You will find everything you need and beyond at Avery Ranch.
If you’re looking for a truly unique venue with photography potential, Avery Ranch is more than you could ever hope for. With stone pavements, the beautiful infinity pool, water backgrounds and luscious green grass, you’re bound to have some unforgettable photos and memories. Whether you have a mere fifty guests, or a large two hundred, the Lakeview Room provides a wonderful environment to share your special day.
Avery Ranch was founded back in 2002, and was opened to be the perfect golf course and wedding venue for anyone visiting Texas Hills. Located in northwest Austin, this golf course has been known to be Texan golf at its finest. It was built on natural limestone and is surrounded by beautiful streams of water, sure to provide you with a breathtaking experience, whether it’s golf or planning the perfect destination wedding. Avery Ranch has been given numerous awards for providing such a unique take on golf and wedding venues. The beautiful lakefront wedding gardens are used so often for their promise of incredible wedding photos.
When it comes to a golf course wedding venue, Avery Ranch is at the top of the list. With modest prices, a full service venue and views that could not be replicated anywhere else, you’re sure to have the wedding of your dreams.
I started this new series, The Vendor Says, wanting some of my favorite vendors in the industry to expound upon their working relationships with wedding planners and the importance of having an experienced planner for your most special day. In the first post of this series, with Exquisite Sounds Entertainment, that you can read here, speaks of how he got into the wedding industry and the importance of brides and grooms having an experienced planner at the wedding.
Weddings require a great deal of planning as there are many logistical elements, long before any vendors arrive on the wedding day. When there's a great planner to lead the charge and get all of your vendors to work seamlessly and harmoniously on your wedding day, you know you're in good hands. As mentioned in the previous post, having strong vendor relationships is key when it comes to orchestrating and executing your wedding day.
Next up in the series, we have one of the most laid back and genuine photographers I know, Afolabi Sogunro, more affectionately known as Fola, of Fotos by Fola, who's brilliant behind with the camera. Here’s what he had to say:
1. How did you get involved in Photography?
I've always enjoyed photography. I carried a small camera everywhere I went. One day my wife brought home a photography school flyer and I signed up to take classes. As they say, the rest is history.
2. Why did you choose to become a part of the wedding industry?
I love telling stories. Capturing emotions is something I truly enjoy and weddings allow me to be a part of this all the time.
3. How did you get into the wedding industry?
I simply photographed for a friend that was getting married.
4. What do you love about being a part of the wedding industry?
I love the energy. There is something special about being a part of someone's wedding.
5. What's your ideal bride or couple?
First and foremost a couple truly in love. Secondly, a couple that completely trusts me and understands my vision and style of photography. Lastly, a couple that understands the importance of having a good planner and Photographer.
6. Do prefer working with wedding planners and do they make your job easier?
I prefer working with a planner and they make my job easier. From a planning perspective they are instrumental in making sure everything runs effectively and plan for the unexpected.
7. Do you encourage your brides to choose wedding planners? Why or why not?
I encourage all brides to hire a planner. Having a planner allows you to actually enjoy your wedding day. By not having one they run it issues of stress and having a badly planned event which could end up costing thousands of dollars.
8. What's the best piece of advice you can provide to a bride?
Get a planner. Trust the planner to handle all the stress of wedding planning. Enjoy your day. Soak it all in as the day goes by so fast.
9. What has been the worst thing you've seen from a wedding when the bride and groom has gone against your suggestion of hiring a planner?
The wedding started 4 hours late. Family members were missing and the whole day was chaotic.
With everything that goes into planning your special day, it’s sometimes difficult to remember to creatively and originally bring that traditional pop of blue into your wedding. Fortunately, we have a few ideas that might make choosing your something blue a little bit easier!
Adding that bit of blue on, in, or under your shoes makes for a perfect addition to your wedding day ensemble. Your shoes are typically covered with your dress, so this is a wonderful chance to let your personal shoe personality shine through! Choose a lighter shade or add blue rhinestones, blue lace, or even solid or patterned blue to the bottom of your shoe! If you love sneakers, you can opt to wear those too!
2. Blue Mascara or Eyeliner
Blue mascara is always a subtle addition to any makeup look, but adding a few swipes of blue to your lashes for your wedding day makes for a nice and noticeable pop of blue. This makeup look doesn’t hide your “Something Blue” like putting blue on the bottom of your shoe might. Blue mascara or eyeliner adds a small and beautiful detail to the face without taking too much attention from the rest of the makeup.
3. Blue Garter
There are many ways to personalize your garter! Some might add their wedding date, their fiance’s name, or their grandmothers pearls to their garter to make it more custom and personalized. Another way to add personality to your garter is to choose a blue one. You can have a garter with blue ribbon, one made of blue lace, or perhaps even your favorite movie or tv show. A blue garter is hidden from sight for most of the wedding, and when it’s time to remove the garter and toss it to the groomsmen, everyone will be in for a blue surprise and maybe even a cute message!
4. Blue Nail Polish
Getting your nails done before your big day is always a fun treat and time for relaxation, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to bring incorporate your “Something Blue”! Using a pale blue nail polish on the fingernail is a great way to keep it subtle but if you’re looking for something extraordinary, a darker shade of blue will work beautifully. You can choose to add sparkles, sequins, or other fun nail art techniques if you want something even bolder! You can even paint the underside of your nail with a little blue for an original twist on the idea. (And don’t forgetthe toes!)
