9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Photos Even Better

Give a big ol' Burgh Brides welcome to today's guest writer, Leeann!  She is the boss lady behind Leeann Marie, Photographers, she's one of my favorite people in this industry (hence why she's part of the exclusive Burgh Brides Vendor Guide), and she's a total BA with a camera.  Lucky for you, she's sharing her photography expertise with these 9 practical tips to make your wedding day photos even better.  Take it away, Leeann…(oh, and be sure to check out my Instagram feed tomorrow, when Leeann will take it over!)

From Leeann…

As a wedding photographer, it’s important for me to see to it that my brides have as wonderful a wedding experience as possible, especially with their images.  One of those ways I think I can really help is to get you thinking about all those things you might not think about.  Knowing – and practicing – this tips can really help to transform your photos and make them absolutely, perfectly memorable!

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

1.) Stick All Your Stuff in One Room.
The whole getting ready part of the day is generally chaotic with bags and clothing and whatever else all over the place.  Lots of times, those items are hogging the room with the best light.  Have your bridesmaids store their items in an area away from the room where you will be getting ready so that we get beautiful images without the clutter.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

2.) Mom Gets Dressed First.
You know that airplane advisory about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs?  OK, so this isn’t quite as dire a situation, but have your mother (or whoever else is helping you) get dressed before you do.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered a mom wearing an oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants helping her daughter zip into a dress.  When mom is all ready and looking gorgeous, the photos of her getting you into your dress will turn into treasured keepsakes.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

3.) Bend Your Arms.
I recently had a bride who was worried about how her arms would look in her pictures.  I told her that the best thing she could do was practice posing and bending her arms.  Knowing that you’ll be doing things like grabbing onto a suit jacket, holding your bouquet to your hip bone, and grabbing picking up the bottom of your dress can help you get those poses right and make those movements feel natural on your wedding day.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

4.) Practice Your Facial Expressions.
You’ll probably want to spend a bit of time in front of a mirror making a fool out of yourself so that you can get those expressions right.  Believe me, doing something that might feel a bit silly now can really prevent you from ending up disappointed with your look later.  I’ve had lots of brides decide on their wedding day that they want to go with a more serious look, so they’ll do that sort-of-but-not-really-smiling-smile (you know, the half smile without showing teeth).  The problem is, if you haven’t practiced that look, you could end up looking angry in your pictures.  I’m pretty sure that’s not the look you’re going for.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

5.) Limit Your Pinterest Ideas.
Pinterest is such a great source for inspiration, but when it comes to YOUR wedding day, leave it at that – inspiration.  Use those pins to get excited about the possibilities you can create for yourself.  Don’t get caught up in recreating your Pinterest board because you’ll end up losing the authenticity of your day.  I am always watching for moments, and will capture the day – your day – as it happens!

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

6.) Hire a Great Makeup Artist.
Contrary to what you might have been told about wearing makeup, more is better than less when it comes to wedding photos.  Whenever we do our own makeup, we tend to go lighter than necessary for pictures.  A skilled makeup artist will know how to apply the right amount that will be stunning and last for the whole day.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

7.) Stand Up Straight.
Just like your mother told you, stand up straight for your pictures.  Good posture is good for wedding photos too!  So, stand up straight, suck in your belly button, roll your shoulders back and point your heart to the sky!

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

8.) No Bouquets on the Head Table.
A bouquet in a vase directly in front of the bride and groom looks really pretty, and I do truly like the look of it (and I probably did it at my wedding :)), but it’s not so great when it comes to getting a great shot for the toasts.  Put that bouquet somewhere else for those photos.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

9.) Think about the Fire Alarms.
When you’re planning out the reception, think about where the fire alarms are located around the venue.  Knowing where the fire alarms are isn’t just important for safety reasons.  It’s also important to know when it comes to where the head table is to be placed.  Lots of times, venues stick the head tables against the wall with the fire alarm, which ends up directly behind the bride and groom.  As a photographer, this drives me just a little bit crazy, because it’s something that can be easily avoided.

9 Practical Tips to Make Your Wedding Photos Even Better from Leeann Marie Photographers and Burgh Brides

What do you think of Leeann's tips?  What else could make your wedding day photos even better?  Let's hear it below!

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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series with Inky Agnes

Sue, your snarky calligrapher in residence, here to bring you installment two of the Burgh Brides Wedding Paper Series.  If you haven’t caught up yet with the first post, brush up on save the dates over here!  Got it?  GOOD!  Now hold on because this one’s CHOCK FULL of information!

