our wedding: a preview

So we’ve been counting the days down and finally it’s here, our wedding! With just days away from the biggest day of our life I wanted to share some details about wedding. As vendor’s, we know all the right people to have on our wedding day team. So in this blog I’m going to tell you who us wedding professionals chose for our wedding professionals and why.

It probably sounds cliche to say this but it seems like just a week ago I was bloggin that “she said yes!” post, when actually it was July 15th 2008. Fella’s this is the day things become interesting. You see our ladies have a special chemical or chromosome in their brian that goes into full swing once they get that ring. The planning, the ideas, the vision it all come’s out. I will say Kris Ann was pretty chill. We actually didnt pick a date or location until mid October of 2008. Just then it seemed so far away. What happened to our time?

Once you become engaged you need to start planning. Being in the industry, Kris Ann and I thought we knew something about this whole wedding thing but the truth was we didn’t know squat. Thats when our good friend wedding planner Christine Wheat came into the picture. I can’t say enough good things about Christine. Seriously, none of this would have worked without her. Between Kris Ann and myself both running our own businesses there was not enough time in the day. During our planning meetings Christine would bring up things Kris Ann and I were not even aware of. She is a detail person for real, I just love her little check boxes and watching her check things off the list. You faithful blog readers know that I constantly praise wedding planners. Let me just say after this whole experience I think everyone should have a wedding planner. Kris Ann & I could not thank Christine enough for her professionalism and experience. We’d probably still be at square one if it weren’t for her. Here’s an image from the very first wedding we all worked together, this was a fun one to say the least.

The first thing we needed was a space. After juggling around some wacky ideas and concepts we thought about a space that we loved more than any other space. Our verdict was hands down no contest. The Historic Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs NY. I have been shooting in this room for over 16 years! How crazy is that? From the beginning of shooting in there or when at the age 12-13 I knew that we had a wedding there I was excited to work in this space. There is something very unique and special about Casino weddings. The fact that you can’t even get in there most of the season without having the space booked two years well in advance says something. Like whenever I get an inquiry for a Casino wedding I want it, we want to shoot that wedding. Just look at the space, its awesome. I know Kris Ann feels the same about the Casino as well. All her weddings she does there always look so awesome. Wait until you see what she’s got in store for our day.

After you pick a room like this you need a caterer. For us it was an easy choice. The caterer we wanted had to first off know the room and know it well. Secondly we wanted someone who could execute our vision in terms of our different menu and style for our wedding reception. With out a doubt we chose Glen Sanders also know as Mansion Catering or for the local people you just say “we got Angelo”. If you go thru the archives on this site and look at the locations we shoot at over 65% have to be at Mansion Catering locations. Throughout the process we’ve been working with Kevin Sykes of the Hall of Springs. I now understand why our brides & grooms love him so much. Kevin is just an awesome, honest and fun person to work with. We never felt as if we were being up sold or given lip service what-so-ever. His years of experience in this service helped us tremendously, he knows what works and what doesn’t. For fun I wanted to share one of our awesome grazing stations they’re doing for us. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Small Plate Comfort Food Station
• Station manned with two performance chefs preparing small plate culinary specialties buffet side.
• Three Cheese Mini Mac & Cheese
• Mini Cream of Tomato Soup Sips with Grilled Cheese Triangles, Served in Mini Tea Cups
• Mini Chicken Pot Pie
• Country Meatloaf with Whipped Potatoes

Here’s a photo with the awesome Kevin Sykes from our final walk thru yesterday!

What came next? Well, actually this decision was made before we picked a date. You guessed it, photography. It started around March of 2008 when I was reading the archives of a tech blog I often read. The blog post was called “Wednesday Inspiration – Jessica Claire“. So I clicked the link and instantly fell in love with the images I saw. I had no clue what other photographers were doing out there. Really, if you can believe it I never looked at other wedding photographers websites until this day. I had no clue who this “Jessica Claire” photographer was or how big she is in our industry. I just said to myself after spending maybe 30 minutes or so on her site “when the day comes, this is my wedding photographer”. Now let me be clear that my father, Big Joe was never an option to shoot. So when you people all asked me if he was shooting my wedding I just wanted to say “seriously? why would I make my father work my wedding?” besides, I can’t afford him anyway haha. But back to Jessica, we met her down in NYC at a trade show where she was exhibiting her famous “Shootsac” product.When we spoke at the NYC show I asked Jess if she’d be in Vegas in Feb 2009 because I had an idea of a cool location to do our engagement session at. The next time we would see Jess is in the image below at WPPI in Vegas…..

That brings us to the neon boneyard…. Jess was  kind enough to step aside during the chaos of WPPI and shoot our engagement session. We had a pretty tough time the week prior trying to get into this place. Let’s just say the folks at the neon boneyard are not the nicest when it comes to trying to book a couple hour slot last minute. That didn’t matter since Jessica’s good friend and photog [b]ecker had a group of [b]schoolers in there and let us squeak in as well. So I just want to stick my tongue out to our friend “Danielle” who wouldn’t let us in and say nah nah nah nah nah! The result was one kick ass engagement session. See for yourself on Jessica’s blog.

Staying with the whole media and visual stuff I knew I wanted video. Sometimes I hear brides say “I don’t know if I need a video”, the truth is you do. There is stuff that happens at weddings that us photographers can not capture. Often I hear brides say after the wedding, “I wish I had video.” Anyway for me the whole video thing was a no brainer. My good pal Al Woodard will be capturing our motion with his nutty camera’s and his super crazy skills. This was not an easy decision for me though and I say that because Al is my good friend and I didn’t want to have my friend work our wedding. That being said there’s no one doing what Al’s doing around here so I struggled with myself about it all and Al told me he wanted to shoot from start to finish and would not take no for an answer. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some great videographers around here Al just had the look I wanted. I can’t thank “Alfie” enough for this, I know it’s going to be a solid product. Maybe he’ll tease something the following week of the wedding, so you’ll just have to watch his blog. No pressure Al…

That brings us to music… I’ll start with ceremony music. We wanted a unique sound for our ceremony and we both really like John Charles Cook. I’ve worked so many events with John and he’s just a great guy all around. His eclectic guitar sounds fantastic plus we’ve added flute as well. I just wonder which bow tie he’ll wear.

This was another easy decision for us. Hands down, no contest what so ever when it came to the band we wanted the New York Players came in first place by miles or in Saratoga fashion they finished ahead by 6 furlongs. That stage at the Canfield Casino is meant for a band and the band for us was the Players. Following our ceremony Mike Emery has arranged a Jazz Trio for our cocktail hour then once those pocket doors slide open its level 10 and we’re going to get right into it. This is got to be one of the most exciting things for me! I just love this band!

How about when the band breaks? We had to have a DJ and the man for us was the famous Paul Malo 518.383.3978. This again was a super easy decision for us, I’ve known Paul since I was 11 years old! For our party we just wanted to keep things popping all night. Just because the band breaks doesn’t mean our party breaks. I love this shot of Paul highjacking a candy station, nah seriously he didn’t take anything, but I did.

But before all that we needed invites right? This was Kris Ann’s department. She basically went up to Paper Dolls of Saratoga and picked out 3-5 invites she liked. Then we went back up and made our decision. I know I’ve said Vera should stick to wedding dresses but her invites are pretty rocking. We’ve carried that grey and KJ logo throughout all our wedding day stuff and hotel welcome bags.

After the invites come in you have to address them. Hiring and awesome calligrapher was one of our favorite decisions to date. We used Pya Seidner. I don’t know how she does it but when we picked them up and started stamping them we were ear to ear in smiles and could not wait to send them out. I HIGHLY recommend Pya for any calligraphy needs. Her work is simply stunning, she’s truly an artist.

So for beauty Kris Ann has the famous Alayne Curtiss of Make Me Fabulous to make her more fabulous than she already is. For those of you who know Alayne know how awesome she is. I can’t say enough good things about Alayne and I’m jealous Kris Ann gets to spend a morning with her. Keeping with beauty and what not all I know is Kris Ann got her gown and MOH’s gown from Something Bleu in Saratoga Springs. Denise, Allison and her staff are wonderful ladies. Kris Ann has been more than happy with all they have done throughout the whole gown process. For accessories, veil, etc Kris Ann teamed up with the super talented Kristina Collins of Cameo Couture. I know Kris Ann just loves all the stuff Kristina has done for her. I truly cannot wait to see her all done up in that mystery gown.

Here is one teaser or preview of one Kris Ann’s wedding items.

And here is one of mine… This was a tough search for the perfect tux. Ultimately the custom Dolce & Gabbana won my heart. All I’m saying is this tux is fly! So one more thing for the grooms that I’m going to tell you… I’ll say this time and time again fella’s, if you’re planning on wearing a tux bite the bullet and buy one. Get the right fit! The bride does not rent her gown and think of the money she spends on it. Seriously if you buy a tux and keep the weight off you’ll easily get more miles out of it. Thats all I’m going to say.

The only question for my finishing touch is what time piece goes better with a ring? Will be my my Rollie or Panerai… or will it be something else 😉 ?

By this point of the blog you’re probably saying “What about flowers?” right? Well, a lot of people have asked if Kris Ann will be doing her own flowers? The answer is yes and no. As I type this blog Kris Ann and her staff are cleaning and prepping all kinds of flowers for our wedding. She’ll be doing most of the design work like making her and everyone else’s bouquets and the guys boutonnieres. She’ll design the table flowers and a mock table and from there her awesome staff will execute. Our good buddy David of Renaissance will be in charge of the Casino’s entrance and bar as well as our ceremony space… but there is some key things David is letting us use of his. David’s oversized white wingback chairs are going to be a key component for our party. He’ll also be on site with his staff as well. Between the two of them I don’t know who the bigger pain in the butt is haha. When you use a room such as the Canfield Casino you need rentals. Total Events are the ones providing the tables, chairs, pipe & drape, extra lighting and something else thats pretty cool. I gotta leave some surprises!

Here’s a shot of Kris Ann & her MOH Mary prepping our flowers at Kris Ann’s flower shop.

The bride to be with fleurs in hand.

Last but certainly not least we need cake! Well, cake always comes last anyway right? In my opinion, there’s only one cake lady in town and thats Debbie Coye! Debbie’s cakes are off the hook. She is just awesome and our cake is going to be so cool… Here are two of my favorite Debbie Coye cakes!

So once the weddings done what happens? We go on a honeymoon. With WPPI being in Vegas the day after our wedding we thought why not? We’ll be stay at the Encore incase anyone wants to send us some champagne 😉

The next stop is our all time favorite place, Islamorada in the Florida Keys. We vacation there every year so we wanted to keep tradition.

Last but not least we’re hitting Savannah, GA. Since I went to school there and Kris Ann’s never been it was a must do. This is probably the most time we’ll ever take off for so we wanted to make the best of it. This is an awesome image Big Joe took in Savannah. They make great wall prints if anyone wants one let him know.

All this stuff is I mentioned above is great and all but I think sometimes we all can loose site in what a wedding really is. It’s about Kris Ann and myself starting our future together and I could not be more than happy about that! So that being said, we’re off to get married!

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