Too Delicious to Choose: Cupcakes or Cake

Sometimes, weddings can have a certain element of pressure. Kind of like peer-pressure. Everyone you know has a wedding cake and does the “typical cake cutting” cheesy photo op. What if you and your partner aren’t the biggest fans of cake? What do you do then? Do you suck it up and have a cake because everyone else did, OR do you do something different that really speaks to you and your fiancé? 
Cakes come in all shapes and sizes. There are two types of “average wedding cakes” these days. The first is the typical 3 tier vanilla frosting with some type of butter cream filling. The second is a single tier, much smaller cake simply used for the ceremonial cake cutting. Deciding on the decorations of the cake can become a sugary nightmare! Maybe you don’t like frosting and want to mix things up a bit. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow. 

 Photo By: Crane's Photography
Photo By: Crane’s Photography

We all know that cake is good, but there’s sometimes a stereotype of wedding cake being dry and covered in too much frosting or fondant. Instead of serving pieces of cake to your guests, let them serve themselves! Give them a variety of cupcakes that were picked out by you and your partner! This way your guests can have options.

 Photo Credit:  Cupcakes 101
Photo Credit: Cupcakes 101

When it comes to cupcakes the sky is the limit! You can mix and match flavors, get creative with the cupcake liners, and even choose a simple design for the top! Just like having signature drinks you could have signature cupcakes for your guests. Your partner may like red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting while you like chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

 Photo Credit: Crane's Photography
Photo Credit: Crane’s Photography

Having a simple cake as well as cupcakes keeps the tradition of cutting the cake a part of the reception. This way you are allowing yourself and your partner the joy of still getting to cut the cake together. Always keep in mind, however, that cupcakes can be smashed in your face just like a piece of cake can!

 Venue: The Haight
Venue: The Haight

Choosing the Length of Your Wedding Day

Many wedding receptions last the entire night. Younger guests and friends of the bride and groom love dancing right to the end. The slightly older guests won’t typically stay the entire time. On the flip side, you and your partner may not be night people. You don’t enjoy staying up super late and then having to change out of your gown, scrub layers of makeup off and take 1,000 bobby pins out of your hair. Trust me, it’s a process!

 Photo By: Mayden Photography
Photo By: Mayden Photography

If you guys are a couple who loves to have a good time, the reception ending at midnight is nothing out of the ordinary. All you want to do is have fun, and you deserve that. After all, it’s your wedding day! You want all the time you can get to mingle with family and friends. Having a late ending reception also allows for more time between important events on the schedule.

 Photo By: Mayden Photography
Photo By: Mayden Photography

If you are not a night owl, you might want to start your wedding day earlier because you want your reception to be done at a time you’re comfortable with. You still end up hitting all of the key elements to a wedding. The ceremony would be set at a time that would still allow for a ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner/lunch, and dancing. And the best part is your day wouldn’t be rushed and you can go at a pace you feel comfortable with.

 Photo By: Crane's Photography
Photo By: Crane’s Photography

Recently an intern joined my team and told me all about her future wedding. Neither her nor her boyfriend are night people. They don’t enjoy staying up late, they know that they will get grumpy and become bad hosts. By starting earlier in the day, they would have the chance to do everything that they want for their big day while still respecting their own wishes.

 Photo By: Aysha Nicole Photo
Photo By: Aysha Nicole Photo

Not all couples want the same thing. Each wedding reception is just as unique as the couple planning it. Making your wedding unique is key. Just because your friend ended at midnight does not mean you need to do the same. Make sure to keep this in mind when planning your own wedding!

6 Tasty Signature Cocktails For Your Summer Wedding

Ashley Nicole Events Signature Drink Wedding

There’s nothing better than a summer wedding, but boy it can get hot! Make sure your guests stay nice and refreshed by offering a signature drink to keep them cool. Read on for 6 different options to include on your special day!

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

1. Rum Orange Sizzle: With the sweet taste of orange juice and rum, a summer favorite, your guests will have a sweet drink to sip down.

