Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Our Day Our way!

So… getting right into it, Maria Ragain from Blooming Expressions Flowers (www.bloomingexpressionsflowers.com) was working on this amazing skeleton tree installation for a hair show at the Luna Multicultural Lab (www.lunaculturelab.org) and was inspired to do a photo shoot. When the opportunity came up I instantly jumped on board, despite the fact there were only 5 days to pull everything together. It was obvious that everything was going to have to be scaled down, but I had to keep the elegance on par with this breathtaking tree.

My first objective was to get an amazing photographer to capture the grandeur of the small details, especially since we were limited on space and time. Naturally, I asked Anna Padilla of Anna Marisol Photography (www.annamarisol.com), there isn’t anyone I trust more than her. She had a small window Friday morning that she was willing to let us have, we immediately said yes!

I should mention that because of the amount of time we were limited to, I called on those who I knew I could count on most like Patricia (Patty) Ibarra-Leup of Mr. Formal (www.mrformalaz.com), Sabrina Meyers of Classic Event and Tent Rentals (www.classicpartyrentals.com), and of course Jacinda Askew of Molina Bridal (www.molinabridal.com)

Yet again, Patty came to the rescue and secured another amazing model, Chris Banks, who had just the right look for our shoot, and I called on a friend I had worked with in the past, Jewel Hughes Byrd to model our gown. 

For the hair and makeup, I had the opportunity to meet with Dania Blanco of Cosmiix Artistry (www.cosmiix.com), a super talented makeup artist.

I can’t say that I will ever put it on myself to tackle another photo shoot with less than a week to plan it; it was the most stressful, sleep deprived, worrisome five days of my life. I would literally wake up from sleep trying to figure out how this was all going to come together, and I was terrified that, even if it did what would it all look like? I was most worried about letting everyone involved down if things didn’t live up to their expectations. It was Thursday evening when I had
everything finalized and guaranteed, and the shoot was first thing Friday morning! The result was so much more than I could have ever hoped for! Everyone’s contributions came together as if they were always meant to go together. This, in addition to Anna’s creative eye and attention to detail, made this shoot a spectacular success!

Our amazing table setup provided by Classic Event and Tent Rentals (www.classicpartyrentals.com). We fell in love with these beautiful silver bowls that could sit upright or on an angle as pictured!

I absolutely loved Anna's creative eye and her inspiration to take our models outside to capture this shot echoing the mural outside of the Luna Multicultural Lab. (annamarisol.com)(lunaculturelab.org)

The final image below to be one of my favorites the look on Chris' face perfectly captures everything that I wanted this shoot to portray. It is almost vampiric or what you might see when looking at Victorian photographs. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our day! Our way!!  Part 1

I would first like to say what an amazing group of frendors (vendor friends) I was so fortunate to have worked with on the styled shoot that this post is about. I cannot express the gratitude that I have for each and every one of them! 

Well, I guess the most appropriate place to start would be at the absolute beginning, which happened to be in about March. I had reached out to an amazing photographer named Anna Marisol Padilla (www.annamarisol.com). I happened to come across Anna on google while trying to grow my vendor list. Immediately we set an appointment to meet at a local coffee shop and from there this styled shoot was set in motion before I could fully realize what I had signed up for. We had set a tentative date of June, our typical slow season for weddings. I completely put the whole shoot to the back of my mind; I am not sure if I was just overwhelmed at not knowing where to begin or that the enormity of the task I signed up for was finally sinking in. Over the next few weeks Anna and I would touch base by email and set a final date, August 16th. I had the venue The Wedgewood at Palm Valley (www.wedgewoodbanquet.com), I had a date and a phenomenal photographer, if I had any doubts it was too late to back out now!  

Enter Maria Ragain with Blooming Expressions Flowers (www.bloomingexpressionsflowers). 
While trying to wrap my head around all the details that I would need to coordinate to make this shoot look flawless and beautiful, I had acquired two new clients with fast approaching wedding dates. I was heavy into planning mode when the need for a floral designer came up. The biggest factor for me when reaching out to a new vendor is how the client experience has been. Blooming Expressions Flowers had great ratings on both Google and Yelp. Not surprisingly the owner's response to customers’ comments and questions were always very professional and the level of customer service was exactly what you would expect from a business with a loyal following. We set an appointment to discuss both of my clients’ needs, little did I know that I was meeting with the owner herself! She was welcoming and so very helpful, especially when I mentioned this upcoming shoot that was literally right around the corner, and things just snowballed from there! 

Cue Retro Rentals (www.azretrorentals.com) and Mr. Formal (www.mrformalaz.com). 
Maria pointed me in the direction of Bruce Block and Jeff Johnson for help with staging, I believe the terms amazing and fabulous were thrown around quite a bit while she and I were discussing the variety of rentals available. I was not prepared for what I would find! I spoke with Bruce and he invited me to their warehouse to go through their inventory and discuss my vision. My head was spinning at all the directions I could take this shoot into. With everything that was available I could have chosen from rustic, vintage, south Asian, Boho, shabby chic the list goes on and on! I remember the first thing my eyes were drawn to were these towering arches! It turns out that they were actually reclaimed church windows, they were beautiful. What I loved the most was that they were left in almost the original condition (some work was needed to stabilize them and make them safe for renting). I knew I had to have them, Bruce and Jeff then started to help me build around them adding accent pieces to compliment these gorgeous window frames. Little by little I could see this picture building in my mind. I must have spent a good two hours going through their inventory and asking questions, these poor guys had no idea what they were getting themselves into when asking me to come by! 

After saying goodbye about a dozen times I made my way on to my next destination, Mr. Formal to meet Mrs. Formal herself! 
I was a bit too early to my appointment with Patricia (Patty) Ibarra-Leup, but it gave me a great opportunity to chat with the store associate on duty that day. She (I am so terrible with names and I don’t recall hers, I wish I could though, she was so nice) was so knowledgeable and friendly, she walked me through the shop asking me what I was looking for and recommending accessories that would complement the suit nicely. Let me get on my soapbox about this suit for a minute (yes, soapboxes can be about good things too!)  I’ve seen a similar suit in pictures but those pictures had nothing on Patty’s suit! This navy suit with black lapels was made to be worn-like every day, like to any and every important meeting, moment, photo of your life! The quality of the material, the fit, the color leaves an impression that no other suite could compare to well, unless it came from Mr. Formal! Okay officially off my soap box. While meeting with Patty we discussed so many things from business to spouses and somehow ended the conversation with our obsession with Game of Thrones, it turns out we both were extremely late to the party! Patty if you’re reading this I am in season 6 and should be all caught up by the time the new one starts!!  

My Next meeting would be with Jennifer Woods from Touchstone Crystals by Swarovski (www.touchstonecrystal.com/jenwoods). We met by chance as I came across a posting of hers on Facebook (if you know me, you know I love anything that glitters and sparkles and this was the sparkle queen, come on how could I not meet with someone who is referred to as the sparkle queen!) we set an appointment to meet and look over some of her pieces. As we sat in the restaurant talking over pricing and bridal pieces I found myself constantly shifting my head and breaking my concentration because I was repeatedly getting flashes of light in my eyes, yes these jewelry pieces were actually forcing me to look at them! I have always been a huge fan of Swarovski, my bridal jewelry was made with them, so I know the brilliance they possess, but I’ve never experienced it on this scale before. Needless to say I had to ask Jen to be part of this shoot, it wouldn’t have been the same without her! 

As things started to fall into place I knew the next items to cross off my list were to secure a cake and find a gown. I felt that the cake would be less difficult to get only because the cake shop, Pixy Cakes (www.pixycakes.com) already had an existing relationship with the Wedgewood, I by no means assumed it was a sure thing but was hopeful that they would be open to participating. I reached out to Pixy Cakes and was directed to Tricia O’Donnell who is the cake designer and is extremely talented. After explaining who I was and my reason for reaching out, Tricia agreed to help us with a spectacular cake! I sent her images that were in theme with our style and color scheme and basically left the design in her hands, Tricia put together a cake that fit in perfectly with the look that we working to accomplish. The delicate design and colors were a perfect match to the attire and elegance we were striving to achieve. I decided to stop by Pixy Cakes one day just to introduce myself to Tricia and get the opportunity to know who was on the other end of all the phone calls; this is when I found the gowns that would change everything for me!  

All I have are two words: Molina Bridal 
As I wandered over to the cake shop I was literally stopped in my tracks by the stunning gowns in the window at Molina Bridal (www.molinabridal.wixsite.com). I detoured, almost like I was drawn into this boutique. Once inside I had the pleasure of meeting Jacinda who would be my point of contact going forward. I explained that I was a wedding planner and had a styled shoot coming up in just a couple weeks and was still in need of a gown. Jacinda told me, she was fairly certain that the owners would be interested but just needed to verify with them. I left my information with her and told her I would be calling in a couple days to follow up; for me time was of the essence and I could not waste another minute delaying anything. When I received word from Jacinda that they would be happy to be part of the shoot I was over the moon! I stopped by immediately and was able to pick out not one but two elegant gowns; one was a classic ivory wedding dress with light beading over the appliques. The second was this breathtaking blue/gray dress that was covered with a subtle lace that made it so beautifully elegant. I immediately knew this dress was going to be the highlight of the shoot! I left feeling confident and assured that these pictures were going to be amazing. 

I am not sure of the order of the next vendors it all seems to have come together in a whirlwind! But it will have to wait until the next blog post in one week.  

Vendors in next weeks post: 
The Crafty Smiths: Jeff Smith 
Suit Model: Jay Jordan 
Gown Model:Pamela Sassi
Us To U Rentals: Sharon Rose 
Classic Rentals: Sabrina Meyers
Two Be Wed Bridal Jewelry: Noelle Kostraba 
Makeup Artist:Azure Schaffer 
Hair Stylist: Jaime Voelz 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ask me anything! Professional advice from a certified consultant

"How much should I spend?"
 It can be daunting to think about how much one can spend on a wedding, especially, if you are the type of person who is very money conscious. The important thing to keep in mind is your comfort. If you find that either you or your partner is waking in the middle of the night with panic attacks, it is time to scale it back a little. Be sure to allow for free and open conversation between the two of you. Show understanding and compassion for each other’s dreams and concerns.

 "Should I have a small wedding or big wedding?"
Believe it or not, small and intimate weddings can sometimes cost as much as very large weddings. It all depends on the details. It is important to decide where your focus is going to be. You will need to ask yourselves if you are hoping to save money, or do you want to share this special day with just very close friends and family? Either way it is important to determine your budget before deciding the scale of your special day.

 “Is it worth it?"
Most of us have very few opportunities to celebrate huge life events surrounded by our closest family and friends. This special day that you have chosen to commit your life to your partner should be enjoyed and celebrated by everyone who is important in your lives. Whether your budget is $5,000 or $50,000, this is the day that you will look back on for years to come. However you choose to celebrate this day be sure that all aspects are meaningful to you.

"Who should I invite?"
One of the hardest decisions the bride and groom will face is creating a guest list; whom to invite, whom not to invite, whom to put on a backup list. What I recommend to all engaged couples is to create four (yes four) separate lists. One created by the bride, one by the groom, one by the bride’s parents, and one by the groom’s parents. If the bride and groom are paying for the wedding jointly they have the final say in the number of people invited. Be sure to try to keep things even. If the bride is inviting 50 people then the groom should also be able to invite 50. The same rule applies for the parents of the bride and groom. The next step is to have everyone go through their list and notate who needs (N) to be at the wedding, who they would like (L) to be at the wedding, and who can be a backup (B) in case other guests cannot attend. After adding all the needed guests, you can then start adding the guests you would like to attend. If you are still under budget and below your ideal number of guests you can reevaluate your “backup” list and begin adding additional people.

"I have a father and step-father. How can I include them both in my wedding?"
Having two father figures in your life is not an uncommon occurrence these days. There are many ways to incorporate both of these important men in your wedding. You must first determine if they are friendly with each other and if one father’s feelings will not be hurt over the other’s incorporation. Some brides choose to have both men walk her down the aisle. Others have one father walk her halfway down the aisle before being joined by or handed to the second father. Another option is to have the stepfather and mother of the bride precede the bride and her father. If you are not having the ceremony in a church, why not ask one of your fathers to become an ordained minister? This way both men are an intricate part of your day!

I hope that you found these questions and answers helpful!
If you have a question about your upcoming wedding please email me at: judith@gtcweddings.com and I will answer it in my next post!

I will answer up to 6 questions per posting.
If I am unable to respond to your question in the next posting I will email you directly with my response and post your question in the subsequent post.

About Judith:
I am a certified wedding planner who has a passion for organization and weddings. I have such an enthusiasm for weddings I have married my husband three times over, each wedding more special than the last! Having had three weddings of my own, I am an expert in working with any type of budget and every bride’s vision for her special day! 

       Visit www.gtcweddings.com to find out more information!