Sunday, 16 December 2018

Featured: Conway Wedding

  • Published: Monday, 14 May 2018 18:04
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Paul and Hannah Conway were married at the beautiful Riverwalk in Gladwin, MI on March 24th, 2018. While the weather was a bit cold, the love between the two of them kept the area just warm enough for their small outdoor ceremony. We love the way their wedding day came together, especially with their Alice in Wonderland theme! 

Honeymoon Packing Essentials!

  • Published: Wednesday, 09 May 2018 11:38
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

One of the biggest days of your life is finally over and it’s time to celebrate together just the two of you. Packing for the honeymoon can seem almost as stressful as planning the wedding itself! Packing too much can leave you hauling around endless amounts of luggage. Packing too little could leave you without something very important. Below is list of some of the most important items to pack to help make the packing decisions a little easier.

  • Airline tickets (printed or on your phone) or e-ticket confirmations
  • Passport, visas, driver's license
  • Credit cards (take only those you'll need)
  • Any reservation confirmations (like hotels, restaurants and events) not available electronically
  • Two sets of photocopies of all of the above, plus a photocopy of related medical and/or trip insurance coverage and prescriptions (carry one set with you, leave one in the hotel room)
  • Prescription medicine (in the original bottle)
  • ID tags for luggage (inside and out)
  • Insect repellent (and anti-itch cream for the bugs that break through)
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Band-Aids
  • Aspirin
  • Antacid
  • Antihistamine
  • Canvas tote bag for beach or pool (also good for carrying souvenirs home)
  • Electrical converter and/or adapter
  • Extra pair of glasses and/or contacts
  • Ziplock bags (use for wet swim suits, toothbrushes, etc)
  • Earplugs
  • Antibacterial liquid or lotion
  • Eye drops
  • Small backpack(s) for day excursions or impromptu activities
  • Clothing (amount and type determined by location and duration of trip)

Important but Easy to Forget Last Minute Details

  • Published: Wednesday, 02 May 2018 11:35
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Wedding planning can be overwhelming at times. There are so many things to get done that it seems nearly impossible not to forget something (no matter how many notes you make for yourself). It won’t be the end of the world if something is missed, but to save some wedding day stress, here is a small list of things that are often (and easily) forgotten leading up to the big day.

 

1. Marriage License. Without this piece of paper, even once the ceremony is through, you’re not actually married in the eyes of the law! Be sure to drop it off to the officiant ahead of time or give it to a trusted member of your bridal party who you know will remember it

2. Transportation. You’ve likely thought about how you and your bridal party will be getting from ceremony to reception on your wedding day, but don’t forget how you’ll get from the reception to your home or other accommodations! If you’re taking alternative transport from ceremony to reception, you may want someone to bring your vehicle to the reception site so you can make an easy exit when the night is through (or leave it there the night before). Also consider options for guests who may have had a bit too much to drive (Are taxis available? Uber? Does the hotel nearby provide a trolley?).

3. Vendor meals. While you know they will be present at this momentous occasion, vendors are easy to forget when thinking about your guest list. Vendors who will be present during dinner hour such as the DJ, photographer, videographer, and their assistants will need to be fed, so you’ll want to include them in the number that you provide to your caterer.

4. Vendor final payments/tips. Paying bills is the last thing you want to worry about on your special night! Many vendors require final payment a couple weeks in advance, but for those who don’t, consider designating someone to hand out payment that night. Just place the payment into a labeled, sealed envelop for your designated payment person and be sure to let the vendors know who to look for! Likewise, if you want to tip your vendors (though most don’t expect gratuity).

5. Back up shoes. Those beautiful high heels you chose just for the day look stunning with your dress, but they may not be practical for dancing the night away. Bring a pair of tennis shoes, sandals, or flats to spare your aching feet… or just go barefoot!

6. Wedding gifts. Designate someone you trust to get the wedding gifts back to your home (or keep them at their home until you return from your honeymoon) or at least to pack them into your car at the end of the night. You’ll be too busy saying farewells to deal with it and don’t need the stress of remembering.

