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Hello my Bay Area bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this vast state to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dopest San Francisco Bay Area wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

If you haven’t seen my LA Wedding Venue List, be sure to check those out if you’re thinking about SoCal!

 

SF Proper

The Conservatory of Flowers

Any crazy plant ladies out there? Not only is the outside of the greenhouse structure the perfect white ceremony backdrop, the interior is full of tropical plants! Check out a recent engagement session I photographed there!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

The Pearl

A thing of Rooftop Dreams! The indoor reception area is just as cool.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Hotel Vitale

Rooftop views of the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge and walking distance to the piers. Need I say more?

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

San Francisco Ferry Building

This place is so iconic to SF and right by the water! You can easily see the Bay Bridge from outside and hear the romantic ticking of the train departure sign.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Asian Art Museum

This place has class for daysssss. Gives you that New York Public Library vibe here on the West Coast!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

SF Proper Hotel

The best rooftop bar in SF! This boutique hotel was designed by genius, Kelly Wearstler, so obviously it’s freaking amazing! One of my favorite spots to grab a drink at sunset!

San Francisco Proper Hotel Wedding by Cheers Babe Photo

Terra Gallery

The perfect white loft & blank canvas – you could seriously pull anything off here!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Wine Country

Kunde Family Winery

Wait, am I in the South of France? Sure feels like it. Also … three words: Wine Cave Reception! I’m photographing a wedding here in July and I cannot wait to share it with you!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Solage Calistoga

Luxe Calistoga spot by the Auberge Hotel group, who always slay. I had the privilege of photographing a wedding here last year (peek it here) and I get to go back for another this Fall! Keep it coming, brides!

Style Me Pretty wedding in Napa by Cheers Babe Photo

Olympia’s Valley Estate

The perfect Petaluma estate complete with barn-style reception space. Yes, that’s lavender lining the walkway to the front door!

Trentadue Winery

Vines, grassy lawn, rose-covered walls, what more could you ask for?

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Macarthur Place

The lightness of this place makes me feel like they took the best of Malibu and combined it with the best of Sonoma.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Chateau St. Jean

Literal perfection – everything you’d expect to find in Sonoma (or the south of France for that matter).

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

East Bay

Oakland Museum of California

This place is perfect for the artistic & creative couple – plus, there’s a great view of Oakland & Lake Merritt from the terrace – bonus!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Wente Vineyards

The East Bay actually has a totally thriving wine country of it’s own! It’s called the Tri-Valley area & Wente is a gorgeous spot right in the heart of Livermore.

Wente Vineyards Wedding by Cheers Babe Photo

Ruth Bancroft Garden

Want a Palm Springs wedding vibe without having to leave the Bay? Here’s your answer!

Temescal Brewing

I’ll be honest – I don’t know if these guys allow weddings for just anyone, but I’ve seen them do at least one. This spot is one of our favorites in our town to grab a cold beer and chill – the interior is cute af and the patio is so relaxing and perfect for a laid-back reception!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Palm Pavillion

Another East Bay wine country spot, but one with a city-loft vibe – best of both worlds!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

NorCal Destination Spots

Tahoe Mountain Club

Lake Tahoe is an incredible destination spot! The view from this balcony is insane – plus, you can take a fun gondola ride and if you did a winter wedding, there’d be snow!!

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Bear Flag Farm

Iconic lavender fields with the whimsical ferris wheel in the back! It was voted the #1 wedding venue for great service in the American West by BRIDES Magazine and one of the most beautiful wedding venues in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveller.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

BLOC Venue

This place is all about TEXTURE! White brick, natural brick, garage doors, it’s just stinkin’ cool.

The Best Bay Area Wedding Venues according to Cheers Babe Photo

Photo Credit in order from top to bottom:

Steve Cowell Photo, Anna Wu, This Love of Yours, Melanie Duerkopp, Jose Villa, Cheers Babe Photo, Rebecca Yale, OneLove Photography, Cheers Babe Photo, Duy Ho Photography, KT Merry, Macarthur Place, Koman Photography, OCMA, Cheers Babe Photo, Cheers Babe Photo, Lilouette, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Photography by Monique, Lisa Lefkowitz, and BLOC Venue.

