Family photos before or after the ceremony with the newlyweds can be a bit of a scrabble if not organized properly. If the cocktail hour is in the same venue location as the ceremony site, family and guests will naturally gravitate towards the food and drinks while the couples take photos. With so much excitement for the family reunion at your weddings, you won’t want Uncle Tom or cousin Vinny missing out on your wedding day family photos.
Here is a helpful tip on how to make your pre/post ceremony family photo session run smoothly and organized. Your photographer(s) and coordinator(s) will thank you!
Create a group shot list of each family members and wedding party you’ll want to have in your portraits along with all their names. We recommend our couples to use our sample outline that we send our couples 30 days out when arranging their group photo list.
GROUP A : Bride/Groom/Parents of the Bride (List out everyone’s names under the grouping)
GROUP C: Bride/Groom/Parents of the Groom and groom’s siblings
GROUP D: Bride/Groom/Combined with all Wedding Party members
We also recommend that immediate families, grandparents, uncles, aunties, and cousins photos with the couples get done first. That way they can go out and enjoy cocktail hour with the other guests. If you’re planning to take some wedding party photo prior to the ceremony, you can still have the wedding party be added in the group listing after all the family photos have concluded.
If you both couple have a large family, we recommend creating a group photo list per each side of the family. Don’t forget to add the combined family and new families on your list.
The way we help manage the family photo session day of:
The worst feeling is to look back on your wedding day and think, you forgot to get formal family photo with your favorite aunt Susie and uncle Marty that came in from Michigan. Count on us, we got you covered!
2020 taught us many valuable lessons when planning an event through a pandemic. Here are some words we now live by as we dive into the 2021 wedding season.
Be open-minded, be flexible and get creative. You can’t put your plans and life on hold for the perfect moment.
As restrictions slowly lift per state with the rollout of the new vaccine, we might start to see couples comfortably hosting weddings with a 100+ guest count later this fall. If you’re planning for an intimate affair, a micro wedding, or a rescheduled reception this year, here are some planning tips to consider along the way.
Keep your guests updated with event information and safety measures through a personalized wedding website. You can also consider adding an extra insert sleeve into your formal invitations. Your guests will truly appreciate the extra details and communication leading up to your wedding weekend.
Give your guests ample time to make a comfortable decision about attending your wedding in person. We recommend that RSVP responses should have at least a 30 day out response due back window prior to your wedding date. This still allows time to give your caterer and venue solid hard numbers before their requested due date. Make sure to review your catering and venue contracts to ensure that you do meet their 7-14 days out final guest count deadline. As life happens, you may anticipate between a 10-20% drop out rate of attendance from the final RSVP YES count. It happens.
As you’re doing your vendor research, double tab on a live stream vendor and keep their contact information handy. You might want to have your ceremony live streamed for the safety of your guests who are not able to travel. Your friends and family from a distance won’t want to miss watching your unity.
Did you buy a bulk of hand sanitizers and color-themed facemasks in 2020? Don’t put them away just yet. Keep these gold-like items around for your upcoming wedding day. We will help display them in visible areas at each of your event locations. It’s now a part of the new norm to look around and find a sanitizing station and masks at any establishment. Keep the safety good habits going.
HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
HAVE WE CAUGHT YOUR ATTENTION YET? If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the planning timeline, vendor research and staying up-to-date with event guidelines, consider hiring a wedding planner to help take the workload off your plate. I tell couples that have planned their entire wedding to bring on a Passionate Weddings coordinator. We can help iron out all their pre wedding details 30 days out and provide onsite management for a worry-free day.
USING ADDITIONAL EVENT SPACE
If your venue offers an outdoor or extra event space, consider using it as a lounge space for guests that may want to continue practicing social distancing after dinner and all the formalities. You can get creative by setting up an open space with string lights, lounge furniture, or a mixture of scattered cocktail tables. Add in some personal touch to the extra space by displaying some framed engagement photos, votive candles and some small décor pieces that tie in from your reception.People will naturally flow into areas where food and drinks are provided.. Setting up a display of fun self-served, pre-packaged personalized desserts and a infused beverages station is never a bad idea.
VENDORS RESCHEDULING POLICIES
Changes can happen, and it’s best to ask your potential vendors about their rescheduling policies should your state mandate any gathering changes or restrictions that may impact your 2021 wedding date. Make sure to have all information listed in writing and signed by both parties to avoid any miscommunication down the road.
We all know how much we miss attending live events and group gatherings. We’re one day closer (hopefully) to being able to celebrate without barriers. Here’s to planning for 2021 weddings and events.
In the heart of Sterling, Virginia and just off I-66, the venue offers a space rental for a $200/hour with a minimum of 3 hours. This includes their most well known ceremony pergola with white folding ceremony chairs and a backup indoor ceremony, if weather does not permit an outdoor ceremony.
The 3 hour block includes time for you to decorate if you so choose, do the ceremony, and clean up décor. Their staff puts out and cleans up the chairs. You can add additional time as well if the bride would like to use the bridal suite to get ready. Photos afterwards around the park are allowed and do not need to be included in the time block.
Weddings can take place any day of the week or weekend as long as it is 30 days or less in advance. As for time blocks, we usually try to keep the elopements between 10 am and 8 pm.
Rock Creek Gardens (a great alternative to Jardins du Chateau de Versailles in France, PNW style) is an outdoor wedding venue in Puyallup, Washington. Just outside of Seattle, the secluded, 20-acre privately owned garden estate is a show stopper event space. Their well manicured gardens can accommodate up to 300 guests for ceremonies and receptions and celebrates all kinds of love! The gardens provide sweeping views of Mt. Rainier, waterfalls, and stone pathways throughout and invites guests to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy the exclusive use of the venue during your wedding. They offer a discount to all Active Military, National Guard, Reserve and Retired Service Members of the Armed Forces.
They are offering the following for 2020 wedding dates, including Saturdays!
Elope by a waterfall and foi fishes in Falls Church, Virginia. Then relax at 2941 modern restaurant for a French-meets-American gourmet dinner.Plan an unforgettable intimate ceremony surrounded by lush landscaping, koi ponds, waterfalls and a lakeside view! Dine with them outside on their terrace overlooking Fairview Park Lake.
Make your elopement just as special as your love at the perfect Seattle wedding venue. Celebrate at Cedarbrook Lodge, surrounded by nature. Take advantage of this all-inclusive package and select from a variety of intimate spaces to say, “I do.” From beginning to end, we will ensure your day is gorgeous and stress-free.
Well Dunn announced that we will now be offering our Capitol Hill townhouse in Washington, D. C. for intimate entertaining. The rental fee is $200/hour. They will waive that rate if the client spends $3,000 on catering (food, beverage, equipment and staff).
Your wedding cake has a considerable role during the wedding reception. Not only is your wedding cake a gorgeous decorative piece, it also needs to taste delectable! Here are some cake tips and questions to ponder when in the cake planning process.
Do your research early on the baker you’ve got your eye and taste buds on.
Set up a phone consultation with your potential cake designer to learn about their designs styles, years of experience, numbers of weddings they do cake for each year, flavors, dietary restrictions, payment schedule, delivery/setup, and of course….that “C” word, cost.
Think of the theme of your wedding. Is your wedding vision traditional vs. contemporary, decadent vs. whimsical, eclectic vs. modern … What wedding details do you want to see on your cake and those forever wedding day photos?
At your tasting bring along your cake design inspirations and be prepared to learn about cake flavors, filling combinations, and frostings.
Also keep in mind not everyone is a cake lover. No need to order a cake for all your confirmed guests. Consider ordering a cake size for 90% of your guest count. If there is any leftover cake, we make sure it’s packed up at the end of your event. It makes a great brunch dessert too!
Photography: Capture the Invisible @capturetheinvisible
Cake Designer: 2941 Restaurant
Do your guests have any dietary restrictions?
While you do not have to cater to every guest’s needs, if half your family is vegan, then two cakes may be appreciated. If only two guests are gluten-free, providing them with a gluten-free option for the caterer is ideal. Don’t worry, we will have a copy of your master seating list. We will be able to direct the banquet team to which guest table will need the special dessert.
