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Wedding Planning

How to Plan an Elopement Wedding

You need an elopement checklist. Here’s the thing with elopements – people usually elope and get married quick(ly)(er) specifically because they don’t want to deal with actually planning a WEDDING. So when you ‘plan’ your elopement – you generally want things to be as simple as possible.

Wait. No. You want things to be SIMPLER THAN POSSIBLE. (At least that sounds cool right?…)

elopement checklist and planning

How to Plan an Elopement Wedding (with an elopement checklist)

Okay! So you don’t really want to PLAN plan your elopement – but you want a few things to actually happen and generally not have it be some kind of sh*tshow right? Yes. Right. Probably. I hope so.

SO first – what do you need for your elopement?

  • Rings! – it’s nice to still exchange wedding bands/rings – so have some and bring them to your ceremony
  • Vows – even if you’ve chosen a super simple courthouse wedding, it’s nice to be able to say a few words of your own to the person you’re promising all your love.
  • Photographer – Amazing photographers are super easy to find now – and there are millions of them. Literally, millions. And TBH you can always find one that will work with your budget and still do a great job. Especially if you’re eloping on a weekday. Seriously – email your favorite wedding photographer and see if they’d be interested in photographing your ceremony, some family formals, and a short portrait session of the two of you – and they’ll give you their fee – which should be considerably less than their full day wedding package. (So you’l want to ask for 3 hours of coverage tops, and during a weekday.)
  • Hair & Makeup – hey you still want to look GREAT
  • Outfit! – See above – you still want to look GREAT – and your photographer will appreciate it!
  • Travel Plans – now that you’re saving a ton by not paying to feed and entertain 150 people – you can spend that money on a great TRIP. So get that wedding ceremony out of the way and plan a great honeymoon – or just get married ON that trip.
  • Flowers! If you want flowers – just go buy flowers. Seriously. I know you were already going to do that anyway. Grocery store or actual florist shop – just go buy a bundle of flowers you like, wrap the stems in some ribbon and pins and DONE. (but don’t tell any florists I said this.)
  • A plan to party with everyone later… – oh yeah – so tell people that you’re eloping right now but you plan on having a BIG actual party with everyone later. That’ll make most people feel better (because you know, what they think about YOUR wedding is Soooooooo important…) and then you’re actually off the hook for the most part. I mean… you don’t actually need to have that big party 6 months down the line. You’ll have been married for 6+ months at that point and you’ll have other things to spend money on/do than feeding and getting 150 people drunk. Or not. Whatevs. It’s cool.

elopement checklist and planning

And there you go! A perfectly sensible elopement checklist. How to plan-ish your elopement! Done. Now go do everything else.

Need help with your wedding schedule timeline? Try this.

Want more help? Try our friends at APW.

Or contact us for your wedding.

 

Best Wedding Songs to Dance to | 2018

The amazing team at A Practical Wedding just published their list of the best wedding songs to dance to in 2018 – and it’s ridiculously good. Covering a range of speeds from slow to fast to party to chill and then back around again – you’re bound to find at least 1 or 10 good songs to play at your own wedding? Need a first dance song? Could you ever go wrong with Ed Sheeran and Beyonce singing a duet?!
wedding songs and a bride dances

Best Wedding Songs to Dance to

Or what about a rocking, toe tapping party starter? Brian Fallon’s got you covered with his song If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven. It’s GOOD. So Good.
There are of course a couple of wedding regulars in there  with Bruno Mars and his 24K magic, James Arthur with Say You Won’t Go, but the new stand outs include Rewrite the Stars from the Greatest Showman soundtrack, and There Are Many Ways to Say I Love by Sylvan Esso. SYLVAN ESSO GUYSSsssssssss.

The team at APW have been really putting together some impressive wedding song playlist lately – did you see this one for wedding exits? BRILLIANT. It’s like they know what people need for their wedding and they just GIVE IT TO US.

Check out the list of songs down below:

  1. Die With You – Beyoncé
  2. If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven – Brian Fallon
  3. Perfect Duet – Ed Sheeran & Beyoncé
  4. You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me – John Mayer
  5. Sweet Creature – Harry Styles
  6. Chained to the Rhythm – Katy Perry
  7. There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You – Sylvan Esso
  8. Rewrite the Stars – Zac Efron, Zendaya
  9. So Good – Zara Larsson
  10. Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
  11. Havana (remix) – Camila Cabello
  12. Unforgettable – French Montana
  13. I’m the One – DJ Khaled, Justin Beiber
  14. Despacito (remix) – Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee
  15. Anywhere – Rita Ora
  16. Him & I (with Halsey) – G-Easy
  17. Wild Thoughts – DJ Khaled, Rihanna, Bryson Tiller
  18. All Night – The Vamps, Matoma
  19. What Lovers Do (feat. SZA) – Maroon 5
  20. Feels Great – Cheat Codes, Fetty Wap, CVBZ

Check out the FULL List over at A Practical Wedding!
wedding songs and a couple exits
Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

The Number One Tip to Personalizing Your Wedding

Atlanta Wedding Photographer, Monday Night Brewing, LeahAndMark & Co.

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

I know. If you’re reading this then you probably know how I write and I probably know that some of you just wanna say F*ck all the wedding decorations! No one remembers the chairs/ the flowers/ the centerpieces! I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about everything else and that.

When you start thinking about what it means to personalize your wedding – most people think about how they’re going to decorate their reception. Or make their wedding cake special and specific to them. Or what colors they should use. Or the food. Going down the list of things and seeing how they can make it more “personal”. Whatever that means.

Atlanta New Year's Eve Wedding | NYE 2017 | Wimbish House

What does it mean to personalize your wedding? Does it mean going through a catalog of things, or collection of Pinterest boards and finding the items that could mean something about the two of you? Finding the items that somehow randomly relate to what you and your partner are?

You really want to personalize your wedding? Tell your story. Share your story with all of your guests.

That’s where you begin. That’s the core of how you go about personalizing your wedding. You can pick things, colors, and decorations you like – but you should also find different ways to show your guests aspects of your relationship with each other. Your history together. Meaningful items that show where you come from, or tell how you came together – and that show your lives and adventures together up to this point. Your wedding isn’t just a celebration of this one ceremony, or day. It’s a celebration of the time you’ve spent together, the time you will spend together – and your love.

This might require some extra work that you hadn’t thought about (I’m sorry – but it’s true). You may have to sit down together and actually write out the story of YOU (you both) and go over your history together. Right from when you met, to when you broke up that first time (or 2nd, or 3rd time) to when you supported each other through the really difficult moments. And all of your successes along the way that led you to this point. Let’s be clear – beyond all the cheese and annoying wedding industry marketing – you’re making history. Your wedding is a historical moment in your lives.

No matter how cynical I might be at times – I realize how special weddings are – and I’m reminded of their importance during every. single. ceremony. Getting married is an amazing thing – the culmination of a relationship up to this point in life – and at the same time just a marker on the way to greater things. Another event to add to the story of you two.

How do you personalize your wedding? Find ways to share your story with your guests.

(and make sure your photographer takes photos of EVERYTHING.)

 

Wedding Day Schedule Driving You Crazy?

Creating a Wedding Day Timeline isn’t nearly as difficult or challenging as people think it might be.

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

Whether you’re having a large wedding or a small wedding – a lot of the same stuff will happen. You get dressed, you have a ceremony, you have a party – and the entire time you have a photographer following you around and even directing you sometimes for your amazing wedding photos.

If this is your first wedding (insert some kind of joke here) – then you might not know how a regular wedding day goes down. Well that’s why we’re here! To help you out with that! Below is a regular, traditional, awesome wedding day schedule and timeline. This example is partly from your photographer’s point of view and covers an 8 hour timespan. During your planning, START with this wedding day timeline and then MAKE IT YOUR OWN. Seriously – jack this thing up. Twist it around, turn it inside out – it doesn’t matter – it’s YOUR WEDDING RIGHT?

Just don’t touch the allotments for photography… just kidding… no really… don’t touch them.

SAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE (8 hours of coverage)

1:00 PM                YOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS ARRIVE & BEGIN MAKING AMAZING PHOTOS

Your wedding photographers will photograph details such as the dress, shoes, jewelry, bouquet, and of course cover all of your preparation process such as getting your hair & makeup completed, and having a great and relaxing time with your bridesmaids as they get ready as well.

2:00                        BRIDE GETS DRESSED

Now is the time to finish getting ready. Don’t worry, your photographer doesn’t have to photograph EVERY part of putting on the dress. What we like to tell brides is “We’ll be right around the corner. Go ahead and put your dress on, but the moment you feel comfortable and covered enough – but not finished – let us know and we’ll come in and start photographing.” What is comfortable is different for everyone, some people are VERY comfortable and others want to be more covered. We leave it up to the bride to decide.

3:00                        GROOM MAKES FINAL PREPARATIONS

It’s at this point that we’ll move over to the groom’s side of things. Since we generally don’t need or want photos of the groom and his groomsmen literally putting their pants on, we’ll arrive when they’re nearly finished getting dressed and just start photographing everything – quickly. Same as the brides side, we’ll capture all of the details and then also group photos of all of the groomsmen.

3:30                        FIRST LOOK (and then bride & groom portraits)

You won’t have to worry about planning this at all. We’ll find the location, set the groom up in position, and then bring the bride in to surprise him. We kick everyone out of the area so it’s a private moment between the two of you and your photographers

4:00                        WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

After your first look and portrait session, we’ll bring in your wedding party to complete all of the wedding party photos with the two of you.

4:30                        HIDE THE BRIDE & GROOM

Of course – the groom doesn’t always stay hidden and often times will walk around greeting guests – but generally this is the time for the entire wedding party to relax, get a drink, or cool off/warm up if the weather’s being crazy. Your photographers will take this time to finish photographing the ceremony site and ceremony details. They may also sneak in and photograph the reception space if it’s ready as well.

5:00                        CEREMONY

This is where you get married!

5:30                        FORMAL FAMILY PHOTOS & COCKTAIL HOUR BEGINS

We RUN the family formal session like we’re on a crazy mission to get them finished in record time. We do this EVERY TIME too. Literally. I don’t care if you have 100 people or 10 people for the family photos – we will GET. THEM.DONE. and then you can still get to the last part of your cocktail hour. We want you to be able to spend as much time with your guests – this is about you and not us stealing you away just for our amazing photos (well, it’s not ONLY about that)

6:00                        PHOTOGRAPHERS PHOTOGRAPH RECEPTION SPACE (before guests enter!)

6:30                        RECEPTION BEGINS!

6:45                        GRAND ENTRANCE ANNOUNCEMENTS & First Dance

7:00                        DINNER IS SERVED

7:30                        SPEECHES & TOASTS

7:45                        SPECIAL DANCES (Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, etc.)

8:00                       OPEN DANCING

8:15                        CAKE CUTTING

8:30                        BOUQUET TOSS

9:00                        PHOTOGRAPHERS CONCLUDE THEIR COVERAGE

Wedding Day Timeline | Couple in the Mountains

Of course this is just a sample wedding day timeline – but it should give you a good idea of how your wedding day can be scheduled – and you can see how all of that time just literally disappears. Sure – when your photographer tells you that their base package starts at 8 hours of coverage you think to yourself 8 hours is plenty of time! But when you actually write it all down from start to finish – 8 hours of photography coverage can seem like just enoughor not enough to cover everything.

Sample Wedding Day Timeline 

Something to note – your reception can happen ANY WAY YOU WANT. Sure there needs to be some sort of ‘dinner’ portion for your guests – but other than that – the order is UP TO YOU. You can do all of the things DURING DINNER if you’d like (special dances, toasts, etc.) or you can space them out as the reception moves along. You can skip them. You can have a 30 minute hora dance spectacular if you’d like (totally had that happen – and it was AMAZING.)

Questions? Ask us. Need more help? Check out our good friends at A Practical Wedding.

 

So when you’re making and creating your wedding day timeline – just think about how awesome and beautiful and easily your day will flow!

M & J | Cator Woolford Gardens | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding photos and this is M. & J. They’re awesome. And I’m not just saying that because duh they paid a ridiculous amount of money for us to photograph their wedding so what else would I say about them? I’m saying they’re awesome because notably – they smiled SO MUCH DURING THEIR WEDDING DAY. Some people are nervous or anxious or just… fine – and really – one of the things we say about weddings is that it’s definitely a day when you shouldn’t hold back. Don’t Hold Back. F*ck being cool and really just… let yourself Love Out Loud.

Some people have infectious smiles and laughs and happiness – M & J are those people (at least they were those people during their engagement session and definitely during their wedding.) And honestly – infectiously happy people are some of my favorite kinds to photograph. Duh. Sure I write words and talk like some kind of cynical fucker full of fuckery but come on – I photograph weddings for a living. Deep down… ah nevermind – check out these photos! And all the GREEEEEEN.

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding 

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

SEEEEeee. Right from the start when we arrived – M. was totally totally being amazing and happy infectious and I knew the day was going to be all kinds of YESSSSSSSsssss.

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Alright – now I know you can’t see much of the house from these photos – but M. & J.’s house is purposefully decorated and the design throughout is… I LOVE IT MAN. Shut up. I can say that. Because I’ve been in their house and you probably haven’t so you didn’t get to see all the cool stuff they have – without it feeling cluttered and without it all coming from IKEA. Like my house. But I’m working on it okay? I am.

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Here’s the thing about first looks – sure they help things out logistically (since you can cut out 30+ minutes between your ceremony and reception) – but they’re a completely different type of session than only a portrait session. I know it seems like a little small thing – but the anticipation, the setup, and the angles that you get because of a first look can’t be recreated well from only a portrait session that takes place after the ceremony. Not always better – just always different.

But also – I’ve photographed several Cator Woolford Gardens wedding (s) but damn – the gardens were on point and impressive that day. The cloud cover with no chance of rain really helped as well. AND IT WASN’T HOT. Perfect? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

OH YEAH. And we got to work with a couple of our FRIENDS at this wedding – the always excellent and amazing sounding Luna Strings and the most magnificent Reverand Deanna Lancaster! It was seriously like a wedding vender get together – and it’s always fun to see your friends ‘at work’ right? Especially when they don’t suck. HA. Although I’m not so sure they would say the same about me – but it’s all good.

But now – with these last few words – I hit the 500 word count. So.

M. & J. You. Are. Awesome.

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding ; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding | Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

 

Wedding Venue: Cator Woolford Gardens at the Frazier Center

Wedding Photographer: LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Planner: Terri – Everything and More Events 

Ceremony Music: Luna Strings

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Need help planning and ideas? Check out this book by our friend Meg.

 

How to Plan a Wedding Ceremony (the Easy Way)

Wedding Ceremony Planning can be easy and here’s the best way to go about doing that. Okay well – this is ONE way to plan a wedding ceremony. Even though all you really know is that you’re just trying to go from – “Hi” to “Do you wanna be married to this person” – literally – everything else in between is either fluff, or simply… an expression of how much you love the other person. 

Wedding Ceremony in the park

So – the super short version is just this:

“Hi”

“I Love You Forever and Ever.”

“I want to be married to you.”

You literally could say that to each other and be literally done. 

Of course – you won’t do that because dammit – your photographer (hopefully) requests that you take longer than 1.4 minutes on your ceremony. Okay? A little longer? Ha.

Wedding Ceremony Planning | A bride and her squad

Wedding Ceremony Planning:

  1. Processional (who and in what order do you want people walking to the altar/ceremony spot
  2. A greeting to your guests 
  3. Words about love in general
  4. Words about why you love the other person and your life
  5. Words from each of you, professing your love for the other person (vows)
  6. Exchanging of rings (if you want)
  7. Maybe a performance or reading by a friend/family member
  8. Other symbols/moments of unification (unity candle, knot tying, etc.)
  9. Kiss (if you want) 
  10. Walk down the aisle in TRIUMPH!

See? That’s it. I mean – that CAN be a lot – but it doesn’t have to be. What it should be (and even then I hate saying should) – is that it should be meaningful to the both of you. So. What do you want to say that would be meaningful. What do you want to happen in front of everyone, that either makes them feel included in your wedding ceremony and/or also presents the shift in your relationship from not married people, to married people.

I don’t mean that in some kind of obvious, or cliche, or cheesy way either. It’s not the major things that always make you feel ‘married’ – it’s all of the LITTLE things that you won’t really know until you are married, or have been married for a while. (I’m trying my hardest to not say “You’ll see”.)

And if you’re desperate – just look online and find a few wedding ceremonies to pull from and modify them as needed. But try not to take other people’s sacred traditions and co-opt them for yourselves toooooo blatantly, or at least not offensively okay? Of course – in the end, it’s your wedding, your ceremony – and fuck all else. What? It’s TRUE! 

Wedding Ceremony Planning | Bride & Groom Photo

Wedding Ceremony Planning. Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co.

Check out this post from APW as well!

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Planning a Wedding on a Budget (5 Tips)

Best Atlanta Wedding Photographer Whitecrest Farm LeahAndMark

Wedding Budget Planning can be difficult or at the very least, challenging. Here are five tips that will help you cut out the bloat and make sure that you don’t spend money on things that don’t matter (to you!) – because you CAN spend things that don’t matter, as long as they matter to you. I know – that sentence kind of walked around in circles but it’s true. And it’s not true. And it IS true!

Wedding Budget Planning

  1. Get control of your guest list
  2. Instead of gifts from friends, as for their help
  3. Pick a free-ish location for your ceremony
  4. Go cheap on the food, like cheap cheap
  5. Forget the flowers (well mostly forget them)

That’s the list – now let’s dig deeper and think through a few things.

Guest List. Reducing the number of guests is the easiest way to reduce the cost of your wedding. Think about it – less people means less food and less drinks – but even then, there are different levels of ‘less’. The space for 50 guests to be comfortable is much less than the space for 100 guests. And then the space for 20 guests can be much more manageable than spaces for 50 guests depending on the situation. Especially when it comes to weddings. Many venues aren’t really a good option for under 50 guests – so even if you’re only have 50 guests, you may end up paying for a empty space. Don’t do that. 

Honestly? Depending on where you are in life – you don’t need all of the STUFF. You may not need a house full of appliances that you got from your wedding registry. Or even if you do want all those things – maybe just tell some close friends and family that instead of a $50 gift, you’d much rather have them be a part of your wedding – and have them HELP YOU. (ha if you say ‘be a part of my wedding’ that definitely sounds nicer than ‘I need you to decorate and clean up’.)

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Location. Hey you know what? Honestly (again) – people get married EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE. Oh and they also get married WHENEVER they want to get married. Seriously. I’ve had people get married on Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Wednesday, and Thursday (and definitely, obviously – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, duh.) There are many not obvious places to have your wedding – and spots that don’t cost much money – just a little bit of luck and timing. Parks. I’m talking about parks. Many parks have a pretty lax policy when it comes to wedding ceremonies. All you have to do is stay under a certain person count and you can basically show up and have your wedding, no permission needed. Of course – it’s probably going to be on a first come first serve basis and you can’t be destructive/block things, etc. But still – FREE. That’s a great price.

Wedding Budget Planned High Museum of Art Atlanta, Wedding at Night

Food? Hey if you’re having your wedding in the middle of the day on a Wednesday – I don’t think your guests are thinking that you’re going to be buying them steak and lobster for dinner. Set expectations accordingly and you can serve (or not serve) anything to your guests and they’ll be fine. And if they’re not fine – fire those f*ckers! Just kidding… no, I’m not kidding.

Finally – flowers. Who needs them? I mean – sure grab some if they’re handy – but if you’re really going budget – flowers are not the place to splurge… Photography IS the place to splurge though 😉

Wedding Budget Planned Wedding Party

Wedding Budget Planning in 2018.

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Check out our friends at A Practical Wedding too!

The Social Goat Wedding Venue Weddings

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

We recently photographed a wedding at the Social Goat Bed & Breakfast and you know what? It was kind of amazing. No really – amazing. And comfortable. And relaxed. And exactly the way the couple wanted their wedding to be. What else is that I had no idea the Social Goat even existed until recently – and I literally lived just around the corner from it. It’s just south of Grant Park (and by just South I don’t mean like the next town south, I mean I think it still counts as being IN the Grant Park neighborhood.)

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

The Social Goat Atlanta Wedding Venue

Right. The Social Goat is a large house that serves as a bed & breakfast and also has a large ceremony space in the backyard. Perfect for a backyard wedding if you don’t have friends with decent backyards, or you don’t have one of your own. Cool huh? 

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

Atlanta Backyard Wedding Venues

And it’s just nestled in Grant Park and easy. Oh and plenty of room for you to get ready, and your wedding party to get ready, and your guests to have fun. Oh and not only that – but the grounds are well kept with a bit of quirk and uniqueness – so your photographer will have plenty to work with. And you’ll look amazing in your photos. Trust us. You will!

The Social Goat, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Grant Park, Small, Affordable, Bed & Breakfast

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

 

2017 Top 10 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the U.S.

First – this list is the MOST OFFICIAL of Official Lists EVER in regards to the Top 10 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the U.S. for this year of 2017. 

2017 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the U.S.

So. Here are the best cities and/or locations for destinations weddings in the United States? Easy. We got this. 

  • Atlanta, Georgia

    • Okay – I’m completely biased here. But really – Atlanta is a great destination wedding location! In fact – many, many, many of our past couples that have gotten married here in Atlanta – don’t actually live in Atlanta. Why? Because it’s a great central location – with an amazing airport that everyone can fly into very easily. Plus – the food is crazy good. The city is super, SUPER. And you have about a billion amazing wedding photographers within walking distance of any area of the city. Seriously. I should know – we compete with ALL OF THEM. And honestly – they really are ALL AMAZING. 
    • But more so – the night life here is great (not that I know) and the food amazing (have I said that already?) and well – the rates for everything here will save you a good bit over the wedding rates in places such as New York or Southern California (well, really ALL of California). 
    • Also – no matter what kind of wedding venue you want (farm, mansion, museum, industrial warehouse, etc.) – you can find that in or near Atlanta. Okay except a beach.
  • Sea Island, Georgia

    • Hey! You wanted a beach wedding? SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA is your place. 
    • Because Sea Island is basically a private island and you can only stay there if you’re at one of the two resorts, OR you happen to own a house there. So you’ll be avoiding all of the crowds of people that are visiting the nearby public beaches… alright that totally sounds bougie and elitist – but come on – it’s YOUR wedding. You’re not inviting EVERYONE anyway. 
    • Oh yeah – and from the chamber of commerce – tourquoise waters and pristine beaches – it’s like the Carribean except, not. And you can do all the cool beach resort things. 

  • Florida Keys, Florida

    • It’s still technically winter and I’m still absolutely wishing I was at the beach. SO. Another beach destination.
    • Because COME ON. It’s the FLORIDA KEYS. You KNOW it’s super cool down there. And your wedding will be super beautiful. And you don’t know anyone else that’s even had their wedding down there. You will literally be THE ONLY ONE you know who’s ever gotten married down in the Florida Keys.
  • Aspen, Colorado

    • Seriously. Pick a medium to small town in the mountains in Colorado and done.
    • So we picked Aspen. Because HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO COLORADO AND SEEN THOSE MOUNTAINS?
    • It’s F*cken AMAZING.
    • Now your wedding will automatically be F*cken Amazing just because of those mountains and all the mountain-y things 
    • People at the office will be bragging about how they got married at their Farm Barn and you can be like F*CK YOUR FARM. I got married at 8,000 feet. (or 13,000 if you get married at the top of a ski resort)

  • Las Vegas, Nevada

    • You know why you pick Las Vegas for your wedding destination? Because all you do is tell people when to show up and you’re done. 
    • Literally – pick a hotel/venue, buy their package where THEY DO EVERYTHING – and then you’re done. People won’t even be bugging you about what they should be doing because it’s Vegas and they won’t really want to see you until your wedding day anyway. UNLIKE other resort destination weddings where you basically have to babysit the whole group to make sure they feel welcome or some other BS. 
    • And if anyone asks you where you got married you can just say Aspen, Colorado.

  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    • I don’t know. I saw a photo and thought it would be a cool place. 
    • Maybe it’s too much like Aspen, Colorado.
    • Ah forget it – just get married in Aspen.
  • Coronado, California

    • I grew up there. (Silver Strands military housing yeah!) And it’s winter right now. I miss the beach. 
  • Wisconsin/Michigan

    • For us liberals that grew up on the coast – we would never, ever, think about having a wedding in Wisconsin or Michigan
    • But that’s too bad because it’s totally cool and beautiful there 
    • I know – Wisconsin and Michigan are two states and probably different from each other
    • But are they really? I don’t know – I’ve pretty much lived along the coastal states my whole life (except that part in Arizona – but even then everyone just escapes to San Diego whenever they can.)
    • So Wischigan. I’ve actually photographed 4 weddings there and one thing I can say is that THOSE PEOPLE ARE F*CKEN AWESOME. They love them their beer and I love them for loving their beer. 
  •  

  • Hawaii, Hawaii

    • Pick an island
  • PNW (Pacific Northwest)

    • If you like trees they have lots. Pick a state up there. Make some #LiveAuthentic #Kinfolk #GetOutside Instagram posts 
    • You can visit my cats that live with my sister in Portland, Oregon
    • There are a lot of waterfalls apparently
    • But no really – visit my cats in Portland.

2017 Top 10 Best Wedding Destination Locations in the U.S.

THE MOST ULTIMATE Wedding Planning Calendar Schedule and Timeline

If you’ve never cracked open a wedding planning book or guide – most of them are geared around a planning time frame of 1 year. For example – what should you be doing 12 months away from your wedding day? What about 9 months? Or 6 months? Or 2 months? Yeah. Stuff like that. But really – it’s like this. You start out thinking – great – a whole year. PLENTY OF TIME. Plenty. So much time I’m just going to throw away half of it and do nothing. And then all of a sudden 2 months away from your wedding you’re freaking out, vomiting tulle and champagne and wishing that you had at least glanced at what you were ‘supposed’ to be doing over the past 8 months. You can avoid all of that vomit. Well – at least some of it.

SO. Lets get to it right?

Atlanta; Macon; Georgia; Wedding; Timeline; Schedule; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.

Sample Wedding Planning Timeline – ONE YEAR

12+ Months

  • It’s all fun at this point – one of the first things you should do (if you haven’t already) – is start day dreaming (envisioning) what your wedding could look like. Simple things – think in broad strokes and ideas. Outside? In a church? 
  • Get your budget numbers sorted out.
  • Book your venues. All that envisioning and day dreaming you did up above? Start hunting down the reality version of those things. Find that perfect farm barn. Or that perfect industrial warehouse. Or that perfect… whatever…
  • Hire the wedding vendors (pros) that you MUST HAVE. Like if you need an amazing, ridiculously good and silly wedding photographer – hire them. ASAP. If you want a specific band to play your reception – book them NOW. YES – you can always find wedding vendors for your wedding – but if they’re GREAT – they might get booked by other people first.
  • Start searching for your wedding dress/wedding suit/wedding outfit

Atlanta; Macon; Georgia; Wedding; Timeline; Schedule; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.

9-11 Months

  • Order your save the dates (you can go through a designer and have them personally, custom made or you can order them thru templates online. 
  • Propose to your wedding party – I know – WTF “propose”. Basically – ask people if they would be in your wedding party. Sometimes it’s an honor, sometimes it’s a big fucken hassle. Whether it’s an honor or a hassle is largely dependent on you.
  • Create a wedding website. Because it’s 2017 and even hamsters celebrating their birthday have websites.
  • Book your photographer, florists, musicians, and any other vendors for your wedding.
  • Did I mention that you should book your photographer?
  • Order your wedding dress (or suit) and schedule fittings
  • Choose your bridesmaids dresses/bridesmaids suits – and get the groomsmen/persons suits in line as well (make sure people order them!)
  • Start registering (that means you’re supposed to go to 2 stores and ‘register’ – make a list of things people can buy for you as gifts for your wedding! – and totally put everything on there.)

6-8 Months

  • Plan out your ceremony – talk with your officiant and of course your partner – and plan out what all will go on during your ceremony.
  • Book your honeymoon trip! (cause that part is AWESOME)
  • Send those save-the-dates out to people!
  • Order your invitations and then also your thank-you notes
  • Find and hire a day-of coordinator for your wedding (or a wedding planner if you’ve gotten this far and you’re going CRAZY)
  • Schedule beauty trials (hair and makeup) – guys too if you want. 
  • Start planning out your rehearsal dinner. Where and who and when.

Atlanta; Macon; Georgia; Wedding; Timeline; Schedule; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.

4-5 Months

  • Confirm and/or finalize your floral design with your florist
  • Send out your wedding invitations
  • Go through all of your wedding contracts and refresh yourself on what you’ve hired people to do 
  • Complete and confirm your wedding cake or dessert order
  • Buy your wedding rings 
  • Setup and plan your transportation for your wedding day (often overlooked)

Example Wedding Planning Schedule and Timeline 

3 MONTHS!

  • Look up and Find out what the process is to acquire a local marriage license – local to the city/state/country where you will be getting married
  • Finalize your ceremony (what is actually happening during your ceremony) with your officiant

2 MONTHS!

  • This is when you mail your wedding invitations! (usually 6-8 weeks away). 
  • You’ll want to send out invites much earlier if you’re having a destination wedding or at least letting people that live FARRR away a bit more time to do some travel planning
  • Work on your wedding vows – write them – copy them – steal them – whatever. Work on them.
  • You’ll be having your first dress fitting around this time (oh and apparently you’re supposed to bring undergarments and shoes)
  • Get your reception food menu finalized with your caterer
  • Create a timeline for your wedding weekend (or at least the day before, and the DAY OF) – and then give/share that with your wedding party and other vendors (this is where having a planner can make EVERYTHING easier)

Atlanta; Macon; Georgia; Wedding; Timeline; Schedule; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.

1 MONTH!

  • If you have MUST-HAVE photos – make a list and send that over to your photographer (we actually have people do this at the two month mark – but we’re open to all suggestions from our couples at any times. Suggestions from uncles, cousins, and other people at your wedding?… we’ll humor them… and then tell them to go to the bar…)

1-2 WEEKS OMG

  • You should have a FINAL HEADCOUNT of guests – share that number with your caterer and planner
  • Complete and finish your dinner seating chart 
  • Go to your last dress fitting (YES!)
  • Designate specific people for specific task – give them JOBS. Because that’s what friends and family are for right?
  • Make sure all of your beauty appointments and planning is… planned and scheduled.

2-3 DAYS (WUT)

  • Steam your dress(es) and/or suit(s)!
  • Tell your Planner that they’re doing an amazing job
  • Tell your Photographer that they’re talented and amazing people (they’re artists so you know they have self esteem issues)

1 Day BEFORE! 

  • Give the marriage license to your officiant (or put someone else in charge of that – seriously)
  • Rehearse your ceremony with all the participants
  • Have dinner with your family and close friends!
  • Try to get some sleep okay?! YEssssssssssss. 

See? That’s all there is to it. One year OF YOUR LIFE. 

Also – Thanks.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Tioxon

 

How to have a completely stress free wedding

Weddings are bonkers. I’m not sure they were always this way – but today – they’re often just flat out crazy bonkers full of bonker balls and more bonker bonkers. (Say bonkers again! I dare you!)

SO. You want to have a stress-free wedding. Is that possible? I mean yes – of course it’s possible. But how do you do that? I googled it. And many of the tips consists of basically doing as much planning up front as possible. And/or paying someone else to take on the stress so you don’t have to stress – which means that you hired a great wedding planner to do everything for you. 

How to have a Stress-Free Wedding

That’s just transferring the stress. Unless you don’t have to stress out about money. Many of us do. We’re not supposed to because ‘money isn’t real’ – but it’s real enough to our tiny brains that it might as well be real. (I’ve been listening to too much Alan Watts lately so bear with me.)

Oh yeah. Back to it. How do you have a completely stress free wedding? IDK. Be dead. That’s about the only way to be completely stress free. (But even the dead don’t seem to be stress free sometimes – that’s why they’re like, haunting us or you know, hanging out around.) OH. Right. Focus. 

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

OKAY. The way to have a completely stress free wedding IS……. to just get married and then have your wedding later. (Like elopement style.) BOOM! Take that! Ha! NO seriously. It’s totally a viable option. What’s getting married anyway? I mean – ‘legally’ it’s some paperwork. Spiritually it’s two people being all I promise these things to you. Community-wise it’s people around you that celebrate your Union and LOVE… Arguably – it’s NOT most of what the wedding industry and magazines are selling. Unless you’re talking about amazing wedding photos. Those are ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED or else you’re just not really getting married. (I kidddddddddd. No I don’t.) (Yes I do.)

SO. You get married. And then you’re like – aw yeah f*ckers try to stress me out now! I’m already married! HA! 

Okay. Sure there are logistics – but much fewer than all the planning that goes into the BIG GIANT IDEA OF A WEDDING. And you might get some blowback from your family – but come on. It’s your life. 

IT’S YOUR LIFE. (Both of you.)

Simple Wedding Ideas With No Stress

And that means that other people will just deal. They will. And you know what. No one is going to kill you. They’ll still want to celebrate with you somehow – but they won’t kill you. 

But really. As I write this – I’m asking myself WTF AM I DOING. I basically have a job because people spend A LOT OF MONEY on WEDDINGS. There aren’t any real photographers that make an actually good living off of just ‘elopements’. (I know I know – sure there are. They’ll email me. But come on – we know they’re not making a living off of just elopements.) 

Maybe I’m just… I like you to have options. All of them. I want you to have all the options you want and not think that you have to go through with some kind of wedding that you don’t want. 

But if you don’t want amazing wedding photography – then you’re dead to me. DEAD TO ME.

Sincerely,

Mark Tioxon

 

Affordable Wedding Photography Atlanta

Atlanta Wedding Photographer, Monday Night Brewing, LeahAndMark & Co.

I know. You’re looking for an affordable wedding photographer in Atlanta. What IS affordable? Obviously – it varies. 

Now I’m not about to write an entire blog post about how you should pay photographers what they’re worth – because honestly – many photographers aren’t worth much. BOOM! SNAP! OH YEAH!

Affordable Wedding Photography Atlanta

Atlanta New Year's Eve Wedding | NYE 2017 | Wimbish House

And then there are some that are legitimately PRICELESS. In the best way. Because they’ll take care of you – and take care of things you’ll never see them doing. Whether it’s setting the pace of the day (because your planner does this a bit – but many planners are more hands off until the ceremony and reception) – or if it’s just making sure that people get the f*ck away from you. A great wedding photographer is really protective of their clients. And the energy of the room. Your energy. Especially on your wedding day. 

We know that you need to be in a good mood. You need to have great energy. WE NEED YOU to have great energy. It’s not required for us to do our jobs – but it helps. So we’ll protect you.

Of course if it’s your mom that’s just totally screwing everything up – well – you’re kind of on your own with that. ha!

Right. SO. Affordable Wedding Photography or Photographers in Atlanta. That’s totally us. Totally. I mean it. You can afford us. I don’t even have to put down a price because I know that you can afford us. Why? Because THIS IS MY JOB. And I like to work. You need a wedding photographer? ME. US. Let’s DO THIS. We’re never offended by a number – we’re only offended when people don’t ask nicely. You know what I mean? Like with anything – just ask nicely.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers

Flying Caballeros Ranch, San Luis Obispo, California, Wedding, Photographer, LeahAndMark, Atlanta Wedding Photographer,

That’s it. And if you’ve been asking other photographers and they respond with a f*cked up attitude – well – really – f*ck them. Because this is your wedding and they don’t get to be there. WHATEVS. 

Honestly – it’s 3:55am as I write this because I’m currently almost dead sick from a cold and I can’t sleep. So I’m blogging. Productive RIGHT?! I KNOW! Where was I?

Oh yeah. Affordable Wedding Photography Atlanta 

Atlanta Wedding Photographers, LeahAndMark, Trees Atlanta, Weddings, Black, Mexican, Multi racial, Multi Cultural

Don’t mind the odd phrasing – that’s all just for SEO points with Google because they said that was a highly searched term and we all want to bow down and do whatever Google says to do right? Right. SO. How about you? And your wedding? And Us. And your Wedding Photography? We’re affordable – and you’re looking for an affordable wedding photographer. That’s US! *raises hand! Now – while I’m at it. It’s weird to me that I ended up here – a Professional Wedding Photographer. Because never would I have thought that this would be what I’M MEANT TO BE DOING. Apparently, literally – this is what I’m meant to be doing. Trust me. I’ve tried to get a different job and somehow – THIS IS IT. So. It’s a good thing that I like making BAGS FULL OF AWESOME for our wedding clients! YEAH! Hi-FIVE! 

Anyways – drop us a line and let’s DO THIS THING! And hey. Thanks.

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