5. Blue Embroidery
Adding a little something to the inside of your dress in a blue thread is a very trendy and elegant way to incorporate that traditional something blue into your wedding. This option is subtle because only a few people will know it’s there, and it is extremely customizable; you can choose to have whatever you want embroidered into your dress. A few options are: your wedding date, the date you first met, your couple name, a favorite quote, a heart, the words: “I do”, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Incorporating something blue into your wedding can be fun, while still honoring an age old tradition. Happy planning!
Destination weddings are something that almost every planner wants to get involved in. I’ve been doing more and more destination weddings and absolutely love them. Destination weddings don’t have to be to a warm tropical island. They can be in the town that you grew up in, went to college, or simply love. Recently, I’ve gotten requests from brides to have their weddings in various U.S. cities and today I have Claire from Central Park Weddings guest blogging to show us various ways to have a wedding in Central Park, New York.
I have been planning weddings in Central Park for five years now. My clients come from all over the world; mostly from the UK, Australia and of course the USA. Most of my American clients are from out of town, but I get quite a few New Yorkers who just don’t have the time to search for reliable and good quality people to be involved in their wedding. Some couples bring dozens of their friends and family for a large affair, some bring just a small group of their nearest and dearest, and some elope. I have some couples who are keeping to a strict budget, and some who are looking for a big, lavish event. I see quite a vast range of weddings, and I love that we are all different and all want our own unique wedding, and I love that I am able to provide whatever people desire for their wedding day. New York really does have something for everyone, and here are four weddings to give examples of the kind of wedding a couple can have in Central Park.
Nicola and Marc’s Wedding at Bethesda Terrace
Nicola and Marc brought thirty-seven of their friends and family over from Scotland to get married in Central Park. “We were thrilled so many people chose to come to our wedding and this made it even more special to spend this day with the people we love. Our guests loved our wedding as it unlike any or other wedding they had attended,” said Nicola.
Nicola and Marc stayed at The Ritz Carlton in Battery Park. They chose this hotel in Downtown Manhattan because it is quiet, and has beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty. Like many people, they had watched Chuck and Blair in the TV show Gossip Girl get married under Bethesda Terrace and they had been struck by the beautiful architecture. They agreed that this would be the perfect place for their own wedding. Following their ceremony in front of the arches at Bethesda Terrace, their photographer captured some group shots at the Terrace and Fountain. Afterwards, most of their guests left on a vintage school bus to the reception location while Nicola and Marc stayed in Central Park for more photographs.
The wedding reception was held on board World Yacht at Pier 81. This was a dinner cruise on the Hudson, viewing the landmarks of Manhattan lit up at night. Their guests were wowed by the statue of liberty as they stopped right in front of it, and it gave them some excellent photo opportunities. They said that they had a lovely meal and drinks on board, and the DJ kept the dance floor busy all night.
Danielle and Michael’s Wedding on Belvedere Castle Terrace
Danielle and Michael eloped from their home in Indiana to get married in Central Park. They discussed many wedding locations and style options before deciding on a wedding in Central Park. They talked about a backyard wedding, a courthouse and reception option, a hotel wedding, and various other options. At one point, they thought that they had planned their wedding in Indianapolis until they started considering their anniversary date. Mike is a chef, so his availability is minimal and getting the anniversary date right was important to the couple. “A wedding lasts a day. An anniversary comes every year,” said Danielle. The wedding they had planned would clash with many family events, holidays, and chef “blackout” dates in future years. They tried to find another date that would work for all their guests and they eventually realized that there was no way to make everyone happy, and the options that might have made their families and friends happy did not represent who they are as a couple.
In the end, they decided that finding somewhere for just the two of them to marry alone might be their best option to have both the ceremony date they needed, an authentic honeymoon, and ultimately a wedding that represented them.
Michael and Danielle arrived in New York the day before their wedding day, so they had to pick up their license from City Hall the morning of their wedding and have a judge sign a judicial waiver to allow them to marry on the same day as collecting the license, so they had coffee and breakfast while they waited for that to be done, then they popped over to one of the street vendors selling bouquets outside to couples who are getting married at City Hall.
Their wedding ceremony was at Belvedere Castle. We had arranged their officiant, photographer and videographer. Because it was just the two of them, it was very quick and easy to get around Central Park to take photos in lots of locations. That evening they ate at Le Bernadin, a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars. Michael is a chef so dining at a high quality restaurant was a top priority for the couple.
After they returned from their trip, they shared their video with their loved ones. “Because the videographer captured us arriving and in other candid moments, he was able to edit a truly beautiful retelling of that moment for us,” said Danielle. “Everyone had nothing but nice words to say about the video and the personal touches in the ceremony. After seeing it, I think more people felt involved and felt like we did it perfectly for us,” she said.
Atzin and Stevenson’s Wedding at Wagner Cove
Atzin and Stevenson live together in Manhattan, just a short walk from Central Park. They met in Mexico City ten years ago. Atzin is from Mexico, and Stevenson is from Texas. They got engaged at the Grand Canyon.
Many of Atzin's family speak only Spanish so we wrote a bilingual ceremony for the couple, with the officiant saying a line in English, followed by the same line in Spanish, so that everyone could follow the ceremony. There were some nice Mexican traditions woven in to the ceremony, too.
The couple got married in Wagner Cove, which is down some stone steps on the edge of the lake, a very popular spot for couples who want privacy. Atzin and Stevenson invited around twenty of their closest family and friends. The couple and the officiant stood in the wooden structure and the guests gathered around outside.
