Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

What are you getting your best gal pals for being by your side throughout the wedding planning process to when you walk down the aisle?  We've got some really awesome ideas for you! A few months ago we did a post on unique groomsmen gifts, so now it's your turn ladies!  First is the Wrap and Write Gift Box.  It has a beautiful wrap in 13 different colors with a custom engraved initialed wooden box and matching notebook.  2nd is a Custom Heart Charm Necklace that is fancy enough to go with your bridesmaid dresses but could also double with jeans and a fun tee! Last but not least is a Leather Clutch that comes in brown, navy, or pink, and personalized with their name or initials.  Thanks to our friends over at Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique for these awesome ideas! 

Engagement Season Tips!!

Getting engaged is such an exciting time in everyone’s lives and before you know it, and the time leading up to the wedding can be a complete whirlwind. From engagement parties to showers and rehearsals, there are many events that will have brides, grooms and wedding guests staring into their closets wondering, what do I wear? Some of the most difficult outfit decisions happen when events involve photos, because we all want to look good in pictures that will be seen for years to come! So, how can we tackle this clothing conundrum and make sure we’re putting together the most picture-worthy ensembles? 

Key clothing tips!

  • Comfort. You never know how long events can last, and how much time you’re going to be standing and repositioning for photographs. Make sure you’re wearing something that’s comfortable, because no matter how hard you try to fake a smile, discomfort will show. 
  • Is it photo-worthy? Patterns can be fun, but you don’t want a striped or zig-zagged pattern shirt that will take away from the other individuals in your shot. Step in front of the mirror or even take a selfie and get a preview of what you’ll look like behind the lens. It might seem obvious, but triple check for stains and wrinkles. (A to-go bottle of wrinkle releaser can really be a life saver!)
  • Does it coordinate? If you’re a bride and groom, does your outfit coordinate with your partner? Does it coordinate with the bridal party or others in your photos? Make sure you both are on the same page with how dressed up you are, and make sure you’ve communicated the dress code to others, so they know what to wear and can meet your expectations. 

Keeping those points in mind, let’s dive into some of the actual events that couples often get photographed and figure out some photo-worthy outfit options. 

The Proposal

  • Things to consider: comfort and personality. Popping the question can be nerve-wracking so wear something comfortable. Also make sure your outfit suits your personality - especially if it’s a surprise proposal. Your soon-to-be-fiancé might know something is up if you’re stepping out of jeans and t-shirt and into a tuxedo for a simple walk through the park. 
  • Men’s outfit idea: You can never go wrong with a colored or patterned dress shirt. Find comfortable dress shirts with a variety of color and pattern options so you can find one that speaks to you, then pair it with a pair of chinos (for a dressy look) or slim-fit jeans (for something a bit more casual). Don’t be afraid to use Pinterest to check out color and pattern combos! 
  • Women’s outfit idea: Dark wash jeans can be extremely flattering, not to mention how they can be dressed up or dressed down. A bell-sleeved blouse is an adorable top option, or if it’s nice out consider a sundress that will coordinate with a sunny backdrop. 
  • Added tip: Consider booking a photographer (we LOVE photographing surprise proposals) to capturing that moment as you ask the big question! These photos will be a beautiful keepsake to remember the moment and definitely extra bonus points:-)

Engagement Party/Engagement Photos

  • Brides-to-be: Dress codes for the engagement party and your engagement photoshoot usually go hand in hand. Wear something that looks natural for you two, but something that’s also classy. Think “timeless” since these photos are going to last a lifetime. This isn’t the time to test out bold trends - opt for the black dress and flats. Here's a really cool site we share all the time for color palette's in clothing: Design Seeds
  • Grooms-to-be: Dress shirts are the perfect option for engagement photos. You can find a color or pattern option that coordinates with your partner and pair them with dark chinos are dark jeans, depending on what you’re most comfortable with. 
  • Guests: Guests don’t have to be as dressed up as the soon-to-be bride and groom, but should still be presentable. Opt for dark-washed jeans and a button-up for the men, and a fun cocktail dress for the women. 
  • Added tip: Don't forget to as us photographers if you need advice on colors, lighting, or time of day we are always happy to help!  

The Wedding

  • Things to consider: Location, theme and time of day are key. What’s the weather going to be like and are you starting out early in the day when it’s hot or staying out late when the temperature is going to drop? Dress accordingly, so you’re not too hot or too cold. 
  • Follow the dress code: The save-the-date, wedding website or wedding invitation should give you some details on the wedding dress code. If it doesn’t, reach out to the bride and groom and ask what they’re picturing their big day looking like. If they ask for black tie, invest in the tie and cufflinks. If they say semi-formal, that doesn’t mean it’s time to break out the jeans. Following the dress code is key to making sure you don’t stand out like a sore thumb in wedding day photos, especially if you’re a mother/father of the bride/groom.
  • Indoors or outdoors: If a wedding is outdoors, plan accordingly. Bring sunglasses so you can see the couple say “I do,” and layer so you can peel off a cardigan if it gets too hot, but can throw on an extra later as it chills in the evening. If you’re indoors, you can be a little more decisive on your outfit since the temperature will be regulated. 

The perfect outfit is going to be different for every person, and every occasion. The most important thing you can do is make sure you’re picking something that you’re comfortable in, so that you look and feel at ease. You also want to make sure you’re communicating and coordinating with others involved to make sure you’re all on the same page with what look you’re going for. At the end of the day, the main focus is going to be the smiles on your faces, since from engagement to “I do” it’s a celebration worth remembering. 

Gatsby Styled Shoot @ The Tampa Club

The Tampa Club hosted a really fun bridal open house a few weeks ago to show off how amazing a wedding can be there!  It also turned into a styled shoot that was officially "Great Gatsby Inspired" but it some of the elements of fancy mardi gras as well.  The details on this one were super eye candy!!  It really is all about the little things and this has SO many little things from the strings of pearls on each gold chivari to the yards and yards of sequined linens.  My favorite little detail was the sign behind the couple and the favor that said "A little party never killed nobody".  Amanda and James were our fabulous models and newly weds as they just got married last fall.  Amanda's first look was super elegant lace with a sheer skirt and back.  The second look was a little more sexy flapper-esque for the reception.  The team below created this stunning look and it was so awesome to work with everyone!  
Venue | The Tampa Club | Event Coordinator | Confetti Events | Event Design and Floral | Decoratively Speaking Events | DJ/Lighting | Grant Hemond | Live Music | Breezin Entertainment | Hair/Makeup | Femme Akoi | Linens | Custom Linens | Cake | Hands on Sweets | Gown | Isabel O'Neil Bridal | Models | Amanda and James Anderson

Groomsmen Gifts Ideas

Happy Friday!  We love sharing fun and unique ideas and these are some great ones for groomsmen gifts.  These custom gifts from Groovy Guy Gifts are some of the coolest that we've seen.  The cufflinks/money clip, and flask also come in a personalized wooden box and the pocket knife has a custom wood panel on it as well.  The very last photo is one I hadn't seen before.  They are custom whiskey rocks that you put in the freezer and then in your whiskey (or wine if I was using them:-) and it keeps it cool but doesn't water it down.  Stop on by www.groovyguygifts.com to see all their cool custom guy ideas!!! 

Rooftop 220 Styled Shoot

There is a very cool new space that is part of Armature Works, located on the rooftop of the building adjacent to it.  I love doing styled shoots in brand new spots with concepts so people can envision their own wedding or event there.  It's so hard to see an empty space and imagine what it will look like all decked out.  This team below showed off what this space can do with 2 different looks and sizes of wedding.  Both were different, but in a similar style with greenery, metallics, gold, silver, and gray.  The first is the rooftop set for 150 guests with silver chivari's and I love the hanging globes with greenery wall and tall crystally florals.  Inside was set for dinner with that metallic theme, marble cake, and those linens are just awesome!  The 2nd setup was a ceremony for 50 people with black chairs outside.  The inside was set as a cocktail reception with a fabulous spread of deliciousness by Puff N Stuff in the center.  The details were all different, short centerpieces with huge crystals, totally different swirly linens and a combo of hightop and low square tables.  The custom wood and metal bar added the finishing touch to this space.  If you're looking for an amazing view and really unique brand new space for your wedding or event definitely check it out and this group of talented professionals that made it happen!  
Venue | Armature Works - Rooftop 220 | Coordination | Burlap to Lace | Florals & Decor | Concept Bait | Linens | BBJ Linens | Cake  | Elise's Pieces Designer Cakes | Bar | uDream Events | Cuisine & Chargers | Puff n Stuff | Chairs | US Tent 

Once Upon a Time @ Bakers Ranch

Once Upon a Time..... was the theme for this gorgeous styled shoot we got to be a part of at Bakers Ranch.  Their team wanted to show off all the elements of their brand new Simply Incredible all inclusive wedding collection they are now offering.  Everything about it is freaking gorgeous.  We did this shoot around dusk so you still get the natural light but also can see the chandelier and twinkle lights in the trees.  I LOVE the X table setup that is lined with greenery, candles, and gold flatware.  Um, yes, that is a floral tree behind the head table that was then transformed into the cake table.  The x back chairs, linens and long benches add in a earth toned element and the white draping and chandeliers add in the elegant feel.  I love using models who are real couples because it brings the relationship and authenticity to what we are doing.  Sebastian looked James Bond like in this Michael Kors ultra slim tux, and Josie looked stunning in this just released Martina Liana gown.  One of unique ideas they have for the couple exchanging letters or gifts is having the groom drop it down from the balcony room where they guys get ready.  All 3 outside ceremony spaces were covered in ferns, crystals, lights and greenery.  I could write so much but I'm just going to let you look for yourselves:-)  
Venue | Bakers Ranch | Lighting, Draping & Chandaliers | On the Move Productions | Florals | Events in Bloom | Gown & Tux Boutique | Something Blue Bridal | Gown Designer | Martina Liana | Tux | Michael Kors Ultra Slim | Greenery | A1 Foilage | Place Settings, Tables & Chairs | A Chair Affair | Linens | Linens by the Sea | Models | Josie and Sebastian Mark | Hair & Makeup |  Destiny & Light | Cake | The Cake Zone | Invitation | Invitation Galleria

Let them Eat Cake @ Nova 535

There's way to much prettiness to even put into words in this shoot!  Marry Me Tampa Bay did a call out to bring together a team for this shoot at Nova.  Dena, from Lasting Luxe showed Staci, from Unique Weddings + Events the big fun hair styles she wanted to do and it turned into this Marie Antionette inspired fabulosity (I made that word up:-).  I love how intricate the details are, from the uber unique bouquets to the sugary custom designed cake pops each detail made this setting what it is.  We did the entire shoot inside NOVA 535 which was perfect since it was end of August in Florida.  Lighting is one of my favorite things, and for this shoot I used my 2 want lights that look like light sabers.  In order to get the setting, models, and details, I lit the subject evenly with the background so that it all looks awesome.  Styled shoots like this pushes everyones creativity and skills to the next level, and I think this team you see below rocked it!!  We had the most gorgeous and fun models as well, thank you Porchilla, Karla, and DeLisa!!! xoxoxo   
Publication Call Out | Marry Me Tampa Bay | Design, Planning, Production l UNIQUE Weddings + Events l Venue l NOVA 535 l Dessert l Sweetly Dipped Confections l Cake & Dessert l A Piece of Cake l Florals l Tailored Twig l Furniture l Style House Rentals l Linens l Over The Top l Gowns l Truly Forever Bridal l Hair & Makeup l Lasting Luxe l Draping & Lighting l On the Move Productions l Chargers l Signature Events l Table Settings l Coast to Coast Event Rentals l Video l Scatter Brothers l Decor l Events in Bloom l Stationery l Urban Coast | Models l Porchilla Charlton, Karla Mastracchino, DeLisa Silva

