The Six Month Engagement

As the average age of today’s bride creeps up, the length of engagement seems to be shrinking at the same rate.  Increasingly, I find myself working with couples who are planning a 10, six or even four month engagement.

And it’s totally possible, y’all. I did it, with little to no wedding planning experience (my husband I married shortly before I immersed myself in the wedding industry), and you can as well.

When directed to helpful wedding websites and blogs for a “planning timeline” the bride is faced with the usual 12-18 month planning spreadsheet. Well, that’s an awesome way to start things off… 6 months or more behind.  What a great way to spend your engagement – just catching up.

Endless blog posts scream how you can still “pull off” a “short” engagement… and “overcome” a “whirlwind” timeline. Talk about creating panic in the heart of a new bride!

Let’s look at the pros and cons of a shorter engagement, instead of focusing on how “behind” you will be if you choose this route. Continue reading

Part 4! Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

Whew! We made it! This is the fourth and final installment of our expert photographer series on Wedding Day poses and positioning.  Thank you SO much to RCMedia, Firstlight Photography and Jenny Storment for quickly answering my call for help and sharing these beautiful pictures.

Let’s finish up this project with some “back of the dress” shots.  We all know you want a picture of the back of your wedding dress.  Its a classic shot that most photographers will try to capture.  The bride standing on a bridge, facing away from the camera, eyes cast down… we’ve seen that one a million times.  Check out how these photographers captured the back of the gown without seeming contrived or clunky. Continue reading

Part 3! Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

Part THREE! In which we discuss kissy faces, sexy anticipation and squished noses.

Everyone loves a good couple-kissing picture.  The trick is nailing your kiss without it seeming forced or an overshare (Hello! No tongue!).  These images show how to capture the perfect kiss-pic… and how stunning the almost-kiss-pic can be. Continue reading

Part 2! Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

We are Holding Hands today, people! So put on the hand lotion, and grab a seat.

this is the second part of my Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love.

When it comes to wedding photography, holding hands shows a couples connection and unification. Here is a round up of a few shots that showcase different ways to hold hands in your wedding and engagement pictures. Continue reading

Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

SHUT IT DOWN, Y’ALL! I have the best group of photographer buddies right now. Read on to discover their favorite poses and why they positioned couples the way they did.   I whipped off an email yesterday, asking for help, and they came through!!

**I received so many submissions, that I have made this a four part post. Keep an eye over the next week for parts 2, 3 and 4! No empty promises here! I already wrote everything! HAHA!**

Today’s Topic? “To Touch or Not To Touch” It’s very natural for couples to want be attached to one another during an engagement session or wedding day shooting.  It’s part “OhMyGod I love you soooo much!” and part, “I am so uncomfortable, hold me close and let’s hope this is over soon.” Continue reading

Expecting the Unexpected

It’s raining cats and dogs at the office right now – the day started out promising, but the PNW weather gods have reared their predictably unpredictable heads.

As a wedding planner, I am frequently bombarded with “What If?”s.  What if my guests are late, what if the power goes out, what if it rains, what if it rains, what if it rains.  Of course we have a gameplan for all of that (yes, if it rains, rains, rains, I promise we have a plan) – and most event planners will have a rain game-plan as well.

But is there a plan in place for other weather phenomenons?  This summer we had one of those stuffy overcast days – where the air is so heavy you can hardly get a deep breath, your skin is sticky and it is uncomfortably hot.  It wasn’t exactly raining – but the air was so saturated with moisture, it felt like it was.

I don’t know how they managed to hold it together for these shots – I was in a short skirt and sleeveless blouse and was still horribly uncomfortable! Kudos to the couple!

Anastaisha Kris-571

My couple had planned a lovely outdoor ceremony (end of June),  but as the morning went on, we had a quick pow wow and decided to move under the tent.  This kept the sun that was poking through the clouds off of their elderly guests, and it allowed me to turn the fans on and get the air moving.  Instead of a sweltering, sticky ceremony, guests were cooled by the shade, and felt the cool breeze of our fans, while still enjoying a stunning view.

Anastaisha Kris-1340

When the sky FINALLY opened up to release the pressure and rain that had been building for three days, guests were able to watch a lovely thunderstorm, safe from under the tent with the sides pulled back.

I’ll tell you one thing – if the weather hadn’t been terrible, this photo in  front of a brick fireplace would not have been so epic!

Anastaisha Kris-1792

One more, how gorgeous is this girl!?!?

Anastaisha Kris-487

Thank you to AiP Photography for sharing these pictures. And thank you to Ana and Kris for making this event a breeze with their good-natured views on all things weather related.

Happy planning!

-lmk

 

 

Offers of Help

Let me level with you -wedding planning is no easy task.  Whether you are planning a gala style dinner for 500 or an intimate backyard wedding for 50, or even a tiny celebration for 12, pulling together all the details is quite an undertaking.

If you are lucky enough to have a supportive family and tight knit group of friends, offers for help will start pouring in.

Your Aunt wants to make your four tiered cake (her cupcakes at Jakey’s third birthday were pretty cute after all..)

Your college-attending,  party animal of a sister wants to host your bridal shower and your bachelorette party.

Dad wants to make your ceremony arch (he took woodshop in high school).

Your bestie wants to help with your invitations. She does have great handwriting, after all.

And so on.

If you find yourself blessed enough to have offers of help, you want to say yes! As a new bride, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (even though the previously mentioned Aunt has only made one baked good that was worth eating… everything else seemed better for using as ammunition against an impending Zombie attack.)

piontrest fail.jpg

So what’s a girl to do?

Be honest. Be thoughtful. And be humble.

Let’s talk about honesty.  Sure, your cash strapped sister might have all the good intentions, but should you task her with the responsibility of your Breakfast at Tiffany’s themed Bridal Shower and Girls Gone Wild stag night? Here is where you can accept part of what is being offered, but delegate the rest.  Sisters know many of your family and girlfriends, so what better person to help you set up the invite list and to plan the stag night, instead of taking on the entire cost and planning that goes into both events.   Here is where you can use the, “I don’t want you to take on so much, both time-wise and finance-wise” line.  It allows you to be honest, but hopefully not hurt her feelings.

crooked ceremony arch.jpg

Be thoughtful.  Dad wants to make you a ceremony arch, but you were hoping for a rustic door backdrop at your wedding ceremony.  Take a look at what Dad is really saying – I want to create something with my hands, to frame you while you declare your love and loyalty to the man that will replace many of my duties as your father. swoon Can you incorporate his idea? Maybe have your rustic doors behind your sweetheart table instead? Think of the pride he will feel, walking you down the aisle, seeing you, in all your beauty, surrounded by love and the beautiful, albeit slightly crooked, arch that he made with his own hands.

And you also need to be humble.  The task of wedding invitations, for example, is a pain in the ass.  Collecting names, starting spreadsheets, triple proofreading* the final draft before going to print, hand addressing the envelopes, etc.  Are you really up for all that? Or, does having your bestie spend five or six hours on this project free you up for other tasks? Sometimes even the most Type A brides have to admit that they simply cannot control everything – and the payoff can be liberating both time-wise and stress-wise.

I had to learn to be humble when planning my wedding.  It hit me when I had 10 or so family members assembling my centerpieces from the flowers that I purchased at a local grower.  I wanted them just so, the stems cut just right… At one point I realized that not only was my untrained, but very well meaning family not able to make my centerpieces look like high end $500 arrangements, but I wasn’t capable of it either! So I tried to give direction, but also let them have some artistic freedom (I said, some! Yes, I could have / should have given more, but learn from my mistakes here!)

Young man with glasses take off his headphones making faces.

As for the offers of help for cakes, DJing, photography, catering, aka cooking – here is where I recommend you go with the experts.  I frequently have couples who tell me that the are having a “friend with a good computer be the DJ” – oh, the friend that is petrified of a microphone? Who is going to direct your guest’s attention to your first dance?  And if this person is such a good friend – don’t you want them to be a part of the celebration, not just cheap labor?  Aha! There it is.  That’s the line I encourage couples to use, “Cousin Peter, we love your Instagram pics, and agree that your fancy pants SLR camera that you tote around is amazeballs, but we want you to be able to enjoy yourself and attend as a guest.  We want you to be pampered.” I also like to recommend you throw in a, “I’m turning into a bridezilla anyway and wouldn’t want you in the crosshairs!” Self deprecating humor goes a long way in cases like this.

Of course, there are exceptions.  Maybe you are planning a 150 person wedding on a $1500 budget – then I would take advantage wholeheartedly of the family that is offering help.  But most of the weddings that I facilitate, are working with a larger budget – but yet a budget that isn’t limitless, so we are always looking for ways to save – as are most weddings these days, I’m sure.   It’s the difference between a $800 dress and a $3800 dress. To me, that’s where you make the cut, not your wedding photography, which will be shared for a lifetime, or on your DJ, who dictates the tone and helps keep your event timeline running smoothly.

The offers for help can seem overwhelming, and may come from many angles.  Thank the person for their interest, support, and promise to follow up with a phone call that week to discuss what they are offering.  Then you can set clear expectations as to what you would like, and see if what they are offering is a good fit.

And that humble piece… Let that be the part that grounds you.  That centers you.  That reminds you of how lucky are you to have a group of people that want nothing more then to support you during such a big undertaking.  A little crunchy cake never hurt anyone.

Here are a couple links to traditional tasks that parents and siblings take on during wedding planning. Enjoy!

