Sibling Maid of Honor

The Starting Lineup: How to Choose Your Wedding Party

You’re gliding down the aisle in that beautiful white dress or dapper suit that you picked out 8 months ago with the help of your amazing best friend. You’re being led arm in arm by the most important person in your life until today, walking past a standing crowd of your closest neighbors, co-workers, relatives, and the people you love the most, staring at the partner who stole your heart. Then, standing across from your partner, there they are: the people who have held your hand through tears, held your hair after a night of too much fun (no such thing!), encouraged you, traveled with you, given you advice and always told you how great you are, even when you weren’t feeling it yourself. They are the first people who shouted for joy when you told them you were engaged.  But, who are they?

One of the most difficult decisions that you make once you start planning your wedding is choosing who will stand by your side on one of the most important days of your life. Just like an NCAA coach during March Madness, you can only play so many at a time.  How do you decide who makes the cut and who doesn’t?  If you are planning a very large wedding and have room for 15 people on each side (side note: please don’t do this and if you do, don’t hire me), this choice may not be too difficult to make, however if you can only accommodate 4 or 5 people, choosing will be a big deal. To complicate matters further, there’s absolutely no reason why your wedding party has to be all one gender. Fuck gender norms! It’s your wedding – pick the people who matter most to you!

So how do you go about it? Hopefully, the tips below can help you narrow the playing field and decide who to bench and who gets to be on the court.

The Five People You Should Consider for Your Wedding Party

 

Bridal Party Photo

#1:  The Family Member (Your Point Guard)

Okay, so this is a no brainer.  They were your first friend, first frenemy, and probably your closest confidant. They may have pulled your hair, roughed you up, stole your toys, or borrowed your clothes more often than you would’ve liked, but they are always the first to be by your side when you need a friend. It’s only logical to have them by your side as you say your forever vows.  There’s no reason that your sister or brother shouldn’t be standing by your side.

*Tip:  No sibling in your court? Why not make your grandparent or any other family member that you adore the person of honor?

Maid of Honor Speech

#2: The Current Best Friend (The Shooting Guard)

The one who you call when you need to vent about your boss, your current fiancé, and everything in between.  This is your person: the one you take trips with and share secrets that even your family or your romantic partner doesn’t know. They know you better than most, if not all people, because you simply can’t recreate intimacy with this much history.  They will bring your entire wedding guest list to tears with their speech. You consider them to be your human vault and you trust them with your life.  If you are lucky enough to have a platonic life partner like this as your best friend in your life, lucky you!  If your sibling did not make the starting point guard, this friend is it. You can trust them to both score and not drop the ball, leading your team to make your wedding perfect for you. 

*Tip:  If your current best friend is not the most responsible, consider having two people of honor to balance out responsibilities.  There are no hard-fast rules that say you can’t. It’s your wedding after all.

Best friends

#3: Your College/High School Best Friend (The Power Forward)

We are all constantly growing, changing and becoming who we are.  It’s an evolutionary process. You are likely not the same person you were 10 months ago, let alone 10 years ago. Just as some college ball players decide to leave their team and join another, or just move up into the pro leagues the people you started playing with, may not be the same people who are currently in your life.  However, this does not mean you no longer love them, or they didn’t play a significant role in who you have become. The “Power Forward” can play under the hoop or out in the wings or corner of the court.  They are also expected to get rebounds.  For this reason, consider adding them to your court. They may have seen you through some of the most difficult times in your life, caught you when you fell and put you back up.  They knew you before you were as shiny and clean as you are now.  They can most accurately attest to the hard work you have put in to become who you are, because they knew who you were.

*Tip: If you were the member of a fraternity, sorority or other organization, this might be the category for those crazy friends you spent the most awesome spring break vacations with.

LGBTQ Wedding Party

#4: Co-workers Who Became Friends (The Small Forward)

I know that these people could likely fit into a category above, but I thought I would separate them to confirm that it is okay to invite people you work with even if you hate your job. The small forward is the smaller of the two forwards on the team.  Though small, they still must be good enough to play on the inside.  This is not just anyone you work with: this is the person you met on your first day in the break room and you both immediately felt like you were long-lost siblings. The one you vent all your work frustrations with and who knows the inside work language and what the acronyms that you constantly spit out mean.  You don’t have to take time to explain why the report due yesterday was a total waste of time and energy like you would have to explain to your friends or family outside of the organization.  You’ve extended your relationship beyond the break room to happy hours after work and traveled together to your other co-worker’s awesome birthday boat party. Since work is a big part of your life, so are they.  Go ahead and put them on the team.

*Tip:  Don’t forget those former co-workers who could also fit into this role– especially if you changed jobs but were able to maintain a friendship with them.

Wedding Party

#5: Your Fiancé’s Family Member (The Center)

This may be a purely political choice.  However, one of the center’s primary jobs is playing defense and keeping the opposing team out of the paint.  I know your fiancé’s family may not be the opposing team, but if you have a mother in law that you don’t quite see eye to eye with, your fiancé’s sibling may be the best defensive player you have.  Providing communication with both sides of the family and the ability to smooth things out quickly if things get sticky during planning or the actual ceremony is priceless. Not only that, but not only are they great for playing the center, but the fact that you both love your future partner dearly makes them a great asset to your team.  Bonus points if you are already great friends with them.

*Tip:  If they have never met any of your friends prior to being invited to become a wedding party member, consider hosting a few informal happy hours, or gatherings at the beginning of your wedding planning to help them get acquainted with everyone and feel comfortable being a part of your team.

Hopefully these tips help you choose the players who will make sure your wedding day is a win.  Ultimately, you should choose the people who you absolutely couldn’t imagine not seeing at the end of that aisle as you walk to meet your forever love.

Bridal Party

Resources for Black Brides

African American Wedding Traditions

I cannot let this month end without paying homage to the rich history of African American culture and specifically, all the amazing African American wedding traditions.  February, though much too short, is Black History month. It also happens to be the month of love. So, it made sense that I finish this month off with a post that celebrates “Black Love” or more specifically the ways in which that love is celebrated during weddings.

These Black wedding traditions are both fun and have deep historical significance. Some are just for kicks and some trigger moments of honest inner reflection.  By integrating these traditions into our ceremonies, we create more memorable wedding experiences which knit together the hearts of those in our community and bring us back to the ties that bind, the feeling of family and of home that are sometimes drowned in a sea of majority culture.  Here is a quick list of some of the most popular.

African American wedding traditions

Jumping the Broom

Probably one of the most recognizable traditions in black weddings is the tradition of “jumping the broom.” In pre-slave trade Africa jumping the broom represented the symbolic sweeping away of all past problems.  During the era of slavery African Americans were forbidden to marry and often couldn’t live together, so jumping over a broom at the end of a wedding ceremony was one of the only ways for them to publicly declare their union. 

Today many African American couples decide to make this tradition a part of their wedding. It is very popular to have a beautiful broom handcrafted to use during the wedding, and then keeping it afterwards to display in their new home together.

African American wedding traditions

Sorority and Fraternity Strolls

Black couples who are members of a Black Greek organization are familiar with the Greek “stroll.” Greek organizations have historically and continue to be a medium to create bonds and social involvement in the black community. Members of these organizations take pride in being a part of such an effort and often decide to include their Sorority Sisters or Fraternity Brothers in their wedding ceremonies.  The most popular way to do this is for members of the organizations to participate in their particular “stroll.”

African American Wedding Traditions

The Stroll has evolved from the African tradition of “Stepping.” Though stepping can be traced back to African tribal dance, the more modern versions began in the early African American slave communities.  The slaves used “stepping” along with “call and response” chants and songs as a means of communicating important information.  Around the late 1960’s historically black sororities and fraternities embraced stepping and strolling. 

Black couples usually include this rich tradition during the wedding reception where sorority sisters or fraternity brothers dance in a synchronized way or “stroll” in a circular pattern around the room.

Though its origins are in the Black community, stepping has spread to Latino, Asian and multicultural fraternities and sororities as well.

Resources for Black Brides

The Electric Slide/Cha Cha Slide/ Cupid Shuffle, etc.

