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12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding Part 8 :: Wedding Day Expectations | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle, Washington

12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding Part 8 :: Wedding Day Expectations | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle, Washington

 

Welcome Back to Part 8 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of your life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.

WEDDING DAY EXPECTATIONS

I’ve talked about this before. Expectations. A huge factor in how a wedding day turns out is because of yours, your bride or groom’s, family’s, friend’s or other people’s expectations. Tacked on to their expectations is then how they react when things do or don’t go the way they have imagined it in their head.

And I’ve also talked about the high emotions during the wedding planning process and on your wedding day. You and your family and friends may seem totally calm during the planning process but then on the wedding day, they (or you, let’s be honest) can totally freak out and it can cause a lot of stress. And stress does not make for a dream wedding which is what we all want.

There are two areas that I see this happen. The first is with relationship conflicts. The second is about the logistics of the day.

Relationship Conflicts

Plan ahead for these situations and communicate with people. If you think there is a chance your mom (and I’m just using mom as an example) will cause you stress, do something ahead of time about it or be prepared to deal with it on the wedding day.

For example, if your mom tends to “get in your business,” telling you what to do and how to do it and you know that it irritates you, it will be 100 times worse on your wedding day. Trust! You think it’s annoying on Thanksgiving? Think about a day when a thousand things are going on, 47 people are trying to talk to you and get time with you. You could talk to your mom about it ahead of time so a fight doesn’t break out on the wedding day or you don’t snap at your mom and then she feels bad and cries the rest of the day. Oh, you think that’s just something I made up? No, no, no, no, no. I saw that happen last summer at a wedding. Sad.

Let’s give mom a break! Maybe you have two brothers who don’t get along, one is in debt to the other, they get in fights and can’t be in the same room. It is OK to talk to them to set expectations with them ahead of time that it’s NOT OK for them to argue about it on your wedding day. Then if they do start fighting, since you’ve already talked about it, it’ll be easier to gently remind them to stop. You could say “Hey, David, I know that you and Brian are upset with each other about the money hey owes you but I would really appreciate it if you would set that aside on my wedding day and not let it cause an argument.”

It’s worth your time to think about these possible situations and talk to people ahead of time, politely and respectfully, obviously. You can’t plan for everything but you know where the hot spots are if you are honest with yourself.

Wedding Day Logistics

The other side is not so much with conflict, but with the logistics of your wedding day. Everything will not go perfectly. I promise you. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you plan, no matter how detailed you are (and I’m going to talk about being detail-oriented in a later article). Just know that something won’t go according to the plan. But it’s OK.

At my wedding – and I was a SUPER detailed person – everyone had excel spreadsheets for where they were supposed to be and where to go and what to do. Each printout was highlighted for each specific person, etc. I was out of control I admit.

I entrusted decorating the reception space to a dear friend who then enlisted some help from some of the wedding party. I repeat, I had extremely detailed directions for exactly what they were supposed to do with every item I gave them. But, inevitably, when I got to the reception space, they had gone a bit rogue and the tables were strewn with curled up white ribbons. They were everywhere. I am actually surprised I didn’t completely lose it, because that’s kind of the person I can be. But I had to let it go, move on and have a good time. You cannot control everything on your wedding day. Here are some other things that went “wrong” on my wedding day:

  • The woman who was supposed to do my hair and makeup had the flu, leaving me to someone I did not know and had no idea what we had planned. I hated my hair.
  • My petticoat (sounds like I’m from the old west) was not the same kind that I wore when we measured the hem of my dress so the dress was dragging on the ground. The day before the wedding, we had to find another petticoat in a small town.
  • There was an obscene amount of road construction on the way to the town where our wedding was being held and almost every single guest was late for the ceremony. I think we started 45 minutes late because we were just waiting for someone to actually be there.
  • Real talk . . . I don’t have a great relationship with my side of the family. They were invited to the wedding but at the last minute they were sat up front for the ceremony which made me very uncomfortable.
  • Our “wedding” photographer interrupted our first dance in the middle of it. He wanted to move on to the parent dances – before our first dance song was even half over! Of all the things that didn’t really matter in the end, this is the one that still gets my goat after almost 20 years.
  • The decorating fiasco I mentioned above.

Just know that someone might be late (happens all the time), the cake might not have the flowers on it like you expected, ordered and paid for (that happened at my friend, Leigh’s wedding), there might not be enough chairs for all of the guests (same wedding), the caterer’s get the location wrong (recent wedding).

If you expect that everything will be 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the day, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Have a little flexibility, let things go, promise yourself that you will have a great day no matter what happens.

Not that you should set your expectations low, but setting the bar too high can lead to a hard crash and a ruined day, when it doesn’t have to be.

Setting your wedding day expectations – yours and those around you – can really help to have your dream wedding, one that is filled with love and not riddled with stress and disappointments.

Go, have fun! Don’t stress! Let it go.

 

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northwest salmonbake styled wedding gig harbor blue and white stripe beach mt rainier

I have been DYING to share this Gig Harbor Wedding Styled Shoot from July 2015. My friend and fellow wedding photographer, Tara Brown, and I came up with the idea for this style shoot in the spring of 2015 and after a couple months of pulling together the very best team of vendors in the Seattle area (and beyond) it finally happened. To date, this was probably one of my favorite and best times as a photographer.

The Theme: Northwest Salmon Bake

I had the idea to do a Hampton’s Style Clam Bake Wedding Styled Shoot. I’d had it in my mind for a while. So we took that idea and parlayed it with Tara offering to use her family’s property on the beach in Gig Harbor. Instead of clams, we went with Salmon since it’s more Northwest-y. And while we wanted an angle toward nautical, we didn’t want it to be all seashells and anchors. Once we found the navy blue and white striped linens, we were on our way to creating the overall theme.

The Dream Team of Wedding Vendors

I truly believe we brought together the best team of wedding vendors from the northwest to put this all together. Eleanor from Bash and Bloom was integral in helping pull the theme of this shoot together and brought some amazing ideas to the table to take this to another level. I’m so grateful for all she did to help with this shoot. We couldn’t have done it without her.

Vendors:

Bash and Bloom: Eleanor created all of the floral for the shoot and helped define the theme for the entire project. She created the bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, floral for the buffet table and table arrangements for the tablescape. She also created the amazing arrangements for the ceremony area. Eleanor used driftwood sticks to create the structures for the ceremony arrangements and then placed the floral on top of those structures. Who thinks of that? A genius!
A Princess Bride: Provided the bride’s dress and sash for the shoot. The dress fit Kelsy perfectly!
Megan Bingham: Hair and makeup were done by Meghan Bingham from Off-White Beauty. Meghan did a beautiful job on Kelsy’s hair and her make was stunning. Not only did it look beautiful, but it lasted all day in the heat, wind and pressure of shooting for hours and hours.
Sholdt Designs: My faves!!! Sholdt provided us with all of the jewelry for this styled shoot. The incredible diamond engagement ring with a halo setting, wedding bands and earrings and a gorgeous necklace for the bride to wear.
The Tuxedo Club: Provided Allen’s navy blue suit, custom fit for him, ties, pocket squares, cufflinks and tie clip. The navy blue suit was perfect for this.
Baked.: That cake!!! Baked. always, always just does an amazing job with everything they do. But they reall outdid themselves with this custom cake they created for us. The chevron detail was fresh and meticulously created and the delicate, subtle seashell and coral details on the cake were just perfect.
Lemonade Letters: Eunice from Lemonade Letters went all out when she created this wedding invitation suite for us. It included a wedding invitation, custom hand-lettered envelope, custom-designed stamps, RSVP card, program, table numbers, place cards, menu cards, signature drink cards all delightfully put together with subtle nautical details that worked so well with our theme. I could have photographed that suite all day.
Vintage Ambiance: Vintage Ambiance provided the lovely milk glass cake stand and details for the tablescape including the antique bottles Eleanor used to add floral details everywhere.
Grand Event Rentals: Provided us with the gorgeous square dishware including silver chargers and plates, square-shaped glassware and all of our silverware pieces.
BBJ Linens: BBJ provided the amazing navy blue and white striped table linen and the coral napkins used in the tablescape as well as the sparkly blue linen used on the cake table.
Kelsy and Allen Foulstone: I cannot say enough about this gorgeous real-life couple. They were so patient, lovely, gracious, flexible and perfect all day long. This shoot would not have been so perfect without them.

The Shoot

I think the main reason this Gig Harbor Wedding Styled Shoot is my favorite is because of the collaboration and teamwork that happened before and after the actual photography. Tara and I spent the entire day before picking up materials, products and donations from vendors, shopping for food and planning for the following day. Getting to see each person face-to-face as we made our way to Gig Harbor made everything feel more personal.

Eleanor from Bash and Bloom joined us in the evening and we all hung out, steaming dresses and linens, creating floral arrangements and being silly together.

The next morning, Kelsy and Allen showed up, Meghan from Off-White Beauty and Micah from Blue Cake Films. We all spent the day together getting everything together, setting up, photographing, playing off each other’s ideas and generally just having a blast.

