Photo Gina Cellino Photography
Your photographer has such an important role in your wedding as they work to document the day for you. As you are looking for a photographer, make sure you choose someone whose style you love and someone you feel comfortable around. Look through their galleries to see what types of shots they commonly capture, if they take more posed or candid shots and make sure they have a consistent editing style that you love.
There are many things you can do to help them tell the full story of your wedding - let them know what the details are so they can capture them! The details are what you spend much of your time stressing over as you plan the wedding and you want to make sure you can enjoy those for years to come. We have compiled a starting list for you on what details you may want your photographer to focus on.
1. The rings - everything starts with the engagement ring and the wedding bands are the long lasting symbol of the vows you say on your wedding day. Most rings have gorgeous details that can be admired even more when seen in a close up shot. Your photographer can capture your ring in many ways that will help emphasize the overall feel of your wedding. Place your rings in a place that is easy for the photographer to access and take the detail shots as you are getting ready.
Photo Ben Brinker Photography
2. The invitation suite - the invitation suite is the first impression your guests receive for your wedding and sets the tone for what the wedding day will hold. Bring an extra invitation suite on the day of your wedding so your photographer can capture it.
Photo Kaptured Photography
3. Shoes - not only are they a key part of your wedding day choices (even if they don't make it all the way through the dancing!), but we have seen some great examples of personalization like a love note written by your fiance!
Photo Kaptured Photography
4. The flowers - these may be my favorite part of weddings! They set the tone, color palette and are a big part of your budget. Make sure your photographer gets plenty of pictures so you can enjoy their beauty long after they are gone.
Photo Ben Brinker Photography
5. The accessories - your jewelry and garter, your fiance's cuff links or watch; the finishing pieces of your wedding day ensemble are even better when they are shown on their own.
Photo Ben Brinker Photography
6. The cake - once you cut the cake and share with your guests, it won't last long! Make sure your photographer gets some gorgeous pictures and focuses on any toppers you have to make it special. One of our couples had clay figurines of their dogs made for the topper - so cute!
Photo Anchors Aweigh Photography
7. The place settings - if you chose chargers, china, monogrammed napkins - you don't want to forget these details. Your photographer can capture the way the sun shines on the gold rimmed goblets and allow you to savor the moment that may be a blur during your wedding.
Photo Gina Cellino Photography
8. Signs - personalized welcome signs or illustrated signature cocktail signs are beautiful details that often find their place in your home after the wedding. Capturing them as you have them set in the venue, lets you see the day as your guests experienced it.
Photo Gina Cellino Photography
9. Hair and makeup - these details help you feel gorgeous for your wedding day, so ask your photographer to get some images that highlight your intricate braided updo or soft eyecolor palette.
Photo Kaptured Photography
10. The favors and welcome bags - you put a lot of thought into what you chose as a gift for your guests, so make sure you capture the display. If you put together a welcome bag for out of town guests, bring an extra one for your photographer.
Photo Kaptured Photography
Make sure you talk with your photographer about the details you want photographed - make a list and give it to them. It's a great idea to place everything in a bag or box to give them when they arrive at the venue - the details are often some of the first shots they take. What other details did you add to your wedding? Let us know!
Christmas Eve is a top time for engagements and, once you have stopped staring at your new sparkle (temporarily of course), it's time to jump into wedding planning. But, um, what exactly does that include? When I was newly engaged, I knew very little about planning a wedding. (I did however master the art of admiring my ring and the way it cast dancing sparkles everywhere - careful when driving, it can be distracting!) Now that I have been immersed in the world of weddings for a couple of years, I have a much better understanding of what steps and details are involved. The good news is there are some GREAT sites to help you plan everything. We have listed our favorites below.
1. Zola - www.zola.com Zola has a great set up that allows you to really customize your checklist to your wedding - including religious traditions and customs. This site includes access to a detailed checklist with due dates, website creation, guest list management, registry and more. The checklist offers great tips on items to help you know where to start. One of my favorite Pro Tips - create a wedding email. This lets you keep all of your wedding related emails in one account instead of wading through work, personal and junk email in your other account.
2. Wedding Wire - www.weddingwire.com/wedding-checklists.html Wedding Wire is another great customized checklist. They also give you access to their other tools in the checklist. For example, click on the Budget planning task and you get access to the Budget tool which is pre-populated with recommended spend by category based on your budget goal. You can easily search vendors and see reviews to narrow your search. Wedding Wire also offers a website builder and hashtag generator - it may not offer the most creative options, but it will give you some basics. Manage your guest list and many more items all in one place.
3. The Knot - www.theknot.com A well known name in all things wedding, The Knot is a great resource for planning and inspiration. They have a great resource of information to help you make informed decisions about your wedding. Plus they have a great Style Quiz as you start planning and you can share your style with future vendors.
Hopefully one of these will be a great fit for you as you start planning your wedding day! Let us know what other great sites you use. We would love to share these with other new brides!
Congrats - you're engaged! We know you can't wait to start touring venues, finding the perfect dress, picking out flowers and ... figuring out your budget, right?!? A budget is probably not the first thing you think of while dreaming and planning your wedding, but it definitely sets the parameters for most of your decisions. It's also an extremely overwhelming task when you have never had to deal with a wedding budget before. Should the DJ cost $250 or $1200? How much do flowers cost and how many do you need? What about all these different insurance options - liability insurance, day of wedding insurance??
Websites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire have good budget tools you can use to help estimate what you might spend and then track costs as you get actual quotes. There are a ton of details that go into many options - does your venue include tables and chairs or do you need to rent? do you want to upgrade table or chair options and what might that cost? does your caterer provide plates, cups, utensils? are they high quality disposable or china? do you want to upgrade to china and what is the cost? is cake cutting included with catering or venue? how many hours does your photographer included? 1 or 2 shooters? is an engagement session included?
It's a lot and while we can't cover everything in the breakdown below, hopefully it will give you a basic idea of what you might spend based on your overall budget. Always remember you can shift allowances to focus on what is more important to you and your fiance.
Venue, Catering, Cake and Rentals - 40% - 50%
- Many venues will provide an option including catering, tables and chairs to make it easy to combine these numbers. Some will require you to use their caterer and others are really just the venue. Make sure you understand what the price includes. You guest count is also the biggest driver in this cost.
Flowers, Lighting & Decor - 8% - 18%
- The types of flowers you choose and how many you need (or want) will drive this number.
Photography - 12% - 20%
- Make sure to look at photography styles, turn around time and how you connect with the photographers to find the best fit.
Wedding Attire, Hair and Beauty - 9%
Reception Music - 7%
Wedding Planner - 3%
- Wedding planners and Day of Coordinators will hep you and your family enjoy the day while they take care of the logistics.
Invitations and Stationery - 3%
Officiant and Ceremony Music - 2%
Transportation - 2%
Wedding Rings - 2%
Favors and Gifts - 2%
Plan a 5% contingency fund for items that come us that you missed or to allow you some freedom to splurge on the amazing photographer you have to have! Also, check with your venue on if they require you to carry liability insurance and what that cost might be. We highly recommend Day of Wedding insurance. This covers you financially if something unforeseen comes up that prevents the wedding from happening on your day. It's not something anyone wants to think about, but it's worth the piece of mind.
Hello all! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with family and friends! We traveled to West Virginia to see my uncle (yes, he's the goat gifter) . Luckily we made it home without any new farm animals, although he tried to send us home with a couple of roosters...
My aunt is a wonderful farm-to-table cook and we feasted the whole time we were there. They plant a garden every year and she cans the produce so they can enjoy it all year. Along with the traditional turkey, we had mashed potatoes (from their garden), green beans (from their garden), home made rolls (y'all - I'm not a big roll eater but these were SO GOOD!) and so much more. We also had 7 kinds of pie - apple, cherry, lemon meringue, peanut butter custard, pumpkin, pumpkin cream cheese and pecan.
All home made. All amazing. (ok, I didn't try all of them, but I know they were all amazing)
This time of year is a favorite for bringing friends and family together to reconnect and enjoy great food. Earlier this Fall, I worked with some very talented vendors to pull together some inspiration on hosting your holiday gatherings.
There are so many ways to host a meal that pays heritage to farm-to-table menus (even if you don't have a cellar full of canned garden vegetables). In Georgia, we are fortunate to have Georgia Grown to promote farm fresh state produce that you can find in local grocery stores. They have a wealth of great recipes all made with Georgia Grown produce you can incorporate into your meals!
The finishing touches are what set the environment. Beautiful vintage china and glassware, cloth napkins, personalized place cards - these are all places to start. Pull what you have treasured in your closets, ask family to bring some of your favorite pieces you have always admired and bring it together to create an atmosphere to celebrate.
I've mentioned before that Cale told me on our second date he wanted to have a farm - a chicken, blueberry and goat farm to be exact. The chickens made sense for a farm and blueberries, ok, that makes sense for a crop. But where did the goats come from?
Bailey (10 at the time) wanted baby goats. She and some friends had played with a couple baby goats a few years earlier and she was hooked. When we purchased the land for our farm, our original plan was to get pygmy goats. They are small and would fit what Bailey had asked for. But a trip to my uncle's farm in West Virginia changed all that.
The Thanksgiving after we purchased the land, I took Cale and Bailey on their first visit to my uncle's farm in West Virginia. If you have ever met Cale or my Uncle Dave, they are two peas in a pod and they hit it off immediately. My uncle had Nubian dairy goats and easily convinced Cale that if we are going to get goats, at least get something that had a use (other than just making cute babies). Dairy goats can be milked for personal use or the milk makes great soap and lotion. You know - great things for those of us with spare time...
Nubians are also very docile - especially when they are bottle fed like we do. Once Bailey saw the babies with their floppy ears, she was sold.
Fast forward a year to Christmas Eve and my uncle had two baby bucks born. They were named Dancer and Prancer in honor of their birth date and Bailey received a "Merry Christmas" message that she now had her first two goats. And we began building a fence and barn for her goats. To her credit, she did help out with the work.
Once the goats were old enough to leave their mom, we headed up to West Virginia with a dog crate to keep the goats in on the long drive back in one car and a fussy three month old Peyton in another car. Cale and Bailey had the pleasure of driving back with 2 crying goats in the back of the car while my mom and I had a looooong trip back with a fussy three month old.
Cale and Bailey thought they were well prepared with leashes for the goats so they could get out at a rest stop for a potty break. Nubians are often show goats and walk on leashes during shoes. These goats, however, were not used to the leashes, so instead of calmly walking and enjoying a chance to stretch their legs they spent the few minutes yelling and pulling on the leashes while other visitors enjoyed the spectacle. The rest of the trip was made very quickly with minimal stops!
Once we were home, there were still a few last touches needed on the goat's new shed before they could be put in for the night. Cale's mom, Judith, sat in the garage holding the goats while the guys finished up the goat shed. It's truly a huge family effort around here!
The boys are now a few years old and we have added 2 does, 1 more buck, and 2 does born on the farm. They really are at their cutest when they are just a few weeks old and that is when Bailey gives them the most attention. They know Cale is the one who feeds them, though, and you will see them follow him around anytime he is near. The chickens do the same thing so it really is a funny sight!
Image Source: Earth Balance
Farm to Table has become a popular concept lately. There are farm to table restaurants, farm to table stores, farm to table t-shirts and earlier this year, Target even was selling farm to table home decor in their dollar section. Even though you have probably heard the term a few dozen times, do you understand what the Farm to Table movement is truly about?
Farming and gardening used to be a common way of life for most families. They would have a small garden that sustained their produce needs in place of regular trips to the grocery store. Now that our local grocery store supplies our produce needs which can be flown in from countries worldwide, we have lost the connection to fresh, local produce. Often the produce is picked early so it can take the time of packaging, shipping and shelf life. You miss out of the final flavor development as the produce ripens fully in the ground.
Farm to Table connects customers with local farms to enjoy local, in season produce picked at peak of flavor. We are fortunate in North Georgia to have a wide variety of Farmer's Markets to choose from. This allows customers to buy directly from the farmers and use in their home cooked meals.
Farm to Table restaurants like 61 Main - www.61main.com - take this a step further by using the local, in season produce direct from farmers and creating delicious meals to showcase the flavors. We love partnering with 61 Main and chef/owner Jenna Schrieber on our Farm to Table dinners. Jenna sources the produce for each dinner to create a unique meal and share with the diners the inspiration behind each meal. One of the early dinners this year featured a corn salsa pairing with the chilled bistro steak since corn was available before tomatoes this season. On another meal, Jenna boiled down the corn cobs to create a jelly that she sweetened the butter that went with the biscuits - amazing!
The growth of vineyards in the Ellijay and Blueridge area is also a great asset to the dinners. We have featured hard cider from Mercier Orchards and a favorite red wine from Cane Creek Vineyard - Mountain Harvest Red.
Farm to Table is focused on community and we often serve the Farm to Table dinners family style to create that community among guests. Cale and I look forward to these dinners as a way for us to connect with guests, share about our farm and see everyone enjoy a delicious meal, live music and friendship.
We would love to have you join us for a dinner next season - keep up to date on Facebook for the dates as we post them!
The details in this wedding are absolutely beautiful and the bride pulled them all together herself! The elegant design shown beautifully against the rustic backdrop of the barn. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do!
The large grapevine and eucalyptus wreath greeted guests along with a custom Welcome sign.
The gardens and surrounding forest behind the barn is really the highlight of the property. The simple white and greenery of the floral contrasted beautifully with the teal dresses.
The details continued into the reception with gorgeous floral arrangements and custom table linens. And don't ever think BBQ can't be elegant!
This was one of the most beautiful cake displays I have ever seen! The custom wood stand in the blue gray stain, the wood and marble round stands, gorgeous greenery and they used Pleasant Union Farm blueberries in one of the cakes!
Thank you, Rachel and Matthew for choosing us to host your day. And thank you to Anchors Aweigh Photography for the incredible images.
