Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Engagement photos

As a wedding planner I get asked all kinds of questions about what couples should or should not spend their money on. Engagement photos are a great example of this kind of add-on. Ever wonder if the cost is worth it? In my opinion - Yes!
Think about it:

* Similar to your cake and caterer, an engagement photo session is an opportunity to take your photographer out for a test run. You can get a feel for how interact with you, how they motivate you from behind the camera, and what kind of a professional they are. You get a firsthand account on how long they take to set up a shot, if they are good on the fly, and how they work with the environment around you. And you get actual pictures from them where you can assess the quality and delivery speed of the finished product. And you get all of these experiences before your wedding day. You can learn a lot about your photographer from a simple engagement session - all of which are sure to be good - but if you weren't happy then you may still have time to fix any of the problems. This is a unique opportunity that you don't get with all of vendors.
* Want to put an engagement photo in your newspaper? Add a picture of the two of you to your save the date magnets? Or need an image to put in the signature "guest book" frame at your reception? Instead of using a fuzzy shot from your digital camera you can use one of the professional images from your engagement photo session. Trust me, it will look better!

* Do you want your only formal pictures of the two of you to be ones where you're in a white dress and tuxedo? Most people only have wedding photos to frame and display in their home, but after an engagement photo shoot you will have dozens of great images of the two of you looking more like you do everyday. You can look back on these for years with fond memories, not just of your wedding day but of this special time in your lives.

Plus, these sessions are fun! Some of my couples have done engagement photo sessions and have had a blast with them. Check out some of these images.

This is Danielle and Nick, and they are getting married at the Albany Country Club this May. Their fabulous photographer, Tracey Buyce, took these shots of them last summer down around Washington Park and the Empire State Plaza. Tracey captured their personalities beautifully, and you can see the love these two have for each other. How can you not love these? http://www.traceybuyce.com/

These shots are of Lindsey and Adam, a couple who got married last year in Saratoga. Their photographer was Shannon DeCelle and they wisely decided on an engagement session with her the winter before their wedding. Shannon did a combination on in-studio and outside shots, and even did a big "family" photo with the couple and their two dogs. Love it! http://www.shannondecellephotography.com/

Here is a picture from the Casey wedding this past November. Michael Grace-Martin was their photographer and he did an engagement photo session with the couple the previous spring. They used one of their engagement photos in the signature frame at their reception. It was beautiful! MGM also took this photo - a photo of his photo! http://www.mgm-photography.com/


So if you're considering an engagement photo session I say go for it! It's a great opportunity to work with your photographer before your wedding, and a chance to have some beautiful formal pictures of the two of you. Definitely worth it.

Still not convinced? Or perhaps you have questions? E-mail me! shannon@weddingplanningplus.net

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why hire a wedding planner?

I found this article on the web and thought, alas!, that it was pertinent to post on my blog. Wedding planners have the rep of being a luxury item designed only for the rich and famous but if you asked any of my "regular girl" brides they would tell you that my expertise has saved them time, energy, and money! What bride doesn't need more of that??? Please read on..........

"Planning a fairy tale wedding is probably a dream that most brides-to-be have had since they were in pigtails. The dress, the cake, the bridesmaids, the honeymoon all seem like pretty simple subjects to address when the time comes to begin planning the big day. When and if, it becomes too much too handle, do yourself a favor -consult with a professional wedding planning service. You will save time, money and unnecessary stress.

There is a myth floating around that has people believing that all Wedding Planners are not affordable for working-class individuals. A long time ago, only the elite society knew of and had access to Wedding Planners. Today, Wedding Planners are very common and are hired by celebrities as well as everyday working people. Naturally, Wedding Planners that work with the rich and famous can and do charge through the nose for their services because the clients are able to afford the high-end prices. Misconceptions about Wedding Planners being pricey, comes from wedding shows that air on reality television. The truth is a bride and groom will save more money when working with a Wedding Planner because planners are trained to work within the couple's budget and negotiate with vendors. Whether you are wealthy or not wealthy at all, Wedding Planners are a smart choice when it comes time to plan your special day.