They had agreed that they would like a musician to play at their wedding, but had not wanted to go to the expense of booking one. We spotted a cellist playing on the corner at the 72nd Street and Central Park West entrance to the Park, so I asked him if he would like to come along and play at their wedding for a small fee, and as luck would have it, he was delighted.
After the photos were finished it was the cocktail hour, and time to go over to The Leopard at des Artistes, a restaurant close to Central Park on West 67th Street. Some guests walked over there, but some jumped in pedicabs, which was easy because they wait for passengers at Cherry Hill, at the top of the steps to Wagner Cove.
Caroline and Bryan’s Wedding at the Ladies’ Pavilion
Caroline and Bryan are from Harrow in London. Initially they had planned to get married in the UK, and had everything booked, but they said that family politics drove them to a change of heart. New York is their favorite place in the world so they changed their minds and decided that here would be their wedding location instead. In the end eighteen friends and family travelled to New York to be a part of their special day.
They got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion, a lovely art deco structure built in 1871. It is very close to Strawberry Fields, and it overlooks the lake, so couples marrying inside it will have the water, the trees, and the iconic Manhattan skyline in the background.
After their wedding they went to The View Lounge at The Marriot Marquis on Times Square, this restaurant revolves to give you a 360 degree view of the city. Then the entire wedding party went back to their hotel for drinks and wedding cupcakes, ordered specially from Magnolia Bakery.
There are many options for couples interested in getting married in Central Park. Often couples who choose a destination wedding or an elopement have considered the traditional wedding at home with a large group of guests, but have decided against it for various reasons. If choosing to wed in Central Park, Claire can guide you through the planning of a Central Park wedding if you feel that it might suit you for your special day.
If you're choosing to wed in another part of the U.S. or abroad, myself and my team at Enraptured Events will be delighted to assist. Happy planning!
A mother’s love is like that of no other. It’s an unconditional love, often with an unmistakable bond. As a wedding planner, I’ve had the opportunity to bare witness to some very special moments when it comes to the love shared between a mother and her daughter and the bond shared between them. Being a mother of a daughter myself, I know first-hand how special those moments truly are. On this Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some of those special moments between mothers and daughters on her wedding day and beyond. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who are making a safe haven for their children, long after they’ve grown up! To the mothers that are there to see their daughters become wives and support them as they become mothers themselves. We salute you!
Today, I’ve started a new blog series; The Vendor Says, with the intent to draw greater attention to the working relationship between the planner and vendors we work diligently with when planning and executing your wedding. Executing a wedding is often a full-on production, requiring countless hours of planning and numerous labor hours, installing and ensuring that every last detail is picture perfect. The vendor relationship is important, as everyone works harmoniously, under the planner’s guidance, to give you the most amazing wedding day. This further emphasizes the importance of hiring a professional planner for your wedding; one that’s knowledgeable on the ins and outs of the planning process, is well equipped to handle any situation that may arise, and have strong vendor relationships so that you can have some assurance of what the end result will be. Since so many brides attempt to go at it alone and plan their wedding themselves, I wanted to shed light on how we, as planners, help orchestrate the planning and execution of a wedding, while making it easier for everyone involved.
First up in the series is the always dapper, always smiling and full of life and energy, which you want in a DJ, Toryn Lankford of Exquisite Sounds Entertainment. Here’s what he had to say:
1. How did you get involved in DJing?
So, I’ll admit, I’ve always loved music, from being a really bad member of the church choir, to being in a high school Hip Hop group, to even pretending to be a hype man in my college years. It was in college, however, that I first attempted to get into DJing. I admit, I was horrible. Just horrible. I tried again several years later because being a DJ really appealed to me and I love all types of music. I tried again and I was still horrible. Several years later and minus a few distractions, I tried again and it stuck and I was on my way! I’ve now been DJing for years and I’ve gotten pretty good, but still find the time and desire to work on and sharpen my skills each week to make myself and my team better.
2. Why did you choose to become a part of the wedding industry?
I chose to become part of the Wedding industry because of the great people that I met as I was researching or even just entering the field. I’ve met a lot of just really positive and create people and being around that energy each and every week, as we collectively help someone celebrate one of the best days of their lives is a great feeling.
3. How did you get into the wedding industry?
Actually the very first wedding I did was for a friend of a friend. I was DJing on a regular basis at a few bars, clubs and private events and someone asked if I could do their Wedding. I had never really thought about it but agreed to do it. I worked with them on their ceremony & reception music and quite honestly, just never looked back. From the time I did that first wedding I was hooked and I’ve wanted to do bigger and better weddings ever since.
4. What do you love about being a part of the wedding industry?
I love the community that exists within the industry. It’s great to be a part of a group of people that really care about what they do and how they do it. I find that wedding professionals are always looking to do better and be better and that really matters to me. I also find that we’ve been fortunate to be connected with some really great fellow vendors who offer great feedback, insight and even just help provide opportunities to one another. That level of support and dedication to the craft really excites me and keeps me motivated to continually add and do more!
5. What's your ideal bride or couple?
The ideal couple, to me, are music lovers, but not just one genre. They’re lovers of Top 40, Hip Hop, 80’s, 90’s and just all around good music. A couple with a deep appreciation for good music and what good music and entertainment can do for an event. Couples that offer input, but allow for enough creative control from the DJ to navigate the evening musically are always the best to work with because they don’t appear so rigid with their musical requests. They simply want to have an amazing time and help ride along on the journey.
