Plymouth CA Same Sex Wedding

Interviews: The Texas LGBTQ Wedding Experience

June 26th, 2015 was a day that changed the lives of many people in the United States. It was one of those days, that ingrained into many people, the memory of exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. For a few of my friends in Texas, waiting on the state to make same-sex marriage legal was beginning to feel like a hopeless dream but that Friday changed it all. On June 26, 2015, The Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage in all States and tears of joy, excitement, and hope were shed all around. Once they heard the news, couples could finally begin making those long-awaited ceremony plans. From where to find wedding photographers who shared a vision for their wedding (like…ahem, Lauren Lindley), to which traditional wedding aspects they should include. One of my oldest family friends was one of those couples who began planning. So, in honor of the recently celebrated Pride Parade in Austin, TX, I asked her and her close friend to share their Texas LGBTQ wedding experience. I believe these stories will help all couples find some joy, hope, advice and encouragement from reading.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Liz and Traci
Wedding Date: Dec 10th, 2015
Venue: Private Estate Backyard

How long have you been married? 1 year and 9 months

Tell me how you met. We met in Jr. HS. Liz asked Tracy to the Valentine’s Dance. Tracy said yes!

Was there an official proposal? If so, who Proposed? Yes! Liz proposed in California on Sunset Beach, at sunset. (I’ve been chasing Tracy for years. It was only appropriate to finally propose). We were also pregnant and thought we should act fast just in case something was overturned.

Did you decide to get married pre-supreme court decision or post?   We wanted to before but we were also expecting a baby. To protect my (Liz’s) rights, it seemed logical to rush it more than we originally had discussed.

Did that ruling affect your decision? Yes, to get married sooner rather than later. We were really worried it wouldn’t stick and hoping we could get grandfathered in.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Did you both want to have a wedding?  If not, why not?  Yes, but we dreamed of more of wedding ceremony with more family and friends present and not so much
of an elopement.

Were your families accepting of a wedding? If not, what were some of their concerns? Yes, our families were totally good with it. They were only sad they couldn’t all be there.

Did you decide on a big or small wedding?  Why? We did small for sake of time. We plan on throwing a bigger one at our 5-year anniversary.

Did you bring the standard traditions into your wedding (Ex: Father/Daughter Dance, throwing of the bouquet, etc.)? No, but we did write our own vows, and Tracy’s daughter held the rings.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Were there any new traditions you started? I’m not sure. We wrote our vows (not sure if that’s traditional or not), we had everyone we knew involved in some way at least. Sister-in-law signed our marriage certificate with the county, best friend was the officiant, our other sister-in- law was our photographer, we used our friend’s backyard, and our other friends made some yummy foods for after.

Did you have any vendors or did you completely do it on your own? Why? Completely on our own. Mostly because it was small and not necessary to use vendors.

Did you come across any discrimination during your planning? No, even getting our marriage license in small town Lampasas, just so Tracy’s sister could sign it, was still very welcoming.

Did you feel like you were treated like a heterosexual engaged couple? We just felt like a couple getting married. That’s all we ever wanted.

Tell me about your wedding day.  How did you feel after it was over? It was short and sweet. Even as I (Liz) was running a 103 temp, I still couldn’t be happier to look Tracy in the eyes to say I’d love to spend my life with her.

What tips would you give other same-sex couples preparing to plan their wedding in Texas?  Don’t give in to hate.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Prior to this interview, I had never heard Liz and Traci’s complete story but I will say that any couple can walk away from reading this with a few beautiful takeaways.

1. Elope!

(Just kidding, well maybe but definitely hire a photographer if you do)! But I think the takeaway from elopement is if you find love and you know, go for it. Life is unpredictable and if you wait for the perfect moment, you may never have it. See the opening and take it.

2. Even though Texas is a conservative state, most people are still good.

Texas gets a bad rap for being politically conservative and when it comes to politics and politicians that may be true, but the great thing about actual Texans is that they believe in decency and respect and most residents will still make sure you feel that.

3. Involve people who love and accept you in your wedding.

This day should be about you and your love, don’t allow people to come in and bring dark clouds to your special day. Don’t give in to another person’s hate. Surround yourself with love.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Landing Resort Wedding | Lake Tahoe, CA | Jaymee + Jacob

When you grow up in New Orleans, no wedding is complete without a second line.  New Orleans is my favorite city in the world, and in fact, I am spending most of October there.  A second line is basically a parade – the main line, or the first half, is the brass line.  Those who follow the band are the second line.  You parade for any celebration in New Orleans: a funeral, a wedding, for mardi gras, for festival season, for no reason whatsoever.  Umbrellas and handkerchiefs (napkins will do) are essential, so when I showed up to photograph details in the tent for Jaymee and Jacob’s Landing Resort wedding and discovered feathered umbrellas on the back of their chairs, well, I knew that we were going to have a second line and I got VERY excited.  

Not only was there a second line, but Jaymee and Jacob’s diverse group of friends brought a dance party like no other to their celebration.  I have been blessed with a number of epic dance parties this year, but theirs is definitely in the top three.  I had such a blast

Venue and Catering: The Landing Resort and Spa | Florist: EcoFlower | Bakery: Tahoe Cakes by Grace | DJ: High Sierra Sounds | Bride’s Attire: The Ultimate Bride | Bridesmaid Attire: Jenny Yoo | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Second Photographer: Finger lickin’ good Nicky Lockman

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North Tahoe Lodge Wedding

North Tahoe Lodge Wedding | Truckee, CA | Agnes + Laurence

It’s freezing today in Tahoe.  Actually, it’s been freezing all week.  As I was trying to decide what amazing wedding to share from this past wedding season on the blog, the cold temps, banana bread in the oven, and the promise of fall from the chill in the air reminded me of Agnes and Laurence’s private estate North Tahoe Lodge wedding in Truckee from this past spring.  There was still piles of snow.  So much snow, in fact, that their guests spent an entire afternoon clearing the deck of snow for their ceremony.  

Agnes and Laurence wanted to have a small, intimate celebration surrounded by friends and family.  They wanted amazing food, lots of laughter, and great photos.  I have to say, that when you are one of two vendors, it makes you feel incredibly unbelievably special.  (I’ll try not to let it go to my head, Agnes).  

Agnes is Polish and customarily, at a Polish wedding, the father presents the couple with two glasses – one of vodka, one of water. They are offered first to the bride, who must make her selection without knowing which is which. Tradition says that whoever ends up with the glass of vodka will be the dominant partner in the relationship.  I think you can tell by the photos which way this ended!

Agnes and Laurence, it was an honor to be part of your day and even bigger honor to be so valued.  I firmly believe that your wedding day should be a day where you celebrate with the friends and family closest to you and that the pomp, circumstance, and traditions aren’t that necessary so when clients find me that not only believe, but exemplify the same values, it makes my heart sing to be part of the day.

Venue:  The North Tahoe Lodge | Caterer: Blend | Bride’s Attire: Glamour Closet | Second shooting service of the sassy shutterbug Shaunte Dittmar

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Resources for black brides

Top Wedding Planning Resources for African American Brides

So, the love of your life just popped the question.  His proposal took you down memory lane through all the important locations in your relationship. You stopped at the soul food restaurant where you shared your first meal (and date) together, he led you to the jazz club where the resident saxophonist knocked your socks off and he first told you he loved you then took you on a walk where he had a friend waiting to play your favorite Marvin Gaye song as he dropped to his knees for the proposal.  You said yes, of course, and within two minutes the excitement of wedding planning burrowed its way into your thoughts.  You can’t wait to get started.

Resources for black brides

The next day, you head out to grab every bridal magazine on the shelves and while looking for makeup ideas come to a screeching halt.  Where are all the black brides??? Where are the makeup looks for women with brown skin?  Of course, you already knew this was an issue in regular magazines but it never bothered you until now.  Where will you find a DJ who knows the difference between regular rap and “trap” music?  Will you find a bartender who plans to keep more dark liquor than beer on deck at your wedding? Who will understand that you need a dress that will flatter your curves without having to make alterations that cost hundreds more?  Do resources for African American brides even exist?  

Resources for black brides Resources for black brides

The wedding industry is overwhelmingly, frustratingly white.  There’s a lot of things that irritate me about the industry that my profession is part of, and this is one of them.  As a black bride, it’s hard to ignore the lack of resources available to you that showcase the wedding traditions and looks that are important to your family.  To help alleviate some of the stress of finding them on your own, we have compiled a list of resources that have proven helpful for black brides all around the country.

Black Bride

Black Bride is a site specifically dedicated to African American brides. This site posts articles on topics that affect women of color as they plan their weddings and the events leading up to and following their special day.  According to the site, they “are committed to being a resource to women of color as they embark on one of the most important days of their lives, and beyond.” Black Bride not only offers online resources, but they also put out a magazine, host black bride events, and post helpful and uplifting articles on life after marriage.  The site features a list of vendors categorized by type of business and location, wedding planning tips and a photo gallery full of ideas that would rival Pinterest boards. They have an Instagram account that you should definitely follow for quick ideas. This site is pretty much a one stop shop for black brides looking for inspiration and planning guidance.

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Black Bridal Bliss

Black Bridal Bliss is like your college roommate’s best friend who knew everybody on campus, including those who threw the best parties and where to buy the best outfits for said parties.  The owner of the site, Bridgette Bartlett Royall, was probably that girl.  The site is user-friendly and appeals to all types of black brides.  The ‘About’ page states that the “site showcases content for Black brides and their nuptials – from big to basic; budget to ballin’ and everything in between.” The site is approachable and unique in the fact that it not only offers helpful advice on planning your honeymoon but also list things like recommendations of solid financial advisors. Every Tuesday, the site features a segment called, “Tie the Knot Tuesdays,” which highlights real weddings and often posts Q&A sessions with industry professionals.  One of the best aspects ofBlack Bridal Bliss is its style section.  This section offers style ideas on everything from guest party favors to -of course the much-asked question- what to do with your hair on your wedding day?  Go ahead, kick your shoes off and gather knowledge from this site over a cup of tea.  You won’t regret it.

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Munaluchi Bridal

Last, but certainly not least, Munaluchi Bride makes the cut on our list as one of the best resources out there for Black brides.   My favorite destination wedding planner, Tamara Jones of Tamara J Events, recommends Munaluchi over all others because “it was one of the first publications to actively seek a place in the creative space for brides of color.” In addition, when surveying recent Black brides, this resource came up as one that they used the most. First of all, I tried not to get stuck on the insanely beautiful meaning of the site name.  From their ‘About’ page: (Munaluchi) is the combination of two African names, which when fused together mean, “Beautiful Work of God.”  Y’all, that alone gave me hope that this site knows its Black wedding planning stuff.  It starts by acknowledging the fact that Black brides are often made to feel less than beautiful when approaching vendors and jumping into the wedding planning process.  As mentioned above, being left out of all the magazines can certainly do a number on your psyche. This site immediately begins to heal that hurt and make you feel welcome, but I digress…

Munaluchi is slightly different than the other sites mentioned above because it not only serves the Black bride, but it focuses on all multi-cultural brides.  The ‘About’ page states: “We cater to the growing multi-cultural wedding and events industry throughout the world with a vertical online marketplace connecting engaged couples to event professionals.” That line alone explains the best feature of the site: the vendors list.  The vendor list is extensive.  You can search for what you need based on specialty and location. To make the vendors list even more beneficial, Munaluchi Bride weeds out all those not really interested in serving the multi-cultural bride by having vendors fill out an application form and charging a membership fee for those who want to advertise on the site. Munaluchi also hosts wedding events in different cities so you have a chance to meet a few of them yourself.  For all of the multicultural brides out there looking for vendors who won’t automatically assume that you are an “Angry Black Woman” just because you say ‘no’ to a suggestion, this is the place for you.  

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Big thanks to my writer, the amazing Tashara Mitchell of Austin, TX, who has been working hard to help me craft posts that are inclusive and diverse.  It’s important to me to make sure that everyone is represented in my work and she’s the badass who is helping.  If you need marketing and ghost writing services, I can’t recommend her enough.

Tahoe wedding Photography

Turtle Rock Park Wedding | Markleeville, CA | Adam + Terin

My friend Terin is one crafty lady, and I don’t mean like a fox.  She’s so crafty that she and some of her best girlfriends host weekly craft nights.  They make, build and design things I wouldn’t even start to dream of.  Like quilts.  I’m pretty sure that’s a thing they’ve done that I don’t do.  I don’t even bother with a crafting club.  I straight up just go to Girls’ Drinking Club.  In fact, I’ve previously vowed to drink more wine just so that I have more corks to give to Jenna Palacio to craft me a wine cork wreath.  Moral of this story: Terin is a master crafter and she killed it at the DIY wedding.  Terin: 1.  Lauren: 0.  

When Terin started planning her wedding to another one of my good friends, Adam, she had the help of her family and friends to transform what is normally a bland looking cafeteria room at a local state park into the place of her dreams.  I was blown away by how they managed to turn Turtle Rock Park into a lush, intimate oasis.  It was nothing short of incredible.

Almost everything at Adam and Terin’s gorgeous Turtle Rock Park wedding was DIY: her sister made hundreds of tiny cheesecake cupcakes, she wore a reconstructed version of her mother’s wedding dress, they invented, built or designed all the table decor and screens for the ceiling, her mom made their bouquets, they created all the table runners and centerpieces themselves.  Seriously.

Adam and Terin were wed at an hilarity filled ceremony, peppered with tears and sentimentality, at a private estate at the edge of the Sierra Nevadas, overlooking the Nevada valley.  On our way there, they wanted to highlight all the scenery our backyard offers us, so the wedding party stopped in Hope Valley for photos.  The party got wild and went late into the night thanks to the boys at Liquid Craft mobile bartending and Dylan with Lake Tahoe DJ.  Adam is apparently also creative: he wrote Terin a song.  And then he sung it.  In front of everyone.  Meanwhile, everyone cried and laughed and then cried and laughed and then realized that Adam ruined weddings forever for all of their future because no one can top that.  Adam: 1.  Everyone else: 0.

Venue: Private Estate and Turtle Rock Park | Day of Coordinator: Shana Conway Schmidt | Mobile Bar: Liquid Craft | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Bakery: Corie King (sister of the bride) | Catering: Stephen Moise | Bridesmaid Attire: Azazie | Groom’s Apparel: Amazon | Hair and Makeup: Katie White at Tahoe Salon Be | Rentals: Camelot Rentals | Second Photographer: Red, White and Brian Walker 

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Top Wedding Hashtags

Edgewood Wedding | Stateline, NV | Carolyn + Robert

In a strange turn of events, Carolyn and Robert ended up moving their Edgewood wedding to a completely different weekend after they booked me, which meant that I had not one but two back to back amazing Edgewood weddings on the same weekend.  I couldn’t believe my luck to end up with such fun awesome people for an entire weekend.  

Carolyn and Robert are amazing: they are super laid back and classic.  They wanted their wedding day to be a simple, classy celebration of their love for each other and I think they excelled at their grand vision.  Rev. Dr Osburn has known Carolyn all of her life and his ceremony was both personal and touching.  Their dog, Khaleesi, stole the show as the ring bearer and was only upstaged by one of the more epic Tahoe sunsets I’ve ever seen in my 11 year history here.  The sky was every color of the crayon box in 360 degrees.  I clearly couldn’t choose just one sunset portrait to include on their post so obviously there’s just way too many photos in here.  

