Vendors

Five Important “Bridal Traits” I Learned from My Favorite Bride

Five Important “Bridal Traits” I Learned from My Favorite Bride
As much as I attempt to educate you brideys with my anecdotes, crazy bitchy bride stories and a few nightmares, I think it’s only fair that I tell you a bit about one of my absolute favorite brides (like ever). Not only was she super cool, gorgeous and fun, but also really smart and trusting… of me, and the vendors we picked TOGETHER! She embraced the wedding planning process; the good the bad and the crazy, and walked around like she had a secret. Like a badass. You know that feeling… It’s like nobody can touch you, you feel almost invincible and awesome (TOTALLY the way I feel in Vegas!).

An Amazingly Bold, Art Deco Meets Vaudeville Styled Shoot Filled with Some Seriously Awesome "Entertainment"

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Bridey, I have been DYING to share this styled shoot with you! Like DY ING to share this... Not only because it's fucking FAB U LOUS, but it's colorful and unique and striking and cool and different and kickass and contains a shitload of inspiration! And, did I mention that there's a contortionist? A FUCKING contortionist! OMG, can you imagine if you had a contortionist at your wedding? Oh, and there's a bearded lady and a burlesque dancer and a cake that makes me want to dig out my pasty bag and start decorating! I.CAN'T.EVEN.

Look, bridey, do I think it's realistic for you to incorporate all of these fascinatingly surprising elements into your wedding plans? Not at all, but I dare you to give yourself creative license to have fun, and break out of the traditional wedding planning mold. You have my permission to go a little cray... Seriously, just think about the conversations your guests would be having about a burlesque dancer or contortionist taking over the bar at your wedding? Combine that with a photo booth? Yeah... And, just like that, your wedding goes from standard to stupendous. Think about it... Enjoy, and be inspired!

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See what I mean about the cake? Totally insane!

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You'll never see a movie theater in the same way again!

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So romantic!

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A gorgeous burlesque dancer and the red carpet lady...

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Look closely... RIGHT? See the bearded lady + contortionist! WOW!

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I am in awe. Probably one of my favorite pics ever on BB!!!!

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I want to frame this pic. For real.

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Yes! A million times, YES!!!!!

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Luscious. That's the only word that comes to mind... FUCKING LUSCIOUS.

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To all of the FABULOUS industry peeps who put this incredible styled shoot together... THANK YOU for sharing with Bitchless Bride!!!!

Industry Peeps:

PhotographerTuan B & Co
Concept, Design + Event Planning: Fierce Productions
Furniture Rentals: Strangelovely
OtherNew Moon Chicago
Cinema + Video: Whitney Cinema
Place Settings: Vintage Place Settings
Hair Stylist + Make Up: We Only Do Pretty 
Cake: Bon Vivant Cakes
Invitation Designer: Spilled Ink Press 
Jewelry: Hopscotch & Soda
Groomsman Attire: Richard's Fabulous Finds
Millinery + Veil Designer: Debra Shirley
Bride ApparelEdith Elan
Floral Designer: Sprout Home 
Event Venue: Logan Theatre
Bearded Lady: Alma, Draqqueen

Don’t Force a Square Peg in a Round Hole! 5 Ways to Hire the Right Wedding Vendors for You!

Every now and then I get an opportunity to "go corporate" or work with corporate clients instead of brides. Usually this means that I'll do some event consulting, or plan a large meeting/event/gala, etc., and it's while it's definitely a nice break from wedding planning, it's still a lot of work (sometimes in a super concentrated amount of time). And, if you're not a good fit with their internal team, life can be totally brutal. I mean… No matter what you do for work, bridey, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all been in a situation that sucked the life out of us from the get-go because the team was doomed from the beginning. It’s funny, I’ve been around the block enough to know that when the fit is wrong, everything else becomes difficult. Even the things that should be fun or simple are trying and painful. 

So, when the last company I almost worked with said they had some concerns regarding my chatty and gregarious personality (how could they?!!), but still wanted to pursue my services, (something I found to be completely ass backwards, but anyway…) it got me thinking about why hiring the right wedding vendors is so important when you’re planning your wedding. I mean, I could have worked with this client, but if I can't feel free to be myself, then inevitably it would have been a rotten fit and awful experience. That said, I turned down the “opportunity”, but gained great insight into my strength and then reflected on times when I should have turned down working with certain brides and vendors alike. 

So, how do you know when you have found “the one” or the right vendor? Here are 5 ways to weed out the best wedding vendors for you! 

1. Bridey, you have to trust your gut! It seems painfully obvious, right? Well, for some, it’s not when it comes to hiring the right person to DJ, photograph, cater, etc. your wedding. We are wired in a way that usually steers us in the right direction, and you should absolutely trust your intuition. Don’t overanalyze. I know, you’re a bride, that’s what you tend to do, but don’t. Don’t ruin it if it’s right or feels too easy. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Ease of conversation… How’d the meeting go? Did you feel comfortable? Were immediately drawn in? Awesome! Then fast forward to your wedding day, a day when feeling comfortable with the people in your immediate circle is of the utmost importance. Is this somebody you want to see and communicate with on your wedding day? Or, perhaps this is that last person you want to see on your wedding day or ever again for that matter. Either way, don’t overanalyze it. Just go with it.

3. How do they fit in your budget? Bridey, this is a tough one. Because your gut will likely push you towards the most experienced, most celebrated and most award winning vendor, and sometimes that means that they are also the most expensive. So, what’s a bride to do? Determine which service is most important to you, and spend accordingly. For instance, if you LOVE music, and want your guests on the dance floor the whole night, then decide to hire the best band or DJ, and then make monetary cuts elsewhere. Those of you with a big ol’ budget can have it all, but most of you will need to prioritize where you spend your money. So be fucking smart.

4. Still not sure? Then ask for referrals from other brides/couples or even other vendors they’ve worked with. I’d say go to Yelp!, but I because I feel like that kind of review site is totally one-sided, I’d much rather have you speak to somebody who experienced their services first-hand. 

5. Trust the timing of your life. Wow! That sounds so trite, but things really do happen for a reason. And, as I approach 40 fucking years old, I can honestly say that I should have trusted myself and my situation more than I did. So, if you know that you found the right wedding vendor for your needs, don’t question it, go with it. Trust the way found each other and trust your own judgement.

Bridey, I can’t tell you how fucking important it is to have a strong group of vendors that you trust on your wedding day. These people can literally make or break your event, so, trust yourself, trust your gut and trust the timing of your life. Got it?

Image via Toothpaste for Dinner

Deals and Discounts... Should You be Asking Your Wedding Vendors for a Discount?

Bridey, I’m friends with pretty much all of my wedding vendors on FaceBook, and recently, a fellow vendor posted about how it’s almost inescapable for a bride and groom not to ask for a discount these days. Somehow, it’s become instilled in their DNA because of all of the free (and usually shitty) advice out there suggesting that couples must immediately ask if vendor pricing is flexible. Seriously, I’d say that at least 60% of recently engaged couples come out and ask for a discount before learning what they are receiving. They gear up for negotiation as if they are walking into a used car dealership… Like as wedding vendors, our prices are fluid, and adjustable and if they’re not, then they should be. But, why? Why has this become the “norm” in the hospitality industry? I mean, has it really come down to the fact that if we don’t automatically offer a discount, then we’re not being hospitable? Well, fuck that.

Look, I have said time, and time again, that, “if you don’t ask (for a discount) then you don’t get”. And, I still believe it. But, just like everything else in wedding planning and in life for that matter, one must use advice carefully and thoughtfully. Seriously, maybe I should have added the caveat that you must listen and understand the terms of the provisions before jumping the gun and asking for a discount. Perhaps once you learn more about what the vendor you are considering hiring for your wedding is offering, it won’t occur to you to ask for a discount simply because their pricing is fair for what you are receiving. Forgive me… I really thought I didn’t need to highlight this particular point, but apparently I should have. 

Bridey, think about it like it’s foreplay… Give your wedding vendors a chance to finish before the encore. Plain and simple. For example, the FB friend I referenced? He said that, “Couples always ask for a winter/off-season discounts. Don’t you think that this (winter) weather might be a little bit more stressful than a nice summer or fall day?” Bridey, really think about this… Picture your vendors driving to the wedding venue, loading in (and out) their equipment, and then safely getting home… in a snowstorm. If anything, you should be paying more for “off season”, not less. 

