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The Number One Tip to Personalizing Your Wedding

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

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How DO you personalize wedding… things? 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.

Personalize wedding tips and ideas

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. 

Personalize Wedding Tips

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.)

Need more ideas? Check out these from our friends at A Practical Wedding.

 

Personalize Wedding Ideas and Tips and this how you do it. 

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

 

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 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.)

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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.

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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.

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?

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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

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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!

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How to Hire Live Musicians for Your Wedding Ceremony | VLOG

When you’ve decided to hire ceremony musicians – you want to find someone who is very experienced playing weddings – not just in playing – but playing weddings specifically.

Do they have a list of music/songs that work really well for wedding ceremonies – that list will give you an idea of their experience – their knowledge – and the general, can they do what you want? Can they play what you want? Do they already have the sheet music for it? For example – a string quartet needs sheet music in order to play – and often times the sheet music isn’t available for popular songs you’ve heard on the radio.

So – someone – probably your musicians – are going to have to actually write that sheet music. I KNOW RIGHT? THAT’S SO PROFESSIONAL!

And if they can write the music – you know you’re working with badass musicians. Because not all musicians can actually WRITE music.

Alright – if we don’t see you on your day – have a great wedding and we’ll talk to you later.

(also – that’s Kat up there in the video with me – you can hire her and her team for your wedding! Over at Luna Strings!)

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Don’t Focus on What If | Vlog

Don’t focus on all of the horrible possibilities. What if you fall while walking down the aisle? What if your dress catches on fire? What if you’re mom gets sh*t-faced drunk and says the most awesome things to everyone?! (Okay that would be amazing for the rest of us) – honestly – those things are probably not going to happen.

In my experience (literally hundreds of weddings) – no one has ever caught on fire, no one has ever tripped and fallen while walking down the aisle. Most of the things that could go wrong – won’t – they just don’t on wedding days. Of course you can do what you should to prepare and make sure they don’t happen – but really that’s mostly done by just hiring a great crew and vendors.

Don’t obsess. Don’t worry. It’s going to be okay. And amazing.

Alright. If I don’t see you on your day – have a great wedding and I’ll talk to you later.

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Get To NO Fast | Don’t be Overwhelmed | Vlog

Whether you’re just beginning to plan your wedding or you’re deep in the weeds – you may eventually start to feel overwhelmed by all of the things that the Wedding Industrial Complex is trying to sell you.

Don’t be fooled! Fight Consumerism! Damn the Man!

Nah just kidding.

If you know anything about me – I believe you should like what you like and love what you love – no matter what (unless you like ummm, cannibalism… But even then it’s more of a case-by-case basis with me.)

SO. How do you avoid getting overwhelmed? One tip that may help is to simply reduce your options. Stop looking at everything – specifically all the things you’re going never going to choose anyways. It’s easy. Just say… No no no no no no no no no no. Get rid of all of the options you know you don’t want or like. That’ll leave you with only the YES or maybe options – and then you can go on and ROCK YOUR WEDDING PLANNING.

And if you need help – let me know.

Alright. If I don’t see you on your day – have a great wedding and I’ll talk to you later.

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The Best Way to Identify Bad Wedding Photographers | Vlog

One of the questions you’ll want to ask any wedding photographer you’re considering – is simply “Can we view a complete and full wedding gallery you’ve photographed?”

This is also one of the best ways to separate the good photographers from the really bad photographers (or the ones that are at least not as good.)

The truth is that a wedding portfolio will obviously have THE BEST photos that the photograph

Summerour Studio; Atlanta Wedding Venue; Review

Beautiful Arches and Ivy and Brick and Stone everywhere

er wants to show off – but that’s usually 1 or maybe 2 photos from each wedding. What you want to see is how they handle THE ENTIRE DAY – at least a few examples of complete weddings from start to finish.

There’s no hiding behind 1 or 2 great images if you’re seeing 400+ photos. Not only that – you’ll be able to see how that particular photographer handles different lighting conditions, different people, and different locations. Do all of their photos look like they could’ve been photographed anywhere (and not location specific? That may or may not be a good thing. If you picked a location because of a certain look – you’ll want that to be reflected in your photos.)

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Does that photographer use the exact same pose at EVERY WEDDING? Obviously there will be some overlap – but if you get the feeling that the photographer only has 2-3 poses and that’s it… You may not want that.

Selecting a wedding photographer is so much more than just their photos – but you want to make sure that their photos are at least as good as you need them to be. You want to make sure that they don’t just get lucky shots every now and then. You’re paying them good money and honestly – for the most part – their photos need to be much better than anything your guests can take. That’s why you’re hiring a professional photographer.

Alright. If I don’t see you on your day – have a great wedding – and I’ll talk to you later.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | The Estate on Piedmont | LeahAndMark & Co.

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