Vendor Guide

Vendor Guide
Vendor Guide

Navigating Mental Health in the Wedding Business

"I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it's like to feel absolutely worthless, and they don't want anybody else to feel like that."
- Robin Williams
I'm not much of a celebrity follower, but when the news of Robin Williams passing reached my Newsfeed last year, my heart sank. No matter which role he played or interview he was in, the man oozed genuine compassion and an authenticity that not many in any industry have. He was one I respected because of his consistent ability to light up a room even from a screen.

When I learned one of the factors in his death, it hit hard. This amazingly happy and giving person struggled away from public eyes. It's a battle I, along with many in the wedding industry, can relate to well: the battle with mental health.

Whether it's anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction, depression, or another challenge, there is a very large percentage of entrepreneurs out there who struggle, and that struggle rarely comes to light in our heavily-curated social media lives. And we don't talk about it much because let's be honest, it's not exactly the smartest marketing tool when trying to book happily-ever-after weddings. Even writing this feature has been a bit of a personal challenge as it has taken a few months to garner the confidence just to put fingers to keyboard, but when you privately hear over and over the pain wedding friends are going through, you hoist your sail and fix it to move forward.

Rustic First Landing State Park Wedding

Kat and Brad are two people who are truly in love with life. They have traveled and lived between Virginia Beach and DC and visited Ireland and Paris just for the experience. They continually find solace in hiking in the mountains and eating good food, but most symbolic in their relationship is the sunset. As a couple, Kat and Brad have always dropped a marble in a jar to represent each sunset they enjoy together. You can't get much more romantic than that kind of tradition!

And so, it was no surprise when they planned a sweet intimate wedding day at First Landing State Park with their closest loved ones... with the sunset in mind for some bride and groom portraits with Andrew and Tianna Photography.

With rustic-styled florals, a sweet hand-fasting ceremony ritual, yummy Duck Donuts, and even a bagpipe player, this outdoor wedding was personal and joyful!

Chic Summer Campground Wedding Inspiration

Beyond the beach scene, summertime also tends to conjure up images of s'mores, camping, and all things outdoors. I know a lot of my own childhood memories included a bunch of camping trips on the west coast-- from woods to forests, there's a special kind of magic that happens when you're underneath dappled treetop light... making it the perfect inspiration for a wedding!

Inspired by many of the campgrounds in the Hampton Roads area, specifically the ferns and evergreens at Northwest River State Park in Chesapeake, campground venues are the ideal place for a magical wedding day. It already can accommodate a good number of people, it can double as a vacation, and it can allow for simpler decoration since nature has already provided most of it!

With tree trunk inspired gourmet cakes and rustic monogrammed wedding programs, you can utilize a natural color scheme that complements your outdoor and open air venue. You can still have a gorgeously chic AND low-key celebration. Don't forget the eau de bug spray for your guests!

Rustic Monogrammed Programs: Jessica Loren via Brides // Natural Hair Bride: Whitney Heard via Magnolia Rouge // Tree Trunk Cakes: Cakework photographed by Larissa Cleveland via Style Me Pretty // Woodland Boutonnieres: Sarah Winward photographed by Erich McVey via OnceWed // Twinkle Lights: Christina Kiffney via Bonafide Bride

Virginia Beach First Landing State Park Engagement

At the 64th Street entrance to the First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Katie, Jay, and a handsome pup named Goliath met up with Kiyomi Photography for their "engagement" session. You see, these two lovebirds were actually already privately married and are hosting a later celebration for their family and friends. So their photo time was for their Save the Date announcement and for some good memories to share with their loved ones. We love how people make their sessions their own!

So on a beautiful sunny day in cozy flannels and relaxed vibes, this coastal fun was full of laughs, good times, and a very happy four-legged furbaby.

Sweet Purple Rustic Wedding in Suffolk

What happens when it pours, pours, and pours all day? A gorgeous purple rustic wedding at the Planter's Club in Suffolk, of course! While Krista and Andy's wedding had an unwelcomed guest called Torrential Showers, it didn't dampen any of their cheerful spirits. From the heart-squeezing emotional first look to the non-stop excitement of getting married, everyone embraced the weather and acted as if it was planned all along.

Like a good majority of modern day couples, Krista and Andy met online, and the bride nostalgically joked, "I signed up Thursday, he emailed Friday, we went out Sunday, and the rest was history!"

