Wedding Styling 101: Instantly Elevate Your Styling Skills

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Six years ago my life crossed paths with the most creatively talented person I have ever met – Joy Thigpen.

There have been so many highlights in our working careers together – and today is one of them. I am excited and honored today to be joining Joy in officially launching our new online course for creatives, Wedding Styling 101: A digital course in the foundations of aesthetics and the art of styling.

This course is a distillation of my and Joy’s combined 22+ years of working in the areas of wedding design, creative direction and editorial styling, sharing everything we’ve learned about wedding imagery.

As Joy and I grew together and Once Wed became a curated home for sharing beautiful and meaningful images, we found we kept hearing the same questions.

  • How can I shoot the type of weddings I see on Once Wed?
  • Why aren’t my submissions being accepted?
  • I want to become a great stylist. Where do I start?
  • I know something is off in my work, but what is it?

We’ve tailored Wedding Styling 101 to ensure we address these questions; it’s like a 10+ hour FAQ answer session that you can absorb at your own pace.

Focusing on aesthetics, storytelling, photo styling, and how to book you dream weddings, Wedding Styling 101 is a 300+ page online course designed for photographers, planners, floral designers and stylists.

Intrigued? For ONE WEEK ONLY we’re offering 25% off the regular course price. Click here for the full details!

05.21.15 / Featured, News Blog

Have Your Dream Destination Wedding or Honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta

When you become engaged, your thoughts immediately turn to two things: where to have your wedding, and where to honeymoon.  If you have visions of a romantic oceanside wedding, or if your dream honeymoon entails warm weather, miles of beach and warm hospitality, then you should definitely check out Puerto Vallarta!  We were recently invited by the town of Puerto Vallarta to visit their town to see all the wonderful things they have to offer couples getting married, or honeymooning.

Located on the west coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean in the state of Jalisco.  Since Jalisco is also the home of Tequila (yes there is a town with that name), we were treated to some wonderful tastings of truly fine tequila!

Lodging is available for every taste and budget.  If your idea of the perfect hotel is a larger property with beautifully groomed grounds, the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa  should be at the top of your list.  With lawn and stone areas for large wedding parties, an ocean jetty for a small wedding, a to-die-for spa, wonderful staff, and beautifully appointed suites, they will be able to meet all your needs.

If a boutique hotel sounds divine, our host hotel Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa was lovely.  With just 80 rooms, this adults only hotel was intimate, quiet and attentive to your every need (like your choice of pillow type and room scent).  Their honeymoon suites have an outdoor jacuzzi and hammock, with fabulous views of the ocean and stunning sunsets.

If you yearn for fitness and an truly organic experience, honeymooning at Xinalani Retreat would be perfect for you.  This lovely retreat is the ultimate is intimacy.  The retreat is reachable only by boat.  The rooms are spread out along the mountainside and are only feet away from the sound of the surf.  The three yoga studios offer a variety of options for your practice, but my favorite was the one at the top of the resort.  You literally are in the tree tops with the birds – a surreal experience.

Culinary aficionados will be in heaven in Puerto Vallarta – we experienced wonderful meals at all of the hotels, as well as at local restaurants.  A particular favorite was Barcelona Tapas.  The owner was a wonderful host and the food was extraordinary (not to mention the wonderful view of Puerto Vallarta)!

Last, but certainly not least, is the wide variety of wonderful activities available (other than lounging in your room or on the beach of course).  We were hosted on a Vallarta Art Walk by the owner of Colecktica, who gave us a fascinating narrative about the folklore and history of art in Puerto Vallarta, and of the pieces in his art gallery.  One of our favorite activities was a boat ride, show, and then dinner at Rhythms of the Night.  It was the ultimate romantic experience, and would be a wonderful addition to a honeymoon.

What can we say – sunshine, blue skies, beaches, the ocean, mountains, and killer sunsets.  Just magic!

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05.21.15 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Classic California Bridal Session on the Coast

There’s something about a wedding dress that can make you stop in your tracks. Doesn’t the Rue de Seine gown in this classic California bridal session just sweep you off your feet? The simple cut and flowing skirt are pretty enough on their own, but the draped cowl back and the cascading embroidered sleeves…is there anything more to say than “wow?” Read on for more from the stylist and photographer!

From the photographer, Emily: 

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” When I think of the California coast, I think this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote sums up how inspiring and freeing it can be.  As we came up with ideas for Aubriana’s bridal session, we knew we wanted a stunning location, and I really don’t think you can beat the overwhelming beauty of the Marine Headlands! Rolling green hills and jagged cliffs lead to the deep turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean – it was without a doubt one of the most incredible locations I’ve ever shot in. As a florist, Aubriana appreciates the beauty nature has to offer, so every detail of her session was inspired by our setting, from the loose greenery in the bouquet to the raw edges of the paper goods. Aubriana looked absolutely stunning, and I love how beautifully she embodied our inspiration quote standing in the warm golden sunset with the Pacific below and a breezy blue sky above.”

From the creative director and stylist, Once Wed Vendor Rebekah of A & B Creative:

“Our photographer, Emily, was flying out from the frigid east coast before our shoot, so it was a no brainer that I had to make sure that our bridal session had epic (and classic California) scenery. Our bridal session was for my friend Aubriana who got to take a little break from her beautiful floral design and calligraphy work to be in front of the camera. Aubriana is getting married in a few short months and she has an amazing gown, that is so her, but it is an alternative wedding gown so it was fun to get her in white for this bridal session. The gown we used still screams Aubriana, which is why it was such a pleasure to be able to style her in it. I love that she is going to have not only her wedding photos in her wedding gown, but also bridal session photos with an additional gown that didn’t require a wardrobe change interruption on her wedding day. The gown, the gorgeous bouquet and the sweeping views are all like Aubriana-classic California!”

Photography: Emily March Photography | Styling/Creative Direction: A & B Creative | Florals: Heirloom Made | Dress: Rue de Seine via The Dress Theory | Paper Goods: Graceline | Ribbons: Silk & Willow | Location: Marine Headlands, CA | Film Lab: Photovision | Bride: Aubriana Kasper

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05.20.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Lush and Natural Wedding Inspiration

Taking inspiration from nature is one of the best ways to create a cohesive design, whether you’re looking at a wedding design or beautiful room. The creative team behind this lush, natural wedding inspiration (full of Once Wed Preferred Vendors, we might add!) looked to the Pacific Northwest, borrowing their palette from the forest, ocean, and sky and adding in natural stone and wood accents to ground the look. We hope this brings you beautiful ideas for your wedding!

More from the designer, Once Wed Preferred Vendor September Letters:

“Living in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many pockets of raw beauty. We were inspired by the deep colors, overgrown foliage and pale light – the organic simplicity of the coast. With that in mind, our vision was to create something that felt both effortless and lush.

The concept started with a color palette inspired by the forest, sea and sky; we loved the richness of deep greens and blues, paired with soft, hazy shades of white. The lighting was also such an important element from the beginning; the coast is known for showers and overcast skies, so we wanted to embrace the shadows that creates.

We chose natural stone and wood surfaces, untamed greenery and hand-torn, gently dyed ribbon. The table was set with antiques and heirlooms, with mismatched place settings using a variety of place cards, menus, and flatware. The antique paper came from my grandmother’s collection, so it was another important part of creating a rich, natural, time-worn quality.”

Photography: Gucio Photography | Paper and Calligraphy: September Letters | Styling and Direction: September Letters | Floral Design: Celsia Floral | Handmade Ribbon: Stella Wolfe | Rentals: Spread Love EventsThe Cross Decor and Design

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05.19.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog