A big big thanks to Kristen at Five Dot Design and 915 Monmouth for putting together this super informative post for us today. If you are engaged and thinking about your stationery, then you’re gonna want to bookmark this post!

Invitations seem to be the first thing that make the whole wedding process “real” for most brides. You’re taking all the details you’ve been organizing for the past however many months and putting them down on paper to send out into the world. Family and friends will come witness, not only you and your fiance getting married, but all the hard work you’ve put into pulling this event together and making it perfect.

So, of course, you want your invitations to be perfect as well. The basic invitation suite can be broken down into a few simple pieces… some are must-have’s, some are nice-to-have’s and some are added bonuses. Now, I realize that you might put some pieces in different categories and that’s perfectly fine. These are just the most popular pieces I have found with my clients.

JMM Photographer WeddingPhotoLove

Photo by JMM Photography

Learn more about invitations after the jump…

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The Spring 2012 WeddingLovely Lookbook is here!

Now updated to the Fall 2012 version!

 

View and download online for free and send it to any friends and family looking for wedding vendors or planning advice — or just pass it along just to promote the beautiful work of talented WeddingLovely vendors!

Some stats from this year:

  • 12 articles on wedding planning and advice written by WeddingLovely vendors.
  • Over 1000 vendors listed from all over the world — California to Singapore.
  • 204 pages of inspiration.
  • Featuring stationers, photographers, planners & coordinators, venues, and videographers (all the vendors currently in the WeddingLovely network — more verticals launching soon!)

New this year, we’ve put together 5 location specific vendor directories that are available in print for $17.95. If you buy now, MagCloud is running a sale for $15! These local Lookbooks contain all the same great articles as above, as well as listing the local vendors. Check out last fall’s printed version here, and buy this spring’s on MagCloud:

If you want to buy the ENTIRE Lookbook, we’ve added it to Magcloud for $49.95. If you buy soon, they’re running a sale for $39.40. Score!

Are you featured in the Lookbook? Show of your listing, article and/or ad with this beauteous badge:

WeddingLovely Lookbook Badge

We are THRILLED to release the Spring 2012 Lookbooks! Last year’s only contained invitations, so seeing this years grow to contain so many more vendors and wedding planning advice is so exciting. The next version will be printed in Fall 2012 and we’d love to make it even better than the Spring edition. We welcome any suggestions, requests, anything, in the comments!

Visualities Videography put together today’s post for us. We’re excited to share it, as it’s our first guest post about wedding videography. As a bride who opted not to get a wedding video, I have to admit…it’s my biggest regret, so I feel it’s my duty to share this with you.

I’m a wedding videographer. A storyteller at my core. And my job is pretty dang important. Why? I’m capturing special moments, video, sound, bloopers for you to remember forever. I’m not trying to sell you on hiring me to be your videographer. But this post does contain some ramblings about why I think know a professional videographer is so important for your special day.

Visualities Videography WeddingVideoLove

The INVESTMENT:

I’ve talked with couples who have chosen to opt-out of having a professional videographer document their wedding day. Their primary reason: Too much Moo-lah. Well, and Uncle John has an iPhone and he can record the vows on it… for free (by the way, good luck with that).

More about why you should hire a videographer after the jump…

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Michelle, a talented stationer from Little Toad, put together today’s post for us. She put a lot of time into this post and we thank her! I am sure you will too, because she did a fabulous job putting together the wedding trends for 2012. Thanks Michelle!

We are already far into the New Year and no doubt by now you have broken your resolutions and vowed never to give up chocolate cake as a breakfast item again. Aside from those New Year changes one of the biggest changes occurs in the wedding industry, the hottest new trends. From what colors are hot and what patterns are so last season to which reoccurring themes you probably be seeing if you are attending or planning a wedding. So what are the newest trends of 2012? Well I have searched the internet, bridal magazines and lost many a days on Pinterest, to highlight the top 12 trends of 2012.

