When the Photographer Becomes the Bride • Kerri Lynne Photography + Katelyn James

When the Photographer Becomes the Bride • Kerri Lynne Photography + Katelyn James

Oh friends, we've been giddy to share this post with you for WEEKS, and today is the day! Have you ever wondered what happens when a wedding photographer becomes the bride?! After years of being behind the camera, Kerri of Kerri Lynne Photography is marrying her adorable fiancé Derek, and is now the one planning HER dream wedding. The lessons she's learned as a bride-to-be are priceless, and more importantly, are a wonderful reminder to slow down and enjoy the journey. We adore Kerri, her outlook on her wedding day, and her commitment to a beautiful marriage... and we're counting the days until we get to see her say "I Do!". 

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Red Oak Weddings Fall Styled Shoot • Part One

 

It feels a little bit like Christmas morning today, because we're finally sharing a shoot that is a very big piece of our heart. The dream was to create a shoot that both celebrated the wonderful Red Oak advertisers and friends that have cheered us on this last year, and also represented the diverse and incredibly talented vendors in our area. We could not be more thrilled with what this day turned out to be, and the camaraderie that blossomed between friends. 

We're separating the shoot into two posts - one today and one tomorrow - so that we can do all of these beautiful photos justice. Our hope is that you're inspired by the possibilities of what this group of talented vendors can create - we certainly are! 


Photos below by Cinnamon Wolfe Photography
Photos below by Jennifer Larson Photography

Video by TONEmedia

Vendors: Planning + Design: All Who Wander Event Design | Photographers: Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | Jennifer Larsen Photography | Wardrobe Styling: Allison Koehler | Furniture Rentals: Dovetail Vintage Rentals | Tabletop Rentals: Borrowed Blu | Linens: Adorn Company | Florals (reception table + ceremony): Colly Flowers | Florals (personals + cake): Kerry Patel Designs | Dress: Rebecca Schoneveld | Welcome Basket: That's Darlin’ | Paper Goods: Bella Carta Boutique | Cake: Sweet + Flour | Calligraphy: Lovely Scribe | Videography: Tonemedia | Jewelry: L. Priori Jewelry | Hair + Makeup: Artist Makeup Academy | Ribbons: Honey Silk Co. and Susanna Luck | Venue: Cedar Lake Estates
 

Pink & Orange Boho Bridal Shower Inspiration • Nicole Taylor Photography

 

This intimate, boho-chic bridal shower shoot from Nicole Taylor is the perfect blend of vibrant florals, neutral colors and full of inspiration for any event. Silvery Moon Guesthouse was the perfect backdrop for the bohemian vibe, and the styling from Allium and Patchwork Planning made the entire event welcoming and warm. Vintage glassware, fruits and a flower-crown session? This is a shower we wish we were invited to! 


From Nicole: Located in an old historic chapel in Stroudsburg, PA in the Poconos. We were contacted by the venue owner Liz who had recently purchased the property containing an old school house, an old historic chapel and a beautifully decorated home that she now calls The Silvery Moon Guesthouse. Looking to offer her space for small events and weddings Candice of Patchwork Planning and Renee of Forget Me Not Rentals decided on a vibrant bridal shower with a Boho feel. Sarah of Allium contributed to the styling and completed the look and feel with her beautiful floral designs including the stunning floral necklace worn by our model for the shoot. 

The inspiration for this shoot drew from two completely different worlds. We wanted to to go for a raw bohemian vibe pulling in a ton of neutral tones, but we also wanted the color to make a statement so we included bold pinks and orange. We used pops of color in the florals, fruits, and other small details, while maintaining a neutral pallet within the furniture and the throw pillows and poufs. To tie in the florals, we also used them to accentuate the adorable buttercream cupcakes. 

Since we wanted to inspire a bridal shower, we thought a flower crown activity would be a fun and unique way to entertain guests. We wanted the seating situation to be cozy and inviting so we used a low bohemian style table with some throw pillows and poufs. 

Photographer:  Nicole Taylor Photography | Floral Designer: Allium Design | Cake Designer: Cozze cakes | Equipment Rentals: Forget Me Not Vintage Rentals | Makeup Artist:Marina Christine MUA | Jewelry: Nespoli Jewelers | Event Planner: Patchwork Planning | Hair Stylist:Pebbles Hair Designs | Event Venue: Silvery Moon Guesthouse


Closet Staples for Wedding Season • AOK Style + Planning

 

I remember "wedding season" so clearly - the five years in our twenties where we had 10 weddings a year, traveling around the country, watching all of our friends say I-do. I could have used some advice from Allison Koehler back then: classic closet staples that would carry me through every bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding, rather than buying something new for every event. Allison from AOK Style + Planning is sharing some of her favorite pieces to get you through the fall! 


Closet Staples for Wedding Season • AOK Style + Planning

September and October (and Fall in general) are slowly but surely becoming the busiest months of the year for Weddings. That means that most of us have more than a few Wedding related events to attend before the year is out.

Aside from hitting up the registry before it gets picked over by guests, what to wear to a wedding (or engagement party, bachelorette, bridal shower, etc) is always a top priority.

There are obvious rules like don’t wear white and adhere to the dress code that’s on the invitation, but truly, the world is our proverbial oyster when it comes to dressing up for wedding events.

Closet Staples for Wedding Season • AOK Style + Planning

photo by Lisa Frechette Photography

Here are my suggestions for how to dress:

The Bridal Shower
Depending on the type of Bride / wedding, the bridal shower may or may not be an occasion to get fancy. I always love to suggest pastel colors, they just feel so appropriate for Bridal Showers (and there aren’t a ton of reasons to wear pastel). Not looking to break the bank? Dress up one of your work dresses with fun heels, or peruse luxury consignment shops like Tradesy to snag something special on the cheap.

Closet Staples for Wedding Season • AOK Style + Planning

from ASOS

The Bachelorette
Getting dressed for a Bachelorette party might be my favorite. It’s such a good excuse to try a new trend and step outside the box a little bit. Think: crop top and skirt sets, neon colors, Daisy dukes, and rompers. I like to shop trends inexpensively by going sourcing from sites like ASOS and Zara. This way you can try something new without a huge commitment.

Closet Staples for Wedding Season • AOK Style + Planning

from ZARA

The Wedding
Rent the Runway is a great resource, but I like to be able to add to my existing wardrobe when I start to think about what I’d like to wear to a wedding. First things first, a black cocktail dress is always appropriate, and a true closet staple. Long sleeves are great for outdoor weddings in the Fall, and since a pashmina won’t keep anyone warm, if you’re wearing a short sleeved dress for an outdoor Fall wedding, pair it with a leather or structured jacket. Finally, don’t discount the jumpsuit! A sleek jumpsuit can be a winner for casual and black tie weddings alike. Comfort on the dance floor? Sold.

Closet Staples for Wedding Season • AOK Style + Planning

from NORDSTROM

Whatever you wear, my advice is to always buy something you love and can wear again and again. Still stumped? Give me a shout!

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Blogger Bride Kristen of Maid of Henry • You're Engaged! What's Next?

 

Our favorite bride-to-be, Kristen from Maid of Henry, is back with some advice on what to do after getting engaged, and some of her very own behind-the-scenes photos of the day she said "yes". Hands down, Kristen + Kevin win the award for cutest couple ever, and we know you'll melt over her engagement story! 


“Forever and ever, you'll stay in my heart and I will love you
forever and ever we never will part
oh, how I'll love you
together, forever, that's how it must be to live without you
would only mean heartbreak for me.”
-My Best Friend’s Wedding
Red Oak Wedding Blogger Bride Kristen of Maid of Henry

You’re engaged. Congrats! You’ve admired your ring from all angles and know which lighting it sparkles most in. You’ve ugly-cried…more than once. You’ve even created your very own version of Monica Geller’s balcony “I’m Engaged!!!!!!” moment.

I’ve known for…ever that I wanted Kevin and my engagement moment to be just us. No family or friends. No distractors or bystanders. No paparazzi. And Kevin did just that. No one will ever know what that moment was like besides Kevin and me. That makes it the most special, intimate moment we’ve ever had and I will always cherish that. Whatever your moment may be, I encourage you to enjoy it before sharing your best news yet.

redoakweddings_0849.jpg

After we had breakfast at 6A Cafe, our favorite place in Cape Cod, we returned to the spot where Kevin popped the question to pop a bottle of champagne for mimosas. We cozied up on the beach with blankets and called our loved ones: our parents, grandparents, aunts + uncles, cousins, and closest friends. Hearing the most genuine, loving reactions helped us see that taking the time to personally call each of them was one of the best decisions we could’ve made. Once you’ve notified your VIPs, you can send out your mass-texts, snap your happiest selfie to date, update your Facebook status, and post your adorable engagement announcement on the ‘gram! #instaengaged

In the midst of it all, you will absolutely experience the “OMG, wait…what should I be doing?” moment. Within the first few weeks of being engaged, you will want to get yourself organized and prepared. Before you bring your new ‘fing-bling' (yes, I made that up) to meet your favorite people and places, make sure it’s insured! There is always, always that one girl who will ask to try your ring on. Believe me, I was her.

Red Oak Wedding Blogger Bride Kristen of Maid of Henry

It’s a nice gesture to send thank-you notes to everyone who took part in your engagement and was sweet enough to give you a gift. I also encourage you to invest in an engagement journal where you can document your proposal details while they’re perfectly-clear. In mine, you can read about our most special phone-calls and our last words before Kevin got down on one knee. You can spend your nights setting up and organizing your wedding Pinterest boards. It’s also a great idea to create a wedding-exclusive email address that you will use to correspond with future vendors.

Remember to have fun! Consider posting your engagement announcement in your local newspaper or alumni newsletter. Seeing Kevin and my tribute truly made us feel like mini-celebrities. You can also submit your proposal story and ring-selfie to HowHeAsked.com and check their website compulsively until it’s posted and adored.

redoakweddings_0851.jpg

Please, please, PLEASE allow yourself to be cliché! Binge-watch the wedding shows, throw a post-it party with your bridal magazines, and read Girls in White Dresses. You also, of course, have to watch the classic movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding. I know, I know, you’ve seen it a hundred times…but this time will be different. Promise.

You’re now in your engagement-moon phase and the celebrations are just kicking off! Get ready for a tremendous amount of love and well-wishes. Enjoy every moment. This is YOUR year! Cheers to you and your FIANCÉ!

Red Oak Wedding Blogger Bride Kristen of Maid of Henry

Five Reasons to Consider Bridesmaids Separates • Bella Bridesmaids Madison

 

One of our Vendor Guide Members, Bella Bridesmaids of Madison, is back with another valuable post for dressing your bridal party... and this time, for an often over-looked category: separates! Separates are perfect for every type of wedding, are extremely versatile, and (the most important part!), absolutely adorable! See more of these gorgeous options, below! 


Five Reasons for Choosing Bridesmaid Separates | Bella Bridesmaid Madison

Done is the day of the satin corset and matching satin skirt. Designers like Joanna August, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Yoo and LulaKate have changed the game when it comes to bridesmaids separates. Here are five reasons why you should consider bridesmaids separates for your wedding party!

ONE | You can truly wear it again! Maybe you won't wear the entire set altogether, but pair this flowy Joanna August top with a pair of jeans and a statement necklace and you are set for a fun weekend look.

Five Reasons for Choosing Bridesmaid Separates | Bella Bridesmaid Madison

 

TWO | You don't need to buy the whole set. Maybe you find an awesome top from Anthropologie but just need a long, more formal skirt to pair with it - we got you covered.
 

Five Reasons for Choosing Bridesmaid Separates | Bella Bridesmaid Madison

 

THREE | You can order a different size for the top and bottom! Have a little more booty than bust? Order a larger size on your skirt than your top.
 

Five Reasons for Choosing Bridesmaid Separates | Bella Bridesmaid Madison

 

FOUR | Winter Wedding Cuteness! Jenny Yoo makes the most adorable bridesmaids sweaters to keep you warm with the option to remove it when you're rocking it on the dance floor.
 

Five Reasons for Choosing Bridesmaid Separates | Bella Bridesmaid Madison

 

FIVE | Formal to fun! Monique Lhuillier makes a high-low tulle overskirt to jazz up a more traditional taffeta fitted skirt for the reception!

 

Five Reasons for Choosing Bridesmaid Separates | Bella Bridesmaid Madison


Ten Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner • Carly Totten

 

Looking back, not having a wedding planner was one of the biggest mistakes I made on my wedding day. The day went smoothly, everyone was happy, and for the most part, it was stress-free. But if I had to do it all over again, there would most definitely be a wedding planner on my big day. Carly from Carly is Inspired is sharing her Top Ten Reasons why you need to hire a wedding planner, and we agree with every single one of these. Your sanity is worth it! 


Ten Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner • Carly Totten

While planning your wedding, your photographer, videographer, and venue are likely three of the very first wedding professionals you will look to hire. Each provides something that is tangible – photos to treasure, a video generations will watch for years to come (or a piece to post on Facebook now!), and a lovely place to host one of your most important life events. The difference between each of the professionals I’ve mentioned and an event planner is the service a planner provides is an experience that isn’t tangible like a product.

Each planner will tailor her services to your unique needs. Some planners specialize in full service planning where they will begin working with you shortly after you get engaged through the day you become a Mrs. Other planners thrive while working with couples to partially plan their weddings. In this sense, the couple hires many of their wedding vendors but needs guidance finding a few members of their team as well as styling direction. Then there are planners who love month of coordination or day of coordination. In each respective case, the planner is stepping in to aide the couple during their final month of planning or just on the day of their wedding. 

No matter the service you choose, you will (hopefully!) realize your planner is just as valuable as each of the other professionals on your team. Not quite convinced? Keep reading below for 10 reasons why you should consider hiring a wedding planner!

ONE | YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of planning or halfway through your reception, your planner will always make sure your voice is heard. As a couple, this is your day together, and your planner wants it to feel (and look!) like the magic you’re dreaming about.  

TWO | STYLING DIRECTION

Pinterest is a blessing, but it can also cause you to become overwhelmed. And fast! Some planners also act as stylists, and they will be able to review your inspiration and make suggestions for ways in which they can pull together a cohesive design plan. Plus, there’s always a new creative way to uniquely tell your story!

THREE | VENDOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Word of mouth is key in so many industries, including the wedding industry. Just like any other vendor, planners like to work with specific pros, and they are happy to recommend them to you. Your planner will learn your style, budget, and personality and will tailor her recommendations for you. There’s no need to research for hours because your planner wants to take the guesswork out of planning.

Ten Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner • Carly Totten | Photo by Jennifer Larsen

FOUR | FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Think of your wedding planner as your best friend. Your planner wants to know about your family. She’s wants to know about your sweet flower girl who may feel shy on your wedding day just as much as she needs to know if members of your family don’t quite get along (it happens to all of us!). By knowing these details, your wedding planner can prep beforehand. Everyone will be on board and ready to assist if anything should arise in order to keep your day as enjoyable as possible!

FIVE | POINT OF CONTACT

Specifically during the month leading up to your wedding day, your wedding planner will become the point of contact for your vendors instead of you. As a result, you are free to enjoy your final month of your engagement, and (more importantly!) your planner will also be Team Captain on your wedding day as she points every professional in the correct direction.   

SIX | LOGISTICS

Your planner will create a wedding day timeline for your event. She will consult your photographer, hairstylist, makeup artist, and more prior to your wedding day in order to create an event flow that will work well for all. From vendor arrivals to when your transportation needs to leave your hotel, the best time to start your ceremony to the moment your final dance must occur, your wedding planner will have expert suggestions for it all!

