Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Alfred Angelo Wedding

I’ve always loved the Alfred Angelo line for its beautiful styles and affordable prices. Whether romantic, classic, trendy or sassy, I truly believe this line has something that would make just about any bride happy.

As you know, Alfred Angelo came to the rescue at the last minute when I was on the fence about my original dress, and I quickly fell head over heels for a romantic mermaid silhouette with cascading tiers of lace, a gorgeous semi-cathedral train, and an elegant grape sash beneath the bust.

And earlier, while on the hunt for bridesmaid dresses that would flatter a variety of body types, my sister and I found the perfect formal and flattering grape gown, which featured white embroidery and crystal detailing on its sash.

Of course, I was excited about these picks before the big day, but looking back at our photos afterward, I’m even more in love. In the end, I’m so glad I ordered my dream dress before it was too late, and that the girls also loved their dresses, which paired so perfectly with mine. I truly can’t imagine our wearing anything else.

Will you and your bridesmaids wear dresses made by the same designer, or closely matched in style? Whether you’re now looking back on your day or are still waiting for it to arrive, have you ever had any second thoughts about your dress choices?

(Photo Credits: Damien Smith Photography & Alex Neumann Photography)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Real Wedding Inspiration: Erwin & Ed’s ‘Wedding In White’

Are you ready to be inspired? I hope so, because Erwin and Ed’s ceremony and reception recaps are here, and they’re heartfelt, touching and beautiful.

I’m thrilled to share these with you, first because of the wonderful job my fellow Wish Upon a Wedding DC board members and our wish granters did in making this a magical day, but even more so because it was a fabulous celebration of love and hope for the most deserving couple.

I hope you enjoy the following video by Human Story Films, which features highlights from Ed and Erwin’s “wedding in white” celebration at DC’s historic Meridian on August 14, 2010.

Want to learn more about Wish Upon a Wedding DC? Visit our Facebook page or send me an email at dcsecretary@wishuponawedding.org.

Erwin and Ed Wedding Film from William Gaff on Vimeo.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Man I Married

The man I married is my best friend and partner in all things – the silly, the serious, the life-changing, and the mundane. He is gentle, sincere, thoughtful and genuine, and he looked so handsome and happy on our wedding day.

Some people think that wedding day portraits are all about the bride, but I disagree. Stephen looked amazing, and he did it without a $200 makeup application or a $1,000 gown.

LESSON LEARNED: A good photographer will be sure to capture a few great portrait shots of the groom, but if he or she seems to be forgetting, or if you’d like more, be sure to speak up. After all, it’s your husband’s day, too!

Do you have any favorite wedding day or engagement shots of your guy?

(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Including Registry Info With Your Invite: The Follow-Up

First off, let me just say, wow! I am blown away by all the awesome and informative comments everyone shared with me yesterday on the issue of including registry information with an invitation. In fact, your comments were so passionate and offered so many different points of view that I decided a follow-up post was definitely in order.

First, to those of you who have included your registry info with an invite, it was in no way my aim to make you feel bad about your decision, and I sincerely apologize if that was in any way the case. In stating my opinion, I was simply sharing my perspective, which I draw from my own experiences and preferences. Your experiences are, of course, uniquely yours, and it’s therefore right for you to make an entirely different choice than I would. In the end, it's not a big deal at all, and I intended this issue to be a topic for discussion more than anything else.

As I said in yesterday’s post, I am definitely not one to blindly follow etiquette guidelines simply because they exist. However, including registry information with an invite has always stood out to me as inconsiderate simply because I feel it puts pressure on those who may not be able to afford a gift. I think it also might compel guests to feel they have to choose from a specific registry site or store, when they would prefer to give another type of gift. For these reasons, I personally avoided it with my invites and would rather not directly receive it from others. I would much rather visit the couple's website, or directly ask them where they've registered, if no website details are available.

But after reading many of your comments about why you consider it acceptable, I can better understand that point-of-view. When it comes to weddings, no one opinion is always the right one, including mine! Learning from others and sharing different perspectives is one thing I love most about the wedding industry, and is what I've set out to accomplish with this blog. I'm glad this is a place where we can all respectfully agree or disagree, and be honest about our views.

What do you say, ladies? Any final words or thoughts?

