Fur-Babies at The Wedding

You have a special four legged friend in your life…why not include them in your big day? Maybe you and your signif adopted that pet together and they are your family. If you can’t picture tying the knot without their presence to witness it all, DO IT. Just make sure to follow some tips and tricks down below to incorporate them smoothly and successfully.

  1. Make sure your venue is pet-friendly. This. Is. Huge. Don’t expect to just show up on the day-of with Fido dressed in his best suit and tie and expect it to be ok. Not all venues accept pets! Make sure your planner discusses it with your venue and makes sure that it isn’t only accepted, but planned for.

  2. Hire or designate a handler. There are services out there for this! Hire them. If you have a friend who is genuinely willing to assign themselves to pet sitting during the ceremony, that can also be an option. Just make sure they want to and aren’t doing it out of obligation. If they are attending your wedding, it’s to celebrate your marriage and they have to understand they might miss out on some big wedding moments if they are caring for your pet. Make sure they know what they are signing up for and excited to do it.

  3. As well behaved as your sweet baby might be, weddings are a brand new space for them full of a ton of different faces and generally loud. You don’t want your pet to be nervous or stressed out. Include them in your ceremony and photos, but I encourage you to keep them out of your reception. You don’t want them to be overwhelmed because when you love them so much, this will ultimately overwhelm you too. Have them in those precious moments and then let them go relax back home in their comfortable environment.

  4. Everyone loves to see your furry child walk down the aisle with your rings, a cute sign, or accompanying the flower girls. Make sure you get them groomed and accessorized properly! Consider a cute bow, floral leash, or even a wedding outfit! Whatever it is, let it represent your fam!

  5. Rehearse. Treats. Repeat. Make sure you walk them through their day-of duties. Take the time to train them well beforehand to make sure they can perform whatever role you’ve given them.

  6. Be considerate of your bridal party. Make sure the important humans of your day know your plans to include your pet. Some may be allergic and you have to give them the time to plan accordingly or this might make your forego bringing your pet all together.

  7. If wedding day is just impossible to include them in but it’s still important to you, incorporate your baby in alternative ways. Include them on your Save The Date cards, capture them in photos with you during your engagement session, or have them on your cake topper.

    Lastly, just remember this day is yours. Let it represent you. If that means bringing along the hairiest members of the household, do it. Just make sure you are being respectful of your pet, your guests, and yourselves. Let it only add to your wedding day.

photos by Rebecca Welcher <3 Click on the first photos to scroll

photos by Rebecca Welcher <3 Click on the first photos to scroll

PHOTOs by Sarandpity photography &lt;3

PHOTOs by Sarandpity photography <3

Fairytale Firsts

It was my favorite lady…my sister’s big day. How appropriate for the wedding that made me fall even more madly in love with my career to have belonged to my best friend of all time. I put 300+ hours into this wedding day and let me tell you,,,every stressful, wonderful, intense, amazing moment was worth it. It was an honor for me.

She and her hubby Markus got engaged at the end of May of 2012 just months after having their first baby. They were planning their first ever vacation together for September…so they thought…”Let’s get married right before and make that trip our honeymoon.” It was a whirlwind of life moments for them and we had to get it right. This meant we planned a 220 person wedding in just 3 short months. Oh. My. Goodness. Did I mention we also had a $12k budget? We killed it. I’m telling you, this wedding would not have been possible without the best and most loving friends and family team on the planet. Every person involved played such a big role that it was almost like we all had a piece of their wedding day. It beautifully in-part belonged to all of us as we made it completely theirs.

I still get compliments to this day about their wedding and I’m convinced it has nothing to do with my planning and coordination, but on the outpouring of love that drenched September 15, 2012. Everyone came together to create this fairytale wedding in the backyard of our childhood home. We brought in every table, chair, fork, lantern, tent…everything. When you’re not set-up to be a wedding venue, you don’t realize all the details you have to think of (so please…do NOT do it without a planner). Every detail was covered from a homemade photo booth, sweets and treats bar, bug spray, kid’s tent stocked with snacks and activities, and enough globe lanterns that you’d think you were in the movie Tangled.

I don’t recommend this type of wedding to any bride unless you have a planner on your team that has done it before. I had done many many events by this point, but it was still a lot of stress to be both her maid of honor AND her full package wedding planner. It was amazing but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will miss major details that can jeopardize the day. If you do this with a planner it will be memorable for the bride to wake up and slip into her dress in the same bedroom she grew up. To say I Do’s under the trees that she played in as a little girl. To dance her daddy-daughter dance on the very deck where she and her family had countless barbecues and late night hangouts. And finally to sparkler exit surrounded by family and friends down the driveway of her childhood home. It was magical and memorable. She looked like a princess in her off the shoulder dress and floral headpiece. She was a dream. It was a fairytale. Every detail was perfect.


Burgundy and Brandy Photo Shoot

 On a chilly day in January, I brought together a rockstar cast of 18 vendors to create a burgundy wedding styled shoot with furs, winter florals, and of course...a spiked hot chocolate bar...because honestly, how can you not???

Read on to see the amazing work that these vendors put in and the photos that fabulous Sara of Sarandipity Photography captured for the first shoot of the year!

Even on a rainy and chilly winter day, Brandy Hill Farm was warm, cozy, and everything we dreamed of! Sometimes it rains on a wedding day...but we NEVER let that ruin the day and we didn't let it ruin our shoot!

We were lucky to not only have a perfect couple with a ton of chemistry for this shoot, we also had the beautiful Erika N. to do some bridal shots. She is stunning and a blast to work with! Juli from The Garter Girl designed that delicate little burgundy garter and the classic elegant ivory one specially for our two brides. Erika rocked the Lambkin Sweetheart robe from Plum Pretty Sugar while she got ready!

These gowns are from Brides by Demetrios. The dress on the left boasted a sexy plunging neckline with intricate shimmering designs. The dress on the right had tulle and beading for days with the long sleeves making it a perfect winter choice.

We helped Erika and Gracie into their gowns. Their hair was styled perfectly by Casey Hargrove of Hair Studio at 3 West. Their makeup was beautifully applied by Sara Dodson of Vanity Affair Weddings. I mean, are they dreamy brides or what?!? Casey and Sara were an amazing team together. 

Our groom Samir wore a handsome dark grey suit from The Black Tux. They send out everything a groom needs for the big day including socks, shoes, the tie, and cufflinks. The boutonniere matched our bride's winter bouquet from Twinbrook Floral Design. Here Samir waits for beautiful bride Gracie to get dressed and ready for the first look.

Everyone on my team got teary-eyed watching these two have a first look. I don't think Samir and Gracie were even prepared for all the feels! Their boutonniere and bouquet matched perfectly and those Brandy Hill lights in the background were magical!

Aren't they stunning together?

This beauty...! Sara made the models feel so comfortable and captured the very best moments!

Morie of Jes Frank Events designed the floral arrangements to drape over the dark brown Chiavari chairs from Brooke's Rental Center. The warm-lit lanterns and tableware were rented from my new friend Joy at the best bridal thrift store EVER Bride and Joy in Culpeper!

Sandy from Noted Occasions made the perfectly fitting invitation suite and Hot Chocolate Bar sign! We couldn't do a winter wedding without a hot chocolate bar...especially one that gives you the option to spike with delicious cordials. We took Sandy's escort cards to the talented Nika at Caligraphette & Co so she could write each vendor's name as our place cards.

Hailey Fleming of Whisked Away baked our favors; red velvet, vanilla bean, and strawberry shortcake macarons tied with burgundy bows. Kristina B., owner of Cupcaked Bakery made this chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream. Noted Occasions also created this menu to let our guests know what Purple Onion Catering would be serving on the dinner menu.

This shoot was a party. We had champagne (no one told us not to drink on the job!), a gorgeous venue, and an incredible group of people working together. My JFE squad specifically was more than I could ever ask for, as always. I was beyond thankful for my main lady Nani for running all the little errands that morning including bringing lunch for the team. Bruce (the muscles), who did all the heavy lifting. Morie who does my business's florals. My models who went above and beyond their model duties to help with setup and cleanup. My vendors who were creative and generous with their time and talents. And last but not least, my friend and photographer Sara who captured the details that we'd dreamed up for months.

Stay tuned for the next shoot!