Category: General tip

Diva Matters Ministry

engagement General tip Interviews with Wedding Professionals Real Weddings wedding coordination wedding planning

Diva Matters Ministry

We are excited to share with you another interview with a local wedding vendor in Portland, Oregon. Rev. Dee Richardson has kindly taken time to chat with us about her and the trends she is seeing with weddings. One of the most important people is the person who performs your ceremony. We have seen the trend of “friends” performing the service. This is a nice way to personalize it but it can also go wrong. I have seen so many weddings where the “friend” forgot what to say next, didn’t step out of the way for photos etc. Sometimes it’s better to hire experience, especially for one of the most important days of your life!

Rev. Dee head shots 2012-11-15 075What do you specialize in?

I specialize in personalized, heartfelt, meaningful ceremonies, and I work with ALL couples, in all kinds of places, for all kinds of weddings!! I am an Interfaith/Nondenominational Minister and perform many many weddings for couples who want ZERO religion or are not faith based at all. I match each couple exactly where they are and want to represent them in their entirety, whether that be religious, spiritual, or none of the above!!!

I like to make it fun and I take the stress out of the whole process, from writing up their own Vows, to experiencing the most wonderful day possible on their Wedding Day!! I make friends with many of my couples which continue on long after their wedding!!

How many years have you been in business?

I got my Ministerial License in November 2008 – 8 years ago. I have been performing Weddings ‘full-time’ since 2012 –  4 years.

How did you get started in the wedding industry?

I am a ‘People Person’ and my role at the church I was involved in for 7-8 years, was changing, so I got my own office separate from the church, and began seeing clients/couples soon thereafter. I attended as many networking events as I could find, to get my name out there and things began opening up. I have never stopped since!! I LOVE meeting each couple in my office, getting to know them and sharing in their joy!! I had no idea that Weddings would take over 75% of my business, and I love it! I also perform Funerals/Memorials, Baby Blessings, House Blessings, Spiritual Counseling and Pre-marital Counseling.

Any trends you are seeing within your field for 2016?

I am seeing a lot of couples who are having alternatives to having their ‘Dad’ walk them down the aisle.

Both parents, Two dads(step and bio), Brother…..many different combos!! Dogs in the ceremony too!

 What advice would you give a couple who is planning their wedding day?

~To remember that it is “THEIR” day, and try not to fall into the trap of pleasing everyone else. 

~AND>>the biggest thing, is to realize that the day will be over in a FLASH<<< and so not to get stressed out by getting TOO caught up in all the menusha and ENJOY the day to the fullest. All the planning you do is good, but something is bound to go wrong on the day-of…however, no one else will know but you…and usually it makes for good memories!!

Please visit her website for more information and ask her questions about officiating ceremonies.

Taylor Bagafory Seaside Wedding Jones (1223)_rev_dee_richardson (3) ERICA PHOTO LOGO of ZENITH VINEYARD METHVYN VINEYARD WEDDING- July 2015

Wedding Day Trends for 2016

General tip wedding planning

Wedding Day Trends for 2016


The reports are out. These are the things that couples want most or don’t want at their wedding. We made a fun infographic for you to pin to your board to keep on hand. It’s not a surprise to us that over 80% of couples want a smaller, more intimate wedding. The best place for your guests to meet and gather is still the good ol’ bar. Be sure to have some sort of station for a bar at your event, even if it’s outside it’s easy to set up a table with linens.

What to show your guests a fabulous time, the way you do that is with your venue. The venue  location and site sets the tone for the event. Then you are more than thrilled to decorate with silver, the top metallic color.

What about flowers? Roses are still near and dear to all our hearts with 50% of you loving the beautiful flowers. The classic all white bouquet is still in style and compliments all colors of gowns. Finally, to bring everyone together a long, family style table makes you happy.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, we have some exciting giveaways coming soon!


Sunday Interview. Red Letter Days

ceremony Featured Wedding Find A Vendor General tip Interviews with Wedding Professionals photography Portland Wedding Vendors Real Weddings wedding coordination

Sunday Interview. Red Letter Days

Welcome back to our relaxed and lazy Sunday Interview series. We talk to a professional wedding vendor each Sunday and share with you what they have to say. It’s a great way to learn more about them and get real advice. Grab your coffee or tea and enjoy!

Today we are pleased to interview Micaela of Red Letter Days, owner and photographer. Photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding day, beside the groom! Here is what Micaela had to say when we asked her some questions.

red letter day photography What do you specialize in? “Weddings & Portraits.”

How long have you been in business? “Since 2011.”

How did you get started in the wedding industry? “I knew right away when starting the business that weddings were going to be the main focus for me.  My passion for people and capturing their love and emotions just naturally pulled me in that direction.  Getting started, the most powerful tools were building good relationships with clients and a lot of networking.  Of course a lot of hard work to build that portfolio was important as well.”

Are there any trends you are seeing with your field for 2016? “When it comes to trends in photography, first looks and open air photo booths seem to be going strong in 2016, as well as first looks with dad.  Hiring a videographer is becoming more popular and something I absolutely love to see. It makes me so happy to see couples investing in professionals to preserve their memories.”

What advice would you give a couple who is just planning their wedding day? 

 1- Invest in the things that matter the most to you.  Weddings can be overwhelming, and they cost a pretty penny.  Prioritize your budget and hire professionals to help you see it through.
  2- Hire a coordinator. You may be the best wedding planner on the planet, but on your wedding day, you need someone to steer the ship.  That someone can’t be you, it shouldn’t be your mom, or even your friend. You want your loved ones to be able to enjoy the day with you.  Having someone directing the day will allow for every aspect to flow better and allow your vendors to better do their jobs. Stress free is always the best way to go!
  3- Enjoy your day.  Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you forget to let the moments sink in. Remember, you’re celebrating one of the happiest stages of your life.  Cheers!

Thanks again for taking the time to share with us and our readers. Head over to her website, Red Letter Days to find out more about her and see more work!

red letter days wedding photography red letter days wedding photography red letter days wedding photography red letter days wedding photography red letter days wedding photography red letter days wedding photography


Why You Should Choose a Professional Wedding Photographer

ceremony General tip photography reception wedding coordination

Why You Should Choose a Professional Wedding Photographer

why you should choose a pro wedding photographer

Getting married is one of the biggest occasions in our lives, apart from having kids, so it is important when recording the event for prosperity, to use the services of a professional photographer. You will find many different websites offering professional wedding photography, so how do you know which company to use? The first place to start before making a decision will be to find some photographers and get in contact with them.

Making a Shortlist

There are many different companies offering specialist wedding photography in Melbourne, so you will want to try and talk to photographers that are local to where your wedding is being held. You can contact them initially via email, and get a rough idea of the cost involved. Then you can make a shortlist of three or four that you are interested in, and make an appointment to meet them and discuss the details of your special day.

Asking the Correct Questions

When you get to meet the potential photographers, you will want to ask them some questions that will help in making your decision:

  • Have they photographed a wedding at the same venue?
  • Ask to see examples of their work, from the same location as your wedding if possible
  • Explain your requirements and then ask for his creative input for ideas for photos
  • Ask about presentation ideas for the photos to be recorded

Whatever you think is important you will need to ask them and gauge their response accordingly. Everybody has a different taste, especially when it comes to weddings, so you should choose a photographer that you have a rapport with, and they understand just what it is that you are looking for in your wedding photos. Whether you are looking for something more traditional and formal, or something quirky with a bit of an edge, when you find the right photographer and click, you will know.

As well as the taking the pictures, it is also important as to how they are going to be displayed. Take a look at Jacqueline and James wedding album design, to give you an idea of the finished product that a real professional can supply. As well as having excellent photos of your big day, it is also important to make sure that they are displayed in the best way possible.

why you should choose a prof wedding photographer

Ask about the Weather

You may be lucky to live in a climate where it’s almost guaranteed to have great weather at certain times of the year. However, the weather can be a funny thing, and it is important to ask all of the photographers that you speak with, what they would do in the event of bad weather on the day. Having an emergency plan ready is important when you are recording such an important event.

Make the Decision

You will also need to factor in the cost of the packages on offer. You will want to choose the photographer that puts you most at ease. It is not always good to go with the cheapest option to try and save a few bucks, and to pay that little bit extra can result in some stunning pictures. Now you have chosen a photographer, that is one less thing to prepare for your big day, and you can tick it off your list!

An Interview with Kim, Owner of Geranium Lake Flowers

Find A Vendor flowers General tip Interviews with Wedding Professionals wedding coordination wedding decoration

An Interview with Kim, Owner of Geranium Lake Flowers

I’m thrilled to announce a new blog series starting in 2016. I will be sharing interviews with professional wedding vendors and samples of their work. Many couples get engaged, get excited and just dive in to the planning of their event. This can often mean mistakes are made and having to back track. We don’t want you do that. Let’s work on getting it right the first time to save you money and stress. Over the course of the interview series you will learn about the business owner and they will give a piece of advice to help you. Everyone who is featured has been in business a minimum of three years. Grab your tea or coffee, sit back and let’s learn!

Today’s interview is with the talented Kim Foren, owner of Geranium Lake Flowers. Kim has been in the industry for many years and great start to our series!


1How long have you been in the wedding industry? “I’m on my 23rd year, and I’m still inspired.”

How did you get started in the wedding industry? “I have always loved helping people, and the magic of weddings. As a a painter, I learned to translate feelings and thoughts into images with oils and brushes, and theres nothing more magical than being able to listen to a bride or groom’s hope and dreams about their special day and help them translate that into the gorgeous language of flowers. It’s such a magical process!”

Do you have a favorite flower? “Lily of the Vally or Peonies. DO I have to pick just one? No fair!”

Are there any trends you are seeing for 2016 wedding season? “Deconstructed bouquets! I’m working on a lot of of floral structures like chandeliers and other interesting installations. My clients are loving a fresh floral backdrop for a “selfie” station.”

What advice would you give a couple who is planning their wedding day? “Find a floral designer you trust and who listens to what you want.”

Thanks again to Kim for taking time out of her busy day to chat with us. Find out more about her services and view more of her work by visiting Geranium Lake Flowers.

Hazelwood Photo

S&S - Love Lit Wedding Photography-19

Alex McKissack Photography

Dina Chmut Photography


Erica Anne Photography

Please note, these images can not be used without the photographers permission. You must contact them directly for usage rights.

5 Tips for Taking the Best Candid Wedding Photos

ceremony event sites General tip photography Real Weddings reception

5 Tips for Taking the Best Candid Wedding Photos

Some of the most wonderful wedding photographs to come out of a shoot are taken when the couple is looking completely natural and at ease just being themselves. To really capture the love and excitement that flows so freely at weddings, the best strategy is to aim for some excellent candid shots. Although these can be often be difficult moments to acquire on film, there are a number of handy tips that will help ensure your photographs will be high quality mementos of your special day.

Rather than old fashioned, posed portraits, good candid photography really captures the energy and emotion of the day and reflects the celebratory atmosphere and the mood of the guests. Portraits often take place away from the guests and can sometimes be missing the sense of spontaneity and overflowing joy a wedding can evoke. That is why Studio 4 Photography in Brisbane highly recommends planning ahead to get great candid shots.


Using a powerful telephoto lens is probably the ultimate method for capturing intimate candid photographs without having to come too close to the guests. The level of detail and intimacy a telephoto lens can zoom in on from a distance is incomparable.

sl-477 copy


Many couples like to distribute disposable cameras amongst the guests and have them take their own shots during the event. Although the quality of the images is far from ideal, the content and subjects of these candid photographs can really convey a sense of story and narrative that would otherwise be missed. Often with so much occurring at a wedding it is hard to record it all. Having multiple cameras and photographers doing their best to capture the flavour will yield some very memorable images.

sl-288 copy


Whenever possible, visit the venue or reception room and take note of the best areas to set up and catch the action as it unfolds. This also includes using certain angles to get access to the most flattering profiles and using doorways to be unobtrusively positioned. Nothing spoils candid photographs more than the subjects suddenly becoming aware they are being photographed and becoming camera shy. Be sure to stay on the move and roam with the camera but circle back to those predesignated choice vantage points as much as possible.

natchris-362 copy


While it may seem obvious, the photographer should be attentive to the sound of laughter and try and take shots where the fun and frivolity is flowing. One still needs to be discreet as if the guests notice they are being photographed they will often become self-conscious. A savvy photographer will know how to go into stealth mode and fade into the background.

It’s important when taking candid images to never direct or instruct the guests even if there is an obvious shot to be made as this is not what candid images are about. The knack every candid photographer needs to learn is how to blend in and not be noticed. Check out the amazing blog post here for some beautiful examples of candid wedding photographs.

sl-518 copy


In an instant those perfect moments can vanish forever so it is vital the photographer knows their equipment and can dial in the correct settings on the fly without fumbling. Capturing candid images is all about being at the ready without any distractions that would cause one to hesitate and miss the shot. Although there is the need to act quickly, that doesn’t mean rushing the process. Often a dozen well anticipated photographs taken with a methodical ease will trump one hundred rushed and haphazard images. Finding the right balance is crucial.

sl-203 copy

As always, the key to getting great candid photographs is preparation and forethought. Knowing what to anticipate, having a loose plan as well as the proper equipment will increase the odds of bringing home a successful photo shoot. There is nothing more satisfying for a wedding photographer than seeing a grateful couple gushing over how well their wedding photos turned out.

All images are copyright Alexis Arnold Photography and can not be used without permission.

A Bit of Sun Delivered To Your Door

Activities to Do Together Food & Drink food and drink General tip Just Because wedding coordination

A Bit of Sun Delivered To Your Door

I recently had a box filled with yumminess delivered to my door. Of course I have heard of all new make up boxes that get delivered directly to you. They seem very popular and a fun idea. I still like the idea of going to the make up counter to pick out items, call me ol’ fashioned!

When it comes to cooking meals at home I enjoy it, can do it, but often get stuck in a rut cooking the same things. I guess you could call them my “go-to’s” that I know taste good and are easy. Now that I have a toddler easy and quick are key words to anything I need to do. My Sun Basket box arrived and was packed nicely. Everything labeled and organized. Like someone went in your grocery store basket and said, “hey, let me help you organize and label your meals.” Umm yes please!



After unpacking and adding everything to the fridge I looked over the three meals and their recipe cards. I am a visual person and was happy to see a beautiful photo of what the final meal should look like. I decided the first meal I cooked to be the pasta dish with collards. I like the way the break down what to start prepping first and what to work on while something else is cooking. This is very helpful.



I have cooked two of the three meals and this one is my absolute favorite. The combination of simple flavors was so good, so good! I ate my whole plate! Seen below is the finished product.


I wasn’t sure if getting meals to cook in a box delivered to my door was going to deliver this high of quality of food but it did. Easy to cook, easy to understand and fresh and bright flavors. I really enjoyed these and I can see myself using a service like this more. Not having to think about what to cook for dinner is so nice. Sun Basket would be a great gift idea for a newlywed couple. How much fun for them to cook together. A great time to bond and be together.

Why not surprise your fiancé by ordering meals from Sun Basket and then cooking up a special dinner? They would think you became a culinary expert overnight!

My photos are all taken with my iPhone, so not the best quality. I was snapping away while I was cooking! Head over to Sun Basket to see truly lovely images of the food and learn more about what they offer! Right now I believe the delivery is limited to a few states, but I have a feeling that this will grow quickly!

Welcome to 2016! Advice to Start Your Wedding Planning

ceremony DIY wedding ideas engagement event sites General tip proposal Saving Money wedding coordination

Welcome to 2016! Advice to Start Your Wedding Planning

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 10.27.50 AM

It’s here. Another year. Another holiday season complete. We hope you had a nice and relaxing time with you family and friends. We know we ate a bit too many sweets but enjoyed the indulgence. If you received a small sparkly gift this holiday season, congrats on your engagement! It really is a magical time to be proposed to. So now what? Where do you start with the planning? Whatever you do, take a deep breath and slow down. Here is a list to get you started so you can avoid the stress!

  • Don’t let everyone start telling you what you should do. This happens quickly and can get out of control fast. Trust me. Just politely smile and say thank you for the ideas.
  • Get an idea of the date you want first but have two others on stand by. If you fall in love with a location and they don’t have your date you will want to be flexible.
  • More advice on picking a date. Make sure it doesn’t fall on dates that your guests would already be busy or out of town. These include Superbowl, Fourth of July, Memorial Weekend etc. Look at a calendar so you can see all the holidays.
  • Have a general budget in mind before you start looking at venues. Being able to afford $5000 is a lot different than $10,000.
  • Start looking at ceremony and reception venues when you have a few dates picked out. Again remember to be flexible if you fall in love with a site.
  • Take notes and photos of the ceremony site. If it’s outside when you visit it now is not how it will look when you get married.
  • How many people can the site hold? Love a small intimate restaurant but have a guest list of over 100? Then be realistic. Cutting out 60 guests from your list is painful, really, really painful and not worth it.
  • Referring to the previous post, get a general headcount of who you want to invite. This will really help determine what time of venue will work for you.
  • Have a note book dedicated to your ideas, photos, plans, budget. Things will change and should while you are figuring out the details. I can’t stress enough that you need to be flexible during the planning stages. Sometimes you just can’t fit a round peg into a square hole! Save yourself the stress and take it step by step.

This is a basic list to get your started. I know there are many books out there that detail what you should do. I have seen them, bought them and in my opinion they were overwhelming. They are a good source to refer to but it’s best to break up your planning into sections. The ones above are first. Don’t call anyone else until you have your date and venue booked! I used to get so many calls from folks who wanted to book my services but they didn’t have a  date. I can’t do anything with that. Photographers, caterers, florists etc need to know when and where you are getting married. Otherwise you are wasting their time. Happy planning and  be sure to head over to our vendor list when looking for fabulous wedding professionals.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 10.29.57 AM