Chic Bridal Gown Inspiration in the Tropics

Now and again, a bridal gown is so stunning that it absolutely does stop us in our tracks. This chic wedding gown designed by MXM Couture is one such dress, and set against the tropical background of Bali, it becomes so much more than just a dress. Architectural in its detail, weightless in the sea breezes, and somehow, also distinctly bridal. The bride donning this gown is surely a lucky one.

Read on for more from the photographer, Katie Grant:
“Blending old world Bali and the clean lines of the ultra-chic & modern Alila Uluwatu was the goal that Natalie of Paper Diamonds set out to achieve when planning this editorial shoot…and she certainly achieved that. The inspiration was the stunning gown designed by MXM Couture. It’s structure and modern feel just screamed Alila and we couldn’t wait to get to Bali to shoot it amongst their impeccable grounds. Natalie wanted to keep it simple and neutral and allow the beauty of the endless blue horizon and simple architecture take the lead.”

Styling: Paper Diamonds | Photography: Katie Grant | Gown: MXM Couture | Model: Katya | Hair & Makeup: Yeanne Makeup | Venue: Alila Villas Uluwatu

05.09.16 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Make the Most of Your Wedding Photos

Every couple wants beautiful, timeless imagery capturing their wedding day. While selecting the right photographer will go a long way to ensuring this happens, there are also some important conversations you can have with your photographer, wedding planner, and stylist ahead of time. We asked photographer Kate Holstein to share her expertise on this subject with us.

In order to get the most out of your wedding photos, there are three key elements that should be considered by both the photographer and couple. These three simple things can make all the difference in creating timeless, elegant, and captivating photos.

Time of Day & Location:
Time of day and location are two of the most important considerations because they will determine the light; the key element to a beautiful photograph. Lighting is drastically different for indoor weddings versus outdoor weddings. Both can be captured beautifully, but it’s important to understand how to work with both.

For outdoor weddings, ceremonies and portrait sessions that occur later in the day, about 1-2 hours before sunset, have the most ideal lighting situations because the sun is lower in the sky creating softer and more flattering light. If you’re forced to have an outdoor ceremony in the middle of the day, consider doing it in open shade. That will be better for your photos and more pleasant for your guests who won’t have to squint in the midday sun.

For indoor weddings, I do everything I can to avoid using flash because I prefer a softer and more romantic look for a wedding. In order to avoid using flash, you have to focus on the spaces where natural light enters the room. Artificial light can create unflattering and challenging color casts/hues. When possible, I turn off all artificial sources of light and work only with the natural light that’s entering the room. Another consideration is wall colors and floor colors. Dark colors will absorb light and light colors will bounce and create more light.

This image seen above in the title was shot when the sun was still quite high in the sky, so I used open shade to create a softer and more romantic look.

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The Background:
Photographs with clean backgrounds are generally more aesthetically appealing than images with very busy backgrounds. A clean background enables the subject to pop and the eye to be drawn to what you really want to see without any distractions. Clean photographs also provoke a sense of serenity where as busy images can feel chaotic and almost stressful. Whether it’s the ceremony, portraits, or details, a clean backdrop can often make all the difference between a great photo and a not so great one. As the photographer, this should be the second consideration after light. Often time you’ll need to take things away to clean up a background, or move the subject(s) to a cleaner space.

In the first image – I had the couple walk over to an open olive grove where I knew I could blur the background and have no distracting elements so that the focus could be on the couple walking. The second image is a detail shot of an engagement ring where again, there is nothing distracting behind the ring so that our eyes can focus on the beautiful details of the jewelry itself.


Body Language:
There are very subtle ways in which our body language can strongly communicate how we feel. The clench of a fist versus relaxed fingers can completely change the mood and feel of a photograph. It’s important for both the photographer and the subject to understand this. If the subject is relaxed, that will shine through in their body language and the photo will have a more joyful, loving, and present feel to it. When the subject is tense, the photographer should guide the subject to feel more comfortable by giving specific cues as to what body parts to relax and how to move. Movement can be very helpful in getting the body to be more fluid and less tense. Here are some verbal cues I’ve found helpful:

‘Relax the hands, soften the fingers, soften the jaw, close the eyes then slowly open them, giggle, gently part the lips, look through (not at) the camera, breathe deeply into the belly, lift the head, draw the elbow back’

Positive cues and encouragement are always better than negative cues. It’s generally better to tell your subject what you want them to do and avoid saying anything about what you don’t want them to do.

In the first image you can see how the relaxed, long, elegant fingers portray a sense of calmness. In the second image below, I told the subject to draw her elbow back and lift through the heart to create good posture and a more flattering angle for the body.

Click here for more wedding day photography tips.


Article by: Kate Holstein

05.06.16 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog, Wedding Planning

SALE ENDS TONIGHT: Learn Floral Design From Sarah Winward

Today is your final chance to take advantage of the $200 launch-week saving on Sarah Winward’s new digital course, The Nature of Wedding Floral Design.

If you’re still unsure if this is the right learning opportunity for you, here’s what some other floral designers had to say after testing Sarah’s course.


“Sarah’s honest, candid approach and willingness to discuss how she budgets, quotes client events, prepares visual proposals, and pays herself is particularly refreshing in a world of floral workshops, one-on-ones, and courses. Nowhere have I been able to find this information from such a well-respected designer.” —LAUREN WIEBE, STONEHOUSE FLOWERS

“Sarah’s background gives her the ability to describe and explain floral design in a beautiful, tangible way, unlike any other designer I’ve had the opportunity to learn from. It was a joy to work through. Anyone looking to hone their floral craft should treat themselves to this experience.” —MARY EDDY, VINE AND BRANCH FLORAL

“As a fairly new floral designer I often work alone and always wonder ‘Am I doing this right?’ Sarah’s course confirmed that I’m working in the direction I want to be going and it gave me more confidence in what I do.” —CARA FITCH, TRILLE FLORAL

“I felt honored to review Sarah’s course and found it to be extremely relevant to all those in the floral design field. It covers such an extensive range of information and there is much to be gained whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional. Sarah’s tips and shared experiences are sure to save many designers time and money.” —KELLY LEYNARD, INTERTWINE


You can hear what other florists had to say on the course website, or by checking out #ifimadeweddingflowers on Instagram.

CLICK HERE to purchase The Nature of Wedding Floral Design before midnight tonight and save $200. This is the lowest price of 2016!

05.05.16 / Featured

Colorful and Modern Outdoor Wedding

We love to see bolder colors used in wedding design, but we’ll be the first to admit that it can be incredibly challenging to use vibrant hues in an elegant way. The way that this wedding navigates an incredible use of color might be what we love the most about it, and that’s thanks in large part to the amazing florals by Sarah Winward.

Today’s bride, Wilhelmina, has a personal penchant for rich color, but her mom wanted to maintain an elegant aesthetic. We think that their decision to use a natural palette at the outdoor ceremony, introduce a bit more vibrancy into the bridal party bouquets, and then really dive into full color at the reception is a clever and unique way to bring the wedding to life. Creating a “branch” arbor for the ceremony using just blooming branches and white blossoms ensures that the design fits perfectly with the natural spring setting, while tucking a touch of yellow and peach into the bouquets beautifully compliments the bridesmaids’ buttery gowns. Working with very narrow tables at the reception meant that Sarah had to get creative with her tablescape designs, and we think the clean white linens punctuated by bright hues and those lemon-hued taper candles is genius – especially when you look up. Covering the ceiling in an incredible tapestry of bright green foliage creates a major statement and we’re sure that no guest will forget this. Ever.

Event Design: Laurie Arons | Photography: Jose Villa | Florals: Sarah Winward | Venue: Durham Ranch | Catering: Paula LeDuc

05.05.16 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog