Browsing Tag

LeahAndMark & Co.

The Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding Venue Weddings

Big Canoe, The Chimneys, Wedding, Jasper Ga, LeahAndMark & Co.,

What’s great about a Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding is that they basically give you the keys for the entire day and let you get down to business. Decorate, party, finish up. Oh. AND It’s BEAUTIFUL there. The outdoor patio area ceremony site with the golf course and lake backdrop is stunning. You’re surrounded and embraced by the forest canopy while you’re getting married and everyone is there to watch you profess your love for each other. What more could you ask for????

Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding Photos - Ceremony Location

With a large wrap around covered deck – rain is no problem either! Because you can have your ceremony indoors if you want, or if it doesn’t start raining until your reception – people can STILL be outdoors enjoying the spectacular North Georgia forests. 

We may be a little biased too – because this is where Leah and I got married – so yeah – we think it’s all kinds of great because we ourselves have AMAZING memories from our own wedding that took place there.

Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding Photos - Groom Shot over the brides shoulder

Oh yeah! And one of the best parts is that it’s pretty easy to just rent several large homes down the street to house all of your friends and family and wedding party guests. So you’re never too far from the venue and the party can continue long after you’ve made your exit from the reception!

Granted – I have a bit more knowledge about a Chimneys at Big Canoe wedding because we had OUR wedding there – but also because I’ve photographed weddings there as well. It’s an amazing venue and the layout really lends itself well to serving your guests a good sit down dinner while also making it so that they don’t just stay in their seats. They will want to walk around and mingle and dance! 

Definitely consider them for your wedding!

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

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

Chimneys at Big Canoe Wedding. North Georgia Wedding Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co.

M & J | Cator Woolford Gardens | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

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

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

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding 

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

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

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

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

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

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

M. & J. You. Are. Awesome.

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Wedding Venue: Cator Woolford Gardens at the Frazier Center

Wedding Photographer: LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Planner: Terri – Everything and More Events 

Ceremony Music: Luna Strings

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

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

Atlanta. Wedding. Photographers. LeahAndMark & Co. Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding Photos. Photography.

THE MOST ULTIMATE Wedding Planning Calendar Schedule and Timeline

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

SO. Lets get to it right?

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

Sample Wedding Planning Timeline – ONE YEAR

12+ Months

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

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

9-11 Months

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

6-8 Months

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

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

4-5 Months

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

Example Wedding Planning Schedule and Timeline 

3 MONTHS!

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

2 MONTHS!

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

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

1 MONTH!

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

1-2 WEEKS OMG

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

2-3 DAYS (WUT)

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

1 Day BEFORE! 

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

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

Also – Thanks.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Tioxon

 

How to have a completely stress free wedding

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

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

How to have a Stress-Free Wedding

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

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

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

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

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

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

IT’S YOUR LIFE. (Both of you.)

Simple Wedding Ideas With No Stress

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Mark Tioxon

 

Atlanta Wedding Photographers Under 2000

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

Here’s the thing with Atlanta Wedding Photographers Under $2,000 – they may or may not be pretty awesome. Actually – that’s also the thing with wedding photographers that are over $5,000. Heck – that’s also the thing with wedding photographers under $1,000. Basically – everyone at all price points can be great or not so great. 

Atlanta Wedding Photographers Under 2000

Now – we all know that wedding planners are a special type of people (because come on, only the truly crazy would decide to plan weddings for their job) – but wedding photographers are truly a different breed of bonkers. They like people but they don’t like people – which is why they like to keep that barrier of the camera between you and them. But then they also just desperately WANT TO HANG OUT WITH YOU for 10 hours on your wedding day. Who does that? 

Wedding photographers that’s who!

But let’s talk about YOU. You may have arrived here because you were looking for a wedding photographer under $2,000. I’m writing this because I may be a wedding photographer that you can hire for under $2,000. Possibly. Maybe. Bjork. (nevermind.)

The point is – all things are possible and depending on your wedding date, depending on how nicely you ask – I might totally be like – aw F*ck yeah let’s do this. (But really you should be asking everyone nicely about many things, anyways.)

Affordable Wedding Photography Atlanta

I mean – it’s all in the asking right? Look. $2,000 is on the lower side of things for photography budgets for us – but it’s not impossible. I photograph a billion weddings a year and (not literally) – and some weddings are more, and some weddings are less. At least when it comes to our fee. Maybe you can be on the less side of the fee. Clear? No? Well – if you’ve stumbled across this blog post where I’m basically saying – YES I WILL DO YOUR WEDDING FOR UNDER $2,000 – then you’re who this blog post was written for. Other people who want to pay more than $2,000 probably won’t find this blog post. Because I’m going to BURY THIS F*CKER so deep that only the truly committed to saving money will find it. Like you.

Now – obviously you’re going to want to say that you read this blog post so that I can be like aw hellz yeah they found the blog post! YESSSSSSSSSSSssssssss

Atlanta Wedding Photographers Under 1000 (yeah no)

I mean. That’s kind of cool. Besides. Realistically – honestly – there just aren’t too many really great Atlanta wedding photographers under 2000. (don’t worry about that phrasing there, that’s just for SEO stuff). But THIS IS MY JOB. I’m a Professional Wedding Photographer and I gots bills to pay. Lots of bills to pay. So how about you and me make a deal where you pay me what you can, I make you ridiculously amazing wedding photos – and no one else needs to know any of the details. Right? Yeah! Hi-FIVE!

Boom. So. Atlanta Wedding Photographers Under $2,000 – okay that’s probably ALSO me. 

But hey while we’re at it working on the SEO terms – Atlanta Wedding Photographers Over $7,000 – that’s DEFINITELY ME TOO.

Hey. Send me a message and let’s do this thing.

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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 an Elopement Wedding

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

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

How to Plan an Elopement Wedding

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

SO first – what do you need for your elopement?

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

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

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

 

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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.

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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.

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)

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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.

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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.

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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 doeslast 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.

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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 marriedwheneverthey 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.

 

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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:

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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.

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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?

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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? (Wellsome of you may have done this before 😉

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Here’sa 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.

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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 -howare 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.

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