Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

It's time for a Tuesday Tip! This week we have a guest blogger. I'm happy to introduce Stephanie Farrell of Farrell Photography. She's the kindest, happiest person I've ever met and I'm super excited to have her and Steve be the photographers at my own wedding. Steve and Stephanie are role models as a couple as well. Enjoy!

It’s your big day! All those hours planning, combing through Pinterest, making lists and all those decisions! It’s the best day of your life with all your favorite people. After the party is over, the cake is eaten and the guests are gone, what is left? The memories of this wonderful event will live forever in photographs. It’s very important that you don’t leave this important part of your wedding day to chance.

When you choose a professional wedding photographer, they will focus ONLY on taking the most memorable pictures of your day. It will be documented for you to look at and share for the rest of your life. Just like you made all of those personal decisions about what color, decorations, food and all of those important decisions that reflect who You are, so should your choice in photographers.

Every photographer is an artist. Just like any art, they are all different. If you like the art, hire the photographer. Look at the photos. Is the style what you like? Do you like dramatic, romantic, quirky, soft, colorful….the choices are endless. If you fall in love with the photographer’s photos, you will love YOUR photos too! Any photographer can get lucky and have a few great shots. If you want great photography from the first shot to the last, ask to see an entire wedding album.

It’s also important to ‘like’ your photographer. This person will be a real part of your special day.

If you are shopping by price alone, choose the least expensive photographer. It’s that simple. If quality matters to you, hire the best photographer your budget will allow. Remember, this is the only “forever” vendor you will hire. Keep in mind that with photography, the work is not completed when the wedding is over. The post production time should be included in your quote and often includes many hours of sorting and editing to make your photos the top quality that will have your friends oohing and ahhhing over your wedding photos. Not all photographers offer complete editing services in their packages. Be sure to ask.

Experience matters. Knowing how to cover a wedding is not just about having a great camera. Experience will matter when things are not going perfectly. An experienced wedding photographer will know how to get the shots that matter the most to you and make them beautiful works of art. Your friend or relative with a great camera will have to be very lucky to even come close. On that note, if you are planning to have a friend or relative take on the responsibility of your wedding photography, they will not be a guest at your wedding. They will be working. And, if they are not a wedding professional, they may not know what to do. For your own sake, don’t leave it to chance. Let your friends and relatives be guests.

Time equals photos. More time, more photos. Less time, less photos. If you want all of those pretty “getting ready” photos, allow the time for them. If you hire your photographer to show up at a certain time and you are not ready, every minute that ticks by is lost opportunity. If you are willing to take time away from your reception for the perfect sunset photo, you will have that forever.

It’s a long exhausting, wonderful day…..so SMILE! If you see a camera anywhere near you, assume that you are in the photo. If you are not completely comfortable with having your picture taken, take some time to practice before your wedding. Get comfortable and make it easier on yourself. Practice smiling and posing. It sounds silly, but it will pay off when you are reviewing your photos.

ALWAYS have engagement photos. At Farrell Photography we insist on engagement sessions with all of our couples. First, it gives us an opportunity to get to know our couple and have them get to know us. We bond and become friends which is so helpful on the day of the wedding. Additionally, we blow our couples away with awesome engagement photos and this gets them very excited about the wedding photography. We typically attract the couple who is edgy and adventurous and loves artful photography. In our engagement sessions we go ‘all out’. And….the couple’s friends and family will see these amazing photos and they too will be excited to see what we will come up with on the wedding day. Everyone is happy to pose and is patient with us as they anticipate the outcome.

Housekeeping. Those details that will matter in a “just in case” scenario. Get a contract. Have everything in writing. This is for your protection! Ask if your photographer is insured. Will they have a second photographer or will that cost extra? Will they edit the photos? Are the photos they showed you, photos they actually took themselves? Will that person be the person who shows up that day?

Book early. Photographers can only book one wedding on your date. Some dates are really popular. If you want a really good, competent photographer, book as soon as you can to lock in your date. If you wait, your choices will diminish considerably.

Enjoy! Our wish at Farrell Photography is to create a way to remember your special day forever with timeless, artful, photography.

Farrell Photography is the husband and wife team of Steve and Stephanie Farrell. Their work is featured in Real Weddings Magazine, Sacramento Bride and Groom Magazine, The Perfect Wedding Guide, Sacramento Magazine and more. They have two locations in downtown Sacramento and Jackson Ca. Please visit their website at www.farrellphotography.net or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/farrellphotography.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sailor Moon Theme

The recent release of the trailer for the new Sailor Moon Crystal got me thinking about a Sailor Moon themed event. There's much that can be played with and I'd love to have the opportunity to do so! Here are my ideas.