The exception? Wedding venues. Yes, you should still listen to their offerings, and not rush into asking for a discount, but in my experience, venues such as hotels, country clubs, etc. would rather provide a discount and have a wedding as opposed to no wedding at all, especially in their “off season”. Why? Because at the end of the day, these venues are a corporation with bosses to answer to, and monetary goals to meet and achieve, not an individual wedding vendor whose profession puts food on the table for their children. It’s a completely different animal. Usually, your photographer, videographer, DJ, invitation designer, harpist, pianist, wedding planner, etc. are one or two peeps trying to make a living. And, when you ask for a discount (immediately or not), you’re completely undermining their bottom line.

So, where does this leave us? Plain and simple, bridey, do you homework. Find out what the appropriate range for each wedding vendor, and then meet with them to find out why they fall on either side (or the middle) of the spectrum. If you love them, but they are truly out of your price range, then, and only then, ask if they have flexibility with their pricing. But, don’t be surprised if they don’t, because just like you, they have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Got it?

Image via Info Asuransi

My Enormous Bridal Hangover, and the Stunning Pics to Prove it!

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I am 100% hungover. Not in the traditional sense, but in a bridal kind of way... You see, bridey, I am coming off of an exceptional wedding weekend, and although I am pretty exhausted, my head hurts, and I'm achy, definitely signs of a massive hungover, I'm not. It's just how I feel after a successful weekend of wedding "debauchery".  I was lucky enough to spend an amazing weekend in Newport, RI, with my kickass B+G, and now that it's over, I feel blah... I feel empty... I feel hungover.

And although the B+G and I have been planning their wedding for only seven short months, we pulled off a serious masterpiece. Like, serious-fucking-masterpiece. Bridey, the pics I'm sharing with you are certainly not professional (taken on a iPhone) but, I believe them to be pretty fantastic. I'll share the actual, professional photographs in the near future, but for now, please enjoy... Trust me, they're so good that you might feel hungover too! 

The harpist was amazing! Look in the corner... She was completely enchanting!

The room was flipped from the ceremony to the reception...

Sequins, lighting and flowers! OH MY! 

Yeah... They're a HOT couple! Right? She's wearing an Oscar de la Renta wedding gown, and if he looks familiar to you, it's probably because he is the drummer for Rev Theory

It was a small, ceremonial wedding cake because we served a plated dessert and had Ben + Jerry's come and set up an ice cream sundae bar! I mean, who doesn't love ice cream?!!

Five Reasons This Bridey Went From Being My Favorite, to my Least Favorite Bride

When we first met, it felt like we were separated at birth. No, really... We were finishing each other's sentences, laughing at each other's jokes and rocked some serious chemistry. It was totally love at first sight. She was the best.bridey.ever. Until she changed. Until she morphed into what I call “the bridal transformation”. And, I 100% should have seen it coming, but I was way too wrapped up our honeymoon phase (no pun) to look beyond our initial attraction. And I paid for it…

Fast forward a year? I'd cringe at the sight of her name in my inbox, and then hold my breath as I read page after page of ideas and questions. I mean, you’d think we were plotting our next heist instead of planning a wedding! And the texts? Holy shit with the insane, almost drunk sounding steam-of-thought texting... UGH. So, what changed over the course of a year? A lot. Here are the top five reasons (there are several other reasons, but we don’t have that kind of time) why this bride went from being my favorite to my least favorite bride:

1. I hate to say this because I find a ton of inspiration on Pinterest too, but, damn if this bridey didn’t become Pinterested... Yup! PINTERESTED! That’s how I refer to brides who fall down the deep and very lovely Pinterest rabbit hole of wedding planning. She would fall in love with these extravagant, over-the-top and very pricey wedding scenes adorned with amazing décor, have her heart set on mimicking the feel, and then become completely deflated when I would rain on her parade with reality. Pricing. Everyday, I became the bearer of bad news. And everyday, she would be less and less excited to plan her wedding. I swear, Pinterest should have price ranges attached to each pin so that brides-to-be would know immediately if what they are seeing in the photograph is realistic (price-wise) for their wedding! 

2. In many ways, self education is pretty awesome. Right? I’ve learned how to do many things simply by watching a YouTube video or reading about what I am trying to learn. But, self education while planning a wedding can be dangerous because there is a lot of bad advice out there, and the pushback wedding professionals see because of this is insane. Our brides stop trusting our advice and experience because suddenly she knows more than we do. And, my bridey? Well… Girl went nuts with self education, and came at me for pretty much every decision we made instead of trusting why she hired me in the first place. For my experience and network of vendors who get shit done! I started to resent her for constantly questioning my judgement and therefore making everything so fucking difficult.

3. Wedding planners and event specialists at venues have established relationships with particular vendors for good reason, bridey. We trust them, and we know they will do a great job for you, and for us too. And, while you’re more than welcome to use a vendor outside of our network, one you find on your own, don’t look to us when things start falling apart. It’s a slippery slope, and it’s incredible how just one inexperienced vendor can wreck havoc on your wedding day. 

4. Anybody home? It was crazy, this bride went from being the most overly communicative bride I’ve ever worked with to pulling a disappearing act as soon as I needed answers from her. The venue would need meal counts or the photographer would need a final deposit, and I couldn’t for the life of me find the fucking bride. Honestly, this was a first for me. I’m pretty sure she was hiding under the covers wishing it all away, and I was seriously about to show up at her apartment, when she surfaced. Needless to say, when I found her, she didn’t like my tough love. But, when you don’t get back to your vendors a few weeks away from the wedding, it becomes very difficult to put on a successful event. So, please, don’t disappear on the people trying to help you!

5. Attitude. ‘Zillatude. Plain ‘ol bitchiness. Bridey, none of your vendors, bridesmaids or family members want to be around you or help you when you’re being a bitch. So, please lose the ‘tude. It just makes everything feel worse.

In the end, the wedding was beautiful and the bride was surprisingly relaxed and sweet on her wedding day. I got to see the girl I met a year ago, and it was a relief for all us involved in her planning. But, everything in-between certainly made the planning more difficult. And, really? Was it worth it?

Image via Casarei

Seven Essentials For On-Point Wedding Photos - A FAB Guest Post From a Photographer Who's Seen it All

This article isn’t about how to look natural when staring into your fiancé’s eyes or which poses are best for eliminating double chins (it’s one I affectionately call “chicken-head”). If you hired a professional photographer with a mind-blowing portfolio, they should take care of all that and make you look your best on your big day. It’s what we do. 

What I’m talking about below are the other things… the non-photo-related factors that can so greatly determine the awesomeness of your wedding images. These are the top seven things that you might not even realize can make or break your photos. 

1) Make sure you get good vibes from your vendors. 
In short, don’t choose your wedding vendors based on price alone. Now, I know cost is not a thing we can avoid. I want furniture from Pottery Barn, but I generally end up at Target. We all wish we could hire whoever we want, regardless of price. A vendor might have a "special deal only for you if you sign on the dotted line right this moment" but consider how much time these vendors will be spending with you, how credible they are and how much trust you are putting in them. I’ve seen DJs not show up, hair and makeup go hours late, florists bring the wrong color bouquets, videographers block the ceremony view from the guests, and I’m not discounting the great number of horror stories from my own profession as well.

All of those factors lead to a lousy, frustrating wedding day, aka less-than-happy looking photographs. Determine your budget for each portion of your wedding day and then look at several vendors in that range. Take the time to meet with them and see if you mesh. If you find the golden vendor that is unbelievably affordable, it could totally be the real deal. Just make sure you do your research and listen to your intuition.

2) Consider hiring a day-of coordinator
In this DIY world of wonder, it's easy to feel like everything can be done ourselves. You're the bride - the last thing you want is to be checking your timeline and coordinating deliveries on your own wedding day. In the absence of a coordinator, too often the photographer gets tasked with keeping everything on track during a wedding day, and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have us doing what you hired us for – capturing gorgeous imagery. Make it easy on yourself and hire a day-of coordinator to keep everything going swimmingly. Even better: hire a wedding planner, which includes day-of coordination. 

3) Have an unplugged wedding.
Picture this: Great Aunt Sally. iPad with hot pink case. Center aisle as you’re walking towards your groom… Photoshop can only magic so much. Virtually every wedding we shoot these days has rows of brightly colored phone cases lining the edges of the aisle. Have your officiant make a quick announcement before the ceremony asking everyone to abstain from photos during that part of the day. Not only will you have infinitely better photos, but your guests will get to experience the ceremony fully and without distractions. 

4) Consider your wedding location and the time of year (aka, weather).
In my hometown of Las Vegas, summers are hot… like hairdryer on high, in-your-face hot. If you get married outdoors in hot weather, it’s likely you’ll be outside for hours during portraits – which means you might be sweating off your makeup and your groom might be sweating through his jacket. This doesn't mean you have to change your dream location or forget that perfect summer date you've always wanted, just make sure you’ve prepared. Choose your dress and tux carefully to make sure you won’t overheat, plan a break to cool off in between portraits and the ceremony, have fans, cold water, seek out shade and ask your photographer to have an alternate indoor location picked out. 

5) Make sure your hair and makeup artists have wedding experience. 
We all have undeniably amazing, talented friends who are makeup enthusiasts and salon stylists, but it’s vitally important (for the sake of your photographs and for your own vanity) to hire stylists with wedding experience. Two words are sacred to those who have worked with brides: waterproof and windproof. Wedding days have unpredictable weather conditions and emotional outpourings are no stranger to a bride and her entourage. No one wants tear streaks through their makeup or hair flying in all directions in their images.

6) Avoid getting too tipsy while getting ready for the wedding OR the night before the wedding. 
Listen, I love a double-mimosa just as much as the next girl, but you want to "feel all the feels" during the first look and ceremony. Getting too tipsy means you'll be a bit numb through it all. And even worse, you might feel hungover and headachey throughout your own wedding day. All of that totally reflects in your wedding photos and the emotions we are trying to capture throughout the day. Wait till after you say "I do" to throw back a few shots of Fireball… and let us document the shenanigans that ensue.

7) Hire a professional event DJ.
Using your iPod playlist or asking a friend who has speakers to play DJ creates all sorts of unnecessary stress for you on your wedding day, but you might not realize how difficult it also makes it for your photographer. In order to photograph things smoothly and get great shots of your guests going crazy on the floor, we need a DJ who… a) knows the flow of weddings, b) is an experienced emcee and c) knows how to motivate people to bust a move. I can tell you first hand: I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a premature grand entrance while setting my gear down in the other room, and I’ve sadly seen weddings clear out right after dinner because the music did not get guests dancing.

Pics + Post by the FABULOUS Kristen Hansen, Owner + Photographer, KMH Photography

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ ***FLASHBACK*** What if Your Vendors Reviewed You, Bridey?

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a truly amazing bride. She was friendly, organized and considerate of every single person who had a hand in the wedding planning. This chick was even friendly to those who didn’t have a hand in the wedding planning, but wished they did (like her soon-to-be MIL who I know was driving her crazy!). Totally a Bitchless bride! And, as I was placing the final touches at the venue, and bullshitting with the DJ, both of us said how great it was working with her because as we both know, it could go either way. And after we traded a few horror stories about crazy, bitchy brides of the past, he said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could review them?” I stopped in my tracks... Holy shit. It would be great if we could review our brides. It would be fabulous if we could review our brides! It might even be life changing, for vendors and brides alike. But, how?

Well, think about it, bridey... If there was an outlet, similar to YelpWeddingWire, etc. where following your wedding, your vendors could write a review about you and your behavior/attitude while planning, would that impact how you conducted yourself? Wait! Before you answer the question, allow me to keep going for a bit... What if this outlet was powerful enough to alter the course of your professional life? Similar to the way a negative review can wreak havoc on our business, a negative review could potentially ruin a fantastic job opportunity for you, bridey (like it does for us), get you fired (as it can for us), and completely soil your reputation as you know it.

Imagine if a potential (or even your current) employer "Googled" you, and could read about how you treated your wedding vendors without hearing "your side of the story". Scary, right? Pretty fucked up? Yes! Because in their eyes? These reviews reveal a lot about how you behave under pressure, and how you treat people in the process... Bridey, if you were a raving lunatic or even had one looney moment, you'd probably have some explaining to do or maybe you'd miss a chance to land the next big career move; pretty damaging for some of you. Right?

Now, bridey, answer the question... If there was a site for vendors to review brides in the same way you very publicly review us, would that change your behavior during wedding planning? Would it change how you treat people knowing that your behavior and conduct could leave a lasting impression not only on your vendors, but on your career too?

Image via Box University Blog

Real Wedding Wednesday ~ A Super Glamorous, Super Luxurious Australian Wedding

Can I get a "OH MY GOD"? I mean... Just look at this photograph!! It's absolutely, insanely gorgeous! Right? I don't even know where to begin with what I love most about this stunning table and décor! Bridey, did you happen to see the wedding favors? Each guest got a bottle of Moët! Kinda beats a wedding cake shaped cookie, doesn't it?! Look, don't get me wrong, I love a good cookie wedding favor, but I love a delicious French champagne much, much more! Anyway, it was truly hard for me not to showcase every picture in the album, but, somehow I managed.

Bridey, I can hardly put into words how I feel about the totally fucking GORGEOUS flowers (more than 2,000 individual flowers were used in Kristi & Steve's wedding) or the metallic gold wedding cake or the two wedding dresses Kristi wore or the black dance floor, or or or!!!! The list goes on and on!!! I will let Kristi, the cool and beautiful bride, tell you a little bit more about the inspiration for this A MAZ ING wedding. Enjoy!

WOW! Look at those two dresses!

D.A.M.N.

Confetti.

That is one hell of a train!

Bridey, you know I am a sucker for how the B+G look at each other during the ceremony. And this is completely tear jerking! All the way from childhood sweethearts to the altar...

Super sexy!!

My dream car (although I really just picture it in the kickass chase scene in The Bourne Identity!)...

Kristi: I wanted our guests to be blown away, by everything! With this in mind we really had no limits set; the more glitz the better! Thousands of flowers and hundreds of candles, we wanted every element of our wedding incomparable and unforgettable.

Don't you love how the cake is reflecting the lighting?? Amazing!!

Kristi: Our wedding was glamourous! The fact that I wore multiple different dresses on the day probably showcased that. We also focused our wedding décor around the contrast of gold and different shades of red. Our reception included over 2,000 individual flowers which really popped against our clear glass furniture and gold detailing. I really do think that glamourous is the best description.

Um. OMotherFuckin'G!!! I can't... It's too good... W.O.W. FIVE layers of gold...

I mean... Kristi! You look sensational! I can't keep my eyes off of your bum!

Kristi: My dresses were very important to me; I couldn't decide between having a big princess dress, or having a more sexy, fitted dress... So in the end I decided to combine both! I also wanted to wow our guests with ANOTHER dress for the cutting of the cake, so I chose to literally match my dress with the cake and have gold detailing throughout. 

Thank you Kristi and Steve for sharing your utterly breathtaking, glamorous wedding with Bitchless Bride!

Industry Peeps:

Photographer: Blumenthal Photography

Wedding Dress: George Elsissa 

Bridesmaids Dresses: Sweethearts Bridal

Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

Stationery: Adorn Wedding Invitations

Flowers: Sydney Wedding Flowers

Groom(smen)’s Suits: Hugo Boss

Jewellery: Nader Jewellers

Cake: Sweet Passion

Make Up & Hair: Natalie Anne Hair

Film: Untitled Film Works

Venue: Ivy Merivale

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ A Bride Without a Ring, and a Wedding Without a Date

Bridey, have you heard the phrase, "No ring, no bring."? Usually this is in reference to whether or not one of your guests can bring a date to your wedding, but today, I am applying a new meaning to the phrase... How about, "No ring, no bring... YOUR ass in for an appointment. Because there is nothing I hate more than a "bride" without a ring. And, you know what? I'm not alone. Because all of us (your wedding vendors), have wasted a ton of time describing and selling our services, showcasing venue space, and bending over backwards for a "bride" without a ring. And guess what happens next? The "bride" doesn't get engaged, or the engagement is much further down the road than she thought, or the sig other wasn't "the one", blah blah blah...

Look, I know it's exciting just thinking about getting engaged, but it really doesn't count unless one of you has done the asking and one of you has done the accepting. Right? So, making appointments (or... eeeek, just walking into a venue without an appointment) is actually rude. I mean, it's like test driving a car knowing that you have another year on your lease or house hunting without establishing your budget. Honestly? It's a fucking waste of time, and just like you, wedding vendors are busy. So, if you're a future bride-to-be, it's totally cool that you're starting to explore weddingy things, and weddingy blogs, and all things weddingy, etc. because you're exploring on your own time, but when it begins to spill over onto my watch? Well, that's when you've gone too far.

