Take Me Out to The Ball Game

I am a huge Atlanta Braves fan and now that baseball season is here, besides wedding planning, you can find me watching the Braves. One of my first out-of-town trips with my now husband was to Atlanta to go to a Braves game… and in fact, that’s where we went again to celebrate our first anniversary last year! (On a side note, I’m headed to Atlanta this weekend for my matron of honor’s baby shower… and I checked, hoping their was a Braves game and unfortunately, they’re on the road)

Atlanta 2009

Atlanta 2009

Atlanta 2012

Atlanta 2012

Some people love sports so much, they incorporate that in to their weddings. So with baseball season underway, I wanted to share some ways you can incorporate the love of the diamond (the one with 4 bases) into your big day.

Have guests sign a bat instead of a guest book

Have guests sign a bat instead of a guest book

Baseball_2

Baseball-Wedding-Cake

baseball-wedding

wedding-guest-book

Baseball Cufflinks

Baseball Cufflinks

Baseball-themed Wedding Invitation

Baseball-themed Wedding Invitation

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New York Mets Garter

New York Mets Garter

Candy Trays

Candy Trays

Table Numbers

Table Numbers

Wedding Invitations pictures 042

Baseball_3

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Just Engaged?

Labor Day has passed, autumn is almost upon us ….which means it’s the start of “engagement season”! (Yes, we have a term for it.) I don’t know about you, but my Facebook page is starting to blow up with engagement announcements! I absolutely love newly engaged couples because there is SO much love and excitement around getting engaged!

But then soon after that excitement wears off, you’re hit with the reality of the fact that you have to plan a wedding– something that you most likely have no clue about, right?! Sure, you’ve been in a wedding or two, or maybe one of your close friends recently got married, but things are different when it’s YOUR wedding! And if you’re anything like me, you have NO idea where to start. Well, don’t fret, because I am here to help you out! I have compiled the 10 things you need to do first to get started with your wedding planning.


1. Set a budget

You shouldn’t be doing anything before sit down and talk about & decide on a budget. Sit down with your parents, family members, or just the two of you, figure out who is contributing, how much they can contribute, and what your total budget will be Then you can move on to #2!

 2. Choose 2-3 possible dates

To be safe, choose 2-3 possible dates to have your wedding. Think of the time of year, the weather, work schedules/vacation time, holidays, and yes, even football season (or whatever sport your fiance/family is crazy about). Then choose your #1 preferred date, and have a #2 and #3 available in case your preferred date isn’t available. This is extremely important because venues book up fast…some even book up to a year and half in advance!

 3. Start your guest list

Of course you want to invite everyone you know to your wedding. But here’s my warning for you: the more people you have, the more you have to spend. (This is why you do your budget first.)

Example: You want to have 200 guests. Your budget is $20,000. This means that you will have $100 per guest. 

So as you see, starting your guest list and knowing your estimated maximum guest count early is super imporant! And keep in mind that guest counts usually go down by the time your wedding day comes around- and believe me… it’ll get really easy to cut the people you haven’t talked to in forever from the guest list.

Here are some ideas on how to control your guest list… or use this flow chart…

 4. Decide on your wedding’s style & colors

Vintage, modern, classic, eclectic, handmade, rustic… there are SO many styles out there! The beauty of “wedding styles” is that they also coincide with decor and details, and so knowing from the beginning will help you later on.  No need to design your whole wedding right now though- just know the general look and feel of how you want your wedding to be.  It’s also a good time to decide on what colors you may want to have incorporated into your big day… Once you know that, it’ll be easier to move on to #5… 

 5. Decide on your venue

So all of the first 4 steps can essentially be done all in one sitting. That’s easy, right? Well once you have all of those decisions made, you can start researching and visiting venues. When you’re researching and you find a venue that you like, I highly recommend contacting them and asking if they have any of your possible dates available. If they do, then go ahead and schedule a time to tour the venue. Give yourself a few (1 to 3 max) weeks to tour all of your possibilities (depending on how long you have before your wedding date of course), crunch numbers, envision your wedding there (or not), and then book your venue! Once you have your venue booked (meaning deposit made and contract signed), your date is secured… you are just steps away from getting MARRIED!

