Bridal Make Up Tutorials

I am obsessed with cosmetics!  Anyone that knows me knows that I have far too many and that I get this from my Mom.  She is the queen of lipstick… and pretty much any other product you could have a question about. During my scouring of the internet I came across two super awesome bridal make up tutorials on You Tube.

While I ALWAYS think that having your hair and make up done on your wedding day is a worthwhile investment, this is not always an option for everyone.  Or you might be nuts over cosmetics like me and want to do it yourself just because you can;)

These tutorials rock because they include many of my favorite products including Urban Decay, Nars, MAC, and Make Up Forever.

A couple tips for a photo-ready face:

  • Avoid products with sunscreen
  • Avoid too much shimmer
  • Avoid Mineral Make Up
  • Avoid Glitter (does that really need an explanation?!)

Why avoid these things?  If you’re using a professional make up artist they are prepared with the appropriate products. But if not, the aforementioned types of products reflect poorly in the light and can also “clash with the flash”. When these types of products are hit with the power of a professional photographer’s flash, they create nasty things you don’t want to see in your images! The long and short of it? You could end up looking like Angelina Jolie did here (and 20 other make up fails!)… either a completely over exposed face or like you have white pasty stuff all over the place.  Neither one is good.

So check these babies out and let me know what you think (or if you have any burning questions) in the comments.

3 Common Mistakes Couples Make when Choosing Their Wedding Date

Choosing your wedding date is probably one of the first tasks you cross off the “I just got engaged and holy crap, now I’m planning a wedding” list.  While all this is very exciting, it can also be stressful… And since you’ve never planned a wedding before, it’s possible that you may overlook some key things when deciding when the big day will be.

To help minimize and frustrations later on, I’ve composed a list of the top:

3 Common Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing Their Wedding Date

1. Inadvertently choosing your wedding to be the same day as a holiday.  This would seem to be a no-brainer but make sure to check the calendar to make sure you’re not looking at a possible date that is also a holiday.  Having a your wedding on a holiday could make it difficult for family and friends to attend because of other obligations and travel they have planned.  Not to mention, having a holiday wedding could also potentially make traveling to and attending your celebration more expensive for your guests.

2. Choosing your wedding date before choosing the venue(s).  Choosing your date prior to securing your venues could be setting yourself up for disappointment in the event your preferred choices are unavailable on the date you’ve pre-selected.  If you wait to set the date, then you can select an alternative date so the venue you’re looking at is available.

3. Choosing the date without consulting LOCAL calendars for sporting events, parades, festivals, concerts, etc. A large event could set the stage for traffic congestion and delays, it could be hard for guests to get a hotel room at a reasonable rate, and flights may also be more expensive than usual.  So… do yourself (and your guests) a favor and looking into local events ahead of time. Your guests (and your sanity) will thank you!!

If you think this post was helpful, be awesome and share it:)

10 Ways to Use Quotes for your Wedding

I’ve been kind of obsessed with love quotes lately but if I’m being completely honest, I’ve been obsessed with quotes of all types since junior high. hahaha My favorite go to quote book then and even now is the Harper Book of Quotations, 3rd Edition. You will know I’m not lying about this junior high deal because this book was published in 1993.  And you know what? It’s still awesome! I still open up and read that baby whenever I need a little inspiration.  I would be the happiest girl ALIVE if a new edition came out.  Seriously!

All this leads me to a great Style Me Pretty Article I found about “10 Ways to Use Quotes for your Wedding”. I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t think of this myself when I was planning my wedding.

A couple of my favorites from the slide show:

1. Gift your fiance a print featuring a sappy quote

2. Create a custom backdrop with your favorite love quote

3.  Write some of your favorite quotes on little chalkboards for decor.

4. Create a Kraft table runner with a quote hand-written atop of it.

Head over to Style Me Pretty to see the other 6 AWESOME ways to use quotes!

7 Common Mistakes Couples Make When Planning Their Wedding Photography Timeline

I think it’s human nature to have a couple regrets after planning such an important event in your life… I know I had a couple regrets about my wedding, including never having a first look, and not relishing the fact more that ALL our friends and family were present to support US, and that’s all that REALLY mattered in the end. Instead I let stress get the best of me in some ways.

