Posted on Sep 28, 2009
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We all agree hiring a wedding planner can ease a lot of stress, especially the weekend of you wedding. What happens when something happens to your wedding planner? There have been instances where colleagues have had a sudden death in the family, a major accident or come down with a major illness. Does the vendor’s contract cover such instances?

I’ve personally not been able to attend to two of my weddings. Once in 2005, I had a death in my family, so sudden and shocking, it was painful, but I would have been able to work; however, the funeral for my young family member was on Saturday. At the time, I had a very large team and we no had problem staffing. More importantly, they were fully aware of how I run an event and did so in a manner that the bride expressed she did not even notice my absence.
My second wedding ever missed was this year. I had the joy of planning the wedding of two sisters. These were large extravagant events. In 2009, we are considered a “boutique” planning firm (translation – it’s just me and we take very few weddings). I’ve enjoyed the change in my business practice to do less events and leave the wedding planning world domination to others. It suits my personal lifestyle and allows me to give even more attention to my full service clients. So when my personal dilemma prevented me from attending the second wedding of the Patel family, I was worried. I was worried, wondering if my colleagues who were helping me would deliver in the manner I do: I am all over the place, I don’t freak out – at all, I am cool as a cucumber and nothing bothers me. Large events for 600 people are not stress free nor are they snafu free. My son had surgery the Wednesday before the big wedding and I really thought I would leave the hospital and just check on everyone, as set up began in the ball room on Thursday, then again Saturday. It was a big deal and I didn’t leave the hospital for days until he was discharged. My friends plus their staff did a stellar job. The family was very happy. They even came to the hospital to express it in person. I was so touched.
So how is it I was successful the second time around without large in house staffing? Bottom line: I’ve made nice with my competitors. Of course not all of them, as you work in the industry, you learn of certain business practices; some just don’t want to like you, any number of reasons to be friends or not to be friends. Some years ago, a few of us cordial planners agreed to be each other’s back up in the event of an emergency. We also agreed to a certain rate so as not to break the bank. In this instance I had to activate the wedding planner phone tree and use everyone available.
So, does your wedding vendor play nice with others to call upon them in an event of an emergency?
If you are a wedding professional interested in discussing a back up plan further, please join me as I moderate a WEDCHAT on Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm E.S.T.
Posted on Sep 24, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

Today’s Texas Wedding Photographer feature is of Wendi Poole of Thompson Poole. The talent in Texas is amazing. Wendi considers Austin and San Antonio her wedding home base, but recently has expanded into the Houston market. Be sure and visit the Thompson Poole website and blog

You can reach Thompson Poole by calling
Denise Cornell, Owner / Client Relations 512.484.1523
Wendi Poole, Owner / Photographer
Follow them on twitter:
@wendipoole (Wendi)
Email: denise {at} thompsonpoole {dot} com

I love your company name, Thomspon Poole, how did it come to be?

Thompson is my maiden name and Poole is my married name.

I know this is cliche, but how would you describe your style?
Storytelling. I am a working photojournalist and I photograph weddings like I do any other editorial
assignment; I tell the story of the event.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Meeting people and watching families come together. I love knowing that the photos I take have meaning and will be cherished and shared for generations to come.

How many people shoot for Thompson Poole?
I am always the lead photographer. We also have a pool of working photojournalists that we use as second shooters.

What is the starting investment for a wedding?
Wedding coverage starts at

Favorite part of the wedding day?
Oh, this is hard. I love it when the bride and groom first see each other. I also like it when the couple leaves the reception and everyone is saying goodbye. And, Dad’s first dance with the bride is always awesome; the way he looks at his daughter is priceless. I could go on and on.

Greatest length to get the perfect shot?
I’ve been in cherry pickers, waist deep in water and even in the operating room for an open heart surgery — but not at weddings! For weddings I’ll climb, crawl and squeeze into weird places to get that perfect shot…but usually without anyone, especially the bride and groom, seeing or hearing a thing. I love it when a bride declares, ‘How did you get that shot? I didn’t even know you were there!’

Anything else we should know about Thompson Poole?
I like sweets and baked goods and if you get me talking about food you might regret it.
Jennifer says: I hear you are quite the baker, I accept baked goods any day of the week.