6. Research

First and foremost, if you didn’t already hire a wedding planner during the first 5 steps…I strongly suggest you consider one….They will be able to give you great recommendations and save you time & frustration!

Vendors:

Researching potential vendors is HUGE. There are so many great wedding professionals out there now, and you want time to be able to choose the right ones for you. You definitely don’t want to be rushed, but at the same time, time is of the essence. (If you don’t have a wedding planner, go to here’s what you need to know when hiring your vendors.)

When you’re researching, be sure to check out the vendor’s portfolio, bio, pricing info (if they have it available) and their blog. Feel free to do research on every single type of vendor you need, but the ones that are crucial and book up quickly are the photographer, florist, and caterer (if applicable).

Moving on, the next steps are going to pertain to these 3 things. [After you’ve completed the following steps for the previously mentioned vendors, then you’ll move on to your entertainment, event decor, rentals, invitations, videographer and cake. And then you’ll go on to hair and makeup, transportation, tux rentals, favors, and any extras.]

Part 2 of Research is…

WEDDING DRESS!

Yes, it’s in caps because it’s *that* exciting! Isn’t it pretty much the very first thing you wanted to do- look at wedding dresses?! I mean, come on, who doesn’t like wedding dresses? 😉 But in all seriousness, you want to be sure that you research the types of dresses you like and the stores that carry them.

7. Inquire With and Interview Vendors

So by now you’ve done your research and you know what vendors you like. Now it’s time to contact the vendor, find out if they’re available for your date, ask about pricing/cost (if you want to), and schedule a consultation. I recommend meeting with up to three of each type of vendor, one if you already absolutely love them and they sell you right away, two if you’re pretty set but want to know other options, and three if you’re not sure. It just really depends on you, your decision making skills, and your taste. 🙂

8. Hire Your Vendors

Of course the next step is to make your pick & hire one of those vendors that you’ve met and fallen in love with. After your consultations, try to let vendors know your decision a week or two from when they provide you with an estimate/proposal. And then hooray! You’re one step closer to your wedding day! Important note: Once you’ve hired someone, please let the other vendors that you met with know that you won’t be going with them. I know it sucks to do it and yes, you might feel awkward, but it has to be done- they have to know! A nice, simple email will suffice.

9: WEDDING DRESS!

Alright, so you have some of your vendors booked… now it’s time to take a break and go wedding dress shopping! I don’t think this needs much explanation.

10: Design & Detail Inspiration

Remember back in the first 5 steps when I had you decide on your wedding style? Well with the second round of vendors you will meet with next (florals, decor, invitations, rentals, cake) you’ll need to have a good idea of what you want your wedding to be like, so it’s time to focus on design and details! What do you want your wedding to look like? Design is more of a general term, and details is more of the specifics (and where your personality can really shine through too!). This too is something that requires lots of research… which in the wedding world we like to call INSPIRATION! 🙂 I’m sure many of you have probably already started saving photos of things that you like and are Pinning away for your dream wedding. After all, this big, beautiful wedding world here on the internet does almost solely revolve around design and details! But you want to make sure that you have enough inspiration to be able to accurately convey to your potential vendors what it is you want for your wedding. And then in the same breath, you don’t want to have too much inspiration either!

Don’t forget to bring your inspiration with you to your consultations! You can probably even just pull up your Pinterest boards in your meetings- which I think is absolutely amazing.