Okay, we talked about the historical stroll, now let’s jump into a tradition that is all fun.  If you have ever been to a single black barbeque, family reunion or heck even sometimes a funeral, then you have been prompted to get up to dance along to one of these line dances.

Soul line dancing in the black community essentially has a similar history to the Greek strolls, but to be honest, we just kind of love it.  Don’t ask me how we learn these so fast, there must be a specific gene that is passed on or likely we grew up watching our elders do it.  Either way these dances make their way into most black family events.  It’s a great way to get everyone on the dance floor and having a good time. Yes, I know African Americans are not the only ones who do line dances, however I’ve never been to a Black event where one of these songs was not played and people of all ages did not get their fancy feet to the dance floor. If you want some incredibly fun memories be sure to throw those into the DJ’s mix.

Resources for Black Brides

A Way to Celebrate our Uniqueness

Ceremonies of all kinds are a way to bring communities back together.  They are a way to celebrate our shared history, struggles, and triumphs.  Adding traditions into those ceremonies remind us of our past and unite us in all the things we have in common. These traditions give us a break from trying to blend in– and allow us to celebrate what makes our specific communities unique and valuable.  Oh, and some of them are just plain fun. When planning your ceremony take a minute to think about what makes your family unique and special and try to include those elements into your wedding.  Keep them going for the next generation so that in years to come they can share in that pride and pass it on. Do it for the future.  Do it for the culture.

Resources for Black Brides

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.

Bride Groom dancing

7 Ways to Hold a Charitable Wedding

Let’s all be honest here: weddings cost a lot of money for all parties involved.  The spending spree usually starts with the hefty purchase of the engagement ring, and continues beyond the honeymoon.  For some people the excessive consumerism required to plan a wedding is something they could do without.  Planning the “Wedding of the Year” doesn’t mean you have to be the biggest spender of the year. Of course, we all know there are some big cost involved, but many couples are now working to make their wedding less about consuming and more about charity. If you are looking for opportunities to use your special day to help improve the lives of those in your community, consider some of the ideas below as ways to hold a charitable wedding.

marraige proposal

Consider Making Your Bachelor or Bachelorette Party a Volunteer Event.  

Think about some of your favorite hobbies.  In what ways can you and your bridal party use those interests or skills to serve others?  Are you a huge animal lover or often get called “the dog whisperer”? The local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to come out and help walk or spend time with lonely pups. Or maybe you have always wanted to help at your local food pantry, they usually need small volunteer groups to help organize their donations.  Take your bridal party out for a few hours of community service and maybe continue the party with drinks later that night.  It’s the perfect opportunity to blend helping your community with spending time with your favorite guys or gals.

Wine glasses at a table

Host a Food Drive During Your Engagement Party or Bridal Shower.

If you are already anticipating a massive influx of wedding gifts, why not dedicate your bridal shower or engagement party gifts to charity.  Instead of having guest bring you a gift personally, maybe ask that they bring in a bag of canned goods or other non-perishable food items.  You can also ask friends who may not have time to attend the entire shower to just drop by, say hello and drop off donations as well.  Guests might be relieved to not have to choose the perfect gift to bring and have an even better time focusing on the actual event.

Bride and Groom

Use Amazon Smile When Making Wedding Purchases.

AmazonSmile is a great way to make sure that all your spending does some good too. AmazonSmile allows you to choose a charity and they in turn will donate a percentage of what you spend to your chosen organization.  To go a step further, if you have an amazon wedding registry you can ask your guest to use your charity when shopping for your wedding gifts to ensure that even more donations make it their way.

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Have Your Bridesmaids or Groomsmen Donate their Unwanted Wedding Attire to an “Operation Prom” Organization.