Wedding planners will alleviate stress from the husband and wife-to be, at any stage of the planning process. Many brides and grooms begin to plan their wedding on their own or with the help of family and friends. Before all vendors are even contacted, couples find that they have exceeded their budget. Between running out of money before the big day happens and their loved-ones stressing them out about what they should or should not do for the wedding, brides and grooms are at their wits-end. Once the happy couple contacts a planner, a common practice is to meet for a consultation, which is usually complimentary. At the meeting, wishes, dreams and ideas are expressed to the Wedding Planner who will then create a magical and memorable event complete with dazzling colors and amazing centerpieces. Planners are known for building relationships with reputable caterers, bakers, deejays, hotels, florists, limousines and any other service that the bride and groom desire. Vendor relationships are the key because the planner is then able to negotiate prices as well as make sure that contracts are in order, valuable lessons that are taught in courses geared towards Wedding Planners. During the wedding rehearsal and on the wedding day, planners will be present so that all runs smoothly. This allows the bride, groom and their attendees to relax and enjoy the festivities. That luxury alone is priceless!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Haft Zima Wedding - July 11, 2008

The Zimas got married last July at the Washington Inn in Saratoga Springs. First meeting on their internship at Disney, this couple knew they were meant for each other. They had this beautiful wedding in this cute bed and breakfast that sits on a hill overlooking Broadway. I was brought on by the request of her mother because she lived out of town and wanted to know that her daughter had some extra help in the last few months before the wedding. Catered by the always wonderful Classe Catering, this wedding had style and grace and old fashioned family charm. Thanks to the fabulous Shannon DeCelle for her photography expertise. She is so much fun to work with, and as you can see, takes some damn good pictures in the process, too. http://www.shannondecellephotography.com/

When you hold a wedding at the Washington Inn you work with the event coordinator on site, Ginny. She is warm and welcoming and never hesitates to lend a helping hand. This is a wonderful location because it is one of the few that you can have family and friends stay right on site throughout the weekend so their love and happy energy is never too far away. Lovely!

Lindsey and Adam had one of the most beautiful ceremonies I've ever seen. Honestly. Rabbi Anna Sugarman officiated and did an amazing job of keeping the spirit high and the focus on the couple and their Jewish traditions. She was entertaining and charming and wonderful. Hands down one of the best ceremonies I've ever been a part of.

The couple chose chocolate brown dresses in all different styles for the girls, and classic black tuxes for the guys. Their accent color was Tiffany Blue which they brought into the flower girl, junior bridesmaid, and the bouquet ribbons. The bride even wore a chocolate brown sash at her waist to coordinate with the girls. Lovely!

The reception area was beyond beautiful. Classe dressed the tables in chocolate brown tablecloths, Tiffany Blue napkins, the bride's home made floral centerpieces, and the Inn's gold Chivari chairs. Place these in a crisp clean room with honey wood floors and walls of windows and you have the beauty of the Washington Inn.

Carrying on the blue accents, their wedding cake was a true work of art. Made by the bride's sister - can you believe it? - this cake stood out as one of my favorites from last year. And although you can't see it, the bride's sister frosted little Mickey Mouse ears onto the white frosting details in honor of the couple's beginning. Amazing.

I can't say enough about this couple or the professionals I worked with that day. Although not pictured, I have to give accolades to Russ from Piano Man DJ who is always a pleasure to work with. He is a gentle soul who did a great job of keeping the party going for these guys. Also Kathy from Classe was a wonderful partner throughout the reception and the food from Classe never disappoints. Yum! And lastly I have to thank Shannon DeCelle again for these amazing pictures. I could've gone on and on with this blog just because I had so many spectacular images to choose from. Fantastic!