Tag Archives: Weddings

Wedding Mondays

Oh my goodness, it has been a long time since I’ve stumbled across a wedding video that I have fallen absolutely in love with. Eileen and Brian – what a stunning couple! I felt like I was watching this magnificent vintage wedding film that really pulled me into the setting with them. What I love about this film is that it was a lot more calm than what we’re used to seeing. We all know how much I love those high-energy packed wedding videos, but it’s nice – every once in awhile – to watch one that takes a step back. I found myself really enjoying this and I think you all will too.

We are obsessed. These photos and video are from Branch + Cole.

And to view the rest of the wedding feature, click here to visit Green Wedding Shoes.

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Wedding Wednesdays – We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too!


I consider myself a better than average baker. I sincerely enjoy baking and one time I thought I enjoyed baking so much that I baked 110 pies over the course of a three month fundraiser. If I could have any job in the world, it would probably be to open my own bakery. With all that being said, choosing wedding desserts was both fun and one wedding task I may have had the highest expectations for. If you’re going to charge me $7/slice (and that’s cheap by San Francisco standards), then it better be the best damn cake I’ve ever tasted. Not to mention the unfortunate fact that throughout cake tasting, if I thought to myself “I could make better frosting/cake” then it was automatically vetoed.

Thus, our hunt for the most delicious wedding cake in the world, began. Let me also preface this post with the fact that I am one of those weirdos who enjoys a slice of cake as much as a slice of pie so not having a wedding cake as some people do, was not for me. I’ve never hopped on the fancy cupcake train, except for the occasional red velvet Sprinkles cupcake because who wouldn’t jump on that train? Cupcakes were out. Eric and I tasted several cakes before having what is quite possibly the most delicious, mouthwatering, and moist carrot cake in the history of the universe, which is obviously what we eventually settled on. Seriously, the bakery we settled on delivered a slice of carrot cake to our door after being out of it during our officially scheduled tasting and it took me one bite to know I was in love, with a cake. Carrot cake? You might ask yourself. Yes indeed, my absolute favorite cake flavor because really it’s all about the cream cheese frosting. Obviously we are not so crazy to believe everyone will enjoy carrot cake as much as my fiance and I do, therefore choosing our second flavor of classic vanilla bean. One of the best parts of cake tasting besides the obvious, eating a lot of cake? Getting to enjoy a cake tasting with my mom when she was visiting. Involving family or members of the wedding party in cake tasting is a great way to include them in wedding planning while also enjoying a delicious treat.


After finding my soulmate in a cake, I turned to the next item on the dessert ticket: can we have cake AND pie? I first learned to bake a pie because my fiance’s favorite dessert is apple pie. On his birthday every year, I bake him a homemade apple pie and over the last seven years, I’ve had plenty of time to perfect my pie crust; not to mention the aforementioned pie fundraiser. It was obvious to me that we should have both cake and pies if only to personalize the wedding to our tastes and what people know about us. Most of my friends have had a pie or two or four that I’ve baked over the years so getting to showcase our love of pies on a dessert table as an alternative to cake (if God forbid you’re a cake hater), seemed like the perfect compliment to our heavenly carrot and vanilla bean cake.

Mixing up your dessert at the wedding is a major trend these days. Some people are living out the cupcake dream while others are focused on pies, s’mores, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches, or a candy bar among other creative ideas. Stay true to who you are as a couple and what desserts you enjoys on your average Friday or Saturday night. If cake isn’t your thing, you’re honestly better off because you’ll save a ton of money and there are still plenty of desserts to carry out the traditional “cake” cutting if that’s what you’re worried about. Eric and I have major sweet tooths so for us, the more dessert the merrier. Did I find a way to incorporate whipped cream at my wedding? Absolutely. Because who said we can’t have our cake and eat some pie too?

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Wedding Mondays

We are so SO excited to be sharing this very special wedding video today – we’re just sorry we had to wait so late to post it! Sepideh (Sep for short!) is my coworker and married her husband Kenny earlier this summer in Mountain View at the charming Rengstorff House. We share a lot of wedding videos on Yow Yow! – we’ve done so for years now, but it’s always 10x more exciting when I get to share one that features someone that I know.

Sep and I have been working together for a year now and it’s sometimes hard to imagine what my work life would be like without her. We’re so thrilled that she has decided to share her wedding video with us. I’m loving all of these shots from a drone (can you believe how good they look?!) her walking down the aisle towards Kenny and that unforgettable traditional knife dance. It has definitely never been included in any other wedding video we have featured in the past.

We cannot lie; seeing Sep tear up made us kind of tear up too – and when I say us – I mean the 7 other coworkers we had around us when we watched this video for the first time on my monitor at work. We <3 you Sep!

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Wedding Mondays

This week’s Wedding Mondays wedding video comes to us from a referral. Thanks Heing! Actually, I’m pretty excited to be sharing this video on Wedding Mondays because not only was my own brother attending, but the bride is the older sister of a former classmate of mine. I never really knew Tiffany growing up personally, but how neat is it that we have all these random connections years later! Anyways, this video is a super sweet one and I found myself getting a sad after about a minute because – um all these shots of Seattle. Amazing.

Happy Monday y’all! Enjoy!

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Wedding Wednesdays – You’re Invited!


I have learned a lot about wedding planning over the last year and much of that is thanks to my wonderful wedding planner. One of the most random things I learned is in regards to stationery and choosing your save the dates and invitation suite. I learned that your stationery can set the tone for your wedding day. I didn’t realize choosing stationery for one’s wedding required so much thought. And so, we set out into the wonderful world of paper goods knowing that we had to choose invitations that both expressed our vision for the wedding weekend and was conveniently under budget.

First, our save the dates. We chose not to pursue the modern save the dates highlighting an engagement picture because that just didn’t suit us as a couple. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having two of my favorite people featured on my fridge in a gorgeous professional photo, it just never felt quite right for Eric and I. Picking out save the dates are incredibly fun because they can be playful and unique. You can choose an adorable engagement photo or you can choose a vintage postcard depicting the Yosemite Valley. I love the simplicity of our save the dates and practicality as I assume they will end up in everyone’s recycling bins eventually. Don’t lie to me, we’ve all been there, none of us scrapbook anymore.


I have been an avid follower of Rifle Paper Company for a long time now and am completely obsessed with their gorgeous flower prints. I knew our wedding planner was the perfect match for a while, but when did I really know? It was when she sent us an invitation suite that highlighted a colorful Rifle floral print, without me ever mentioning my dream of Rifle Paper Co wedding invitations. I was sold from the second she sent it. Not only were the invitations all of my favorite colors, but they were done in letterpress, which is an especially nice touch for those who want to add a little somethin’ somethin’. Sure, they weren’t customized Rifle invites, but who has that in their budget anyways? The best part about our invites, Eric, our wedding planner, and myself designed the suite from the ground up. We had inspiration from Etsy, duh who doesn’t these days, but we took the original invitations and went wild. We were able to take our overall vision for the wedding and display it in something as simple and low key as an invitation. This my friends, marks our first wedding DIY project. Eric and I went crazy at Paper Source shortly thereafter buying necessary craft supplies and painstakingly put the final product together. We created our very own assembly line and, singlehandedly, glued envelope liners, taped belly bands (yes that’s a real thing), and stuffed 120 envelopes.

Lastly, but certainly one of the most important considerations is that of the wording and addressing of a wedding invitation. Do you have any idea how sexist an envelope can be? Dr. and Mrs? I mean really. The approach Eric and I took, and advice I felt worthy of sharing on this post is that the envelope should be labeled for who you know best. Everyone should get a label before their names and so as to not make assumptions, all the women can be assigned Ms. (instead of Mrs.). Next, if a couple is living together they can be assigned the same line on an envelope otherwise they each get their own line. Note, if you’ve known each individual of a couple for the same amount of time my personal default was to put the woman first. We’ve earned it ladies.

For example, Ms. Amanda Thomas and Mr. Eric Spishak would be an appropriate way to address an envelope to my fiancé and I. We’re on the same line because we’ve been living together three years and dating almost seven years total. We’ve worked hard to be on the same line after all of these years.

As for the wording of the invitation, I’m a big fan of some formality with some fun. You want to keep these classy and timeless, but still have your personality shine through so as to not have your invitations feel stuffy and impersonal. We hope we nailed that little tidbit in ours, but nobody’s perfect. We are also financing a majority of our wedding therefore we get to invite everyone to our wedding instead of the traditional, so and so’s parents invite you to their daughter’s wedding. You know what I mean.


There are a lot of ways to modernize wedding invitations these days including RSVPs online, which a lot of people do. Personally, I love getting mail and find the tradition of mailing an RSVP a non-negotiable so we chose to keep it traditional. Minted and Wedding Paper Divas are online stationery companies that make purchasing and designing stationery an easy and painless process. Long story short, our wedding invitations and save the dates were not something we wanted to break the bank, but they were an important way to express ourselves and set the tone for the wedding weekend. We had a lot of fun creating our own invitations, licking over a hundred envelopes (Eric literally licked all of them, I have to be honest), and learning that there are two ways and definitions to spell stationery (or stationary).

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Wedding Wednesdays – How to: Register for Wedding Gifts


Let’s talk gifts. I LOVE gift giving and I especially love buying a wedding gift for a couple. I mean, how could you not? It’s legitimately the easiest gift you’ll ever buy, the couple chooses the exact gifts their hearts desire and all you have to do is click purchase and your gift is sent directly to their door! Wedding registries can be a very controversial topic for some and it’s a subject that people can get extremely judgey about so take a breath because as always, this is just simply one woman’s opinion and that woman, is me.

Eric and I went the old fashioned way and registered at three different stores, linking each registry through our website, but before I get into that we must talk about all of the hip new registries on the block. There are so many different ways to register these days, it’s really insane how many start ups have been created to tackle the “issue” of wedding registries. I’ll give one example because it’s the only alternative we ever looked into and that is, Blueprint Registry. Of course I’ve participated in purchasing gifts for friends through the Honeyfund and Zola sites as well. Blueprint Registry is a new way of looking at a wedding registry. It allows the couple to create a homepage and shop for a variety of items from a variety of stores all on one website. It also allows the couple to shop “room by room” in their integrated system, taking an overwhelming task of what one needs for their house and organizing it in a very systematic way. What drew me to Blueprint was the idea that it wouldn’t matter what store each item was from while also allowing guests to narrow their search by price. I decided to ultimately stick with tradition primarily due to the concern I had over return policies through Blueprint Registry. Things get complicated when the items are integrated into one system instead of using each store’s website and we ultimately decided to go with our gut and register at: Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Heath Ceramics.

I have to be honest, I love shopping and I love housewares and kitchen gadgets so registering for our wedding was basically my dream. My dream came crashing down pretty quickly after I realized stores no longer give you a barcode scanner to scan items in their store. First off, what’s with that? If you’ve watched enough rom-coms that involve weddings you know that you’re supposed to get a “gun” to scan items in a store when you get married and it looks fun and it looks easy! Well now we can all thank technology for allowing us to download a freaking registry app that allows one to roam the store freely, scanning barcodes like a crazy person. That might still sound fun to you, but let me tell you, if you’re registering at Crate & Barrel or Williams-Sonoma like we were, both of their apps are glitchy, slow, and not nearly as fun as what I can only imagine those scanning guns were in their hay day. I know, I know, first world problems, but bear with me.

