Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Goth Wedding in West Palm Beach, Florida

Cowboy Wedding Photos in West Palm Beach

Monday, May 29, 2017


On average, couples in the United States pay 10-15% of their total budget on a wedding photographer. Sound like a lot? It is. But hiring the best wedding photographer for you can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the wedding planning process. While 10-15% of your total budget is a reasonable target, there are ways you can come in well under that. By knowing a few key questions to ask along with general price ranges and cost-saving measures (outlined below) you can still get your dream wedding photographer without breaking the bank.
According to Snapknot.com, the average cost for a wedding photographer is $2,814. However, in cities such as San Francisco and New York, wedding photography prices are closer to $4,000. You can generally expect wedding photography prices to range from $2,500-$10,000 depending on the photographers experience and/or offerings. Expect the top photographers (IE: the Jose Villa’s of the world) to start at around $6-$7,000 and go up from there.
The typical wedding photography package usually offers coverage for 8 hours. Adding more or less time will increase or decrease that price. Engagement sessions can sometimes be included or run extra. For example, I’ve seen engagement sessions run anywhere between $300-$1,200 depending on how many hours the shoot is.
Another consideration when it comes to your wedding photography cost is whether or not you want a wedding album included in your package. I’ve seen experienced photographers charge anywhere between $1,000-$3,000 for a wedding album, and will sometimes offer a further discount depending on the amount of wedding coverage you buy. Alternatively, for a wedding photo album design service from an outside company [other than the less expensive kind you can do yourself using a service like Blurb], prices tend to start around $500 and can go well over $1,000 depending on the number of pages/images you want. Keep in mind that when you pay your wedding photographer to put together an album, you’re also paying for their expertise in putting together your “wedding story,” which they were there the entire time for. You just have to decide how much that is worth to you, or if you would rather do that on your own to save money. 
So, here are the takeaways to remember when it comes to figuring out how much a wedding photographer will cost you:
  • The average cost for a wedding photographer is 10-15% of a couple’s total budget, which is currently around $2800 for the average US couple.
  • You can expect your wedding photographer cost to run you anywhere between $2,500-$10,000 depending on the experience of your photographer along with what they’re including in your wedding package.
  • Wedding photography packages will typically cover 8 hours, on average. More or less shooting time will influence your cost.
  • It’s important to ask a prospective wedding photographer how much extra they are charging for a wedding album if they’ve bundled the cost into their package price.
I know $2,500-$10,000 is a huge range, but at least it can give you somewhat of an idea of what to expect when looking for and meeting wedding photographers. Also, as mentioned above always keep in mind that where you live can greatly influence your wedding photography prices. You might find that you’re able to find a great photographer for under $1,000 in your area, in which case you need to stop reading and do a little dance of joy immediately, please!
Now that you have a general idea of how much wedding photographers cost, here are some easy ways to trim (or attempt to trim) costs…
How to Save:
  • Be wary of wedding photographers who keep trying to up-sell you. Decide what kind of package you want from the get-go and stick with it. Good wedding photographers will be very upfront with what they are charging you. 
  • If you’re on a tight budget but just have to have a certain wedding photographer, see if they will shoot your wedding for less hours at a discount. For example, I didn’t really want photos of me getting ready, so we were able to reallocate some time, which otherwise might have cost us more in the end. Also, being flexible as to when you take your wedding photos might help with cost as well! 
  • Same goes for additional items such as an engagement session and/or wedding album or wedding photo prints. Leaving out one or all of those items from your package (if your wedding photographer offers those) could end up saving you thousands of dollars. See if you can get your wedding photography a la cart vs. as part of a package.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you find a photographer you love but they are out of your budget, ask what they might be able to offer that’s more in your price range. Also, if you’re getting married on an off-day (weekday or Sunday), see if they offer any discounts.
  • Having a second shooter can increase your cost. If your wedding photographer is not part of a team (and some are), see how much of a discount they can offer for one shooter vs. two. Just be sure that they feel comfortable shooting alone and have in the past (and ask if they can show you pictures from those weddings).
  • Go local! If you hire a wedding photographer that lives out of town, you will most likely have to pay for all their travel costs (airfare, meals, hotels, etc.). I really wanted a certain photographer for our wedding, but after finding out how much transportation/lodging alone would have cost us, we decided otherwise (and I’m so happy we did!).
While finding a wedding photographer that fits your budget is important, keep in mind that it’s equally as important (if not more so) to find a wedding photographer that is right for you and has the portfolio to prove it. Be sure to look at images from past weddings they’ve shot, and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations (especially if they’re not as well known in the wedding world). Also, keep in mind there’s nothing wrong with going with a less experienced wedding photographer. As long as you love their vision and work (and you can see concrete examples of it), they could be the perfect wedding photographer for you!

5 Ways to Save Money on a Wedding Photographer

For many couples, photography isn’t an area where they want to skimp. After all, your pro photographer will be the person cataloging the day that you want to remember for the rest of your life.
While the average couple paid $2,379 for their photos, according the The Knot‘s annual Real Weddings Study, that doesn’t have to be you. Instead, use these tips to save some serious cash on your wedding photography:
1. Start with someone in your budget. The place to start is with your actual wedding budget. How much can you afford to spend on a photographer? Experienced pros will charge you the average amount or higher, so if you’re on a tighter budget, look for newer professional photographers or even a photography student.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can talk an amazing professional who regularly charges $5,000 for wedding day photos down to your $1,000 budget. So begin by finding a photographer who is closer to your budget from the start.
2. Book early. Some photographers offer discounts for booking early, so try to secure one as soon as you set a wedding date. Even if you don’t get an actual discount, though, you could still be getting a discount in practice.
Up-and-coming photographers’ rates are likely to rise exponentially as they build up a reputation year by year. And even established photographers have to keep up with inflation. If you sign up for your photographer right after your engagement, or at least many months before the big day, you could skip your photog’s price hike. Another option is to make the full payment up-front, for a possible discount (pay with a rewards credit card and you could get cash back for your hefty purchase).
3. Opt for digital. One good way to save on your photography prints is to ask about a digital package. On the surface, buying digital rights to your photos can seem more expensive. But once you have that disc full of wedding pictures, you’re free to print off photos when you want.
The advantage here is that you can print off much more affordable photos for friends and family members, or even email them copies so that they can print their own. Heck, you can even print off a low-quality photo on your home printer if Grandma wants a copy for her fridge.
4. Hire a photographer for less time. Don’t book your photographer for as much time, and you can dramatically reduce the cost of your photography contract. The person will have fewer photos to process and will charge you fewer overall hours.
For example, consider having your professional photographer skip out on the pre-wedding festivities. Have your bridesmaids and groomsmen take these photos, instead. You can also trim time off the back end by having your photographer stay only until you cut the cake - or by just having bridesmaids with decent digital cameras take reception photos. The less time you require a professional photographer, the less money you’ll pay.
5. Ask about referral discounts. Many wedding photographers offer referral discounts — even after you’ve signed the contract. In fact, some will offer discounts on your final payment if you get a referral to them based on your wedding proofs.
You’ll need to talk up your photographer to convince at least someone you know to use your his or her services. This may work by sharing your photos on your social media sites, letting your newly engaged friends know about him or her, or letting other people you know about the photographer’s family portrait options.
Whether you’re on a super-strict wedding budget or you just want to spend more money on your dress and less on your photographer, these tips should help keep you on track.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Seven Things You Actually Need in Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

If you’re in the throes of wedding planning, you’ve probably seen many mentions of wedding day must-haves over and over again in all your blog-combing and magazine-flipping. Maybe you’ve even seen some of those very cute pre-made pouches you can buy online filled with emergency essentials like breath mints and double-sided tape. And, yes, you could bring a metric ton of those alleged “essentials” with you (or, more likely, with whichever bridesmaid has the largest sequin clutch) to give you some peace of mind, but take it from me: The chances you’ll use most of that stuff (sandpaper?) are slim to none, and you’ll probably be so stressed trying to round up all 172 of those required items, you’ll miss your own wedding.
I’m not saying go unprepared. You should obviously toss the actual essentials into your clutch: A couple of bobby pins, some safety pins, a tampon, the lipstick you plan on wearing all day. But what else do you ACTUALLY need that many of these fairy godmother bridal experts never seem to cover? Read on:
Toupee Tape 
No, actually! I’ve done the research (because my own wedding dress had a very deep, plunging neckline and absolutely zero back whatsoever) and this is the best kind of double-stick boob-and-other-body-part tape the Internet has to offer. Think about it: What could be worse than a nip slip at your own wedding? Your toupee falling off… anywhere, at any time. It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s sticky as hell (like…removing the bodice of my dress was difficult), and you can find it in convenient pre-cut strips to toss into your clutch for easy access if you or a maid needs some emergency coverage on the big day. Kim K would vouch.
Pepto Tablets 
Why does nobody talk about the fact that the best day of your life is also the most nerve wracking day of your life which means the most stomach-churning day of your life? You can be super happy and also super unable to digest a damn muffin, ladies, and there’s no shame in that. If you’re someone who doesn’t get an upset stomach when they’re stressed/overwhelmed/adrenaline-high, then you are a superhero and can move onto the next item on the list, but if you’re someone who does, congrats on being human, and toss some Pepto tabs or the stomach remedy of your choice into your survival kit, because you just might need ‘em. You probably won’t—the nerves will give way to blissed-out nirvana within an hour, flat—but knowing you have ‘em and won’t be spending your wedding day about to barf is a good thing. 
Bug Spray 
If your wedding is in the spring, summer or fall, or anywhere remotely tropical, and if any portion of it takes place outdoors, Murphy’s Law states that you’re about to be the world’s best-dressed mosquito magnet, congrats! However, that so doesn’t have to be a thing: Grab a travel-sized bottle of Deep Woods, and pack it with you for the long haul. Re-apply liberally. Yes, you will smell like DEET instead of magnolias on your wedding day, but that’s a small price to pay for not scratching through the entirety of your ceremony, or not having a bunch of angry red welts glaring back at you from your photo album.
And not for your lips—which hopefully have been thoroughly exfoliated, masked and de-chapped by the time your wedding day rolls around (but if not—don’t stress, no one will notice). Rather, chapstick is a miraculous zipper de-sticker! And wedding dresses have notoriously finicky, delicate zippers that can get easily stuck during rushed bathroom runs. To un-stick a zipper jam, just rub the chapstick against the portion of the zipper track surrounding the jam. The emollients in the chapstick should help smooth things over. Phew!
Mini Bottle of Hand or Body Lotion 
Surprise multitasker alert! In addition to prettying up your hands in a pinch (for all those close-up photos of your new bling and beautiful bouquet), hand lotion works amazingly as a hair smoothing and shining balm, and an instant static buster for clothes and hair. (You’ll probably encounter some serious static on your wedding day, especially if you wear a veil—polyester tends to have that effect.) The trick? Just apply to hands and rub in extremely well—maybe even wipe hands with a paper towel after rubbing in extremely well to remove any excess. Then, run hands through hair to smooth flyaways, add shine and eliminate static, or run along the surface of the underside of your dress or veil to tame static cling.
A Steamer 
OK, so, you can’t bring this one with you in your clutch (although my steamer is probably my most trustworthy friend and I’d bring him everywhere if social mores permitted it), but you’ll want to have it around while you and your ‘maids get ready. Irons are death traps, people. For one, many synthetic fabrics (out of which which many bridesmaids dresses are made) cannot be ironed and will melt if they are (fun!), and for two, irons are billion-degree metal plates of danger that should not be anywhere near you on the most photographed day of your life. Skip the iron and grab a steamer (you’ll use it forever after your wedding, and wonder why you ever ironed in the first place), and have it on hand to prep the bridesmaids dresses, mom’s dress, your veil, and anything else that needs pressing (hell, press your table runners if you please!). Your dress should be pre-pressed from your seamstress, but having the steamer on hand right before you get dressed for any last-minute wrinkles is a great idea. The best part? They’re ultra-portable (no ironing board needed!) so you can toss it in the car with you and take it to the venue to steam your groom if you anticipate him showing up looking like he just walked out of a car wash.
A Spare Copy of Your Vows 
Unless you memorized your wedding vows (most likely to succeed!), losing the one copy you have of the one reason (literally) everyone has gathered here today would…really suck. So go ahead and make a spare, and store it somewhere other than the place you put your first copy. Like in your dad’s shoe, or in your wedding planner’s pocket, or behind the bar with a bartender who will wonder what you’re doing behind the bar. Just put it somewhere. In all the hustle and bustle of the morning, you might have trouble keeping track of that very important little piece of paper that will actually make you a married person. So having a backup should really be a part of your survival kit.
That’s all I’ve got, but of course, you should fill out the rest of your survival kit based on your own unique needs. If you’re prone to headaches, you might get one on your wedding day as the excitement mounts—bring ibuprofen. If you anticipate blisters in your new shoes, bring flats for later in the night. And if your dress has billions of satin-covered buttons running down the back, bring that button hook, girl. The lesson, here? There is no one “Wedding Day Survival Kit” to satisfy the needs (and emergencies) of every bride—because there is no one wedding day, and there is no one bride. To be prepared, just consider this list, then, take a deep breath, think about the things you know you’ll need, and forget the rest—it’s just one day, and as long as you’ve got your true love, family and bridesmaid squad by your side, “emergencies” don’t stand a chance.

SixThings You MUST Do Before Sending Out Your Wedding Invitations

The moment you hand your wedding invitations over to the post office can be an exciting—and potentially nerve-wracking—experience. Your wedding is really, actually, almost here and soon those response cards will start rolling on—things are getting real. However, before you send those ever-important invitations, you’ll need to take a few steps to make sure that your wedding invitations are beautiful, accurate, and safely arrive to your guests’ homes.
Your invitations are most certainly beautiful mini-works-of-art, but if the information listed is incorrect, that becomes a moot point. Ask to receive a proof of the invitation before it is printed and read through the proof carefully. Are all proper names spelled correctly? Are the dates listed correctly (double-check the year!)? What about the venue—are the name and location spelled correctly? Ask family members and friends to read over the proof, as well (especially if you know any teachers or copy editors!). They may catch errors you didn’t initially see.
Most wedding invitations require additional postage, but every invite is different. In order to determine how many stamps to include on your wedding invite’s envelope, you’ll need to assemble one invitation, take it to your local post office, and weigh it. Remember, though, that the postage of your invitation will increase if it is square or doesn’t bend easily. Be sure to factor postage into your budget from the get-go, as you can end up paying a dollar or more per invitation if yours are particularly heavy or a non-rectangular shape.
Addressing Envelopes 
Before addressing your envelopes, you’ll want to ensure that all addresses and name spellings are correct. Feel free to share your guest list with family members who may be able to spot errors. If you sent out save-the-date, take note of any save-the-dates that were returned to you or featured outdated addresses so that you won’t make the same errors on your main invitations.
You’ll also want to determine who is addressing your envelopes. Wedding invitation envelopes should be hand-addressed (no labels!). Hiring a wedding calligrapher is the most traditional (and gorgeous!) route, but your wedding stationer may be able to assist with addressing as well.
Particularly if your invitations have several inserts and an outer envelope, you’ll have to come up with a game plan when it comes to assembly (your wedding stationer can likely help with this). Traditionally you should assemble your invitations in size order with the wording sides facing up. The main wedding invitation goes on the bottom, followed by the reception card (if you have one) and any other inserts, then the reply envelope face down with the reply card face up and tucked under the RSVP envelope flap. The whole shebang goes into an inner envelope (if you have one), and then the inner envelope into the outer envelope. If you don’t have an inner envelope, place the invitation and inserts face up inside the main envelope.
RSVP Cards 
There are a few little details to remember when it comes to your RSVP cards. First of all, make sure that the address on the envelope is correct (double check that ZIP code!) and that each envelope is stamped with proper postage—or else you’ll never receive them! Some couples choose to number their RSVP cards so that they’ll be able to keep track if a guest forgets to put his or her name on their card, but that’s your call. Another idea is to write the name of the invited guests directly on the RSVP card to avoid the addition of any uninvited plus-ones or kids. But again, that’s totally your call.
Investigate Hand Canceling 
What is hand-canceling? Well, a “cancel” refers to the black circular mark that is stamped on the upper right corner of an envelope to ensure that the stamp won’t be used again. This process is usually done by machine that can, in some cases, damage a wedding invitation. Couples may prefer to get their invitations “hand canceled”—meaning the envelopes will be stamped by hand (usually by a postal worker). However, while some post offices will hand-cancel your invitations without a problem, others may charge you per envelope, and still others may refuse to do it at all—it varies from location to location. If you are interested in hand-canceling, you may want to visit your post office in advance to find out their policy. 

