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How to tell if I’m a Bridezilla and does it really matter

BRIDEZILLA (noun): a woman who’s behavior in planning her wedding is regarded as obsessive or intolerably demanding.

Am I a Bridezilla? Do I care? Should I care?

First off, if you’re asking the question then you should be good. At the majority of our weddings we hear, “I’m not a Bridezilla I promise…” To which our response is, within reason, it’s your day so it’s kinda allowed. BUT if you’re truly worried, here are 3 pointers for ways to avoid Bridezilla-dom:

  1. Read, understand and question your contracts: We cannot stress this enough. Most questions you have before, during and after the wedding planning process can be found in your contract. The excitement of choosing that “perfect” vendor and ticking another task off the checklist can cause you to overlook some questionable clauses during the vendor selection process.
  2. Have a planner that is on the same page: This is even more important for those Type A personalities (be honest with yourself here)… If you find a planner, get one early and get on the same page quickly. The right planner gives you a second set of trained eyes on vendor contracts and will know how to eliminate some craziness, mitigate some damage and negotiate on your behalf. 
  3. Clarify your expectations from the start: this is a multi-purpose tip and rings true for vendors, weddings guests and most importantly your wedding party. For vendors, you need to stay in tune throughout the planning process, whether you book them a year ahead or just a few weeks. For guests, you need to make sure they have a basic idea of expectations. For example, if it’s a casual gathering, tell them so that they don’t show up in suits; if it is an outdoor wedding in June, tell them so that they don’t show up in pants and sweaters; if you prefer donations to a honeymoon fund instead of gifts, tell them or you are going to get a bunch of purple Bed Bath & Beyond boxes. For your wedding party, oh man this is HUGE. Set the expectation for associated costs of the wedding party; timeline requirements for attire, pre-celebration and day-of activities; and ya know, sobriety… 

Too many friends, family and vendors use the term “Bridezilla” freely to describe a bride who has demands. Wanting to make sure what you’ve paid for is done correctly is expected.  Paying for one thing and demanding additional services at no charge, well that’s not cool. There are shows on tv about Bridezillas, there are articles on Pinterest about Bridezilla stories and moments; there are vendors and friends <hopefully> jokingly calling you a Bridezilla at the smallest request. IGNORE THOSE! It’s your wedding day and you will have requests and even demands. Own it and be polite about it. If something is done wrong, tell that person. If someone is being a poopyhead, tell that person. It’s not being a Bridezilla, it’s caring about your wedding day and you’ve earned that right.

TOP 8 WAYS TO GET FIT FOR YOUR WEDDING!

 

By: Courtney Skiles

If you’re recently engaged, about to get engaged or planning a vow renewal the chances are you’re also considering what you’re going to look like as you walk down the aisle in your dream dress. Of the 2.3 million American weddings every year, 80 percent of brides and over half the wedding party and family members will take steps to change their eating or exercise habits for the big day, according to the Brides.com 2006 American Wedding Study.(1)

Sweating for the wedding is real and whether you’re looking to slim down, tone up or just maintain planning your fitness journey is just as important as planning the big day. Below are 8 ways to help you become the fit bride you’ve always dreamed about!

  1. PLAN!

Create a plan that you can follow! From the moment you say yes, your world will turn into all things wedding, from dresses to venues and centerpieces. There is no denying weddings are stressful so it is key that you start early and PLAN! 

To get started you need to answer these 3 questions: How long do I have? How much do I want to lose or tone? And most important, is this reasonable? Once you answer these questions, add it to your schedule. Start by blocking out times each week for your workout. Most people seem to stick to a plan better if their workout is scheduled in the morning before the chaos of the day begins but if this is not reasonable for you that is ok! Treat it as a deadline or a meeting, schedule it and don’t miss it.

  1. WORKOUT PROGRAM AND DESIGN

Your workout is what works for you! Finding the perfect exercise and diet program may seem hard at first so it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you love about your body and what are some trouble spots you want to work on? The style of your wedding dress will also help you identify the ideal program! 

How, you ask? 

How you feel in your dress sets the tone for how you’ll feel the day of. If you’ve picked a low back sleeveless gown then your arms and back are your key focus areas. If your dress is a full princess style gown with a synched waist then your waist line and overall tone is key. Overall following a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout is the most effective way to get your whole-body wedding ready.

  1. DE-STRESS AND HAVE FUN

Planning a wedding should be FUN, but it can also be stressful, so it is key to de-stress and enjoy the process. Excessive stress even affects where we tend to store fat. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat, which can be particularly tough to shed.(2)  While working out helps reduce stress, it is also important for you to de-stress in your own way. Schedule yourself some downtime to go to the movies, have a girl’s night, a date night out or even just a nap. It is important to your mental state, and probably your fiancé’s, to take a step back and relax. 

