Archive for March, 2011

One of our favorite things to do after a wedding is a Trash The Dress session (or a Day After session). We have several scheduled for this year (mostly for destination weddings) so we thought we would share a few thoughts about why you should add a Day After/Trash The Dress session to your photography package!

More Relaxed Setting
The wedding day is usually pretty hectic and includes a tight schedule. Most couples schedule some time between the ceremony and reception to do some photos, but more often than not it’s not enough time. Besides, it’s tough to concentrate on photos when you’re ready to party! A day-after session is a great chance to take pictures in a more relaxed setting without all the hustle and bustle.

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A Chance to Get Creative
Let’s face it, most brides are concerned about getting that white wedding dress dirty on the wedding day. But you’re going spend a ton of money to get it cleaned anyways, so why not try something fun and creative by doing a day-after photo session. The phrase “Trash the Dress” gets thrown out there a lot, but it doesn’t actually mean you have to destroy your wedding dress. A “Trash the Dress” or “Day After” session can be whatever you want, from going into a field to finding some cool urban settings.

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Show Your Personality
You’ve got that amazing dress, why not show it off! And a great way to do that is use some of your favorite accessories. Have a hot pair of shoes? Wear them with your wedding dress. Have some cool jewelry pieces? Perfect! A Day-After session will let your personality shine. One of my favorite examples is one of our brides who’s a total cowgirl at heart. She wanted to take photos in her dress with her favorite pair of cowgirl boots, her cowgirl hat, and her awesome denim jacket. The photos were totally her style and personality and let her have a lot of fun with her wedding dress.

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Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Bridgette & Bryant shooting engagement photos at the scenic Oakleaf Plantation clubhouse. Bryant came down from Virginia to visit with his sweetheart, and it was a perfect afternoon to be outside! Though it was hot in the sun, there was a nice breeze and every once in a while we were lucky to have some cloud cover!

I’m getting ready to head out of town, but before I leave I HAD to post one of my favorite photos from their session! Aren’t they gorgeous together? I can’t wait to post more when I return from my trip!

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We just returned from Rachel & John’s amazing wedding at the Rodman Plantation a couple hours ago, and I had to post a sneak peek of their wedding photos! From the beginning Rachel had a vision of a charming southern wedding, and we’re so thrilled that things turned out so well for their big day! Rachel & John are sweet as apple pie, and their wedding was just gorgeous! I wish we could post more photos, but we’re going to be holding off on blogging this wedding for a while. Just trust us that it will be worth the wait! Lots of fun details and breathtaking images of the beautiful grounds at the Rodman Plantation!

Congratulations Rachel & John! God truly has blessed the broken road that made this perfect wedding day happen! Much love and happiness! : )

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Dress Talk is a bi-weekly post featuring wedding dress shopping and gown advice by guest blogger Kayleigh Hicks of Solutions Bridal Designer House. Make sure to check back for more bridal fashion information and also add The Bridal Closet, official blog of Solutions Bridal Designer House, to your blog reader!

The ever classic debate ensues to this day. Which color wedding gown should you choose? Stark white? Maybe ivory… Or even champagne? Are there rules? What if you absolutely love one color, but don’t feel it is appropriate for the season or the setting?

Not to worry beautiful yet baffled brides-to-be! Solutions Bridal is here to offer our services! This classic color debate is something we see in our salons nearly every day. Brides are always on the search for their dream gown, but many find themselves stumped by this oh so important question. Which color gown should I select?

Each of the gowns we carry in our stores come in a variety of color selections, which is typical for any special order bridal salon. Trust us when we say that this is a good thing, because as a bride, you definitely want to have the most options possible even if it makes the decision making process slightly more difficult for the time being. If you are somewhat confused about the correct color selection of your dreams, take into consideration a few factors before deciding.