10 Hidden Costs That Can Wreck Your Wedding Budget

Establishing a realistic budget for the big day (and sticking to it!) is one of the most challenging parts of wedding planning. You’ll have to research the average costs in the area where you want to get married, scout out vendors who can fulfill your needs, and most importantly, decide how you and your future spouse are going to fund it all. However, even after all of that preparation, it’s still possible to be caught off-guard by hidden fees.
One simple way to get a better sense of the total cost for any given service or product is to request an itemized contract that lists every single detail in writing. “Once you have all of the contracts from your major vendors (venue, catering, lighting, etc.), then you can evaluate each of them line by line, and prioritize what you want to keep. It’s pretty painless to go through and decide on two appetizers instead of four, skip the raw cocktail hour, or reduce the number of bistro tables and loveseats in the lounge area. That way, you still keep the overall vision of your wedding, but you can easily shave off a few items to stay within your budget,” says Sara Fried from Fête Nashville.
Here, wedding pros give us the lowdown on the most common unexpected costs so that you can plan for them in advance (or prevent them all together).
Weather-related expenses
“Choosing a late winter or early spring wedding date can save thousands on your site fee but keep in mind that Mother Nature can bring that cost savings right back up,” says Kristen Jensen of Sugar Rush Events in Walnut Creek, California. Even if you’re getting married during peak season in your area, you could experience unforeseen weather conditions like a downpour or heat wave. Save yourself the stress of agonizing over variables that aren’t in your control by setting aside an emergency fund for unexpected costs, and booking a venue that can accommodate your guest count and any climate changes.
“I recently planned an outdoor wedding where we had to use our emergency fund,” says Susan Dunne of Weddings By Susan Dunne in Marina Del Ray, California. The celebration took place in Southern California, where there is always a tiny chance of rain. Initially, the couple was supposed to have an open-panel draping tent to provide some shade for guests during the reception dinner. However, once the forecast showed a possibility of rain showers, she was forced to pull the trigger and switch to a covered tent, ensuring the tables and chairs would not get wet. “Luckily, at the beginning stages of wedding planning, we talked about the possibility of rain, and because we had already budgeted for it, the couple didn’t get hit with an unexpected cost,” Dunne says.
Cost estimate: A tent can cost anywhere between $2,200 and $7,500, depending on the siding, style, and your number of guests. The most budget-friendly option is a “frame tent,” which is a freestanding structure that can be set up on most solid surfaces. It has exposed metal pipes on the inside, which you can leave as they are to hang lights and decorations or hide with layers of draped fabric. Depending on the weather conditions, you might also need a tent heater, which runs about $200 each (typically, you’ll need two heaters per tent to make guests comfortable).
Tips can add up quickly towards the end of the wedding-planning process, so plan for them early on to avoid going over budget. Consider the total you spent with the vendor and how happy you are with their level of service.
“People forget that we’re working through our lunch hour and are on our feet for 10-15 hours at a time, so something extra goes a long way! We would recommend writing your creative partner a thank-you note, slipping the cash inside, and giving it to the lead contact for disbursement. Always tip in cash and in small bills directly to the team members working that day,” says Kate Turner from Kate & Company in Kirkwood, Missouri.
According to Turner, not providing a tip because someone is the owner of a company is a common misconception. If they’re having a short cash flow month, then they might skip their paycheck to ensure their employees get paid. When it comes to gratuities, oft-forgotten vendors include valets and staff members that deal with décor, lighting, and rentals.
If you don’t have money in your budget to tip everyone, consider another thoughtful gesture such as writing a glowing review on WeddingWire and sending a thank-you note. Facebook and Instagram shout-outs also go a long way to help these small businesses continue to grow.
Cost estimate: Check out WeddingWire’s handy Wedding Tipping Guide to help you figure out who to tip, and how much. 
Service fees, sales tax, and other miscellaneous charges
In addition to the per person cost, many venues have an 18 to 22 percent service charge (which provides for the wait staff), along with sales tax (the percentage depends on the state where you're getting married). “Most venues do list the service charge in the contract. However, when the price per person is discussed, it’s often left out of the conversation until that time, as with the tax and any other charges,” says Amanda Hudes of Smiling Through Chaos in Allendale, New Jersey.
Venues that provide a stunning location but don’t offer full-scale amenities such as food and drinks will charge a site fee for couples to utilize the space. Examples might include a historic castle or botanical garden. Some places allow for the couple to bring in any vendor they’d like to use while others might tack on a penalty cost for wedding pros that aren’t on the “preferred” list. There may also be additional charges for cake cutting and corkage, so check with your venue before bringing in a confection from an outside bakery or your own wine. (Note: Edible favors aren’t subject to this fee.)
Hudes recommends reviewing the contract line by line to ensure that everything you verbally agreed upon is in writing. “One time, I was hired after a couple already booked the venue. It was much harder to prove that the coordinator has promised them that specific alcohol brands would be provided at the wedding since that point wasn’t listed in the contract,” she says.
Overtime charges
Weddings have so many moving parts that sometimes timing just doesn’t work out in the way that couples had hoped. If your event runs past the contracted hours, then you might be slapped with overtime charges. Play it safe by asking all of your vendors about this ahead of time and getting fees in writing, so you’ll know what to expect. For example, some venues may charge overtime costs while others don’t. (There may be additional charges for early arrival as well.)
