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Wedding How-To

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DIY Crafty Shower

Materials

  • Fleece blankets
  • Vinyl iron-on transfers
  • Printer
  • Iron
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • OPTIONAL: Sign – can be a chalk board, or a frame

DIY Crafty Shower - Home & Family

Directions

1) Create stations for your crafty helpers. Have one person in charge of each step.

2) Print out a logo you would like on your blankets. This can be the couple’s name, date, or anything you would like.

3) Cut out the logo with scissors.

4) Arrange the logo on the blanket.

5) Use iron to affix the logo to the blanket according to manufacturer’s instructions.

6) Let blanket cool.

7) Roll up blanket.

8) Tie a ribbon around the blanket.

9) Put out a little sign with this instruction: To have and to hold in case you get cold.

10) Voila! Wedding favors for guests…CHECK!

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How to Throw an Engagement Party

How to Throw an Engagement Party - Home & Family

Things To Consider When Planning…
1. Chose your style, formal cocktail casual
2. Theme, color palette
3. dress code
4. décor
5. play list to set the mood
6. food
7. wine list
8. invitations
9. dessert table
10. logo/hashtag

Budget Friendly Ideas…
1. Skip the bartender: Turn a dresser into a drink station by adding pitchers, cups, straws and decorum
2. Save on photography: Create a hashtag for your party and have guests take pictures and upload them to the hashtag
3. Décor idea: Take photos of the two of you and have them blown up at a photo center. Place photos throughout your venue
4. Location, Location, Location: Save on location cost by having your party at a non-traditional location such as a backyard
5. Cut cost on a DJ: Play music off of your play list
6. Save on Food: Create a cheese platter or have appetizers to serve to guests

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DIY Wedding Countdown Blocks

Materials

  • Wood Blocks (2 blocks at 5 ¼″ x 2″ x 2″ — 4 blocks at 2″ x 2″ x 2″)
  • Acrylic paint in a color of your choosing. To help decide, here are the top colors for wedding this season: Blush, neutrals, and metallic.
  • Paint Pen (if you don’t trust your own writing, feel free to use letter stickers)
  • Paint brushes
  • (OPTIONAL: Saw and sandpaper if you want to cut down the blocks)

DIY Wedding Countdown Blocks - Home & Family

Directions

1) If you were able to find blocks in a size you like, you are ready to go! If you need to cut down wood to size, do this now. If you do need to cut the wood, sand it down so you have smooth sides. I was able to find ones on Amazon that were the perfect size!

2) Using your acrylic paint, paint ALL sides of each block except one (that will be your “set down” side while your blocks are drying). You can use paper, wax paper, parchment paper, or newspaper to let the blocks dry without ruining your table.

3) Let the paint dry for about an hour before applying the paint on the non-painted side. If you need to do touch-ups, do that now as well and set aside to dry. You may even want to use two or three coats on each block. Up to you and how thick your paint is.

4) If you are doing the math on this, you will realize that we need a couple more numbers to allow you to do any combination of “days left” until the wedding. So we will be using 4 of the 2x2 blocks to make this happen. I found a “key” online to show you what you need to paint on each block. Take your paint pen and follow this key to paint all of the blocks with these letters. Notice that the “6” can be a “9” are interchangeable and can both be used by only making the one block. You will have an extra side that’s not painted with a number or symbol, so feel free to add your own flare to the extra side. Maybe a wedding ring? That’s what I’ll be doing! You can use number stickers if you don’t like your handwriting!