Ten Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner • Carly Totten | Photo by Ann Blake Photography

SEVEN | CHIEF PROBLEM SOLVER

Each and every vendor makes a mistake (we’re all human!), and one may occur on your wedding day. However, your planner will likely catch the mistake before you ever notice it. She will double check contracts to make sure you’re receiving the full service you expect, guide transportation that may run behind, and so much more. Your wedding day will feel close to perfect to you even if your planner has been solving problems throughout the day. The key is for you to never feel stressed.

EIGHT | BRIDAL PARTY

Even the most prepped bridal parties will have questions on your wedding day, and that’s where your planner will step in! Your planner will make sure your bridal party is running on time, she will provide guidance for your processional and recessional during your ceremony, and she will be on hand to remind your maid of honor and best man about their speeches. Your planner is also always ready to pin a boutonniere, hold a purse, and offer advice.

NINE | GUEST EXPERIENCE

The best weddings are talked about by guests for days, weeks, and months after they end! Planners are well equipped to advise you on seating charts and timelines that will allow your guests to have an optimum experience. Plus, your planner will also be happy to lend a helping hand to grandparents, guests with dietary restrictions (always inform your planner and caterer about food allergies!), and more (I once changed a transportation plan in minutes because of a water mane break at a hotel in order for guests to be able to get ready at another location).

TEN | YOUR GO-TO-GAL

Venue coordinators are wonderful. They make sure the venue is prepped and ready to serve you and your guests, sometimes they will jump in with the catering staff to ensure meals are arriving to guests in a timely fashion, and so much more. Although your venue coordinator wants your wedding day to be wonderful, her first priority is to make sure the venue is on point. Your planner, on the other hand, is there for you and your love and your bridal party, family, and guests first.

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photography in article by Eva Lin, Jennifer Larsen and Ann Blake


Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party • Bella Bridesmaids Madison

 

Our newest Red Oak Vendor Guide Member, Bella Bridesmaids of Madison, is here to share their secrets to the perfectly mismatched bridal party. Brides-to-be, you should just go ahead and pin this article right now. When you see the images below, you will absolutely rethink anything you already had planned for your bridesmaids to wear! There's nothing more chic than a bridal party made up of your best friends, wearing something that flatters them best. Believe me, they'll thank you! 


Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party •  Bella Bridesmaids Madison | Red Oak Weddings

Getting that perfect, neutral, mismatched bridal party look should be easy, right? Give your girls a color palate and have them choose whatever their hearts desire? Result: Your beautiful vision has turned into a hodgepodge of fabrics, styles and colors and one of your bridesmaids is wearing black (She's a New Yorker and that was her idea of "neutral.") This is the latest trend we have been seeing here at Bella Bridesmaids Madison and as much as you may think those flawless photos come together effortlessly, the truth is that it is pretty rare for the mismatched look to work without direction.

Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party •  Bella Bridesmaids Madison | Photo by Jennifer Larsen Photo

So where do you start? For your first appointment, don't come with all of your bridesmaids. The most effective way to organize your mismatched palate is to meet with your stylist alone or with your Maid of Honor or mom. The less cooks, the cleaner the kitchen.

Come to your appointment with any inspiration you may have for your palate. It could be a real wedding photo or a photo you just happen to love the color combinations (We had a bride come in with a bag of rocks for her color inspiration so anything goes!) We will use that to pull swatches and dresses in those colors and line them up as a bridal party. If you don't like the first set of colors, it's OK! Since you are in one location with hundreds of dresses, we can easily switch out colors to create your perfect palate. This is the time where you can try out the color combination your mother squashed on the outset and can experiment with throwing in a pop of color to your neutrals (Our newest obsession is adding a print or a deep wine color to a neutral palate).

Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party •  Bella Bridesmaids Madison | Photo by Cyn Kain Photography

You've fallen in love with your collection, YAY! Now it's time to bring the rest of your crew in to try on. A lot of bride's feel hesitant at this point because they don't want to tell the bridesmaid what she needs to wear. We suggest assigning each bridesmaid the color she is wearing from your palate. You have a good sense of what colors make your bestie look beautiful and your choice will help avoid the awkward (or aggressive) declaring of her own color. Almost all of our designers have multiple styles to choose from in each color so this is where you can give them carte blanche. Although you have picked her color, she can find a style that she feels great in and is most comfortable. We are there to be your ally so if a bridesmaid starts to go rogue we can reign her back to your vision. It's your wedding and you will have to do the same for her so stand your ground and we will back you up!

Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party •  Bella Bridesmaids Madison
Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party •  Bella Bridesmaids Madison | Photo by Cadence + Eli

The dresses are ordered - check! The last thing you need to do to round out your perfect bridal party is give them guidelines about their shoes and jewelry. Unless you are buying their jewelry to wear, do give some leeway since their dresses will be different anyway. Giving them direction is usually appreciated. For example, you can tell them that jewelry should be gold and not too chunky and that shoes should be champagne or nude and strappy. We think sending a photo of what you have in mind is helpful so they have an option to purchase exactly what you sent or at least have a visual to purchase the pieces on their own.

Now, have a glass of champagne to celebrate your perfectly mismatched bridal party!

Guide to the Perfectly Mismatched Bridal Party •  Bella Bridesmaids Madison | Photo by Melissa Vossler Photography

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Bella Bridesmaids Madison | 177 Columbia Turnpike |  Florham Park, NJ 07932

Jennifer Larson PhotographyCyn Kain Photography, Cadence + Eli Photography, and Melissa Vossler Photography


Engagement Photos: What to Wear • AOK Style + Planning

 

We're thrilled to introduce you to the first in a series of posts from Allison Koehler of AOK Style + Planning, one of our newest Vendor Guide Members! One look at her feed, or the clients she's styled, and guaranteed you'll want her to come raid your closet AND be your best friend. Today she's sharing practical tips to choosing your engagement outfit... and really, this can be applied to any photography session. Engagement, Anniversary, Family - you name it, these rules apply! 


For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

One of the best ways to get in the wedding spirit, in my opinion, is by having an engagement session with your Wedding Photographer. It gets you and your partner in the zone for the day, and it feels indulgent and special.

Aside from selecting the location for your shoot, the biggest question on every couple’s minds is undoubtedly What should we wear? With Pinterest and incredible shoots featured in wedding blogs and magazines, the options are, actually, limitless. Having had my own engagement shoot, I completely understand the head scratching. And while I maintain that at the end of the day, it’s all about the love, I have a few tips for loving what you wear for your shoot!

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Julia Elizabeth
For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Julia Elizabeth

photos by Julia Elizabeth

Be Yourself

This one seems obvious, of course you’re going to be yourself in your photos! More specifically, I’m talking about your style self. If you’re a jeans and tee shirt gal, don’t feel the need to wear a cocktail dress and Louboutins. When you show these photos to your Grandchildren someday, you want them to be a good representation of you at the time. My first rule is, stay in the same genre of clothing that you normally wear, and just elevate a piece or two. Wear your favorite pair of jeans, but buy that new top you’ve been eyeing. Same rule goes for your sweetie. Start here, and you’ll find everything else comes together quickly.

Coordinate, Don’t Match

I’m always careful to avoid over-styling my clients; I want them to look as they usually do, and goodness knows we don’t want any 90’s portrait studio matchy-matchy outfits. But there’s something to be said for thoughtful coordination. To avoid outfits that clash, stick to a color family (neutrals, jewel tones, etc), and layer in patterns and textures. Floral dress? Avoid plaid for your fiance’s shirt. Going neutral? Add a pop of color to break things up. There’s no real right answer here; chances are if you’re being mindful of coordination, you’re on the right track.

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Ashley Caroline
For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Ashley Caroline
For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Ashley Caroline

photos by Ashley Caroline

Avoid Themes

I love a good theme just as much as the next Bride, but I’m wary of going too far with regards to engagement shoot outfits. Things can get out of hand quickly, so I encourage my clients to take the subtle approach. If you’ve got a love for the 20’s, a drop waisted dress and loose finger waves are a great nod to your theme without going full Gatsby. Same rules apply for seasonal shoots. Not every Summer shoot has to happen on the beach, and not every Fall shoot has to have pumpkins and scarves.

Stay Timeless

You want to be able to proudly show off your engagement photos without cringing at your outfit, so be careful with trends when prepping for your shoot. Stay away from fad jewelry and go simple with your accessories, and have your make-up artist keep your look natural. I love one signature, eye-catching piece (a floppy hat, tiny gold earrings, your favorite trench) that can be layered in for some shots and removed for others.

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Caroline Ro
For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more! | Photo by Caroline Ro

photos by Caroline Ro

Still stumped? Hire a stylist! Styling couples for their engagement shoots is such a blast, and I would absolutely love to work with you! You can reach me at allie@allisonkoehler.com for rates and deets!

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Newlywed Notes: How to Change Your Name • Carly Totten

 
Newlywed Notes: How to Change Your Name

For some couples, one of the most exciting moments of being newlyweds is officially having the same last name. Before you’re able to celebrate, there are a few steps to take, places to visit, tips you need to consider first (hint: changing your name is not nearly as difficult as you may think!). Below, I’m explaining all of the details, plus I’m sharing the names of companies that can help your name changing cause. Take a peek!

1 | MARRIAGE LICENSE

First things first, your marriage license must be approved by your state and your county before you can officially begin the name changing process. After signing their portion, your officiant will likely offer to mail your license on your behalf. I completely recommend taking him or her up on the offer! However, make sure to follow up with your officiant if you haven’t received a certified copy of your marriage license in the mail within 2-3 weeks.


2 | SOCIAL SECURITY CARD

Apply for a Social Security Card: Pop onto the Social Security Administration’s website where you will have access to each of the forms you will need to print, sign, and mail. Yes, mail. You cannot complete the forms online. Note: You will want to make sure you’re applying for a corrected card NOT a new social security card. Your social security number will remain the same, but your name will be changed. 


3 | DMV

Visit the DMV: The top piece of advice for this step is to make sure you have received your new social security card before visiting the DMV. Your social security card must list your new last name in order for you to successfully obtain a new driver’s license. Also, make sure to bring a copy of your marriage license, your current driver’s license, and your passport (even if your maiden name is listed!) in order to prove your identity. 


4 | EVERYTHING ELSE

Contact All Other Entities: Your marriage license, corrected social security card, and updated driver’s license are the most formal pieces you will need in order to officially change your name. However, you will want to make sure to check in with anyone and everyone who has your name listed (think: employers, banks, USPS, credit card companies, utility companies, insurance companies, and the like). Tip: As you receive billing statements and emails, pause to make sure they note your new last name. You will likely forget to contact someone, which is totally fine! Just make sure to note the change to the company at your earliest convenience. 


5 | OR, USE A NAME CHANGE COMPANY

Contact a Name Change Company: In order to ease (and quicken!) the process of changing your name, there are companies who will happily guide you through the process for a fee (prices tend to range from $30-$60). I’ve heard rave reviews about HitchSwitch and Miss Now Mrs. If you use a service, the company will check in with your state, send you all of the required documents you need to complete, and have you mail them to the appropriate place. 

HONEYMOON + TRAVEL TIP!

Whether you are boarding a plane days after your wedding or planning a trip a few months down the line, I highly suggest creating plane, car, hotel, and excursion reservations under your maiden name. This also means you will press pause on updating your passport or changing your name until after you return. The name change process tends to move quickly, but there’s always the scenario where a piece takes longer than expected. There are so many things that can happen while traveling, and being questioned by a host of security personnel (particularly at the airport!) because your last name does not match the one they have on your reservation is an avoidable moment that is completely in your control. Think of your name change as something to look forward to upon your return!

Have you changed your last name? What is your best tip? Let us know in the comments! 

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