Why Hire a Professional Hair + Makeup Team

Hair by WINK Hair + Makeup

Hair by WINK Hair + Makeup

I am very excited to feature a guest post by Kristi Martinson from WINK Hair + Makeup on my blog today! I have had the pleasure of working with Kristi and the WINK team many times and I HIGHLY recommend them! I think getting your hair and makeup professional done is a very important part of getting the best pictures possible and so I am excited to share some of Kristi's wisdom with you today:

Your wedding day is without a doubt one of the most memorable and special days of your life.  Chances are you have been dreaming about this day before you even met your hunky hubby-to-be.  On a day when all eyes will be on you, you want to look and feel your absolute most beautiful. If you are on the fence about hiring professional hair and makeup artists to glam you up, here are a few reasons that may help make your decision a little easier.

Top 5 reasons to hire a professional hair and makeup team for your wedding day.

1.)   Be stress-free on your wedding day.  This may be the most beneficial of all reasons to hire a professional for your wedding day. The last thing you want to worry about on your wedding day is if your winged liner is even or if your red lipstick is perfectly defined. Scheduling a trial before your wedding will give you peace of mind that your artist knows exactly how you like your hair and makeup and what to do to make you feel your most beautiful. It’s also a great time to make sure your personalities mesh well and that they will be a calming presence on your wedding day.

2.)   High-quality, professional grade product. There is definitely a difference between drug-store brand products and high-end products (and I don’t just mean the price tag). Don’t get me wrong, there are some drugstore products that can be perfectly fine for everyday, but they just aren’t the best quality when you want your makeup to last from 9a-midnight. A professional hairstylist knows which products layer best to create a style that will stay put and a makeup artist has a full kit of expensive and waterproof products that withstand humidity, heat, happy tears, and anything else that could possibly happen on your day.

Should you hire a professional hair and makeup artist for your wedding?

3.)   Extensive training to help you flaunt your best bits. Education and experience are key. Professional artists have extensive training and years of experience in their chose field (hair or makeup). They keep up with current trends and techniques by going to multiple training courses throughout the year. This helps you because it means we are able to work with multiple hair types (long, short, thick, thin, textured, curly, fine…you name it!), face shapes, skin tones, and ages! We train to know which looks will enhance every person’s natural beauty as well as how to camouflage features you aren’t too keen on. No matter what, you are going to be a goddess, so just sit back, relax, and trust your beauty team to work their magic.

4.)   Photogenic. The average babe doesn’t know which products photograph the best or which ingredients to avoid in order to make sure your face doesn’t look 5 shades lighter than your body. Have you ever you’re your makeup and loved it so much, but then you see a picture of yourself and it looks nothing like it did in person? Everyday makeup is completely different than makeup for photography. Professional makeup artists study endlessly to find the perfect products that photograph beautifully. It takes an artful eye to see the beauty and potential of each face and where to place specific products to bring out those gorgeous features.

Kristi from WINK Hair + Makeup

Kristi from WINK Hair + Makeup

5.)   Timing. We work with your wedding day planner/coordinator and your photographer to put together a hair and makeup timeline that ensures you and your bride tribe are picture perfect and ready on time.

I hope this has been helpful in making your decision on whether or not to take the plunge and hire a professional hair and makeup team or do it yourself. Either way, you will be a knock out. Happy wedding planning!

10 Things Your Photographer Wants You to Know (Part Two): You Should Hire a Wedding Coordinator

I'm excited to share Part 2 in "10 Things Your Photographer Wants You to Know" today! You can read Part One here. This post is actually a guest post by my friend Amy Perdue with Plume Events. Amy is an amazing wedding planner and I highly recommend you consider her for your upcoming wedding! I asked Amy to answer the question, "Why should couples hire a wedding coordinator?" Here are her thoughts:

Why should you hire a wedding coordinator?

Couples are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on their weddings, and many spare no expense to have the wedding day of their dreams.  But so often, couples are willing to spare the one expense that will go the furthest toward ensuring their wedding is everything they ever wanted—a wedding coordinator.  Why do so many couples choose not to have one?  People believe it is an unnecessary expense.  They see the need for flowers to make the space beautiful, and they are happy to spend money on a DJ and alcohol to make sure their guests have a good time, but they don’t see why they need a coordinator—they can do everything a wedding coordinator can, can’t they?  Well, they can’t.  And here’s why:

You Are an Expert at Your Job, but You Can’t Also Be an Expert at Wedding Coordination.

