Article originally published on Brides.com
Zoom Weddings Are Now Legal!
Start sending your Zoom invites!
If you were forced to postpone your wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic, certain states are starting to make virtual wedding ceremonies legal—so you can still officially say "I do" on your original date.
New York, Colorado and Ohio are the first states to lead the charge in the changing landscape of weddings. Not only are some states recognizing virtual ceremonies, but they are also allowing residents to apply for marriage licenses online, something that typically must be done in-person.
New YorkNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order regarding virtual wedding ceremonies on April 18. He announced the news during his daily coronavirus press briefing and on Twitter with a tweet that read, "NEW: I am issuing an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference."
Not only does the executive order allow marriage clerks to officiate wedding ceremonies via video conference, but it also allows engaged couples to apply for their marriage license online.
Typical New York law requires couples to apply for a marriage license in-person at any town or city clerk—something that proved to be impossible during quarantine since marriage bureaus across the state are currently closed.
Of course, the order is just a temporary provision to New York law. However, it is the perfect solution for couples who are eager to officially tie the knot!
ColoradoOn March 26, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order allowing clerks to issue marriage licenses through an application by mail, instead of in-person. This allows engaged couples to follow the state's stay-at-home orders and apply for a marriage license simultaneously.
County clerks were quick to share the news with their residents via Twitter, with the Boulder County Clerk tweeting, "Hey @bouldercounty residents – Getting married soon? Don’t fret! Our offices may be closed to the public, but we can now complete a marriage license application over video chat & mail you your docs!"
article originally published on Bride.com
Event though it was cold and cloudy we managed to get some great engagement photos of Brandy and Chris at their vineyards in Halifax County, Virginia last weekend.
I am super excited to get to photograph this couples wedding day this coming fall!
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer based in Virginia. Her email address is email@example.com
originally published on bride.com
For the most part, wedding guests are simply happy to be a part of your big day. But it turns out they've got a few pet peeves when it comes to weddings. Here are five things guests hate most about weddings, from real wedding guests.
Delayed Receptions"I have been to my fair share of weddings and love being a part of their special days. But with that said, I absolutely hate delayed receptions—the ones where you get there and no beverages or food are served for more than an hour. Especially if children are invited, there should be activities to keep them busy or else you end up with a room full of hungry guests and bored kids running around." *—Crystal *
Lack of Planning"Every wedding I've attended has been a wonderful celebration filled with laughter, love, tears, and lots of dancing, which makes for a great party every time. But even though every one has been a blast, a couple weddings I've attended have had some rough starts, and the cause usually started with the planning—or lack of planning—that went into communicating with the guests. My one piece of advice as a guest is think about the best way to stay in communication with all of your guests as the wedding progresses, because something almost always changes last minute.
We as guests want to make sure we're bringing our A-games to your big day!" *—Jessica *
No Microphones at the Ceremony"I understand that a lot of guests look forward to weddings for the free food and booze. But not me. I'm in it for the ceremony. What can I say? I'm a big sap. So my biggest pet peeve as a wedding guest is when couples don't consider whether their guests can actually hear them during the ceremony. If you don't use a microphone, chances are we won't hear anything that's happening. And instead of sharing the moment along with you, we'll just be stuck twiddling our thumbs." —Anna
The Bride Venting About Her Wedding (At the Wedding)"I just went to a wedding in which the bride sat down at our table to say hello and just launched into this very long speech about how tough wedding planning was and how she wished she had just eloped. When she got up from our table and moved to the next, I heard her give the same spiel to another guest. I get that she was probably just stressed from it all and needed to vent. But as a guest, it made me feel pretty uncomfortable. Your wedding is a happy occasion, but it's pretty difficult to see it that way when you spend the whole reception complaining about how miserable it was to get there." *—Marianne *
Cash Bar"Cash bars. I understand that not everyone has the budget for an open, full bar. That's OK. But in that case, try to offer a limited bar, such as just beer and wine. Guests will really appreciate it—especially the ones who have traveled or had significant expenses in order to come to your wedding."
