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. 😉

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!

 

 

Say “I Do” To These Things, Too

Everyone knows that weddings cost a fortune (regardless of your efforts to save), but there are certain things in your wedding you absolutely cannot skimp on! Set your budget, assuming you have one, around these three things. They are, arguably, the most important.

1. Photographer and Videographer

Here are just a few reasons why:

• A great photographer can anticipate what will happen next. You’ll never miss great moment in your wedding because your photographer wasn’t prepared.

Reason: They are very experienced and know good and well when something special is going to happen.

• A top-notch photographer can make an ordinary photo into something extraordinary.

Reason: The experience of photographing many brides has shaped their ability to understand what the bride is looking for. They are able to create the perfect photo you had in mind, and more.

• Hiring a friend can be scary! In other words, avoid hiring them!

Reason: Sometimes, the photos don’t turn out as you had imagined and there is some animosity between you and your friend. Who needs the extra stress? You just got married and had an amazing honeymoon and then come home to the real world and find out that your friend didn’t produce the photos you dreamed of. No one wants the confrontation or the elephant in the room when you go hang out with your girlfriends.

• Once it’s over, it’s over! You want to capture these moments forever!

Reason: You only have the photos and videos to relive the moment. With good photography and video work, you can look forward to sharing this moment with your friends and family who couldn’t make your ceremony, or even your children when they start asking questions about your wedding. It goes without saying that photos are fantastic keepsakes, but video will give you an immersive experience. Videographers can capture the true feeling of love in the air. Remember, a picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words!

2. Gifts

I know this isn’t one many people think about – that’s why I included it! When I say “gifts,” I am talking about gifts you might give to one another’s parents, as well as gifts you might offer the bridal party and groom’s party. Traditionally, in most American weddings that is, the bride’s parents will be paying for your special day. Don’t you think you should that deserves a gesture of gratitude?
• In 2011, the average cost of a wedding was $27,000 (excluding the honeymoon). Thanks mom and dad!

Reason: On top of paying a small fortune for the wedding, it’s tradition that parents give the bride and groom a gift. If you ask me, the wedding is a present in itself! With that in mind, it’s important to share how much you appreciate your parent’s hard work, financial support, and their willingness to take the time to give you the wedding you have always dreamed of.
• Bridesmaids and groomsmen give up time out of their busy lives to make your day special by attending all of your showers and parties, as well as the wedding itself. And a lot of the time they pay for their own dresses, tuxes/suits, shoes, and lodging. Thanks ladies and gents!

Reason: Of course they wouldn’t miss it for the world, but I’m sure they would be grateful if you showed your appreciation with a little somethin’ somethin’! Acknowledge that you’re aware of their support and that you recognize the sacrifices they may have made in order to make your day something special.

Courtesy: Photos By J.Kay

3. Your Unique Style

I’ve always heard the saying, “the marriage is for the couple and the wedding is for the parents.” Well, lucky for you, that’s not the case anymore.

• The wedding is not about pleasing your family or your guests! It’s about you!

Reason: Of course you want everyone to love it just as much as you and your bride/groom-to-be, but don’t forget this is a celebration for you! I know, I can’t say the word “you” enough. Now keep in mind, I’m not talking about becoming the infamous and dreadful bride-zilla. But, I encourage you to stay true to your style, whether it’s out of the ordinary or completely by the book! There are many ways to incorporate your style in your wedding.

 

Oh, one last thing: Problem with the folks? No problem.
• If you want to keep it simple but your mom wants an extravagant celebration and throws in the phrase, “it’s my money, shouldn’t I get a say?”

Try this: Split the cost of the wedding 3 ways. This is a new idea that consists of the bride and groom, bride’s family, and grooms family splitting the cost of the wedding three ways. Many couples have started using this strategy because they feel like it’s fairer to everyone. Plus, mom and pop don’t get to chime in quite as much. After all, it isn’t all your folk’s money anymore, is it?

With these things in mind your dream wedding isn’t out of reach. I promise you won’t regret saying “I do” to these things, too.

Reference: Two Birds, One Stone

Stee & Josh Featured in “Carolina Bride”

I had the honor of helping coordinate  the wedding of my good friends, Stee & Josh.

