Medieval Times Wedding

Medieval Times Wedding | Buena Park, CA | Emily + Travis

Emily and Travis have been acquientences for a few years now thanks to some of my other amazing clients. Strangely enough, they are connected to two separate couples, both of whom I found independently of each other, but they are the link between them!

Their good friends, the Moxes, originally hired me to do a Doctor Who themed engagement session and then again for their Magic the Gathering themed wedding (apparently I never blogged this one, whoops).  Their other good friends, Kristen and Jamie, originally hired me to do an unconventional engagement session where a yeti attacked them in the woods and they were saved by their dog, and then again for their Estes Park Colorado camp wedding

Still following?  Good because now we’re onto the really good stuff! Emily and Travis were actually celebrating their two year anniversary with this ceremony (they eloped at a courthouse originally) and wanted a wedding that really represented them as a couple so low and behold: a Medieval Times wedding.

You know what I love?  The unconventional.

Guess who couldn’t wait to eat chicken with her hands?  This girl.

Guess who matched with a dude on Tinder in the uber ride to the venue and then subsequently flew back to southern California two weeks later to go on a date?  This girl.

That’s another story for another day though.

Guess whose clients wanted to do a Last Supper-esque recreation and then I decided to take it up a notch and make it epic?  This girl.

In other news, I’m overjoyed to find out that I’m going to be photographing another one wedding from this friend group in 2019. These are clearly my people.

Overall it was such an amazing experience with such a great group of people – I love when people celebrate in their own way with the ones they love and this was no different, except that it didn’t have silverware. Silver lining: no clinking glasses demanding that you kiss over and over and over again.

Other things to note: our knight, the Green Knight, not only won, but betrothed his sash to Emily at the end, which was especially exciting.  Also, I’m thrilled to announce that I won a Wedding Photojournalists Association award for excellence in wedding photography with the featured header image on this post.

Ceremony: Buena Park Community Center | Reception: Medieval Times | Florist: Maria’s Floral Designs | Bride’s Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse

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LGBTQ Friendly Wedding Resources

Wedding planning can be an enormously stressful undertaking all by itself, but when you add in the additional worry that that you might not be treated fairly, or have you concerns taken seriously it just exasperates the stress.  Yet, that is something that many LGBTQ couples face when planning their weddings. The fact is your wedding is yours and should be the amazing day that you have dreamed it to be without the added stress.  Unfortunately, trying to find vendors who will support you and help bring your vision to life is not always rainbows and roses. It can be time consuming trying to find and sort through good vs. bad and supportive vs not supportive. Here’s a selection of LGBTQ Friendly wedding resources filled with vendors who you know will be positive and help bring the vision of your perfect LGBTQ wedding to life.

Plymouth CA Same Sex Wedding

Rainbow Wedding Network

Rainbow Wedding Network is the producer of hundreds of boutique-style Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expos throughout the nation. These boutiques help connect LGBTQ couples to wedding vendors in their communities. These are vendors who support LGBTQ rights and are comfortable with making your day unique and special.  The network is lesbian-owned organization that has produced over 200 wedding expos in 33 different states. They produce 25 new events every year.

The site itself has an abundance of resources for any LGBTQ couple. It houses an online directory where couples can input their location to find a list of wedding vendors who will be comfortable working with you and your partner. The site also contains a blog where you can browse articles and find wedding ideas and inspiration.  What sets this site apart from the others is that the Network has a podcast where the team discusses trends, how to work with vendors and keeps you updated on LGBTQ current events.  Of course, the most important page on the site is the list of dates for the upcoming wedding expos they are hosting in different cities.  The expo for Texas will be held on May 19, 2019.  There is normally an expo in Austin and San Antonio in the spring every year as well, so, if you are planning your wedding for the fall or winter of 2019-20, this might be one to catch.

Overall, the site is user friendly and a great resource for finding LGBTQ friendly vendors, wedding tips and keeping up with LGBT news.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Pridezillas

Pridezillas is also a wedding resource site for the LGBT community.  Their focus appears to be on connecting couples with LGBTQ friendly vendors. Like the Rainbow Wedding Network, they allow you to search for vendors by location.

The site also boasts an extensive blog with articles on many topics including “Tips from Officiants,” and photography guides. In addition to the blog, the website includes an album of beautiful LGBT weddings to help get your planning creative juices going.

Though not as intricate as the Rainbow Network site, the simple website design makes this site easy to use and less time consuming which might be helpful when you are on an already tight wedding planning timeline. 

San Deigo Firehouse Wedding

Purple Unions

Purple Unions LGBT wedding directory was founded by Scott & Mark, a gay couple who met in 1992 and legally married in 2008. According to their site, Scott and Mark “want to help others find welcoming, friendly and supportive wedding vendors to plan your day together.”

The resources on the website are amazing and like the others already mentioned, they allow users to search for vendors by location. A unique feature of this site is that it hosts travel giveaways thanks to the help of their sponsors.  The site also includes a wedding blog and includes a page of links to other wedding and non-wedding related sites that may be of interest to LGBTQ couples.

Though this site hosts a pretty solid directory of LGBTQ friendly wedding venues, what makes them most unique is the abundance of links to other resources.  The site owners Scott and Mark also run Purple Roofs which is now one of the most popular gay and lesbian travel directories on the web.  So be sure to check that out as you reach the honeymoon planning phase!

This is just a short list of LGBTQ wedding planning resources to get you started and help shorten your to-do list just a little bit.  All of them boast of vendors who come highly recommended and have already shown support for the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ weddings.  Hopefully this list will help you find positive vendors who will help you create your ideal wedding.

LGBTQ Wedding Experience

Honor a Lost Loved One at a Wedding

5 Ways to Honor a Lost Loved One at Your Wedding

Walking down the aisle is usually an exciting event for any bride or groom. A whole host of your closest family and friends are there to help you celebrate and all seems right in the world. However, occasionally a bride or groom must get through the day without a loved one that they always dreamed would be there. Many couples face their wedding day after the loss of someone they love. The good news is that there are many amazing ways to honor a lost loved one at your wedding without allowing the entire day to tumble into a slump of melancholy. How do you balance a solemn tribute with a joyful day?  This post is dedicated to ways to honor lost loved ones, without bringing your wedding atmosphere from party to pitiful. 

Honor a Lost Loved One at a Wedding

1. Wear or Carry an Item that Belonged to Them, During the Wedding

This may be the most private of all the tributes listed but it could be the most meaningful to you.  Is there a special piece of jewelry or small trinket that belonged to the love one that you want to honor?  This could be a locket that your grandmother always carried or your dad’s favorite cuff links.  Consider wearing them as part of your wedding attire. A few ideas are: sewing them inside of your coat, adding it to your veil or pinning it to the inside of the bouquet.  The advantage to this type of tribute is that it is mostly private, so the melancholy effect on the wedding guests are minimal to none.  However, if you want to make it a more public gesture, feel free to share about your reasons for wearing the item at the reception.

Honor a Lost Loved One at a Wedding

2.  Add a Tribute to Them in the Program

A more visible way to honor a loved one who has passed on would be to include a tribute to them in the program. You could include their favorite poem written in the program or even play their favorite song during the ceremony or reception and give a brief explanation.  The advantage to this type of tribute is that it is public, and everyone is involved.  The disadvantage is that if the loss is still fresh, it may trigger a few emotional responses from attending family members and friends.

Honor a Lost Loved One at a Wedding

3.  Save Them a Seat or Build them a Memorial 

This is a more common idea used to honor family or friends who have passed on but is still a lovely way to include them.  Frame a favorite photograph of your loved one and decorate with ribbon, then place it in the seat that the family member would be sitting in if they were with you at the wedding or create a memorial for them at the reception venue.  You can either add a short note about the person you are honoring or place a candle in front of the framed photo.  That way when you look back into the audience you will have them with you in a small way. Even though the photo will be in out in public, if the seat is near the front, you and your closest family and friends may be the only ones to see it, so it can still serve as a subtler tribute.

Honor a Lost Loved One at a Wedding

4. In Lieu of Gifts, Accept Donation to an Organization That Was Meaningful to Them

This is probably one of my favorite ideas in this list.  If you are going the route of accepting donations for a good cause in lieu of wedding gifts, consider having guests donate to an organization that was special to the member of the family that has passed on.  For example, if you have a grandmother who passed away from lung cancer, you can have guests send the donations to the American Cancer Society, or if your uncle was a regular volunteer for Meals on Wheels, have guests donate to that organization in his honor.  Donations are an outstanding way for your relatives to leave a legacy and your contributions will keep their memories alive with the organizations they loved or that served them.

Honor lost loved ones at a wedding

Of course, these are just a few ideas to get you started.  The grieving of a loved one is personal and choosing to remember them at this important milestone in your life honorable.  Celebrate them in the way you feel would be most special to both you and them.

Landing Resort Wedding

Landing Resort Wedding | Lake Tahoe, CA | Kristina + AJ

Kristina and AJ are both of Ukrainian heritage.

Let me tell you something: the Ukrainian know how to party.

Seriously, I’ve never seen a dance floor so incredibly packed!  Kristina and AJ hired one of my favorite wedding bands, The Lucky Devils, who travel all over the Western US playing weddings and events and they always know how to get the dancefloor moving. What was really insane though was when the band took a break and they started playing traditional music! Words cannot describe how epic this Landing Resort wedding raged so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

I feel super fortunate to have gotten to spend a ton of time with this amazing couple and their friends and family – we started our relationship off with both Tahoe and SF engagement sessions and I photographed their ceremony at City Hall in SF the week before their Tahoe ceremony and reception.

Venue: The Landing Resort and Spa | Day Of Coordinator: Lynne Barthe | Florist: Art in Bloom | Bakery: Flour Girl Wedding Cakes | Band: The Lucky Devils | Bride’s Attire: BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Hugo by Hugo Boss | Hair and Makeup: Art of Beauty | Second Photographer: Shelby McAuliffe

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Trois Estate Wedding

Chapel Dulcinea: The Free Austin Wedding Venue (and Other Places to Have Your Wedding That Are Cheaper Than One Month of Austin’s Rent)

Forty-Five million dollars. That’s the cost of one month’s rent in Austin, TX.  Just kidding (though it feels like it more and more everyday). That’s actually the estimated cost of the most recent Royal Wedding. Can you imagine what you could do with forty-five million? Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

  1. Have P. Diddy host your company party for the next 45 years (yes, his event fee is $1 million).
  2. You can buy almost 2 super yachts that come with super cars and a parking dock for the cars (The Strand Craft Super Yacht will cost you about $25 million).
  3. Buy (40) 300-year-old Bonsai trees (The most expensive Bonsai tree in the world cost about $1.2 million).
  4. You could buy 35 bottles of the most expensive champagne in the world (Gout de Diamants Champagne, which was sold for $1.2 million).

Okay, so if you have no desire to spend that much money on your wedding or on P.Diddy’s hosting abilities, then this blog post is for you. Unless you are on your way to becoming the next Duke or Duchess in the U.K, your wedding doesn’t need to cost $45 million dollars.  In fact, one of the most expensive bills in your wedding planning, (the venue), doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Below is a list of venues in Austin that are free or at least cheaper than one months’ rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Austin.  With all that money you save, you can hire me!

Trois Estate Wedding

Chapel Dulcinea

Location: 16221 Crystal Hills Drive, Crystal Hill Dr, Austin, TX 78737

Fee: $0

None, absolutely free.  However, there is a $200 no-show deposit required for weddings Monday-Thursday and a $400 no-show free required for Friday –Saturday weddings.  The fee is refunded the day you show up for the wedding but can also be given as a donation.

About:  

In 2005, Chapel Dulcinea became the first Free Wedding Chapel in the world. When Roy and Pennie were married in 1976, they held their rehearsal dinner in an Oklahoma Pizza Hut and it took all the money they had. Their dream of a free wedding chapel is one of the ways they’ve chosen to lend a helping hand to happy couples in love who may be starting out as financially strapped as they were. The venue is located in Southwest Austin and overlooks the beautiful Hill Country.

Reasons you should use this venue:

First of all, did you hear that it was free?  Okay, but seriously the place is gorgeous, it overlooks the hill country and there is a room available to get dressed in prior to the wedding.  The only two downfalls I can see is for one, the fact that it is an outside venue and you are totally dependent on the weather, so with the unpredictable Texas climate, you have to choose your date wisely.  The second issue is that this venue is really only for you if you are planning a small intimate wedding.  There is not much seating available, so if you have more than 25 or so guests, they have to be prepared to stand.  If a quaint wedding in outdoors is in your plans with your nearest and dearest, this might be the spot for you.

Mercury Hall Wedding

Zilker Park Clubhouse

Location:  Zilker Clubhouse Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Fee:  $1350 for ceremony and reception. 

This included includes 12 hours of event time including set up and clean up time. A refundable security deposit of $300 is required. A $20 private party permit is required for amplified music.

About:

Zilker Clubhouse is a beautiful stone clubhouse with a rock patio and spacious concrete terrace. With the views of downtown Austin as your backdrop, and a rustic ranch-style lodge as your indoor space, it’s a beautiful location to host a wedding. The location is designed to host up to 150 guests and there is both indoor and outdoor space.

Reasons you should use this venue:

Reason #1, the venue fee is cheaper than the cost of one month’s rent in most of the city.  But also, if you want a venue that is set up for both indoor and outdoor events and is still in the city overlooking beautiful downtown Austin, this is your spot.  If you can afford a little more than free.99, this should definitely be in your top 3.  One downside of this location is the fact that it does not include a dressing room, but with all the money you save for the venue you could book an Airbnb nearby and that takes care of that. 

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Angel Mountain Events

Location:  178 Pine Tree Loop, Bastrop, TX. 78602

Fee: $1500-$2600

Monday-Thursday are the best days to reserve this venue (or any venue) for the best price. Weddings on those days will run you about $1500.  For weddings held on Friday the rate is $2600 and for Saturdays the event center will run you closer to the price of a really, really nice 2-bedroom apartment ($3000).

About:

From the website: Angel Mountain Event Center has approximately 5500 sq. ft of indoor space, to include a Candlelit Chapel, a separate Reception area for dinner & dancing, dressing areas for your wedding party, a caterer’s kitchen, & a scenic 1500 sq. ft. patio, perfect for your outdoor ceremony.

Reasons you should use this venue:

You get a lot of bang for your buck.  This location has both indoor and outdoor space and is slightly outside of Austin so it gives you a more relaxed and quiet location.  The indoor space offers plenty of room and you have a space for dressing. There is a $250 cleaning fee required and a $250 refundable damage fee that will be collected, but even with those prices, the venue still gives you all that you could ask for at a reasonable price.

Choosing one of these venues is sure to keep you away from totally blowing your wedding budget and hey with all that money saved, maybe you could hire P.Diddy for entertainment after all.  But no, really, just hire me.  Or get some goats.  Or both.

Outdoor Austin Wedding Venues

Lauren Lindley is a destination wedding, event and portrait photographer.  She splits her time between Reno-Tahoe in the summer and Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA in the winter.

Camp La Junta Wedding

Camp La Junta Wedding | Hunt, TX | Halie + Price

I think that almost everyone has incredibly fond memories of their time at summer camp. My best memories come not from when I was an actual camper, but from when I spent years as a camp counselor at Camp Mystic for Girls. Nestled among the cypress,  live oak, and pecan trees in the hill country of Texas, Mystic is located in camp haven along the banks of the Guadalupe River. It’s flanked by a number of other camps, some co-ed, some not.  It’s a veritable summer camp-land, with dozens of camps lining the river.

Mystic is a magical place where you eat fried chicken every Sunday and the cabins have names like Wiggle Inn and Chatter Box.  The girls remain with their initial cabin members for the duration of their camp lives. Since I was a counselor there for six years, I watched my campers grow into women and I still, to this day, keep track of many of them.  Particularly those in my first cabin ever and those who year after year, signed up to take diving with me as an activity, as Halie did.  Today, many of those young campers that I knew as 7 year olds are now getting engaged, married and starting families of their own. I feel incredibly lucky to have not only had the opportunity to be part of such rich and lifelong tradition, but then to have watched, helped create and been a part of such long lasting relationships between these women who are doing incredible things with their lives.  I couldn’t be more proud and it’s the highest honor to be asked to be their wedding photographer!