A little backstory on Eric and my registry. We have been living together for three years in an adorable San Francisco, 500 square foot, apartment (or what Craigslist lovingly referred to as a “junior one bedroom”). Now, over these three years one would think we would have a well stocked apartment or kitchen, but not Eric and I, oh no. We have been waiting until we get married to actually buy things that don’t snap in half when you use them (like our Target knife, terrifying) and so our registry was a big deal. We needed everything under the sun you can think of, including the obvious, a KitchenAid Mixer (pistachio color obviously) and the not so obvious, a garlic press. One thing we did that I would highly recommend is to make a list of things as you notice them missing in your kitchen, things you wished you had or things that need replacing. Likely, the stores you register at will load you up with all sorts of helpful lists, tips, and tricks on how to best utilize their wedding registry. Not only that, but when you check-in at the stores in person, they’ll probably give you an adorable wedding gift. At Crate & Barrel for example, we got two free stemless wine glasses! The other thing is to consult the internet. I found great, comprehensive lists of recommended items that I brought with me to each store for registering in order to make the task less daunting. No matter how much preparation you have going into building and creating a wedding registry though, it’s going to overwhelm you at some point and don’t you worry, that’s normal. Trust me, you have no idea how big of an industry dish drying racks are until you begin your wedding registry.

The last thing I want to say about registering is to focus on creating a registry that speaks to you as a couple and your life together moving forward in your marriage. I think the main reason alternative registries are growing is due to the lack of personalization one can have in purchasing a wedding gift through a traditional wedding registry. For me, I get excited about buying someone new sheets or glassware, but that’s not for everyone. Some people want to participate in your honeymoon by buying you an adventure on your Croatian getaway or getting you a restaurant gift card to contribute to future date nights. Not everyone even has a wedding registry at all these days and that’s okay too. Just note, older family and friends may find it challenging to not have any ideas to go off of and many people frown upon asking for money to pay off your student loans after the wedding (trust me, we considered this). Eric and I chose Heath Ceramics as our sort of outlier store. Heath Ceramics is a gorgeous and incredible local ceramics shop started in Sausalito by Edith Heath where we registered for all of our dishes and serving platters/bowls. To us, shopping local is important and we fell in love with Heath Ceramics after moving to San Francisco. Their attention to detail and handmade craft makes their dishes special and unique and something we hope to keep forever. What’s the real adventure about registering for wedding gifts? Choosing to wait to open them all until after the wedding and allowing them to stack up until the big day. If there’s one thing I am, it’s impatient. The fact that I haven’t completely spoiled the entire registry is only due to the fact that Eric locked me out of our registries by changing all of the passwords.

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Wedding Wednesdays – Building a Wedding Website

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At brunch this weekend with Katie, we both realized it had been far too long since I’ve blogged about wedding planning. Time is flying by and all of a sudden the wedding is just over two months away, 73 days to be exact but who’s counting? It’s a weird thing when you’re engaged for a year and a half because for so much of the time it feels so far away and then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye you are completely freaking out with excitement that it’s just around the corner! So with that, I’m back and anxious to discuss the importance of a wedding website.

A destination wedding can mean a couple of things. It can mean that most of your family and friends are coming in from various parts of the country therefore, for them, it’s a destination wedding. It can also mean that you chose a wedding venue that’s in a national park conveniently located a 3-4 hour drive from an airport…oh wait that’s what we did. Either way, having a destination wedding of sorts means there is a lot of pressure on a good wedding website. Not only am I having a destination wedding, but I’m having a wedding weekend, making the wedding website even more significant. Knowing the importance of a clear, well done wedding website and luckily marrying a software engineer, Eric and I set to work on building our wedding website from the ground up. That’s right, we did not use Squarespace (*gasp!)

The goal of a wedding website should be to exchange information with your guests without actually having to participate in a million different texts, calls, and emails asking the same questions. Your website should be clear and succinct, you don’t want to overwhelm your guests, but you’re covering a lot of ground so truly more information is better in this case. Your website should also be personal and unique to you as a couple. For example, Eric and I have been together for almost seven years and wanted to share our story for those who might not know it already or those who want to hear it again! We also shared a myriad of photos depicting us throughout our relationship, which we had a lot of fun picking out and putting together in a slideshow. Most importantly, our website has travel and lodging information so that our guests can feel at ease in booking their flights and accommodations. Lastly, guests want to know what to expect for the day or weekend so include information such as a schedule of events, anticipated weather, and requested guest attire.