While this tearful groom said, "I have been to war three times, had my leg broken in West Africa, and I never cried once... but seeing her made me so happy."

Captured by Leigh Skaggs Photography, their beautiful Suffolk wedding made all their rustic dreams come true. With purple bridesmaid dresses, baby's breath and dusty miller-dappled florals, and a repurposed wood tiered cupcake stand, the inside of the Planter's Club never looked so perfect even with the storm happening outside.

Patriotic Military Wedding Inspiration

Summer is here, and that means BBQs, time with loved ones, sunshine, and especially Fourth of July!

As we tend to celebrate our military and its historical role when it comes to our federal holidays, it was only perfect that Memories by Mere Photography, Two River Events, and Aleen Floral Design conceptualized a Fourth of July-inspired wedding surrounded by all things flight at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach.

With navy blue and golden hues, the stationery from Foil and Ink Design lends a clean-cut modern touch to the iconic fighter planes in the backdrop while the red anemones nestled within the bouquet of green and white pay subtle homage to the symbolic Remembrance Poppy.

A beautiful tribute to the biblical Ruth's declaration of "Where you go, I will go" is the perfect calligraphy quote wrapped around the sweetheart table's painted globe centerpiece... all made perfect with the radio communication jargon "Foxtrot" table number!

And no Independence Day inspiration shoot is without a vibrant fireworks-inspired cake! With gold rope spun out of sugar and an edible sparkly blue top tier by Cakealicious Design Studio, this wedding cake along with the golden planes, flight plan-inspired table runner, dapples of air mail here and there, and so much more will definitely make any wedding couple stand at attention!

Virginia Beach Courthouse Engagement

Anne and Macon met in modern fashion through a popular online dating website. Pressured by friends to sign up just to see what would happen, within a week, they quickly began to get to know each other, met for a date on a Tuesday night, and decided then and there they didn't want to meet anyone else! They both canceled their accounts and their three year courtship began.

Despite their modern mode of meeting, their engagement began in a very traditional way. Macon asked for Anne's hand in marriage from her father and all of her brothers who wholeheartedly agreed. Because she values family so much, Anne found this very touching, and the fact that Macon would honor that for her only made his proposal sweeter.

Captured by Heidi Calma Photography and with a love of tradition, they decided to have their engagement session in a classic location that felt like a touch of Williamsburg in Virginia Beach... at the Virginia Beach Courthouse area!

Unique Father of the Bride Gifts

It's almost Father's Day! And since everyone loved our unique Mother's Day gifts feature so much, we knew we definitely needed to show some love to the FOGs and FOBs! So next up in our Favorite Things series, we're paying homage to the amazing fathers of the bride and groom with cool gift ideas!

From sentimental to just plain cool, there's a little something for every daddy of the bride or groom for the wedding day... and heck, some could even double as Father's Day gifts!

Spiritual Charles City Outdoor Wedding

With a strong mutual spiritual awareness, Julie surprised Mary Beth with a proposal through a tarot card reading-- a symbolic detail that would carry over into their wedding day favors.

Their whole meeting, falling in love, growing together, and deciding to get married seemed like fate. As if written in the stars, Mary Beth entered a drawing for a fully complimentary wedding at Virginia PrideFest in Richmond... and the winning prize included services by local wedding pros, Tiltawhirl Imagery, Cary Hill Plantation, Cherry Blossom Weddings, and Just Married by Christina. Later that day, soon after leaving PrideFest, Mary Beth called Julie in much excitement, screaming, "Honey, we won... WE WON!"

The sprinkles on top of this kismet sundae though was when less than a week later, the ban on gay marriage in Virginia was lifted. If all of that doesn't confirm some major destiny for these two lovebirds, then we don't know what does!

Through the love and support of their daughters, family, and friends, Julie and Mary Beth were surrounded by blessings all wedding day long as they started their happily ever after journey together.

Wedding Workspaces: Sarah Street Photography

It's time for another Wedding Workspaces, and this month, we're sharing our sixth installment with another fab local wedding pro!

Through Wedding Workspaces, we are showcasing Hampton Roads-based wedding pros and where they create throughout the week when not on location for a wedding. Weddings never are one-day gigs; it typically takes months and days to be part of that special celebration... so we might as well feel cozy for the day in, day out tasks!

And today, we have contemporary classic wedding photographer and vendor fam Sarah Street of Sarah Street Photography and her modern gray photography home office in Chesapeake. Through soft white accents and a touch of kitty inspiration, this space is meant for tranquil relaxation alongside steady productivity.

