10 Tips For Fantastic Wedding Photos

Wedding Photography by Victoria Danielle Photography
Brides planning their wedding fawn over beautiful photos of couples in exotic places, sharing meaningful glances and lingering kisses. You may think that this style of photo is unattainable for your real life wedding - but golden light and lovely scenery, as in the image shown here (taken by Victoria Danielle Photography via Groom Sold Separately) aren't only for fairy tales.  Here are some tips to ensure your wedding photos live up to your romantic fantasy.

1. Have your photographer scope out the venue a few days before the wedding. Plan the locations where you want to have photos taken. Take note of architecture and scenery as well as color and light.

2. Make a list of shots you want, including people and decor.

3. During the reception, have your photographer focus on you while their assistant gets candids of the guests and shots of the decorations.

4. Devote at least an hour to your portrait session the day of.  This hour does not include photos of the bridal party or family members, so you will need to factor in time for those photos as well. Make it work by scheduling the photos either before the ceremony or during the cocktail hour. Remember that the best time to take photos is in the early evening, just before sunset. This is the time when photographers can capture that romantic golden light.

5. Schedule a post wedding photo shoot. It could be the day after or a month after. The point is to get all dressed up and have a couples session in your favorite location. This gives the photographer more time for creativity. Also, without the wedding day nerves and guests to entertain, you can get more natural photos.

6. Browse wedding photography blogs. Find poses and angles that you find interesting or beautiful and show them to your photographer. Creativity is important, but there is nothing wrong with gathering a little inspiration.

7.  Be willing to work with your photographer. You will have your list of shots and your ideas, but it is always a good idea to be open to new things.

8. Relax. Some people find that taking a shot, stretching or meditating for a few minutes, or doing a few silly improv warm ups can help ease their nerves. You will have more fun and it will show in your photos.
9. Be on time. To get the type of photos you want, you will need to stay ahead of schedule.

10. Take note of trends in photography, but also have your photographer take some traditional photos. Color and drama are big these days, but in 20 years you might wish you had something a little more understated to display.

- Jenna

Fun and Creative Football Party Ideas

22 Oz. Personalized Stadium Cups I love to host football parties for my friends and family during football season. This is great way to bring a large group of people together for a fun afternoon of good food, fun and drinks. I have come up with some fun and creative ideas that are sure to be a hit at your next football party.

Football field table clothMake your own football pendants out of construction paper, scissors and markers and hang them around the room. If you’re not too much of an artist you can also purchase some stencils at a local craft store. Purchase team colored disposable table clothes for the food tables and add personalized napkins and cups with your favorite teams name on them. Encourage your guests to where football themed jerseys and t-shirts. If your party is going to be a rivalry party like Ohio State vs. Michigan, create signs for separate drink coolers that read, 'Ohio State Fans Only' or 'Michigan Beer, Hands off if you bleed scarlet and grey'. One of the best ideas I have found is a table cloth made of turf. Go to your local Home Depot and purchase a piece of the green outdoor carpet, use white athletic tape to create the lines on the fields and you can jazz it up with confetti or anything you like. Your guests are going to love making a plate from this buffet table.

Football deviled eggsSpeaking of buffet tables, let's talk food. The menu for your football party should be fun and creative as well. It is best to serve the food buffet style so that your guest can eat whenever they like. Most guests will snack around during the entire game. You will want to provide foods that can easily be snacked on, like chips and dip, cheese and crackers, tortillas and salsa. I would not recommend cooking out unless you have a TV outside, you wouldn't want whoever is tending the grill to miss most of the game. Hot dogs, chicken wings, shredded chicken or even sloppy joes can be fun football party foods. Don't forget, it's easy to add a football touch to any kind of food just by making it look like a football. Try adding pieces of chives to your deviled eggs. Another fun idea would be sticking toothpicks with small pendants on them featuring the name of your favorite team into your dips and other foods.

The football party ideas above should definitely add some jazz and fun to your next football party. Remember, be creative and fun and give your guest a football party they will be talking about for weeks.
Good Luck,

Dressing Your Wedding Table is...A Piece of Cake

Planning your wedding cake table decor is the time during your wedding planning to let loose, have some fun, and get creative.  Your cake table is an area of your reception where all of your guests are going to linger at one point or another.  Each person will have their chance to ooh and ahh over your delicious cake, beautiful trimmings, and inspiring ideas.  To create a show stopping cake display that turns heads, here are a few custom decor ideas we know you'll love...

Burlap Pennant Banner from Funkyshique

Pennant banners (whether homemade or store bought) will add whimsy and creative flair to any cake display.  Hang your banner behind your cake table or string it up around the front of your table.

When making your own pennant banner, consider stamping adorable phrases like 'Love is Sweet', 'Let's Eat Cake', 'Eat, Drink, & Be Married', or simply your names onto each pennant using fabric paint and stamps.  This heart stamped burlap banner from funkyshique (shown left) is an adorable way to add whimsy and sparkle to your cake table.

Guitar Fondant Cupcake Toppers from Two Sugar Babies
One-of-a-kind cake toppers are perhaps the #1 way to create a conversation piece at your wedding reception.  Think custom cake toppers and cake toppers that are very specific to you and your FH's interests.  These unique accessories are the elements that will keep guests talking during your reception.

Edible cake toppers are very popular right not and can be formed into nearly any shape you can imagine.  These guitar shaped cupcake toppers from Two Sugar Babies (shown right) are made of pure fondant and are perfect for the couple who shares a love for music.

Personalized Eat, Drink, & Be Married Cocktail Napkins
For another way to add a unique spin on your cake, consider substituting a few bottom cake tiers with a cupcake tower instead.  For more of a country feel, place homemade pies on individual pedestals of varying heights in lieu of a larger wedding cake.  Your guests will love having so many options for dessert!

Add the finishing touches to your cake table by including custom touches that truly takes your decor from good to exceptional.  Add a decorative table cloth and potted herbs and flowers for a touch of femininity.  Personalized cocktail napkins (shown left) are made specifically for cake and hors d'oeuvres and can be custom printed with unique designs to fit your wedding theme as well as your names and wedding date.  Choose a napkin color that is complimentary to your wedding scheme/table cloth to add a pop of contrast to your overall look.

Happy Planning!

Top Tips and Advice for Outfitting Your Wedding Party, Your Questions Answered!

Groom's tuxedo
So, you think picking out your dress will be the hardest part of the wedding? Think again! As the bride you are responsible for choosing not only your own attire but also the ensembles for the rest of the bridal party. The bridesmaids, groomsmen and of course your groom, will need your opinion and guidance in choosing their wedding day get-ups! Now the groom and groomsmen shouldn't be much of a problem,  they will wear whatever you tell them to (but don't forget to ask their opinion)! When it comes to bridesmaid dresses, all of your girls will no doubt have an opinion. This is where it can get tricky, there has to be a balance between taking into account your bridesmaid's choices but still sticking to what you envisioned for your wedding day. Here are some helpful tips and advice to tackle the task of outfitting your bridal party. Your top questions are answered here!

How soon should you pick out bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire?

Depending on how long your engagement is, consider starting to shop for your bridesmaids dresses around 8 or so months before the wedding (it is never too soon to start looking). Select and order the dresses about 6 months in advance. This will allow time for all the dresses to come in and for your girls to have a fitting before the big day!

The groomsmen should order their tuxes at least 3-5 months before the wedding. Because of the precise fit of a tuxedo or suit, the groomsmen should stop in the tux shop to get professionally measured. If they live too far from the shop they can always send their measurements in. The groom should stop in for a final fitting of his tux a week or so before the wedding.

Bride and bridesmaids

How much freedom should the bridesmaids have when picking out dresses?

It is important to many brides that their bridesmaids feel comfortable and beautiful in their dresses. Start out by choosing the color of the dresses, the bride can be fully in charge of this. The color of the dress will coordinate with the color scheme of your wedding. Now when it comes to picking out the style of the dress, this is where you can bring in advice from your girls. First off, designate whether you want short or long dresses, this can be dependent upon what season the wedding will take place in and how formal the event will be.

Ask your bridesmaids what style and fit they would be most comfortable in. Straps or no straps, a tight or flowy fit, are all things to take into consideration. Chances are, everyone will have an opinion on this. If the opinions differ greatly it is important to reign in all the choices and as the bride, have the final decision power. A couple strategies are to pick a few of your favorite styles and let the girls choose their favorite from this smaller selection. Another popular alternative to the bridesmaid dress dilemma is to have all of your girls in the same color but allow each of them to choose the style of dress they like. When choosing this option, all the dresses should coordinate and make sure that no one goes over the top with a micro mini or extravagant floor length number that rivals the bride's gown!

Fun groomsmen outfits

Can the bride go with the groom and his groomsmen to pick out tuxes?

The bride can definitely go along with the groom and his groomsmen to pick out their tuxes or suits, and she is encouraged to! It is not really taboo to see the groom in his tux before the wedding. It will be helpful to go along to pick out the style and color of tux that will coordinate with the bride's gown and the bridesmaid dresses. Your groom will probably be thrilled to have help in this endeavor. Make sure to ask your groom's opinion on his preferences of tux style and design, he is the one who has to wear it! Let him have fun too, consider funky socks or trendy ties to add some interest to that penguin suit.

Who pays for the wedding party's attire?

It is usually the responsibility of the bridesmaids and groomsmen to purchase their own dresses and to rent tuxes. That is why it is important to consider cost when choosing everyone's ensembles, you don't want to put anyone out financially. Some couples who are able to will cover the cost of everyone's outfits but typically it is the bridal party's responsibility.

So don't stress out ladies, the tricky task of decking out your whole wedding clan can be easy and pain free. Just go into the process with a clear concept of what you want to see everyone in and also an open mind to other's opinions. Have fun, this should be an enjoyable process for all involved! Good luck!

Photo Credits: Main tux image, Bridesmaids photo from Drew Brashler Photography, Groomsmen photo from Cooper Carras

Fun Packed Lunch Ideas for Back-To-School

 Here are some tips for our favorite moms and dads, or for anyone who wants to pack a more fun lunch!

raspberry personalized lunch bag with child's name and motivational message in a fairy tale theme
Personalized Paper Lunch Bags from

If your children aren't already back in school, they will be filling up their book bags and heading back within the next few weeks. Whether you are the parent of a brand new kindergartner or a seasoned back-to-school veteran, it is a little bit difficult to see the summer end and your little ones sent off into the world each day. No matter what age your children are, you know it is important to make them feel loved. The easiest way to keep your bond strong while your children are away during the day is to take advantage of lunch time Here are our favorite tips!

Write Them Love Notes - Write your child a little note each day and put it in their pocket or lunch bag. You can also get creative and write the note on a sticker label on their sandwich bags or tied around their favorite fruit with decorative ribbon. If your child can't read, draw them a picture! A doodle or a joke written on a paper napkin can turn lunch time into a special moment you and your child can share even though you aren't together for the meal. Old school paper lunch bags can also be personalized with your child's name and a cute design or message. They may not have the insulating ability of today's reusable cooler bags, but they do offer the simplicity of a take and toss approach. Other fun things to include in their bags are folded origami animals, comic strips saved from the Sunday Funnies or printed puzzles like tic tac toe, pencil mazes, and eye spy pictures.

Free Printable Fruit Tags from AlphaMom, Funky Lunch Sandwich Ideas, Sticky Stacky Sandwich Kabobs from SuperHealthyKids

Make Food Fun - Cookie cutters are the lunch packing parent's best friend. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is so much better in the shape of a heart or a dinosaur. The folks at Funky Lunch go one step further and create adorable animal faces, pirate ships, and more! You can also cut fruit into cute shapes with smaller cookie cutters. (A little lemon juice will keep your cut fruit fresh.) Meats and cheeses can also be cut into shapes and made into mini kabobs using cookie pop sticks found in the baking section of your local craft store. These sticks are made of paper and come without any pointy ends to prevent injuries. And don't forget dessert! It doesn't have to be unhealthy. You can find a healthy cookie recipe your child loves or offer them frozen yogurt made by simply placing prepackaged on-the-go yogurt tubes in your freezer the night before. Package their dessert with a ribbon or some other small decoration to add that personal touch your kids love.

Making lunches exciting for your kids not only shows them a little more love, but it also makes the packing process more interesting for Moms and Dads. So have fun and get packin'!

~ Jenna

Personalized Fall Wedding Napkins are the Perfect Touch for your Wedding

Napkins are a definate must have for any wedding. You are going to need napkins at the cockail and appetizer area, reception tables and cake table. Why not give your guests something beautiful to look at and incorporate personalized fall themed wedding napkins. This is a great way to add a touch of whimsy and fun to your wedding. The napkins can also be designed to be classic and elegant.

Monogrammed Autumn Wheat Kraft Guest Towels
Fall themed wedding napkins come in many different designs and color options. So add color and design to your reception by adding personalized napkins. Select a burgundy napkin with a beautiful yellow leaf design as well as your names and wedding date or an orange napkin with brown tree with falling leaves. I also love the simplicity of an ivory napkin with a gorgeous brown monogram surrounding in a wheat design. Don't forget you can also add matching guest towels to your powder rooms to keep the fall theme throughout the entire wedding.
Mr. + Mrs. Love Tree Autumn Cocktail Napkins

Adding personalized fall wedding napkins to your wedding will be a sure hit with all of your guests and loved ones. Now the only thing left to do is choose the design and colors you like the best. One more thing checked off your list!

Outfit Your Fall Wedding with Colorful New Fall Wedding Favors and Accessories

Outfit Your Fall Wedding with Colorful New Fall Wedding Favors and Accessories

Fall Wedding Decoration Ideas and Inspiration

Personalized Fall Wedding Table Runner
If you're lucky enough to live in an area that has an autumn season, than you already know the beauty that comes with it.  There is nothing more breathtaking than when the leaves start to turn their shades of red and orange and when the crisp afternoon air beckons the beginning of fall.  The perfect atmosphere for brides looking to add a sense of warmth and richness to their wedding day.

When decorating your fall wedding, bring the outdoors in.  Fall wedding accessories like the personalized falling leaves table runner (shown left) will look great in your reception photos and will be a definite show stopper.

Personalized Fall Wedding Photo Booth Backdrop
For added photo ops, your guests can pose in front of a matching autumn backdrop.  To pull this off, simply set up the backdrop along with a Polaroid camera so guests can take their own pictures.  They can then either take the photos home with them or place them in your wedding guest book along with their best wishes.

Another option is to hire a second photographer assigned to actually take the photos of your guests.  This way you can send the pictures along with your thank you cards as an adorable reminder of your big day.

Wooden Die-Cut Evergreen Trees

Since the bulk of your reception decor will actually be your guest tables themselves, your wedding table decorations are truly the ideal place to bring the feeling of fall into your wedding reception.

Simple touches like wooden die cut tree stands (shown left) spray-painted to match your wedding colors are an easy way to bring nature indoors.  Natural fall foliage like grasses, leaves, pine cones, and rocks also add a feeling of the season.  Lit votive candles will cast a romantic glow and add to the ambience of your wedding day.

To add the finishing touches to your table decor, fall wedding favors placed at each guest place setting do double duty, Personalized napkins printed with a tree or leaf design and your names and wedding date look great next to your wedding cake, and bare branch trees placed around your venue will add a polished look to your venue.

Happy Planning!


All is Fair in Love and Weddings....A Country Fair Wedding

Ferris wheel couple

Maybe it's my 4-H and county fair background or the fact that I'm excited about going to the Ohio State Fair this weekend, but I just can't stop fawning over the idea of having a country fair themed wedding. August is here, which means the end of summer is near, and fair season is commencing! A country fair wedding is perfect for those couples who are looking for a casual, rustic and playful way to celebrate their wedding day. Get inspired by checkered table cloths, colorful balloons and fabric pennant garlands. Set up a kissing booth or other fair games to keep guests entertained. Use fair tickets as place cards or drink ticket vouchers. And don't forget about the most important aspect of any fair...the food! Serve your favorite fried delights, from corn dogs and cheese sticks to mini elephant ears and cotton candy cocktails. A country fair wedding isn't for everyone, but you can't deny how fun these photos are! Take a look and get inspired, and while your at it hit your local county fair and grab that funnel cake you've been day dreaming about!

Country fair weddings
Photo Credits: Ferris Wheel dusk image, Ferris wheel balloon couple, fair food appetizers and raffle ticket name cards from Charlotte Wedding Magazine, Carnival themed wedding program and fabric banner reception hall from Ophelia Photography, Kissing booth and balloon photos from Josh Goleman, Kettle corn and photo booth table from Jagger Photography

Top 5 Trends for Fall Bridesmaids

Counting down the days until your fall wedding? We've got the hottest tips on how to outfit your bridesmaids for the upcoming autumn season.

Trend #1 - Fantastic Fall Colors.

Fall colors are no longer limited to orange, brown, and yellow. More and more brides are incorporating rich hues like peacock blue and plumy purples for a more varied palette. We love this and your bridesmaids will too! While orange and yellow can be difficult colors to wear, blue and purple compliment a variety of skin tones easily. This lovely purple dress was designed by Megan Sweet.

Trend #2 - The Cardigan

Cooler temperatures in autumn don't provide the best weather for those strapless bridesmaids dresses. Keep your maids cozy with beautiful cardigans dressed up in cashmere or ruffles. The girls shown here paired their teal dresses with lovely gray cardigans. (Image Credit: We Are Home Sweet Home)

Trend  #3 - Cowgirl Boots

Inspiring little country girl hearts everywhere, the cowgirl boot trend is an adorable tribute to your down home roots. This look goes great with flowing floral prints and lacey shabby chic tunics. This look will really take off this year thanks to recent wedding of country singer Miranda Lambert. The photo shown here combined soft brown boots with a muted almost-denim, blue. (Image Credit: Thunder Storms and Cat Naps)

Trend  #4 - Foliage over Florals

Using fall foliage, like wheat, leaves, and branches in lieu of more flowery bouquets will finish off your rustic autumn wedding with a unique flourish. This is a great way to set your bridal bouquet apart from the rest of the girls as well. I love the look of these multi-colored wheat stalks gathered with a lacy bouquet wrap.

Trend #5 - Non-traditional Fall Themes

Fall leaves are lovely, but not for every bride. Autumn brides are branching out with their colors and decor. The most surprising and unexpectedly popular theme for this fall is peacocks. A peacock theme provides a beautiful color palette ranging from green to purple to many different shades of blue. The feathers look great in vintage, sophisticated and rustic settings. The fabulous peacock bridesmaids dress shown here was actually found on etsy! Who wouldn't want a custom made dress?

We hope you've been inspired by these top five trends - but don't forget to add a little bit of your own flavor. You want your wedding to modern, yet also full of your own personality.

~ Jenna
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