 Complete Recipe found HERE

Complete Recipe found HERE

Are some of your guests under 21? Forget about the liquor, your underage guests will feel just as ‘cool’ by keeping these ingredients on hand: Sugar cube, Maraschino cherry and ice.

2. Blueberry Ginger Mule: Putting a creative twist on a Moscow Mule, blueberries can be added for both flavor and a touch of color. Try putting the drink in a frosted glass to keep it cooler longer!

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Are some of your guests under 21? Forget about the liquor, and add lemonade, frozen blueberries, zest and juice of orange and lemon, sugar, white vinegar and vanilla flavoring.

3. Flor de Cana Pina Colada: A typical summer drink, your guests will have this cocktail and feel like they are on a tropical vacation. Don’t forget a pineapple wedge on the rim of the glass for a nice, simple garnish!

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Simply take out the liquor, allowing your underage guests to enjoy a nice, refreshing coconut delight.

4. Tropical Negroni: A classic drink but with a twist. To incorporate even more of the tropical feel, serve the drink inside a pineapple!

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Forget about the liquor while still keeping these simple ingredients: crushed ice, strawberry simple syrup and pineapple juice

5. Dragon Bramble: A unique cocktail will keep your guests on their toes, while also incorporating you and your significant others unique relationship! With a nice pop of color, this drink would be perfect with anything millennial pink.

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Forget about the liquor while still keeping these simple ingredients: dragon fruit puree, blackberry simple syrup, lemon juice and ice.

6. Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade: With a twist added to regular lemonade, there will be an sweeter punch when mixed with lemon and sugar.

 Complete Recipe found HERE Complete Recipe found HERE

Under 21? Forget about the liquor while keeping these simple ingredients: lemonade, sugar, lemon sugar, grated lemon rind, muddled raspberries and ice.

What is your favorite signature cocktail? My favorite is an oldie but a goodie…vodka tonic. 😉

Supporting Your Spouse

This past week, Adrian and I celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary! I can not believe how fast time flies! The thing with getting married, is life keeps moving after the wedding day. A marriage is simply not one day, it is a lifetime of constantly choosing that person. Every day, we choose to make it work and we choose to laugh. We also choose to cry and support each other when times are not easy. Choice, that is the thing that makes it all work. 

 Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co

Today, in this next phase of life, I am choosing to celebrate with Adrian while he is in Dallas getting a promotion for work! He has worked many long years in aviation and he is finally getting a well deserved transfer to international flying at American Airlines! We have been very lucky and blessed in our lives. It is important to realize the good things that happen in life and being able to work through the tough parts. 

Supporting your spouse does not mean that you obsess over every move they make, every meal they eat and how much sleep they get. Sometimes supporting your spouse means trying not to smother them in their sleep when they are snoring loud enough to wake the dead (not that I have ever contemplated this)! Supporting, means allowing them to be their own person while working together on shared goals and passions. When two become one, you do not stop living your individual life. You now simply have a 24/7 cheerleader and support system. You do not have to face the world alone.  

 Seriously, I have to deal with this on a daily basis! Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Seriously, I have to deal with this on a daily basis! Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
 Finally, a semi-decent photo of us! LOL Thanks @Beingjoyphotography!
Finally, a semi-decent photo of us! LOL Thanks @Beingjoyphotography!

Everyday, we try and be a better version of who we were yesterday. Some days we fall short and other days we thrive. Having the desire to make it work and stick it through NO MATTER WHAT has served us well these past 4 years. I can not wait to see what the next 70 years has in store. 

In what ways do you support your spouse? I would love to hear in the comments below! 


Vendor Spotlight in the Images Above:
Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Videography: NightOwls Media
Photography: Authentic Adventure Co
Hair & Makeup: Tamara Hair and Makeup Artistry


For the full feature of a Wedding Planner’s wedding, click HERE!

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

Event Security: Planning Events in 2018

 Photo: Steve Parsons
Photo: Steve Parsons

Security.

This topic has been around for awhile, though, I think it is often overlooked when it comes to small scale events. Out of the approximate $42.8 million dollars the Royal family spent on Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s recent wedding, 94% or a whopping $40.1 million dollars was spent on security for the royal family, their guests and the general public. Not every wedding planned today has a budget that lavish. However, in today’s day and age, security is, or at least should be considered. I do NOT mean to be a Debby-Downer, but seriously, these topics MUST be thought of! 

 Photo Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Photo Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Here are 3 things you should consider when planning an event or wedding in the world today. 

1. Location – Are you having your event in a large metropolitan area? If so, are large cultural events taking place in or around your event? For example, if you are planning a wedding on the Chicago marathon route, ask yourself if your guests will be able to get from point A to point B in a timely and safe manner. Fighting crowds and getting stuck in traffic is not my idea of fun. It could put a damper on an already tight timeline. Have you thought about group transportation if you have a situation like this?

If you are getting married in a smaller city and public parking lots are readily available, are street lights and well lit sidewalks available for your guests? Walking alone late at night in a dark, unfamiliar area is not always the best decision. God forbid something happen to you or your guests, it is better to be safe than sorry. If public parking is available, but far away, you might consider offering a complementary valet service – not free to you, but free to your guests.  

 Photo Credit: Getty Images Women's March
Photo Credit: Getty Images Women’s March

2. Fire Exits – We are pretty well conditioned at this point to look for the fire exits when we walk into a movie theater. How about your wedding or event venue? If an emergency arose, could you direct your guests to the nearest exit? You most likely will be getting married in a venue that your guests have never been to before. In the middle of busting a move on the dance floor, where do they run for safety in case of a fire or active shooter situation? While I am not suggesting you add the nearest fire exit on the dinner menu, at least having a few key people know where and how to exit the building could mean the difference between life and death. 

3. Life Saving Equipment – Does someone at the venue or your wedding planner know CPR or at a minimum First Aid? While this is not necessarily the first question I would ask your potential venue, it is a good idea to at least bring up in conversation. This should NOT be a deal breaker on finding your wedding venue. However, consider if a member of your family or bridal party happens to be a first responder. An extra bonus for the venue, is having a defibrillator on site.

While these might seem like silly questions or morbid thoughts, last week during a wedding a Great Aunt did indeed have a heart attack. Paramedics arrived on the scene quickly and the guests remained calm, however, for a brief moment, there was that *heavy panic* in the air. Happy ending: she is fine and recovering well! 

This experience reminded me to check the renewal date of my CPR certification and the pledge to never let it expire. These milestones should be filled with fond memories and only happy tears. However, the worst has happened and having a solid plan is the difference between a minor setback and a major tragedy. Having a plan for the worst and only expecting the best is how I approach every event I work. Hundreds of events every day go off successfully. I would hate to see you be at the one that does not. 

If you have any other questions or suggestions on how to make your next event both successful and safe, feel free to send me an email at hello {at} AshleyNicoleEventsInc {dot} com. I would love to chat further about this important topic with you! 

A Groom’s Perspective: Planning Your Wedding

 Photo: Being Joy Photography
Photo: Being Joy Photography

Often, the bride is the focus of the wedding. Wether it is the planning or the wedding day, all of the questions seem to go to the bride. What is the date? What are the colors? How many guests? Where is the venue? How did he propose? The list goes on and on. For the groom, he often gets overlooked and told to “just show up.” What terrible advice is that?!? “Just show up” tells him that his opinions and thoughts don’t really matter. “Just show up” says that he has no say in his most special day. In my mind, this is a terrible miscarriage of justice. The groom in my world is just as important if not more important in some cases. Without him asking a very important question, the bride might not betting married. 

 Photo: Being Joy Photography Hair: Flora Hair and Makeup Team Flowers: Wyld Blooms
Photo: Being Joy Photography Hair: Flora Hair and Makeup Team Flowers: Wyld Blooms

Perhaps the most important Groom I have ever had to deal with was my groom, Adrian! Being married to a wedding planner is not always easy. I work most weekends and evenings are spent meeting with clients. Having listened to me for years, Adrian has learned that floorpans can make or break a wedding and can accurately describe the difference between poly and lamour linens. He never ceases to amaze me! He even offers to help write blog posts! I certainly got very lucky! Adrian has agreed to give his perspective on the wedding planning process. Below are his responses. 

 This is Adrian. He is pretty great. 
This is Adrian. He is pretty great. 

What is it like being a groom trying to plan a wedding and what advice would you give to other grooms?

Lucky for me, I married a wedding planner, but I was her own worst nightmare! I was a groom Zila, OK maybe not a total Groom Zila But a very picky Groom.  We had 12 months to get everything set and planned for the killer bash that we had wanted in our heads. Like I said, I married a wedding planner so the timeline of events and the coordination of people and companies came quite easy for us.  We both wanted something spectacular. Our wedding was a blank slate and we had to start to create our vision. 

I didn’t even know weddings had themes.  We both agreed on the same colors right away which was good! Boom done! From there we had the food that had to be decided on and I know for the brides that this is important, but this is just as important for the guys. Food is very important for guys so don’t blow it off, go do the food tasting! Also, if you are at all like me you’ll want a late night snack. Just an idea but we did a bacon bar and fresh donuts made on site. They were a huge hit. 

The bar was another important factor for our wedding. You have to make a statement and make your guests feel comfortable. We had a giant ice sculpture alcohol fountain, i’m guessing this was the statement piece. I was also very specific in not having beer bottles given to people but wanted the beer to be poured into glasses. It was about the look and the experience. 

My suggestion get involved, this is your wedding too. One of the biggest time sucks and most difficult parts were the invitations and day of printing. It took us an entire weekend to get all of the invitations stuffed in the envelopes and mailed out.  Don’t think this is a quick process, as this was probably the hardest thing about the whole wedding.

I was given one task to handle on my own. I was in charge of the transportation. Ashley did not care or want to be involved in that process, so she let me handle the entire thing. I had to organize the transportation for the entire wedding party from the hotel to the church and then on to the venue. It’s not as simple as just renting a bus, you have to plan that timeline pretty much to the minute because everything relies on this bus and getting you to the church and to the venue at specific times. We also stopped at a few locations for photos in between. It is quite the logistical chess match. On the topic of transportation, food deliveries is just as important. You are going to be busy all day so you’ll want to get some sort of food delivered to the bus. Depending on your timeline, stopping for lunch might not be an option, so you can plan on having sandwiches for the bus because you and your bridal party will be starving. 

Here is my advice for the actual wedding day: While on the topic of food, consider having some bagels with juice and coffee delivered in the morning while you are getting ready. This is a very long day and you will not have time to stop anywhere. Having things come to you is always a better idea. It makes the day go much smoother. 

Best piece of advice that I can give you is while your guests are eating their salad you and your bride eat the main course. That way when everybody is eating you can go table to table and say hi and thank them for coming. It is very important to not skip a meal on the wedding day. Before I got married, people would say you won’t remember much about the day. I did not think this was possible. It is the best day of your life. How can you not remember it? I thought they were lying, but no, it is so true! The day passes by in a flash and this is why a really good photographer and videographer are such an important investment. You will be shocked at how much you forget. You begin to slowly piece the day back together when your photos and video come back. Getting your footage can take a few months! Time seems to erase memories sooner than you think. I cannot harp enough and how important both of those things are.


Adrian will be making other guest blog posts in the months to come. He has more experience than most guys in the wedding planning world, mainly because he has to listen to me talk about weddings all.day.long! I want to make sure that guys know that they are not alone and that their opinions matter too! So often, I see them get pushed to the back and told to smile and make sure they show up on time. The guy is just as important as the girl. I want to make sure their voice and opinion (as crazy as it might be) gets heard. 

 Photo: Mary Rose Photography Venue: The Haight
Photo: Mary Rose Photography Venue: The Haight

Top 5 Wedding Speech Mistakes

We have all been to a wedding where the best man had one to many cocktails prior to giving his speech. While it is really awkward for the guests, it is even more uncomfortable for the bride and groom. Relinquishing the mic at a wedding is a big deal! You have no control over what anyone will say, do or even…sing when they have a mic in their hand. Having helped over 250 brides and grooms, I have witnessed just about every kind of speech imaginable.  Here are my top 5 things to NEVER do while giving a toast.

1. Don’t start with “For those of you who don’t know me, my name is…” No, there is a good chance that half of the room has no idea who you are, but by announcing that, it just makes an awkward and very overused opening line. Instead, simply begin by saying, “Good evening, my name is (Insert Name Here) and I am so happy to have been given the honor of saying a few words”. Then, say a few words. Keep it short!

2. Don’t tell inside jokes that only you and the Bride or Groom will find funny. These inside jokes are completely lost on all of the guests and looking back at it, it probably wasn’t even that funny of a joke. No one really cares about that one time you and the bride did something in your dorm room. Save those memories and stories for girls night. Instead, mention how incredibly brave or sweet the bride was during (insert situation) and how you know that she will treat her partner the same way in life.

3. Don’t talk about past relationships or lovers. It is really awkward and why would we talk about bad things at a happy event. The only reason I could POSSIBLE see to EVER mention an ex would be if the new bride or groom saved the life of the other party when they were still with the other person and that is how they met and fell in love. Even then,  it would still probably not be a good thing to mention. Don’t mention their name, simply express how happy you are the the happy couple found each other.

4. Don’t talk about how many people the bride or groom has slept with. No. Just no. I once had a mother of the bride get up and say how she is sure glad her daughter was hooking up with the groom instead of all of the other boys she hooked up with.

5. Don’t immediately start talking about wanting or making babies. We get it. Babies come from two people who engage in certain activities. We do not need graphic encouragement nor is it appropriate to discuss in front of a hundred people.

What can you talk about?

  1. How long you have known the bride or groom. How you are associated with them.

  2. Share a sweet story of the bride or groom as a child or of them as an adult.

  3. Wish the happy couple a lifetime of love and happiness, then pass the mic on to someone else!

Can I Get Married Today?

 Have you ever thought there might be days where you are not allowed to get married? Turns out there are!   Photo Credit: authentic adventure co
Have you ever thought there might be days where you are not allowed to get married? Turns out there are!  Photo Credit: authentic adventure co

Marriages happen every single day of the year, all over the world. Whether you are a follower of a specific religion or someone getting hitched at the courthouse. Yes, even on a Monday! In the last 100 years or so, weddings typically began happening on Saturday evenings as this allowed bridal party members to have the day before and the day after to prepare, party and recoup all in one weekend. Weddings have come quite a long way from cake and coffee in the church basement following the ceremony. 

According to the Knot’s 2016 annual real wedding survey, only 26% of people getting married, are getting married in a Church or Synagogue. The rest, are opting for less traditional venues such as beaches, barns, museums, tents, etc.  The majority of couples today are choosing to forge their own path, while those opting to get married in a house of worship might not be aware there are wedding conflict dates. 

Disclaimer – By no means are these the only conflict dates. If you are looking to get married in one of these venues, please reach out to your specific parish, synagogue or temple for a complete list. Dioceses and individual churches may have other rules or regulations. If you have additional dates, feel free to comment below! #themoreyouknow 

 dates provided by  catholicweddinghelp.com
dates provided by catholicweddinghelp.com
 dates provided by  g  reekweddingtraditions.com
dates provided by g reekweddingtraditions.com
 dates provided by c habad.org
dates provided by c habad.org
 dates provided by  qual.org.au
dates provided by qual.org.au
 dates provided by  fpmt.org
dates provided by fpmt.org

Despite this list or other religious conflict dates you might discover, always check with your spiritual leader or house of worship. Special dispensations or allowances might be made. If you are thinking of having your ceremony outside of a house of worship, really, any date would be available for a ceremony. Just be considerate of your guests. No one wants to attend a wedding on a major holiday. Dates to avoid in general would be Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day. New Years Eve can be a hit or miss. You will most likely be paying a premium for all of your vendors and it might not be financially worth the extra expense. 

Engagement Photo Session Tips and Tricks

     If you are recently engaged, congratulations! Wedding planning is a ton of fun. I love it, (clearly) and cherish every wedding I get to be apart of. One of the really fun parts about getting engaged is having what I call the Glam Squad. Typically, this is the one (major) time in your life when you get to have professionals working with you for basically everything. I like to think of a bride as a mini celebrity leading up to her wedding. Think about it: hairstylists, manicurists, makeup artists, personal trainers, dentists (gotta have those pearly whites) stylists and estheticians all working to transform you into the best version of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, you on a drizzly Tuesday is fantastic too, but when you are all dolled up…you carry yourself differently. Trust me, my hubby says he prefers me in a hoodie and sweatpants, but he certainly doesn’t complain when I come home with professional hair and makeup and a killer dress.  (Maybe he *would* complain if he knew the price tag, but I digress).  😉

     Why am I rambling on and on about being a mini celebrity? Two words, Engagement Photos. Engagement photos allow A. a bride to get a test run with her hair and makeup artist B. a test run with the photographer C. one on one quality time with your sweetie and D. great looking, professional images for your save the dates.

TEST RUN HAIR AND MAKEUP

    In my opinion, it is important to meet with your professional hair and makeup artist prior to your wedding. Most, if not all,  HUMA provide a trial as part of your wedding day package. Some might have this service built in to the over all price, some might charge a little more for the trial. While some brides get frustrated with having to pay additional for a trial, that makeup artist is using product on you that he/she can never get back. It is not like they can scrape off the foundation and re bottle it for the next bride. Even places like Sephora require a minimum purchase for makeovers. In most cases, you will do a trial with the same person who will actually be doing your hair and makeup on the wedding day. Sometimes, this is not the case. Ask about company policy when it comes to scheduling your HMUA. That person will get to know the texture of your hair, the quality of your skin and can make recommendations based on what they see. They can chat with you about your style, how much makeup you normally wear, etc. Because these are just the engagement photos, you could do a similar style of hair and makeup or even a  more natural look to get the feel/style of the artist. Leave the big transformation for the actual wedding day.

     When I got my hair and makeup trial, I went after work and when it was done, I went home, showered and went to bed. I knew this going in, but I desperately wanted to work with this particular Chicago based company. If they told me to show up at 5:00 AM on a Sunday to do my trial, I would have. When you find your dream team, you listen to them.  Typically, trying to schedule your engagement photos on a Saturday and expecting your HMUA free on a Saturday is a slim shot. However, if you are flexible on days/times for your engagement photos (read more about that below) then perhaps the scheduling gods will work in your favor! If not, then you could see if an associate HMUA could do your trial/engagement makeup  and perhaps relay information to the person doing your makeup on the wedding day. Early communication and scheduling is key and all HMUA companies  run differently. Make sure you ask these questions in advance and never assume.

TIME TO BOND WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

    If you are planning your engagement photography, it is most often because, you have hired a photographer and this session is included in your wedding package. “Engagement Sessions” can last anywhere from 1-2 hours and can include 1-3+ outfit changes with multiple locations. It sounds like a long time to be the center of attention, but trust me, that time flies by. If you have selected a boutique photographer (meaning they are the owner and main photographer) you were drawn to them as a person and for their photography style. Having this time to get to know each other and get all of the potentially awkwardness out of the way will make for a much smoother, less stressed and more enjoyable wedding day. Having a stranger “be all up in your business” literally touching you and positioning your face, arms and body and watching you get dressed can be quite intimidating. A good photographer will make you feel comfortable, probably make you laugh and work to put you and your fiance at ease. When the three of you spend time at an engagement session, you get to know more about each other and when they show up on the day of the wedding, it’s as if a friend is walking through the door, not a paid vendor. If you have opted to go with a “big box” photography company, meaning, you select from a portfolio of photographers and do not meet the person until either your engagement session or wedding day, ask if you will be guaranteed the same photographer for both days. If not, can you meet the photographer prior to the wedding to make sure you mesh well? Ask what happens if you do not like the person you have been assigned. Always ask, never assume.

QUALITY ONE ON ONE TIME WITH YOUR SWEETIE

    You and your fiance have spent countless hours making tough decisions. Which vendors to hire, where to have the wedding, what your colors should be, on and on and on. By taking this time to get all dolled up and simply have fun with each other will come as a much needed respite. Do things on this “planned and highly photographed date” that speaks to you as a couple. Do you love to spend the weekend casually sipping on a perfectly brewed cup of coffee? Go to your favorite local coffee shop. Do you love spending time in the park playing fetch with your fur baby? Go do that! Do you simply adore biting into the cheesiest slice of pizza? Go to your local pizza parlor and order an extra large pie…you’ve got another person along on your date! Do something seasonal! If your photos are around the holidays, go to a Christmas tree farm and get cozy with each other while “shopping” for trees. Have a snowball fight and warm up with some hot cocoa! Don’t take engagement photos in a campground if you have never, in your life, went camping. Your friends and family simply won’t get it.

 This is an example of doing something that speaks to you as a couple. My husband is an airline pilot, so we wanted to honor his profession in our engagement photos. We went to a private airport and were able to take photos with this Jet. Photo by: Authentic Adventure Co. 
This is an example of doing something that speaks to you as a couple. My husband is an airline pilot, so we wanted to honor his profession in our engagement photos. We went to a private airport and were able to take photos with this Jet. Photo by: Authentic Adventure Co. 

SAVE THE DATES

    Once you have completed your engagement session, your photographer will tell you when and how to expect the images. You might get an online gallery, you might go to their studio and have a slideshow of your day together and then you pick your favorite images in person. Once you select the images, you can begin ordering save the dates. Shout your love from the rooftop and announce your wedding information  with the photos from your engagement session!

THREE MORE PIECES OF ADVICE

     Think of hiring a stylist to help you select the best outfits for your engagement photos. You want to find outfits that flatter your body type and coordinate. I have seen some very mismatched outfits and it can throw off the entire photo. A stylist can also help with selecting your bridal gown and all of the important events during your engagement (bachelorette party, bridal shower, engagement party, groom’s fashion, etc) Get your ring professionally cleaned prior to your engagement session. This will be your most photographed piece of jewelry and it needs to be looking its best! You want that bling to sparkle! Be flexible! If it starts raining on the day of your shoot, be flexible and either work with the change of plans (embrace it) or reschedule. Don’t let a kink in the gears ruin what should be a special day. 

 Unfortunately, I see photos like this all too often. Let's start with the obvious, they should not be eating. Second, their clothes are too mismatched. She looks dressy (messy, but dressy) and he looks like he is wandering the beach. Also, his shirt and shoes are blinding and over powering the photo. I am not sure if this is a joke, or actual engagement photos, so I apologize, I have no idea who to give credit for the photo. 
Unfortunately, I see photos like this all too often. Let’s start with the obvious, they should not be eating. Second, their clothes are too mismatched. She looks dressy (messy, but dressy) and he looks like he is wandering the beach. Also, his shirt and shoes are blinding and over powering the photo. I am not sure if this is a joke, or actual engagement photos, so I apologize, I have no idea who to give credit for the photo. 

     Finally, smile and enjoy this fun experience with your fiance! It should be a stress-free, fun activity that you both will remember for a lifetime.

 Photo by: Authentic Adventure Co 
Photo by: Authentic Adventure Co