Wedding Planning Tips

Three Amazing Film Wedding Photographers in RVA

If you have been following along, then you know that last week I did a blog post on Five Amazing Digital Wedding Photographers in RVA. The post highlighted some of the most amazing natural light and digital wedding photographers in Richmond, most of which I have worked with before. And as promised, I would like to continue that series this week by showcasing three more drool-worthy wedding photographers from our little neck of the woods, but this time from the arena of film photography. I have watched these ladies (yes they are all ladies!) from afar admiring their skills, talent, and passion. So without further adieu and in no particular order:

Kim Stockwell Photography

I have had my eye on Kim's work for a while now; there is something very romantic and emotion-evoking about her photography. I love her use of color and its natural juxtaposition against the backdrop of nature or everyday life. In Kim's own words, "I'm a fine art wedding photographer with a wild appreciation for candid moments. The goal of every photograph I take is to create a timeless and classic image. I love using medium format film to capture my client's wedding day, because it just feels timeless. The classic and history rich nature of film has been the best way for me to provide my clients with the most beautiful memories. My style and aesthetic is fueled by neutral color palettes & soft romantic touches. My passion comes from my ability to give clients beautiful, authentic moments. Moments, that when cared for properly, can live forever."

Doesn't that sound just lovely? Let's just say, you should definitely keep your eye on her. She is going places. Fun fact: Kim took one of my favorite photos of me of all time! I feel like it is the perfect embodiment of my personality and demeanor. You can see the photo on the Meet Maggie section of my website. Check out examples of Kim's work below or visit her Facebook page, HERE! You can also email her at: kim@kimstockwellphotography.com

Nikki Santerre Photography

Anytime someone is looking for a fine art film photographer, I always send them Nikki's way. There is both a richness and warmth to her photography that makes you feel as if you have instantly stepped into a French painting from the 18th century. She has an amazing knack for capturing the tangible richness found in light and nature. In Nikki's own words: "Incorporating film into my workflow has transformed the way I approach a wedding day. Shooting medium format has made me more deliberate, more intentional, more present. I am able to capture my clients' intimacy with unobtrusive authenticity by encouraging and evoking real emotions. My heart for my clients is to serve them throughout the wedding process and to create tangible heirlooms for their family for generations to come, images that won't only live on a computer screen but will transform their home and their hearts as art that adorns their walls."

Nikki is also sweet, thoughtful, and endearing. And just LOOK at these photo of her work below! Fun fact: Nikki just took the leap of faith to become a fulll-time wedding photographer last week! I can't wait to see what she will share with us next. Check out examples of her work below or visit her Facebook page, HERE! You can also email Nikki at: portraitsbynikki@gmail.com

Laura Gordon Photography

I don't even know where to begin when discussing the beauty that is Laura's work. Her photography is ethereal, artistic, and breathtaking. I FEEL things when I view her work. I feel mystery, enchantment, and timelessness. In Laura's own words: "I am a fine art photographer specializing in weddings and events across the world. – In the passing moments of a wedding day, it's easy to lose sight of all that's taking place and those moments seem to vanish before you know it. I direct my focus on preserving those memories and I long to make thoughtful imagery that is crafted to be classic and timeless. Through careful observation and great attention to detail, I am able to create a beautiful narrative. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by beauty, and beauty often comes in the simplest forms. My at-ease approach with couples, paired with my ability to truly see and feel emotion throughout a wedding day, have been the fundamental elements in developing my distinctive style."

You can tell how much care, thought, and time Laura has spent honing and perfecting her craft. Fun fact: Laura was actually Kim's wedding photographer this past fall (which is where I first learned about her). You can see those photos, here. Check out examples of her work below, or visit her Facebook page, HERE! You can also email Laura at: laura@lauragordonphotography.com

So there you have it. Like I said last week, there are so many more amazing film photographers out there, and film has certainly made a HUGE comeback in weddings, but these three are my top faves right now. Book any one of these ladies and you will be working with the best of the best. Consider hiring a film photographer if you want wedding photos that are timeless and artistic. 

If you need help planning your wedding, fill out our contact form to learn more. 

Happy Planning!

