Michele & Nick: Romanian Orthodox Wedding – Glenview Illinois

Glenview Wedding Photography Valley Lo Club Ariel Chapman

“In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you” – unknown

Michele and Nick got married on August 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois in a traditional Romanian Orthodox ceremony. I had the distinct pleasure to be, not only a guest at their beautiful wedding, but also their planner. Blush, Burgundy and dusty rose set the color pallet for their late summer wedding. Out of all aspects of the wedding, family was by far the most important and their wedding day was no exception. For that reason, the morning began with Michele getting ready in her parent’s home surrounded by her Grandmother, Mom, sisters and bridesmaids. Their family dog was also a huge part of their wedding celebrations. Sadly, Michele’s dog passed away two weeks after her wedding. Therefore, these images serve as a very emotional reminder of the love between an owner and fur baby.

Glenview Wedding Dog Bride Illinois
Glenview Illinois Wedding Valley Lo Club

Similarly, Nick was able to spend the morning hanging out with the groomsmen and his family. I always feel that the groom gets left out of so much preparation, but Michele made sure Nick was close by and his out-of-state family was welcomed at her home to kick off the day.
Chicago Suburb Wedding Glenview Illinois

Ceremony

Michele comes from a large Romanian Orthodox family. As a result, there is a lot of tradition and culture interwoven throughout their day. Special dances, songs, ceremonies and foods are apart of every Romanian celebration. If you have ever seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” that is a pretty accurate interpretation of an Orthodox ceremony. In an Orthodox ceremony, the bride and groom wear crowns symbolizing that they are the King and Queen of their household. I wish everyone got to wear a crown for a day! Their ceremony was beautiful and full of rich history and tradition.
Orthodox Ceremony Chicago Romanian Wedding
Outdoor Wedding Photos Chicago Glenview Illinois

Reception

Michele and Nick chose to have their intimate reception (of 200) at the Valley Lo Club in Glenview, IL. Valley Lo, is a wedding venue tucked inside a private residential golf and swimming community. Michele’s aunt owns Truffles Cake & Pastry Shoppe, a bakery located in Michigan City, Indiana. Because of this, she wanted to use her special talents and gift them a stunning desert display. She painstakingly made each and every dessert and drove them to the reception. It took her several hours to build the stunning dessert display. Most importantly, they tasted better than the looked; and they looked amazing.
Reception Valley Lo Club Glenview Illinois
Daddy Daughter Mother Son Dance First Dance Glenview Illinois

Above all, as Michele and Nick settle into married life, I wanted to thank them for allowing me to be apart of their special day. It is a unique position to be in, both the planner and a guest. Ashley Nicole Events had a great team in place where I could actually step back and enjoy the wedding as a guest. I even got to have a cocktail – or two! Congratulations on your marriage and I wish you nothing but a lifetime of love and happiness!
Lakefront Wedding Glenview Illinois Valley Lo Club Dark Moody Photography Vendor Love:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Photography: Ariel Chapman Photography
Videography: Juan Alvarado Photography
Ceremony Venue: Holy Nativity Romanian Orthodox Church – Chicago, IL
Reception Venue: Valley Lo Club – Glenview, IL
DJ: Fig Media
Floral: SaniMar Decor Studio
Cake & Sweets: Truffles Cake & Pastry Shoppe
Transportation: VIP Express Limousine Inc.
Lodging: Sheraton Northbrook
Invitations: Paula Kolar
Hair: Hair By Julia
Makeup: Makeup By Sarah B

San Diego Elopement

Living in the midwest, it is not everyday where I can go to a beach and create a luxury experience for two people in love. This past February, a luxury beach elopement is just what I was able to do! Joy Bijedic, Being Joy Photography, and I styled and planned this luxury elopement experience for Malwina and Shane. This happy couple was originally from the midwest and both relocated out to San Diego due to their jobs. Everything turned out beautifully and Joy and I could not be more proud of this experience. We had a rock star team of vendors that was able to come together and pull off a romantic dinner on the La Jolla Cove beach. 


Vendor Love
Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Photography: Being Joy Photography
Bridal Gown: Alyssa Kristin
Floral: Wyld Blooms
Edible Place Cards: Nat Sweets
Stationary: Studio M Creations
Hair & Makeup: Flora Makeup & Hair
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Linen: BBJ Linen
Venue: La Jolla Cove
Bride: Malwina
Groom: Shane

ANE Real Wedding: Kayla & Kyle

Every once in awhile, a love comes along that you know will stand the test of time. Kayla & Kyle have that love. This past Sunday, they celebrated their 1st Anniversary! I can not believe how time flies, when you are young, in love and having fun. 

I met Kayla and Kyle and immediately fell in love with Kayla’s spunky personality. We had a lot in common and it felt like we had known each other for years. Kayla, 100% trusted and believed that I could turn her dream into reality which makes my job so much easier. What I love about Kyle is his passion and clear adoration for Kayla. He loves her SO MUCH! This wedding was filled with COLOR and lots of sunflowers! Kayla found these fun bridesmaid’s dresses at JcPenny of all places! I was obsessed! I have a feeling, the girls will certainly re use these dresses. Their wedding was filled with so much love, laughter and smiles. It was hard for them to contain their excitement. Outdoor ceremonies can be tricky in the spring, however, the day was perfect and they were able to get married along the Fox River in Elgin, Illinois. 

Happy Anniversary Kayla & Kyle! Thank you for allowing Ashley Nicole Events Inc to be apart of your big day!


Vendor Spotlight:

Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Ceremony Venue: Walton Island, Elgin
Reception Venue: The Haight, Elgin
Florist: Town & Country Gardens
Hair & Makeup: Tamara Makeup & Hair Artistry
Catering: Evantastik, Inc
Cake: Delish Cakes
Photography: Love & Ink Photography
Rentals: A-Z Rentals
DJ: DJs For You

Wedding Contracts: Not A Dirty Word

 Contract is not a dirty word! 
Contract is not a dirty word! 

Contracts are not a dirty word. They protect all parties!

— Ashley Radosav

We are surrounded by contracts every day and there is no real end in sight. We live in a “I’ll sue you!” wold, thus our lives now revolve around everyone covering their butt ALL.THE.TIME. Here is a list of the daily contracts we enter without even thinking about it: Cable, Internet, Cell phone, Car loan, Mortgage, Gas, Electric, Amazon Prime and so many more. When it comes to arguably one of the most expensive parties of your life, having and reviewing wedding contracts are a necessity. 

This is NOT a post about prenuptial agreements! 

Finding all of your wedding vendors can be hard enough. Once you find them, they shove these legal papers in front of you and make you feel as if you are signing your life away a little at a time. Wedding contracts do NOT need to be scary or overwhelming. Arguably, these are fun and exciting things that you are agreeing to (Photo, Video, Bar, Lighting, Flowers) and not something overwhelming, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is a simple agreement: Here is the product or service I provide, this is what and when you will pay me for it. 

Making sure that you sit and speak with the vendor to explain in detail what their contracts mean is very important. The basics of a wedding contract include the names of the people entering the contract, the event date, the times of provided service and what the outcome will be. For example, you sign a photography contract and you will expect to have him/her onsite with you for 8 hours and in 6-8 weeks you will get a beautiful wedding album. My contract for example basically says, “be a nice human being, I will be nice back.” Please feed me, this is what you will get in return…fairly simple. 

 Google Images
Google Images

Here is a brief run down of the key elements to a successful wedding contract:

  1. Make sure that all of the wedding/event dates are the same. I have caught more than once a wrong event date as I reviewed my client’s contracts. 
  2. Make sure your guest count is the same. The worst thing ever would be to have 225 guests and only food for 125. Double check your numbers…OFTEN!
  3. Make sure the timelines are corresponding. If you sign an 8 hour photography package, make sure all of the important events (ceremony, cake cutting, first dance) all happen within that 8 hour window. Otherwise, you will be missing some key elements of your day in the album you receive after the wedding. 
  4. Follow up and confirm with all vendors a week or two prior to the wedding day to fill them in on any last minute changes. A wedding vendor will always refer back to their notes or their contracts if something goes awry. If you do not inform them of changes, these vendors are NOT mindreader! 
  5. Hire a wedding planner to help catch some of these common mistakes. At the time of signing a wedding contract, there might be some gaping holes in your timeline, this is quite common. However, that is something a wedding planner can help fill in for you and make sure your other vendors are all kept up to date! 

I hope this shed a little bit of light on how to approach a wedding vendor’s contract and have them break it down into simple easy to understand language. You are getting married, not trying to pass the bar. Have them (or a planner) break it down for you!

If you have other questions about wedding contracts, send me an email at Hello@AshleyNicoleEventsInc.com and I will be happy to help!

 Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography

Need Unique Groomsmen Gifts? Look No Further Than Groovy Guy Gifts!

Are you struggling to find some really special and unique Groomsmen gifts? Are you looking for something beyond the typical shot glass or flask? If so, keep reading!

I was recently approached by Joe at Groovy Guy Gifts to test some products that my couples could use for bridal party gifts. While I love getting free swag, I was cautious. How are they any different? Are they more expensive? Is this a scam? How can I trust the quality. Joe was super easy to work with and I was able to select anything I wanted off of their website to review. In order to give my very best analysis of their products, I got my husband, Adrian, involved. Who else better to test guy products than…a guy!

Here are our thoughts:

Website: Very easy to navigate, great selection of products. They even have Father’s Day gift ideas! Their products range in price from $19.99 to $85ish. Personalization is key with this company as your can put a name, monogram or face on pretty much anything they sell. Groovy Guy Gifts offer unique gifts that I have not seen on sites that offer similar services such as 2 different styles of  Golf Cleat Caddies, a functional Man Bag  Stylish Satchels or for the manly man in your life,  Weapon of Warriors! There really is something for just about everyone on this site!

Shipping: They have the standard 8-12 business day shipping but also provide expedited shipping (5 business days) for those grooms who forget that they need to get their guys a small token of appreciation! The expedited shipping seems a little expensive, so just plan ahead and the standard shipping is much more reasonably priced.

Product: I selected the Bleacher Buddy! I liked that it was something unique. My husband is not a drinker, so he really has no use for the shot glasses or flasks that are commonly given out as groomsmen gifts. Though to be fair, he does put his fair share of chocolate milk in the flasks he has received thus far! This gift is perfect for anyone who attends sporting events, likes to hang out with friends and have grab a cold beer, water or gatorade!

Packaging: The box came very quickly! I was quite surprised. I was afraid that the box would be too thin and as I cut into the box with a knife, I was trying to be extra careful not to slice the fabric of the chair. To my pleasant surprise, the chair was packaged REALLY well! There was bubble wrap around every corner to prevent scratches. Included in the box was extra packaging to prevent any damage during shipment. I rank the packaging a 10!

Review of Product: The Bleacher Buddy states in the description that it is great for tailgating. I would agree with this! There are plenty of storage compartments to keep keys, cell phones and extra valuables safe all while keeping  your drinks and snacks cold. My one issue with this product is that it is a little small. Granted, they clearly state on their website that it is meant for tailgating and providing seating when necessary. This is not a chair that my husband would choose to sit for extended periods of time because he is a bigger guy. The crossbar hit him right on the thigh as he sat and the back of the chair hit in the lower back region. For a quick resting spot this chair is a great option. When I sat on the chair, I did not experience as much discomfort as he did, but I am smaller. I think this would be a great “chair” for a kid who could tolerate sitting on it for extended periods of time. I would not call this chair a “camping chair” as that is what Adrian thought it might be good for. For its intended tailgating purpose…it’s spot on!

Overall Ranking out of 10: Adrian and I both rank the Bleacher Buddy a 9 out of 10. Overall, great packaging, great design and excellent customer service from Groovy Guy Gifts. We did remove 1 star because of the unfortunate size of the chair but who really sits when they are tailgating with friends anyway? Great option for the guys who love sports, have kids on sports teams or just enjoy a nice cold beverage as the cooler keeps things cold for a long time!

I would absolutely recommend Groovy Guy Gifts to my couples looking for fun, unique gifts for their groomsmen and fathers.

 

 

Vendor Spotlight: The Haight

 Photo Credit: Love & Ink Photogrpahy 
Photo Credit: Love & Ink Photogrpahy 

Every once in awhile, I find a venue that welcomes me like family. As a wedding planner, connections are so important. I call my encounter with the hottest venue in the burbs an incredible chance of luck and even happier accident. Late one night, instead of sleeping, I was killing time, while surfing Facebook…doesn’t everyone do that these days!?! I answered a status request for a possible wedding assistant at a venue I have never heard of, The Haight. Pronounced HATE.  As a boutique wedding planner, I book a handful of event each year. I work a lot of weekends but typically not every weekend. I figured, why not!? It would be some extra cash, I get to see a new space and it will keep me involved in the wedding industry even when they are not “my” clients. I figured I would try it for awhile and then leave after the busy season. Two full wedding seasons, I am still here and loving every minute. My roles have changed and the Haight family has been so incredibly generous to me  and all of the staff they have acquired over the past few years. It is really hard running your own business. (girl speaking from 40+ years of family run businesses) but this family has opened it arms and is making the very best of what they have to offer to brides in suburban Elgin.

I am happy to introduce you to two venue managers who I am also happy to call my friends! Briana and Lauren.

 Briana is on the Left, Lauren is on the Right
Briana is on the Left, Lauren is on the Right

1. Tell me how you (the venue manager)  got started in the wedding business.

B: I did events throughout my university and loved it! I got an internship with a national events company once I graduated and then found a job as a wedding planner once that internship ended. I just love planning events so much and weddings were definitely my niche!

L: I got started in the wedding business by a happy accident.  I had been working in a management position in the service industry and was thinking about moving on when I ran into an old acquaintance, whose wife just happens to be one of the owners at The Haight. He let me know they were looking for someone and a few emails and an interview later I became a part of the Haight family and the wedding business.

2. How did your Venue come to be? Are there any interesting facts about the space? What was the space before it became a wedding venue?

B: The Haight family had owned it since the 80’s and John Haight Sr. rented it out to companies that used it as a factory or warehouse. It wasn’t until Doree, his daughter, got engaged and they decided to renovate it for her own wedding! Obviously, the space is gorgeous so everyone kept telling them they just HAD to make it a business and so they did! Everyone always asks “Why The Haight?” since it’s just a unique name, especially for a wedding venue, but it was named after John Haight Sr. who passed away before Doree’s wedding. I’m sure he would be extremely proud at what they’ve accomplished today with his old warehouse building in downtown Elgin. Who knew?

L: Everything Briana said, but in addition, our building is over 100 years old and the cocktail area once housed horses!  The building has a long history, it began as the Elgin Storage and Transfer Company, then it became a warehouse for Ludwig Dairy, and was home to a chalkboard factory as well.

– The Haight – Chicago Wedding Venue from Newlyweds Cinema on Vimeo.

3. How long have you been at The Haight?

B: I have been here 2 years and 7 months!
L: I have been working at The Haight since August of 2016.

4. How many people does the space fit for a cocktail reception? Sit down dinner? Can you accommodate Ceremonies as well?

B: We can do up to 400 for a cocktail reception, 300 or 250 with a dance floor for a sit down dinner and up to 200 max for a ceremony.

5. What do you love about the job?

B: Working with our amazing couples and getting coordinate the best day of their lives. I love creating friendships with my couples and thank social media for allowing me to stay connected with them even after their wedding is over.

L: I love that we get to work with so many different couple for their big day.  Every event might take place in the same location but no two are the same.  I love to see how each client changes the space to match their style and their vision.  It is so much fun to be a part of the big day and help make it come to life.

6. What is something you wish all couples looking at The Haight considered or asked when booking a venue?  

B: Compare apples to apples!! Almost all venues are priced differently so take into consideration the ALL-IN pricing, not just the venue pricing! Just because X venue is a cheaper price does not mean your catering or bar will be! We had a couple almost go to a different venue because they were $1,000 less than us, but factoring in our bar prices vs. the other venues, they would be SAVING $300 by booking us! It’s not easy, but it is worth it in the long run if you’re in-between 2 venues and price is a determining factor.

L: This isn’t just for our venue or our line of work, but ask the professionals you are working with what works best.  We know what works best in our space because we are here for a wedding or other event every weekend.  Chances are if we suggest something different then what you had in mind it is because it didn’t work well in the past for someone else.

7. Besides your venue (obviously!), what other venues do you respect or refer clients to if you are booked? Why?

B: We like referring Firehouse Chicago because their venue works well for a smaller wedding. We don’t do many weddings under 100 guests due to our size, and Firehouse is such a cool space.

L: We are always happy to give suggestions for other venues when our space is not the right fit for someone or we don’t have a date available.  We see so many great places when networking it is hard to pick one!

8. What is your favorite wedding trend for 2017 or 2018?

B: Velvet (suits, dresses, an table runners) SWOON!!!
L: I am loving hanging florals!

The Haight offers a beautiful bridal suite which is ideal for getting ready prior to the ceremony. The guys even have their own space fully equipped with Nintendo to ease those wedding nerves! Contact the Haight today to see if your wedding date is available! Click HERE to see their calendar of availability! 

Photo credit can be found on the Haight’s full website. 

 

Vendor Spotlight: Ashley from Ashley Nicole Events

Ashley Nicole Events is not just a company, it is a person! Hi, I am Ashley Nicole. I am a Chicago based wedding and event planner and love all things weddings. I have recently gained a lot of new IG followers and Blog subscribers, so it is time I do another vendor introduction. Every time I get a notification that I have another follower, I literally do a little happy dance. It may sound corny, but it’s true. I love you guys!

There are three Ashley Nicole Events companies in the United States! No, our businesses are not related or connected in any form, other than our names…One in South Carolina, one in Denver and me! I have concluded that we are all products of the 80s and there is nothing we can do about our names. Our names are really all Ashley Nicole! Denver Ashley and I pass back and forth client information when they get confused. It is nice to have a connection and help each other along the way.

 meet the two other ladies who share my name and passions.
meet the two other ladies who share my name and passions.

WHO I AM

I have been planning events for the past 11 years and have done everything from baptisms, baby and bridal showers, birthdays, weddings, and even a few funerals. People are really wanting to go out with a bang these days! One interesting thing to know about me is that I am really an introvert. Shocking, but I am actually a very quiet and reserved person. While I have no problem jumping on a mic giving directions to a large group of people, when I get home, I enjoy curling up on the couch.

I have been married for *almost* four years. I can’t believe it, this time has just flown by and I know the next 60 will go by just as fast. We have two dogs, Kaine and Mollie. Kaine, is an all around good boy, but a total goofball. Mollie is the more reserved, protective and serious of the two. She can be a bit feisty at times and this is something we are still working on. Just like people, dogs come with their own personality.

I am a very sarcastic person. Sometimes, this gets me into trouble and people have a hard time reading me. This means they clearly have not spent enough time with me and once they do, they realize that I am actually quite funny (In my opinion). My eye rolls, sighs, and facial expressions are simply love. I express love through sarcasm and dry humor. Trust me, it’s great. No, really…it is!

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My grandparents owned a local floral shop for 40 years, my parents have owned their ice cream shop for 35 years and my aunt recently opened her floral shop 5 years ago after my grandparents closed their doors.. Owning your own business is hard! It is all up to you to sink or swim. With my families love and support, I am able to swim. Most dinners revolve around talking about one business or another. Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s Day)  are all hands on deck at the flower shop.

If I had to pick my spirit animal, I would say, I would be Rose Nylund from the Golden Girls. I always used to think I was more like Blanche, but it has become much clearer to me that I am Rose. If you have no idea who I am talking about, please, do yourself a favor and watch all 7 seasons on Hulu. You are welcome.

WHAT I LOVE

I love bagel bites. I currently have 3 boxes of them in my freezer, each time I go to the store, I am afraid that there will be a bagel bite shortage I might run out…I basically horde bagel bites. There is a science to cooking them and if you are someone who puts them in the microwave, you, my friend, are doing it wrong.

I love office supply stores. I blame my dad for this. He has every color sharpie known to man and if there is a new gel roller pen, he owns that as well. I love the smell of a fresh notebook. Potential and possibilities lie in those blank pages. I am a habitual list maker. I will literally write things I have already accomplished on a to do list, just to get the satisfaction of crossing it off. I can’t be the only person like this? Can I?

WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN

In conclusion, I am a sarcastic, office supply-store junkie who is addicted to bagel bites and loves dogs (actually, I just love my dogs).  What does this say about me? Why would you ever want me to plan an event for you? These terrible descriptions have an underlying theme. I will always tell it to you straight. You will always know where I stand. I love lists and strive to accomplish my tasks, I have awesome taste in crappy frozen food, and I am extremely loyal. If you are on #teamashley I will be loyal to you, and  serve your wedding with everything I have. I will be your trusted companion and your friend and if there is ever an apocalypse, come to my house, there will be plenty of bagel bites to go around.

Why you should ALWAYS hire a professional

Weddings can be expensive, I get it. When you start reaching out to vendors and you say, “Hi, I am getting married let’s chat about how you can create my dream wedding!” you are so optimistic and excited you spend your time blissfully chatting about flowers, lighting, linens and the best photo package possible. Everything is perfect until you get their proposal and all you see are the $$$. Ensue mild panic attack

One solution you might think of is to reach out to a friend who really likes to bake cakes or another friend who just picked up photography as a hobby. While these friends might offer to provide you with your dream wedding at a fraction of the cost or even free all together…please, for the love of all that is holy, carefully consider your options. There are plenty of ways to thoughtfully and methodically save on extra expenses. Taking a chance on an amature is not one of them. While all vendors start somewhere, there is a huge difference between running a profitable business and doing something a hobby. Below are photos of how much of a difference a professional vs amature wedding can turn out.

 This image was taken from photographer David Bailey's Blog. You can read the full article  here . 
This image was taken from photographer David Bailey’s Blog. You can read the full article here . 
 When a bride ordered a tire wedding cake, she walked into the reception to find this cake waiting for her...full article  here
When a bride ordered a tire wedding cake, she walked into the reception to find this cake waiting for her…full article here
 Source via Pinterest
Source via Pinterest
 This catering fail was actually how I saw food being presented to guests...in real life. No joke.
This catering fail was actually how I saw food being presented to guests…in real life. No joke.

Let me say this again, all vendors start out somewhere. Not all new vendors are bad. Not all experienced vendors are fantastic. While I would always recommend hiring a professional to provide a service on your wedding, there are ways to cut costs on other aspects of your big day. While weddings are expensive, your sanity and the stress of wondering how something will turn out will always trump the extra few dollars. It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry…

Having friends who want to help contribute to your wedding is fantastic. Allow them to bake a cake for your bridal shower or have them take photos at the bachelorette party. Please, allow your friends to be guests on your big day and take a boat load of stress off your shoulders. You are hiring professionals because they will know how to handle any situation. Amateurs or hobbyists are simply not worth the nominal savings. Trust me. You and your guests will thank me for it. 


 Hi there! I am Ashley Radosav, the owner of Ashley Nicole Events. I have been planning weddings and events for the past 11 years. I too, was once an amateur and have certainly grown as I turned my hobby into a professional and profitable boutique planning firm. I am currently located outside of Chicago, Illinois and serve the Chicagoland area. I am also willing to travel (for the right couple!) If you have any other wedding planning questions, send me an email and I will include that as the next blog post! You can reach me at: hello@ashleynicoleeventsinc.com  photo credit: Mary Rose Photography
Hi there! I am Ashley Radosav, the owner of Ashley Nicole Events. I have been planning weddings and events for the past 11 years. I too, was once an amateur and have certainly grown as I turned my hobby into a professional and profitable boutique planning firm. I am currently located outside of Chicago, Illinois and serve the Chicagoland area. I am also willing to travel (for the right couple!) If you have any other wedding planning questions, send me an email and I will include that as the next blog post! You can reach me at: hello@ashleynicoleeventsinc.com photo credit: Mary Rose Photography

Ashley Hamm Photography

Part of being a wedding planner is being connected. I know a guythat can help with whatever you are looking for. Do you need an authentic cuban cigar roller? I know a guy. Perhaps a master sommelier or someone to hang from the ceiling while pouring tequila shots? I know a guy…or girl. Really, I do!  When it comes to wedding photography, I know Ashley Hamm. When I met Ashley, we immediately connected over having the best name on the planet! Hello, Ashley Squared! 🙂 Ashley has been the owner of Ashley Hamm Photography for ten years! Ashley was a blast to interview. Please get comfy, grab a cup of coffee and get to know my friend. 

How did you get started in the wedding photography business?

Gosh, that’s a great question! I remember the first time I found a disposable camera in my parents’ junk drawer and went out to play with it in the woods. I was maybe 7 years old and I loved the clicking sound of the camera when I pressed the button and the way the light shone through the trees. At first, it was a hobby, just for friends and coworkers, but then it became something I just couldn’t live without.

What do you love about being a wedding photographer?

I love working with people capturing their favorite moments. The moment they say I do, the moment they hug their children and watch laughter spread across their face or the moment they hold hands and fall in love all over again. I get to see how people look at each other and love and embrace and cry and just be amazing.

 Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography
Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography

Let’s be honest, what do you not love so much about wedding photography?

Honestly, it’s the laundry (from working with kids getting on the floor and getting dirty) and finding comfortable shoes. That’s it. Worst answer ever? Maybe. There is not much I don’t love about this profession. 

You deal with couples on the most important day of their lives, what is something you wish all couples looking at photographers considered or asked?

Full weddings! Before you book, ask to see at least 3 full galleries of the most recent weddings from your photographer! From start to finish, consistency should be a key element when booking a photographer for your wedding day.

Where are some of your favorite engagement session locations?

Downtown Milwaukee, Starved Rock, and The South Shore Cultural Center!

 Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography
Photo credit: Ashley Hamm Photography

What is your favorite wedding venue? Why?

Wandering Tree Estate, Salvage One and Emerson Creek.

Wedding days can be stressful and over in a flash. What do you wish people considered on the day of the wedding?

I would actually prefer it if they didn’t think about it at all. Be in the moment, live it up, smash the cake all over each other’s faces. Be present! I am there to document your day just as it is, so be there and enjoy!

Tell me one thing no one knows about you (but you are okay with the world knowing!)

I own 35 cameras (film and digital) and collect them from all over the world when I travel! I’m also allergic to kiwis 🙂

Thank you, Ashley, for joining me and allowing my corner of the internet to get to know more about you! If you are interested in meeting Ashley, or getting to know more about her, I recommend you reach out directly to her. You can find her corner of the internet by clicking   Ashley Hamm Photography  Tune in next week when I provide my top 5 Engagement Photo tips! 

Series Finale: Part 3 of Ask A Wedding Planner Anything!

During the past three weeks, we have walked this path together while I have been answering all of your burning questions about wedding planning. We are in the home stretch and I am so happy to have taken this journey with you. My goal is to set your mind at ease during this crazy busy time in your life. Let’s get to it, shall we? 

Q. How do you handle difficult family members?

A. Unfortunately, we live in a world of divorce, remarriage and lifestyles that not everyone agrees with. I would hope that for one day, people could put their differences aside. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. If it is two parents who are divorced and do not get along, it could be as simple as placing them at separate tables. Each situation is different and I am happy to listen and work together to find a mutually agreeable conclusion for all parties involved. I have dealt with every situation imaginable and am happy to offer suggestions on a case by case basis.

 Weddings bring family dynamics to a whole new level! Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley 
Weddings bring family dynamics to a whole new level! Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley 

Q. How do you deal with difficult vendors?

A. This generally does not happen if my client has selected someone off of my preferred vendor list. I reserve the right to remove any vendor off of my list at any time for actions that do not best represent me or my brand. If there is a specific situation, I work it out with that vendor individually. If and only if the client needs to become involved would that conversation happen. Most of the time, it was all based off of a simple misunderstanding and all can be resolved to provide you, the client, with the best service possible.

Q. What happens if the wedding gets cancelled or we have a change of heart?

A. It would break my heart to see you cancel your wedding for any number of reasons. I understand sometimes, things happen and you might no longer need my services. I do require a non-refundable deposit upon signing the contract, which guarantees you are my only client on the date of your wedding. This ensures that I begin working right away and do not book another client for the same day. Depending on the payment structure you have chosen and when the wedding has been cancelled, would determine if you owe any additional money beyond the deposit.

 Look at that happy couple! I would have been so sad if they changed their minds! Credit: Wynn WIley
Look at that happy couple! I would have been so sad if they changed their minds! Credit: Wynn WIley

Q. What happens if my planner is unavailable?

A. This is a great question! You are hiring me to do a job for you and I will in good faith be there to accomplish the vision we have created together. If for some reason beyond my control, I am unable to attend to the duties set before me, three things would happen. First, I would reach out to you and let you know the situation. Second, just like the relationships I have created with vendors, I have the same relationships with other event planners. At any given time, I have 6 planners I can call who would step in for me during an emergency. Third, I would connect you to the planner and you would approve the change.

Q. What happens if something goes wrong on my wedding day?

A. If we have had clear and constant, open communication throughout the planning process, this generally does not happen. People are human and make mistakes, such is life. It is my job to divert any issues that might arise before you ever knew there was a situation to begin with. This is why you hired me to be your planner and not your Mom/sister/friend/aunt.  For example, if by mistake, your caterer ordered the wrong number of chairs and you were 10 chairs short you would never know I had to do an emergency chair order. I wouldn’t bother you with the little, but necessary details unless it was a dire emergency.  I offer a debriefing after each event with my client to go over all of the details of the wedding. This allows for open and honest communication between myself and my client. I am always looking for ways to improve and it is only through client feedback I am able to improve my service.

Whew, that was a lot of really great questions! I am so glad you stuck it through until the end. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to ask. I absolutely love making sure you are comfortable in this process. Weddings are tricky, but they don’t have to be. 

 Thanks for coming on this journey! Catch ya on the flip side. Photo Credit: K+B Photo 
Thanks for coming on this journey! Catch ya on the flip side. Photo Credit: K+B Photo