Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cupcake Wrappers

You've probably heard by now that serving cupcakes at weddings is a rapidly growing trend. Couples are choosing to use cupcakes in a variety of ways...some choose to replace the traditional wedding cake all together with cupcakes, others are serving cupcakes in addition to wedding cake, and some are serving cupcakes at their pre-wedding celebrations such as their rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and engagement parties. Since cupcakes seem to be everywhere lately, I thought that these custom monogram cupcake wrappers from Paper Orchid Stationery were too cute to pass up!

If you're looking to serve cupcakes at your wedding, check out these two fabulous cupcake vendors {Dozen Bake Shop and Vanilla Pastry Studio} in the Pittsburgh area!

Photo courtesy of Paper Orchid Stationery.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Real Weddings :: Carmilla & Joey 04.25.09

This past weekend we headed up to NYC for Carmilla & Joey's beautiful outdoor garden wedding. The wedding was held at Westbury Manor out in Long Island, NY. If you live in the NYC area, this is one venue you wont want to miss! Not only is the venue charming and unique, but the staff is top notch all the way! Carmilla & Joey's venue was absolutely breathtaking and we couldn't have asked for a more picture perfect day! Here are a few pictures I snapped with my camera throughout the day:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our New Logo Unveiled...

I'm so excited to finally unveil our new logo this morning! When I first started thinking about what I wanted our logo to convey, three key things came to mind...I knew it had to be stylish, chic + romantic. I don't know about you, but we think that this design says it all!

This is just a sneak peak of what is to come for our brand new website that will {hopefully} be up and running by the end of this month! Thanks to the design team of I DO Originals who worked so hard to bring our vision to life!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Etsy Find :: Floral Hair Pieces

Floral headbands are definitely a must-have accessory this spring and add the perfect touch of style for the vintage inspired wedding. I'm a firm believer in looking to the fashion industry for wedding inspiration if you want to stay ahead of what's next in the wedding industry {more on this topic later}. In the mean time, if you'd like to try out one of these stylish floral headbands, check out Pbb Flowers on Etsy. She offers a variety of floral hair pieces at extremely reasonable prices!

Photo courtesy of Pbb Flowers via Etsy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Photographer Spotlight :: Purvis Photography

Our next photographer in our spotlight series is Michael Purvis of Purvis Photography, Inc. Purvis Photography is a husband and wife team that specializes in editorial-style photography, which I might add, is one of my absolute favorite styles of wedding photography. After just a few minutes of browsing their wedding gallery, it's quite clear to see that these two have a gift! Michael was kind enough to sit down with us recently and give us a bit more insight into Purvis Photography. Check out his Q + A session with us below:

1. First off, tell us a little about yourself:

Well, we are a husband and wife team (Michael & Sommer) for the ultra wedding which I've been specializing in since 1998. Michael, has two degrees in photography & fine art from both the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1995 and University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Sommer and Michael were married in Mexico in Playa del Carmen on April 8, 2008 on the beach with 20 friends and family around us for a week, it was perfect. We then had 125 guest to our backyard pool area 6 months later for a full reception with the works, another dream come true for both of us. We may have an anniversary party every year! : )

Our studio was located around Pittsburgh a few different places. We started off in a small place in Squirrel Hill, then upgraded to a larger place on South Highland Ave in Shadyside, then found that we needed a lot more space, so we found a very large home about ohhhh .09 miles over the county line in Westmorland on the Allegheny river in a town near my family called Lower Burrell, PA. We love our neighborhood, we love our large 5800 sq foot space to have our business in the home. We have a full studio here, consultation gallery room, proofing theater room for large families to visit during premier night for the week after the honeymoon and have two editing room suites for our editing. Our dog Chile is our team mascot, she loves visitors too! : )

We have photographed in 11 years around 490 weddings, but our latest view on weddings is to only photograph 25 per year now, to offer the very best of quality to only a select ultra group of clients that want the very best of photography for there one very, very important day.

We also have a spin-off company that we created last year that sub-contracts choice photographers that we know and trust to handle the more common types of photography that we feel is higher quality than many other options out there, we have 8 photographers on staff for that venture right now.

2. How did you get started in photography?

I was on a family vacation with my parents and my sister Julie in 1987, I was in the 8th grade and we started in San Franciso, CA and took a three week drive down to San Diego. My dad and mom are amateur photographers and inspired me to invest my allowance money into some Canon cameras and three lenses. Well, let's just say that trip with 29 rolls of film got the gears turning! From there I went to a summer photography camps and built a darkroom in my basement where I spent many evenings printing my artwork. It later progressed to college and so on. I guess you can say I've been living my dream since I was a boy, and never looked back. : )

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style.

Our work is an open style with an emphasis in candid documentary and candid photojournalism, but our forte is in editorial-style photography, where we can have more control over the lighting and helping out the "typical" bride that doesn't know much about modeling or how to enhance her features.

4. What do you like best about your job?

Freedom to express myself with my vision and design, and the thrill of making others happy with our craft.

5. If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

I always had a dream to drive a taxi cab... i just love to meet new people and learn about their lives. I find myself jealous of the TV show "Ca$hCab". : )

6. What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without?

My wife Sommer #1, and my cameras #2.

7. If you could photograph a wedding for anyone, who would it be?

Oprah. I'd rock that out.

To view more of Michael + Sommer's amazing work, be sure to head on over to their website.

Thanks for chatting with us Michael! Best of luck this '09 wedding season...we can't wait to see what beautiful images you create this season!

All images courtesy of Purvis Photography, Inc.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Photographer Spotlight :: Photos by Nick

We hope that everyone had a nice holiday weekend. We apologize for the delay in our photography spotlight series {we had a few technical difficulties with our blog late last week}, but this week we're back with three more outstanding Pittsburgh photographers!

Our third photographer in our spotlight series is Nick Bombich, owner of Photos by Nick. Nick definitely has a style all his own and I must say that I'm a big fan! He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule and share a little information about himself, and his business that he and his wife have worked so hard to grow. Check out his Q + A session with us below:

1. First off, tell us a little about yourself:

I am a Pittsburgh native photographer but do a lot of traveling to capture the special moments in people's lives. My wife is my assistant and over the past few years, we have built a pretty successful family owned and run business. We started small and concentrated on one style then we branched off in to other areas of photography.

I went to school for graphic design and photography, so that is where I get my artistic side from. My wife is a teacher, so she keeps me in line and helps with the customer service and support side of our business.

We have achieved many awards such as the Knots top photographers, featured in WHIRL magazine, featured on KDKA, brides choice award, local print competitions and national album and print competition 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. I could go on and name every single award we have ever won, but Photos by Nick is not one to brag. We let our work do the talking and let our clients do the bragging.

2. How did you get started in photography?

I cant say that there is just one time that got me started. I have loved, lived and enjoyed photography my entire life. I like to say that you don't find photography, photography finds you! I just happened to grab hold of it and took it to a new level of creativity, style and fun.

Really how I got started in photography happened while I was in college. I loved photography and missed playing sports; so what better than to take 2 things I loved to do and mix them together. I started shooting my brother's hockey team for a few years. I was living his hockey dream through my camera lens and capturing some pretty amazing memories of him and his team. Then one day a few of the other parents got hold of my work and asked if I would do a wedding. At first I was hesitant and really didn't want to do it. I finally gave in and said ok but only if you don't pay me and don't yell if I screw something up. I never shot a wedding before and was deathly afraid to do this. But the bride was on a budget and could not afford a real pro (I wasn't one yet) so I knew I could make great pictures but just didn't know about this whole wedding thing yet.

I have to say 10 minutes into the job I fell in love with weddings. I was at home and so comfortable with every aspect of it. I totally nailed that wedding and could not wait to find another one to shoot. I spent the next 2 years studying wedding photographers from around the world and really capitalized on my skill and interests of becoming one of the best.

Now fast forward to today, here I am now living my dream and doing what I do best. But I have to give a lot of the credit to my wife who had faith in me and spent many Saturday nights working weddings with me. Over the past few years we have built a family business doing weddings together. If I could give one word of advice to someone starting out in the biz. Find someone you can trust, someone who you love to work with and someone that you can look in to the eyes from across the room and they know what you want them to do and you will have a great time building a photography business that will create memories for your clients to last a lifetime. There is a lot more to it but this is a good start!

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style.

Unlike most photographers out there, I cant say that I have a style. I am my own style. I don't like to be like the rest, I don't like to say I am one certain way because then you are limiting your client base and your skills. But if I had to claim myself as a style it would be something different other than your typical Traditional/PJ/Documentary style photography. I would be a mix of hip hop/house/jazz/funk/country. I guess you can call it hiphousejunkcountry or just look at my work and see for yourself.

4. What do you like best about your job?

I like every aspect of my job as a wedding photographer but what I LOVE are all the fun places we get to go to shoot weddings. The part of the day I love the most is when it is my time to shine and be the leader of the pack and guide the bride and groom for the fun intimate moments right after the ceremony. Some people call them formals we call them fun.

5. If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

This is a hard one. I had to sleep on this one. If I were not a photographer I would work for the CIA or something crazy and exciting like that. I guess just like in a wedding, I like to have my heart pound with anticipation on what will happen next.

6. What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without?

Well that is another hard one. Since we live in a technology driven world, I would have to say I could not live without my iPhone. It connects me to the world, my business, my wife and my sanity. But if I had to do without my iPhone then one thing I could not exist without would be my wife. Without my wife I am only half.

