Quick Tips: Cake Cutting Sets

Hello and Happy Wedding Planning!

Today’s quick tip should be read BEFORE you buy that $80 Vera Wang cake cutting set (or… *GASP* the $12 one from Michael’s).

Save. Your. Money.

You read me right…. don’t buy that fancy cake cutting set.  You are going to do one of the following:

(A) Forget to bring it to your wedding venue and have your poor bridesmaid skip getting her hair done so she can race to your apartment (that kinda looks like a wedding bomb went off in it, BTDub), and NOT EVEN FIND IT.  Which will result in….

(B) Having to buy the LAST ONE from Michaels’ (looks like crap and was clearly returned by another bride last week)


(C) You won’t ever use it again.  Even at Thanksgiving.  Because they are just too special.  If you even remember to bring it home.

Just borrow one of mine.  Seriously.  Every wedding venue has at least 60 extras.

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Spend the $80 on Champagne Flutes with your initials monogrammed instead. KIDDING! Skip that too.  Now you have $120 to spend on the extra 30 minutes of DJ time, a personalized guest book / guest book photo, the bar, alterations, SHOES. Or just come in $120 under budget.

Of course, if you already bought a set, promise me you will use it after your wedding.  Please?  Bring it out at every birthday and use it to cut the cake.  Use it at Christmas to slice the chocolate yule log, and carve your Thanksgiving turkey with it.  Make it part of a family tradition, not a dust collector in a drawer.



LMK: #RealWedding (Live!)

Hello and Happy Wedding Planning!

Hope & Tyler **just** got married at my venue this morning! I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures with you.

Ceremony First: It was foggy and 36 degrees for this frosty 10am ceremony… How cute are these blankets from West Elm? And the sign… “to have and to hold, in case you get cold!” The bride’s grandmother walked her down the aisle.

On to Tray Passed Deviled Eggs (crab and avocado) & Fruit Skewers and a fun beverage station! An assortment of Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Bellinis and Greyhounds warmed all the guests up. Oh! And Tyler from Brewin’ Around Coffee Co. was on hand with a portable Espresso Cart.

The buffet brunch included a gourmet crepe station, crab eggs Benedict and other yummy items created in house by our catering team. How cute are these little easels showing the significance of each dish!?

I love how one of our chefs fashioned a little snowman on the cheese display!

Floral: Jen’s Blossoms

Rentals: Trendy Event Rentals

Other Decor: Various Etsy Shops

Venue, Food & Beverage: Canterwood Golf & Country Club

Author’s own pictures

What a lovely couple these two have been to work with! And, although we didn’t have the snowy day she had imagined, I’d say it all came together pretty nicely, don’t you?


Friday Favorites: Bridesmaid Gift Ideas


Tieks.  Spendy AF. But totes adorbs.  And super smart – your girls WILL want to kick off their heels with all the dancing!

Luxury Candles: Pacifica makes them Vegan and Wallet Friendly.  Or shop at a local boutique – like this one in Gig Harbor, WA – it creates a memory of your wedding weekend and supports a local business!

Quoted from theknot.com: “A fabulous bottle of bubbly, a nice ice bucket (here or here, OMG that one is spendy!) or a wine club membership (here or here – my favorite source for fabulous wine!!)” see theknot.com’s full gift list here.

Customized Travel Kit.  Because we all have those crappy throw away versions aka “free gift with big-ass purchase.” Time for grownup travel accessories! Found one that isn’t customizable? Use a local tailor or trophy store to get you in touch with the right people.

This Wooden Coin Bank – from a shop on Etsy.  I bought this very one for my husband and am disappointed I didn’t buy one for myself!  It is stunning and practical.




People I Crush On: Style Me Pretty

Go.  Leave me.


You’re welcome.  I’ll be here when you get back….

***From the SMP website: Style Me Pretty is a style savvy wedding resource devoted to the modern bride. We cover everything from gorgeous real weddings to up and coming vendors and seasoned pros in the invitation, floral, fashion and photography industries. We feature only the most chic and style centric wedding related content, continually discovering new and brilliantly talented vendors, brides with an eye for all things gorgeous, and the personal loves of editor, Abby Larson.***

I like to think of SMP as wedding-inspiration porn.  Some of it is almost too beautiful to look at.  Since 2007 founder Abby Larson has been scouring the earth for all things wedding beautiful.

They have practical tips, amidst high-end wedding photography:

bouquet breakdown blog heading

Take this feature – the exact breakdown of the flowers used in a bouquet.  How nice would this be to give to your florist? Or, are you struggling as a DIY bride? Now you know exactly what to purchase:

bouquet breakdown

With pinterest style gallery  / search engine (“the VAULT”), SMP is a perfect resource for moderate to high end wedding luxury. I searched “naked cakes” and got seemingly endless pictures:naked cakes on smpEvery one was properly credited, tagged and used stunning, well-cropped and well-lit photography.

This is a “grows with you website” as well – one that you will still follow long after the wedding planning is done.  With Kid’s Party advice, Home Tours and Recipes all stored in the vault, this website & its various widgets could be a favorite for years to come.

Oh – and they have a very sexy Instagram….  With 495K followers at publishing time, this is one account you should follow ASAP! The SMP living Instagram is also picking up speed.



ps.. I just realized I used naked, sexy and porn in the same post.  Maybe I’ll show up on more internet searches?? Eeep!



LMK: #RealWedding Placesettings


We had some really pretty placesettings this wedding season that I would like to share with you on Tuesdays.  Just a quick picture of the setting from a bird’s eye view.  No long descriptions – just some eye candy for the wedding obsessed.  In most cases, the linens and chargers are rented from Trendy Event Rentals in Tacoma.  Sometimes augmented with the couple’s own decor.  These are actual, obtainable and fresh weddings – not stuffy, out of date, styled fake shots with $120 / set silverware.

These pictures are taken by me, and sometimes aren’t the best / straightest / professionally lit!! But this is about RealWeddings, so meh.


Quick Tips: Your Feet WILL Hurt

Hello and Happy Wedding Planning!

I am one of those girls that can wear heels for 12 hours and not complain.  My feet get a little sore, but nothing unmanageable. You might think the same thing.  You wear heels to work, to the club, of vacuuming around your house, whatevs.

But, on your wedding day, those brand new, sexy little heels you bought at a sample sale? They will be the work of the devil by dinner service.

Have a backup pair of shoes you feel good about changing into.

tieks.jpg(tieks pictured above)

Trust me.  From your beat up navy converse (you rebel!), your favorite cowgirl boots (so YOU) or these spendy tieks (gahhhh, I friggin LOVE tieks!)… having a backup pair of shoes is realistic and smart.  Because walking around barefoot at a wedding venue is icky (and dangerous, hello glass in your foot!)




Seven Wedding Day Photographs Not to Miss

Slow your roll – This is not a complete list of every single wedding photograph that your wedding photographer should try to capture on your wedding day. Perhaps someday I will make a nice little list of what shots are recommended and which to skip.    But today I would like to single out seven specific pictures (or variations thereof) that I have had several brides and grooms tell me are “must have wedding day photographs.”

Communication is key – if your photographer doesn’t know you want these (or other) specific pictures, they might not get to them.  Remember, your photographer (and other vendors, for that matter) are not mind readers, and every couple has different expectations as to what pictures they have to remember such a special day.

And note that I wrote, “your wedding photographer should TRY to capture”… no one is going to get a shot of your mom and step mom together, frolicking through fields of lavender, if they are feuding.  And sometimes an important candid is missed, because your photographer is capturing another, just as important, shot at the other side of the room. Be realistic.  And maybe consider a second shooter.  (And family therapy? Too soon?)

  1. The First Look (yes! I want you to SEE each other before the ceremony!)
Someday I will write about the pros and cons of the first look, but the gist of it is this – a couple decides to see each other prior to the ceremony *GASP*. Before you go booing me off stage, keep in mind a first look makes pictures much easier (more wedding photography finished before your ceremony! less work to be done during cocktail hour!) and gives you a very private moment with one another before declaring your love in front of everyone and their mother.  (And in some cases their mother’s mother’s mother.  Quick generations, I suppose #nojudging.)
The first look is a tender moment.  Raw.  Personal.  Want to make your future husband tear up? Have him wear a blindfold and take it off of him when you stand in front for his eyes to take you in.  That’s some raw emotion.
 (photo credit:  Canterwood Golf & Country Club, Unknown Wedding Photographer – if this is your work, please let me know so we can credit you!!)
(variation) FINE.  You don’t want to see each other. You want to stay traditional.  Pfffffft.  Just kidding, I don’t hate you.  But at least trade handwritten notes around a corner.  Or grasp each others hands and pray together.  I want you to hear your fiancé’s voice and he/she to hear yours.  I want you to know that you are both in the moment, together.
2. Parental Figure and Offspring Unit. (aka “dad and daughter” “mom and son” etc)
It’s a picture of the bride or groom with the person they have selected to walk them down the aisle, before all the pomp and circumstance takes off.
I want the parental figure (dad, step mom, uncle, grandma) to have a moment with the bride/groom – and I want a picture of it.  So do you, I promise.  One of the most tender moments I saw this summer was of a sister (bride) and brother (escorting her down the aisle).  I didn’t know the backstory of why her dad or step dad was not a part of this tradition.  She choose her brother – and in the moments leading up to the ceremony I could see why.  The proud look he had on his face – his older sister, about to commit to an amazing man for the rest of her life – was touching.  And when she scrunched up her face and fixed his tie, I completely started crying.  Lump in ‘ma throat, choking back tears.  And I am not  huge crier at my weddings anymore. That’s a picture to hold on to forever.
When I get married, we didn’t really get this “must have wedding photography” shot pre wedding ceremony – but we had a great moment when my parents were walking me down the (beach sand aisle).  The minute my heeled feet hit the sand, I realized that I couldn’t walk across the sand in my fancy white shoes.  Physically I could have pulled it off, but I wanted to be more grounded – more… me (barefoot whenever possible).  So I stopped my parents (my mom just about crapped herself until she realized what I was doing), and I kicked my heels off.  All three of us were laughing our butts off.  And that moment… completely organic and unrehearsed, is one of my favorite wedding photographs.
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(photo credit: Author’s Personal Collection, David Royal Photography)
3. The Photographer’s Signature Shot (aka, why you hired this person in the first place)
If I had a dollar for every time I told a couple “relax and let me do my job,” I would at least be able to pay for a few months of Netflix.  And I don’t mean it in an asshole-y way.  I mean it genuinely.  Yes, you will have enough chairs at your wedding, because I know your final guest count – relax, this is why you hired me.   The same goes for your photographer.  You hired this person because they had a style that spoke to you (unless you hired your cousin with a fancy camera, and that’s a whole other blog post…).
So let them show their style through your wedding photography.  It might seem silly for you to stand on a concrete balcony in the wind. On a cloudy day – but you might get a shot like this.
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 (photo credit:  Canterwood Golf & Country Club, AiP Creative Photography Wedding Photography)
Or you might balk at the idea of standing outside, in the rain, in the pitch dark – but you might get a shot like this.
 (photo credit:  Canterwood Golf & Country Club, Jenny Storment Wedding Photography)

*for the record, our rainy night bride, Taylor, was 100% all for doing this shot, such a trooper, as it was raining and about 40 degrees that night!!*

4. The Serious Shot (aka, who can rock the better b**** face?)
 I know, I get it… you want your wedding photography to convey “happily ever after” – but that doesn’t meet you need to have a “s”-eating grin in every photo.  The serious faced shots envoke a high fashion feel, and can catch your audience off guard.  They give gravitas to this important event – and force you to slow down and be in the moment.  Plus, you will be so hopped up on mimosas and adrenaline, trying not to smile may actually lead to a few candids of you and your future spouse (or family) laughing hysterically. Win/Win. How gorgeous do these ladies look? Proud.  Strong. United – and stunningly beautiful – all while skipping the smile!
  (photo credit:  Canterwood Golf & Country Club, Jenny Storment Wedding Photography)
5. We Did It! (aka, let’s party!) 
I love the “Holy Crap, We Did IT!” look that my couples get at the end of the ceremony.  Shoulders up, a mile-wide smile, and an almost mischievous look.  Here is where having a second shooter is such a plus.  One wedding photographer can capture your family and friends’ jubilation with a nice long-shot of the entire audience, and the second photographer can be closer to the happy couple – and catch that fresh and delirious moment as it happens.  This is one shot that cannot be re-created in wedding photography – you have to catch it right when it happens.
Kati and Juan Carlos-Blog Ike and Tash s Favs-0073.jpg
 (photo credit:  Canterwood Golf & Country Club, Ike & Tash Photography and Motion Wedding Photography)
6.  Small Children Dancing (aka wedding photography GOLD)
Yes, you paid $70 for the kids meal -and it’s chicken strips.  Yes, the flower girl smeared her lip gloss (really, she’s 3) on your dress. Yes, the ring bearer threw a tantrum before delivering the rings to the alter (really? you let him walk with live rings?? smh).  But at the end of the day, those little munchkins are wedding photography gold.  Flower girls in a circle around the ring bearer on the dancefloor? Swoon. Your 2 year old nephew, in a tux, passed out in mom’s arms, as she laughs with your *new* sister in law? Priceless. The awkward 13 year old nephew asking your best friend’s kid for a dance? I die.
Trust me – invite kids to your wedding and make sure to capture them in pictures.  When you look back at your wedding photography in 5, 10, 50 years, it will be such a joy to see the little ones so… well… little.  More on why kids are a vital part of any wedding later (from the girl who once said, “I am going to hire a gaggle of kindergartners to be at my wedding”) at a later juncture.
7. Your Vision (aka, I saw this on Pinterest, my favortite blog, my BFFs wedding, etc..)
Mine was a picture of my husband and I, silhouette from the back, with our hands up.  Each hand was to form a letter.  L. O. V. E.  We failed.  Not epically, but definitely not what we had envisioned.  But we took the shot.  And it is not haunting me to this day (if only we had time to take that one picture…).
Pick that shot / pose / angle that you are in love with and try to recreate it in your wedding photography – BUT (and its a big but) – promise me you won’t think the entire wedding day was a waste if it doesn’t work.
You might be able to recreate something you saw, and loved…
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  (photo credit:  Canterwood Golf & Country Club, Tasha Owens Wedding Photography)

Or you might fail.  Epically so, like we did.  But meh.  It was fun to try and who cares.
There is no magic potion for must have wedding photography.  But by singling out a few important shots, you can start to build your idea portfolio.  I invite you to be honest with your photographer – and hope they will return the favor (No, we cannot create a city-scape with glittery lights silhouette shot at your 11am beach wedding, but this is what we CAN do…).  Communication is key.  Use Pinterest or other wedding photography image resources convey your dreams to your photographer if words fail you.  And let them know in advance, so no one is taken by surprise. And above all, enjoy your day.  Be in the moment and savor every minute.
Commenting? Tell me what other Must Have Wedding Photography shots I might have missed!