Planning a wedding can become a second full-time job, and a difficult one at that.  What questions do you ask the bakery to ensure your cake looks exactly how you want and will feed all of your guests?  What time do you need to start hair and makeup the day of?  What size tent do you need for 225 guests, if you want the dance floor and buffet tables to fit under it?  Trying to figure all of this out on your own can be very stressful.  Wedding coordination, like any other job, requires experience and skill.  A coordinator can use her expertise and experience to answer all your questions and to plan for every detail of your special day, including the ones you might not even know need to be planned.  She can also recommend vendors that will best suit your needs and budget and will be reliable and easy to work with, instead of your having to do a random internet search and hoping for the best. 

You Can’t Work with a Budget the Way a Coordinator Can.

Many couples think they can’t afford a coordinator, but coordinators often offset the cost of hiring them by finding you vendors who can offer you the best prices or even discounts because they were recommended by your coordinator.  It is also easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of wedding planning and start spending more than you should.  Wedding coordinators know all kinds of “tips and tricks” to save you money, like what kinds of flowers are similar to peonies but half the cost and how to cut your catering bill down by several dollars a person.  A coordinator can also help you stick to your budget, which can save you a lot in the long run. 

You Can’t Be Your Own “Go-To” Person.

why you should hire a wedding planner

A wedding coordinator can be there when you need advice or an opinion on anything.  Your coordinator will have a strong understanding of your theme and vision and will be there for you to text when you are out shopping for décor or to send the proof of your invitations to in order to make sure everything is spelled correctly and the RSVP date was included.  And when all 20 of your vendors have questions about the venue or the shade of blue you want, your coordinator can serve as their contact person and keep your inbox from filling up with wedding questions.  Most importantly for your sanity, a coordinator can help you with your family and their opinions on your wedding.  It is very difficult to please everyone in your family, when they often have differing ideas of what your wedding should be like and demands they expect to be fulfilled.  You may have a hard time saying no to your sister when she insists your niece’s flower girl dress be pink instead of white or to your future mother-in-law when she suggests you order favors from her best friend who crochets, but your wedding coordinator won’t.  She will stand up for you and make sure what you want comes first. 

You Can’t Orchestrate Your Wedding Day and Still Have the Best Day of Your Life.

You shouldn’t have to worry on your wedding day…and neither should your mom or your bridesmaids.  Picture the morning of your wedding…what do you imagine?  You probably imagine yourself surrounded by your best friends and closest family, getting pampered, eating brunch, and just being happy.  It is really hard to do all of that when you are setting up chairs, calling to find out where the florist is with all your bouquets, and re-organizing the place cards that your bridesmaid dropped while she was trying to help you put them all out.  And the last thing you want is people coming up to you right before your ceremony or during your reception with last-minute problems.  Your wedding coordinator will take care of all the set-up the morning of and make sure that any issues that arise are handled—quietly and without drama.  In fact, you should never even know about the things that could have or did go wrong on your wedding day, and you can be sure there will be a few!

If you are getting married, consider the benefits of hiring a coordinator and enjoy your engagement, the wedding planning, and your wedding day.  Happy planning!

8 Registry Essentials

I have to admit, one of my favorite things about wedding planning was registering! I encourage you to think strategically about what you register for because this is the one of the few times in your life when you can choose your gifts. There are so many great places to register but I primarily chose to register at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Pottery Barn. I registered for most of my cookware for BB&B and for my dish ware, linens, and decorative items at PB. Both Bed Bath and Beyond and Pottery Barn were great with returns and exchanges and I highly recommend both companies.

There's SO many things you can register for and so this list is not comprehensive. However, I've tried to list the things that I've used most in the two years since I've been married. I've noticed that, for the most part, I've gotten WAY more use out of the practical (a.k.a. "unexciting" things) I've registered for versus the decorative things I registered for (like pretty platters, etc.). I'm not saying you shouldn't register for any decorative items because I think those can be great for entertaining. But make sure you focus on registering for high quality practical items because you will end up using those almost every day!

8 Registry Essentials

1. Classic Dishes
After much consideration, I registered for a set of "Cambria" dishes at Pottery Barn. I chose to get a set of stone and a set of turquoise instead of registering for China (I knew I was going to inherit my grandma's china). I chose the Cambria dishes because I felt like they were classic and something I wouldn't grow tired of and because I could mix and match colors. I encourage you to purchase a classic set of dishes. Shop different options by clicking on the pictures below:

2. Pots, pans, and dutch oven
One of the most important things you should invest in is your pots and pans! You will be using these just about every day after all! After doing some research, I chose to register for these stainless steel pans instead of non-stick. I'm really glad that I did and I have loved my stainless steel pans! I did get one small 6" non-stick pan for cooking eggs and I got a free 12" non-stick pan with the purchase of my set of pans (you really still need to get at least one nonstick pan for things like eggs and pancakes). I chose stainless steel because they hold up better and are less likely to scratch, they can withstand very high heat, and they have the ability to brown/deglaze food (much harder to do with a nonstick pan). I figured if all the professional chefs choose to use stainless steel pans, they probably know what they're talking about! I will say that stainless steel can be a little higher maintenance and requires a little more cleanup, but I just keep a bottle of Bar Keepers Friend under my sink and it works like a charm! Also, be sure to always use oil in your pan and to slowly heat it up before adding in your ingredients.

I also recommend registering for one or two cast iron skillets. I feel like I use my cast iron grill pan every other day! I LOVE the taste of grilled food but we currently live in an apartment and are unable to grill and so I frequently use this pan to get a similar, grilled taste. Two things to keep in mind with cast iron: don't use soap to clean it (just scrape it off) and you need to continually "season" your pan by coating it with oil or it will rust. In addition, I also highly recommend registering for a dutch oven. I was nervous that I may not get much use out of mine, but I find that I use it very frequently (especially in the winter). I primarily use it for making sauces, soups, and stews. What I love about the dutch oven is that you can sauté right in the pot and then put your liquids in and therefore avoid having to use two pans. I also love that you can take your dutch oven from the stove top to the oven.

You also want to make sure you register for good quality bakeware. I have noticed a difference in lesser quality vs. higher quality pans in how my food bakes. I also highly recommend getting a Silpat. I got one for Christmas a love it! It's reusable, cooks your food very evenly, and takes the place of having to use grease to make your pan non-stick.

3. Good Knives

Good knives are another very important investment that you will use daily. I registered for this set and have been very happy with them! I like that they come with a sharpener. I have also heard that Wusthof knives are amazing and would love to buy a few in the future.

4. Comforter & linens

Registering is a great time to get a big item like a nice comforter and nice towels. You will also use your comforter and towels daily and so they're worth investing in good quality! I registered for a comforter very similar to this one in grey (PB no longer carries my exact comforter) and these towels in white and "porcelain blue" (I LOVE how thick these towels are).

5. Kitchenaid Mixer

A Kitchenaid mixer is the classic registry item everyone thinks of! I actually don't think it's technically "essential" to register for a Kitchenaid, but it's certainly a fun appliance to own! If you don't do much baking, it probably won't be worth it for you to get. In all honesty, I don't use my Kitchenaid a ton, but I do absolutely love it for baking. I love that I can throw everything in there and walk away and let it mix. I also use it for kneading doughs. There's several separate attachments you can purchase as well that will give you a lot more uses for your mixer. I've been eyeing the meat grinder attachment and hope to purchase it soon.

6. Beverage Essentials

For all of you coffee drinkers, be sure to register for a nice coffee maker and grinder! We have this coffee maker and have been very happy with it! I recommend registering for a programmable coffee maker because, I don't know about you, but making coffee is the last thing I want to do when I'm rushing out the door in the morning. I've also been very happy with this grinder. I also use my Bodum french press fairly regularly and have been eyeing this lovely copper one!

The other "beverage essential" I put on my registry was a Ninja. I LOOOOVE my Ninja! I use it almost every day for smoothies and drinks. The Ninja I have also doubles as a food processor. One of my favorite things about it is that it comes with single serving size cups and so making a smoothie is super quick and easy and doesn't require cleaning up a full blender. 

7. Vacuum Cleaner

I actually didn't end up getting the vacuum cleaner from my registry and almost immediately regretted it. I also quickly learned that those $40 vacuums really don't pick up much! A good quality vacuum may not be the most exciting thing, but it's certainly necessary! I have this vacuum and have been very happy with it. I love how lightweight, yet powerful it is and how easily it rotates and gets in tight corners. My mother-in-law also has the Shark steam mop and really loves it.

8. Kitchen Gadgets

Lastly, I'll close with a few of the kitchen gadgets I use most. Kitchen gadgets are not very expensive and are items you can more easily by yourself, but it's wise to register for a lot of $20-30 items in addition to your big ticket items. I actually found that most people wanted to purchase a $20-30 item off my registry and so I ended up with a lot of duplicates and exchanged those in order to get my bigger items. 

Hands down, the two gadgets I use most are my garlic peeler and garlic press. I use these with almost every meal and they save SO much time. I absolutely HATE peeling garlic and so the peeler is amazing because it takes the outer shell of the garlic off for you. I also really love this chopper (I have the pampered chef version but it's essential the same as the one I linked) because I'm really bad at chopping things finely and it saves a lot of time. I also like this citrus squeezer because I tend to cook and bake with a lot of lemons and limes, and this squeezer does a great job of catching the seeds and squeezing out as much juice as possible.

I hope you found this post helpful! What are some items you think are essential to put on a registry? 

10 Things Your Photographer Wants You to Know (Part One): Good Photos Take Time

Hi friends! I'm very excited to start this new series on "10 Things Your Photographer Wants You to Know." I hope that you find it helpful! 

Wedding days are full of so many great things and they require good planning if everything is going to be accomplished! I find that many couples really want great pictures, but they often don't prioritize photography in the amount of time they give for photos to be taken. I think this is largely because they don't realize how much time is needed to great beautiful, artistic, and creative pictures. Now granted, a good photographer should be able to work with a small amount of time when necessary. But, when possible, it is very important to set aside ample time for your photos. This will take stress off your photographer and allow them to be MUCH more creative and thorough. When I have enough time, it give me the chance to take pictures with multiple backgrounds, place my couples in lots of different poses, and notice things (like a strand of hair being out of place) that I may not pick up on if I'm super pressed for time.

Here's a few tips to give your photographer enough time on your wedding day:

The Importance of a Wedding Photography Timeline
I think having a wedding photography timeline is so important that I meet with each of my couples before their wedding day to help come up with their timeline. A timeline helps you and your photographer to be on the same page and it creates a schedule by which your photography can have the time he/she needs to get pictures. 

So how much time do good photos take? I wrote a whole post on how to come up with a wedding photography timeline here. Here's a sample of a timeline for a wedding with a "First Look:"

1. Getting Ready: 45 minutes
2. Details: 45 minutes
3. Bridal Prep (Bride getting in dress and bridal portraits): 30 minutes
4. First Look: 15 minutes
5. Bride and Groom Portraits: 30 minutes
6. Bridal Party Pictures: 45-60 minutes
7. Party in Hiding/Ceremony & Reception Detail Shots: 30 minutes
8. Ceremony: 30 minutes
9. Family Portraits: 30 minutes
10. Reception: varies
11. Optional Extra Bride and Groom Portraits at Sunset: 15 minutes

These photos are from one of my favorite weddings! It was one of my favorites not just because of the amazing location and couple, but also because Alexa and Dan gave me LOTS of time for bridal party pictures and pictures of the two of them and I think it really shows in the variety I was able to give them in posing, location, etc.!

These photos are from one of my favorite weddings! It was one of my favorites not just because of the amazing location and couple, but also because Alexa and Dan gave me LOTS of time for bridal party pictures and pictures of the two of them and I think it really shows in the variety I was able to give them in posing, location, etc.!

Hire a Day-of-Coordinator
I won't go into much detail on this point because I am going to have a whole blog post about it soon. I'll just say that I think it's extremely important to have a day-of-coordinator (for your ceremony and reception). The Coordinator make sure everything is running on schedule and can fix any loose ends or last minute things that pop up. In addition, the coordinator can also help you come up with a timeline and communicate with the photographer on the schedule.

Have Your Hair and Makeup Done Early
I find that the biggest thing that can often run behind schedule on wedding days is hair and makeup. Several times, I've been in situations where hair and makeup is running an hour or two behind, and that can severely cut into the amount of time you have to take photos! I understand how important it is for you to look your best, and so I strongly advice having your hair and makeup done early and telling your hair/makeup artist(s) they need to be done 1-2 hours before you actually have to be done. That way, if you're running a little behind it won't be a problem! 

Make Time for Photos After the Ceremony
When couples don't do a first look, they need to reserve a minimum of 60 minutes for their photographer to get all of the family photos, pictures of the whole bridal party, and pictures of the bride and groom. If there's travel time involved in getting to the reception, I tell my couples to plan for a minimum of 60 minutes after their ceremony plus whatever travel time is involved. I completely understand the desire to get to your reception as quickly as possible, but I also urge you to consider the importance of having beautiful photos that you will treasure for years to come. In my opinion, giving your photography enough time and getting to your reception a little later is well worth it! If you're worried about your guests waiting, I encourage you to consider doing a cocktail hour. Or, you could also consider doing a "First Look." If you do a "First Look," you can usually get to your reception within 30 minutes (plus travel time). 

Step Out of Your Reception for Sunset Pictures
The best lighting for pictures is during the hour before sunset. I strongly encourage you to consider stepping out of your reception for 5-10 minutes during that hour to get a few extra portraits. Trust me, it will be worth it! While your photographer should be able to get great pictures at any time of the day, there is no way to replace "golden hour" lighting!