20 Great First Dance Songs

  • Published: Monday, 02 April 2018 14:40
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

 Your first dance is one of the most special moments of your big day. Many couples have a song that they have deemed “Our Song” and having their first dance to it seems like a no-brainer. For others, however, it can be difficult to determine what song has the right meaning and sound to make it the right one for you as a couple. To make your search a little easier, here are 20 great first dance songs for you to consider!

 

All Of Me John Legend 2013

Thinking Out Loud Ed Sheeran 2014

Marry You Bruno Mars 2011

Wonderful Tonight Eric Clapton 1978

The Way You Look Tonight Frank Sinatra 1964

At Last Etta James 1961

Marry Me Train 2010

What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong 1967

Can't Help Falling In Love Elvis Presley 1961

A Thousand Years Christina Perri 2011

God Gave Me You Blake Shelton 2011

I Don't Want To Miss A Thing Aerosmith 1998

Perfect Ed Sheeran 2017

I'm Yours Jason Mraz 2008

Just The Way You Are Bruno Mars 2010

Everything Michael Buble 2007

Amazed Lonestar 1999

(I've Had) The Time Of My Life Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes 1987

Unchained Melody Righteous Brothers 1965

It's Your Love Tim McGraw with Faith Hill 1997

 

4 Quick and Easy Ways to Stash Cash for the Big Day

  • Published: Monday, 02 April 2018 12:54
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Figuring out your budget should be the very first thing you do when you begin the process of planning your wedding. After all, pretty much everything you do (or don’t do) will have a $ associated with it! It’s best to know exactly what you can afford to spend before the process is started. The budget can make things really simple if you have the money already on hand, but if you don’t there are some easy tricks to help you stash some cash before everything comes due (without resorting to starvation).

 

1. Get a financial planner!

Set a monthly budget and follow it! Log everything so you know just how much you ACTUALLY spend on things. This one requires a bit of effort, but you may be amazed to find how much money is unnecessarily flowing out of your bank account on little things like eating out or your daily coffee! Tracking your finances will allow you to identify problem areas and plug the financial leak, allowing you a great potential for extra cash! Don’t want to carry a book around? Consider a free digital budget tool such as everydollar.com or Mint!

 

2. Automatic Transfers!

Consider setting up a separate bank account that you won’t touch for anything except wedding expenses. Have a small amount automatically transferred from your main account to the wedding account each week, biweekly, or monthly. Be sure to put the amount that will be transferred into your monthly budget so you don’t overdraw your account. A small amount transferred will add up to a big deal in the end, but likely won’t even be missed from your regular account!

 

3. Get it to Go

Cutting out restaurants all together could save a ridiculous amount of cash, but if that’s not realistic for you, (it certainly wouldn’t be for me!) try ordering to go instead of dining in the restaurant. Not only will you save on drinks by grabbing a two liter, but you don’t have to worry about gratuity! Instead take the amount you would have tipped and add it to your wedding stash! (Note: PLEASE if you do dine in, still tip your waiters and waitresses! Being tight on cash isn’t a good reason to stiff someone else… tips are usually how they earn a living and you never know, they may be saving for something important too!)

 

4. Pack It!

Going out for lunch everyday adds up fast! Instead, take a homemade lunch to school or work everyday! Lunch at the golden arches may only be $5 a day, but if you go five days a week, that’s $25 (and a whole lot of extra calories too)! Just a couple months of homemade meals and you could have your DJ or cake paid for! Worth it? We think so!

Making Sure the Perfect Dress Really Is Perfect

  • Published: Monday, 02 April 2018 12:51
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

You’ve found the one and you’re ready to say “Yes” to the dress. This is the dress you’ll be wearing down the aisle, the one you’ll share your first kiss as husband and wife in, the one that will be immortalized in photos for all eternity. You look fantastic and maybe even felt yourself tearing up a bit when you looked in the mirror. But before you have your final fitting there are a few things you should do in it to make sure it really is as perfect as you feel when you’re in it (because let’s face it, you’ll be in it ALL day and while pain is beauty, no one wants to be uncomfortable on their big day!