Venue and Catering: Edgewood Golf Course and Resort | Day of Coordinator: Lindsay Johnson with Blue Sky Events | Officiant: Rev. Dr. Chuck Osburn | Florist: Thran’s | Invitations: Minted | Bakery: Flour Girl | DJ: Lake Tahoe DJ | Strings: Blue Forest Duo | Bride’s Attire: Trudy’s | Veil: Alt Brides | Bridal Party Attire: Lulu’s | Groom’s Attire: Tailors Keep | Hair and Make-up: Tahoe Salon Be | Second Photographer: The Quicker Picker Upper Nicky Lockman of Nemus Photography.

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Mercury Hall Wedding

Perfect Wedding Venues for Your Outdoor Austin Wedding

“The stars at night are big and bright…. Deep in the heart of Texas.”  Indeed, they are.  If you have never heard of that song, two things:  You either did not attend elementary school in Texas where you were required to sing it for nearly every school performance, or you have not visited the Lone Star State during Texas Independence Day.  Either way, if you want the ultimate romantic backdrop for your wedding, look no further than the great outdoors, in the great state of Texas, specifically, in the city of Austin, which is in the actual heart of Texas.  Or, as my mother refers to it: The Holy Land. Austin offers an array of outdoor venues that set the perfect scene for your special day. Here are two outdoor Austin wedding venues that are worth checking out:

outdoor Austin wedding venues

 

 

Mercury Hall

The Scene:

You can find Mercury Hall on a secluded hilltop in the middle of the city.  This unique venue is just a few minutes from downtown Austin, but when you enter the property, you feel like you are in a small country town.  The venue features both an indoor and outdoor space, so there’s no need to fear the sometimes-problematic Texas weather.

The Important Stuff:

Wedding packages feature the venue rental in 5 or 10-hour intervals.  The rental includes both Mercury Hall (1400 square feet) and the outdoor courtyard (1800 square feet). Combined they seat up to 250 people.  If the weather is feeling extra angsty that day however, the hall itself will comfortably seat about 150 guests.  There are 75 parking spaces available, so you may need to consider renting a shuttle for guests or creating a carpooling system.

outdoor Austin wedding venues

Summary:

Mercury Hall may be the perfect venue for you if you are planning a smaller more intimate event and you want guests to be in the city near downtown and hotels. This location also provides you with a backup plan for your outdoor ceremony, in case the weather does not cooperate that day.

outdoor Austin wedding venues

The Inn at Wild Rose Hall

The Scene: If you ever dreamed of becoming a fairy and frolicking through the enchanted forest, then this is the venue for you. The Inn at Wild Rose Hall is a 4500-sq. ft. ranch about 20 minutes outside of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. The venue is both eclectic and charming and is surrounded by a forested area of Texas oak trees. Every inch of space seems to be set up for the perfect photograph.  To add to its appeal, it’s the former home of Tommy Shannon, the bass player for Stevie Ray Vaughn!  Oh, and did I mention there are farm animals?

The Important Stuff:

There are two main wedding packages available at the Inn. One is the full day option, which includes access to the property for your full wedding day. The other is the weekend package, which gives you lodging for up to 12 people (5 bedrooms plus a sleeper sofa) for two nights and access to the property from 2pm on Friday until 11am Sunday morning.  The venue is mostly outdoors, with a small indoor area so, fingers crossed here for great weather (choose your dates wisely). The owners truly value the care of the property so from March to November, the maximum guest count is 150 and from December to February, the maximum number of guests is set at 100. There is parking for up to 100 cars on the property and shuttle service is allowed.

outdoor Austin wedding venues

Summary:

The Inn at Wild Rose Hall is one of Austin’s best kept venue secrets and is ideal for you if you are planning a wedding during months of anticipated perfect weather or if you’ve ever had fantasies of being a character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  It’s a magical place where you can be certain to catch the twinkling lights of the Texas stars.

