How to Find the Right Wedding Photographer For You

January 18th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

wedding photographer

Brides and grooms often have differing ideas about the wedding, but one thing both parties can agree on after-the-fact is the big day goes by fast. With so much happening in such a blur, you want to be able to capture as many precious moments as possible. That’s why it’s so important that wedding photographers really know their stuff! Here are some things you should consider when selecting the perfect wedding photographer.

Interviewing the Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer can be done relatively early in your planning, so time is on your side. Do some internet research, ask for referrals from friends and schedule several interviews. This is service you don’t want to skimp on, so don’t make a rushed decision. Finding a photographer whose work you’re comfortable with, and who you both you and your future spouse agree on, is a must.

It Can’t Hurt to Have a Back-up Plan

Though not a replacement for a good photographer having a back-up plan is always a good idea. Even professional photographers can have accidents, and you don’t want to be left without wedding photos. A great solution is providing each table at the reception with a disposable wedding camera. Many tasteful designs are available, and your guests will have a great time snapping away. You’ll probably get a few silly photos, but you’ll also get some extra candid moments you might have missed.

The Complete Package

Your photographer should offer final products that are attractive to you. If you want a traditional, bound wedding album, make sure your photographer offers that at a reasonable price. Or, if you just want digital files to print or assemble in your own time, make sure that’s understood and agreed upon. You want a professional that will be in the right place at the right time to take great pictures, but if you can’t actually get those pictures in the way you want, you’re liable to come away disappointed.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The best wedding photographers illustrate this in spades. Search carefully for the right photographer for you, book well in advance, and don’t settle!

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Something Old, Something New…

January 4th, 2017 by Erin K. Martell

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

We’ve all heard the rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” that led to the custom of including items fitting those descriptions in your wedding ceremony. For brides who value this tradition and want to take part, here are some fun ways to incorporate these into your big day!

Meaningful Links to the Past

When searching for your something old, heirlooms are the obvious choice. Since the something old represents continuity, a tasteful piece of jewelry that belonged to your great-grandmother can be worn as a hair bauble, a handkerchief from a favorite aunt can be carried or sewn into your dress or, if appropriate, you could incorporate your mother’s veil or a piece of her dress into yours. If you have a connection with a male relative, ask for a watch that can serve as your bouquet wrap. Pictures count as old too! A new locket or charm bracelet incorporating pictures of special family members that have passed away can satisfy your something old and something new in one!

Symbols of New Beginnings

Your something new is all about looking to the future. Since you’ve probably purchased at least one piece of your wedding attire, finding your something new is likely the easiest piece of this fun rhyme to fulfill. Many brides choose to designate their wedding ring or dress as the something new. But if your wedding ring is an heirloom or your wearing your mother’s dress, you might have to keep thinking. If nothing pops out at you, a coin minted in the year of your marriage and tucked into your dress is an elegant solution. But look around a little, and you’ll find at this time of new beginnings you have many choices for your something new.

Honoring Who You Love

This piece of the rhyme refers to borrowing happiness, so it’s the perfect opportunity to honor the special people in your life. Borrow the first dance song of a couple you admire, carry a small bag filled with “borrowed” relationship advice from your friends or ask to borrow the something new your mother or grandmother used. Poems, quotes or song lyrics you read at the ceremony are also good candidates for something borrowed. Your something borrowed is a great chance to get creative!

Bolt From the Blue

Blue symbolizes loyalty, so your something blue is important. If you’re wearing a traditional white wedding dress, your “blue” item is likely to be understated. A blue garter is traditional but has been falling out of favor over the past decade. Blue flowers in your bouquet, the date of your wedding discreetly sewn in blue thread on your dress or a piece of blue topaz jewelry are low-key choices that won’t conflict with your overall theme. Of course, you can always abandon the notion that each item needs to travel down the aisle with you, and use your something blue at the reception. Place settings, decorations or even cutting of the cake can fulfill your something blue.

Although most brides forego the final line of the poem “and a silver sixpence in her shoe” you can certainly complete the tradition if you’d like! So whether you choose to incorporate all of the traditional “something” elements in your wedding or not, have fun and make some special memories.