  1. HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES

Find the diet that is right for you! Nutrition plays a major rule in your overall health. While Paleo, Whole 30, and counting macros show proven results, you do not have to go to that extreme. Just be cautious of what you’re eating and how you’re fueling your body. Nutrition is 60-80 percent of a person’s visual results so if your body is not changing with your ‘regular’ diet, then your wedding diet will require some changes.”(3) Drink enough water, eat enough veggies, proteins and fruit and avoid over indulging in carbs. Meal prepping and planning ahead will help you avoid the last minute decision eating that usually involves junk food. Keep in mind that high sugar foods lead to higher blood sugar and cravings, while protein and whole foods keep you feeling full and require more energy to digest.

  1. HEALTHY RATE

Faster is not better! According to the CDC, people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off.(4) So don’t stress if the pounds don’t melt off after your first 30 minute run, it is more likely to stay off if you lose it at a gradual healthy rate. It is also advised to take measurements and photos to visualize and track your progress instead of just using the scale. Everyone’s body is different and we all lose weight differently. 

  1. COMMUNITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

A supporter system is critical! BUDDY SYSTEM: calling all bridesmaids, family and friends! It is no surprise that when we have someone to hold us accountable and “suffer” through the tough workouts together we are more likely to stick to our plan. So grab a friend and set up a plan together. You can also join a local workout facility with classes and a support system to help you stay on track. There are also plenty of Facebook support groups and local clubs you can join in order to keep you accountable. 

  1. DAILY ACTIVITIES

Small changes can make a big difference! Start small! You do things every day that help you burn calories so why not take it a step further. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the door than you normally do and stand up at your desk for part of the day. All of these small changes can make a huge difference.  If you have a smart watch or tracker set an alarm to remind you to get up and move. Up your goal every week and just keep moving!

  1. NO SHORTCUTS

No shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle! You will run into plenty of people selling products that they guarantee will show you results, and while some may show you temporary (water weight) results, most are a scam. Focus on your plan, your goals, and work hard and your results will come in a healthy and sustainable way. 

Remember, this is your wedding. A time that you will always remember. The best way to be successful is to plan and make it fun!

  1. “This Is What American Weddings Look Like Today.” Brides, www.brides.com/gallery/american-wedding-study.
  2. Scott, Elizabeth. “How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 24 June 2019, www.verywellmind.com/how-stress-can-cause-weight-gain-3145088.
  3. Bianco, Katie. “How to Get in Shape for Your Wedding.” WeddingWire, Www.weddingwire.com, 24 Feb. 2017, www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/how-to-get-in-shape-for-your-wedding.
  4. “Losing Weight | Healthy Weight | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html.B&K_E-session (1001 of 50)

How to embrace your wedding planning chill, so you can enjoy your engagement

 

 4 tips to remember along the planning journey

So many tips and tricks and words of wisdom we could give about what to do or what not to do. Best thing we can say it to follow these 4 tidbits of information to help remember that this whole wedding thingy is about you two and your love.

1) Celebrate, Don’t Stress: A key to remember is that this is a celebration of the love    that the two of you have and becoming unified in marriage. There are so many negative nancies and opinions you will encounter… Shake it off and remember the reason for the season.

2) Trust Yourself and Your Decisions: You’ve researched and interviewed and spent hours online and on the phone vetting your vendors. Now you need to trust the work you put into it and the vendors that you book as you choose them and move forward. Second guessing yourself at this point is counterproductive. You worked hard to select the best for your big day, trust that you did just that and head toward the next thing on the endless checklist. That said, if you have serious red flags happening and your spidey-senses are tingling, talk to your planning or your other trusted vendors about your concerns.

3) Stress Won’t Help: You know how you think about something and you make a plan. Then you second guess that plan. Then you third guess that plan. Then you go back to the original plan. Nothing about the stress during the middle steps helped. It may have made you lose sleep; may have caused a few hours of conversation; might have even caused insight you didn’t consider before. But in the end, you stuck with your plan. We say do that off the bat and save yourself the stress.

4) It WILL affect YOU: Stressing about wedding planning and overthinking and spending hours perusing Pinterest will not be good for you or your fiancé. It can cause you to lose sleep, which could affect your work and personal life. Most people know the unfortunate effects stress has on your body and appearance too. Stress eating is a thing, folks! It can affect workouts, weight gain/loss, skin condition… And it can and will affect your relationship if you let it get too far.

Again, the wedding is about the TWO OF YOU! Celebrate the booking milestones, move on to the next one and enjoy the process. Do your research and look around, but don’t let it consume you. If it is starting to consume you, take a step back, go on a wedding planning-free date night and start with a fresh mind the next day. If it gets super bad, get a planner! If you have a planner, TRUST the planner and voice your concerns.

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First Look? First touch? Traditional?

 

The times they are a-changing… Traditional the bride would see her partner for the first time on the wedding day as she walks toward the aisle to say “I Do.” These days, there are options. Many couples are choosing to do a first look. This is when you and your partner choose a time before the ceremony to have an intimate moment to see each other before family and friends join them. There are multiple reasons a couple may choose to do this.

1) More intimacy Doing a private first look before the I Do does give you as a couple a more intimate moment. You could do it at the ceremony aisle or in a separate garden off to the side, wherever will create that memorable moment.

2) Streamline the timeline I won’t lie to you, as a photographer it does help the timeline and creativity if we can capture images of you and your soon-to-be husband/wife before the ceremony rather than between the ceremony and reception. The timeframe between ceremony and reception is drastically limited unless you are having an extended day. If we have captured the creative images of the two of you before that time period, we can then use the cocktail hour for family shots and move to the reception more quickly. Think of it, a possible 15 minutes for newlywed pictures between the ceremony and reception or 45 min-1 hour before the ceremony. If done correctly and with enough hours with your photography team, you can go ahead and knock out newlywed and wedding party pictures.

3) More creative shots With planning, you two and your photographers can have the chance to venture to new and unique places in and around the venue for newlywed pictures. You can have more time for those creative shots. You can get those extra moments together with your videographer to capture giggles and tears.

4) Calm Before the Storm Let’s face it, weddings are stressful. And if you’re doing it right, the person who calms you down the most is the one you traditionally aren’t seeing. Getting to see, hug, kiss and comfort your person can significantly relax both of you leading up to the wedding ceremony.

BUT, if you want that calming presence and something a little special, but still sticking with the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony, try a first “touch.” This is when the two of you share an intimate moment together without actually laying eyes on each other. This can be done in multiple ways. Here are a few ideas: blindfolded and hold hands; going back-to-back and holding hands; one on each side of the door and trading notes or special vows; taking one of the former suggestions and having your pastor say a pre-ceremony prayer.

As a photographer, we LOVE a first look. For all of the reasons above, we agree that a first look can be a beautiful thing. That said, we did not do one at our own wedding. We understand the strong desire to
stick with tradition and if that is what you want to do… stick to your guns, do it, and don’t change your
mind.

Real Wedding: Angie & Travis

 

Talk about a whirlwind… To quote our groom, “there were 3 months, 5 time zones, and a lot of love that
went into the planning of this day.” We met the parents of the bride a few months before and it was an
instant connection. We met Angie &amp; Travis via Facebook video chat about 2 weeks before the wedding
day.
Now, that is a departure from our typical flow of things. We usually meet our couples, then there is the
dating phase (including coffee and chatting), then the engagement photos, typically a bridal session and
another 1-2 meetings before the wedding day. But with a bride in Ireland, a groom in North Carolina and
a wedding in Houston, it made things a bit more adventurous.
Fast forward to 2 days after Christmas and we are in the middle of one of the most beautiful December
days, with an amazingly loving couple at a gorgeous wedding and we are in absolute bliss! Angie &amp; Travis
could not have been any more amazing and gracious and heartfelt than they were. There is a lot of time
and energy that goes into planning a wedding. These guys were troopers (Mom and Dad Garcia too!)
and it was our total delight to be chosen to be a part of the day.
But from the moment we met Mom and Dad Garcia, to the moment we walked into that bridal suite, to
the moment we left the Day After shoot (highly recommend doing this, please please please! Check out
the blog post about it too) there was an easy-going rapport and relationship that we told us it was a
match made in Heaven.

 

Vendors:
Ceremony venue: St. XXX in Baytown, Texas.
Reception location: Butler’s Courtyard (venue coordinator: Jessica Shofner)
Cake: Cakes by Jula
Groom’s Suit: Al’s Formal Wear
Bridal gown : Marry Go Round
Hair and Makeup: Sophie Beauty
Florals: HEB Blooms
DJ: Ruben Ramirez
Videography: Bella Videography
Photography: His and Hers Foto
Catering: Robinette & Company Catering
Pies: House of Pies
Rolls Royce: Jordan Limousines

Top 5 tips to make your traditional wedding stand out:

Let me preface this by saying that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a traditional
wedding. Marriage is not about the show or outdoing your family and friends. At the end of the
day, it is about marrying the person you love and want to spend your life with. Don’t forget the
true reason for the season, if you will. That said, if you want your day to fit that traditional yet
different frame of mind, these are a few tips:
5) Post-party snacking If you have an ultimate favorite snack serve it. We’ve seen
WhataBurger bars, taco bars, nacho bars, pizza bars, cupcake bars, ice cream bars, coffee or
gelato bars (fyi if you haven’t heard of Grizzaffi Coffee Catering, check it out)… The catering
may be over well before the party, don’t forget to offer a late night munchy if you want guests to
leave full and satisfied, not to mention that is an awesome way to end the night.
4) Start at the beginning Your wedding “begins” with your Save the Dates. I’m sure we all
have those magnets on our fridge with a picture and a date. I actually like these, but they have
become traditional. Consider a pop of color. Think about doing a scratch off ticket to reveal the
date or a picture. Make it something memorable and something your guests will want to hang for
the 6-8 weeks ahead of time they get it.
3) Think Entertainment Don’t just hire a DJ to play music, hire a DJ that can hype the crowd
and make a specialized playlist. Think about having a band singing some tunes. Everyone says
they “don’t want cliché songs,” but those songs are cliché for a reason. Line dances get people
dancing and that’s the ultimate goal. Just work your songs into the mix. It’s also about the
presentation. What about using a light up dance floor or up lighting and monograms or dancing
on a cloud during your first dance to add some dimension for the reception? Don’t forget about
the non-dancers too! Think about having a photobooth for those guests that may not be busting a
move on the dance floor. Not to mention this gives ALL guests an option of something fun to do
between the ceremony and reception during your photo time.
2) Be cohesive There is ZERO wrong with DIY wedding projects and putting your own touch on
everything. But we cannot say enough (note other blogs that will get written about this, not to
mention our numerous Life As Art podcasts about it), a wedding planner will tie it all together.
Budget friendly can still include a wedding coordinator. This will ease your burden in planning
and day of activities, it will bring your vision to fruition, and it will make those DIY projects
POP to give a creative and uniform feel to your wedding!
1) End strong The exit is your guests’ last impression. There are plenty of options to stand out,
even if you feel like it’s too traditional: bubbles, sparklers, glow sticks, rose petals, confetti…
All can be awesome if timed well and the photographer knows ahead of time. Timing is vital. If
you are worried about guests leaving early and the exit being sparse, consider doing it between
ceremony and reception or earlier in the evening. If planned ahead and communicated well,
guests won’t take it as a sign that the event is over, but as a sign that some serious party is about
to ensue. Photographer Insight #1: if you are doing bubbles, get a bubble gun to shoot bubbles at
your back to fill the background. Photographer Insight #2: If you are doing sparklers, go the
extra step and get long-lasting event sparklers that don’t have tons of smoke and last long enough

for you to not have to run through your exit. AND don’t forget a ride. There is nothing wrong
with leaving in your Honda Civic, but leaving in a classic Thunderbird or a Rolls Royce will
definitely leave more of an impression. You know what would make an AMAZING last
impression? Leaving in a T-bird under an amazing fireworks display (we recommend Roar Over
Texas, trust us)………..

Top 5 tips to a unique engagement session:

Your engagement session is likely to be the first official professional photography shoot you and
your betrothed take together. It is also typically the first intro to your wedding day – used for
save-the-dates, wedding day displays, etc. You want this session to speak to who you are
individually and as a couple. Use these tips as thinking points on how to make your engagement
session unique to you two.
5) Plan ahead Coordinate with your photographer and your fiancé well in advance. If you wait
until a week or two beforehand, you will still get great shots, they just may not be what you were
envisioning. Last minute means you end up with the typical locations and typical clothes.
Planning ahead means reserving unique locations, getting permits or permission from those that
may require them, or ordering a dress or suite that fits your vision. And it means taking your
vision and making it happen.
4) Don’t be scared to go BOLD, go BIG. It isn’t just for bridal shoots and the wedding day. If
you want a dress with a long train or dramatic cut, do it! If you want a three-piece suit and
custom gown, do it. If you want a session on your boat sailing out in the bay, do it. Create a
vision, no matter how “out there” it seems and get with your photographer about how to make
that vision a reality.
3) Use your wedding day photographer You should always aim to use the photographer that
will be your wedding day photographer. There is a rapport and comfort level achieved during
shooting that can make the wedding day start just as smooth as your engagement session is
bound to end. We always recommend, even if it is not already included, doing a shoot with your
wedding day photographer as a couple before the big day.
2) Go with the flow, don’t “selfie” your posing SOOOO many people try to study how to take
good photos. Or they look at Pinterest or on Google for engagement pictures they like and try to
copy that pose. Please don’t! You are a unique person with your own look. You can look to these
sites for visual inspiration for the shoot but trust your photographer for the right angles that work
for you. No duck lips required.
1) SHARE YOUR VISION. Trust us when we say we LOVE something different for your
engagement session. But if you don’t tell us, or are not open to our suggestions, it will be
fantastic in an amazingly traditional way. If you are a paddle boarding couple wanting shots on
the water, ask. If you are hikers that want a camping, destination engagement shoot, ask. If you
two are theater lovers wanting dramatic shots in an auditorium, ASK! Don’t be scared to go
extreme… As we always say “you do you!”