photography: Krista Mason Photography // venue name: Catalina View Gardens, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA // event design: Nicole Alexandra Designs // planning: Nicole Alexandra Designs // florals: The Bloemist // wedding dress: Madeleine Fig // hair stylist: Face It Sugar // paper goods: Jasmin Michelle Designs // cake: The Sugar Philosophers // desserts: The Sugar Philosophers // Tabletop, Pillows: Anthropologie // furniture rentals: Classic Party Rentals // specialty rentals: Tabletop: Crate & Barrel // models: Stephanie Turek and Chaz Ahern
People always talk about how important it is to capture your children each year as they grow. And while I know it’s true, it’s also just plain obvious. You love seeing your kids grow each year and how much they change. We all know how important it is to look back and see their growth. From that first day of school photo at your front door to the last day of school. But what about just the two of you whether you have kids or not?
Recently, I personally experienced the importance reflecting back through the years in my photos. It was super fun, but I really wish I had a photo to represent each of our early years. I’ve learned it’s never too late to start. I have vowed to have a professional photo taken of Aldo and I every year, so that in 20 years or 50 years, I have images that we can look back on, laugh at and talk about what babies we were.
It occurred to me while celebrating our 14th Anniversary, how important capturing each year is. I don’t know if you saw it on my social media channels, but I posted a photo of each year Aldo and I have been together – all the way back to 2007 and even one from what I call the early years because I wasn’t sure of the date. We were such babies! But I couldn’t find very many photos of us earlier than 2007, and you know why? It’s because we didn’t start taking our Holiday Portraits until 2007. Yes, I’m sure that we have photos during that time, but where are they? Who knows and they sure as heck are not as cute as the ones we had professionally done.
I share this with you because I don’t want you looking back in 14 years wishing you had taken professional photos. There’s nothing better than proudly sharing your life with your friends and family, no matter the style or look that you were rocking at the time. When I was looking back at our photos, I was like, “Wow, I just dated myself, lol.” But I am still so very happy to have them so I can reflect back on the wonderful years I’ve shared with the love of my life. I’m even more excited that I have current ones that represent us as a couple, showing our relationship and style.
Every time I see your updates on Facebook or Instagram or you send me an email, I get super excited to see what adventures you have been up to lately. Was it a new job, a new house, are you expecting, your first, second, or maybe even your third child? Did you get a new puppy? Take any fun travel adventures? Did your kids start their first year of school? That’s been a fun one for me since it’s that time of year. Watching you all post your minis with their first day of school signs…just the cutest! This got me thinking … obviously, in addition to wanting professional photos you want to be able to take great photos on your day-to-day adventures. So, I wanted to share a few fun tips with you on how to best capture these precious daily moments with your mobile phone. Whether it’s travels, your kids first day of school, or a special moment between the two of you, you’ll want to capture them all!
The same composition rules apply even if you aren’t photographing people. Be sure that you have a focal point or main point of interest to grab the viewer’s attention. Remember the rule of thirds and put that focal point in one of those sweet spots.
One interesting subject is all you need to create a stunning photo, but we understand that sometimes you want multiple people in the image and that works just as perfect.
Don’t be afraid if your photo has a lot of empty space. This is what us photographers call “negative space” and it’s helpful in making your subject stand out.
Be sure to look at all details. Is there a trash can or water bottle in the shot? Move it. Can’t move it? Change the angle of your shot to avoid it.
A subtle muted background keeps the photo from becoming too distracting. Make sure the background complements the color of what the subject is wearing so they don’t blend in.
Lighting is the most important thing in any photo. The best kind of lighting is soft, natural, diffused light, such as window lighting. The same rules apply for outdoor photos … soft natural diffused light. The best time of day to shoot is what professional photographers call the golden hour. Either early morning just as the sun is coming out or just before sunset. In my line of work with weddings, we understand these situations aren’t always achievable on the go. So, look for soft evenly shaded areas. Again, be aware of your background. If it’s too light or too dark, your subject will get lost. Avoid harsh shadows and shooting the subject facing the sun. This will produce squinting eyes and unwanted shadows. Also beware of too dark of areas. All too often we see subjects being photographed in dark dingy corners where they tend to get lost.
