April 22nd, 2012

Surprise!

My 25th birthday is coming up next Monday and this past weekend my bf decided to take some time to spoil me rotten in preparation for it. His sister, who lives in L.A., was planning a visit back to Raleigh, so he made dinner plans for us to meet with her and her new boyfriend at my favorite restaurant downtown. Because this dinner was to, not only meet Michelle’s new boyfriend, but also to begin celebrating for my birthday, my bf Ryan, decided that I should have a whole new outfit and have my nails done for it. He took me out shopping on Saturday for an adorable dress, Sunday he treated us both to massages, and immediately following a manicure & pedicure for myself. Neither of us have really had the money to go out and spend on one another, so this whole weekend was an absolute treat.

Little did I know, my super sweet, romantic boyfriend had some other plans surprised for me. After the four of us finished eating I excused myself to the restroom and when I got back Ryan’s sister and boyfriend were gone. I didn’t think much of it, sat back down, and took his hand that was reached out across the table looking for mine. Before I knew it, he proceeded to tell me how special I was to him and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. My heart began to race, hard. We had both had a little alcohol with dinner, and he does have a tendency to get shmoopy when he drinks, but this was different somehow. Before I could come to the conclusion that he was proposing he pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring I have ever seen. I was instantly overtaken by emotion and started to cry. I put the ring on, wrapped my arms around his neck, buried my face into his chest and cried. After I finally managed to stop crying he politely pointed out that I had not yet said yes.

After the “OF COURSE IT’S A YES!” came out, he informed me that a birthday party of my friends and family were waiting for me upstairs. I once again excused myself to the bathroom in hopes of regaining composure before facing everyone upstairs.

We walked into a room of excited friends and family, including Jessica Yakamna, a friend of Ryan and I both who was photographing the event. I cannot praise this girl enough. I have worked with her a few times in the past on random, fun, and sexy photo shoots and I always love the results. Jessica not only has a great eye for lighting and angles, but she is extremely easy to get comfortable with and have a good time. It is totally possible that I am biased, but she is still really amazing! Here are some beautiful shots from my engagement/birthday party: My Favorite Raleigh Restaurant

I love this picture and I love this place! I use to work for one of the guys who owns it now, Woody, and I want to support it any chance I can. We also had our company Christmas party here, which was fabulous, and very reasonably priced.

You can’t see the ring extremely well, but this is still such a beautiful shot of the ring on my finger. I also really love the way the champagne looks in front of the lights.

The entire experience was extremely overwhelming, but absolutely amazing. My Mom, brother, and Jess (my brother’s fiance) all showed up, and Ryan’s Mom came too! I only wish I had more of an opportunity to talk to everyone.

Unfortunately, I felt like I didn’t get to see Ryan very much at all, but we at least found time to sneak in some kisses.

It’s all still sinking in now. I am so happy and excited I can barely stand it. Having this ring on my finger will certainly help in the whole wedding planning process too! 🙂

We haven’t picked a date, and probably won’t for a while, but I am still really excited.

Please check out Jessica’s work if you have not yet. I personally can’t wait to start throwing engagement photo ideas her way.

Hing A Kur

Wedding Photography

I recently uploaded a photo to the header of my blog and wanted to make sure I gave credit where credit was due. I snagged the shot from an album of photos from my friend Meghan’s wedding. The photo was taken by her wedding photographer Hing Kur.

This photographer was amazing! He was polite, patient, and an absolute gentleman. I can honestly say that he did a superb job all around. He did a great job of getting beautiful and unique shots, but still allowed family and friends to take shots of their own. I have seen some photographers who deliberately got in the way of other wedding guests and their photos, and this angered me beyond belief. I completely understand needing to make a living, and wanting to take the best shots possible, but I think a good photographer should know that a lot of people just want some pictures of their own.

I’d like to show you a few shots taken at this wedding. The photos are absolutely breathtaking, and the colors Meghan chose were really beautiful and complimentary to the scenery. I’m going to tell you a little about the wedding and location as well, mostly because I’m partial to my home state of Vermont, but also because it was truly a beautiful wedding.

Echo Lake Inn

The wedding was held June 4th 2011, at the Echo Lake Inn in Ludlow, Vermont. The weather was perfect, 70 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the sky and just the right amount of breeze.

Kiss

The photographer stole the Bride and Groom shortly after toasts were made and food was eaten. He got some great photos of some very intimate moments.

My favorite shot!

This one here of them kissing on the edge of the road is my absolute favorite!! I love the angle of it because it feels like we’re getting to peek in on a private moment that we may otherwise not have seen.

Beach Themed centerpieces

This last shot is just some of the centerpieces. I loved the sea green /aquamarine accents!!

Check out some of Hing Kur’s work and book him for your Vermont wedding!

Follow Up to Finding the perfect dress

In my previous post I touched on the topic of finding the right wedding dress. I want to follow that up with a post today about the process of trying dresses on. If you have never experienced this process, it can be a little overwhelming.

First of all, before you go anywhere to try anything on, get an idea of what style dresses you like. If you have an idea in your head of what you want to look like on your big day, picking a dress is going to be that much easier for you. It’s super easy to go online and simply browse any selection of dresses from any website. But finding the right site, might be tricky. Depending on your budgeting options, finding a dress shop in your town that carries the exact dress you want could be cheaper and easier than perhaps finding something online and ordering it. Some small wedding boutiques, however, only link to the designers of the dresses they carry, rather than showing you their selection of dresses.  When it comes right down to it, finding your dress is something you are probably going to spend a lot of time doing. This is why I suggest starting as early as possible.

