Inspiration Board #21: Colorful Outdoors

>> Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our talented new intern, Chelsea A., is flexing her creative muscle today with a beautiful new inspiration board. This would be perfect for a Nebraska bride - love the colors and the playful touches!

[click to enlarge]
From left to right:


Bride Blogger Amanda: Picking the Photographer

>> Tuesday, June 29, 2010

At the very beginning of our planning process, John and I had to decide how to spend our budget. To do so, we had to determine our priorities -- that is, which areas were most important to us to spend money on to get exactly what we wanted, which areas we did care about somewhat but wanted to be practical and find a good deal and which areas we didn't care at all about and could probably nix all together. For us, besides our church and reception site, our No. 1 priority was great photography. This area was also the one I got the most advice on, namely, "Whatever you do, don't skimp on the photos!"

John and I agreed. After the vows have been said, the cake eaten and the dances danced, the one thing you have left to document the event are your photos. And we weren't about to trust the preservation of our day to just anyone! We knew we wanted mostly photojournalistic pictures -- pictures that told the story of our day, capturing candid moments as they happened. We had pretty specific ideas, which made picking a photographer the hardest decision of all to make!

First, we scoured the web for Omaha-area photographers and asked for recommendations from friends and brides. We spent a great deal of time looking at photographers' online portfolios. Because we had such a definite idea of what we wanted, I knew whether I'd like the photography within the first 30 seconds of being on a website. If it wasn't what we wanted, we moved on. We finally picked three different photographers to meet with, and based on those meetings -- and the pricing packages -- we picked one.

And we are so happy with our decision!

We chose C & J Photography, a husband and wife team based in Omaha. Casey and Jerred were so fun and full of energy, creativity and talent, plus their work is gorgeous! Their packages were also very reasonable in comparison to our other choice, and the packages are also customizable to suit whatever needs you have -- and we had a few.

Casey and Jerred took our engagement photos last September, and John and I had a ton of fun hanging out at Gene Leahy Mall with Casey, Jerred and their camera. They just let us go be ourselves, laughing, being goofy and enjoying each other. The pictures speak for themselves.

My advice when picking out photographers:

1. Decide where photography fits on your priority scale, and how much you are willing to spend to get what you want. If you are on a budget and you don't care particularly about the photos and you'd rather pour your funds into a kick-butt band or a sit-down prime rib dinner, go for it. (If you're one of those people with a budget large enough to accomodate all your wedding dreams, you probably don't need this suggestion...lucky you!) Just be 100% sure you won't regret handing Aunt Mabel your point-and-shoot and having her be the one-and-only event photographer.

2. Research! Check out NWD's website or look in the photography guide of the magazine. Ask for suggestions. Look at photographers' websites and portfolios, and if they don't have one, request samples of their work. Looking over photographers' portfolios will really help you determine what kind of pictures you want and generate ideas for your big day. Also, don't be afraid to ask for former client feedback.

3. Meet with at least two photographers in person. You may feel like you don't have a lot of time for personal appointments, but seriously, meet with a couple to see their work in person and chat with them. You want to be able to mesh with the person who's going to have a camera on you for 6-10 hours! We met with three photographers, and I can tell you that although one of them had really cool pictures, he would NOT have been a person I would have wanted to work with. You can't tell that from a website.

4. Pick a photographer who has a style you admire. Photographers generally aren't going to change their styles or approach based on what you want. They're artists, so choose someone who takes the kind of pictures you would like to have. If you want photojournalism, you'll want a photographer who specializes in that approach. If you want a more artsy, avant-garde feel, pick someone who is great at that style. If you don't know what kind of style you like, see No. 2. If you don't care what kind of style, see Aunt Mabel.

5. Compare pricing and package offerings. Sometimes photographers are equally talented, equally friendly and equally equipped and available to take your perfect wedding pictures. In that case, look at the dollar signs. What are you going to get with each package? Who has the biggest bang for your buck? (Hey, even though photography was a budget priority, that didn't mean we couldn't get the best deal out there!) Packages are usually based on amount of time (you'll need to figure out how long you want the photog there), number/type of prints you want (we knew we wanted the digital rights to our photos so we could use them on websites, Facebook, and for printing our own photos) and other considerations (guest book, engagement session, photo album, etc). The dollar signs might actually determine your initial list of photographers more than anything else. We didn't even look at photographers who were way out of the price range we felt comfortable with.


Beat the Nebraska heat (or wind, or rain, or [insert irritating weather occurrence here]...)

>> Monday, June 28, 2010

If you're planning an outdoor wedding in Nebraska, you're probably obsessively checking the weather reports weeks in advance. I recently saw a Facebook group called Nebraska...the only place where you can experience all four seasons in the same week. Sad but true!

The thing many brides don't consider is that there is a way to avoid the weather panic and still have your beautiful outdoor wedding. Wedding tents have come a loooong way, ladies. If you're picturing a red-and-white circus tent, you're off the mark. Granted, with the Nebraska weather, something flimsy and filmy is not realistic either, but there are so many styles and fabrics that are durable and still elegant.

The other great thing about a tent is how easily you're able to customize the location and amount of guests for your wedding. From an intimate gathering in your parents' backyard to a huge affair on the lawn of your country club, the possibilities are endless.

Check out some of the photos below from Lincoln Tent to get an idea of how versatile a wedding tent can be for your special day!


Real Wedding: Lisa+Eduardo

Gotta love this wedding, featuring some of NWD's favorites - Melenbacker Photography, Rococo Theatre (reception) and The Green Gateau (catering)...not to mention a mariachi band! What an awesome way to get the party started!


Things We Love!

>> Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our bride blogger Kayley turned us on to this idea, and we love it! Here's the seller's, AltarDesigns, description: "The idea here is that when guests arrive to your wedding, they pull a card and write a special wish to the special couple and then file the card in the appropriate area alphabetically. Guests can also write their name, address, and telephone number as well."

This seller is also offering $20 off these boxes through the rest of June! Check it out!


Friday Freebies!

>> Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's winner will get the awesome opportunity to preserve her wedding day memories forever. Memories Bi-Design is offering the winner a FREE floral preservation for her bridal bouquet AND the groom's boutonniere!* What a perfect way to save your wedding flowers!

To enter, click HERE or leave your email address in the comment section below! (Must enter by Monday, June 28th.)
*Floral preservation does not include purchase of shadow box.


Engagement Photos: Meghan+Eric

>> Thursday, June 24, 2010

What a fun idea! This couple met on an airplane, so part of their engagement session with Paddack Photography took place at the airport. Matt Paddack does an awesome job of coming up with creative sessions for his couples!


Inspiration Board #20: Birds of a Feather

>> Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate brown and green is still a hot color combination, and combining it with elements of nature makes this wonderful inspiration for a summer or fall outdoor wedding.

From left to right:
1st row: Bouquet, Program, Cake


Bride Blogger Bailey

>> Tuesday, June 22, 2010

May 28, 2010: Wow, what a wonderful day! After working so hard for 9 months on everything wedding, I couldn't stop saying, "This is exactly how I imagined it!" My biggest fear about planning a wedding in a different state was how everything would come together. I had met with all of my wonderful vendors and communicated my vision but to see all of the vendors come together, doing their part, was truly amazing! Everything was perfect and exactly how I imagined it!

We held our wedding at the Lied Lodge in one of the apple barns and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was, hands-down, the best location we could have chosen. It fit perfectly with our theme!

I used Stacy, with Petal Creations, as my florist. I know I gave her a large task considering I didn't have specific flowers in mind, but I did know what colors and layout I wanted. I had told her that I did not want "perfect" bouquets but I wanted more than just the look of gathering flowers from grandma's garden. Stacy was able to completely achieve this with both my bouquet and the bridesmaids bouquets. Since the wedding was outside and we had huge trees as the background, I wanted an altar that would not take away from the trees but give the ceremony a point of interest. Thanks to my construction management brother-in-law and the vision of Stacy, the florist, they were able to create one of the prettiest wedding altars I've ever seen! For the reception I wanted to use burlap as a table runner to tie in the rustic barn feel and mason jars for vases. Beyond that I gave Stacy free reign and she completely blew my expectations out of the water. Thank you, Stacy for bringing my vision to life and making the setting of the wedding truly beautiful!

Our DJ was Jeff with Prime Time Music and Entertainment. This was a very important detail to us because we wanted our guests to have a great time at the reception and in my words I wanted to "dance the night away". Needless to say we did more shopping around for a DJ than we did for any other vendor. We were referred to Jeff because we were told the he was more than a DJ - he takes the time to get to know his clients so that he can incorporate all the aspects of wedding and all of the people involved in the wedding. And wow, did he! Not only was the dance floor packed the entire time, but I had numerous guests comment on Jeff being one of the best DJs they had ever heard. Thanks Jeff for giving us a great party!

Cali, owner of A Sound Impression, was our videographer. She put together a highlight video from the wedding that was featured last week on the blog - if you haven't seen it yet, check it out! I must confess that I initially thought a videographer was just someone who taped the wedding and I wasn't sure if I needed this done. But if you watched the highlight clip it is clear that she did so much more than just "taping the wedding". Cali did such a phenomenal job capturing every aspect of the day. Cali and her team were there the entire day filming us getting ready, our first look at each other, the ceremony and the reception. Considering how fast the day went by, I am so thankful that I will be able to relieve every moment thanks to A Sound Impression!

Brighten Photography from Seattle did our photography. This was a easy pick for me since the talented Ben and Whitney just so happen to be my sister and brother-in-law. I feel blessed to be related to such talented people, besides the fact that it made us a lot more comfortable during pictures. We knew they were good, but once we saw our engagement pictures we were even more blown away. I can hardly wait to see all of the wedding pictures. I know we will once again be blown away! Thanks Ben and Whitney, I love you!

Linda Hudson, owner of Butterfly Bakery, was another vendor who came highly recommended. I knew exactly how I wanted the cake to look so it was just a matter of finding someone who could achieve the look while making the cake taste great! Linda did EXACTLY this! The cake looked and tasted amazing. In fact, when I returned home after the honeymoon there was still a bit of cake left and it was still tasting good 9 days later! Besides that, Linda provided exceptional costumer service. She was very prompt to get in touch or keep in contact. She even left her car running with the AC on to keep the cake from melting since it was such a hot day! Thanks Linda for delivering a great cake!

Since the reception was in a barn I knew we would have to do a bit of decorating to make things look classy and not too country. I had a very specific idea on how I wanted the lights hung and how they were to look. I didn't want the traditional christmas lights, or twinkle lights, but the large round bulb lights. Luckily, I found Country Elegance to help out with this. They did a great job with the lights and were able to pull my entire vision together with this look!

My husband, Evan, designed our wedding invites and we had them printed through Porridge Papers. We had the invites letter-pressed, which added a nice touch. Porridge Papers was great to work with and did an excellent job on the printing!

So that is my final wrap up and let me say for the last time, WOW! Thank you everyone for making our wedding out-of-this-world fantastic. It was truly a dream come true wedding!


Real Wedding Video: Jeff+Corey

>> Monday, June 21, 2010

Be honest - you can't get enough of this Hawaii destination wedding from a few weeks ago, right? I was hoping you'd say that, because I can't either! Cali with A Sound Impression has generously shared this highlight video of the wedding. Brides, if you haven't found a videographer yet, I highly recommend you give this girl a call!


Fat Girl Confessional

>> Sunday, June 20, 2010

Well, I’ve got great news this week - I broke my foot! Those of you that know me know this is a fairly common occurrence. I sprained my ankle last summer and I’ve broken both feet before as well - all in the last 6 years.

YES, I drink my milk, so I’m not sure why my feet continue to betray me, but when I figure it out I’ll let you know. I think it pretty much boils down to the fact that I’m a giant klutz. I’m constantly stubbing my toes, walking into doors, and falling down stairs (which, coincidentally, is what I was doing every time I’ve injured my foot. Perhaps I should just avoid stairs?). I always have bruises on my arms and legs and I can never remember where they came from because I run into things so often.

So, the sad news is that boot camp is on hold for at least the next 6-8 weeks. Now I must rely solely on my diet to lose weight. I’m hoping it won’t impede my success too much, as I’ve been eating pretty healthily for the last couple of months anyway. And on a good note, I’m down 2 more pounds! Let’s hope this momentum carries through my time as an invalid!


Real Wedding: Christine+Matt

>> Saturday, June 19, 2010

I was super excited to come across this Nebraska bride's blog the other day! Christine & Matt had an awesome tented ceremony and reception complete with a DIY and Beatles theme. Christine used Princess Lasertron for some of the bouquets and decorations, and the results are fun, funky, and pretty much perfect. Love the Yellow Submarine cake and the Beatles programs!


Friday Freebies!

>> Friday, June 18, 2010

Who doesn't love cool kitchen items for their wedding? If you do, today's your lucky day - Laurie McPherrin with Pampered Chef is offering one lucky bride a $50 gift certificate! Pampered Chef offers an amazing amount of quality products for brides looking to stock their new kitchen.

To enter, simply click HERE to register or leave your email address in the comments section below! (Must register by Wednesday, June 23rd to win.)


Things We Love!

>> Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brides, you are in for a treat today! Melenbacker Photography has offered us an exclusive view at images from Shane's trip to Tanzania.

Here's the story of how this wonderful shoot came to be, courtsey of Erin Melenbacker:

More than 1.1 billion people in our world lack access to safe drinking water. (UNICEF) Living without this precious resource results in a host of preventable illnesses and even death. Each year 2.5 million people die from diarrheal diseases, many of them caused by contaminated water. Ninety percent of those deaths are children under age five. (World Health Organization)

It was for this reason that Shane Melenbacker joined with one of his favorites charities, Thirst Relief International  and a hand-selected team of photographers from around the country for a wedding gown fashion shoot in Tanzania, Africa. The shoot would directly aid those in need of clean drinking water as a portion of all the dress' future sales would be donated to aid in the Thirst Relief cause. Gowns were donated by five of the nation's top wedding dress designers: Ines Di Santo, Amy Michelson, Adele Wechsler, Angel Sanchez, Jenny Packham. The models from South Africa were also wearing fair trade jewelry by The Leakey Collection.

