Camera Ready: Tips to Plan for Your #WeddingPhotos

Getting ready for your wedding portraits is one of the most important parts of planning for your wedding day. You will keep your photos forever, even if you don’t keep your dress, your bouquet, or your shoes! Here are some tips for planning your wedding portraits so that both bride and groom will be picture-perfect when they tie the knot.

Skin Secrets

The appearance your skin and hair will have a lot to do with how well your wedding pictures turn out. Of course all brides and grooms want their skin to be clear and healthy and their hair to look well styled or arranged.
Be sure to use an effective acne treatment, if you need one, for several weeks before your wedding to ensure any breakouts have cleared. Use makeup to cover any scars or blemishes and use pressed powder to conceal shiny areas of your face to avoid glares. Some people also choose to cover their tattoos for their wedding portraits.

Hair Helps

Keep your hairstyles simple and classic. The bigger the hair, the more distracting it is. After all, you don’t want to detract from the main purpose of your wedding portraits. Make sure you hairstyle won’t be dated in a few years. You want to be sure your wedding pictures look as timeless as possible.

Jewelry Joy

You might not think the jewelry and accessories you wear, such as earrings and necklaces, could make that much difference in your wedding portraits. However, large, bright or shiny jewelry can be really unflattering in the finished photos. This, of course, applies to both the bride and groom. Consider taking out that big gold hoop or eyebrow ring for the most important photos of your lifetime. Stick with pieces that are simple, hold special significance and don’t distract from the overall portrait.

Teeth Tips

Your smile should light up your face, and show off how happy you are on your wedding day. The condition of your teeth will also have a huge impact on your finished wedding portraits. If you have yellowed teeth, a lot of visible, dark colored fillings, or other dental work that needs to be addressed, you really should get this seen to before your portraits are taken. According to a family Utah dentist, whitening programs can be finished in just a few weeks. Visit to find out how other natural whitening techniques as well.

Lip Love

For really great smiles, you’ll want to ensure that your lips are moisturized to avoid cracking and peeling. Once you have applied lip balm, put a layer of subtle gloss or lipstick over the top. Keep your lip balm handy for touch ups during your portrait session. Don’t do any color that will be too dramatic for your color photos.

These are just a couple of the things you can easily do to make a huge difference in your wedding portraits, ensuring that you are camera ready on your big day.

The author Brooke Chaplan is a guest blogger and can be reached at

Days 2 & 3 of NYC #Wedding Dress Shopping #SayYesToTheDress

My goddaughter, Jessica is getting married and we both travelled to New York to begin the search for the perfect wedding dress. These are Days 2 and 3 of our hunt! Continued from And the hunt is on! NYC #Wedding Dress Shopping #SayYesToTheDress

Saturday afternoon – The Sample Room

The Sample Room is hidden away on a 2nd floor with no name outside, it was fun trying to find the place but we were actually 30 minutes early for NYC_gown_sampleroomour appointment and they let us in. Luckily we were the only ones there and had a nice consultant. But there just were not a lot of gowns to choose from. They had some fabulous fashion forward gowns but Jessica’s taste is much simpler than what they had in the store. There were $10,000 gowns for under $3,000 so I strongly suggest checking it out but remember the stock changes a lot. We were done in 30 minutes but really liked the people! We were allowed to take as many pictures as we wanted and Jess got to try on a Monique Lhullier gown. I saw many I liked but they were more elaborate and beaded (my style).


Selection: B- (but it changes)

Service: A (very nice, very accommodating, not pushy)

Sunday 11am – Mark Atelier

Jessica was able to get a last minute appointment for Sunday morning at 11 am at Mark Atelier. I was

Jessica in Mark Atelier

Jessica in Mark Atelier

needed elsewhere so she went alone.Their website had said that gowns were $5,000 and up but that was not the case at all when she got there. Jessica loved the consultant who took pictures for her and also really loved a very different gown (beaded top) and A-line organza bottom.


