Kaitlin & John - Oyster Farm at Kings Creek

I can't think of a better way to spend a holiday weekend then sending a fun-loving JDE couple down the aisle to say I do. So that's how I spent part of Labor Day weekend! Kaitlin & John were married at the Oyster Farm at Kings Creek on the Eastern Shore and, despite some questionable weather, it was the perfect day!

Kaitlin & John met at JMU, they have one of the cutest and sweetest dogs I've ever met, and they celebrated their love with about 45 of their closest family and friends. I'm officially in love with small weddings!!

They also chose a first-class group of vendors to help them get married and I loved every second of working with each of them! Here are a few of my favorite images captured by my sweet, sweet friend Emily from elovephotos. Enjoy!!

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Venue: The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek // Planning: Just Dandy Events // Photography: elovephotos // Videography: Gibby Visuals // DJ: Astro DJ - Danny Gray // Cake: Rachel Bakes // Florist: Florist By The Sea // Linens: Eastern Shore Events & Rentals // Hair: 76 West Salon // Makeup: Sarah Beth Perry

Congratulations Kaitlin & John! Thank you so much for letting me play a small part in your beautiful day! Give my love to Dewey!! :)

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Ways To Include Fido

Shannon Moffit Photography

Shannon Moffit Photography

As a self-proclaimed, completely obsessed dog mom, I get all kinds of giddy when my couples tell me they want to find a way to include their furry friend in their big day. Literally, I just about tear up every single time. It's ridiculous, but I can't help myself. There's just no love like the one you share with your dog!

Most couples start with having high hopes about including their dog in the actual ceremony. And who wouldn't want that?! An adorable terrier in a bow tie or a golden retriever with a floral crown, walking down the aisle? COME ON! Sometimes it's totally do-able and I love every second of helping my couples work out all the tiny details surrounding such a thing. Because trust me, there are so many tiny details! I feel like that's an entirely different post for a different day.

But usually, for one reason or another, it's not possible to include them in the ceremony. Maybe the venue doesn't allow animals on the property or inside the building. Maybe the dog has a little bit of anxiety when it comes to being around large groups of people. Either way, they want to include their very best buddy in one of the most important days of their lives!

So to help, I've compiled a few ideas for alternative ways to include your loveable ball of fluff in your perfect day. Please keep in mind, there are still lots of details to consider when including your dog in your wedding day in any capacity. So be sure to work with your wedding planner to make sure you have all your bases covered!

 

Angie McPherson Photography

Angie McPherson Photography

Include him/her in portraits - More than a few of my couples have worked it out for a friend or family member to bring their dog by for portrait time. It's always the sweetest thing to see how excited their dog gets when they see their mom and dad all dressed up and waiting for them. And it makes for some of the sweetest pictures ever!

Michael & Jasmine Photography

Michael & Jasmine Photography

Angie McPherson Photography

Angie McPherson Photography

Include them in your engagement photos - A lot of my couples will also opt to bring their dog along to their engagement session! It's likely not often that you'll have a professional photographer lined up to take photos of your little family. So take advantage of this time and grab a few shots with your furry friend. Make sure to talk about this with your photographer beforehand, so that you can choose the best location for such a thing. It's also a great idea to bring along a friend that can take your dog for a bit while your photographer gets shots of just the two of you!

Have your stationer design a monogram with their silhouette included - If you're having your wedding stationary custom designed, why not include your dog?! I've seen stationers design a wedding log of sorts with a classic-looking silhouette of the couples' dog and it's the sweetest thing ever!

Elizabeth Henson Photos

Elizabeth Henson Photos

elovephotos

elovephotos

Cramer Photo

Cramer Photo

Make a donation in their favor - What better way to show your appreciation for your dog than to donate to a cause that could help many others! Instead of gifting your guests with favors, you could make a donation to a local shelter in honor of your dog.

Give your guests dog-friendly favors - Generally dog lovers are friends with other dog lovers. If a large part of your guest list has furry friends of their own at home, why not replace traditional favors with homemade dog treats for them to take home?