Coming SOON

Best Wedding Venues in Palm Springs, Orange County, San Diego & Santa Barbara

Read more >

Best Bay Area Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

Hello my LA bride-to-be’s!! How tired are you of googling a million places in this vast state to find the picture perfect wedding venue? Probs real tired. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best, coolest, prettiest, cutest, dopest Los Angeles wedding venues that I recommend you visit first! These are fool-proof and gorgeous – sign on their dotted line and call a sista up, because I’m SO there. 🙂

Row DTLA

Right in LA’s thriving arts district (which has THE best views of the city skyline) is Row DTLA. They have multiple venue options from ground level to rooftop, but the B1 | 777 Rooftop pictured here is the ultimate dreamy wedding spot & can fit a ton of guests!

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Festoon LA

Between trendy Venice Beach and growing Culver City you’ll find Festoon LA, the perfect West LA wedding venue. The space is small, but gorgeous – the kitchen was designed by LA design maven, Sarah Sherman Samuel & the dining & lounge areas by 100 Layer Cake! You can fit 60 guests seated – an amazing option for a more intimate wedding or even your rehearsal dinner. It is so instagram-worthy it hurts!

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The Fig House

If color is your jam, then The Fig House was literally designed for you (and you are designed for me – ha!). This is another amazing venue with a super-star designer behind it! The owners hired HGTV’s Emily Henderson to design & curate the space. This literally perfect LA wedding venue is nestled in between downtown & Pasadena, right in Highland Park. Love me some East LA!!

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Grassroom

Okay, here we begin a series of amazing wedding venues owned by the Marvimon group! They take old buildings & bring them new life with super unique details! This is Grassroom in DTLA, where you’ll find a jungle-like courtyard for the coolest ceremony and insanely cool triangular door openings that lead you to the reception space!

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Valentine DTLA

Literally next door to Grassroom is Valentine DTLA! I am obsessed with this geometric door mural they have and the rest of the space is just as special and unique!

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Millwick

I feel like the coolest couples in LA get married at Millwick. I don’t know what it is, but this place just oozes cool-factor and has jungle vibes for days! It’s also in the arts district as well & there’s some super cool opportunities around the venue for outdoor portraits with a city view in the back.

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The Forge

Okay so The Forge is technically a photo studio (with an impressive installation wall of cow skulls). I know they’ve hosted weddings before & there is just a ton of room for creativity in this space if you or your event designer/stylist is ready to dream up something really cool! If you need help doing that, my wedding florist/event designer has designed a wedding in this space before!

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Lombardi House

Over in Hollywood, Lombardi House will give you all the barn-vibes you’ve ever wanted, but in the most modern & cool way (thank you white walls)! Not only are both indoor spots super beautiful, their courtyard spaces are equally breathtaking!

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The Ruby Street

Previously a suffragette house, then a civil rights meeting place, and even a progressive church, The Ruby Street in Highland Park is such a unique spot to say your “I do”s and celebrate! I just adore their historic stained glass windows!

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Hudson Loft

Ohhhhhh my goodness – where do I even begin with Hudson Loft? Oh right! I GOT MARRIED HERE!! Obviously I am super biased, but this is one of my favorite venues – and it’s more than just sentimental for me. It’s the perfect industrial loft right in the heart of bustling downtown & has so many options. There’s incredible getting ready spaces, prep rooms, a stunning rooftop & view, and even a giant freight elevator that we actually drove our car into & used for our grand exit!

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HNYPT

Pronounced “honeypot”, this all white industrial space was actually the runner-up for our wedding. I love that you can open up the garage door at HNYPT and let the natural light in! Also the rafters give you tons of opportunity for some insanely cool hanging decor!

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Office Party

Office Party is literally the office of one of LA’s coolest entrepreneurs that you can rent out for your party! There’s this cool space and an outdoor courtyard for cocktail time!

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The Surfrider Malibu

Ok wow, gorgeous!! I honestly don’t even know if The Surfrider hotel allows events or not, but if they do, it’d be epic. Their rooms are like, perfect California chic – even if you’re getting married elsewhere in Malibu, this would be an incredible space to get ready in for the day!

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The Ebell of Long Beach

One of my dear friends got married here at The Ebell of Long Beach a couple years back. Not only is it like, house plant heaven, the Mediterranean style space (especially the amazing tile floor) is just super dreamy!

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The Line Hotel

If you’re looking for something poolside, then The Line Hotel in Koreatown (K-town) is your spot! They actually have like, 5 or 6 different venue spaces within this one hotel & they’re all really amazing! Not to mention, the concrete walls in the rooms makes for really cool getting ready photos (which is why I got ready here the day of my wedding!).

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Mr. C Beverly Hills

This place is ALL classic LA glam. There’s poolside space, city view balconies, literally everything you think of when you picture “Old Hollywood”. Mr. C is a hotel in Beverly Hills and it’s ready for your extra-ness, boo.

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Saddlerock Ranch

Dang, dude. Saddlerock is so bomb. They have 4 event spaces, 100 acres of wine vines AND zoo animals (zebra, camel, giraffe, llama, alpaca, yak, highland cow, etc.…)!

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Greenhouse at PLATFORM

If you’re hoping to get married somewhere near Culver City, Greenhouse at PLATFORM is an amazing option! Platform is basically a trendy boutique shopping center & the Greenhouse sits upstairs onsite. The name speaks for itself – gorgeous glass house! Bonus – one of my favorite murals in LA by Jen Stark is located on the parking structure here!

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Tallula’s

Tallulah’s is a super yum Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica – right near the beach! You can rent it out for an intimate wedding or rehearsal dinner & it is so colorful and gorgeous inside! Also, who doesn’t want to serve Mexican food at their wedding/rehearsal dinner?

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Beverly Hills Hotel

Pretty sure this icon of a hotel speaks for itself! The Beverly Hills Hotel has been LA’s go-to spot for movie-stars and celebs for over a century. The banana-leaf palm wallpaper in the halls is ridiculously memorable, the gardens are spectacular and their reception hall will make you lose your mind.

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Wilshire Loft

Last but not least, the Wilshire Loft is such a cool spot if you’re looking for a rooftop wedding venue that’s RIGHT in the the city – you’re actually surrounded by the downtown high rises, which feels so cool. It’s kind of a blank slate, so you could get really creative with your decor here!

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[All images are sourced from google, pinterest, the venue’s websites and the venue report. I reallllly tried to find image credits for each, but it just wasn’t happening!]

 

Are you ready to book one of these amazing Los Angeles wedding venues for your big day? Click the inquire button below so you can have your gorgeous spot & all the mems captured!

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Best Los Angeles Wedding Venues

Inspo, Wedding

Welcome back to your course, Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do”! This monthly series will provide you with a whole lot of clarity, destroy myths about how you’re “supposed to” plan a wedding and all the things you should know before your wedding day. I’m so glad you’re back. If this is the first lesson of the course you’ve read, I’ve linked parts 1 through 3 below so you can access those & get caught up!

part i – all things coordination

part ii – what to expect pre-ceremony

part iii – the ceremony

Today, we’ll be talking about the Reception and what happens (or should happen) when your wedding is over. This post is so FULL of information, so grab a notebook and settle in because this info is RICH!

determining the best time for sunset photos

Guide to Wedding Reception Sunset Photos by Cheers Babe Photo

From my eyes, this is SO crucial! The best time for sunset photos can be determined based on the time of year you’re getting married as well as small considerations based on your venue and its placement. For example, if your wedding takes place in the Fall or Winter, your sunset session will take place much earlier than a wedding in the Summer months.

As a rule of thumb, I google the exact sunset time for the wedding date – let’s say it’s today (July 27th in San Francisco), so sunset isn’t until 8:22pm. Can I get a hallelujah for these long Summer days? California is such a dream! In this instance I’d try to schedule a 20-30 minute photo session with just my couple about 30-60 minutes before the sun sets to get that golden hour light. So for today I’d start sunset photos at about 7:45pm.

Another thing to consider is your particular venue. If you’re getting married at a venue that’s tucked behind a large mountain range or in a more wooded area, you should consider doing your “sunset” photos earlier just in case the sun dips behind that mountain range before the true sunset time.

reception lighting

Guide to Wedding Reception Lighting by Cheers Babe Photo

Lighting at your reception may be something you haven’t yet considered, but it can truly make a big difference in your images. If your reception is going to take place outdoors, a)You’re my favorite, because natural light will always win in my eyes (and the camera’s) and b)all you need to really consider is having minimal light when it gets dark such as candles on the tables and string lights on the dance floor.

If your reception is indoors, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with candlelight! It’s one of my favorite lighting looks because it’s super warm and gives off a very romantic feeling. The more, the better, just make sure you know your venue’s rules in regards to fire regulations.

Other options to consider are uplights or fixtures. Uplighting adds a warm, subtle glow to the space, making sure there’s no bright spots. Read this article HERE for some great do’s and don’ts when it comes to uplighting. Your reception space may also already be equipped with lighting fixtures such as chandeliers and wall sconces that can usually be brightened or dimmed based on your preference.

Lastly, make sure there is at least SOME light on your dance floor! This is a common misconception because couples often like that dark, clubby feel on the dance floor, but it’s not ideal for photos. With no light in the room, our cameras have no spots to sample from and it makes focusing really difficult, resulting in terrible, blurry photos.

toasts & table visits

Guide to Wedding Receptions and Toasts by Cheers Babe Photo

We’ve all been to that wedding where the best man had one too many tequila shots before his toast and starts rambling on about the groom for 20 minutes. Inapprops! Try to prepare your toasters by asking them to stick to about 2-5 minutes so that the rest of your guests can enjoy the evening & get on the dance floor.

It’s always nice when the couple visits each table after finishing their meal (while everyone else is finishing) so you get to say Hi and welcome each guest personally. It’s great for hugs too. However, this is typically not an important time to have your photographer with you & it actually the best time during the reception for us to take a break and eat dinner ourselves!

to toss or not to toss (and other traditions)

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

The tradition of the bouquet toss and the garter toss goes way back. But ya know what? If you don’t wanna do it, just don’t! It’s your wedding and you don’t have to! In fact, I’d suggest only doing it if you have A LOT of single friends who will be totally down (and not shy) to come to the dance floor to compete. There’s nothing more awkward than 4 single and ashamed girls on the dance floor pretending to be interested in catching your flowers!

This goes for other traditions as well, like cake cutting or parent dances – I give you a no rules policy! Do what feels right 🙂

the grand exit

Guide to Wedding Reception Sparkler Exit by Cheers Babe Photo

If you plan on orchestrating a grand exit from your reception, there’s a few things to keep in mind. On camera, things like glow sticks don’t tend to read very well, but balloons, bubbles and sparklers are great! Sparklers definitely look stunning on camera, so here are a couple pointers. 1) Purchase the extra long ones so you get plenty of burn time. The short ones run out SO fast! 2) Make sure the venue has a WIDE passage for you to go through. Remember: you are literally handing fire to over 100 intoxicated people. You do not want that aisle to be super tight to cram through – might cause a fiery fiasco!

now, hear about the reception from a wedding planner!

As usual, I have my dear friend Kellyne of Hand & Heart Events here with me to help you babes understand every aspect from a planner’s point of view in addition to mine. She details everything that you probably haven’t even thought about yet!

flow of events

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

The flow of the events at your reception can make or break the guest experience. Your wedding coordinator will work with you and your vendors to create a detailed timeline that will be used as guide throughout the entire day. Specifically for my clients, I make sure there is time allotted to all those important reception events – wedding party entrance, toasts, first dance, cake cutting, and everything else in between.

The last thing you want is to burden your maid of honor or family friend to feel like they’re working the reception rather than enjoying it. For that reason, your planner is there on site to cue your DJ, communicate with photographers/videographers (so they don’t miss a shot!), make sure your dad has his dancing shoes on, and that you and your boo have a full glass of champagne for toasts!

I also keep an eye on all the little details as the night progresses. I make sure lights are dimmed, candles stay lit, and flowers are moved or repurposed to get the maximum enjoyment of those blooms. My team and I set up dessert, make sure the cake is set with utensils and plates for cake cutting, and replenish any sweet treats so the dessert table never looks bare. This whole time, you & all of your guests stay worry free (and likely on the dance floor)!

break down

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

Throughout the evening, a coordinator is responsible for packing up personal items, gifts/cards, guestbook, etc. to make sure they’re stored in a safe place for you to take home or pick up the next day. As the evening winds down, we make sure rentals and decor are broken down and packed up, final payments and tips are distributed to vendors, and we ensure that the venue is left it tip-top condition!