Published

Our shoot was accepted and published by Borrowed and Blue in April 2016. At the time of this post being published, unfortunately, my name was not associated with the shoot. We’ve asked for them to correct this error.

Please enjoy our creation…

bride getting ready makeup hair off-white beautymt. rainier gig harbor waterwedding dress hanging beach wedding mt rainier water sailboatsilver bridal shoes embellished brown grooms shoes and blue check tiegroom details blue check tie airplane cufflinks boutonniere watch driftwoodairplane cufflinks silver tie clip groom detailslace crystal wedding dress sash off-white white a princess bride couturegroom details wedding burberry watch brown leather bandnavy white coral wedding invitation suite envelope calligraphy lighthouse customwedding invitations custom stamps calligraphy lemonade letterswedding invitation suite navy blue white coral calligraphywedding invitation calligraphy custom design nautical detailsplace cards wedding navy blue and white calligraphybridal bouquet white and green coral ribbonwedding boutonniere flowers coral white zinnia roseboutonniere nautical knot pink coral ribbon zinniawedding bridal bouquet flowers pink coral white greenery looseboutonniere beach wedding zinnia pink white flowersdiamond wedding ring sholdt jewelry design driftwoodwedding bands sholdt jewelry seattle platinumengagement ring halo diamond weddingsholdt jewelry sapphire and diamond earrings diamond necklace driftwoodbeach wedding ceremony mt rainier driftwood pink coral white flowers greenerygroom wedding ceremony beachgroom wedding ceremony beach buttoning jacketbride beach wedding ceremony gig harbor weddingbride groom wedding ceremony beach water driftwoodmt rainier gig harbor wedding ceremony floral arrangements driftwoodbride and groom beach wedding ceremony sailboatgig harbor wedding ceremony beach water mt rainiergig harbor wedding ceremony floral arrangements bash and bloombeach wedding ceremony gig harbor floralreception table design decor navy blue white stripes coral napkinswedding floral decor reception table pink blue whitereception table floral arrangement square white dishesgig harbor wedding tablescape striped linen coral napkinswedding table decor navy blue white coral lighthouse calligraphywedding table decorations menu card table number flowers navy white coralwedding floral pink white coral greenery square champagne glass beach weddingpink wedding flowers beach dahlias with greenerysalmon salmon bake beach gig harbor weddingroasted potatoes flowers buffet table beach weddingwedding buffet salmon asparagus roasted potatoes beachgig harbor wedding on beach with blue and white striped linensbridal portraits rocky beach water gig harbor weddinggig harbor wedding beach bridal picturesbride groom gig harbor wedding rocky beachgroom lighthouse bride and groom portrait on beach gig harborGroom navy blue suit blue check tie beach weddingportrait groom navy suit coral boutonniere pocket squarerocky beach bridal portrait bouquet coral white greenerybride portrait groom navy suit the tuxedo club gig harbor weddingbride groom portrait wedding photography beachbride wedding dress bouquet pink white green groombride and groom pictures wedding photos intimatebride beach grass marina white wedding dress pink ribbons floralbridal makeup off-white beauty beach wedding eyelashes black linerwedding cake beach wedding baked custom cakes shells coral chevronbaked blue coral shells wedding cake gig harbor navywedding cake details blue coral white chevron driftwood fence seashellscustom wedding cake baked gig harbor wedding beachbridal portraits bash and bloom bridal bouquetbride groom champagne beach gig harbor weddingsunset wedding pictures on beach mt rainier

 




Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Venue: Private Beach, Gig Harbor, Washington
Floral: Bash and Bloom
Wedding Gown: A Princess Bride
Hair+Makeup: Megan Bingham
Jewelry: Sholdt Designs
Groom’s Suit: The Tuxedo Club
Cake: Baked.
Paper Suite: Lemonade Letters
Decor Rentals: Vintage Ambiance
Rentals: Grand Event Rentals
Linens: BBJ Linens
Videography: Blue Cake Films
Models: Kelsy and Allen Foulstone

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How to Have Your Dream Wedding, Wedding Stress

How to Have your Dream Wedding - Wedding Stress

Welcome Back to Part 7 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of your life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.

REDUCE WEDDING STRESS

One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your future husband or wife is to take care of yourself throughout the wedding planning process and the wedding day. You want to feel great on your wedding day; don’t you? I can’t imagine anyone would say they want to be tired, cranky, hungover, or run down. Those do not sound like fun.

A tired bride is not a happy bride and an unhappy bride is not a beautiful bride. A tired bride is easily irritated and stressed out. Not fun. Not for you, not for your groom, not for your family and not for anyone around you.

So how can you take care of yourself? It’s really not that hard. During the planning of your wedding, you can do a lot to keep yourself grounded and not get burned out. For example:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise
  • If necessary get away from wedding planning for a bit

ELIMINATE PLANNING STRAIN – STEP AWAY FROM THE WEDDING NOTEBOOK

Put the planning notebook down, get off Pinterest, get off the internet, stop talking about the wedding for a few days, stop thinking and worrying about the wedding for a few days. I know that sounds hard because wedding planning can become an obsession. You want it to be perfect and that’s understandable. But sometimes you need a break. All of these things can give you the break you need so that you don’t wear yourself down during the process.

I get so bummed out when I hear a bride or groom say that they can’t wait for the wedding to be over with. That breaks my heart. But it happens. They’re just sick of all of it by the time the wedding happens.

TREAT YOURSELF

As you get closer and closer to your wedding day, taking care of yourself is even more important. You want to look great, well-rested, and glowing on your wedding day. This is when getting exercise and eating right are so so so important. Go for a long walk, hike or run, go to yoga, meditate, or get a massage or pedicure that week before your wedding to relax and give yourself a much needed break from all the madness.

Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep the few nights before your wedding – and especially the night before!

Oftentimes, there is a rehearsal dinner the night before your wedding and it’s easy to want to stay up late and drink too much. Maybe friends are in town that you don’t get to see often and you want to spend time with them. But the next morning – your wedding day – will come too quickly and you don’t want to be tired and not looking your best.

Staying up, partying and having just one more glass of wine may sound like a good idea at the time, but it’s not. I promise. Get your rest!

Definitely watch how much you drink the night before your wedding. Again, it might be a fun party but being hungover or having a headache or being irritable on your wedding day would suck. Be smart.

DON’T STARVE YOURSELF ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

My final piece of advice for taking care of yourself for your wedding is to EAT. ON. YOUR. WEDDING. DAY.

Seriously . . . EAT! A wedding day is a busy, chaotic, insane day, there are 47 moving pieces and people in your face all day. It’s so easy to forget or to get to busy to eat. If you have to designate a person to make sure you eat, do so. The last thing you want is to pass out during your ceremony because you haven’t eaten. Think I’m being dramatic? It happens.

It’s easy to forget about your own well-being during the planning of your wedding. After all, you’re planning this giant event, you’re thinking about your spouse to be, the wedding dress, catering, flowers, favors, bridesmaids, travel arrangements and all those things that take you away from thinking about yourself. But it’s important to not put YOU on the back burner so you look and feel the best on your wedding day!

 

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My Wedding Photography Bucket List - Weddings I love to photograph, epic Northwest locations and venus and destination weddings.

My Wedding Photography Bucket List - Weddings I would love to shoot, venues and locations.

Lists, lists, lists. I love lists. I love to-do lists, packing lists, cleaning lists, shopping lists. I make lists every chance I get and I get that huge rush when I get to check something off. It’s so satisfying.

So I decided to make a Wedding Bucket List – all of the weddings I would love to photograph, people, places, venues.

Wedding Bucket List

TYPES OF WEDDINGS:

SAME-SEX WEDDING – MEN
I photographed a same-sex wedding with two women in the summer of 2015 so of course I want to photograph a wedding with two men as well. Sort of goes without saying.

THEMED WEDDING
I would love to be the wedding photographer for an amazingly-themed wedding. Something like a Star Wars theme but not Star Wars – duh (not a fan). I’ve heard of Harry Potter weddings and Up (the Disney movie) weddings. I think that would be so fun.

AN AGING COUPLE
Not sure how to say that delicately but a wedding for an elderly couple who wants to do it up and celebrate, where the bride wears a white dress and the groom has a tuxedo – that would be the perfect Up Wedding!

AMAZING WEDDING ENTRANCE OR DEPARTURE
Last summer I was “this” close to photographing a wedding with a seaplane departure, but it ended up not working out. How great would it be if the bride showed up in a helicopter or on a horse or the couple leaves on a sailboat?

SOMEONE “FAMOUS”
I am not afraid to admit it. I’d love to be the wedding photographer for someone famous. Even if I couldn’t use the pictures later because of privacy issues, I still think it would be exciting and fun.

NORTHWEST WEDDING VENUES & LOCATIONS:

SEABROOK
I’ve been hearing more an more about Seabrook lately. It seems adorable and idyllic. The Seabrook Cottage Rentals are amazing and they have a Town Hall Wedding Venue. I mean come on, this place looks amazing.

TREEHOUSE POINT
A property filled with treehouses? Uh, yeah! Just looking at pictures of Treehouse Point makes me want to visit there and photograph a wedding or elopement.

THE SEATTLE AQUARIUM
Did you even know that you can have a wedding at The Seattle Aquarium? And you can be right in the large dome with all the fish swimming around you. Maybe a huge lighting challenge but it also seems pretty epic.

THE ARCTIC CLUB
The Arctic Club in Seattle has to be one of the prettiest venues in Seattle with that big domed ceiling with all of the stained glass (I think that’s what it is). Of course this is going to make my Wedding Bucket List.

SODO PARK
I’ve been in Sodo Park a couple of times and this is seriously the place for me. It is right up my alley.

DESTINATION WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

HAWAII
Like duh! You know I want to take my wedding photography on the road to a my favorite place! I’ll take anywhere in the islands but would really prefer Maui if I’m being honest.

ALASKA
Our family went on a cruise in the summer of 2015 to Alaska and I am seriously enamored with that place. It’s simply gorgeous.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Or any National Park for that matter. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Arches . . . any or all of them.

EUROPE
Well this one seems like a no-brainer. I’ll try not to be picky but would certain love to shoot a wedding in France, Ireland, Italy, Iceland . . . You name it. I’ve got my passport all ready to go.

MAINE
Why Maine? I’ve never been there and it seems lovely. That’s all.

 

 

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12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding, Part 6, Your Wedding Party | Cheryl Ford Photography

This post was originally published on May 6, 2014. It has been updated and I’ve included new images!

12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding, Part 6, Your Wedding Party | Cheryl Ford Photography

 

Welcome Back to Part 6 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of your life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.

SELECTING YOUR WEDDING PARTY

These are the friends and family who stand up with you on the most important day of your life, who support you, help you, encourage you and stand by your side during the wedding process. So I say pick your wedding party CAREFULLY.

I’m not going to tell you how many attendants to have. There is a ton of information out there on the standard etiquette, blah blah blah. Some places will tell you that if you have a larger wedding, you can/should have more attendants. I don’t necessarily buy into that. I’m not going to tell you you shouldn’t have 10 bridesmaids if you have 10 best friends and want to include them all. Or if you have a best friend who is a guy and want him in your bridal party. I’m not going to tell you that you have to have a wedding party at all if you don’t want to. That’s not really what this article is about.

If you decide you want to have a wedding party, keep the following in mind. I think that when it comes to picking people for your wedding party, you will have initial inclinations. You have two sisters so they have to be in the wedding party; right? Maybe. What if one of them lives across the country and you aren’t close and literally talk to her once a year. Do you still have to put her in your wedding party? I think some will disagree with me, but I say you don’t have to. Yep I said it. You have to weigh all of the information for yourself and make the best choice for you and your wedding and your family or social circle dynamic.

Everyone knows someone who just stirs up drama. The girlfriend who you know won’t like the dress everyone else in the wedding party likes. Just because… The friend who just doesn’t really get along with others, snaps at people or drinks too much. The competitive sister or cousin who always needs to “show up” someone else in the family. Do you want to deal with the unnecessary drama and stress that they will bring? On your wedding day? Are the people you are including as your wedding party truly those who will selflessly be at your side during the planning and on your wedding day? Emotions run high on a wedding day and adding someone who is going to increase that is, in my opinion, a really, really bad idea.

I’m not going to drag this on and on. Think about who you pick carefully. Pick who YOU want to pick. It’s your wedding; right?

But, and you know there is always the but . . . you HAVE TO, I repeat you HAVE TO communicate with people. If you think someone will get their feelings hurt or get upset because they’re expecting to be asked to be in your wedding, you HAVE TO talk to them. There are many elements to a wedding and there are few things I’m going to advise that you absolutely HAVE TO do but this is one you have to do. Because you know what will definitely ruin your dream wedding? Your sister who throws a fit on your wedding day because you didn’t ask her to be in your wedding and never talked to her about it. Enough said.

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I am loving these Engagement Pictures of Sara+Chris! I just love the Washington Arboretum in Seattle for any type of photo session but especially for engagement pictures. There is so much variety there and a million little places tucked away on paths throughout the park.

Sara+Chris have been engaged for a couple of months and they are getting married in March 2017. How great is it that they have so much time to plan exactly what they want for their wedding with plenty of time. I met Sara by donating a session for engagement pictures to a local school auction. Sara said she and Chris kept careful watch on the voucher all night to make sure they won it. I just love that story.

Sara is a 6th Grade elementary school teacher at a school in my very on school district and Chris works for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. How cool is that? They met online about a year ago – another online dating success story. You hear them all the time these days. They are the nicest, sweetest people and we had so much fun during their engagement session. I swear we walked like 4 miles that night, traipsing all over the Arboretum from one end to the other. My feet and legs were a mess the next day – because I made the brilliant decision to wear flip-flops. Silly.

I’m so excited to share these engagement pictures. Enjoy!

Romantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement PhotographerRomantic Engagement Pictures of Sara + Chris | Washington Arboretum | Seattle Washington | Cheryl Ford Photography, Seattle Engagement Photographer

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This post was originally published on April 21, 2014. It has been updated and I’ve included new images!

pinterest wedding dream seattle photographer axis pioneer square

Welcome Back to Part 5 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of their life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.

GET INSPIRED BY PINTEREST – BUT BE UNIQUE

One of the best tools in the world right now for wedding planning, in my humble opinion, is Pinterest. It’s awesome. There are so many ideas out there. More ideas, quotes, funny pictures of dogs, outfits, dogs IN outfits, and recipes than any one person needs in there lifetime. And it’s a perfect place to get ideas and inspiration for your wedding. It’s the goto place for brides to get inspired and keep track of their dream wedding ideas. I mean girls who aren’t even getting married have dream wedding Pinterest boards. It’s like it was made for weddings. I personally have tons of Pinterest boards on my profile (http://www.pinterest.com/cherylfordphoto) for wedding ideas – from wedding cakes to flowers, wedding planning tips, wedding color palettes and everything in between. Pinterest is like a one-stop-shop for wedding inspiration.

There are also wedding magazines everywhere and awesome blog wedding web sites like Style Me Pretty or Green Wedding Shoes – to just name a very couple. They feature real weddings and styled inspiration wedding photo shoots with tons and tons AND TONS of ideas.

These are all amazing places to get inspiration for your wedding. But (isn’t there always a but?) I would suggest making it just that – inspiration. The question I think brides (and grooms) should ask themselves is do we want our wedding to be a carbon copy of someone else’s wedding or do we want our wedding to be uniquely us?

I also believe there is a deeper reason to get inspiration from somewhere (Pinterest) but then create something that is uniquely you – and that is EXPECTATIONS. Expectations play a huge role in having your Dream Wedding. If you see a beautiful wedding and try to copy everything about it exactly, let me tell you something, it won’t be exactly like that other wedding. And you run the risk of being disappointed. But by having your own unique vision for your wedding that is simply inspired by great ideas, then it’s your own vision, it’s your special design, something you have created from your heart and will be special to you.

One of the things we photographers are seeing is brides and/or grooms seeing photos on Pinterest (mostly on Pinterest just because of the sheer volume of photos there) and wanting us to recreate them. There are a couple huge problems with that mindset. The first is that great photos are a combination of location, lighting, time of day, geography, the photographer, their equipment, knowledge of their equipment, experience, and the couple themselves. Guaranteed, you won’t have the same set of variables on your wedding day as in a photo you see on Pinterest. And again, you set yourself up with expectations. I think it’s absolutely fine to see photos you like and a good photographer will ask you what you like about them. Is is the lighting, is it the location, is it the pose and they can work with that to create something unique for you that still gives you what you want.

Here are some tips on finding inspiration and how to turn that into your own vision.

  • When you find something you like, look at it critically. Figure out what it is that you like about it. If you are looking at flowers, ask yourself is it the color, the type of flower, mix of flowers or the shape of the arrangements. Figure out specifically why you like them and write that down.
  • If you are pinning ideas on Pinterest, take a 30,000 feet look at what you’ve pinned. What are the common elements in your pins. Is it a romantic, vintage, or modern feel. Is it a great color combination, are the colors complimentary, neutral, muted or soft. Is it natural, bright, elegant, DIY. Write these ideas down.
  • Don’t pin every single thing you see. You will never be able to decide what you want. If you have over-pinned, weed some of the pins out to narrow down your inspiration direction.
  • Once you have your inspiration notes, use that to create your wedding vision. It’s sort of like writing a paper – you take notes from reliable sources and use those notes to make your own original writing. But this time it’s fun!

Happy Pinning!

 

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seattle instagram wedding photography

Are you following me on Instagram yet? What? Why not?

It’s easy . . . Just follow this link and click “Follow” – Follow Cheryl Ford Photography

I don’t “gram” (is that what the cool kids are saying?) like crazy. You won’t see 20 posts in one day from me, but I’m trying to be a bit more regular with my Instagram Posts. Mostly you’ll see posts about the things I’m most interested in:

  • My dogs, Baxter and Annie. Annie is the Beagle. Baxter is the white fluffy one. You can read more about them here: My Favorite Things
  • My husband and I – selfies every time.
  • Baking –  you should check out some of the cookies I make (and make my sister-in-law, Jaime, make with me).
  • Coffee and wine – I don’t take pics of what I eat much. But I like to show off what I’m drinking.
  • Images from weddings and other photography shoots – only the very, very best make it to Instagram.
  • Vacations – again only a select few!
  • Flowers – love them.
  • Friends – I’m more of the type of person that spends my time with my friends being with them and not taking pictures but occasionally I remember.

So come on and check it out: Instagram: @CherylFordPhoto – see you over there.

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This post was originally published on April 7, 2014. It has been updated and I’ve included new images!

early wedding planning how to have your dream wedding

Welcome Back to Part 4 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of these months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of their life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.

START YOUR WEDDING PLANNING EARLY

One of the best ways to add stress to your life is to procrastinate! Think about cramming for a test at the last minute or waiting until the night before to put that presentation together. We have ALL done it – I am a classic procrastinator – and it’s just about the worst feeling. Not the worst-worst, but you know what I mean.

Wedding planning take a tremendous amount of coordination, communication, and planning. So plan ahead and plan early for best results. Typically, I would say 9-12 months is a reasonable amount of time to plan a nice event and not end up pulling your hair out in the process. I’ve seen weddings put together in 2 or 3 months. I’ve seen it . . . But I don’t recommend it! Unless you want those 2 or 3 months to ONLY be about your wedding and literally NOTHING else. Which is not super practical.

You know those timelines for wedding planning that you can find everywhere? They’re actually super helpful! Don’t be afraid to consult them and take their advice to heart. I’ve included an example below.

In any case, there are a few things you’ll want to book and/or decide first:

  • Wedding Planner/Coordinator – If you’re going to have a planner help with your wedding, find one right away. They can be invaluable to the rest of the process.
  • Venue (ceremony and/or reception) – Where are you having your wedding? Do you have something specific in mind? Is it a popular location? Figure this out quickly and book it first. You definitely don’t want to be scrambling for a location at the last minute because everything is booked up.
  • Photographer – Photographers often book up to a year or more in advance, particularly for summer weekends and do get fully booked up so plan to do your research and book a photographer early in the process to get the one you want.
  • Dresses – It takes 6 months on average to get a wedding dress once you purchase it (unless you’re buying off the rack or at a sample sale, in which case you have a more limited selection). Plus, you will most likely need some alterations done to the dress which can add weeks to the process. Bonus, this is one of the most fun parts of the process so don’t delay. But I will warn that personally, I wouldn’t buy a dress more than a year in advance of the wedding . . . just in case your taste changes.

And sidebar, my best piece of wedding dress shopping advice is, well there are 2 things really: 1) Try on different styles of dresses – everything possible really – because dresses look very different on people, very different on different body styles and VERY different on the hanger than on your body. Go in with an open mind. 2) Don’t show up to try on wedding dresses with no makeup and your hair in a ratty ponytail. It’s harder to imagine yourself in a wedding dress if the rest of you looks like you just came from the gym.

Those are the main items you’ll want to secure as soon as possible. Then hit the florists, bakeries, graphic designers, rentals, caterers, etc. But don’t leave those to the last minute. Again, you’ll stress yourself out and narrow your choices as vendors get booked up.

Waiting until the last minute or last couple of months before your wedding to get these vendors booked will be a huge drag! It will be frustrating and time-consuming. This is a time that is supposed to be fun. You’re supposed to be having the time of your life, planning the most important day of your life. Don’t manufacture stress by procrastinating by wedding planning with too short of a lead time.

Here is a good example of a wedding planning timeline. This isn’t an all-encompassing to-do list but hits the high-level items:

9-12 Months Before Your Wedding:

  • Set a date
  • Create a wedding planning notebook
  • Determine your wedding budget
  • Select your wedding attendants
  • Create a guest list
  • Hire a wedding planner
  • Book your venue(s)
  • Purchase your wedding dress and accessories

7-8 Months Before Your Wedding:

  • Book photographer and/or videographer
  • Book entertainment (DJ or band)
  • Select a caterer
  • Reserve hotel for out of town guests
  • Send Save the Date cards
  • Select and order groom and groomsmen attire
  • Book rentals, if needed

5-6 Months Before Your Wedding:

  • Start Wedding Registry
  • Book graphic designer
  • Plan your honeymoon
  • Select bridesmaids dresses
  • Book your florist
  • Book hair and makeup artist(s)

3-4 Months Before Your Wedding:

  • Arrange your wedding day transportation
  • Book rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Order invitations and/or other stationery
  • Meet with bakery
  • Finalize catering menu
  • Finalize floral design
  • Order favors
  • Choose readings/readers for ceremony
  • Purchase rings
  • Finalize decoration plans

2 Months Before:

  • Check in with all vendors
  • Start playlist and confirm with DJ or band
  • Send invitations (8 weeks before)

1 Month Before Your Wedding:

  • Record RSVPs as they come in
  • Get marriage license
  • Dress fittings
  • Create seating arrangements
  • Purchase attendant gifts

1 Week Before Your Wedding:

  • Confirm all vendors
  • Send timeline to bridal party
  • Pick up dress
  • Break in your shoes
  • Send final count to caterer
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Relax and have fun!

For more wedding planning tips, check out my Pinterest Board – Weddings :: Planning Tips. I have tons of timelines, tips, and planning ideas for your wedding. Or you can download my Wedding Planning Timeline here!

Happy Planning!

 

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This post was originally published on March 24, 2014. It has been updated and I’ve included new images!

hiring a wedding planner 12 ways to have your dream wedding

Welcome Back to Part 3 of my blog series on 12 Ways to Have Your Dream Wedding. Over the course of the next couple of months I will be sharing with you a series of articles to help you have the most amazing day of their life. In case you missed it, you may want to catch up on the past articles:

I’ve written these articles to share with you my perspective on what you can do to have your Dream Wedding. A lot of this is just good old common sense and none of it is that much work. But I promise if you incorporate these ideas into the planning of your wedding day, you will reap the rewards of a beautiful, calm and fun wedding day of your dreams! Trust me.

HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER – Have your Dream Wedding!

Hiring a Wedding Planner can be one of the best choices you make for your wedding planning and day of coordination.

You have options too. You can hire someone for the full-scale scope of planning and coordinating all of the vendors all the way through from engagement to wedding day. Or you can work with someone just to be there on the day of your wedding. And any other combination in between that you can think of. You can figure out what works for you, because this wedding day is about you.

Planning the Wedding:

First, let’s talk about the planning phase. Why a wedding planner? There are tons of reasons and I’ll share just a few.

  1. They have great connections. They know awesome vendors and can help you in your selection process. They can save you a ton of time in your research from venues to florists. When a wedding planner truly understands your wedding vision, they can steer you in the right direction to vendors who will work well for you. This will lessen your stress immensely as you are planning your day. And with their experience and connections, they may even be able to negotiate better rates for you (not a for-sure thing!).
  2. They can help with conflict. Remember when we talked about the other people who might (read “will”) have opinions about what you should do for your wedding? A seasoned wedding planner can help navigate these potentially stressful situations with you and give you great advice. They know how to handle an over-involved mother-in-law-to-be and help you avoid conflicts.
  3. Controlling contacts. Planning a wedding involves talking to and coordinating with a lot of different vendors – florist, photographer, caterer, bakery, bridal shop, the list goes on and on. A great benefit to having a wedding planner is that they often assume the contact role for many of the wedding vendors for you. They become the point of contact and then just relay the information to you all at one time.
  4. Timelines. When it gets closer to your wedding day, you’ll need to start thinking about a timeline for the day. Who needs to be where at what time, when photos are and who needs to be there, when will dinner be served, toasts, dances, etc. A wedding planner can really be an asset in working out your wedding day timeline and making sure everything happens on time. (Tip: Make sure you talk to your photographer about the timeline of the day too. Photos take time. A great photographer will help you with this as well.)

The Day of the Wedding

When it comes to the day of your wedding, there are about a million and six things going on all at the same time.

Your wedding planner will make sure the flowers are delivered to the right place, handle issues that arise, ensure that the reception site is decorated perfectly and that your dream wedding is coming true. All the while, you are sitting in a chair being pampered getting your hair done and your makeup done and enjoying sipping champagne with your bridesmaids. Your wedding day stress just went down about five million percent.

Now you can just enjoy your day, marrying the person you love, stress-free. Let someone else carry the stress.

Of course, a wedding planner costs extra money and you certainly have to consider that when creating your wedding budget. But keep in mind the time and money you also might save by hiring a professional wedding planner and what that it buys you. Peace of mind! That is something with no price tag.

Happy planning!

 

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