 

1. Put Your Hands in the Air Like You Just Don’t Care!

This is especially important if your choosing a strapless gown! While putting your hands up, be sure to take note of whether or not the dress slides down or moves around too much. (Be sure to where your wedding day undergarments during this trial and all dress fittings as well to ensure that they work well with the dress.)

 

2. Take a Load Off!

While that gorgous mermaid gown may be great while your standing, at some point you’ll want to sit down. Make sure that you can sit down comfortably and get back up without the entire bridal party helping you!

 

3. Take a Walk!

Is your train so heavy that you’ll need help? Are the beads squeaking and driving you crazy? Take note of anything that seems uncomfortable or irritating. There may be ways to ease the stress or there may be things you’ll want to arrange for a helper for!

 

4. Monkey Around!

No, you don’t want to put on a circus for your neighborhood, but you will want to move around into some odd angles. This way you know that come time for those beautifully posed photos, you’ll be able to get into position without busting a seam or being miserable.

 

5. Give a Hug!

Weddings are full of love and hugs. Make sure you can throw your arms around someone to make sure that there will be no problems!

 

6. Just Chill!

For much of the ceremony and photos, you’ll be just standing still. Take notice of any pinching, squeezing, itching, or discomfort cause while you do nothing at all.

Won't Someone Think of the Children? Entertaining Ideas the Kids Will Love!

  • Published: Wednesday, 21 March 2018 18:16
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Won’t Someone Think of the Children?

 

Kid’s can be the life of the party, but they can also easily become bored at a party that is themed more for adults. While many couples are opting for adult only weddings to avoid the inevitable stress that can come from bored children, others are taking a different approach by finding simple ways to keep them entertained. See below for a list of some of our favorite kid friendly wedding day entertainment ideas!

 

1. Kid’s Table: Have a table just for the little ones to sit at and stock it with LOADS of crayons, coloring pages, and sticker books! Consider skipping the fancy linens on this table and put down butcher paper instead so the kids can color right on it!

 

2. Wedding Placemats: Provide children with wedding themed placemats that have pictures to color, cross word puzzles, tic-tac-toe boards, connect the dots, etc. Patterns can be found online, or if you want to make it a little more personal to your day, you can create your own with your computer and plain or colored paper!

 

3. Kid’s Only Area: Create a kid friendly atmosphere in a small area of your venue. Put up a small tent, a movie or video game area, and a place to do activities like coloring, puzzles, etc! If the area is in a separate space from the reception itself, consider hiring a babysitter for the night to keep the kids entertained and safe!

 

4. Outdoor Games: For an outdoor wedding, games such as corn hole, ring toss, and bubbles are always a hit and can easily be made to fit your theme!

 

5. I Spy: Provide the children with a disposable camera and a list of things for them to capture (Someone laughing, a kiss, their table, etc). Not only does this idea keep them entertained, they may just capture some great moments as well!

 

6. Glow Sticks: Who doesn’t love things that glow? Glow sticks are inexpensive and make for great fun!

 

With these ideas, kids won’t just not be bored, they’ll have a blast!

Easy Ways to Save Money for Your Dream Wedding

  • Published: Wednesday, 14 March 2018 01:02
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

It’s no secret that weddings can be CRAZY expensive and things can get out of hand fast if you’re not careful. That being said, you can still have an amazingly beautiful wedding on a budget! Check out our money saving tips for planning your big day!

 

1. Lessen the paperwork.

 

Having a planner to guide you through the process is definitely essential, but spending $30-$50 on a fancy hardcover isn’t. These days digital planners are easy to find! Sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire put everything you need to know right in front of you on your desktop, tablet, or even your phone! If you’re one of those people who prefers to have everything on paper, you can save money by purchasing a three ring binder ($3-$5) and finding a free planning tool online to print!

 

Invitations include a LOT of information...perhaps too much. Most commonly, a formal invitation includes: the invitation, reception card, RSVP card and envelope, accommodation inserts, and maps or logistics cards. Thanks to technology, many of these things are no longer necessary! With the prevalence of Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other GPS systems, guests likely won’t even give the map or logistics cards a second glance, so why spend money and time on the extra stationary?! Likewise, most guests will look to travel sites to get the best deal on accommodations, making those inserts unnecessary. If you can fit all of your wedding day information on the invitation, you can save the reception card as well. Each of these things may seem small, but when you have to send out a couple hundred, the money adds up fast!