Although the wedding may be over, a coordinator’s job is still going! At Hand & Heart, we love to check in with couples after the wedding to make sure all loose ends are tied up and to touch base about any final details. I am always available to you after the wedding, should you need anything (that includes a post-wedding glass of wine, too)!!

 

You Made It!

Guide to Wedding Receptions by Cheers Babe Photo

Cheers Babes from Jess & Kellyne! You made it through Weddings 101! Tune in next month for a HUGE SURPRISE (coming Labor Day weekend)!!! Xx

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Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do” Part IV | The Reception + Beyond

Inspo, Wedding

Welcome back to your course, Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do”! This monthly series will provide you with a whole lot of clarity, destroy myths about how you’re “supposed to” plan a wedding and all the things you should know before your wedding day. I’m so glad you’re back. If this is the first lesson of the course you’ve read, I’ve linked parts 1 & 2 below so you can access those & get caught up!

part i: all things coordination

part ii: what to expect pre-ceremony

Today, we’ll be diving into the ceremony & talking about some wedding industry lingo that you may not know that can make or break the most important part of your wedding day – you know the part where you get married!!

Having an Unplugged Ceremony

Unplugged Ceremony by Cheers Babe Photo

You may or may not have heard of an unplugged ceremony. It’s a term coined by wedding planners, but has now been adopted by couples everywhere! Essentially what does it mean to have an unplugged ceremony? It’s a kind & gentle way to ask your guests to refrain from using their phones during there ceremony – for texts, calls, but especially for photos & videos.

As a wedding guest, it’s super tempting to think about how great a pretty wedding would look on your instagram story — however, in reality, you’re disrupting the clean look of your friend’s professional wedding photos. See — people taking phone pics & videos (and iPad ones – ugh, the worst!), even using their own digital cameras, aren’t paying any attention to anything besides what their eye sees on their screen. That means, they lean into the aisle, stand up in their seats and end up blocking the professional photographer’s beautiful image of whomever is walking down the aisle.

Another bummer about guests using their devices during the ceremony is that they are not fully participating as your witnesses of your marriage … which is kinda the point! Am I right? If you want your guests to be present and your professional photos to come out spectacular, I highly recommend opting for an unplugged ceremony & having your officiant announce it before it begins.

The First Kiss

La Playa Carmel Wedding by Cheers Babe Photo

Now, we all know what the first kiss is at a wedding ceremony. However, one little fact about this tradition is not widely known or practiced. It involves your officiant, the person marrying you – no, I promise this is not about to get weird! Bear with me.

When I have the time to, I speak with the officiant before the ceremony and direct them to take one step to the side during the first kiss (left or right, either works). Otherwise, the photo of the moment you’re about to kiss and even the moment your lips touch, can look pretty weird if there’s another person’s face right at the same height! By stepping to the side, this allows for a clean backdrop for the kiss shot!

Next Time at Weddings 101

Next month we’ll be chatting about what to expect and look out for at your reception and what happens when the big shebang is all over. Stay tuned!

Read more >

Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do” Part III | The Ceremony

Inspo, Wedding

Welcome to Lesson II of Weddings 101 with Cheers Babe & Hand and Heart Events! If you missed Part I, be sure to read and gather some great insight about how weddings are coordinated and what your expectations of your coordinator can and should be. In today’s lesson we are diving into all things Pre-Ceremony. I’m talking the day of your wedding, & all that time before the big sha-bang where you and your bridal party are getting ready.

Weddings 101: The Road to "I Do" All Things Pre-Ceremony & Getting Ready

Lesson 2: Pre-Ceremony

First we’ll chat from my perspective – your photographer. There are a couple crucial things to keep in mind for your pre-ceremony time that will profoundly affect how your photos during this time will turn out.

