January 19, 2017
The question has been popped, you have a sparkly new addition on your left hand, and your mind is a flurry of excitement and decisions yet to be made. Being the go-getter that you are, you create a planning notebook, get vendor recommendations from recently married friends, and start making your first few inquiries. You’ve got this, right?! And then the swarm of questions start hitting you from every angle, you have another full time job that is not wedding planning to stay on top of, and things start piling up. Slowly but surely, stress starts to slip into the flirty fun process of planning your wedding and suddenly this endeavor doesn’t seem so easy anymore. That’s where I can help! If you find yourself in this position or are contemplating whether or not you need a wedding planner, here are my top reasons to hire one (now).
1. Streamline your ideas
While ideas are not something you’re short on (have you seen your Pinterest page?!), making sense of them and turning them into reality can be a challenge. One of the greatest things a wedding planner can do is help you sift through your thoughts, identify priorities, and establish order that will lead to the cohesive look you’re after. It is the job of a wedding planner to listen, decipher, and assist you design. Not only do we hear your wishes and desires, your thoughts are often incredible springboards for greater ideas better than you ever imagined…and who doesn’t want that?
2. Keep you on track
Now that you have a direction, who is helping you stay on track? You have decisions to make, deadlines to meet, and a budget to stick to. So you decided to splurge and add some brass to your band (always a great choice!), that means some shifting needs to take place within the budget so you don’t go over. I always tell my clients that I am their greatest advocate for sticking to their budget and will be the first to point out any time we are faced with a decision to stretch the limits. I weigh pros and cons and advise on what decisions are worth it and which will go unnoticed if you don’t go the extra mile. Your decisions need to be impactful (and timely) so that you achieve the greatest bang for your buck and don’t waste unnecessary funds on rush fees or late penalties.
3. Eliminate the pressure
Weddings and the pressure that inevitable comes along with them tend to bring out the best, and sadly sometimes the worst, in those involved. Maybe you never knew that your fiancé has this thing about sweating and refuses to have any aspect of the wedding outside, or your future in-laws insist on inviting every third cousin and their children, or better yet, your mother tells you this is her day and you can plan your wedding when you have a daughter? Ahh! So much emotion swirling about the biggest day of your life and suddenly you feel like everything is teetering on thin ice. In steps your wedding planner… Let your wedding planner serve as a mediator to ensure that everyone’s wishes are heard and a solution is found that makes everyone happy. Remove yourself from the equation and any potential stress. Enjoying your engagement and not losing site of why you are planning your wedding is my number one goal – that and allowing you and your family to feel like guests at your own occasion. No one has time for stress. Save yourself the headache, protect your relationships, and hire a wedding planner! (Read my post “Enjoying your Engagement” for more encouragement!)
4. Vendor connections
You have tons of friends who will hook you up with all the vendors you need, right? Wrong! This is quite possibly one of the most undervalued reasons to hire a wedding planner! Maybe your friends had very different budgets than you, had other priorities, and opposite tastes? While vendors can be versatile to meet everyone’s needs, wedding planners can place you with vendors who are a perfect fit and not someone who is adjusting their usual practices to make it work for you. You wouldn’t see a plastic surgeon who specializes in facelifts to get a nose job, would you? So why go with a wedding vendor who does not specialize in the style of photography or floral design that you are after? A wedding planner will help identify which vendors make the most sense for your vision and your budget. Utilize our well-established, veteran vendor relationships to your advantage!
5. They make it happen!
There’s paperwork, confirmations, invitation assembly, welcome gift delivery, set up, breakdown, orchestration of vendors, troubleshooting, execution, and much much more behind the scenes activity. At the end of the day, do you want to be the one juggling the 50+ hats that a wedding planner wears throughout your engagement but, most importantly, on your wedding day? When you are reading a heartfelt note from your groom, do you really want to be the point of contact for the band that’s calling to let you know they’ve broken down on the side of the road or for the hair stylist who is trying to call in sick? Leave the interruptions and problem solving up to your wedding planner. If there’s a glitch, it can be handled without ever having to worry you. A wedding planner makes your life easier as well as those of all vendors involved. If you had to identify one reason to hire a wedding planner, this is it!
While I could go on and on with more reasons to enlist the professional help of a wedding planner, I leave you with this: this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and you deserve the best. A wedding planner will ensure that you have the wedding experience you’ve always dreamt of and leave you with memories to cherish for the rest of your life.
January 13, 2017
One of my favorite moments of being a wedding planner is the one filled with quiet anticipation before the bride walks down the aisle. Emotions and nerves are high, happiness is in its purest form, and it is intimately shared by those closest to the bride…and me. 🙂 It is sacred and a moment that, after years of experiencing time after time, never fails to bring a joyful tear to my eye.
Leigh Webber Photography masterfully captured this moment for Morgan and Jon in North Carolina.
January 5, 2017
Events by Reagan thrillingly rounded out 2016 with a feature of Dillard and Johnson’s wedding on The Wedding Row! This Charleston yacht club event ranked up there as one of the most festive winter affairs I’ve done and I’m delighted that The Wedding Row chose to cap off its year with it. A sweet excerpt is below but catch the full feature here!
Just like that, another year has passed, and we think it’s safe to say that it’s been one for the books here on TWR! To celebrate a year packed with gorgeous Charleston weddings, we’re capping 2016 off with the Big Day of local gal Dillard and her hubs Johnson, which was captured by oh-so-talented Gayle Brooker Photography. First, I must address the majesty of Dillard’s breathtaking cap-sleeved beaded Oscar de la Renta gown, a work of art that set the tone for the entire day. From there, Events by Reagan made sure every cranberry-hued bouquet, swag of fabric, and glowing detail was in its proper place. After Dillard and Johnson had sealed their vows with a kiss at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, the celebration moved a few blocks away to a private yacht club where boughs of garlands, fine linens, and a massive antique mirrored bar wowed every guest that entered. Big Swing & The Ballroom Blasters filled the night with irresistible tunes until it was time for the newlyweds to run through a gauntlet of guests tossing petals to their vintage getaway ride. Talk about a perfect end to a perfect evening and to another beautiful year on The Wedding Row! Cheers to all of you darlings and a happy New Year, too!
December 16, 2016
This fall I had the opportunity to let loose and dream up a punchy, free-spirited shoot with some of Kansas City’s most talented wedding professionals. Spearheading the collaboration with me, Leigh Miller Photography had the perfect spot in mind: The Historic Taylor Barn in rural Kansas, just outside of Kansas City.
This boho barn shoot is full of inspiration for the bride who is not afraid of deep, rich colors and one that had the cattle rancher doing a double take.
Our setting was the most unassuming of locations: a historic 1879 barn on an operating cattle ranch in. The barn’s interior was filled with unbelievable textures of exposed stones and weathered wide plank floors, expansive barn doors, cathedral heigh ceilings, and towering windows that let sunbeams shine through. Once inside, you felt as though you had discovered a hidden treasure, a portal back in time. It was the perfect setting for our shoot.
We focused on color and textures to create a moody and romantic setting, mixing custom elements with easily accessible store bought items. The wine colored velvet linen, plum feathered pillows (Target purchase!), mixed metals, and lush florals really popped against the natural textures of the old, worn barn. Toss in lots and lots of candles and (voila!), a dramatic ceremony setting.
The dinner table was set under a low lying branch of an old oak tree. Wooden benches with pillows tied in the formal table to the more rustic barn setting. Marble tiles (from Home Depot!) with gold calligraphy atop a patterned napkin served as place cards for each guest and colorful jewel toned and pink pastel votives littered the center of the table. Florals of deep burgundy and peach with trailing greenery loosely draped over their brass containers created a bohemian yet sophisticated setting.
Loveletter Studio’s dramatic modern calligraphy was striking in wine colored ink against our sultry florals and velvet table linen.
The bride was dressed in a form fitting gown with a free flowing skirt from Altar Bridal. She was accessorized with a fur shrug and striking burgundy velvet heals. Her real life groom wore a gray plaid suit with plum accents and their chemistry was off the charts!
Good Earth Floral knocked the florals out of the park and must have jumped inside my mind when I said we wanted a moody, dripping candle ceremony setting. Ashley truly brought my vision to life…and if you only knew the fear that coursed through our veins as we lit all of those little candles on wobbly 137 year old barn planks. It takes passion and (sometimes) guts to get the job done!
After sharing a toast of sparkling rose in gold etched champagne coups and a piece naked wedding cake, the couple was sent off under a shower of gold confetti!
This shoot was the marriage of many unexpected design elements, resulting in a bunch of sexy inspiration!
Many thanks to all of the participating vendors:
Leigh Miller Photography | The Historic Taylor Barn | Good Earth Floral Design Studio | Loveletter Studio | UltraPom | McLain’s Bakery | Altar Bridal | Magdalena Styles | La Tavola Fine Linen
December 12, 2016
When two families in the maritime business come together to celebrate the nuptials of their children, it’s only natural that the rehearsal dinner have a nautical theme! I worked closely with hostess and mother-of-the-groom to plan this elegant evening at The Gadsden House in Charleston. As someone who regularly throws events for their family business, this MOG knew exactly how to tastefully (and spiritedly!) tie in the theme.
Guests were welcomed through The Gadsden House gates that were illuminated green and red, a nod to the nautical port and starboard lights. Cocktail hour took place out on the patio and inside the house where the mantels were adorned with magnolia and guests found their butler cards around an old ship anchor that Lotus Flower artfully worked into an arrangement.
Dinner was served out on the patio. It was an unusually chilly evening for Charleston in December, so our dinner under the stars was enclosed by a clear top tent to keep all of the guests warm. Four nautical chandeliers ran down the center of the tent along with cafe lights and actual line that the mother-of-the-groom sourced from one of her maritime insiders. The tables were dressed in navy with touches of gold, a very classic masculine and maritime feel, and boat cleats and line were added to the flower boxes, bringing a subtle touch of the theme onto the table.
The dinner menus doubled as place cards. Calligrapher extraordinaire, Elizabeth Porcher Jones, wrote each guest name in dramatic oversized calligraphy on the back of each menu. It was a great way to minimize clutter at each place setting while also provide an elegant presentation.
While the mother of the groom was intimately involved with every detail, there was just one thing she didn’t know about…a surprise cake and violin serenade to wish her a happy birthday! There’s nothing better than surprising the hostess at her own event. It was such a sweet gesture from the bride.
And the surprises didn’t stop there! While this bride may be the most fashionable bride I’ve ever known, she regularly wears hardhats and steel-toed boots for work out on the docks. So naturally, the mother-of-the-groom “glammed” up a hard hat and protective eye ware so that she may continue to be fashionable, even when hardhats are required.
The evening was full of joy, heartfelt toasts, and so much love – everything you’re supposed to feel on the eve of your wedding. And if that wasn’t enough, we even had a personalized “Luv Tug” ice sculpture. Just one last fun touch from the mother of the groom…
Fair winds and following seas to this beautifully happy couple!
December 5, 2016
So much of the planning process is about making things happen: formulating, scheduling, execution…but what about capturing each of those well-thought out moments? You’ve given so much attention to every part of the day, don’t let the opportunity to photograph the non-obvious but equally as important events pass you by.
Today we’re talking about reveals that happen throughout the wedding day. Here are four reveals to add to your shot list:
1. To Your Bridesmaids
Often in the hustle and bustle of getting dressed and completing those final touches to your make up and accessories, you can forget the momentousness of putting on your wedding gown and literally becoming a bride in front of the closest group of women in your life. Like many aspects of your wedding day, this is one of those where you should stop and smell the roses! Drink it all in, do a twirl, and relish in the ooh’s and ahh’s of your bridesmaids. It is your day and your bridesmaids are there for you! Be sure your photographer is on hand to capture your ‘maids seeing you as a bride for the first time. It’s one of the many great joys that makes up your wedding day.
(That’s my dad!)
2. To Your Father
Once your bridesmaids give you their cheerful stamp of approval and ensure that you are absolutely perfect, the next reveal – and possibly one of the most emotional reveals of the day – is the reveal to your father. It’s the moment that many fathers think of the day their daughter was born, and seeing the emotion in his eyes when he sees his baby girl as a bride is enough to make the world stop spinning. Consider having this moment be private so you both may soak up how special this time is for you…and allow him to shed a tear or two.
3. To Your Groom
Whether you choose to reveal yourself to your groom in a private first look or wait until those church doors open, this is the biggest unveiling of the day! While this is a no brainer for your photographer, be sure to specify if there are any particular shots you’re hoping to get (i.e. your groom’s face as you walk down the aisle, the quiet anticipation of you and your dad before making your entrance, the expression of your mother as you approach the altar, or sneaky onlookers as you have your first look!). There are lots of emotions swirling about in this brief yet impactful moment. Take note of those that you would like photographed.
4. To Your Reception Space
You’ve spent months going over ever detail: selecting your table linens, designing the place settings, playing with floral arrangements, creating memorable details and personal touches… The candles are lit, the music is on, and guests are about to make their transition into your main reception space. Steal away after your post-ceremony photos to soak up all the untouched beauty that you’ve worked so hard to develop…and then sit back and watch the wonder on your guests’ faces as they enter your carefully designed reception that is a perfect reflection of you and your groom. It’s so easy to get swept away in the festivities, allow yourself a few minutes to see your vision come to life!
October 27, 2016
This past spring, The Governor Thomas Bennett House was bustling with the chicest group of ladies who came back home to celebrate bride-to-be, Melissa. They did what southern ladies do best: they donned their colorful dresses, whipped out grandmother’s china, and sipped on frilly cocktails on a big southern porch. It was quite the afternoon affair!
As the hostess, the bride’s sister and I worked closely on every detail. She had a playful, boho vision yet did not wish to lose site of southern tradition. Formal china and a two coursed luncheon met flower crowns and a rose gold sequin photo booth. Keeping things light and feminine, we chose pastel lavender and green floral linens for cocktails under the porch and delicate white dot linens for the seated lunch inside.
Ladies were welcomed onto the historic Charleston single style porch with a refreshing pink sangria of rosé wine, strawberries, and peaches along with a sprinkling of passed hors d’oeuvres artfully presented by Cru Catering.
Charleston Stems designed the floral arrangements. Melissa was not afraid of color and was drawn to etherial and out of the box presentations, so Stems kept things cheery and bright and used everything from stone containers to collections of terrariums and succulents on the dining tables. With so much interest, it was a feast for the eyes!
Melissa wished to incorporate her late grandmother, who was very near and dear to her, into the wedding celebrations. She had recently been gifted her grandmother’s china and, while there were not enough pieces to serve everyone lunch, a variety of dishes made beautiful displays for some of the passed hors d’oeuvres.
Once cocktails concluded, ladies were invited inside for lunch in the front parlor. The first course was a chilled cucumber soup with dill creme fraiche followed by a main course of salad with the guest’s table-side choice of pan seared local white fish or grilled chicken.
As guests enjoyed their meals, the bridal games began! Silly props, light hearted quizzes, and lots of laughs got everyone into the wedding spirit.
Following lunch, ladies were invited into the dining room for prosecco and bite sized desserts: chocolate mousse cups with fresh berries and banana cream pies with bourbon spiced whipped cream! Who says the party has to end with lunch?!
And of course, no bridal shower is complete without a guest appearance from the groom to round out the celebration! Cheers to Melissa and Tom! And many thanks to Tim Will Photography for capturing the event so beautifully!
September 7, 2016
It’s such a treat when the photographer captures me with my brides. I love this one with dear friend, Melissa, during her sneak peak of the reception space – and me 7 months preggo! Her wedding was my last one before becoming a mama and boy did we end the season with a bang! Can’t wait share images from Melissa’s big day. (Image by Tim Will.)
June 29, 2016
Today our shady tablescape under the sweeping live oaks of Boone Hall Plantation was featured on MODwedding! It was such a treat to style this shoot. Here’s an excerpt from the feature…
A beautiful venue at Boone Hall, gorgeous florals by Charleston Stems, and a soft color palette creates this ultra whimsical South Carolina wedding! We adore all the little details, from the gold calligraphy to the bride’s hair and makeup, and of course, to her amazing Carol Hannah dress. Take a look at this inspiration shoot that was captured by Rachel May Photography–this South Carolina wedding is sure to give you ideas for a romantic summer wedding!
View the complete feature on MODwedding here or peruse our gallery of images here. Enjoy!
June 8, 2016
Summer time is in full swing and it has me reminiscing on Jane and Charles’ summer camp wedding, tying the knot where their romance first blossomed years ago… For a cool mountain get away to escape the heat, click here to see more from their big day.