The Power of Uplighting

One of the most asked questions from our couples about their reception is about uplighting.  Is it worth it? YES!  I've been wanting to do a post with a good visual example and I've got it! I recently did this setup shoot for Gabro Event Services and A La Carte Shrine Pavilion to showcase what they can do and I think it's a pretty sweet example of the power of light.  The first image is the room setup just draped and the center pieces pin spotted.  It looks nice, but take a look at the impact of adding a color to the room, all done with light.  We did a softer white light and then a bolder purple light.  Normally when we shoot setups we use an LED video light on a stand to light the center piece and still get the background color.  I love that Gabro Events has pin spots that they attach to the ceiling which allows them to light each center piece.  For the ceremony setup they moved them all to light the ostrich feathers in the main aisle which looks amazing.  So, there you go, uplight, uplight, uplight! 
Venue | A La Carte Shrine Pavilion | Lighting & Decor | Gabro Event Services 

Ivy Astoria Romantic Teal and Gold Styled Shoot

Yesterday we showed you the outdoor space at the brand new Ivy Astoria and part 2 is a peek at their indoor space.  Jennifer and Liz created a totally different concept that has an upscale romantic feel.  Some of the same elements were used like the farm table and gold chargers, but this indoor space has a totally different feel.  I love how the brown chairs coordinate perfectly with the wooden favors of different words and hearts.  Burgundy napkins and the flowers on the cake give it that extra little pop of color against the gold and teal.  The white draping helps create 2 lounge areas that really just pulls this space all together.  My 2 favorite aspects of this indoor space itself are the unique crystal chandeliers and the hardwood floors they really make it so versatile but simple and pretty.  Everyone involved pulled off not just one, but 2 different styles which is a ton of work and totally paid off.  Amazing job everyone! 
Concept & Event Design | 
Jennifer Sanschagrin & Liz Kamali Camacho | Venue | Ivy Astoria | Coordination | Liz Kamali Events | Floral/Acrylic Mandap | Royal Event Services | Catering | Stone Chef | Pipe/Drape/Lighting | Music on the Move | Lounge Furniture | FH Weddings | Chairs/Tables/Flatware/Chargers/China | A Chair Affair | Cake | The Cake Zone | Hair & Makeup | Eyes on You | Gown | The Bride | Videographer | Ashley Canay | Foliage | A1 Foliage | Linens | Kate Ryan Linens

Ivy Astoria Urban Garden Styled Shoot

Ivy Astoria is a brand new venue in Ybor that has an amazing outdoor garden space with a white brick wall and a rooftop ceremony space. This is the first shoot they have done so we were exited to be a part of it and work with the fabulous team of people below.  Jennifer and Liz created this Urban Garden vision surrounded by white draping, crystal chandeliers, and even crystal tie backs.  The farm table was set with a textured light purple runner, cascading florals and, different patterns of gold china.  I love how the glasses were purple, amber, and light blue while the place settings and linens were all gold with patterned china, chargers, and my favorite detail the gold flatware.  The cake detail was a little bit rustic and a lot fancy with the gorgeous floral and leaf detail.  If you look closely there are even little birds intertwined in the detail.  They have a rooftop space overlooking the garden,  for the ceremony set with acrylic chairs and coordinating greenery with a chandelier as the center piece.  The cascading boutique coordinated perfectly with the open backed lace gown from the Bride, which is a new boutique in Ybor right around the corner from Ivy Astoria. They also have an indoor space which I'll show you tomorrow where we photographed a totally different style so I'll show you that tomorrow!  
Concept & Event Design | Jennifer Sanschagrin & Liz Kamali Camacho | Venue | Ivy Astoria | Coordination | Liz Kamali Events | Floral/Acrylic Mandap | Royal Event Services | Pipe/Drape/Lighting | Music on the Move | Lounge Furniture | FH Weddings | Chairs/Tables/Flatware/Chargers/China | A Chair Affair | Cake | The Cake Zone | Hair & Makeup | Eyes on You | Gown | The Bride | Videographer | Ashley Canay | Foliage | A1 Foliage | Linens | Kate Ryan Linens