Crystal’s Clear View
What it takes to be a leader
Most companies have a leader. But not all companies have great leaders. It takes a lot to be a great leader.
A great leader is not someone you must follow, but one you want to follow.
Last week I watched first hand as a leader of a company took on a dirty maintenance job.
This job could have easily been dictated to another person in the company, one or any one of the ones who were not on a "leader level."
However, I watched as this leader did the job themselves. Never once asking or expecting anyone else in the company to do the job.
Over the years, I have been both an employee and an employer, and to be a great leader, you must be willing to serve and treat those around you with respect. I witnessed that in that leader that day.
The great leaders know they are responsible for establishing the tone of the company. A great leader knows how to teach, and if done correctly, employees will follow and learn wholeheartedly.
A great leader is also a master of communication. If you are a leader of a company, remember to communicate with not only managers but your employees as well. A well-run team will take their leader far.
If you are a leader, here are some tips you can start doing today to help not only yourself but your team:
Build trust. When it comes to leading a team, you must be willing to go out on a limb for your employees to show them you have their back.
Promote an open environment for two-way feedback.
Be a coach.
Show confidence in your decisions.
Crystal's Clear View
I was watching a television show recently where one person asked the other, "how is your day?" That person was complaining that it was Monday and they didn't want to be at work, didn't want to get out of bed, had too much to do, and the list went one.
The other person, with their upbeat and positive attitude, quickly pointed out, "You have a job, don't you? You have a home, don't you? You have a bed to sleep in, don't you? ... Then life is not so bad."
Many people in this world don't have those things and long for them each day. You see this every day if you travel the city streets.
Having an attitude of gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.
In a study published by Harvard Health, researchers found that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude.
In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them.
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources negatively.
So, remember to be grateful for all the things in your life, both big and small and even during times of adversity.
It is often challenging times and experiences that prepare us for future opportunities.
Crystal Vandegrift is professional wedding photographer based in Virginia. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal’s Clear View
Equality for all
On the third Monday in January, America celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and for many, this day means a day off. For others, it means taking part in a "day of service" and helping others.
For some, it is a day to remember how Dr. King fought and died for equality.
Some see that Americans have come a long way in equality for all; for others, that justice is still lacking and fought for.
Though we as Americans have come a long way when it comes to equality, there is still work to be done.
Since the 1960s, several laws have been passed to guarantee civil rights and freedoms to Americans; however, there are still groups who are still fighting for their rights day in and day out.
Those groups, including women who are still wagging the war on the pay gap between their male counterparts and people with disabilities, the homeless, those with mental illness, and the LGBTQ community, are still in a fight for equality.
Everyone, no matter their skin color, gender, or financial status or mental capacity, deserves to be accepted and treated with dignity. Think back to a time when you may have not felt accepted. Remember how that felt? Probably not good. Some live with that feeling each day.
You do not have to agree with what a person does or does not do to show them respect. We all deserve respect.
The next time you encounter someone who is "not like you," remember, meeting that person can be a blessing. They could have come into your life to help you or even teach you. Just because someone is different from you does not make them less of a person.
In the end, we are humans and I think King said it best, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
Crystal Vandegrift is a professional wedding photographer based in Virginia. Her email address is email@example.com
Article posted on Brides,com
Let's be honest, discussing budget is probably your least favorite part of wedding planning, and we don't blame you! While there are many areas you can save (think DIY invitations and guest list), the last thing you want to do is sacrifice style and quality when it comes to your wedding dress, and the good news is: you don't have to!
With a stunning assortment of affordable wedding dresses flooding the market, many coming in under $1,000, you'll be sure to find a dress that fits your style and venue. Hoping for intricate beading? No problem. Aiming for a delicate lace overlay? Yes, it’s possible. Prefer a pared-back slip dress? Gorgeous options abound. See what we’re getting at? Affordable bridal gowns do exist, and they’re just as stunning as costlier designer versions.