Cale and I first started talking about the farm on our second date. He asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up (I was 30 at the time, but I knew what he meant)! His dream was to own a blueberry and chicken farm. His Papa (grandfather on his mother's side) was a farmer. Their family would visit his Papa's farm often where they got to help feed the cows, gather chickens at the neighbor's and more.
I, on the other hand, did not dream of farming from a young age. When my mom talked about getting chickens - I was not a fan. I was also not a blueberry fan because I had only had what was available in stores. The first time Cale gave me some blueberries from the bushes at this house, I said "thank you" and took them because it was the polite thing to do. I hesitantly put them in some yogurt for breakfast at work one morning and quickly learned the difference between store bought and fresh blueberries. These had taste and were sweet!
After we were engaged, we began the process for looking for a wedding venue. This is where the venue piece of the farm puzzle fell into place. We learned that there were not a variety of venues that we were looking for and it seemed like a good addition to support a small farm.
Cale and I dove into looking for land to build a farm and wedding venue soon after we were married. Thankfully, we did not know what we were getting into so there were limited fears to keep us from pursuing it! The land we bought was wooded land. We cleared the area for the barn, our house, and the fields. The barn was built first, followed closely by our house (I was expecting our youngest daughter Peyton at the time and we moved into the house the day before she was born - we obviously do everything at once). We also began the process of planting 750 blueberry bushes. There was no water on the property when we first planted the bushes, so Cale and I spent several evenings filling 5 gallon buckets with water at the house we were renting nearby and driving them over to water the plants. Thankfully, that only lasted a short while before water was installed and turned on!
We learned a lot along the way and have lots of stories to share, but we are so thankful for where God has led us on this journey and all He is teaching us!
Where does your mind jump when you start thinking about planning your wedding? Do you dream about the perfect shot of you and your husband like the one above? Or dress shopping might be first on your mind. Or maybe you go into panic mode just thinking about the long list of details that need to be checked off - and many of those you don't even know to add to the list yet! That's where we come in to try and help you through this process.
If you are like many of our brides, you are saying "I don't even know where to start". You may have been involved in weddings of close friends or siblings before, but now it's all on you. You are the one choosing the menu options, perfecting the guest list, making sure your dress is dropped off for alterations on time, and, of course, managing the budget.
As a venue, we are often one of the first stops in wedding planning. However, there are a few items you should have already figured out before you tour a venue to make sure you make the best decision for your wedding.
1. What is your overall budget?
Determining your budget will set the guidelines for the decisions you make throughout the wedding planning process. Resources such as The Knot and Wedding Wire have some great resources to let you know what a reasonable budget may look like and how much you should spend on each category. You can always adjust those categories to best fit you. If photography is a top priority, but a plated dinner is not - then adjust those categories as you need to.
Don't forget all the "little" things that add up quickly - hair and makeup, invitations, favors, bridal party gifts - these can become a sizeable piece of your budget quickly.
2. What is your guest count?
Not only is this one of the biggest drivers of your budget, but it's a critical piece when looking at venues. Venues will have a maximum guest capacity that you need to make sure matches up with your guest list. Venues will also have different ways of accommodating different size weddings. Our venue has a maximum capacity of 175 with most of our weddings falling in the 125 - 150 range. For a wedding at our max capacity of 175, we can fit everyone inside the barn at a seated dinner which ensures all guests are within the heat/AC as needed for maximum comfort. Dancing would be outside under our string lights or we would break down some tables after dinner to accommodate an inside dance floor. Our sweet spot of 125 guests means there is ample space for seated dinner with a few different layout options and space for the dance floor inside. It also allows an easy set up and transition in case of rain.
Typically, you can expect 80% of the guests you invite to attend the wedding. So, for our venue, if you are inviting 150 - 200 guests you should be fine. If you are inviting 250 - 300, you probably want to look at other options. Knowing your guest count before you set up venue tours will keep you from falling in love with a venue that doesn't match your wedding needs.
3. What is your preferred date?
If you have a specific date that your heart is set on, you want to start looking for venues as early as possible. Saturdays in peak seasons of Spring and Fall may fill up 18 - 24 months in advance. If you have flexibility within a month or season, you will have an easier time finding the perfect venue for you and meeting your date preferences. Don't forget about Friday and Sunday dates. Most venues provide discounts for these dates, and it gives you more availability around your preferred time.
A few other items that will help you make sure get a great start to planning and finding the perfect venue are: knowing how many in your bridal party, if you have out of town guests that need nearby accommodations and if you have any vendors you know you want to work with. As you start to answer the first few questions, a lot of these items will start to become clear. If the venues you tour don't have a Tour Information Sheet like ours or ask the questions on the tour, make sure you ask them about these items to understand how it matches up with your wedding needs.
The most important thing to remember is that you are marrying the love of your life. Keep that as a goal and the other items will fall into place!