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A Blog for the Discerning Bride

Archive for November, 2011

Stormy Skies Ahead?
categories: photography, Tips and Advice

No matter how completely awesome your wedding vendors are, rain happens. Controlling the weather is not in any of your vendors’ repertoires and unfortunately, they seem to take the rap when the wind, dust or rain sets in. Instead of letting inclement weather stress you out and turn into “that bride”, adopt the mantra “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best”.

You’ve undoubtedly seen this crazy dust storm ceremony video shot by Shaun Martineau of Capture the Memory Wedding Films (as an Arizona resident who has witnessed these haboobs rolling across the desert floor and has had to outrun a few, I can confirm, a haboob is just about as bad as it can get for an outdoor ceremony):

My wedding day ended up being rainy and  I think the end result was a cozy and romantic day; nevertheless, one reason so many people choose Arizona specifically for their wedding is because of our dependably sunny skies- Phoenix is the sunniest city in the United States- so when we do get a rainy day, it throws people off. If rain is in the forecast, even just a 5% chance, what can you do to breeze through the day, despite the potentially stormy skies? Here’s what the pros advise:

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t be bashful about executing your plan B. I have been to weddings where they were bummed that they moved it indoors, but the rain that followed really would have put a damper on the event. None of your guests want to be wet the rest of the evening!

Weather can also be a risk for all your vendors that you are probably paying good money for. Your DJ’s sound system, photographer’s and videographer’s cameras, your cake, flowers, hair, makeup, etc. can all be affected by weather. Most vendors have a clause in their agreement that says “no refunds for acts of God”.

If you play it safe and move it indoors before the storm hits, you could potentially avoid a lot of trouble!” (Shaun Martineu,videographer, Capture the Memory Wedding Films))

“When life gives you rain…shoot pictures in puddles” (Hollye Schumacher, photographer, Hollye Schumacher Photography)

(Image courtesy of Hollye Schumacher Photography)

Being flexible is the number one way to enjoy your wedding in good weather or bad. Be aware that you want to marry this person- and part of your vows are in good times and in bad. This means in the blazing hot sun, perfect crisp weather or rain that spits at you.

Also, know what the parameters are of your location. Be aware: you may have to spend some money to make the back- up ballroom space transform. Your vendors will do their best but at a certain point, you may have to go outside your budget for the look you want. Now, if an airwall does not bother you- no worries! Marry away!

Next, gambling on your wedding is bad…. really bad. We had a client insist on getting married outside, despite the 20% chance of rain. But guess what? When it started to rain during their ceremony and they had to dash for cover, guess who they yelled at? Us! Trust me, we do not want it to rain on your wedding day any more than you do.

Finally, I would love for every one of my events to always be in perfect weather. Just think how much business I could get if I could guarantee that? However, don’t shoot the messenger. If the weather looks bad, it’s my job to not sugar coat it, and I will give you an action plan that you can work with. Keep calm and marry on folks!” (Victoria Canada, wedding coordinator, Victoria Canada Weddings and Events)

“I always advise brides to have a “back up” plan If not a tent, a covered area, ballroom etc. Brides come to Sedona for the stunning Red Rock outdoor wedding experience and usually insist that they stay outdoors if possible. Be prepared and go with the flow. I can say that most of the weddings that were caught in rain always turn out to be perfect and beautiful when taken with good humor.” (Margaret Van Damme, Wedding Coordinator, VanDamme Weddings)

“The number one word of advice we can give to the couple is to embrace what mother nature throws at you and not to worry about the things you can’t change. From a photographic standpoint weather can be fantastic! It lends drama to any image and provides the couple with wedding photographs that are sure to be unique!” (Tina and Kevin, photographers, Sierra Blanco Photography)

(Image courtesy of: Sierra Blanco Photography)

“Make sure that you have the rain alternative determined at the time of booking the venue. If I am working with a resort, I always ask for a weather back-up. If at a residence, I also inform my client of the cost of a tent, should it be needed or determine the layout of the house interior should the event need to be moved inside. It is always better to be prepared at the time of site preview then waiting for the emergency to happen!” (Charlee Geisler, wedding coordinator, Signature Events)

“Have a Plan B! Ask your venue in advance (and make sure it is in writing) what alternatives they have available to you should weather interfere with your dream plans. Most have options and knowing this in advance will make your day less stressful should a haboob or rain showers share your day. If there is not an indoor option, you should have a tent lined up for rental.” (Leslie Honaker, wedding coordinator, Kate and Company Events)

(Image courtesy of: Hagerty Photography)

“The bride and groom and/or their wedding planner should always have a back-up plan in case of rain. As for the photographers , we are usually thrilled to see the clouds in the Arizona skies. We get the craziest of cool sunsets with overcast and rainy skies. We just suggest bringing protection for your cameras when the skies open and rain begins to fall and we find cover for the bride and groom. Rarely will it rain ALL day in Arizona. There’s usually going to be a break in the rain for the best of the best pictures to be captured.”  (Sarah Hagerty, photographer, Hagerty Photography)

“My biggest tip would be two-fold: have a back-up plan that includes a tent if it’s an outdoor wedding, and plan on the rental company loading it on the truck, as you can always pay a small restocking fee if you don’t need it, but it’s worth the peace of mind knowing you can make a final decision much closer to the wedding if it’s really iffy. The second part of the back-up plan is for everyone involved to accept that bad weather happens and to figure out how they can still really enjoy themselves and have fun with the weather vs. being incredibly disappointed. Remembering why they’re there is what will bring smiles back onto everyone’s faces.” (Monica Getsinger-McQueen, wedding coordinator, Tres Chic Events)

Umbrellas and a shower curtain! (for putting underneath the bride’s dress so it doesn’t get soaked). And of course, tents for outside ceremonies. (Lilet Hamp, photographer, Light Rain Images)

“Always have a Plan B. It’s called a Plan B because you have to plan for it. If you are thinking about setting up a tent make sure you work with your rental company or venue to secure permits and spacing. Some venues will secure a rain backup space in case of a rain emergency. Always make sure you ask what each vendor’s plan is in case of bad weather.” (Ashley Gain, wedding coordinator, Ashley Gain Weddings and Events)

Take some time to look at the inside and outside of the property for photo locations so you will have ideas to share with your photographer in the event that the wedding has to go inside due to bad weather and communicate your weather strategy with all your vendors so everyone is on the same page. Lastly, pray for sun!! (Stuart Thurlkill, photographer, Eyes2See Photography)

I feel like I just had a  really good therapy session!

Chatting Soon~Kelly

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Being Grateful
categories: Uncategorized

On this day when we wish “Happy Thanksgiving” to others, I really think about what we are wishing upon people. I am a patriotic sort of gal and when I think about Thanksgiving, I think about how incredibly lucky I am to be born in America. How the true “can do” spirit lives on. And how I have so very much. I have a good family, unconditional love, healthy children, a fantastic job, a fridge full of food and undying hope for the future.

From all of us at the Phoenix Bride and Groom team, we hope your Thanksgiving reminds you of the treasures you have and those that are yet to come.

(Thanks to Signs of Vintage on Etsy!)

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Bridal White Weekend!
categories: bridal fashions, open houses, Wedding Resources

We know you need a dress but do you want just any old dress or do you want a dress that makes you feel floaty? How about movie star gorgeous? Want to evoke a modern day princess?

You need to call and make your appointment NOW to visit Destiny’s Bride this weekend (480-368-8868). This couture bridal gown shop (real couture, not fake couture) is hosting their Bridal White Weekend and you don’t want to miss it. Destiny’s Bride carries dresses from Monique Lhullier, Anne Barge, Lazaro and more.

All bridal dresses paid in full will be 10% off, plus you will receive $100 toward any accessories such as veils, shoes, and jewelry- that’s a fabulous deal!

Call 480-368-8868 to make your appointment.