As soon as my brother proposed to my soon to be sister-in-law Jess, she asked me to take her dress shopping. She already knew she wanted to go over to David’s Bridal, and she had also already started looking through a magazine of theirs. Jess is a perfect example of a woman who knew she was excited about trying on dresses, but had no clue where to start or what to try on. I told her that she should ear mark the dresses that she liked in the magazine and set us up with an appointment for her to try on dresses.

You should know, if you want to go anywhere to try dresses on, you have to make an appointment. This will guarantee you get the allotted amount of time with a consultant to assist you, rather than wandering in somewhere and maybe OR maybe not getting a chance to try on dresses. Especially if you live in a big city.

When we went in for the appointment, the place was swamped. There were women everywhere. We waited quite a bit before we were finally helped, but this did give us a chance to browse around a bit and let Jess pick some dresses out.

Finally, the time had come! She tried on 3 dresses, and the last one was the winner! THREE DRESSES!! How easy was that? How many women can say they found their dress that quickly?  The consultant definitely helped this along though, by painting this beautiful picture of Jess walking down the aisle in her dress, and even put a beautifully delicate veil on her head while doing so.

Here are a few shots of some that she tried on. I’m going to try not to show too much, just in case my brother wanders onto this site.

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Isn’t that a beautiful train?? I love the lace for the straps!!

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I just love the detail on this one!! She did a great job picking out dresses!!

Okay, I do not want to reveal too much, so this will have to be it!

Don’t forget to schedule your appointments in advance, and check out www.davidsbridal.com for a huge selection!

Finding the perfect dress

For many women, finding the right wedding dress can be quite a headache. There are, though it may seem hard to believe, plenty of women out there who have NOT been dreaming about their wedding since they were little girls. That’s right, not all of us are hopeless romantic dreamers.

The best piece of advice I can give on this topic is to start looking for a dress as soon as you know you are getting married. This way, if the dress is top dollar, you should have plenty of time to save up for it. It seems that now a days most women are getting engaged years before their actual wedding date, giving themselves more time to save up for that “perfect” wedding and dress they always dreamed of. A lot of couples know as soon as she says yes when their wedding date will be, but let’s not forget about the rest of us who are just not that organized or prepared. Picking a date that is two years later, will help a lot with the whole saving and planning process.

Here is a list of things you will want to consider when picking a dress:
(in no particular order of importance)

-What style do I want? (what time of year will it be?)
-What type of shoes will I be wearing? (short vs. long dress) (beach vs. ground)
-What is my budget? (Most I am willing to spend?)
-Will I wear a veil or tiara? Is that part of my budget?
-Do I want two dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception?
-Will I have a dress custom made for myself?
-How much time will I have to get alterations if necessary?
-Where should I get my dress?

Did you consider all of these things? Did some of them surprise you? If so, you might be someone who needs the extra time to find a dress.

For those of you hopeless romantics out there, dreaming of feeling like royalty on your big day, check out this collection of dresses: http://www.disneybridal.com/bridalgowns.html

I personally love the Cinderella dress from collection one. I dream of walking down the aisle in that dress all the time.

Wedding planning

It’s been quite a while since my last post, so I will do my best to recap for everyone.

I am currently helping plan a wedding for two very dear friends of mine, Nikki & James, which will be in June. At the same time, I am helping plan my brother and his fiancée’s wedding for July.

Nikki and James did not assign me with a lot of responsibility for the actual planning, though they have asked me to get some information for them, most of what they want from me is my organization and determination day of.  The day these two decided to hire me, James wrote me an email telling me specifically what he wanted/needed from a wedding planner and I want to share exactly how he worded this:

“What we NEED, and what I have been looking around Raleigh for more than anything, is for someone that’s going to come in day-of and kick ass.”

This is amazing. What a wonderful husband he will be! There were obviously a ton more details, but I think that sentence gives you all you need to know to understand the general feel of the email.

Thus far, I haven’t done much more than meet with Nikki (the bride) on a monthly basis to find out where she is with everything. I am keeping her on track and reminding her of all the small details so many stressed out brides tend to forget.

On the other hand, planning my brother’s wedding has not been quite as easy. I am learning that it can be extremely hard to work with people who have not defined what their budget is, or that do not have a huge budget to work with. Weddings can get expensive very quickly, and knowing what you are able to safely spend is an extremely important factor in the planning process. Making lists can help a great deal with this process.

As soon as you know you are going to be getting married, you should make your first list! (After you freak out, call your friends & family, and post pics of that rock on Facebook that is.) This list should contain anything and EVERYTHING! It may seem silly now, and possibly hard, but it is definitely worth it. This will give you a better view of everything you have on your plate. Making a list can also help you to prioritize. You can note what all your big ticket items will be, and what the deadlines are for their deposits, and all of a sudden budgeting for these things just got easier. Once you have figured out what the total amount of cash is that you are saving for, you can divide that number by the amount of weeks you have until your wedding. That will tell you how much you should be saving on a weekly basis to get to that big number.

I suggest getting some kind of savings account for yourself, and setting up an automatic transfer to that account on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  I personally have a small amount transferred from my checking account to my savings account every other week, in order to force myself to save. I have this set up so that the amount only transfers every pay day, and I don’t even notice those funds have moved.

Happy List making!!