Selection: A

Service: A


Sunday afternoon – David’s Bridal

We did a walk in to David’s at about 2:50 on Sunday.We were told there were no 3 pm appointments but they could do a 4. We asked if we could look around first and he said sure. One weird thing was I asked where the sale rack was (huge sign on front door) and he said because they were a flagstaff store they didn’t have any sale dresses. But we found 3 racks of them! We went row by row and while there were a lot of gowns, we didn’t see anything even close to what we were looking for. We did see a lovely bridesmaid gown on a mannequin and we took pictures of that.


Selection: A

Service: A (I had looked at David’s for my gown two years ago and the consultant was fabulous but didn’t find “the” gown)

Sunday afternoon – Designer Loft

We took a chance and went with no appointment and were very welcomed by Linzy. We looked at all the racks and only found a couple of gowns that had the elements Jessica liked but not as much as the other ones she tried on earlier. I saw a gown I truly loved but again it was not Jessica’s style. It is a lovely store with a nice staff. I did notice more gowns in the back (and Linzy went and got one) but we were not able to go and search those racks for some reason. I assume Linzy found the best that suited Jessica but you really never know until you try something on.


Selection: B (just not enough gowns)

Service: A

Jessica with her fiancé Nick

Jessica with her fiancé Nick

Our next steps are to do more research on the brands and styles we liked the best and then try to find those gowns to try on. I think we have made great progress and will be able to choose the perfect gown soon!

And the hunt is on! NYC #Wedding Dress Shopping #SayYesToTheDress

My goddaughter, Jessica is getting married and I am helping her with the wedding. First job: find the perfect gown! Jessica lives in Philadelphia and I live in Orlando, but we decided we had to do shopping in New York so we met over Mother’s Day weekend to begin the search.

I made appointments at the most popular Bridal Salons in New York (this is a requirement, don’t just show up as you will probably get turned away). Jessica loves the show “Say Yes to the Dress” so she wanted to go to Kleinfelds. So we made that the first appointment on Friday. We then had an afternoon appointment at Lovely Bride. On Saturday, we went to RK Bridal and the Sample Room. Sunday was Mark Atlier, David’s Bridal (walk in) and the Designer Loft.

NYC_Gown_Shopping_10Jessica did her homework and brought pictures of gowns she liked and overall, her choices were a sweetheart neckline and an a-line style dress. She also wanted to see what she looked like in some other styles as well. Since most appointments are only 60-90 minutes, it is important to let your consultant know your theme, the wedding date, WHERE the wedding will take place so they can help you narrow down your choices. If your wedding is outdoors in the summer, a satin dress heavily beaded is a bad choice. So if that is the gown of your dreams, re-think the outside ceremony and move it inside.

Jessica’s venue is not finalized yet but the date will be late April or early May 2015 and she wants a tented outdoors reception – preferably in a garden atmosphere. So we want the dress to be more light and airy and comfortable.

We were looking at gowns up to $5,000 but really wanted to keep it under $3,000 if possible. Here are our results.

Friday 11 am – Klienfelds

We were greeted right on time by “Judith” and taken to a room where we discussed the details of the wedding and looked at the pictures we brought.

2014-05-09 12.09.40Kleinfelds was having an Augusta Jones trunk sale and Judith was steering us towards ONLY trying those on. We did like a couple of those gowns but really wanted to be able to look at lots of gowns in our style and choose some to try on. Instead we only were able to look at four racks and choose from them. Then Judith brought in a couple more gowns from other designers when we really pushed her. It really was a huge disappointment to us since it was obvious she was not going to be more agreeable. Plus, she was trying to convince us that if we wanted one of those gowns we liked, we could only get the discount that day. On the nice side, the representative of Augusta Jones was very helpful and let us know that a lot of things could be customized. For example, the gown we liked the best had a lovely lining of sequins under some layers of tulle. Therefore, the dress sparkled when she moved. Unfortunately, the tulle was getting caught in the tulle. We felt that organza would have worked better and the representative agreed and said it could be done for about $300 more.

The other disappointment was that they don’t “allow” pictures to be taken. This is the most ridiculous rule that many bridal salons have. They think you are going to use the picture to have the dress made or find it wholesale. But you have to see what you look like in pictures. Trust me – it is NOT what you look like in the mirror. If the dress doesn’t photograph well, there is nothing you will be able to do to fix it. She finally relented and let us take pictures of the couple we liked the best but stuck in the small room – not anywhere where it would really photograph better.2014-05-09 11.15.25

We are still considering that Augusta Jones gown or one that has some similar features – the sequin lining for example. This gown (with the organza changes) is possibility #1. We took video of her walking in it and really love the way it moves and shimmers.


Selection: D (we know they have hundreds of gowns but we were not allowed to see them)

Service: B-  Judith was very knowledgeable but she was obviously more interested in a sale than in us.

What we learned – ask if things can be changed/customized by the designer and that a belt changes the look drastically.

Friday 2 pm – Lovely Bride

Lovely Bride is a cute loft-like store with good natural light and lovely helpful staff. We were very comfortable with our consultant. She used to work for Kleinfelds and told us that she left because of their pushy policies. She wants “her” brides to find their perfect gown and knows most people don’t buy on their first visit. She listened to Jessica’s wedding plans and what she liked so far in gowns and then we were able to go and choose as many gowns as we liked. There were about 8 racks of dresses so the selection was not overwhelming but we were able to find at least 8 to try on.

One gown that really caught Jessica’s attention was designed by a project runway winner. It had the sweetheart top and A-line shape. What we liked were the organza layers that floated when she walked. We added a crystal embellished belt (always remember that a belt can change the look of almost any gown dramatically). We loved the space in the back where natural light poured in and Jessica could walk around and see how the gown moved. We always had her sit down in the gown as well to see how it looks and feels while seated. We were still hoping to find a gown that had the sequin lining but they didn’t have one. They did have some sequined gowns and an organza removable skirt so we tried that on to see how that would work.NYC_Gown_Shopping_4

There is also a Lovely Bride in Philadelphia and Jessica plans on visiting that one as well. The project runway dress is possibility #2 so far.


Selection: B- (there just were not that many dresses to choose from)

Service: A (we really liked it there – we would have liked a little longer appointment – they are 60 minutes and I think 90 is more reasonable.

What we learned: There are tons of little known brands that are high quality and priced well; don’t be a designer snob.

Saturday noon – RK Bridal

RK is a very different type of bridal store and there are no appointments; you need to be in by 12:30 to try gowns on. To start, it is not “pretty” but looks like a warehouse of gowns. You go in and sign in on a sheet and then find 4-5 gowns you like and get assigned a consultant. If the wait is long, you have no where to put your things down (coat, purses) because the seats are for the active appointments. If your wait is SHORT, you don’t have time to really look over the overwhelming, vast selection. There are literally thousands of gowns in this store of all brands and prices. PLUS, a very large section of 50% off sample gowns (once the brand discontinues them, RK marks the gown they were using as a sample down). The discounted section was larger than Lovely Brides entire selection. So obviously, this store requires a lot of time to look. My suggestion is NOT to sign in right away but browse. You really are limited to 5 gowns on your first go around. After that the better consultants (I recommend Cheryl and Janice) will go find gowns for you to try on that fit what you are liking best. These consultants are amazing on how well they know the stock. I mean there are SO many gowns tightly packed on the racks. And if you are a plus size bride (DIVA), they have a section just for you. Plus there are bridesmaids and flower girl gowns as well.

Anyway, after a lot of trial (Jessica was trying on some very different styles), we kind of fell in love with parts of TWO gowns. One was a Mikaella and the other was Paloma Picasso (who owns Mikaella). The Mikaella had a lovely “apron” layered front and a satin sweetheart top. The Paloma Picasso had a lot of layers and a lace sweetheard top. Jessica liked the top of the Paloma better and the bottom of the Mikaella – but maybe with a couple more layers higher up. Surprisingly, the Paloma photographed better but Jess is still not sure she likes that many layers – she thinks she has seen that too many times and she wants something very different.

Janice, our consultant found out that it WAS possible to mix tops/bottoms and was going to contact the factory to see what the pricing would be. We really liked RK but wish we had been allowed to search the racks more on our own. Jessica plans on making a 2nd (and probably 3rd) visit.