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Real Wedding: Lauren and Jesse
categories: fabulous reception sites, real weddings, reception ideas, Wedding Inspiration

The only thing that should be perfectly matched at your wedding is you and your groom. In my opinion, it can be a bit much to have the attire, accessories, and every bit of decor at your wedding be an exact match and I think Lauren and Jesse’s wedding proves this to be true. Lauren is a designer who has an eye for style and while choosing her fall palette, she didn’t try to make everything the exact same color. The result is a beautiful Fall wedding with depth of color and texture.

Lauren had 2 rings for the day: the square ring (her wedding ring) is from Jesse- it’s from the Frank Gehry collection at Tiffany’s. Jesse scored big points with Lauren for choosing this ring since she is an interior designer and Gehry is her favorite architect. Good job Jesse! The rectangular ring is one from her mother- when Lauren was a little girl, she loved it and apparently asked her mother for it. It only took her mom a few years to part with it! This special memento served as Lauren’s “something old and something blue”. Lucky girl!

The couple, who is creative to the core (Jesse is also artsy- he’s a video game designer), took matters into their own hands and designed the day to suit their style. Lauren handmade many of her wedding details including the boxes that contained the gifts for her bridesmaids, the boutonnieres, the flower girl basket, the invitations, and the centerpieces. Phew! Lauren was a busy bride-to-be!

Lauren tells us, “My favorite part of the day was finally seeing Jesse for the first time. We spent the night before apart and spent all morning and afternoon the next day preparing for the wedding so I definitely missed him. I was so excited to have him see me in my dress so when the time finally came I suddenly felt at ease. Emily created a “first look” moment for us before the ceremony and I’m so happy we went this route. I had to walk down the corridor of Inspirador with Jesse’s back to me, then I tapped him on the shoulder so he could turn around and see me. It was very romantic and personal.”

The reception tables are so sweet- the small pumpkins and simple centerpieces with rich fall colors are elegant and inviting

Lauren and Jesse chose to forgo the cake for donuts. Lauren tells us, “We really wanted our wedding to be unique, casual and most of all fun. I read about a wedding that did coffee and donuts and was instantly in love with the idea because not only was it way more affordable than a cake, but we both love coffee and donuts–who doesn’t?”

Lauren and I chatted a bit…

KG: Tell us about your honeymoon

L: The only place we registered for our wedding was Honeyfund, so we were able to enjoy our honeymoon and not have to worry about expenses! Our honeymoon was in San Francisco. I had only been to California two times before, one of which was a year before our wedding when he proposed to me on the Port of San Francisco. I fell in love with SF and it seemed like the perfect place to spend our honeymoon. We stayed in the same hotel as our time when he proposed to me, which is my absolute favorite! Hotel Des Arts is right by China Town and The Irish Bank-an Irish Pub which we love. Every room is designed/painted by a different artist, and with Jesse and I both being artists it’s the perfect choice. (Lauren loved using Honeyfund but advises that couples explain the process to their guests; some of her guests were confused about how to use it)

KG: What advice would you give couples planning their wedding?

L: The best advice I can give for the actual wedding day is to forget about all the little worries in the back of your mind and focus on enjoying your big day! I was positive there were little details I had forgotten, but I finally told myself — if I really did forget something, what the heck am I going to do about it now?! The day goes by so fast you really have to stop and soak in all the little moments as much as possible.

Planning the wedding can definitely be stressful, and in my case the expenses were the only stressful parts, so I honed in on my creative side and utilized it! I love being crafty and to me it gives more of a personal touch, not to mention it’s much less expensive in most cases.

KG: What is your favorite thing about each other?

L: My favorite thing about Jesse…It’s hard to pick just one thing…I love that he can ALWAYS make me laugh, but most of all I knew he was the one when I realized that being with him made me feel that I could be myself 100% of the time, and I was, and he loved me for it.

J: My favorite thing about Lauren is that not only does she laugh at all my jokes, but she is the sweetest, kindest, and most lovable person I know. That’s a couple things but for me it’s all part of the same beautiful package.

Congratulations Lauren and Jesse and thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us!

