Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Take Engagement Photos?


Engagement photos might not seem like that big of deal, but after going through the entire engagement picture-taking process you will realize that some of the decisions that were made before you even took a single shot were some of the most important ones that were made.
Whether you realize this yet or not, your engagement photos are going to be more important than you probably realize and thinking through the process will help you end up with pictures that best reflect both of you and your love for one another. Also, the pictures that you get taken during your engagement photo shoot most likely aren't going to be cheap and they are going to be used in other things such as your save the date mailing, wedding program, guest book and reception decoration so you need to make sure that you have your stuff together before you're standing there in front of the camera,
The rest of this guide will help you make some of these important decisions once you get ready to have your engagement photos taken so that you'll end up with the type of creative and unique pictures that will reflect the awesome relationship that you have with your future husband or wife.
Be sure to find a photographer that really fits your style as a couple.








Finding A Photographer That Fits Your Style

One of the most important things that I have learned is that you need to find a photographer that fits your style. I really can't stress this enough. There are a lot of photographers out there that tend to forget that this is your wedding and not just another addition to their portfolio, so as you begin to look for photographers for your engagement photos please try to find one that you know will match your personality as a couple and who will really listen to your thoughts and ideas.
When you first meet with photographers, here are a few questions that you might want to bring up with them when they are showing you their portfolio (which I hope they have!):
  • Why did you choose these different locations for the photos that you're showing me and what did they have to do with the couple? (this will show their interest for the couples as opposed to the art)
  • How many different locations do you allow us to shoot at and how open are you for some brainstorming before we go out and start shooting? (this will show their willingness to be flexible so that you can learn each other's style)
  • How do you normally find your clients? Are they referred? (this will tell you how satisfied their clients have been -- more referrals = more satisfaction)
  • How many of your engagement photo clients end up asking you to shoot their wedding as well? (more engagements that turn into wedding shoots means more happy clients)
  • Can I speak to one of your recent satisfied clients? (it's always good to check a reference or two)
Also, I've found that it's also good to meet the photographer in a restaurant for dinner or coffee shop for a drink so that you can really get a good feel for who they are and what type of photographer they are. This might seem like a lot of work for just getting engagement photos, but if you're spending the money and taking the time to get them, then you should do it right the first time.

Getting Creative

After you have found the right photographer to take your engagement photos, you can then move on to the part that stumps most couples -- how to make the photos really fun, creative and memorable. This can be done several ways, but before making any decisions you should decide, as a couple, how you want the final overall look and feel of the photos to end up after everything is said and done. This is going to be different for every couple, but it's definitely a decision that you need to make before you can begin to think about anything else. Also, you don't need to have one set theme for all of the photos, but you need to have a plan for what each of the themes are going to be. An Event Designer can help with all of the details, this is what we do.  The feel and look of your wedding day starts here, after all.

Choosing The Right Locations

The next thing you need to decide are the locations where you would like to have your engagement photos taken. These locations are places that would either look really cool in your pictures or places that are special to you as a couple for one reason or another. By choosing different locations that have some type of connection to your relationship you'll be able to be much more genuine during your shoot and you're almost guaranteed to appreciate them more in the long run.
Some great places that could potentially make your list of locations are:
  • Where you first met
  • Where you had your first date
  • A restaurant, coffee shop or any other location that you frequent as a couple
  • A really cool looking landscape or skyline that's near by
  • A location with lots or bright and vibrant colors
  • A location that would be the last place that you would think of getting your engagement photos taken, like an abandoned warehouse or old junkyard

Once you select your locations, don't be scared to get outside of your comfort zone a little bit when you're getting your photos taken. Have fun and explore the spaces -- you're only going to have one chance, so don't leave anything out that you'll regret not getting once you're finished.


