On Saturday, November 25th, 2017, my fantastic team of vendors and models descended upon the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Canton, Ohio, for a styled bridal photo shoot. I have been planning this event for some time. One of my favorite movies stars Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire – Funny Face. It’s the only movie they ever made together. My video partner, Joseph Testa Productions, filmed the whole day, and put together a great video! We would like to share it with you! Just click the link and enjoy!
It is with great excitement, that I am finally able to announce that the very first styled bridal photo shoot I produced in July of 2016, has been published nationally, in Southern Celebrations Magazine!! We are currently featured in volume 6, on pages 72 -75.
One of the first big decisions you’ll have to make after putting that shiny new ringon your finger is choosing where you want to have your wedding. For many couples, the choice is simple, but for others it can involve a long, drawn-out decision-making process that can months. If you’re not tying the knot in your hometown, your partner’s hometown, or the city you both call home, you’re likely having a destination wedding. Although they’re not for everyone, a destination wedding can provide a sense of excitement (it’s basically a vacation where all of your favorite people are invited) and relief (your second cousins once removed likely won’t make it to Aruba).
To help you decide if you’re the type of couple who should tie the knot away from home, wedding planners took us through the questions they ask clients who are considering a far-flung celebraiton.
Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out that, by definition, a destination wedding is one that takes place at least 100 miles away from where you currently live. That’s about the distance between New York City and Hartford, Connecticut. You don’t have to feel any pressure to have your nuptials in a tourist attraction, though they are popular choices for couples planning destination weddings. “You could get married at a somewhat local bed and breakfast or a charming winery,” adds Lehman. “The most important thing is to consider a destination that appeals to your personalities, dreams, and interests.”
Who do you want to be there?
Destination weddings are usually smaller than a hometown wedding would be, as guests have to travel farther for the event. If you’re okay with this, great! If you’re in a situation where you feel obligated to invite several relatives or family friends but don’t really care if they show up, then even better. But it is important to remember that some of your close relatives and friends might not be able to physically travel or afford a plane ticket and hotel stay. Before you book anything, make a list of guests you want by your side, and then see if that core group of people can make it.
Can you afford a wedding planner?
Having a wedding planner is extremely helpful in ensuring your destination eventgoes smoothly. “Hiring someone that has the expertise and experience will greatly help when making decisions on quality and trusted vendors,” says Cristen Faherty, wedding and event planner at Cristen & Co Event Coordination & Design in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “This person could either be a destination planner in your area or a local planner in your destination. Which ever you choose, you have to be willing to give up a little control and trust their recommendations.” Remember, you likely won’t have the luxury of meeting face-to-face with the majority of your vendors, so an on-site planner can represent you from afar.
How flexible are you when it comes to dress code?
Enforcing a black-tie dress code—a tux for men and a formal gown for women—is tough when you’re asking loved ones to pack their wedding attire in a suitcase and travel to what might be a totally different climate. That’s not to say it’s not allowed, but you should be comfortable with the fact that some of your guests might not follow suit (literally). If you’re okay with bare feet and flip flops on the dance floor (or sand), then go for it.
Are you willing to host more than one event?
When all of your wedding guests are traveling far and wide to be there for your big day, they expect that you’ll be hosting more than the ceremony and reception. Many destinations include welcome parties and daytime activities, like scuba diving or horseback riding, for their guests to enjoy more face time with the bride and groom.
Few occasions are more sacred and momentous than an individual’s wedding day. While much has changed over the hundreds of thousands of years weddings have been going on, a lot has stayed the same. Many brides still wear white, for example, ceremonies are often officiated and a reception typically follows where family and friends celebrate all night long. Thankfully, among the long list of things that have changed over time, wedding superstitions are some of them.
We’re shedding some light on the history behind some of these wedding superstitions and explaining why they no longer exist today.
