Jessica Francis' portfolio of articles from summer internship with The Wedding Daily Times.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Save the Dates!

Booking the same photographer for your engagement pictures as your wedding photos is a great way to get to know your photographer ahead of time and allow him/her to have practice capturing your personalities and the unique dynamics between you and your love bird. Don’t let your special engagement shoot sit in an album, forgotten– send them out as Save the Date cards to your prospective guests! Save the Dates are not actual invitations, but more like postcards sent out 6 months to a year in advance, literally asking guests to “save the date” and mark that day of the year as taken on their calendars! These cards are a perfect way to give guests plenty of time to make plans if you expect to have a lot of out-of-town guests or a holiday wedding date. You’ll also want to make sure that any guest who receives a Save the Date also receives a formal invitation closer in time to the wedding date. Save the Date cards don’t need to include much information– your names, as well as the date and location of the wedding is all that’s necessary. You may also want to include your wedding website address, and the dates of other events you may be hosting, such as bridal showers, brunches, etc. If you expect many guests to be traveling, your Save the Date card may also include nearby airport and hotel information. Postcards, magnets, or even e-mail PDF files– any format of your Save the Date is perfect to feature your engagement photography!

Southall Eden

If you’re in the Nashville area and have a love for all things rustic and country, you must must must check out Southall Eden, an adorable venue in Leiper’s Fork (Franklin, TN area). Having grown up in this area, the church I attend with my family is next door to this lovely venue, which is actually a private residence home with a picturesque barn, backyard, and wraparound porch. The owner also makes adorably unique custom stationary that is included in a bride’s package of renting out the property as a venue. Check out their cute website and you will immediately know why I am so in love with this venue! It truly is nothing short of Eden…perfect for the bride looking for an intimate, chic wedding with a taste of Southern charm.

Textured Gowns

My current obsession is with gowns full of texture: lace, tulle, chiffon, peony, you name it, the more texture the better. Check out our collection of some of our favorite textured gowns worn by brides whose weddings were all shot by Jasmine Star Photography.
Dress 1: Allure Bridals
 Dress 2: Vera Wang
 Dress 4: Quail Bridal
Dress 5: Vera Wang
 Dress 6: Amsale
Dress 8 (my personal favorite!) : Oscar de la Renta

Shabby-Chic Chandeliers

We love the shabby-chic look of outdoor chandeliers. With the right equipment, you can have one that lights up for the night wedding, and for sunny day-time weddings, we love these floral chandeliers!  

Set Sail

We feel obligated to share this gorgeous nautical inspired wedding shoot with you by Jasmine Star Photography and styled by Kelly Makes Things. These photos will make your heart set sail even if you are stuck inside today….

Under the Tuscan Sun...

What could be more romantic than a destination wedding in Europe? I may be a bit biased– the culture, landscapes, and architecture of just about any European city send my head swirling and make my heart giddy! Take a look at this bride’s dream wedding in Tuscany, Italy, and be transported into a storybook romance…

Randy’s Top Ten Tips Before Saying Yes to the Dress

If you’re like many of our brides (or many women we know) you probably watch a lot of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC…guilty! The television show airs brides and their families on their search for the perfect wedding gown at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City. (Check out this famous bridal store with an appointment if you’re in the New York area!) Anyone who has ever watched this show once knows and loves Randy, one of the fashion experts who helps brides in their gown consultations. Randy is always the man to call when a bride finds herself in a bind! He’s hilarious and sweet, always adorable, and has a true and honest eye for fashion. So we’ve included for you Randy’s top ten things to keep in mind before buying a dress.
1. Know your budget. You should know your financial limits before you come into the salon. Inflating your budget and putting everyone on the spot will just leave you empty-handed.
2. It’s OK to love the first dress. Randy sees this happen all the time. He tells brides that if they trust themselves, everyone else will fall in love with that first dress, too.
3. Know your silhouette. Trying on the wrong silhouette can cause any bride to be discouraged. A dress in a magazine looks different on a model, so go with what is figure-flattering on you.
4. Be open to alterations. It’s important to remember that dresses can be altered. Try to envision the dress on your wedding day when it’s fitted to your body and style.
5. Be open to different styles. Keep your options and your mind open, and you may just surprise yourself!
6. Keep location in mind. A ball gown is way too heavy for the beach. You can find a dress that will fit the sand and surf but will still look and feel bridal.
7. Say yes, and stop shopping. Some brides need to confirm that they’ve made the right choice, but if that choice is second-guessed by her entourage, a bride’s confidence can get shaken.
8. Trust your instincts. It can be hard when your friends don’t approve of the dress you love, but when a bride knows what she wants, she has to trust herself.
9. Leave room in the budget for extras. Bling isn’t cheap! Anytime you add accessories, customize your look or need alterations, the cost goes way up. So, leave some room in the budget for the finishing touches.
10. Share your vision. It’s important to speak with your friends before you come to the salon so they understand what you’re looking for. If they aren’t on the same page, they can send you down the wrong path.

Da Cake Boss

If you’re in the New Jersey area and looking for wedding cake ideas, stop in Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken!  Not only are the cakes and sweets fabulously tasty and incredibly beautiful and creative, but the bakery is also home of TLC’s popular show, The Cake Boss. You are guaranteed a fabulous cake, a lot of Jersey attitude, and you may even see your face on the big screen! ;-)


Wondering what song to play for your first dance as husband and wife? Ditch searching the overused, cheesy wedding song compilations and choose something with meaning for you and your hubby–“your” song as a couple. You can even use a personalized song for your walk down the aisle if you’re looking to add more contemporary touches to your wedding ceremony. One of my favorite wedding favors that I’ve received as a guest has been a decoratively wrapped, mix CD of the couple’s favorite songs– a soundtrack to their time together. Here’s a few of my favorite more modern takes on the classic love song…

Andrea + Jeremy : The Engagement

I am obsessing over this engagement shoot by Souder Photography. Obsessing. Especially this very first photograph– it is heavenly!

Be Still My Heart Films

For all of you in the Southeast looking for a wedding photographer or videographer, check out my friend at Be Still My Heart Films! This woman is a powerhouse with all things media, and she offers affordable all-inclusive packages for both your wedding photography and film. Not to mention that you’ll probably come away with a new best friend! Check out her newly renovated website and blogto get a peek at some of her fabulous work!

Brides & Bagpipes

There’s something about the sound of bagpipes that light a fire inside my heart and make me ready to fight with pride for love and…life. Think Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart. ;-) I recently attended a wedding where the bride was escorted down the aisle by bagpipes. The ceremony took place in an extremely gorgeous chapel with organ pipes that looked as if they were about to reach the sky, and the entire ceremony was wonderfully traditional and elegant. After all of the bridal party had made their way to the front, the doors to the chapel closed abruptly as a bagpiper dressed in the traditional Scottish garb made his way down the aisle as he played traditional Celtic melody. And then, as the crowd stood, the doors opened once again and the beaming woman in white made her way down the aisle to her favorite hymn played on the bagpipes. It was truly a special moment to see my friend in all her glory, and the bagpipes sent chills all up my arms and tears to my eyes. For the bride who is looking for a truly royal entrance, I can guarantee that bagpipes will do the trick and create a storybook, magical walk down the aisle.

Kristin + Don : A Real Wedding

This redheaded bride is just too gorgeous, and the camera absolutely loves her. You can tell her groom sure does, too. This wedding, shot by Souder Photography, is filled with impeccable style and an effortless elegance that perfectly reflect the shining faces of the joyful bride and groom. We especially love the last photograph…so sweet, so perfect.