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5 Most Dedicated Fan Weddings of 2016

December 21st, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

wes-blog-02-2016-12-theme

Since we’re in the final days of 2016, we think a retrospective is in order! We thought it would be fun to look back over the year at some of the craziest, most committed to their fandom weddings. From classic Disney to a favorite decade, we’ve chosen five of the most standout weddings in 2016.

Fun with Disney Magic

It was all about Disney for Mark and Belinda’s magical day! Disney décor made for a classy and tastefully understated theme that perfectly complemented their joyous event. They used Disney fonts, a backdrop of the Magic Kingdom for a few of their photos and songs from Disney movies during the ceremony and the reception. And of course, who could forget each guest’s standard-issue Mickey Mouse ears?

Pottermania Strikes Again!

Lewis and Cassie’s Harry Potter-themed wedding was full of authentic touches from the wizarding world. Wizards and muggles alike loved the owl statues, Ministry of Magic posters advertising the “undesireable” status of the bride and groom and the jars of Honeydukes candy decorating the venue. And don’t miss the video above of their gorgeous wedding cake. Lewis and Cassie each had a wand, of course… Because what Harry Potter wedding would be complete a duel?

Hockey Fans do it up Right

From our friends to the north, comes a very Canadian wedding! Hockey fans Greg and Andrea really went the distance with their hocky theme. The wedding party (including the flower girl!) wore ice skates, and the ceremony took place on the ice at an actual hockey arena. After the hockey-themed ceremony, guests received personalized hockey cards and signed a hockey jersey/guest book. And of course, the wedding cake was a Stanley Cup!

Traveling Back in Time

Mid-century groomsman- and bridesmaid-attire, classic cars, records and other elegant visuals set the stage for Chris and Natalie’s 1950s-themed affair. A traditional ceremony was followed by a reception full of laughter and dancing. The clever bride and groom’s first dance to “Stand by Me” fizzled out halfway through only to be replaced with a rollicking rendition of Johnny B. Goode from the band.

Football, Football, Football!

“Supporting one another from penalties, opposing defensive and offensive lines, and when the clock is working against you, never forget the greatest victories come out of the most difficult challenges.” These words spoken by Rob and Teresa’s officiant kicked off the invocation of a ceremony decorated with Seattle Seahawks memorabilia and guests, bride and groom alike decked out in football jerseys. Now that’s a fandom! The backdrop for the nuptials themselves was the Seahawks’ team color “action green” as was one particularly exuberant guest’s beard!

Every wedding has a theme, but not all are quite as extraordinary as our picks. Don’t forget, your wedding is your chance to do you. We hope these romantic and fun-filled fan weddings inspire you!

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3 Easy Ways to Make Your Winter Wedding Wonderful

December 7th, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

winter wedding
With so many weddings taking place in summer or fall, hosting winter nuptials is a great way to make your special day stand out. And honestly, why wouldn’t you want to get married in winter? Winter is bright, clean and—most of all—cozy. With all the feelings of closeness, from fireside snuggles to holiday-inspired fellowship, the love-filled ambiance is built right in. What better atmosphere could you choose for a wedding? With all that in mind, we have a few ideas to make your winter wedding an affair to remember.

Snowflakes – A One-of-a-Kind Decoration

snowflake-bookmarkBeautiful, symmetrical and universally beloved, snowflakes are the perfect accent for any winter party. Whether decorating the venue, filling out the centerpieces or making the wedding party gifts special, snowflakes are a classic theme that will help celebrate both your day and the season. Snowflakes are so versatile, they’ll look great as a beautiful cake topper, fun icing on cookies or even as an graceful take-home favor.

 

 

Colors of the Season

White. Blue. Silver. Stick with these sparkly influences, and you’ll infuse your event with an elegant flair dovetailing nicely with the seasonal surroundings. Even if there’s no white blanket of snow on your special day, the anticipation of a frosty wonderland will fill your guests with excitement. You may be tempted to incorporate red and green, but your wedding is your day. Christmas is well-represented in the decor department, so you’re under no obligation to include the holiday season in your wedding plans.