6. In your field within the wedding industry, is it easier or preferred to work with a planner or the couple alone?
Working with an organized, professional and knowledgeable planner is always a plus when it comes to weddings. The age old saying of “you get what you pay for” is true here. I prefer if we always have a great planner on board to work with. This helps to cut down on all the back and forth with the couple on the day of the wedding. There are a number of things that could happen or events that could change and being able to have a planner to facilitate those always helps.
7. Do wedding planners make your job easier? If so, how? If not, why not?
In some cases they do, in some they don’t. With everything it’s about relationships and working together. Some groups work better together as they know their team member's strengths and weaknesses or they see where help or value can be added. Planners help to work with the bride & groom, venue and other vendors while we as entertainers can entertain. We don’t have to be consumed with announcing tables for the buffet, not that we mind, but a planner’s simple communication to each table is far better than a DJ announcing it several times over. Also, if something changes or needs to be changed, it’s helpful to have a planner on hand to assist with those items, while not having an experienced one can make these times difficult and take away from the event at hand.
8. Do you encourage your brides to choose wedding planners? Why or why not?
We always encourage our couples to secure the services of a knowledgeable planner. No matter if it’s for Month Of Planning or Full Service Planning, we definitely understand the value of having an experienced planner. If for nothing else, it helps the couple to be able to sit back and enjoy the moment at hand without having to worry about every single moment that’s going on or that’s coming up. They can enjoy the process as it leads up to their special day. Being consumed with contacting all the vendors and all the other various tasks takes away from the experience that they’ve been looking forward to for so long.
9. What's the best piece of advice you can provide to a bride?
Simple. Hire an experienced Wedding Planner, oh and Exquisite Sounds Ent. But seriously, it would be to hire a wedding planner and hire one that you want to work with and that wants to work with you!
10. What has been the worst thing you've seen from a wedding when the bride and groom has gone against your suggestion of hiring a planner?
I’ve personally seen a lot of things…but usually I’ve seen the worst when there;s no one at the helm on wedding day. It tends to be just a bit of chaos leading up to the point where the band or DJ takes over. In these cases there's always questions around when we start, end, when’s food, etc..once the party gets going, we’re in control, so that’s great, but leading up to that point are some very critical points and I’ve seen some really great moments missed because of lack of good planning and attention to detail.
So, you’re a guest at a wedding and you’re not quite sure if you can bring your new boyfriend, what gift to buy your best friend, or what you should even wear. As a planner, I’m asked similar questions all the time and I’m often advising my brides and grooms on wedding etiquette from the planning perspective. Today, I wanted to turn the tables a little and offer some advice to the wedding guests and help answer some of your burning questions as well.
1. The Plus One: When it comes to the invitation, it’s addressed to the people that are invited, whether to a couple, family, or a single person. Typically, if the guest isn’t married, the plus one is considered and often reserved for those that are engaged or in long-term relationships as opposed to someone who simply wants to bring a date so that they don’t have to come alone. The invitation will be addressed to Mr. & Mrs. John Doe or Mr. John Doe and Guest. This way, the message is clear as to who’s invited. If there’s no “and guest” on the invitation, you can assume that your plus one isn’t invited and it’s impolite to ask the couple if it’s ok to bring someone that wasn’t invited.
2. The RSVP: One of the biggest issues with the guest list are the responses, or lack thereof. When receiving a wedding invitation, it’s polite to send your response by the deadline indicated. Your response helps determine the final guest and meal counts, total number of tables needed, and so on. When you fail to respond by the deadline or fail to respond at all, you can make things a lot more difficult for the bride and groom.
3. The Children: As much as we love the little people, it’s no ok to assume that yours are invited. You’ll have to look at the invitation to determine just who was invited. Was the outer envelope address to Mr. John Doe and Family? Does the inner envelope have everyone’s name listed on it? If so, it’s safe to assume that you and your children were included in the guest count. If not, the invitation was meant for just you.
4. The Gift Registry: Of course it’s nice if everyone decided to bring a gift to the wedding. However, it’s not required that wedding guests bring gifts. If you want to know where your friends are registered, you can do one of two things. If they have a wedding website, you can check there. Couples are likely to include any pertinent wedding information, such as hotel accommodations, important times, and any gift registries. Secondly, you can ask their immediate family members or the bridal party. They’ll typically know often disseminates the information to the wedding guests on the couple’s behalf.
5. The Ceremony Time: The invitation states what time the ceremony starts. If you’ve been to a dozen weddings and they’ve all started late, it’s still not ok to arrive to someone’s ceremony late. I’ve done countless weddings and guests have shown up 20 and 30 minutes late and nearing the end of the ceremony. It’s best to arrive on time and wait for the ceremony to begin than be disruptive by trying to find a seat after the bride has already walked down the aisle. If you live in a high traffic area, allow yourself extra travel time.
6. The Unplugged Ceremony: In today’s modern and social media frenzy world, everyone wants to take pictures or record everything to post on various social media outlets. Because of this, a lot of couples are opting to have unplugged ceremonies, instructing their guests to not take photos during the ceremony. If you see a sign asking that you keep your camera put away, it’s best to honor the couple’s wishes and not take any photos. You can surely understand them not wanting their first kiss plastered all over the internet before they’ve had a chance to look see any of the photos.
These are just a few guidelines to help you be a stellar wedding guest. You may be thinking “this stuff is self-explanatory.” But, you’d be surprised as to what I see and the questions that I’m asked. So, get dolled up and enjoy your friend’s nuptials!
