Saturday, 25 May 2019

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!


Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Wedding Day

  • Published: Tuesday, 27 February 2018 12:49
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Wedding Day


Weddings are beautiful, crazy, chaotic day dreams painstakingly put together with hundreds of hours of planning, organizing, creating, researching, dreaming, blood, sweat, and tears. Despite all of this work, there’s usually something that gets forgotten in the rush. Here are a few things you may not have thought of that will help your day go smoother and help you avoid some big “uh-oh” moments!

Your Must Have Shots List

  • Published: Wednesday, 31 January 2018 11:59
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Your Must Have Shots List


One of the most important things you can give your photographer or videographer is a “Must Have Shots List”. Every couple is different, so each will have certain things that they absolutely want captured by the vendors that they have hired to do so. By presenting us with a list, you not only take the guess work out of our job, you ensure that the things that are most important to you are captured for you in photos or video to remember forever! Not sure where to start when it comes to building your must have shots list? We’re here to help! Below is a list of shots we think you won’t want to miss. Create your own list based on ours! Helpful Hint: Weddings are beautifully chaotic and sometimes it’s hard to remember in the moment whether or not you’ve missed calling someone up to have their photo taken with you (especially in larger groups)! Add the names of the people you want included to each category so we can make sure no one is left out!


Bride and Groom                                              Bridal Party


Formal Bridal Portrait                                       Formal Entire Bridal Party

Formal Groom Portrait                                     Silly Entire Bridal Party

Seeing Each Other the First Time                      Groomsmen and Groom

Bride and Groom Embracing                             Groomsmen and Bride

Bride and Groom Walking                                 Bridesmaids and Bride

Bride and Groom Holding Hands                        Bridesmaids and Groom

Bride and Groom Kissing                                  Flower Girl Portrait

Close Up of Rings on Bride and Groom              Ring Bearer Portrait

Groom Getting Ready

Bride Getting Ready



Family Formals                                               The Details


Extended Families Together                            The Rings

Bride’s Extended Family with Bride/Groom        Bridal Bouquet

Groom’s Extended Family with Bride/Groom      Bridal Veil

Bride with Parents                                          Groom’s Boutonniere

Groom with Parents Wedding                           Dress Before it’s On

Bride and Groom with Both Sets of Parents       Bride’s Shoes

Bride with Grandparents                                 Ceremony Decorations

Groom with Grandparents                               Reception Decorations

Bride and Groom with Grandparents                Wedding Cake


Bride and Groom with Siblings                        Ceremony Program

Great Guest Book Alternatives

  • Published: Wednesday, 24 January 2018 12:41
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Great Guest Book Alternatives


The days of walking into a bridal store and purchasing a plain white guest book with a touch of lace or ribbon have practically disappeared! Options for creative and awe inspiring items in the wedding world are ever expanding and the options for guest book alternatives are no exception! Of the thousands of details you painstakingly select for your big day, the one that is seen and touched by nearly all of your guests is this one (it’s also one you’ll likely keep forever). Instead of selecting something you’ll probably throw in a box and look at once a year on your anniversary (if that), why not create something beautiful that you’ll enjoy looking at every day? Below are some great ideas to leave your guests saying “wow”!


1. Photo Guest Book- If you prefer to stick with a traditional book, consider creating a book filled with your engagement photos or other photos of the two of you for your guests to enjoy as they sign!


2. Photo Quilt- Have a stunning future family heirloom created for you by having your photos put together as a quilt to sign! Hang it on your wall or cover up with it to keep you toasty. A signature photo quilt will be a treasured memory passed down from generation to generation! Be sure to use a fabric marker to ensure the signatures won’t fade with time!


3. Canvas- A large photo of the two of you or a custom designed artwork printed on canvas and mounted to a sturdy wooden frame could be the perfect spotlight for your walls for years to come! (The guest signatures add even more to it’s uniqueness and beauty!)


4. Wooden signs- Wooden signs are not only beautiful, they withstand the test of time! Consider having a monogram or custom design created for you and hand painted on wood to add a classy rustic feel to your day! Have your guests sign with Sharpies or paint markers and add a coat of polyurethane after the big day to better preserve the masterpiece that has been created!



While these are some of the most popular options, the only limit to the creativity of your guest book is your desire! There are thousands of great ideas and you guessed it… Sweet T Photography & Services can help with that too!

Bridal Show Tips & Tricks

  • Published: Wednesday, 17 January 2018 12:16
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

Bridal shows are a great source of information (and a lot of fun), but they can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. Not to worry! We’re here to help with some helpful tips to put your mind at ease! After all, you want to be able to focus on the fun!


1. Before the show, make a list of the vendors that you still need to hire for your big day as well as any questions that you may want to ask a potential vendor of various types. Bridal shows can be very exciting and it can be easy to forget the things that you still need amongst the hustle and bustle!


2. A lot of vendors are likely going to ask you for your contact information. (No, they’re not being creepy!) Vendors actually need this information for a few reasons. For one, it allows them to contact you if you’ve won something from them. It also allows them to follow up with you to make sure they have served you in the best way possible… even if you didn’t book with them or aren’t interested. You’ll likely end up writing your information a few dozen times, so to avoid exam style hand cramping, we suggest printing labels! Printable labels are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most office supply stores (Wal-mart, Staples, etc). Include your name, phone number, address, email address, and wedding date!


3. Many shows will give you a goody bag at entry, so make good use of it by picking up information at all of the booths that interest you. You can read through them later to refresh your memory and share with those who may not be with you! (And don’t forget some of the goodies that they hand out as well!)


4. Take some photos! Not just of you and your crew (hey, might as well do that too!) but also of anything and anyone that interests you! Have a great conversation with a vendor and want to make sure you remember who they are? Take a picture of their booth! In love with a floral arrangement or color scheme you see? Take a picture! If you have a blast and a lot of photos of the fun, don’t be afraid to upload them to social media and say where you were and how much fun you had! Consider tagging the show and the vendors too (they love the attention)!


5. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the vendors during or after the show! Remember that they have paid for the opportunity to talk to you! No question is unimportant and everyone will have different needs for their day!


6. Let loose and have fun! Bridal shows are useful for collecting information and planning, but they are also a blast! Many have special events that take place at certain times throughout the day and lots of prizes to be won! Bring your friends, your fiance, and your family, and anyone else you have fun with to share the excitement!



7. Check us out at the Ring the Belle Bridal Showcase at the beautiful Ubly Heights Golf & Country Club on March 10th, 2019 11:2:30! We will be having a cash bar, wine tasting, cash bouquet toss, and more! 

The Many Benefits of Attending a Bridal Show!

  • Published: Wednesday, 10 January 2018 14:27
  • Written by Theresa Hoard

The Many Benefits of Attending a Bridal Show


Congratulations! The love of your life has asked you to be theirs for eternity and you’re planning a crazy wonderful (and slightly stressful) event to celebrate! If you’re newly engaged, the planning process probably seems like a never ending, daunting task filled with thousands of tiny details (I have to pick out HOW MANY songs?!). If you’re coming near the end of the process, you’re likely panicking that there may be something you forgot (Wait...Did I tell the banquet hall I want round tables instead of rectangle?) The good news is, there is an exciting event that can help no matter what stage of planning you are in...bridal shows! Below are just some of the many reasons you want to attend bridal shows (even if you feel like you’re finished planning)!


1. You can gather TONS of information all at once!


Bridal shows allow you to talk with tons of different types of vendors about not only their services, but also their recommendations WITHOUT having to book a dozen separate meetings throughout the week to do so (because let’s face it… what bride has that kind of time?!). Likewise, who knows more about what flowers go best with peonies than that florist with the amazing bouquets at her table?! Who knows the best locations for photographs better than the photographer with the gorgeous images displayed at their booth?! Vendors are usually more than happy to talk to you about these things (they’ve even paid for the privilege to do so)!


2. You can compare prices!


Because so many vendors are present at a bridal show, it’s easy to see their work and visit the ones you are interested in to see which ones fit your budget as well as what they include in that price. Be sure to remember when price checking that some vendors include everything their packages while others choose to charge separately for their service/coverage time and products.


3. You can figure out where to start or discover what you may have forgotten!


There are SO many details to plan for a wedding that it can certainly be overwhelming. Bridal shows present a lot of that information to you making it easier to figure out what decisions to make first. You can see from displays what kind of color schemes might look good together, find out what venue can meet your needs, or even what style of gown you want. You can also be reminded of smaller details you may have left out like what songs a DJ recommends for bridal party dances, or what kind of book (or alternative book) you want your guests to sign!


4. Ideas galore!


Seeing different vendors can give you lots of great ideas, even if you aren’t using that particular vendor’s services. For example, a wedding planner or rental company may have a table set up that gives ideas of what you want yours to look like. A caterer may bring a chocolate fountain that makes you realize you’d like one for your day!




Many of the vendors bring samples, especially caterers and cake bakers (YUM!) which means, of course, free food! Even vendors who don’t have food often have small giveaways. On top of that, most bridal shows raffle prizes from those awesome vendors as well as other prizes! Some even give a goody bag at the entrance!


6. Fantastic deals!


On top of free stuff, some vendors will offer fantastic deals only to the brides that attend the shows they display at!


7. A TON of FUN! (and Ring the Belle Bridal Showcase)



Sure, there is usually a small cost involved in attending a show, but it’s worth it just for the FUN! Bond with your mom, your future spouse, or your entire wedding party! Get yourself great deals and free stuff, but also participate in fun activities! Activities vary by show, but at the Ring the Belle Bridal Showcase (organized by us at Sweet T Photography & Services) you can enjoy the cash bar or have a wine tasting as you browse for your wedding day needs! Party with Above & Beyond Tuxedo DJ Kurt Lewis,  enjoy the fashion show by Joy's Bridal Boutique, win prizes, and even take a chance to catch a bouquet laced with cash! It’s all happening on March 10th, 2019 at the beautiful Ubly Heights Golf & Country Club 11-2:30! Don’t miss out!