Drinks for the Occasion

winter weddingIn addition to traditional drinks, why not introduce hot chocolate and spiced ciders into the equation? Nothing is more welcoming on a cold winter day than a steaming mug of hot chocolate (with snowflake marshmallows, of course)! The mugs for the warm drinks can provide another fun canvas to display wedding flair, and one that offers greater possibilities than simple white print on crystal flutes. Just another way to put your own unique stamp on the day!

Winter weddings need very little help to achieve peak beauty and romance. Just pick your winter theme, and stick with it. And, if you get your fill of the season, you can always go somewhere warm for the honeymoon!

 

 

photo credit: Bigstock/maksheb

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3 Things to Guarantee your Holiday Party is Amazing

November 16th, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

Holiday Party

The holidays are almost here, and that means party, party, party! With so many celebrations happening over the next few months, now is the time to consider how your holiday party will stand out from the rest. Whether your budget is big or small, there are a few guidelines that will help guarantee your party is a smashing success!

wes-blog-02-2016-11-holiday-party-02Let’s Talk about Flair

Party decorations come in all shapes, sizes and themes for the holidays. For get-togethers early in the season, fill apothecary jars with acorns, scatter sparkly leaves across the table and use floating pumpkin candles for soft lighting. Later in the season, you’ll find snowflakes and snowmen are popular and universal—even in warmer climates! Holly branches, pine cones and candles set a subtle mood for more elegant festivities. Whatever you do, be creative, and your guests will quickly be in the holiday spirit.

Holiday Party LightsLight Up the Night

When it comes to atmosphere for the holidays, nothing sets the mood like lighting. Many advocate simple white fairy lights as the only tasteful approach to holiday lights. While that option is well-suited to some parties, you shouldn’t feel locked in. Colorful lights enhance the festive mood just as well. No need to go full Griswold but do have some fun! And consider using battery-operated lights to eliminate the hassle of cumbersome and unsightly cords.

Holiday Party MusicTearing up the Dance Floor

There’s no more essential ingredient to a party than music. Keep your playlist centered on catchy tunes with a good beat that will entice your guests onto the dance floor. And while there are great holiday songs you should include, you don’t need to play only holiday-centric tunes. Your party theme should take care of the holiday mood, so get the party started by concentrating on danceable songs that keep things lively.

Follow these simple suggestions, and your holiday celebration will keep everyone’s partying spirit primed clear through to New Year’s!

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What’s the Best Wedding Schedule? What to Do When!

November 2nd, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

wedding schedule

Managing and scheduling the moving parts of a wedding will be one of the more challenging aspects of your planning experience. But establishing a timeline for what needs to get done—and when—will let you focus on individual tasks rather than taking on the whole event at once. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick overview to guide you through the major milestones in the year leading up to your happy day. So take it one step at a time, and use our guide to help map out your year.

wedding scheduleRight away: Decide on your budget. Knowing what you want to spend will help you make all the rest of your decisions. At the same time, start your guest list. You need to know the size of the wedding since the number of guests has a direct bearing on cost and choice of venue. It’s hard to talk dollars-and-cents until you nail down whose attendance is essential.

Month 1: Pick a date. Once you agree on the day, select—and book—your venue. If the reception will be held at a different location, book that as well. You don’t want to miss out on your dream spot because someone else has it booked.

 

Month 2: Send your “Save the Date” cards to your guests, and begin researching photographers and DJs. Schedule and hold interviews. This gives you plenty of time to find the right match!

Month 3: Book the photographer and the DJ. Start thinking about a theme, and what you want the wedding party to wear.

Month 4: Order the wedding cake. Book the suits for the groom and groomsmen. Make your reservations for the honeymoon!

wedding scheduleMonth 5: Get rental agreements sorted. Plan your honeymoon, and if you’ll need passports, get the process started. Figure out the accommodations for guests traveling from out of town. And this is the time to buy the wedding dress!

