Refined Wedding Photography Inspiration

We love to share elegant, refined wedding inspiration for our readers. Today’s inspiration shoot actually came together through the collaboration of a stylist, Ginny Au, creating a beautiful scene for the photographer, Brandi Smyth, to grow as an artist. Each and every single detail shown has it’s place–lush florals, simplistic calligraphy, an elegant color palette–but even more than that, we’re showcasing stunning photography inspiration. Each of these bridal portraits or shots of the couple elicits a sense of romance. From a sweet kiss to an excited bride anxiously playing with her veil, we’re sure you’re pinning not just one but each of these images to show your own photographer!

More from the photographer, Brandi Smyth:
“This shoot came together in an effort for me to learn and grow as a photographer with none other than Ginny Au as my teacher. She seamlessly pieced together the details and collaboration with all the other wonderfully talented vendors. I still can’t get over how perfect it was…the navy fabric walls that hugged an upstairs room in an abandoned house, the delicate florals, soft veil. As a photographer, getting to observe Ginny Au create is eye opening; she is effortless in her design and style. The simplicity to her work is a true reflection of herself…natural, simple, pure, & lovely. I learned so much during our time together. Its hard to put into few words what happened over the course of a few days–to me these images say it all, and to Ginny – Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a shining light in this industry and I loved every minute spent with you.”
Photography: Brandi Smyth | Styling: Ginny Au | Florals: Bows and Arrows | Gown: Samuelle Couture |Ribbon: FrouFrou Chic | Hair & Makeup: Tracey Melton Artistry | Calligraphy: Script Merchant | Invitation Suite: Kaela Rawson

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08.03.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Unique Uses for your Wedding Website from Squarespace

We all know that a wedding website is a great way to streamline your wedding planning. All you need to do is direct your guests to your website through your wedding invitations or save-the-dates, and all the info they need will be at their (and your!) fingertips: sent and RSVPs are easily collected, link maps to your venues, include links to your gift registries, give your out-of-town guests peace of mind by telling them where you’ve reserved hotel rooms, and so on. But have you thought about other, more unique ways to use your wedding website? We love how brides and grooms are using their Squarespace sites in unique ways.

Before the Wedding:
Chronicle your wedding planning by blogging about your DIY projects. Your aunt from the West Coast will love to see everything that you’re working on! Create a secret page that only your bridesmaids have access to, where you’ll plan all the exciting details for your bachelorette party getaway.

After the Wedding:
Change your wedding site into a personal blog! We love the way this couple hijacked their ordinary wedding site, and changed it into a place where they could document their wedding photos, their honeymoon and travel images, (including a creative use of their wedding hashtag), and changed their landing page to include a thank you message for their guests.

Squarespace is one of our favorite sources for creating an easy-to-use, attractive, and mobile friendly wedding website. Plus, they’re offering a discounted offer for Once Wed readers! Squarespace  is offering a 10% discount exclusively for Once Wed readers! Simply sign up for your annual subscription using the code ONCEWED15!

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08.03.15 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Planning Your Wedding Stationery


From the moment you get engaged, your nearest and dearest will most likely start inquiring about your wedding plans. While purchasing the dress and deciding on florals are often some of the prettiest aspects of planning, it’s often said that sending out an invitation starts to make everything feel “real.” Julie DeWalt of GATHER & Co. is helping us navigate our way through all you need to know to begin planning your wedding stationery.

Where to start

It’s true, while wedding stationery not only sets the tone for your wedding, it is also the official signal to your guests that you care about them and their involvement in the story of your life and love. But how do you choose the wedding stationery that best suits you? What details should you include, and how do you sort through the options? As a designer specializing in paper goods and specialty invitation suites, I certainly understand that the possibilities are endless (and often a little overwhelming) for many brides. There are so many wonderful designers, calligraphers, papers, resources and materials to choose from that any couple can find a style to suit their wedding day. It’s simply a matter of basic prior planning and personal taste to narrow down your choices.

Know your guest list

Most likely, by the time you’re thinking about invitations, you should have a decent idea about your guest list. Start collecting that information as early as possible, and consider that number when tallying up the amount of invitations to order. Keep in mind, your total number of guests is usually more than the physical amount of invitations you need to send, when you consider families and couples typically receive one invitation per household.

Determine your budget

Many brides are caught off guard by what invitations can cost. The average couple has rarely ordered a stationery or print job of this extent prior to being engaged. Costs vary based on quantity, inserts, paper choices, ink colors and print methods. While prices in the industry can range anywhere between $500 and $2,000 on average, you can spend well below and well above that range based on your total amount, insert pieces, paper and printing choices. DIY, online invitation stores, brick and mortar stationery stores and custom design studios are all resources you can look into, and prices generally correspond in that order.

