Wedding Planning 101 Series: How To Choose The Right Wedding Photographer

As a wedding planner and wedding designer I am thrilled to share our latest series on wedding planning 101. Over the next few months we will be dishing out wedding planning tips from wedding pros.

Grace + Vine Studios

My first guest post is from the talented graphic designer and photographer, Madison, with Grace + Vine Studios. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Madison on designing my new logo and on an upcoming wedding!  Ever since Madison’s dad put her first camera in her hand, she’s had a heart that beats for great pictures and quality design.


Madison Grace + Vine Studios

Friends, I’m so excited to be sharing today with you! Sarah asked me to share some of my experience with being a wedding photographer based out of North Carolina. A little background for you first, my name is Madison and I run Grace + Vine Studios, a graphic design and photography studio, as well as my blog, The Wetherills Say I Do.

Getting engaged is such an exciting time! The excitement of calling family and friends to share the good news and being showered at engagement parties and friends wanting to see the ring only lasts for a short while though, before you have to get down to business and start planning. There are five main things people focus on planning at the beginning of an engagement: the date, wedding venue, bridal party, the dress, and the photographer. If you’ve been researching for months before you got engaged, finding the right wedding photographer may be easy. But if you haven’t, it can seem like an incredibly daunting task to try to find the perfect photographer.


As a wedding photographer and a former bride, I have some tips that should help you narrow down the perfect one!


This is the number one thing to determine when looking for a photographer. Even if you cannot articulate the style you’re looking for, there are going to be photographers that you dislike or like based on how their photos look. There are a few styles that photographers fall into.


Traditional: These are photographers who may do a lot of in-studio photography and for weddings they have specific poses they utilize in their bridal portraits and family shots. A traditional photographer is great for couples who want formal photos with lots of family members or desire to have lots of prints made or even a wedding album made by your photographer (as opposed to taking care of that yourself later on).


Photo-Journalistic: These photographers focus on catching the little moments throughout the day. They’ll have photos of jewelry laid out for the bride, groomsmen putting on cufflinks, the father of the bride’s arm wrapped around his daughter’s. These photos all montaged together tell the story of the wedding day from start to finish.


Artistic: Photographers with an artistic style are known to have unique photos that might be detail shots that add to the story of the wedding. They’ll focus on unique angles and capturing creative details from the day.


This one always hurts. The big B word in wedding planning always stings a little. Here’s the reality though when it comes to wedding photography. You pay for what you get. If quality photography is important to you, you have to make it a priority in your wedding budget. No matter what your priorities are for your wedding, you should be setting a list of them and making them the most important part of your wedding budget.

Personality & Professionalism

After you’ve found a photographer you may like from their photos or website, it’s time to meet. Emailing can be a great way to get a sense of the photographer. Are they prompt? Are they accommodating? Once you’ve emailed a bit and gotten the details out of the way, I highly recommend meeting in person! There’s no better way to figure out if you click with a photographer than meeting in person.

Remember a few things:

-You picked your photographer based on their style, but they should be willing to capture the things you want for your wedding. They may not copy exact Pinterest images, but if in your first meeting they keep pushing their ideas on you over listening to yours.

-If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re unsure of anything, ask!

-As a photographer, I highly recommend a first look. For more on my thoughts on a first look you can read my post here! But regardless of if you choose a first look or not, be sure to work with your photographer on a schedule that maximizes your time to take photos. This is a once in a lifetime chance and you will regret not having enough photos of you and your new spouse!

-Make sure you know what’s included in your contract. Many photographers opt for packages that include engagement shoots or a certain amount of hours shooting. Be sure to look over it and know what you should be getting.

Former brides, I’d love to hear your experience picking a wedding photographer! Current bride-to-bes, what’s been your biggest challenge in finding a wedding photographer?

Grace + Vines Studios is known for capturing essence of who people are, whether it’s for a wedding, 1st birthday shoot, or company logo.  Grace + Vines Studios has quickly become a weddings, events, and parties since 2010. “Who you are matters, it matters to us. We’d love to be part of your dream!”

Let Grace + Vine Studios capture the essence of who you are for your big day!

Contact Grace + Vine Studios: Website / Blog

Follow Grace + Vine Studios on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Wordless Wednesday: 8 Party and Event Planning Tips & Tricks From the Pros

As a party, event, and wedding planning pro, Sarah Sofia Productions is dishing out party planning tips and tricks that will make your party stand out and run smoothly.

Party Planning Tips and Tricks || Sarah Sofia Productions

1. Determine your budget and get organized with a party planning check list. These two items will be the most important element to keeping you on track and looking like a pro.

Sip and See / Housewarming || Sarah Sofia Productions

2. Choose a color scheme and or theme. Whether your throwing a cocktail party, holiday party or kids birthday party the colors and theme set the tone of the party, like the colors of the Sip and See/Housewarming party.

3. Food selection and preparation. Determine if you will be hiring a caterer or making the food yourself. The menu selection will be determined by the type of party your throwing i.e. brunch, wine party, dinner party and the date i.e. time of year.  Scallops are a perfect appetizer to serve for spring and summer parties. See Surprise 50th Birthday Party for details.

Party Planning Tips and Tricks  Sarah Sofia Prodcutions


Who doesn’t love Pinterest? However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the delicious and beautiful recipes. Plan on making a few items well and buying the rest. Food bars are a hot trend, so why not take the work off your plate and set up a bake potato bar or taco bar for your guests.

Wine Tasting || Sarah Sofia Productions

4. Use fun and special occasion serving pieces. There’s no better time to use all those 3 tier food platters, china, or fun serving dishes you received as wedding gifts! Varying the height and size of your food display is one of the tricks the pros use to make the food table look beautiful, like in the photo below from a Summer Cocktail Party. Don’t have a punch bowl, cupcake stand or enough place settings? Ask a friend if you could borrow it for your party or rent them for your local party rental company.

Summer Cocktail Party || Sarah Sofia Productions

5. Décor and flower arrangements. Once you’ve decided on your color scheme and or theme, it should be woven into your party through the invitations, table linens, food, serving dishes, flower arrangements and decorations.

Party Planning Tips and Tricks || Sarah Sofia Productions

Pictured above are some of our favorite flower arrangements from Tying the Knot Bridal Shower, Easter Celebrations, Valentine’s Day Sneak Peek, and Summer Wine Tasting! Flowers don’t have to be expensive or look like you just bought them at your local grocery store. Shop farmers markets or Trader Joe’s.  Arrange flowers in various heights and colors, use fruit as your vase, and use festive elements like candy.

Queen City Gala || Sarah Sofia Productions

Don’t have tons of money for flower arrangements or decorations? Use fruit in glass containers and home décor items such as candles and lanterns to set the mood.

6. Signature Drink. No matter what party your hosting, make it stand out with a specialty drink like the Moscow Mule pictured above from the Queen City Gala: Black Tie For Charity.

7. Entertainment. Don’t have a budget for a DJ or band, then make a party mix on your IPod or download your favorite party mix on your.

8. Be a guest at your own party. As a host of any party or event your busy greeting guests and making sure things run smoothly. However, make sure you take the time to enjoy it all. If you don’t have the time to get all the party planning tasks complete or don’t want to the extra stress, hire a party or an event planner and be a guest at your own party!


Style and design – Sarah Sofia Productions

Photography – Sarah Sofia Productions

Floral Arrangements – Sarah Sofia Productions


Welcome to The First Wordless Wednesday of February!!! I dont know where the time goes, it was just Christmas!!! So now I would like to introduce you to the Ladies of February and your hosts for the month where your Links will be seen on 18 Blogs, Yes thats right!!! Wow we have been growing and spreading the word!!! The more the merrier!!!

Happy Valentines❣ ❣ ❣

The February Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday
Karren Host of the oh my heartsie girls ww

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Host is Karren from “Oh My Heartsie Girl”