  1. Choosing your getting ready location is EVERYTHING.
    • Look for a room or even airbnb (or a family member’s home) with great light. This is THE single most important thing that will determine how great your images will turn out. Specifically, try to find a wide, open room with a huge window or windows! It becomes limiting to me, your photographer, if you choose to get ready in a dark and cramped hotel room and leaves me with few options for detail photos and even candids of you and your bridal party. Consider a room with great light for the groom too! Many times I’ve had a bride with a wonderfully lit room to get ready in and the groom is across the hall on the “dark side of the hotel”. You can always (and should) request rooms that have the most natural light.
    • Also keep in mind the cleanliness of your getting ready space. Often times I have to take time away from photographing the bride & her details to move water bottles, tissues, bridesmaids luggage (girls. have. so. much. stuff.), and things of that nature out of the photo’s frame. Pro tip would be to designate a side room for everyone’s personal belongings and keep food and beverages off of tables in the main space.
  2. Be sure to have the following items in the room so your photographer doesn’t miss a detail! Read this in-depth post for more details on why each of these are important and their nuances.
    • The invitation suite and any/all other paper goods
    • Your dress, veil & a photogenic hanger
    • Rings — engagement + both bands
    • Any other jewelry you’ll be wearing
    • Your shoes
    • Bridesmaid gifts and gift from the groom
    • Bridesmaid dresses + a spot to hang them
    • Your Bouquet + a few extra loose sprigs and buds from your florist for styling
    • Something bubbly to toast the bride!
    • For the groom, his jacket, tie, cufflinks, shoes, watch, & any other accessories

So, those are the main concerns I have as your photographer about your getting ready space. Now, let’s hear from expert Kellyne of Hand & Heart Events on the coordinator’s perspective for all things pre-ceremony!

Hi Cheers Babe Brides, I’m Kellyne – your coordinator extraordinaire. Below I’ve broken down all the services that I provide to my brides during their preparation time – keep reading to take a massive burden off your shoulders on your wedding day.

  1. Prior to the day of your wedding, I will have shared a very detailed timeline with ALL of your vendors. This timeline will typically include:
    • WHERE everyone will be getting ready (including hotel room numbers, addresses, gate codes etc.). I will be the point of contact for all vendors and will deal with any last minute timing issues (traffic jams, questionable directions, etc.).
    • WHEN certain things should be happening (starting hair+makeup, finishing touches, zipping into dress, groomsmen putting on suits/tying ties). This ensures that your photographer and videographer will be present to capture all those special moments throughout your day. I will also be in contact with your florist to make sure your bouquets are delivered to your room in time for pre-ceremony photos/first look and will know where to go to pin bouts on the guys!
    • When you choose to hire a coordinator, you do not have to worry about answering phone calls, text messages, giving directions, or managing time! You get to enjoy getting ready, sipping champagne, and relax before all the excitement begins!
  2. Coordinating Lunch + Beverages
    • As coordinators, our goal is to make your day as relaxing and stress free as possible. If that means having bottles of champagne on ice, fresh fruit cut, or healthy lunch items delivered to your room, your coordinator will make sure that happens! We want to make sure that you’re hydrated and well-fed on your wedding day.
  3. Set Up!
    • So you’ve spent the last year collecting decor, making DIY projects, coming up with the perfect guestbook alternative, scouring the internet for the ideal table numbers … who is going to set it all up? While it seems like easy enough tasks to hand off to your bridesmaids and family members, remember that this is a big day for them, too! They’re watching their best friend/sister/daughter/niece/etc. marry the love of her life and they deserve to be just as present. Leave these tasks to your coordinator! We will make sure that all the votives are put on tables, the guestbook has the correct pens and signage to go with it, the table numbers are on their respective tables, ceremony rows are roped off and reserved for family members, and all the other tiny details that you’ve poured your heart into over the past months (or year) are executed flawlessly. We relish those moments to bring your vision to life and see it all come together!

That’s it from me! I’ll be back next month to share some more knowledge with you!

Stay tuned for the following installments of Weddings 101 – next month we’ll be chatting about how to prepare for all things ceremony & I cannot wait to share the goods with you!

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Weddings 101: The Road to “I Do” Part II

Inspo, Wedding

Oh hey there, engaged couple! When you think about planning your wedding do you feel lost? Overwhelmed? The vendors you’re contacting are speaking a language you don’t understand? Well, let me welcome you to Weddings 101 : a course all about the road to “I Do”! This monthly series will provide you with a whole lot of clarity, destroy myths about how you’re “supposed to” plan a wedding and all the things you should know before your wedding day.

