Tips for Swoon Worthy Engagement Pics

Planning your engagement photos?  With the Pinterest & Instagram the exposure and pressure to have pin-worthy engagement photos is kind of a thing.  There are sooo many stunning photos out there it’s a bit intimidating! So how do you make yours special? Well, I have a few tips to help make sure these photos are swoon worthy, personalized and show stoppers.

Wardrobe.  If you really want something show stopping, yet simple – steal the show with a jaw dropping look. Whether it’s a gorgeous skirt, bright color in front of a stark back drop, or a casual look on a fall day – don’t skimp on the wardrobe! Also ladies, don’t forget about your significant other and making sure they step up to the plate and match your look.  Just remember, wear what you’re comfortable in, and true to you both as a couple!

Location.  Beach? Forest? City-scape?  Your favorite diner? With the help of your photographer scope out your spots, and see what might work – but have a couple ideas in mind.  Working to get multiple locations in one day? Make sure they’re close, and again chat with your photographer too see what might be possible. Don’t forget that some of the simplest locations will result in the most stunning pictures.

Time of Day.  We wanted some beach photos, and our photographer recommended sunrise photos instead of sunset.  Although we had to get up super early, the sky was perfect, no one was around and we were able to capture some gorgeous shots.  Evening photos could get tough and might need lighting to be involved, which could be a bit more costly, and some locations might not allow photography, so be sure to ask ahead of time if you photographer doesn’t!

Photographer. Finding the right photographer that has a portfolio inline with your vibe is important! But don’t forget about working within your budget – since you still have to save up for the big day! Although, this is a good test run to see how you’ll work with them on your actual wedding day.  Some photographers might also offer a package for engagement & wedding day, so be sure to ask!

For B and I, it was a little awkward at first, posing, kissing, and trying to look longingly at each other.  But once we got warmed up, we started to get the hang of it and have a little more fun.  Also have fun with props (balloons, your pup, fresh flowers) and don’t over think it – but also talk with your photographer and be sure to share your vision and even a few examples from your Pinterest board to show some different angles or inspiration!

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Missed Out? Or planning your wedding? Check these out:  Our Engagement Photos Tips for Creating your Wedding Registry How to Plan your Honeymoon Our Wedding Sneak Peak

 

Image Sources: Black & White Close-up Blue Tulle Skirt White Dress Kiss Forest  Hands & City

Tips for Creating Your Wedding Registry

Since we are in the prime of engagement season, a lot of you newly engaged ladies and gents will be looking to start creating your wedding registries! This is a super intimidating process, regardless if you’re needing everything new or looking to upgrade existing pieces.  So here are some tips I recently learned creating my own registries, and some tricks I learned after, to help you create your dream registry!
Wedding Registry Tips - the bee life
Tip #1: Take A Walk Either through your house/apartment and make a check-list for each area and start creating your wish list of things you want/need!  Since everything is digital now, I also recommend going to the store, especially if you can’t decide between two stores.  Seeing, touching and comparing products will help make a decision and then no surprises when you receive gifts.

Tip #2: Use Starter Guides/Check-Lists These are pre-populated lists made by your Registries and they’re life savors, more and more sites are creating these.  It wasn’t until I’d already created two of our registries that I found Zola and their check list.  It was a game changer! The checklist allowed me to think of things I needed, ideas for pieces to upgrade, and filter out things that weren’t that important for us!

Tip #3: Star Your Most Wanted Obviously everything is a most wanted item, but reality check, not everyone is going to buy off your registry, and if they do – make sure you get your priority items first! I regretted not doing this sooner, as I ended up returning items in place of ones we needed more.

Tip #4: Take Your Time Since this can be a bit overwhelming, don’t feel like you need to do this all in one day or one weekend, start early, browse, shop, and add as you go and think of things.  You really just want everything final about a month before your first major wedding event (people are last minute shoppers!)

Tip #5: Put a Cap on It After you have your list created you’ll quickly find out what your priority items are, so limit the number of registries you create! This will be a life savor for you and your guests.

Tip #6: Use Zola The part I love most about Zola is the behind the scenes interface for brides/grooms, not only do they have a wide variety of products and brands, on top of money funds that you can create, they also make returns, shipping, exchanging, SUPER EASY AND you can be really secretive about it so you don’t hurt anyones feelings! Their app is easy to use and their customer service is great!