 

2. Choose the best location.

 

If you’re not having your wedding in a church, consider having your ceremony and reception at the same location. Often venues will offer a discounted package when you select them to host your ceremony (some will do it for a nominal fee and if there are no extra labor costs, some will allow it at no cost)! Why pay two separate fees for two locations?

 

Look for a venue that fits your theme and has ambiance. The more fitting the venue, the less need there is to decorate and the less you’ll have to spend to create your vision!

 

3. Choose your flowers wisely.

 

Flowers are wonderful! They not only make everything look beautiful, they smell great too! But if you’re trying to have a budget friendly wedding, consider using artificial flowers for your bouquets and decorations. Chances are people won’t notice and if they do, they won’t remember after long! If not having that intoxicating aroma is a deal breaker, consider buying floral spray and spraying the arrangements the night before the wedding.

 

If real flowers are an absolute must, consider choosing flowers that are in season at the time of your wedding. In season flowers are generally less expensive because they’re so easy for vendors to find.

 

4. Desserts take the cake!

 

The cake is a big deal, but things can be done to make sure it’s not a big deal in your budget. Many couples are electing to have a small cake for cutting with a sheet cake of the same flavor hidden away to save on cost. Other great options include cupcakes, donuts, smores and candy buffets!

 

Tips for the Big Day You'll Be Glad You Knew

  • Published: Wednesday, 14 March 2018 00:59
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Day of Tips You’ll Be Glad You Knew

 

1. Appoint someone to watch your phone for you. You want to live in the moment on your wedding day, not be attached to a device! There will likely be a dozen people trying to contact you about various things, so allow someone else to answer your texts and calls. If something comes up that really requires your attention, they can let you know.

 

2. Make sure you eat something! It seems like something so automatic that you could never forget, but with your nerves on high, there’s a good chance that you will forget to eat. The last thing you need on your wedding day is a massive headache or to put champagne in your system without any food to soak it up!

 

3. Break your wedding shoes in before you wear them down the aisle! You don’t want to be miserable by photo time and you definitely don’t want to have blisters ruining your honeymoon! Make sure you have some band aids in your emergency kit just in case. If you purchase flats for dancing, make sure you break those in too!

 

4. Make sure your bridal party gets to know each other before the festivities begin. Not everyone is comfortable hanging out with people they’ve never met. Plan a small get together (spa day, dinner party, go to the movies) to help bond your group together and relax those that are a little more shy so when it comes time to dress shop and wedding plan, it will be less awkward for everyone involved!

 

5. You pay good money for a photographer, make sure they know who you want in your photos! Make a shot list of not only the types of photos that you want, but also the people you want in them. Also, if you want people in a group photo, it’s helpful if they are aware that they need to stick around for awhile after the ceremony to have them taken.

 

6. Get your ring professionally cleaned both before your engagement session and the wedding. Many jewelers will do this for free and your ring will look extra sparkly for your photos!

 

7. Learn how to respectfully say no. Whether it’s a pushy family member not respecting your decisions or a vendor trying to do something that you were against, at some point you will need to just say no! Remember to smile when you speak and try not to get too emotional. It will get easier the more you do it!

Unplugged Ceremonies and Why We Adore Them

  • Published: Wednesday, 14 March 2018 00:52
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Unplugged Ceremonies: Why We Adore Them

 

What is an “Unplugged Ceremony”? No phones, no iPads, no electronic devices to take the guests attention away from you...this is an “unplugged” ceremony. It may seem a bit self-indulgent, but there are a lot of benefits to telling your guests to put away their devices! These types of ceremonies are the best type in our opinion and we’ll explain why below!

 

1. You want your guests to stay in the moment: We all do it...we are supposed to be paying attention to something, but something on our phone seems REALLY important to get to (even if it’s something silly like our lives refilling on our favorite game). So we go to our phone with the intention of “just looking” only to find that a look took ten minutes and we forgot what we were supposed to be doing. By having an unplugged ceremony, you can help ensure that your guests are actually witnessing your wedding!