Sex in the City Skyline Glam @ The Tampa Club

We had the honor of working with an amazing group of Tampa friendors (aka wedding vendors that are friends:-) on this gorgeous styled shoot at the Tampa Club.  The Tampa Club is on the 42nd floor of the Bank of America building downtown and has the most amazing views of the city.  Brittany, the Tampa Club's private events director, and Karin, from Confetti Events created this Sex in the City Skyline Glam look that is just flawless.  Each space had it's own elements of gold, florals and lighting that complimented this Bradshaw style. The ceremony was lined with different height candles, gold chivari's with a chandelier to accent the pipe and draped front.  The cocktail hour had high tops covers with sequined linens cinched with gold.  The entrance of the reception was draped and candlelit with alternating high and low florals, sequined linens, and even gold flatware.  Hands on Sweets created a cake with gold sequins that tied in the gold sequins on the sweetheart table.  Did I mention that there were sprinkles cupcakes and homemade ice cream too?  While working we got to listen to the sounds of the saxophone player, violin and guitarist from Breezin.  Kristen and Jared, our models had just gotten married in July and we so fun to work with.  The colors at dusk out the panoramic windows are reflections and night were so pretty.  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this so beautiful! 
Venue | The Tampa Club | Event Coordinator | Confetti Events | Floral Designer | Northside Florist | Musicans | Breezin Entertainment | Hair/Makeup | Collective Creations | Draping/Lighting/Chairs/Linens | Gabro Event Services | Stationary | A&P Designs | Cake | Hands on Sweets | Dance Floor | My Event Design | Gown | Malindy Elene Bridal Boutique | Tux | The Black Tux | Dessert Table | Sprinkles Cupcakes | Flatware/Chargers | A Chair Affair | Videography | Allure Cinema | Models | Kristen & Jared Bladen

Haley & John's Save the Dates

We love designing custom artwork for our couples and had to share how Haley and John's save the dates turned out. These are a 5x5 trifold double sided card with a scalloped magnet inside.  When it's closed, it's a 5x5 square and when their guests open it they have a fun little magnet for the fridge.  In the days of everything electronic these create a unique wow factor to get your guests excited about your wedding:-) 

Maddie's 2nd Birthday

I like doing fun creative personal projects just to mix it up, and these days those projects usually have something to do with my little kidlets:-)  Our oldest, Maddie, just turned 2 and like all mom's I of course, got on Pinterest to find a theme and ideas.  If you know me, you know I absolutely hate doing anything crafty, like really hate it!  So, my goal is always to find an idea and literally make it as simple as possible for a non crafty person like me.  I landed on the hot air balloon (up up and away) theme with a pink, coral and aqua color palette.  There's all kinds of complicated ways to make or buy hot air balloon looking decorations so I made it super simple.  The lanterns, bunting flags and chalk board signs I ordered from Paper Lantern Store, they literally have every size and color you could possibly want for a great price.  I needed them to be really light so we could tape them to the ceiling.  For the basket, I cut off the top of brown paper lunch bags and then stapled string to each size and then tied it to the metal part of the lantern and voila!  My 12 year old niece, Emma, helped me put them all together and my wonderful hubby who always knows he's getting roped into helping out someway hung them all from the ceiling over the sweets table, foyer, and out front.  For the sweets table, I melted and color chocolate and dipped vanilla and chocolate oreos and put sprinkles on top.  When I was a kid, my mom would make cupcakes in ice cream cones for our birthday treats for school, so I made those and frosted sugar cookies (yes the ones you break apart and bake:-).  The finishing touch was a little hot air balloon cake topper from Pleasantview Parties.  We had such a fun time with family and friends! Thanks to my friend Andi for taking some of us blowing out the candles! I did Maddie's 2 year old photos on a different day, and made a hot air balloon with the biggest balloon I could find at Party City and a white laundry basket.  She was much more into having the balloon tied to her arm than my idea lol!  Now on to ideas for Evie's 2nd birthday in June.......

Alice in Wonderland Featured on Marry Me Tampa Bay!