~Maggie ♥

Five Amazing Digital Wedding Photographers in RVA

Let's be honest, photography is one of those aspects that couples are most passionate about when it comes to their wedding day. And I get it. Your photos are the main thing you have to remember your wedding long after it's over. Plus, you will spend a lot of time with your photographer on the day-of, so why not hire someone whom you love? Richmond has been blessed with an abundance of gifted digital wedding photographers, but since there are too many to name them all, today, I am going to share five of my top favorite with you. These are all folks that I have either worked personally on weddings or styled shoots or have seen their work and loved it and they all fall within the realm of digital and natural light style photography (next week I will share my five favorite film photographers in Richmond). And in no particular order:

Nicki Metcalf Photography

A couple of things to know about Nicki: not only does she have killer talent and an amazing, creative eye, but she is seriously one of the sweetest gals you could ever hope to meet. Her bubbly and joyful personality will instantly make you want to become her best friend. I have worked with her on a couple of styled shoots now and am always blown away by her end product. She is skilled at capturing emotion. Her favorite couples are those with an artsy, hippie, and organic flair. A few of her favorite things? Her husband Dre and her labradoodle, Hokie. Check out her photos below and Facebook page, here

J&D Photography

Jada and David Parrish are the husband and wife team behind J&D. They specialize in natural light photography that has a classic and timeless look and feel. And, they are very easy to work with. One of the things I noticed most when working on a wedding with them last fall is that during the ceremony, you barely notice they are there. And this is definitely a quality you want from your wedding photographer! They are also the owners of Lace in Light, a fine art boudoir wedding blog that celebrates the female form. You can find them in their downtown studio most days with their golden retriever, Nala editing and doing other photographer things! Check out their photos below and Facebook page, here!

Tiffany Heidenthal Photography

Tiffany is a natural light wedding photographer that specializes in joyful, organic storytelling. An avid reader of books, she loves to bring her love of stories into weddings. According to her website Tiffany says, "I am obsessed with storytelling: books, movies, TV shows, blogs. I love them all. Snow days are my favorite days. No doubt about it. Except maybe Christmas Eve... the greatest day of them all." I have worked with Tiffany now on two styled shoots and one wedding. She lives with her redheaded husband, Eric and they are getting ready to welcome their first baby girl, Willow soon! Check out her photos below and Facebook page, here!

Kristi McKeag Photography

Kristi might be one of the most joyful people I have ever been around and her light just radiates from her. I have never worked with her, personally, but can see how well she loves on the people that she is around. According to her website, she describes herself as, "a pretty simple girl who loves a pop of color or a fun accessory, sunsets, sand in my toes, chocolate chip cookies, and of course, my two little baby girls and the man that makes my dream of being a husband+wife team possible!" Her look is classic and timeless. Check out her photos below and Facebook page, here!

Alex C. Tenser Photography

Alex is spunky, raw, and edgy. Her motto is: "RAW IMAGERY FOR PEOPLE WHO DARE TO BE AUTHENITC" and I couldn't love it more. I love people who aren't afraid to be themselves and Alex definitely fits that bill! Not to mention that her work is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Her style is colorful, natural and bold. As she says, "I do my best to compose a simple and stylish record of my couple's day and wrap up their personalities in the most authentic way possible. I strive for candid moments mostly so that my clients can relive the way that their day FELT - not just how it looked!" She is one to keep your eye on for sure. Check out her photos below and her Facebook page, here!

Well there you have it. There are definitely a ton more amazing digital wedding photographers in Richmond, but hopefully these folks give you a great starting point when looking for your wedding photographer! Choose any one of these guys, and you can't go wrong!

Got wedding planning questions? Fill out our contact form for more information:

 

Happy Planning!

~Maggie ♥

Fun Games to Have at Your Wedding Reception

Wedding receptions are joyous and loads of fun. And it's no wonder between the amazing food and drink, the rad music, and the killer dancing that weddings are one enormous celebration. I find as a wedding planner that guests often enjoy themselves almost as much as the bride and groom. Almost. And for the couple like me that's slightly nerdy, loves a good game, and is all about guest interaction, then there are a few games you can incorporate into your wedding reception to up the fun ante a notch or two! Read below to learn more:

The Shoe Game

My husband and I played the shoe game at our wedding and it was a HUGE hit! The basic concept of the shoe game mimics that of the newlywed game. How it works: the bride and groom sit back-to-back facing away from one another. They then each remove one shoe and hand it to their partner so that they each have one of their own shoes and one of their partners. The MOH and best man come up with a set of questions about the couple prior to the wedding (around 20 or so) and give them to the band or DJ to announce during the reception. The bride and groom should not know the questions beforehand. As the questions are called out the bride and groom will raise the shoe that they think correlates to the question. An example question could be, "Who is most likely to fall asleep without brushing their teeth?" The couple would then raise the shoe that they thought matched that question. Pretty simple, right?! It can definitely get funny and the audience loves it! To reach out to us for help with planning your wedding click here
Tip: I recommend doing this after dinner but before dancing begins. 

Photos: Taylor Bates Photography

Stand Up, Sit Down

As opposed to the shoe game being geared toward the bride and groom, stand up, sit down is for the audience. Here's how it works: the DJ or band will ask all the guests (that physically can) to stand up at their tables. The bride and groom will then read out statements like, "If you had an easy bake oven as a child, sit down. If you didn't know what an easy bake oven was, sit down" or "If your street name ends in and 'e' sit down." You will keep making statements like these as your guests continue to sit down. You can also have them stand back up by making statements such as, "If you have been to Europe, stand back up." The last person standing wins a prize!
Tip: I recommend keeping this game to know more than 5-6 minutes so you aren't wearing out the knees of some of your older guests! 

 Photo from:  Melanie McLean  via  Bridal Guides

Photo from: Melanie McLean via Bridal Guides

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to keep guests busy and entertained during the cocktail hour. Here's how it works: hide stuff or make a list of items around your venue for guests to search for during cocktail hour. An example could be, "Find our initials on something blue" or "What is the second word on our welcome sign?" Have your guests take photos of what they find on their smart phones or cameras to show to your wedding coordinator or someone else in charge. The first person (or team) to find all of the items on the list wins a prize! Announce the winner and hand out the prize after dinner.
Tip: For a less adventurous or older crowd you could modify this to a game of "I Spy" that can be played during dinner at the guest tables. At each place setting, you would place a list of items for your guests to "spy" like, "the color of the groom's tie" etc. Whoever finds them all first, wins!

Photos via: Wedding Chicks

Unique Guest Books

Unique guest books, like the one featured below are another great way to keep your guests entertained and the possibilities are endless! Some examples include: a Polaroid photo guest book, a "sign your favorite scripture or quote" guest book, a watercolor guest book where guests "paint" you something, and so much more. In this particular spin on the guest book featured on Mon Cheri the bride and groom did something a little different. Here's how it works: the couple filled water balloons full of paint and attached them to a large canvas. Guests then threw darts at the balloons which spread the paint all over the canvas. The couple got to keep the final product as a work of art for their home! How unique and fun!
Tip: This can be very messy so make sure you do it somewhere outside and that you get approval from your venue ahead of time!

Lawn/Table Games

And of course there are always the tried and true lawn and table games. Examples of lawn games  to include at your wedding: cornhole, ladderball, croquet, hopscotch, bocce ball, giant Jenga, and more! Table top games to include: Mad Libs, Guess Who?, question booklets, board games, and more! 

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration when planning your wedding reception! One of the things I tell my clients is that they set the stage. If they are having fun, their guests are more likely to have fun and vice versa! Also, think about your audience ahead of time. Some of these games would not be appropriate for a less adventurous or older crowd.

Feeling stuck? We would love to help! Click the button below to fill out our contact form. 

Happy Planning!

~Maggie ♥

Planning a Wedding? Five Tips to Keep Your Sanity

Are you getting married soon or know someone that is? I am sure you have read lots of articles about wedding planning and are checking to-do items off of your list as you go. But what about your mental well being? Are you planning for that as well? I am a pretty laid back and easy going kind of gal. I strive for excellence in any and all situations and am an extremely hard worker, but I don't let the minutia of life get me down. I like to keep my eye on the big picture and the "goal" in all situations. My hairstylist even commented about me on my wedding day calling me  "one of the calmest brides I've ever seen." And yet my wedding went off without a hitch and my people had the time of their lives. So how do you accomplish a sense of calm and still pull off a successful event? Read below for some tips and advice from a calm soul, previous bride, and current wedding planner. 

1) Hire professional vendors. I have been doing events since 2012 and I have worked enough of them by now to know that there is a big difference between the quality of what a professional vendor provides versus that of a non-professional. Professional wedding vendors have experience and expertise that a friend or family member simply may not have (unless they are in the industry). Thus, when you hire a professional, you are greatly increasing your chances of less error, greater efficiency, and a more streamlined process overall. I can tell right away if I am working with a vendor with experience and the quality that they bring to the overall day cannot be understated. Professionals wedding vendors are priceless! 

2). Trust the vendors you hire. As important as hiring professional wedding vendors is, it is even more important to trust them to do their jobs. Most of us wedding vendors are in this industry because we love weddings and we love what we do. We know how important this moment is to you, and we are here to provide the highest quality of service possible. When you trust your vendors to do their jobs, you are taking a huge weight off of your shoulders and allowing them to trust their professional instinct. As in any field, most people perform higher when they are given trust and freedom to do their jobs well. Trusting your wedding vendors will allow you to focus on other things! 

3). Communicate your vision effectively. I would much prefer a bride to over-communicate her vision to me rather than under-communicate. Communicating your vision effectively allows your planner or day-of coordinator to understand what you are creating, making his/her job much easier. Also, try to keep all of your wedding planning materials in one easy-to-access location. I offer clients access to my professional event planning software as part of their package, but if you are unable to use something like this, consider buying a planning organizer or keeping everything under one spreadsheet in Google Docs. This is especially true if you are hiring a day-of coordinator that has not been there from the beginning. Effective communication ensures that all bases are covered!

4). Avoid too many "chefs" in the kitchen. Appoint one person and one person only to be in charge of coordination for your wedding day (or your photographer, caterer, or band/dj for that matter). There really should only be one coordinator or Mistress of Ceremonies (your coordinator can serve as both) at a wedding. Give this person the high and low level details of the day and allow them to delegate and assign responsibility accordingly. When you have several people designated as the main POC then it can make the delegating process less organized and less streamlined. The same can be said for photographers. When you hire multiple photographers (or ask friends/family to bring in their cameras) they will more than likely get in each other's way and photos! In addition, if you have several people trying to oversee, then you increase the chances of miscommunication as people are trying to work around and over top of each other. Having one person in charge allows him/her to do the best job possible!

5). Relax. This may be the most important tip on this list! My mantra the day before and the day of my wedding was, "If it's not done by now, it's not getting done." I shifted my focus that last few days from "planning" to "participating." I wanted to be present on my wedding day. I wanted to take an active participation role in what was transpiring. I wanted to "be here now." I no longer thought about (or event wanted to think about) the details. As a bride, my whole vision shifted to a high level "eye on the prize" mentality. As a wedding planner, I understand how much time gets put into details. I honestly do. But truthfully, in the end, those details don't matter nearly as much as your marriage. Marriage is the goal; two people becoming one. One family. One life together. You don't want to look back in 10 years and think that you spent your whole wedding day worrying about how everything was going to go down. You want to look back and see that you laughed, you danced, you had the time of your life, and you married your absolute best friend in the world. Marriage is always the ultimate goal; not the wedding! 

Enjoy your wedding day! You don't get to get married everyday ;-)

Thanks for stopping by! Happy planning!

~Maggie ♥

2016 Spring & Summer Wedding Trends: Interview with Glamour & Grace

Hey there folks! This past fall I had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Acosta, Owner and Blogger Extraordinaire behind Glamour & Grace, a successful vintage and handmade wedding blog (and a top wedding blog in the country) on fall wedding trends. Well, last week Megan was gracious enough to allow me to pick that lovely brain of hers once again. The topic this time? 2016 Spring & Summer wedding trends. I mean who better to ask about trends than a blogger right? They are inundated with the latest and greatest wedding inspiration every single day. And today, I want to share some nuggets from that interview with you! Read below to get inspiration for your spring or summer wedding! 

Fashion

Megan has been noticing a shift in bridal fashion towards separates and two pieces. Brides are opting for lighter and freer dresses and this trend is happening both on the runway and in real weddings (check out this blog post by Megan for inspiration on chic and affordable wedding dresses). In this stunning bridal session published by Glamour & Grace, the bride opts for a two piece ensemble with a white lace 3/4 sleeve top and a long and flowy cotton bottom. As Megan said, "The two piece gown is modern and on trend, yet has such a feel of timelessness." 