Wordless Wednesday Karren Frieday Feature on Oh My Heartsie Girl
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You receive 7 links for $5.00 = Your choice Bloglovin, Google+,YouTube, Instagram, Picket Fence, Linkedin, Networked Blogs, Linky Followers,Twitter and Pinterest
Your Host Karren
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Carol Runnung Granny Green
Heart cookies Running Granny Green
Carol Is Featuring Her Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe the key is to roll the dough thick, these melt in your mouth and have a great icing recipe. You can find Carols Sugar Cookie Recipe and Icing along with other recipes on Running Granny Green
Co-Host Carol Green Running Granny Green
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Coco DIY Soothing Muscles Salve!
Diy dry sore muscle salve
With exercise comes sore muscles and I have a perfect solution or I should say sore muscle salve and the best part is it is DIY Find my recipe DIY Soothing Muscles Salve!
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Pam Still Dating My Spouse
Still Dating My Spouse
Pamela has an article of interest dealing with and Managing Stress, you can read all the details and we can learn from her with her suggestions on Still Dating My Spouse
Co-Host Pamela King Still Dating My Spouse
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Lysa shares her story about RSD/CRPS (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) in a detailed post how she deals with this little known disease.
Co-Host Lysa Wild Welcome To My Circus
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Christie Sparkels of Sunshine
Christie has made these cute Valentine Envelopes made of felt and a few supplies, these make a cute way to add our Valentines!! Find Details on Sparkles of Sunshine
Co-Host Christie Selken Sparkles of Sunshine
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Jenny Renovar Design
On Transformation Tuesday post! I took a garage sale find from dated country hearts to a more sophisticated two-tone coastal cottage shelf. See the changes I made to update this look of a shelf with country hearts Transformation Tuesday – DIY Country Heart Shelf
Co-Host Jenny Perez Renovar Design
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Joy Joy Love Food
Joy is featuring these Mini Loaves of bread made with Lemons and Blueberries,,bursting with flavor, you can find this recipe and more on Joy Love Food
Co-Host Joy Mooiweer Joy Love Food
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Rebecca Silly Grapes
Facial Deep Hydration Giveaway Silly Grapes
Our Co-host Rebecca has a Giveaway she is sharing for Facial Deep Hydration Products. You can read her review and enter the Giveaway on Silly Grapes
Co-Host Rebecca Woods Silly Grapes
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Sarah Sofia Productions
Sarah share her Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies recipe, just in time for Valentines, make up a batch now for your family, or as a gift for friends
Co-Host Sarah Sofia Knepp Sarah Sofia Productions
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Nicki Sweet parrish place
winter mantle2_thumb[1]
Nicki shares a beautiful mantel in her home, but theres more, new additions to the fireplace and new accessories as well. You need to see the post to appreciate the whole room, check out Winter Mantel {Living Room}
Co-Host Nicki Parrish Sweet Parrish Place
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Ashleigh Wright Simply
tips with flying with young children 55x532
Ashleigh shares how she has managed to fly with children and offers some insight into what to take and how to be prepared. The has a list that she shares ad for all the details visit her blog and Top Tips For Flying With Young Kids
Co-Host Ashleigh Wright Simply
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Cathy Peek into my paradise
Valentine ROundup peek into my paradise
Valentines is around the corner ad Cathy shares a Roundup of Valentine ideas from candy, cakes, cookies, treat bags, fun printables, and the list goes on, check them all out at A Peek Into My Paradise Valentine Roundup
Co-Host Cathy Compeau Peek Into My Paradise
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Lisa's Teacher's Classroom
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Such a fun read! I can see kids of all ages appreciating it but little ones will really get a kick out of this! So the premise is that whoever is reading this book aloud has to follow the rules and read everything. It doesn’t matter what it says, the rule is the adult must say everything.The Book Without Pictures
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Julie in the making
30 Free Lunch Box Notes
When I was growing up sometimes Mum would put a note in my lunch box with a little picture. I loved it. It’s like getting a big hug from your Mum when you are at school. I have made some really cute lunch box notes to print out and put in your kids lunch boxes for when they go back to school. Find printable Lunch Box Notes
Co-Host Julie Julie In The Making
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Thaleia is hosting guest bloggers to write about history different letter of the alphabet about American History. To find all the details and signup Go to Something 2 Offer
Co-Host Thaleia Something 2 Offer
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Christine So domstically challenged
How the day came when Christine found she has become complacent and has decided to Take Back her independence, read what happened to Christine that turned her around.
Co-Host Christine So Domestically Challenged
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Andie Conn
Co-Host Andie Andi Conn
Andi writeS about Lifestyle, recipes, fitness and inspiration. She offers a complete an Editorial Calendar where you can read what she is working on. Andi Conn
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Wait Before Your Add Your Link would you be interested in Co-Hosting In February? A Great Way To Build A Following, No matter how new your blog we can all use new visitors to our blogs!
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When you add your link to the linky party along with your email, it will be used to send you a weekly email only used for the invitation to join us for Wordless Wednesday and gives Oh My Heartsie Girl blog permission to share your posts, pictures and links if chosen, in upcoming posts. Any content used will have proper credit and Link backs will be provided.Thank you, Karren

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies: The Perfect Valentine’s Day Treat or Gift

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies A Valentine's Day Treat

We’re gearing up for Valentine’s Day with these fun and delicious heart shaped shortbread cookies.

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies: The Perfect Valentine's Day Treat

I received this Message Cookie Set by World Market in a Gift Swap and knew it was perfect for Valentine’s Day treats!

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookie: The Perfect Valentine's Day Treat

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies


  • 2 Cups butter, softened
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 4 Cups purpose flour
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pam cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Stir in vanilla.  Add flour and mix with sugar mixture. Cover and chill for one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets and chill. Use message cookie cutters and small heart shaped cookie cutters.  Dough might be fragile so use spatula to slide onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes and decorate.

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies: The Perfect Valentien's Day Treat Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies: The Perfect Valentine's Day Treat

I sprinkled just a little pink sugar over the shortbread cookies, but they really don’t need any additional decoration.

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies: The Perfect Valentine's Day Treat

Simply place in sailplane bags, and cute tag, tie with pretty ribbon and voila’ your Valentine’s Day treat, party favor, or gift for your kids teachers and classmates is ready to be served!

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies: The Perfect Valentine's Day Treat

For more Valentine’s Day inspiration check out our Valentine’s Day Inspiration Round up and Valentine’s Day Party Sneak Peek, with the big reveal coming soon.


Styling and Design – Sarah Sofia Productions

Photography – Sarah Sofia Productions

Flower Arrangement – Sarah Sofia Productions

Message Cookie Cutter Set – World Market

Gift tags, pink and gold tin bucket, and pink and gold pom pom banner – Target

White cake platter – Crate & Barrel

Gold votive – HomeGoods

White lanterns – Ikea