It's the little things.

Weddings.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of weddings on any given Saturday. Fridays and Sundays, too, but mostly Saturdays.

So, what is it that makes YOUR wedding different than all the others?

YOU.

You, your fiance, your personality, the things that make you YOU. As individuals and as a couple.

I've recently come across some really cool "little things" that people have done and are doing to add their personality to their wedding that I thought were worth sharing. Pinterest is, of course, FULL of ideas of things you can DIY, etc., but these were a few I thought were pretty cool.

  1. Programs.
    • This "off-beat" idea was awesome and a great way to communicate with your guests about some of the decisions you made for your wedding and what your expectations are for them as guests. I also liked how different it was from the traditional wedding program. The site I found it on calls it the "funniest wedding program ever", which is definitely an overstatement, but, it is still a really neat idea. Check it out at the link below.
      • http://offbeatbride.com/2011/12/funny-wedding-program
  2. Save-The-Dates.
    • This is a great place to showcase your personality and who you are as a couple in a more casual way. Incorporate some of your favorite activities into your engagement photos so you'll have some beautiful photos to use, and you can add personal touches by sealing your envelopes with stickers of the two of you!
  3. Escort/Place Cards and Favors.
    • Pair your escort card with your wedding favor.
    • Personalize it for your guests.
      • One of the coolest ideas I saw recently was the use of a photo of the bride/groom with each guest. This may not work for larger weddings if you don't have a photo of yourself with each guest, but for the smaller, more intimate weddings, this would be a fun idea.
        • You have the photo on the front and the you can write the table information on the back, or on the front. You could also use pre-made labels (shipping labels, address labels, etc.) with the table information and a fun memory of you and the guest, or just a special message for them. Maybe even a "thank-you" for making the time to share in your celebration. I love these or these for this!
    • Keep with the theme, and keep it personal.
      • Two weddings that stood out to me for their personal and themed  escort cards and favors were Lauren & Dan and Kathleen & Andrew.
        • Lauren's dad is a beekeeper and they used honey from his beehives as their favor.
        • Kathleen & Andrew had their wedding in a library, and in keeping with that theme, the escort cards were little "books", and each table name was based on a genre of literature or one of their favorite author's names. The other thing I loved was that their centerpieces were stacks of some of their favorite books and were the guests favors to take home.
 Write here...

Here's to the happy couple! PART 2

So, you've been asked to give a toast at a wedding. This is an honor, and let's be honest, slightly terrifying.

What in the world will you say?! As someone who was fortunate enough to be asked to give a toast at a wedding, I can completely identify. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Three Tips for the Toast:

  1. Toast, Don't Roast. Be appropriate. Remember, you are at one of the most important events in the couple's lives, in front of all of their family and friends, and keep your comments in line with that. There's no need to recall ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends, or any drunken escapades or one-night-stands. Keep it classy and share stories that are appropriate for the couples' boss, co-workers, grandmother and your mother to hear.
  2. Short and sweet is never a bad thing. You want to keep your toast on the order of 2-3 minutes, and typically no longer than five minutes. Remember you probably are not the only one giving a toast, and a lot of times, dinner won't be served until after the toasts are completed. Also, in my experience, when toasts go over a few minutes in length the person giving the toast is usually rambling and not really saying much of anything.
  3. Practice makes perfect. Be sure to take a few minutes to write your toast ahead of time. This gives you a chance to try your speech out on a friend of spouse before showtime, and it lets you get comfortable with what you've chosen to say. You'll find it easier to look up from your notes and make eye-contact with the guests of honor when you've had time to practice.

More tips to come! Stay tuned!

Here's to the happy couple! Part 1

Ah, the wedding toast. One of the key pieces of any reception, and one of the biggest sources of anxiety for those asked to deliver them. Fear not! In the coming weeks I will share some tips to help you with your wedding toast, and for the bride & groom, a couple of pieces of advice as you choose who you may want to deliver a toast or speak on your behalf at your reception

To get us started, let's look at the WHO.