Here, we’ve curated an edit of the best wedding dresses under $1,000 that we’re certain will suit every price-conscious bride-to-be.
Plunging Back DressBUY ON BHLDN.COMLooking for a modern take on a traditional dress? This instant classic is for you! A high neck provides chic coverage while side mesh panels and an open back add some sultriness.
Sheer Lace Top and SkirtBUY ON NORDSTROMThis sheer top and skirt combo are all about showing some skin in all of the right places. Strategically placed lace paneling showcases some tasteful skin while a simple a-line skirt is the perfect complement to a detailed top.
Ivory Slip DressBUY ON THEREFORMATION.COMYou can never go wrong with a stunning slip dress. It's chic, it's classic and can definitely be worn again long after the wedding. Stay monochromatic with your accessories for a minimalist look or experiment with color to make a bold statement.
If you're a minimalist bride, check out our roundup of the best slip wedding dresses.
Off-the-Shoulder Ball GownBUY ON DAVIDSBRIDAL.COMA classic ballgown like this one will never go out of style and most importantly, it will remain timeless in wedding photos. Try pairing this gown with a cathedral length veil for even more added drama.
Check out these stunning veils from Etsy!
Off-The-Shoulder DressBUY ON BHLDN.COMIt doesn't get any more elegant than this classic off-the-shoulder silhouette. The crisscrossed bodice is supremely flattering and sophisticated. Wear your hair up to showcase your shoulders and neckline.
Customizable Maxi DressBUY ON FAMEANDPARTNERS.COMFor the bride who wants a hand in designing her dress, this customizable dress is for you. With options to line the bodice, remove ruffles, and change the neckline, you have the ability to design a dress that is uniquely you.
Macrame Long DressBUY ON SHOPBOP.COMIf you're having a destination wedding, you need this dress! Nothing says carefree-on-the-beach like crochet and floral eyelet details. Dress this look up with strappy sandals and beachy tresses.
Capelet DressBUY ON ELOQUII.COMCape dresses are trending all over the bridal fashion week runway and for a good reason! This plus size style is sleek, dramatic, and perfect for a city wedding.
Off-The-Shoulder Lace DressBUY ON GRACELOVESLACE.COMThis classic dress was designed to be stunning and comfortable. A thick fold-down panel flatters the shoulders and neckline while beautiful stretch french lace hugs and skims the body.
Empire Waist Twist DressBUY ON SHOWMEYOURMUMU.COMAn empire waist dress is typically one of the most flattering silhouettes out there. The twist on the bodice of this dress draws the eye in and nips you at the waist. A relaxed skirt is easy, comfortable, and stylish.
Floral Lace DressBUY ON WATTERS.COMThe floral details on this dress are totally unique, while the stretchy lace ensures a body-skimming fit. We love this style for a beach or garden wedding.
Check out some of our favorite beach wedding dresses.
Off-The-Shoulder Pouf-Sleeve DressBUY ON MODAOPERANDI.COMThis cotton dress is fashion-forward and supremely flattering. A structured bodice is supporting while carefully placed ruching smoothes the midsection.
One-Shoulder Ruched Silk-Jacquard DressBUY ON NET-A-PORTER.COMWe love a good one shoulder moment, and this look takes the cake. Ruching at the shoulder creates a strong and statuesque silhouette, while subtle floral embroidery woven throughout the silk jacquard adds an element of femininity.
Pleated Plunge Wrap DressBUY ON ASOS.COMChic and effortless, this dress boasts a flattering plunging neckline and a pleated twist at the bodice.
Shoulder Ribbons Dress
BUY ON THEREFORMATION.COMWe love the romantic design of this dress from the feminine shoulder bows to the fitted and slimming bodice to the subtly flared mermaid skirt. This style is perfect for the bride who is looking for a casual but elevated look.
Article posted on Brides.com
You know what they say: timing is everything. And when it comes to wedding planning, this statement certainly couldn't be more true. When exactly should you send those destination wedding invitations out? And how far in advance is it necessary to secure hotel blocks? We break it all down for you here, so hopefully, you can avoid some of the most common timing mistakes brides make while wedding planning.