Consider skin tone as a huge factor in the decision making process.
Skin tone is unique to every individual, and this means that not every shade of white or ivory is going to look stunning on every bride. There is absolutely that one shade of wedding gown that will compliment you flawlessly, and you should not stop until you find the shade that makes you feel like the best you possible! If you are at a bridal salon, ask the stylists to show you swatches of the gown colors available. Here at Solutions Bridal, we have multiple folders filled to the brim with swatches of every shade of white, ivory, champagne, and ever other color you could think of! Not every gown comes in every color, so if you are set on a certain shade of gown that is unique. You don’t want to fall in love with a gown, only to find out you can’t get it in your perfect hue. Make sure the gowns you try on are available in this ideal shade to avoid confusion and frustration.

Ceremony setting is important, but don’t let the site select the color.
Many of our brides are very concerned with the setting of their ceremony and color of their gown clashing. They worry that if they are not in a stark white dress, their classic church ceremony will be in shambles, or if they do not choose a champagne gown, their vintage night time wedding will not have a consistent theme. Although you do want to make sure your gown is appropriate for your setting, the only thing you need make sure you love when you select a gown color is how it looks on you! The shape of the gown, material, and design can all factor into the appropriateness of the gown, but whatever shade you select will work wonderfully with the “I-Dos” if you feel comfortable and confident in your gown’s fit and color. The setting of your wedding can absolutely influence your gown choice, but your love and absolute adoration of how you look and feel in the dress should be the main decision making influence. This is your day to look and feel the most beautiful you have ever felt in your life, and no setting or building should determine the gown you wear.

The time of your wedding and ceremony is just that, a time!
Just because your ceremony is set to begin at nightfall on a delightful Saturday evening does not mean you need to have a champagne gown! Likewise, just because you are having a Spring inspired garden ceremony does not mean stark white is the limitation to your gown color. Although you do want to make sure you feel comfortable in your gown choice, there are no set rules that govern the wedding gown style, design, length, or color any more! One of my personal favorite things about weddings is the fact that every wedding is so incredibly unique. Each bride has the chance to express herself through each and every detail of her Big Day. Don’t let a silly factor like time on a clock deter you away from the gown color of your dreams or the one that compliments your tone and personality the best. Just be you when selecting that oh so fabulous dream dress, and the rest will fall into place perfectly.

The best piece of advice I can offer in regards to any aspect of choosing a wedding gown is to get out there and try them on! As always, you never know until you try. Try on as many shapes, styles, colors, and options as possible, if you are not sure of where to start and don’t stop until you find the one that wows you. If you are a simplest and have always pictured yourself in a stark white ballgown on your special day you should absolutely select the ballgown of your dreams. Similarly, if you are a daring bride that feels the fire to marry the love of your life in a hot pink mini, I support that just as much! Do not worry about any of the set rules you think exist when choosing your ideal gown. As long as you feel like the most incredibly confident, beautiful, and chic woman in the world on your wedding day, everyone else will love the dress as well!

Yesterday we had the honor of being a guest blogger for our friends over at Storymix Media. Our article discussed what to wear for your engagement photos. So if you are thinking about your engagement session, hop on over and check out some of our tips! And while you’re there, be sure to check out Storymix Media’s video editing services and more information about how to preserve your wedding memories!

What to wear for engagement photos

We are still in awe over Latoya & Clarence’s wedding last weekend! It was… ahhhh! Just one of those fairytale-type weddings that you love to see come to life. The ceremony was held in the gorgeous courtyard of the Garden Club of Jacksonville under beautiful blue skies and perfect weather. Latoya looked radiant in an elegant layered dress. As she walked past family and friends toward Clarence, we saw him bite his lip as he was fighting back tears. Later in the ceremony, as everyone had their heads lowered in prayer, I caught him stealing another glance at his gorgeous bride. It warms my heart to see two people so in love!

As if that isn’t enough to make your heart flutter, Latoya & Clarence included a special part of their ceremony where they placed silver heart necklaces around the necks of their daughters, symbolizing the strength and unity of their family. It was so moving!