Tip #7: Link to Wedding Website Be sure to link your registries with your wedding website! This will be helpful especially if you plan on using your wedding website URL on all the various invites and serves as one central place for your guests.

Tip #8: Download the App! A lot of the apps for registries make it easy to shop, check-in and have built-in scanners for shopping in stores.  It can also allow you to check-in on pieces that might become out of stock or discontinued (because that happens more than you’d think!)

We had three registries; Target was a no brainer for me just based on shear convenience for myself and guests, Pottery Barn was mainly used for new dishes and few other fun pieces, and Zola was the catch-all but mainly all my dreamy Kate Spade pieces and other fun and functional pieces.  This is one of the fun parts about getting married, so don’t stress, add as you think of things, and get ready for a lot of awesome new stuff!

Happy Shopping!

#EmnBWed – The Final Update

In case I have any avid bee readers out there – yes, I’m still getting married, and no, we haven’t gotten married yet! But it’s happening, and it’s happening very soon! I figured I would fill you all in with the latest and greatest, but keeping in bee fashion and not spilling too many deets of the big day.IMG_4765So about a month ago, we hit a few hiccups – and I’m only sharing in case any other brides are reading and have experienced the same thing; and I’m sure many have experienced much worse.  All of the following hit at once; B started a new job, B lost his voice and was diagnosed with a paralyzed vocal cord (still happening, 5-weeks strong), the electric in our garage magically stopped working ($$$), my debit account got hacked and drained my savings account – thank you overdraft, oh and our DJ mentioned he was declaring bankruptcy.   We rallied through most of these and as mentioned, B is still working through the whole paralyzed vocal cord diagnosis, which is pretty crazy, since one day within a few hours he just couldn’t talk. Our awesome and super handy neighbor was able to help us through the garage electrical drama and saved us the money and headaches we would’ve had to manage had we gone the contractor route. And we’re learning to have a little faith with our DJ. But woah, was it a lot, all at once.

So now that hopefully the worse is behind us… here are all the things I’m most excited for, and I think B would probably agree about most after our recent chats.

  • Seeing the reception venue all set-up and all the tables put together – it has all been a vision in my head for well over a year… and I can’t wait to see it all put together.
  • Walking down the aisle to B and seeing him all done up in his suit!
  • My Father/Daughter dance – it’s going to be a tear jerker but that’s all I’m saying.
  • Dancing the night away with B, our family and friends.
  • Eating MY wedding cake and drinking champagne!
  • Finally being B’s wife!

The details have come together quite nicely, there are still a few things to do on the list but nothing crazy it’ll only be a matter of time before I’m straight butterflies, complete ADD, and ready to walk down that aisle to my husband!

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share all the details and a behind the scenes look on the blog later this month!

Until then! XO!

Photo Credit: Timothy Logan Photography

My Bridal Shower – Part 2

In case you missed it, part one was up yesterday, gushing over all my friends and family who came to my bridal shower this past weekend and helped make it so so special!  Part two, is all about the decor and food that was the cherry on top to everything else! And since I am used to running the show, it was hard for me to take a back seat and not be involved in the planning or decorating, but I kept myself busy and let them do their thing, and I was BLOWN AWAY!
My Bridal Shower P2 - the bee life
My mom, MIL and MOH<3 did an amazing job of coordinating all of this across state lines and literally building a beautiful space out of our garage.  From the food to the decor, everything was thought of and done to a tee, on theme, and exactly what I would’ve done! So now, here are the deets you’ve been waiting for!

The Menu: Cucumber cream cheese sandwiches,  egg salad sandwiches, turkey apple cheddar sandwiches, fresh fruit, and salad.  Accompanied with Sangria and a Mimosa bar!

The Dessert Table: Two amazing cakes from Scratch Bakeshop in Rochester (with GOLD!), peanut butter bars, raspberry bars, dipped chocolate pretzel sticks, custom sugar cookies, doughnut hole kabobs, and fruit pizza cups. OH. MY. GOD. It was a dream come true.

The Decor/Games:  Centerpieces filled with white and pink roses, gold, pink and black stripes everywhere and on the Date Night cards, the Who Am I? game cards, card table signage, and lots of balloons! It was all so beautiful.
Bridal Shower P1 - the bee life (2)
The shower was just an absolute dream, and I know how much everyone put into this to make it a special day for me, and it truly was!  The weather also shaped up and the sun was shining so it was a beautiful day for an outdoor backyard party.  I was overwhelmed by all the love and support.

Next up, the bachelorette party and then… the real thing!

My Bridal Shower – Part 1

This past weekend our wedding festivities officially kicked off!  We kicked it off with my bridal shower, and it was absolutely amazing! So where to even begin? My shower was hosted by my mom, my MIL and my MOH and we were able to have it at our house, as many people had to travel anywhere from 5-minutes to 4-hours, so I was very grateful to everyone who made the journey!  So bare with me through the upcoming sap…
My Bridal Shower P1 - the bee life
Family and friends are so important, and you truly learn who your friends are as you grow older in life – whether they’re new or old, it’s the bonds that keep you together. From our amazing neighbors, to a group of former co-workers, to B’s amazing family, to my best friend/MOH from high school and her amazing mom, to my incredible family, it was all the people who matter – just like our wedding will be one night with all the people who B and I love, and have seen us grow and become us.

The one game we played was called Who Am I? which allowed me to have a special moment to connect with everyone there, shower guests wrote a memory on a card, and Katie read them for me to guess who the memory was with!  I was definitely stumped a bunch, only because there were multiple shower guests at the same event/memory – but it was fun and funny to see what most people wrote about or remembered about me, (and maybe even a little embarrassing!).  The note cards will be a nice keepsake to have as part of our wedding memories!
Bridal Shower P2 - the bee life (2)
I’m just grateful for all of the love, plus the shower wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (the attention, and being on display opening presents!) … haha, I was a bit anti-shower for awhile.  It went so quick, that I wish I would’ve been able to socialize a bit more with everyone but I got hugs from everyone so that itself was a success!

I’ll be sharing part two featuring all the perfect details and decor, tomorrow!

The Truth: Weddings & Registries

It’s that time of the year again, wedding season! And with every wedding season, comes the cycle of bridal showers, multiple registries to review, and the actual wedding gift…  As a bride-to-be this upcoming fall, and a guest to four-weddings before then, I feel your pain! But here are answers that will help ease some of those questions and help you conquer all your gifts with success this wedding season!
Weddings &amp; Registries Guide - the bee life
The Gift. If you’re like me, you’re often conflicted with wanting to give the couple something unique and not on the registry.  But I’ve also heard from many past brides/friends say; “I just want the stuff off my registry!” I always thought buying off the registry was boring! But, news flash, it’s not about you or me!

Ultimately it comes down to knowing the bride/couple.  Will they like something specific and personalized if you stray from the registry? Or are they picky and have a specific style, so it’s best to just buy off the registry?  When in doubt, buy off the registry.

Money. Yes, it is tacky to talk about money, but it’s a topic many people struggle with, myself included! How much is enough? Especially if you’re attending four or more weddings in one year!  So I did a little research, and asked my friends and fellow brides-to-be. The consensus for a bridal shower gift was around $50. Although, there is an exception if you’re in the wedding party/close family friend.

Okay, so now how much for the wedding? The going response was basically covering the cost per person/per plate. As you can imagine, this could vary depending on the city, venue, type of food, but a low, but safe baseline is about $50 per person. So between you and your hot date, grand total/minimum of $100. But again, this all depends if you’re in the wedding party, family, or simply just a guest!

The Wedding. So back to that $100 for the wedding gift.  Do you just write a fat check? Or do you head back to that registry for more goodies?  Well consider this; a box of envelopes is much easier to transport after the wedding for whoever gets stuck with gift duty vs. 50+ different sized presents. Also, logistically as the guest, lugging around a gift during the ceremony and cocktail hour might not be the most enjoyable! The couple will most likely buy items they didn’t get off their registry (with a discount) with that cash anyways. So when it comes to the wedding, stick with cash/check.

Before I dived into all my registries, I jokingly talked about creating an online fund for our kitchen remodel! But I found something better, Zola Registry! Zola is a one stop shop for planning the big day, registering for your standard gifts from a number of known/unique brands, but also allowing couples to register for experiences, trips, and personalized cash funds for a kitchen remodel or honeymoon!

As a bride-to-be that has spent many hours searching for the perfect pieces, I’m learning a new found respect for gifting off registries and knowing when it’s okay to just gift with cash.

Happy Wedding Season!