5) For your two larger blocks, use a pencil to write out the words “days until” on one block, and “Mr. & Mrs.”. You can keep playing until you like your writing the best, then lock it in by painting over your pencil lines with your paint pen. Again, if you don’t feel your writing is the best, you can use sticker letters.
Voila! Figure out your numbers until the big day, and enjoy changing them every day until it’s 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

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Hiring A Wedding Photographer & Mark’s Advice For Taking The Best Engagement Photos
  1. Top 3 pieces of advice when shopping for a wedding photographer: Ask a log of questions! Describe your style – Ask about style aesthetically and their style of how they work. Make sure your photographs will look the way you want them to and that you will enjoy spending the day being photographed by that person.
  1. How long have they been photographing and how many weddings have they photographed? – Ask to see an entire wedding’s portfolio, not just 30 photos. It’s easy to get 30 good ones out of 3,000. You want to see if they can adjust to the lighting changes of the day, if they can photograph indoors and outdoors. See if they can get every aspect of the events of the day. Maybe they can get great portrait style photos, but can they get in-the-moment candid photos?
  1. How long will it take to get the images? – You shouldn’t have to wait more than 2 weeks for the proofs, and wait no longer than 2 months for a final album. Anything more is unacceptable. If they are doing a great job shooting, there shouldn’t be so much “fixing” to do on the back end. And make sure you know upfront what you are getting for your money. Some unscrupulous photographers will charge you for taking the pictures, and then you find out that in order to get digital copies or prints you must pay even more. Some will even hold your photos hostage until you buy additional products you never wanted.

Top “Do” & “Don’t” for Wedding Photography:

Don’t – Fall in love with one photographer’s style and ask the photographer you hire to adjust to that. Get the photographer that already has your style. That way you know you will get the style of photograph you want. Don’t try to get the photographer to shoot something they don’t do. You just set them up for failure.

Do – Trust your choices. Let the photographer do their thing. They know what they are doing. Don’t micromanage. You’ll miss your whole day and the experience of it. Let the planning go the week of the wedding.

What do you wish people knew? – Don’t skimp on photos. The two biggest things you should be spending the bulk of your budget on are the location and photographs. You get what you pay for and this is the most important day of your adult life. And definitely do a trial run with hair and makeup – don’t let the first time you realize you hate the hairstyle and make up you chose be the day of your wedding. It may not photograph the way you want it to and it may not look on you the way it looked on the model.

What resources exist to find reputable photographers - WIPA, Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA.org), it’s an organization that vets photographers. They are not just a service anyone can sign up for. The photographer has to fit into a certain criteria, including but not limited to the length of time they’ve been operating. WIPA vets the photographer’s background, makes sure they have insurance, etc… It’s a one-stop shop for everything wedding. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Millennials are especially prone to solely looking at a photographer’s website and deciding that’s all the research they have to do.

Advice for the day of: Take your time. Don’t rush getting ready. You’ll feel relaxed and have a good time. And there will be time to fix any problems should they arise. Drink a ton of water staring the night before. It’ll make a difference in your skin, energy and stress levels. And SPANX!!!! Change into your sexy lingerie after the party. Spend your day in comfortable underwear that will give you beautiful lines in your dress. Flattering your figure in comfort is WAAAYYYY more important. Don’t tan or sun before your wedding. I’ve seen too many sunburn or bad tanning horror stories. It’s better to be closer to your own skin tone. Your own skin tone photographs better, anyway.

How far out should you book your photographer? - 1 year is typical. Photographers are one of the first vendors booked. Don’t wait! They are booked out at least a year in advanced. Book your venue first, then your photographer!

Is a tip expected? - It’s not expected, but it’s always nice. $150 - $200 is common. It’s really for the assistants who are the ones lugging around the equipment and setting up any lighting for the photographer all day.

What kind of deposit is normal – 50% deposit and 50% by the event date is normal. Remember, these are expensive weekends to book out. A deposit is insurance for them. Remember, the photographer is expecting to work and if he or she loses that weekend they usually can’t book another wedding in such short notice. That’s a large part of their income that they lose.

How much should you spend on photographs? - At least $7K. That will get you great photographs. Some people charge as much as $17K! And that’s fine if you want to, but $7K will get you fantastic photographs. Remember, you get what you pay for.

What are some pitfalls to avoid – Bait and Switch – sometimes you will interview a photographer and then the day of the photographer’s assistant shows up. Another pitfall is not receiving the negatives or high-resolution versions of the photos you ordered. There are two reasons unscrupulous photographers do this. One: They’ll essentially “ransom” the photographs for up to a year to make you buy products you don’t want or need. Two: They will suddenly claim the package you bought only covers taking the photos, not the prints or album. Make sure the final price is the final price. Be certain of what is in the contract to avoid hidden fees or unexpected caveats.