Who usually gives a toast at the wedding? Traditionally speaking, here are the basics:

  • The Best Man- typically goes first
  • The Maid/Matron of Honor- typically follows the Best Man
  • The Couple- if the couple chooses to offer a few words at their reception, they will usually follow the Maid/Matron of Honor
  • The Parents- Traditionally the Father of the Bride will offer a toast to the couple and a thank-you to guests and the Groom's family. The Father of the Bride would then be followed by the Father of the Groom if the couple elects for him to speak as well.

As with other traditions in the wedding world these days, the rules are that there aren't really that many rules any more, so if you want to skip having anyone do a toast, you can certainly do that, or if you want to have someone else do the toast, that's okay, too. The only thing I warn against is "open-mic" toasting, but we can get into that in another post...

Consultation Time...

If you have been following along with my series on Bridal Expos, you have a good handle on what an expo is,  what to do to prepare for the expo, and what to do after the expo. This post will carry you even further into the process... The Consultation.

Consultations are the key to making your final selections for your vendors. These are typically face-to-face meetings where you get to talk through the details of your wedding with each vendor and determine who best fits for your day.

These meetings are important because they let you get a better feel for the photographer's style, personality and how they do business. It's also the perfect time to ask detailed questions pertaining to the photographer and your wedding.

While I can't speak to the details of a consultation with a florist, caterer or DJ, I can detail for you what to expect and what to know going into a consultation with me. (This can also serve as a rough outline for what other photography consultations may be like, but DISCLAIMER: I can't speak for everyone, so other consultations may vary from what I am about to describe.)

Once you decide you would like to talk with me more about your wedding, I work with you to find a time and location that is convenient for everyone. This often ends up being a weekday evening, since most of my clients work during the day. Occasionally, during non-peak wedding times, I'm able to meet on a weekend.

The first part of the consultation is spent getting to know you as a couple. As we talk about your story, we'll also talk about the ideas you have for your wedding and the things you want photography-wise. I'll ask specific questions about your plans and we'll come up with a rough timeline of how your day would flow.

Once we figure out what you need in terms of coverage, albums, and the like, we'll create a package to fit your wedding. All of my potential clients leave the consultation with a specific quote detailing their package.

As we move through the consultation, you are also invited to ask any questions you have about my photography, the business, the products, my experience, and anything else you can think of. I am also happy to share other wedding professionals that I know and trust.

After every consultation, I email the potential client a recap of our meeting. This includes the timeline, package details and quote, and any other things we discussed that are important.

Be on the lookout for an upcoming post on what questions you should be asking during the consultation!

Happy Tuesday!

My Favorite Wedding Pros

So, still in need of a few other vendors for your wedding? Here's a list of some of my favorite people to work with! If you contact them, please let them know I sent you! This list is ever changing as I work with new people, so check back often!

Hair and Make-up Artist:

  • Amanda at Atrium Salon, Nashua, NH
    • http://salonatrium.com/
    • (603) 594-4100
    • Not only is Amanda fantastic for weddings, she is also my personal hair guru. She ALWAYS does such an amazing job. I've never walked out anything less than 100% happy with what she has created!

Venues:

Videographers:

  • Harborview Studios

  • Fisher Productions

    • http://www.fishervideoproductions.com/

DJs:

Transportation:

  • Grace Limousine

    • www.gracelimo.com

    • They are the ONLY ones who bring out the Bentley in the Winter!

Cakes

  • Jacques Fine European Pastries
    • www.jacquespastries.com

Bridal Expos Part 3: After the Expo

Now, the real work begins... And sometimes this is where the wedding planning can be completely overwhelming and way less fun. But hopefully the following tips will help keep it as painless as possible!

After the expo, you'll most likely receive an email from the vendors you stopped and talked with. You may even get a piece of mail or a phone call. Since you've taken notes and know who you are interested in talking with more, you'll know what pieces to pay extra attention to.

Don't be afraid to reply to emails of vendors you aren't interested in, or are no longer in the market for, and let them know. This will stop continuous follow-ups from the vendors. Most of us, while wanting to use due-diligence in contacting potential clients, do not want to “bother” or “annoy” people who already have a photographer, DJ, cake artist... whatever. If you already found your vendor, just let us know! We'll take you off our list, saving you the frustration of repeated emails or phone calls.

