Mandy & Steve's Whitehall Manor Wedding

Teal & orange?! Yes, please! It’s hard to not grin ear to ear whenever I look back on Mandy & Steve’s wedding at Whitehall Manor. There are so many thoughtful details & happy moments that come to mind when I think of them. Like how the day was a bit gloomy to start but the second the ceremony started, the clouds parted and rays of gorgeous sunshine came down. And how I was touched to discover that Mandy & Steve celebrated & featured their bridal party in their details and showed how clearly the day wan’t just about them, but everyone who helped make them who they are. And how the last dance of the night turned into one massive group hug of everyone rushing the dance floor and surrounding Mandy & Steve. It was awesome!  Check it out below:

Destination: Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast

I never thought I’d be doing a bridal portrait session in January, at Oregon’s iconic Cannon Beach. Ever. But thanks to a photography conference taking me across the country and my dear friend & fellow writer for Levi Sim (who helped set this all up) we managed to pull together quite a fun little shoot. Sure it was rainy (true to form Portland!) but we had a blast. And I loved how the fog and rain added to the drama of this bridal session. Check out some of my favorites below and stay tuned for some of these to show up on in another article I’m writing soon!

Lessons Learned: A Bride's Perspective From Johna

A little while back I had the huge pleasure of photographing Johna & Dan’s wedding at the Hilton Old Town Alexandria. This good natured, silly, laid back couple planned a beautiful day full of love, but also full of fun & laughter. I wanted to feature Johna on this week’s Lessons Learned becasue I think she offers a great perspective on having a great day but not taking things so seriously that you miss out on the good times. Check out what she had to say below!

Q: Describe Your Wedding: 

A: Honesty, everything.  It turned out to be the most amazing day for us.  Everything was beautiful.  And to have our family and best of friends together in one room made us feel so special!

Q: What was your favorite part of your day?: 

A: Seeing Dan for the first time.  It felt so good to have all the anxiety wash away from me.  Not to mention he tears he had in his eye, or how he puts it… “I wasn’t crying, I had something in my eye!!”

Q: What was your partner’s favorite part?: 

A: Dan said it was when he saw me for the first time, also!  Except for when that “thing” in his eye made him tear up!

Q: What was the hardest thing about planning your wedding?:

A: Finding a venue that included all of our needs.  With our families coming from all over the USA, we needed to make it was for everyone who was traveling.  Alexandria was perfect. Close to airports, metro, and there were room rates that everyone could afford.  When we found the venue - everything else fell into place.  Until our coordinator got sick… but that is another story!  HA! Nothing about planning a wedding is easy!!!

Q: What did you learn that you wished you had known?:  

A: You can please some of the people some of the time, But not all of the people all of the time!!!  I already knew that… But sometimes we need to be reminded!

Q: What was the most unexpected part of the day?: 

A: Seeing Dan cry.  Getting cake shoved into my face.  Seeing my best friends girlfriend, of 10 years, catch the bouquet. RUNNING OUT OF MAKERS MARK!!!!

Q: Any other wisdom to share?:    

A: Don’t let anyone change your mind of what you want to something that they want. Make sure you are true to yourself.  This is your wedding.  Not your friends wedding, who thinks you look amazing in the dress that is so uncomfortable!  It is not your parents wedding, who may be paying for it, but need to understand what you want.  And it is nor you family’s wedding,  who may have not liked their steak, but at least you have cake for desert!  Be happy with what you choose.  Know what you want and just go for it.  Because, hopefully, you wont have to do it all over again.  And open bar is always nice, but don’t run out of Makers Mark!

Jessica & Matt: A D.C. Engagement

I love these two. They’re just too stinkin’ cute. When I first met them, I knew I was in for something fun when they showed me their save the date card that was the two of them sky diving! In addition to their adventurous spirits, they have a huge passion for the city they live in, D.C. and wanted to celebrate their engagement photos in the idyllic setting of the Tidal Basin. Check out their photos (and the visitor that joined us on the Jefferson Monument steps while I was doing a ring shot of her GORGEOUS vintage ring) below!

Vendor Spotlight: The Finer Points

Let’s face it. This wedding planning time in your life is chaotic, frenzied, stressful, and at times may seem like a marathon more than a sprint to the aisle. Some couples handle it better than others, but to be honest, in over 9 years in the business, I have yet to see a bride that wasn’t thankful she hired a wedding planner to help her out. A good planner is a great resource in your wedding tool kit. They give you sound advice, check your contracts, help you sort out pros & cons, come up with fantastic themes, schemes, and ideas, and help you pull it all off with as little stress as humanly possible on the day of the wedding!

It’s a tall order, but freeing all those burdens from your shoulders alone (or from your mother’s or maid of honor’s shoulders alone) can be truly integral to pulling off a successful event that you, your family, and friends will be remembering for a lifetime. Which is why you should do your research on planners who rock.

“But Lisa! I don’t have TIME to do all that research!”

Fear not my engaged friends! I’ve done the looking for you! This week’s vendor spotlight is on Lynn of The Finer Points. Every wedding I’ve worked with Lynn has been spot on, perfection! She plans with grace, elegance, and style and on top of that, she’s a pretty awesome & kind person! Check out what she had to say below and then check out some photos of her work from a wedding we did together!

Q: How did you get your start in weddings?
A: I began coordinating weddings at Westfields Marriott and then continued on to Lansdowne Resort as a Senior Catering Manager.

Q: Why did you want to be involved in Weddings?
A: I love working with brides, grooms and their families to create a most memorable, stress-free day.

Q: What is one unique thing that your business brings to the table?
A: We build a team of wedding professionals that work together to make your day a huge success! Working together toward the same goal in any situation is always the best. Also, I have a background working at venues so can easily put myself in the shoes of the venue/caterer and make the best possible choice for the bride and groom.

Q: Describe your favorite client?
A: Brides and Grooms that are excited about their wedding; whether they have a vision or not – we help create one! Also, Brides and Grooms that know they’ve hired professionals so they don’t worry and totally enjoy their wedding.

Q: What wedding, that you’ve done, stands out the most to you and why?
A: A New Year’s Wedding that we had at the Willard a couple of years ago where they had a great band, lots of great food and best of all a confetti canon. There was such energy about this wedding!

Q: What inspires you?
A: Helping people and making clients happy.

Q: What are the top services that your business provides?
A: Wedding Day Coordination, Partial Wedding Planning and Total Wedding Planning. We can also prepare Amenity boxes for your out of town guests.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for couples?
A: Relax and let go of all the details on the day of your wedding. You’ve hired professionals and they will take care of everything!

Q: What is your most frequently asked question?
A: Do you have a back up in case you are sick the day of the wedding? And our answer is YES!

Q: What is a realistic budget for your services?
A: Our packages range from Wedding Day Coordination to Total Wedding Planning. Our prices range from $1,800 to $6,000.

Q: In regard to your vendor category, what it the most importatnt piece of information you wished all couples knew?
A: A planner can really take a lot of stress off of a bride and groom and their parents as well, before and during their special day! I’ve never heard any client say they wish they hadn’t hired a planner but have definitely heard brides that are already married say that they wish they had hired a planner.