A Month Until The Wedding! HELP!

So there you are, staring down the last month before your wedding and you're thinking, "How did we get here so quickly and how will I get it all done?!" From finalizing guest seating to final dress and tux fittings, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done in those final thirty days, but the good news is we're here to help!

Read on for some helpful tips as you prepare to say “I do!”

Photo courtesy of    Tim Tab Studios

Photo courtesy of Tim Tab Studios

Sit down with your wedding planner or coordinator to begin working on your wedding day timeline – this is typically a 1-2 hour meeting where you walk through your day minute by minute while your planner takes lots of detailed notes in order to create the timeline. You may feel like you’ve already lived through your wedding day when the meeting is over!

Coordinate your final venue walk-through with your key vendors to finalize floor plans, menu and timeline.

Photo courtesy of    Gerber & Scarpelli Photography

Schedule your final dress and suit fittings – don’t forget your accessories, such as your veil and shoes!

Arrange your hair and makeup trial with your hair stylist and makeup artist - be sure to share some inspiration photos with them before the trial so they can plan for it ahead of time! We wrote a great post on the importance of the hair and makeup trial - click here to read it.

Plan for your wedding day beauty appointments - any skin or hair treatments (facial and waxing/hair cut and color) should be done at least 10 days prior to the wedding to avoid any breakouts or skin reactions.

Photo courtesy of    Emilia Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of Emilia Jane Photography

Photo courtesy of    Metts Photo

Photo courtesy of Metts Photo

Finalize music selections for the wedding day with your musicians, band or DJ – they’ll ask for songs to play during your cake cutting and wedding party introductions, in addition to your first dance. This is also a great opportunity to share those “must-plays” and “do-not-plays!”

Finalize day-of print items with your designer and printer - think ceremony programs, menu cards, escort cards and any fun signage. Signature drinks, anyone?!

Compile your photo list for your photographer - this includes family photo combinations, detail photos and wedding party photos. Your photographer will also advise you on the best locations for your photos both at your venue and off-premise.

Nail down ceremony details with your priest or officiant and write your vows!

Photo courtesy of    Belen Aquino Photo

Photo courtesy of Belen Aquino Photo

Check in with your wedding party about dresses, suits and accessories. This is a great time to provide them with an overview timeline so they know when to arrive and depart and what important things they will need to be present for that weekend.

You’ll also want to finalize your wedding party gifts, particularly if anything is personalized or a custom order.

Photo courtesy of    Ashley Bosnick

Photo courtesy of Ashley Bosnick

Apply for your marriage license – every state/county has different laws. In Illinois, a marriage license is good for 60 days and must be in the couples’ hands at least 48 hours in advance.

Get to work on those table assignments for your escort cards – yes, this may or not include tracking down those naughty family members who haven’t sent in their RSVP yet!

Pack your suitcases for your honeymoon!

Photo courtesy of    Perregeaux Photo

Photo courtesy of Perregeaux Photo

Maybe the most important task it to sit back and take it all in! Remember, you're in the home stretch and rounding the bend to one of the best days of your life, surrounded by your closest friends and family!

It’s a day you’ll never forget!

Photo courtesy of    Monroe Street Photography

Photo courtesy of Monroe Street Photography

Chicago Engagement Session and How to Prepare

Engagement session - many couples hear that term and have a million questions.

What is it?
Do we need it?
Do we really have to be in front of a camera more than just the wedding day?

In a word, YES. Yes, you do need it and yes, you do need to be in front of your photographer's camera before your wedding day. Most couples haven't spent much time with a professional photographer, so it's a great opportunity to get comfortable before you put on your wedding dress and tux. It's also a great way for your photographer to get to know you! The more they understand what works and doesn't work, the better off you'll all be on the big day.

I also hear a lot of couples say they don't think they'll ever use the photos, but I beg to differ. My favorite engagement sessions are those done in the couple's home, their favorite coffee shop or restaurant or with their pets. Use this opportunity to get some photos in a place that's special to you that won't necessarily be a part of your wedding day. And anyway, trust me, you will love these photos 10-15 years down the road. I can just hear you saying, "Remember when..."

Photo courtesy of  Ashley Bosnick Photography

Photo courtesy of Ashley Bosnick Photography

I'll get off my soap box now and let the experts step in.

So excited to get some insight on how best to prepare for your engagement photo session from our friends over at Gerber & Scarpelli Photography. They've been at this for years and certainly know how to get couples in the right frame of mind to have some fun!

Photos courtesy of  Emilia Jane Photography

Photos courtesy of Emilia Jane Photography

Engagement Photos-Chicago Engagement Session-Chicago Wedding Planner-Chicago Wedding Coordinator-Clover Events-Emilia Jane Photography

We get it!  Not everyone enjoys being in front of the camera.  For many couples, Engagement Sessions seem like an overwhelming and unnecessary part of wedding prep.  For us, an engagement session is a great opportunity to meet our clients, learn your dynamic as a couple, and see how natural you are at posing and being photographed.  We love the opportunity to spend some time with you and get all the photo-related butterflies and awkwardness out of the way long before your wedding day!

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and get in the mood to look and feel your best during your engagement shoot:

Eat well and hydrate!  Drink plenty of water in the days before your shoot to make sure your skin looks its best.  Try to avoid salt, lots of sugar, and alcohol the day before your session.

Get a full night's sleep!  Easier said than done, we know.  The more sleep you get before your shoot, the more relaxed and rested you'll feel.

Choose your clothing carefully!  We advise clients to avoid clothing that has a certain time or style specific quality.  Just look at a photo of your parents in bell bottoms and polyester, and you'll know what we're trying to avoid.  Solid colors, classic styles, and the occasional pattern are safe ways to go.  Make sure to coordinate your outfits as a couple so you don't end up wearing conflicting colors or patterns.

Embrace movement!  Ladies, flowing dresses, scarves, or tops are a great way to guarantee some dynamic movement in your photos.  You'll look and feel like a movie star when the wind starts to blow.

Get a little crazy!  We've met enough couples over the years to know all couples are weird in their own way.  Show off your particular brand of weird by getting a little crazy with the one you love.  We love a couple with a sense of humor and we promise your photos will be unforgettable.

Get ready for some close ups!  Ladies, try to get your engagement ring professionally cleaned before the session and make sure those nails are camera ready!  You'll be glad you did when you're showing off your bling!

Don't be afraid of early evening or winter sessions!  We don't need warmth and sunshine to make beautiful pictures.  We love a dramatic shot framed by Chicago at night.  Fall leaves or winter snow can be fun and beautiful settings for your shoot.  Grab a stylish coat and let's take some photos!

Photo courtesy of  Gerber & Scarpelli Photography

We want you to look like you!  You don't need to wear tons of makeup to look great in your photos.  Choose colors and styles that feel comfortable and normal for you.  If you choose to wear a darker shade of lipstick, make sure it won't rub off when you kiss!

Bring along your fur babies!  We get it, pups are family.  Not only will they help make your photos feel more special, but they'll help you relax and have more fun in front of the camera!

Highlight special locations!  When we're scheduling your shoot, make sure you let us know if there are any significant places you want to visit to help make your images even more meaningful!

We love a costume change!  For more variety in your photographs, consider preparing two outfits each.  Try switching out a formal look for a casual one.  Need advice on what to wear?  Feel free to ask us!

Brush your teeth right before the session!  Everyone looks and feels better with some fresh pearly whites!

Relax and be in love!  We're all here to capture your love and your story.  Try to forget the camera is there and enjoy some time to snuggle up with your honey in a beautiful location!

Photo courtesy of  Sarah Postma Photography

Photo courtesy of Sarah Postma Photography