What if you have a strange request for photographs – I’ll definitely tailor the photography to whatever adventurous thing they want. They just have to sit down and communicate what they want ahead of time. You can’t pop it on the photographer the day of. A wedding day is scheduled tightly. You don’t want to go over the scheduled time for photographs or go over budget if what you want from your photographer goes above the budget you’ve agreed on.

Should color correction/Photoshop/any other corrections be included? – Every photographer is different. I include basic corrections in my package. But bigger Photoshop jobs – like putting in a UFO, or something like that, will be extra. Erasing major blemishes may be extra, as well. It’s a good question to ask the photographer when you are interviewing.

Should you own all of your negatives? - In the digital age it’s more about getting high-resolution digital files of your photos once you have chosen your picks from the low-resolution proofs the photographer will send you about two weeks after your wedding. If a photographer still uses film, then you should ideally receive those negatives. Remember, every photographer owns the copyright to the photographs they take. They just license the use of the photos to you to copy and reproduce. The photographer always retains the rights to the your photos for their portfolio. That’s not photographer-to-photographer; that is a legal matter. The photos are their intellectual property.

  • Misc. Advice: Go to Etsy for great ideas on how to turn your photographs into creative “thank you” cards or gifts.
  • Weddings go by so fast. Take it slow and take it all in. Enjoy your party and let every one do their jobs.
  • Do lots of events before hand and make sure your guests get their quality time with you then. That way you don’t have to spend your whole day making sure you touch each one of your guests. You can sit back and relax while you enjoy the day.
  • Have your “first look” before the wedding. A lot of couples like to be traditional and see one another for the first time at the ceremony. These days more and more couples are having their “first look” before the ceremony. There is less pressure to have that “first look” in front of all those people. They get to have their true reaction without 100’s of eyes on them. It’s more intimate to really have that one on one time alone. It can be an emotional experience. You may also want extra time before the ceremony to touch up any makeup you may have erased with tears of joy. That extra intimacy really shows in the photos. You may also lose a great deal of the nerves by getting the “first look” out of the way early. Stress and nerves definitely show up in photos.

Mark Steines’s Advice For Taking Your Best Engagement Photos:

How should we make sure we get the style we want? - Look at your overall theme. Paige and Jason wanted a rustic wedding; they went for an old western/country themed location.

How should you approach Engagement Photos differently from Wedding Day photos: - Engagement photos should be more casual. They are a chance for the couple to show off their personality and get comfortable with the photographer and get comfortable with getting photographed. Most people are so aware of the camera; it takes them a while to get loose. The day of the wedding you are on a tight schedule. With engagement photos you can take your time and ease into it.

How can you best get what you want out of your photographer? – Show them examples of what you like. Make sure you do a pre-interview or fill out a questionnaire so they understand your relationship and can get to know you guys better. Show them a favorite photograph of you. I took a great photo of Paige and she wasn’t wild about it. We all have a different perception of how we look our best. Show them how you think you look best.

What should couples do while photographing to get the best pictures? - Don’t pose. I like to give indications and directions for how to exist in the space, but I don’t tell them how to pose. I like to catch them in the moment. I will even make up a story for them to enact so they have something to imagine. They won’t just exist in that space, they’ll tell a story. I’d rather capture moments than poses.

What should couples bring with them? You can bring props like block initials or objects that mean something to you. If you have a hobby, like horseback riding lessons, you don’t necessarily have to have the horse, but maybe a bail of hay or a saddle to suggest is nice. Definitely bring multiple changes of clothes to play with. I’d have at least three.