To help prevent this scenario, create a realistic timeline that takes into account all of the major components of your wedding celebration. “Allocate enough time for getting dressed and taking photos – those two activities, in particular, can take longer than expected. You don’t want to risk having your amazing wedding finale events (i.e. cake-cutting, final dances, sparkler exit) missing from your photo/video coverage!” says Lindsay Quinn of NST Pictures.
Cost estimate: The typical “per hour” charge for overtime starts around $250 per hour. NST Pictures, for example, asks for $300 per additional hour, with the option of adding on as many hours as couples need to capture their big day.
Setup and breakdown, as well as delivery costs
When it comes to the décor budget, keep in mind that wedding vendors also charge for setting up and breaking down the event. Typically, the setup and breakdown fees take into account gas to and from the venue, the hours required to get everything in place or remove and pack up items, and any labor costs for additional assistance.
“For a wedding with various floral arrangements and design elements, the cost would increase because a single person could not prepare the venue by themselves. Additionally, the location might not allow for flowers to be delivered or arranged until a couple of hours before the ceremony or reception are to start. In that case, your floral designer is working against the clock and must hire even more help to expedite the process,” says Jacqueline Hites of Blooming Hites in Atlanta, Georgia. Some venues charge if there are items left after a wedding, so it’s important that your florist can do so in a tidy manner.
Cost estimate: “It can range upward of $300, depending on the scale of the wedding and rentals that the couple has selected. For a larger event with 300 to 400 guests, then $1,500 is a more accurate estimate,” says Laura Kurkjian of Soiree8 Rentals in Studio City, California.
Vendor meals
When calculating catering costs, some couples forget to factor in providing meals to their team of wedding professionals, which could mean anywhere from three to over 20 people, especially if you have a band. Feeding your vendors a hot meal during your reception is a must—so there's no getting around this expense. 
“The general rule of thumb is to feed every vendor at the reception. The cost is less than the food and beverage estimate per guest, but it should still be taken into account nonetheless,” says Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona, New Jersey.
Cost estimate: On average, the catering cost per vendor can range from $50 to $85, but it can be as low as $25 to $35, depending on the venue and location.
Welcome bag deliveries
Welcoming guests with a bag or basket filled with small treats and trinkets is always a thoughtful gesture, especially if loved ones had to travel from far away to attend your event. But what many couples don’t know is that some hotels charge a fee to deliver welcome bags since they have to designate a particular staff member to handle this task. Pricing is dependent on the type of delivery service that the couple is expecting, whether it’s dropping them off at each room or distributing them at check-in. Negotiate the delivery fee with your sales manager; if you’re booking a significant number of rooms in a room block, then you might be able to use that as leverage.
One way to get around the cost is to give out welcome bags during the rehearsal dinner. “Some of our clients will invite their guests to the hotel bar or hospitality suite for late-night cocktails and bites. During that time, loved ones can say hello to the couple and collect their bags. Alternatively, the couple can opt for ‘farewell’ bags for their guests, which would be distributed to them at the conclusion of the reception,” says Geomyra Lewis of Geomyra Lewis Weddings & Events in Alexandria, Virginia.
Cost estimate: Handout fees start around $2 to $3 per bag while room delivery fees range from $3 to $5, depending on the hotel chain.
Transportation fees and parking
Couples are often unaware that transportation companies have time minimums and location maximums. “Just because guests need to go three blocks from the ceremony to the reception doesn’t mean their vendor can charge them for only ten minutes of their time. Most companies have a three to four-hour minimum, which is generally non-negotiable,” says Amy Saltzman of Alchemy Event Studio in Atlanta, Georgia. Similarly, companies based in cities frequently charge an additional fee for work outside of a certain set radius. Saltzman tells us that depending on the scope of the job, this cost can sometimes be waived, but forewarned is forearmed.
Tying the knot in a major metropolitan city, such as New York, Washington D.C. or Baltimore? Factor in parking fees and accessibility before committing to a venue, especially if you plan to cover this cost for your guests. Although the contract typically indicates this amount, Lewis recommends estimating how many cars you anticipate will be parking at the property before committing to the listed charge. Another option is to provide pricing for a nearby parking garage.
Cost estimate: Parking will range based on the location of the wedding. For example, the fee can range anywhere from $7 to as much as $50 per car in the D.C. metro area.
Power generator charges
More often than not, a venue charges for the use of their power above and beyond anything they provide internally and a primary 20 amp circuit for a DJ. If they can’t provide the amount needed for the job, then it’s necessary to bring in a generator.
“Having a vendor who is knowledgeable about creating a power plan is extremely important. After all, if the power goes out, then the wedding is pretty much over,” says Brian Lee of Elevated Pulse Productions in Irvine, California.
Cost estimate: Pricing can range anywhere from $500 to $2,500, depending on the type of generator.
When purchasing stationery items, postage typically isn’t included in the cost estimate. You’ll want to factor this in not just for your wedding invitations but also your save-the-dates, RSVP cards, and thank-you notes. Keep in mind that as insert cards get added into the equation, the postage requirements will go up. If you’re trying to keep costs low, then avoid square-shaped invitations, which require more postage regardless of weight.
“I always recommend that clients have their items weighed at the post office before purchasing postage to ensure that they have the correct amount,” says Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien of Sara Fitz in Hamilton, New Jersey.
Cost estimate: A typical A-2 sized save-the-date would require about 49 cents of postage. Each invitation set usually runs about 70 cents and higher.