Not everyone chooses to have a wedding website, but they are a nice thing to have and can be easily included on your save the date or on an invitation insert. Absolutely if you are planning a destination wedding a website should be considered and created prior to sending out save the dates. If you can’t code an entire website like my better half, then I would strongly encourage a predesigned/pre-built wedding website engine. Thankfully for me, I got to sit next to Eric and dictate all of my website desires while he did all of the hard work. We think it turned out pretty great, and we’re always working to update it and add additional information as the big day gets closer. The update we’re most excited about? Adding a road trip playlist, curated by my famous bridesmaid who is a big deal in the music industry, and road trip suggested stops for everyone on their drive from the Bay Area to Yosemite.

Interested in how ours turned out or want to just stalk our wedding plans? We don’t judge, check it out here: mandianderic2016.com

Yes, it does sound like we’re running for president, but vote for us and check out our labor of love for inspiration for your own website!

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Wedding Mondays

We have a lot of love in our hearts after being in Seattle for the last week. While I was home, I learned that one of my best friends from college just got engaged! Naturally, you all know that that always makes me a little bit emotional and that getting to share a wedding video for the following Monday makes this so much better. The video we’re sharing today is right up our alley because it’s totally non-traditional and we love it. Lately, I’ve been reading about a lot of weddings through blogs that are tossing out those old-aged and stale traditions. I have such a greater sense of appreciation for couples that can do things that aren’t always by the books and are most true to themselves.

Unrelated, but sort of related – I watched an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” while I was home and this bride-to-be with electric blue hair just had to have color in her wedding dress, but her very traditional mother wanted her in a white dress. When she tried on a white dress at the request of her mother, she broke down in tears because she just didn’t feel like herself and of course, the mom (seeing her daughter sobbing) still couldn’t see it. SO (this was the best part!) the salespeople at Kleinfeld stepped in and were all “Mom, we’re not going to see a crying bride on our floor so you need to just take a step back and let your daughter do what she wants to do.” Those aren’t the exact words, but I’m pretty close! So whether you have a rainbow colored dress or you opt out of the cake cutting or don’t have a bridal party at all, you should just do what feels right for you and your partner.

Side note / Fun fact – while I was home, I caught up with Veronica who is also newly engaged and she had the chance to show me her amazing and stunning pearl earrings which her and fiance had chosen for her instead of just your standard engagement ring. I had actually never heard of anyone swapping out the engagement ring for another piece instead, but it was SO them to do it this way and it clearly held a lot of sentiment for the both of them.

To view the entire feature on Green Wedding Shoes, click here.

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Wedding Mondays

Every Sunday, I hold my breath a little bit just hoping that there’s going to be a wedding video from the previous week that we can share with everyone. Last Sunday, as I was going through my usual roundup, I was really disappointed to find that there wasn’t even one that I loved. In fact, they didn’t even come close. Luckily for me though, I stumbled upon one last night – and I really needed a good one because I was going to see Jennie today while in Seattle.

What I love about this video even though there’s no dialogue, it looks like you’re watching a perfect film. I love the shots that were captured and her two-part dress and the way they made this wedding very Mexican themed to highlight something that was special to them, but that it took place in Palm Springs! I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a wedding video from Max and Molly Films, but I am VERY excited about them.

Yup, I’m in love with her bridesmaids’ dresses as well. To view the rest of the feature, click here to visit Green Wedding Shoes!

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A Collection Part 45

Interestingly enough, we don’t have a lot of thoughts to share about this A Collection Part post. The last 3 months have been a blur, but a good one. I think we’ll have some thoughts that we can share tomorrow that we’re building up, but for now let’s just enjoy these.

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Wedding Mondays

It takes a special wedding video to make you start to tear up 7 seconds in and honestly, I didn’t think it was possible until now. Happy Wedding Mondays, everyone! What are all of you doing on your 3 day weekend? We feel pretty blessed today that we get an extra day to rest and relax before heading into what we hope will be a fantastic 4-day work week. Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? So today, we’re dividing our time between work and Yow Yow!

I go back and forth a lot of the times between my ideal wedding video. Some videos are ALL fun – pure joy, completely upbeat and positive in every way. And then there are those that tug at the heart strings a little more. I think for the most part, this video balances a little bit of both. How gorgeous is Jean, the bride though? This reminds me a lot of Gelesia’s wedding dress and it just so happens that it was made by the same designer – Watters! We’re a fan, already!