7. If you could photograph a wedding for anyone, who would it be?

I would photograph a wedding for anyone who appreciates my work and is fun to work with. But if it were for someone famous then I would have loved to shoot a wedding for Frank Sinatra, James Dean or Marilyn Monroe. Why? Because they are fun and interesting and I think their weddings would have been a total high class blow out and I would want to be that guy who captured their day.

Please share a few of your favorite photos that you've captured over the years:

To view more of Nick's amazing work, head on over to his website and blog.

Thanks for taking the time to stop and chat with us Nick!
We've enjoyed getting to know more about you and can't wait to see how your business grows over the coming years!

All images courtesy of Photos by Nick.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Photographer Spotlight :: Caryn Azure Photography

Our second photographer this week is Caryn Azure of Caryn Azure Photography. Caryn is one of my favorite artistic photographers here in Pittsburgh. I've yet to work with Caryn on a wedding, but she comes highly recommended by vendors and brides alike! Her images are one-of-a-kind and reflect such great emotion! Read below for Caryn's Q + A session with us:

1. First off, tell us a little about yourself:

I am currently living in Beaver Falls, but have not always been a PA resident. I was born in South Carolina, grew up in Michigan, went to school for a few years in Wisconsin, then lived in the Los Angeles area for a couple years before finding my way Western Pennsylvania. After taking five years off college, I went back in 2005 and graduated from Geneva (with the exception of one pesky Spanish class…) with a degree in Visual Communications.

2. How did you get started in photography?

I have always been interested in photography, but didn’t start thinking about a career in photos until 2001 when I starting working at a portrait studio. I quickly found that studio work was not for me, so after working a few other jobs, I didn’t come back to photography until I saw my friend’s wedding photos. I was amazed to find that wedding photography could be artistic, emotional, dramatic – really, anything you can imagine. Once I made the decision to give it a shot, everything took off at a dizzying pace – which I loved! Three years into the business, I’m so glad that I chose wedding photography. I feel incredibly blessed to be doing what I love!

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style.

My goal is to capture all the emotion and excitement that exists throughout a wedding day. For the majority of the time, I do nothing to interrupt the natural flow of the day. After the wedding is over, what you have to keep is your photos, and what I want you to see is your unique and stunning wedding as it really happened. Sometime during the day – for about an hour, either all at once or spread out – I direct the wedding party during a photo shoot – which is always a lot of fun. For the photos of the bride and groom, I gravitate toward art driven, fashion inspired photos as well as shots that really show off who they are together. I love the drama of magazine work, but also love capturing the head-over-heels looks, laughs, and kisses of a couple on their wedding day.

4. What do you like best about your job?

I love how every wedding and every couple is different. Of course, I’m biased, but I think I have the best couples in the world. Their weddings – all the hundreds of details – are reflections of who they are, and I always amazed at the thoughtfulness and beauty that is in all those small things that together make up a wedding day.
I also love the freedom I have to grow as a photographer and try new things. I have the intoxicating feeling that the door is open to anything I could possibly imagine…

5. If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

As long as we’re speaking hypothetically, I would be a professional volleyball player or a singer/songwriter. I both play volleyball and sing/play the guitar, but I have no illusions as to how difficult it is to make a living at either of those things.

6. What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without?

Hmm... “thing” can be interpreted a lot of ways, so here’s a few: Intangible: My faith in God is the core of who I am. Tangible: My family and my boyfriend, Chris. They are all my closest friends, confidants, and encouragers. Frivolous: Hands down – chocolate.

7. If you could photograph a wedding for anyone, who would it be?

Zooey Deschanel, of She and Him, and Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab. Zooey possesses an ethereal beauty as well as an extraordinary sweetness. Ben is creative enough to be up for anything. Together, it would be magic.

Please share a few of your favorite photos that you've captured over the years:

To view more of Caryn's incredible work, head on over to her website and blog.

Thanks so much for chatting with us Caryn! Your work is absolutely breathtaking and we look forward to seeing more of your beautiful images in the future!

All images courtesy of Caryn Azure Photography.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photographer Spotlight :: Beth Kukucka Photography

Over the next several weeks we'll be featuring some of our favorite wedding vendors around the city, and this week is photography week! As a wedding planner, I feel that it's extremely important to refer brides to quality vendors who they can count on. While there are tons of very talented wedding photographers here in Pittsburgh, there are some that I feel need to be showcased this week! None of the vendors in our spotlight series (or any of the vendors we refer for that matter) have paid anything to be featured. We simply refer vendors based on previous experience with them, or they come highly recommended by other vendors in the area.