Eleven Wedding Misconceptions You Shouldn't Believe

As we’ve said time and time again, there’s no right way to have a wedding. With that being said there are a lot of misunderstandings floating around about what you should and shouldn’t do for your wedding, and we’re here to clear things up. Here are 11 misconceptions you can definitely disregard.
You have to get married on a Saturday 
While it certainly is a popular day of the week to get married since it falls on a weekend, you don’t have to get hitched then. Some couples might prefer to wed on a Sunday or even on a weekday to save money or because it works better for their schedule. Venues and other vendors may offer discounts to those who wish to marry on a less popular day of the week.
The bride has to wear a white wedding dress 
Traditionally the bride has worn a white gown for her walk down the aisle but designers today are pushing the boundaries of bridal fashion and offering a range of unique looks for every kind of bride. From crop tops and pant suits to colored gowns to pantsuits, there are endless possibilities for wedding day looks. 
Your bachelor(ette) party has to be a weekend-long rager 
While most people think that bachelor and bachelorette parties are absolutely wild, there are many other options for celebrating a weekend with your wedding party. From a vineyard trip to a sporting event, plan something that makes sense for the guest of honor instead of the typical night out.
You have to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen 
If your S.O. is opting to keep their part of the wedding party on the smaller side but you have a lot of people you want to include, it’s totally fine to be a little off-balance. Bridesmaids and groomsmen can double up during the recessional and your photographer will be able to work with uneven numbers without any issues. The most important thing is that everyone you want to be by your side gets that opportunity!
The father is only one who can walk the bride down the aisle 
There are many situations in which both the bride’s parents can walk her down the aisle! She can also ask another family member such as her brother or uncle if that better suits the bride’s situation. There is no one set person that has to give the bride away, she could even walk down solo if she doesn’t want to share the spotlight!
You have to wait until the ceremony to see your S.O. on your wedding day 
Many couples opt to have a first look before the ceremony. This sweet moment can be captured by your photographer and you’ll be able to make it to your cocktail party instead of taking dozens of pics after your ceremony. This is also a great way to calm wedding jitters. 
You have to have your cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception 
At Lauren Conrad’s wedding she opted to have a cocktail hour before her wedding so guests could mix and mingle before the ceremony. They also had the option of bringing their drinks to their seat to enjoy while she and Mr. Tell exchanged vows. This twist on a traditional wedding day schedule is a fun way to change things up.
You’ll spend all your savings on the wedding 
This very common misconception can easily be proven wrong. There are many ways to save a couple bucks here and there from the dress to the catering. 
You have to serve cake for dessert 
Gone are the days of cake being your only dessert option! From baked goods such as cupcakes and cookies to more creative offerings such as popsicle bars and candy buffets, nothing is off limits when it comes to sweet treats! 
Dancing is the only form of reception entertainment 
Depending on your venue you’ll probably be able to offer other forms of guest entertainment in addition to dancing. You can get a photo booth, offer personalized Mad Libs, or set up lawn games such as cornhole and bocce. We recommend have at least one other form of entertainment so non-dancing guests can have fun too!
You have to leave for your honeymoon the day after your wedding 
There’s no rush to jet off for your honeymoon the day after you get hitched. If you want to give yourself time to unwind or your work schedule doesn’t allow for it, it’s perfectly okay to hold off a few weeks or months before taking your trip. 

Five Things NOT to Do Right Before Your Wedding

With mile-long to-do lists and many loose ends to tie up, the final days leading up to the wedding can leave you feeling like a hot mess of stress. There are a few things you should avoid doing during the final hours of your single life in order to keep your sanity (or what’s left of it).
Don’t doubt yourself 
It’s important you don’t second-guess all the choices you’ve made leading up to the wedding. Whether you start to have doubts about the bridesmaid dresses or what you’re serving as the main entree, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it at this point. Chances are you’ve spent a good amount of time weighing the pros and cons of everything down to the table napkins. This late in the game you have to trust that your signature cocktail was the right call and that your hairstyle is the best match for your dress. At the end of the day, your guests are going to be more excited for you and your fiancé(e) than they will about what favors you give them.
Don’t sweat the small stuff 
Don’t fret if things don’t go exactly according to plan. If you have a wedding planner, it’s their job to take care of last-minute changes. Small details like escort cards and your guests arriving on time should not be your main focus. You’ve worked hard up to this point to make sure everything goes off without a hitch and some things are simply out of your control. Things that seem like MAJOR dilemmas to you will likely go unnoticed by your guests.
Don’t forget to rest 
With so much on your plate you may forget to take a deep breath and slow down. Set some time aside for yourself in the days leading up to the wedding and allow yourself to just sit back and relax. Take that time to do something non-wedding related such as read a book or go for a run. It’s important that you don’t let all the planning drive you out of your mind, this is supposed to be a fun time!
Don’t worry about everyone else 
If you’ve delegated tasks to the wedding party and various family members, trust that they will get it done. You assigned them tasks so you DON’T have to worry about it. It’s also not your responsibility to make sure your guests arrive places on time or to remedy to issues they may have with their travel or hotel reservations—it’s not your problem to fix. Your wedding party is there to support you when those kinds of things happen so don’t resist their help, take advantage of it.
Don’t forget to enjoy to yourself 
It’s your wedding after all! When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is about the fact that you and your S.O. are making a lifelong commitment to each other. No misplaced escort card or incorrect lipstick shade is going to change that fact. Try to keep a realistic perspective on the day and soak it all in. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment!