Childhood Ambition?
I grew up in Pensacola, FL, home of the amazing Blue Angels. So first I wanted to be a navy pilot then an astronaut, but getting eye glasses in high school dashed any hopes of being a military pilot. I then turned my focus to journalism and soon learned that I write like I talk — ramble, ramble, using a thousand words to describe a moment that could have been captured in just a few. At the urging of my photographer father I picked up a camera and discovered I could capture those same moments in a heartbeat — in my pictures. I knew immediately I had found my calling and off to Photojournalism school I went. As they say, the rest is history.

Dream Vacation? I love to travel and explore new places. Some of my top destinations are: England, repeat my honeymoon trip to Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas.

Favorite animal at the zoo? I LOVE Penguins!

Can’t live without? God, candy, my Husband

Hidden talent? I am a mean pinball player. I bet I could take on Tommy.

Best compliment ever received? This note to one of our brides from her brother made me blush. “THOSE ARE THE BEST WEDDING PICTURES I’VE EVER SEEN!!!! Do you know if Thompson Poole has a time machine so I can have them do my wedding five years ago???”

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be? Let’s see, a doctor, a pilot, a pastry chef. I think that covers it for this week. Check back next week for an update.

Describe your perfect day? Any day I can smile when I wake up and when I go to sleep. It also helps if chocolate and cake are involved.

Posted on Sep 24, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

I read a great little article written by groom Josh Catone, an editor over at Mashable. He discusses using Social Media to plan his own nuptials slated for July 2010. I loved this little article. I don’t like the bad word DIY, which Marcy Blum calls Do It Without Us, it leaves a bad taste in this planner’s mouth.

The bottom line? YES, you can plan your wedding using social media. And NO, technology can’t help you with everything. As a confessed social media junkie and professional planner, I use social media to plan weddings. New resources are readily available and at my fingertips. If you tweet it, they will come. If I need a great designer for custom invites all I do is ask and within minutes, I have 10-20 choices. I like the comfort of working with my tried and true San Antonio wedding professionals, but every year we must bring it to another level, find the next best thing, bring a new trend. One thing i have learned from social media is that wedding professionals can make it happen anywhere and get it to you (and we love to travel for your wedding). That awesome photographer from Dallas? Sure, I can get him here for your San Antonio wedding.

These easiest of Social Media resources to use:
Blogs: aaah, blogs, also known as eye candy. This is mecca of social media for your wedding inspiration. Detailed pictures, how-to, you name it, it is out there on a blog. Some great blogs to start if you haven’ already discovered: Southern Weddings Magazine, The Bride’s Cafe, Style Me Pretty, and DIY Bride. (Janie’s Bride Cafe has a lovely DIY project, Wedding Cake Chandelier this week)

With all the technology at your fingertips such as my favorite iphone app: evernote, wedding website, twitter, the dreaded Facebook invitation, and many more, why do you need a planner? Well let me throw a few things out there:

  1. Your iphone isn’t going to tell your fly is open right before you walk down the aisle with your best man. Your best man might, but if he is twitpic’ing your wedding, he’ll probably miss it.
  2. All those great reviews on that wedding website (wedding vendors – you know what I speak of) didn’t tell you that those glowing reviews were former brides now in the wedding business and really have NO business in the wedding business (say that three times fast)
  3. Does your twitter account help smooth out the rough patches during the reception when you’ve gone a little long taking your post ceremony photos?

I’m being funny, but as planners we do much more than connect vendor A with Client B. We work with you every step of the way, listening to everything you have said, burning it to memory so that when that emergency does arise, we handle it with grace and you never ever have to know about it, because it didn’t change one thing in your perfect day. We do so much more, but I don’t want to put you to sleep.

I love social media. It has changed the way I do business. It has made my work so much easier and I love my iphone. I couldn’t live without, much like my crackberry, uh I mean blackberry in the years before.

Get out there and socialize. There are 100’s of us professionals out there, with our Facebook fan pages, tweets and blogs. Thank you for reading mine.

Lastly, because we believe in love, we wish Josh Catone and his betrothed a stress free wedding planning experience and many Many MANY years of married bliss. Best of luck and hit me up on twitter if you have a questions (on weddings).

Posted on Sep 23, 2009
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Today we feature an up and coming wedding photographer based in San Antonio. One of the great things about our industry is the new talent. As a season event professional, one of the most important aspects of my work is finding the next best thing. Folks, simply stated, Ashley Palmero of Picture Me Married is our next best thing in San Antonio. We’ve had the privilege or working with a lot of great photographers and I like to bring them in from other cities. I am swooning over Ashley and her work. (I LOVE her business name)

I am often asked what are some key things to consider when signing with a photographer? My answer is always the same: obviously the work but more importantly, is the photographer easy going enough for you to relax and does he/she play well with others. As a client, you will be pleased with Ashley’s work. As a wedding professional, you will be happy to collaborate with her to make the magic happen.

Ashley’s work can be seen on her website. Be sure to visit her blog. Follow her on twitter.
Email: ashley {at} picturememarried {dot} com
Phone: 210.373.6856
Ashley is passport ready; available for destination weddings

How did Picture Me Married Photography come to be?
I have always loved weddings, I’m definitely one of those girls that has been “dreaming” about my wedding since I was 12 but I had never even considered shooting them because it seemed so scary! One day I told my husband that I just needed to try it once. So just a week later I was able to shoot a wedding with another photographer and fell in love! It was a perfect fit – I love weddings and I love photography!

How would you describe your style?
My style is natural and fun. I want my brides to look at their photos and feel as though they are re-living their wedding day!
What is your favorite aspect of the job?
I have so many! This job is amazing! As a wedding photographer you are able to be a part of the most exciting day of someone’s life!
How many people shoot for Picture Me Married Photography?
I am the only lead photographer for Picture Me Married. I have a group of professional photographers that I use as my 2nd shooter.
What is the starting investment for a wedding?
$1600 which includes wedding day coverage from 2 photographers and an engagement session!

Favorite part of the wedding day?
I love photographing the “getting ready” shots but my absolute favorite is tied between the speeches and the father-daughter dance, I usually shed a tear or two behind the camera! Don’t worry, I keep shooting!
Greatest length to get the perfect shot?
Something about having my camera in hand makes me feel quite invincible – I will usually climb on or balance myself on anything I can!
Jennifer chuckles and says: I too feel quite invincible on the wedding day. I feel like I can make anything happen.

Childhood Ambition?
To be a photographer or Miss America…. but I can’t sing, dance or even speak on a stage so I guess Miss America just wasn’t in the cards! 😉

Dream Vacation?
Traveling around the world with my husband and my camera!
Last time you laughed until it hurt?
About 30 minutes ago! My crazy husband, Nan, keeps me laughing everyday!
Jennifer says: Nan is awesome! You’re so lucky! You two will conquer the world.
Favorite animal at the zoo?
Elephants! They’re so amazingly huge – I love them!
Can’t live without?
My camera, of course! Moments are fleeting, I take so much pleasure in capturing them!

Hidden talent?
I can cross one eye and leave the other straight. It’s quite gross – I will spare you the picture! 😉
Jennifer: LOL, I must see this super human trick, maybe we should call David Letterman?

Favorite quote?
Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson

Best compliment ever received?
Other than being featured on this blog? I’d have to say when a bride tells me that not only is she in love with her photos but she loved having me at her wedding. I love my brides and want them to enjoy their day to the fullest but as most brides know, your wedding day flies by and it’s hard to even remember who you saw. For a bride to say she loved having me there means a lot.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
Miss America? No, I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing. I’ve worked in Investments and enjoyed it but this is my life!
Describe your perfect day?
Going for a morning walk on the beach with my dog, Clunkers. Lunch and shopping with my girlfriends and spending the evening with my husband. I’m pretty easy to please!

Posted on Sep 21, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

Here is an idea keep a piece of your bouquet or boutonniere living on well beyond your wedding day. I love succulents for a bridal bouquet, wedding reception centerpieces and boutonnieres. Did you know you can take some of these succulents and re-pot them? It takes some work and not all will survive. It will also depend on the construction of the bouquet. I see many designers use hot glue on some succulents to keep it in there.

One of the many succulents from the groom’s boutonniere transplanted and growing.

The designer used a lot of hot glue, so only one succulent from the bouquet survived. These can be cut and transplanted as it grows.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

You know what they say, everything is bigger and better in Texas. I believe it. We have gorgeous events here in Texas and it still surprises me when eventeurs bring in talent from other states. Mind you, I love all my event brethren, but I want to show you some of the best Texas has to offer. This week we are featuring photography. Take a look at the bride below: only in Texas can you find such beautiful blue bonnet fields.