Lauren and Jesse’s Real Wedding Team:

Ceremony and Reception Site: Inspirador

Photographer: Emily Snitzer Photography

Florist: Avant Garde

Bridal Gown: Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Tuxedos: Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique

DJ: Direct Sounds DJ’s, Jeff Jones

Officiant: Ed West, family member

Make-up Artist/Hair Stylist: Allison Houseman, family friend



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Engagement: Veronica and Ryan
categories: Engagement, Sedona

Sedona is our very close and much cooler neighbor and even though it’s November, Phoenix can still be warm, so Sedona is a perfect option for Summer and early Fall engagement sessions and weddings. Even better, there are wineries in Sedona which of course makes for fabulous engagement shoots and weddings.

Veronica and Ryan’s e-session is  playful and sweet- just how we like it. Oh, and they followed the first rule of engagement sessions: lighten up!

Sedona’s Red Rocks make for a picturesque backdrop

I think you only get green foliage and a creek like this in Sedona…certainly not anywhere in Phoenix that I know of!

(All images courtesy of: Courtney Sargent Photography)

I asked Veronica and Ryan a few questions:

KG: How did you meet?

V/R: We met through some mutual friends one night at a local bar in Illinois. Amazingly, we had not crossed paths until that night. I can still remember the outside bar area where we all had gathered for the evening. At one point I noticed a very attractive man sitting across from me. Everyone seemed to be engaged in separate conversations among our friends so I decided to make the first move and grabbed a seat next to him to say hello. Four plus years, 1,800 miles and a hot air balloon ride later we are now embarking on a new journey in our lives together as husband and wife.

KG: What is your favorite thing about each other?

V: My favorite thing about Ryan is the balance and laughter that he brings to my life. Ryan is an amazing man, I can say that I just feel myself when I am with him!

 R: My favorite thing about Veronica is she genuinely cares about me, in all aspects. She’s not only going to be my wife, but my rock. Not to mention she is gorgeous too!

(V: Isn’t he sweet?)

KG: What drew you to your photographer?

V/R: What initially drew us to our photographer was the sense of emotion Courtney captures when viewing her photos. What really sealed it for us was our first meeting with her. Ryan and I both feel that the photography is an important aspect of our wedding. As we are not use to having our picture taken, we wanted to select someone we were comfortable with. We wanted a balance of a photographer that will keep the integrity and realness of the photo, but will make sure guidance is provided if we look goofy. We feel Courtney brings these aspects.

KG: How did you decide on the location for your engagement session?

V/R: One of the first dates Ryan took me on was to a winery in Galena, Illinois where we learned about the wine making process, elements to tasting wine and the different types of wine. We wanted to bring an aspect of that to our engagement photos and I had recalled that Sedona had a few wineries. We also wanted to incorporate the area around the Red Rocks in Sedona as it had elements that combined the greenery of the Midwest with the mountainous and desert terrain.

KG: Tell us about your wedding!

V/R: We are getting married next year at the Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club. We choose this location because it seemed to represent Midwest meets Arizona. There is a gorgeous line of trees as you drive up the pathway to the country club and a beautiful view of Superstition Mountain once you reach the clubhouse. We are most excited to celebrate the union of our families with the friends and family joining us to celebrate our wedding. With both of us being from the Chicago Suburbs, we have a great amount of family and friends that are many miles away so we cherish any time that we share with them as they are a huge factor in our lives.

Many thanks to Courtney Sargent of Courtney Sargent Photography– we loved this e-session!

Congratulations Veronica and Ryan and thank you for sharing your engagement session with us!

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Destination: Jamaica
categories: destination weddings and honeymoons, fabulous reception sites, Wedding Resources

Phoenix has gained recognition in the wedding world as a gorgeous wedding destination since we have beautiful winter and spring weather, world-class resorts, a plethora of golf courses and those gorgeous mountain backdrops. But just like I wanted to go somewhere other than my hometown for college, some Phoenicians want to skip town for their weddings and/or honeymoons. One place that might not be (but should be) on your radar is the sunny island of Jamaica!

(These cabanas are at Sandals Montego Bay , right outside my door!)