Look, bridey-to-be, I'm not judging you, I swear! I get that you are excited about the next step in your life, and that you want to be prepared. It's a thrilling phase! And, planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, so why not get a head start? Right? And, depending on where you live, securing a venue and popular vendors can be brutal. But, as much as I am not judging you right now, I will start judging you the second you make start making arrangements for your wedding without a date, as a bride without a ring. For now? Stick to Pinterest!

The worst part of this equation is that these bride-to-be wannabes are usually quite lovely, and are simply letting their anxiousness about getting engaged get the best of them. I know because I have met with these almost brides, and sadly, when I follow up with them, they're either still in a holding pattern or they've broken up. And as badly as I feel (particularly when it's the latter scenario), I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little piece of me that would be pissed off upon hearing the news. Totally an involuntarily feeling, but often, the first thought to cross my mind following the conversation. Because, no matter the situation, nobody wants to feel as though their time has been wasted, especially when there are engaged brides out there willing to make a commitment.

So, wannabe-bridey, thinking that your engagement is around the corner? Congratulations! But, hold the champagne, and the planning, until you've got a ring on it... Got it?

Image via Genesis Diamonds

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ The BEST Advice from the BEST Wedding Vendors in Boston!

Bridey, today's post is like hitting the jackpot of wedding planning. SERIOUSLY. If you are recently engaged or are in the midst of planning your wedding, stop what you're doing, and focus because you are about to be educated by the BEST in the wedding biz! I asked some of my absolute FAVORITE vendors in the Boston area to share the best piece of advice about planning a wedding, and these peeps? Well, they completely spilled the beans. I mean... There is so much wedding planning goodness in this post, that I could fucking chew it!!!

I rarely say cheesy shit like this, but this is a must read!! So, are you ready to learn? Ready to say, "Thank you, Bitchless Bride!!" Good! You're welcome! 

Wedding Planners:

When you are newly engaged, you tend to become inundated with information overload and it can be daunting to say the least.  My advice to newly-engaged couples is to forgo the route of hiring all of your vendors until you’ve secured the right, professional, experienced wedding planner. Some couples feel it’s best to hire a “day of” coordinator and do the rest themselves, only to learn how much money could have been easily saved by avoiding costly mistakes and uneducated decisions along the way. The right planner should be your guide, your educator, your confidant, your representative along the way and you need to put your trust into this person as they do this every day and truly look out for your best interests from the start. 

Paula Marrero ~ Marrero Events 

My advice to new brides: Don't panic, it's all overwhelming at first but it's important to book the top 3 first-top priorities (if you're not working with a planner) are to find your venue, photographer and band--then breathe!  I also advise brides to wait to design the space until about 6 months before the wedding... You'll be able to have a couple months thinking about ideas, pinning on Pinterest , etc... I find that so many of my clients go in with one idea and once they've relaxed and see what is out there or trending in their wedding year they change their idea of what their wedding looks like--so ultimately they get what they want instead of what they thought they wanted--big difference! 

Amy Kimball ~ Amy Kimball Events 

Invitations:

Invitations are the introduction of your wedding to your friends and family; they set the tone for the event. You can’t just get a quote as there are a lot of factors to consider such as quantity, quality, type of inserts, type of print, etc. There is a lot more involved then most people realize. So, plan accordingly.

Mara Weiner ~ Allure Invitations

Cake:

Be your own "bride" ...don't worry about what family, in-laws, friends & co-workers want for YOUR WEDDING. Follow what YOU have wanted & dreamed about. 

Paula Kirrane ~ Icing on the Cake

Entertainment:

Once your venue is booked, the next step is to lock in your entertainment. In order to get the best DJ or band out there, you have to book well in advance. Remember, first and foremost? Your guests are going to remember if they had a good  time. That’s why good entertainment is vital.

Always ask your entertainment vendor about their other recommended services. This is how you get the best deals without making a laundry list of phone calls. They may already have what you need and could save you time and money without sacrificing quality.

Mike Amado ~ Entertainment Specialists

Photographers:

Lately couples are asking me if they should do the "first look". My answer is always YES! The first reveal is always so sweet. The moment is far more emotion and allows for a more intimate/private moment with just the couple. 