Outdoor Austin Wedding Venues

Final tips for having an outdoor wedding in Austin, TX

These are just two of the unique outdoor venues that Austin offers. Keep in mind that these would be most ideal in perfect weather.  Texas’ weather however, can be a bit unforgiving certain times of the year, and late June-September in Austin tends to be extra sweltering. So, unless the idea of seeing sweat in the armpits of all of your groomsmen in your wedding photos sounds creative to you, when planning a wedding in those months, do your guests a favor and consider a venue that also includes an indoor space (with a fully functioning air conditioning unit).

outdoor Austin wedding venues

Top Wedding Hashtags

Top Wedding #Hashtags and Why You Should Have One

So, do you really need a wedding hashtag?  I mean, do you want to be one of those cliché couples just trying to be a part of the “in” crowd?  Well, in short, heck yea you do! Well, you don’t need that pound sign in front of a catchy tagline just to be a part of the “in” crowd, but there are tons of reasons to have one. Here are a few of them, including a short list of awesome top wedding hashtags to get you started in creating your own:

3 Reasons Why You Need a Wedding Hashtag

1. People who were not invited to the wedding festivities can still see some of the action

The people you truly love, who either could not make it to the wedding, the events leading up to it or who you just didn’t have space to invite, can do a quick search of your hashtag and still be a small part of your amazing day.  

Top Wedding Hashtags

This leads us to the importance of coming up with your hashtag early.

Some couples are so ready for this, they post an engagement picture on social media with the hashtag already attached. The earlier you use it, the earlier you and your favorite people can start keeping up with all the action-packed wedding events— from the engagement party to the reception after party (for the all-night partiers there!)

2.  You get a chance to see wedding photos prior to getting your professionally edited package.

If you are like me, waiting for anything drives you nuts.  I have a hard time standing in front of the microwave for 30 seconds just to warm up my 4-hour-old coffee (don’t judge).  I know, you want your wedding photos to be perfectly edited so that you have beautiful memories that last forever, like right now.  Let’s face it, that process takes time and for good reason. BUT, with a wedding hashtag that your guests use, you don’t have to wait!  You can check out pictures from your wedding as soon as you slip out of the reception and off to your room for the night. Unfortunately, that may also include the up close and personal selfies of Uncle Joe and his new wife making kissing faces on the dance floor.

Top Wedding Hashtags

3.  They’re fun to make!

Some wedding hashtags are just down right clever and they are equally fun to make and fun to use. They can add a touch of your personality to your wedding events and can be used multiple times from the engagement party through the honeymoon.  However, you do want to make them unique so that clicking on them doesn’t bring up photos from weddings all over the country.  Don’t worry, I can help with that!

Top Wedding Hashtags

Here are eight super clever wedding hashtags to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. #SignedSealedSavage

This one goes above and beyond by including both awesome alliteration, a play on a famous song lyric, and the couple’s name.  Poetic stylistic devices are the way to my heart for sure! #Overachievers!

Top Wedding Hashtags

Carolyn and Robert’s Edgewood wedding hashtag was a fantastic twist on a common song lyric combined with their last name.

2.  #WhiteOnRice

Okay, this one might be a bit too stereotypical for some of you, but the bride had some fun with it.  This one belongs to a friend of mine.  The bride is from Indonesia and the groom’s last name is White, so obviously to them, this was hilarious.

3.  #WeTakeMammoth

If you have the last name that simply does not fit with anything, how about throwing in the wedding location.  No need to tag the wedding location on social media when it’s included in the hashtag. 

Top Wedding Hashtags

The excitement was infectious at Kelly and Vance’s Mammoth Lakes wedding.

4.  #AllCoopedUp

Mark’s last name is Cooper so this was the perfect hashtag to do both a clever play on words and utilize Julia’s new last name.  

Top Wedding Hashtags

Mark and Julia’s wedding hashtag #allcoopedup featured a play on a common idiom combined with their last name.

5. #Morgawattiestheknot

Morgan and Vittawat combined their names in a cute way that not only rhymes, but ends in a common wedding phrase.  Explore ways that you may be able to do the same!

