Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simply Perfect Weddings Team :: Meet Meghan

If you haven't heard the news already, I am delighted to announce the newest members of the Simply Perfect Weddings team, Meghan and Danielle. Meghan and Danielle will be assisting me with weddings for our 2010 season, and I thought it would be fun to introduce them to our clients and readers with a Q + A session.

Today, meet Meghan!

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

I am originally from the Altoona/Johnstown area but I now reside in Pittsburgh, where I attend school. You will almost always catch me in a pair of heels because I am only five feet tall! I am obsessed with fashion, cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and the 1940s. Yoga and dance are my preferred choice of exercise. I love quotes.. they cover my work space for motivation. Also, music is a huge part of my life. I have had the delight to play the role of wedding singer at numerous weddings over the years. Now I am tickled to be diving into my passion for wedding planning by joining Sumer and the SPW team! : )

2. If you had to describe yourself in three words, they would be…

Genuine. Sophisticated. Caring. 

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

My newest little compact piece of technology: The Kindle. It holds 1,500 books.. perfect for my reading fix. It is great for vacation and long trips instead of carrying around a load of books! 

4. If you could visit any location in the world where would it be, and why?

Greece is very high on my list of must see places. The landscapes and history are unbelievable. And the locals’ zesty hospitality for visitors is a definite plus!

5. If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? 

I am a huge fan of pasta—Fra Diavlo and Gnocci especially-- from a little restaurant in my hometown. But my real addiction might be the fresh bread before the entrĂ©e!

6. Describe your perfect day off – no work, no school, and no “to-do’s”. 

I would have to start off spending some quality time by the pool. Laying out and swimming is a must for a relaxing day! Then I would have a lovely appointment to have my nails done and maybe even a massage! Meet my girlfriends for lunch, followed by some shopping at Urban Outfitters and Ann Taylor Loft.

7. Top 5 songs currently on your iPod/iTunes playlist? 

Anything by Ingrid Michaelson...her cover of Can’t Help Falling in Love with You is by far my favorite.
Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Waking Up in Vegas – Katy Perry
It Feels Like Home – Chantel Kreviazuk
Break Even – The Script

8. You just found a $100 bill {you checked & no one claimed it}, what do you do with it?

Take my family out for a night..dinner and a movie!

9. Finish the sentence. “Never have I ever….” 

Traveled out of the country..but this summer that will change when I venture to Austria!

10. If you could attend any celebrity wedding {past, present, or future}, whose would it be? 

Hands down Giuliana and Bill Rancic (E! Network, The Apprentice). They had a gorgeous September wedding in Capri, Italy. (Such a romantic setting!) It was a small, elegant wedding with around 170 guests. The ceremony itself was held at Santa Sophia Church, built 500 hundred years ago. The architecture is absolutely breath taking. The elaborate reception had a 16 piece orchestra. Not to mention some of the celebrities on the guest list would have kept me highly entertained, especially my favorite comedian, Chelsea Handler.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Video Blog :: Economical Rehearsal Dinner Options

It's a long one today, but there were quite a few things I wanted to address regarding the topic of rehearsal dinners. Hope you enjoy it! 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

After The Wedding Day :: Love, Milk & Honey

Today I wanted to feature one of my new favorite daily reads...Love, Milk & Honey. Love, Milk & Honey is not just a blog, it's an online community for couples beginning their journey together after the glitz and the glam of the wedding day is over.  

Lauren Kelly, who also happens to be a wedding planner is the author of Love, Milk & Honey. In her words, "This site was started because I frequently see those couples deep in the wedding planning of it all lose sight of what comes after the big day. Couples need to spend just as much time preparing for days 2 – the end, as they do for day 1. The whole point of a wedding is to celebrate a MARRIAGE. Are you preparing for it?"

Well said, Lauren! I wholeheartedly agree! I highly encourage all engaged couples, as well as newly married couples to check out Love, Milk & Honey. A wide variety of topics are discussed weekly...everything from health and fitness, work-life balance, communication, and my personal favorite, what makes a "we". All things that many newlywed couples struggle with in the beginning of their journey together.

So, what are you waiting for?! Head on over to Love, Milk & Honey and start reading! : ) 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Handmade Thank You Notes

Love this personalized thank you note idea from Martha Stewart Weddings! It's a simple, yet creative twist on the traditional thank you note. 

Here's the how-to: 

"For a cute twist on personalized thank-you notes, send gift-givers postcards of you and your groom wearing clothing emblazoned with messages. Use 3-inch-high stick-on vinyl lettering, peel off the backing, and affix the letters to plain shirts. Ask a friend to take digital pictures, then upload your favorite to a computer and print onto photo paper. We ran the photos through a Xyron sticker machine, which adds an adhesive backing. Attach each photo to a blank size-A6 postcard, and voila! -- picture-perfect stationery."

