brides magazine: do not feed your wedding photographer …

We came across an article by Sandy Malone, she’s a destination wedding planner and has had a show on TV. I’ve spoken with her personally on social media and this post is not to attack her. We have a different viewpoint from what she wrote and it is directly applicable to the area we live in, the Midwest – who typically experience very long, traditional, ceremonial wedding days. Also, we’re nice people over here.

Here is the article at Bride’s Magazine.

update: Bride’s Magazine removed the article. Controversy? february 5, 2016

second update: Thanks to Sean Molin you can’t delete anything from the internet, here’s the archive version. Bride’s Magazine simply deleted the post, thinking the negative social media would go away. I hope they plan on addressing the situation.

our viewpoint on feeding wedding vendors


Almost all bands have a rider in their contract that will require a meal. The meal will be given to them before guests arrive or during cocktail hour. While they should be playing during the meal (IF you have contracted that additional hour), then it is up to the band to either eat before or have a few of the musicians playing. Music should be softer in sound anyway, not a full blown band with singing while guests try to dine and talk.


Many do not have in their contract to be fed. It’s an understanding. If your photographers have been with you from the hair salon (at 10am), pre-wedding photos, ceremony, cocktail hour, grand entrances, a welcome speech … then it bodes that they need to eat. HAVE to eat. If you are unwilling to provide a meal for them, then expect that they have the right to leave the wedding to eat and then return. Who wants that? They don’t need anything special, although she is right, in many circumstances it is more difficult for the catering to provide special, less expensive meals. Either way, they need to refuel their bodies. NO PHOTOS SHOULD BE TAKEN DURING THE MEAL. It’s in poor taste and photos that will never be used in any photo album.

wedding planner team

See above for the photographers, same rule is applied.


It’s customary in our area to feed your DJ. They setup before guests arrive and then return to be on-site for 5+ hours.

who could you skip?

Perhaps you have certain vendors that “just showed up” (i.e. photo booth). They setup early and then are able to leave and return when the booth is to be open, may not require a meal. However, it’s better to feed vendors and have them on-site should the timeline need to be shifted due to unforeseeable circumstances.

While you should never need to contract a meal for your transportation driver that has to sit outside for hours to provide guests rides, we will wait until everyone is fed and IF there is left over food, go outside and give the driver a plate. Same goes for security (although most caterers will feed them anyway). This is not included in your catering final count. We do this, because we are all human beings and it’s a nice act of kindness.

final thoughts …

Your wedding planners will work with the caterers to have meals set in a different room while YOU eat. Please note, we don’t care where we eat. Usually it is the first time we have sat down all day and we literally gulf our food down. It’s not pretty. We’ve eaten with plates on our laps in stairwells. We aren’t complaining, our bodies need to fuel up.

Finally, know that we live in a geographical location that being gratuitous to your wedding vendors — that you will continue to see or interact with on social media or in person, is expected. We are not a destination location that you can whiz in, whiz out and never see that vendor again.

So please keep all of this in mind when reading articles that give this type of advice.

featured photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

2016 wedding trends

There are lots of wedding trends that don’t make it to our local area in the Tristate. However, here are five trends we feel that we WILL see, or in the very least, hope will come soon.

Or watch me on WEHT Local Lifestyles TV Segment regarding this topic.

5 wedding trends in 2016:apps

1. passed hors d’oeuvres instead of food stations

We are seeing that more of our clients are considering having passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour (before the formal wedding dinner). This takes the place of a large food station for guests to serve themselves. It creates an awesome guest experience and encourages you not to over purchase the hors’d.


2. all things metallic

Metallic, sequins, glitter, foil … anything shiny will STILL be hot this year. Gold is the best option, but many people still love silver.

naked cake

3. naked cakes

Naked cakes aren’t necessarily a rustic option but certainly is not uber formal. We like to describe it as an organic and earthy look to your cake. Don’t be surprised that this may not save you money. It takes a lot more work to create a good looking naked cake. Your baker has to make sure that the lines are clean. There is no frosting to cover those imperfections, so it will take more time, which may mean more of a cost to you.

live musicians

4. blending live music with your DJ

We had this a few years ago at the request of our bride. DJ plays the music and a violinist and/or drummer accompany whatever song is playing. It’s freeform and totally cool. You’ll need to find the musicians that have this talent and of course talk with your DJ before booking. The result for the guests? #onfire

arial shot

5. drones, go-pro’s and same day wedding films

Having a still photo from an aerial perspective continues to be hot. Be sure to talk to your wedding photographer or filmmaker to see if you can’t capture a still shot. GoPro’s are kinda awesome too (we have one now and plan on using it this year for some fun). Think about how you could use one to capture some behind the scenes or at your actual wedding.

Finally, the “same day wedding” edit films are finally becoming more mainstream if you can afford the extra service.  The idea is, right after you kiss and say “I Do” your filmmaker team starts editing a short film of the getting ready, the ceremony and behind the scenes that happened earlier that day. Then at the reception when the dancing starts you can share with your guests to relive what they missed. The additional cost is for more film editors, but, the reaction from your guests is nine-kinds-of-awesome.

What trends would you like to see happen here locally?

feature photo credit: pfe iphone

plan on!

first look before your ceremony

It’s still a controversy. Do you see each other before your wedding ceremony? Honestly, most of our clients ARE seeing each other, about 70%. We find it’s usually the groom that doesn’t want to see his bride before the wedding. Go figure.

There are a lot of pro’s and con’s to this and we’ve talked about it before on this series here.

bottom line:

  1. Do what you want to do.
  2. Remember, sometimes it really helps to calm you down.
  3. Your vendors will setup an epic First Look. Just you and your groom/bride (and a photographer and videographer capturing the moment). Most of the time the groom’s cry, not the bride. See the photos below.
  4. Be flexible. Inclement weather and other situations may change your opinion about seeing each other.
  5. Almost every single one of our clients that saw each other, were happy they did. They enjoyed their day and their wedding reception so much more.

here’s a glimpse of real First Looks (this could be you!)



photo credit: amy shepherd photography

Or you could not see each other but take some cute photos like the one in our featured photo with our bride Erin and groom Zach.

featured photo credit: elizabeth vincent photography

plan on!


seeing each other before the wedding ceremony :: part five/finale

This is the finale of  the discussion whether or not you should see each other before your wedding. We’ve talked about where the tradition comes from, how you can create a special moment and/or meeting for you two, the emotional benefits and now we’ll cover why it can help logistically.

it’s all about timing

When planning your timeline for your wedding day you will be shocked at how fast the day can go by. There is hardly enough time to get everything done! Including your wedding photos. No matter how good your wedding photographer is, it is physically impossible to get 40 formal shots of you and your extended family in 30 minutes after the wedding. Getting the majority of photos done before your wedding will free up so much time for you and your wedding party.

photo credit: walker studio artistic photography


  1. Actually being able to go to the limo after your ceremony for a true Send Off to the reception.
  2. Having more time to spend together with your wedding party between the ceremony and reception. These are the memories that you will remember and hold on to forever!!!
  3. Not keeping your guests waiting so long for your arrival. That can lower consumption of food and bar!
  4. In case of bad weather you have opened yourself up to having two possible choices for outdoor pictures!
  5. Depending on the timing of your day, you may be allowing yourself enough time to go to a second location (something fun) between the ceremony and reception to get some cool shots!
  6. Not feeling rushed, rushed, rushed!!!

confession time

When I got married, we did not see each other before the wedding, which was quite silly really. Our ceremony was outside on a beautiful golf course and our reception only a few feet away. We went with the tradition although I was totally peeking to get a glimpse of him. We had our guests wait while we finished up pictures after the ceremony. They all stayed outside and watched us, which made me feel uncomfortable because as the consummate hostess, I felt bad they had to wait. We also started losing some natural sunlight. If I had to do it over again, I would have met my husband and taken time to walk around the beautiful golf course to capture some awesome photo moments. Instead, I felt rushed and awkward after. You can see it on my face.

bottom line

It’s your decision which direction you want to go. Just whichever you choose, decide NOT to be rigid. Enjoy your day and embrace it. If your finance catches a glimpse of you rounding the corner, everything is going to be o-k-a-y. I had a client once ask me if we could hold up a sheet as she walked into the ceremony location so he wouldn’t see her until she turned the corner to walk down the aisle. Huh? Then I had another client who ran out to see her groom (she was in her wedding dress) to greet him when he arrived before the ceremony. It was spontaneous, lively, and full of love. Just what your wedding should be like. For pete’s sake people, plan your wedding….but LIVE on your wedding day!

featured photo credit: jesse and gena

Read part four of this series…


seeing each other before the wedding ceremony, part four

It’s Turkey Day….Happy Thanksgiving all. But we know that if you are about to get married, there are no days off thinking about your wedding. So we’ll continue with our series regarding the pro’s of seeing each before the wedding.

emotional benefits of seeing each other

Excitement and anxiousness are natural emotions to be expected on your wedding day. The cool thing about men and women is that they are the ying/yang to each other. I’ve had very anxious brides who once they have spent some time meeting with their respective grooms they are calmer and more relaxed. Still excited, but their anxiety level is lowered dramatically. It’s like you can visually see a weight lifted off their shoulders.

There’s also such a cool vibe between the bride and groom that is carried from the ceremony to the reception when they have met before the ceremony. The guests can feel the difference, the vendors can feel the difference and most importantly, the couple can feel the difference.

glaring contradiction of not seeing each other

I find it contradicting that on a day that should be about two people, they spend more than half the day trying to keep away from each other. In fact, family and friends go to great lengths in helping them not so much as even getting a glimpse of each other. After the ceremony, family and friends surround them for formal portraits and then it’s a rush to the reception. From there they are ushered in, eat and do more ceremonial events. Distractions come from guests and the next time that they are truly alone is back at the hotel room. Tired and worn out. Don’t you find that odd?

We’re gonna wrap this series up tomorrow by talking about the benefits of seeing each other from a logistic standpoint.

feature photo credit: jesse and gena

Read part three of this series…

Continue on to part five/finale of this series…

plan on!