Okay, they don’t have to tell you upfront that they thought your choice of dress was hideous or that they can’t think of when they would ever wear it again, but making this an option for your special ladies or gentleman can help ease the uncomfortable thoughts they may have about the best way to get rid of that dress without you finding out. Give them the out they are so desperately seeking and let it go to some lucky teenage girl or boy who might not otherwise be able to afford a formal gown. There are several organizations out there that provide gently used evening attire to teenagers who are not able to afford a prom dress or tux on their own. A few to look into are “Project G.L.A.M,”   “Operation Prom” and “Becca’s Closet.” You can either have your wedding party bring clothes to change into after the reception and leave it in an available closet or box, or arrange for drop off after the wedding.  Either way, you make some gal or guy’s prom dreams come true.

Guests with food

Donate Leftover Wedding Food and Goodies to a Local Homeless Shelter or Food Pantry

Along with wedding attire, there is usually tons of leftover, unwanted food and wedding trinkets that family and friends of the bride and groom are practically begging guests to take as they walk out the door.  Even with all the pleading, much of it gets left behind and unfortunately thrown away. A great way to prevent this from happening and help your family and friend “clean-up crew,” is to plan to donate all the leftover food to people who really need it.  Local shelters and food pantries generally welcome all the help with extra food they can get.  Just designate someone (or a few people) in advance to be the delivery guys and feel good knowing you saved a piece of a landfill and you helped feed your community at the same time.

No gifts please

In Lieu of Wedding Gifts, ask Guests for Donations

In a day and time when many couples already live together pre-marriage, the same old wedding registry gifts of housewares are just not needed anymore.  If you have already outfitted your home the way you want, and have all you need, why not forego the registry altogether and have guests donate to a specific non-profit cause?  There are a couple of ways to do this, but first choose a charity that is important to you as a couple.  Then you can either have guests donate on their own, or use a website that allows you to create a “charity registry.” It’s a bit more like a “GoFundMe” than a Macy’s registry, but it gives you the opportunity to share the story of why you as a couple want to support this particular charity. You then share the link with guests, so they can donate. 

Resources for black brides

Use Vendors Who Give Back

If you have been planning your celebration for even a short amount of time, you know that not all vendors are created equal.  There are lots of reasons couples choose the vendors they want to work with, but a great way to help you decide is to find out if they are giving back. Many vendors are socially conscious and not only want to build their business, but they also want to build their communities.  I give 10% of my profits each year to a non-profit that I choose based on it’s connections to my clients.  This year, my beneficiary is the Girls and Boys Club of Lake Tahoe.  You can read more about my current and former recipients here Consider using a network of vendors like “Black Sheep Bride,” which I am a founding member of, to find charitable, like-minded wedding and event vendors, who you know are using some of your money for good works; after all, it may take a little bit of the sting out of the costs! 

Tahoe backyard wedding

Tahoe Backyard Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Dost + Nick

These two. 

I adore them. 

I’m so thankful to call them friends now.  They love music, and dancing, and laughter, and good food.  They are adventurous, curious and sardonic.  They say yes when I invite them to concerts by bands they’ve never heard of and they invite me to concerts by bands that I’ve never heard of.  They are willing to go to burlesque shows starring my former clients.  They like brunch (but, I mean, never trust a person that doesn’t).  They have some incredible moves on the dancefloor.

Dost and Nick wanted an intimate backyard gathering with their motley crew of far flung friends and family.  Their guest list was as diverse as they are, with folks coming from as far away as Turkey.  They rented a beautiful house directly on the water through VRBO for their Tahoe backyard wedding and as an added surprise, it decided to snow that week.  Bonus: Dost made good use of a thrift store fur coat that was perfect for the occasion, which is to say, it was fucking freezing that day and she had no choice but looked amazing in it.

We were all thankful for the tent and for the best DJ around Dave Berkman, who was willing to completely break down and move mid-day his entire setup inside so everyone could cut a rug the grass in relative comfort while it was 40 degrees out in Tahoe in September.

Dost and Nick have since told me that they were drawn to my work because they loved the way I capture movement and motion, which is something their dancefloor had plenty of!  I’m so incredibly honored to not only have been part of their day, but have new friends also.

Venue: VRBO | Caterers: Carson City BBQ | Rentals: Celebrations Rentals | DJ: Ascent DJ | Bride’s Attire: Maggie Sottero | Groom’s Attire: Paul Smith

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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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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.  

Resources for black bridesResources for black brides

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!