Photo and content courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photographer Spotlight :: Christina Montemurro Photography

Our next photographer in our 'New Faces Photographer Spotlight' is Christina Montemurro, owner of Christina Montemurro Photography. Christina is an extremely talented photographer with a keen eye for details! Last year I had the opportunity to work with Christina on several weddings, and was blown away by her creativity. Her ability to see things in an unique way, combined with her laid back style, make her an ideal choice for the couple looking for a "no fuss" photographer. Interested in hearing more about Christina? Check out her Q + A session below:

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

I’m not a Pittsburgh native, but I couldn’t be happier to live here now. I’m awed every time I drive out of the Fort Pitt tunnel and see Pittsburgh’s stunning skyline.

I love movies, especially action movies with good plot and character. I’ve always loved to read, but have trouble finding the time. But I’ve found my iPod a good substitute, listening to podcasts like NPR’s This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and a number of photography-related podcasts.

Two of my favorite subjects to photograph are my adorable boys, Leo and Jonas, who are 5 and 2. While being a mom has plenty of challenging moments, the difficulties are far outnumbered by the laughs and hugs and hours spent playing at parks and playgrounds. There’s nothing to make me smile like the sound of the two of them laughing, or hearing Leo say, “Mommy, Jonas is so adorable I can’t even stand it any more!”

2. How did you get started in photography?

Very gradually. I started getting books out of the library and reading my camera manual. I tried so hard for so long to create beautiful images with a point and shoot camera. Eventually I gave up and upgraded to a SLR camera. While it’s certainly true that it’s the photographer and not the camera that’s most important in creating great photos, having a good camera makes a huge difference. So once I finally had the right tools, I spent more and more time practicing and learning. And bit by bit I realized that the way I saw the world had transformed. I am always watching light, looking for unique angles, and finding striking patterns and textures. Even if I don’t have a camera with me (very rarely!), I find my eyes drawn to the beauty I see all around me.

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style. 

Wedding days are not like any ordinary day. I believe that brides and grooms deserve extra special treatment and care, and do everything I can to be sure that the happy couple feels comfortable and relaxed, and see that they have time to spend the day the way that they want to. I like to be unobtrusive and just offer some general posing guidance to be sure that photos look relaxed and natural, and not just your basic “smile for the camera” pose. 

4. What do you like best about your job?

I’ll mention my two favorites. 1) Getting to meet so many fabulous people and hear their stories. 2) Having such a wide variety of work. You get to switch gears constantly from understanding the technical details of your camera to thinking about artistic compositions to accounting to marketing to communication. I love being able to cover so much ground. 

5. What keeps you motivated? 

I love learning. I know there is always more to learn, and love finding new sources of inspiration, whether it’s the way I saw light falling in a movie, something I read in a book, or something a friend told me that moved me. 

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

I’d love to do scores and soundtracks for movies. I’ve played the piano all my life, and would love to be able to combine my love of music and film. 

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

I suppose “my camera” or “my car” would be a bit too obvious, and since it says “thing” I won’t pick my husband or my kids. So, my Netflix account. We don’t have cable TV, but we keep up with our favorite shows and movies through Netflix. 

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

I don’t know about current unmarried folk, so my picks don’t reflect people I think may be planning a wedding any time soon! Kate Winslet has such classic beauty and great curves and seems like someone who makes up her own rules. But I’d also like to pick someone who would be likely to do something really unusual. Tim Burton’s movies have such a distinct and different look to them, so perhaps he and Helena Bonham Carter.

9. Please share a few of your favorite photos with us: 

Check out Christina's website/blog to view more of her work, as well as information about her services. 

All images courtesy of Christina Montemurro Photography

Recent News!

Good morning! Hope everyone is enjoying the arrival of spring here in the 'burg...I know, I am! I just wanted to make a few announcements this morning since we've been a little MIA on the blog as of lately...not to worry though, regular blog postings will be back this week. 

First up...I'm very pleased to announce that the Simply Perfect Weddings team for the 2010 wedding season is finally complete! Please give a warm WELCOME to Meghan and Danielle! I hope to introduce them to you all very soon.

Next, check out some of our recent press:

Last week I was thrilled to receive an email from Patty Bell, owner of On Location Makeup here in Pittsburgh saying that she wanted to interview little ole' me! Patty is highly respected in the wedding industry, and I was honored that she asked me for an interview. You can check out the interview here

Last week I was also excited to hear that I had been selected to be featured on "Be a Planner", a blog and wedding planning certification course in FL run by Melissa Margarita-DiStefano. Check out the "Be a Planner" feature here.

Lastly, don't forget to book your one-on-one consulting session by the end of March to receive the introductory rate of $150! More info about the consulting sessions can be found here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photographer Spotlight :: Leeann Marie Photography

Last spring I started a 'Photographer Spotlight' series that featured several of my favorite Pittsburgh-based wedding photographers, and since this is a new year, I wanted to bring this feature back to showcase several new faces to the Pittsburgh wedding photography scene. The first photographer I wanted to showcase is Leeann Golish, owner of Leeann Marie Photography. Leeann is an incredible photographer with an amazing amount of passion for what she does! I am fortunate enough to call Leeann a friend, as well as a colleague in the wedding industry. Leeann was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule this Friday afternoon to share some information about herself, and her business. Check out her Q + A feature below:

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

My name is Leeann Marie and I am a Pittsburgh-based wedding photographer. Too formal? Ok. I’m Leeann. I’m married to a wonderful, goofy, and perfect-for-me man. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my entire life and love it here. I’m a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan, but I’m also super girly. I love shopping, singing, hot yoga, champagne, sushi, Lady Gaga, and (of course) photography and my business.