1. Reaching out to Vendors Too EarlySeriously, it happens. Erica Taylor, co-founder of NYC-based event design and planning company Tinsel & Twine has had "brides" reach out to make inquiries before they're even engaged! Or couples that reach out with a wedding date three years away. "While flattering, it's a bit premature and takes up our time that we could be devoting to other more timely clients," she says.
2. Putting a Deposit Down on a Venue and Hiring Other Key Vendors Prior to Hiring Your PlannerIf you plan on hiring a planner, always consult him or her first before making major wedding decisions, like securing a venue, rentals, and hiring a florist. "Most event design firms also do in-house florals and recommend rental items as part of their contract package so this essentially duplicates efforts (and money spent)," she explains.
What if you could start your honeymoon the moment you get on the plane? Think about a Doha stopover mini-moon en route to your final destination!
3. Procrastinating on Booking Key VendorsWaiting too late to book your vendors, particularly for a high-season wedding, is a common mistake couples make, notes Dezhda "Dee" Gaubert, owner of No Worries Event Planning. If your wedding is in the peak season (for most regions, this is the summertime), and you wait until even six months prior to book a high-quality vendor, you may miss out on the best of the best, she cautions. "This includes DJs, photographers, coordinators, and some florists. "Suppliers that can handle a higher volume, like cake bakers, caterers, and some florists, can be booked closer to the event date, but don't risk it.
Good vendors book up fast!"
4. Booking a Videographer at the Last MinuteRachel Jo Silver, Founder of Love Stories TV, has seen this happen again and again: the bride puts having a wedding videographer under the "optional" column on her to-do list and then panics trying to find someone at the last minute when she realizes it's actually a must-have. In fact, not having a videographer is the number one regret she hears from brides, so take her advice and don't put this one off!
5. Sending out Destination Wedding Invitations Too LateAccording to destination wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques, destination weddings have entirely different timelines for invitations (and RSVPs) than weddings at home. "Because literally everybody has to travel to get to a destination wedding, you should send out save the dates and travel information as far out as 18 months prior to the big day. Formal invitations can be mailed at the one-year-out mark, and they should still have an RSVP date of eight weeks from the date you mail them." Do not delay sending out your invitations or you'll have trouble planning and budgeting for all of your various events at your wedding destination, she warns.
6. Not Securing Hotel Blocks Early OnWaiting too long to book hotel block accommodations, especially in a major city, is a big no-no, notes wedding planner Marilisa Schachinger of Martel Event. "While it can seem like a simple task to put off until later, if a city is hosting a large conference or sporting event the same weekend as your wedding, they may be completely booked even six-plus months in advance." As soon as your date and venue are confirmed, she suggests locking in hotel blocks at 2-3 hotels to ensure your guests have plenty of options and time to secure their lodging.
7. Focusing on the Small Details FirstSome brides concentrate too much on the "small details" from the get-go and fail to resolve some of the bigger planning elements until too late, says Greg Jenkins, founder of Bravo Productions. "For instance, deciding on napkin rings, wedding colors and linens should come after you've already contracted a venue and caterer."
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
Interested in being a guest blogger on our site? Contact us below!
Pictures were one of my top priorities for my wedding. I spent a lot of time reading through photographers and even contacting some. I was also pretty nervous, I had never been professionally photographed before. Crystal and her team were SO easy to work with and immediately took away the nerves. I trusted her completely and I am so happy I did. Cannot recommend enough! Ellen - Yorktown VA
If you're looking for an amazing photographer who is relaxed, has experience, and knowledge look no further. Crystal took our engagement and wedding photos. Not only were her photos amazing, but she is extremely responsive to messages and will even help you when planning your big day. It was important to us to work with a photographer who has experience with same sex couples, and Crystal and Casey did a great job capturing everything for my wife and I. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. - Emily - Nellysford, VA
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