Halie’s relation to summer camps lie not just with Camp Mystic, however. Her family is tied to the nearby Camp La Junta, which for 80 years has been encouraging the growth of self-confident and independent young men through their camp traditions.  It’s a beautiful property and it provided an incredible backdrop for her wedding. Price also grew up in the area and although he and Halie went to the same high school, they didn’t reconnect until their post college years. As such, Camp La Junta was the perfect location for all their families, friends and loved ones to watch them wed.

The camp sits adjacent to Bridget’s Basket, an incredible market, bakery and farm in the area. Ingram, Hunt and Kerrville are getting kind of hip y’all!  The Market stocks artisanal items from local, regional and small US producers and carries anything you might need for a wine country weekend picnic. It offered an incredible reception venue space for a wedding! Everyone was able to dine on the lawn, dance under the string lights and watch the sunset in the warm Texas night.  It was the perfect location to close out Halie and Price’s Camp La Junta wedding!

I love the Texas hill country more than I can put into words. In addition to holding a very special place in my heart because of my summer camp ties, I just find it to be breathtakingly beautiful. The pace of life is a bit slower, not only because you can’t drive too fast because of the deer: the beer is colder, the trees seem to be extra shady, and the people have that special Texas friendliness that I love so much. I get to return in November for another summer camp wedding at Vista Camps and I am counting down the days.  Can I just lock down that Kerrville wedding photographer market and only do summer camp weddings? Because that sounds like a dream come true.

Halie and Price, I love you to the banks of the Guadalupe River and back. I can’t wait to watch your family grow!

Wedding Venue: Camp La Junta | Reception Venue: Bridget’s Basket | Florist: Showers of Flowers | Bakery: The Market at Bridget’s Basket | Catering: Rudy’s BBQ | DJ: Patrick Sifuentes | Bride’s Attire: Amsale | Grooms Attire: Marc Jacobs | Wedding Party Attire: Etsy and Marc Jacobs | Hair: Michelle Rios | Make-up: Collin Korenek

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Landing Resort Wedding

Landing Resort Wedding | Lake Tahoe, CA | Rosa + Justin

One of the best parts of my job is that family’s so often keep me in the family: hiring me for their events again and again. In some cases, it’s for growing families – engagements, then weddings, then for family portraits as they grow in size.  In other cases, I’m hired for one wedding, and then another wedding, and then another, all within the same family.  It’s amazing because the guests even start to remember me!

Justin’s sister Julie and her now husband Michael originally hired me to photograph their engagement and wedding and then Justin and Rosa followed suit for both their engagement and wedding. 

Rosa and Justin had an incredible Landing Resort wedding on a beautiful holiday summer weekend. Their reception was held in the pavilion tent instead of the ballroom and it offered tons of space for an epic dance party and a super fun photo booth.  Almost a year later, Rosa and Justin have added a small new addition to their family and I couldn’t be happier for them and all their family members who I have come to know and love.

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Venue and Catering: The Landing Resort and Spa | Bakery: Above & Beyond Cakes | Florist: Safeway | Bride’s Attire: Enchanted Gowns | Bridal Party Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse | DJ: High Sierra Sounds | Hair and Make-up: Gypsy Dawn Beauty Bar | Videographer: Stand Up Films | Second Photographer: Chris Arson

“No One Danced at the Wedding!”

Tips on Choosing Your Wedding DJ and Music Lineup So You Reception is the Dance Party That It Should Be.

Stevie Wonder, Maroon Five, Journey, JT or Michael Jackson—no matter whose songs you decide to play at your wedding reception, we can all agree that music is important.  Yea, we know your family and friends are partly there to see you tie the knot, but let’s face it 90% of their reason for hitting that RSVP button, was to party like a rockstar with you and your new spouse. And who can resist a good dance party?? Of course, the key here is to make sure that you and your DJ are on the same page and that they are playing music that keeps everyone dancing. Hopefully this post will give you some tips to help you do that and make sure that you’re not left exclaiming, “No One Danced at the Wedding!”

