St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | Blog
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Congratulations, Tara and Kenny!

tara-and-kenny.jpgWe had such a ball with Tara and Kenny, and their families yesterday at the King and Prince.  Their sunset ceremony was beautiful– with Tara’s dad, who officiated the service saying, “Kenny, I remember our first golf outing.  One thing I remember is that you didn’t cheat.  A person who will cheat at golf will cheat at anything.  I knew then that I could trust you.  Not only as  a man but as a husband for my daughter“. 

Mr. Morford and I made a deal that being my fragile hormonal state, that he would do his best not to make me cry– but that came awfully close!  Tara and Kenny’s gathering of intimate friends and family had such a good time dancing and singing.  Within the few months of working with them and their vendors, we really looked forward to their wedding.  We were so very happy and privileged to be a part of the Tara and Kenny’s day!  Thank you guys for sharing it with us!

Why I Really Think You Don’t Need A Wedding Planner…

It’s a set up, right?

No, not at all.  I shoot straight from the hip.  I seriously think that there are those type of brides out there who really don’t need or shouldn’t hire a wedding planner. Just to elaborate, I will give some examples.

You Don’t Need to Hire A Wedding Planner IF:

  • Your wedding planning book, software, website, message board will handle any  tumultuous disasters on the day of your wedding (i.e., vendors showing up late or not at all, dress mixups, time constraints, etc.)
  • You actually have the time to interview 4 photographers, 3 wedding sites, 2 reception venues, 3 florists and 2 cake designers…and evaluate/negotiate their contracts for any loopholes.  Your boss said that project was due when?
  • You just know someone is going to mess up in some way, some how, some where.  Therefore, it is only completely natural and conceivable why you should control everything.  And you fully intend to during the wedding too– directing, producing and starring in the show.
  • You can’t imagine spending the morning and afternoon of your wedding doing anything else other than setting up place cards in alphabetical order, dressing tables and chairs, sweeping floors, arranging favors, etc.  Yep. Oodles of fun when you’re a bundle of nerves.
  • Your mother, sister, aunt, best friend, etc. have no problem with negotiating and coordinating your vendors, assembling invitations and favors, and handling every little single minute detail of your wedding day.  They know who to call for backup, what to do if blood gets on your dress (it happens!), how to evaluate your contracts, design a proper timeline and itinerary and budget. I mean really, did they honestly think they would be invited and not work?

Read This BEFORE You Book Your Photographer

Mark Eric Louisiana Wedding Photographer

One thing I tell my brides to splurge on is photography. Rightfully so: this is the actual tangible piece of the past that tells how the love story unfolded.  Photography is your window to the past, don’t skimp on it.

Being the highly opinionated, yet always fashionable wedding planner that I am (shameless, gratuitous plug LOL), I have my own notions on what you should do.  At any rate, I talked to a few photographers to get a different perspective. I really wanted to talk to someone who does this visual storytelling for a living. Here is what they said…


One thing we agree on is that you should interview at least 2-4 different photographers.  Don’t go by price alone.  You really need to mesh with your photographer. If you “kinda don’t like” him/her in the planning process, trust me when I say, you will hate them on the wedding day.  You want to feel completely comfortable in front of the camera with this person.  They should be able to pick up bits and pieces of your personality from previous consults and bring out those nuances during the wedding day.

wedding ring photo by Mark Eric

Another thing we agree on is that you must find a photog whose strengths are in the type of wedding photography style you want. My new found, ultra fabulous photographer friend, Mark Eric says, “Brides should look for a photographer that shoots their style. It’s much easier to hire the right photographer for your style than it is to try to convert a photographer from his/her natural style into something that suits you.”  He says that a photographer who shoots mainly traditional portrait style photos is not the right match for the bride who wants to capture the energy and emotion of her wedding day.  Likewise, a bride who wants “flawless” standard photos won’t be too pleased with a photojournalist.

So what’s a girl/groom to do?

Really think hard about what you want for your wedding.  Do you want all manipulated, posed shots or do you want to remember the day exactly how it happened?  There is no right or wrong answer; we all have our preferences, and remember: it’s your wedding.

But to make it easier on you, here are some other tips from Mark Eric:

  • Look for a photographer that can easily be reached.  There are many part-timers in the industry who will focus on the bride if and when they have time.  Communication is very important.
  • Look for a photographer that has back up equipment.
  • Look for a photographer that is respected in his/her community.  It’s usually fairly easy to find someone that has used the photographer.  Try to get 1st hand knowledge from a former client (and not one that the photographers uses in the testimonials on the website- of course those are going to be biased).
  • Look for a photographer that can offer a 2nd shooter, depending on how much coverage you want.  Do you want coverage for the groom’s preparation as well as the bride’s?  Many great moments don’t get photographed during the formals because the photographer is occupied with the portraits-  meanwhile in the background, families are sharing hugs, tears, and laughter.
  • In their work, look for variety.   Are they all of the same faces?  If so, it’s possible the photographer hired a model to create his portfolio-  and it’s usually pretty easy to make a model look good.  How do they do with normal people?
  • Look for quality as well, both in exposure and print.  Is the exposure good (nice skin tones, great colors that pop)?   Is the print on quality paper or is it a drugstore print?  Is their work displayed in a nice professional album, or do they have 4×6’s slipped into a Wal-Mart photo album?

All in all, Mark Eric stands by the 3 P’s: Personality, Professionalism, Portfolio.

Mark Eric is a fabulous photographer based in Louisiana.  He is also the genius behind the Trash The Dress website.  His fabulous eye for emotion and passion during the wedding day has not only made him an asset to me but also to every bride who has the opportunity to book him. Mark Eric’s tagline is “Inspire m.e.” (his initials, if you didn’t catch that).  Thanks, Mark Eric!  You inspire us too!  See more of Mark Eric’s work.

Oh Sugar….Honey, Honeymoon

Planning your honeymoon can be almost as hectic and trying as planning your wedding.  Wait, you didn’t know that?  Ok, well forget I said that.  Instead, let’s focus on your honeymoon being a relaxing reprieve to the planning madness you have both endured.

 But again, enter the tough choices:  Where to go? What to see?  CNN Money just released their Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations.  There are are so many things to consider when planning your honeymoon– are you naturists, resort bunnies or high styled sightseers?  That will help you determine on where you want to go and stay.  Do you want to rough it on your own in the streets of Brasil or stay at an all inclusive in Jamaica?  I know, I know. Again with the tough questions. 

What’s the price tag?  It doesn’t have to be as hefty as you think, and you don’t have to resign yourself to the champagne glass tubs at the Poconos. We give away free honeymoon registries to bridal couples– clients or not!  Ditch the pots and pans, honey.  Instead register for something that you really want and will use– like a night’s stay at your resort or an exciting excursion or even a spa upgrade.  No more macrame plant holders from Aunt Doris.  They are easy to set up and one of our customer service specialists will be on board to help you get it started.  Just plug in your honeymoon information, send out your cards or put the link on your wedding website and watch your gifts come rolling in!  Get your free honeymoon registry today!

What NOT To Do For Your Wedding: Invitations

Invitations set the stage for your event.  They give the basic info, but you choice in invite could be the difference between “Oh my gosh, honey, come here! Look at this!” to “Ugh, great. Another wedding”.

 Pick the invite that is expressive of who you are as a couple as well as what you want your event to be. Get your guests excited about your wedding, literally on the edge of their seats for what will come next! 

What NOT to Do:

  • Improperly word or address your invitations.  Instead, get help from books or sites like MyGatsby or Beau-Coup.  Avoid faux pas by going directly to a reputable source like a wedding planner or invitation specialist/dealer.
  • Choose more invitation than you have “stamp money”.  When factoring your invitation budget, remember to count: extras, envelopes, and STAMPS!  Remember the weight of our evelope will determine its postage, and Uncle Sam is merciless when it comes to improper postage.  Also remember the stamp(s) for your response envelope.
  • Ask for money. Period. Don’t journey to the land of tacky and uncouth.  Asking your guests to return their RSVP with their part of the meal is horrible.  This probably has never crossed your mind. I have email to prove it has crossed someone’s!

What TO Do:

  • Lay down the law early.  If you do not want children at your reception, tactfully word it on your response or reception card, not on your invitation! We will discuss the little people in another WNTDFYW.  If you have an invitee that will take total advantage of the “and guest” allowance, send their response card pre-filled.
  • Choose an invite that is reflective of who you are as a couple and what you want your event to mean.  It should set the tone for your event and complement your theme.
  • Order in advance and order plenty of extras!  Start addressing and assembling your invites as early as possible. Time flies when you’re planning your wedding!

How Much Is That Wedding in the Window?

125×125banner.gifWedding websites are the perfect way to spread the news about your wedding.  Having a destination wedding?  Get a website.  Have an extensive activity filled weekend?  Get a website.  In love with the idea of your wedding period?  Get a website.  It really helps guests pinpoint the important informatin such as the Who, What, When, Why and How Much! 

We are now teaming up with Wedding Window– they have some of the best wedding websites out there; just ask Star Jones.  She used Wedding Window to create the wedding website for her diva styled wedding.  We’re now offering a free 7 day trial with Wedding Window. 

Try it out– see if you like it.  It is easy to set up, has a great interface and your guests will love the opportunity to have all of your wedding information in one place.  You can change your design as often as you like, add as much info as you want (polls, quizzes, accommodation info, seating charts, RSVP info, weekend activities and more). 

Let the O Help You Announce In Style!

We are proud to announce that Once Upon Your Wedding will now carry Carlson Craft’s lines of invitations.  We’ve got it all:  Something Different, Exclusive Collection, Seventeen Fifty, Save the Date!, Occasions, Pockets, and The Bridal Collection.??  In addition to these lines, we also carry menu cards, seal n’ sends, thank you cards, and more. 

 You can receive 20% off your order through our new online invitation site and current clients receive an additional 10% off.  With the new Le Papier service,  The O wedding designers can work with you to have your invitations calligraphed, assembled and mailed, even if you aren’t a client!  Your wedding team will also handle your RSVPs and guest tracking.  To find out more about this service and to receive a special rate or to get suggestions and assistance, contact Customer Service.

Please FEED the Wedding Vendors!

Think not of my current pregnant status when I write this, but you really should provide a meal for your vendors.  Yes, even the wedding planner!

 Your vendors– especially your photographer and your wedding planner could easily put in a 14 hour day on your event, with minimal breaks.  Obviously the only time that we do get a break is when everyone is eating (Who wants picture of Aunt Earline enjoying the tilapia?  What is there to coordinate when everyone is eating?)  Unless you want your event staff to leave your venue to break for dinner, make sure that you make accommodations for them in your final guest count.

Your venue will more likely than not, be able to help you with this. For example, you can get your event staff meals at a deeply discounted rate or your venue may supply vendor meals.  Typically the vendor meals consist of a sandwich, bag of chips and an apple.  Your vendors, if offered a plated meal, are typically given the opportunity to dine in a separate area away from your guests.

Either way, be sure to discuss this ahead of time with your vendor. Some vendors request a meal in their contracts, others do not. However, nothing worse is than working a full day and finding out that you have to go another 4 hours without a meal!  So be kind to your wedding vendor friends– if they can eat and regain their energy, it  really shows in their work and performance.

Playing Dress Up with Your Cake

We have talked about diva-fying your flowers.  Yes, darling, you’re welcome.  Let’s not stop there, shall we!?  What about the cake?  While you are typically the focal point of the ceremony (and rightfully so!), the cake is the focal point (at times) of the reception.  This is definitely true when there is a cocktail hour and your guests are roaming around your venue. 

Now, let’s divafy that cake!  The obvious:  The cake topper.  Some people have forgone the traditional “Man and Wife” cake topper (you know, the kind that looks like melted crayons?)  and opted for more visual representations of their love and personalities:  monograms, logos, themed objects, etc.   That’s My Topper has some of the best cake toppers I have seen in a long time. 

cascadingvinescakejewelry.jpgLet’s say you opt out of the cake topper, but still want some drama for your cake. No problem!  How about cake jewelry?   Coming in all types of alluring and romantic designs, cake jewelry is a fantastic way to play up an simple cake or enhance the confectionary production of your wedding reception.