Don't forget these when contacting vendors!

Don't forget these when contacting vendors!

Don't forget to include these things when emailing potential vendors.... ESPECIALLY #1! You won't believe how many people forget that one huge piece of information!

The Pros and Cons of a First Look

If you’re thinking about doing a first look, you’re not alone!

Let’s go through the pros and cons of having a first look.

If you’re wondering...

A first look is a private reveal between the couple before the ceremony. One person will stand and wait with their back turned and the other will walk up to them and when they turn around, bam! Happy tears and lots of hugs.

PROS:

It allows more time for couple portraits

If these are top priority for you, having a first look will not only give you more photos, but they’re be so intimate and filled with emotion.

It’s private

Instead of having a big reveal in front of your 120 guests, you can have some rare one-on-one time with your spouse-to-be. Often it will calm your nerves and get you so excited for what’s to come. And don’t worry - you will still cry walking down the aisle afterwards.

You can attend cocktail hour

You can plan for a full hour first look, and also complete bridal party and family portraits during that time so that you can greet all your guests during cocktail hour.

It makes the day less stressful

Couple portraits are the last activity of the portrait hour, and so often we only have 10-15 minutes before the reception starts to complete them. With a first look, you know you won’t be rushed and can be stress-free for the rest of the day knowing you got amazing portraits earlier in the day.

CONS:

You MISS cocktail hour

Although this is traditional, it’s important to some couples to socialize with their guests at cocktail hour instead of during dinner.

Later portraits = better light

Portraits earlier in the day will always be beautiful, but the closer they take place to golden hour, the better. Even if you have a first look, I may pull you for 15 minutes during golden hour for some romantic evening portraits!

It may require more coverage time

If you have a tight timeline, ex different getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations to travel between, adding more time for a first look may cause you to run a little over budget. If a couple doing a 20 minute first look by themselves, this usually isn’t an issue, but if they’re adding an extra hour of portraits, coverage may need to be extended.

There are pros and cons to every decision on your wedding day, but even a 20 minute first look can add SO many more beautiful photos to your album and relieve a lot of stress from the day. Still unsure? Let’s talk about what’s right for you!

XOXO, Lena

2 Simple Ways to Show Gratitude Your Vendors

If you're feeling the love for your vendors before or after your wedding, there are a few simple things you can do to make them feel appreciated and loved!

Thank you's

First and foremost, the most heartfelt thing I can get is a THANK YOU no matter the shape or form. Sometimes it’s a thank you card after the wedding, and I melt. Others it’s a few thank you’s throughout the day - and it makes me feel so loved! Lastly, when I deliver the photos, my heart is bursting when I get an email reply gushing over the photos and thanking me. When my clients are happy = I’m happy.

A thank you or two will go a long way with all of your vendors!

Reviews

Second is a review or testimonial. When I get an email notification from The Knot or WeddingWire, it’s like a surprise Christmas present from Santa. The best thing you can do for a vendor you truly had an amazing experience with is recommending them to others. One way to do this is word of mouth (95% of my clients are from word of mouth referrals), and the other is through online reviews so that they can get connected with more amazing clients like you.

Fun bonus fact:

A few weddings a year, I arrive at the reception to find a PLACECARD with my NAME on it! It feels like I have won the lottery. It’s a silly little thing, and it only works for vendors who are sitting and eating during the reception, but I’ve never felt so welcomed and special (basically like the Queen of England) than when I got a place card from my thoughtful couples with my name on it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy as a clam regardless - it’s just like if you entered a hotel room and there was a pinata full of candy waiting for you. Completely unexpected but SO AWESOME!

XOXO, Lena

 
 

The Secret to Better Getting Ready Photos

 
 

Keep it clean!

That’s right - you are probably getting ready in a gorgeous venue, hotel, or your childhood home. Let’s show that off! You want to look back on the heartfelt location, not the iPhones and Poland Springs bottles in the background of the photos.

Water bottles, trash, bags, purses - if it is seen, make it unseen!

Hide bags, duffels, etc in the bathroom or a separate room.

Put water bottles on the floor or in a designated corner.

Champagne glasses, bottles, and gifts are OK!

Now you’ll have clean, fancy getting ready photos surrounded by your closest friends and family - what more could you ask for?

 
 

Why You NEED a Wedding Hashtag

 
 

It’s no secret - I LOVE wedding hashtags. And while some may think they’re trendy, they’re actually the OPPOSITE. They’re the most functional tools EVER!!! 

With a hashtag, the couple and their guests can find all the wedding photos
on Instagram and Facebook in one click.

BONUS - you and your guests can see all the official photos from your photographer when sneak peeks go live! That way, guests can find your full wedding blog and photos that much quicker and easier without bothering you for links.

If you’re struggling to create a hashtag, don’t worry. SIMPLE IS BEST. Witty hashtags are always cute, but if it’s long, hard to remember, difficult to spell or you’re just plain trying too hard, keep it simple. #kateandbarrygetmarried is a great witty one, but works JUST as functionally as #doucettewedding17. Just make sure to search the hashtag on Instagram to make sure no one else has used it before!

Happy hashtagging!!
XOXO Lena

 
 

5 Things Look For When Hiring a Wedding Photographer

5 Things Look For When Hiring a Wedding Photographer

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words... but do you really know what to look for in a wedding photographer? Don't underestimate the importance of #4!

Why You Should Always Kiss Twice

 
 

The ceremony is the big kahuna. It’s what most of my couples put as their “most anticipated moment” of the wedding day, the “I do’s.”

So, to make he most of that moment, I ask all my couples to KISS TWICE for their first kiss! That way, I can get multiple creative angles, a wide shot, a close up shot, and your family reacting and rejoicing.

And hey, who doesn’t like kissing?!

 
 

3 Tips to Quick & Enjoyable Family Portraits

 
 

Ah, the portrait hour, when you and I get to wrangle your family and friends for those cherished formal photos. Everyone is hungry, thirsty, and eager to party - so to make portraits quick and enjoyable, here are three things you should do!

1) Have a master list

6 weeks before the big day, I ask for a family tree or family list of everyone in the photos. On the wedding day, I print two copies and can run down the list in lightning speed so your family can attend as much as cocktail hour as possible. Even more importantly, you don't have to think of groupings on the spot, and you don't miss important shots.

 
 

2) Keep everyone in the loop

The biggest slowdown during portraits is when family members aren’t there and need to be found by other family members. Remember to tell anyone on the list that they are to report to X location immediately following the ceremony! 

 
 

3) Put drinks & sunglasses away

Portraits are a great time to finally grab a drink and hang out outside, but having to take off shades and hide beer bottles every time someone is called for a photo can really eat up time. Save drinks for after the portraits!

If you follow these 3 simple tips, family portraits take about 15 minutes for family and 15 for bridal party - SO painless! Bring on the party!

 
 

How to Find Your Perfect Coverage

 
 

The first question before booking is always “How many hours do we need?!”

The answer is simple my friends - most weddings range from 6-8 hours.

I’ve found that the sweet spot of coverage is 1 hour before the dress goes on to 1 hour into open dancing. I arrive during the tail end of hair and makeup, photograph all your beautiful details, then getting dressed. At night, people start to get sweaty and tipsy not he dance floor, so an hour is plenty of dance floor coverage.

If you’re in-between coverage hours, I recommend trying for at least 30-60 min before getting dressed before the wedding and cutting a half hour off of dancing. 

Let’s craft a timeline together and find your perfect window of coverage!

 
 

3 Reasons to have an Unplugged Ceremony

 
075-KongWedding-347.jpg
 

Thinking about having an unplugged ceremony? Make sure to consider these three reasons why you should opt for an unplugged ceremony before you say "I do!"

1) Your guests can be present in the moment

I bet you hear of lots of photographers complaining about people getting in their shots. Yup, that happens more than we’d like it to. However, I personally think the saddest thing about a wedding day is watching the couples’ closest friends, family, moms, dads, and siblings watch the event through their phone screens.

With an unplugged ceremony, the most intimate and anticipated part of the day can be enjoyed by everyone in the moment. Your mother can look you in the eyes when she tears up, and you can wink at your best friend and actually see her unobstructed face.

 
 

2) Your photographer can get the best photos

This is almost as important as your guests being free to be present. Everyone wants the perfect shot… and in doing so, many people lean into the aisle at all parts of the ceremony - especially when the bride is making her way down the aisle. I have had a LOT of close calls when guests jump out of their seats and block the precious moments the professional was hired to capture. During the ceremony, I like to photograph the guests reactions - which is impossible when their face is covered by a Samsung Galaxy. If you don’t want to jeopardize your professional photographs, have an unplugged ceremony.

 
1-KateRyan-397.jpg
 

3) No distractions

Have you ever been at a wedding where someone’s embarrassing ringtone goes off during the vows? I have. Get rid of all accidents and distractions by banning phones altogether.

 
 

WORTH NOTING:

If you’re having an unplugged ceremony, put out a sign AND have the officiant make an announcement. Some guests may miss the sign or blissfully ignore it, so a verbal announcement works like a charm. After all, it's only for the 20 minute ceremony - they can go camera crazy for the rest of the night!

XOXO, Lena