How to Choose Your Perfect Wedding Photographer

Your EXCITED, ENGAGED and ON A MISSION to find that special wedding photographer that is going to help you and your spouse remember and relive the day you said, “I do.”. If this sounds a little like a match making idea then you’re right. Of all the vendors that you will choose to help you make your wedding day fantastic, your photographer will spend the entire day with you. Think about it, your baker will bring the cake and leave, your florist will hand everything over and leave, your wedding planner will check up on you from time-to-time while there but your photographer will always be there recording every moment. Once you realize this and search for “wedding photography” or “wedding photographer” in Google and you’ll find yourself staring at a list between 2 – 12 million results. You don’t have the time or the desire to even begin to click and search through all of them so here are ten questions to help you find your perfect wedding photographer.

1. You can’t know what you want until you know what you want.

Because there is uniqueness in your love and passion with each other your wedding portraits should reflect that uniqueness. As a result, you need to understand and be able to articulate the style of photography that will best fit for you. To do so you need to ask yourself two questions:

a. What types of movies do you and your fiancée like to watch and what types movies can you see yourself in? The movie(s) you choose will give you an idea as to the over all feeling of the photographs you most likely want to have. If you like family based movies then you are going to most likely want photographs that have an emphasis on friends and family. On the other hand, if you enjoy romantic, action or high drama movies, then you might be more interested in photographers who are able to produce dramatic photos that focus on you.

b. What magazines would you like to see yourself in? Every magazine has a customer base demographic. And this is not by accident. Do you like the photographs from Vogue, GQ, Modern Bride, or W? Look through magazines and find photographs that you would like to see yourself in and cut out those photographs for future reference.

2. Searching for photographer on the web

Because there are so many websites just using the best keywords to find what you are looking for can be a daunting task so here are some ideas to make it a little easier. Use words that are specific to you concerning the type of wedding photography that you are looking for. In addition you will want to search under the words of where you are getting married and/or where you would like to find your photographer. Here are some ideas:

[city] wedding photography
[city] wedding photographer(s)
wedding photographer(s) in [city] [state]
wedding photography in [city] [state]

These will give you a number of results to choose from. Each of these searches will give you a list of different photographers. You can also look at wedding advertising sites such as http://www.atlantanbrides.com and [http://www.modernluxury.com/brides/atlanta]

These sites will give you more than enough results to look through. Once you see a list, start to visit as many sites as you can but ONLY LOOK AT THE PHOTOS. Your goal is to find a photographer with photos that you can see yourself in and that you would be proud and excited to show your friends and family.

3. The Photographers’ Website

The website is the wedding photographers personal gallery of their best work. The purpose of visiting the website is to not only assess if you like the photographer’s style but also to get more aquatinted with the photographer too. Once you click on the website then take some time to visit the “about us” or “bio” section of the website. Get to know the photographer a little bit. Once you do this ask yourself if this were someone you would befriend. You may want to make a list of photographers to compare them. However, no matter how good or bad the photos are, if you do not think that you would befriend the photographer then that photographer should most likely not be considered. While perusing the galleries begin to write down some notes about what you like about the photos, if you can see yourself in those photos, and if you would refer others to the photographer. Don’t be shy about your comments; be honest as if you were looking at your own photos. If you are not impressed with the photos then quickly move on t o the next site. Never stay on a website any longer than you need to. **Remember to resist any temptation to look at prices or any unrelated categories like children portraiture and/or high school senior portraits while on the website. You are on a mission so always remind yourself to stay on task. Once you determined that you like the photos on the website then bookmark that website and move on to the next one. You, Your Best Friend, and Your Nemesis Should I really trust my “gut feeling” on such an important decision? I can only answer a resounding “YES.” Our “gut feeling” is typically comprised of knowledge, past experiences, and perception of future events based on your learned knowledge. Making a great decision is going to be a matter of research and personal experience. So take your time and learn and see as much as you can so that when the time comes to make this important decision you will be excited and extremely confident that you made this decision.

4 – LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Believe it or not, not every photographer can produce artistic portraits in any given venue. As a Bride, you need to be honest with yourself and with your photographer about your photographic expectations for that day. You must always remember that you are hiring a photographer for a specific reason, to capture individual moments from that day so that those memories will never be forgotten. A big component of your day will be the location and venue you choose for your celebration. You need to know the venue’s photographic expectations and restrictions. Here are some questions to ask your venue:

1) Does the venue allow flash photography?

