Choosing Your Wedding Dress/Space Coast Wedding Photographer
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Like every other clothing line, trends come and go in the wedding gown industry. Thankfully my brides are independent minded, smart women that tend to choose the style that looks great on them and makes them feel oh-so-special on their wedding day rather than getting caught up in the latest fashion…………unless that latest fashion is the perfect style for her. Sometimes "trends" can give you a greater selection of the style you already love, which is an added plus! So this year, I'm loving the styles.
For example, I'm noticing a trend toward illusion necklines, which is super cool because not every bride looks her best or feels comfortable in that strapless dress. The illusion neckline is the best of both worlds, hence the illusion of strapless but with some sheer, elegant coverage. Lace, lace, lace. This year everyone seems to love it, and so do I.
Recently I met up with Cami, the owner, at Aurora Bridal Boutique in Melbourne and she demonstrated one of these styles with my gracious and beautiful model, Savannah. I love dresses that can be easily changed for a new look. The sheer jacket is easily detached and with that, you can have a completely 2nd style. Great for receptions, when you want to change things up a bit.
I learned so much from chatting with Cami. Here are a few of her tips to consider before shopping for that once in a lifetime dress:
1. Before you start shopping for your gown, establish your budget and look only at dresses in that price point. Nothing is more disappointing that finding a gown you love only to find it is out of your price range. There are so many beautiful dresses to choose from so don't stress over the price, just keep your boundaries and be realistic.
2. Shop and get to know you local wedding gown vendors for great service and a guarantee that everything will be altered correctly and delivered on time for your special day. Aurora Bridal is family owned and has been in our community for over 18 years. I was smitten with Aurora Bridal from the get go. Aurora had provided the dress for my first bride ( wedding photography). I was so touched by the personal handwritten note she had written on the bride's dress hanger. Just added something special to the day. So thoughtful. Cami does that for all her brides!
3. Bring pictures to your consultation of gowns styles that you love. Helps to define your taste and saves lots of time.
4. Bring only a couple of people with you for your gown consultation. This is your wedding gown and too many opinions can make you feel very frustrated and unsure of your choice. Buy the gown that is perfect for you. Not the gown your Mother wishes she had worn or the gown your best friend is dreaming of for herself.
5. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN WHEN GOWN SHOPPING.
6. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN WHEN GOWN SHOPPING!
7. And finally, just like florals, there is no "right or wrong" in choosing you wedding gown. If the first gown you try on feels magical, then go for it, only after sleeping on it! If you love your dress, you will be beautiful . End of story!
Still longing for more? Check out this helpful article for lots more tips. And make sure Aurora Bridal is your first stop when searching for your wedding gown and dresses. You'll love the staff there. Warm, friendly, helpful and ready to share in the joy of your special day!
on Sep-28 12
Good Reads & Headshots/Melbourne Beach Photographer
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Good Reads & Headshots
This summer has been filled with lots and lots of book reads. Last year I began downloading books for my iPad and it's the coolest way to read. So many pluses even though lots of people still prefer paper print, I am in reader's heaven. I love being able to get a word definition pronto, just by touch. And no more need for a night light. I know I'm quirky but I love the clean feel of the iPad vs paper. And less trees are lost from paper but I'm betting it takes a ton of other precious resources to make an iPad, too……Anyhooo, moving along cause the vibes I'm feeling about now are not ones of support, internet world.
So, from time, to time, I'll share some of my good reads and would love it if you shared some of your "must reads", too. I love searching out books that are not necessarily the current reads/authors. Books that have intriguing first sentences or paragraphs thrill me. (Yes, I have NO life.) In fact, lots of times, I'll just read the first few lines, put the book aside and just think about that and what's in store….you know, kind of savor the moment. (Forgive me! It's just how I operate.)
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
This book, if you are a Mother, will be both gripping and heart tugging. What I never knew was during the period of slavery that there were also a number of Irish that were brought to this country as indentured servants. At age 7, Lavinia is orphaned while onboard ship and arrives at the steps of a tobacco plantain where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Without giving anymore away, it truly is tragic and filled with suspense.
Promises To Keep by Ann Tatlock
Excerpt from the Amazon site:
"Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper. Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life, and somehow manages to find her way "home" day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz's mother allows Tillie to move back in.
Mara Nightingale becomes Roz's first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together--both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise--"cross my heart and hope to die"--never to tell anyone else."
And just a few more by author Jodi Picoult (Anything written by Jodi Picoult is great. I love her style and characters.)