Month 6: Now is when the best man and the maid of honor will be planning the get-togethers they’ll need to throw, so get them your invite lists. Also, book the officiant, and order your wedding invitations.

Month 7: Decide on the details of the ceremony, and work on the programs. Meet with a florist to make arrangements.

Month 8: Groomsmen and bridesmaids should get fitted for their wedding attire. Check your state laws and make sure you apply for your marriage license within the proper window of time.

wedding scheduleMonth 9: Choose your wedding rings!

Month 10: Send your invitations, and buy your groomsman/bridesmaid gifts.

Month 11: Get ready to look your best! The bride should book the hairdresser and makeup artist.

Month 12: Provide your venue with the final guest count and seating plan. Settle any remaining payments due to vendors.

Your Big Day: The planning is over, time to party! Focus on your new spouse, and enjoy the love from your friends and family. You’ll be busy, so designate a friend to keep you supplied with food and drinks. It’s your day, have fun!

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From Cute to Clever: Event Place Card Ideas You’ll Love

October 19th, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

event place card

You definitely don’t have to choose traditional escort or place cards when deciding how you want guests to find their seats. Place card holders come in all shapes and sizes to match every theme. And if you play your cards right (see what I did there?), your place card can even double as your favor! We want your event to be perfect, so this week we’re sharing a few awesome ideas for unique event place cards.

But first, let’s eat!

After a long day of preparation, followed by a ceremony, guests will be hungry! Passed hors d’oeuvres are great, but why not make your place cards edible? Add little name flags to a delicious treat, spell out the guests’ names in chocolate or dressing on plates or even provide monogrammed cookies. If you can cook it and put a name on it, you can use it as a place card!

event place cardGet creative

Origami is complex, beautiful, and everyone loves it! Get your arts and crafts on, and fold an origami display for each guest. With thousands of options for folding paper, choosing an origami place card that fits your theme or your guest’s personality will be no problem.

Love game night?

Of course you do! Honor your hobby by buying Scrabble tiles in bulk, and spell out guests’ names to identify their seat. Playing cards are fun, but dominoes, Monopoly and chess all translate easily into place cards as well. Extend the theme a little further by giving guests the chance to play Wedding Bingo throughout the reception!

Travelers unite!

If you’re heading off to the honeymoon of a lifetime (or even if you’re still just dreaming about it!), a custom luggage tag is your chance to take care of the place setting and favor in one.

More Cowbell?

There’s nothing a little cowbell can’t fix, so if you’re planning a rustic-themed event, they’ll fit right in! Sweet and sentimental, an engraved cowbell is a unique memento your guests will want to keep.

event place card

Celebrate the season

Combine red or orange fall leaves with white marker for the names for a beautiful celebration of the season. Or print place cards and tuck them into a pine cone! Paint the pine cone to match your event theme, and add a touch of nature to your event.

 

Why would you ever use ordinary place cards when you have so many options to choose from?

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Don’t Set the Date for these Days!

October 5th, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

Set the date

Planning an event far in the future comes with unique challenges, especially when choosing a date! Most people are busy, so you really must give plenty of time to make arrangements. And that means taking into account cultural and social happenings. So what significant national or religious events should you take into consideration when setting a date? Read the rest of this entry »

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Creative Party Decorations on a Tiny Budget

September 21st, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

decorating on a budget

Decorating is a hugely important part of any event, but you don’t have to spend a lot to make a big splash. There are a number of clever, surprising options that will delight your guests without stretching your budget. Read on for some helpful decorating tips that will get you the most bang for your buck! Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Plan a Beautiful Fall Wedding

September 7th, 2016 by Erin K. Martell

Fall wedding
Fall is undeniably beautiful. The leaves change to oranges and reds, the temperatures are cool and crisp and the atmosphere is thick with excitement for the holidays. Between the weather and the feeling in the air, fall is the perfect season to host a wedding. So if you’re planning an autumn do, we’ve got some tips to help you take advantage of this wonderful time of year! Read the rest of this entry »

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