2) Are there any insurance requirements?

2) Are there any time limits in any venue that the photographer should know? (You can ask the vendor this question and let the photographer know about this.)

3) Are there any places at the venue that cannot be photographed? You need to know your venue’s policies on photographs and where they can and cannot be taken.

4) Ask the venue if there is anything that the photographer needs to know that you haven’t asked. (phrase this as a question as you did with the others.)

5) What was the worst infringement of the venue’s photographic policies? (This will give you an idea of how serious they are about their policies and what is important to them.) Be sure to bring up these answers with the photographer during your meeting.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOU AND YOUR LOCATION?

Ask your vendor for personal recommendations and view the photographer’s website. Put those sites that are most in line with your style in the list of your other potential photographers.

When viewing websites ask yourself: –

Does this photographer have that ability to adapt to his surroundings? (Are there a variety of photographs from a variety of locations?)
Is the photographer creative enough to be able to take high quality portraits anywhere? (Is the photographer creative in posing?)
Is the overall personality of the website something that you like? (Would you be confident to recommend a friend to the same website to get their advice and their recommendations on photographers)

Quality professional wedding photographers know how to use their surroundings as a backdrop for your romantic portraits. If you are going to have a candle light wedding then the photographer is going to have the equipment to correctly expose for that extremely low light setting. If you are getting married on the beach then your photographer will need the equipment and knowledge to ensure that the sun does not over power your beautiful dress and smile.

5 – Book Early, BOOK ASAP!!!!!

The key here is to make sure that you are happy and comfortable with your photographer. You never want to choose and settle on a photographer because of time or pressure from the photographer, friends, or family. Give yourself some time and space. This is really up to you. You need to feel comfortable and secure with your decision. Once you are comfortable and sure about the decision then sign the contract and be happy that that decision is out of the way.

6 – Calling or contacting your perspective Professional Photographer

Once you have a list of photographers then start calling! When you speak with your perspective photographer for the first time there are a few things you may want to keep in mind. Let the photographer know that you have seen their website and are impressed with what you have seen and you would like to ask a few questions that were not covered on the website. When you speak to a photographer you need to approach it as an interview. Remember, you are hiring a professional to do a job that cannot be repeated. There are no “do-overs” with wedding photos so try to get to know the photographer as well as possible.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

THE INTERVIEW:

You should approach this call as an interview. It is really to find out what this photographer is about and decide if you would like to meet the photographer in person.

When the photographer answers the phone how does he sound? Happy? Sad? Annoyed? Or glad to speak with you? Remember, you are calling the photographer’s business phone number. The photographer knows that you are calling for a business reason. [ There is no excuse for the photographer to answer any other than happy and glad to speak with you.]
Ask open-ended questions such as: what do you like about weddings, How long have you photographed weddings, what got you started in photographing weddings.
Ask any questions that you can think of about their personality and wedding photography career.
Ask about date availability and the location of the wedding and reception.
How long has the photographer been in business?
What does the photographer like best about photographing weddings?
Are you a full-time or part-time photographer? (The purpose of this question is still just to see who this person is.)

THINGS TO CONSIDER: When you make the appointment let the photographer know where you live and times you are able to meet. Also find out what location where the photographer is coming from then ask the photographer where would be a good place to meet in between. You want to listen to see if the photographer is flexible enough to go out of his/her way for you. If the photographer is not able to meet with you on the dates that you have given then the photographer should offer some suggestions that would help the both of you After the interview, if you are happy and your intuition says yes, then set up an appointment.

WORD OF CAUTION: Professional Photographers make their living on providing photographic services and not talking over the phone. The photographer may have a “strong urge” to have you meet them in person. This is not bad! What is bad is how they urge you to make an appointment. The photographer should converse with you and help you make the best photographic decision possible. Beware if the photographer is refusing (tone or verbal) to answer questions and wants to quickly set up an appointment. However, if the photographer is open with you and offers you advice and questions about what you want then the photographer has already decided that you are a good match for them and will want to set up an appointment with you. As always, if you feel comfortable then set up an appointment. Since there are more photographers than you could possibly meet in a year it is important to only set up appointments with 3-4 photographers. You may want to allocate four hours of time for each meeting. This takes into account travel there and back and speaking with the photographer. You can see then that if you are not careful you could end up making searching for a photographer your new full-time job.