Clothing Options And Ideas For Poses

The final engagement photo ideas that you should know about before getting your engagement photos taken are the clothing that you're going to bring along for the shoot and what poses you're going to do once you get all dressed up and are finally in front of the camera.
Depending on how many locations that you're planning on going to and how long you've paid your photographer to stick around, you may only need one outfit. But, if you're in it for the long haul and have plenty of time and patience, then you could even go so far as having multiple sets of clothes for each of your locations. Just remember that if you have the room to haul around a bunch of clothes, it's always better to pack more stuff than less. Having options is never a bad thing and once you're on the clock with your photographer it's going to be hard to head back to your house for additional wardrobe changes. So, be prepared and once again, have some fun with it!
Your poses tie in with the clothing that you choose because potentially some of your clothes could limit your poses due to being too restricted, revealing or who knows what. Your poses should once again reflect your personality as a couple and you should try to get as many different poses in at each location as your time allows. Also, I would suggest that you try to mix in some serious poses with some fun and romantic poses so that by the time your photo shoot is over you'll get a great mix of everything. One other thing -- be ready to do a lot of smiling, kissing, nose-rubbing and cheek-brushing because these are what help create some of the most amazing shots you'll take.
I've included some pictures below of some engagement photo-shoots so that they can hopefully get your wheels turning a little bit, too. Enjoy them and also be sure to enjoy the entire process once it's time for you to take your own. The more fun you have, the better your engagement photos will be, I can guarantee you that!


Need some help styling your photo shoot?  Call  or email me for a free consultation!  Your shoot will be infused with YOUR STYLE. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Decor Wow on a Budget

I love decor that is inexpensive yet still gives that WOW factor to the party.  I have used these Big Balloons in the past, and they are fabulous!  The trick is, to make sure they are fully inflated and tied off tight, so they don't leak.  When you add some streamers and ribbons in the same colors, you get a fun, elegant look for just a few bucks.  Great idea!

Are you a wine lover, or do you know someone who is?  Save the bottles, all the same color preferably, or clear, add some inexpensive candles, and you have a very sophisticated centerpiece like this one.  The key here is MULTIPLES.  If you only use a few, it could look more like dorm room decor, than elegant wedding decor.  Your venue may have a problem with open flames, so this is a great idea for an outdoor party.

This last idea is just so clever, use seasonal fruit as the table cards with calligraphy leaves.  Buy the large hatpins at your local hobby or craft store.  Put them all together on a beautifully draped table with a colorful arrangement for a big WOW on a little budget.  


YOUR STYLE + YOUR WAY on a budget?  It is possible, just think outside the box, and outside the wedding magazine, use your imagination, and the things around you everyday that you already love.  They can be the inspiration you need to get the look and style you want, for the money you have to spend.  Have fun!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Choosing a Color Palette


Choosing a Color Palette 
The colors that you choose for your big day say a lot about you and your fiance. It sets the tone for your celebration and also gives your guests a true sense of who you are as a couple.  Choosing a color palette that is "trendy" will make it easier to source what you need, such as linens, dresses, and accessories.  But if you truly want to make the day YOUR STYLE, put some thought into the colors you surround yourself with every day. Here's a few questions that I ask my clients to really get them to find their color palette:

  • What colors are in your closet?
  • What is your favorite piece of artwork in your home?
  • What are your favorite flowers, least favorite?
  • What color/colors instantly make you feel happy? 
 These boards are not "wedding" inspired.  My purpose here is to get you started thinking outside the "wedding box" when it comes to your color palette.  It's very easy to get swept away by someone else's style when you start looking at wedding web sites.  Just keep in mind that this is YOUR day, and it should reflect YOUR STYLE. 

Much thanks to Ez at Creature Comforts for these images and for the inspiration heaven in my inbox everyday. Subscribe to her blog for some beautiful daily inspiration.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Choosing a Ceremony Site


Choosing a Ceremony Site
If you and your fiance had a religious upbringing, then getting married in a church or synagogue might be your first choice.  Many wedding ceremonies also occur in alternate locations, such as country clubs, banquet facilities, public parks, and private homes. Here are some important points to keep in mind as you select the site that is YOUR STYLE.
  • How far is it from the reception site?
  • Are there any restrictions on the timing of your ceremony?
  • Is there enough parking for all your guests?
  • If you need electricity for a sound system, is it available? Will you need a generator?
  • Will your guest be able to sit down during the ceremony?  If not, will that be a problem for some people? 
  • Is there any history of radio interference with wireless microphones in the area?
  • Is there nearby traffic that could add unwanted noise during your ceremony?
  • Is the location available for your wedding rehearsal when you want? If at all possible, make sure the rehearsal time is guaranteed in your contract.
  • Does the location provide a ceremony coordinator, or are you required to provide a qualified coordinator as a prerequisite for using the location?
  • Will the location's coordinator work as a team player with other vendors?
  • Will the location's coordinator allow you to create your own ceremony schedule?
  • Will the location's coordinator direct your ceremony rehearsal?  If so, make sure that person is willing to do some advance planning with you well before the rehearsal.
At Home
Public Park
reception venue

Whatever you decide for your ceremony, just make it yours.  Sometimes, the ceremony is the last thing Brides and Grooms consider when making plans. But, this is the MOST important part of your day, the moment you become husband and wife.  Make it YOUR STYLE + YOUR WAY.

photos courtesy of Style Me Pretty

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do We Need a Seating Chart?

