After a FREAK winter storm this past weekend that brought some 26 inches of snow to areas near us and wreaked utter havoc on my newly planted garden, I am craving all things spring! Today marks the first official day and as I sit here in a sweater and thick socks, I can only daydream about the better days to come! If you are suffering from late winter blues, this bright summery wedding will likely cheer you up!
Melissa Dunstan Photography sent over this cheery wedding and it seems perfectly fitting for a cold day like today! I know Melissa is even colder than I am as she lives in the area that got the 26 inches of fresh powder. Melissa actually served as a bridesmaid in this wedding and the couple are dear friends of hers. Kristen, Melissa’s assistant, was the photographer behind the lens for this beautiful wedding. Melissa has a beautiful post on her blog about this couple and the friendship they all have. Head on over to read it in her words, anything I could say wouldn’t compare!
It just so happens to be the bride’s, Carrie, birthday today! Happy Birthday to you Carrie!
How are you spending the first day of Spring?
When I saw this wedding on A Low Country Wedding a few months ago, I thought it was super sweet and I loved that it took place in one of my absolute favorite places, Flagstaff. When it popped in my inbox a few days ago, I was excited to find out more about the day. The wedding was simple and took place in a backyard and it seems like those weddings always have the best stories behind them. It seems like often the couple wants to skip all the fuss and just have an intimate gathering their own way. Well this story, while not so much about the wedding itself, didn’t disappoint.
Michele of Michele Koechle Photography sent over this backyard wedding filled with DIY details and fun. The couple married in their own backyard, she is a lovely J.Crew frock and he in a dapper suit complete with a perfectly striped tie. One of my favorite things about being a wedding blogger is getting a glimpse at such an intimate moment in people’s lives. I love the emotion, the love, but every once in awhile you read a great back story that makes you realize that fate is always in play. For more on that, I’ll let the bride take it away.
So to get down to the knish. Tom and I met at work, I was his manager and let this be clear…we did not like each other. We had thought each other had an air of pompousness for different reasons. It wasn’t until after he had accepted an invite to rent a room at my best friend’s house that we really got to know each other. Then finally the day came that I (Carmen) fell in love. I had a few friends over. At the party I was sitting between my then love interest and Tom. I was experiencing this rubber band effect my mind was telling me that I wanted to be with this cute mohawk haired guy and my heart and soul had Tom in mind. The rubber band as I like to call it was pulling me towards Tom. The next day I asked Tom out. I have been mad in love ever since.
Our first “I love you” actually happened a few times. Around one month into our relationship Tom had become my ride to and from work most days and on the first occasion he let “I love you” slip. I was leaving his car to enter my home. Simply, like one might say to a loved one in whom one is familiar with this particulate phrase. Of course, at this time I was also in love but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I felt that he might have said it out of habit so I said nothing and acted “normal”. This happened the same way again and again I thought it might be a mistake so nothing. Then on the third time of this “habit” I said “did you just say I love you”? He looked at me just a bit sheepishly and said “aaah yeah I guess it was what I said”. I responded with “well do you?” In which he said “I do, do you?” At this time my heart was pumping like crazy I then replied with “I love you too”. We spent the rest of that day together in loving bliss.
We were engaged for 1 1/2 years and I was the one who asked Tom to marry me. Our wedding was planned in three months. We wanted to keep it simple, just like our relationship, and we only had a limited budget.
No backyard wedding is complete without a few fun games, am I right?
Thanks so much Michele for sharing!
Images submitted via Two Bright Lights.
I hope you are spending the weekend soaking up the sun! For those of you that have been without power since Irene, I sure hope that it is back on at this point and you can use running water again!! I was introduced to a wonderful organization last weekend and I wanted to take a bit of time to share it with you.
The Shadows Foundation knows that disease doesn’t discriminate. Whether you are rich, poor, black or white, disease can hit at any time. Being diagnosed with heart disease, cancer, or any other debilitating disease can do way more than ruin your health, it can have a devastating affect on your finances. People have lost their jobs, homes, cars, and everything else simply to try to pay for their medical bills. That is where the Shadows Foundation comes in to offer assistance whether it be to pay your utility bill or to help with medical costs. The foundation founders know that when disease strikes, you have enough to worry about and finances should not be one of them. The Shadows Foundation is relatively new and currently serves Northern Arizona however they have hopes to expand at some point.
Kyle and I were asked by Kim Duncan, if we would be willing to volunteer at their recent fund raising event. We made the trip up to Flagstaff and had an incredible evening. The first major fund raiser for the organization involved a celebrity golf tournament and dinner event. I snapped a few photos at the event to share with you.
That heart was made up of 200 light bulbs. Those attending the event had the opportunity to “buy” a light bulb for a donation of $50 in hopes of lighting up the entire heart. Within ten minutes, the entire heart was lit up and then some!
My favorite part of the evening involved the show by David Garibaldi. If you have never heard of him or seen his work, you will be absolutely amazed. The best part of all is that David has a major passion for giving back. Through his performances and art he has raised over $700,000 for various charities and will raise 1 million dollars by 2013. After he finished his paintings, he auctioned them off to raise money for the Shadows Foundation. Of course this is WAAAY more amazing live but here is a little preview of what he does, to music, in a matter of minutes.
Cue a Beatles Song…
Cue a Frank Sinatra song…
You can see a gallery of more of his work here.
Filed under Charity, Health
I am not good at keeping secrets and I have been dying to reveal the details of a certain event some of the vendors from our wedding are planning. I know I have said it a million times but I will say it again, our vendors were incredible and a recent decision on their part proves the point even further. A few months ago they told me they were considering making “The Charity Wedding” an annual event by turning it into a contest for planning couples. The very basic breakdown is that couples will plan fundraisers for charity and the most creative and best fund raisers will win, a wedding, valued at over $20,000. I am SO excited as I was starting to have wedding planning withdrawals and now I get to play a small role in helping another couples seamlessly blend matrimony with charity! All the details are being announced tonight at The Bridal Happy Hour in Flagstaff. The event is sponsored by Celebrations Studio and will include other partnered vendors. Tomorrow I will have a full list of rules and all the details couples need to know to enter!
In addition, the studio is still searching for vendors who want to be a part of this process! Contact Celebrations Studio for more information!
Vendor selection may be one of the most difficult and most important aspects of your wedding. They can literally make or break your big day. However, how do you choose from the sea of photographers, florists, and bakeries? In today’s world the majority of professionals have fancy websites which may be the first place you head on your search. Use caution though, anyone can pay a web designer to create a beautiful website and it may not reflect their work ethic or even their talent. I am so grateful to have the vendors that I have as I know I can trust them to handle all the details and create a wedding day just the way I have dreamed of. My wedding is unique in that many of my vendors came to me but it taught me a very important lesson that I thought was worth sharing. Vendors are more than just talent or price, they are people and their personalities have to blend with yours in order to have the most success come wedding day. To many vendors you will just be a number, the wedding on June 12th, to blend in with all the other weddings they have completed and those that are yet to occur. While this is not abnormal or necessarily negative, it could effect the final product. My best friend got married recently and had a great photographer. She was friendly, fun and seemingly professional. Yet when the wedding was over, contact all but vanished. Her mom for example sent her an email to tell her how much they enjoyed her and to thank her for being there on this huge family occasion, no reply. A few more emails were sent when they hadn’t heard from her just to get a time line on when they should expect pictures, no reply. Finally after 8 weeks, a final email was sent to which a replay came, “The contract said it would take a minimum of 8 weeks!” The photographer essentially abandoned the cordial ship when the wedding was finished. Sure, she probably has a ton of other clients and photos to edit and sure it probably did state in the contract that it would take 8 weeks. But any wedding professional should know, especially the photographer, that one of the things a bride looks forward to most are her pictures. She likely missed many of the details in the whirlwind of the day and wants to relive the celebration. Thus the reason many photographers create a website with a few teaser pictures to appease the bride during the time it takes to edit all the pictures they took that day. Would it have been a big deal to send a nice reply stating that editing is quite the process and as per the contract it would likely take about 8 weeks, she also enjoyed working with them, she has some amazing pictures she can’t wait to share and oh, maybe attach just one for fun! That simple email would have gone a long way.
My advice is to ask a lot of questions before you book a vendor. After all it is a job interview of sorts and you are the employer. While I don’t expect you to inquire about their marital status or how they spend their weekends, you may consider asking why they got into the wedding business or how long they have been doing weddings. You will get a better sense of their ethic and their personality in general if you spend a little time discussing details instead of just looking at their work or answering their questions. This is especially important with your photographer because you will have to interact with him or her. From their perspective, they will likely be able to catch better, more intimate shots of you if they know a little more about your personality. Most employers don’t hire anyone solely based off of a resume, they want to know more about your character and your demeanor so they will know if you can fit in with the rest of the team. The same should apply to wedding vendors. Don’t make decisions based on photo albums or displays, those are essentially their resumes, a first look. You need to know that your vendors will treat your wedding as if it is a big deal, will show up on time, will correct any problems that may arise and that will respond to any questions you may have in a timely manner.
What I know about my vendors is that in addition to being talented they are really good people. They dedicate a lot of their spare time to charity efforts and are always willing to lend a helping hand. I know they take weddings seriously and they know how important all the details are to the couple and their families. In fact they recently opened a studio to make wedding planning easier and less stressful for couples in northern Arizona. Here is an article that was recently published about Celebrations Studio. Planning a wedding that doubles as a charity event is definitely more time consuming but I have learned a lot more about wedding planning and had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people that I probably wouldn’t have if I was planning traditionally. What I am most grateful for is the amazing people I have working hard on my big day. I likely would have selected vendors via websites and brief conversations otherwise as I wouldn’t have known there was a better way. So I encourage all planning brides to spend some time finding out who your vendors are so you can relax and know they will take care of everything and you can do what you are supposed to be doing: enjoying it!
Filed under Animals, Charity
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Cindy Reeves last night at The Bridal Happy Hour. While I knew she was a photographer, I did not know that she is the brains behind 928 Brides. Cindy is a Prescott native who I imagine from her experience in the wedding industry, realized that it can often be difficult to plan weddings in Northern Arizona. There are a ton of amazing venues and vendors but they are often difficult to find. Thus she decided to create a website and printed guide to make it easier for us NorAz Brides to plan. Her guide is like a mini-bridal magazine tailored specifically for brides planning in the 928. You will find planning guides, vendors, helpful hints, interviews from real brides, and tons more packed into a 25 page booklet. You can even submit your own photos that just may be featured in the next issue. So if the wedding of your dreams includes Prescott, Sedona, or Flagstaff be sure to visit her website and pick up a copy of 928 Brides! Below are a few photos Cindy took.
Think bridal show, add cocktails, subtract overwhelming amounts of vendors, add the opportunity to actually talk to vendors and of course add in some tasty food. The combination in its most simplistic form results in The Bridal Happy Hour organized by the amazing Dana Micklos of Glamorous Occasions. The event will be held at Thornager’s on Kiltie Lane and is a must for planning northern Arizona brides. Events such as this are how wedding planning is supposed to be: fun, classy, and relaxing. You won’t leave with a 20lb bag filled with brochures, business cards, and other pointless material that you will trash as soon as you get home but you may leave with some actual information about vendors that you will want to use. Hey, you may even book some and check something off your list. Productivity and cocktails, can you think of a better combination? Here are the details:
- When: Wednesday, June 2nd
- Time: 6pm-8pm
- Cost: Brides are free and there is a small fee for Guests. Go HERE to register.
- Become a fan on Facebook and stay up to date on future events.
- What you don’t want to miss: Door prizes, outstanding specials, FREE appetizers and drink specials.
These aren’t just any vendors ladies, these are the best of the best. How do I know? Several of them will be a part of my big day. Their attention to detail, passion for their work, and commitment to you is unmatched. At the very least, it’s Wednesday night, what else do you have to do?
Grand Canyon Youth is an organization based in Flagstaff, Az whose mission is to “give youth (ages 12–19) an experiential education along the rivers and canyons of the Southwest in an effort to promote environmental awareness, community involvement, personal growth, and teamwork among people with diverse backgrounds.” The program offers youth three different trips including The Grand Canyon, San Juan and Gates of Lodore. Between hiking and whitewater rafting the youth participate in scientific projects that help the delicate ecosystem near the rivers. The program encourages youth to set, work for and achieve their goals. They believe time spent on the river can be life changing for youth as it gives them an opportunity to connect with others and learn more about themselves as individuals. The involvement of the youth begins well before the actual trip as they have to complete community service, an educational project and pay for part of the trip themselves in order to be eligible. The program is open to all youth aged 12-19 from anywhere in the country. This adds to the charm of the trip as the participants get an opportunity to meet other peers with different cultures and backgrounds. The organization aims to keep costs down for the participants and offers scholarships to those who truly can not afford it. In a time where children are bombarded with television, internet and video games, this is a great opportunity to get them outdoors and doing something that can really benefit their future. The organization reports that many of their alumni go on to pursue careers that serve the environment or relate to other lessons learned on their trip. You can help make an impact in a child’s life by donating to the scholarship fund so that a child who can not afford the trip, has the ability to go. If you have a child that falls in this age group, this may be a wonderful opportunity for them to learn some real world skills, meet new people, and have an amazing time. To me it sounds like a vacation of a life time! In this day in age, anything the empowers youth is beneficial and I can’t think of a more fun way to do it.