10 Awkward Wedding Moments—And How to Gracefully Handle Them

Your wedding is going to be full of amazing moments—your first look, saying your vows, the first dance, and more. But there may be a few less-fun incidents during your otherwise fantastic day. These slightly awkward (but pretty common) situations are not catastrophes by any means, and if you handle them with grace, charm, and a little improvisation, your guests will quickly forget these minor mishaps and remember your wedding for the incredible day it was.
You’re called by the wrong name. 
A lot of people will be announcing your name during your wedding—your officiant, DJ, bandleader, and more. There is a possibility that one of these people will get mixed up and call you or your almost-spouse by the wrong name. Not ideal. 
How to handle: Before your wedding, be sure that all of your vendors have a wedding-day timeline both in email and hard copy. Your timeline should include your and your future spouse’s names, with pronunciation assistance if needed. If a mix-up occurs at your wedding, quickly and clearly correct the speaker.
An uninvited guest shows up. 
It happens more often than you’d think. Your cousin brings her kid. Your college friend brings her new boyfriend. Some people just don’t understand the meaning of an RSVP and feel like they can bring anyone they want to your wedding. 
How to handle: There’s not much you can do, but don’t—under any circumstances—make a scene. Instead, be gracious and let your wedding planner or a wedding party member try to accommodate the additional guest. Move on and enjoy your day.
Your flower girl refuses to walk down the aisle. 
Your flower girl throws a tantrum right before she’s about to walk down the aisle. Everyone is trying to calm her down (and/or totally bribing her), but nothing is working. 
How to handle: You may have had visions of the adorable little princess walking down the aisle with a big smile on her face, but that’s clearly not going to happen. Don’t force her to walk down the aisle, and let the ceremony commence on without her. Make sure a parent or close relative is watching the little one, and can bring her in to the ceremony if and when she’s ready.
Guests are walking in late to your ceremony. 
You’re standing at the altar, staring into your beloved’s eyes when you hear chatter and rustling—latecomers. Everyone’s heads turn to the back of your venue as a group of guests come in.
How to handle: Assign close friends or relatives to be ushers. The ushers will stand at the entrance to your venue during the ceremony and escort latecomers to their seats—at an appropriate time.
A cell phone goes off at an inopportune time. 
You’re about to say your vows when you hear that familiar guitar strum ringtone. The room goes silent and everyone starts shifting in their seats. 
How to handle: Include a polite but direct request in your ceremony program or on signage that your guests silence their cell phones before the ceremony. Your officiant can also make an announcement at the start of the proceedings. Professional wedding officiants are usually pros at handling cell phones ringing and will probably be able to make light of the situation if it occurs. If not, and the offender is oblivious to their constantly pinging phone, a wedding party member can discreetly ask the person to turn it off.
The wrong song is played during your first dance. 
You and your future spouse have been planning your first dance for months, but due to a miscommunication, the wrong song comes on during your first dance. You and your future spouse stand there, frozen, and unsure of what to do. 
How to handle: Make sure someone in your crew (a planner or wedding party member) knows what your first dance song so that if the wrong song is played, he or she can ask your DJ or bandleader to switch tunes ASAP. If that doesn’t happen, just wing it! Your wedding is all about you and your future spouse having fun, so even if you’re not big dancers, enjoy yourself on the dance floor no matter what song is playing.
Your MOH mentions an ex in a speech. 
Your maid of honor wants her toast to be a total surprise. But when she starts speaking, it’s clear things are going in the wrong direction. She starts talking about your past relationships in gory detail, and it’s getting, well, awkward.
How to handle: Your guests will likely look to you to figure out how they should react. Your best bet is to simply laugh and smile, and don’t let any negative feelings shine through—squeeze your new spouse’s hand and fake smile. You can complain to your new spouse after the reception about your MOH’s speech, but don’t make a scene at the reception. Your MOH probably thinks she’s being funny and hopefully is coming from a good place.
Your best man’s speech is Way. Too. Long. 
Your best man’s speech has been going on for five minutes without any signs of stopping. Your guests are starting to get bored. 
How to handle: Ask all of your wedding reception toast-givers to keep their speeches to around three minutes. Your bandleader, DJ, or emcee can also quietly signal to the speech-giver that it’s time to finish up.
Your great aunt asks, “So, are you planning to start trying for kids tonight?” in a really loud voice. 
Whether it’s the champagne talking or not, people may feel the need to ask you super-personal questions during your wedding—and always in a super-loud voice when the rest of the room is quiet.
How to handle: Keep your response lighthearted. “We’re not sure yet, but you’ll be the first to know!”
A group of your college friends get really drunk. 
Guests may use your wedding as an excuse to get totally wasted, and that may cause things to get out of hand on the dance floor.
How to handle: A wedding party member can discreetly pull the drunk group aside and ask them to settle down, or distract them with desserts or a trip to the photo booth so they’re not making a scene. Make sure that there are transportation options so there’s no drinking and driving.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Should You Do First-Look Wedding Photos? You decide.

