For Brides

Tips + Tricks: How to make the perfect wedding day timeline!

We know how it is, you're looking at your makeshift schedule for your wedding day and you're wondering to are we going to fit EVERYTHING in to this day?!?!

We have been there. We can remember right up to the last minute feeling like we hadn't planned out our wedding day timeline enough and we weren't even sure we had set aside enough time for photos (how is this possible you ask?!?!?! Wedding stress is real stress friends haha). So we thought we would give you some pointers on planning out your day to help make it streamline as possible. 

     -  Consider your ceremony/reception sites for unique planning
If you are having your ceremony and reception at two separate locations make sure to take in account the drive time between the two as well as how this will play in to your time getting ready pre-ceremony and your photography time post-ceremony. We have found it is best to add in some buffers to prevent any added stress on travelling from one location to the next.

     -  Think about your ceremony start time and then think backwards
It may sound weird, but most venues give you a set ceremony time. So if you can start with that in your mind you can work backwards to plan out when you should be at the salon for hair and make up, when you want to have your dress on, when you need the entire wedding party dressed etc. This is also the best time to think about whether you are going to have a first look (want more info on first looks?? Check out this whole blog post on the subject here.) If you are planning on a first look then you want to factor that in now to add an extra 45 min before your ceremony to be dressed and ready. 

     -  Plan time for your photos!
I know, I know - you think I'm biased here BUT planning adequate time for photography is a must! This is especially important if you are planning to have a ceremony that is starting later in the afternoon or towards dusk. If you want beautiful images outdoors showcasing the scenery of your venue and all it has to offer than planning ahead will be key. Traditionally, photos are taken during the cocktail hour leaving about 45-60 minutes for photos. If you are wanting to have a receiving line post ceremony, than consider adding an extra 15 minutes to your cocktail hour so it doesn't cut in to your photo time. 

     - Know what is important to you
This is your big day - make sure you know where you want to be spending your time. If you both desperately want to be at your cocktail hour, consider planning on doing a first look and portraits pre-ceremony. This allows that time after the ceremony to be for your cocktail hour. 

Our last biggest tip of all is this - don't sweat the small stuff. No matter what happens your wedding day is going to be BEAUTIFUL and most importantly, at the end of the day you be married and stepping in the rest of your lives together. So if things don't go quite as planned, don't fret - let your day just be fun and full of love. 

Tips + Tricks: Bridal Hair and Makeup

We get asked for advice all the time about planning and executing a great wedding and one thing we are asked about the most is our opinions on hair and makeup. So we decided what better way to get you guys the information you want than to ask an expert! 

We decided to call on Donna Cotnoir, owner and operator of Custom for You - where she offers full service hair and makeup for weddings as well as corporate bookings (she even did the makeup for James Taylor and his wife once!!). We asked Donna to give us some of her favorite tips for brides on everything hair/makeup related. 

Firstly, one of the most important things Donna wants brides to know is this - always do a trial for your hair AND makeup! This is so important to be sure that what you saw as your vision actually suits you and you're happy with!

Donna had the following to say:

"When choosing a hair style and makeup for your wedding, take in to consideration the theme of the wedding, the style of your dress AND your personality. The makeup has to look like you, bring out your features and give you a glow. Not over done. You have to feel comfortable with the way you look!"

When asked about choosing a hair and make up artist Donna said "You might want to look on Pinterest for ideas and a must is to do a consultation or two. The hair and makeup artist and bride have to mesh together and NEVER feel afraid to ask questions". Just like anything else with your wedding, you will get the absolute most out of your day if you have a great working relationship with your chosen vendors so take the time to get to know your artist and make sure you will work together!

We hope this helps answer some of your big questions about bridal hair and makeup! If you would like to contact Donna for a consultation you can find all of her information below!

Donna Cotnoir
Custom for You
IG: @customforyounh

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First Looks, and why they are awesome!

During your wedding planning process you may have heard the term "first look" thrown around and wondered what it was, or maybe you know but thought it wasn't a good traditional wedding idea - well today I'm going to tell you what a first look is and why it is an awesome idea!

First we will start with what a first look is - just imagine for a moment. You've spent the morning getting all prepped and ready. Getting in to your wedding dress you painstakingly picked out months before. You say good bye to your wedding party and walk out to a secluded location. There in the distance, your soon-to-be-husband is standing with his back to you. With anxious anticipation you slowly make your way towards him, hardly able to contain your excitement. You finally get close enough to reach out and tap his shoulder, he excitedly turns around with a huge smile on his face and picks you up in a warm embrace. You are able to take a few minutes to excitedly talk and spend your last precious moments together before being married. Doesn't this sounds perfect?!?! This is what a first look is all about - intimate moments and memories to last a lifetime!

So a few reasons why you should at least consider a first look!

1. By seeing each other before the ceremony you are able to take everything in, calm each other down a little and a have peaceful moment to start your day. We believe first looks help you to take in your whole ceremony from a 'slightly' calmer place as you have already seen each other and gotten the nervousness out. 

2. You have more time for photos! As photographers we may be a little biased but we think the more time the better!! But really, the nice thing about first look photos is your hair and make up are fresh and your groom's suit has no wrinkles so this is a great time for fresh photos. Plus, all of the emotion of getting to see each other leads to beautiful emotion and the chance for you to interact as naturally as possible. Without the nervousness of being in front of all your guests, first looks allow for raw and emotional photos that couples always love!

3. You don't have to worry about light. Depending on the time of year and ceremony start time, there may be less time for pretty outdoor family and portrait photos. First looks allow for the bulk of portraits to be done pre-ceremony meaning less chance of it being overly dark for your session. 

4. You get to your cocktail hour quicker! For some people this is a deal breaker - if you want to enjoy your cocktail hour with all your guests then a first look can definitely help! As stated above, it helps get the majority of portraits done pre-ceremony and leaves fewer things to be formally photographed after the ceremony - getting you to your guests quicker. 

All in all, you have to choose what works best for you and there is certainly no right or wrong answer! No matter what, your wedding day will be one of the best days of your life! Need help coming up with fun ideas for a first look? Stay tuned as they will be hitting the blog soon!

Three Tricks to Beautiful Getting Ready Photos

I'm sure many of you have scrolled through photographers photos and Pinterest at all the gorgeous wedding photos, especially those getting ready photos; the classic beauties with your girls helping button up your dress and your last few moments before you are married. These moments are so special and deserve to be captured as part of your legacy! Many brides have asked me what they should have in their bridal suite to get the best getting ready photos and I have decided to rally these tips in to one helpful post for all of you!

  • First things first, choose a bridal suite that has plenty of natural light or access to an open window/door. That soft pretty light flooding through a window will help show off all your gorgeous dress details and you will look absolutely radiant! Soak in a little extra sun before getting ready to help relax! 
  • Keep your bridal suite uncluttered! You want the time before your wedding to be relaxing and keeping the space your in tidy will help alleviate any extra anxiety. Plus, you don't want extra odds and ends ending up in your photographs!
  • Have all of your accessories in one place. Make sure to have your shoes, jewelry and any little keepsakes you will have on you close by to your dress - this saves time as you're getting ready and makes sure nothing is missed! 

Top 4 Things to do with Your Gown after Your Big Day!

Hey friends! Let's just take a minute and think back on the day you found your wedding dress. You probably tried on numerous dresses in many styles when suddenly you found, the one. You felt amazing in it and you knew this was the dress you had to have for your day. So you bought the dress of your dreams and had the most magical wedding that you always wanted. You're back from your honeymoon and loving this new life yet every time you open your closet your dress is just....hanging there. While many people like the idea of saving their dress for their daughter to wear, there are many who want fun things to do with the dress after. Below are some awesome things you can do with your dress if you decide to not save it for later, enjoy!

