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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

 

The Top 10 Best Atlanta Wedding Photographers

Best Atlanta Wedding Photographer Whitecrest Farm LeahAndMark

Here’s the thing right? I’m a wedding photographer. So of course I’m going to include myself on this list – and that’s not just some crazy amount of pride. It’s just… well… why wouldn’t you include yourself in the top 10 of your profession in a specific category? Why Not. Besides – maybe we ARE one of the top 10 best Atlanta wedding photographers. Maybe not. It’s not exactly a science that can be measured with math and more math. 

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

The Top 10 Best Atlanta Wedding Photographers

It’s art right? That’s what we’d all have you believe. Wedding Photography is art and so you’re hiring an artist along with a professional. Because you definitely want a ‘Professional’ wedding photographer and not just a talented every now and then wedding photographer. I’m not talking about everyone – I’m talking about YOU. I’m talking about YOU and what you want. There’s a reason you’ve spent more time searching for a wedding photographer than your officiant. There’s a reason you’ve spent more time looking at wedding photo gallery after gallery and more galleries. Because you’ve seen SO MANY bad wedding photos. You’ve experienced so many bad wedding photographers – and now it’s your turn and you want great photos, a great experience, and… all around awesome from your wedding photographer.

But how do you find them? How do you find these elusive amazingly talented wedding photographers that aren’t a scam, that aren’t jerks (well, jerks in a way that doesn’t rock with how you’re a jerk) and that can be the ONLY person you’re paying to hangout with you for 10 hours on your wedding day. I know – you might be paying for a planner as well but honestly – they’re busy planning and running your wedding. While you’re photographer? They’re busy… watching you guys. ALL. DAY. 

Well, now that sounds creepy. AND IT COULD BE.

The Best Wedding Photographers in Atlanta

SO obviously you’ll want someone you’re comfortable with. Someone who doesn’t creep you out. Along with them being able to make ridiculously amazing photos. Right? Right. 

Now. Who are these people? Maybe you know someone already. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you know someone but they’re already booked. NOW WHAT? 

Keep searching. There are about 9 billion wedding photographers out there in the greater metro Atlanta area – so I’m sure you can find one that IS available and happy to be there with you. 

And now. We come to the list. Well. In a little bit. Because obviously I have a pitch. You know. A Pitch. Because obviously we would like to be your wedding photographer. We want to be there making all the amazing photos on your wedding day. Right? Of course. It’s practically why we exists. We’re full time wedding photographers and THIS IS WHAT WE DO. We don’t dabble. We don’t only do this on the weekends while we go back to our day jobs on Monday.

This is our profession. Wedding Photography is OUR JOB. Your wedding photography IS OUR JOB. 

Atlanta’s Best Wedding Photographers 

And that’s why we’re all here. You. Us. Me. We. That’s why we’re here. Because you’re searching for that special wedding photographer that will flat out KICK ASS at your wedding while being all kinds of Ninja and not weird and not creepy or lame – and still delivering bags full of AWESOME PHOTOS. You know. You’re looking for that wedding photographer that will BRING IT and make magic that just shows the world HOW F*CKEN BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE!

Atlanta, Wedding, Photographer, LeahAndMark, Wedding Exits, Sparklers, Monday Night Brewing

Alright! YEAH! Hi-FIVE!

Let’s do this.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssss Thank you.

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

The Best Atlanta Wedding Photographers. Top 10. Best in Atlanta.

Kelita + Ernest | Atlanta Wedding

This is Kelita and Ernest. They’re pretty awesome.

They’re wedding took place at the Crowne Plaza Midtown – which is a new venue to me but apparently has some ridiculously amazing sky level views of the city. Right? LOOK AT THE PHOTOS. Ha.

On top of that – when you’re an Atlanta wedding photographer (SEO alert! SEO alert!) – weddings just happen to be your favorite thing to photograph. I know. That’s a crazy thing to say – and believe me – it took me years and years to come to grips with that fact (and probably a fortune of therapy.)

But hey. When you’re one of the best Atlanta wedding photographers (SEO alert!) – what else is there to say?

This wedding was awesome! Kelita and Ernest are awesome! Coffee is awesome! Atlanta is amazing? (Had to change things up there.)

Wedding Photography: LeahAndMark & Co.

Venue: Crowne Plaza Midtown

Floral & Event Design: Blooming Hites

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Wedding Photography: LeahAndMark & Co.

Venue: Crowne Plaza Midtown

Floral & Event Design: Blooming Hites

 

Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co. Best. Creative. Crowne Plaza Midtown. Unique. Wedding. Planning.

Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

(Want More Advice? Sign up for our free report 17 Tips on Selecting Your Wedding Photographer)
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This is a subject very dear to our hearts – mostly because there are so many god awful wedding coordinators that are useless and difficult at the same time. (In the same way there are so many bad “rockstar” photographers as well.)

Still – we always recommend hiring a wedding coordinator. Or designer, or planner, or whatever title they’ve created for themselves – someone to coordinate your crazy wedding day. (It’s crazy. You might not think it’s crazy, but it’s bonkers.)

We’ve worked with some amazing planners that could do magic at the drop of a hat. Need a new venue the week of your wedding because your first one turned out to be total F*ckers? Taken care of. Need someone to tell your photographer that he needs to stop being a self absorbed diva? DONE.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Rustic | Modern | Portfolio | Virginia Wedding | Vineyard

Your wedding is too important. There are a lot details and things that need to happen that you don’t know about. Not because you’re dumb – but because it’s not your job to coordinate weddings 50 weekends a year. You’ve never had to coordinate the flow of 300 guests from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception while the bride and groom have been kidnapped by the photographer for photos, the band is loving the open bar too much, and the caterer is an hour behind schedule!

Hire a great wedding coordinator. You won’t know everything they did for you – and that’s kind of the point.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co.

 

All Photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

A few wedding planners you should consider:

Stella-Harper Events (Atlanta, GA.)

Natalie Bradley Events (Athens, GA.)

Comments? Questions? Need more information?

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Atlanta. Wedding. Planner. Coordinator. Why Should You Hire a Wedding Planner. LeahAndMark & Co.

At Least Monday is Over

Not sure why I’m standing straight in this photo but the room is all tilted.

Still. At least Monday is over. The start of an entire five-day week! Not too bad. Got some stuff done, worked on the school – (I actually finished ALL of the assignments – I didn’t have to not do one of them so that I could sleep – of course, that doens’t mean that the quality is there, but that doesn’t matter in this class ’cause I’ve been turning in garbage and still getting high marks.)

The weekend… Oh man. We ate some awesomely good food… and then there was the impressively bad food that we had at The Albert down the street from us here in Inman Park. Maybe we ordered the wrong stuff – who knew – but seriously, if you’re going to have “wok seared green beans” at all on your menu – maybe you should make them NOT SUCK. How about try to make them better than the “WORST EVER” – because ya know what? As Leah described them, “They tasted like someone let a bag of frozen green beans sit out on the counter all day, microwaved them until they were soft and limp and generally disgusting, put them in a bowl, poured cheap ‘Hong Kong Glaze’ on them, and served them up.”

Oh. My picture here makes them look much better than they actually were:

But that was Leah’s food. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Expecting something awesomely delicious – I got some pretty awful stuff. Alright, to be fair it wasn’t as bad as Leah’s green beans – but it seriously, how do you screw up a grilled cheese sandwich? First – no cheddar option. Lame. So I took American Cheese – there was still a chance it could be good. But then they put it on bad wheat bread (wheat bread can work – but not this stuff) and then worse… they didn’t butter the sides. Okay. I know I know. It’s not healthy by any stretch of the imagination – but it’s like some sort of required rule that you butter the sides of the bread. It just makes the grilled cheese sandwich better – otherwise it sucks. Highly disappointing venture down to The Albert all around. Too bad really, ’cause we wanted to like the place.

Time for a yawn….*yawns*

For breakfast on Sunday – we went to Alon’s Bakery up the street on Highland. Great times! We weren’t in the mood for a heavy southern breakfast so we got pastries. A cinnamon twist, a chocolate danish and a cheese danish. Theirs are quite awesome and really… you can’t go wrong with anything from Alon’s.

I’m working on something top secret and I hope to be able to spill the beans sometime soon. But until then, only my LJ friends know.

So. To round out our weekend of bad bad bad eating – we walked down to Little Five Points and decided to try our luck at The Euclid Ave Yacht Club (bar). THIS was everything we had hope the Albert would be. It was just a gazillion times better. They were out of vege-burgers so Leah ended up getting the same thing I ordered – a grilled cheese sandwich! And guess what – they freakin did it RIGHT. No wheat bread option here – Texas Toasts! and buttered sides. That alone makes everything better – AND THEN they actually had a Cheddar option!. FTW bitches! Yeah. + cheap beer + good fries and the Yacht Club wins. Plus – the walk to the Yacht Club is level and flat – whereas the Albert is downhill one way, and then steep coming back up.

(We like the sidewalks here.)

(See, we were just really disappointed and annoyed with the Albert. And now, for a few days, everyone and anyone looking them up on Google will click on our blog and us saying bad things about them.)

I mean, look at that. It’s just golden and brilliant and full of love. You can imagine the buttered bread and cheese melting in your mouth. In comparison, the one up above just looks like it’ll scratch and be cold and not like the grilled cheese sandwiches your father made when you were a kid (’cause it was the only thing he knew how to make really well.) Sure there’s that attachment to childhood foods – but those are the best kinds of food memories and that’s why we love the simple stuff and when someone screws it up – it annoys us/me even more.

And you’d think that we were done eating that day – but no, we’re over achievers in the food department. We capped everything off with an instantly gratifying but later-on-sick-to-our-stomachs ice cream from Cold Stone at Edgewood. Leah had cookie dough ice cream with peanut butter cups and I had cheesecake ice cream with butterfinger smashed in. Awesome at the time. Sick later on when we were trying to go to sleep. And so concludes our awesome food weekend – and today began our much more refrained and even somewhat healthy beginning to eating food – again. Sure why not. Just for fun.

I’m just happy that I actually finished all of my school work tonight. Amazing.

Tomorrow? Tuesday. Just think. Four more days of awesome.