 

2. But They Want to Take Photos and More Photos is Better Right?: A guest’s attention is still not focused on the moment if they are taking photos! Instead, they are focused on the device they are taking it with and maybe even what Instagram filter to use on it. We completely understand why you might value the photos your guests took! They’re uploaded almost instantly for the world to see! However, you’ve likely spent thousands on hiring a professional photographer and most of the photos taken by guests are the same as what the professional takes only at a worse angle, lower quality, and at a more unflattering moment. Instead of having guests busy taking photos, tell them to enjoy themselves by actually witnessing the moment!

 

3. Phones and Devices Get in the Way!: You’ve said you’re vows and in full rapture it’s time for you to walk down the aisle as husband and wife! This is one of the most beautiful moments of the day and as your photographers we are poised to capture it in all its glory, but oops! Sorry! Uncle Bob just leaned in and completely blocked us from every angle to take a photo on his phone. We’ve dipped, dodged, and jumped, but sometimes, there’s just no way to reposition in time. Now the moment is gone… we just hope Uncle Bob’s photo turned out well!

 

4. You Want to See Their Faces!: Imagine… you’re about to be announced as Mr. and Mrs. and you look to the front row to see the pride and love in your (likely teary eyed) mother’s face… but all you see is a giant iPad where her head should be. And just as sad, if that’s what you’re seeing, that’s probably a lot of what your photographer is getting as well. Tablets are the worst, but even smaller phones can cover up the reactions that we’d love to be capturing for you!

 

Ultimately it is your choice whether or not to have an unplugged ceremony (or even an entirely unplugged wedding). It depends a great deal on how highly you value the photos that guests may capture. However, in our opinion, it certainly makes for better professional photos and a more memorable night for all if you go unplugged!

 

Prepping for Your Engagement Session

  • Published: Wednesday, 28 February 2018 12:50
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Prepping for Your Engagement Session

 

After you have booked with your photographer, whether it’s us or someone else, it’s time to start thinking about what you want in your engagement session. There are a few basic things to keep in mind during this process. For one thing, this is a low pressure, get to know each other, fun session and there’s no need to panic! Also, be sure to think about what season you’d like to have the photos taken. Many couples prefer to have their engagement session done in the opposite season that their wedding will take place for some variety (for example, if you’re having a summer wedding, consider having a winter engagement session if there is time. The stark contrast between the two can make for a georgous, eye catching display at home!) Beyond that, there are a few important things to consider. Below are some things to consider to make certain you are fully prepared for your session!:

 

1. Clothing Choices: While it is not really a necessity, we highly recommend that you have two outfits, one dressy and one more casual. Not only does an outfit change allow for some variety in your engagement photos, it also allows you an option to change if one set of clothes gets dirty! Also, when choosing outfits, we recommend that you try to coordinate instead of matching, and stay away from tiny patterns that may or may not show up in your photos. Bold jewelry and colored shoes tend to photograph really well. Men who wear black pants should consider black socks. Most importantly make sure you look and feel like you!

 

2. Preparing Your Partner: Any session that requires a camera in your face as you share an intimate moment can feel a bit odd, and if you’re the one who has been endlessly searching through photos, there’s a good chance the love of your life is expecting more of a smile at the camera, show off the ring, pick up pizza on the way home, kind of experience. This is why it’s important to give them a heads up on what it will really be like! Talk to them about what to expect and show them some photos so they won’t be in shock when we tell them to put their nose to yours or stop just short of a kiss.

 

3. Hair and Makeup: Many brides choose to have their hair and make up trials done shortly before their engagement session. We highly recommend this! Not only does it allow you to feel a little extra pampered that day, it will also allow you to see what your hair and makeup will look in your wedding photos! If you decide to do your own makeup, be sure to apply eye makeup SLIGHTLY heavier than normal.

 

4. The Ring: The ring is always a big deal, after all, it’s what your love used to ask you to spend eternity with them! So of course we will be taking a few ring shots! Check out your ring a day or so before your session and consider giving it a little cleaning to make it really shine!

 

We hope these tips have been helpful to you and look forward to working with you!