He Saw SparksHe Saw Sparks on Etsy

{Patterns}
1.  CHEVRON

It may sound like a stop to get your oil changed but instead it’s a very simplistic yet classic geometric pattern. This pattern looks good in a variety of colors or is just as strong in black and white. It can be incorporated into your wedding in a multitude of designs and mediums (paper and/or fabric). The other great aspect of this pattern is that it can be used as an accent but isn’t overpowering as a dominant element.

See the full post after the jump . . .

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My name is Manik Rathee and I am one half of Manik Rathee Photography, along with the gorgeous and talented Aileen Atkins. Manik Rathee Photography is our wedding & event photography business based out of beautiful Montclair, New Jersey. We’ve been shooting events and weddings for quite some time now and we wanted to share one part of that journey with you: engagement sessions.

Manik Rathee Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Engagement sessions are really important for couples – more important than most people would think. Some couples look at them as just another set of photos but it is so much more than that. Your engagement session gives you a chance to get to know your photographer, how he or she works and, more importantly, it lets you get comfortable in front of the camera. In this post, we’ll explore all the fantastic reasons that you should book an engagement session with your photographer.

Manik Rathee Photography WeddingPhotoLove

The engagement session gives you and your significant other a chance to get comfortable with the awesome photographer you’ve chosen. On your wedding day, the last thing you want to worry about is what to do when the camera is in front of you, or to worry if the photographer is capturing all of the precious moments. Your engagement shoot will give you a few hours of close time to learn how your photographer works, see what it feels like to be the center of attention, learn how you and your partner look best together and much much more. If you take the time to do this, not only do you get a whole set of beautiful photos to remember this amazing time in your lives, but you also get to feel at home with your photographer. When your wedding day arrives and the photographer, not to mention all of your guests, start pointing cameras at you, you and your partner can confidently walk by knowing you look your best.

Manik Rathee Photography WeddingPhotoLove

On the other side of that, letting your photographer get to know you on the engagement shoot is just as important. For your photographer, knowing what makes you and your partner look your best will only make your wedding photos even better. On the shoot, your photographer will get to know you better and learn about the intricacies that make your relationship special. And when it comes to the big day, those little details will show in the photos – and those images will be more precious to you than anything else in the world.

Now, most people think that those few benefits are the only reason to do an engagement shoot, but it doesn’t end there. Your wedding is a few months away and you have settled on all of the details, all the way from your makeup artist to the table settings at the reception. The engagement session will give you a chance to get your hair and makeup done, just like the morning of your wedding. Doing this early allows you to be picky about the details so there are no surprises when the big day rolls around. This is why a lot of photographers recommend setting appointments with your hair and makeup professional of choice. Not to mention the fact that you’ll look absolutely stunning for your photos!

Manik Rathee Photography WeddingPhotoLove
We have seen quite a few brides that worked out some tricky makeup details on the engagement shoot that would have become a big hassle if they came up on their wedding day. They ended up looking gorgeous for the engagement session and their makeup artist knew exactly what they wanted on the big day – a win-win for everyone.

After all, everything should be perfect on the day you marry the love of your life!

Manik Rathee Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Now that you know why you should do an engagement session with your photographer, here are some tips to help make it a successful shoot.

  1. If you and your partner have any special items that represent your love & relationship, be sure to tell your photographer! For example, one of our brides met her husband while she was relaxing at her favorite park. So, for their engagement shoot, we went back to that park and took photos at the very spot they met! It could be something as big as where you met or as small as bringing a small memento to represent your first date. Anything that will make your relationship shine through the photos would be great.
  2. Dress for all occasions! Getting dressed up in your best dress, and having your fiancé dress in his best suit, is certainly a great way to go for your photos, but most photographers will work in time for a wardrobe change. So, make sure to have outfits picked out that not only compliment each other, but represent each of you. An example here would be dressing to the nines for the first part of the session, and then getting more casual for the personal part of the shoot – wear your favorite skirt or, for guys, your favorite jeans and a nice button down shirt- and let yourself relax for the second half of the shoot.
  3. Remember why you’re there. Most people are not comfortable in front of the camera. A lot of my couples started out the day very tense and rigid – almost uncomfortable even though they knew they wanted to have great photos. It’s really important to remind yourself why you are doing this: You’ve found the love of your life – the person that makes you happier than you’ve ever been before. These photos should celebrate that love! So take a deep breathe, relax and smile. It’s all about having fun with your love & your best friend.