Give Peace a Chance Bridal Shoot by Cheers Babe Photo featured on Green Wedding Shoes

Lesson 1 : Coordination

Before we dive into the actual wedding day, let’s talk about coordination. Coordinators play an essential role at a wedding. Think of them as the conductor of an orchestra, leading your vendors to play their parts perfectly without a hitch. (They also take a lot of pressure and stress off of me, your photographer!)

Now, I’m gonna let you in on a little insider secret. Not all coordinators are created equally (gasp!). Here’s what I mean. There is a significant difference between a “Day-Of” coordinator (a.k.a. wedding planner) and a “Venue Coordinator”. Let’s break it down.

A Venue Coordinator is just that — at your wedding on behalf of the venue, not the client. They are employed by the property to make sure your ceremony and reception begin and end on time, and that dinner is served according to schedule so that they and their staff can clock out at the end of the night at the same time they do each weekend. (Other responsibilities include creating a very basic timeline, setup, breakdown, day-of logistics, and facilitating the wedding rehearsal.) Now, these are necessary players in the game, I’m not hatin’! However, the use of the word “coordinator” in their title is a bit misleading.

In contrast, a Day-of coordinator (or month-of, or partial/full wedding planner) is there on YOUR behalf. To make sure you are having the best day of your life and that it runs smoothly. A few key differences in responsibilities include:

  • creating a comprehensive day-of timeline that details everything including your hair & makeup schedule, your photo schedule (hallelujah!), all the way through your event breakdown
  • will actually take the time to check in with you multiple times during the final month of planning
  • communicate and confirm with all of your vendors weeks before your wedding so you can relax and be present for all the big and little moments leading up to your wedding
  • handle all day-of logistics – setup, breakdown, safe storage of personal items, distribution of final payments/tips, etc.
  • facilitate wedding rehearsal
  • arrive at venue when first vendor arrives to oversee every moment
  • make sure you and all your guests are taken care of from start to finish– whether that is keeping your champagne flowing, checking in on grandparents,  relaxing the nerves right before toasts– they notice and take care of all the little details
  • ensure the day runs smoothly from start to finish so you can relax and enjoy! (seriously, these people are like ninjas – you barely see them and somehow they make everything happen)
  • they do all this & can do more if you add-on (i.e. styling, signage, design, emailing vendors for you, the list is endless)

For all these reasons, I always recommend my clients hire at least a day-of coordinator even if their venue provides an on-site coordinator. You will never regret it!

Stay tuned for the following installments of Weddings 101 – next month we’ll be chatting about how to prepare for all things pre-ceremony and getting ready & I cannot wait to share the goods with you!

Gabe & Jazzy's Landmarks Art and Garden Center Wedding in Tiburon by Cheers Babe Photo

Ready Part II – What to Expect Pre-Ceremony

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Weddings 101 : The Road to “I Do”

Inspo, Wedding

Hey Babes! Jess here. I want to introduce you to my uber-creative gal pal, Randi! Today she’ll be sharing how to pull off the perfect destination bachelorette party & I can’t wait for you to reap the benefits. Take it away, girl!

How to Pull Off a Destination Bachelorette Party by Cheers Babe

Oh, hi! I’m Randi, owner of Kay & Co Weekends, a fun little company based in Charleston, South Carolina that specializes in planning party weekends & bachelorettes! We help with everything from decorations to itineraries to reservations for our party weekenders, so you might say we know a thing or two about destination bachelorettes. And luckily for you, we’re offering up some of our best tips so you can plan your best weekend ever!

Whether you’re a maid of honor planning your bestie’s bachelorette party or received the dubious honor of organizing the girls’ weekend away that your friends want to take – getting a big group somewhere for a destination weekend can be tough! We’ve compiled four ideas to make your weekend away as smooth as possible and fun for the whole group. Let’s get ready to party!

Send out invitations way in advance

Your girls will need to book flights, so give them a chance to shop around and find the best deal! This also allows people to clear their calendars ahead of time so that you can get a final headcount long before the actual trip, which helps with booking a house or hotel rooms, too. You can find lots of cute invitations on Etsy or other online shops that can be customized to your party, which will get the girls excited and set the mood for the whole weekend!

How to Pull Off a Destination Bachelorette Party by Cheers Babe

Check Airbnb, VRBO, and local realty companies for beach houses or downtown lofts that everyone can share 

What better way to bond with the whole group than by sharing a rental house on the beach or somewhere in the city that you’re visiting? Sharing a common space, rather than having separate rooms in a hotel, has multiple perks:

  • you can buy snacks and drinks to keep in the kitchen for a quick breakfast or late-night munching;
  • all the girls can get ready for dinner or a big night out together, as well as hang in the living room or kitchen to recount their night out (and maybe nurse a hangover in the morning);
  • if you’re doing something as a group like a private bubbly tasting or a cooking class, you can do it right there in the house rather than having to rent a local space;
  • and last but not least, splitting a house or another shared space is often a lot cheaper than getting separate hotel rooms!

How to Pull Off a Destination Bachelorette Party by Cheers Babe

Book activities ahead of time & talk to the girls about what they want to do

Don’t be that girl who’s going to “see what’s up when they get there.” Most activities, as well as reservations, will book well in advance for groups bigger than six, especially in cities like Charleston, Nashville, and Austin that attract a lot of bachelors and bachelorettes. Look into unique activities like local classes (things like flower crown crafting and jewelry making), private cocktail tours of local bars (which puts a spin on plain old bar hopping), and group rates on outdoor shenanigans like tubing, stand-up paddle boarding, waterskiing, or sunset cocktail cruises.

How to Pull Off a Destination Bachelorette Party by Cheers Babe

Don’t skip the gifts and favors

The bachelorette party scene has gotten a little cliché – keep it unique by sending out party boxes before your trip to get the girls excited, and include things that they’ll actually want to wear and use. Carry-on cocktail kits are always appreciated for the plane (these can be DIY-ed or bought pre-made), and pins are a more subtle way to show off that you’re in the bride squad. Toss in an itinerary that matches your original invitations so the girls can see what they’ll be getting into during the weekend, or better yet, include goodies that give hints as to what you’ll be doing but keep the full itinerary a surprise!

How to Pull Off a Destination Bachelorette Party by Cheers Babe

That’s all for now, y’all! Hopefully these simple tricks help you take your party weekend over the top! And psst: if you’re heading to Charleston, South Carolina, visit our website at www.kayandcoweekends.com to learn more about how we can plan you the best weekend ever — & we’re always partying on Insta at @kayandcoweekends + @chsbubblybar!
xoxo,
Randi

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How to Pull Off a Destination Bachelorette Party | Guest Post | Kay & Co. Weekends

Inspo, Lifestyle

Let’s face it. Wedding Hashtags are not a new idea. BUT you know what? They are a lasting and useful trend!

Having a wedding hashtag allows you to follow your day immediately after with all the photos your guests post to instagram as well as to build up excitement before the big day! They are an easy & fun way to involve your guests in the process and invite them to follow along on your journey.

Coming up with the perfect hashtag is no easy feat. Set aside about 30 min to brainstorm and have instagram handy to double check to see if your potential hashtag has already been taken. You can go totally classic if you have a unique last name (this is what my hubs & I did – #mrandmrsonesto) or get as creative as you want like my fun-loving clients pictured below Annie & Ross, who repurposed a popular hashtag #YesWayRosé and made it their own. #SheSaidYesWayRossé Isn’t that the cutest!?

Wedding Hashtags | Cheers Babe Photo Blog

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March Trend Report | Wedding Hashtags

Inspo, Wedding

Can you guys believe it’s already December? This year has gone by so quickly, but I’m so excited to be headed home for Christmas soon & spending time with my entire family.

For the December trend report, I thought we’d chat about a trend you are likely to see at many 2018 weddings – what is it? Navy, baby! Navy seems to be the new black when it comes to weddings! It used to be that navy was reserved for seaside, nautical themed festivities on the East coast, but the days of pigeon-holing this great color are over. I love how navy passes as a more interesting neutral, whether it’s the groom’s suit, bridesmaids dresses, your linens or just the envelopes in your invitation suite, it looks so stunning and elegant. Check out all the navy inspo below (no seashells or anchors in sight)!

Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend Navy Wedding Trend

Images all Via Pinterest + Style Me Pretty

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December Trend Report | Navy Baby!

Inspo, Wedding

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