So many people are making New Years Resolutions today. I myself am trying to narrow my focus on just what I'm wanting to work on, there are so many from eating better, decluttering my home, to blogging more and as always moving more.
The one I want to put out to couples out there is simple, write your vision of what you want your wedding to look and feel like down. Write them in bullet points. Think of words with texture and taste and color, sounds.
Think of it as your on the go guide, put it in big text on the front of your binder to meet with wedding professionals. Share it with them early on so they know your vision. Write them early, if you need to modify but if you need to modify ask yourself if this modification is for you both or because it's what's expected. Does it contradict your overall vision?
This can help you, there are so many bright shinny things in weddings. This is what I find for my couples in the initial consultation. I let them know then, that when we are planning if I see something that doesn't fit in with what they initially told me, I won't say no you can't have this, but more, is this what you really want, does this fit your over all vision of ...
That's why I think just like having a budget is important, so is having a vision/style guide.
Happy New Year!!!
So we are having the worst drought in California's history, but you can't help but think how you really don't want it to rain on your beautiful wedding day. Here are some options for you in case of rain.
1. Buy cute umbrellas, they can come 2 day from Amazon. I recommend a nice big one for anyone wearing make up, and having hair done.
2. Always have a rain contingent plan. It rains all 12 months of the year here in Northern California. Have a rental company come out and give you a quote for a canopy, reserve it, then a week before when the forcast is out you can cancel if it doesn't look like rain. Think about renting some heaters if it does look like rain.
3. Buy some cute rain boots, think of the photo ops you'll have with all these fun accessories.
4. Have an umbrella bucket on hand at the reception site, this will help with slippery floors in halls.
5. Waterproof Mascara. Nuff said.
6. Touch up kit, stuff like extra face powder, comb, fluffy towel to dry wet kids and a blow dryer will go along way.
And remember rain on your wedding day is good luck, so just plan ahead.
Allie & Ricky had a stunning wedding in a big BEAUTIFUL Church in Petaluma. I loved all that they honored the traditions of their family and Arken Studios captured them so wonderfully. Music was BIG to this couple it seems only fitting that the guys posed as a capella singers in front of a barbershop. They not only had a Mariachi band but a DJ, and a live band at their reception.
I loved Sam & Amanda's Backyard wedding, it was a small celebration of their love with the people who mattered most with them. Some of the touches I liked were their signs, which were so cute. I appreciated how they made a sign with the numbers for local taxi phone numbers, and made it ADORABLE. I LOVED when the Groom's sisters went in on surprising the couple with miniature milkshakes for the guests. It was something the Groom REALLY wanted but need to cut to make budget. It was a day of good food from Bruno's Food Truck, and tasty treats from Sift, and love care of their family.
I don't know about you but it has been hot here in Sonoma County the last few weeks, like 90+ degrees. I want to talk about some things you need to think about with an outside wedding in the heat.
1. Umbrellas. PLEASE for the love of your guests, PLEASE rent or buy umbrellas to shade your guests. You might think "Why? The ceremony is only going to be 20 minutes tops." There are plenty of guest who like to show up early to get a good seat, and your wedding MIGHT not start on time. Without umbrellas they could be roasting for an hour or more JUST for the ceremony. Bonus they can be moved to your dinner location if there's no shade there. You can do big market umbrellas or cute paper umbrellas, just get them some shade.
2. Water. This sounds like a no brainer. Please have some cold water on hand before the ceremony before the bar opens. Not only will you guests appreciate the cold beverage, it's best to have something on hand for you and the wedding party. I find it is one of the most commonly forgotten items for the wedding party along with lunch. I don't care if you use drink dispenser or water bottles, just have access to drinkable water ALL the time.
3. Fans. They are SO stinking cheap, seriously like less than $1 each. They are always a big hit, and you don't have to buy one for every guest, I'd say about 1/2 your guest count is good and bonus they get to take them home. Have them again for your wedding party, maybe get bigger and nicer ones for you.
4. But SERIOUSLY it's hotter than HECK!
I've had a few weddings in 100+ weather, maybe in some parts of the country that's normal, but not here in Sonoma County. For weddings that will be this hot, I recommend buying some cheap rags at any big box store and soak them the day before in water. Then wrap them into rolls, and put them in ziplocks. Put them in the freezer till the day of the wedding, then pack them in an ice chest to bring to the wedding. Hold out on breaking these puppies out till you just can't hold out anymore. Cause that ice chest will empty faster than you can say I DO.
5. Ice Cream. Talk with your caterer, plan to beat the heat with a sweet treat or call an Ice Cream Truck, your guest will feel like a kid again. Ice cream doesn't have to be with the cake, it can be part of cocktail hour, or a late night snack.
hehe that was high school cheezy
Photo credit: Michelle Feileacan Photography
So let's just start with, I was young and hadn't been planning others people's weddings. I just helped them with their rentals at this point and time. Here are the top 7 things I learned from my wedding.
1. NEW YEARS DAY: I wanted to start the year off right and married to my guy who I'd loved for the last 5 years. So we were either going to do this now or wait till, you guessed it, after the baby. What I didn't know was first round flower picks go to the Rose Parade on New Years Day, and because of that there's also a bigger price tag. You'll pay more around Valentine's Day, and Mothers Day too, just to name a few other holidays.
2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Because we wanted to do it fast, we naturally thought of Tahoe. I didn't want to do it a casino, so my mom found a little chapel. That's what they called it, but did you know a chapel is just a room? I have to laugh looking back, my wedding was in a strip mall office building, lace curtains (see above), and rows of benches you'd normally find in the front yard. Do a site check. PERIOD.
3. WEATHER: Let's go back to it being Tahoe, do you think we looked up the forecast? Nope, it stormed so hard on NYE when we were heading up, the last mile to the cabin it snowed so hard it took an hour to get there. Then on the day of my wedding the only cars that could go anywhere had to have 4 wheel drive. The officiant who lived there couldn't get out of her street, asked if she could postpone to the next day. What do you think a hormonal bride's response was? HECK no, we do this today or it's not happening! Again remember there was a reason I wanted the 1/1/04 wedding date. I don't care much what people think, it wasn't REALLY a shot gun wedding. So what did my officiant do? She was the best, she hitch hiked to the ceremony location. That's a devoted wedding vendor in my books. Some would have just said flat out no, act of god, I'm covered. Please, please have a rain/snow contingent plan for your wedding, and look up the 10 day forecast.
4. FAMILY: I remembered being so hurt that my MIL didn't dress up for our wedding, but really I should have had the conversation with her that while this was an elopement, I still hoped she'd dress for a wedding not for the snow. I can look back now and know it was my job to tell her not her job to approach me. Tell people what seems obvious to you, because it's not obvious to everyone else.
5. SHORT NOTICE/SMALL SPACE: The Venue (office) could only hold 20 people, and Mike is one of 8 kids, so this worked to our advantage, people couldn't get the time off work so close to a holiday. It was also a double edge sword, I didn't get to invite my cousin who I found out later was deeply hurt. I wish I had her there. You'll forget someone on your guest list hopefully not this kind of blunder. So have family/friends check your guest list.
6. PHOTOGRAPHER: Do you think I could find one in 2 weeks, who would work on New Years Day? No. But my Uncle and friend did an amazing job capturing the day. No, it wasn't blog worthy (except my blog), but it was scrap worthy. Now I know to talk to the photographers about what their boundaries are. My Uncle bless his heart was behind the officiant, and to say the least it was distracting. He did get some good shots, but please hire a pro, they can get good shots and you'll feel like they weren't even there.
7. MUSIC: This is the story I tell the couples most often. You need music to walk down the aisle to. Here we trucked through the valley and hills and snow, hitch hiking officiant, bride wearing thermals and snow boots, only to not have a wedding march. I didn't care about a whole lot of things. I gave in on the kinds of flowers I wanted. I didn't get a photographer. I was getting married in a FREAKING office. The music is what sent me over the edge. I cried, I'm sure it was an ugly cry in the "Ready room" when I realized we had no wedding music. Then you know what happened? I could hear our family humming the wedding march for me to walk down the aisle. I dried my eyes, powered my face, and walked down to the best part of my day and married my best friend. The humming is what I remember first when I talk about our wedding. Stuff happens but I have some great stories. This is normally the story I tell couples where they think they don't want a videographer. 10 years down the road I wish I had someone capture my family humming me down the aisle, photos can't tell that story.
Sometimes I think we should renew our vows, and maybe one day we will, but at the end of the day I married my better half, and partner in crime for the last 15 years.
I've learned so much more than this over the last 10 years, but please know your wedding will be so much better than mine just because you read this. Please hire a coordinator so they can think of what you aren't.
Michelle Feileacan , a wedding and portrait photographer based out of beautiful Sonoma County. I asked her to talk a little bit about engagement sessions, what makes them so special, and how couples should prepare for one. I wish when I got married 10+ years ago I did one. I think they are a good way to get to know one of the people who will be around you the most on your wedding day.~Sarah Warner
"I offer all my clients engagement sessions with their wedding packages because I feel they are so vital to the process. There are a number of reasons I urge everyone to take advantage of the sessions, whether your photographer offers them as complimentary or not.
The first reason is really obvious. It gives you some great images! You can send them out with save-the-dates, display them at your wedding or shower and have them as a memory of your "dating" life. Life starts to move faster and faster after you're married (especially if kids are in your future) and it's nice to have a memory of what like was like when it was just the two of you!
Second reason is that it gives you a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera and with your photographer. Most of us don't spend a ton of time being photographed from all angles and we may not realize that we do this funny head tilt or we really don't like when we stand on one foot that way. Seeing all your photos will help you identify that and will help your photographer pose you in the way you feel most at ease and look your best.
Third reason is that it’s just plain fun! What a wonderful chance to spend a few hours just being together, acting silly and loving on each other. Take a break from wedding planning, take a walk on the beach and just enjoy the time to yourself.
I've put together a pinterest board of some of my favorite color/style combos if you're really stumped. I encourage folks to have two looks.
I usually describe this as a day look and a night look. If you have a favorite outfit that really makes you feel awesome, wear it. Don’t wear something that you're borderline on or uncomfortable in. I had a girl once who was tugging and tugging on her dress and I said "are you uncomfortable?" and she admitted that she hated her legs, but wanted to wear this particular mini dress because she wanted it to look cute. I thought she looked stunning, but SHE was uncomfortable and it showed. I will probably make you sit on the ground, lie in the grass and maybe even climb a tree, so keep that in mind when planning your outfit. If you want to wear heels, I encourage you to slip a pair of flats into a bag so you're able to get to our spot without breaking an ankle. :D
Now, a lot of the above information will depend on the WHERE question. Have you thought about what calls to you as a couple? Does your photographer work in specific locations? I tell my clients that I want to take them either somewhere they love and is special to them, or somewhere beautiful. I tell my clients that their session is supposed to present an idealized "Saturday date day". I'm going to take some things into consideration and I urge you to listen to your photographer if they have reasons to avoid a certain place. Lighting is of course very important. You're not going to get those hazy, dreamy photos if you go out at high noon. Your hair will not keep that lovely style if the beach is having a high wind day. That being said, a good photographer will give you some options for getting what you want within reason.
I hear this at every session without fail. "I don't know what to do!" Guys especially have less experience "posing" for the camera. For me personally, I really don't want you to pose as you think of it in the traditional sense. I will give you some guidance as to where to stand, how to hold each other and then I really love you to just sink into each other and get into a comfortable position. Believe it or not, it shows! Little things you'll notice- when you hold hands, whose hand is normally on top? When you do it the other way it feels weird! The basics are this. Breathe deep, stand up straight, smile, look into each other's eyes, trust your photographer and have fun!"
Please check out Michelle's Blog to see more of her work
Next go get a manicure, everyone will be looking at your hand more than ever before.
You will be signing up for all kinds of deals and websites about wedding related stuff, start a new email to save your sanity once the big day is over.
Budget, I know blaaahhh. No fun. By all means revisit your Pinterest board and buy magazines and start creating a vision, but along with this vision, you need to be practical and have the money talk with everyone who is contributing to you wedding. This was you can find out how big to dream.
Don't forget to laugh and have fun be forgiving and remember to just be yourselves. You chose each other for life, not just one day.
Thank you to Michelle Feileacan Photography for the lovely engagement photos of darling N&M.