Before you start planning: ONE MUST-DO TRICK!!!

 
 

You’re engaged, yasss! You’ve told everyone, posted a ring selfie, and now it’s time to start researching venues and reaching out to vendors.

BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THAT:

MAKE A WEDDING GMAIL ACCOUNT.

It’s that simple. Create an email address for all things wedding. Use this account when you email venues, vendors, anything related to planning. Why?

Organization

No more spending time digging through your inbox for wedding correspondences, accidentally forgetting to reply, or sorting them into folders - everything is in one place.

Dual access

No need to also clog your partner’s inbox with CC’s of your conversation with a florist - they can just log into the account and see everything there and add the convo themselves if needed.

Separation

Sometimes you just need to RELAX for a weekend and not think about wedding planning… so this way, it’s not streaming into your phone or inbox 24/7. You choose when to log in - and more importantly, when to log out.

Tools

Gmail accounts also come with Google Sheets, Docs, and more - so you can put your vendor contact info into a spreadsheet and share it with everyone, send family your timeline, write notes and ideas into documents - it’s your one stop digital wedding planner folder.

 
Boston-Public-Garden-Wedding-Vintage-Lena-Mirisola-7.JPG
 

After the wedding, don’t forget to set up a forward to your normal email account so your vendors can keep in touch after the wedding if they need to, or give your photographer or planner your personal email so they can get in touch with you about features / getting published, have updated addresses to send gifts, all that good stuff.

Want more help planning your wedding?

Check out Lena's best tips and tricks

on the blog here!

The wedding investment you'll never regret

 
Castle-Hill-Inn-Newport-Wedding-Lena-Mirisola-34.jpg
 

Here’s something you can’t hide on your wedding day… your SMILE. Every angle, that thing is gonna be on full display - there’s just way too much joy to stifle that! But a huge thing I see clash with a gorgeous white dress or snappy tux are yellow or discolored teeth. When you’ve got em, you feel self-conscious, which is not something you ever deserve to be feeling on your best day ever. Even if your front teeth are a lovely shade of white, make sure to check the sides in the mirror… I’ve photographed a lot of “ombre” mouths, haha! Just like getting your nails done, a facial, or a haircut, whitening your teeth is a must-do before your wedding. My boss lady friend and super skilled orthodontist Dr. Ella Osborn is here dropping her knowledge to help couples like YOU!

 
 

You’ll want to smile freely, laugh fully and carry the memories of this joyful day eternally. And you KNOW that the secret sauce to a legendary celebration is in the planning. If you ever have a moment’s hesitation about grinning your biggest grin or flashing a big open mouth smile for a selfie, then a strategy for your pearly whites should be high on your list. It’s no surprise that your best bet is to think about this way in advance.

Depending on your goals, it may be wise to start contemplating this bit as soon as you get engaged, if not before! To ensure that nothing gets in the way of your beaming, gleaming grin, start by checking in with a professional. As with anything very important (you only have one set of teeth!) it is ill-advised to take risks – your best bet is to leave it to the pros. If your teeth are beautifully straight and your smile brilliantly broad, you may only need a bit of whitening to brighten your smile. 

Don’t worry. We’ve got loads of options for you. But first, no amount of external whitening (applying stuff to the surfaces of your teeth) will be effective if the discoloration is from the inside-out. This can be the result of trauma or tetracycline, among other reasons. That is why it’s important to have a discussion with your dentist about what's making your teeth look dull. Most common reasons for not-so-bright teeth are extrinsic (the result of coffee, tea, wine, turmeric and everyday life) The degree of discoloration and the condition of your teeth will affect how well any whitening regimen works.

 
 

Brighten your smile

A gently whitening toothpaste is a great place to start as are small changes like cutting down on teeth-staining drinks like coffee and tea (or drinking them through a straw). But that alone will not deliver the result you’re looking for. For a little more impact and a conservative investment, look to at-home teeth whitening kit. These are little strips with over-the-counter grade whitening material that are placed directly on the teeth twice a day for 30 minutes.  Beware that these don’t go all the way to your back teeth (molars and premolars). If you have a wide smile that shows your back teeth, you’ll have the tooth equivalent of a “tan line” with the back teeth slightly darker than your 6 front teeth.

 
 

Leave it to the pros

If that’s not cutting it, or you’re in a rush or plain don’t want to spend an hour a day fighting drool, there are professional whitening options that will deliver faster and more substantial results. Varying strength of in-office and at-home whitening treatments are available through dental professionals. These are stronger than what you’ll find in the toothpaste isle and may not be suitable for everyone. Your trusted dentist or specialist will work with you to come up with a tailored whitening plan that meets your goals, timeline and budget.  

There’s always the temptation to DIY and “hack-it” or look for the most economical option or fad. Right now, that fad is whitening with activated charcoal. A quick search and you’ll read that it will absorb staining from your teeth, along with being therapeutic, all natural, eco-friendly, organic, pure and every other consumer-appealing claim out there. In reality, these claims are unsubstantiated without any science or clinical studies to confirm that these products do what they say they do. We know that activated charcoal is very abrasive and can damage your enamel, much like scrubbing your hands with steel wool to get them clean. Ouch. 

The last thing you want to fret about is a dull smile during your wedding festivities. See a professional, come up with a plan and leave yourself a buffer to avoid a stressful mad rush at the eleventh hour. It’s your moment to shine! Enjoy every single second!

 
 

Dr. Ella Osborn is a board-certified specialist in orthodontics, Invisalign and accelerated tooth alignment. Dr. Osborn’s extensive training and experience combined with a passion for harmonizing the smile with a balanced facial aesthetic yields an unmatched result. She is ecstatic to bring the life-changing power of a new smile through holistic mile rejuvenation to all who live, work and play in Seaport. 

NOW GO GET THOSE TEETH LOOKIN’ PEARLY WHITE!!!

Need help wedding planning?

Check out the BRAND NEW wedding planning series

on the blog here!

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

Need help wedding planning?

Check out the BRAND NEW wedding planning series

on the blog here!

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 list of everyone joining us for “formal” 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.

 
Boston-Wedding-Photographer-6.JPG
 

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 (or after the first look!)

 
 

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