Rain on your wedding day
Few brides actually want rain on their wedding day, but that doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed to strikes of thunder and lightning. In fact, one of the oldest wedding superstitions out there is that rain on your wedding day is actually good luck. “The presence of rain is known to signify fertility,” explains Lindsey Sachs of COLLECTIVE/by Sachs in Boulder, Colorado and Minneapolis. “When it rains, plants and vegetation grow, so this superstition is known to have roots in agricultural communities.” In many cultures, rain is seen as a symbolism of cleansing, both physically in terms of the earth, but also spiritually in terms of the souls of people walking the earth. Plus, rain can make for some stunning photos.
The bride wearing white
Wearing a white or ivory wedding dress has long been the tradition, as a sign of purity, explains Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. “Before the white gown color was popularized by Queen Victoria of England, many brides wore their best gown, if not simple a new one,” she says. “There was even a poem written as well regarding the bride’s choice of gown, and whether it would bode well or ill for her marriage.” (As a side note, one of Lehman’s favorite brides wore an all black gown and a white veil edged in black for her wedding, and she has a very strong marriage to this day!).
As more and more couples are opting to skip the traditional first look, which involves the couple seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony processional, in favor of a planned first look for the purpose of capturing special photos in a more intimate setting, this wedding superstition is going out the window. “This tradition began during the time of arranged marriages when the couple-to-be were not allowed to see one another for fear the groom wouldn’t find the bride attractive and threaten to call off the marriage, thus bringing shame to the bride’s family,” explains Sachs. “The veil over the bride’s face was also meant to hide her face until the last possible minute.” Thankfully today, the intent of following this superstition is more rooted in creating an element of complete surprise for the couple, often generating heightened emotions and pure joy!
Not adding knives to the registry
These days it’s not uncommon to add a nice knife block to your registry, but in decades past, it was considered a bad omen. “Knives have been known to bring bad luck, signifying a broken relationship; definitely not a promising way to begin a marriage!” says Sachs. But, as she explains, a set of high-quality knives can be a helpful, if not necessary, addition to a couple’s kitchen set up. So, those who don’t dwell on the lore behind this superstition should be quick to go ahead and add this well-served item without worry.
Getting married on Saturdays
Saturday is without a doubt the most common day of the week to get married—but surprisingly, it used to be the day to avoid. “We can credit English folklore for claiming that Saturday is the most unlucky day of the week to marry with Wednesday being the best!” says Sachs. Needless to say this wacky wedding superstition isn’t keeping the modern bride and groom from saying “I do!” over this convenient weekend day.
Wearing a veil
Many brides still don a veil on their wedding day, but more and more do so for aesthetic reasons, rather than for fear of one of the oldest wedding superstitions. “According to ancient Greek and Roman traditions, a bride wears a veil to ward off evil spirits that intend on doing her harm,” Lehman points out. The veil, she explains is meant to hide the bride’s face from witches and demons. In other words, if the evil spirits could not see her, they could not curse her. “It was also considered a symbol of modesty,” Lehman adds. Clearly this superstition has gone out the window—and we can’t say we’re mad about it!
In August of 2017, I had the pleasure of coordinating the wedding of Betsey and AJ. They were such a lovely couple to work with! They held their wedding reception at Michauds Event Center in Strongsville, Ohio. One of the fun things about Betsey and AJ, is their love of history, especially US Presidents, and visiting libraries and museums. They incorporated this passion into their table decorations at their reception. Each table was named after a specific US President, including the eights Presidents that came from Ohio. In my family tree, I am a direct descendant of the Nineteenth President of the United States, President Rutherford B. Hayes. He was one of the eight presidents from Ohio, hailing from the Fremont area, in Northwestern Ohio. President Hayes is one of Great-Grandfathers, a few generations back, on my mother’s side of the family. It’s pretty cool having this relation in my family. You can visit President Hayes’s estate and library, Spiegel Grove, in Fremont. You can also hold weddings and events there. I highly encourage you to check it out!