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

The invitation.  The mack daddy of the paper wedding suite.  The invitation is the most important piece of paper.  It’s what you will frame, it’s what your grandmother will frame, it sets the tone, and it tells the guest what to expect from the wedding.

No matter what you did with your save the date, if you’re going to have a traditional wedding, this is where you start.  Not sure what traditional means?  This is it:

Traditional

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

 

  • Issued by the bride’s parents
  • Color is white, soft cream, or ivory (yes, those are three different things) with raised black lettering
  • Paper is double thick
  • Printing is engraved (a plate pressed into the paper) or letter-pressed (a plate depressed into the paper)
  • A 5×7 rectangular
  • Single or double folded
  • Protective tissue included

Modern

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Modern is, you guessed it, anything other than the above!

  • Issued by bride's parents, groom's parents, a combination of both, or by the couple themselves.  Typically, whoever is footing the bill, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Color can be anything Pantone can dream up, including metallics and watercolor
  • Paper thickness is usually related to cost, but if you’re letter-pressing or embossing, the thicker the better.
  • Invitations can be in boxes, circles, pop-up, or traditional 5×7.  Just remember that the more you veer from the traditional shape, the more expensive it may be.

Anatomy of an Invitation: Traditional

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

No matter what your invitation may look like, there are certain things that can be found on every invitation.

Host Line
Dr. Marjorie Smith and Mr. Jon Smith

Request Line
Request the honor of your presence

Recipient Line (most formal)
Mr. and Mrs. James Wilkerson

Presentation of the Couple
at the Wedding ceremony of their Daughter
Amy Grace

To
Mr. James Harden

Date and Time Lines
Saturday, the Seventh of May
Two thousand seventeen
at six o’clock in the evening

Location Lines
Salt Lake Country Club

Reception Line
Dinner reception to follow

Response Request (traditional, although uncommon these days)
Please respond to inkyagnes@gmail.com

Attire Line
Black Tie

Anatomy of an Invitation: Modern

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

While anything goes for modern invites, here’s the most common setup for an invitation…think formal but not stuffy.

Together with their families
You’re invited to the celebration of love and marriage of
Ms. Amy Grace & Mr. James Harden
Saturday, May 7th, 2017
at six o’clock
Salt Lake Country Club
Dinner and dancing to follow

This is obviously the most formal and traditional anatomy.  There are stationery rules for everything from deceased parents to Catholic Mass ceremony information and more.

My advice?  If you’re going for formal, contact a stationer who knows the rules…there are A LOT.  If you’re going for a more modern approach, use what makes the most sense to you.

Reply Cards

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

As you can probably guess, the response card should match the invitation.  Formal?  You can use the old fashioned and aforementioned “Response Request line” in the invitation, or you’ll include a separate folded card with basic attendance information and a pre-posted and pre-addressed envelope.  To save your sanity, or that of your calligrapher, I’d suggest getting these addresses printed with your invites, or creating a stamp you can place on the envelope.  Don’t believe me?  There’s a reason why schools used to reprimand students with writing the same thing 500 times.

Additional Items on RSVPs

Often times, you need to know if Uncle Jerry wants the steak (of course, he does) or if your cousin’s girlfriend wants a vegan option (of course, she does) so you can ask on the RSVP.

Many times now a days, it’s fun to get an RSVP back with something fun written on it, and a prompt can get everyone in the mood.  Common examples are “Advice for the bride and groom” and “Song request”.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

WARNING: Adding a million things on the reply card can be messy looking.  Also, if you never play the electric slide for your Aunt Rita, you have about 34 more Thanksgivings to never hear the end of it…

PRO TIP: In the corner of every reply card, write a number.  Then, write that number next to the guests you sent it to.  I GUARANTEE YOU…G.U.A.R.A.N.T.E.E… that someone will send the card back and forget to write their names.  A few extra minutes on the front end will keep you from going crazy weeks before the wedding.

The Extra Goodies

These days an invitation is more than just one sheet of paper with information, it’s an envelope bursting with wedding info!

Maps/Directions

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Maps can be tricky.  Rather, they can be ugly, or they can be very cute.  If you’re artistic or are using a stationer/illustrator/calligrapher, a map is beautiful and can show guests how all the important buildings and landmarks interact, especially if location is important to the wedding.  If you don’t have one of those, however, maps can go real ugly real fast.  Written directions are just as easy and you won’t have any of the over 60 set getting lost between the ceremony and reception.

Accommodation Cards

Most times these days, there will be out of town guests and a local hotel with a group rate.  This is going to be the magical card to tell them all that information.  Still have space on that card?  Some people love staying in B & B’s or local, smaller places or they have special requests like a kosher hotel; this is a great place to show these options.

Gift Registry Card

This will be especially useful if you aren’t using a website.  Writing down the URL for your registry or using a QR code to access your registry is a good idea.

PRO TIP: Make it wallet sized so people can slip it in there and whip it out when they finally remember to get that gift three days before the wedding.  Are you making donations in lieu of gifts?  This is a great use of this card as well.

Additional Information Card

Sometimes, there’s a lot of stuff you gotta tell people and this catch-all card is the perfect place to do it. Like what?

“Sandals will be provided for beach wear.”
”The reception is located outdoors and sturdy shoes/sweaters are encouraged.”
“In case of rain the ceremony, will be located in the Pavilion.”
“Present this card for free valet parking at Celebration Club.”

MORE PRO TIPS!

  • Send invitations out 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding.  If you have a save the date, you can go even closer to four weeks.  BE YE WARNED!  Everyone will annoy the living daylights out of you if you wait until four weeks before your wedding to send the invites.  TRUST THE SNARKY CALLIGRAPHER.
  • Paper quickly adds up in weight, and weight equals heavier stamps and higher postage.  Watch out for that added cost.
  • A truly beautiful invitation can be made using calligraphy made into a press and letter-pressed (you knew I was going to say that).
  • This is a great place to introduce a wedding monogram.
  • Wedding websites are so common and free these days.  This is a great place to put a lot of the additional information.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

  • Formal invitations also equal 4,398 envelopes (estimating).  Don’t believe me?  Let’s count: external envelope, internal envelope that holds everything together, reply card envelope, additional envelope for extra cards….just a warning.
  • Have different guest lists for the ceremony and reception?  That will be separate invites too.
  • Custom = $$$  Don’t be afraid to reach out to stationers and designers for “semi” custom invites.  For instance, a custom suite they made for someone else, but they use your names this times.  You can usually negotiate a better deal for a custom look.
  • A great way to make an impact is with envelope liners that match your wedding theme and/or colors.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Invitations: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

  • Pricing range is usually between $300 and $1500 for 100 envelopes.

Whew!  It was a lot but there you have it…everything you've ever wanted to know about wedding invitations!

– Sue

*Invitation etiquette provided by Emily Post, Julie Holcomb Printing, and Susan’s Desk.  Invitation suites provided by Susan’s Desk, in collaboration with Scribe Fine Papers of Shadyside and Color Quarry.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series with Inky Agnes

Ahhhh the world of wedding paper…it can be crazy confusing!  Save the Dates, vellum, foil press, hand press, emboss, deboss, what does it all mean?!?!  No one knows.  Ok, that's a lie.  Sue (of Burgh Brides Vendor Guide fame) knows.  And lucky for you, she's sharing her expertise in this new series dedicated to all things wedding paper!  This first installment is all about Save the Dates.  But keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for even more tips and advice about invitations, calligraphy, and more.

And without further adieu, I give you the guru herself!

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

From Sue…

So here’s the scenario, you’ve been going about your business crushing life and living in a world of texts, snaps, and emails… and then you get engaged.  Congratulations!!!

Now, you need to have an opinion on formal envelope addressing, paper weight (yes, that's a thing), tissue or no tissue, edge-beveling, CMYK colors, types of inks, and more.  All on top of having an opinion on wedding dresses, photographers, seating charts, flowers, menus, and picking your wedding party.

Here’s the good thing…you’ve got Burgh Brides!

Welcome to the Wedding Paper Series here at Burgh Brides!  I’m Sue AKA Inky Agnes, the resident snarky calligrapher here to discuss all the questions you never knew you had about the paper for your wedding.

First stop is the Save the Date.  Save the Dates are great because, as the first glimpse guests have of your wedding, they help to set the tone.  These days, the only limitations are imagination and budget.

With that being said, let's dive into the anatomy of a Save the Date, shall we?

The Style
The style sets the tone.  Is it soft and romantic with flowers and flourished script?

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Or does it have palm trees for your destination wedding?

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

A formal wedding can opt for creamy letterpress and gold foil, while custom calligraphy looks great with any save the date.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Here are my top three Save the Dates styles:

1.) Postcard – A postcard Save the Date is a great option for those with a destination wedding, or a wedding that most people are traveling to.  Postage for a postcard is cheaper (woo hoo!) and it's envelope-less.  Again, this is less expensive and greener, and also great if you're going for a minimalistic look.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

2.) Photographic – You got those engagement pictures for a reason right?!  A photographic Save the Date is a beautiful way to include the two of you and use the pictures that you paid for!  It also makes a complete set if you’re going to do an illustration or photograph in your invitation suite.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

3.) Romantic – What is a wedding if not a celebration of love?!  If you’re looking to showcase that love, a soft, romantic, and often formal invite is the way to go.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

The Who
That would be the bride and groom….just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page with that one 😉  Less formal?  Go with the first names only.  More formal?  Use first and last.

The When
At Save the Date time, the “when” really only means the month and date.  But if you know the time of day, it could be helpful to include it since guests are going to immediately start travel-planning.

The Extras
Nowadays, most couples have wedding websites that where guests can find additional information and your registries.  This is great, particularly if you’re doing a more modern invitation suite.  The Save the Date is the perfect place to share your URL with friends and family.

Breaking Down Save the Dates: A Wedding Paper Series from Inky Agnes & Burgh Brides

Last but not least, when to send the darn things….

Option A: As soon as you know, within a year.  This is especially true if your guests are going to have to make significant travel plans ( e.g. weddings abroad).

Option B: 6 – 9 months in advance of the wedding date is the traditional time frame.  Although be-ye-warned.  As soon as you’re engaged, you’re going to get asked, “So did you pick a date yet?”  Waiting until 6 months before the wedding may be the death of your patience.

Alright Burgh Brides, go forth and save some dates!

– Sue

Best of 2015: Advice from former Burgh Brides

Since we are in the midst of proposal season, I thought I'd offer up some advice to all of you newly engaged gals.  Except it's not my advice per se.  It's straight from those brides who have already been there.  From staying calm and being yourself to scheduling your hair trial the day of your dress fitting, this year's brides had a lot to say.  To wrap up this Best of 2015 series, let's revisit the best tips, tricks, and ideas from those who were featured on the blog!

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Advice from Former Burgh Brides

Jessica
Our best pieces of advice for future brides and grooms would be to relax, EAT, and don’t follow tradition if it’s not you!  Brian and I did a first look and decided to forgo the formal bridal party introductions, cake cutting, and bouquet and garter tosses. We also made it a point to sit down through the entire dinner and eat with our wedding party.  Having that time allowed us both to relax and enjoy ourselves. Everyone kept commenting on how calm the bride and groom were, and to them we would say, “Shouldn’t we be? It’s the happiest day of our lives!”

Molly
Be creative.  Pittsburgh has A LOT to offer!  Start by figuring out what is important to you and build upon those ideas.  We wanted a party so we started with the concept of a cocktail reception rather than a sit down dinner and went from there.

Erika
The best advice I can give is to just be you.  Corny, I know, but so true!  It feels wonderful looking back on our wedding knowing that Mike and I decided on details regardless of what the “norm” was or the heart attack we may have induced in our mothers.

Kelly
If you’re planning to do an engagement shoot, try to schedule your makeup practice run the same day.  The practice run is often the same cost as the real one, so why not get something out of it?  I did this, and it was such a great call.  I got to have beautiful, professionally-done makeup for my engagement photos and I also got to see how it photographed to decide if I needed to tweak anything before the wedding.

Try to schedule your practice hair appointment the same day as one of your dress fittings.  This way you get to see the whole look put together before the big day.

Rachel
Let others help you!  I couldn’t have done all the decorating and planning without my mom and bridesmaids.

And don’t stress about EVERY detail that day.  As long as you have each other and someone to marry you – everything else could go wrong and that’s all that matters!

Aubrey
My advice to other brides is to try to stay calm!  Things are going to happen during the planning.  Our church music director quit days before the wedding, then our honeymoon had to be canceled 10 days before because of a hurricane. We then had to book a new trip even though we couldn’t get refunded for the original one for 10 days…and lots of other little things along the way.  Just stay calm and everything will work out!

Lauren
I would tell future brides to definitely talk with their fiance and get a clear idea of what they both want for the wedding and reception.  Find a few things that are important to both people and focus on those first.  I would also tell brides to not let the opinions of other people influence how the wedding day will be.  This is your and your fiance’s day and you should plan it together.

Heather
Planning a wedding is like planning your own Christmas but better!  Don’t worry about what you think other people expect from or want for you!  The day is about you, your husband, and the beginning of your forever.  Trust me, once everything comes together, NO ONE will leave saying “I wish she would have….”  There is no other time in your life when you can have a day ALL ABOUT YOU!  Embrace every second of it!

Christen
It doesn’t take money to make it nice!  Save your money for the important stuff (house, savings, etc.!).  There are plenty of ways to make your day special without splurging.  And don’t fret about the guest list.  It’s a day between you, your significant other, and God!

Janae
Everyone always told me not to sweat the small things and not to stress, that everything would fall into place.  Of course, being a crazy bride, I thought this was the worst advice ever and that no one knew what they were talking about!  Sure enough, they did!  The night goes by so fast; those details that you stressed over day in and day out aren’t going to matter.  Your wedding is going to be perfect, even if the napkins aren’t centered or someone forgets to include something.  The fact that you and your hubby, family, and friends are together is all that matters.

Lastly, consider a sweetheart table.  We integrated our bridal party in with the guests so those with significant others or dates weren’t stuck at a table with no one they knew.  We had our sweetheart table, just the two of us, on top of the staircase.  We were able to enjoy the food and really spend time together.  The rest of the night, we were apart from each other, so I’m thankful for that dinner and the time to talk without interruptions other than the clanking of glasses.

What was the most helpful piece of advice you read on Burgh Brides this year?  Have any of your own advice to offer?  Comment below!

Don't miss my other Best of 2015 picks!

P.S. Things will be a bit quiet on the blog until the new year!  You'll see a fun post on Monday and some social media activity.  Other than that, the next week and a half will be filled with Christmas movies, baking, yoga pants, dirty hair, dog cuddling, and QT with family.  I hope everyone has a FABULOUS holiday!  2016 is shaping up to be a BIG year!  I can't wait to see you then!  🙂

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Best of 2015: Moments

While I love flowers and linens and dresses and all the other frilly details as much as the next girl, I know they aren't the most important part of a wedding day.  What is?  Moments.  The little moments and the big ones and all of the sad, funny, or crazy ones in between.  Those are what matter.  The look of pride your mom and dad have on their faces when they see you in your dress for the first time.  The innocent way your new husband kisses your hand at dinner.  The look on your face when your maid of honor told that embarrassing story during her speech.  The flower girl and ring bearer sharing a hug on the dance floor.  The first kiss as Mr and Mrs.  Whether monumental and witnessed by everyone or subtle and quiet, these moments are what you want captured in photographs.  Of course, it will be nice to have pics of your centerpieces…but those won't be what you cherish in 20, 30, 40 years.  Today, I'm recounting the ones I loved the most from this past year!

What was your favorite moment from 2015?  Comment below!

Don't miss my other Best of 2015 picks!

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Best of 2015: Dresses

THE dress!  You spend a lifetime dreaming about it, probably a few weekends shopping for it, and maybe 10 hours wearing it, if you're lucky.  Doesn't seem fair, right?  Luckily, you can relive every beautiful stitch in your wedding photos.  Over the past year, I've become increasingly convinced…Burgh Brides have some crazy good taste when it comes to wedding dresses.  Ballgowns, all over lace, or even color, area ladies aren't afraid to pull out all the stops for this once-in-a-lifetime look.  Today, I'm revisiting some of my favorites from 2015!

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Brynne
Stripes?!  On a wedding dress?!  I DIE!  This number from JLM Couture, that Brynne purchased at Bridal Beginning, is simply stunning!  The asymmetrical layers and the dainty encrusted sash allows this dress to be chic but still classic.  The main attraction is the stripe-on-stripe organza though.  A perfect combination of a timeless bridal look and modern fashion!

Photos by Steven Dray Images

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Julia
Only a ballerina could look this good in this dress.  Julia's art deco-inspired Lazaro gown fit her gorgeous dancer's figure like a glove.  The gray-blue beading that encrusted the piece from head to toe gave it a cool vintage vibe, along with a pop of color.  Julia looked like she stepped right off of the red carpet and she oozed classic Hollywood glamour.  A favorite indeed!

Photos by A Fist Full of Bolts

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Lauren
I couldn't get enough of Lauren's bridal look.  Maybe it was because her dress reminded me so much of my own?  Or it could have been because she chose a Monique Lhuillier piece from Anne Gregory for the Bride and anything Monique Lhuillier makes is incredible.  This one was no exception, of course.  The pleated bodice transitioned to layers upon layers of flowy chiffon, allowing for both a form-fitting yet princess-y look.  Lauren topped the dress off with a beaded pearl belt, also from Anne Gregory.

Photos by Ann Louise Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Sarah
When Lazaro shared Sarah and Greg's feature on their social media pages, I did about about 879823 million cartwheels.  Because why shouldn't the world know about this incredible dress?!  The blush pink ballgown and its structured, satin bodice were completed by a tulle skirt and beaded, floral waist.  Sarah looked like a classic beauty and allowed the dress to take center stage by keeping jewelry dainty and hair and makeup fresh and natural.  Wowza!