(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Including Registry Info With Your Invite: Modernly Acceptable Or Timelessly Taboo?

A couple months ago, I received a wedding invitation with a cute little Target registry card tucked neatly inside the envelope. But as cute as the card was, I couldn’t help but feel taken aback.

Before I go on, I should first say that I’m no stickler for traditional, old-fashioned rules, and am all for modernizing invitations and other wedding elements to suit a couple’s style and wishes. For example, our invite included our wedding website address at the bottom, which some etiquette gurus might find unacceptable, plus updated language that reflected the tone we wanted to set for our day.

But according to every etiquette guide I’ve encountered over the years, including registry information with an invite is nothing short of tacky and taboo. This has always stood out in my mind as a major don't, and I, for one, feel it comes across as rude to directly solicit a gift from one’s guests.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is this practice becoming more socially acceptable, or are couples just innocently not aware of the longstanding etiquette guidelines in this situation? Do some couples actually think they’re doing guests a favor by making their registry info easily accessible, and do some guests appreciate receiving registry details in such a direct way?

(Photo Credit: Alex Neumann Photography)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flower Power: A Wedding Day Dream Realized

In my long string of examples showing just how awesome our photographer Alex was, there’s one that truly stands out for me.

You may recall that I was completely bummed when I discovered that the church wouldn’t allow flower petals to line the aisle or be thrown by guests after the ceremony. There went one of my top romantic visions for our day.

Or so I thought.

As it turns out, I underestimated Alex’s creativity and foresight. Try if you can to imagine my sheer and utter delight when he showed up on our wedding day toting – what else? – a bag of flower petals!

Granted, these were silk, and there weren’t as many as I’d have brought in had I been allowed to go all out. But I didn’t care! They were petals nonetheless, were there on my wedding day, and had a light pink shade that even matched up with some of the accent colors in my bouquet. Life was good, and I loved the way Alex worked them in throughout the celebration.

My favorite part? He managed to snap a couple shots during the ceremony of petals scattered in the aisle. Take that, church rules!

And of course, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without a few shots of the bride herself in a shower of flowers.

Did your photographer surprise you by showing up with props or having creative ideas you never would have expected? Do you plan to use flower petals on your wedding day?

(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography)

Monday, August 23, 2010

When The Sun Goes Down…

…the best photos can be found!

While creating our wedding day timeline, it was absolutely vital to both us and our photographer that we set aside time for sunset photos on the grounds of Los Robles Greens. And what a great decision it was.

In the end, this shoot gave us some of the very best photos from the day. It also allowed us to momentarily take a breather from the crazy but fun pace of our reception for some time alone with our photographer, who occasionally stepped back to let us reflect on the day and spend a few moments focusing only on each other.

To show you just what I mean, here’s a big handful of favorites that still make me smile, whether they’re romantic, artsy, or just plain fun.

LESSON LEARNED: If possible, arrange with your photographer to shoot romantic and playful photos of you and the groom as sunset falls. The lighting will be gorgeous, allowing for amazing “shadow” shots, the air will be refreshingly cool, and most importantly, you’ll share some of the best memories of the entire day.

Do you plan to take photos at a special time or at a certain spot on your venue’s property?

(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Spotlight: Seasons For Love

As much as I enjoyed growing up in Southern California, with its mild climate and diverse geography, the changing seasons here on the East Coast truly impress me year after year.

One of my favorite parts of witnessing nature’s ongoing dance has been experiencing the way seasons beautifully influence weddings – from wine-inspired fall festivals to blossom-infused spring soirées. The seasons may come and go quickly, but the possibilities for related themes are seemingly endless.

Here, a few inspiration shots celebrating my favorite season of all – summer.

Which season do you love best?

(Photo Credits: Google Images)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ceremony Design & Décor

Even though our ceremony wasn’t without a couple mishaps -- the processional starting while I was in the restroom and the priest skipping over my sister’s reading -- it was still beautiful, both in the words we spoke and the décor that filled the church.

Here, a quick glimpse into Saint Paschal Baylon, decorated in our signature “less is more” style.

Our DIY tissue packets were a hit with guests and incredibly easy to make. A couple months before the wedding, we picked up a box of tissue packets and placed an order for custom business cards, each featuring a different shot of us on the front and back. Once they arrived, we taped one photo to each pack, alternating as we went.

Then, to display them on the big day, we selected a basket at Michaels and tied plastic dollar-store grape bunches to each side. Fun and simple! Plus, our coordinator expertly thought to place the leftovers in the women's restroom during the reception.

A custom blowup of our favorite engagement photo, courtesy of Damien Smith Photography, greeted guests from a cloth-draped easel at the entrance to the aisle. Our coordinator later moved the photo to the reception site to display throughout the evening, as well.

Stephen's mother and sister created beautiful handmade pew bows that lined the aisle and added just a touch of decoration in a church with strict regulations.

Photographer Alex captured our DIY programs as they sat atop the welcome table.

Elegant and romantic floral arrangements, crafted by the talented Lei-Ann at Happy Flowers, dressed up each side of the altar. These were also repurposed to beautifully decorate our gift table at the reception site.

What are your plans for ceremony décor? Do you plan to reuse certain items during the reception?

(Photo Credits: Personal Library & Alex Neumann Photography)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Framing Our Guests…Or At Least Their Messages

As a couple just starting to truly dress up our home with artwork and other splashes of personalization, Stephen and I knew all along that a signature frame would be the perfect guestbook alternative.

Featuring one of the engagement photos my sister snapped, plus wine-themed stickers we snagged at Michaels, our guests’ kind words – written in purple ink, of course! – are the perfect reminder of how happy they were to share our day.

What type of guestbook will you use at your wedding? Did you have a hard time making a decision, or did you know all along what the best choice would be?

(Photo Credits: Personal Library)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Post-Wedding Fitness Flubs

Way back when I was still just a "miss," I shared with you the way I changed my body and life by choosing to work out and eat healthily over the past year. Prior to the wedding, I was thrilled to meet my fitness goal and see myself featured in SELF magazine becasue of it.

But now that the wedding is over and life is busier than ever, I feel like I’m falling off the wagon, allowing the old excuses to slip off my tongue and the old comfort foods to make their way back onto my plate. It also doesn’t help that this has been the hottest, muggiest summer since I moved to D.C., making it almost impossible to run outdoors – my favorite way to burn off calories and stress.

Looking at my wedding pictures, I feel proud to see how well my efforts paid off, as I recall just how beautiful and fit I felt that day. But just a couple months later, I can now feel my jeans getting tighter and my motivation lagging. While I used to shun an extra glass of wine or helping of dessert, I now often find myself unable to utilize the message hammered into my head during countless middle school assemblies – just say “no.”

After a few days of utter indulgence in New Mexico, I’ve been doing better by eating reasonable meals and doing 30-minute workouts when I can. But still, I long for my hyper-fit self of last year, who ran 15 miles per week and ate tons of healthy meals loaded with veggies.

What do you think, ladies? Am I destined to gain the “newlywed 15”? Have any of you struggled to keep up your health and fitness routines, either before or after the wedding? How do you stay motivated when you’re busy, exhausted, or thwarted by bad weather?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photo-Share Success

Though I managed to stay relatively “unplugged” during our Hawaiian honeymoon, you’d better believe I was all over Facebook every evening, on the prowl for a sneak peek at our guests’ wedding photos.

And they didn’t disappoint, on Facebook or otherwise. Within just a week of giving out photo-share cards, which our coordinator set at each guest's table setting before the reception, close to a thousand pictures had been uploaded to our Shutterfly site.

Going into the wedding, we knew this would likely be the case, since we have a very camera-friendly group of friends and relatives. In fact, the majority of the photos were taken by just two people – my bridesmaid Pooneh and her mom!

Here, a few of my wedding day favorites that were not shot by the pros.

LESSON LEARNED: Whether you end up with a thousand pictures or just one, providing photo-share cards to your guests is definitely worth doing. Creating the cards is a simple DIY you can do at home, as is setting up an account on Shutterfly or another site you prefer. You never know what fun and original shots you might end up with, some of which could even become favorites from the entire day! Guests can often capture smaller details that the pros don’t have a chance to catch, or offer a totally different perspective of the celebration. Plus, this option allows guests to order whichever photos they like, without coming to you in the busy weeks immediately following the wedding.

Do you plan to give out photo-share cards at your wedding?

(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography & Personal Library)