Let’s face it, planning a wedding can get pretty costly. Food and beverage costs alone, are typically 50% of your wedding expenses, with the bar tab often reaching $5,000 or more. Some wedding venues have a beverage minimum of $3,000-$6,000, depending on the day of week you’re getting married. In addition to your catering expenses, the costs for food and drinks at your wedding can add up. To save money on your bar expenses, here are 5 suggestions.
1. Signature Drinks: Signature drinks can serve dual purposes. Not only does it let your guests in on a little bit more of your personality, but it adds a cocktail to your bar. If you’ve opted for beer and wine only, a signature cocktail is a way to infuse a little more variety and give those that crave something stronger, just what they’re looking for. You can also get a lot more drinks per bottle of alcohol with a predetermined cocktail.
2. Beer & Wine Only: Because the cost of alcohol is quite expensive and charged per person, you may just opt for a beer and wine only bar. This will eliminate the added cost of barware, garnishes, as well as bartenders.
3. Dinner Closure: If you’ve decided on a full-bar, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can save by reducing the number of hours that the bar is open. I suggest to my brides and grooms that they close the bar during dinner service and have their guests drink the beverage that came with dinner service. After all, you paid for that too. You can then have the bar reopened to serve guests throughout the evening.
4. Toasts: Sure, it’s a nice touch to serve everyone champagne for the toast but maybe not for your wallet. To save costs, you can have the venue or caterer just serve champagne to you and your new spouse and have your guests raise their glasses with the drinks they currently have.
5. Cheaper Brands: Your guests will love having a full bar and not having to pay for a drink. To save money on your bar expenses, you can select a good bar package with basic gin, vodka, and such. However, you don’t have to splurge on the premium brands. They’ll appreciate what you give them!
Food and entertainment are the two things that your guests will remember the most about your wedding. They will remember if the food was bad and if they had to pay for their drinks at a cash bar. The ultimate goal is for you and your guests to have a great time at your wedding. So, don’t stress yourself too much over having a fully stocked premium bar. Determine what works best for you and your budget and go from there. Happy planning!
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and happens once in a lifetime. As a wedding planner, my job is to help my couples select the best vendors that their budgets will allow. When it comes to wedding day photography, it’s not something that should be skimped on, because at the end of the day, after the food is eaten and the music stops, your wedding photos are all that you have left of your wedding day. The photos should instantly take you back to the mood and feelings that you were experiencing on your wedding day. Choosing the right photographer for your wedding day is a major decision and one that should be made with great consideration.
When looking for the right photographer, there are some questions that you should ask, which would aide you in making the right choice.
1. Style: What style of photography are you looking for your wedding day to be captured? Are you looking for something more traditional? Photo journalistic? Or, something more bold and edgy? Whatever your preferred style, ensure that the photographer can comfortably shoot within it and capture your wedding day the way as you’d like.
2. Portfolio: Does the photographer have wedding portfolios that you can review? How recent is the work? Can you visualize your wedding photos in this type of album?
3. Quantity: How many weddings have he or she done? Photographing weddings require a great attention to detail, logistics, as well as a creative eye. The photographer has to be able to manage the timeline of the day’s events, while being able to capture the necessary shots that are needed to tell the story of your wedding day. Anyone can take a picture. It takes a true creative to take an awesome picture, with the right angles, staging, and background.
4. Social Media: What is their social media presence like? Are the photos more of a personal or professional nature? Are you able to get a sense of the photographer’s style and creativity? It’s ok to see images that showcases one’s personality but you want to make sure that you’re seeing a profile that’s not bombarded with an overwhelming presence of selfies, food, or other images that distract from wedding photography.
5. Creativity: What distinguishes this photographer’s work from another’s? Are their photos more creative? Do they have varying angles and lighting? Have they captured the tiniest of details? Consider the wedding that you’re planning, down to the smallest detail. Will this photographer be able to capture the image you see in your head? Will this photographer be able to capture the unexpected images?
6. Turnaround: What’s the turnaround time in which you will receive your pictures after the wedding? The average turnaround time is 6-8 weeks. Depending on the season and busyness of the photographer, this time can be lessened or extended. You want to be sure you know ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly. If you want to use images in your thank you cards, see if you’re able to get a few sneak peek images that you can choose from.
7. Editing: Will the photographer be editing the images in-house or be sending them out to be edited? If they’re being sent out, will that effect the turnaround time?
8. Images: How will you be receiving your images? Via an online gallery, USB drive, or DVD? Will the images be high or low resolution? If you’re planning on printing any images or creating your own wedding album, you’ll want to have high resolution images so that you can print in many sizes without worry of pixelated images. If you’re posting online or to any social media sites, you’ll want to have high resolution images that are web ready. They’re larger files but small enough for easy loading onto website and social platforms.
These are just some basic professional questions that you can use to get you started on the right path to choosing the right photographer for your wedding day. You also want to make sure the photographer is someone that gels well with your personality and that you can easily get along with. After all, you’ll be spending a great deal of time with this person and sharing some intimate moments, especially during your engagement session, possible boudoir or bridal session, and on the wedding day itself. When you hire someone that’s personable and professional, it makes for a much better working relationship. Happy planning!
Work for the groom doesn’t have to stop after he pops the question. Some grooms like to be involved in the planning process from beginning to end and some…well, they just want to know what to wear and where exactly to show up. The men in our lives can be fickle creatures in that they simply want to know only the basics. As women, we want them to be attentive, decisive and involved. So, when planning a wedding, how do we get the groom to be a part of the planning process without overwhelming ourselves and them? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Plan Ahead: Give yourself and your groom time and space to plan your wedding. You may want to be married the moment he’s asks, but if you’ve been dreaming about your wedding since you were a young girl you want to give yourself time to turn that dream into a reality. By planning ahead, you can take some of the pressure off yourself and thereby eliminating the added pressure you may inadvertently place on your fiancé.