7 – PACKAGES, COLLECTIONS, INVESTMENTS

So far we have spoken about the process of getting the best photographer for your wedding but have not even touched the topic of what you are going to actually get at the end of the day. Some photographers call the contents of what you get packages, collections, an investment, or a commission to supply you with your wedding day photographs. Surprisingly most photographers offer the same contents as other photographs. What is important is getting what you would like to have for the future and not what you think you need now. You want an album because of the story that you want to show to your relatives and your future grandchildren. Slide shows are nice because you can have music set to photos that will be heirlooms. Digital Negatives and Reprints: Some photographers will sell reprints directly to you. This means that you will only get prints of your wedding day (this is separate from your album) when you pay the photographer for them. These prices will vary depending on the size of the prints and how many you request. Other photographers will create a combination package in which you receive a CD/DVD composed of an unlimited or limited number of photos. You may be able to reprint these photos on your own or you may be only able to view them on a computer and email them with no option to make your own reprints. Albums: Albums, Albums, and more Albums! As the wedding industry grows, more and more companies are offering albums so it is important to see a model of the album you are choosing. It is important to see the album model because two photographers may use similar names for albums that in the end are not so similar.

Questions about the album you should ask:

1 – How many pages are in the album?

2 – What choices do I have about the album?

3 – On average how many photos will fit in the album? Some photographers will offer other products but the main thing that you want to consider is what you are looking for. Are you looking forward to having a plenty of prints to give away and a large album to show your friends and family or are you looking for something small like a day album? These are questions that you are going to have to consider thoughtfully. Whatever your choice is, make sure that there is clear communication between you and your photographer.

8 – CONTRACTS: Who needs them?!

A friend told me once that, ” contracts keeps friends friends and enemies from killing each other.” Because of the nature of the service you are requesting from the photographer it is incredibly important that you get everything that you agreed to in writing. Be sure that the type of album, numbers of pages, and the amount of time that you are requiring from you photographer is in writing. The reason that this is important is because if something were to go wrong then it can be held up in court. Contracts keep people a little more honest than if you didn’t have one. Personally, I go over everything in the contract before the contract is signed. This way, everyone understands what is going on and communication of what is expected is clear.

9 – PHOTOGRAPHER THE INTERVIEWER

The photographer should interview you just as much as you should be interviewing the photographer. As stated before, “not everyone is for everyone” applies here as well. The photographer should ask questions that identify your personality and the personality of your relationship with your fiancé. I always ask questions such as:

1 — When did the two of you meet?

2 – How long did you date before you were engaged?

3 – What is the most important detail in your wedding that you are most excited about?

4 – Is the venue you have chosen really important to you?

The photographer needs to ask questions that are going to tell a little bit about the couple and what’s important to them. If the photographer doesn’t know what is important to you then the photographer most likely will not photograph what is important to you. This most likely will result in you not being completely happy with your final product. In short, the photographer should have a good idea as to who the couple is and what is important to them.

10 – THE LAST QUESTION YOU SHOULD ASK YOURSELF.

What’s your gut feeling? Remember decisions that you make cannot be based on what you thought was true or what you hoped will be true. The best answer you can make about the decision is based on the information that you have now. In short, consider your gut feeling, remember what you want out of the photographer and the style that the photographer produces, and have a great time choosing the photographer that will best photograph you.

Peter Doyle is the Premiere Atlanta Wedding Photographer for the exclusive clientele of the Bespoke lifestyle. From New York to Charleston to Los Angeles, Peter captures not only your personality but also the personality of your entire wedding day. The emotions told throughout your wedding portraits of your closest friends and family will remind you of the anticipation and excitement of your day. The details and accessories that you chose will be recorded so that your children will be able to relive one of your most cherished days with you. The photographic collections that are created just for you will become one of your most treasured heirlooms. Peter has attended private teaching sessions and has become friends with some of the most honored and awarded photographers in the United States. These include: Joe Buissink, Joe Photo, Charles and Jennifer Marring, Jeffery and Julia Woods, and Matthew Jordan Smith

Professional Wedding Photography

The steady, ongoing work produced from wedding photography generates the majority of new clients for most photography studios and freelance photographers. A wedding photographer will need to comfortable with the following activities & skills:

Candid shots (photojournalistic) and posed shots
Making slides, prints, and slideshows (digital or otherwise)
Traditional albums
Taking shots in the outdoors at a party, beach, or rustic locale
Snapping shots indoors at a temple or church

In the late 1860’s in America, couples started hiring photographers and posing at the wedding. The art form of photography for the wedding was created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. However, the idea of live action shots and of capturing the event itself came up after the Second World War. Often, the photographers would just show up inconspicuously at a wedding, snap the photos, and venture to sell them later on to the family. This forced studios to start covering the events, lest they be booted out by freelance photographers.