Photos by: Mallory Dawn  on Glamour & Grace

Brides aren't the only ones donning new wedding fashion. There has also been an emergence of floral prints on bridesmaids dresses. Gone are the days of bridesmaids wearing only long silk, chiffon, or tulle dresses (which are still great options!). Modern bridesmaids have lots of options. Today, the brides best friends are sporting floral prints, cotton and tulle skirts, sequined pieces, and more. As Megan said of this summer wedding published on Glamour & Grace, "Both prints and separates are going to be huge for next year and this maid of honor is the perfect example." As you can see, this maid of honor dons a simple white camisole and a brightly colored floral skirt. The look is fresh and stunning.

Photos by: Chesley Summar Photography on Glamour & Grace

Here is an example of a long, grey tulle skirt from BHLDN. The lovely thing about tulle skirts is that they are both modern and timeless. Plus, you can mix and match the tops giving you lots of options. And bonus! this is definitely one outfit you would want to wear again!

Florals

Every spring the colors come back to us. We transition from the cold, dead of winter into the vibrant & life-filled spring. Early Spring greets us with her pastels and soft colors and then summer shows us her vibrancy with her bright and bold hues. In addition to brighter flowers, we can expect to see another floral trend this year: greenery. Granted, greenery has been making a comeback in a BIG way over the last few years, but this year we can expect to see even more. The change? Instead of greenery simply being a filler, this year we can expect it to be the main event. The showstopper. Plants like ferns, palm fronds, and eucalyptus will steal the show.

In this wedding featured on Glamour & Grace, we can see how one couple plays up the greenery. I love how the juxtaposition of the greenery against the white makes a simple and yet impactful statement. This couple also put a great deal of thought into the meaning and sanctity of their ceremony and their desire to honor God which you can read more about here. This look is both modern and classic. 

Here is another example of greenery being the focal point with this elephant ear leaf menu from Camille Styles. Why not do something beautiful and good for the environment?

Photo: Alea Moore Photography Calligraphy: Callie Brannen Planning: Burke Design + Planning

I LOVE the ferns in this elopement shoot from Glamour & Grace! A setting like this is perfect for the couple that wants a wedding that's a little more "moody" and "off the beaten path".

Photos: White Rabbit Studios Florist: Simpson's Florist on Glamour & Grace

Pantone's 2016 Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz & Blue Serenity

Pantone did something for the first time ever this year. They declared two colors as the colors of the year. Rose Quartz and Blue Serenity are officially the colors of 2016 (to see more from Pantone visit their Instagram here). These colors apply to all aspects of design: interior design, art, photography, weddings, fashion, and more. The colors are soft and pastel and are reminiscent of a beautiful cotton candy sunset. We can expect to see lots of photos popping up on Instagram and in the blogosphere of wedding inspiration centered around this theme. Check out this article from Bridal Guide for tips and suggestions on how to incorporate these colors into your wedding. The possibilities are endless!

Minimalism 

Over the past few years, many brides having being moving away from over-the-top design and have being opting instead for weddings with minimalism, simplicity, and an industrial focus. With a minimalist wedding you can let your venue be the focal point and can put your money toward other things (like killer food and drinks). Also, minimalism gives you more of an opportunity to have an eco friendly celebration. This wedding featured on Refinery 29 did an excellent job of letting their industrial backdrop do the talking. Everything from the brides' jewelry to the modern and simple reception design are a nod to the minimalism trend. 

Photo: Our Labor of Love

Food

Food trucks are all the rage for summer weddings. Taco trucks, pizza trucks, and even ice cream trucks are becoming more and more popular. If you are local to the Richmond, Virginia area consider using Gelati Celisti (ice cream), King of Pops (popsicles), or Sugar Soiree (flavored cotton candy cart) for your spring or summer wedding treats. Further, offer guests seasonal fruits and berries like pineapple, strawberries, and lemons.

Naked cakes also pop up more in the hot months as there is less risk of icing meting away in the warm heat! And, there has been a shift over the last several months away from ornately decorated cakes back to simple, white cakes adorned with berries or greenery as we see in this lovely wedding featured on Glamour & Grace. Sometimes less really is more

Photo: Noi Tran Cake: Mrs. Bombom Chocolates, Specialty Cakes and Sweet Treats on Glamour & Grace

So there you have it! I hope this helps to inspire you as you think through planning your spring or summer wedding! Feeling stuck? We'd love to help! Click the link below and fill out the contact form. We will get back with you soon!

Happy Planning!

~Maggie ♥