Once you get to the last step for your first set of vendors, then move on to the next set! Wedding planning is like a roller coaster- you’ll go really fast at full-speed, then you’ll slow down, and then you’ll speed up again. Yes it’s normal, and it’s okay to have a lull in planning. Basically that roller coaster ride just keeps going until you get married. 😉

What To Wear For Engagement Pictures

I am a firm believer that the three elements you need for a successful engagement shoot are simply 1. a good photographer 2. a couple in love and 3. stylish outfits! I know that may sound a bit shallow, but when I looked back at my favorite engagement sessions they all contained those three key things. I am not a stylist, fashionista and definitely not an expert, but after a little research I found some great tips and pointers from the people who would know best, photographers.

1.  Coordinate Colors. This doesn’t mean matchy-matchy, it just means that you wear colors that complement each other and pieces that have common shades. Here’s a great example from Pinterst.

Spokane wedding blog

An easy way to pair colors is to choose one hue (like the pink blouse below) then combine it with a neutral.

2. Be bold with color. Black is slimming but it doesn’t always come out well in photos so try and pick a bright color that will stand out.

Spokane wedding venue

From Hazelnut Photography

3. Wear extra make-up! Your engagement session is a great time to try out your wedding make-up artist. So try and see if you can coordinate a trial on the day of your engagement session. If not, make sure you wear heavier make-up than your everyday look, and definitely wear lipstick! Be sure to bring your make-up with you for touch ups.

4. Don’t be afraid of prints. I know they may be a bit scary, but a head to toe print can look great in photos. Just make sure it’s one that is flattering and hits you in the right places! Also, stay clear of logos and designs on shirts, etc. To balance the print, have your fiance wear a solid color.

From Hazelnut Photography

5. Choose clothes that complement your surroundings. Try and wear an outfit that matches your location. For example if you are going to be shooting in a wheat field, then wear a casual sun dress with cowboy bootsBut if your shoot is more formal, a cocktail dress or nice pair of slacks and sweater is the way to go.

6. Have an outfit change. It’s a good idea to have one casual outfit and one more formal one. And if you are unsure of what to wear, bring a couple options to your shoot and ask your photographer which one they think will work best.

7. Wear playful accessories. Play up your femininity if the outfit is edgy or choose edgy jewelry to balance super feminine outfits. If your outfit is pretty casual, try sprucing it up with a pretty necklace, high heels or cute flats.

8. Avoid anything too trendy. You want your outfit to be current and contemporary, but not something that’s going to be embarrassing in a couple months!

9. Wear layers. In my research, there were quite a few photographers who said that clothes photograph better when they are layered. So add a cardigan, blazer or jacket to finish your look!

10. Be true to your style. It sounds like a cop out, but really and truly the best photos are the ones where the couple is just being themselves. So above all, wear an outfit you’re comfortable in and that accentuates your style and best features.

 

Getting Pictures From Your Guests

Facebook and Google+ has made it a lot easier for people to share photos from weddings. Just upload, tag and share. But what happens when you aren’t friends or connected to someone that might have taken a great picture of you or of you and another guest. Well, with technology, there’s an app for that!

 

Apple has the largest amount of applications available with just over 600,000 to choose from,  and Wedding Party App is one of those. A well thought-out app,  that is not only incredibly easy to use, but best of all it is FREE. A no charge easy solution to collect all of your guests’ behind the scenes photos.

Your wonderful photographer will capture all the beautiful highlights, but guests capture the subtle, the fun, the surprising and the unexpected moments. Wedding Party App has some wonderful features that we know you will appreciate.

 

 

Suggest bulk uploads: 
With the iPhone camera being as good as many point and shoot cameras, guests end up taking a ton of pictures through their phones. Wedding Party App does not require your guests’ to take photos within the app, instead they suggest photos based on the time and location that they were taken. It automatically shows guests the photos they’ve taken at the wedding making it incredibly easy to share. Then couples can upload all of the photos at once with our bulk upload functionality. It’s really simple, any of your guests will be able to figure it out!