After the wedding is over, a small time lapse is incurred, and, thereafter the photographer shows “proofs” to the couple. The proofs can be in the form of prints, thumbnail galleries, or all of the images on CD-ROM. They may also make separate galleries or slideshows, and they’re sometimes themed.

Photographers may sell additional prints to the couple through a web site with thumbnail galleries and an e-commerce back-end, often in conjunction with a vendor or broker website that charges a commission for each print purchase.

The common types of wedding photography include the photojournalistic realism and spontaneous photographer behavior of some, the classic or traditional posed method, and a hybrid of the two called fashion-based wedding photography.

In big cities, there are often studios devoted to wedding photography because photography for the wedding is such a mammoth market in metropolitan areas. People are always moving in and out and getting married. Take a look at a portfolio of the photographer’s former work for assurance.

The Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and, especially, the Wedding Photojournalists Association (WPA) offer training, professional support, and tips to member photographers.

Why Couples Should Decide on a Budget for Their Wedding Cake

“Do you have a budget allocated for your wedding cake?”

Here are a couple of answers that we face:

“Don’t worry, money is not an issue!”

“We really don’t know how much a cake costs?”

“We just want to enquire”

These are understandable, but let’s take a look at why a budget is required.

Please take note that there is one condition which eliminates the requirement for a baker to know your budget, and that is if you provide a design that you want replicated exactly.

For cases that are not the above, the two important reasons why a budget is important are:

1) Wedding Cake designs can be INFINITE.

A wedding cake can cost anything from $100 to $10,000 depending on the extent of the design. It is much more accurate to design knowing the limitations. Themes, colours, preferred floral work and other interests of the lovely couple provide guidelines and inspirations for bakers, but a budget creates a cap on how far they can go with the “extensiveness” and/or minute details of the design and the elements we place on it. This results in us not “shortchanging” your cake; in fact it makes your cake more holistic. Also, the best part is that you get it at YOUR price.

2) The sub-standard finesse

A good and successful cake design, like many other works of art, requires various elements, to be incorporated in such a way that they compliment each other in order to meet the couple’s various interests and vision. Thus, when a budget is not provided, two things could possibly happen:

The cake exceeds your budget and you request to remove certain elements from the design that you feel is expandable. As much as this seems logical, it affects the overall design. As mentioned earlier, designing is done on the wedding cake as a whole, so removing or replacing design elements post-design to suit your budget might actually be a disadvantage to you. And furthermore, the outcome may still not satisfy your budget. It would be best to avoid this process.

To redesign the entire cake to suit your now understood budget, is the best the baker can do to accommodate you, but this might cause delays in the process.

Although, these processes might have proven successful in the past, it is not something we recommend. And when we do have to, we pay careful attention to the final design to make sure it still accomplishes the overall vision and objectives of the lovely couple.

So, how do you actually decide your budget? Look out for our next article on tips on deciding a budget for your wedding cake!

The Intimate Wedding Venue in Denver

Small weddings are becoming more and more popular. Not only because they are obviously less expensive, but also because they are spent with the people dearest to the bride and groom. Below are some selected venues in Denver where you can hold an intimate wedding ceremony and reception:

For a small yet elegant wedding, consider The Black Swan on the border of downtown Denver. This charming two-story brownstone building has a private event space on the ground level that can fit 30 to 50 people. With high ceilings, wooden floors, and a grand staircase, its ambiance exudes nothing but simple elegance. They also have a back area where you can put up a tent if you want more space.

An art gallery is one of the most perfect settings for an intimate and not-so-typical wedding. In Denver, event gallery 910arts has two venues you can choose from: Studio 11 that can accommodate up to 50 people and Emerging Artists Gallery that can seat a maximum of 35 people. Either of these two art-filled options will certainly make your wedding full of character.