Photos by Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Erika
After attempting to find her dream dress at a boutique, Erika turned to online shopping.  She took a gamble with PreOwned Wedding Dresses and it paid off beautifully.  This Matthew Christopher number takes me right back to the roaring twenties with its smooth satin and cord details.  But it's the scalloped hem that will leave you totally awestruck.  I've never seen anything like it.  Erika also wins the award for Best Accessories.  Her faux fur wrap and teal gloves kept the winter at bay for her March wedding.

Photos by Beth Insalaco Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Jaymie
Last, but certainly not least…who could forget Jaymie and her out-of-this-world, black Joelle by Vera Wang?!  It takes a certain bride to wear color on her wedding day but it takes someone even more extraordinary to wear black.  But Jaymie totally rocked it!  This dress was dramatic while still being dreamy and romantic.  Good luck 2016 brides; your dress has some big shoes to fill!

Photos by Beth Insalaco Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Dresses

What 2015 dress was your favorite?  Why did you think it was the prettiest?  Comment below!

Don't miss my other Best of 2015 picks!

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Best of 2015: Engagements

First comes love, then come an engagement.  After that comes an e-session, of course!  With all of the gorgeous weddings featured this year, I haven't forgotten about the numerous noteworthy engagement features.  From urban and very Pittsburgh to casual and downright romantic, all of the engagements were hits with readers but here are my favorites from the past year!

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Cait & Josh
No props, no styling, no major wardrobe changes.  Just a pond, a beautiful blue sky, and a sea of colorful wildflowers…it didn't take a lot to make this session special.  Sometimes the bells and whistles are nice, but other times, all you need is to let your love be the focus of your photos.  And with this session, it's easy to see how much Cait and Josh totally adore each other.

Photos by Vanessa Costantino Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Betsy & Kurt
Shut up.  That is literally what I said when I saw these pics for the first time.  That wall.  Those leaves.  That hair.  THOSE COLORS!  I die every time.  If I didn't already love fall enough, this session totally sealed the deal for me.  Nothing beats autumn in Pittsburgh.

Photos by Steven Dray Images

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Erin & Joey
This McConnells Mill session was woodsy and whimsical.  Erin, in her long, lace white dress looked like a fairy princess frolicking in a magical forest.  After traipsing on fallen trees and dipping their toes in the water, the pair climbed behind a waterfall for a super cool perspective.

Photos by Michael Will Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Laura & Matt
Any couple who braves a literal snow storm to snap a few pre-wedding photos deserves major props.  Lucky for us, their fearlessness led to these incredible images.  The weather wasn't the only unique feature, though.  The North Side's Randyland was the perfect quirky backdrop for this fun session.

Photos by Steven Dray Images

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Stephanie & Randy
Who can forget the first engagement session featured on Burgh Brides?  Simple white roses and a gorgeous, glowing sunset were all these photos needed to make them memorable even a year later.  Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe it.

Photos by Kristi Telnov Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Engagements

What 2015 engagement session was your favorite?  What made you love it so much?  Comment below!

Don't miss my other Best of 2015 picks!

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Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

The beauty is in the details.  At least that's what they say.  I'm not sure who “they” are but I'm inclined to agree.  Over the past year, I've loved seeing all of the thought that went into couples' special days.  I really appreciate when brides and grooms are thoughtful and go out of their way to make an aspect of their wedding personal or impactful.  Whether a large gesture or a small one, here are the ideas and details from the past year that I found extraordinary!

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Bowling After Party
In lieu of traditional favors, Lisa and Adam treated their guests to a little friendly ten frame competition in the basement of the PAA, their reception venue.  Guests enjoyed drinks, pizza, and cookies while trying to knock down some pins.  Now THIS is an after party!

Photos by Milla C. Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Cue the Confetti!
After saying “I do”, Kelly and Nate recessed back down the aisle under a colorful shower of pastel paper confetti, making for the coolest post-ceremony pics I saw all year!

Photos by Beth Insalaco Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Costume Change
As much as it pained me to see Brynne change out of her stunning striped JLM Couture wedding gown, I was even more floored by her second dress.  For her and Zach's grand exit, the bride slipped into a sequined LBD that sparkled almost as much as the tiny fireworks going off around them.

Photos by Steven Dray Images

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Terrible “Vowels”
Heather's words, not mine!  But they refer to the fact that her husband, Dante, wrote his vowels on the back of a Terrible Towel..and read aloud from it during their ceremony!  Only in Pittsburgh…but hey, that's what makes us so awesome, right?!

