Saturday, September 20, 2008

JUST MARRIED! 9.13.08!

Jim and I had our wedding this past Saturday on 9.13.08! I can't even begin to say what an incredible experience it was to make our vows to each other, and celebrate with everyone!

As someone who joyfully spends much of her time witnessing and documenting other people’s weddings, being the bride was nearly surreal. Not only was I getting married to the love of my life, surrounded by so many of our family and dear friends, I was, at the very same time, being supported by a team of vendors I respect and admire deeply—people I am often working next to and with! But this time, they were all working hard to make sure that Jim and I had a seamless and beautiful wedding experience. There is so much to share, about the wedding—its joy—and about the new things I’ve learned, but I want to spend this time writing from a very specific perspective, that of "bride-who-is-usually-behind-the-scenes-and-behind-the-lens." I want not only to thank each and every vendor but also to share some stories and dish a bit, especially for my brides who have been asking!

Lots of you have been asking if it was hard to plan a wedding after seeing so many gorgeous ones, from Boston to Austin to the Caribbean. And honestly, it would have been overwhelming had it not been for our vendors. They gave us the gift of being able to forget the details and logistics and just concentrate on enjoying the short and wonderful time with our family and friends, many of whom either flew or drove thousands of miles to be with us, even during a Hurricane!

Gina Whittington, our wedding coordinator with Clink Weddings & Events, and Rachel Garret, at Marquee, took all of the planning stress off of our shoulders, especially the week going into our wedding as they monitored and implemented our tented rain plan AND wind plan, (85mph winds had been predicted.) They found solutions for us to have a lovely ceremony, safe from the weather, no matter what. We also rented our Chivari chairs, tables, cherry wood chargers, ottomans and gorgeous linens from Marquee, which really added to the look and feel of the wedding. Brittani and the team from Ilios Lighting worked together with Gina to transform the Thistle into an intimate winter wonderland, referencing my love for plastic snow-globes, which I collect and had displayed at the wedding. Our cake topper was also a snow-globe that Jim ordered as a surprise for me from Germany—with a married couple cutting the cake inside of it.

Gina is not only an amazing coordinator--her design talent is also unparalleled. She was able to take our ideas and even descriptions of the feelings we wanted to have at the wedding and she translated those into a design plan that changed the Thistle downtown and the French Legation Museum into two distinct worlds. And, like I have seen her do with other brides, she also made me dance the “Macarena” before walking down to the ceremony to keep me from getting too nervous! Her assistants that night, both talented coordinators in their own right, Jamie and Callie with Clink, wouldn’t let me lift a finger, even to get my own drink.

One thing Jim & I did that we are so happy to have done was to work with Bill Talley at Transportation Consultants, and hire a large shuttle bus that picked up all of our out of town guests staying at local hotels. More than half of our guests had traveled in from places like Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Ohio, Minnesota, Virginia, and Houston, and we hoped that the shuttle would make it a little easier for them to traverse the city on our wedding day. It was also really fun for Jim & I to hop onto the shuttle bus with our guests after our last dance and our snow-filled get away. Only as we got off the bus did it begin to rain, so we ended up with some of that special good luck after all.

Crescent Video was there to make our wedding movie; we can't wait to see it! If you think you might not want a wedding video, just go to their website and look at their work, and you will change your mind on the spot. I've worked alongside Diane and Gary and their team for years, and it was such an honor to have them there.

Joshua with Penguin Entertainment (Deejays) and his assistant, Dave, delivered exactly what we had hoped for our wedding music and dancing. I FINALLY got to dance to "Hey Ya" at a wedding, and these guys were able to get everyone on the dance floor, from ages 10 to 80, and we all danced the night away.

Ezme Arana of Bella Forte Productions and the Make Up Room gave me the best make up of my life (please give me lessons!) and also did my new stepdaughter, Kendra's, make up. We both felt sooooo good! Deborah at Pink Salon did my and my mom's hair in the morning, which was a great start to the wedding day. I totally trusted Deborah to get it right for me, and for my mom, and we were thrilled. We drank coffee and chatted about her daughter's wedding, which had taken place less than a year ago, and we all started to tear up right there in the salon. Thanks goodness, it was before Ezme’ had done my make up!

Jim and I were lucky enough to have 6 amazing photographers officially covering our wedding, and no, not all at once! Well, mostly not all at once! Heather Mabry of Eclectic Images photographed during that exciting and nerve wracking time, getting ready, and beyond. I got to know Heather well when she graciously invited me to second shoot at a wedding in Barbados, where we stayed for one week and vacationed together. I love not only her images but also her gentle presence and way of being in a room.

Susi Brister, Courtney McCullough, and Nick Enghardt are all phenomenally talented photographers with different styles and approaches, and they’ve worked with me and photographed weddings for years. They took different sections and photographed our ceremony, family portraits, details and more! Anne Butler, now in nursing graduate school, but always an amazing photojournalist to me, and Kirk Tuck, who does wonderful commercial work and portraits in Austin and all over the country, convinced us to hop on a parked moped in our wedding finery, (apologies to the owner!), and covered the various events at our reception. We are incredibly grateful to all of you for making up the collection of our wedding memories.

Lisa and the staff at Primizie threw us a wonderful rehearsal "Linner" at their restaurant on East 11th and also catered a pre-cocktail hour at The French Legation, before our ceremony, with Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Basil Mojitos that kept everyone cool in the sweltering heat. The Thistle served us a lovely family style meal that so many of our guests commented on as some of the best wedding food they had ever had. Michelle's Patisserie made our yummy cake, each tier a different flavor. I feasted on the tiny bit of leftover chocolate peanut butter cake the day after our wedding. Now I wish we had saved a layer, just so I could have more of her cake.

We adored Joe Fontenot, our officiant, and the Gospel Stars singing group got everyone clapping at our ceremony, and made a wonderful surprise for Jim. Happy Day indeed!

We also loved our paper items! Trina Bentley of Emblem Creative designed our sparkly fun invitations, maps and reply cards and Chelsey Dyer, a freelance designer, incorporated symbols, colors and textures into our escort cards, table names and place cards.

Lastly, Tricia, Donna and the team at Visual Lyrics Flowers blew me away with our beautiful flowers. I couldn’t have loved them more! I didn’t have any specific expectations—have admired their work since I started shooting weddings in Austin years ago—and I wanted them not to be overly constrained by too many specific requests. In fact, in our pre wedding consultation, we only identified maybe one or two flowers that I really liked, but Tricia listened to my descriptions and looked at pictures I pulled, and she completely understood, and gave us pure beauty and creativity. What they did literally made me cry! (and yes, the mascara was on at that point. J)

Thank you all so much…words fail…from the bottom of our hearts! More to come…

--Jenn (& Jim by proxy)

The photos posted above are by Heather Mabry of Eclectic Images, Kirk Tuck, Courtney McCullough, Nick Enghardt, and JLW Associate photographer Susi Brister. Thank you all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Downtown Engagement in the rain

When Katie & Ryan flew in from New York, the only thing they really really wanted from their engagement session was to be outside. And it was one of those rainy weekends in Austin--rain predicted all weekend! (No matter). They were up for it and so were we! Courtney, a very talented JLW photographer, assisted me, and we met them at Lambert's BBQ on Second Street. The four of us walked the alleys and streets of downtown, armed with umbrellas and good cheer. Katie was a little chilly and we all got a little damp, but not even challenging weather could interfere with the palpable love you could feel between Katie & Ryan. And, if not for the rain, we couldn't have these kinds of images in this gorgeous light, nor would we have finished up in a parking lot of all places!