1) Make sure he/she is a full time professional wedding photographer. This may seem obvious, but many people choose photographers who photograph houses and bowls of fruit during the week – or are even plumbers or bricklayers! It takes a special set of skills to photograph weddings. Not just the ability to use a camera but also the ability to ‘get on’ with large groups of people who are strangers and be able to organise them without intruding. Would you want the pilot of a aeroplane you were flying in to be a plumber during the week and only fly planes at the weekend? No. If the job is important then you should should always choose a full time professional.
2) Book early. Most top professionals are popular and get booked up 18 months – 2 years in advance. If you are getting married on a popular date (Saturdays during the summer or a bank-holiday Monday) then you are unlikely to get the photographer you want for a last minute wedding.
3) Don’t trust a photographers website. A great website can be written for just a few hundred pounds and can show off just a few dozen great pictures. But is this a fair representation of what you will get? Always ask to see ALL the pictures from a recent wedding (preferrably taken at the wedding you will be using) and ask to contact 3 clients of the photographer from the past couple of months to make sure that the photographers quality is consistent.
4) Dont be misled into believing that letters after a photographers name means they are good. There are no formal qualifications to become a wedding photographer. Letters (such as SWPP, BPPA, MRPS etc) can all be purchased for just £100 without a photographer ever having to prove competence. The same goes for ‘award winning’ photographers. It is best to judge for yourself by looking at actual pictures taken from recent weddings.
5) Make sure a backup photographer is available. What happens if your photographer is ill on the day of your wedding? Will he/she just not turn up? ‘One man band’ wedding photographers pose a risk that they might not be able to attend your wedding, so it is always best to use a company that has a back-up strategy to cover this (and ideally a company that has several photographers who can cover in case of illness)
A honeymoon can be fun. and adventurous. To make it easier and take the hassle out of planning here are a few tips:
Start by considering the weather. There’s nothing to dampen the mood like bad weather during your honeymoon. Make sure you get the most out of your honeymoon by going when the weather is best. The Knot recommends certain locations by month:
July & August
Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central & South Africa, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Ireland, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Seychelles, Thailand, USA (Alaska, Northeast)
Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central & South Africa, Czech Republic, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Spain, Thailand, USA
Australia, Bali, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Central & South Africa, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Italy, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Seychelles, Spain, USA
Australia, Bahamas, Bali, Belize, Brazil, Canada (ski destinations), Central & South Africa, Egypt, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Seychelles, Spain, USA (ski destinations, Southeast, Southwest)
Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bali, Belize, Brazil, Canada (ski destinations), Caribbean, Central & South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Florida Keys, USA (ski destinations)
Consider a Travel Agent. They can plan everything for you while considering everything you want and need. Plus if something goes wrong you will have a pro to help you through it. You can book your honeymoon online but the savings may be small and you’ll miss out on personalized service a travel consultant can provide. All inclusive resorts can be a good deal, but buyer beware: some have hidden fees that add up. Make sure you know ahead of time what’s included and what’s not. Be careful of hidden fees. A travel consultant can help you save time and money. More tips can be found here.
The question was popped, the news of your engagement has spread amongst family and friends. Now the work begins: planning your wedding. Where does one begin? It may seem relatively simple, but any wedding planner will tell you planning a wedding can be complex and time consuming. To get the ball rolling here are some tips from Real Simple, a detailed wedding planning guide to refer to in the coming months.
Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist
To plan the perfect celebration, use this comprehensive wedding checklist, with a timeline based on the 16-month length of the average U.S. engagement.
Sixteen to Nine Months Before
Start a wedding folder or binder.
Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration.
There are so many great venues to have a wedding in Austin. Here are five noteworthy wedding ceremony venues.
Guests happily munched on a family-style dinner by Royal Fig Catering and enjoyed cake prepared by Simon Lee Bakery, which tasted just as great as it looked. It was nothing but a party for the rest of the night, with the bride and groom dancing away to music by Greenbelt DJ with their guests. Special thanks to ILD Lighting for illuminating the night with festoon lights. Becky from Pearl Events pulled it all together.
Take your wedding guests to Tuscany. Stand on this side of the archway and you’re on a limestone parking lot on a plateau that rises 900 feet above Austin. Step through that archway and you’re in Tuscany. Water falls to your left. Massive stone steps lead across a pool that is constantly changing color. Fire leaps atop the surface. Step through those tall, double doors. Old wooden shutters and windowboxes adorn windows high on the second floor. Grapevines twist through a huge iron chandelier. An overhead catwalk leads to a dazzling art gallery.
Chapel Dulcinea is a romantic, open-air Wedding Chapel located on the Wizard Academy campus. Donations continue to make it possible for the owners to offer the Chapel at no charge.
Barr Mansion is a family-owned business that has been in Austin for over 20 years. Get married in the intimate rose garden or the elegant Artisan Ballroom, of which the entire front is 40 feet of glass. Groups up to 75 can fit in the Victorian mansion, which was built in 1898 and features gingerbread porches.
The Inn at Rose Hall
This rustic outdoor wedding venue in South Austin was voted as a Best of Weddings 2008/2009 pick by The Knot, a leading wedding Web site. The venue is essentially a ranch home with a laid-back Hill Country vibe, and it features a rolling green lawn adorned with 100-year-old oak trees. After the ceremony, you can dance and eat either under the covered veranda or inside the roomy home. You can also spend your first evening as a married couple together in the bridal suite. You can also rent the home for the full weekend if you have guests in town, as it has five large bedrooms and three bathrooms. This is a great place if you want a wedding under the stars!
What is the deal with save the dates? You may wonder why you need them since formal invites are sent out later. Save the dates are a good idea because it helps to set the date for everyone and solidify the planning process; you’ll likely get more positive RSVPs. Guests can plan far in advance, since save the dates are sent out 6-9 months prior to the wedding date. And most guests enjoy receiving a save the date.
The cost of a wedding can induce sticker shock. It’s best to prepare, and hopefully avoid any financial surprises, by having a wedding spending plan. This handy wedding costs checklist will help you plan your affair whether large or small, elaborate or simple.
There are so many terms when it comes to describing weddings. Here are some of the trends over the last five years. Having a wedding that is personalized and inclusive of your values, personality and culture never goes out of style.
DIY: handmade details you made yourself
DIY is a broad term when applied to weddings. It can mean the style, theme, ambiance, decor, personal touches you choose to add.
According to Elle Magazine an alternative wedding is when “sweethearts put their own unique spin on the traditional ceremony, from exchanging vows in a yoga studio to celebrating on the streets of New York City.”
You could say these are alternatives to an expensive bash. Alternative weddings tend to include personalized and cultural elements. What are your thoughts?
photos by jessica oh photography, martina micko photo, and tami melissa photography | rufffled blog
Hipster: creative, quirky, personalized
There seems to be a few things hipster weddings have in common. Like DIY, the term hipster has been used broadly. You will see vintage and rustic elements in hipster weddings. Making the old new and embracing outdoor elements.
This hipster wedding definitely contains rustic elements.
Bohemian: Bohemian Wedding Theme is an eclectic mix of the hippie, nomad and gypsy lifestyle with an artistic flair. Wikipedia uses the terms of free love, adventures, frugality and individuals involved with music, artistic or literary interests.
According to the wedding blog bloomed to last, boho weddings contain 5 elements:
1) Headbands & Flower Wreaths
2) Flowing and relaxed Wedding Dress
3) Mix & Match flowers, centerpieces, dishware, etc.
4) Lots of the outdoor & nature inspiration
5) A touch of whimsy
Which style fits you? What elements do you want to incorporate into your wedding day? Whatever you decide know that you don’t have to stick to any label. Have fun, make it yours and enjoy your special day and the years to come.
As a successful wedding professional, I get the unique chance to become associated with top-notch providers in every event category. This allows me to reach out to a one vendor each month and ask them the tough questions you are wanting the answers to.
This week I feature Kathlee Akers, CEO of Beau Tied Events in a candid discussion of how creativity and experience plays a major role in producing a success event. We tap into the importance of inspiration and love for your job. Also, expanding into how trends influence both brides and planners, as sites like Pinterest and Etsy have allowed brides to express themselves more openly.
Thomas McGregor: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions today!
Kathlee Akers: Thanks for asking!
TM: So I know you love what you do, it shows. So tell me, where did the inspiration come from to start planning weddings and events?
KA: I planned my own wedding, which I think is a common theme I hear a lot. I guess because you don’t really get a chance to plan weddings until you do your own, it never even really occurred to me I could do it, though I had always been interested. When I did my own, I became compulsive about learning as much as I could, and about the design behind it all. I was definitely interested in doing it long term, from the beginning, and started taking classes right after I got engaged.
