Kari & Anthony – A Beautiful Summer Wedding in Ft Madison Iowa

Kari and Anthony were married on July 3 in Ft Madison and had the most beautiful wedding.  Their first look was so incredibly sweet, I don’t know if I have ever seen a groom that excited to see his bride before!  He was hopping in place as he waited for her to join him outside.  The entire day was the epitome of simple elegance, and their album design was perfectly matched to the wedding.  I just wanted to share a few of my favorite spreads!

   

Guest Blog – “Hindsight is 20/20″ by Margaret Moore – Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Design

This week’s guest blogger is Margaret Moore of Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Designs in Bloomington, Illinois.

I met Margaret at a seminar in Chicago in July and was quite excited to feature here on my blog!  She and her team of professionals are a full-service wedding planning and design group, and do some beautifully amazing things!  Be sure to check out their website at http://www.aweddingtodreamof.com!

“Hindsight is 20/20″

By Margaret Moore

I can tell you all of the things that I wish I had known before I became a wedding planner. Some things, people warned me about, but I just did not want to believe them. So now I want to share my experiences in hopes that they will make your day just a little more special.

Set a Budget

The most important thing you can do is set a budget and try the best you can to stick to it.  But a word of caution: be realistic.

If you are watching David Tutera on “My Fair Wedding” on WEtv and want a “fairytale wedding” just like the one featured in the program for $10,000, you are going to be very disappointed.

You and your fiancé must sit down and calculate the cost.  Here is a great site that can help you see how to proritize your spending: Wedding Budget Planner .  On this site you can type in any budget amount and the calculator provide guidelines for allocating your funds.  Please understand the calculator offers suggestions which are not hard fast rules.  If you just have to have that $3000 gown, that is fine, just know that you will have to cut somewhere else (or have Grandma buy it for you).

In my experience I have learned that there are three things not to go cheap on:

1. The Photographer

2. The Flowers

3. The DJ

The Photographer


You have spent countless hours planning your dream wedding and the pictures taken by your photographer will be the pictures you have for the rest of your life! When you look back on your family history, what do you look at? PICTURES! Pictures of what? A lot of times, pictures of family members WEDDINGS! You could go to Craigslist and hire someone to take pictures, but it is unlikely to find a good photographer on Craigslist, one who creates images. A good photographer is invested in his trade, which means he or she is invested in YOU! And although price is a factor, don’t just look at dollar signs, look beyond. Look at the quality of the photos.

Does the style of photography appeal to you? Does your personality click with the photographers? Does the photographer understand your vision? During your consultation with the photographer, ask him or her to go through the details of the day, how the photographer goes about planning coverage, what equipment he or she plans to use, what backup equipment he or she keeps on hand at the wedding,  what training he or she has, and his or her professional affiliations. You will soon understand that when you find a photographer invested in creating beautiful images, you’re getting more for your money than you think.

The Flowers

Secondly, consider the flowers.  When you see a couple’s wedding pictures, what do you see in every picture?  Your bouquet. Your bouquet is the wrong place to try and save money.  Instead, save money by scaling down on the bridesmaid’s bouquets and focus on your flowers.  Remember, it will be a picture of you and your husband that will be hanging on your wall thirty years from now, and what will be in that picture?  Your wedding bouquet!   Flowers are a living product so you have to trust your florist.  If something goes wrong, will they be there for you?  If an hour after receiving your Calla lilies you notice they are wilting, what will the florist do?   Make sure your florist has your back.

The floral people we work with here at Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Design have, if needed, redone bouquets, or upgraded bouquets if something goes wrong. It is important to know prior to the wedding if your florist will be there for you.  Talk with your florist about what you want. Tell them about your dream bouquet, can you afford it?  If not, can you substitute a more economical flower to make the bouquet more affordable, keeping the look you want?   When you share the types of flowers you want with your florist, listen carefully to their advice. Your florist has countless hours invested in knowing how flowers respond in different seasons and situations, draw upon their experience.  Outside wedding in August and you want tulips?   Make sure you are comfortable with any person you with whom you work.

The DJ

Third, your DJ and/or entertainment are very important to the success of your wedding day. Your DJ can make or break the reception. Not only do they need to have a great personality and fresh ideas, they need to have a back up system. Ask the DJ about his or her experience. How many weddings have they done? What will they do if people stop dancing, can he or she motivate the crowd to return to the party? A DJ should also understand the type of music you enjoy. What type of crowd is he or she trying to entertain? Your DJ should also ask about your customs and family traditions. Knowing what is appropriate for you and your guests will make sure that everybody has a fun time during your reception. Price should not be the determining factor for finding a DJ. Quality of service and presentation should. Talk to your DJ about what he or she does. Ask him or her why they became a DJ. I will say it again, when a good DJ is invested in his or her trade, he or she will be invested in you and your wedding.