Top Wedding Hashtags

Morgan and Vittawat get married next year and I can’t wait to photograph their wedding!

6.  #ClausforCelebration

A little alliteration never hurt anybody.  The groom’s name is Nick Claus, they brought Christmas themed photo booth props with them and their cake topper was a Santa and Mrs. Claus.  It couldn’t be more perfect and I literally could not make that up if I wanted to.   

Top Wedding Hashtags

It was a serious celebration the day Nick Claus wed Kelsey!

7. #EyebrowsAndVows

Why not include your career? This is what you get when the bride’s an esthetician!

8.  #ItsASmallWorld2015

Occasionally a hashtag you want is extremely popular.  You don’t want to click on your hashtag and find pictures of the weddings of every couple with your last name for 2000 miles.  When that happens, you can simply throw in a special date to make it a bit more unique.  Maybe your wedding year or month and day: any special date you share would work for this one.  

Top Wedding Hashtags

Rachel and Thomas made sure their hashtag was unique by tying their last name into a date.

#HashtagAway!

Did this spark your desire to create an awesome wedding hashtag? Use it as an opportunity to share your personality as a couple and capture those awesome memories for you and those you love. Now, go forth and add to the list!

Edgewood Lake Tahoe Wedding | Julia + Mark

When Julia first hired me for her Edgewood Lake Tahoe Wedding, I wasn’t totally sure why.  She is the opposite of most of my couples: super type A, extremely hands on, incredibly attentive to minute details of everything.  I can only imagine what her wedding binder looked like.  She would write me essays of emails and I’d be incredibly confused.  As a super Type A person myself, it was baffling to get such lengthy discussions from someone because most people just (rightfully) assume I’m going to take care of business, because that’s what I do.  

And then I met her.  And then I fell in love with her.  I realized that’s just her innate personality.  When I met the two of them for their engagement session, I also discovered that her now-husband loves her for it because he jokingly and lovingly asked me how many lengthy emails she’d already sent me.  When I stayed late to hang out at their wedding party and finish out the night with them, simply because I wanted to, her dad asked me if he owed me anything extra and I said, “of course not.”  “But why?”  I answered with the first thing to come to mind, an echo of her sister’s toast earlier in the evening, “Because Julia.”  

“Julia demands excellence,” her sister had said during the toast.  It is incredibly true, but not entirely true.  For me, Julia inspires excellence through her demand.  I loved being part of her wedding day because I wanted SO badly to do an exceptional job for her.  Despite her lengthy emails and long questions, I was oddly convinced that she inherently trusted me completely, which is not would I would expect when you mix my personality with hers.  But that’s exactly what happened: Julia motivated me to produce the best I could for her that day.  

Mark and Julia are now my friends.  In fact, I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in Chicago, just down the street from where I am meeting her later tonight for wine.  I’m really happy with the work I did for them.  I’m thankful that not only did she hire me, but that she trusted me and emboldened me to produce work that I’m incredibly proud of.  A second big thanks goes out to Nicky Lockman who was my right hand lady that day and contributed excellent work to their wedding gallery as well, some of which is included in these highlight photos.

Mark and Julia, congratulations.  Thanks for demanding excellence and allowing me to arise to the occasion.  It was an honor to be part of your wedding day.

Venue and Catering: Edgewood Golf Course and Resort | Officiant: Rev. Ronald Sayed | Florist: Thran’s | Invitations: David’s Bridal | Bakery: Raley’s | DJ: Ascent DJ Productions | Harpist: Annie Roos | Bride’s Attire: Maggie Sottero gown from J’aime Bridal | Veil: Bel Aire | Bridal Party Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse |Hair and Make-up: Tahoe Salon Be | Second Photographer: the incredible non-edible Nicky Lockman of Nemus Photography

Getting ready photosWedding Party PhotosEdgewood WeddingGrand entrance danceWedding ToastsWedding portraitsWedding Reception dancing

wedding guest drinking

Creative Ways to Keep Your Open Bar Reception Classy

In Honor of National Tequila Day Last Week, Let’s Take a Look At a Very Important Piece of Your Wedding Planning–

The open bar.