Angie McPherson Photography

Angie McPherson Photography

Summer Portrait Workshop

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Last weekend I teamed up with my #vendorsoulmate Liz to put together the fourth Elizabeth Henson Photos Portrait Workshop. Workshop days are always such a blast! We get to hang out with some of our favorite vendors and models and shoot at really cool locations. Liz teaches new friends some of her amazing skills and I tag along to keep everything moving on time {and recently started taking behind-the-scenes pictures too}. We literally just have the best day every time. Last weekend was no exception!

We hosted the workshop at Mimosa Barn on the Eastern Shore and the weather was absolutely blissful. We had some really incredible models {including my adorably beautiful younger sister} and photographers that were hungry for knowledge.

I always love watching all the attendees break out of their shells as the day goes on. They start to feed off each other's energy, ask each other for input, and really start to experiment with new techniques. It's awesome!

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Here are a few of my favorite images Liz captured throughout the day! These models are just so gorgeous!!!

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Thanks to Liz for always including me in these super awesome workshops! I've had the best time meeting some really amazing people and just getting to be creative with so many talented individuals! You're the best and I adore you!!!

Also a big huge thank you to our vendors who helped this day come together as beautifully as it did!

Host: Elizabeth Henson Photos // Planner: Just Dandy Events // Venue: Mimosa Barn // Makeup: Dhalia Edwards // Hair: Stephanie Michelle Hair // Styling: Tatiana Hill

Advice: End of Night Breakdown

In the six years I've been planning and coordinating weddings, I've learned so much. I'm still a long ways from knowing everything, but I've definitely come across some situations that have taught me a lot and I love sharing that knowledge with my couples to help make their wedding days even better than they imagined they could be.

Elizabeth Friske Photography

Elizabeth Friske Photography

One of the things I've learned is that while couples tend to think of a lot of the details leading up to the wedding day, they generally don't think of many of the details regarding AFTER the wedding. Understandably, most of my couples don't have much experience with executing a wedding day. So it's up to me to help them realize that the planning can't stop with the ceremony and the order of the reception. There are a million other details throughout the wedding day and following the end of the reception that have to be carefully mapped out. Taking these extra steps will save everyone, including the couple, a ton of stress and anxiety after the big day is over with.

First and foremost, you should establish ahead of time, meaning before the wedding day, who will be taking certain things home at the end of the night. Trying to establish this on the day of the wedding usually amounts to a lot of unnecessary stress and sometimes no resolution at all. If you need your parents to take home all the décor, you should give them a heads up to make sure that they have cleaned out the back of their car in order to fit everything. And if you would like for your maid of honor to hold the top tier of your cake for you, she needs to know ahead of time so that she doesn't plan to attend the after party and can get it right into the freezer after the reception.

DIY Décor Elements: Most couples have a long list of décor elements that they are providing themselves for their wedding. That could mean 30-something gorgeous lanterns to be used for centerpieces, a custom backdrop for a photobooth, or framed photos of family members' wedding days. All of these items made it safely to your reception and will be set up by your planner and her team. However, they also need to make it back home after the wedding. For the smaller elements, like picture frames, centerpiece items, etc. I strongly suggest packing them in plastic totes. Having everything stored securely in the totes will make sure that they fit nice & neat into a car to make the trip back home without breaking. If at all possible, include some bubble wrap in each tote for the extra fragile items!

Rebecca Keeling Studios

Rebecca Keeling Studios

For the larger décor elements that may not be easily stowed in someone's car, talk with your venue ahead of time and see if they'll allow you to store anything overnight. I've worked with quite a few venues that will secure larger pieces like backdrops and signage until you're able to come pick them up, usually the next morning.