Wedding Planning – Flowers

When it comes to flowers for your wedding, there are a lot of things to consider, like… first and foremost if you even want real flowers at your wedding! There are so many alternatives from realistic fake flowers to paper flowers! For me, I knew I wanted fresh flowers at our wedding. Flowers are something I’ve always dreamed about for my wedding, lots and lots of flowers… everywhere.  But as you’ll quickly come to find out, like I did, flowers are not cheap! In fact, I had a few vendors reply first stating their minimum price for an event, and it was double my budget, so I kindly responded and said thanks, but not going to work for me!

I will admit, I was a bit discouraged, and started mentally talking myself off the ledge of needing over the top florals, and starting thinking of how I would be able to simplify everything in order to at least have some flowers that I could afford.  Well upon many searches and reaching out to a few more unknown florists, I found my one.
Wedding Planning - Flowers
Here are a few tips for when you start the chats with potential florists:
1. Have pictures ready on pinterest to share with your florist! If you’re talking over the phone, try and send these ahead of time or a link to your pinterest page so you can talk through your vision live
2. Know ballpark numbers of how much you’ll need of hand bouquets, boutineers, centerpieces, ceremony space, hand corsages, etc. this of course helps with that estimating part
3. If your florist is asking you questions about your venue and ceremony space that is making you think, for example – does your church expects that the bouquets/centerpieces are donations?  You’ll want to gut check to see if other florists ask the same question, this verify’s experience and level of detail
4. Because…. if they’re considered donations you may not be able to reuse them in your venue space as additional decor or a centerpiece. Speaking of which, talk through with your florist how pieces can be used in both the ceremony and receptions spaces
5. Get ready to take notes and google a lot of different flowers, I know the basics, but a lot of what I wanted I only knew by seeing it – also ask about similar more affordable flowers that might work to get you the look you want
6. Don’t be afraid to ask your florist for a mood board/image to support pricing to make sure the vision and reality will match!

Our flowers for the wedding, are one of the things I am most excited about – besides the stunning venue and marrying my B.  I can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out, they’re definitely close to the level of my wildest dreams, and I can’t wait to see them come to life, in our venue, on our wedding day!

Sources: Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

Six.

Today mark’s six years with B and about 6-months until we’re married (!!!) and although we will have a new anniversary, this will always be our first.

As we’ve been prepping for our wedding with vendors, meetings, and security deposits, we’ve also been prepping for our wedding through the church with a series of quizzes and even an all day ‘prep course’.  I can hear some of you asking, a quiz? A course? Who is the church to decide if you’re able to get married? Valid, yes. But it’s our faith and how we grew up and a part of our wedding that is important to us, that it’s recognized in the church.  So during our all day course, we had to separate and write down where we saw ourselves in 5 and 10 years (among other things). And as we read these back to each other we laughed because they were nearly identical.  And although we talk about the future, our hopes and wants, it was nice to sit down and write these things down and discuss them with each other. Our “marriage prep” with the church has allowed us to talk about a few more things proactively vs. in the moment of life.

Every year together we grow a little more, we challenge each other, we become stronger, we love a little harder, we laugh, we try new things, we go new places, we support and encourage each other.

I can’t wait to walk down the aisle to this man and keep tallying up the years and memories together.

I love you, B! ❤

#EmnBWed – The Cake!

Our wedding updates are going to be a little different this year leading up to the wedding. How? I’m going to share my inspiration and focus on different areas of the wedding. And maybe share a few thoughts at what we will be doing for our special day.  cake-inspiration_the-bee-lifeSpoiler: I love cake.
Another spoiler: This is surprisingly (or not) going to be one of the areas that we skimp on and save money. Why? Because wedding cakes average cost between $350-$600 based on cost per slice. I don’t love cake that much.

We are going to keep the cake simple and still delicious. I also want to have multiple cakes and maybe even come cake pops or other sweet treats for guests to enjoy.  I am 50/50 when it comes to a cake topper, so more to come on that – it has to be us, it has to be unique. One of my wedding DIY’s will definitely be making some cake stands, although I cannot figure out the style/color just yet. Like I’ve said before… the details are what is going to drive me cray! But I’m happy to essentially have this task crossed off on the to-do list.

Until then, enjoy some cake.

Inspiration Shared:  Top Left | Top Right | Bottom Left | Bottom Right

Catch up on all the wedding planning madness:
December Update | November Update | October Update