Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vendor Spotlight (Tips/Advice on Photography)

For those of you searching for a photographer, and need helpful tips/advice your selection- search no further! I had the pleasure interviewing Joe Sanfilippo’s experience and passion in photography. Please read My Bridal Budget’s interview with Joe Sanfilippo. In addition, please visit to see his albums and to read his blog. Contact him to learn more about his packages and rates & Book your 2011 event today!

Q & A
Q:Give a description of your background- such as education, professional organizations, and how long you have been in this field?

A: I have been photographing weddings professionally for 3 years now, and I truly cannot think of another job I would rather have. I always tell everyone I have the best job in the world!
I have been a photographer for as long as I can remember, I remember taking photos with my father’s cameras when I was kid, then going in his darkroom and developing the film with him. Since then, I have studied photography while attending online courses, workshops, but got most of my experience while assisting other wedding photographers throughout the years.

Q: What advice can you give to a couple when they are in the process of selecting Photographer?
A: So many variables go into choosing a wedding photographer- price, style, options, etc. But to make your wedding photographer selection go smoothly, try to follow these steps below!
Start with selecting photographers who has a style you absolutely love! Then try to find one who is within your budget, your photos will last forever so try to keep that in mind when budgeting!
Once you know what you want and what you can afford make sure you do the following:
a) Meet with your photographer and see if you like his or her personality. You will be spending a good part of your wedding day with your wedding photographer and if your personalities don’t mix, it will show in the photos and you and your photographer will be very unhappy.

b) Make sure he or she is insured and carries back up equipment!! There are no do-overs on your wedding day. Also, most venues require your vendors to carry liability insurance.

c) Book your photographer early; we tend to book up quickly. It is something you don’t want to have wait until the last minute and then get stuck with a photographer you are not happy with.

d) ALWAYS Remember that your photos are the only thing you have to look back on after the wedding day! Make sure you are totally happy with your decision before you sign a contract!

Q: What is the difference between photojournalistic and traditional shots?
A: The difference is mainly the way the shot is captured. Basically a true photojournalist is going to be following around the bride, groom and guests waiting for moments to unfold while trying to blend in with the crowd and go unnoticed throughout the day.

Traditional shots are usually posed or even staged. Some traditional style photographers will shoot off of a list for the entire day making sure every shot the bride and groom requests is taken. I always tell my clients to refer to their parents wedding album to see some traditional photography.

Q: What do you consider your photography style to be?
A: Artistic Photojournalism.

Q: During a ceremony and/or reception, how do you know when to capture that “perfect shot”?
A: My job during the wedding is to keep my eyes peeled always looking for the “perfect shot” or what I would rather call the “perfect moment”.. But, How do I know when to capture the moment? Its mostly instinct and trying to anticipate what’s going on (not easy to do), having my finger ready on the trigger, I also like to get to know my clients before the wedding so I have a good idea of how they will act on their wedding day!

Q: In today’s economy, some couples may not choose photography for their wedding because of their limited budget, why do you think it is important to have a photographer for a wedding?
A: I think out of any service that would be cut, photography should be the last thing to even think about removing. After the food is eaten, the band has played, the flowers died and your dress is packed away; photos are the only thing you will have left to remember all of the details and thought you put into this big day!!

Q: After the event, what is your turn around time to give photos to a client?
A: I am pretty quick with my turnaround time. I have given clients their photos in as little as a week, but during busy times of year it can take up to a month. But this year, 2 weeks has been my average turn around.

Q: How much direction or posing do you do during the day of the event?
A: Not much. I usually will put the bride and groom in a position that feels natural to them and have them interact with each other and do their own thing while I capture the moments and natural emotion in between. Most couples are not used to being in front of a camera all day long, they are not models, and so I don’t treat them as such.

Q: Are you willing to have a couple’s input on the photos that they want?
A: As an artist, I see a shot and I take it! If a client asks for a specific shot on the wedding day, I have no problem taking it, as long as I get all of the shots that I know I need to get. I want my clients to have enough trust in me to know I am going to get the right shots!

Q:Do you think updating photography technology & equipment is necessary in your field?
A: I wouldn’t say its necessary in an artistic sense. There are still guys out there shooting film, not many, but they are out there. It’s the photographer’s vision, and technical knowledge that makes the photo the camera is just a tool.

While the technology advances today are not 100% necessary, they do offer us many more creative possibilities when it comes to wedding photography and that alone is reason enough for me!

Q: Have you handled events of any type and size before?
A: I have shot events of all types and sizes. My preference has always been weddings though. I have shot backyard weddings of 50 people total, with my largest wedding ever having 400+ guests.

