OMG! You’re Engaged! Where do you start?!

Engagement PhotoCongratulations ladies!  (stealing from Beyonce’)  he liked it and he put a ring on it!  So, now what?  Where do you start after getting engaged?  There is so much to do that it can be overwhelming if you just sit and think about it.  But don’t get stressed.  After all the initial excitement from telling both sides of your families and friends, you are going to have a whole lot to do!  Most couples don’t know where to start!  No worries!  We can help.  Here is a list of 11 important things to do to get things started.

1- CHOOSE A SEASON.  Think about what your favorite season is.  Talk with your fiance’ about what time of year is best.  When are you generally feeling the happiest? Are you a “snow bunny”?  Perhaps Winter is your favorite season.  Do you love Spring flowers?  Is Summer your time to shine? Do you love the bright colors, coolness, cozy and delicious scents of Autumn?  Figure out when you are at your absolute best and mark that as the season you will be married.

2- PICK A DATE (range).  While you may think it will be too hard right now to pick a date, try to come up with a few possible dates within your chosen season.  You can worry about narrowing it down later, but for now have a couple of dates in mind for now.

3- DO YOUR RESEARCH (Financial)!  Find out what it’s going to take to make this happen?  How much money will you need to pull this off?  What does it cost to book a wedding venue, a photographer, church or JP, DJ, Limo and anything else you have in mind for your wedding…and don’t forget you will need to purchase or rent your gown!  Will you be getting financial help from your family or will it be funded by just the two of you? Is your wedding going to be this year or will you need to push it out in order to get your finances in order?   Make sure you have a clear understanding of this before you go on.

4- CHOOSE A BUDGET (range).  Now that you have an idea of what stuff costs, what’s going to be your budget?  It may sound weird to say “choose a budget”, but that is actually what you need to do.  Choose a (budget range)…but know that you are most likely going to need to adjust it, unless you already know exactly what everything you want and need costs.  I hear people saying that they can’t afford this, or can’t afford that…but that’s not really the case.  You see, people have money for the things they really want.  You really want that $700 tablet – right?  Then you save your money and you buy it.  Or, you say $700 is too much for me to spend on a tablet and you don’t buy it.  When you say you can’t afford something, you are just saying that you don’t want it that bad.  Because if you save up for it, you would have it.  So, choose how much you are willing to invest in your wedding in total…and also break it down into sections.  How much for the location, how much for the photographer, how much for the cake, etc.  How badly do you want each of these?  Then once you have that amount, later you can readjust or reallocate if need be.  Then start saving!!!

5- LOCATION LOCATION.  Where do you envision your dream wedding to be?  Does that location fit into your budget range?  If not, do you need to reevaluate your budget or choose another location?  Ask if they are available for the date (ranges) you have in mind. Again, ask yourself, how badly do I want this location?

6- PHOTOGRAPHY-VIDEOGRAPHY.  Why is this step so far up on the list?  Because the best and most popular wedding Photographers/Videographers will book up fast.  What does fast mean?  Well, typically 12-24 months before your wedding day your photographer is booking up their calendar.  For some, it’s even prior to that.  For instance, we were already booking weddings for 2015 during the Fall season of 2013.  And if your wedding date is during a popular month (May, June, September, October) there will be lots of other brides looking for those dates as well.  Talk with your photographer about your date ranges and see if they are available.  Remember to choose someone who’s work you love, but also someone you can connect with.  This will make your whole wedding day experience so much better. Do you need to readjust your budget or reallocate funds to get this photographer?  That depends on how important your wedding photography & videography is to you and how badly you want that vendor.  We can even help with recommendations on other vendors we have worked with in the past.

7- OTHER VENDORS.  The best vendors book up first, so once you know what you need, DJ, Entertainment, Cake, Flowers, etc…contact them right away.  Most will take a small deposit to reserve your date.  Get a better chance of having  your #1 choice on each of your vendors if you don’t wait until a later time to book them.

8- SAY YES TO A DRESS.  But before you do, pick up some bridal magazines and get inspired with the different styles and designs available for your season.  Don’t just settle for the strapless gowns that you see practically everywhere.  Strapless wedding gowns look beautiful on some women, but not on all women.  Find the perfect gown that fits great and looks great on you based on your body type.  Straps, sleeves, lace or a combination of all can be both elegant and compliment your figure.  Most dresses will need alterations and this can take time, so get a jump on this so you’ll have your dress in plenty of time before your wedding day.

9- GET HELP.  Who else is also very excited about your wedding?  Let them help you with the multitude of things you have to do?  Get ideas from your friends and family who are super excited about your big day and willing to do whatever it takes to make that day your best day ever!  Use their ideas as your inspiration and make it your own.