I recently visited this Caribbean island and although I don’t want to gush too much, I have to say, it is a near-perfect wedding and honeymoon destination. Of course we know Jamaica as a honeymoon escape but the island’s wedding market has blossomed and if you want a place that’s friendly, fun and delicious (hello jerk anything!), Jamaica is a place you will want to consider.

Homebase was Sandals Montego Bay, the first Sandals ever built, and I loved so many things about this resort. The staff was unbelievably friendly, the room had the perfect Jamaican feel and our beach access was amazing. It’s a place to party, to embrace romance and to find adventure.

(Above images courtesy of OneWed)

This is Scotchie’s where you will have the best jerk food experience of your life, guaranteed. Do not miss this place- and no it’s not on fire, the smoke is just part of the ambiance! I tried to find a way to bring back the Scotch sauce (made from scotch-bonnet peppers that made me joyfully weep with hard- core spiciness) but I just couldn’t find a way to get it through customs. Darn!

(Image courtesy of OneWed)

I can’t possibly tell you everything I did while “working” in Jamaica but I want to highlight a few notable options for destination weddings. The first is the heavy hitter- Sandals. This king of the all-inclusive vacation is known for its honeymoons but they have recently partnered with Martha Stewart Weddings to make your destination wedding in Jamaica a seamless event.  I was able to experience the Martha Stewart wedding themes in person and I can promise you, they are executed as precisely as if Martha were there on site herself. Each theme is impeccably designed from the ceremony flowers to the reception decor to the sweets.

Here are a few images from our “Chic & Natural” lunch at one of my top 2 Jamaica resorts, Sandals Royal Plantation. Along with the most gracious staff, this lemon and thyme cocktail greeted us and it was smooth sailing from there!

(Above Images Courtesy of OneWed)

The pistachio fondant cupcake was beautiful and delicious!

(Photo courtesy of OneWed)

The resort’s decor is beyond compare- I really took to the old world Jamaican charm of this resort

(Photo Courtesy of OneWed)

We experienced the  “Seaside Serenade” wedding theme at Sandals Montego Bay

(Images courtesy of OneWed)

The next resort  to consider escaping to is Tensing Pen in Negril. This boutique hotel is for those who want an intimate destination experience. Every room is a separate bungalow, the grounds feel like home and they have the sweetest dogs on site to greet you. Here are the puppies that I fell in love with:

In true hospitable Jamaican form, Tensing Pen served us a delicious lunch then treated us like queens by allowing us to take over a house on the property. This quiet but gracious and luxurious hotel is a Jamaican treasure.

(Above images courtesy of OneWed)

This bridge has absolutely no railings and if you think it was easy to walk across the first time, you would be wrong. It was scary, even if those gorgeous turquoise waters were below, waiting to break your fall. This is where couples can “Take the Plunge” in the destination wedding spirit.

We all got into the cliff jumping

(Image courtesy of OneWed)

This side of the island, in Negril, is known for its breathtaking sunsets and this one was no exception

(Image courtesy of OneWed)

My trip was spectacular in so many ways but the best was that we were hosted by 2 of the greatest guys, Adrian and Evon, who ate with us, showed us around town, and arranged for lots of daytime (and nighttime) fun. A few of my favorite places were Rick’s Cafe which is known for it’s insane cliff divers and Mystic Mountain.

At Rick’s, you are immersed in the local scene- it’s loud, the divers are flashy and the music is pumpin’ all day long. This guy only jumps when he has secured enough in tip money and although you can’t see it, he is actually wearing a werewolf mask. It’s his gimmick. There was another diver known as the Bird Man waiting to earn enough tip money to jump. He never jumped in the hour we were there- I’m guessing he gets paid very well.

(Image courtesy of OneWed)

We also had some fun at Mystic Mountain– we rode the Sky Explorer to the top and went on the Bobsled ride. If we had enough time we would have done the canopy zipline…next time!

It’s quite possible that your destination wedding dreams could land you in this tropical paradise and you will be so glad you chose Jamaica- you will explore colorful and noisy towns, eat flavorful homemade food (the patties are to die for) and lounge on the sultry beaches. Cheers!

Happy Planning from your Arizona Wedding Blog~ Kelly

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