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As You Wish

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DIY Details — from our series, “Your wedding ‘brand’.”

Your wedding “brand”, a series of articles by As You Wish.

DIY Details

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.

Ethical Donations

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.

Wedding Wednesday: No candles??? What the…?

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!

Christine Linial, AustinistaTX

Christine Linial, AustinistaTX


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.”

Wedding Wednesday: Centerpieces

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.

Bridal fitness

Every bride wants to look her best for the big day. Whether you think you have pounds to lose or merely muscles to firm, adjusting your diet and fitness plan can help you complete goals more quickly.

Diet. a four-letter word

Eat your veggies. No matter the current fad diet or healthy philosophy, no matter what your doctor says, no matter some old wive’s tale, eat your veggies. Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and fiber. Whatever you consider the bad stuff to be (fat, meat, sugar, carbs, all of the above), keep those to a minimum. Whenever you feel like reaching for “bad” food, try a piece of fruit, first. In Austin, you can even order local/organic produce to be delivered to your front door from Greenling.com.

Eat natural. Drop the chemicals (diet cola). Read labels. Cook from scratch.

Move. another four-letter word

There are, of course, Bridal Boot Camps and plenty of other programs at your local gym. But, if you don’t have time for that due to all the wedding planning, or, if you need to supplement on the camp’s off days, there are some simple alternatives.

Burn fat. Want tone arms? Then do some cardio. One current theory is that your body burns carbs/sugar during the first 30 minutes and burns fat after that. So, plan for some long cardio sessions of brisk walking, biking, running, tennis, swimming, or whatever keeps your heart pumping. If 30+ minutes gives you the, “I’ll just DIE” reaction, mix it up with intervals like a Couch To 5K program; just apply the timings to the cardio workout of your choice.

Lift. Yep, you need more muscle to burn more fat.

You are your own gym. Google it. You’ll find a ton of exercises you can do without a gym or any equipment. Invest just a little in a couple of pieces of equipment (like an exercise ball) and expand your workout’s “wardrobe” even more. Pushups. Jump rope. Plank.

Rest. hey! that’s a good four-letter word!

Rest. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. To wake more refreshed, consider an app for your smartphone that will measure your sleep patterns and help you wake up between cycles instead of in the middle of one.


For some PINspiration, check out these workouts I’ve Pinned.

Fine print.

Of course, before you adjust anything about your diet or fitness plan, you should talk with your team (doctor, nutritionist, trainer, and even Grandma!). Information like this can kick-start your own thorough research.

Contracting with a DJ or Band for your wedding music

How to find a great band or DJ

Finding a cheap DJ is easy. Finding a good band or DJ takes more work.

  • Ask your other wedding vendors. Your reception venue and photographer will know which musicians did a good job and were good to work with.
  • Arrange to see the ones you can live. Are they also a show band at public events?
  • Book early. The good ones book 8-12 months in advance.
  • Go local to save money. Less travel for the band will cost you less.
  • Double dip to save money. Hire someone that can truly perform both ceremony and reception music.

Contract details

Some parts of the contract are essential–both for you and for the musicians. Whether they are new or veterans of the wedding industry, be sure your contract covers all these details.

  • Event date/location/address
  • Contact information
  • Names of any specifically contracted performers or techs
  • Start/end times
  • List of music to be played; list of music not to be played
  • Sound system specs, including how they will integrate with the venue’s equipment
  • Cancellation/refund policies
  • Total fees including non-refundable reservation fees, refundable deposits, and overtime rates
  • Hospitality “rider”: number and length of band/DJ breaks, where breaks will occur, meals performers will receive

From “Will you…” to “I do!” in one day!

The setup:

  • She mentions to a friend that it would be cool to get engaged and married in the same day.
  • Her boyfriend gets to work, with the help of her Pinterest wedding page.
  • He flew in her hair stylist and makeup artist. He made sure that all their friends and family were in Miami.
  • He proposed, they went to get a license with the help of friends who were holding a place in line.
  • They planned the event with hotel catering, got ready, rehearsed, and married. …whew, that’s a BIG day!

It’s a long video. The good stuff is at 14:00 and 22:00.