Nineteen Minutes Jodi Picoult
Harvesting The Heart Jodi Picoult
The Pact Jodi Picoult: Interesting note on this book. When I went back to the Amazon site, I saw this book ended up as a banned book. Wow! This book is an amazing, heart rendering book about two teenagers that grew up together, fell in love and has a tragic twist. Get you hands on this one. Really irks me that some group most likely lobbied to get this book banned because it involves teenage suicide.If anything, the book heightens our awareness of this problem and to look for solutions. Get real people that want to control what we read....how's that working for ya' (not!)?
And moving along, next, I'm sharing a few of Coral's headshots that we recently did for her. I just love Coral and would like to claim her as my own kid except she already has the best Mom ever!
Coral makes my job easy. Her photos require zero editing. She truly is a natural beauty.
The last one is my favorite, because she's 13 and letting me know that I don't know anything about being 13! Love it!
on Sep-26 12
Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Florist/ Fl Photographer
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Your wedding bouquet plays an important role in your special day. Imagine your wedding pictures without it! Just not as special, right?
Whether your bouquet is large and grand or simple and organic, it completes the picture.
While the flowers will last for the day, the memory of them lasts forever right along with your gorgeous dress, shoes and jewelry. Choosing your flowers is fun but can be a bit overwhelming. I sat down with LInda Fern Davis at Petals in Melbourne, Fl as I have seen her designs at many of my weddings and all of my brides love her flowers. (And yes, she told me "Fern" is really her middle name. Pretty cool!) Petals Design Center is located in the industrial part of Melbourne and she has the most unique setting for her store. It has a vintage, rustic, open air feel to the shop. Would actually be a great place for a photo shoot. Just really pretty so you'll have to stop in and see how different it is from the typical flower shop. Linda is so creative and some of her art work is also hanging in the shop.Linda is super creative and some of her art work is also hanging in the shop. In fact, her shop is a "boutique" with pretty much everything you can imagine from jewelry to clothing……….all unique pieces and not items you would find in other shops.
Before my meeting at Petals, I had no idea how to go about choosing a florist, but now I do! Thanks to Linda and her creative staff!
Listed are a few tips to get you started shopping for your wedding florals:
1.Choose a florist that has been around for a while! (Petals has been in our area since 1985.) Experience counts. Flowers that are not cared for properly will not last thru the day. Good florist make wise choices when selecting where they purchase their flowers. I can say that I have seen some flowers that wilt quickly (NOT FROM PETALS!) and I've always wondered why some last longer than others. So, where those flowers originate from is equally important to how they are cared for once they get to the florist and on to you.
2. Once you choose your dress colors, those are the colors to be used in your florals. Consider that when dress shopping.
3. Visit the florist that you plan to use. Petals has a great slideshow of many of their weddings so you can see first hand how their work looks on the wedding day. So look closely at their portfolio.
4. Current trends? Last year purple was a popular color. However, color is often dictated by season, i.e. icy silver in winter.
5. There are no hard and fast rules regarding florals. Today's weddings are more relaxed. So brides should feel free to be creative with their floral designs.
6. I was curious why most bridal bouquets today are tight vs soft, and flowing. So Linda educated me with two words "Martha Stewart". The longer, draping bouquet, I suppose, are more "old school" but I still think they are gorgeous and I just know one day one of my brides is going to go in that direction and pick orchids softly draping over the sides. Just. For. Me.
7. And the least fun tip I saved for last: Know your budget before you visit the florist and asked to be shown only choices in your price range. Definitely will decrease your stress and frustration. A beautiful wedding is not determined by how much money you are or not able to spend. Keeping it real will keep you happy throughout the wedding planning process.
To give you an idea of how cool Petals is here are a few pics of the shop:
Love this right? I can see an engagement couple here! These doors are actually for rent for weddings. Love......like, reaaallly love!
This piece was hand made by the crafters at Petals. They are amazing. Wouldn't this be a great piece to display your engagement picture or sign in book at your wedding? Or a place to display all the bouquets. I could even see this in MY house! Christmas present for me anyone??!!
Petals does color fabulously! That peacock is MR COOL! And he has friends!
My Petals Bride!
Barbara, the delivery person with the two girls that really "rule" the shop: Lilly Fern & Sophia Loren!
Still wanting more? Google tips for choosing a great wedding florist or just go here.
on Sep-19 12
VENDOR SPOTLIGHT/HILTON RIALTO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
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Something I have been wanting to do since forever is to spotlight a few of the great wedding vendors that I work with here in Brevard County. As a wedding photographer, I work closely with my brides and have seen upfront and close what makes them very happy and what has left them very disappointed with their vendors.
So today we're talking "venues"! What make a "great venue vendor?" The answer is pretty simple, albeit, lengthy so I'll list a few things to get you started before booking your wedding. Brides currently searching for venue vendors, this post will be helpful because as it's not about actually choosing a location but things to know before you book any location, anywhere. Even if your event is not local, these basic tips will take you a long way towards avoiding a bad experience. And, believe me, they're out there!!!