TM: Was there something specific that sparked your interested, after doing your own wedding?
KA: The design aspect, first and foremost, and then the rigid organization and planning. I’m very detail-oriented, so that fit me to a ‘T’.
TM: Have you always been detailed-oriented?
KA: It was something I had to reign in as I got older. I was always a really creative kid, always putting on plays and writing stories, and I would lose myself in my projects and my imagination, often to the chagrin of my parents. When I went to college and was able to focus intently on things that I felt passionate about– design, literature, etc., I saw that side really come out. I really wanted to be successful, so I became very focused on any and all details that would add to that.
TM: And would you deem that hyper-focusness a requirement for success in the category of event planning?
KA: Absolutely. And I don’t think you can fake it. You have to be 100% focused and in love with this job to make it work, because you have to care as much about the details as your bride would.
TM: And as a result, would you agree there is a personal reward to the results you produce?
KA: Yes. I get very close to my brides over the course of a year, I often become their confidantes and friends and therapists, even. So when their wedding day comes, and they give me a hug and tell me how thankful they are I was there for them, it’s hugely rewarding. It’s sometimes hard to part with them after the fact and maybe sometimes… I don’t… haha we remain pen pals.
TM: Well then that would be a bitter-sweet reward of your job, which is arguably the best kind.
TM: Now, as many of the readers may not know; there is a constant shifting in trends in the wedding industry. Can you elaborate as to how you have need to adjust to the changing trends throughout the years? What has changed in style, tastes and the way you have approached each event?
KA: I really try to stay away from anything too topical or too trendy, because I feel like it dates weddings within 5 years. Obviously, there’s a huge DIY shift that’s happened in the wedding industry since, and undoubtedly due to the recession, which I found has creatively really inspired brides to see something they love and do it themselves instead of hiring someone. It also has given me a bit more creative freedom with design. Also with Pinterest that DIY wedding aspect has exploded.
TM: So, the shift has taken place mainly via the online collaboration through sites like Pinterest and Etsy?
KA: I think it’s been two-fold. I think that sites like Pinterest and Etsy saw an opportunity with the explosion of DIY culture, and that culture then has propelled Pinterest and Etsy into simple crafting and inspiration sites to wedding planning staples. All my brides use them for either planning or decor purposes.
TM: Very interesting! And would you say that has enabled your brides to be more hands through the designing process?
KA: I think that brides, since forever, have secretly or quietly done DIY projects themselves because it’s more affordable–not everybody has the money to buy the most expensive invitations, for example, but you can certainly fake it–but it’s now become “cool” to DIY your own wedding. I think with the recession, a lot of brides knew that they were going to have to do a lot themselves, and did so proudly. That’s why I love DIY brides, it’s a very can-do tough attitude, with a whole lot of love, and they’re a joy to work with. I was–and am– a DIY bride so I get it.
TM: So this shift in trends to more of a DIY approach as allowed brides to feel more empowered to do what they have always done, due to economic reasons?
KA: Yeah, I think so.
TM: As a result, what has been some of the strangest requests you have been asked by brides, mothers or second cousins?
KA: Haha! This will be tough, I certainly don’t want to offend anyone.
TM: We are all friends here.
KA: Oh! I have a good one– and this bride is totally lovely and it ended up being one of my favorite (albeit strangest) requests. I had a bride who wanted to do her wedding backwards! She had cocktail hour, and greeted guests in her dress as they came in, and then they ate dinner, did toasts, and then got married at sunset, around 8:15 PM. Then they had their first dance. It was so cool; casual, and relaxed. There was no pressure, no jitters… it was fun!
TM: Considering the way you just described it, maybe you’ll set a trend of weddings performed backwards.
KA: I hope so, I’d love to do it again!
TM: So we are reaching the end of our time, but I want to ask you one final question regarding your experience thus far with event planning. In hindsight, what would you have loved to know as a planner setting out on her first wedding?
KA: Bring more safety pins? Haha. No, true, but I’m kidding. I think I would want to relax a bit more. I think I was so stiff the first wedding I did, I was so laser-focused on making sure everything was perfect, that when things did go wrong, I let it bother me more than it should have. Now, I expect the unexpected as part of the job. I’ve realized it’s not my fault, but that it’s my opportunity to make things right. Knowing that things are going to go wrong that are out of your control is a huge part of this industry, but I’ve learned to trust my instincts and ability to fix problems that come up, so I don’t fear it anymore. Oh, and to LAUGH and enjoy yourself in the midst of it!