I want to help cut down the stress factor for you and your love, so today I’m sharing tips for planning your wedding photography timeline.  Taking these mistakes into consideration and avoiding them will ultimately make you happier and less stressed on the big day (when SO much is going on).  And if you’re happier, I’m happier;)

7 Common Mistakes Couples Make When Planning Their Wedding Photography Timeline

1. Not allowing enough time for getting ready and hair and make up. This is the most common time a schedule starts to fall off track. If you think it will take 2 hours for hair and makeup, allow 3.  Bridesmaids can be late, you could forget an accessory, etc. Allowing yourself extra time at the beginning of the day will be helpful in the event it’s needed then or later on.

2. TRAFFIC!!! There is always tons of if in Chicago, and it always seems to be inconsistent.  Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to get downtown, other times it can take 45. Allowing for extra travel time on your wedding day is a good idea. In fact, it’s a GREAT idea.

3. Taking pictures at the wrong time of day and/or not having any open shade. Of course everyone wants it to be beautiful and sunny on their wedding day… But what many people don’t know is that between 12-3 (depending on the time of year) when the sun is high in the sky, it is the WORST time of day to take photos unless there is some shade nearby.  Why?  Because when the sun is overhead and it’s not a cloudy day, it casts some of the ugliest, harshest shadows on your face.  Not to mention everyone will be squinting.  On a cloudy day, the clouds act as a HUGE diffuser to give nice even light for portraits so if it’s cloudy on your wedding day, don’t fret.  Those clouds will actually make you look amazing!  If pictures must be taken during the middle of the day (and this is often the case), just make sure to chat with your photographer about finding a place that has nice, even, open shade so you don’t have to be standing in the bright sun for all your photos.

4. Not scheduling enough time for your couple’s shoot. I know it’s easy to think that you only need 15-20 minutes to take photos with you and your partner, but this day only happens ONCE so I love it when couples agree to scheduling more time for this.  Scheduling more time for your couple’s shoot will allow you to have some private, relaxed, and fun time together on a very hectic day. This is also why a First Look is a great idea… Treat yourselves to a little QT before all the craziness ensues.  You won’t regret it, I promise!

5. Having a huge family formals list and/or not enough time to get them completed. I usually recommend 10-12 family formal groupings to keep things moving smoothly.  Often times the family formal photos don’t make it into the wedding album so I suggest combining sets of images that would usually be individual to save time. For example, if you have 4 siblings, rather than have individual photos with each one, doing a combined group shot will make Mom happy, and save on time. So instead of having 4 separate photos, your smiling faces can be seen together in 1.  And everyone stays happier…haha. If having many family formal photos is very important to you, just make sure to talk with your photographer about building enough time into the schedule to complete them.  I was once shooting a wedding where the church ladies literally KICKED US OUT of the church and we couldn’t finish the list.  Of course this wasn’t something within our control, but having a more succinct list could have avoided this issue.

6. Spacing out reception events with too much time in between. Many times couples will elect to enter their reception, cut the cake, have first dances, and then speeches right away. This is really helpful because it ensures the photographer will be able to cover all important events you’d like photographed.  A common problem I see couples run into is that their photography coverage is scheduled to end before an important event takes place (such as first dances). This is because it’s not uncommon for dinner to run late pushing the entire timeline back. Choosing to have most major events at the reception take place prior to dinner will help avoid this. If you wait to have important events until after dinner is finished, you could be faced with making the decision to hire your photographer to stay longer, or having them leave and and not have images of an important part of the day.

7. Counting on capturing important/must get family/friend shots at the reception. Once the reception starts and people start mingling and partying, it will become much more difficult to get groups together for photos. My recommendation is to get ALL important/can’t miss shots PRIOR to the reception so you and your love are off duty and can just enjoy yourselves!! Of course we’ll be there getting all the action and documenting the celebration, but if there’s an image that you MUST have, be sure to get it before things start to get crazy! If there are pictures that you’d like but you won’t die over not having, planning to do them at the reception is fine.