First, my brides really appreciate knowing their photographer has a solid relationship with their venue of choice or at least, is willing to go the extra mile to forge one! In fact, it gives them so much confidence when they say "I'm considering ___ venue as my choice" and I can honestly say "Yes, I know that vendor…..You can't go wrong with that choice." it is very reassuring to the bride and tells her everyone is a part of the team. After all, pulling off a wedding beautifully and successfully definitely requires the team approach! So, it is an added bonus if your vendors have worked together in the past or will be willing to connect in advance of your special day. If one of my brides has chosen a venue that I have never worked with in the past, I immediately contact them to become acquainted. Really helps to be on same page. It's a big deal. Even though we wear different hats and play different roles……….again it's all about that teamwork approach where the sum of the parts make the whole picture come together seamlessly!
For example, if one of my brides has chosen a venue that I have not photographed at before, I do everything I can to familiarize myself with that location. I will do a walk thru with the bride to talk about photographic opportunities and to gather ideas of what the bride has in mind for her treasured wedding album. (If distance doesn't permit an advance visit, I certainly get to the location early to scope out great photo locations!)
Once you have narrowed down the vicinity of where your wedding will be, the size of your wedding party AND your budget, here are some of the more practical things to keep in mind:
1. Before you sign a contract, read it carefully. One of the things that I hear over and over again is extra things were "promised" to the bride that don't get delivered. (The sky is the limit here, from chocolate fountains to bubble machines!) If it isn't listed in your contract, don't count on it. Staff members do change and you may not be dealing with same person by the time your wedding day comes around.
2. Who will be supervising and trouble shooting on the day of your wedding? Sometimes the sales/catering staff is on location for a portion of the event, some are there only briefly. They are not wedding co-ordinators, so be careful of your expectations. Having said that, some do an absolutely amazing job and are willing to go the extra mile just for you!
3. Make sure there are no surprises on your big day other than gifts from your guests! Know exactly what you expected to supply for the event and most important, what items are considered "extras", leading to up charges.
4. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING.
5. And finally, trust your instinct. The treatment you receive from the staff from the get go is indicative of what you can expect when your big day arrives. Do they go out of their way to be helpful? Do they value your business or do you feel like "just another bride"? Pay attention to how you are treated by all service people not just the sales staff because they will be a big part of your day!
Still want more tips? Here's a fantastic list. Very inclusive and more succinct than I could ever be, AND……….HAPPY PLANNING!
LOCAL VENUE SPOTLIGHT:
I have been anxious to sit down with Kelly at The Hilton Rialto in Melbourne since I photographed Stephanie + Brian's wedding there a few months back. It was nice to have a more "urban" setting as The Rialto is inland rather than beachside, although it's really only minutes from the beach with the added convenience of being minutes from the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport.
The Rialto has some pretty unique features. The rooms have floor to ceiling windows and I remember first stepping into Stephanie's bridal suite on the day of her wedding and seeing all the glorious light from the windows….As a photographer, I was super happy from that point forward. Great natural light makes for beautiful wedding photos. Something to remember to check out when booking your venue. Also unique to the Rialto is the 6400 sq ft ballroom that holds up to 400 people. Not too many large venue facilities in the area, so that's a plus. But really, what made the biggest impression on me was the service. More times than I'd like to say, photographers/vendors are seen by staff as "outsiders" taking up their time. After all, we're not "paying" guests. Heck, sometimes I think they'd just as soon see us starve thru dinner not realizing what a disservice to the couple, as a hungry photographer doesn't make great photos. Ok, I digress. I knew I'd have a good experience photographing at the Rialto as the minute I arrived, I was greeted so warmly with an offer to show me to the bridal suite. I almost fainted when the bellhop even offered to carry my "heavy" camera bag! I wanted to take him on the road with me because that was truly out of the ordinary. Thank you! So, if I was getting such great treatment, I knew for sure my bride was being taken care of, and that's what it's all about……..Attention to service an detail.
Thank you Kelly for taking the time to meet with me for this interview and to get to know you for my future brides. I truly appreciated it.
Looking for a great venue? Give Kelly a call at Ph: 321.768.0200, meet with her. She's so warm and personable……….with some really cute little kiddo pictures in her office, too. Oh, and I learned something I did not know previous to meeting with Kelly. Their wedding packages include a one year anniversary night at the hotel, complete with champagne and strawberries. How unique and why am I NOT surprised! Makes me want to get married again just for the anniversary part!
Next up, vendor blog posts for florals AND something that all wedding guest come to see: The Dress!
on Sep-11 12
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