1. Utilize the scraps or layers

If you're anything like me, you had to get your dress tailored and hemmed to the right size which may have left you with some scraps and pieces of lace. Consider using some of the scrap pieces to add some flare to some simple white throw pillows or sew some of the lace to a pretty white clutch. If you're feeling like using more of your dress there are plenty of vendors on Etsy who will make custom designed pillows and decor for you when you send your dress. One super cool thing to do if your dress has lace pieces is to have  necklace made with some of the pieces! This is a great shop on Etsy (click here!) that will make beautiful pendants with your dress so you can wear it forever!

2. Trash the Dress

Plan a fun photo shoot for you and your new husband where you get to do some crazy activity in your dress! Some people go paint balling, mudding with their ATV's, jump in the ocean and more! Pick something fun that shows off your personality and get a little crazy! You will have your gorgeous wedding photos and your fun shoot photos to have some fun memories!

3. Donate your dress

There are numerous organizations you can donate your dress to. One of my favorite places is Brides Across America - which works to supply wedding gowns to military brides taking out one stress and financial factor for those serving our country. You can check them out here! about Another great place to donate is to Wish Upon a Wedding to help terminally-ill brides have the wedding of their dreams. You can find more information about them here!

4. Re-sell your dress

If you're looking to re-sell your dress you can check out Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses. Here you can buy and sell dresses easily by just simply setting up an account! There is only a $25 listing fee for selling a dress and then zero commission afterwards. Head on over to their site to see how easy you can re-sell your beautiful gown!  

How to Rock your Engagement Session!

It is all so exciting - you're finally engaged and you and your fiance are excitedly talking about wedding plans and your future! Soon enough you realize it's time to book a photographer for your engagement session (and/or wedding) and maybe you are wondering how to get the most of your engagement session. Lucky for you, I have some great tips to rocking your engagement session!!

1. Pick a great photographer

Do your research! Consider the types of photos you want to hang in your home, do you envision bright and crisp photos, or maybe a little darker and moodier? Take some time to look through the work of the photographers your considering and try to picture yourself in the images. You can typically find engagement photos on the photographers blog, take some time to check them out and get a feel of what your session will look like! Choose a photographer whose work you really love!

2. Think about your personal style

Choose a feel for your session - do you want to be dressed laid back and comfy, or maybe in a fancy dress paired with a suit. Your wardrobe choice will have an affect on the feel of your photos, so choose outfits that reflect your personal style and character - it will feel so much more natural! Also, make sure to wear something you really love and feel good in, you want to feel your absolute best so you can enjoy the full experience and not worry about your look. The best advice for your outfit is no matter what style you pick try to choose colors that coordinate but don't match. Avoid having both of you in a strong pattern (plaid, stripes, argyle) - if one person wears a bold pattern have the other wear something more neutral to balance it out! 

3. Know your end goal

Think about how these photos will hang on your wall - do you want very formal posed images? Fun an goofy? Romantic and intimate? Know long before you book your session what you want - you will have these forever, so you want to love them! Choose something that is true to who you are as a couple and what will show off your personalities the best. 

4. Choose the right location

Picking a location can play a huge part in making your session awesome! Think about choosing a location that has meaning - maybe where he proposed, or where you had your first date - if those don't spark your fancy than choose a location you find stunning! If you're looking for a more urban feel, maybe have your session downtown of your favorite city. If you are feeling more adventurous, add in a short hike to a mountain location or to a gorgeous waterfall. 

Winter Love

Shaker Village Mill - Enfield, NH

This rich purple and burgundy bridal shoot was inspired by the deep winter colors and a sweet love story that needed to be told. I knew that I needed to reach out of my comfort zones this fall and work on creating a bridal shoot with richer warm tones and some dramatic touches but I was stuck on trying to find a great story to tell around this shoot...until I saw the mill building. My husband and I were driving around one afternoon exploring new locations when we stumbled upon a gorgeous old stone mill building set next to a huge hay field. The building is absolutely covered in huge windows letting all the light flood in to the pretty wood floors, I was hooked.