If you have a modern Japanese theme for your wedding, the best place would be Mikuni Sushi. It’s a hip bar/restaurant adorned with paintings of Japanese warriors mixed with metallic décor. However, they only allow i-house catering. They have a small banquet room where you can hold a reception for 20 people.

Another unique Denver wedding venue is D’Vine Wine, which you could rent if you have no more than 70 guests. It would be like having a wedding in your very own winery. Located right in the middle of Denver, D’Vine Wine has a cozy winery with a Tuscan theme as well as a bar and a patio where your guests can enjoy your wedding and the wines.

There are also plenty of historic Denver wedding venues if that’s what you’re looking for such as Historic Georgetown. It has two indoor house museums with a total capacity of 60 people – a Victorian Home and an Italian style two-story house. It also has two parks for outdoor events that can accommodate up to 100 guests, one of which – Hamill Park – has a covered pavilion with catering facilities.

These are just some of the Denver wedding venues that you may want to consider for your special day. To make your selection easier, finalize your guest number and decide on the ambiance that you want for your wedding. One thing is for sure, whether you want an elegant, quirky or quaint venue for a small wedding you will not run out of options in Denver.

Digital Photo Wedding Album

For a contemporary, unique and highly personal wedding album, have you considered a digital wedding album created by you with the help of your wedding guests? The result is a wonderful collection of intimate, personal pictures presented as a top quality album in the style of your choice.

The days when wedding albums were heavy leather-bound paper tomes, inevitably stuck in the back of a closet gathering dust are long gone. A digital photo album is a fantastic coffee table book that you will want to show off and look through again and again.

Obviously professionally taken photographs are fabulous, but you cannot underestimate the variety and spontaneity of photographs taken by your friends and family. So many couples spend their wedding day in a whirl of excitement, with little time to draw breath, and many admit that after the wedding, they felt as if they missed out on spending time with many of their guests, particularly if it is a large wedding. Imagine the joy of looking through your wedding photos, contributed by your guests, and seeing your wedding through their eyes. Wedding guests often capture moments that are missed by the official photographer, and using a collection of photographs from several different guests will increase your chances of having photographs of the majority of your guests.

If you know in advance of the wedding that this is the kind of album you want, you can let your guests know so that they can use their best photography skills on the big day! If you have a few guests who are keen amateur photographers, they will probably be snapping away all day anyway, but if they know what you are planning to do with the pictures, they can really make the most of their talent. Make sure you have all aspects of the day covered including of course the bride at home before leaving, guests arriving at the venue (e.g. church), the wedding party (bride and groom, bridesmaids, parents etc) after the ceremony, the meal and the reception.

You will undoubtedly find photos that you absolutely love, and you may decide to have these printed to be framed and displayed in your home.

The process is simple. Sign up for the service. Create your album by choosing what page size you’d like to have. A classic wedding album size is 12″ x 12″. Setup your album for sharing with your friends and family. Invite them in to upload their best photos and or just browse through the collection of digital photos. Begin creating your album’s pages using the photos uploaded in to the gallery. Creating a page is as simple as selecting the page design, dragging photos on to the design and optionally adding text.

For a special touch, you could add other elements to the album by scanning and then uploading them to the gallery, such as the wedding invitation, the order of service and the menu.

Once you are done designing your album you then publish it making it ready for ordering. You can decide on what paper weight and finish you’d like (satin or glossy).

Because the album is created online, it is easy to try different layouts and experiment with alternative templates in a way that is not possible with a conventional bound album.

As well as being truly individual style of wedding album, a digital wedding album can be a cost-saving way of presenting your photographs. Once you have your first digital photo album, you may never go back to traditional albums! Digital albums are great not just for weddings but any special occasion; digital pictures of a newborn make a fantastic baby gift and a selection of party photos is a great way to remember birthdays and anniversaries.

John Carbajal is seasoned in Internet, digital imaging and printing technologies. He founded Fotocodex, [http://fotocodex.com], an Internet based service dedicated to making it easy for newlyweds to gather together the best digital photos taken during their wedding and transform them in to a truly stunning digital photo wedding album.

Fotocodex brings social networking to the process of digital photo book making. Your wedding guests can easily upload their best wedding photos directly in to your wedding album’s on line gallery. You decide which digital photos to use and where to use them. You can even allow some of your guests to lend you a hand in creating the album’s pages!