A moment of honesty here. Initially this post was going to be about the pros and cons of having an open bar at your wedding, but who are we kidding? An open bar reception is just the right thing to do. It’s a kickback gift for all the family and friends who traveled near and far to see you commit forever to the love of your life.  They have paid for flights and purchased entire dishware sets and margarita machines all because of their love for you. They deserve this—a night of celebration, dancing and yes, free booze.  

 

wedding guests dancing

So, what’s the issue?

Of course, there are always concerns about those family members and friends who like to have a “really good time” (AKA, sloppy drunk Uncle Sean and drunken diva Aunt Debra). So instead of trying to convince you to go alcohol-free, here are a few creative ideas to keep everyone having a good time, while making sure they don’t end up dancing pantsless on your cake table before the night is over.

wedding guests

1. Offer a signature drink and limit the bar.

By “limit” I don’t mean limiting the amount of time people can drink or the number of drinks they can have, which some couples opt to do. Because doing that may also limit the lowered inhibitions that would lead people to the dance floor.  We are talking instead about limiting the drink options.  You don’t have to serve every guest their liquor of choice the whole night, which may inevitably cause the dancing on the tables we discussed earlier. (Think of your newly-turned-21-year-old cousin Dylan, taking Fireball shots like candy).  

Consider serving only wine, beer, and a signature drink or two of your choice.  You can make the signature drink something fun that matches your personality as a couple.  My personal favorite would be the frozen margarita because well, ice cold tequila, oh and memories of that awesome Spring Break trip to south Texas senior year in college. Make it your own, it is after all, your day as a couple.  If a guest doesn’t like the signature drink, that will prevent excessive trips to the bar, but a beer or two might get them just giddy enough to participate in the “Chicken Dance” as the night rolls on.

signature wedding drink

2.  Bring out a food truck

This may sound a little weird, but the point is to make sure that your guests have food the whole night.  A full stomach is a great way to slow down the abundance of alcohol hitting a person’s system.  I was a guest at a wedding once, where the couple offered table service for dinner, but towards the later parts of the reception they had friends bring their food truck out and offer free fries, appetizers and other “greasy style” bar food. Yes, people kept drinking the whole night all their drinks of choice, but there were plenty of guests who took breaks to check out the food truck options. If your venue won’t allow a food truck, consider bringing out some after dinner salty snacks that may match your menu.

crepe maker

3.  Hire the “Soup Nazi” as your bartender

There is an episode of Seinfeld where all the friends fall in love with this amazing soup shop.  The owner however, is called the “Soup Nazi” because of his incendiary temperament and the strict manner he requires customers to behave when ordering.  If he doesn’t like your behavior, then “no soup for you.” This is the bartender you need for your open bar, just substitute “soup” for “drinks.”  No one wants to be the bride having to monitor their guests drinking behavior, and it really isn’t a task you want to pass along to your wedding party if you can avoid it.  If you’re having a Tahoe wedding, Tahoe local and Liquid Craft mobile bar owner is the perfect choice for this.  

So, try hiring a bartender who isn’t afraid to say no if they believe your guests are headed towards a “Coyote Ugly” style bar dance after one more drink.  If you know you have that crazy cousin who has a history of going too far when alcohol hits their system, you can also give your bartender a head’s up to be on the lookout for excessive bar trips so that they can either make the cut off or begin cutting back on the alcohol.  

Guests toasting

Cheers!

Hopefully, these tips will allow you to keep the alcohol flowing at your reception and the party poppin’ without the fear of someone ending the night swinging from the chandeliers. Of course, as an added buffer you can always remind guest that the entire evening will end up in photos that last forever. Now, twist open the tequila and get your guests on that dance floor.

 

Wedding guests dancing