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Wedding Tips

What To Look For In A Photographer – Nashville Event Planner, Simply Stunning Events

February 17, 2012

I meet with A LOT of photographers, more than any other vendor. Why? Because photography is most often the number one priority for brides and grooms. Everyone wants gorgeous photography, but not everyone understands how much that costs and what to look for when meeting with photographers. Especially in this digital world, there are so many styles and approaches to wedding photography, ranging from the very natural and simple to the very artistic and stylized. And the price? In Nashville good photographers can range anywhere from $1500 to $15,000 and more. Yes, you read that right. I always tell my clients to meet with at least 2-3 photographers to get a feel for the range of styles, prices, and personalities. Here are some things to look for and ask about when meeting with potential wedding photographers.

The photos! Most importantly you should LOVE the final photos, since that’s what you’ll have forever. You should feel the emotion and the joy. The style and art should turn you on (hey, wedding photography blogs aren’t called wedding porn for nothing). Be sure to look through a full album so you can see the wedding day story from start to finish and how the photographer tells it. They might be great at posed bridal shots but can they capture the spontaneous moments beautifully as well? Also something to consider nowadays is the editing style. Some photographers heavily rely on Photoshop or Lightroom (and that might contribute to their artistic style) while some prefer to capture the photos “in-camera” only with very little post work.

Are you comfortable with this person? Do you like their personality? Do you trust them? These are all very important questions to ask because this person will be following you around ALL day. If you’re not fully comfortable with them, it’s going to show in the pictures.

Is the photographer organized and professional? Do they explain all their products well? Do they have a solid contract or letter of agreement? Recommendations? What type of cameras do they use? How do they back-up the photos? If their studio burns down, do they keep a second copy elsewhere? Do they belong to any professional organizations? Do they have a business license? You’d be surprised by all the “fly-by-night” photographers who decide they need a little cash so they buy a cheap camera, throw up a website with a few photos they took, and call themselves a wedding photographer. Very scary!

Along that same line is experience. What kind of training does the photographer have? Do they have a background in something relatable such as art or graphic design? How did they learn wedding photography? Did they second shoot or train with another photographer? Just because someone is a great photographer doesn’t mean they can necessarily shoot weddings well. There is a lot more that goes into shooting a wedding such as the timing, the ability to deal with hundreds or more people, figuring out how to light tricky areas, etc.

To most the biggest question is how much? Wedding photography is very pricy. Some people wonder why it costs so much for only one day? Well, for starters because it’s not just one day. You’re not just paying for the 10 hours or so on the wedding day, you’re paying for the 100 hours they probably spend editing, the countless hours they’ve spent training and getting experience, and not to mention the really really expensive equipment they use to get the perfect shot. Should you gamble and and go with a less expensive photographer? That depends, if you really can’t spend more than $2000 there are some great up-and-comers who are very professional. They may not have much experience or the same equipment as the more high-end photographers but some really do have natural talent and some training. This is one place it’s helpful to have a wedding coordinator who can recommend reputable and professional photographers in your price range without the risk of hiring someone who has no idea what they’re doing. If you do have the budget for a higher-end photographer, I highly recommend making the splurge. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $3500 – $10,000, but just think of it as an investment!

Be sure you understand the photographer’s packages and what you get for the cost. Often times it’s tough to compare photographers because you’re comparing apples to oranges. Does the package include an album? How many hours will the photographer be shooting? Approximately how many proofs will you receive? Will these be edited proofs? How will you see the final product? In a proof book or on a high-res CD? Do you get the rights to print the photos yourself? Or do you have to order them from the photographer? Will there be a second shooter? How much training and experience does that person have? Make sure you see a portfolio of the second shooter. What’s the point in having one if they can’t also take great photos?

And finally, is photography their passion? Do they love what they do and try to make each wedding a unique work of art? If every wedding they shoot looks the same, they probably use a similar formula for each one which lacks creativity. Find someone who loves working with brides and grooms and has a passion for weddings too!

