Lindsay and Chris Bartholomew – 11/12/16

Duncan Estate – Spartanburg, SC

With 2016 coming to a close I’m doing a lot of reflecting on the past year (isn’t everyone?), but when I look back, there’s a reason I saved this one for last.  There are so many things that I loved about this wedding.

I love this venue.  Watching others say I Do in the exact place where you said I Do is beautiful and I’ll never get over it.

I love this photographer.  I’ve known her since middle school and have always known that she’s incredibly talented, but wow!  Looking at these photos takes my breath away.

I loved this day.  We planned and planned and everything came together seamlessly.

But most of all, I LOVED this bride!  Lindsay is the type of client that everyone wants, and I couldn’t be happier that I, of all people, got to work with her this year.  But I really, really love the way she looks at Chris, and I know you will too once you take a look at these stunning photos.

Photography Credit: The uber-talented Maggie Calton Photography

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Sarah and Grey Pittman – 10/01/16

Duncan Estate – Spartanburg, SC

It was difficult to pick the few of these that could be added to this album.  The emotion in all of these photos is nothing compared to the feelings that were shown on Sarah and Grey’s wedding day.  Their families were so connected and they were so completely wrapped up in each other that it made everyone’s job (especially the photographer) that much easier.  I’m so happy to have been a part of their day and that I was able to share in the details.  This Fall wedding couldn’t have been more beautiful 🙂 And congratulations to the beautiful couple!

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Photography credits: Southern Jewel Photography

Lauren and Will Baynard – 09/23/2016

Duncan Estate – Spartanburg, SC

This sweet couple came to me all the way from Hawaii and I’m so glad we got the chance to work together!  Lauren and Will were an absolute joy and so was their wedding day.  The Duncan Estate could not have been a more perfect venue for them, and every aspect of both the wedding and reception was planned with sweet, sentimental details.  There were pretty place settings with vintage china, a very special guest that made appearance for the first dance and a great team of vendors, but the love between them was what really made September 23rd special.

Photography Credits: Tamra Turner Photography

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Kayla and Dillon Barber – 06/04/2016

Duncan Estate – Spartanburg, SC

Rain on a wedding day means “Good Luck,” right?  It certainly did for Kayla and Dillon, whose wedding was absolutely gorgeous despite the small rain shower before the ceremony.  The wedding was filled with sweet, sentimental details like the bride and groom showing a love of service by washing each other’s feet.  There were also moments of pure joy and hilarity when the wedding party and guests choreographed their own special dances.  I was happy to be a part of their special day and I hope that their marriage is just as happy and loving as their special day was.

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Photography  – Southern Jewel Photography

Review – Southern Jewel Photography

2343179_origWhen I started blogging, I had the idea of making this a platform to review vendors so that couples could have an honest opinion.  With all the reviews already swirling around the internet, I thought it might help to have a voice from someone INSIDE the business.  You can get an opinion from any bride, but what people really want is a look behind the scenes.  And that’s what I plan to give you; one wedding professional’s perspective about another.  I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for me to get this up and running, but here we are.

Rating of Southern Jewel Photography – A++

I’m being dead serious when I say I would give them the highest rating possible!  This husband and wife team exceeded all my expectations and even impressed my family (who have ridiculously high standards!).

My maid of honor suggested Southern Jewel after a particularly long search for photographers within my budget. She found them on Wedding Wire and I was immediately drawn to the way their pictures were edited.  I was looking for a soft and elegant feel, that wasn’t over-edited but was filled with natural light.  Trying to explain that to others was complicated, but I sat looking at their photos thinking, “This is exactly what I want.”

I liked Amber from the moment I met her 🙂 And I’m so glad she brought her husband, Charlie, along.  I met with them thinking that I was just booking a photographer, but after learning about all their services, booked videography and even a photo booth with them.  It’s important for you to understand what I DIDN’T feel here…

I DIDN’T feel pushed or like I was being sold on anything.  They didn’t make me feel overwhelmed with options or the need to make decisions right away.  I wasn’t being lead towards a package that was too large, or something I just didn’t need.

I DIDN’T feel like just another bride that they had added to their list.  I know the feeling when you just see dollar signs in a vendor’s eyes, but I truly felt like their friend in the first five minutes we sat together.  And knowing that they treated everyone that way, client or not, made me recommend them long before Emblem was a thing.

I DIDN’T feel unsure about them. Ever. Not once.  At the time, they were just getting their videography and photo booth rental off the ground.  Having two services that they were just starting up should have made me anxious.  But from that first meeting, I never had a doubt that something wouldn’t go right or that they were too new at this to know what they were talking about.  They were professional, knowledgeable, and completely honest about everything they offered… and the best part is they were consistent with those three things throughout the wedding and even after.

  • Personality – A+
  • Pricing – A+ 
    • Extremely affordable and probably under-priced for the quality.
  • Quality of Work – A+
  • Turnaround Time – A+
    • On the way home from the honeymoon, Charlie had already finished our short video, with the entire video and all of Amber’s 1600 photos to arrive within that week.