Mothers of the Bride and Groom Tasks

MOB tasks – great tasks for sisters here as well!

Bridesmaid DIY Projects

Fun Bridesmaid Tasks

-lmk

 

 

*for frick’s sake, yes, triple check your invites before printing them AND have some Type A friend look at them as well.  I see at least one typo on at least a third of the invites I see.  Anything from a misspelling of a name, to an extra space in the address. This isn’t a tiny blog with 20 readers! These are your wedding invitations! Take T. I. M. E. with them! I like to give a copy of whatever I am proofing to a group of five of so people and offer a prize to whomever finds the three mistakes.  You might think they are perfect, but by saying three mistakes, people will look and look and look until they find something.

 

 

 

 

The Ceremony, Reception and After-Party All In One!

NYE was a hugely successful night here at the club. I designed the decor theme and wanted to give you a little peek.
This year I predict we will see the rise of couples planning the “after-party” aspect of their wedding to take place in the same venue as the reception and ceremony.  With a growing focus on social responsibility (goodbye drinking and driving), and couples looking to truly pamper their guests from start to finish (hello late night munchies), the “netflix-and-chill-lounge” and “gastropub-chic” aspects of wedding planning are gaining speed.
By including plans for your night-owl guests, your wedding takes on a whole new persona, once the greater mass of the crowd goes home.  Here is where the remaining guests will indulge in rich foods and pontificate the meaning of life, or which Justin is more crush-worthy.  A fire-pit or cigar lounge would be a great addition to this – as would a silent black and white loop of a favorite 90s sitcom – Netflix and Chill! Bring out the comfy furniture, dramatic lighting and handcrafted cocktails for your late night celebrants.
Because some of the pictures are hard to see (hello! I believe in mood lighting), I’ve added some shots with lighter filters so you can get a feel for all the elements in each area.
Late Night Desert Station:
bite sized munchies on the right, chocolate fondue station on the left, black linen, silver stars, lights under the bite sized munchie display.
With some light so you can see a bit better....
Long Conversation Tables:
I am a huge fan for having your dinner at tables like this. Too dramatic for your taste? Have a couple by the dance floor or outside.  Invest in some fancy linens that match your theme, but hare a little more over the top.  And don’t forget the mood lighting.  See the little conversation pockets that developed between the guests in this picture? Note the family-style shared bottles of wine and the relaxed, yet dressy feel this picture has. 
nightclub long table.png
Lounge Furniture:
Easy to find in white or black, lounge or “nightclub” furniture is perfect for conversation clusters and relieving sore-from-dancing feet.  A 30″ uplight is placed behind the couch, and the center ottoman is actually a flattened white futon.  A white carpet pulls the space together, similar to your living room.  Toss a couple throw pillows in the mix and you’re set.
This is where you would find me!
Sexy Cocktail Tables:
textured linen (like this white bubble taffeta), battery operated uplight underneath, cocktail height bar stools, shiny centerpiece.
cocktial table
Action Station:
dramatic sushi station where Chef Joe hand rolled sushi to order. Uplighting, black draping, black linens is all it took to create this look .
sushi station
How are you going to incorporate the after party into your wedding celebration?
Happy Planning
-lmk

Quick Tips: Understanding the Acronyms

So you FIL2B doesn’t like your BM’s GF who happens to be your MOH because she was rude to the MOG at the E-Party?

Eeep.  Navigating the new language spoken by the wedding world can be quite frustrating at first.  It seems like everyone – from your florist, recently married friends, online blog communities and pinterest are using acronyms and speaking their own dialect of “wedding-speak.”

Hopefully this list can help you navigate the waters!

Basic Prefixes:

S =Sister, B = Brother, M = Mother, F = Father

G = Groom, B = Bride, H = Husband, W = Wife

OOT = Out Of Town (Guests, Gift Bags, Reception, etc)

Basic Suffixes:

“IL” = in law suffix (SIL = sisterin law, BIL = brother in law, etc..)

OG, OB = Of the Bride, Of the Groom (FOB = Father of the Bride)

Other Prefixes:

D = Dear/Darling (as in DH = Darling Husband)

F is also used to mean “Future,” so FFIL = Future Father In Law

Misc Crazy Talk:

JP = Justice of the Peace

STDs = Save The Dates (I promise!)

MUA = makeup artist

WP/WV = Wedding Planer, Wedding Venue

RB = Ring Bearer

FG = Flower Girl

JB = Junior Bridesmaid

MOH = Maid or Matron of Honor

BM = Best Man

SIL, BIL, MIL, FIL – Sister, Brother, Mother, Father in law

FOB, FOG, MOB, MOG, SOB, SIG = Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom, Mother of the Bride, etc, etc, 

Hope this helps! Feel free to add your own in the comments!

-lmk