*Wedding Wednesday* :: Same-Sex Couples

It’s not my nature to get political on my blog, especially on a *Wedding Wednesday* post. But I’m filling out my ballot so I stop getting election calls. And in light of the recent campaign to oust three judges from the Iowa Supreme Court stemming from their 2009 vote deeming same-sex marriage legal, I thought I’d address a few FAQ’s regarding how my business practices.

same sex couple wedding

Do you shoot gay/lesbian couples?

Yes, I shot my first same-sex session recently, and the first wedding is scheduled next year. However, I do not seek out same-sex couples. It’s important that all my prospective clients – regardless of sexual orientation – like my work, like me and can afford me even before they decide to book a session.

Do you offer discounts for sessions with same-sex couples?

Nope. I’m an equal opportunity people-pleaser (or disappointer).

Do you shoot same-sex sessions differently than other sessions?

Well, strictly based on the most recent shoot, no… I didn’t shoot it any differently and can’t see that I would for future sessions. All my shoots tend to be interactive. And if the people being photographed care enough about each other then it will reflect the same way in the images as two people who are straight.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

In other news, I’m moving to a new blog as of tomorrow – www.shuvarahim.com – and this series will continue on that site next week. Thanks to all of you who have been dedicated readers via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or have just dropped by to see what’s new. I hope you continue to follow me and comment and enjoy!

As Ever…

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*Wedding Wednesday* :: Honeymoon Destinations

I need a vacation.

This being my busiest couple months with weddings and holiday sessions, it’s made me look forward even more to some less-intense workdays…. and daydream of cool vacation destinations (be it for a honeymoon or otherwise). And why not? A handful of my couples have gone to Hawaii, while some stayed in the lower 48.

Others still are venturing outside the U.S. My couple getting married this weekend have a honeymoon planned in Italy. A photographer who recently married is actually blogging during her honeymoon right now in Italy and Croatia. And since I’m drawn to the off-the-beaten-path sites, it’s worth mentioning that a couple whose wedding I shot last year honeymooned in… Peru.

My next big “break” will be around Christmas, during which time I plan to be in Ohio with friends, and then to be followed by a trip overseas later this coming winter. I can’t wait.

But regardless of the out-of-town destination, it’s the people around you who make it all the more worthwhile and memorable.

Expedia logo

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever…

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*Wedding Wednesday* :: Event Production

The event-planning industry has a huge convention called Engage!10. One of the conference speakers this year was Bryan Rafanelli, owner of Rafanelli Events, who plans tons of weddings, parties, corporate and nonprofit galas in Boston, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Washington, D.C.

Rafanelli’s credentials include a series of inaugural events leading to and the day-of President Obama’s swearing in and Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.

He’s also done his share of nonprofit events, and the below photo is from a fundraiser.

Nonprofit event charity gala

One of Rafanelli’s strong points is to tell a story with each event he works with anything that is conceivable to the client. The result, I imagine, is an amazing display of environments that shows the quality, the care and attention that people appreciate and are excited about.

Although he isn’t local, there’s still much to draw inspiration on from his work – as a photographer, an event planner, and anyone else in the creative field. And, of course…as a bride.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever…

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*Wedding Wednesday* :: Favor Boxes from Paper Source

I get their catalogs in the mail and absolutely adore their stuff.

Paper Source is a creative person’s dream. It is a company that has so much paper in the form of invitations, stationery and everything in between it’s a bit overwhelming. And that’s without walking into a store (the closest which is in the Chicago ‘burbs).

But it’s the dimensional stuff I’m drawn to, like the favor boxes:

…in square:

takeout boxes:

…and pocketbooks:

They come in more colors than shown here, but it’s worth checking out if you find something that speaks to you.

Happy Browsing.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever…

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Guest Post: Get Creative With Your Budget

This is the last of a series of guess posts by Christina Smith of Classic Events Coordination and Design, based in Cedar Rapids. I’m so grateful she’s been willing to share her knowledge and expertise about planning a wedding. This post continues with some practical things to help trim the budget, but without sacrificing quality.

Stretching your budget without losing the look and mood that you want to convey can be a little tricky, but if you do it correctly can really make a huge difference.

What are a couple simple tricks to give more mileage to your dollars?

  1. Alter your reception to an appetizer reception rather than a meal. You can pull this off in a very classy way and may end up having more time during your wedding day to relax while getting ready. Most hors d’oeuvre receptions are held later in the evening to alleviate any confusion that a meal would be provided, and it is also noted on the invite to clarify.
  2. Have a shortened reception. Rather than having your party go all night at your venue, close down the site at 9 or 10 p.m. and head to the hotel for after-hours. You will save on your bar tab, hours for venue rental and hours for your DJ, which – combined – could end up as a pretty large chunk of change.

Then, the question becomes: What do I need to sacrifice?

Be willing to pick your top three “must-haves” so you can use your budget wisely and not end up with an excess of unexpected expenses.

After all, your wedding is something that should be what you wish for without costing above and beyond what you can afford, and provide happy memories to cherish throughout your life.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever, Shuva…

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Guest Post: Prioritize Expenses

Christina Smith of Classic Events Coordination and Design (CECD) based in Cedar Rapids has been a *Wedding Wednesday* guest blogger for the past couple weeks. And while I thought this would the final of three posts, I loved reading this entry so much that I wanted for her to stick around for another week. So this is part 3 of 4, and it’s a good one (as will next week’s be as well)! I had the pleasure of shooting Christina’s wedding last year, and got a firsthand view of how awesome her work as an event planner really is! Here’s more from expert.

Christina and Brenton's wedding

Expenses can often bring you back to earth in a hurry when you’re planning the wedding of your dreams.