The small weddings are nice and intimate and really allow you to be a part of the wedding day; while the large weddings have so much going on in every corner of the room you never know what’s going to happen!! I love this Job!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Budget-Friendly Baby Shower Décor

Budget-Friendly Baby Shower Décor

My Bridal Budget had the opportunity to coordinate a baby shower for a dear friend of mine, as well as one of my photographer vendors. Janelle (Asst. coordinator) and I worked effortlessly to create a vintage modern & non-traditional baby shower that displays the soon-to-be Mom and Dad’s personality- and we succeeded! I’m not a hard core “DIY-er”, although I love surfing the web for great ideas. However, I tapped into the creative and DIY side of me, I absolutely truly loved it! It takes time, patience, and a creative eye to delve into DIY. Because of what I envisioned, I was able to execute this baby shower in a budget-friendly style!

The color theme of this shower was brown and baby blue vintage- (It’s a boy!) Since I ordered invitations from Tiny Prints - see image above “Love Grows”- …I wanted to compliment the theme with brown and baby blue from the invitation.

The centerpieces that we created were blue vintage mason jars! We didn’t buy the mason jars in blue, but we managed to create a different look, which I’m sure you will be inspired. I found this inspiration from -
1) Mason Jar- 12 Jars- 12 @99cent each- Source Jacks 99 cents store, love this place! It’s a gem and it has everything you need to embellish a party
2) Vitrea 160- Turquoise dye 4.99 for one small bottle (Source: Michaels)
3) Vitrea Thinner- 4.99 for one small bottle (Source: Michaels)
4) Twine – 99 cent – Source: Jacks 99 cent store
5) 12 baby blue Diaper clips – 99 cent – Source: Jacks 99 cent store
6) Mixed Flowers- 12 bouquets@ 11.99 each (Casablanca lilies, Iris, Poms poms, carnations) – Pathmark Grocery Store- 11.99 each)
Total cost for 12 centerpieces: $167.72
Divide that cost into 12 centerpieces = that is $13.98 per centerpiece- WOW!

Baby Blue Mason Jar Inspiration-refer to picture above
The website above-Follow these directions and the comments from other DIYers in how to create this baby blue mason jar. This was a very easy project. You mix the dye and thinner and paint it with a fan brush onto the mason jar. You let it dry for 24 hours, and then you bake it in the oven for 40 minutes at 375 degrees F (it may give off a strong smell- so be sure to open your windows). After it cools, you may see brush strokes-it doesn’t matter if you see brush strokes on the jar, it will not be seen when you fill the jar with water and flowers. We wrapped twine on the rim of the jar twine, and added 2 baby blue diaper clips in the center of the knot.

Decorating the Table- refer to picture aboveI wanted to add some décor to the table- so I purchased table runners that had a brown/white damask design.
6 table runners- $3.99 each (6 tables with 8 guests)

I thought I was completely done with my vision- but I got addicted to adding more embellishment! I thought baby blue shoes around the table would be a perfect fit- I added 6 baby blue shoes per table and filled it with blue, brown and white M&Ms.
$4.99 for 12 baby shoes

To match the invitation- I added 2 mini silver frames (one on each end), the silver frame has engraved message “Little Angel” and I inserted the picture of the baby's sonogram. This was a cute keepsake for families and friend to take home.
Source: Frames- Lotless (99 cent each- Can you tell I love a bargain?!)

Baby Shower Favors- refer to picture aboveI decided to choose a conventional souvenir that guests would actually use in their homes- and that is Baby Feet Blue Soap ;-). I placed it on each plate setting – it actually gives it more décor to the table.

Baby Shower Guest book-refer to picture above
I wanted a guestbook that is not ordinary, so I checked out I loved the guestbook pages because the guest can write about their relation to the soon-to be mom, and draw pictures - which totally fits because the soon-to be mom and dad is very artiste. We added embellishment to the book, so we wrapped a blue/brown polka dot ribbon and glued on 2 mini baby raddles
Source: Ribbon- Michaels $3.99 and mini baby raddles- 99cent- 99 cent store

Clothing Line-refer to picture above
From the leftover twine we had, I decided to make a “clothing line”so we can add onesies and bibs to the clothing line. We used laundry clothespins to hang the clothes and the cardstocks. In between the clothing, I created a different color card stock that spells out “Baby Evan”.
Source: Card Stock- Michaels $3.99
Source: 12 Laundry wooden clothespins- $1.00 – Target

Mother Chair-refer to picture above
We wanted a modern look for the mother chair, not the tired traditional, wicker white 1980s chair. Since, the soon-to be mom has a comical personality, we decided to tape angel wings and mylar ballons behind her chair.
Source: Party City
Assorted baby shower ballons-5 ballons in a pack- 15.99
Angel Wings with Halo- 13.99