There are some new trends with miniature cakes. Especially with the current focus on decreasing germ exposure, this is a great option! From cupcakes, to mini cheesecakes, to macarons: there are so many options for individual desserts.
Whatever cake you choose, make sure it is delicious! Set up a tasting today at these local shops, or the bakery in your neighborhood.
Local Seattle & Pacific Northwest Shops:
Creme De La Creme https://cakesbycremedelacreme.com/order-1/
Honey Crumb Studio https://honeycrumb.com/
Mike’s Amazing Cakes https://www.mikesamazingcakes.com/
Morfey’s Cakes https://morfeyscake.com/
Celebrity Cake Studio: https://celebritycakestudio.com/
Corina Bakery: https://corinabakery.com/tacoma/
Local DC | MD| VA Shops:
CakeFest Sugar Art https://www.cakefestshop.com/
Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe: https://heidelbergbakery.com/
Buttercream Bakeshop: https://buttercreamdc.com/
Fleur & Flour: https://www.fleurandflour.co/
Fluffy Thoughts Cakes: https://www.fluffythoughts.com/
Love conquers all. Love will find its way to celebrate…even if life shifts winds in different directions.
After seven years together and two beautiful children, Tereza and Ivan know it was time to tie the knot. They both always envisioned their dream day to take place by a beach. The coastline reminded them of being by their native hometown beaches in Latin America. Not only were they celebrating their unity, they were celebrating family connection out by sea and with tiny toes in the sand.
In late May of 2018, we received a call from the groom-to-be inquiring the possibilities to host an August 2018 wedding. The couple was unsure if all the work could be done in time, but we made it possible in only three months! It took hours of research and a team of passionate event pros to pull off this coastline wedding during peak season.
During the planning stage, we learned that Ivan and Tereza wanted an intimate event with colorful floral arrangements, and a full swing fiesta. We listened. Since their wedding was taking place during a busy summer month and three hours away from Northern Virginia, communication to their guests with bilingual save-the-dates and invitations was key.
Our bride-to-be had a smile from ear to ear. Her twirling flower girl twirled around their room suite. The ring bearer walked around praiding with his lavender suspenders. Once hair, & make-up was done, the family made its way out toward the sand for some family photos before the ceremony. It was a sun beaming summer day out by the oceanfront. The team of vendors touched up all the last ceremony details.
It was just before sunset and a section of First Landing State Park was filled with 35 of their closest friends and family. Their ceremony stood out from the white sand on the beach with shades of purples and strings of mini seashell along the arbor. Their vows were both exchanged softly to each other in español. The ceremony concluded with a group photo with the ocean as the ideal backdrop. Simply stunning.
Guests then headed towards Lesner Inn that was only a ten minute from the park for a waterfront dinner reception. Their private event space was elegantly filled with warm floral colors of lavender and plum purple. WIth only a four hour reception timeline, we had the salads pre-set for less serve and clear time in exchange for time on the dancefloor.
As the music filled the salty air, slowly everyone lost their shoes and found their sandy feet dancing through the night. Tears and cheers filled the air as the couple made their final procession to the get-away car. Another magical evening concluded with the assistance of the Passionate Wedding’s Team.
As mother’s day approaches, we’re sharing some fun ways to enjoy wedding planning with the woman you call mom. Whether mom lives local or states away, here are some meaningful ways to incorporate mom in the planning process. It will mean the world to her. Trust us, it will bring your bond even closer.
Involve your mother by sharing with her your wedding vision while taking in all the excitement. Spend time listing out your priorities such as venue scouting, gown shopping, and even finding ways to add in special family traditions to your big day. Give mama the opportunity to invite a few of her guests to the main event. Let’s be honest, she’ll want to look over the final seating chart to see how close she’ll be to the dance floor and to her gal pals. If things start to get overwhelming, take a breather for some time to relax over a spa date. Share the hosting of any pre/post wedding events, even if it’s a virtual online one… for now that is.
On Wedding Day:
Let her shower you with hugs and kisses before the beauty team takes over and turns her baby into the bride/groom-to-be.