A large number of brides are choosing to have a very informal reception and let their guests choose their own seats during the meal.  At first, this may seem like a great idea, but the mayhem that you may experience may surprise you, and your guests.

As guests seat themselves in groups of friends, and families with children perhaps, the tables fill up, and a few single chairs are left here, and there.  Then more guests begin looking for seats together, and must separate, as there are no large groups of chairs together. Half an hour later, you have a room full of unhappy guests and sad faces.   

Keep in mind, some of your guests do not know each other, and may be hesitant to ask someone to move out of a chair to allow them to sit with friends and family.

Creating a wedding seating chart may start out simply, but the process can get complicated once it's underway.
Your plans to make everyone happy can turn into an argument quickly about which guests will want to sit together. Guests who already know one another will want a chance to visit, but guests who are unacquainted with the bride and groom's friends and family should feel at home and comfortable.

My suggestion would be to let the bride's and groom's parents help make the arrangements, since they'll have a better idea about how to seat their friends. When it comes to the couple's friends -- especially those who don't know each another -- you should carefully consider their interests and personalities, and arrange the seating accordingly. You may even consider reserving a table for your single guests.

all seating chart images
The bride and groom have some options as far as seating: Though the bride and groom are traditionally seated at a table with the wedding party, they can also consider an intimate table for two, or a small table for the couple, their parents, and especially close friends.
image of sweetheart table design

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Traditional Cake Cutting, Is it your Style?

Couples have been implementing the cake-cutting ceremony since the medieval times. The only difference between then and now is the transfer from the use of swords to cake knives.

The cake-cutting practice was first created to symbolize the shift of the bride's responsibilities and obligation from one family to another. The bride would make slices and then feed these pieces to the groom's family, indicating that she now served them. The act of the bride and groom feeding one another represents the beginning of a new family together separate from the child-parent union they've known.

But, if you don't love wedding cakes, why serve one at your reception? Nowadays, wedding desserts can come in any form -- icy (granita station, anyone?), creamy (ice cream sundaes for all!), even flaky (how about a pie bar?). Or maybe order up some gourmet Bundt cakes. Other sweet ideas that don't fit the wedding-cake mold: fruit tarts, eclairs, cookies, and sponge cakes. Offer a selection of one type of treat or a spread of all different kinds. Either way, your sweet tooth will be satiated.

Why not celebrate with an "ice-cream scooping",  "pie slicing", or "doughnut dunking" instead! It can be just as romantic as a traditional cake-cutting.  Best of all it will be YOUR STYLE.  Have fun with it, and make it all about you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Be you. Be loved. BHLDN

 A new collection of dresses has launched and I am a big fan.  These are not traditional princess style wedding dresses.  These are unique, original, gorgeous styles for Brides who know who they are and how they want to feel on their wedding day....gorgeous. Perfect for smaller, more intimate weddings and very special venues.  Can't wait to see one of my bride's in a BHLDN design.  Don't miss the accessories, they're stunning and brilliant.


An understated word with significant meaning charmed us. And so began, BHLDN.
Inspired by the Dutch word for “to keep,” as well as countless tales from family and friends of the extraordinary weddings they’d been part of, we began dreaming up something new.
Our roots are with Anthropologie, so a passion for experience and creating one-of-a-kind moments runs deep. But our offering speaks more to the not-so-everyday occasions—ours is a voice that celebrates a woman’s most anticipated milestones. And one that gives tradition a twist.
We want, more than anything, to help a woman create an event that reflects her own unique perspective… to a tee. We want to give a bride that edit she’s been searching for—with heirloom-quality wedding gowns, artisanal hair adornments, footwear, and lingerie. And we want happy bridesmaids—in mix-and-match frocks with rich hues and unexpected details.
But it goes beyond the dress. Our goal, and the reason we drape, fold, bustle, and stitch, is to start a conversation with our customer—to build a resource where she can come to find inspiration and to share with those closest to her, as well as our broader coterie. BHLDN’s story is unfolding; and we’ll look to our customer for cues and guidance going forward.
There are no check boxes. No fill-in-the-blanks. On the contrary, we think a moment should be as layered and dimensional as the woman standing within it.
Be you. Be loved. BHLDN