Southern Chic Dockside Engagement

Preppy and fun-loving, Kristin and Wai dreamed up a chic and casual dockside picnic engagement session with Shannon Moffit Photography in Virginia Beach. But it wasn't just any ole picnic because they are actually planning to have a Kentucky Derby-inspired wedding (complete with a whiskey bar and fancy hats!) so seersucker and bowties were a must for this session!

With deep navy blues paired with pastels, a basket full of goodies and whiskey, and warm smiles, these two set the perfect Southern tone for their upcoming July wedding!

Sweet and Fun Fort Monroe Hampton Wedding

Nestled right in the middle of Hampton, a little perfect wedding gazebo sits next to the water and the historic Chamberlin at Fort Monroe. And being Hampton Roads locals, Rusty and Nicole just had always talked about saying their vows there... so they did!

Captured by Audrey Rose Photography, their bright and sunny wedding day went off without a hitch! As And I Love Her Violins played sweet notes, Nicole personalized her ceremony by having her step-father escort her halfway down the aisle and then her father took her the rest of the way to Rusty. We absolutely love this special touch to incorporate the beauty that is blended families!

Nicole's big advice to engaged couples: "The day will go by so quickly. Don't worry about the little details. It's your big day, enjoy it and have fun with your spouse!" We couldn't agree more.

What to Pack for a London Honeymoon

Even though I put this feature together before I left, you can rest assure I'm having the best of times here across the pond (which you can see on my personal Instagram account), so we're continuing our "Honeymoon in the UK" theme this week with our editor friend Cris of Kiss My Tulle. She has put together a fabulous pinnable "What to Pack for 7 Days in London" wardrobe list for us, and it's as if she read my mind! Practical, stylish, and oh so space-conscious so you can bring back your favorite British goodies (because confession: I brought an entire empty bag so I could fill it with Percy Pigs and Twinings tea boxes. It's that serious!).

Rustic Mechanicsville Farm Engagement

Rustic and sentimental, Lizzie and Henry wanted to have their engagement session where their relationship first began and where they will tie the knot... at Warriner's Way Farm in Mechanicsville!

With two adorable retired horses named Alex and Tiny followed by the cutest chocolate lab named Dalton, these lovebirds had a truly homegrown experience for their time with Melissa Desjardins Photography. From the loft of the gorgeous green barn to the property's serene pond, it's obvious there was only but great memories being made... especially when you have a "Save the Date" barnwood sign hanging from the top of that giant barn with your photographer standing on a ladder on top of a rig to capture it!

Things to Do on a Honeymoon in England

If there's one country I'm just a wee bit obsessed with, it's England. Ever since my first trip there in college with my English Department, I've gotten the British Bug pretty bad. It's the beacon to my old soul, and every time I get the chance to visit, there's just a feeling so at home when I'm eating some chips, watching the meadows fly by while on the train, and standing upon the very ground Jane Austen walked. With my Bit of Ivory Photography hat on, I have the incredible opportunity to be there right now as you're reading this to help a photog friend shoot a wedding (in a castle!), enjoy everything British, meet up with wedding pro friends and bloggers to get creative.

So with that said, here's the latest in The Little Honeymoon Guide series: the idyllic country of England! Because really, where else would you rather be as newlyweds? Unashamedly biased on that one! ;)

Spotlight Feature On: Leslie Hartig Floral Design

Flexible, friendly, and organized is how Leslie of Leslie Hartig Floral Design describes her most ideal wedding couple. And with 20 years of creating pretty things, she has a lot of stories to share about all of the themes and ideas brides and grooms have had!

[photo: Bit of Ivory Photography]

Vintage Hampton Bed and Breakfast Elopement

With only the bride, groom, photographer, and officiant present, Katy and Philip's wedding day was a vintage dream at the historic Magnolia House Inn in Hampton. Beautifully captured by Maria Grace Photography, there was an excitement in the air as Philip waited for his bride to be ready. While they chose to keep their ceremony exclusive to them, Katy wanted to incorporate some personal family touches through her Mom's blush pink cardigan and brooch as well as a sweet turquoise ring given to her by her grandmother.

After their emotional vows, a sweet toast, and cutting of the cake as newlyweds, they made sure to capture some portraits together so they could share the exciting news with their loved ones. Nothing beats the fresh afterglow of saying I Do and the sparkle of the first moments of starting their new lives together!

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