True Story…. I have worked at many a wedding reception where no one danced– that’s right you heard me, not even the ring bearer or flower girls could be bothered to venture out to the dance floor. The DJ was doing his best to be the “Hype Man/Upbeat Emcee” but unfortunately the list of songs given to him by the bride and groom consisted of 92% Backstreet Boys songs on repeat, and 8% cupid shuffle.  The bridesmaids were even embarrassed.  Don’t let this happen to you. Should you play songs that you love at your wedding? Sure.  But if you want to party with your friends and family and not just have them watch you party, make sure you look at some of the tips in this post.

No One Danced at the Wedding

Choose your DJ wisely

Once you have made the decision to go the DJ route, start looking right away, the good DJ’s book quickly.  Get recommendations from family and friends who have planned weddings before, or better yet, ask your photographer. You want to go with a DJ who has played weddings and not just the guy or gal who plays every Friday night at the downtown club. There is a difference between acceptable music for a night out and what’s acceptable for a formal event where your grandmother and colleagues will attend. My favorite Lake Tahoe DJs?  Ryan Palmer and Dylan Thomas over at Lake Tahoe DJ and David Berkman with Ascent DJ Productions, no question. My least favorite DJs? I’m not shy about sharing that list also, but you have to already be my client to get it.

No One Danced at the Wedding

 

Everyone may not love Brittney as much as you do.

I know this statement may break your heart, and I’m sorry, but just because Brittney Spears singlehandedly produced the sound track of your adolescence and you have “so many fun memories attached to her songs,” does not mean half of your wedding songs should be dedicated to her.  Yea sure, throw in a song or two so that you and your middle school best friends will be enticed to tear it up on the dance floor and relive those 6th grade dance nights, but let’s leave it at that.  Make sure you request a variety of music that will get all your guests to the dance floor.  Also make sure that your songs include not only different genres, but also that they span all decades.  Granny and Great-Uncle Charlie want to dance too and not to the Spice Girls.

No One Danced at the Wedding

Watch out for “Marathon Songs”

Make sure your DJ knows not only what to play, but how long to play certain songs.  No one wants to get caught on the dancefloor dancing to a song they love and trying to stay until its finished, only to find out that the DJ is seriously playing the entire 14-minute extended version of the song. This is especially sound advice for any DJ playing a line dance song. Everyone loves their favorite song, but seriously a 14-minute song is a workout that most of your guests did not sign up for.

No One Danced at the Wedding

Line Dances: Be very, very careful

Speaking of line dances, you should seriously consider whether you even want to include them.  Yes, we know they get people to the dance floor, but this is one of those things that is so terribly overused, that it is has almost become the worst kind of cliché. While researching for this post, I found that many couples have even asked their DJ’s to not include line dance songs at all. Whatever you decide, do not, I repeat, DO NOT by any means allow a DJ to play the Cupid Shuffle more than one time at your reception (If you allow it at all).  This song has been so overplayed by DJ’s at weddings and nightclubs that most wedding industry vendors (including myself!) Would literally rather pull our ears off slowly than hear it one more time. We can imagine that many wedding guests feel the same way.  Just. Don’t. Do. It.

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Hopefully these tips help you choose your wedding DJ wisely and keep the dance party going well into the wee hours of your reception.

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Hundreds of years ago even Shakespeare understood the gravity of choosing or carrying a family name.  Romeo struggled with the choice of giving his up and being with his forever love or hanging on to it and losing her altogether.  Lucky for us, deciding what to do with your last name after marriage doesn’t have such grave consequences.  It can however, be a tough decision for a couple to make. Names can hold cultural significance or help identify you as a proud member of a prominent family in your community.  Long ago, there were hard traditional rules to the last name situation, but times have changed and now couples are choosing different routes altogether.  So, if you and your partner are in this phase of merging your lives and trying to figure out what to do with the last names, just know that you don’t have to settle for tradition.  Here are few ways couples are deciding to merge their last names.

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

The Traditional Way

I know I started this by talking about non-traditional routes, but I thought it would be good to start with this one to lay the foundation.  I think we all know the traditional way to handle your last name after marriage is having one partner take the last name of the other. In the past, it was the woman who would take her husband’s last name, however in essence it is just one partner deciding to replace their last name with the other partner’s. Doing this requires a lot more work than some of the other options including filing for a new birth certificate and social security card, changing your name on your driver’s license and passport, and of course paying the fees associated with those changes. There are other issues you may run into as well, if you go this route. For example, is if it is the husband who wants to take the last name of the wife or if you are a same-sex couple, things get a little trickier.  In some states those two situations don’t allow couples to go through the standard marriage name change procedures.  Instead you would need to file for a legal name change that requires petitioning the court and putting out a public notice which could cost you a few hundred bucks.

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Keep Your Given Name

I mean, it’s yours after all.  You have likely walked around with that name your whole life, it is nice and worn in and comfortable.  It is who you are.  That can be reason enough to keep your name, but there are a host of other reasons people decide to do this.  The most common are for practical and professional reasons.  Practically speaking its low-maintenance.  You don’t have to make any changes or pay any fees.  You just continue with your regular life after the wedding.  Other people keep it for professional reasons.  You might own a business and it carries your name, there’s no need to change that when you keep your surname.  Or you have built a professional image around your name and its your personal brand.  Changing it could be a marketing disaster.  There are also familial or cultural reasons.  A good friend of mine comes from a large Korean family who is very involved in their community.  They have a unique last name, so when she introduces herself, people know who her family is and value what they have done in the community.  When she got married, she wanted to stay connected with that culture of community support her family was known for, so she kept her family name.

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Add Punctuation/Hyphenate

This is probably the second most common way that couples choose to merge their last names.  They just add a hyphen.  Think “Jane Doe-Smith, or John Adams-Brown.” Rumor has it that even Jay Z has hyphenated his and Beyoncé’s surname to become Shawn Knowles-Carter since she doesn’t have any brothers and they wanted to carry the family name on. This is an easy way to have the best of both worlds.

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Create a New Name Altogether

Not only has this idea gained popularity in the last decade, but it just sounds awesome.  Some couples have decided to ditch their given names altogether and come up with their own. They are using names they made up as kids or choosing to merge their two surnames (Dawson and Hobbs become Dobbs or Hawson), or simply choosing something that references mutual hobbies or passions, like my clients Sara and Will did: their new last name references one of their favorite Doctor Who episodes.  Of course, this would likely require a legal name change and a few dollars in fees, but what I’ve heard from couples who have done this is that is prevents the need to choose one name over the other or to make your names extra long with hyphens.

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Hopefully, this post gives you a solid list of options when deciding what to do with your surname after the wedding is over.  And just as Shakespeare wrote many, many moons ago and much more eloquently than I can, no matter what you decide to do, a name doesn’t change who you are you’ll still be that perfectly sweet smelling rose no matter how you decide to sign.

 

To Hyphenate or Not? What to do with Your Surname After the Wedding

Landing Resort Winter Wedding

Landing Resort Winter Wedding | Michelle + Rich

Michelle and Rich originally intended to elope, and then it turned into a small wedding, and then it turned into a bigger wedding. The Landing Resort and Spa offered the perfect location: a gorgeous rooftop deck, in house catering, and incredibly comfortable resort style hotel rooms that allow for pets, which was a must since they’ve rescued quite a few dogs over the past year.

Since Michelle and Rich both work at media school that offers courses in film, photography, theater and other visual arts, most of their close friends are all photographers and videographers.  As such, it was important to them to find someone that was relaxed, laid back, and wouldn’t be concerned with other folks taking photos.  Among my loud charm and wit, I am certainly relaxed. Oh, and I can help you find a DJ the night before you wedding.

I’m incredibly thankful that Rich and Michelle found me. I had such an amazing time with their friends and family and I now count them, as well as a few of their friends, among my friends. 

Also, that first look face.  Amiright?

Venue: The Landing Resort and Spa | DJ: Gabe Gavilanes | Florist: Thran’s | Bakery: Icing on the Cupcake | Bride’s Attire: Pronovias from Miosa Bride | Groom’s Attire: R. Douglas Clothier custom suit designed by David Garibaldi

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