Photos by Willa J. Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Brunch Reception
When Heather and Zach were able to snag a slot at Heinz Chapel on their desired day but not-so-desired time of 10:30 a.m., they decided to roll with it.  That meant a brunch reception, complete with waffles, donuts, omelettes, mimosas, and all the fixings.  Yes, yes, and more yes!

Photos by Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Just Hitched
Staying true to the country chic theme for their big day, Danielle and Mike opted for an antique horse trailer as their “getaway car”.  A little spray paint and a sweet message made this unique mode of transportation wedding-day appropriate!

Photos by BNK Photo

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Almost Too Pretty to Eat
I said almost!  Let's be honest, I'd dive right into Lauren and Chris's wedding cake from Prantl's Bakery.  But not without pausing to take in all its beauty first.  Those are sugar flowers, people!  The detail and realism is crazy!

Photos by Ann Louise Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

DIY Flower Garland
Rachel and Reid exchanged vowels in front of strands of brightly colored carnations hanging from the tree in the bride's grandfather's backyard.  This dainty backdrop was DIY'd by Rachel's bridesmaids the night before the wedding!

Photos by Mandy Fierens Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

A Little Something for the Guys
Janae and Robert set up a cigar station at their Grand Concourse reception for the gentlemen to enjoy.  A nice stogie selection, some personalized match books (that doubled as favors), and an oh-so-cute sign completed the display!

Photos by Joey Kennedy Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Out of the Ordinary Ceremony & Reception
Guests sat in-the-round style for Molly and Zach's wedding ceremony at Clear Story Studio.  Every seat was the best seat in the house.  Afterward, they enjoyed hors d'oeuvres at the cocktail style reception, meaning no seated dinner, no stuffy formalities, just eating, drinking, and dancing at their leisure.  More of this please!

Photos by La Candella Weddings

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Wall of Hats
Jessica and Brian brought a little family tradition to their wedding day.  At their family's cabin, there is a hat wall; everyone picks a funny hat and it's theirs for the weekend.  The couple brought the custom to their Armstrong Farms reception, where guests had a ball swapping hats on the dance floor.

Photos by Veronica Varos Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

A Sweet Ending
To cap of the night, guests at Nicolet and Gregory's wedding were treated to an endless display of goodies from Bella Christie.  From cookies and cake pops to parfaits and even a s'mores station, there was certainly no shortage of sugar at this reception!

Photos by Elizabeth Craig Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Ideas & Details

What idea or detail from 2015 did you love best?  What made it your favorite?  Comment below!

Don't miss my other Best of 2015 picks!

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Best of 2015: Flowers

As 2015 winds down, I'm taking a look back at the best of the blog this year.  First up?  Flowers!  Besides the bride's dress of course, the flowers are the one thing I can't wait to check out at a wedding.  I don't understand people who say flowers are a waste of money. Flowers are gorgeous and anything that brings beauty to this world is never a waste of money IMHO.  Whether bouquets or boutonnieres, centerpieces or even chuppahs, I'm always amazed at what beautiful creations florists come up with.  And those featured on Burgh Brides in 2015 were no exception.  Here are my favorites (in no particular order)!

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Abby & Tim
Flowers by Jade paired bright wildflowers with mason jars for Abby and Tim's carefree centerpieces.  They popped against the greenery garland that ran along the head table.  Thistle, caspedia, and stock brought color to the white flowers and other greens in Abby's bouquet.

Photos by Red Flats Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Brynne & Zach
Oh peonies…you'll always be my favorite!  Brynne looked like she was carrying fluffy clouds in her hands, thanks to Mocha Rose.  Peonies are only available for such a short period of time but their exclusivity makes them all the more beautiful.  Spring brides, you're so lucky!

Janae & Robert
Traditionally, a bride's bouquet is all white.  Being that I love a healthy dose of color, especially against a white dress, I tend to like bouquets that are bright.  Janae's, designed by Hens & Chicks, is a happy medium.  The light pink, peach, and gray provide just enough color to make the flowers pop while still being classic.

Jaymie & Jonas
The ladies of Jaymie's bridal party wore chiffon dresses in a dusty rose hue.  But the dark rose bouquets from Fox Petal Floral Design that they carried were DRA-MA!  Hello romance!  I still swoon over this combo every time I see it.

Photos by Beth Insalaco Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Kelly & Nate
Gone are the days of symmetrical bouquets.  You'll rarely find a bride carrying only one kind of bloom.  Those bouquets that combine flowers of varying textures are the prettiest.  Leave it to Kelly to know this.  She's the owner of Fox Petal Floral Design and the lady behind Jaymie and Company's bouquets above!  For her own wedding day, she worked with Bloom Brigade to combine shapes, sizes, and textures for flowers that were out of this world.