Fotocodex uses the best in digital photo printing technologies to print your album’s pages. All their albums are bound carefully by hand by old world craftsmen.

8 Unique Venue Ideas for Your Wedding Day

Winery – Ideal for small, intimate weddings a winery can be an excellent location for an outdoor ceremony or even an indoor reception overlooking the vineyard. If you love wine, this is a gorgeous place to have your special day.

Museum – Why not add a little culture to your wedding by having it in a museum? With lots of space and beautiful exhibits, a museum makes an excellent place to say ‘I do’.

School House – An intimate wedding in an old school house can add historic charm to your wedding whether it is indoor or outdoor.

Art Gallery – An art gallery is a unique venue for artsy couples that want something different. There are many different sized art galleries, and many offer wedding packages as well.

Bed & Breakfast – With the option of having a small, indoor wedding or an outdoor garden wedding, a bed & breakfast is an ideal location for smaller weddings. If you want the homey charm of having a wedding at home without all the work, this may be for you.

Mill – A wedding at an old mill can add a natural, elegant feel to your wedding. And plenty of photographic locations for wedding pictures.

Barn – A unique location to say ‘I do’. Barns offer plenty of room, and a lot of options to decorate.

Restaurant – Is there a restaurant where you and your fiance had your first date? Or do you guys have a restaurant you just absolutely adore? Why not see if the venue will host your wedding? And there’s no need to hire a caterer.

Personalized Weddings: Five Newport, RI Wedding Venues That Reflect Individual Styles

There is an emphasis these days to bring a little of you and a little of your fiancé into your wedding theme. Many couples are incorporating their hobbies and interests into their wedding reception for a more personalized touch, and to give their guests a unique experience. Everyone wants their wedding to be remembered, and by personalizing your wedding, people will be talking about your event for years to come.

Here are a few ideas, by personality type, that go beyond your typical Newport Mansion wedding.

You and your fiancé are dedicated sommeliers: Why not take your love of wine and put it to good use? Treat your guests to a romantic dinner under a tent surrounded by vines of Pinot Gris. Greenvale Vineyards of Portsmouth, RI, can accommodate 50 guests for a smaller wedding or rehearsal dinner inside their Tasting Room and a tent can be placed on the property for weddings up to 150 guests with a dance floor.

You and your fiancé are art connoisseurs: A very unique and undoubtedly chic location would be a wedding at the Newport Art Museum. This 1864 Mansion was once the home of John Griswold, a China Trade Merchant, but now is the site of America’s oldest known surviving Art Association. The Newport Art Museum can accommodate up to 250 guests in a variety of spaces, either by tent on the lawn adjacent to the outdoor veranda, (perfect for cocktail hour), or in their main gallery. If the idea of having your wedding reception inside a gallery sounds like heaven, than this is a place for you.

You and your fiancé LOVE tennis: If the US Open makes you giddy, consider having your wedding reception at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Originally built as a casino for the rich and wealthy in 1880, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has hosted tennis celebrities Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe to name a few. The various indoor galleries can be used for cocktails, and the outdoor porches and the famous Horseshoe Piazza offer a variety of space to accommodate up to 200 guests with a dance floor.

You and your fiancé are military buffs: Consider the historical significance of having your wedding and reception at Fort Adams National Park. Originally commissioned in 1702, the 6-acre parade field, a space contained by the casements of the fort, can be rented and offer a completely private location. Brides of military enthusiasts will find this location a good “compromise” as the North lawn can be tented for a spectacular waterfront view.

You and your fiancé are all about being “green”: If incorporating the words organic or natural to your wedding is your goal, consider a tented reception amid fields of flowers and vegetation. Located in Middletown RI, Sweet Berry Farm is a local favorite for veggies, but also now hosts tented weddings in their fields. With tent sites that can accommodate up to 500 people, including the ceremony, a wedding reception here is a memorable event.

Planning a New Jersey Wedding in the City of Vernon

New Jersey is a state of contrasts; from the beautiful beaches of the Southern Shore to the Statue of Liberty of the New Jersey Gateway. The state offers many chances to celebrate a beautiful New Jersey Wedding with a variety of beautiful backdrops. When looking for a place in New Jersey to celebrate a typical New Jersey wedding consider Vernon, New Jersey. This town is a four-season destination. Vernon offers activities and sights all year round.