2. Planning Sessions: Schedule planning sessions with your fiancé. Find time that is convenient for him, have a list of key items you may want to discuss and set a time limit. If you know his attention may only be good for an hour then discuss the wedding for an hour only. He can focus on those items knowing that this won’t turn into an endless discussion about the wedding. Another thing, make sure your list isn’t a full list of everything you need to cover for the wedding. You don’t want to get it all done in one sitting and you certainly don’t want to overwhelm your groom. Using a wedding timeline can help narrow your focus, keep his attention and get things accomplished.
3. Keep it Simple – If you want your fiancé to help make decisions about the wedding, remember: three is key. When presenting him with items to choose from, narrow them down to three. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm him with five or ten different options and expect him to choose just one. His first thought may be to tell you to choose something and that’s not what you want. The least amount of items he has to choose from the better chance you have at keeping him involved in the process.
4. The Details: In all honesty, most grooms don’t care about the pretty little details, flowers, or sparkly things that get us all excited about a wedding. When getting him to make a decision, you may want to keep the options limited to the entrée choices, wedding cake flavors, the wedding day attire for him and his groomsmen, gifts for his attendants and then allow him to gradually ease into other decisions.
Even though you may have been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little girl, it’s still a day where two lives are joined together. You want it to be a day that reflects not only you, but your groom as well. Getting your groom to be a part of the planning process may be challenging but will also be rewarding, as the planning experience should be! Happy planning!
Granted, a lot of time is spent planning a wedding, as it should. But, how much time is spent planning your honeymoon? Believe it or not, the wedding is for your guests and the honeymoon is for you and your beloved. Although your wedding may have lots of details that speak to your style and individual personality, you should always plan your wedding with your guests in mind. If you’re having an outdoor wedding in the summer, you may want to have fan programs or personalized bottles of water to keep your guests cool in the warmer temperatures.
Your honeymoon is more than just packing a swimsuit because you're headed to a private island. So, the same amount of detail should be considered when planning your honeymoon. What will you do when you get there? You’ll want to pack, not only for the location, but any activities as well. When planning your honeymoon, some things that you should consider are:
- Excursions. Are there any fun activities that you and your new spouse would like to join, such as a romantic gondola ride or swimming with the dolphins? If so, call ahead to reserve your spot as to avoid it being full and not being able to attend a much anticipated outing.
- Couples activities, such as couple massages or private dinners for two. Many hotels are eager to welcome a pair of newlyweds and calling ahead and asking them to set up a private dinner for two, may not be out of the question. Furthermore, many resorts have massage facilities where couple massages are available. Call ahead so that your time slot is already booked upon your arrival.
- Local Happenings. What’s on the local city calendar that you may want to attend? Many cities, especially a tourist town, will have a calendar of events for you to review. There may be concerts going on or even sporting events. Check ahead and pack appropriately.
- The forecast. What will the weather be like when you arrive? You may be going to a tropical island, but is it going to rain while you’re there? You’ll need to pack some type of rain protection. Is the temperature going to me extremely sunny and hot? You certainly don’t want to forget the sunscreen and maybe a hat!
- Home: Last, but not least, you can’t forget about home. This is the age of social media where we’re eager to let people in on all the exciting things that we have going on. Only let your immediate family know where you’re going and when you’ll be traveling for your honeymoon. Of course, take pictures while you’re there but post them after you return. This will prevent any potential social media stalkers from knowing when you’re away and how long you'll be away from home. You certainly don't want to come home to a disrupted home.
Planning your honeymoon doesn’t take as much thought and coordination as planning a wedding, but it does take just a little bit of effort and planning. Of course you can just “wing-it” and fly by the seat of your pants when you get there. But if you want to add a little bit of structure and assure some specific activities on your honeymoon, following these tips will certainly help you out. Happy planning!
Images courtesy of Samantha Clarke Photography
Awesome events don't just happen. They have to be planned. When getting married, there are a lot of things to consider. Things such as theme, colors, budget and of course, the dress! Also, on that list should be the venue. However, many brides and grooms don't consider the venue as a whole when selecting it for their wedding. The venue holds the power to make or break the perfect wedding. The venue will help that theme to stand out, those colors to pop and that dress to shine. Choosing the perfect wedding venue is more than just its location and picturesque views.
Choosing the right venue takes some skill. When considering where to host your big day, you have to think about several key factors to make the right decision.
- Guest size: Will the venue hold 200 guests or is its maximum 150 guests? Will your guests be comfortable enough to eat dinner and mingle after you add the dance floor?
- Parking: Will your guests have a difficult time parking? Will they have to pay to park or will you have to get parking passes for them? Does the venue require you to have valet parking for your guests?
- Inclusions: Many wedding venues offer tables and chairs with your rental. Do they have enough tables? Do they have the type and color chairs that you want or will you have to rent different ones? With traditional seating being a thing of the past, it's important to know if your chosen venue has enough tables and the type of chairs to accommodate your design.
- Vendor Deliveries: The venue may be gorgeous but what's will the delivery be like for your vendors? Is there a service elevator or will they have to navigate stairs? Is the delivery area large enough for multiple delivery trucks or will the deliveries have to be coordinated to allow for the ease of your deliveries?