Some brides envision this grand moment when they are walking down the aisle, and the groom is sobbing… However, in reality, in a traditional formal setting with 200 people looking at you… The groom often looks like a deer in head lights. Not at all the magical moment you think it will be! So yes, do a first look! 

Lauren Killian ~ Person + Killian Photography

Don’t do a winter e-session! People look freezing, and are super uncomfortable. Nothing like having dirty snow and branches coming out of everyone's heads! Wait until the spring when the temperatures are higher, and the trees start to bloom. I highly suggest April-November.

~ Anonymous Photographer

Cinematography:

1. Make sure that your photographer and videographer work well as a team. Even better, choose a team where your photographer and videographer have worked together and enjoy the experience.

2. Ask your prospective wedding film maker how they operate during the wedding day. Will they have lights on their cameras? Will they be on the dance floor circling the couple during the first dance? Will they stand behind the officiant during the ceremony - Or will they stake out spots based on experience and fade into the decor?

3. Ask your toasters to limit toasts to under 5 minutes. 3 is even better. There’s not much they can say (that won’t be dumb or embarrassing) after a couple of minutes.

4. Invite your guests to leave their phones and cameras in their pockets or purses. You’re paying for pros to document your wedding - don’t let the amateurs get in the way!

5. When considering wedding cinematography, check out the sound  as well as the images of potential pros. Capturing pristine sound of your grandfather’s blessing and knowing how to integrate it with music and image, is a complex art form. Don’t settle for pretty pictures if you already have a photographer you love. When it comes to film making, sound is 60% or more.

6. If you desperately want a top notch film maker to capture your wedding, and have a limited budget, consider one of the following:

a. Grab pics from the HD / 24 Frames per second of the video capture and forego the photographer.

b. Hire the film maker you want and see if you can work out a payment plan that works for you.

c. Opt for the best film maker you can afford, ask them to produce a short highlights now, and wait until you’ve financially recovered to have them edit the feature film.

Naomi Raiselle ~ Generations Cinemastories 

Florist:

The Best way to trim your budget is to trim you guest list (it literally makes every line item more affordable - period, the end)! (AMEN!!!!!!)

If you "absolutely love and have to have peonies" - know that you absolutely MUST select a wedding date in May or early-June!

Bring as few people to each and every appointment that you book ... the less opinions, the less stressed out you will be!

~ Anonymous Florist

And there you have it... You're welcome, bridey!!! Now, all you have to do is listen to the professionals trying to help you.

Image via The Perfect Job

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ A Vendor Vent... A Plea to the Wedding Industry

Style Me Pretty weddings are pretty, aren't they? But here's the thing: they look as though they were all photographed by the same photographer! Somehow, the trend has morphed into this film photography copycat technique where a cut off cropped shot of a bride's hands with her bouquet has become a standard in every wedding photographer's shot list.

And while it is so incredibly important to fulfill the dreams and desires of our clients, aren't we in a sense lying to them when we attempt to tell them that their weddings are unique?

What about the other photographers out there with so much more to offer? What about the award winners of the different photography associations year after year? Take a look again at these such blogs and websites. You will not see any of their work on any of these sites. Why? Because their style is highly dramatic, theatrical, technical, artistic, and (gasp!!!) DIFFERENT. Imagine your wedding photographer capturing your wedding day to look unique to you and yours!

What a concept.

I have a prestigious award I earned from my work as a photographer (no, I'm not one of the world's best photographers I mentioned before, but if I named the award, you'd recognize it), and yet receive rejection email and letter after another because my style does not “fit” the popularity contest that is going on in our industry. Guess who else has the same thing happening to them? The award-winning photographers with masters of photographer certifications. Yup.

So why aren't these photographers being featured on blogs, in magazines, and in bridal boutiques and shows? And why (dear god WHY) are burlap, lace, barns, and mason jars still a thing?!! Please don't play the budget card, because I've seen insanely elegant pulled off with a small budget.

Give us something DIFFERENT. Give us all CHOICES. Show us EVERYTHING there is to offer out there, not just one style. Don't we owe it to our brides to educate them, rather than dictate to them what to choose?

love,
an award winning photographer

***What do you think fellow vendors?!! I'm dying to hear your opinions. Leave a comment here, FaceBook or Twitter.***

Image via Money Crashers