Vernon is located on the Wallkill River within the scenic rolling hills of the New Jersey Highlands. The region is home to beautiful lakes and streams cutting through rich forests and offering a rich agricultural heritage. Vernon is also a part of nationally famous Appalachian Trail. Vernon has a rich history and culture dating back to 1793. Being a four-season destination allows Vernon to offer special activities for wedding guests all year round.

During the winter months, Vernon is transformed into a winter ski town, with bed and breakfasts that offer guests warm cozy fires and world famous ski slopes. Guest may be able to catch a glimpse of Olympic hopefuls training on the ski slopes. For winter accommodations, consider the Mountain Creek Resort or the Hidden Valley Club. Both locations are close to ski slopes, the hidden Valley Club offering a spacious windowed lodge setting for a memorable New Jersey wedding.

The fine hotels with their beautiful gardens are a perfect setting for a spring wedding. A perfect example for a New Jersey wedding is the Crystal Springs Resort. The resort offers different wedding venues from elegant ballroom to more intimate settings for a smaller group. The Crystal Spring Resort offers a Wedding Garden, complete with well-manicured beautiful spring flower gardens that also include a bird sanctuary.

During the summer months, the nationally famous Mountain Creek’s Waterpark can be a great cooling activity for the guests. Guests can also sail or water-ski on Greenwood Lake in this nearby town of Warwick. Outdoor wedding venues with dramatic backdrops are plenty. Couples can look into the many Bed and Breakfasts located in the Vernon that cater to make an exception New Jersey wedding experience.

The fall offers spectacular fall foliage. Guests can tour local wineries and distilleries and for younger guests a visit to a pick-your-own apples orchard can be a treat. Vernon delivers fall wedding venues and activities for guests for a perfect New Jersey wedding. Besides the usual garden setting of area resorts, hotels and bed and breakfast consider an outdoor farm wedding. Vernon is in the middle of horse country. This area is home to many horse farms providing a unique wedding setting.

Neighboring communities can also offer an abundance of activities and services. Vernon is only an hour’s drive from New York City, where shows, galleries, and entertainment are located. Next door to Vernon is the Town of Warwick, which has Victorian charm and is home to two art galleries. For the history buff, there is an old chapel in Vernon that was erected in the 1700’s that may be available for weddings.

This part of the Skylands is perfect for a New Jersey wedding, not only does Vernon provide activities for wedding guests, all wedding related services can be met. Local caterers, photographers, and wedding planners can make your wedding experience perfect.

How to Plan a Green Wedding – Real Tips Beyond the Fad

Sure, green weddings are all the rage, but the key is to make yours more than a trendy buzzword. It’s easy enough to find recycled wedding invitations and serve organic cuisine, but you’ll need to go the extra mile to make your wedding stand apart from the rest of the band wagon green weddings. Here are some tips to get you started:

Getting Started – Things To Consider:

Simplify – the overarching theme should be simplification. There are eco-friendly versions of most wedding products, but the best option is to forego the items altogether. Reuse wherever possible – and save not only resources, but cash too.

Weigh the expenses – that said, some items you just can’t live without, and usually the natural, organic, or green version is more expensive than the original. You’ll need to factor this into your wedding budget.

Patronize – many new companies have entered the growing green weddings market. Before booking your vendors, check out businesses that claim to provide green services and see if they really do.

Inform – one green turn deserves another. Let your guests know the steps you’ve taken to plan your green wedding, and show them that an elegant event doesn’t have to be harmful to the environment.

All In The Details – Ideas:

Stationery & Invitations

Recycle – use recycled paper or paper made from alternative fiber – such as hemp or bamboo. Check out these resources for an array of custom, recycled papers: Custompaper.com or JamPaper.com

Splurge on calligraphy – calligraphy may cost more, but it saves inks, toners, solvents and chemicals involved in printing.

Condense – save trees by minimizing inserts and other paper products. Always print on front and back and try to fit it all on one sheet.

Go completely green – send all correspondence via email. The etiquette gods may swoon – but electronic mailings are the most earth friendly way to go.

The Location

Rent for a cause – find a venue that will benefit from your site rental fee – such as a museum, gallery or other cultural organization.