Cake- refer to picture above
We created a design of blocks that spells out “Evan” with animal and sport figurines. Taryn from Sweetfavorsrus executed our vision to life! And made a delicious creamy dulce y leche (Dominican cake). Around the cake- there was a mini candy buffet (canisters of different sweets- such as blue cotton candy, mixed chocolates, Twizzlers- Guests relived their childhood memories when they saw candy and created their own baggie!
Source: Cake-

As you can see, you can have a lot of fun becoming a “DIY-er” at a lesser cost! More pictures of this inspiration are on My Bridal Budget Facebook!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Artistic Expression in your Champagne Toasts

A year ago, my boyfriend and I traveled to Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia)- I must say Spain is a beautiful country with immense culture and most of all delicious food! - After a year, I’m still raving about it. During my sightseeing, I went to a Wine Bar in Madrid- I decided to have a glass of champagne. The bartender put this Wild Hibiscus raspberry gel inside my flute glass- it looked like a mini octopus with the tentacles. He poured champagne inside the glass, miraculously the raspberry gel turned into this beautiful Wild Hibiscus flower. I was amazed! I had to take a picture of it; also I wanted to search for these raspberry gels when I returned to the states so I can serve it to my guests. I thought this would be a unique concept in celebrating a memorable event- such as serving it to guests for wedding champagne toasts. I searched online everywhere, and I finally found it! Read below the research tips. It’s a small bottle of 11 raspberry gel flowers (one per guest); also there is a larger bottle. It adds a perfect touch to your flute glasses! As well as it is picture perfect! You can give it as an engagement gift, bridal shower gift or a wedding gift. Cheers and Enjoy!

Above-Pictures of the wine bar in Madrid, Spain as the bartender serves a glass of champagne!

Visit the product site-

You can order it online-

Or you can visit Citarella’s –
2135 Broadway at 75th Street (cost $11.00 for a bottle of 11 flowers-if you have 10 tables in your reception venue that will cost you $110.00)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to re- use your bridal party bouquets?

Instead of purchasing another floral arrangement for your sweetheart table, cake table or giftcard table- after the ceremony, you can place your bridal party bouquets on the sweetheart table, cake table or giftcard table. You are basically recycling, reusing, and not spending! Also if you have a mandap, chuppah, canopy arch for your ceremony, or cocktail hour floral arrangements, instead of tossing those beautiful arrangements- a better idea is to transfer those arrangements to your sweet heart table, or the bar area.

You can lay these bouquets flat on your sweetheart table or if you want to be creative, you can insert the bouquets on a 7 1/2 inch cylinder vase that can be placed on your sweetheart table. Visit dollar tree to purchase these cylinder vases- its $1 for a cylinder vase! (sold in a case- 12 vases in one case) You can’t beat that! And you can embellish the vase, wrap an organza ribbon, glue crystal stones to the ribbon, and VOILA! You’ve created a fabulous DIY budget friendly project!

Visit Dollartree:

Images- Source from Dollar Tree & Blossom Atlanta

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bride and Groom Spotlight- Mr. and Mrs. Kletter. Garden Themed Wedding 8/28/10

I had the pleasure to be hired as the day of coordinator for Katharine & Justin’s garden themed wedding at the Caramoor. This beautiful couple shared their vows at this enchanting garden called the Caramoor. My assistant coordinator Naoual compared this enchanting venue to the latest Alice in Wonderland 3D Movie- that’s how magical this venue is. Their wedding was amazing by far! Their details of their wedding plans were well chosen, such as the décor, flowers, food, cake, officiants, band, photographer. Most of all the weather was outstanding! No rain or humidity-a perfect weather for a perfect couple. Great Performances catered their event- guests enjoyed the food during cocktail hour and reception. The presentation of the dinner plates looked superb and the décor of the linen, plate chargers, chivari chairs complimented to their theme colors, which were navy and blush pink. The beautiful bride had on a Jim Helm wedding gown-, which looked breathtaking on her and appropriate for an outdoor summer wedding. The matrons of honor had a simple strapless Ann Taylor blush dress. In lieu of wedding favors, the gracious couple made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, and gave flower seed packets for guests to plant. The happy couple including their families and friends danced the night away, jamming to the southern rock sounds of Jim Neville Band by Hank Lane. Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Kletter. My Bridal Budget wishes you an abundance of bliss in your marriage. Enjoy your Cabos Honeymoon!

P.S. I had the pleasure to work with great vendors-Please check them out!
Caterer-Great Performances-
Photographer-Photographer-Joe Sanfilippo-
Makeup/Hair- Marina
Jim Neville Band- Hank
Le Gateau Suisse Bakery-
Forever in Bloom-

P.S.S-Please visit My Bridal Budget Facebook to see pictures of this wedding in courtesy of Joe Sanfilippo Photography.