Whew! That was a lot of info, but I hope it was helpful. In the next entry, I’ll give you a peak at some of my favorite Nashville photographers and maybe even give you a hint as to who we chose to shoot our wedding.:)

Guest post by Simply Stunning Events // Image by Phindy Studios

Bridal Fashion

Tuesday’s Trendwatch – Insider Tips from Arzelle’s

February 7, 2012

Wouldn’t we all want to know the insider secrets?  Well ladies, we were able to stumble upon a few… and the best part is that they are directly from one of the most prestigious bridal salons in Nashville.  Arzelle’s features designers that are only found in New York and bring them directly to our Brides here in Nashville.  They have couture gowns in a wide array of prices, fabrics and styles – keeping every bride in mind.  They also carry a fabulous collection of bridesmaids dresses, selections for mother of the bride as well as their very own “Grooms Room” – where your groom will feel right at home in fitting for his Tuxedo.

Arzelle’s has been around the Nashville scene for many years and has a wonderful reputation for being some of the leading industry bridal know-how’s.  Below we have some advise – some VERY well spoken advise – directly from the ladies at Arzelle’s.  It’s always best to get the insider advise directly from the source.  So take note and let it sink in.  You won’t regret it….

Well it’s finally here, Bridal Season! Here are a few expert tips that should be taken by any newly engaged bride. If you have already been a bride, share this with all your engaged friends!

1. Do Your Research – Nine months to a year start collecting photos of dresses. Start noting certain styles of fabrics you like. Try to in vision what you want to look like on your wedding day.

2. Book Your Boutiques – Call a month ahead for Saturday reservations. Allow an hour and half for your appointments. Arzelle’s tip: Make your appointment on the weekdays, it is less crowded!

3. Select Your Style – The date of your wedding and the setting really influence the style of your wedding dress. Example: If you have a beach wedding, you won’t be wearing a silk satin ballgown!

4. Try It On For Size – When trying wedding gowns on wear the appropriate undergarments. If you are planning on wearing Spanx on your wedding day, then wear Spanx when trying on wedding dresses.

5. The Gown – When shopping for your dream wedding dress, bring only two or three relatives or friends with you. Wedding dress shopping can actually be a bad experience if you bring too many people with you. It can be counterproductive when there are too many opinions about the dress. Consider professional help, and ask the consultant to pick a dress that they think would look good on you. While it may be tempting to bring all your bridesmaids and family members, it is much better for the bride and her wedding dress shopping experience.

6. Take The Plunge – Purchase your dress at least six months in advance to allow shipping and adjustments. Our dresses at Arzelle’s only take 14-16 weeks to come in, but you need to allow time for alterations and bridal portraits.

7. Don’t Show Everyone Your Dress! – You want everyone to be stunned when they see you on your wedding day, only let a few close people see your dress before the big day.

Ready, Set, Go!
Happy Bridal Season Everyone!

photo courtesy of Amelia J. Moore

Wedding Tips

10 Tips for Outdoor Weddings – Music City Events

January 9, 2012

Congratulations! You have decided on an outdoor wedding, which means you have made a big decision about your wedding day, what it will look like, and where it will be held. Outdoor weddings are romantic and beautiful. However, they aren’t as easy as they may look. Outdoor weddings come with different caveats and pitfalls than indoor weddings, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to shine on your wedding day (and not in a “Wow it’s hot out here!” kind of way!).