Go outside – a beach, the woods, gardens – they all make an ideal setting for a green wedding (just be sure to leave it as you found it).

Find a green venue – some venues are demonstrating a commitment to saving water and energy, reducing waste, and serving locally grown/organic menus. Check out these resources for green minded venues: Green Hotels Association or Green Seal

Decor Elements

Use candlelight – not only are candles energy efficient, they also create a soft romantic glow for an elegant reception.

Use bamboo – one of the most sustainable materials on earth, bamboo is an earth friendly décor option with an organic, modern feel. Use bamboo stalks for centerpieces or other décor elements.

Flowers

Think double duty – invite your ceremony arrangements to the reception! You can use them to decorate your cake or gift table – you’ll waste less and save money doing it.

Buy organic, locally grown blooms – organic flowers are grown in an environmentally friendly way, without pesticides. Getting locally grown ones will save the fuel burned from transporting the flowers. If you can’t find a local florist who can provide organic blooms, visit OrganicBouquet.com

Conserve cut flowers – using cut flowers just once is a waste. See if you can share yours with another wedding party taking place on the same day.

Skip cut flowers altogether – top your tables with potted arrangements for guests to take and plant in their yards after the wedding.

Attire

Go secondhand – a used gown reduces fuels used in creating a new one.

Get green fibers – natural fibers like silk and organic cotton are better for the environment than synthetic

Go couture – if your wallet can afford it, couture gowns are usually made from natural fabrics.

Donate – provide a green gown decision for another bride when you give or sell yours after the wedding.

The Menu

Think organic – ensure that you, your guests and the workers won’t be exposed to pesticides. Many caterers specialize in organic foods; however, almost any caterer can provide an organic menu if you ask them.

Think local – if you’re concerned about the cost involved in a completely organic menu, go local instead. Serving locally grown food eliminates fuel reliance and supports local farmers. Check out Localharvest.org or Localfoodworks.org to find farmers markets, farms and other sources of local food.

Reuse utensils – find a caterer who recycles materials and or uses linen and china instead of disposables.

Donate the leftovers – work with your caterer to send leftovers to a food shelter or other organization.

You can find even more tips on planning a green wedding in this theme weddings guide.

Finding Wedding Cake Design Ideas

Every bride wants the perfect wedding cake design. But how without a background in design and at least a general familiarity with the baking business how do you know what is possible and what is not? Indeed, there are probably more wedding cake designs than wedding themes. So if you’ve been wondering how to find ideas for my wedding cake design, here are some tips for you.

Fortunately, while “How do I get ideas for my wedding cake design?” is one of the most asked questions among brides, the answer is that there really are several outlets for wedding cake design ideas.

There are an abundance of wedding cake galleries on the Internet. Do a search for “wedding cake pictures” or “wedding cake designs” then take some time to browse and picture each design as a part of your celebration. Then if you find one that really strikes your fancy, you can print out a picture and file it to show your pastry chef when it comes time to find a bakery to create you masterpiece. Note: Doing the same search with your city and state included might find you a skilled wedding cake provider that you are unfamiliar with.

Another option is a wedding planner; they will often have pictures of wedding cakes that you can adapt to meet your needs.

Go to weddings, when you can get an invitation an look at the wedding cake – this will give you the opportunity to to taste it as well which could lead you to – and / or away from certain bakeries as well as giving you design ideas.

Ask to look at your friends and family’s wedding photographs. It’s a rare individual that won’t jump at the chance to show them off and the picture of the cake they commissioned might inspire you.

If you are talented at design, you could even sit down and draft your own design for a wedding cake that reflects your wedding only.

Most bakeries have a book that contains a picture gallery of wedding cakes but save your visit to any pastry chef (regardless of whether they are in a formal bakery or are employed by the hotel that is hosting your reception)until after you have a pretty good idea of what you want. Why? Simply because an experienced pastry chef will be able to help you adapt an idea to fit your budget, but he or she can only do that if you have an idea for your wedding cake design in the first place.

Wedding cakes come in all colors and shapes and can be adapted to what you want. From the traditional designs with garlands and icing flowers to a cake that looks like a stack of wedding presents, to a stack of crowns, to a tower of pastry, pillars, and flowers complete with butterflies – your options are endless so don’t wear yourself out worrying about how to get an idea for you wedding cake design. There are plenty of sources out there.