- Rental Time: With every rental, you're given an allotment of time. Typically, you'll have a six hour event rental; a half hour for your ceremony, an hour for your cocktail reception, and four hours for your reception. However, this isn't the case with every venue. Some only offer enough time for a three hour reception and may charge additional for more time. How much time is allowed for set up and break down? If you and your wedding planner have come up with an elaborate design, an hour or two to set up just won't be enough.
- Hotels: Are there hotels near by for your out of town guests? Will your guests have to travel a great distance from their hotel to your venue? With the traffic in your city, will arriving to your wedding venue be easy or somewhat of a challenge for your guests?
Choosing the perfect wedding venue is no small feat. Location definitely matters, but as you can see, there are other things that you must consider as well. Working along side your wedding planner will definitely help you make the right decision for your wedding, helping you have a perfect wedding day. Happy planning!
As a wedding planner, for the many weddings that I plan, I am often setting up room blocks for the out of town wedding guests. There are some guests that opt to stay at the homes of nearby relatives for the various amenities that a home provides. Personally, I like a space where I can relax as well as entertain, even if it’s as simple as fixing a nice dinner and having guests over. When I travel, I’d still like to be able to do the same; at least have the option to do so. Some hotel suites offer extra amenities and of course have more room, but still aren’t quite the same.
Since last year, I’ve loved the idea of Air BnB. It provides some of the luxuries of being at home, such as full kitchens and multiple rooms, while still allowing you to book a place that’s safe and secure through a trusted website. Recently, I had the opportunity to design a warm and inviting space as a rental that’s a very viable option for your out of town guests.
Keeping my current and future clients in mind, I designed a space that would be just as comforting as a nice hotel or one's home would be, making sure that all the details were chic and upscale. With fine China, cherry wood and leather furniture, large-screen TVs, ceramic cookware, cozy bath towels, and even a smoothie maker, it was important to me to appeal to everyone when selecting items to furnish and decorate it. For your added comfort, there's a washer and dryer. Lastly, if you're anything like me and prefer at-home entertainment, there's a theater room to watch your favorite movie or tv show. Or, if you'd rather strike up a game of pool, with Sports Center playing in the background, you can do that too!
If any of your wedding guests are coming in from out of town but don't really want to stay at a hotel, you may want to suggest a place like this warm and inviting upscale place on Air BnB. If you're in the Atlanta area, let me know and I'll be happy to help you learn more on renting this one. Happy planning!
Images via Michelle Davina Photography (where depicted) and personal cell phone.
There’s often a fine line between the wedding you’ve always wanted and the wedding that your mother never had and the one she’s always dreamed you’d have because of it. Many mothers-of-the-bride are more than excited for their daughters, while at the same time, living a bit vicariously through her. This is all fine and dandy, until what she wants and what you want are almost polar opposites. As a wedding planner, it’s not uncommon to be faced with this scenario and many times we may have to step in as “counselor” because of it.
Who’s wedding is it really? Well, as much as I’d like to say it’s your wedding, we have to also take mom’s opinion into consideration. When your mom is footing the bill, she definitely feels that her opinion should be heavily considered. Today’s brides are accessing blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, and dozens of new magazines for wedding inspiration, further creating distance between the old and the new. It’s my job to create the perfect wedding while keeping your interests a priority and also striking the perfect compromise so that ultimately, the you get the wedding you've always dreamed of.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, there are a few things that you could do to make it a little less stressful.
- Communication is key. Let mom know what you’ve always dreamed of for your wedding. You should look back at your wedding day and be happy with the photographs and have the same feeling on the day that you took them. You greatly appreciate your mom by your side throughout the planning process, but a gentle reminder that it’s your wedding should help.
- Include mom in the decisions where you value her opinion the most, such as purchasing your wedding gown. This makes her feel as though she’s helping and is a part of the planning process.
- Utilize your wedding planner. As mentioned earlier, your wedding planner is a great buffer between you and your mother. If things get too difficult for you to say, your wedding planner can and should take on that task for you.
- Put mom to work. When your mother is occupied with specific tasks and details of your wedding, such as the bridal shower or RSVP’s, she’s less likely to interfere with the choices you’re making.
- Contribute to the cost of your wedding. When you’re footing a portion of the bill, mom is less likely to dominate and make the decisions during your vendor meetings. She’ll understand that she’ll have to relinquish some control.
Hopefully these tips will help you have the wedding of your dreams while including your mom along the way. Happy planning!
When planning a wedding, selecting your wedding vendors is just as important as selecting your wedding planner. It still amazes me how many brides come to me, stating that different friends or family members have been selected to perform various aspects of the wedding. Now, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of talented people in this world! The issue that's often overlooked is the fact that your friends and family members want to enjoy your wedding day just as much as you do and having to spend it "working" may be more than they've bargained for. If you hire a professional, they're there solely to do a specific task and less likely to be concerned with having fun. Now, with that being said, how do you go about choosing your wedding vendors?
For starters, you have to set a realistic wedding budget. Choosing a vendor does not have to be expensive. However, it's a lot easier to choose the right vendor if you know how much money you have allotted. If you've hired a great wedding planner, he or she will help you choose the right vendors to fit your budget.
Secondly, do your research; check references, read reviews, ask to see samples of their work and by all means, taste food! I heard someone recently say at a wedding conference, "Other people can sing your praises better than you can". And it's true! It's great to have a good rapport with a vendor but you want to have added peace of mind by checking references or reading reviews. You definitely don't want to waste your hard earned money.