Take a 1st look photo of the first time of mommy and me. This would be a great opportunity to present any family heirloom gifts.
At the ceremony, have mom also be part of the ceremony walk down. Grooms can escort mom down the aisle and to her seat. Brides can also go untraditional by walk down with mom or both sets of parents.
During your thank you speech, make a speech of appreciation, she’ll be looking over and listening. Add in a song to the DJ’s play list of your mom’s favorite tune. Take her out for a spin on the dance floor and halfway through the song, have your groom takeover. It will put a smile on her face and work up a thirst for a glass of champagne.
If you’re heading to your honeymoon the next day, send mom a thank you text and some candid photos your guest may have taken that were sent to your phone.
After your professional photos arrive, send her framed photos of the magical day.
Show her your appreciation in a way she will enjoy!
Here are some Mother’s Day activities that are sure to put a smile on her face.
It is not too late for a nice card, especially if it is homemade. Bonus points if you have a cute kid to assist you.
Fresh flowers are a classic gift; even flowers from your yard can be meaningful.
Since most people have a smartphone these days, try filming a short video message for your favorite lady.
If you want to give something a bit more substantial, try a beautiful journal, scented candles, or even a frame collage of past memorable photos for her office.
Try to step away from your phones (unless you’re taking selfies) and spend quality time together. Brunch is nice, but making recipes together is even better. Make a favorite family recipe or a new one. Plant some seeds and see how much they grow over the year. Paint or draw a picture of something you both enjoy. Take a long walk and just enjoy being together.
Do not forget about Grandma! She is sure to enjoy any of these ideas as well.
2020: a start of a new decade, and a very popular wedding year for couples. Since the news hit in late February about this new virus strand, little did we know that our spring couple’s weddings would spiral down so quickly, causing them to postpone their eagerly awaited celebration. All the pre planning work made in 2019 led to countless hours communicating with vendors on rescheduling. For now, we just roll with the punches and see how the rest of the season plans out.
As we begin to live in a new world of social distancing and wearing protective masks, here are some helpful tips while planning during COVID-19:
*Read through all your vendor agreements regarding their force majeure and rescheduling clauses. This is a good time to ask about alternative date options, transferring of services, and any non-retainer scheduled payments made towards the service balance.
*Contact your ceremony site and venue to find out what options they offer to reschedule a future date. Consider three (3) dates from each season.
*Stay up to date with the CDC and your state gathering requirements once restrictions are lifted. (The event world and group gatherings will certainly change, my friends).
*Schedule a call and talk to all your vendors. Let vendors know of any postponement decision you’re both planning to make. Talk about what the next steps are to transfer services to a future date. This is a good way to set closure on the original contracted date and moving forward expectations. Be prepared to review and sign a contract addendum to secure a new date and service.
*Have a recap conversation email with all your vendors. Make sure that all information is captured IN WRITING to help eliminate any miscommunication when a future date is set.
*Keep all guests informed by sending out a postponement e-announcement and updating your wedding website.
*Consider bringing on a wedding planner (Hi there!) to help reorganize all the new logistics. We will provide our own day of gloves and mini disinfectant spray.
We’re seeing fall/winter couples still holding on to their planned date. If you’re debating whether you should continue booking any pending vendors (entertainment, beauty team, any special order item etc.) we recommend using the current downtime to do your research on the vendors that you’re considering to work with. Inquire about their services and their booking policy for your upcoming wedding date. Find out their policies for rescheduling and transferring of services if you need to postpone until 2021.
*Have an elopement and celebrate later. (Sorry, no hugging your officiant).
*Live Stream Ceremony (Raise your glasses and cheers from a distance).
*Use small business vendors to be part of your small, intimate event. Local florists are delivering seasonal arrangements to your front door. Skip cooking on your mini wedding day and order from an area restaurant by using delivery to-go apps. Save the 3 tier cake for later and enjoy some French macarons from a small business vendor shipped right to you.
Regardless of the fact, love lives on. If you need to…plan to postpone and not cancel.
Stay safe, stay healthy!