So go on – give your photographer a call and book that engagement session. After all, you’ll want these memories down the road!

I’m so excited about today’s guest post. As a stationer, I love to see brides go the extra step to pretty up their envelopes by hiring a calligrapher. Lynda, from Write Away For You Calligraphy put this together for us. Isn’t she great? :)

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove

I guess some consider calligraphy to be a luxury, not a necessity in their wedding planning process. Yes, hand calligraphy does cost more than the computer generated alternative, this is because of the time, experience, and eye for detail needed to execute accuracy, but a calligrapher is also one of the least costly vendors on your list, and yet can do an important thing – relieve you of a time consuming responsibility and set the tone for your wedding day. Calligraphy enhances your invitations creating a ‘wow’ factor when they arrive at your guest’s home, which makes hiring a calligrapher a worthwhile investment!

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove
The first thing your guest is going to see that is associated with your wedding is their invitation envelope in their mailbox. Seeing calligraphy on an envelope will immediately call attention to your invitation. Calligraphy will add elegance and sophistication creating anticipation to attend your event.

Each envelope becomes a small gift to your guest as they see their names inked in beautiful writing – your invitation and envelope will become an everlasting memoir of your day. Lettering can portray a formal or informal feel, but either way, it shows your attention to detail.

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove

Usually all that is expected of you is that you have a typed guest list, order extra envelopes and book approx 3 months ahead to be sure you have your envelopes back and ready to go out at least 8 weeks before the event date. Pricing can vary due to geographical location and skill level.

Write Away For You WeddingInviteLove

You spend a lot on your invitation suite, why not complete them making them beautiful inside AND out. And don’t forget about table, place cards and signs, all this can be taken care of by hiring a calligrapher.

 

Jen from J Lauren Events put together this great post about planning a barn wedding. If  you’re having your big day in the country, or just want some rustic appeal – you’re gonna love this post!

Whether you are going all out rustic or country glamour, a barn or barn-like location can set a mood like no other type of venue. Barns are like you favorite pair jeans, you can dress them up or dress them down. These awesome venues say “Relax, let’s have some fun.” However, the fun can be dependent on creating a comfortable environment for your guests. Here are some tips to help you navigate the difficult waters of rustic wedding venues.

Novia Distinctive PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

Get a Lay of the Land

Do a site walk through with your wedding planner before booking any other vendors. You want to discuss the property layout and locations for the major areas such as ceremony, reception, parking, staging for rentals and catering set up. Note the locations of water and electrical access, if any.  What type of indoor and outdoor lighting is available? Heating and cooling?

C Studios
Photo by C Studios

Line Up Your Rentals

While not the most glamourous part of planning, you need to line up rentals for the major items. Bathrooms, yes bathrooms, generators, tents, tables, chairs, lighting and heaters or fans depending on the anticipated weather.

Novia PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

Light Up the Night

First let’s address the indoors. For rustic events– use clusters of lanterns to provide light in dark corners.  For a shabby chic look– mix candles with chandeliers hanging from the rafters. Amber uplighting will give the whole room a warm glow and highlight the texture in wooden plank walls.

To avoid any twisted ankles you will need to add lights to outside walkways for after sundown. Use luminaries or candles in large mason jars for stylish look. Consider adding battery power LED lights to signs.

 Novia Distinctive PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

A Girl’s Gotta Eat

Barns combine both indoor and outdoor elements, and this should be reflected in the menu you choose. Don’t be afraid to get creative. I like to see a mix of smoky flavors combined with refreshing local farm fresh vegetables.

C Studios WeddingPhotoLove

Photo by C Studios

Show Some Personality

Now it is time to get creative with your décor and personalize your wedding. I like to collect a lot of pictures, either on Pinterest or the old fashion way – magazines, and then play the “which of these things don’t belong” game.  Narrow down your vision and then add your own unique spin. For barn weddings I love to start with the table linens, which are a great way to bring color, texture or pattern – then add your tableware.  You can go simple or spice it up with mason jar glasses or rattan chargers.  Next, add flowers to for visual interest. Bringing in vintage farmhouse furniture and accessories are a great way to add  appeal to the bar, escort card area and cake table.