Our eyes can determine both dark and light exposures at the same time, but the camera cannot. Ever have a subject with the beach as the background and either the beach is properly exposed but your subject is too dark or the subject is correct and the beach is blown out? This is because the camera can’t capture what we see with the naked eye. Most mobile phone cameras will capture everything overall and guess at what the best mix will be. This means if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll won’t get the photo you’re aiming for. Try tapping on the main subject to achieve the best exposure. Sometimes, though, even that won’t work. In that case, you’ll need to rethink your background and lighting situation. Look for that open soft shade or window lighting.
It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. They are also a great part of your subject to focus on when you’re trying to capture them at their best. It’s because the eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Ready take it one step further? Focus on the eye closest to the camera.
Experiment with different perspectives and cropping. A common mistake is always putting the subject directly in the center of the frame.
You don’t have to always center your subject. Learn the rule of thirds. Try an angle from above or below. Set your subject off centered.
Photographing children is always a challenge, sometimes even more so when mom and dad are doing it. We recommend getting down on their level. Get low, talk to them, engage with them. Make them laugh and wait for that perfect expression that best expresses their personalities. This is where you have an advantage, because you know them best. You know that expression right before it happens, so be ready to click. If you try to force smiles or make them stand stiff and still that’s the look you’ll get. Put them in the right lighting with the right background and let them be them. You’ll know when to capture that perfect moment.
The #1 rule when photographing anyone is to stay positive and give lots of affirmation that the subject looks amazing. If your kids are making funny faces, make them back. I promise it will make them laugh and if you’re ready, you’ll capture the perfect smile. With couples, the same thing applies – OK, maybe not the funny faces, but you never know … that might work, lol. Just keep it upbeat and positive and you’ll get that emotion you desire. I have to make Aldo sincerely laugh anytime we take a photo, otherwise he looks like a grumpy old man! I do this by any means necessary – being a goof ball, tickles, stupid jokes, whatever – but it works, we manage to get some awesome smiles out of him. Also remember you don’t always have to smile for portraits!
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get great photos…and remember, the best camera you can have is the camera you have with you! Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re mobile camera is digital, so if you don’t like the image you can delete it and try again!
Congratulations … You’re engaged! The proposal was absolutely perfect! You suspected something was up, but when he dropped down on one knee and asked you the one question you’ve dreamed about all your life … “Will you marry me?” you were filled with excitement, tears, and an overwhelming feeling of love! You are on cloud nine! But now it’s time to start planning your wedding!
You’ve made the big announcement to the world and now you’ve got some big decisions to make, but where do you start? You’re still glowing in the excitement of your new engagement, but you know you’ve got to get started planning soon, so what is your next step? The venue? The planner? The date? The guest list? Colors?
Oh, there’s plenty of advice out there on the internet, but it can all be so overwhelming! Well, don’t worry, I’m here to give you some expert advice on where to get started.
First of all, don’t forget to take time to CELEBRATE. This is the beginning of the best of your days spent with the love of your life. Take time to reflect on why you’re doing this and what it is that really matters to you and your love! Open that bubbly and celebrate!
Even before you start making your guest list, you’ll want to decide on a time of year. First of all, decide which season you’d prefer. Do you want a spring wedding on the lawn of your favorite winery? Or are you looking to have a winter wedding at the hottest venue in town? Then you’ll need to think about holidays and special family events. You don’t want to conflict with other important family celebrations and risk forcing people to decide between important family events.
Once you’ve decided the season and a date, next comes the time of day. If you want the best, most fabulous pictures, I recommend having a late afternoon or early evening wedding. You’ll want to plan your ceremony time so you can take advantage of the beautiful sunset light. The best time for sunset photos is about half an hour before the sun sets. Typically, family group photographs are taken in the 30 minutes after a ceremony, that is if you’ve already taken your couple’s portraits before the ceremony. If you opt to wait to see your beloved until you walk down the aisle for the first time, then you’ll want to allow about at least an hour for photos post ceremony.
Sunset times vary with season and location around the US. Here in Southern California, springtime sunsets are around 7pm, with summertime sunsets an hour or so later, and fall and winter sunsets an hour or more earlier.
Another reason to choose your date first? Your style and colors will be reflected by the season you choose. Soft pastel colors are perfect for a springtime wedding, and bolder colors are perfect for fall. Obviously rules are meant to be broken, but it is something to consider.
You have your date selected, now let’s talk about the look and feel of your wedding. Close your eyes and think about the wedding of your dreams. Was it a beachside wedding with the sand between your toes? Or do you dream of candles and roses in a fairy tale castle? Perhaps you have something much simpler in mind and dream of walking among the flowers in your grandmother’s garden. Whatever you have in mind for your dream wedding, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Do you want a big wedding or something small and intimate? Indoors or outside? City or countryside? Home or Destination? Modern, classic, rustic, Hollywood glam? Again, all this can be overwhelming. Spend some time perusing your favorite wedding magazines and blogs, looking for inspiration in styled shoots and real weddings. But don’t stop there, while you’re out running errands, watch for patterns and colors that catch your eye. You can even find inspiration in your favorite movies or your grandmother’s favorite brooch. Just keep your eyes open, you never know when inspiration will strike.
Still don’t know where to start? Sit down and ask yourself and your partner the following questions (sourced from Martha Stewart). Perhaps they’ll inspire your big picture and settle on some of those lovely details.
You’ll hear so many differing opinions on when you need to hire your wedding planner. Many will tell you to wait, that it’s too soon. But in my opinion, the sooner you engage your professional planner, the sooner you’ll be on your way to stress-free wedding planning.
Hiring a full-time wedding professional is well worth the money, especially if you and your fiancé are super busy, have demanding jobs, or just have really big (translated complicated) dreams for your big day. The full-time planner will see to all the details for your entire wedding, from the engagement party to the honeymoon. They will even guide you to the perfect locations you have envisioned for your dream day, finding that secret gem!
Don’t have the cash to spend on a full-time planner? Hire a coordinator to help you come up with the blueprint for your wedding – your budget, a schedule, lists of vendors and venues to match your vision. Once you’ve got a plan, then you’ll be able to tackle the individual projects one by one.
Once you’ve figured out your style and hired the perfect wedding coordinator, then it’s time to choose your venue and finalize your date. This is where the fun begins. Think about the big picture, but don’t rule out something outside the box. If the wedding of your dreams is fairy tale gala set in a candle-lit ballroom, consider the possibility of having that princess wedding in a garden instead. A springtime wedding in the garden could just as easily transition into an intimate seaside affair complete with barefoot dancing in the sand. With your dreams of style options in mind, your professional event planner will guide you to choosing the perfect venue. Everything is falling into place…your dream wedding is well on its way to becoming a reality!
Now you have the final date, dream venue and a planner by your side guiding your through the journey, what’s next?
Head on over to Wedding Wire and get a personalized wedding checklist for all the nitty gritty details you will need to think about. The fun has just begun. But remember, when things start to overwhelm you, (I’m not gonna lie, you will get overwhelmed and that is ok), just take a deep breath and call your event planner! He or she will know what to say to talk you back from the edge! With the right team members and family and friends there to support you, it will all be ok and you will get through this. Just take a moment and ask for help from your fiancé, planner, mom or maid of honor. You want this to be a fun journey and you can build the perfect team by your side to walk you through every step. Don’t get carried away, enjoy the process and remember why you are pulling all this together. To celebrate the love you and your fiancé have with the people who matter most to you!
I am so excited to showcase our first vendor spotlight with Prim and Pixie. Jen Ebert of Prim and Pixie is here to share some insight into the world of invitations. Plus, she is sharing her favorite tips, advice and things to look out for. Come with me and take a peek into Jen’s world!
Briefly share with us what you do?
Prim & Pixie is a graphic design firm who specializes in custom stationery and printed materials for the event industry.
What are you most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others in your industry?
Our vast knowledge of paper and printing, paired with our eye for timeless yet trendy design ensures the highest quality stationery suite at an affordable price point. Whether our clients choose a design from our collection or decide on a custom suite, they will work directly with us to design their invitation suite.
We are graphic designers who are experts in printing, but also focused on the end result of your event- ensuring that every detail is cohesive and even the smallest of details are perfected. We are always thinking through how to make the printed and digitally designed pieces flow seamlessly from the first mailing through the event day.
What would you consider to be your specialty?
Printing on alternative materials to paper.
What are some advantages to hiring you?
Our attention to detail and one-on-one service.
What happens if I decide to DIY or go a cheaper route?
While we understand the sense of reward and accomplishment of creating your own stationery, producing quality invitations requires experience, paper & printing knowledge and lots of resources. Hiring a professional will help relieve the burden of navigating through this very detailed process.
What can a couple expect when they work with you?
We like to think working with us is FUN ☺ You will receive prompt responses to your questions and expert design & etiquette guidance.
What are the trends you’re seeing these days?
The use of modern and loose calligraphy
What is the best advice in the wedding paper world you have for couples?
Order 10-15% more invitations then your guest list calls for.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Doing letterpress checks and ensuring the color & impression are perfect.
What is the one question couples always want answered?
When should I send out the invitations? Etiquette websites will tell you 6-8 weeks but my advice is to mail them about 8.5 weeks out, so the guest receive them 8 weeks before the wedding. This gives your guests enough time to reply and you have enough time to plan your seating arrangement.
How soon in the planning process should the couple hire you?
8 months out.
What is your #1 planning tip for couples?
Invest in a great coordinator.
What’s your favorite wedding moment?
Pronouncement of marriage.
What’s your favorite place to hang out?
My neighborhood, Manhattan Beach.
What’s your favorite thing to do on your free time?
Hang on the beach with my friends and family.
Now that you know all about Jen and Prim and Pixie, I’m sure you love her as much as we do! Don’t be shy, say hi. Have more questions for her? No problem, reach out to her!
Styling Suites: Ro and Co Events
Who doesn’t love some fun inspiration to drool over. Today we are thrilled to share that 100 Layer Cake has featured our Modern feminine warehouse wedding inspiration shoot. Head on over to their blog to check out some fun ways to blend an urban aesthetic with romantic and playful undertones. 😉 You are in for a treat!
Photographer: Krista Mason Photography / Venue: Howl / Event Coordination: Nicole George Event Planning & Design / Floral Design & Calligraphy: Peony & Plum / Beauty: Kacee Geoffroy Hair + Makeup / Cake: M Cakes Sweets / Rentals: Signature Party Rentals / Bridal Attire: Claire Pettibone / Jewelry: Yuko Ebina Designs / Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux
I am loving elopements these days! Whether it is just the couple, with a few friends or a small little gathering with your closest friends and family.
Gone are the days when elopement meant running to Vegas and getting married by Elvis. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your jam, but today I wanted to share an unconventional wedding inspiration shoot I did with Elegant Ninja that is the perfect elopement inspiration.
event planning: The Elegant Ninja // floral design: Poppy Design Co. // wedding dress: Alexandra Grecco // jewelry: Courtney Bensik // hair: Hair by Nikki and Katherine Barber // makeup: Lexi Kleyla // wedding cake: M Cakes Sweets // Ribbon: Silk and Willow // Calligraphy: Bohemian Ink // furniture: Justin Michael Patterson
As many of you know we love our cocktails around here. In fact, most of our clients do as well. So much so that they incorporate a signature drink or two as part of their wedding or event.
Wait what?!?!? Yup!! Mind blown!!
How did I find out this amazing little tidbit? Well, we partnered with Cocktail Academy and Penny Pound to create the beautiful herb-infused block ice and delicious cocktails. Ro and Co Events beautifully designed these delicious set-ups.
So, want to know how you can upgrade your ice to enhance your cocktail experience? Try incorporating floral and herbal elements!
Of course, we recommend leaving it to a professional like Penny Pound! They have specialized tools to cut their cubes with laser precision. However, if you want to give it a go for yourself, head on over to Ro & Co Events. They’ll show you all the steps you will need to make your ice the talk of the party.
We know you want us to share some of these cocktail recipes right?!?! Never fear, we love sharing! Head on over to Ro & Co Events to downloadable the recipe.