The UBER creative styled shoot we did with this group of amazing and talented friendors just got published on Marry Me Tampa Bay!! 
Location | USF Botanic Gardens | Vintage Furniture | Tufted | Dessert Tables | Chefin | Hair & Makeup | Michele Renee the Studio | Dresses & Accessories | Anglo Couture | Girls Shoes | Diana E Kelly | Bride & Groom | Dennis Bonefont & MacKenzie Clark | Bridal Party | Tara Quinn, Michael Quinn, Nikki Fulton, Otis Collado, Jennifer Bordonaro, Gary Miller

The truth about Pinterest and your wedding photos…..

I love running, and probably have saved thousands of dollars in therapy sessions by getting out in the morning and pounding the pavement.  It's also where many of my ideas and epiphany's in life happen as well. Monday morning was one of those mornings!  Usually our blog postings are filled with lots of pretty pictures and not so many words. This time I'm not going to use any photos because I want you to focus on the words. 
     Pinterest has become such a big thing, and don't get me wrong I LOVE it for so many reasons! Recipes, home decor, outfits, my daughters' birthday parties, and inspiration.  The top 3 overall uses for Pinterest are weddings, recipes, and home decor. I've actually been told it looks like Pinterest threw up all over my house (which I take as a complete compliment:-).  It's also become a big thing with wedding photography and we all know those popular "pinterest-y" photos that brides request.  When I was running the other day, words of how to explain the effect it has on your wedding photos came to mind, so I felt it would be a dis-service not to share.  So, I'm going to get a little Pinterest-y on you!
    When you hire a professional wedding photographer you should be hiring them for their experience, talent, creativity, style, and personality.  After all, every wedding is so different, the location, colors, people, details, emotions, it's all so unique.  There are so many amazing moments to be captured and some of the best are always unplanned photojournalistic moments. If you give your photographer a Pinterest board of photos that you like, we can use that as inspiration to spark our own creativity, but the expectation to capture that same exact moment or expression is just not realistic. Talented, experienced, photographers know what moments to look for and given the freedom to, many times we can get a more epic shot then you could have ever imagined! 
     After all that time you spend creating those unique details, why would you want the same type of photos that everyone else has?  Pinterest is great for physical things you can buy like clothes, types of flowers, jewelry, etc.  It's also great to see the kind of poses or style you like, but here's why there are so many Pinterest photo "fails" out there. You can't have, or replicate, someone else's emotions, feelings, or moments!  The location, lighting, personality, interactions of people are all different, as they should be.  I think I speak for most (if not all) professional wedding photographers, when I say this, it kills our creativity and prohibits us from doing our best, most unique work for you.  If there are photos you really like on Pinterest the best thing you can do is to go find that photographer who shot those images and hire them. Which, by the way, we've had happen a number of times.  One of our brides in particular told me she kept pinning photos we had taken so they had to have us photograph their wedding:-) Think of it as hiring an artist you love and trusting their instinct, not wanting to copy a specific photo that already exists.  THAT is a Pinterest win!  Just some little nuggets of truth to chew on!

Be Free Hair Apparel

Be Free Hair Apparel is a new line of unique, chic, handcrafted bridal hair apparel. Their custom hair pieces are delicate and beautiful and can be designed to show the style and personality of any bride!  We were honored photograph some of their beautiful pieces and styled models at Rocking H Ranch.
Designer | Be Free Hair Apparel | Venue | Rocking H Ranch | Hair & Makeup | Collective Creations 

Maddie by Month

You would think as photographers, we are really good at photographing our own lives and families but we aren't! Now that I have kids, I really have to be intentional and come up with personal projects to capture them how I do for our clients.  I am not a crafty person and I hate scrapbooking, but I wanted to have something for my girls to remember the little details of especially their first year.  I saw this idea (on pinterest of course) where a photographer had done photos of their child's face each month and next to it written about what they had done each month as well.  Our oldest daughter Maddie just turned 1 and so I finished hers!  This will be a 6x6 sized album and each of the spreads are below. It's crazy to see how much she's changed over the last year and I'm so she'll have it to read someday.  Our girls are both adopted, and I gave both of our birth mom's a little album and each month I print out these photos so they can stick them in the album and know how beautiful and big they are getting.  Life is always busy and time flies by so quickly, so I thought this was a fun little personal project to share:-)