TM: So you have developed a sense of fearlessness founded on the knowledge that anything can happen and it’s up to you to turn the debacle into a opportunity for success?
KA: More or less. I take a lot of pride in solving problems, and have solved a LOT of problems, but I also know that some things may be completely out of my control. Essentially, it’s taking pride in knowing that I do my best every wedding, and I try to make the best out of every situation. If I can save the day, I will!
TM: That perspective is refreshing, as many might disintegrate under stress.
TM: As a bonus, tell us your plans for the future!
KA: I’m taking a more one-on-one creative approach with brides in the next year. I no longer plan on doing month-ofs, I really feel a huge benefit from working with a bride over the course of the entire engagement, both for creative and technical purposes.
TM: Would you consider that a unique approach in the planning space?
KA: I’m not sure, there are a lot of planning companies that do
design, but the main focus of their business is to do many weddings over the course of a year, and work out logistics, make sure everything’s on track, etc. I’ve never really had that approach– I really enjoy working one-on-one with fewer clients over the course of a year, with more of a design focus. I, of course, would work out details and logistics too, but I really enjoy helping brides find vendors, choose florals, pick out invites, I just feel the event is more cohesive and flows more smoothly.
TM: Well, I can speak freely when I say just like your approach to stress is refreshing, so is your approach to client service. It seems that you are services oriented, detailed and creative-focused, with an open mind to requests(even if it means doing a wedding in reverse) of each bride per their individually unique styles?
KA: Yes, that’s right.
TM: I want to thank you for taking time to speak with me today!
Wedding planning can be complicated and time consuming. Try to avoid putting it off because you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re rushed making decisions. With the help of this 12 month wedding planning schedule you’ll have it planned the way you want it in no time.
Planning Tip # 1: Planning Tip # 1: Haven’t quite stowed away $20,000 for your dream wedding? Start saving now. Open a savings account with your fiance that can directly deposit a set amount, perhaps 10-20% of your income into the account each month.
Planning Tip # 2: Create a collage of wedding dress style you like before you go shopping (Pinterest is a great tool for this). Do your make up and hair similar to how you’ll want it for the big day so you will get a better idea of what you will look like walking down the aisle.
Planning Tip # 3: If your chosen venue doesn’t provide everything needed for the celebration, check out the International Special Events Society. You can search more than 5,000 professionals and you’ll find experts in every area.
Planning Tip # 4: If you aren’t sure of the proper way to word your invitations, or are dealing with a situation like divorced or deceased parents, consult Crane’s Wedding Blue Book for invitation guidelines.
Planning Tip # 5: The groom can wear anything of his choice as long as he can be distinguished from the groomsmen. The three most common choices are a tuxedo for formal late afternoon, a morning suit with cutaway jacket, or a standard business suit in black gray or brown. (And I would add military dress uniform for military weddings).
Planning Tip # 6: If you are writing your own vows use a tone that fits you. Don’t include deep passages just because you think it’s how it’s supposed to sound. Feel free to add a touch of human “I vow to become less cranky in the morning.”
Planning Tip # 7: When you have your final fitting, bring along your undergarments, shoes, jewelry, veil and any other accessories you plan to wear. If you’re deciding between a few different sets of accessories bring along a camera as well.
Planning Tip # 8: To ensure your photographer gets the best shot, give him good and bad photos of both of you prior to the wedding so he or she knows which angles work for you and which don’t. (And I would add: do an engagement shoot with your wedding photographer).
Planning Tip # 9: You and your fiance should sit down and select not only the first dance song but the tone of the party with all your favorite tunes. Make sure to include a “do not play” list so the “Electric Slide” doesn’t pop out of nowhere.
Planning Tip # 10: Ideas for figuring out the order of your wedding party without causing any tension: by height, by alphabetical order, by how long you have known them without regard to how close you are, or leave the decision up to the wedding coordinator and have nothing to do with it!
Planning Tip # 11: The rehearsal dinner can be less formal than the wedding reception, so have fun with it! Invite your close family, your wedding party, their dates as well as out-of-town guests who have traveled a long way to be with you. It’s a great way to introduce everyone before the actual ceremony.
Planning Tip # 12: After a year of planning and prepping the little details won’t seem to matter because by the end of it you married the person you love. Try to take in and remember how you felt over everything else.