The linens can either be colors of all of the sailor scouts or all white. It depends on just how much color you'd like there to be. I've seen very colorful weddings pulled off very nicely. For the centerpiece, use colored water beads inside vases in colors of each of the sailor scouts (or white if the table linens are colored).
Photo Credit: Pinterest
On top of each of the vases will be the corresponding planet to match each of the scouts. I'd like to modify a previous design I've done to simulate a planet.

Photo Credit: Eclectic Photography
I found a couple of different cake toppers, but something like this one below, but designed to look like the couple would be very cute!

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Here are a few examples of what the attire could look like.
Photo Credit: PinterestPhoto Credit: Pinterest
I'd like to see if it's possible to style a bouquet after the Moon Stick, or maybe just use the Moon Stick.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
This would be an amazing event! Stay tuned next week for another theme idea!

Lady Autie aka Autra

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your Wedding Planner

So many vendors to choose from! How can you possibly settle on just one per category? While I don't have the end-all easy solution to this question, the next few weeks will certainly help clear the fog. Today's post helps you choose a wedding planner/coordinator (though it can apply for any type of event coordinator).

First, decide what you'd like your planner to do for you. Here's a list of what they typically cover:

  • Event Design
  • Day-Of Coordination (coordinate all vendors around 4 weeks before and through the wedding day)
  • Vendor Recommendations
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Emotional Support
If you're a DIY (do-it-yourself) type of person, then you may want a planner who can be a bit more hands off in your planning and simply make recommendations while still relieving you of duty on the wedding day.
On the flip side there are those that can completely take over the planning, only asking you to make decisions (this is still your wedding after all) and providing you with lists of things only you can take care of.

Aside from what a planner can do for you, their personality should also be kept in mind. This also applies to the rest of your vendors, though it's especially applicable to your planner since they will be with you every step of the way in the year or so it takes to plan.
A great way to get a feel for their personality is to check out their blog and social media pages and read a few of their posts. The next step is to meet them in person. Ask questions and engage them in conversation. Make sure your partner likes them too!

If you've been enjoying my posts and are in the market for a Sacramento Wedding Planner, send me an e-mail, ladyautie@weddingseclectic.com or give me a call/text, 916-692-9153.

See you next week!

Lady Autie aka Autra

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday Tip - Now, what's next?

Armed with  your checklist, you may now be wondering what you should be booking first.

A wedding planner is an excellent start! A planner can help you through the entire process, from creating a budget (and helping you stick to it!) to negotiating prices and contracts with your future vendors. They also tap into their network of vendors to help you hire only the best. There are deeper reasons for hiring a planner, but we'll get into that a little later.

Aside from hiring a planner, the first thing you want to secure is your venue. It could determine your date for you if you're flexible. The reason for booking your venue first (and early if you can!) is there are only so many locations to choose from and you want it to match your theme and/or wedding vision as close as possible to minimize the need for decor. Finding an old mansion for a Victorian theme, for example.

For advice on how exactly one should go about researching and booking these vendors, stay tuned in the upcoming weeks as vendors from their corner of the wedding and event industry provide their input.

Lady Autie aka Autra

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beach Theme

Theme Thursday! With the warm weather growing a bit more consistent, lying on the beach sounds a bit appealing at the moment. So, here's your theme for today!

I am all for elegance, so let's make the sub-theme elegant purple.

This would make a lovely
save the date card and
intro to your theme.

Beautiful invitation,
except use a purple
ribbon and white starfish
(or leave it its
natural color).

Purple organza on the chairs
and altar.

Add a few touches of
extra elegance.

Another added touch.

Use purple decor
instead of white. Maybe
a chandelier or two.

Gorgeous cake! Add
some orchids for your
touch of purple.

Use purple sand with
tiny pearl-like
seashells for your

And Voila!

Take a look at other Beach Theme Ideas that I've come up with on my Pinterest Board.

See you next week!

Lady Autie aka Autra

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wedding Planning Checklist

Here's your Tuesday Tip on a Wednesday again! Yay, wedding season!

Okay! It's time for an overall view of what should be done when in your wedding planning. You may hear this called your timeline or calendar, or even your checklist. For consistency sake, we'll call it your wedding planning checklist.