Novia Distinctive PhotographyPhoto by Novia Distinctive Photography

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design brings us today’s guest post! If you are not sure what the difference is between an on-site coordinator and a wedding planner –Melissa is gong to clarify that for you!

If you’ve chosen to have your wedding at a full service wedding venue, chances are there’s an on-site coordinator who will be there to make sure your day runs smoothly. While that’s certainly a huge weight off of your shoulders, there is a difference between an on-site coordinator and a wedding planner. Although these two individuals strive to work synergistically together and to not compete against one another, many brides and grooms don’t know the difference between the two (other than the fact that they have two different titles). An on-site coordinator does much of what a wedding planner does, but only up to a certain point.

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design WeddingPlannerLove

If you’ve ever watched a wedding related “chick-flick” (Father of the Bride, anyone?!), you have your assumptions of what a typical wedding planner will do.  An on-site coordinator’s job description has boundaries, but a wedding planner’s duties are next to unlimited. A destination wedding, for example, requires a planner to help brides and grooms who just aren’t around to deal with all of the necessary details. The same is true for any wedding, destination or otherwise. Your planner is there to get to know the on-site coordinator at your wedding venue personally, as they’ll be working with them quite closely for (in most cases) 9 months or more.

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design WeddingPlannerLove

An on-site coordinator does quite a bit to manage the details of your wedding, which is what causes confusion for many brides and grooms. Your on-site coordinator can often give answers about processionals, music selections, and lodging. They see many weddings throughout the seasons, which gives them expertise. However, an on-site coordinator may not be required to do certain things, such as facilitate your rehearsal, in which case, a bride and groom may be left feeling uneasy and insecure. At the end of the day, an on-site coordinator is there to represent the property, but not necessarily the bride and groom themselves. Rather than managing your every wish for your wedding day, they may be there to make sure you’re getting what you were promised in your venue’s contract, to make sure the kitchen is staffed, and that they’re sound system is working properly. Your wedding planner will be there every step of the way, making sure you’re getting not only what your venue’s contract states, but what all of your vendors’ contracts state. They’ll get to know you and your soon-to-be spouse, and will represent you and your wishes, not just the property.

Tiny Bubbles Wedding and Event Design WeddingPlannerLove

Make no mistake; there is without a doubt some overlap between a wedding planner and an on-site coordinator. The best suggestion I can give is to interview your on-site coordinator well, identify exactly what their duties include, and hire a wedding planner to pick up where the on-site coordinator leaves off and to fill in any blanks. Your wedding planner will be back at your wedding venue on a very regular basis to prepare things exactly the way you envision them while you’re busy working and living your life in the months leading up to your wedding.

So, if you’ve been trying to weigh the differences between what you’ll get from an on-site coordinator versus what you’ll get from a wedding planner, stop. The bottom line is, you need them both.

Today’s guest post was written by the lovely Terrica, of Cocktails + Details. She works out of Charleston, South Carolina – so she has some great advice on this topic! Thanks, Terrica.

Whenever most brides envision their day, more and more are leaning outside the traditional indoor wedding and instead are opting for a beautiful outdoor wedding that encompasses their event vision. Be it beachside, in a field or garden, outdoor weddings are so very romantic because it is like Mother Nature is lending a bit of her own glory to your wedding day. Provided you have your logistics and contingency plans worked out, your outdoor wedding can be a glorious, memorable affair.

Cocktails + Details WeddingPlannerLove

Choosing a location

As with any location, you want to choose something that is meaningful but also practical. In the wedding pictured above, our client actually chose her the backyard of her childhood home for her ceremony. Surrounded by family and friends and the beautiful perennials her mother nurtured throughout the year, the wedding ceremony needed only a few touches to transform it to something spectacular. When searching and scouting for locations, don’t discount non-traditional options. Consider the time of year and what will be growing and in season for your wedding. The more green and lush a garden, yard or field is, the more vibrant everything else appears with it.  