Planning & Coordination

Weddings are a complicated orchestration of vendors: caterers, bakers, florists, photographers, entertainers – the list goes on. Your time is valuable and you have other commitments, whether work or personal. Thus, you may not have time to make numerous phone calls, set up appointments, and drive all over town looking for the perfect site. At Simple Elegance we have extensive knowledge of the best vendors, venues, and services to assist you in making your wedding everything you wish it to be.

Whatever you choose, it is sure to be unforgettable! Wouldn’t it be great if it was also stress free? With Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Designs it can be both.

Again, hindsight is 20/20.

I hope that this will give you a measure of insight so the day after your wedding you do not say, “I wish we had only known.”

Hindsight is 20/20.

I can tell you all of the things that I wish I had known before I became a wedding planner. Some things, people warned me about, but I just did not want to believe them. So now I want to share my experiences in hopes that they will make your day just a little more special. 

Set a Budget

The most important thing you can do is set a budget and try the best you can to stick to it. But a word of caution: be realistic.

If you are watching David Tutera on “My Fair Wedding” on WEtv and want a “fairytale wedding” just like the one featured in the program for $10,000, you are going to be very disappointed.

You and your fiancé must sit down and calculate the cost. Here is a great site that can help you see how to proritize your spending: Wedding Budget Planner . On this site you can type in any budget amount and the calculator provide guidelines for allocating your funds. Please understand the calculator offers suggestions which are not hard fast rules. If you just have to have that $3000 gown, that is fine, just know that you will have to cut somewhere else (or have Grandma buy it for you).

In my experience I have learned that there are three things not to go cheap on:

1. The Photographer

2. The Flowers

3. The DJ

The Photographer

You have spent countless hours planning your dream wedding and the pictures taken by your photographer will be the pictures you have for the rest of your life! When you look back on your family history, what do you look at? PICTURES! Pictures of what? A lot of times, pictures of family members WEDDINGS! You could go to Craigslist and hire someone to take pictures, but it is unlikely to find a good photographer on Craigslist, one who creates images. A good photographer is invested in his trade, which means he or she is invested in YOU! And although price is a factor, don’t just look at dollar signs, look beyond. Look at the quality of the photos.

Does the style of photography appeal to you? Does your personality click with the photographers? Does the photographer understand your vision? During your consultation with the photographer, ask him or her to go through the details of the day, how the photographer goes about planning coverage, what equipment he or she plans to use, what backup equipment he or she keeps on hand at the wedding,  what training he or she has, and his or her professional affiliations. You will soon understand that when you find a photographer invested in creating beautiful images, you’re getting more for your money than you think.

The Flowers

Secondly, consider the flowers. When you see a couple’s wedding pictures, what do you see in every picture? Your bouquet. Your bouquet is the wrong place to try and save money. Instead, save money by scaling down on the bridesmaid’s bouquets and focus on your flowers. Remember, it will be a picture of you and your husband that will be hanging on your wall thirty years from now, and what will be in that picture? Your wedding bouquet! Flowers are a living product so you have to trust your florist. If something goes wrong, will they be there for you? If an hour after receiving your Calla lilies you notice they are wilting, what will the florist do? Make sure your florist has your back.

The floral people we work with here at Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Design have, if needed, redone bouquets, or upgraded bouquets if something goes wrong. It is important to know prior to the wedding if your florist will be there for you. Talk with your florist about what you want. Tell them about your dream bouquet, can you afford it? If not, can you substitute a more economical flower to make the bouquet more affordable, keeping the look you want? When you share the types of flowers you want with your florist, listen carefully to their advice. Your florist has countless hours invested in knowing how flowers respond in different seasons and situations, draw upon their experience. Outside wedding in August and you want tulips??? Make sure you are comfortable with any person you with whom you work.