They were married on May 5th in Lexington, South Carolina! Stee did the majority of the planning on her own while Josh was deployed with the National Guard overseas, serving our great country!

The newest issue of The State Newspaper’s “Carolina Bride” was published just last week and they featured my favorite newly weds! Here’s the article! I’ll be sure to feature them a little later on the blog, once I have some of my favorite pictures from their big day! So here’s a sneak peek!

Day After Wedding Day Shoot

Ever considered a Morning after/ Day after wedding shoot?

A morning/day after wedding shoot is a great way to capture your first day together of being married. More and more couples are choosing to have these as it gives them the chance to take more relaxed and low key shots. It also allows them to get images in different locations and/ or styles without worrying about the time schedule of their wedding day. Some people really like the idea, but believe that the shoot will delay their honeymoon, however planning one for when you and your partner get back is always a possibility.

When you start to think of the different elements, there are so many options to choose from when planning a day after wedding shoot. Maybe you didn’t have an engagement shoot and so would like to plan one for your first year anniversary together, just like this one featured on green wedding shoes.

Perhaps you’re planning a destination wedding, in which case you could get your photographer to shoot you and your partner touring and exploring a specific area of your destination. Many wedding destinations have beautiful scenery and historic sites and these can be used as backdrops – Take inspiration from this couple.

There are no wrong or right ways to do a morning/day after shoot, so whatever suits you and your partner’s personalities is what you should go for. After all you want to feel comfortable.

wedding photography morning day after shoot

Couple snuggled up in bed (morning after wedding) still in wedding attire

wedding photography day after_morning after shoot

Love this shot! Perfect for a hot destination wedding

relaxed day after wedding shoot

The images can be as relaxed and playful as you want

wedding photography morning day after shoot_destination wedding bahamas

You don’t have to wear your wedding attire….This shot captures the joy of ‘just married’

If you and your partner were thinking of planning a morning/day after wedding shoot, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to get you started. Like I said, there are no wrong or right ways to do this….be creative and most of all do what you want as you’ll enjoy it and it will most certainly show in the pictures!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 — Reposted from: Coordinated For You

Pro Insight: Brooke Christl Photography

Since entering in to the world of wedding planning, I have been accepted by so many wonderful people who know what it’s like to start from scratch.  Luckily, I knew many of these people as I was planning my own wedding and they offered me lots of advice on the way so I figured that advice would be great to share. Let’s start with Brooke Christl of Brooke Christl Photography!

I met Brooke back in 2010 when I was in my friend’s wedding in Conway. Krystle & Joe had hired Brooke as their photographer and I loved her! I loved her personality, her attitude, her vibe and most of all, her kindness! Brooke recently got married as well and knows what it’s like to be on both sides of planning now.

Brooke Christl

How long have you been in the industry? I’ve business for 5 years here in Myrtle Beach
What made you get into the photography industry? I graduated Photography school from Brooks Institute of Photography in 2003 and moved to NYC to work in the fashion Industry.  After spending 3 years working in the city, I relocated to South Carolina and started my business here a year later.
What is your favorite thing about working with brides? I love being able to show pictures to clients that they saw in a different way at the time.  With different lighting and posing, you can make an ordinary thing look extraordinary.  I also love the interaction of couples and they direct how the shoot will go.
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to weddings? My pet peeve would be not having enough time to capture the wedding day.  It is very important for a bride to be organized and have a good timeline and stick to it.  This is where having a planner becomes very essential…  To keep everyone on schedule 🙂
What is your favorite thing about weddings? I love almost everything about weddings!!!  But….I love being able to work as a team with other wedding vendor making sure the couple has the absolute perfect day!!!
What is your favorite wedding detail you’ve ever seen or created? 
One of my favorite details was a rock ceremony.  It was actually the couples 10 year vow renewal to the day.  because of the military they never had their big wedding until 10 years later.  They went to Aruba for their honeymoon and it’s tradition there to stack rocks (each rock representing a wish) and when the waves knock the rocks down the wishes are suppose to come true.  They brought some of these rocks back to incorporate into their vow renewal 🙂

Courtesy: Brooke Christl

Biggest piece of advice to brides: Plan ahead so you can enjoy the day.  It all goes by so fast and you want everything to run as smooth as possible.
To find out more about Brooke & Brooke Christl Photography: