Tidbits + Tips | Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits are always some of my favorite photos from weddings – I love seeing brides all dolled up in their gowns and relishing in the happiness of getting married! These are images you, your mom + dad, in-laws, and even grandparents are bound to have proudly displayed in their homes, so I’m sharing my top three tips to help you get amazing bridal portraits:

Let the photographer do their thing – it may seem like they’re standing too far away, too close, or shooting from an odd angle, but I guarantee your photographer knows what they’re doing. You’d be surprised at some of the amazing shots they can get just by adjusting their angle!

Tabitha {of Tab McCausland Photograph} captured a perfect sunburst in this stunning portrait of bride, Marian.
Tabitha {of Tab McCausland Photograph} captured a perfect sunbeam in this stunning portrait of bride, Marian.
Be yourself – it’s normal to be nervous in front of the camera, but if you let your personality shine through you’re bound to get some stunning shots! Your photographer may ask you to do a few particular poses to show off certain features of your gown, hair, or make-up, but a good photographer will be able to tell when you’re nervous or uncomfortable so they can change things up.

Bridal Portrait | Cypress Grove Estate House | RW EventsIncorporate props – adding elements like vintage furniture, bridal bouquets, and unique locations all lend a hand in providing unique bridal portraits!

Our tufted settee, Demi, looked picture perfect in Aleesa's bridal portraits and doubled as seating for the sweetheart table.
Our tufted settee, Demi, looked picture perfect in Aleesa’s bridal portraits and doubled as seating for the sweetheart table.

Okay, so there’s actually four tips – if you’re able, consider doing a bridal session on a day other than your wedding. Tight timelines don’t always allow photographers to get all the shots you might want, but scheduling a one or two hour session prior to the wedding day will guarantee that nothing gets missed. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to play dress up! 😉

Real Wedding | Eva + Jeff

Just last week we helped Eva + Jeff celebrate their marriage at the always stunning Cypress Grove Estate House. 30 of their closest family + friends attended the lakeside soiree, where the couple hosted a sweet ceremony followed by an elegant reception with dinner + dancing.

Eva utilized the sunshine-filled bridal suite at Cypress Grove to capture some stunning shots of her gown, bouquet, and other bridal accessories before getting ready for the ceremony. The bride’s bouquet, from Flowers by Lesley, had two very sweet personalized touches – a rosette made from her dad’s shirt and lace from her gown {used to wrap the stems}.

Bride + Flower GirlCypress Grove Estate House Lakeside CeremonyFrom the bride: “We wanted our event to be light and romantic. The Richards did a wonderful job at capturing that feeling and all the vendors helped in making it a great day. Rachel {our coordinator} was absolutely amazing in helping me with the small details and organization. I would definitely recommend to any future bride to have fun and let it be easy. I had a great time planning and truly enjoyed my entire wedding day and felt extremely relaxed and taken care of by the entire staff. I could not have asked for a better day!”

Cypress Grove Estate House Reception

One of our favorite details was the couple’s wedding cake, created by The Sugar Suite! It incorporated delicate gold scrolling and hand crafted pink peonies {and was almost too pretty to eat}.

Bride + Groom Portrait | Cypress Grove Estate House

Photos: The Richards

Tidbits + Tips | Seasonal Options

We’ve shared lots of tips for back-up plans in case of inclement weather, but what if you’re just planning your wedding during a chilly or toasty time of year? While a tent can offer shade from the sun and protection from brisk winds, there are plenty of other ways to keep guests comfortable while being out in the elements!

Beverage stations – this is a quick and easy way to make sure you and your guests stay hydrated. Talk to your caterer about featuring fruit infused water, lemonade, fruit punch or iced tea for warmer months and hot coffee or cocoa for winter months {consider adding flavored syrups, cinnamon or peppermint sticks, and even marshmallows for an interactive station}.

Hot Apple Toddy

Photo: Amalie Orrange Photography

Pashminas – for ladies that may forget their coat or sweater at home, consider purchasing a few bundles of pashminas. These pretty wraps come in lots of colors and guests can take them home as an added favor.

Hors d’oeuvres – one of my favorite ways to warm up is with a hot bowl of yummy soup. If you don’t want offer soup as part of the meal, consider a soup shooter as an hors d’oeuvre! These are great butler passed or displayed and are easy for guests to manage. Chilled soup shooters are also be a fun option for summer events!

Watermelon with Fresh Mint Sprig {left}, Mango with Lime Garnish {right}
Chilled Soup Shooters by Big City Catering

Tidbits + Tips | Planning Timeline

Having a smooth and stress-free wedding takes lots of prep-work, so we’re here with a few tips to get you started down the path to planning the perfect event!

Get organized – start off by creating a binder or file folder to keep all your ideas, vendor contracts, guest information, etc. in order. This will keep everything in one place and neatly organized for easy finding.

Create a timeline {and stick to it} – I’m very much a type A personality, so having a list to follow just makes me happy. Create a monthly {or if you’re like me, a weekly} timeline so you’ll know when certain vendors needs to be confirmed, when you should order your invitations, when to book your final dress fitting, and so on. Believe me, it feels so wonderful when you can look at all the items you’ve checked off your list! Make sure to stick to your timeline! It’s no fun having to handle things last minute when they could have already been taken care of.

Ask for help – a couple can literally spend hundreds of hours planning a wedding, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed enlist the help of parents and your bridal party, and maybe even consider hiring a wedding coordinator {like us!}. Depending on the level of service you book with a coordinator they’ll help with vendor contracts, scheduling appointments, setting up decor + personal items, and keeping you on track throughout the planning process. A great perk to hiring a planner is that they have tons of contacts in the wedding industry, so they’ll be able to find vendors that not only fit your budget but that will provide amazing service.

Well there you have it – our top tips when it comes to the beginning stages of wedding planning! Which tip has helped you the most?

Real Wedding | Nikki + Ryan

Nikki + Ryan married at the oh, so beautiful Cypress Grove Estate House, and their wedding was a perfect combination of DIY details paired with our vintage rentals. Read about the couple’s inspiration for their wedding below!

From the bride: “My one word of advice is DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE RISKS. My (now) husband and I decided on a wine themed wedding – I mean who doesn’t like wine? We thought we could utilize the common day wine materials for DIY projects to help save costs. Searching Pinterest and the web we started to develop our picture perfect wedding. With the help of family and friends we made a luxurious wine cork chandelier, eye catching wine bottle trays, and spray painted wine bottles with DIY labels for center pieces. Our vision would not have been complete without the help of RW Events wedding rentals. We captured our theme with two flower filled wine barrels lining our ceremony aisle, a wine barrel table topped with a beautiful candy display, and the rustic elegance of our sweet heart set. With the help of RW Events, and a little bit of creativity, we designed our dream wedding that we will cherish for a life time.”

Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses | RW EventsI don’t think I’ll ever get tired of mismatched bridesmaid dresses – it’s a great way to keep all the girls within the same color palette while letting them show some of their personality =)

Featured above {right}: Finn
Featured above {left}: William + Creamie
Photos: Captured by Belinda Photography

The RW Gal List | March Favorites

The RW gals have been lusting over some pretty adorable items this month and we could not wait to share with you!

The RW Gal List | March Favorites

1. Tieks | $175 – Our brides adore this versatile flat; they are perfect for walking down the aisle in comfort and dancing the night away. The best part… you can wear these cuties over and over again after the wedding!

2. Mr. + Mrs. Napkins | $18 – Oh lovebirds… how sweet are these napkins? Set them at your place setting for a personal touch at your head table and make use of them afterwards in your own home.

3.The Hailey Tote | $82 – Oh how we love an adorable tote, honestly we are quite the bag ladies. This tote would be a great add as an everyday tote and a little gift to yourself for the wedding day to carry those oh, so important essentials.

4. Sign in Canvas | $50 – A sign in doesn’t have to be a book that you will mostly likely throw into a box and hide in the attic for the next 30 years, so consider a piece of wall art that represents you as a couple. This library inspired sign in would be a book lover’s dream!

5. Letterpress Vow Journals | $28 – Bring on the tears! These journals are the perfect keepsake for those precious words to your beloved. Reach for them every anniversary and snuggle up.

Sneak Peek | Jane Austen Inspired Shoot

When our friends at Ais Portraits came to us wanting to do a Jane Austen inspired photoshoot, we were on board from the get go! The romantic vintage details are a perfect match for our venue, Luxmore Grande Estate, and we had so much fun decorating the library and incorporating our vintage rentals {our tufted settee, Arthur, is featured below}. Here’s just a little sneak peek at some of the stunning film shots Aislinn caputred – we’re on the edge of our seat waiting to see the rest of the gorgeousness she captured!

Jane Austen Inspired Shoot | RW Events | Luxmore Grande EstateJane Austen Inspired Shoot | RW Events | Luxmore Grande EstateJane Austen Inspired Shoot | RW Events | Luxmore Grande Estate

A Mr. + Mrs. Darcy moment… made even better in black + white. Swoon!!

Wedding Countdown | Kristin + James

Bride + Groom | Engagement Session | RW Event

These two, oh where do I begin? I always say that meeting a couple for the first time is like a first date. We are both a little nervous but excited because let’s face it, when it comes to love you have a smile on your face! Our initial meeting began with James cracking jokes and Kristin going through a list of questions. We bonded over our love for Disney and Dogs {isn’t Cinnamon the cutest?}.

Engagement Photos | RW EventsEngagement Photos | RW Events

Photos: Bumby Photography

By the end of our meeting we knew we were a perfect match! They are definitely the couple that everyone loves to be around, and with their infectious laughter, who could blame them? I am beyond honored to be their planner and I can’t wait to rock their spring wedding {less than a month to go!} with them and the vendor team they’ve put together.

xoxo, Shadow

Pro tip: meeting a vendor for the first time can be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never planned a wedding before. A good vendor will be personable and easy to talk to, and will gladly answer any questions you may have =) The whole idea behind meeting with vendors is to determine if they’re a good fit for you – if they aren’t, no biggie! Many will be happy to recommend other vendors that might work better for your budget, your style, etc.

Tidbits + Tips | Choosing a Venue

There are lots of factors to consider when selecting a wedding venue, but one that we think is high up there on the list – how it photographs. After all, you’ll be looking through your wedding photos long after the event is over, so make sure you choose a location that is going to look as stunning as you do!

Two things to take into account when thinking about how a venue photographs:

Lighting – the type of lighting used can really change the look of a photograph, and we have to admit that we prefer natural light over studio lights. It gives photos a soft, natural feel, whereas studio lights can sometimes be too harsh. When you tour a potential venue make a mental note of light sources in all the locations you’ll be using, and make sure you don’t forget the bridal suite!

Bride + Groom Portrait | RW Events

Photo ops – a venue that offers lots of photo locations is a great venue indeed! If you’re considering a hotel or other venue with public areas, ask if locations you like can be closed off for a short period of time so you can have the space all to yourself =)

Grand Staircase | Four Seasons Resort Orlando | First Look | RW EventsGrand Staircase | Four Seasons Resort Orlando | First Look | RW Events We were blown away with the dramatic elegance of the staircase at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando. It makes a stunning backdrop for bridal portraits and first looks, like this one from Kylie + Erlie’s spring wedding.

Bridal Portrait | RW Events
This is one of my most favorite bridal portraits – it’s refined + elegant, and the simple, modern backdrop showcases the beauty and intricate details of the bride’s gown + veil.

Photos: Ross Oscar Knight Photography

Tidbits + Tips | Have Fun

Weddings are all about celebrating love with friends + family and having lots of fun while doing it! Don’t let the stress of wedding day get you down by incorporating fun “activities”:

  • Setup a photo booth – we don’t mean one of those boring sit in booths you see all the time. Talk to your photographer and planner about creating something unique and memorable. The photos captured from your booth can make for great favors, and duplicate photos can be used to create an album for you to keep!
  • Photo booth with Vintage Rentals | RW Events
    Photo: Wings of Glory Photography

  • Lawn games – life sized Jenga, croquet, corn hole, and even horse shoes are fun and simple games to setup. They’re great to have for guests during cocktail hour while you and your bridal party are taking photos. They also make for some awesome photo moments =)
  • Cypress Grove Estate House Lawn Games | RW Events | Harmony Lynn Photography
    Cypress Grove Estate House Lawn Games | RW Events | Harmony Lynn Photography
    Groom: “Please let it fall…”
    Cypress Grove Estate House Lawn Games | RW Events | Harmony Lynn Photography
    Groom: “Victory!”
    Photos: Harmony Lynn Photography

  • Grand exits – these are pretty standard nowadays, but that doesn’t make them any less fun! Have guests light sparklers, blow bubbles, wave streamers {glow sticks are a unique option, too} as you and your sweetie take off as newlyweds!
  • Cypress Grove Estate House | Grand Exit | RW Event | Concept Photography
    Photo: Concept Photography

What are other things you’ve incorporated into your wedding to make it fun and stress-free?