Our first feature is on Jeremy Gilliam, based out of Dallas-FortWorth area, available to travel world wide. You can visit his website and more awesome photos here. You can follow him on twitter here. He specializes in Awesome as proven below.
Email: studio @ jeremygilliam dot com
Phone: 972.272.2780

How did Jeremy Gilliam Photography come to be?
Someone gave me a 35mm Konica film camera about 12 years ago and I started taking photos casually, as a hobby. I became fascinated with the medium and began learning what photography is all about. As I traveled I would take photos of buildings and landscapes, but I was always drawn to take photos of people to tell a story or capture emotion. Then about six years ago I shot a wedding for a friend who couldn’t afford a photographer and that inspired me to want to start my own business. We had just moved to Dallas where we didn’t know anyone. Starting from nothing was difficult, but my wonderful wife Sarah was so supportive and within my first year I shot over 25 weddings and we have just grown from there.

How would you describe your style?
Inspired by light. It’s photojournalism with a fashion edge and a touch of cinematic drama.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Sharing in and documenting one of the happiest days of my clients’ lives. There is so much emotion, stress, drama, joy, and not to mention the fashion and the details that are unique to each wedding. I know that they will look at these photos forever and it such an honor to participate in such an event.

How many people shoot for Jeremy Gilliam Photography?

I am the primary photographer for Jeremy Gilliam Weddings. I also use a select few professionals as second photographers.

What is the starting investment for a wedding?

Full wedding coverage starts at $3,600. Which includes includes wedding coverage by myself and another professional photographer, the reprint rights to the digital negatives, and a fun engagement session.

Anything else we should know about Jeremy Gilliam Photography?

We specialize in awesome.

Childhood Ambition?
To be an astronaut. How cool would it be to be in space? I still hope that some private company makes it possible to travel to space, sign me up!

Dream Vacation?
Traveling through Europe with my wife, visiting castles during the day and breweries at night. Staying at a bed and breakfast on the Amalfi coast, getting a couple’s massage while looking out on the Mediterranean Sea. Yeah, that would be nice.

Last time you laughed until it hurt?

Don’t think less of me, in the movie: “The Hangover”

Favorite part of the wedding day?

I always love when the bride walks down the aisle for the first time. There is so much emotion at that moment, the groom is looking at her and her father is giving away his baby.

Your target wedding client?
Clients who are fun, creative people that like to have a good time. Since I am passionate about photography, I love it when my clients are excited to collaborate with me to create artistic memories of their wedding day.

Favorite animal at the zoo?
My dog Caesar. He belongs in a zoo, because he is crazy.

Can’t live without?
My Xbox, you know what they say about all work and no play…

Hidden talent?
Swing dancing. If you play Benny Goodman or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at your wedding, I may have to put my camera down for a few minutes and cut a rug.

Guilty pleasure?
The Twilight series…Did I say that out loud?
Jennifer says: yes, you did!

Best compliment ever received?
One of my first clients said that every time she looked at her album, the photos made her cry. That’s my highest goal at a wedding, to tell the story in photos in such a way that it brings back memories and emotions of the day.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A travel writer. I can’t write, but I do love to travel, so I’m halfway there. But seriously, I would probably be a youth speaker. My faith means a lot to me and I love to encourage young people to follow their dreams.

Describe your perfect day?
Waking up with coffee and pancakes. Making some pretty photos with tasty light. I am all about watching movies, so catching a movie with Sarah and some friends.

Thank you Jeremy, I loved learning more about you.

Posted on Sep 19, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

Next week’s blog posts will be featuring photographers from Texas. You know what they say, everything IS bigger and better in Texas. While I think wedding planners are the most important wedding vendor, I know photographers truly own the top slot. In the end, down the line, your photographs are your keepsakes, memories, a window into the moment that was your magical wedding day.

Keep an eye out for our next feature of Jeremy Gilliam based out Dallas serving Texas brides. Simply said, he is awesome. If you have a photographer or other vendor you want to learn about, drop us a line.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009
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A True Blood wedding reception requires skills from an experienced caterer. A quick shout out to my favorite caterer in San Antonio: Anne Marie’s Catering. I would trust them with any event, including one with vampire nuptials. Today’s post delves into cocktails. First off, let’s focus on the living guests. For starters, I would serve a red cocktail, like a cosmo in a blood rimmed martini glass. Isn’t this just the best idea? I will have to use this for a Halloween party.

source: Hostess with the Mostess

The blood rim is made from the same kind of mixture as you use to make hard candy. It’s actually pretty easy, but you will need a candy thermometer (which you can find at most grocery stores).