The DJ

Third, your DJ and/or entertainment are very important to the success of your wedding day. Your DJ can make or break the reception. Not only do they need to have a great personality and fresh ideas, they need to have a back up system. Ask the DJ about his or her experience. How many weddings have they done? What will they do if people stop dancing, can he or she motivate the crowd to return to the party? A DJ should also understand the type of music you enjoy. What type of crowd is he or she trying to entertain? Your DJ should also ask about your customs and family traditions. Knowing what is appropriate for you and your guests will make sure that everybody has a fun time during your reception. Price should not be the determining factor for finding a DJ. Quality of service and presentation should. Talk to your DJ about what he or she does. Ask him or her why they became a DJ. I will say it again, when a good DJ is invested in his or her trade, he or she will be invested in you and your wedding.

Planning & Coordination

Weddings are a complicated orchestration of vendors: caterers, bakers, florists, photographers, entertainers – the list goes on. Your time is valuable and you have other commitments, whether work or personal. Thus, you may not have time to make numerous phone calls, set up appointments, and drive all over town looking for the perfect site. At Simple Elegance we have extensive knowledge of the best vendors, venues, and services to assist you in making your wedding everything you wish it to be.

Whatever you choose, it is sure to be unforgettable! Wouldn’t it be great if it was also stress free? With Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Designs it can be both.

Again, hindsight is 20/20.

I hope that this will give you a measure of insight so the day after your wedding you do not say, “I wish we had only known.”

   

Giant Double Rainbow and a Giant Triple Grape

It’s Random Monday!  With this new way of blogging, I have decided that I need a schedule, or specific content for specific days, in order to keep track of my thoughts.

So, Mondays will be Random Mondays.  I will post about whatever is on my mind, share random images, and just be me.

Wednesdays will be my Guest Bloggers and Vendor Features, sharing tips for wedding planning, pet care, and all sorts of other things!

Fridays will be my image sharing days.  It might be one image, or it might be a hundred, I don’t know.  I’ll share whatever I am in love with at that moment.  I’ll talk about my favorite shots, how I got the shot, why a shot is important to me or the client, the behind-the-scenes, all sorts of stuff!

Today’s post is about Giant stuff.  A few weeks ago, after a particularly loud storm, I got a text from my intern Hanna telling me to go outside, that there was a giant double rainbow.  She wasn’t kidding!  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful rainbows in my life, but nothing compared to this one.  It was not only an incredibly bright double rainbow, it stretched completely across the sky! I marveled for a few moments by myself, then ran inside two grab the two very important things – my son, and my camera!

It is hard to see the double rainbow in this one, but the size of it was stunning!

Maddox loved it!

“Look Mommy!”

The colors are a little wonky here.  The sky was a really orangish gray muddy color, which totally threw off my white balance, but oh well!

The second giant thing of the day was this grape.  My nephew Josh found it during Maddox’s birthday party, and was happy to share it with me for a few shots.  It looks like three grapes grown into one!  It was quite interesting.

Josh told me later that it was quite sour, just in case you were wondering how it tasted.:)

Check back on Wednesday for our next Guest Blogger!

   

Fire Truck Birthday Theme – Part 3

I love birthday parties.  To me it is the one day a year that really, truly is all about a child.  It is the one day a year that I will suck it up and get in the car with a bunch of balloons (I hate balloons). I plan for weeks, creating and designing and putting things together.  It is important to me that everything be cohesive, and while I didn’t put quite as much effort into his second birthday as I did his first birthday, I love how everything turned out!

Here are a few quick detail shots!

Adam - It looks like you put a lot of effort into this party. The decorations are most definitively cohesive, and not just party store same-same-same. It’s unique and fun! I bet everyone enjoyed it.

   

Fire Truck Birthday Party Cake – Happy 2nd Birthday Maddox!

Last year, when I was planning Maddox’s first birthday party, I had a very specific idea in mind for his cake.  I spoke with a dozen designers, but it wasn’t until I spoke with Clarice of Sweet Intentions by the Morgans that I knew my vision was going to come true.  She and her husband Antonio delivered the most amazing 3D monkey cake, and my husband and I swore that from then on, they would be OUR cake designers!

This year they did an amazing job, as I knew they would.  Maddox LOVED his fire truck cake.  Even tonight, as I was getting the images ready for the blog, he came running up saying “my fire truck cake! My fire truck cake!”

We ewnt with red velvet and cream cheese frosting for the flavor, and it was absolutely delicious.  My husband has never had red velvet before, and he has now deemed it to be his favorite flavor ever. :)

A HUGE thanks to Clarice and Antonio and their beautiful daughter for the amazing design, super friendly delivery, and beautifully delicious cake!

   
F o r   P h o t o g r a p h e r s