10- ONE DAY AT A TIME.  A complete wedding celebration isn’t built in one day or one week.  Don’t even try to get it all done in a month.  Dedicate a calendar to your wedding and figure out beforehand  when each milestone needs to be crossed off.  Some online wedding websites have a calendar feature and can help you get organized and have a plan of action.  Don’t worry too much if your miss a milestone either.  As long as you are close to the date chosen to complete each task, you are in good shape and you will be less stressed when your wedding date gets closer.

11- IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU (both).  Remember it’s all about you and your future spouse.  I can’t stress this enough.  Family and friends can overload you with their advice and suggestions on what you should do.  Try not to get all wrapped up in what everyone else thinks you should do or wants you to do on your wedding day.  Make it about you both and you will love everything about your wedding day.  Remember it’s a celebration so keep the stress level down.

Make the planning process fun, by getting ahead of it and not waiting til it’s crunch time.  With enough time, you can make this day one of the best days of your life.  Get your future spouse involved if you can and have fun with it.

Best Wishes!

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The Book is Always Better!

Don’t try this at home brides!

wedding albums

It really puzzles me when I think about how little importance is placed on a wedding album these days.  More and more married couples are requesting or opting for just a disc, with all of their wedding photos, instead of a wedding album.  For the most part, when asked why they chose the disc over the wedding album, the response is almost always – the price.  The package that includes the wedding album costs a bit more.  That is the part that I don’t understand.  Here’s why…

You are very particular in planning your wedding.  Not just some of the details.  All of them!  Your wedding gown is no ordinary dress!  It has to look beautiful on you, fit great and make you feel amazing.  You may have to search far and wide, or you may find it right away.  Either way…you know when you find the right one!  You choose your wedding party specifically because on this day you want to be surrounded by the people (friends or relatives) you love and who love you back.  You choose a hair and makeup artist, because this day is important and you have to look better than your best.  You choose a Limousine company that has the right size vehicle, that would compliment and enhance that “wow” moment you seek, as you step out of the vehicle moments before it starts.  You choose your ceremony church or location, perhaps your personal vows to each other and other important and meaningful details, so that everyone invited can share in that special moment with you both. You choose a Florist that can handle this most important project and who has the skill, creativity and selection of flowers you love.  You choose a reception hall that is just the right fit, both to accommodate your guest list and for the look it presents, which suits your specific taste.  You choose a DJ with a personality and music selection that you feel confident would really entertain your guests and “rock the house”. You choose a photographer whose work you absolutely love and you can’t wait to see the beautiful images they capture of you.   You choose a caterer or a wedding cake vendor that can bring to life the creation you dreamed about, with a flavor you will still dream about, long after it’s gone.  Every single detail…table cards…seating chart…favors…centerpieces…and more are chosen to bring together one of the best days of your life.  You invested all this time, money and hard work, planning this day so that it is as perfect as can be.

And now, you want to take all of those gorgeous, romantic, artistic, fashionable, memorable images that recorded your wedding celebration…and put them on a computer, a disc, a tablet, a phone, a website or some other piece of technology, instead of having a wedding album, simply to save a few dollars?  Why?

Even the couples with the very best intentions, to make their own album (because they are “artsy-crafty” people – you know) end up never doing anything with their photos.  That job simply goes at the very bottom of a To Do List that gets added to each and every day.  You keep saying your going to do it someday, but that day never comes.  And now fast-forward….it’s been 10 years and you still never got around to making that album.  It’s really sad when you think about it!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against you having a disc with your photos to post on your social media pages and all of your mobile devices.  But, nothing compares to actually seeing and feeling your images and your wedding album in print.  They really do look so much better, feel much better in real life!  Nothing beats the feel and smell of that brand new, Premium Genuine Leather album cover. Run your fingers across the pages and feel the texture of them!  Sit and relax on your couch and see the true vivid colors as they were meant to be enjoyed, not just by the limited colors that your monitor can display (Red, Green, Blue).  Relive every single moment of that amazing day as you hold your wedding album in your arms.  Then pass it on to your generations and let them enjoy it more and more with each passing year.  Your wedding album becomes more and more valuable with the passing of time….and people.  It truly is a priceless work of art.

You trusted a professional photographer with capturing all of  the wedding day details you worked so hard to plan.  You invested in their skills and experience to create many beautiful images which capture every special moment throughout.  Don’t just stop there.  Invest in your wedding album and trust your photographer, who created the images, to create a beautiful, customized, heirloom album with The Story of your Wedding, that you and your children and your grandchildren will be able to view, hold and cherish forever.   Your wedding album will outlast any piece of technology out there and no matter what, it will always be a good read.  Invest in your family memories.  Because like everyone knows, “the book is always better.”