Our first photographer is Beth Kukucka of Beth Kukucka Photography. While Beth is relatively new to the Pittsburgh area, she's definitely no stranger to the industry. Beth has been photographing weddings for nearly 20 years! Beth was kind enough to sit down with us recently and give us a little more insight into her life.

1. First off, tell us a little about yourself:

I have been photographing weddings for nearly twenty years, and full time for the past eight years. Before doing weddings, I did freelance photography for a variety of publications and organizations, including Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, USA Today and Warner Brothers Records. I decided to relocate to my hometown of Pittsburgh in December, to be closer to my family. Before moving back, I had a successful wedding photography business in the Boston area for four years – and before that, Los Angeles for 15 years.

2. How did you get started in photography?

My mother was always taking pictures, and so I grew up looking at photographs my whole life. I was intrigued at an early age with the idea that time could be preserved with a camera. People come and go, and moments change all the time, and no matter how much time is spent planning an event, it passes quickly – but a photograph is a permanent preservation of time.

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style.

Because of my background in photojournalism, I feel passionate about photographing the moment as it naturally unfolds, rather than manipulating it to look how I think it should look, or worse yet, stopping to pose it! I do incorporate family “formals” into my coverage of an event, but my style is very relaxed and playful. It feels important to me that my clients enjoy the group photo time as much as they enjoy the rest of the day, so I keep it simple and relaxed. I like to tell clients that I will photograph their event with my heart as well as my professional expertise!

4. What do you like best about your job?

I especially love doing weddings and events because I love witnessing the great moments happening all around, all the time. I always say that Grandma doesn’t have to be dancing on a table at midnight for there to be a lot to photograph! There are tender, fun, and touching moments happening all around – especially at a wedding. And I love to know that the couple will see everything that was happening at their event without their awareness – which is why I’m there – to preserve an important and sacred day in their lives, just as it happened, moment by moment.

5. If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

I would be a writer who loves to take pictures.

6. What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without?

Trust and Faith – which are one in the same.

7. If you could photograph a wedding for anyone, who would it be?

I would love to go back in time and photograph my parents wedding, over 60 years ago. It would be remarkable to be able to photograph the faces of relatives and loved ones that I have known all my life – most of all, the faces of my young parents on the day when our family began.

Please share a few of your favorite wedding moments that you've captured on film:

To view more of Beth's work and for information about pricing + booking, head on over to her website and blog.

Thanks for chatting with us, Beth! We look forward to seeing more of your work as you establish your business here in Pittsburgh. Welcome back home! :)

All images courtesy of Beth Kukucka Photography.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Free Damask Invitation Suite :: The Wedding Chicks

The lovely ladies over at The Wedding Chicks blog are so graciously offering a free damask invitation suite for brides-to-be! The invitation suite is available for download here. Just provide the paper and your all set!

Photo courtesy of The Wedding Chicks.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Add a Little Glamour to Your Day!

Here are 5 easy ways to add a little glamour + sparkle to your wedding:
  1. Scatter crystals or gemstones around the base of your centerpieces to add a little extra something to your tables
  2. Accent your rose petals by spraying them with a glitter spray
  3. Ask your cake designer to add cake jewels around the base of your cake
  4. Add pearls, rhinestones, or even crystals to your bouquet - your florist will be able to give you a list of options that will work well with your flower selections
  5. Line outdoor walkways with luminaria {aka little glowing paper lanterns - use votive candles or tea lights inside paper bags for an easy DIY project}

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring is a time for new beginnings...

We all know that spring inspires change, and that's just what we're set out to do here at Simply Perfect Weddings. This month we will be unveiling lots of new + exciting changes around here. I absolutely cannot wait to share them with all of you! While we are still finalizing all of these details, here is a sneak peak of what is to come:

  • New website :: we are in the process of completely re-designing our website - our new site will be full of photos from our past events and will also include our new professionally designed logo {designers will be unveiled when the changes are officially rolled out}
  • Planning Workshops for Brides-to-be :: we will be hosting a series of planning workshops for brides-to-be in the Pittsburgh area. Workshops will be open to any bride that is feeling overwhelmed and has no idea of where to begin in the wedding planning process! For more info on the workshops, click here.
  • New '09 wedding team :: we have two new fantastic assistants that we are bringing on board for the '09 wedding season...Jamelle + Lilly! These ladies are wonderful and we are so excited to see what they bring to the table! Welcome aboard ladies!
We'll also be introducing you to the entire Simply Perfect Weddings team a little later this month. Stay tuned for some fun promotional photos later this month with the amazingly talented Pamela, of Pamela Marie Photography.

We'll be unveiling these changes over the coming weeks, but in the mean time...Happy Spring! :)

Oh...by the way, I'm also on Twitter now! You can follow me here if you'd like.