  • Make your guests comfortable. Think about what the weather will likely be at the time of day and month of the year for your outdoor wedding. Sunny and hot? Don’t leave your guests uncomfortably melting – have your ushers give guests ice-cold bottles of water or lemonade as they are seated. Offer a beautiful fan so that guests may cool themselves (consider printing your wedding program on the fan). Don’t forget to have plenty of sunscreen on hand as well and bug repellent wipes, depending on your location and the season. For a very warm location, look into renting large electric fans (don’t forget a generator) and/or a tent or umbrellas to shade the suns rays. If it will be cold and damp, ensure your guests know to wear extra layers. You might want to have lap blankets or lovely shawls on hand, or rent portable heaters.
  • Have a backup plan. What will you do if it rains? The ideal outdoor wedding location has an indoor location waiting, just in case. Many brides and grooms opt to have their ceremony outside and reception inside. In a pinch, the tables can be scooted to the back of the room during the ceremony. A tent is another option, but only for light to moderate rain storms. A heavy rain will soak the ground underneath, leaving guests with soggy and muddy shoes. Consider window sides for the tent to keep rain from blowing in at an angle – no fun!
  • Plan for Wind. Many outdoor weddings suffer from windy conditions. Avoid light fabrics like chiffons and china silks in your dress and the bridesmaid dresses. Tell your hairstylist that you’ll be having an outdoor wedding so she or he can plan a style that won’t leave you looking like Cousin It!
  • Can everybody hear? When you picture your dream wedding at the beach, you’re probably not thinking about the roaring of the waves, the rushing wind, or the local kids running and playing around you. Rent a sound system with clip mikes for the groom and officiate. Your planner is easily able to arrange this for you.
  • Decorations! One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding is the natural beauty around you. But you still might want or need additional decor. Visit the site a week before your wedding to make sure the grass is mown, the ground raked, and the flowers have bloomed. If your wedding is at a public park, you may want to ask the groomsmen or friends to do this the morning of your ceremony. If it’s been an especially cold season, you may need to supplement the flowers with some potted bulbs from a florist. Other decorations you may want to consider include an arch or trellis to focus the ceremony and frame the bride and groom as they say their vows. Strings of lights or lanterns in the trees, luminarias, torches, canvas canopies (so easy to DIY!), or farolitas are also great choices.
  • Those pesky flying things. Offer bug repellent wipes as guests arrive at the ceremony. Trust me, your guests will thank you! There are also companies who will spray your wedding area to keep Mosquitoes & Co. at bay.
  • Here comes the sun...If at all possible, visit your ceremony site during the time of day and season that your ceremony will take place. Orient the seating so that the sun will be on guests’ backs rather than in their eyes.
  • Don’t leave your guests parched! Alcohol is dehydrating, so consider serving a nonalcoholic bar as well! Offer a variety of fresh fruit slices to jazz up water, lemonades and teas. My favorites are cucumber, cantaloupe, and strawberries along with your more standard lemons and limes. For a fancy cocktail, why not serve a classic mint julep or a mojito? The mint will refresh and cool your guests
  • Permits . If you are marrying in a public or city owned place, do not forget to contact your city parks department or other local government to get a permit for an outdoor wedding. Be sure to ask about rules concerning trash removal, candle or torch lighting, and pre-wedding photography.
  • Enjoy (and rest)! If you have a planner, know that she will continue to work tirelessly to ensure a perfect outcome so you can get some much needed rest. Like all brides, at some point you just have to sit back, relax, and know that you have done everything you can to make your day perfect.  

Guest post by Music City Events // Image by Phindy Studios

Bridal Fashion

Tuesday’s Trendwatch – To Each Her Own

November 8, 2011

We understand, we get it – its so easy to follow the trends…. As my mom ALWAYS says, “well – that’s what ALL the stars are wearing”. I will tell you exactly what I tell my mom – you do not have to fall into that same bucket of fashion. The trends are what’s on-point now and at this moment. Trends are what you see out in the market, that is happening as the fashion forward and {possibly} out-of-the-box thing to do for this moment. But there is one thing that you should NEVER and I mean EVER forget when you are researching, designing, purchasing or trying on, especially when it involves your wedding details – To Each is Her Own. What is perfect for you is just that – its perfect for YOU. Just because you see something is on Trend, does not mean that you have to do it. Step out of the box with your own style, your own personality and your own love for all things Wedding. Keep the wedding details centered around you and your soon-to-be husband’s own sense of style. Keep it your own – trust me, you will thank me in a couple of generations.

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”  ~Coco Chanel

Beautiful images by Joy Marie Photo


Wedding Tips

Don’t Hire A Caterer Until You Read This! – Southall Eden

October 21, 2011

Hiring a caterer for your wedding is a huge decision, and will probably be one of the most costly aspects of your big day. But unfortunately lots of couples only consider two thirds of the equation when making this choice. First, of course, is the food itself. Does the caterer in question make the type of cuisine you intend to serve? Does it taste like you want it to? Secondly, what is the price and what does all does that include? Does it fit in your wedding budget? These are both crucial aspects that anyone with common sense knows to consider, but all too often couples ignore the third crucial component, which is service!

When I say service, I am not just talking about how the food gets from its original container into your guest’s mouth, although that is included as well. I’m talking about the overall interaction between you (/your wedding planner, your venue, etc.) and the caterer, from the time you sign the contract all the way through until the conclusion of your reception when they load up to leave. To an eager couple who is dealing with the realization that weddings are crazy expensive and things just keep adding up, its tempting to overlook something like service that is intangible and seemingly not a priority. But as I recently advised a bride, a caterer may promise you quality food at a very low price, but who’s to say they won’t show up in a child molester van with servers who have 3 teeth and haven’t showered? Hear me now and believe me later, you DON’T want to hire a caterer based solely on price and food quality. Why? Let me share some of the horror stories that I have either experienced first hand or heard from fellow wedding vendors:

  • The caterer shows up an hour and half late, and guests enter the cocktail area to find the caterer still setting up. But even worse is that the beautiful wedding photos, by a very talented and costly photographer, feature a U-Haul and servers scrambling around in the background of the ceremony!!!
  • The caterer says they will provide all their own linens and china, but they show up with linens that are the wrong size, wrinkled, and stained. They “have a long drive” ahead of them at the end of the night and leave early, not leaving a single drinking glass, and totally unconcerned that 200 people dancing the night away MIGHT just want a beverage at some point.
  • The bride hires her own caterer, who does not supply a detailed contract. The wedding planner cannot get anyone at the catering company to return her calls and emails until the week before the wedding. When she finally does speak with them, she learns that service is not included in the price they had quoted the bride in their very nebulous contract, and the they had planned to drop off food and leave. To rectify this situation, the couple has to come up with a significant amount of money in a matter of days.
  • The catering company, although they own a reputable restaurant of their own, shows up to the event in a dirty beat up station wagon, and the manager puts her pack of cigarettes on the buffet table while they are setting up. Family and wedding party members who have arrived early for pictures get to enjoy the show. Need I say more?
  • The owner of the catering company has multiple events that day and sends out several servers but no manager in charge. Not only does nobody know what they are supposed to do, they also have not brought the correct beverages, serving pieces, and supplies so they just have to “make do”. Really?? The only person making a do on your wedding day should be your hair stylist!

I could go on and on, but hopefully I have horrified you into believing that hiring a reputable caterer with a history of good service is imperative! Before you sign a contract, do you internet research, ask around, and definitely, definitely take the advice of your planner, venue, and other wedding vendors. Unless someone around you has personal experience with the company, or you can at least read several positive online reviews, it may not be worth the gamble. Some brides think that vendors recommend each other because they get some sort of financial kick back. This is very rarely, if ever, the case. We all have a vested interest the event going flawlessly, and we recommend vendors who we know we can rely on to make that happen. Once you make your decision, be sure you get EVERYTHING spelled out clearly in writing. If there are things you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask. Most caterers are not “out to get you” by any means, its just that there are a variety of goods and services involved in catering and you want to be sure that both parties understand what to expect!

Guest post by Southall Eden // Images – Photographix