Are you getting married and looking for a wedding photographer?  Drop me a line if you think we’d be a good fit. Alternatively, if you know someone getting married and think this post would be helpful, I’d love for you to share it with them!


Today’s Vendor Spotlight features Chicago Wedding Florist Stephanie, of Flowers by Stem.  I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie at our wedding industry event, Thursday Therapy over a year ago. Every month our group meets at a different Chicago wedding venue and different businesses donate their time and talent to provide photos, florals, design, music and food for the event. This is a great way for us to meet new friends, network, and stay on top of the latest wedding trends.  It just so happened that Stephanie and I volunteered the same evening.  God knows why but I was SO freaking NERVOUS before this Thursday Therapy.  Thankfully Stephanie was there setting up (because I arrived WAY too early like the nerd I am) and we were able to chat for a while before everyone arrived. And she totally put me at ease!

Chicago Wedding Florist-Flowers by Stem

On top of creating beautiful flower arrangements, Stephanie is a pleasure to sit down and have a cup of coffee with.  She’s super friendly, easy to talk to, organized, and ambitious.  She’ll get the job done and you’ll be thrilled with her breath taking work.  It’s been inspiring to watch Stephanie’s floral design skills and style evolve over time.  Over the course of the past year, her business has really flourished and I’m seeing her mark all over Chicago. The Flowers by Stem team would be the perfect choice for making your wedding vision become a reality.

Chicago Wedding Florist 6

Photo Credit: Carrie Wildes Photography

Tell me about your business- what do you specialize in? I think flowers can inspire beautiful moments. Whether it be a bouquet as unique as our brides, or a vibrant centerpiece that captures the essence of their celebration, I love creating innovative, one-of-a-kind experiences through our flowers and think that the key is a personalized approach. While I have a wonderful team, I still personally attend to every design element, from initial consultation to final set-up. The best part of this business is creating these beautiful moments that celebrate some of the biggest events in a person’s life – it’s an honor we cherish!

How did you get started? Quite by accident! My husband and I moved to Charleston, SC so that he could attend grad school for architecture. After working for years in advertising, I found myself in a small city with no advertising industry work! I luckily met the wonderful owners of Tiger Lily Florist, and they hired me to design their website and manage their marketing. Within two months of peaking around the corner to the design room, I was learning the ropes of floral design and fell in love! When I returned to Chicago, I started very organically – designing flowers for friends’ weddings, and then friends of friends, and so on!

Chicago Wedding Florist 1

Photo Credit: City Love Photography

What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry? It’s being a part of these beautiful moments that will forever mark the beginning of a new journey for our clients. We love being excited with them, encouraging them when they get totally stressed out by the family politics that creep into every wedding, and then celebrating the final vision coming to life.

 How would you describe your business’ style? Approachable, responsive and inspiring (I hope!). I try to really listen to my clients to get a sense of who they are as people, and what is their vision for their wedding day. I then begin guiding them with suggestions until we land on a unique design for their day.

How far in advance should clients book your services? As early as 15 months in advance, and as late as 1 month in advance!

Where does your inspiration come from? I get truly inspired by the flowers themselves. The flower market is my candy shop – I love the colors, textures, and finding new ways to mix them to come up with something totally different.

Chicago Wedding Florist

Photo Credit Left: Justine Bursoni; Right: Cage & Aquarium

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? I have three hilarious, beautiful little flower girls of my own – ages 2, 4 and 7. That’s one of the best things about my job – I design out of my garden unit studio, allowing me to be home more with my kids!

What is one piece of advice you think all couples would benefit from knowing? Do your research so that when the time comes to hire your vendors, you can relax and trust in the knowledge that they are dedicated to putting together a beautiful day for you and your guests! Oh, and don’t replan your wedding on Pinterest every day.:)

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

1. Embrace local seasonal flowers. I believe in a sustainable approach to floral design, and encourage my clients to take advantage of the beautiful seasonal local blooms when available.

2. Pass on the flower love – at the end of your wedding, donate all of your leftover flowers to a local nursing home or hospital. I have organized this for many of my clients, and everyone is always so happy when this happens!

How can clients connect with you?