One of the main questions when dissecting a wedding budget is ‘Who is contributing?’

It is amazing how many people begin planning, booking vendors, and establishing expenses when they do not have this question answered!  When this question is left unanswered, a lot of unexpected costs start popping up. Without a budget and a schedule of who, what, when, and where your money is going, it is easy to spend what you do not have. Make this your first priority or work with someone to help establish a budget for you.

  • What percentage of your budget do you spend on your:
    • Venue?
    • Photographer?
    • Apparel?
    • Décor?
    • Entertainment?

Knowing average percentages per vendor is really valuable and gives you an honest way to dissect and really see if you are getting a good deal, paying too much, or even tip you off to the “quality” of the work your prospective vendors are offering.

Christina and Brenton's wedding

Who are the quality vendors that best fit your style and budget?

Ask for references, talk to other local brides, and do your research. Call several vendors that might provide the service you are looking for and compare them to see what you can and can’t live without. Vendors will generally show you samples of their products and point you to other good references. If they aren’t it may be a red flag that this is not something you are looking for. A bride would probably end up really happy that she talked to a previous client with a bad review than having a vendor that didn’t uphold their end of the contract on her Big Day.

But ultimately, homework ends up paying off in the end.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever, Shuva…

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Guest Post: Turning Your Vision Into Reality

This is the second of three *Wedding Wednesday* installments from Christina Smith, owner of Classic Events Coordination & Design based in Cedar Rapids. I got a firsthand look at Christina’s work when I had the privilege of shooting her wedding last year. With her interior design background, she has planned weddings and other events in Eastern Iowa since 2005. And with her team of event coordinators, she also can help plan baby showers, retirement parties and holiday functions. So how exactly does Christina do it all?  Keep reading…

Christina on her wedding day.

Our Event Coordinators will listen to your wedding-day wish list and help you translate your dreams into an exquisite and memorable event. They can provide expert advice, the highest level of creativity, as well as, personalized service and attention to detail.

Event Coordinators also know the most spectacular venues. Their innovative perspectives allow them to fashion-stunning floral designs, as well as, create edgy and fresh focal pieces. They make referrals to only the most reliable vendors in the industry, vendors that have shown time and time again their knowledge, expertise, and professionalism.

CECD Event Coordinators also are exposed to special events every day. They have their eye on current and future market trends and can design your event with a personal touch and a creative eye. They guide clients graciously throughout the planning process – from innovative concept to flawless execution. Each wedding is a unique experience, carved and sculpted to specifically compliment the couple at hand.  Our goal is to always exceed expectations, and to out-do what has already been done.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever, Shuva…

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Guest Post: Why Hire a Wedding Planner?

This week for the next few *Wedding Wednesday* posts, I am proud to feature Christina Smith, the owner of Classic Events Coordination & Design based in Cedar Rapids. I got a firsthand look at Christina’s work when I had the privilege of shooting her wedding last year. With her interior design background, she has planned weddings and other events in Eastern Iowa since 2005. Christina’s work is AMAZING, and I’m excited she is sharing her expertise on this first of three guest posts.

Signage from Christina's wedding

Why hire a wedding planner?

There are literally hundreds of decisions that go into planning a typical wedding rehearsal dinner, marriage ceremony and reception celebration. Decision making begins the moment you say “Yes” and continues until the moment you say “I do”.  It can be overwhelming with all the choices available in the wedding industry today and all the questions you may have, including:

How many people do we want in our wedding party?

  • Do we include just family?
  • Should we incorporate close friends? If so, do we have to have their significant others involved?

What style of wedding do we want?

  • Formal or informal?
  • Large or small?
  • Who is paying for it – do they have a say?

What style of ceremony do we want?

  • Are we the same religion or does one of us need to convert?
  • Who will be our Officiant?
  • Are there specific traditions we want to uphold?
  • Do we want an outdoor ceremony or must it be in a church?
  • What about nondenominational?

Christina and Brenton's ceremony site

How do we pick our vendors?

  • Do we ask for recommendations? If so, from whom?
  • How much should our caterer, DJ, or venue cost?
  • How do we establish a wedding budget?

What do we want to do for food?

  • Appetizers
  • Buffet style dinner or lunch
  • A five-course served meal
  • Will we offer options for our vegan or vegetarian guests?

Do we want a traditional cake?

  • Will we go with an independent baker?
  • Will we have a real/faux cake or cupcakes?
  • What flavors do we want?
  • What factors cause the price to go up?
  • Who will cut it?

What is the timeline for the day?

  • When does the entertainment staff need to set up?
  • When will all the décor from the ceremony be cleaned up?
  • Who will give the first toast?
  • When do we decide to tap another keg?
  • Where do all the gifts and décor go at the end of the evening?

Not only can a Wedding Coordinator answer these questions for you, but they know the quickest and most efficient route to begin sculpting your unique wedding style and coordinating every detail to fit your budget. Are you a detailed planner who wants to craft your own wedding from the centerpieces up? Or are you currently overwhelmed by your monster to-do-list? Either way, the resources, guidance, expertise and dedication of a seasoned professional can help you bring your vibrant vision to life.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever, Shuva…

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Color Combinations

Deciding on wedding colors can be a challenge. Everyone is drawn to specific palette combinations. But finding the right color(s) can take some trial and error. So where do you start? Like any reasonable person, I consulted Google and found this site, which actually paired up different colors. Click on the samples and it will show you more combinations.

The side-by-side pairings give a good idea of not only what colors will look good together, but spark you to consider how the colors could be used – on dresses, favors, napkins, invitations, etc. Kudos to the Internet to help with some visual thinking!

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever, Shuva…

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