2. How did you get started in photography?

I’ve been taking pictures of all of my fun adventures my entire life, but when I got engaged I started digging more into wedding photography. After my wedding, my interest grew and I knew that photography was something I wanted to learn more about. I’m pretty fearless, so at a friend’s wedding I just randomly asked the photographer “What camera are you using? What lens is that? How do I learn this?” Granted, when she answered my questions I had no idea what she was talking about, but she was also kind enough to point me to a local photographer’s conference. I attended, bought gear, and the rest is history! Lesson: It never hurts to ask!

3. Describe your wedding photography approach and style.

My photography is for the classy, chic, and modern bride. I love girls with style and fresh ideas!

My first goal when shooting is to help the women I work with feel beautiful. I believe that’s a right that us women have, and are often denied due to social norms. I bring this to every shoot and aim to provide both comfort and fun for my brides. I’m also pretty easy to get along with, so I get the guys to cooperate and have a good time too!

My approach during a wedding is casual and fun, yet totally organized and professional. I love color and light, and always work to bring out an emotional reaction from my work.

4. What do you like best about your job?

There are so many parts of my job that I love! I love the connections I have made – my wonderful couples (more like friends), wedding vendors, photographers nationwide, mothers, sisters, families… it’s amazing.

I also am a trained engineer, so being a wedding photographer allows me to be super creative but also totally nerdy. I’m really into technology, programming, and efficient methods, so both sides of my brain are pretty satisfied.

5. What keeps you motivated?

I’m by no means a procrastinator, and I’m 110% self-motivated. I want to learn, grow, and get better all the time. I want to offer the best I can, and simply knowing that keeps me motivated to do something productive every single day. My husband sometimes wonders why I “can’t just relax”, but running my own business is a dream and I want it to be the best it can be!

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

I’m an outgoing person, so working with people suits me well. I’d love to teach – speaking and sharing with others is something that fuels me. I try to constantly give back to the photography community, which is why you see me posting helpful photographer information on my site. The ability to share the information I have gathered is really an honor.

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

Gum. Anyone that’s known me since 8th grade can tell you that one!

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

I think Nicole Richie’s wedding will be pretty cool, so I’d love to photograph hers. Anne Hathaway has a classic beauty that I’m sure she’d bring to her wedding. Lady Gaga’s would just be ridiculous – I’d love to see it! I bet you Taylor Swift’s wedding will be one big dreamland. I’d love that too! (Too many options!)

9. Please share a few of your favorite photos with us: 

Head on over to Leeann's website/blog to check out more of her amazing work! 

All images courtesy of Leeann Marie Photography.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"At Home" Engagement Sessions

What a gorgeous day today in the 'burg! It looks like spring is finally on the horizon!  

I was recently asked by one of my couple's if doing an "at home" engagement session was ok, and I wanted to take a few minutes to blog about this topic. My response to them? Absolutely! Obviously, I am not a photographer by any means; however, in my opinion, having your engagement session done in your home can be a great thing. Whether you're bored of the "traditional park photos", or just want to show off your new home together, there are many reasons to shoot your engagement session at home. I personally think that the idea is a great one, and like the idea of capturing the couple in their first home together. Years later, you can look back at the photos and reminisce about what daily life was like back then, and also see how your home decorating style has changed. To see more photos of an "at home" engagement session, click here.

What are your thoughts on "at home" engagement sessions? 

Photo courtesy of Collin Hughes Photography via Love, Milk & Honey

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ask Me Anything!

You may or may not have already heard "the buzz" about Formspring, a place where you can ask people you find interesting, questions about their personal or business life. Formspring allows you to ask questions either publicly or anonymously. Yesterday, I signed up for an account and wanted to use this as an extension of my "Ask The Planner" feature here on the blog.  

So, if you have a question about me personally, or Simply Perfect Weddings, feel free to head on over to our account http://www.formspring.me/spweddings and ask a question! I'd love to hear from you! 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Blumebox

If you haven't already heard of a Blumebox, you are missing out on this adorable creation! I first discovered the Blumebox in 2008 while I was planning my own wedding. My fabulous floral designer, April, owner of Mocha Rose Floral Designs introduced these to me as a way to transport my bouquets in the summer heat (we were married in July). My bridal party bouquets arrived in style to our hotel suite, and we soon discovered that they would make for a great photo op! 

The ideas are really endless for what you can do with these! Check back tomorrow for some great DIY ideas all centered around the Blumebox.

Ask your floral designer about ordering these for your own wedding, or check out their official website here.