1 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Karo Syrup
1/2 c. Water
Red Food Coloring
Cinnamon (optional)

Combine sugar, syrup and water. Cook without stirring to hard crack stage – which is 300 degrees F. Add food coloring. (Optional: Cinnamon may be added for flavor.)

Turn off heat. While the mixture is still hot, dunk the top of the cocktail glass into the mixture to create the red rim. If you need to do several glasses, keep the mixture hot so it lasts longer (instead of turning heat off, just reduce slightly).You can go anywhere from just along the very tip of the rim to part way down the glass – whichever you prefer. Flip the glass right side up to cool. The thick consistency of the mixture will cause “drips” as it hardens on the glass!

You can serve red champagne for the toast. There are few choices for red sparkling wine. The are few available, but lucky you Central Market carries a popular Australian wine: Black Chook. It averages around $15 per bottle. Some domestic choices: Schug Rouge de Noirs (around $24), a pinot noir from the Carneros region of Napa.


And of course, for the vampire guests, a must have is True Blood. O positive is widely popular, but I highly recommend having other blood types available, less the vamps turn to humans for their refreshments. Make sure the caterer has a microwave on site, vampires like their True Blood warm, like real human blood.

Posted on Sep 15, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

I had no idea there would be a wedding (albeit a crazy maenad – devil in the form of a steer wedding) in the season finale of True Blood. I just chuckle at our timing of our True Blood inspired wedding posts. Be sure to check out my colleagues blogs (links below) for their inspiring weddings.

Today’s True Blood wedding post is all about the RED eye candy. Remember this location from yesterday’s post? Here are those beautiful doors, with a lighting pattern on them and the ceiling. Red lighting bathing the entire area. The balls are made with carnations. I, like Carrie, from Sex and the City love carnations especially for weddings. I love them when they are just carnations and one color otherwise it looks like it costs: inexpensive. The below these large floral balls made up of red carnations look luscious. On the sides of the stairs are red glass altar candles in pairs of two.

Here is a close up of those rose covered doors. LOVE IT! with vine lighting pattern.

Imagine Sookie Stackhouse wearing the black Sheri Hill gown from yesterday’s post mingling among her guest in this southern style opulent venue. Tables swathed in a red crinkle linen with red beaded and embroidered over lay. Adding in clusters of red votives, beautiful glassware with hints of red finished off round centerpiece comprised of red roses, with a little bling. Black chiavari chairs, white chair pads and red feathered boas capping off the chairs.

For any event, lighting is the best investment. This venue was swathed in red lighting with a vine pattern. Look for a post soon on lighting and how it makes your event from a nice event to an awesome event.

Wednesday’s post: Food and the True Blood wedding cake

Be sure to visit my other True Blood colleagues:
Sasha Souza

Bella Signature Design
Masterpiece Weddings
It’s a Jamie Thing

Posted on Sep 13, 2009
Posted in Uncategorized

photo credit:
Welcome to a wedding inspired by True Blood. Tonight’s finale on HBO will be watched by many and as planners, we take inspiration from many things, including TV. True Blood is no exception. There have been so many story lines and next year will be no different. I admit to not having read the books yet, but I can see the writing on the wall. Sookie will eventually fall in love with Eric. So my TrueBlood inspired wedding is for Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northam (I know! no hate mail please)

I have the good fortune of using pieces from a previous wedding in my theme. Of course, the main color: RED.

First up: What will Sookie wear. I say a bride can wear whatever she wants. While Sookie is a country girl at heart, perhaps the relationship with Eric will make her a little more modern. Let’s give her two options:
Or for her southern belle heritage with a twist, a red ball gown:

Or you think there is too much red, how hot would Sookie be in a black version:

I don’t envision a church wedding for these two, so my venue is a lavish venue right here in Texas. How about the Corinthian in Houston, Texas. With red as our main color, we use inexpensive red carnations to make several balls to decorate the entrance. Take a close look at the doors. Yup, those doors are covered in roses.

Stay tuned tomorrow for some great design and decor tomorrow. You will see a tablescape, lighting and a close up of those beautiful doors. Also please visit my wedding professional friends also posting all week True Blood inspired wedding ideas all week long on their blog.

Sasha Souza

Bella Signature Design
Masterpiece Weddings
It’s a Jamie Thing