Then what? You know who you want to talk to, so get in touch. Send an email or give a phone call to the vendors you want to talk with. Most likely, they'll work with you to set up an in-person consultation to discuss the details of your wedding. This lets you both get to know each other a little better and helps you determine if they are a good fit and share your vision for your wedding. These consultations are also an opportunity to nail down specific pricing and find out what type of deposit and contract is required.

Coming soon, I'll have a post that's all about the consultation. What you should know, what you should ask, what you should expect.

For now, YOU'RE READY! Get out there and tackle those Expos head-on!

 

P.S. In cased you missed them, don't forget to check out Part 1: What's an Expo? and Part 2: What to know before you Expo.

Bridal Expos Part 2: What to know before you Expo.

Here are a few tips and tricks to make your expo experience as easy as possible. These three tips will keep the fun going and allow you to make the most of your time, and will also make it easier on you after the expo.

  1. Pre-Populate a Label. 
    • Everyone is going to be asking you for your name, wedding date, email address, wedding venue, phone number, mailing address, and so on. Go ahead and print up some address labels with that information so that as you are going around from booth to booth you don't have to keep writing the information over and over.
       
  2. Bring a bag.
    • Depending on the type of expo, there could be anywhere from 25 to 75 or more vendors. Be prepared to have a lot of information given to you. Most expos will give out bags to attendees so you have a convenient way to keep up with all the pamphlets, flyers and business cards you are given. In case you aren't one of the lucky ones who gets a bag, bring your own, or just bring a really big purse that day. :)
       
  3. Take notes.
    • As you are walking around, you know what type of vendor you still need for your wedding. If you're looking for a photographer, chances are you'll meet more than a few at the expo. Keep a note on your phone, or on a piece of paper, or even on the phamphlets that are given to you. That way you know who you want to talk with further. If you are at a booth and really hit it off with someone, make note of it. This way, you don't get home and start looking through the information youve gathered and have to try to remember who it was that had this item, or who had samples from your venue, etc. This is one of the best ways to help sort through all the information you gathered at the expo.
       
  4. Stay until the end.
    • The giveaways don't happen until 30-minutes to an hour before the show ends and there are usually some pretty amazing things to win!
    • The other advantage to staying until the end is that if a vendor really grabbed your attention, you can go back and talk with them in a little more detail while the giveaway is going on. I've had some of my best conversations with brides during this time because you aren't having to wait to get to the table to chat with the vendor. The crowds are typically gathered near the DJ booth during this time and the music is low, so it's a great time for an extra visit to a booth for additional information, or if there was a booth you didn't get to hit earlier in the show. Also, bring someone with you that can be listening for your name/number for the giveaways while you're still perusing. 

Now, you're ready to go! Tune in for Part 3 which will discuss what to do after the expo! And, in case you missed it, check out Part 1, too!

Bridal Expos Part 1: What's an Expo?

What Bridal Expos ARE:

  • A chance to meet lots of vendors all in one place.
  • A chance to get ideas for your wedding.
  • A chance to see some of the most current trends in weddings.
  • A chance to win great prizes and discounts for your wedding.
  • Overwhelming!

Bridal Expos are awesome. They are an amazing way to meet lots of vendors all in one place. You can move at your own pace, check out what each booth has to offer and decide who you'd like to talk with further. You get a "first impression" of vendors at shows. This helps you know who you'd like to talk with more one-on-one.

What Bridal Expos Are NOT:

  • A time to talk in depth with the vendor to discuss the specific needs of your wedding.
  • A time to book your vendors.

You will probably notice as you attend shows that lots of people are offering "Special Pricing if you book TODAY!", and while it would be great for someone to just walk up to my table and hand me a contract and money and book me on the spot, I don't feel like that does either party justice. In the interest of full disclosure, I do offer special show pricing, but it's valid for bookings within 2 weeks of the show date. This gives us time to sit down and grab coffee and talk through things so that you have a chance to ask questions and make sure that we are a good fit for each other.

 

Be sure to check out Part 2 and Part 3 of our Bridal Expo Series for some great tips and tricks for the expo and for what to do after the expo!