See your wedding in perfect order from the walk down the aisle to the first dance-
While majority of photo sharing apps timestamp your photos with the time of upload, Wedding Party App does something a little more unique. As guests upload photos to the app, Wedding Party App automatically arranges them in your wedding timeline based on when they were captured and NOT when they were uploaded. This way when all the pictures have been uploaded, the couple get a minute by minute timeline of their wedding in the app. From the walk down the aisle to the first dance, all the way to the bouquet toss and send off!

Download all your guests’ hi-res  photos for free-
With just one click you can bulk download all the high resolution pictures that were captured at your wedding!

Add personal touches-
You can customize the app and add a personal touch to it. You welcome the guests with a cover photo of your and your fiance (like above). The app is branded with the name of the couple and we even have customized email invites you can send to the guests along with free personalized place cards and a poster you can download and print( see below)!

Perfect for friends and family that could not make it to your destination wedding-
Destination weddings are super popular these days but the cost and distance make it nearly impossible for everyone to show. Wedding Party instantly streams all the pictures from your guests to the app and a website as well, so relatives at home can follow every special moment! So, it’s a neat way to follow along and even participate!

 

 

Having Bridal Portraits Done

Planning and coordinating a bridal portrait session is a favorite event most Southern Bride’s look forward to when buying their dress, selecting a bridal bouquet of beautiful fresh flowers, glittering jewelry, perfect make up and hair style and a photographer to capture it all. The completed professional framed portrait is usually set up on an easel at the wedding reception for friends and family to enjoy.

What purpose does a bridal portrait serve?

There are many benefits to planning and preparing for a bridal portrait session. It allows the bride to see her wedding ensemble all together and be able to change or tweak elements that may need attention so that her wedding day will flow effortlessly.

Traditionally, they were used as wedding announcements in the local newspapers (announcing the newly married couple), but engagement photos and/or a photo of the bride and groom are more common photography sessions today. Bridal sessions give brides an opportunity to have a formal portrait of themselves in their wedding gown, without the rush and hustle of a wedding day.

What are some ways a bride can prepare for her bridal portrait?

A bride must contact and coordinate with many professionals for this portrait date. The photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, florist and venue manager must all be contacted and a date agreed upon that will work well for everyone’s schedule.

When should a bride have her bridal portrait taken in regards to her wedding timeline?

Several factors can determine when bridal sessions are scheduled. If you’ve ordered your dress, you need to make sure you allow plenty of time for it to come in and alterations to be made. If you’re planning on having a photo on display at the wedding reception, you need to communicate with your photographer and make sure you have plenty of time to choose and order a print or canvas and have it framed prior to the wedding. I highly recommend scheduling your session 1 to 2 months before their wedding.

 

Photos By JKay

Where should a bride have her bridal portraits taken?

I believe in taking your portraits somewhere that might be significant to you, like your college campus, the park you grew up playing at, maybe at the church your parents got married. I think it’s best to take your portraits somewhere other than your wedding venue. You’ll have some many photos from that place on your wedding day.

*If you are arranging for your bridal portraits to be taken at an inside venue (could be a good idea if it is going to be either roasting or freezing outside), keep in mind that the more natural light, the better.

*If you plan to have your bridal portraits taken at an outside location, remember that the weather is fickle and the light changes from season to season.

*If the location you have chosen has strong sentimental value to you, make sure you explain this to your photographer.

What about the wedding dress? How is it kept clean and new when the bridal portrait is being taken?

Of course, you’ll want to keep them as clean as possible, but it doesn’t always require that the dress never touch the ground. I’ve seen brides bring sheets to keep underneath their dress, and if you’re going out in the middle of a field on a farm, this might be helpful, but if you’re staying indoors, it’s unnecessary and can slow your session down. Sometimes, dresses do get a little dirty, but typically it’s only the underneath edges, which will never really show up in pictures or on the wedding day, and it can always be cleaned prior to your wedding. The best thing to do to keep your dress clean is to pick it up when you walk, and be sure your hands are clean.

Courtesy: Alyona Photography

Liz Roberts Photography

Dave Gilbert Photography