Flowers: You spent a lot of time, and likely a large chunk of your budget, to create the most beautiful tablescapes with the help of your florist. Now, it's the end of the night and you have 15 floral centerpieces that your planner has to figure out what to do with. You have so many options here! Do you want to gift the arrangements to your family members and bridal party? Keep a few for your own home? Donate the flowers to a local church, hospital, or nursing home? Whatever you decide, you should let your planner know ahead of time so that the two of you can get a game plan together. You'll need to figure out if the florist needs the vessels back or if they are yours to keep/gift. If you decide to donate the arrangements, you'll need to establish where you want them sent and who will be taking them there for you.

Cramer Photo

Cramer Photo

Wedding Cake/Cupcakes/Donuts: Chances are, you are going to have quite a bit of leftover sweets at the end of the night. You'll need to speak with someone {maybe your Maid of Honor or mother} to see if they're able to take the top tier of your cake to hold it for you until you're able to get it home and into your freezer. It's also a great idea to speak with your baker ahead of time to see if they're able to provide you with extra containers for leftovers. Let your planner know if the leftover cupcakes are fair game and they should dole them out to guests on their way out.

Leftover Alcohol: If you are stocking bar yourself as opposed to letting the venue provide the alcohol, there is a chance you will have some bottles of wine, beer, and liquor leftover at the end of the night. And I can't begin to tell you how many groomsmen that had a really great time at the reception, come up to me at the end of the night trying to take a box of liquor home. Nope! You should let your planner know ahead of time what the game plan is for the leftovers. Also, keep in mind that you can usually return unopened bottles for a small restocking fee. Yay for recouping costs!

Angie McPherson Photography

Angie McPherson Photography

Bridal Attire: Make sure to put someone in charge of things like your veil, heels, and even your bouquet. There's a good chance that all of those things are super sentimental and maybe even heirlooms. So assign someone you can trust to get them home safely for you at the end of the night. Also, are you changing into a different dress for your reception or your grand exit? You'll definitely want to establish who is going to be in charge of taking your wedding gown home after the party.

Cars: One of the details that I find people have the hardest time with is what to do with the cars. Figuring out transportation can be such a hassle, but if you plan ahead, it can be a breeze! Talk to your venue ahead of time and find out what their policy is on cars being left overnight. Do they tow unattended cars? Is there a certain time that cars need to be picked up the next day? And if you are able to leave your car, establish who will be picking it up the next day, and make sure they have your keys! The last thing you want the morning after your wedding is your best man knocking on your hotel room door to get your car keys bright and early.

I really hope these tips help you plan for a smoother flow at the end of your wedding reception!

Kara & Michael - Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

It rained cats & dogs on Kara & Michael's wedding day. That would break some couples' spirits, but not these two. I really don't think they stopped smiling all day long It was the most heart-warming thing to see the two of them so insanely happy to just be together with their families and friends, to be marrying each other. It was such a genuine happiness and I loved being there to witness it.

Everything about Kara & Michael's day was absolutely perfect. From the floral details {wait till you see the bridesmaid dresses!!} to the heartfelt ceremony, from the amazing dance party to the delicious donut wall. It was all just perfect! One of my favorite things about the wedding was hearing so many of Kara's ideas and then seeing how Michael built them and brought them to life. It was just so special!

Kara & Michael, it was such a pleasure working with the two of you and your incredible families to create such a perfectly heartfelt day. Thank you for trusting us to bring your vision to life! Congratulations you two!

First looks will FOREVER be one of my favorite moments of the whole wedding day!!!!

You guys. Kara & Michael's dog, Sherlock stopped by for portraits and I died. He even wore a bow tie for the occasion! Literally the best ever!

And a big thank you goes to the incredible vendor team I had the privilege of working with! I adore you all!!!

Ceremony: Regent Chapel // Reception: Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art // Photographer: Angie McPherson Photography // Planner: Just Dandy Events // Caterer: Chef by Design // Cake: Incredible Edibles // DJ: Astro Entertainment // Bouquets/Boutonnieres: Crafted Stems // Reception Flowers: Krista Slye // Hair: Stephanie Michelle Hair // Makeup: Dhalia Edwards