Photos by Beth Insalaco Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Molly & Zach
For a little something different, Green Sinner combined flowers, beads, candlesticks, and feathers for Molly and Zach's cocktail style reception.  The bold bouquets perfectly matched the day's style with their bright blue ribbon and peasant feathers.  Unique but so oh pretty!

Photos by La Candella Weddings

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Nicolet & Greg
This wedding wins the Best Variety award.  I love how Hens & Chicks created a plethora of looks with centerpieces of varying shapes, sizes, and heights, coupled with the different textured and patterned linens.  This is the best and easiest way to spice up your reception space!

Photos by Elizabeth Craig Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Rachel & Reid
Rachel looked like a carefree bohemian princess in her colorful flower crown from Mt. Lebanon Floral.  Her textural bouquet of traditional blooms and wildflowers completed the style.

Photos by Mandy Fierens Photography

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

Burgh Brides Best of 2015: Flowers

What flowers from 2015 did you love best?  What made them your favorite?  Comment below!

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6 Tips for Selling Your Wedding “Stuff”

One of the best ways to recoup some of the money spent on your wedding is to sell leftover or reusable items afterwards.  I know some brides have a sentimental attachment to anything and everything used at their wedding.  But let’s be honest…what on earth are you going to do with table numbers, a card box, and chargers?  In my opinion, getting some of your cash back is much better than having these items sit in your basement or attic collecting dust.

Obviously, Craigslist is a great place to list items you’ll never use again.  The bonus is that the buyers will be local and you won’t have to deal with packing up items and shipping them.  I prefer sites like The Knot and Ruffled Blog, both of which have classified sections where you can list items for sale.  Not only is it free to list and sell items, but these well-known sites are nationally, not just regionally, based.  Therefore, the market is much larger and the potential for selling much higher.  You could even open an Etsy shop for those items you DIY’d.  I personally don’t bother with Ebay much because I’d rather purchase something outright, rather than getting into a bidding war, but you could also try selling some wedding items there.  I’ve also had luck with simply posting pictures of items for sale on Facebook.  Everyone knows someone who is getting married and the word spreads quickly. Regardless of what method you choose, here are my six tips on how to unload the leftovers!

6 Tips for Selling Your Wedding Stuff from Burgh Brides

Don’t expect to get what you paid.  In the first sentence of this post, I say “recoup some of the money spent,” not all of it.  If you are anticipating getting what you paid for an item, you’ll likely be disappointed.  Brides who shop on these sites are there for a reason – they are looking for a bargain.  So don’t ask for the retail price.  With that being said, do list an item a bit higher than your bottom line price, in anticipation that potential buyers will try to haggle.

Use quality photos.  Buyers like to see the item in action.  Rather than uploading a poor image you took with your iPhone, why not use some of the details shots from your wedding photographer?  It will give potential buyers a better idea of how that item will look on their big day.

Be honest.  Divulge information.  If there is a stain on the linens, say so.  Don’t try to bamboozle people into buying damaged goods.  Not cool, Robert Frost.

Package well.  If an item is fragile, use lots and lots of bubble wrap, newspaper, or anything that provides a cushion.  Heck, I’ve even wrapped breakables in old towels I didn’t care about getting back.  You do not want to deal with a refund if your items arrive in a thousand pieces.

Don’t underestimate shipping fees.  Familiarize yourself with shipping prices and procedures.  It is completely ok to ask the buyer to pay for shipping, but most sites ask that you list an estimated shipping cost.  If you underestimate, you’ll likely be left to eat the difference.  Just to put things into perspective, it costs $6 to ship one mug from my shop.  While it's small, it weighs a lot.  On the other hand, an item may be light but if you're sending it across the country, it will cost you more.  Bottom line?  Do your shipping homework first!

List almost anything.  You’d be surprised at what people will buy, as long as it’s reusable or in good condition.  After our wedding, we had a bunch of unopened packages of cocktail napkins.  At first, I thought I’d just put them in our kitchen, knowing that we’d use them up eventually.  But on second thought, I decided to chance listing them, just in case I was able to make a few bucks.  Someone bought them almost immediately!  So list questionable items anyways, even if you don’t think anyone would buy it.  You never know what people are on the prowl for.

Bonus Idea: Put the money you earn toward something fun, like a second honeymoon or an anniversary photo session!

Are you too attached to your wedding items or did you part with them?  Did you have success selling things post-wedding?  What other tips would you offer to former brides?  Comment below!