Selection: A++

Service: B+ (while Janice was lovely, there was one extremely rude and bossy consultant who was practically yelling at people and other consultants. We also don’t like the no pictures rule (we had to hide in the room to take pictures). When I bought a gown from RK a couple of years prior, they didn’t let me take the pictures till I agreed to buy the gown. It wasn’t until after we got home I saw the pictures and was shocked on how bad the gown looked.

What we learned: More selection can be overwhelming – make sure to have enough time to look and make sure your consultant is willing to pull more than the original 4-5 gowns.

Continued here!

Alternative #GiftIdeas For The #Bride And #Groom

Wedding season is upon us and if you’re planning to attend your friends’ or relatives’ special events this summer you may be thinking about gifts. Some couples have a specific list of items they want, which is usually pinned down to one-twos stores and/or a honeymoon fund, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the ever-popular gifts of crockery, towels, bed linen and vouchers, here are some ideas:

 1. Experiences 
Ice Bar in St. Petersburg, Russia

Ice Bar in St. Petersburg, Russia

Gift experiences are a great way to treat your loved ones to a special, fun-filled day together, which will create lasting memories. The market for this kind of gift has boomed in recent years and the range of options is increasing all the time. You can choose from driving, flying or diving adventures, to afternoon tea, photo shoots and wildlife experiences, so there’s something to suit every couple. There is a huge range of prices and usually there is a lot of flexibility in terms of dates and locations.


 2. A spa break 
Manicure Spa Treatment

Manicure Spa Treatment

Planning a wedding can be exhausting stuff, so what could be better than treating the bride and groom to a relaxing spa break? You can book directly with a hotel or go through an online site or agent to create your own package or simply give vouchers, so that the couple can choose their own treatments and dates. Popular spa treatments include facials, massages and manicures and many hotels also offer dining packages, as well as access to facilities including Jacuzzis and hot tubs, swimming pools, tennis courts and steam rooms.




 3. Personalized presents 
Personalized Ella Door Knocker from Pottery Barn

Personalized Ella Door Knocker from Pottery Barn

Personalized presents show you care and they are a great way of ensuring that your gift is completely unique. There are so many different ideas to choose from, from personalized pillowcases and cushions to prints and pictures. This is a great gift if your friends have very specific interests, they have a favorite song or they enjoy doing things, such as cooking or travelling. Some ideas include personalized round-the-world prints detailing places they have visited, Mr and Mrs door mats, cushions and pillowcases and personalized cheeseboards, wine corks or aprons.





 4. Smile makeover 
White Smile Courtesy of Sensu, London, U.K.

White Wedding Day Smile courtesy of Sensu in London, U.K.

Many brides and grooms are desperate to overhaul and improve their appearance in time for their big day, so why not treat your special friends or loved ones to a smile makeover as an early wedding present? Smile makeovers at Sensu are made up of different dental treatments, which may include tooth whitening, cosmetic braces, cosmetic bonding and veneers, and the aim is to create a beautiful smile. Prices for cosmetic dentistry vary so there should be something to suit ever budget.







 5. Art 
"COUTURE" By Ashley David

“COUTURE” By Ashley David

It’s good to give presents that last and pieces of art represent a unique gift, which will last a lifetime. You don’t have to spend thousands on an original, as you can simply buy a print or look for pieces by less well-known artists. A picture is a thoughtful gift and every time the couple looks at it, they will think of you.









 6. A gift that grows 
Desert Rose

The Desert Rose grows so slowly that they survive for generations.

Trees and plants are an interesting alternative to bouquets of flowers and the usual homeware gifts, as they grow over the course of time and will last for many years. This is a particularly good gift idea for green-fingered brides and grooms or couples who have recently bought a home together and are looking to revive and refresh the garden.






Buying wedding gifts can be tricky, especially if you are very close to the couple and you want to buy something, which is a little more heartfelt and special than the usual run of the mill wedding list items. Thinking outside the box, taking the couples interests into account and adding a personal touch are guaranteed to ensure you make positive strides to choosing a perfect present.

Richard BuckleyGuest Blogger: Richard is a Manchester based writer soon to be married in September. He focuses on health and dental care and is currently he is working with the dental professionals at to educate people on the benefits of a straighter smile and oral health. He can be reached at
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