The reception was HOT! Everything was decorated in beautiful, vibrant pinks and damask patterns. The tables featured flirty centerpieces with white feathers. Their candy table featured pink and black cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, and tons of fun candies for their guests to put into cute little gift boxes. From the signature drink to their elegant cake by Gilmon’s Bakery, Latoya & Clarence brought a stylish, contemporary look to their wedding. The event décor and floral design was created by Alpha & Omega Event Consultants, and I think of all the weddings we’ve worked together this was my favorite! Just gorgeous!!

Dancing and music filled the rest of the evening. From their first dance, Latoya & Clarence hosted an amazing party that brought all their friends and family together to help them celebrate their joyous union. We feel very honored and blessed to have been there to share in their special day!

Congratulations Latoya & Clarence!

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Dress Talk is a bi-weekly post featuring wedding dress shopping and gown advice by guest blogger Kayleigh Hicks of Solutions Bridal Designer House. Make sure to check back for more bridal fashion information and also add The Bridal Closet, official blog of Solutions Bridal Designer House, to your blog reader!

The classic rice and bird seed toss at the end of a wedding can be quite the exit. However, remember that what goes up must come down, and picking bird seed out of your hair and dress can be a bit uncomfortable. Thankfully, recent alternate trends are taking this fun tradition to a new level of excitement and style!

There are countless options to chose from that can really spice up your exit, and I thought I would share some of the classic and creative ideas I found in my search!


For the eco-friendly inspired couple!

I love the idea of creating your very own personalized, eco-friendly confetti to use as an updated tosser! It is an easy and unique way to incorporate your personal style into the day while also keeping a green approach! There are a ton of websites that offer the service, so making is happen is easy and good for the environment.

For the show stopping sparkling couple!

Wow your guests with this dazzling departure! Whether your special day falls on a holiday, or you are just looking to stand out, sparklers are perfect for an evening exit and are sure to make your special day shine like no other!

For the funky and fun-loving couple!

Using uniquely you items like feathers, colored cotton balls, or glitter can transform your traditional exit to a creative and fabulous level of whimsical in no time. I love the couple that incorporated paper airplanes into their ceremony! All of these items are just plain fantastically fun.

For the wildly romantic couple!

If genuine romance is more your personal taste, think of releasing butterflies or throwing an abundance of rose petals or your favorite flowers as you make your departure. This sweet and sentimental gesture screams undying love, and will definitely add a touch of classic with a twist to your wedding tosser option.

The possibilities are endless with wedding tossers, and this is one aspect of your wedding that you can truly personalize to fit your taste!

Gwen’s Favorite Songs

March 4, 2011

About two years ago, we were hanging out with our friends Paul and Becky listening to music at a bar and they had the great idea of creating a list of our all-time favorite songs. Our deadline was St. Patrick’s Day. The project sounded overwhelming, but Paul and Becky were on a mission and they made a CD of their favorite songs and gave us a copy. I just made my CD tonight. Yes, two years later I finally compiled my list of faves! It’s not that I didn’t want to do it. I really have been giving this some serious consideration. How do I rank one song over another? How do I know that it’s really a favorite song and not just something I like at the moment? Should the song be out for a certain amount of time before it can make it on “the list?” And how can I mix genres together on a favorites list? Surely, I can’t mix New Edition with Radiohead, right?

So after endless hours of deeply considering hundreds of songs that I love, I came up with a list of 15 songs that are among my favorites. It’s definitely an incomplete list. For one, if I had a definitive list of favorite songs I’d have to put “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams on it! My biggest criteria for a song making the list was whether it was a song that I ALWAYS have to listen the entire way through. Some songs I’m jamming out in the beginning, but I move on to the next song before it’s over. Each of these songs are ones that I always find myself wanting to hear until the very end (even my #1 choice, which is over 8 minutes long). Based on this criteria, I had to leave “November Rain” by Guns N Roses off. LOVE the song, but sometimes I listen to the whole thing and sometimes I cut it short. But it is worthy of an honorable mention! And I also decided not to include songs that I’ve liked less than 5 years, so artists like Adele, Marie Digby, Sara Bareilles, Bic Runga and so many more aren’t on here. I did make an exception for song #3, because this song just slays me. It’s that amazing!

Here’s my list:

1) Purple Rain – Prince
2) Creep – Radiohead
3) Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
4) You Only Hide – Something For Kate
5) A Case Of You – Jane Monheit
6) The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
7) Send The Pain Below – Chevelle
8 ) Let Him Fly – Patty Griffin
9) Redemption Song – Bob Marley
10) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
11) Good Enough – Evanescence
12) Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
13) Poses – Rufus Wainwright
14) Please Send Me Someone To Love – Sade
15) Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve

An observation I had when creating this list was that bands/artists with a vast collection of music and I love all of it didn’t make the list because I’d have to include so many of their songs (like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Selena, who would certainly make my top 5 list of favorite music artists). It’s hard for me to say, without hesitation, that there is one song that I love above all others from each of them. I just love too many of their songs to do it. Another observation is that more than half of these songs have made it on to movie soundtracks (1, 3, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15). I always feel that a great soundtrack can make a movie (and vice versa). Also, only 5 of the artists on the list are American! I’m not surprised about that, though.

I wonder what my list says about me. For the most part it’s mellow… occasionally melancholy… and then abruptly aggressive. Each song grips at my heart. I could listen to this list over and over again and not get tired of it!

If you were to create a list of your favorite songs, what would definitely make the list?

Last weekend we had the opportunity to do an inspiration shoot with Katrina McCullum from Made of Honor Weddings. I think it should officially be called the “It’s so PRETTY!!” shoot! We’ve been talking about this since last fall and it finally came together thanks to Katrina’s hard work putting together a team of great wedding vendors! Katrina coordinated three different looks for the shoot. For the sassy bride, she put together a sexy green and black design that featured bling, lace, and feathers (all things flirty and fun!). The second design was full of romantic pinks (perfect for the romantic bride dreaming of a fairytale wedding). The outdoor setting gave it a sort of English garden/tea party feel, and we had a lot of fun with it! The last design was Katrina’s baby – an elegant wine red and slate grey set with stunning linens. It’s ideal for the sophisticated bride.

It took a lot of amazing people to make this shoot a success, and we’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work:

Floral Design by Angie Gay Davis of S & A Weddings and Events
Napkin Rings from Remarkable Rhinestone (as seen on My Fair Wedding with David Tutera)
Linens by Melissa Hyderali of Royalty Events
Chairs from Cassandra Cherneski of Flaire Weddings and Events
Cake Design by Trisha Millican of Metro Custom Cakes
Makeup by Lindsey Wirht
Hair by Kasey Blake
Our beautiful model – Leah Ashley M.

And last, but certainly not least, the venue for our shoot – Hidden Hills! Their staff was so accommodating and gave us all afternoon/evening for the shoot, moved furniture where we needed it, brought plates and glassware, and provided beverages for us. They were fantastic, and it’s a beautiful venue for an event! I will definitely recommend them the next time a bride asks about venues!

Now for the bling-tacular photos! Kudos to Katrina on her first inspiration shoot! You did an amazing job coordinating everything, and it was so fun to work with you and all the vendors who were part of this project! Thank you for letting us be part of it! : )

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The Spring issue of DIY Weddings came out this week, and we are so thrilled that Holly & Brock’s wedding is featured! The 4-page feature includes wedding photos and some tips from Holly about what inspired their wedding details. She also talks about how doing DIY projects for your wedding can add a personal touch to your big day!

DIY Weddings is a fun magazine full of tons of inspiring and creative details! You can buy your copy here! It’s a must read for any bride! Congratulations to Holly & Brock for getting featured in this amazing publication!

DIY Weddings Magazine Spring 2011

DIY Weddings Spring 2011

DIY Weddings Spring 2011