To view the entire feature, trust – you’re going to want to, click here to visit Style Me Pretty!

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Wedding Mondays

Happy Wedding Mondays everyone! It’s been awhile since we’ve had one of these and I honestly was going to go to bed before scheduling one ahead of time, but then I remembered that every time I have said that on a Monday I usually end up too lazy after a long work day and just heading straight to bed. So we’re going to stick to commitment this time around. I was looking in my queues to see if I even had a wedding video when I saw this one by Lindsey and Saman. But wait – didn’t I already feature this?! Something made me think that I had because I had remembered telling Mandi all about this wedding video from this adorable couple in LA which took place at one amazing venue – Lombardi House. I dug through my archives, but couldn’t find it and then I remembered… this is the Grimace Films wedding video that I fell in love with and Mandi and Eric’s wedding video vendor!

For her most recent post, she had told me that to pick the video that I wanted to use and I seriously considered this one but thought – well I’ve already featured it (but I actually hadn’t!) and ended up choosing the one that I knew that she truly loved.

I love this wedding video for so many reasons. Ugh, the bride! The groom! The venue! The first look! Seriously, what’s not to love? We could go on and on shouting each aspect that we love, but you should probably just watch for yourself.

You can view the rest of the feature at Green Wedding Shoes here.

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Wedding Wednesdays – Hiring a Videographer

I’m not sure when the obsession started. Thinking back, I know I was not always one of those girls who had their entire dream wedding planned by the age of 13, but somehow the obsession began. The obsession with wedding videos that is.

Hiring a videographer was the most “no-brainer” decision I have had to make throughout the wedding planning process so far. Other decisions have been debated at length and pro/con lists have been made, but a wedding video for me was an obvious yes, no questions asked and no debate to be had. I speak for myself in this blog because I’ll be honest, Eric definitely could have left a wedding video behind. But because he’s been sitting next to me as I silently cry through countless strangers’ wedding videos and because he loves me and is a perfect human, he obliged to my big ticket wedding desire.

First, the hunt for the perfect videographer was not easy. I had very specific ideas in mind as to what makes the perfect wedding video. I did not want a “music video”. Instead I wanted a video that includes the toasts and the vows, a video that captures moments throughout the day that photos simply cannot.

Second, it’s important to know going into the hunt for a videographer how crucial a video even is to you. Wedding videographers are not cheap, in fact, they are ridiculously expensive and if you think you can live without a wedding video then it is probably not worth it to you to splurge. Eric and I met a couple at a catering tasting that said it was the easiest thing for them to cut once they went down this road and found the cost to be prohibitive. You do you, this is your big day and prioritizing what’s important to you and your fiancé is all that matters.

Third, if you’re on a budget like we are, I would highly recommend finding a videographer who is more “up and coming”. What’s fun about our videographers, for example, is that they are a group of guys who honed their skills after years of filming skateboarders. The famous and flashy videographers are great, but it’s so much more fun to work with a bunch of hardworking and talented vendors who are on the verge of making it big, saving you some money while still getting the high quality product you’re after.

Lastly, there are some ways to make your video more affordable. Most videographers offer several different packages based on the amount of time you are requesting them for, the film used, and whether or not you want toasts or vows included. As much as I would love to have Super 8 film strewn throughout our video, it is extremely expensive and for our budget was just simply not worth the cost. For us, we were able to choose the middle package and squeeze it in our budget.

The best part about the process of hiring a videographer was getting to work with the wonderful creator behind Yow Yow! who understands my wedding video obsession better than anyone else. Each time I found a new videographer who I thought might be right I would text Katie immediately to give me a second opinion, trusting her judgment and eye for talent and quality completely. When we landed on Grimace Films, Katie and I celebrated because we were mutually in love with everything about their videos. We decided it would be fitting to post one of their sample videos below for those who appreciate a well-done wedding video. Obviously stay tuned for our wedding video, which we will undoubtedly post after our wedding this fall!
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Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week


I’m not going to lie to you. It’s going to be a heavy week for weddings on Yow Yow! and we’re not embarrassed by it one bit. This past week was Bridal Fashion Week and we’re just now finally getting a chance to catch up on our favorite gowns! Here are my favorite picks along with their respective designers. Some day one of these will be ours someday… so we can dream! Also just to be clear, some of these aren’t gowns that I would actually want for myself, but that I just admire and think are beautiful. Just appreciate the intricacies!

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Wedding Wednesdays – Engagement Shoot Adventure


Part I: The Photographer

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it’s so important to figure out you and your fiance’s priorities from the beginning of the wedding planning roller coaster. If your fiance’s priority is beer and yours is music then those are the two things you should focus your time, energy, and money on. Photography has always been top of our priority list for our wedding so finding the perfect photographer was crucial. First and foremost we knew posed portrait style photos were not our thing. Eric and I have never taken professional photos together and are pretty silly people generally so imagining ourselves standing together like we’re going back to high school prom doesn’t suit us. Based on our preference, documentary style photography is what we were looking for. It was also important for us to take into account our venue, Yosemite National Park. We wanted to choose someone who is no stranger to photographing the outdoors and not just any outdoors, basically the most magical and dreamy outdoor space imaginable. Having these qualifications we set out, with our amazing wedding planner, to find the perfect match.

Greg Balkin of Brightwood Photography is a genius. He is one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever seen and that’s just taking into account his outdoor photography. The emotions and love he is able to capture between the couples he shoots is even more extraordinary. It took us all of ten minutes to decide we had to have him photograph our special day. Finding out Greg recently relocated from Southern California to Seattle was just the icing on the cake. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, my fiance and I met in Seattle therefore making this a match made in photography heaven.


Part II: Adventure Love Story

Instead of the usual engagement shoot, our photographer specializes in what he coined as “Adventure Love Stories”. Adventure Love Stories reframe engagement pictures as an excuse to get outside and explore together as a couple while getting to know Greg and documenting the entire weekend or “adventure”. The best part about our weekend was that Eric and I have already spent our last 7 years together exploring the outdoors, going on incredible camping/backpacking trips, and adventuring so this was a huge selling point in choosing Greg to be our photographer. I do have to be honest though, as much as I absolutely love camping and backpacking and as much fun as an adventure sounded I was somewhat anxious about how I was supposed to pull myself together for a weekend photo shoot after camping?! How’s a girl, who’s not that photogenic to begin with, supposed to be photographed with bedhead and after sleeping on the ground all night with day old makeup? It sounds ridiculous and vain, but if you had 200+ photos taken of you, you’d consider this a legitimate fear as well. I obviously decided to suck it up and trust Greg and also figured worst case, no one has to know these photos exist.

Eric and I chose to have our adventure with Greg in one of our favorite places in Washington State, the state that brought us together. And so, two weekends ago we hopped on a plane from San Francisco, drove several hours in the car, and took a ride on a ferry boat to Olympic National Park, and if you haven’t been, consider this your plug that you should immediately plan your trip. Olympic National Park has some seriously wonderful memories for Eric and I so choosing it for our engagement shoot was a no brainer. We have summited its mountains, hiked along its rivers, explored its rugged beaches, and watched the infamous Elwha Dam removal over the years all the while knowing it to be one of the best kept secrets in the country. Naturally, the camping trip turned into a spontaneous backpacking adventure leading us to one of the Olympic Coast’s most beautiful beaches near La Push. This spur of the moment decision also led to hilarious pictures of myself and Eric in formal clothes (including heels mind you) carrying our hiking boots, tent, sleeping bags, and REI backpacks. Note: should you choose to do your own outdoorsy photoshoot, keep in mind that heels, no matter how chunky, are a poor decision.

Lucky for you, I’m here to share a handful of my favorite photos from the weekend. While looking through them just remember we hadn’t showered, we slept on the beach overnight, and my naturally curly hair doesn’t tend to agree with that damn misty coastal climate. Also, huge thanks to Julia for the last minute Tyra Banks modeling tips, without them I would have looked like a limp noodle neck monster.

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