Browsing Category

Wedding

The Best Atlanta Wedding Venues (that I’ve photographed)

There are literally hundreds of wedding venues in the metro Atlanta area. Probably even more if you count all the venues that aren’t ‘wedding specific’ but could and can still provide more than amazing services for a wedding. While there are obviously some that are better than others – and some that are AMAZING – these are the absolute hands down best Atlanta Wedding Venues that I’ve photographed weddings, at. (I know – a poorly written sentence that ends with ‘at’.)

The Best Atlanta Wedding Venues

Oh I know! These are the best Atlanta Wedding Venues where I’ve photographed at least one wedding. (Aha, much better… not amazing, but it doesn’t end with the word ‘at’.)

So hey – let’s begin.

  • Summerour
  • Ambient + Studios
  • The Tent at Park Tavern
  • The Trolley Barn
  • The High Museum of Art
  • The Millennium Gate
  • Rhodes Hall
  • The Wimbish House
  • Monday Night Brewing
  • The Ventanas
  • The Georgian Terrace
  • Piedmont Room at Park Tavern
  • Greystone at Piedmont Park
  • Magnolia Hall at Piedmont Park
  • Callanwolde
  • Cator-Woolford Gardens
  • Swan House / Atlanta History Center
  • The Foundry at Puritan Mills
  • Kingplow
  • Old Fourth Ward Park
  • Somebody’s nice backyard
  • Paris on Ponce
  • Ponce City Market
  • Museum of Design Atlanta

I know – that’s a lot of wedding venues here in Atlanta. And in fact – there are easily so many more in the ‘Atlanta area’ that aren’t technically in the city boundaries – but this list – we’ll limit it to just Atlanta. BUT. If you need help narrowing it down – if you need help picking a specific kind of venue for a specific number of guests – drop me a line. We can help. Or at the very least – we can help you find someone who can help you. Right? Right.

The thing with a big city like Atlanta is that you pretty much have your pick as far as MANY different kinds of wedding venues to choose from. A church? An old warehouse? An old mansion? A beautiful park? A museum? Something more eclectic and interesting? (Paris on Ponce/Moulin Rouge)

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Obviously – prices will vary – but you can work around that. Pick a less popular date. Find one where you can bring your own alcohol (saves you LOTS of money) – or pick one that just takes care of EVERYTHING (saves you a lot of effort planning). Depending on how involved you want to be – or how uninvolved you find out you want to be – there is a venue and wedding team out there for you. Some venues literally take care of everything – and of course they have a list of recommended vendors to work with. 

Now if you’re looking for a wedding photographer… I might have one or two that I would recommend. 

But if you’re looking for a wedding venue – definitely start looking up the names up top. Those are literally some of the best in all Atlanta – and if you want any more advice or opinions about them – let me know. I’ll tell you exactly what I think and what to expect from them. I’ll admit though – none of them are ‘bad’ so don’t think that I’ll tell you anything negative. Besides – I didn’t put any bad wedding venues on that list (of course not!)

 

Best Atlanta Wedding Venues. Wedding Planning. Ideas. Tips. Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

How to Hire an Amateur Photographer for Your Wedding

Alright look – I know it’s kind of weird that I would write a blog post that tells you how you can hire an amateur photographer for your wedding. Weird because ummmm – I’m a professional wedding photographer and I should want you to hire me. 

But come on – if you were even considering hiring an amateur/hobbyist/weekend every now and then wedding photographer – then you probably weren’t really actually considering me anyway. SO. Let me help you. Okay? Okay.

Now – tbh (that means ‘to be honest’) an amateur wedding photographer needs all the help they can get. And don’t worry – I’m not going to spend ALL this time bashing amateurs. Maybe just some, and just a little. But you KNEW THAT. So. They need all the help they can get. The easiest way to help them is by providing good lighting for your entire wedding day. Basically – outdoor lighting and in the shade. So – have your wedding outside but in the shade. Done. Ceremony photos AMAZING. See. That part was easy and you totally saved money going with the amateur photographer. Okay.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Oh – so that usually rules out really dark churches and other generally dark wedding ceremony locations. Oh – AND having your wedding ceremony at night/dusk/sunset-ish times when it’s getting dark. Because if your wedding ceremony is when it’s getting dark – that means that your reception will be at night. And it’s definitely dark at night time. 

But what about indoors? You have your reception inside with the lights on. That will be totally bright and lit and even an amateur photographer will have no trouble photographing in a well lit ballroom. YES. A well brightly lit ballroom. Just like those conference rooms in hotels. With all the even flourescent lighting. That’s exactly how you want the ambiance for your wedding reception to feel. Like a hotel conference room. NO. (well – please no)

Even ‘brightly’ lit as far as wedding receptions go is still mostly – dark- when it comes to taking good photos. That’s why there’s a difference between the photos a professional photographer takes and the ones that maybe your uncle takes – even  with the same camera. TBH (remember that from above?) – there are a lot of tricks to getting good photos that your uncle doesn’t know, and that many amateurs don’t know either. I mean, I say they’re tricks but really they’re just BASIC SKILLS that any actual PROFESSIONAL knows with their eyes closed. 

And it’s not always gear. Sure gear helps but there are plenty – PLENTY of bad photographers with really amazing gear. Okay – there are probably MORE bad photographers with really amazing gear than good photographers with amazing gear. TRUTH! 

How to Hire an Amateur Wedding Photographer

But of course what does ‘amateur’ even mean anymore? Number of weddings photographed a year? Amount the person charges? How often they launch a new ‘rebrand’ of their website? IDK. But you know it when you see an amateur. I know you do. You get that feeling. You know the one… the one that says… oh man, I’m really taking a risk with my wedding photos if I go with this photographer, but they’re cheap!… yeahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Don’t do that.

 

 

How to Find an Amateur Wedding Photographer. Atlanta. LeahAndMark & Co. Planning. Tips.

Different Food & Dinner Options for Your Wedding

Ponce City Market, Wedding, PCM, Carter Center, Atlanta, Wedding, Photographer, Roof, Skyline, Rooftop,

I’m making a few assumptions with this post.

  1. You want food available/to feed your guests something
  2. You’re feeding them dinner

Of course you absolutely have the option of not really providing any food for your guests (just make sure you let me know that this is NOT THAT KIND OF WEDDING). This is not unheard of – you can simply have a ‘cocktail reception’ as they say – which would still kind of mean that you’d be providing some food but more like simple appetizers and bites. Nothing resembling a meal. Unless you eat 34 bites.

Wedding Catering Food Dinner Ideas

SO. What are the dinner food options for your wedding? Or more appropriate and specifically – what are the different food service options for your wedding reception? Ah yes – Food Service Options.

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

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Say it again – Food Service Options for Your Wedding Reception (that’s just SEO junk there)

  • Seated Meal
    • Alright – this is you probably already know as one of your main options. Just feed everyone a seated meal like it was a restaurant with a very limited menu. Yes there are some great benefits to having full seated meal service – but those benefits definitely add up in costs. Largely in the costs to provide enough servers/waitstaff to make sure that the plates get served in a timely manner. The problem or costs can get exponentially greater as the number of your guests grows. Definitely something to keep in mind. You’ll also want to balance out the quality of the food with the number of guests and costs. A seated meal/dinner service is often thought of as the most traditional food service but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go with one of the other options and still have an amazingly impressive wedding reception.
  • Family-Style Meal
    • You know how some restaurants say they serve food ‘family style’? Which really just means they bring the food on slightly larger plates to your table and make you serve yourselves. Right. Okay. This is sort of in between a seated meal and a buffet. More like… a seated buffet. YES. EXACTLY. Feels fancy like a seated meal but unfancy like Golden Corral…
  • Buffet Meal
    • Ahahaha I just made a Golden Corral joke just now and it was HILARIOUS (see above like two lines.) – okay your wedding reception buffet doesn’t have to be like the amazing buffet at Golden Corral – because that’s some DAMN FINE FOOD THEY HAVE THERE. No seriously. I LOVE Golden Corral. I only eat like 3 things and pile on 5 plates of the stuff – but I LOVE those three things. Same with your wedding reception buffet. You give people the opportunity to eat as much as they want of the same 3 things and leave the rest for the rest of the people… often times cheaper than a seated meal and with way more food for everyone. Just don’t go cheap okay? As in – barely enough food for people. I’ve seen roast beef sliced so thin and small that it was basically cold cuts.
  • Brunch or Lunch
    • This changes your whole day. If you’re not having a dinner reception then you don’t have to have dinner food. Heck – if you’re having a dinner reception, you don’t have to have dinner food either. Anyway – breakfast – everyone loves breakfast food. And if they don’t love breakfast food then they don’t need to be attending your wedding because they’re probably some kind of miserable f*cker. (WHO DOESN’T LIKE BREAKFAST FOOD?!) Oh yeah – and if you’re having a brunch/breakfast/lunch wedding reception – the drinking will probably be WAY LESS than if you were just partying the night away. Boom. Saved you some money. YOU’RE WELCOME.
  • Heavy H’orderves/Cocktail hour
    • IDK. I said something up there earlier about how you don’t have to serve as much food if you’re just serving heavy h’orderves – unless that’s what you’re serving for dinner – then you DO have to serve just as much food… which may or may not save you money. Because I know we served heavy h’orderves for dinner at our wedding and that was still damn expensive. What do I know about any of this really – I’m a photographer.

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

Alright! Thank you! You’re awesome!

 

Wedding. Catering. Food. Advice. Options. Dinner. Meals. Planning. Atlanta. Photographer. LeahAndMark.

How to Plan a New Year’s Eve Wedding | Wimbish House

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

Most of the time I’ll tell you that you shouldn’t care too much about what other people think when it comes to your wedding. And most of the time I mean that. F*ck everyone else if they don’t like your chairs, or your food, or your decorations – whatever. If your reception is low key and subtle and quiet (um, boring) – then that’s cool too. No really – it is – because again – it’s your wedding and you not only should have it be however you’d like it to be – but you should also not have to worry about what anyone else thinks.

New Year’s Eve weddings are different.

Mannequin Challenge | NYE Wedding from LeahAndMark & Co. on Vimeo.

How to Plan a New Year’s Eve Wedding

Because now you’ve decided to hijack a party holiday /night so now your wedding reception MUST BE A PARTY. Ahahahaha I’m kidding.

NOT I’M NOT KIDDING. Your NYE wedding better be a party or you’re just… well you’re awful. Okay? That’s awful. Don’t invite people to spend NYE with you (and your wedding) if you’re just asking them to literally spend the night being BORED TO DEATH.

So what does all this mean? It means that aside from the usual pressure of trying to make your reception full or regular amounts of fun – now it has to have NEW YEAR’S EVE amounts of fun. Which means drinks – and I’m not talking wine and beer and a cash bar. I’m talking about DRINKS and a WIDE OPEN BAR.

And Music. Dance music. Party Music. Band or DJ – just make sure they know how to ROCK and get people dancing. Because people are going to want to dance. In fact – YOU (the couple getting maried) MUST ALSO DANCE.

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

I know right? Who am I to tell you how to run your wedding? I’m just some weirdo photographer that’s photographed way too many weddings.

BUT I ALSO KNOW WHEN A WEDDING IS JUST ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

And that’s not what you want. Deep down – if you’re having your wedding on New Year’s Eve – I know you really want a crazy awesome amazing party. And that’s okay. That’s MORE than okay. That’s GREAT! Oh and Hats! You need hats! And those noise makers! And probably some kind of confetti! And cocaine! YES! Cocaine is ALWAYS A GOOD TIME!…

Well. Maybe don’t “officially” have cocaine at your wedding reception/NYE party.

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

So. With a New Year’s Eve wedding – you’ll want to have your ceremony a little later than usual. Probably 7pm. Yes. 7pm is the perfect time for your wedding ceremony. Or 7:30pm. Okay both of those times are perfect. See – there’s plenty of perfect to go around.

Oh and plan on having your reception go at least until 12:30am-ish if not 12:45am-ish. Because 12:15am would be lame. I mean – countdown 3,2,1, Happy New Year!… go home? No. don’t be like that. Be cool.

3,2,1 Happy New Year!… and 45 minutes later go home. See? Way cooler. Be way cooler.

Let’s review. For a successful New Year’s Eve Wedding you’ll want to have:

  • Drinks (real drinks)
  • Party Hats
  • Party horns/noise makers
  • Confetti
  • Cocaine (optional)

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atlanta New Year's Eve Wedding | Wimbish House | NYE 2017 | LeahAndMark & Co.

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

Atlanta New Year's Eve Wedding | Wimbish House | NYE 2017 | LeahAndMark & Co.

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

Atlanta New Year's Eve Wedding | Wimbish House | NYE 2017 | LeahAndMark & Co.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Venue: Wimbish House

Atlanta Wedding Photographer: LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Coordinator: Laura Burchfield

 

 

How to DIY Your Wedding Day Hair (or not)

I know. WUT? How could anyone possibly do their own hair on their wedding day? The thought of such a thing is flat out BONKERS.

Except for the part where you probably generally do your own hair most of the time. Of course – doing your own ‘wedding day’ hair depends on what and how you want your hair to be on your wedding day (say ‘wedding day’ again – I dare you to!)

How to Do Your Own Wedding Day Hair (or Not)

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Sugarboo Farms | Blairsville, GA

Over the past 8+ years I’ve been photographing weddings – I’ve seen a lot. People doing their own hair (shock) people doing their own makeup (OMG!) and then of course people just sitting there while everyone else fixes them up. You may or may not know what you want right now – if you want a professional hair stylist or make up artist to take care of you – or a friend – or you’ll just do it all yourself. So where do you begin?

An easy start is your wedding dress (or you know – suit – or jumper or… outfit.)

DSC_3305

If you’ve already selected your wedding dress – then you can start to envision what hairstyle would be good or most flattering for YOU, in your DRESS. If you want to show off your neck, or if you want to highlight your five-head (I joke!) or if you want a flower crown or antlers (seriously – antlers? why is that a trend?!… of course if you’re wearing antlers for your wedding then I LOVE YOU.) ummm Oh yeah – tastefully messy and unkept in the back or some kind of bump-it up-do… right – you can imagine/visualize what you may look like with a certain hairstyle and how it’ll compliment your dress. Well – how it’ll compliment YOU.

So start collecting photos of potential hairstyles.

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-Story-002

And then try to do them yourself. Try to do them with a friend. If you can’t do them well – then that means you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT DIY your wedding day hair. Makes sense right? If you happen to be able to do your own wedding hair during your test – hair spray the F*ck out of it, throw in 200 bobby pins and wear it all day long to see how it holds. See what adjustments or fixes you’d have to do throughout the day. Basically – TEST IT OUT.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Again – if you can’t do your own hair – that’s okay.

Either change the hairstyle you want for your wedding or just hire a hairstylist. (It’s really that simple.) You may decide that hey – maybe you DO like a simple style and you CAN do that. Or you decide – NO. This has to be done right and you need GIGANTIC TEXAS HAIR reaching up to hi-five GOD HERSELF.

unnamed

Now remember – you want to look good TO YOU. I know you’ll ask other people what they think – but make sure that you feel comfortable with your hairstyle and how it feels and looks. Because you’re about to have four billion photos taken and that hair will probably be in almost ALL of them.

 

 

6 Tips for Planning a Last Minute Wedding

Planning a last minute wedding doesn’t have to be a super crazy, or impossible task. In fact – what does last minute mean anyway? Obviously if you decide to get married next week – that would be last minute. But what if you only gave yourself 3 months to plan your wedding? or 6 months? Or 9 months? Are those still last minute weddings? Yes, and no, and kind of. Well – anything under 6 months is closer to the ‘last minute’ category than 9 months and longer. Alright – glad we got that bit of nonsense out of the way.

The whole wedding industry is built on this idea of a year timeline for planning your wedding.

Arizona Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Navajo | Cameron Trading Post

How to Plan a Last Minute Wedding

But hey. Don’t worry – it’s okay. There are ALWAYS wedding venues and vendors available for you no matter the date. You just might have to be extremely flexible and creative to make it all work.

Here are a few tips and ideas to help you plan your last minute wedding.

  • Check availability on the off/unpopular dates/days
    • Since many of the busiest (and arguably best) venues are often booked 12 months in advance – that doesn’t mean that you should rule them out. Saturdays are probably going to be impossible but maybe they have a Sunday available. Or maybe they have a Friday available. Check availability for all three of those days and at different times – maybe you’ll get lucky. And if you’re really wild and crazy – some venues might even be available for a Thursday evening. I know – Thursday evening wedding? Hey – people get married whenever they want. Maybe you’ll discover that you don’t mind getting married on a Thursday evening and saving a good bit of money in the process. Or maybe not.
  • Ceremony & Reception in the same location
    • If you weren’t already thinking of having your ceremony and reception at the same venue – now would be a good time to give that option some serious consideration. One location for everything literally simplifies nearly everything – and you don’t have to search for two locations (that was some pretty good circle talk right?) Plus you have a better chance of consolidating some of your fees.
  • Be creative and have an open mind about everything
    • When it’s a last minute wedding – you need to have an open mind about almost everything. But that can be a benefit! All of a sudden you can do whatever you want AND you have the legit excuse of ‘it’s a last minute wedding’ – so you HAVE to not spend the money on crazy amounts of flowers or decorations that you don’t want or really any other wedding things that you were told you ‘MUST HAVE’.
  • Call. Email. Skype.
    • Your available time to check out venues, meet with potential vendors, and everyone else is very limited or nonexistent. SO. Use technology. Instead of meeting with everyone in person – talk to them on the phone, video conference over skype/facebook/facetime – even if you spend an hour talking to a vendor over the phone you won’t be spending the 1 hour of travel time and the $5 for coffee. Of course you can have a sit down with your wedding team in person once you’ve booked them and they’re hired.
  • Packaged Deals are Your Friend
    • If you find a venue that has a package that takes care of EVERYTHING – give that some serious thought.
    • If your DJ provides a photobooth and/or videography – consider going with them
    • If your wedding planner also does floral design – GO WITH THEM
    • Consolidating your vendors can save you a lot of energy and probably some money
  • Contact Mark at LeahAndMark & Co.
    • Because Mark is ridiculous and crazy and he will photography your wedding next week if he’s not doing anything else. Literally. He WILL.
  • HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER.

 

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Portfolio | LeahAndMark & Co.

20 Questions to Ask Your Potential Wedding Planner

The real reason you hire a wedding planner/coordinator is so that your wedding doesn’t end up being some kind of sh*t show. I mean – having a wedding planner is no guarantee that it won’t still be a total mess (because you know – crazy family, crazy friends, crazy YOU) – but your sanity will probably remain intact.

Atlanta Wedding Planners

Your wedding is important. It should and can go off with relative ease. You can make that happen by having a wedding planner help you – or do everything for you. Cost and rates vary. But I can tell you that when you’re working with a great wedding planner – it is ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE MONEY.

So how do you find a great wedding planner? Well. Here’s a list of Atlanta Wedding Planners to check out:

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-088

And then when you meet a wedding planner – what do you ask them? How do you know if they’re any good? More importantly – how do you know if they’re the right wedding planner to work with you on your wedding? You just have to ask them a lot of questions. That’s all. Simple right? Of course you might not know what questions to ask. SO. Below is a list of questions you can ask any potential wedding planners. Their answers will vary and you should take notes. Write down their answers and maybe also how you feel about their answers or things you notice during your meeting with them. Do they seem like someone you want to work with? Do they seem like someone who can tell other people to F*ck off? (In the nicest way possible of course – and only with your best interests in mind.) You’ll want a wedding planner that isn’t wishy washy and that will stand her ground and basically be your champion.

You want a wedding planner that will be the ‘bad-guy’ so that you don’t have to be that person.

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-087

How to Find a Wedding Planner

And now – the questions.

  1. Are you available on our wedding date? (uh, duh.)
  2. How many other weddings will you be handling on the same weekend as our wedding?
  3. Wedding planning is crazy – why do you like it?
  4. Are you crazy?
  5. How long have you been a wedding planner/coordinator/designer (they seriously have all those different designations)
  6. How many weddings have you planned/coordinated?
  7. How many weddings to you plan per year?
  8. Have you ever worked with Mark of LeahAndMark & Co.?
  9. Is Mark of LeahAndMark & Co. really as funny as he thinks he is?
  10. Can we see any weddings/galleries you’ve planned/coordinated in the past?
  11. Are you a member of any professional wedding organizations?
  12. Do you have a business license? (I mean – you can go with someone who’s not legit, just know what that means…)
  13. Do you receive commissions from any vendors? (If they say ‘yes’ then you’re supposed to not go with them because it’s supposed to mean that the wedding planner will steer you toward certain businesses, regardless of what’s in your best interest.)
  14. What are your rates/fees and how does your billing structure work?
  15. Can you work with our wedding budget?
  16. What are the exact list of services/hours that we would be receiving?
  17. How many hours per week are you available to spend consulting with us on our wedding? (Because you KNOW that you’re crazy so you need to find out how crazy this wedding planner is too.)
  18. How often will you provide updates to your clients and how are they communicated? (will they contact you by phone, text, or email regularly?)
  19. How will you dress on the day of the event? (Alright look – I mean – it depends on who you’re hiring. If you’re hiring someone cheap – then yeah – you should probably ask this question. If you’re spending good money on a good planner – they’ll dress wedding appropriate. But trust me – I’ve seen some planners show up and never change out of their jeans and sneakers… yeahhhhh)
  20. Will YOU be there personally or will one of your staff be there on the day of the wedding in your place?

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

 

27 Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Venue

You’re going down your list of potential wedding venues and visiting as many as it takes to find The Right One. Like everywhere else – they’ve got their sales program down. They know what to tell you and what not to tell you. But you don’t do this all the time so what do YOU ask? (Well some of you may have done this before 😉

dsc_7928

Here’s a quick list of questions to ask potential wedding venues when you visit them. Some of them seem basic but some of them are very important – especially if the answer is something you don’t want/agree with. So maybe you print this out. Maybe you bring it with you. Maybe you hire me to come along and make dumb jokes while you visit your venues. Okay don’t do that last one – but take a look at these.

  1. What are your available dates? (around your target date)
  2. What is the total fee for the venue/facility?
  3. What does that fee include?
  4. What are the time limits?
  5. What’s the fee or cost or penalty for going over the allotted time?
  6. Who is responsible for the clean up after the reception?
  7. How many spaces are there for parking/what are the parking options?
  8. Is the parking a paid lot or is it free?
  9. Do you have a valet option?
  10. How many restrooms are available?
  11. Where are the restrooms located?
  12. What is your cancellation policy and the terms?
  13. Are any chairs, tables, linens, tableware included?
  14. Is the dancefloor included?
  15. Is there an extra fee for rehearsal time?
  16. Are any other events going on at the same time at the venue?
  17. Can we use any caterer or do you require us to use a specific caterer?
  18. Can we supply our own alcohol?
  19. What is the indoor/rain option? (if it’s primarily an outdoor venue)
  20. Will there be a staff member present to assist during the wedding?
  21. What accommodations are available for the elderly and disabled?
  22. Are children generally safe at the venue? (no obvious dangers)
  23. What Package Deals are available?
  24. What are the hotels that are nearby?
  25. Do you have a preferred vendor list?
  26. Is the site insured in case of an accident?
  27. Are additional permits required for items such as amplified music, heaters or alcoholic beverages

Any other questions you can think of? Write those down before you get to the venue.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | JCT | White Provisions | Wedding Video | Wedding Home Movies

A few other things you want to pay attention to is how you are treated by the persons that are showing you the venue. The staff. How helpful are they? Do they talk down to you? Do they seem like they’re not making time for you? More importantly - how are they answering your questions? Happily? Complete? Answering with tricky non-answers? Trust your gut with any impressions you feel from your visit – whether from the persons showing you around or the venue itself. I don’t care if the place creeps you out for some weird non-intellectual reason. If one of you is creeped out by the place – don’t book it. Even if it’s cheap. Even if everything else is great. You do not want to get married in a place that creeps you out.

Now. I have absolutely no idea why I went off on that tangent – because it’s not like many people are booking wedding venues that creep them out.

Anyway – print out the list above – cut off the whole part about creepy venues – and go find your place.

Atlanta, Wedding, Photographer, Georgia, Berkeley, California, LeahAndMark.com

How to Create Your Personalized Wedding Ceremony

Your wedding ceremony doesn’t have to suck.

Let’s say that again.

Your wedding ceremony won’t suck.

It’s 2017 and you are completely responsible for your wedding ceremony being however it is going to be. SO. Having said that – make it however YOU want it to be (and by ‘You’ I mean the both of you.) How do you do that? How DO you create and make a wedding ceremony that’s personal and meaningful but not boring or cold. And yes – there are cold/empty feeling wedding ceremonies. You know what I’m talking about. The kind where there ceremony sounds like wordswordswordswordswordswords kiss zzzzzzzzzz. Don’t let that be your ceremony.

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-065

How to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

So right from the start – do you want your ceremony to have a religious component? Taking it further – is your wedding ceremony essentially the ceremony of the church/religion that represents you? Great. You’re largely done. One of your main jobs in that case is to understand and learn what all is included in that traditional ceremony. If there are special prayers or customs – KNOW them and find out WHY they’re included. Your actual wedding ceremony is probably 15-30 minutes. You should care enough to know what the F*ck is being said and what you’re promising to do. I know right? Harsh? THIS IS YOUR LIFE. So YES. Pay attention.

Now – if you’re not incorporating a religious template for your ceremony then hey – you can make this thing WHATEVER YOU WANT.

Let’s say that again. Your wedding ceremony can include (and NOT include) and be anything you want it to be.

It can be funny. It can be entertaining. It can be awkward. It can be and have all the things that represent the TWO OF YOU. Are you interested in boring things? Include those boring things. Are you interested in not so boring things? Throw those in too. Do you want to promise everything and nothing to each other? Do that. Would you like to agree to be together until you’re not together? Do that too.

Chattanooga Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Cloudland Station

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

How about five (5) poem readings from Dr. Suess? Okay no – don’t do that.

But if you want music and readings and more things – throw those in.

Oh yeah. Here’s a template.

  • Processional (where everyone walks in)
  • Handoff (one person is um, ‘given’ to be married over to the other person)
  • Officiant welcomes everyone
  • Officiant says some words about how meaningful marriage is
  • Officiant talks about how the people getting married are perfect for each other
  • Reading from friend/family member
  • Unity Candle
  • Unity Sand
  • Unity Knot tying thing
  • Unity Hand Binding
  • Unity Unity Unity

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Callanwolde Fine Arts Center | Wedding | LeahAndmark & Co.

  • Wine Boxing thing
  • Officiant makes some sort of joke
  • Officiant recites vows
  • Personal vows recited
  • Ring Exchange
  • KISSSSSSSSsssssss
  • Recessional (exit)

I know. That was a lot wasn’t it? Nah. It looks that way but the whole thing up there? That would’ve lasted like 20 minutes tops. Trust me. If you plan for a 15 minute ceremony – it’ll probably be done in 11. If you plan for a 20 minute ceremony it’ll finish up at 14 minutes. Everyone moves and talks fast.

Oh Yeah. One more thing. Actually – THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

Don’t hold back. Don’t be cool. Be THERE. Be present and don’t hold back when it comes to professing your love for your partner during your ceremony. No one else F*CKEN matters. Your wedding ceremony is for the two of you to profess and promise your commitment to each other. That moment and those words should mean many things to you – and they should be more important than what anyone watching thinks.

Basically – make the ceremony you both want because it’s for YOU GUYS.

 

How Many People Should You Invite to Your Wedding?

Figuring out where your wedding is taking place (the venue(s)) generally requires that you have an idea of how many guests you’ll be having attend. So. How many people should you invite to your wedding? How do you figure out how many people?

You could just pick a number from your head – how about 50? Or 100? What about 150? Too many? Too little?

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

How Many Wedding Guests Should You Invite?

Start from the biggest number and then work your way down. Basically – first write down everyone you can think of that you may have to or want to invite. Family is usually easiest to write down first. Get all those names and count. Oh and are you allowing children to attend? Make sure you count all the kids too. Then your closest friends and even some of your work folks (if you like them.)

This first count would include all the people you ‘should’ invite – even if you don’t necessarily want them to attend… like distant relatives… or co-workers. Don’t worry – when it comes down to it – you can just cut them from the list. But get that initial count and make it as high as you can. It’s often much easier to take away people from this imaginary list than it is to add them later.

Atlanta Wedding Planning Tips

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-088

So that’s your initial guest list – and it’s BLOATED. Now. The other thing you may need to take into consideration is anyone that your parents may want to invite to your wedding. Of course this depends on your relationship with your parents and then their relationship with your wedding budget. If they’re providing a portion (or most or all) of the budget for your wedding then honestly – they get to invite a few people of their choosing. Of course – there are always exceptions to that guideline. But tread lightly… and do ask your parents if there are any of their friends that they would like to have as guests at your wedding. Even if you already know the answer – it’s still a nice gesture to ASK your parents and include them. Trust me, they’ll really appreciate the effort.

Alright! Now you have a giant giant guest list with way more people than you ever wanted, possibly attending your wedding. How does that number feel to you? Too high? Surprisingly low? Strange? Well here – let me tell you that there is no ‘right’ number for how many guests you should have at your wedding. So get that out of your head. Your wedding is YOUR wedding.

I’ve had weddings with guests numbers as small as 3-5 and then upwards of 400 people. Of course the 400 people is on the extreme side. Wedding attendance between 40-150 people is probably the most common range. I know – that’s still a big range. But because of spaces and blocks and how things work out – the ranges of guests counts are more like this:

  • 40-80
  • 80-120
  • 120-150
  • 150-200

Right. So making the list. You have the big BIG list of EVERYONE. Now pick a number range you like. Okay. Now be ruthless and remove all the people you would like to remove. I mean it – be ruthless.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern | High Museum of Art Atlanta | Atlanta Botanical Gardens | W Hotel Midtown

Now what’s that number? Is it really low? Still too high? You may realize that you have some wiggle room and you can add a few back. You may realize that you really do want some of those people attending and it would be strange that they weren’t there.

The thing is – you don’t save too much money in the difference of feeding 20 less people. So if you have the room – and you actually like those people – feel great that you can invite them to your wedding and put them back on the list!

Now add spaces for 10 more people to that list. Especially if you’re at the early stages of your wedding planning. You’ll need that extra unreserved space. Because inevitably you’ll forget someone – or more family will appear out of nowhere or or or. But go into your venue hunting and planning with a slightly larger guest count and see how that count can be accommodated. You don’t want to be AT YOUR LIMIT right from the start. It’ll hurt later on – trust me.

Alright! Get to it!

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-032

 

How to Choose the Best Time for Your Wedding Ceremony

No really - when should your wedding ceremony time place? I mean – I know some of you will consider your wedding ceremony as nothing more than the ‘break in between drinking’ – but still, you need to set a time for the ceremony so that people have an idea of when they should actually show up.

How to Choose Your Wedding Ceremony Time

Of course – what time you should have your wedding ceremony also depends on a few factors (Or a few many factors. Like that?) For example – what day of the week is your wedding?

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Summerour

If you’re getting married on a Saturday then you reasonably have most of the day available for your ceremony – definitely all of the afternoon. Now if you’re getting married on a Friday, your ceremony should generally be 6pm or later. Especially if some of your guests live locally. Because people will attend work AND THEN attend your wedding. Unless they’re in your wedding party – they’ll at least go to work for half the day. None of them will take the entire day off (well probably not) – which means yeah – they’ll be battling afternoon traffic to get to your wedding ceremony. So make sure you provide enough buffer time and make your ceremony a little later than afternoon rush hour traffic. That’s a Friday wedding day.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Sunday? You run into a different problem. People are going to work the next morning – so they won’t want to be at your reception until midnight, which means that you may want to push your ceremony a little earlier in the afternoon than you normally would. This will enable your reception to be a normal 4-5 hours without it going on until 11pm or midnight.

See? Totally easy right? Ha.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Rome, Ga. | The Farm | LeahAndMark & Co.

But really – what time should your wedding ceremony be?

  • Friday – 6pm or 6:30pm
  • Saturday – anywhere between 4pm -6pm
  • Sunday – no later than 5pm

Of course – this totally doesn’t take into consideration if you’re having an earlier ceremony and then a later reception. Some churches only allow you to have your ceremony in the window between services. So you may be getting married at 1pm and then have a reception a few hours later at 4 or 5pm.

Adjust accordingly.

This is all pretty normal and regular talk – what if you want to have a morning or brunch ceremony? That’s cool too. But you know what’s not cool? A SUNRISE CEREMONY. Well – I mean it’s not cool if you’ve invited more than maybe 20 people. And even then – it’s still kind of cruel to those 20 people. Unless they’re cool with it. But ummmm. Oof that would be rough. Ha. Still – apparently it does happen.

Right. So. Standard times for your wedding ceremony? Anywhere between 4pm – 6pm. Simple right? Right. So just do that. OR. Oh I just remembered this too.

Just work backwards from when your reception MUST end.

It's your wedding! Have a drink!

Say you have to end your reception at 10:00pm. Working backwards – you have 4 hours for the reception, that’s 6pm. And before that you have a cocktail hour. So that’s 5pm. And then you have 30 minutes for your ceremony so that would be… 4:30pm. Confusing? Well that’s because that was backwards.

Going forwards –

  • 4:30 – 5pm – ceremony
  • 5:00 – 6pm – cocktail hour
  • 6:00 – 10pm – Reception

See. Done. Congratulations.

 

How to Start Planning Your Wedding

Once you’re engaged and you’ve started to come down from the high of the proposal – you may start to think… well f*ck now we have to actually plan a wedding. (Please note the ‘we’ and not an ‘I’ in that sentence – as in the both of you and probably anyone else you can con into helping you!)

Or you can skip all of this do it yourself business and hire a great wedding planner/designer.

How to Start Planning a Wedding

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are too many options. Too many choices – and it starts to get considerably worse when you realize that you don’t even have any idea about what you actually want. I know what you’re thinking. You’d like a small wedding with just your closest friends and family – maybe 10, maybe 20 people – 30 TOPS. But then you started writing out all the people that you might invite and realize again – F*ck. Some of these people I have to invite. (Although I’ll tell you right now – no you don’t.)

So. Where do you start? How do you even begin to start planning your wedding? Easy. Just imagine things.

Wedding Planning In Atlanta

Imagine what your wedding might look like. Don’t imagine how it has to be – just how it can be. So imagine that your ceremony is in a church. How’s that feel? Great? Awful? Weird? Write that down. Imagine your reception being indoors in a hotel ballroom. How does that feel? Write that down.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

When it comes to wedding planning – everything is not a linear straight line process. Sometimes it’s all-at-once. Like the venue. You may like a certain type of venue – like a farm barn (I just like how that rhymes and it’s annoying that it rhymes) – so with a farm barn you also want one that can accommodate the number of people you’re going to have  - so you need to come up with a rough estimate of that number. And with that you probably want it to be in a good spot not too far of a drive for people from their homes/hotel wherever. See – all-at-once.

The Best Wedding Venues in Atlanta

But really – venue and number of guests are generally the first decisions when it comes to starting your wedding planning. Location – location – location. Right? Right.

Maybe you don’t want to get married in church. What about a park? Or a museum? Or the above mentioned farm barn. Or. Or. Or…

  • Converted warehouse
  • Converted factory
  • Old Historical Home
  • Hotel Ballroom
  • Restaurant property
  • A neighborhood park
  • A state/national park

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Someone’s amazing backyard (not someone’s ugly backyard)
  • Science Museum
  • Botanical Gardens
  • UnBotanical Gardens
  • What’s an UnBotanical Garden?
  • Art Museum
  • Children’s Museum
  • Theater
  • Destination hotel/resort

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Beach
  • Rooftop of something with a roof
  • Sports arena
  • Ancient Ruins
  • Abandoned buildings
  • Haunted buildings
  • Cemeteries
  • Old Hospitals

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • New Hospitals
  • Haunted Hospitals
  • Someplace with a waterfall
  • Someplace with a great big cliff/canyon
  • Golf course? (please no)
  • My back yard
  • Your back yard
  • We all scream for back yard
  • Vineyard

See. You have a plethora of options when it comes to the location of your wedding venue. There are also other considerations in picking your venue – other than just what you like (although that’s a big one.) Now – after deciding on your venue (and we’ll get into that process a little later) – what’s the next step?

Your photographer of course! (Atlanta Wedding Photographers)

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

And also – here’s a short list of a few of the things we’ll cover in the new few weeks. Because you know – planning a wedding is bonkers.

  • Budget
  • Size
  • Location
  • Time of Day
  • Ceremony
  • Reception

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Photography
  • Wedding Party
  • Rings
  • Dress
  • Food/Catering
  • Alcohol
  • Entertainment
  • Cake/Dessert

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Communication
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Honeymoon
  • Legal Considerations

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

Wedding Planning. Atlanta Wedding Photographers. How to. Location. Venue. Ideas. Tips.