Your wedding pictures are so important.  They're capturing your memories of the day.  But, they can be really chaotic if you have a big group of people.  And, they can take up a lot of your day. Here's some tips from a wedding planner's perspective to make the process go smoother. 

1.  Work with your photographer:
If you did your research and hired a strong wedding photographer, you're going to be in a great shape.  They do this for a living.  They work weddings all the time and have great tips to share with you. Listen to their advice and work with them to create your shots list and timeline.  Ask them what they've found works the best.  They might have a great system in place that will help make the process go smoothly.  Ask how long they suggest scheduling for pictures for your size of a group.

2. Make a List and Prioritize:
Your photographer will have some great advice, but they can't decide on what group pictures you want.  They might have a list that's a good starting point, but they don't know what relationships are special to you.  Make a list of pictures you want.  Start by listing the biggest group and narrow down to the smaller groups. If you want pictures with your extended family, start there then narrow down to parents, siblings and grandparents.  Then just grandparents, or parents, or siblings.  Decide what pictures are most important to you.  Do you want your family pictures to take up the most time or do you want more pictures of you as a couple?  If you're running late, what pictures could you live without?

3. Be Realistic About Timing and Schedule it in your Timeline:
Photography can take a long time, especially when you have a big group.  It can be really hard to keep track of people, get the picture set up, and then finally take the shot.  If you know you have a big group and there are lots of pictures that you want, plan time in your timeline.  Be realistic. Two extended families of 20+ people can't finish their pictures in 15 minutes.  

If you're traveling to different locations for pictures, plan enough time for people to get on and off the bus.  Plan in bathroom breaks.  Plan for travel time.  I always suggest giving yourself a buffer in your timeline.  Keeping your guests waiting or holding up dinner can cause the wedding day to go from fun to long and drawn out.  Guests may want to leave earlier and may not stay to dance if you spend 2 hours in between the ceremony and reception on pictures while they snack on crackers and cheese.  

4. Be Prepared with a Plan if your Timing is Thrown Off: 
If you're running behind schedule, make a plan ahead of time. Knowing that you have a backup plan can help keep you calm. When you're putting together your schedule decide how many pictures you can do pre ceremony when the guests aren't waiting.  If you're set against a first look, that's fine.  But could you get your individual family pictures done? 

If you schedule an hour for family pictures and portraits after the ceremony and you only get through one family in 40 minutes, decide what you want to do.  Use the priority list that you made above.  Would you be fine with having dinner served before you arrive? Or could you have guests seated and at least start on their salads? Could you run 10 minutes late to finish up family pictures and then sneak away for portraits after you eat quickly? Talk to your caterer and find out what happens if you're late.  Will the food be sitting out too long and get cold? Make a plan that works for everyone. 

5. Assign a Point Person for each Group:
Putting together a list of names for each group shot is wonderful.  It's so helpful, but your photographer isn't going to know who the people on the list are.  So, pick a person that knows everyone in that group and ask them if they'll take charge and organize the group for pictures. I suggest that your point person be someone in the big group picture, but who won't be in the smaller shots. Maybe a cousin on your dad's side, a cousin on your mom's side and your personal attendant for your wedding party. Ask them to make sure everyone is present when your photographer is ready for the shot.  That way you're not running around trying to find people or your photographer isn't searching for someone they don't know.  

6. Make your family a schedule and lay down the expectations: 
Making your family aware of the wedding day schedule ahead of time can take the picture process from stressful to calm.  Share your list of pictures with your parents and ask them to alert each cousin, uncle, and grandparent of the pictures.  Then, pass out schedules at rehearsal and give them expectations on the wedding day. If you want them stay in a specific area after the ceremony, let them know.  If you're okay with them grabbing a drink or running to the bathroom while they're waiting, give them a specific time to be back.  The most time consuming part of group pictures is making sure the group is all present.  
 

Your wedding pictures are a treasure for you to keep for years down the road.  It's so important to make sure you get all the shots that you want, because you can't redo the day.  Staying organized and making a plan help to keep you on schedule!

XO Lindsay

When you're engaged and planning a wedding, it can seem like the list of To Dos is endless. Sometimes building a wedding website can be the last thing you want to add to that list. But, they can be so helpful and surprisingly easy to set up!  

 

The Why: 

As the trend becomes more an more digital, wedding websites are becoming more popular. I can't tell you how many times I've traveled for a wedding and forgot my invitation stuck on the fridge. With a wedding website, your guests have all the information right at their fingertips. It's so easy to access the information from your smart phone.  

The What:

Yiu can add as much or as little information as you want on your website. But, here's some of my favorite info to include.  

The Invitation Information: Like I noted above,  being able to pull up the information about your wedding digitally makes life so easy. Your guests can view the schedule and times for the day. They can find the address and distraction, and they can find out the formality of the event. All those details that you list on your invitation can be found on your website as well. So, in case someone forgets to bring the actual paper information with them, they'll still be on time. 

The Gift Registry Information:  This is a big item for me and one of the reasons I always encourage my couples to put together a website. Etiquette says not to include the gift registry information in your invitations. A lot of couples include it anyway, but I do like to follow etiquette. Having the information on your website is the perfect alternative. It's easy for people to find, and you can link it directly to your registry. Your guests can click the link and it will take them to the site you registered at. So easy, especially if they're online shopping!

 Accomodation Information: I always encourage my couples to block out hotel rooms for their guests at a hotel near the venue. It's so convenient for out of town guests to book at a hotel they know is close by. Most hotels block off a reservation and allow guests to book online through a link. By putting the link on your website, your guests will be taken directly to the booking site. You can also list the phone number so guests can call and books rooms under your group code as well!

Local Attractions and Things to Do:  I love when couples list out some attractions and things to do near the hotel and venue. Most of my coulles are local to Omaha, Nebraska and know the area well. It's fun for guests to choose restaurants or attractions based on your suggestions instead of taking a chance on something they've never tried before. 

Online RSVP: RSVPs are one of the hardest parts of the wedding planning process. Knowing your guest count is so important, especially if you're serving a plated meal. Unfortunately, as important as that date and those little cards are to you, they're easily forgetten by your guests. I love the option for allowing online RSVPs. Deciding if they're right for your wedding is another blog post all together, but if you do choose them, they can make your RSVP process a little easier. Your guests can instantly RSVP instead of sending back the card. Because they don't have to remember to mail the RSVP, it tends that you get a higher response rate before your deadline. 

There's tons of other information you can add as well, ranging from your bridal party profiles to your love story and engagement pictures. You can choose as much or as little information as you want to share! 

The How: 

There are so many options for creating a wedding website. Choose first if you want to pay for a custom website that looks more professional and unique or if you're okay with using a standard template that you can build yourself. Then choose if you want to pay for a unique domain (www.jakelovesjulie18.com) or are okay with a domain hosted by your website creator (www.mywedding.com/jakelovesjulie18). Either way, your guests will find the right one! 

Here's some of my favorite Wedding Website Options:

Paid: 

  • Riley and Grey
  • Squarespace

Free (basic with paid upgrades)

  • The Knot
  • My Wedding
  • With Joy
  • Minted
  • Appy Couple

Do you have a wedding website? Or have you visited one that a friend created? What did you love about it?  

XO Lindsay

Finding Vendors on Instagram

Good Morning!

Chances are you're one busy bride or groom to be, and wedding planning only adds to your busy schedule.  It's hard to keep track of the number of websites you've looked at to find your vendors. Chances are, you've probably been a bit overwhelmed by the whole process.  

Jumping on Google and typing in "Omaha Wedding Planner" or "Omaha Wedding Florist" is a great start to finding your vendor dream team.  You'll come up with hundreds if not thousands of results and sorting through that list can be time consuming!  Then, once you start clicking on the links, what if you're not finding the style that you're looking for? You can't tell a lot about a vendor by Google search results, so you'll have to spend the time looking at each website.  

Now, I'm not saying step away from the Google search entirely.  It's still going to be your best option for finding your dream vendors.  But, what if there was another option that you could look at images first, click on the ones that match your style, and find your vendors visually? I'm a very visual person, so I love being able to use Instagram!  

Instagram isn't just for all those selfies and food pictures.  It's a great tool that many business are using to share their business. Not only will you see a visual representation of their work, but you'll often times learn more about the behind the scenes process and the heart behind the company.  You'll also be able to see the last time they posted, which is a great way to know if the company is still in business.  (Sometimes you'll come across a website that you're not sure when it was last updated!)

The easiest way to search Instagram for your vendors is through hashtags. Open up your app, click on the search tool, and enter in your search term.  Then, click the tags option to pull up the hashtags! Click on the hashtag and you'll be able to view all the vendors that use that hashtag!  

Here's some of my favorite tags to search!

  • omahaweddingplanner
  • nebraskaweddingplanner
  • nebraskabride
  • nebraskawedding
  • omahabride
  • nebraskaflorist
  • omahaflorist
  • nebride
  • newedding
  • omahawedding
  • omahaweddingphotographer
  • omahamakeupartist
  • omahaweddingvideography
  • omahaweddingvenue

You can also search instagram by location. Search for Venue and Vendor names  and choose the location search result. You'll see any pictures that someone tagged in that location. A lot of times when you look at the images in the location tag, they're posted by different vendors showcasing their work at that venue. You'll also get an idea of what the space looks like during an event, which is always good inspiration! 

As you search hashtags and locations, you can view the profile of a vendor that caught your eye. You'll be able to see a lot of their work, find out a little about them, and follow their profile link to their website. It's an easy way to see if their style visually matches yours. 