I had a vision for the shoot and all that was left was finding a sweet couple to model. Then it hit me, my friend Meagan and her husband are not only the sweetest couple ever but they were married in another building at the same location almost exactly 5 years earlier! As if it was fate I asked Meagan if her and Josh would care to take part in this fun shoot and was thrilled that not only could it be a fun day but also a little anniversary throwback after 5 great years of marriage. These two troopers showed up to the shoot (which of course was one of the coldest days of winter at that point...go figure) ready to get all dressed up and re-tell parts of their love story in this gorgeous scene. They also were able to bring along Meagan's younger sister Julia to be a bridesmaid in the shoot, just as she was a part of Meagan's actual wedding day. 

Nothing in this day would have been possible without the amazing creative team behind these ideas! 

Design Team: My mom is always my sounding board for ideas and constantly inspires me. She helped find some of the antique pieces featured which played a huge role in setting the mood of this day. Jen of Simply Equine Design is my best friend and collaborator who has a great sense of style and is always making each little detail perfect. She always makes sure to keep my ideas in tact while perfecting the overall theme. 

FloralsPetals supplied the gorgeous bridal bouquet and table garland full of rich burgundy and wine colors to fit the mood of this winter love story. Michelle at Petals is always such a joy to work with, her florals are truly art and she puts such care and effort in to creating amazing pieces that speak to the heart. 

Invitation Suite: Kristin of 622 Press was the designer behind the beautiful burgundy floral invitation suite featured in this shoot. When I reached out to her about this and explained the vision, she immediately sent some choices including this one and I knew it was going to fit perfectly! This suite is flawless and was clearly created with lots of love and attention to detail! 

Cake: Brianna of The Cake Fairy USA is the mastermind behind the amazing petite cake! The Cake Fairy always exceeds expectations with their baking and ability to bring ideas to life. They even hand made the floral piece on the cake - talk about no detail left out!! 

Jewelry: The beautiful earrings and necklace are handmade pieces from Edera's collection of amazing pieces! Each unique piece is handmade, incorporating the fine art of creating lace and needlework. The jewelry featured is incredibly gorgeous and a perfect addition to any brides wardrobe. 

Makeup: Cindy DuBois is the talented makeup artist behind the brides look. Cindy has a great eye for color and incorporates beautiful color palettes while still perfectly matching skin tones. Cindy has a great attitude and is such a pleasure to work with!



Timber Hill Farm Shoot

Timber Hill Farm, Gilford NH

Right in the heart of New Hampshire is one of the most beautiful farms and wedding venues around! Timber Hill Farm in Gilford, NH showcases the beautiful New England mountains, homegrown New Hampshire hospitatlity and an amazing agricultural legacy. Setting up this shoot in the tall grass with the mountain backdrop was truly a dream come true. Timber Hill's beautiful handmade wood tables were decorated with a gorgeous centerpiece of peonies by Petals Floral Design, of White River Vermont, as well as the navy and white china from my grandmother, which was the inspiration behind this shoot. Simply Equine Design, an artist out of Southern NH, so thoughtfully hand painted wooden napkin rings as well as a gorgeous cake plaque to round off the elegant table-scape. The scene would not have been complete without the calligraphy talents of Dancing Ink, who created a stunning invitation suite straight out of a dream. The Cake Fairy, from Hooksett NH, created a watercolor cake masterpiece finished off with gold accents and pink undertones. The grooms outfit was finished off with a stylish bow-tie from Neck and Tie Co who specialize in personalized handmade ties for weddings and other events. Videographer, Justin Mills, may have had the hardest time throughout the day chasing us around to capture the behind the scenes of the day, never the less his video talent will show through with outstanding footage. All together this shoot was pure magic and I couldn't be happier - thank you to all of the fabulous creatives and friends who backed me up to make this dream a reality!

Photography + Planning: AB Photography | Artist + Photography: Simply Equine Design | Florals: Petals | Venue: Timber Hill Farm | Cake: The Cake Fairy | Calligraphy: Dancing Ink | Bow-tie: Neck and Tie Co. | Videographer: Justin Mills | Models: Bobby and Kathryn Fitzgerald | Assistant: Austin Blake