First Look

Thursday, March 26, 2009 No comments

With every wedding we plan, there is always much discussion into the timing of the events of the day: hair and makeup start time, picture time, cocktail hour, first dance, etc. I've found that, unless your ceremony is in the early afternoon and the reception begins early evening, it can be difficult for bridal parties to fit in all their pictures AND enjoy all of the wedding festivities that we've spent so much time and energy planning. And since many weddings today all take place at one location immediately following one another, this post is very relevant!

That is why I and all of the awesome photographers I work with highly recommend the "First Look". I have found that it allows you to get some amazing shots, be more relaxed in the pictures yourself, as well as actually ENJOY the ENTIRE wedding reception, including cocktail hour.

More than half of our 2009 clients are opting for the First Look on their wedding day.

Here is an awesome first look picture from Tracy and Jeff's wedding, courtesy of Genevieve Nisly.

Of course if the couple is into the traditional first look of seeing each other on the aisleway at the ceremony, that is great and we always plan accordingly! (It is kind of fun to hide the bride from the groom). But I am excited to post a link to the excellent blog of Jasmine Star Photography. Besides being a truly gifted photographer located in the Southern California area, Jasmine is a talented writer and always has interesting articles with all of her wedding photos. She wrote a post all about the First Look and it really captures the essence and description. I am doing this on my own wedding day! Here is a link, with permission from Jasmine to repost.

Here is a great excerpt from the post, but be sure to read the ENTIRE version!

Many brides worry about forsaking the moment the groom first sees his bride walk down the aisle, but I think it's just as special having seen JD before the ceremony, if not more. Because we saw each other before the ceremony, I was SO much more calm and relaxed. I descended the aisle looking at JD, but at the same time looking and my friends and family surrounding us, and appreciating the moment of my parents giving me away. It was as if I was truly in the moment, and not just focusing on the man at the end of the aisle.

I only wish I would have worked with Jasmine while I lived in LA! So, while we in Ohio patiently wait for the weather to warm up so that we can enjoy outside, sit back, sip a glass of wine or even a mojito to add to the feel, and have fun gazing at her beautiful photography as well as the gorgeous California backdrop.

Surprise Gift

As I arrived home from driving to Bratenahl to map out a parking lot for a wedding in September, I was greeted by a Bed, Bath and Beyond box. MY wedding is not until August so I was definitely not expecting any early wedding gifts. The card read:

"Valarie - Thank you for making our day so special! Hopefully these will make you and Jimmy smile a little extra on your wedding day! Jon and Kelsey"

The clients that you see in the post below sent me the beautiful Kate Spade champagne flutes we (I) registered for! I just thought that was such a thoughtful thing to do...of course, leave it to Kelsey. It will be extra special on the day because it came from a past bride and groom. Thank you so much, I absolutely LOVE them!

Kelsey and Jon from South Dakota

Friday, March 20, 2009 No comments

pic courtesy of Easywind Studio

In June of last year, I received a call from a worried mother in South Dakota. Barb called me to inquire more about my services after reading my extended ad in Weddings in Cleveland. She said that her daughter, Kelsey, was trying to plan her wedding on her own and likes to be in control of everything, so she wasn't too interested in hiring a wedding consultant. Barb really wanted Kelsey to hire one because she is so busy with her medical school classes, so after speaking for about 30 minutes, Barb said she would pass my name on to Kelsey and see if she calls.

The next day I did receive a call from Kelsey! We quickly met up and she secured my services to help plan her wedding for March 14, 2009! I was so excited to start working with her because it seemed we had similar personalities and she was such a happy and pleasant person.

Kelsey and Jon are both from South Dakota. They started dating in high school, and stayed together in a long distance relationship while in college in separate states. When Kelsey decided to attend medical school at Case, Jon made the move to Ohio with her.

Their wedding was small, only about 35 people and mostly all traveling from South Dakota. We arranged a limo bus to transport the guests around town all day, from the hotel to the church, then for a grand tour of Cleveland, then to the reception and back to their hotel at the end of the night.

Kelsey and Jon LOVE blue, so we created an Ice theme, complete with silver, white and blues, as well as the tables named after different cuts of diamonds. We also had a caricature artist come in for added entertainment, which was a great hit! Jon even got involved in the wedding planning, creating the save the dates, invitations and menu design. He is a skilled graphic designer!

Congratulations you two! You are such a happy couple and I wish you all the best. Please keep in touch since you will be staying in Cleveland!

Here are some pictures of the beautiful wedding, from none other than our friends at Easywind Studio!

The Budgeting Bride: Do's and Don'ts

Monday, March 9, 2009 No comments

I just found out that my wedding budgeting tips were featured in an article on! This article is about spending smart without sacrificing style. That completely sums up with we do!
Read the article here.

Music Choices for your Wedding: Father/Daughter Dance

Thursday, March 5, 2009 1 comment

I have definitely seen some fun Father/Daughter dances in the many weddings I've done! Alexina, a client from a Santa Barbara wedding I coordinated in 2005, actually took tango lessons with her father for months leading up to the wedding day. And it showed - they looked like pros!

A client from 2007, Liz, danced with her father to a ragtime style song that they obviously had danced to many times when she was a little girl. It was a very fast song and they danced all around the dance floor for the whole song, sometimes not even together. The guests loved it!

A bride should consult her father on which song he would like to dance to. Sometimes fathers like to pick the song themselves for this special dance. Also, this dance can be combined into one with the Mother/Son dance if you desire.

Scott Jones' comments on the Father/Daughter dance:
Over the years I have seen many different songs used for this special dance. Most of the songs my brides & their fathers choose are very sentimental and touching...but also very standard. My absolute favorite Father/Daughter Dance song is "Little Miss Magic" by Jimmy Buffett. They lyrics are just so amazing.
Two specific Father/Daughter dances REALLY stand out:

1. I had a bride & her father many years back dance to "Somewhere over the Rainbow" - by Kermit The Frog. - IT WAS VERY STRANGE!

2. Then just a year or so ago I had a wonderfuly fun couple and their family choose a "combo" song for their father daughter dance. It all started off with a touching "Have I Told You Lately" by Rod Stewart, then 1 minute it we mixed to "My Girl" by the Temptations and then they wanted to get silly and dropped a POLKA in for the third song to end the dance. - Everyone in attendance had a great time watching this beautiful bride and her father cut the rug to such different and diverse songs. - They received a huge round of applause.

Here are our favorites:
1.) Stand by Me by Ben E. King
2.) Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof
3.) Daughters by John Mayer
4.) Father and Daughter by Paul Simon

5. My Girl - Temptations
4. You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
3. Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
2. Lullaby - Billy Joel
1. Little Miss Magic - Jimmy Buffett