Paige & Jason's Wedding - Wedding Photography Guide

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Check out Laura Grier’s Beautiful Day Photography Portfolio and follow her on Twitter & Instagram: @beautidayphoto

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Wedding Do's and Dont's Etiquette

Wedding Etiquette - Home & Family

Bride and Groom Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Don’t ask your guests to give up their phones. Annoying your guests is not a good start to a beautiful occasion. Some people must keep their phones close (parents with small children) and will be distracted throughout the ceremony worrying about a missed emergency. Don’t ask to check their bags or their suit pockets for “evidence”.

2. Do notify your guests of your “unplugged” desires on the wedding website, on the wedding program, and before the ceremony . You can’t put it on your wedding invitation! A small camera icon with a strike through it, positioned tastefully in the program is one way. A tasteful sign as you enter the church is another. Recruit a friend’s child to walk down the aisle with the flower girl and ring bearer with a decorative sign that reads – No technology please. It will either bring a smile to guests face or annoy them – either way it’s a reminder and will get the point across.

3. Do ask the officiant to ask for guests support. The officiant may make a statement before starting the ceremony saying, “Sara and Tom ask that you disconnect from your technology as you participate fully with your eyes and your heart.” It’s difficult to defy a plea from the clergy.

4. Don’t expect fellow guests or your photographer to be the cell phone police. Although you may want others to help you reinforce your wishes, asking a guest to call out another guest is uncomfortable. Trust your friends and family will respect you enough to abide by your request.

5. Do consider allowing your guests an opportunity to take a few pictures at some point during or after the ceremony. Some couples allow pictures before they walk back down the aisle after the ceremony, or at the reception. Others set up a festive photo booth at the reception. Find a method that suits your personal style and comfort level. For those that expect absolutely no photos during the entire wedding event – even of themselves, you can only hope for a miracle!

6. Do let your guests know the parameters. Perhaps you don’t want pictures during the ceremony but don’t mind if they take an Instagram photo of the food at the reception. For some people, it would be unrealistic not to get a picture of a beautiful ocean view because it happens to be your wedding backdrop. Be clear – “No wedding photos of the bride and groom.”

7. Don’t feel the need to give too much information. Minimize the drama. If you have decided to keep your wedding off social medias due to personal circumstances, less explanation is best. You can share your reasons with a few trusted friends, but otherwise, just state your request without the drama.

8. Do think through how you will handle a cell phone cheater. What do you really plan to do if they break your self-imposed tech free law? Decide if it’s worth breaking up a friendship or family relationship over a breach in social media etiquette. Depending on the relationship, and the circumstances for your reason to unplug – the answer will vary.

Wedding Guest Do’s and Don’ts

1. Don’t text the bride or groom on the day of the ceremony asking for directions. Yes, this has happened! While it’s technically not part of the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are off limits before the wedding.

2. Do turn your cell phone off, rather than on vibrate. The buzzing sound of a phone can be distracting and ruin a magical moment.

3. Do remove your smart watch. If you see your wrist lighting up, you can’t help but be tempted to check your messages or send a reply. Remove the temptation.

4. Don’t post anything on social media without the permission of the bride and groom first. Too often pictures of the bride and groom go up before they have had a chance to enjoy their own photos. A bride also wants to be cast in the best possible light. Unless it’s a random picture that can’t be linked back to the wedding, like a light fixture, or a plant, keep it off your social media feed. And, skip any hashtags or references to the wedding.

5. Don’t assume your exempt from the rules. Close family and friends often feel like they are special. On the contrary, you should be setting the example. Even if you are a parent, close family or friends, you are expected to abide by the same rules.

6. Don’t be surprised when the newly married couple unfriends you on their own social media. If you ignored the many requests to unplug, you may have temporarily or permanently hurt a relationship.

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DIY Floral Bouquet

Materials

  • Flowers
  • Ribbon, Burlap
  • Floral Tape
  • Floral Scissors
  • Glue Gun
  • Embellishments

DIY Wedding Floral Bouquet - Home & Family

Directions

1) Remove excess leaves from flowers

2) Take flowers and begin to build bouquet, alternating flowers one at a time.

3) As you add flowers, turn bouquet around (this gives it an even look)

4) Once finished, tie together with floral tape

5) Add ribbon and embellishments

6) Store in water until ready to use

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