 The Logistics of an Outdoor Wedding

Make sure that you have an area that can serve as a main focal point for your guests to attract their attention. The wedding in the above picture actually took place on top of a hot tub with the ocean as a backdrop. This allowed for guests to get an opportunity to get up close to the couple at an estate that had some very non-traditional layouts. You will also want to make sure it is easily accessible. There needs to be an easy way in and easy way out– don’t forget to take into account elderly or handicapped individuals in your guest list.  Fun signage is a great way to ensure that your guests don’t get lost and know where important areas of your event are (e.g., restrooms, event areas, etc.). When your space is vast and large, don’t be afraid to use areas to create lounge or rest areas.

Cocktails + Details WeddingPlannerLoveCocktails + Details WeddingPlannerLove
 Photos by Agnes Lopez

 

Also be sure to think strategically– as weddings happen within a time frame of four to six hours, you don’t want any significant  downtime with travel, additional set up or “flipping”– a term we use in the industry that entails us moving all of the furniture and decor in one spot and replacing it with another. You can see this above where we had a beautiful garden wedding and then transformed it to an outdoor party with a black and white dance floor, lighting, bars and more. Additionally, there has to be a great flow to the event. There should be an area for your cocktail hour, which can segue into your reception.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Ensure that your food areas (stations, buffets, cakes, etc.) have proper cover and protection from wind and insects
  • If you are in a humid area or an area that has an infestation of mosquitos, sand gnats, etc., see if your location can be sprayed or bring in fans to disperse them.  These tiny wedding crashers can and will ruin the experience at your wedding, so don’t take this lightly!
  • If your event will go into the evening, consider what you will do for your lighting– will you bring in tiki torches, string/bulb lights, lamps, or dramatic lighting? This is something that you cannot skimp on and need to consider as you make your location decisions. The last thing you want is a wedding in the dark!
  • Additionally, as you scout for locations, check your power sources– you may need to bring in a generator to accommodate the needs of your caterer, band/dj, lighting, etc.
  • Try to see your location at or around the same time you are planning to have your wedding to see what factors need to be taken into consideration: lighting, weather, insects, tides, winds, etc. These factors will help you with your layout but also creating realistic contingency plans for your wedding.

Contingency Plans for Outdoor Weddings

The one thing about outdoor weddings is that as soon as you pick your dream location, you need to pick your plan B location. To be frank, we will not work with a client who doesn’t have one or refuses to get one in place with their wedding– that is how important it is. Weather and outside forces can change at a moment’s notice, causing your guests, musicians and other vendors to scramble looking for cover and attempting to salvage what is left of your wedding. So while you may feel like you are planning two weddings, your plan A and your plan B, make sure they are both something that you can live with – even if adjustments need to be made. Tents need to be ordered at the very latest a week in advance. A tent cannot be thrown together and erected within hours of your wedding. It takes an entire team who needs enough time to plot its position and account for any mishaps that could happen. If there are indoor options at or near your wedding location, look into these options and see if your outdoor layout can be duplicated at your Plan B location as well. Remember– it’s nothing to stress about! If you have to make changes before your wedding, your guests will never know you had something different planned. They will just attend a beautiful wedding.  

Outdoor weddings take a bit more work, but are worth every bit of effort!

 

This guest post was written for us by Kara from Love This Day Events. Kara plans beautiful weddings in the Denver area, so she knows all about how to plan a mountain wedding. Thanks Kara!

Mountain weddings are spectacular. Mountain weddings are iconic. Mountain weddings offer venue, food and design opportunities that are hard to match in an urban environment. Mountain weddings also offer unique challenges in terms of logistics. And mountain weddings should simply be more fun! Here are a few steps to get your mountain wedding planning process started and make your mountain wedding day spectacular! Plan, prepare and enjoy your wedding day.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLove Photo by Jared Wilson Photography

Hire a planner.

It should be fun to plan your wedding. After the champagne and the congratulations phone calls, you and your fiance should take a week or two and really talk about what you would like your wedding to look and feel like. Ask for wedding planner recommendations from friends and do some online research (WeddingPlannerLove) and have a very honest discussion about your wedding plan during the interview. A good planner will save you time, money and hours of stress.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Stellar Photography

Set a budget.