So, tell me! How do you find your vendors? Would you consider searching through instagram? What hashtags do you search? 

XO Lindsay

 

 

Back to Blogging: A Year Long Update!

It's been almost a year since I've last blogged.  It's crazy how fast those 365 days go by! A lot has changed in the last year and I feel guilty for abandoning blogging for that long.  But, at the same time I felt like I had other priorities.  I'm ready to get back to blogging.  I'm planning to blog at least once a week sharing wedding planning tips and tricks.  Then, twice a month I'll share small business tips and experiences with my fellow creatives.  Then, wedding weeks I'll share a little about my couples and blog weddings as I get the pictures back from the amazing photographers. 

So, now you know what to expect going forward!  But, since it's been a year, let me recap what I haven't shared!

 

 

April 1st: We officially closed on our new house!  It was a crazy busy couple weeks filled with painting and cleaning before we officially moved in. We couldn't have done it without my family!

April 2nd: My mom threw me a baby shower and we took our maternity pictures! 

April 15th: We officially started sleeping and staying at our new house.  The master, living room, and nursery was painted and all our belonging were moved in.

My last pregnant selfie on my due date!  Brooks was born the next day!

My last pregnant selfie on my due date!  Brooks was born the next day!

April 26th: We welcomed baby Brooks Thomas Johnson at 4:53 weighing in at 6 pounds 15 oz and 20 inches long.  We were officially in love.  

Having a birth photographer come in was the best decision we made!  If you want birth photos, you have to contact Sam!  Photos by Samantha June Photography

Having a birth photographer come in was the best decision we made!  If you want birth photos, you have to contact Sam!  Photos by Samantha June Photography

Having an in home newborn session was amazing.  I will always cherish these pictures of the first few days of us being a family.  Photos by Leslie Leavitt Photography

Having an in home newborn session was amazing.  I will always cherish these pictures of the first few days of us being a family.  Photos by Leslie Leavitt Photography

May 7th: My family (mom, dad, husband, me, and baby Brooks at a whole 10 days old) traveled back to Davenport, Iowa to coordinate my first wedding as a new mom.  I couldn't have done it without my family!

A busy first 6 weeks! 

A busy first 6 weeks! 

June 11th: I coordinated my first wedding in Omaha!  Balancing a business and baby was hard work!

June 16th: Brooks met my husband's family during his baby shower in Minnesota.  He was quite the traveler at 6 weeks old!

July 4th: We continued the tradition of spending the 4th of July at the lake in Minnesota with Reid's family.  Brooks took his first boat ride!

September 17th: I traveled back to Davenport for my 3rd wedding of the year.  It was absolutely beautiful and definitely makes my favorite weddings list.  You can see all the pretty details here!

 

October 1st: I traveled back to Davenport for my 4th and final wedding of the year.  We put together 7 bouquets, 26 centerpieces, and countless corsages and boutonnieres in a hotel room.  Every single detail was gorgeous and it was also added to my list of favorites.  Find all the pictures here! 

 

October 26th: Brooks turned 6 months!  He was crawling like crazy, pulling himself up, and standing all by himself.  

Photos by Samantha June Photography

Photos by Samantha June Photography

October 31st: Brooks Celebrated his first Halloween.  We dressed him up as Charlie Brown and a duck.  He loved the pumpkin patch and playing with the seeds in the pumpkin!

November 24th: Brooks celebrated his first Thanksgiving.  He was full on crawling and eating everything in site.  He napped through dinner but enjoyed some potatoes later! 

We also started getting ready for Christmas!

Getting ready for the holidays with Brooks was so much fun!

Getting ready for the holidays with Brooks was so much fun!

December 25th: Brooks celebrated his first Christmas in Minnesota with Reid's family.  We later celebrated at home with my family.  To say he was spoiled was an understatement...

Lots of fun over Christmas break!  A trip to the zoo, eating lots of baby food, and playing in the snow!

Lots of fun over Christmas break!  A trip to the zoo, eating lots of baby food, and playing in the snow!

January 7th: I celebrated my 29th birthday.  I can't beleive it's my last year in my 20's!  Here's to hoping it's extra special!

Brooks is now 10 months old and walking. And climbing. Everything.  He's keeping me so busy but I love every minute of it!  We're getting ready for wedding season to take off here. I'm so excited for my 9 weddings that I have coming up this year.  It's going to be busy, but each one of them is so special.  

In the past year I've learned how to prioritize. It's been amazing to have my family so close to take Brooks if I have a client meeting or a consultation.  Reid of course has been super supportive. He loves his job, working on our house, and is making tons of friends. I can't explain how blessed I feel and I'm so happy my business has been taking off in Omaha!

I'm excited to have some great blog posts scheduled for you coming up in the next few months!  I plan to do better at blogging and share my knowledge with brides and the creative community!  

XO Lindsay