If you’re looking for a vendor that has the ENTIRE package, give them a call.  You have an entire post about their excellent qualities 🙂 If you don’t believe me, check them out at http://www.southernjewelphotography.com.

Monet-Inspired Shoot

I want to start this post off by telling you what I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for friends from high school that still follow your social media feeds.  I’m thankful that said friends believe in what you can do.  I’m thankful that people realize their talents and create lifestyles around them.  I’m thankful for ideas that make you scared and excited at the same time.  I’m thankful for people that are willing to help with those scary/exciting ideas and that they don’t act like their are scary.  I’m thankful that there are painting that inspire us.  I’m thankful for perspective that allows us to see things in new ways.  I’m thankful that all these things had a hand in making this shoot happen and made it turn out so wonderfully! See for yourself below.

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Maggie Calton (maggiecalton.com) is the friend from high school that I mentioned, and without her belief and suggestion, this might still have been just a thought in the back of my mind.  So I’m thankful that she loves cameras and people and sunrise and Claude Monet as much as I do.  Once we got the ball rolling, everything fell into place beautifully.  When I tell you it was cold that morning, I mean it was FREEZING, so I’m thankful that Jessica Effler (the gorgeous redhead you see in the photos) stood the cold for us and looked as stunning as she did.  I’m thankful for Katie Lancaster, a cousin who loves hair and makeup enough to wake up well before sunrise to come to the rescue.  I’m thankful that friends like Mallory Drew Duncan were gifted with talent and vision so as to design exactly what we wanted.  You know of my love and thankfulness for Danielle Hansen at the Duncan Estate (as if I haven’t said it enough times already lol) for letting us traipse around her yard before it was even light enough to see.  And finally I’m so so very thankful that the PERFECT people from The Dress Theory trusted us enough to let us borrow a dress, especially one that magical.

To Rent or Not To Rent?

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I’m pretty sure that every couple goes through “The Rental Stage.”  You know, the part of wedding planning where the budget comes into play and your soon-to-be-husband wonders constantly, “Can’t we just rent that?”  If you’re trying to keep the costs down, then everything gets brought into question, like “Can’t we just rent the linens?” or “If we’re renting the decorations, can we ask the caterer to let us rent the food too?” Unfortunately, there are some things you just have to buy… so try to let your future hubby down easy.  But surprisingly, bridesmaid’s dresses might not be one of them.

I came across a great article from Brides Magazine online that outlines three of the best bridesmaid dress rental sites out there.  They list “Rent the Runway” (yay! one of my all-time favorites), “Vow To Be Chic,” and “Weddington Way.”  But this is an area where I need your help.  Though I thought about doing this with my own bridesmaids, I decided against it at the last minute and went the traditional route.  And I’ve never worked with a bride who used a dress rental service, but I’d love to see what ya’ll think.  If you feel like sharing your opinions, please leave a comment about how your experience was and if you would use a service like this again! Feel free to answer through social media as well, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

To read the article for yourself, click this link!

Why You NEED A Coordinator…

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There are always going to be those women who carry their wedding as a personal badge of honor.  In the end they want to be able to say that they planned the whole thing on their own with little to no help, even from the groom.  It makes them proud and gives them a little something to savor once the wedding is all over.  It’s a great accomplishment, to pull off one of the most important days of your life and know that you made it happen through hard work and determination.  But you know what?  I was one of those women.  And while I’m really pleased that it all turned out the way I wanted, I STILL wish I had hired a coordinator.  So here’s why…

#1 – Wedding coordinators give the best recommendations.  They usually already have relationships with vendors and can give you the run-down on all their services.  They can also give you real advice from brides who have used those vendors before

#2 – They’ll start you out on the right path.  I wish I had had the sense to work out a budget in the beginning (I’m pretty sure that my husband feels the same!). But help with a timeline, decoration planning and vendor contracts from the start is invaluable!  Knowing that you have a plan will pave the way for a lot less stress down the line.

#3 – If you hire a coordinator, even for just the day-of, most of the time, their services cover the direction of the ceremony.  You can direct your own wedding, but why not revel in the fact that you’re getting married?!  There aren’t many chances for you to feel like a bride, let someone else have the job of directing the rehearsal.  Your only task for that night should be enjoying yourself and celebrating with your friends and family.

I like to think that I started this business because of my entrepreneurial spirit, but when it comes down to it, it really came from a place of wanting to help brides not be in the same situation I was in.  I felt like a superhero when I accomplished all the tasks on my checklist, but a REALLY TIRED superhero. And one that often wonders if my day could have been just a little more magical if I hadn’t worried over the place settings or if the cake would arrive on time.  There are plenty of affordable options, and if you ask, coordinators are willing to help create a plan specific to you and your groom (which also might help lower the cost).  All I’m asking is that you not write it off having a coordinator too quickly.  Even the best planned wedding could use a few extra hands!

For information on Emblem’s pricing and services, don’t be shy! Send an email to maghan@emblemweddings.com, I’d love to chat with you!