The checklist gives a list of most things that should be done to plan your wedding day and honeymoon. It's a wonderful guide for those at a loss for what to do and when.

Here are some important tips:
  • Read the entire list before getting started.
  • If the list seems daunting, hire a wedding planner.
  • Trust your vendors!
    • If your vendor wants to do something (i.e. create your music list) at a different time than what's listed on this checklist, default to the vendor's decision. This is merely a guideline.
If you've been following these Tuesday Tips then you've already checked off a couple items! Near the top of the list there's determining your budget, and starting your guest list.

One thing that tends to be planned near the end (i.e. forgotten) is the officiant. With a checklist, you'll be almost certain not to forget any of the most important steps in the planning process. It's also a good visual for your partner to view.

Next week starts the fun stuff!

Lady Autie aka Autra

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peacock Theme

Theme Thursday, yay! Currently, I'm working with a couple who's theme is Peacock/1920's which is part of the inspiration for today's post. The other part was during my search for a headpiece for my own wedding. I ran across this beautiful headdress.
Now that's a bit audacious for a wedding (or maybe not, depending on the type of wedding), but you can certainly have something similar.
One can go crazy with peacock feathers with how available they are in many different shapes and sizes. In your bouquet, as boutonnieres, in your cake topper, on the cake itself, in your place cards, centerpieces, shoes, invites, and even on toasting glasses! All of this and more you can find on my peacock pinterest board, but for the purposes of this post, I'll gather just a couple of ideas.

First, you want to choose a couple of colors you'd like to focus on. Today I choose teal and gold.
Here's a great invitation to set the tone for the rest of the wedding.
I envision mostly teal with lots of splashes of golf for elegance. Teal table cloth with gold chargers to start and gold chair bows or gold chairs and teal bows.
For the centerpieces, I am a fan of using as few flowers as possible, so a few vases with colored water beads and/or LED lights to color the beads with a few feathers coming out of the top would be lovely. Add some gold and/or teal votive candle holders around the table.
Here's a gorgeous cake that could be transferred to a wedding cake.
Add this sash except exchange the teal for gold, leaving the teal flower and peacock feathers...

And we're done! Let me know what themes you'd like to see me post about in the comments below.

Find more ideas on Eclectic Weddings' Pinterest Board.

Lady Autie aka Autra

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Your First List of Many

It's time for your Tuesday Tip and it's on time this week! This week's tip gives some general guidelines for writing out your guest list.

So, have you finished your budget? Good! It's a large task, but an important one and now you can move along with other things with focus.

Now it's time to gather your guest list. First, make a general list. Start with your immediate family, your close friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. Or just go from most important to least important. Have your partner do the same. Don't worry abut the number just yet.

Once that's done, consider the amount you set aside for your reception. Depending on how extravagant you want to go, your reception could cost anywhere from $25 per person (a very basic reception), to hundreds per person. This includes food, drink, and decor. Keep in mind, I'm a Sacramento Wedding Planner, so this cost is based on Sacramento and surrounding areas. Don't forget to allow room for spouses or significant others, collectively known as +1's. The number of people you invite also affects your stationary budget.

With this in mind, consider a maximum number you'd like to invite (be fair to your partner about their number) and put the rest on a "B" list. The "B" list is for those that will receive invites if there's extra room in your budget or if there are enough declines to allow room for more. If you have room in your budget for everyone, lucky you!

Now that you have your list, fill it in with address, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Ask for them if you must. Only for those on the "A" list for now, however. You don't want to get anyone's hopes up.

Armed with your budget and guest count you are ready to start shopping!

Happy Planning!

Lady Autie aka Autra

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your Wedding Budget

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!... ...But instead on a Wednesday! (haha, Lego Movie reference) Today's topic is about wedding budgets and how to create one.

As mentioned in a previous post, one of the first things you should plan is your budget. This applies to any event, but today's post is about wedding budgets specifically.

So, let's assume you've already had your discussion about where the money is coming from and how much you have to work with. When planning your budget, first decide what is most important to you and your partner. To help with this, here is a general list of everything that goes into a typical wedding budget:

  • Ceremony
    • Officiant
    • Venue
  • Attire
    • Wedding Dress
    • Groom's Attire
    • Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Attire and accessories (they traditionally pay for these, but can be given as gifts instead)
    • Accessories (i.e. hair piece/veil, shoes, necklace, etc.)
  • Beauty
    • Makeup Artist
    • Hair Stylist
    • Salon visit (nails, massage, etc.)
  • Flowers/Decor
    • Ceremony
    • Reception
  • Hotels/Transportation
    • Wedding Night
    • Limo/Classic Car
    • Transport between locations/Transportation to airport afterward
  • Honeymoon
    • Passports
    • New wardrobe
    • Airline tickets
    • Hotels
    • Excursions
  •  Music/Entertainment
    • DJ/Band/Harpist/Guitarist
      • Lighting can be a part of this category if supplied by the DJ
  • Photography/Videography
  • Reception
    • Venue
    • Food
    • Cake/Desserts/Candy Bar
  • Stationary
    • Save the Date
    • Invitations (Calligraphy?)
    • Place Cards
    • Menu Cards
    • Programs
    • Thank You Notes
Using your top 3 areas of importance, distribute your budget accordingly. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Reception will easily take up around 40% of your budget. It's also in direct relation to how many people you invite.
  • Reserve about 4% of your budget for a "Miscellaneous" category. Inevitably you'll find something you hadn't thought to budget for or will find something that goes over your budget a bit, but have discovered it's a MUST HAVE. (i.e. that PERFECT necklace!, or those adorable chargers, or that amazing guitarist.)
  • If an area is low priority and you have a limited budget you may consider asking a friend or family member to help, but before you do just be aware of the issues that may arise. Read my post about receiving help for your wedding to discover these.
  • Second hand and DIY (do it yourself) are great ways to save money, but may require MUCH more time and be sure to do your research and be careful not to spend more money than having it professionally done.
    For example, you may want to create your own invitations, but if you have a full time job, kids, and go to school, you probably won't find the time and will only stress yourself. Or if you do have time, be sure you're not spending more on materials than buying them pre-made.
Have your budget in mind when you meet with each vendor and do your research!

Remember that it's not uncommon to go over your budget, but having one will minimize the blow and ensure you don't completely drown yourself.

Also, a wedding planner can do this tedious part for you. Something else to keep in mind. ;)

You may think you're ready to get started, but hold on there... There's one more step you'll need to accomplish before starting your vendor search. Stay tuned next week to check it out!

Lady Autie aka Autra

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Theme Thursday - With You, May the Fourth Be

Yay, Theme Thursday! For today, we're going to revisit a theme I've created and expanded upon. Since last weekend was the West Sacramento May the Fourth Be With You event, naturally, that'll be the subject of my post today.

First, let's start by looking at my post from last year. Everything I used for this was just too good not to use again. I did change the centerpiece, however. I decided not to focus so much on the jedi vs. dark side theme, but rather provide a little more variety.

R2D2 and C3PO seemed like good subjects, so I went with that. I started with a tall, thin vase, and a short round one. Here was the final result:

Photo Credit: Photo Has Merit
This shows a variety of things you can do for a Star Wars themed event. Here's one of my favorite costumes of the day:
Photo Credit: Thymehadder Photography
I assisted in the coordination for the costume contest (and led the costume parade) for this event and Jayleena, the character she's portraying above, won a couple of awards. The entire event was a lot of fun! Next year it'll be a sci-fi event since the 4th falls on a Monday.

Stay tuned for next week's Theme Thursday! Leave a comment below with your requests.

Until next time...

Lady Autie aka Autra

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wedding Help

It's time for another Tuesday Tip! This week's tip is about those who are offering their help for free (or cheap).
"Please let me make your bouquet..."

As soon as everyone catches a whisper of your engagement (yes, even if you try to keep it secret, the word will still spread) the calls, emails, text and Facebook messages will pour in. Of course, most of these will be of congratulations (but we hope they ALL will, right?), but some will also be an offer of help in one way or another. Your sister wants to do the planning, your mother wants to be your florist, and your uncle offers his sound system up for your use. Hey, there's nothing like getting free or cheap stuff for your wedding, right? Especially considering the expense! However, before you accept their offers, consider a few things:

  1. Are they a professional?

We all have a hard time saying 'no' to our family and friends. This includes when they are making decisions for your wedding that may not necessarily be for the best or even what you want. A professional has a special interest in making you happy and specializes in what they do. Would you ask a friend to install your roof if they weren't already a professional?

  1. Will there be a contract?

You both want to be on the same page. Signing a contract with the details of what they will be providing for you help to ensure that your pink wedding cake with fresh white flowers on top doesn't arrive an hour late as white cupcakes with fondant pink flowers.

  1. Is there money involved?

Unfortunately, money talks. If your college friend with a nice camera with aspirations of becoming a photographer receives an offer for a paid gig the same day as your wedding, the chances are high that your wedding is going to get the boot.

  1. Are they experienced?

This can actually substitute for #1. It is entirely reasonable to want your best friend to craft your wedding attire for you because you love the many things she's (or he's) made in the past. Just make sure everyone is on the same page and that there's proper compensation/motivation.

All of this can still apply when you have a small budget, too. There's a wide range of vendors in the industry and many will work with your budget. Just remember to consider all of the above when choosing to hire a friend or family member.

Stay tuned for next week's tip about wedding budgets!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring Theme

Welcome to Theme Thursday! Every Thursday I will be posting about a theme that I've been inspired by or a themed wedding/event that I'm currently working on. Today's theme is an attempt at reminding nature that IT'S NOT SUMMER YET!

This theme was inspired by the beautiful and colorful butterfly decor I saw in a grocery store near the beginning of Spring.

Spring is my favorite season, so why not make a themed event of it? My absolute favorite part about it are the gorgeous, blooming flowers. I can't help but take photos. There's such a huge variety of color, too!
Credit: Eclectic Photography aka Me!
Let's start with the invitation. Because that's the first guests may see of your event theme, right? This one isn't mine, but I'd LOVE to create a sunflower shaped invitation! Sunflowers are my favorite (they were in my wedding bouquet)!

 Photo credit: Mospens Studio
Photo credit: Mospens Studio

Around Easter is the only time that I, not only, tolerate pastel colors, I actually enjoy them. This has also given me some inspiration.
Credit: Pinterest
So, I began to think. If I were to put a centerpiece together for a Spring/Easter themed event, how would I do it? Using my inspirations above and good old Pinterest, here's what I came up with.
Credit: Pinterest
I love the vase full of eggs, but I wouldn't use real eggs since it can get messy, not to mention smelly, and can be a lot of work in the long run if you're doing multiple centerpieces. I'd buy plastic eggs and fill them to make them heavy or buy some that are already a good weight. And I would use tulips instead though tulips can be temperamental. Because I'm not a florist, I tend to lean more toward centerpieces that don't use flowers at all. In that case, I'd use small white manzanita branches with lots of butterflies in them. Ones like these:
Credit: Pinterest
These are the ones with the clips in the back, making it easy to clip onto anything. The image above is also a great favor idea. It's a small bag filled with candy, tied off with small ribbon and a butterfly clipped to the top. Tulle circles would be pretty instead of the clear bag, too. The butterflies on the branches would look sort of like this:

Photo credit: weddingbee.com
For the guest of honor, a headpiece like in the following photo would be a gorgeous tie-in to the butterflies.
Photo Credit: Farrell Photography Credit: Eclectic Weddings
I hope to be able to put these ideas into action one day! If you'd like more inspiration, take a look at Eclectic Weddings' Pinterest Board. Until next time... ^.^/

Lady Autie aka The Eclectic Sacramento Wedding Planner, Autra

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where to Start in Your Wedding Planning

Hello everyone and welcome to your Tuesday Tip! I will be posting a wedding or event planning tip here every Tuesday, so stayed tuned! This week's tip is about where every couple should start in their wedding planning.

Wedding Word Cloud
That magical question has been spoken and you've given the answer that will, over the next few months (or years), send you and your partner through a huge whirlwind of excitement, togetherness, and joy and also decisions, frustration, and a broken piggy bank.

So... Where do you start? First, you stop. Yes, stop. Close all of those browser tabs of wedding this and bride that. Come on, I know they're there. I'll wait...
There, now close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Now, doesn't that feel better already?

The first and most important thing you can do for yourself, your partner and your wedding planning is relax. Take things one at a time and really consider your options and what each decision means.

Next, since weddings are expensive, consider your budget and how much you, your partner, and/or your parents have to contribute. The average wedding costs around $25,000, but most are around $10,000, as a starting point.
Talking about money is where many couples find a point of contention. Remember to relax and be sure to keep in communication about where the money for the wedding is going (and where it's coming from). The discussion of budget may take a while, so while that's being had I'll be right here preparing my tip for next Tuesday. See you then!

Lady Autie aka Autra