Lastly, get it all in writing! Whatever you've hired your vendor for, you want to make sure that you get it documented; the time of their arrival for set up and what they're responsible for. Often times, friends and family members won't have a contract and responsibilities can get muddled. You don't want this to happen to you.
Of course, it is totally up to you to allow anyone you choose to take on the many, many tasks of being a part of your wedding day. However, be sure to keep in mind the importance of hiring the right vendors. This is your special day. You are going to want each and every element to be perfectly timed and choreographed to leave the people speechless at the end of the night and you with a lifetime of fond memories. Late arrivals, a lopsided cake and cold or poorly prepared food might leave people speechless but not in the way you’d like.
Being stylish and comfortable is really what it’s all about. As trends continue to change in the wedding industry, there are more opportunities for you and your bridal party to have some comfort on your wedding day. With wedding day rompers and jumpsuits, your bridal party can be extra comfortable as they’re getting ready for the wedding. The rompers are just as pretty and appealing as the bathrobes that many brides and their bridesmaids are choosing to wearing today. They’re also great for taking pictures in and make great gifts for your bridal party to have long after your wedding day.
Another trend that’s growing these days are the wedding day jumpsuit. We’ve all heard story after story of bridesmaids not liking the dress that they have to purchase for your wedding. Depending on the time of year, wearing pants may be more suitable and a lot more comfortable than wearing a dress. This is where the option of wearing a wedding day jumpsuit may come in handy. They’re just as formal as a traditional bridesmaid dress and you may even have greater buy-in from your bridal party. Lastly, a wedding day jumpsuit can serve as your second outfit to wear as you dance the night away or as you say goodbye to your family and friends as you’re getting in your getaway car.
Whether you’re wearing a wedding day romper to start the day or a jumpsuit to end the night, you and your bridal party will be stylish and comfortable. Happy planning!
Growing up, little girls dream about the day they will get married. The venue, the flowers, the dress and the shoes. We can picture it all. It's a beautiful, perfect day. There is only one thing missing from our vision...the groom. We have no idea who this lucky guy will be but we know he is going to simply be the best. He's educated, has a career, a sense of humor, and his number one priority is his lady. I've read my fair share of love stories and know that many of them start with the girl and guy being really good friends before realizing that they have something much more than that.
Prior to finding our Prince Charming, we may have to wade through a few not so good catches. When opportunities for dates present themselves and we get ready for that first date, think for a moment about meeting a new friend and not a potential husband. Although a husband may be our ultimate goal, think of the great future you could have if before you met your husband, you met your best friend. Friendship, after all, is the foundation of any great relationship. I’ve heard many brides say “he’s my best friend” I mean; does it get any better than that?
I'm so fortunate and blessed to have a job where I work with some awesome brides (featured above) and get to witness amazing friendships, blossoming love, and those who have found their Prince Charming.
Your big day is coming up soon and there’s probably still a lot of last minute things to do. The good news is that you can leave all that last minute running around to your planner and spend these last few days taking care of yourself. This Wednesday, we’ll be focusing on keeping your face bright, clear, and photo ready! Here are a couple of very simple things that you and your bridesmaids can do together to make sure everyone has a face that's looking smooth and relaxed for your wedding day.
This one is great for oily skin, it helps tighten your pores and it adds some brightness to your skin. It only requires two ingredients: an egg and fresh lemon juice!
What you’ll need to do is separate your eggs into whites and yolk. Next, you’ll need to take the whites and beat them until they are frothy. Then, add lemon juice. Clean your face with warm water and pat dry. Apply mixture evenly over your face and allow to dry. Once it dries, peel or rinse it off. After that, your skin should feel tight, bright, and refreshed!
Olive Oil and Honey Mask
Before you boycott this one, let me just say that this will not clog your pores or make your skin oily! It actually does kind of the opposite. The molecules in olive oil are too big to fit in your pores. This combined with honey makes for an amazing hydrating mask for dry skin, and like the title says, you only need these two ingredients!
To make this mask, you’ll need two tablespoons of honey and one of extra virgin olive oil. After that, you’ll mix it together until it’s thoroughly combined and then heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Next, smear the warm mixture over your face and wait for a few minutes. When it cools, rinse it off, and voila! You’ll be left with smooth, healthy, and hydrated skin.
You can also use this mixture as a means to treating your dry or damaged hair. Apply the mixture to damp hair, letting it sit for approximately 45 minutes, then wash with a mild shampoo. Make sure you have radiant on your wedding day. Happy Planning!
A work of art is defined as a piece of creative work, especially a painting or sculpture. One of the latest trends in the wedding industry are hand painted wedding cakes, which are truly works of art that you can eat! The bride will always be the center of attention on her wedding day, with the wedding cake coming in as a close second. Aside from tasting great, your wedding cakes should look amazing. I've gathered some of my favorites for you to feast your eyes on.
The wedding cake is important because it’s a symbol of the bride and groom’s eternal love and one of the centers of attention on your wedding day. It’s the first things your guests will look for, upon entering your reception. For this reason, much time is devoted into coming up with the perfect design.
Hand painted wedding cakes are quickly becoming some of my favorites because the designs are not limited to the shape of the cake. Regardless of the shape, the cake is a blank canvas. From floral patterns to tea cup designs and scene silhouettes, the options are endless. The paintings can provide movement, texture, and a type of mood or feeling to the wedding cake.
What will your work of art look like? Happy planning!