Once you have decided what planner to work with start sketching out a budget. Your planner will be able to guide your plan and show you where to save and where to spend. Setting a budget is vital before you select your venue.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Brinton Studios

Start your Pinterest Board.

Pinterest is a great tool for design. It allows you to save your photos (instead of trying to remember which wedding blog your dream bouquet was in) and share inspirations with your vendors. Seeing 20-25 inspirational photos enables your wedding vendors to see what you love. With that information – you are setting everyone up for success.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Julie Harris

Create a top three list.

Every couple is unique and each wedding has different priorities. Sit down with your betrothed and write down the top three most important elements for your wedding. Compare lists and compromise. If your fiance chooses bar, band and food and you have chosen band, food and decor – it only makes sense to find a venue known for their chef and menu with a reception space ready for a band. Put these lists somewhere you can both see them and revisit them from time to time. Remember what matters to the two of you.

Find the Venue.

Now you can find your dream mountain wedding location. With the budget, vision and priorities in mind, your wedding planner will be able to easily guide to a spectacular mountain venue. This will save you hundreds of driving miles and several weekend scouting trips!

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Paige Elizabeth

Local Versus Imported Vendors.

Hire local or import your vendors from your city? Every couple has different needs. I recommend asking your venue for local vendor recommendations and planning a trip to interview a few. Plan your trip for a non-event day! Your florist will be able to spend much more time with you on a Tuesday than on a Saturday morning in August. See whose work you admire and who you feel comfortable with. Ask for references from past clients. The most important part of building your mountain wedding vendor team is that you hire people who you trust. If it is easier for you to work with someone from home – bring them with you. And you can always mix and match (some local and some imported) to create your dream team.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Brinton Studios

Weather Plan

Always always always have a back up weather plan. Here in the Colorado Mountains, I have seen it snow on the 4th of July and I have seen 60 degrees and sunny days in February. Work with your wedding planner to create a weather plan and establish exactly how it will be communicated to your wedding party, vendors and guests. Make sure that you have allowed adequate time for reception rooms to be reset by the catering staff and for the florists to move any outdoor decor to your indoor location. Explore and plan for the worst case scenarios . . . and hope for sunshine.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Brinton Studios

Consider your guests and altitude.

Although you and your honey may have no problem hiking above timberline or taking a chairlift – consider your guests. Have alternate transportation, consider having oxygen available for older guests and encourage everyone to enjoy the mountains. At their own pace.

Be Prepared. The Emergency Kit.

Mountain weddings are usually a little bit removed from services and stores that we rely on in the city. The emergency kit should be stocked with everything from bandaids to superglue. Talk to your wedding planner about what she has in hers – there are always great stories behind some of the more unusual items in the kit.

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Paige Elizabeth

Consider the elements when buying your dress.

If you are planning to get married outside consider what the ground will do to your train. If you are getting married on grass, consider a shoe with a wedge heel (or cowboy boots – what can I say – they are functional) and always have a wrap or coat that compliments your dress. It gets chilly when the sun goes down!

Outdoor Mountain Ceremonies

There are 3 must haves for Colorado Mountain outdoor ceremonies. Have water available for your guests. Have sunscreen available for your guests (even 30 minutes at 9,000 can do a number on you!) and consider offering the ladies parasols (there are several options for renting). If it’s early season, have bug spray available (mosquitos can be quite persistent early season).

Love This Day Events WeddingPlannerLovePhoto by Julie Afferbaugh Photography

Mountain Weddings and Your Dog.

Why not? Just remember 2 important things. If your dog is your ring bearer – please do not put your real rings on his collar (mountains + wildlife + dogs + expensive jewelry = stress). Have a plan for Fido for after the ceremony. Make sure someone is assigned to take him to the room, for a walk and feed him.

Have FUN.

There may be a little more wind than you planned for. You may have forgotten your veil at home. No matter what hiccups may occur, your mountain wedding should be fun. Remember what is important to you and your new husband and trust in your planner, venue and the rest of your wedding team to make your day spectacular.

Thank you Kara! What a wonderful post!