Hasn't the summer just slipped away from all of us? It seems like a minute ago I was on the beach with Miss June photographing the first moments of summer, and now here we are with Miss July & Miss August bidding it farewell. For these two beach babes, Amanda and Lauren, I wanted a moody beach day and boy did the weather and tides deliver. The sky was filled with these low, blue clouds and a little sand bar had formed for us to play in. The wind made Amanda + Lauren's hair instantly into beach waves and the scene reminded me of sea glass and summer walks before a storm hits. Living on the beach is not always sunshine and crowds. All three of us love these summer moments when no one else is around and we have the beach all to ourselves.
Amanda is planning her wedding to Tim which is set for July 2015, while Lauren and Luke are tying the knot in September 2015. Since both Miss July and Miss August are in the midst of planning craziness, they welcomed the break and wasted no time comparing notes and catching up...
1. Describe your upcoming wedding to us...big classy affair or small bohemian and intimate? Do you have a theme or just sticking to a certain color palette?
Amanda: Tim and I are inviting our closest family and friends to celebrate. I would describe our wedding as small, classic and elegant with a rustic chic theme. Our wedding will be at the end of July next year. We hope for a beautiful summer night. Candles and burlap will be the center of our tables. Color is still undecided, but we are hoping to go with beautiful coral or periwinkle blue.
Lauren: I would describe our wedding as a big classy affair. We are going to have between 175 and 200 guests and our reception will be held that the Shadowbrook, an elegant Georgian mansion located in Shrewsbury, NJ. Our cocktail hour will be held outside in the beautiful linden tree gardens, followed by dinner and dancing in the Oak Room. We don’t really have a theme, but are definitely going with a traditional, classic look.
2. Priorities! Where are you splurging for the big day and where are you reeling it in?
Amanda: We are splurging on our DJ services. We want to make sure the mood of our night is set right and everyone enjoys themselves. We want to dance the night away. If we had to pick an area to cut back on I would say it is the centerpieces. Instead of big center pieces filled with flowers I plan on beautiful candles of all different sizes lining the tables. I love candles and feel they set a romantic feeling.
Lauren: We are definitely splurging on the venue and transportation. Besides a reception at the Shadowbrook, I knew I definitely wanted a trolley for the bridal party and I’ve always imagined arriving to the Church on my big day in a beautiful Rolls Royce. We are planning on reeling it in with invitations and place settings. I saw a really cute seating chart idea, rather than individual place cards.
3. Being a bride today is much different than it was 20 years ago. What old traditions are you holding on to, and what new traditions are you making your own?
Amanda: Traditions are very important to both Tim and I. I’m excited to continue the tradition of something old, new, borrowed and blue. I also cannot wait to see Tim at the altar for the first time and to recite my vows. This is my favorite part of a wedding. I love watching two people in love see each other for the first time and declare their love for one another in front of their family and friends. Our reception will stay traditional with all the dances; however, we will skip over garter toss.
Lauren: Our wedding is mostly traditional, with a few twists. Instead of getting ready at my parent’s house, my bridesmaids and me will be getting ready at my future mother-in-law’s home. We have gotten very close and I’m so excited to have both moms with me on the morning of the big day! My dress is definitely less traditional (fitted and glammy), but I will be wearing a veil for the ceremony. We are having a short ceremony at All Saints Church in Bay Head, New Jersey and our reception will also incorporate traditional father/daughter and mother/son dances.
4. Is your fiance very hands on or very hands off when it comes to planning? Both have their challenges! How are you dealing and what is most important to him on the big day?
Amanda: Tim is a very hands on groom. While I arrange meetings, organize timelines, and create excel spreadsheets, Tim accompanies me to all the meetings and always provides his insight. Yes, I’ve had to compromise on certain aspects of the day, but I much rather have him involved than not. His involvement even if it’s just his presence as I schedule appointment comforts me when I become overwhelmed and stressed.
Lauren: Luke is definitely hands off, which I like most of the time (because I’m a little bit if a control freak!). We’ve hit a few bumps along the way as planning can get stressful and overwhelming, but I’m learning that he just wants me to love every detail about our wedding and he trusts my ideas and taste. He won’t usually just step in to help, but if I ask him to do something specific, like making appointments with vendors, he’s on it! He also has his opinions for his look, which is great because I want him to feel handsome on his big day too!
5. Have you found something helpful for planning or stumbled upon the coolest vendor or website? Share your hidden gem!!
Amanda: Of course Pinterest and the bridal magazines provide me with the inspiration I need to bring my dream to reality. I especially enjoy having the option to hide my inspiration boards on Pinterest. I want to keep certain details a surprise for my guest. One of my dearest friends and bridesmaid gave me a Wedding Planner & Organizer binder. This binder helps me stay organized. I can take it to meetings and it also provides me with tips and questions to ask each vendor. Finding vendors I can trust to help create my vision is scary. I start writing large deposit checks and then second guess myself. Every now and then you hear a horrible story on the news about a bride's vendor skipping town. The Knot also has a great app that finds local vendors with honest reviews. This app has helped me research vendors from locations to limousine services to everything and anything you need for your special day. Furthermore, my recently married friends and newly engaged friends have shared vendor information with me too. Their input and experience has been very valuable.
Lauren: Like most brides these days, I love my Pinterest and Knot apps. There are so many great ideas and inspirations to make your big day your own. Another website I found is weddingtonway.com. I probably won’t have my bridesmaids purchase their gowns from this site, but it’s a great place to start the bridesmaid dress search. I love that you can search by color and order free fabric swatches!
6. What is the best piece of advice you have received about wedding planning when you got engaged? Worst piece of advice?
Amanda: The best piece of advice came from two very close friends. They told me to stop worrying about what others will think and to make decisions on what Tim and I like and want. They told me to remember that the day is about Tim and I and our decisions should be based on what WE want. On the flip side, I hate it when people say, “It’s one day. Don’t go crazy.” While I appreciate the good intent behind their advice, I have dreamt about our wedding day my entire life. Those close to me know that I won’t go crazy and I’ll keep things as close to budget as humanly possible (just look at my spreadsheet!), but again this will be one of the biggest days in our lives so it bothers me when people downplay how special this day truly is.
Lauren: The best piece of advice that I received was to enjoy every minute of my engagement. When people say time flies, they are not kidding! We have been engaged for 8 months now and I don’t know where the time has gone! I am so grateful to have another year to go – we have so much fun planning to do!
BONUS QUESTION! How did you ask your bridesmaids to be in your wedding party? We are always looking for new ideas!
Amanda: I found a cute poem and made postcards for each girl that I personalized with a picture of her and me. I also made special time to spend with each girl. Now of course when I made the postcards there were problems at the print shop. Oh the joys of bridalhood. Yes, that’s right the postcards where not ready for the special time I arranged with certain ladies. So I bought them a drink and told them how special their friendship meant to me and asked. They later received their postcards. As we all take different directions in life time is precious. I cherish the time spent with these special ladies and did not want to wait any longer.
Lauren: This was my first Pinterest project! I made little care packages for each of my bridesmaids including things they would need for my big day (mini bottles of alcohol, Band-Aids, Advil, etc). One side of the package said, "I can’t say I do without you!" and the other side had a picture the bridesmaid and me with a personalized note on the back. They all said yes :)
Lauren and Amanda, thank you SO MUCH for coming out to the beach with me. Lighting those sparklers in the wind proved to be very difficult but you two were so determined and I can't thank you enough for your help! So honored to be your wedding photographer and more importantly your friend! (cue the cheesy "AWWWW!") No but seriously, both your days will be an absolute blast and I can't wait to document every second of it. xoxo Jessa