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Tips

How to Plan an Elopement Wedding

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

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

elopement checklist and planning

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

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

SO first – what do you need for your elopement?

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

elopement checklist and planning

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

Need help with your wedding schedule timeline? Try this.

Want more help? Try our friends at APW.

Or contact us for your wedding.

 

Wedding Day Schedule Driving You Crazy?

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

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

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

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

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

SAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMELINE (8 hours of coverage)

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

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

2:00                        BRIDE GETS DRESSED

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

3:00                        GROOM MAKES FINAL PREPARATIONS

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

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

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

4:00                        WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

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

4:30                        HIDE THE BRIDE & GROOM

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

5:00                        CEREMONY

This is where you get married!

5:30                        FORMAL FAMILY PHOTOS & COCKTAIL HOUR BEGINS

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

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

6:30                        RECEPTION BEGINS!

6:45                        GRAND ENTRANCE ANNOUNCEMENTS & First Dance

7:00                        DINNER IS SERVED

7:30                        SPEECHES & TOASTS

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

8:00                       OPEN DANCING

8:15                        CAKE CUTTING

8:30                        BOUQUET TOSS

9:00                        PHOTOGRAPHERS CONCLUDE THEIR COVERAGE

Wedding Day Timeline | Couple in the Mountains

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

Sample Wedding Day Timeline 

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

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

 

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

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.

Different Food & Dinner Options for Your Wedding

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

I’m making a few assumptions with this post.

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

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

Wedding Catering Food Dinner Ideas

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

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

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

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

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

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

Alright! Thank you! You’re awesome!

 

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

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

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

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

New Year’s Eve weddings are different.

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

How to Plan a New Year’s Eve Wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT I ALSO KNOW WHEN A WEDDING IS JUST ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Venue: Wimbish House

Atlanta Wedding Photographer: LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Coordinator: Laura Burchfield

 

 

How to DIY Your Wedding Day Hair (or not)

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC_3305

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

So start collecting photos of potential hairstyles.

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-Story-002

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

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

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

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

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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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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.

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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 beaccommodated. 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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S + R | Backyard Ceremony & Reception | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Atlanta; Wedding; Backyard Wedding; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Buckhead; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Planning

Alright! It’s Halloween night as I write this and my son’s full of candy but still somehow he’s asleep now. So I’m writing this blog post – while Ash Vs. Evil Dead plays in the background and I myself have consumed way too much coffee. Am I foreshadowing how much this post is going to go off the rails into who knows where? Probably. Definitely. Maybe. Who Knows. What I do know is that 500 words is a lot of words and then not a lot of words but OH MY GOD WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS SHOW?! – (sorry watching Ash Vs. Evil Dead remember?)

Right. Back to it. Backyard weddings. That’s what this was! That’s how S & R celebrated their wedding – in a big backyard here in Atlanta – and WOW. It. Was. Awesome.

Like really awesome. Like not the ‘backyard wedding’ where it’s just picnic tables and cheap barbecue and people that feel like they don’t need to dress up. Oh yeah – FOOD. S & R had Thai food catered and YEAH. I totally ATE MY WEIGHT in pad thai. They basically could’ve paid me in pad thai. And coffee. And maybe fried chicken. Probably fried chicken. What else… oh Sesame chicken too. That’s good stuff. Right. Okay – back to this.

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Atlanta Wedding Photographer – Backyard Wedding

Check out that backyard! It’s SO AWESOME! You wanna be like – WHO HAS A BACKYARD LIKE THAT? Apparently people here in Atlanta. Definitely no one in Phoenix, Arizona (where I grew up.)

Oh yeah AND another thing about backyard weddings – decorate. Look – just because it’s a backyard wedding doesn’t mean that you can be lazy about things. Decorate – that’s what makes it more of a wedding ceremony in a backyard and not just… a conversation in a backyard. Right? Right. So decorate. It doesn’t take too much. Seriously. Pick up a book. Do a Google search. Check out Pinterest or something. I bought a book on kitchen spaces and now my kitchen looks ALL KINDS OF BADASS! I got one of those cool magnetic knife rack things – and then I installed some other bars and hooks and instead of everything being in a drawer they’re hanging and being all show casey. And my cutting boards are all made of wood and are GIANT (except you know, the one I use for cutting meat cause that would be unsafe germ and bacteria-wise.)

Oh. Right. Let’s keep moving along.

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No seriously – I’m watching this Ash Vs. Evil Dead show and it just keeps getting more and more impressive when it comes to the gore and blood – but not in a sick sad HOSTEL or SAW movie type of way – more of a… well, slapstick EVIL DEAD kind of way.

Oh – nevermind – that show ended. Switched over to Black Mirror. Now if you haven’t seen that show – WATCH IT. It’ll make you want to quit social media and technology and things like that. Because dammit – my happiness/meaning in life is not measured BY MY INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK SCORE!

Wait. I hit the word count.

Atlanta backyard weddings are often times the most beautiful and most amazing kinds of weddings. Just make sure you put a little effort and a lot of love into your ceremony and reception and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing wedding day.

Nailed it!

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Backyard wedding. Planning. Ideas. Tips. Atlanta. Georgia. Fall. Outdoors.

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 actuallywrite 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!)

Atlanta, Wedding, Photographer, Piedmont Park, Engagement Session, Live Musicians, Tips, Planning

Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. Hiring. Advice. Live. Musicians. Ceremony. String Trio. Quartet.