The country and people of Tanzania are beautiful, but one shortage such as clean water can change the economic status of and entire city. As people become sick and unhealthy due to unclean drinking water, they become unable to work and productivity stops. Even once filters become available to a family or community simple things such as not using the same bowl to both collect the dirty water and store the clean water need to be taught. Because Thirst Relief uses bio-sand filters which are built with natural resources, Thirst Relief helps people setup sites in these cities where the country's own people can build the filters bringing them both work and nearby education for proper use.

Gorgeous location+beautiful brides+charitable organization? Yes, please!


Inspiration Board #19: Fit for a Princess

>> Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Think bling and ball gowns with a little Marie Antoinette thrown in - that was the inspiration for this board. You know that was the type of wedding you dreamed of when you were a little girl!
[click to enlarge]

Clockwise from left to right:


Meet our newest Bride Blogger!

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hello, all you fabulous brides out there! My name is Amanda, and I'm excited to share my wedding-planning experiences with you! Luckily, I've had over a year to sort out the details since getting engaged in May of 2009 to my fiance John. It's hard to believe how fast the time goes, however. With a little under four months to go, we're nearing the home stretch -- and the time crunch!

Let's begin at the beginning, though, before the "happily ever after part", and let me tell you a little bit about John and me. We met through mutual friends in Omaha about five years ago. And as the old cliche goes, we started out as friends and then one day -- bam! -- we realized there was the potential for much more between us. We were already good friends, so taking the next step wasn't hard. And the best part? We didn't have any of the first-date awkwardness. We already knew we clicked! It's quite a blessing to fall in love with your best friend. And here we are, engaged and ready to wed September 25 here in Omaha (well, almost ready)!

John and I recently took a plunge before we take "the plunge" and bought our first home together. We are so excited to be homeowners and we'll have a busy summer making the house our own, in addition to all the final wedding plans, of course. (I've already decided that John gets to be the official lawnmower.)

You know it's the real deal when you buy a major piece of real estate together.

I’m eager to share with you what I've learned through this wedding-planning process. Whether you have over a year to plan like John and me, or just a few months, I hope my experience can help you plan the wedding of your dreams!


Real Wedding: Bailey+Evan

>> Monday, June 14, 2010

All you brides who have been following our bride blogger Bailey's journey to the altar, you're in for a treat today! The supremely talented Cali with A Sound Impression is sharing a highlights video of Bailey and Evan's special day. Talk about beautiful! We can't wait to share some photos with everyone in the coming weeks as well!


Fat Girl Confessional

>> Sunday, June 13, 2010

Well, ladies, I returned from my vacation down two pounds!!! I can really only attribute it to the enormous amount of walking/hiking we did up in the mountains, because I certainly didn't obsess about what I was eating while we were up in Estes (translation: I ate like a pig). I think maybe moving up to the mountains would be enough to help me stay fit and keep my weight down. I'll admit I shed a few tears returning home to the heat and thick humidity.

Anyway, at this time, I have lost a total of 7 pounds (keep in mind that I gained 4 pounds at the beginning, so it's really only 3 pounds. However, that's kind of depressing, so I'll just focus on the 7 pounds total). It's a relief to be making progress, although I will say that the weight seems to come off MUCH slower once you've had kids. Most of you brides probably don't have to worry about that yet, but keep it in mind if you're in my shoes!

Hopefully some of you have checked out this past Friday's giveaway - a free 4-week boot camp session with ELS Wellness for TWO lucky brides! If you haven't done so yet, make sure you enter! I can speak from experience when I say that even if you DESPISE working out (like me), you will be grateful for the help. Be honest - would you really get your butt up off the couch 3 times a week unless you had someone holding you accountable? I know I wouldn't!


Designers We Love

>> Saturday, June 12, 2010

We're big fans of Sophia Tolli, an utterly feminine and elegant designer. These gowns are from the 2010 Spring and Fall Collections and they're available at The Bride's Store.
(The above four gowns are from the Spring 2010 line.)
(The bottom four gowns are from the Fall 2010 line.)


Friday Freebies

>> Friday, June 11, 2010

If you've been following my Fat Girl Confessionals, you know that I'm currently getting whipped into shape by way of boot camp. Now it's your chance to get fit before your wedding, because Ed Scow with ELS Wellness is offering TWO lucky brides a free 4-week session. At 3 times a week, this adds up to a $180 value! Trust me, you won't regret it!

To enter, click HERE or leave your email address in the comments section below!


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