Many thanks to Betsey and AJ, for sharing their photographer’s fun shot of me!
We have been blessed with the opportunity to have an article featured in the October Celebrations Issue of Nanny Magazine!! Our topic was “Organized & Stress-Free Wedding Planning” on page 33. The layout is gorgeous! Thank you!
You don’t have to be newly engaged or planning your big day to know that people love giving wedding advice of all kinds. Whether it’s suggestions on color scheme or recommendations on vendors, friends, family and, well, strangers you meet truly enjoy sharing their insight and personal preferences with you to help you with all sorts of decisions you’ll have to make. But before you cling onto their words of wisdom, know this: Their advice might be well-meant, but that doesn’t mean it’s well deserved.
“The uniqueness of a wedding stems from the individuality of the couple, therefore taking advice from just anyone may not work,” explains Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events in Santa Monica, California. “Every couple has a different vision, budget and priority list so outside advice may be harmful rather than helpful.”
Here are some of the worst pieces of wedding advice people have received—and why you should be wary of following this “wedding wisdom.”
“Stick with tradition or you’ll regret it”
“I’m not a very religious or by-the-book person, but so many people warned me to keep my wedding as traditional as possible. They weren’t just talking about the white dress and vows—they were talking about everything, from the ‘something blue’ to the feeding each other wedding cake. I’m all for keeping certain traditions, especially ones I hold dear, alive, but this just felt too stiff and scripted for me.”—Kaleigh R.
The expert says: Do what feels right.
“Many old customs, traditions, and wedding advice are no longer relevant, or interesting to the current generation of brides and grooms,” explains Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. In other words, these days it’s more accepted for couples to make their own, unique decisions when it comes to planning their big day.
“Use all my vendors—it will make planning easier”
“I was the maid of honor for my best friend and I enjoyed her wedding, but when it came time for me to plan my wedding, she was all over me about using her vendors—from her venue to her DJ. It was just she wanted me to do a repeat of her wedding. While I appreciate her suggestions and I do know that she had the best intentions, I wanted to do things my way. Many of the people who attended her wedding would also be attending mine, so I wanted to make sure that they, too, had a different experience and I didn’t want them comparing the two occasions.”—Rebecca O.
The expert says: Do your research to find the right wedding vendors for you.
Your friend may have planned her big day, but that doesn’t mean she did so for two events—both yours and hers. “Recommendations for vendors are great and are a valuable resource for anyone planning an event, but her vendors may not fit your needs for your wedding,” says Lehman.
“You don’t have to meet all vendors in person—it’s a waste of time.”
“When a co-worker told me this, it took so much energy for me to not say something. What the heck do they even mean? I knew from being a bridesmaid for my friends that it’s important that you know who is running your wedding—from the florist to the lighting tech. I was happy that my fiance agreed with me, especially because getting to know our vendors was the fun part!”—Ginny V.
The expert says: In-person meetings are essential.
Be sure to talk to actual wedding professionals, those who have been in their field of expertise for several years, and have references of satisfied customers that you can confirm with, Lehman suggests. So many important topics you’ll want to touch upon with these vendors, including their prefered structure and workflow and the personal touches that will make your day special, are best discussed in person so no details are left out.
“Wedding planners are a waste of money.”
“I foolishly took this wedding advice when planning my own nuptials and it’s something that I regret. Sure, wedding planners might not be for everyone, but I seriously could have used one. My fiance and I are both incredibly busy and live in a tiny apartment in a bustling city. It was so hard to travel to meet our vendors and communicate with our parents who didn’t live in the city parameters. I wish we had someone who was a professional at handling everything overall—someone who would communicate on our behalf to our vendors and our family. It would have taken a serious load off.”—Jen R.
At the very least, have a consultation with a wedding planner. “They can suggest several choices of vendors that will match your needs and budget and can also give you ideas and wedding advice to get started in your planning, such as color combinations, flowers in each season or a checklist of planning tasks,” says Lehman.