A note about print methods: Digital and offset printing are both “flat” print techniques that allow for a multitude of color options. Thermography, letterpress, engraving and foil stamp are all “textured” plate print methods, and carry a more premium cost. Speak with your invitation resource or designer for more details on what they offer, and recommendations based on your budget.

Consider your time

Do you plan to have a long engagement, or are you keeping it short and sweet? Make sure to consider your timeline when communicating with a designer or ordering your stationery. If you’re having a longer engagement, sending Save the Dates 4+ months in advance is fairly standard. Having a destination wedding? The more time the better. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend sending invitations 8+ weeks in advance. While 6 weeks is standard, and totally sufficient, the extra time helps couples relax closer to the wedding day.

Choose your words

Informing guests of the date, time and location is necessary, of course, but how you choose to do so is personal. Including the names of the hosts (if they are different from the couple) is kind etiquette, and using full names is a nice touch. Beyond that, feel free to be creative with your wording. Getting married under two large oak trees? Include that. Is astrology an important part of your union? Perhaps music lyrics or a famous quote hold significant meaning. These are details that make your wedding uniquely yours.

Define your style

Pinterest and wedding blogs can be a great resource for finding styles that you gravitate toward, but don’t be afraid to look around you. Consider your ceremony and wedding day. Are there any design details you’d like to include in your stationery? What textures and colors do you gravitate toward? Try to stay away from trends and really think about the details that define you and your fiancé as a couple. If working with a designer, don’t be afraid to share these inspirational details, then trust them to create something truly wonderful for you.

Additional details

Calligraphy, ribbon, wax seals and custom or vintage stamps are all great ways to add extra personality or texture to your suite.

Calligraphy – If you love the look of calligraphy and hand lettering for your addresses, be sure to book them well in advance, and order extra envelopes. Many calligraphers also offer full design services.

Ribbon – See our post for ribbon sourcing options.

Stamps – Etsy have several wonderful vendors that curate and sell vintage stamp collections. You can also custom create stamps of your own design online.

Bonus Tips

– Collecting your guests’ names and addresses in an organized excel spreadsheet makes it easy to send along to your designer / calligrapher if needed, and doubles as a place for you to keep track of replies, gifts received and thank you notes sent.

– If using returned RSVP Cards, consider writing a small, corresponding number in pencil on the back corner of your card. Guests won’t notice, and it will help you to see who has and hasn’t responded from your list.

– Make sure to weigh your invitation at a local post office before purchasing postage. Many suites cost more than standard US postage if you include heavier papers, wax seals or odd sizes.

– Include yourself in the guest list! Many brides love having a set of their own to keep. If you plan to take on a married name, you may appreciate a set with your maiden name as a keepsake.


If you’re looking for more wedding stationery inspiration, visit our Wedding Ideas Gallery.

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07.31.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog, Wedding Planning

Moments Before the Wedding Ceremony: An Intimate Elopement

The act of eloping forces a couple to really think about what is important to them as they say their vows. Ashley and Morgan’s elopement is no different. They planned their wedding in just 5 days, and in looking at these beautiful photos of the two in the moments leading up to their wedding ceremony, it’s easy to see that what they focused on was the intimate connectedness they share.

More from the bride, Ashley:
“I’m pretty convinced I should’ve started drinking champagne a bit earlier than I did that day. I know it would’ve helped calm my nerves. Our elopement had been planned in five short days, so by the time it actually rolled around it was like I was walking through a cloud. A big puffy cloud. Everything seemed so surreal. Like it was all in slow motion.

Morgan and I both seem to have felt very reflective in the moments before the ceremony. Like everything we once were and all that we had been through together was culminating into this one day. Like it all had come full circle and everything was complete and whole and right in the world.

We were also just entirely moved by the love and effort of all the beautiful people that had come together to make the day happen for us. Our wonderful friends at Amy Osaba Events and our family members that had dropped everything to be there with us; it was so touching to watch it all unfold.

When my husband and I talk about our wedding day, we always come back to one word: sweet. I know that sounds completely cheesy, but it was like this thickness in the air. Like that warm and fuzzy kind of sweet. I can only describe it as, we just felt wrapped up in love.”

Photographer: Katie Hyatt | Location: Tate House | Flowers: Amy Osaba Events | Gowns: Samuelle Couture + shop gossamer | Cake: Sugar and Slate | Grooms attire: Jcrew | Paper goods: Signora E Mare | Hair /Makeup: Meredith Mejerle

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07.30.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog