Third in a series, this article continues the topic of creating a brand for your wedding.
So, what if there isn’t a “thing” that is you and your groom? You’ve probably seen the book-themed wedding between the two librarians, Star Wars and other geek-branded weddings, and garden weddings. Basically, if it’s way out there or pretty common, we’ve all seen pictures of it. What makes your wedding “you”?
Here are some wedding “brands” I’ve photographed or consulted with over the years:
- green & brown – brides Savannah, Persephone, Emily, and more all had these colors and they were all different. Savannah included fun cowgirl bridal boots paired with a duck-hunting camo groom’s cake for Len; and yes, it was elegant at their country club.
- tie the “knot” – Kyle proposed after a climb. We staged their engagement with climbing gear. And, a proper climbing knot was the little symbol that ran through all their printed materials. They even tied all the ribbons at the event with knots instead of bows.
- hues of blues – Carrie used three shades of blue gave this wedding and reception depth, dimension, and texture.
- movie – The Princess Bride wedding scene was their ceremony script. The entire event took place in a historic movie theater. The cakes were adorned with bows made from strips of film and stood on stands made from film reels. A Bond film was their reception entertainment. Finally, guests threw popcorn to wish them well.
- rainbow – For brides Rachel & Melissa, their friends didn’t all look good in any one color, so they went with a rainbow scheme. Each of them kept the colors in the same shades/families. Rachel ordered rainbow Gerber daisy bouquets, and paired each groomsman’s boutonniere flower with the color of the maid he was escorting. Both were very pretty.
- twin hearts – One bride found two interlocked hearts she liked. I helped her mock them up with her and the groom’s initials. That motif, along with the font I used, became a large part of her theme.
- font – Laura fell in love with a font. She loved the way their initials looked in it and ordered all her wedding accessories with the monogram in that font. I used the same font for all her printed items: Save the Dates, Invitation folios, etc. Even the cake topper was a the font/monogram done in metal work.
- Christmas – Ricci didn’t want a “Christmas wedding” but she did want a December one. She chose red and red roses. At the reception, the only “Christmas” was a tree in the corner. As she put it, they “didn’t try to hide the elephant in the room” but they didn’t show it off, either. Their event was elegant and guests loved the nice weather for the outdoor ceremony and indoor/outdoor reception.
- brown & pink – Stacy & Jan both had these wedding brands at the same church in the same year. Each bride’s take on the shades and look made them unique even with the same backdrop. One of them was and elegant take based on the UPS truck the groom drove.
- wine – I’ve worked several wine-themed weddings. Even when at the same location, they were all quite different. One used the porch of the location for the ceremony and the cover doubled as their chuppah. Others married among the grapevines. Some partied in the barrel room while others held more intimate dinners with gorgeous views of the property.
- family – This is what it’s all about, right? Consider these moments: One bride said vows to the groom’s son promising to be a good mother to him. Another bride’s 9-year-old daughter gave her away…and the groom gave her a little ring during their ceremony. And, for a best man that was killed while serving his country, a candle on a pedestal stood in his stead; the maid of honor brought the flame of his spirit on a taper she carefully carried down the aisle.
Whether you have an obvious “theme” or not to your wedding events, it is easy to incorporate what makes the event truly about the two of you and your union.
Finally. We got to see Jill Duggar’s wedding dress this week. And wasn’t their wedding sweet and cute? We just had to record this episode and see the
big huge wedding.
As wedding professionals, we’re ready for some of these styles to hit the market, again. The strapless look is far too common and is simply boring. We were hoping that Princess Kate’s dress would spin some new styles, but it didn’t have a huge impact. With Jill’s wedding in the media and Jessa’s right around the corner, hopefully, these modest styles will have some influence on the overall look of gowns, even among those that aren’t necessarily a modest cut.
What if you want to have that empowering ooh-la-la moment with your body, but you’re just not comfortable in sexy nothings for a camera? That’s okay. Just let us know that you want a “bashful” Boudoir Session. The point is for you to feel confident and strong. We always leave attire choices up to you; that’s part of what makes the experience As You Wish!
Here is a great example of a conservative outfit (and she’s out on the street). You can still see how much attention she commands. The accessories are spectacular and really help sell the entire look of confidence, strength, and more.
For a gift that’s exciting to unwrap…
- sessions between Oct 13th & Nov 16th
- save 20% on individual sessions
- or, gather friends for a portrait party. Get a free session for you; they’ll save 35%, too!
empowering • romantic • sexy
This holiday season, remind your partner that you are as beautiful outside as you are in.
Your wedding “brand”, a series of articles by As You Wish.
Whether you are all lace and foo-foo or like a more tailored look, your wedding has a look, a feel, a “brand”. For your wedding to really shine, that Wedding Brand (WB) should be carried through all the details of your big day.
Your Wedding Brand (WB) starts with your Save the Date cards and wedding website…those first things your guests will see. At the time you send Save the Date cards, you might not know your colors and theme; they will likely evolve during the planning process. But, by the time guests see your invitations, the brand will be solid.
What all makes your brand?
This is different for almost every bride. One season of a wedding planning show–David Tutera is my favorite–will showcase how every bride wants her wedding to be unique to her and her groom. For me, it was bluebonnets mixed with yellow roses. That’s hardly original in Texas, but long-stem roses and bonnets (yes, there really are long-stem bluebonnets; Aggies grafted/bred them) made pageant-style arm bouquets with near floor-length ribbons made them the only bouquets like them I’ve ever seen. When I told people my theme was bluebonnets, all my vendors knew what that meant. They each brought their special talent to their area to make their work fit within my brand.
Your brand should include your colors, but it should also include some other visuals: a monogram, a logo or other type of iconography, or another element people can picture.
We have blogged about kids at weddings. Inviting them is a personal choice for the bride and groom, certainly. If they are included, there will need to be some plans for keeping them comfortable and entertained; wedding days are far too long for their attention spans.
Having a kids’ room at the wedding may sound like a great way to keep them happy so adults can enjoy the reception. However, don’t think that this comes cheap: rates on the east coast range from $95 to $205 per child for a 5-hour reception. While this comes with a full tea party, a character, and the option for a candy bar (yay for sugaring them up and then sending them home!), this is more than a lot of brides spend per adult guest.
Keep in mind, if your guests “expect” babysitting, then they aren’t the ones who would have made the efforts to attend your event, anyway. But, if a kids’ room is something you feel you need to keep the majority of your guests happy, then plan carefully.
If you want to set up your own kids room and hire sitters, check with your local chapter of the American Red Cross (who offers baby sitter certifications as well as First Aid and CPR certifications) or your local Nanny Service for guidelines on babysitting groups of kids. They can help you figure a good baby-to-sitter or kid-to-sitter ratio. Remember, the more young babies, the more sitters you’ll need. Be sure that anyone you hire has impeccable references (or works for a reputable agency), is First Aid and CPR certified, and is experienced with children in the ranges you’ll be inviting. A Nanny Service might be able to refer some of their weekday nannies for your weekend event. And, the local university’s “future teachers” organization may have some members with enough experience with the age kids you’re inviting.
A kids room should also be equipped with entertainment geared for the ages attending: movies, games, puzzles, and toys. Babies will also need cribs or “pac-n-play” sets for napping differently than they do in a car seat.
Any coloring activity should be “clean”. Think crayons and sticker books instead of markers or paint. Friendship bracelets are fun for girls (just make sure beads aren’t too tiny for the youngest kids). If you a game console and tv for the room, be sure the games are a good fit for both genders and all the ages you’re inviting.
No pieces of any toy in the kids room should be too small for the youngest child in the room. The last thing you’d want is for a baby to eat a doll accessory and choke during your reception.
A kids room needs to be equipped with an emergency kit that the sitters can access. Be sure to include plenty of “fun” bandaids because when one kid gets one, they’ll all want one.
If you are hiring any entertainment for the kids room, be sure it’s age appropriate for the youngest child. Don’t hire a clown to make balloon animals for the elementary-age kids if you have toddlers in the same room. Instead, consider a magician or a storybook character.
In lieu of a candy bar, consider heathy snacks and goody bags for them to take home.
And don’t forget to hold the bubbles to the end. They’ll love rejoining their parents for your sendoff and getaway!
One wedding tradition that involves all married guests regardless of background is a Generations Dance. This is a touching moment for your wedding reception.
You’ll need to do a little homework with the parents and grands. In addition to knowing how long they have all been married, you’ll want to know about couples in the family who have had their Golden anniversaries.
The DJ is given a montage of romantic slow-dance songs starting with the most current song and moving back one era at a time. He then “lets go” each of the following couples off the dance floor. For every ~decade, the music should change to reflect that time period.
to start: all married couples
first cut: those married less than one day
next cut: those married less than one year
…less than three years
(In the design of this event, milestone years should be adjusted to best honor the couples closest to the bride and groom: their siblings, parents, and grandparents. So add in 25 or skip 40 in lieu of 45, if necessary.)
at this point, the bride usually presents all 50-year couples with a token that represents this milestone…a yellow rose tied in gold ribbon, for example
as more couples are eliminated from the dance, the years should be:
Once the last couple is left dancing, the DJ/MC will recognize them by asking all guests to applaud. Your guests will likely give them a standing ovation.
And don’t forget to tell you photographer you are doing this. The pictures will be amazing!
This is a sweet testament to your future as a married couple…and a wonderful memory for your wedding day. The best part: after the first minute, you get to watch and enjoy the whole thing!
Small business are capable of donating products/services, and thus, receive many requests. I used to run a tiny non-profit; I know how a few more donations to the silent auction can make a lot more money for the cause. Gift Certificates for silent auctions are easy for us to donate. Unfortunately, not every donation is smooth, so As You Wish has a donations policy.
This week, we received a donation request from a group that technically fits the listed criteria, but still doesn’t meet our standard: they discriminate against GLBT persons.
A local animal group asked for a silent auction donation.
The group seems organized. Their offer of advertising in return for the donation was clear. Again, they seemed to meet all the criteria in our donations policy.
For all the good this group does for their animals and for Austin, they do not meet our ethical standards. They discriminate, even in this day and age.
I know of a couple that was turned down from participating in the group’s primary purpose. The couple is gay. The volunteer from the group said that they won’t allow a gay couple to adopt. (Yes, there are a lot of “Well then why….?” and “How did it even get that far?” pieces to this story.)
The couple was heartbroken and angry. They had already fallen in love with the critter and met all of the written criteria. This very private couple had taken enormous risks to be truly honest with the group and was punished for that honesty.
Unwritten “rules” are not honest. Discrimination is hurtful to everyone. Just look at how embarrassing this show host was this morning. This hateful nonsense has to stop.
I’m not writing this to flame them or out the group for this behavior (which I did not personally witness), so please forgive the vague language. They do a lot of good, too, I’m sure. It’s a bit unfair to the group that I know any backstory, but I’m involved in my local community …and that’s probably a big reason why they asked me to donate in the first place. Although they did not mention it, I also think that an acquaintance may have told them I’d consider a donation. Normally, I would.
My purpose here is to explain this sliver of the values that drive As You Wish photography and to out the behavior itself as unacceptable. I will also share this with them so they will know why I’m telling them, “no, thank you.”
This is a chance for me to do something about bad behavior. This is a chance for me to stand up for what is right and shun what is wrong.
Their bigoted behavior does not fit the value set of As You Wish photography.
For the next month, all sessions and orders will include a donation to a local LGBT organization.
Believe it or not, some venues have “no candles” rules. It is our opinion that this reduces their liability and keeps their insurance premiums lower. In some cases, it’s the pure mess.
Because, what if this…?
Clearly, they “got” them. Still, your venue is wondering, “what if something like this did happen?”…and so is their insurance company.
What’s a bride to do?
- Ask if tarping the area under candelabras will make a difference? If they don’t have to clean wax drops off the carpet, they may let you have them.
- Ask about shaded/hurricane pillar candles and/or jar candles. These are both far safer than exposed tapers.
- Ask about mechanical candles. Some ceremony venues exclude messy wax candles, but will allow you to have have (rent) “mechanical” candles. Either way, you’ll probably need to make sure protective sheets of fabric are put under candelabras and other pieces that tend to drip.
- Stock up on LED votives and plan to use them, exclusively. Buy them early and look for sales and coupons. They are pricey little things.
- Research other lighting options.*
- Consider other venues. How important are candles to the mood you want to set? Is a unity candle essential to your ceremony, but unallowed, even at the altar? It boils down to what is most important to you.
* It was not until our wedding day that I learned our church windows opened. I’d never seen them open before (or since). The natural light from the outside was far superior to the normal look in the space.
We just love it when two things Austin come together! …and even more so when we’re one of them! tee hee heee! Today, we share the spotlight with the Austinista!
We were thrilled when the Austinista herself asked for some wardrobe shots for her blog where she writes about “Style, Beauty, and Exponential Growth from the Violet Crown” as well as a few other nuggets of goodness. And today is the day she launched a new series.
Christine is a delightful person that I’m proud to call my friend. Go subscribe to her blog. Your wardrobe and makeup collection will thank you!
From the Austinista herself:
“Austinista.net was established in 2013 to share my love of fashion, beauty, the arts, and becoming your best self. There are many roads to empowerment: wearing a favorite shade of lipstick, self reflection, and remembering to take risks in real life.
Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to explore my love of fashion and beauty. Growing up, my mother taught me to sew my own clothes. As a result, I have a keen eye for silhouette and lines that will make anyone look their best! In my singing career, I’ve had the chance to swap roles and work behind the scenes. I’ve enjoyed my time as a makeup artist for stage and photographers but worked several studio photography jobs.”
If you have been a guest at a wedding with gauche centerpieces, you know how annoying they can be. But, unless you have been invited to one of “those” weddings, you might not realize the Pilates moves needed to enjoy conversation around large pieces. Sure, they look great in an empty room. But, if they keep your guests from having a good time, they can’t be worth the expense.
Centerpieces that will keep your guests talking
Keep centerpieces low, below eye level, so guests can talk across the table. After all, you went to all that trouble to seat them together.
As an alternative, mount centerpieces high on a skinny (and properly weighted/configured) pedestal. Guests will have no trouble talking around the skinny post that supports the beauty…and you can still get away with opulence. Drape ribbons, drip crystals, sprinkle with battery-powered LEDs. Just be sure the line of sight for the average seated guest is clear.
Better yet, mix the room. Every other table gets either a low or pedestal centerpiece. You get both the grand look when the room is empty and the grand look when the room is full. It’s a win-win for elaborate pieces in your reception venue.
What if elaborate isn’t in your budget?
Again, mix. With the help of your florist, planner, and even your photographer, plan a mix that works both with your concept and your budget. Mix the tables in thirds/fourths/fifths to vary the look around the room, but keep the whole look cohesive.
1/5 pedestal floral pieces with draped crystals
1/5 low, smaller floral pieces with LED lights
1/5 arrangements of candles
1/5 greenery, or stacks of old books, or tiers of your wedding cake, or vases to hold your bridesmaids bouquets
1/5 as collections of photos from your engagement
Your vases are just that, a vessel. They need not be elaborate or costly. Unless they are cut crystal, no one is going to notice them over your beautiful floral arrangements. Over the course of your engagement, collect vase, flower bowls, votives, and candlesticks from garage sales, thrift shops, and even your local dollar stores. Just pick one style and stick with it. If they aren’t similar enough for you, consider painting them.
With just a little creativity, you can mix, blend, and dual-purpose your reception decor into both what you want and what you can afford.