Ohh, the classic first-look photos. We've all seen them. The bride sneaking up behind the groom (like the one above!) The groom standing anxiously, with a smile of sheer anticipation. The look on the groom's face as he sees his bride for the first time in her wedding dress. Everyone knows that first looks can be truly magical and especially intimate, filled with raw emotion and heartwarming embraces that make for the best photographic moments. 
However, for many couples, seeing their hubby- or bride-to-be before the ceremony is still a big no-no — citing old traditions of bad luck or simply wanting to save the surprise of the first look for the walk down the aisle. If you're a bride-to-be, you've probably asked yourself if a first look is worth the pre-ceremony photo ops, or if it will spoil the surprise of meeting your fiancé at the altar. 
Among the many decisions couples make ahead of the big day are first-look photos: to take or not to take? When it comes to couples seeing each other before the wedding ceremony, religious and cultural traditions vary, so there are a number of reasons couples might choose to stage first-look pictures earlier in the day.
The "first look" is typically a special, private moment for the couple that's captured by the wedding photographer. Why do people do it? Beyond religious customs, one practical benefit is being able to take pictures with the bridal party and family members ahead of the ceremony. That way, friends and family can go straight from the ceremony to the cocktail hour or reception without having to take a photo break. Meanwhile, some couples may choose to have a first-look moment so that they can get some alone time during a chaotic day, and others may see it as a way help their nerves.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trash the Dress Photo Shoot

From Wikipedia:
"Trash the dress", also known as "fearless bridal" or "rock the frock", is a style of wedding photography that contrasts elegant clothing with an environment in which it is out of place. It is generally shot in the style of fashion or glamour photography. Such photography often takes place on a beach, but other locations include city streets, rooftops, garbage dumps, fields, and abandoned buildings. The woman often wears a ball gown, prom dress or wedding dress, and may effectively ruin the dress in the process by getting it wet, dirty, or, in extreme circumstances, tearing or destroying the garment."

I personally enjoy the Trash the Dress photo shoot because it is a stress free photo session.  The wedding is over and the bride and groom are more relaxed.  We can do a Trash the Dress shoot weeks, months or even a year or two after the wedding.  I'll give you a discount if you book it at the same time that you book the wedding photography. --  John Arty                    

Click on link for:  Trash the Dress Photo Shoot Video

Thoughts Every Bride Has On Her Wedding Day

After a long road of planning, there are bound to be dozens of thoughts running through the bride's head on her wedding day. Below are a few we imagine may come to mind at some point. PS- they're not always completely logical.

“I’m getting married today! I can’t believe it's finally here!”
“Holy crap, wait, I’m getting married today?”
“There must be something I forgot to do.”
“Oh. my. gosh. I didn’t buy the wedding ring.”
“How are we supposed to have a wedding without a wedding ring?!”
“Oh wait. I did buy it. Phew.”
“WHERE are the hair and makeup people? They were supposed to be here at 8:30 a.m., and it’s 8:31 a.m.”
“Is this airbrush makeup really going to cover up my zits?”
“Does it look like I only slept for two hours last night? Because I did.”
“Did my bridesmaid SERIOUSLY just break her zipper?”
“I hope my fiancé(e) is awake. Sleeping through the wedding is not option.”
“I really hope my dress still fits. Did I have to participate in taco Tuesday the week of my wedding?”
“I should’ve bookmarked that YouTube video so my fiancé(e) knows how to tie a bowtie.”
“Maybe I should slow down on the champagne, I have to walk down an aisle in front of a few hundred people…”
“Or maybe I shouldn’t.”
“Is my passport expired? Guess we’re spending our honeymoon at the cheap motel down the street from my childhood home. #romantic.”
“I really, really hope Uncle Todd doesn’t get drunk and dance on the table like he did at Thanksgiving last year.”
“Do you think the groomsmen remembered to press their suits? Someone get an iron over there stat.”
“Is the flower girl EVER going to stop crying? No? OK just checking.”
“Is my mom EVER going to stop crying? No? OK just checking.”
“How is it possible that my grandma still doesn’t know my fiancé(e)’s name? We’ve only been dating for four years.”
“I really hope I don’t pull a Ross and say the wrong name at the altar.”
“I should have practiced walking in these shoes, I can already feel the blisters coming.”
“How is it humanly possible to sweat this much?”
“I’m a WIFE! Holy #&@!”
“If my dad shows any childhood photos of me during his speech I may quite literally die of embarrassment. Can someone please do a quick read-through?”
“Wow I’m starving. Have I had anything to eat?”
“Wait, I’m going to faint. Does anyone have smelling salts? Are those still a thing?”
“When did my hair go from a chic updo to a hot mess?”
“Has anyone posted to the wedding hashtag yet? Check!”
“I didn’t think my finger could sparkle this much with not one, but TWO rings. Like this could blind someone.”
“I love my friends! I love my family! This is the best day ev...whoa, there’s a dancing circle around me, hands in the air, like I just don’t care!”
“Is the best man really taking a nap in the corner right now?”
“There’s no way that reception was three hours, it feels like it just started.”
“How am I going to make it through the after, after-party?”
“Is it really over? Here comes the wedding withdrawal.”
“What am I supposed to plan and obsess over for the next year?”
“How many more times can I thank everyone for the best. day. ever?”

by Sarah Title