Black Tie Engagement Session

We love seeing a couple dressed to the nines for their engagement photos. Coupled with film photography, an elegant, black tie feel elevates your session from the standard, and doesn’t Carmela’s Adrianna Papell dress bring just the perfect amount of glitz without feeling stuffy and overdone? Read on for more from the photographer and the couple!

From the photographer: Balboa Park is one of my favorite places to visit here in Southern California and with it being an hour and a half drive (not including traffic), it’s not often that I drive down there. So when my brother proposed to his gorgeous girlfriend, I started brainstorming ideas for their engagement session. This particular engagement session is actually the second one for them. Carmela, my brother’s fiance, got this gorgeous Adrianna Papell gown for their engagement party and when I saw it, I knew that I had to photograph her in it somewhere gorgeous, like Balboa Park.

From the couple: For our engagement photo shoot, Damaris Mia Photography suggested we go to Balboa Park. She comes up with the best locations and best ideas. She showed me the location and I fell in love. We went there right before the sun set and we let her do her job! She found the best spots for us to take pictures. We both felt so comfortable and we loved working with her! She is very talented and her skills got us the best pictures we have! Thank you Damaris Mia for photographing us! We love you!
Photographer: Damaris Mia Photography | Film Lab: Pro Photo Irvine | Venue: Balboa Park, San Diego | Dress: Adrianna Papell | Suit: Calvin Klein

05.08.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Messy Side French Twist Tutorial

We love sharing beautiful, attainable hair and makeup tutorials with you. This messy side French twist is one of our new favorites! Simple to re-create with these detailed, step-by-step instructions, this look would be perfect for an organic wedding look, a bridal shower, or even a day at the office.



1. This style works best with hair that has some wave or texture. If you have naturally wavy hair, you are good to go! If your hair is naturally straight, wrap different sized sections around a 1 ¼” curling iron to create some wave.

2. Mist a texturizing spray or surf spray through the hair to give it more “grip”. This will make styling the hair easier and help the finished look stay in place. Hair designer Claudia Mejerle used the Sea Salt Spray from Not Your Mother’s.

3. Back comb (or tease) the last few inches of your hair with a wide-toothed comb to give it even more texture and body – this makes it easier to pin the hair in place in the following steps.

4. Part your hair wherever you feel is most flattering for your face. Either a side part or center part will work great. Then, gather all of the hair in a low ponytail with your hands.

5. Twist your ponytail toward the side of your head that you would like for the French twist to be situated.  As you twist, tuck your hair into itself low on the head. This will start forming the French twist.

6. Pin the twisted hair in place with several hair pins and bobby pins.

7. Tuck the ends of the ponytail up into the twist and pin the ends into place. Feel free to leave some loose bits out to give the hair a soft, “lived in” feel.

8. Finish the style with a mist of hairspray. Mejerle used the Elnett Satin Hairspray Strong Hold.

Photography: Katie Hyatt for Laura Catherine Organic Photographs | Hair and Makeup: Claudia Mejerle | Model: Emily Cuppia | Top: Elizabeth Suzann

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05.07.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Wedding Websites Made Easy with Squarespace


Using a well-designed wedding website will make certain aspects of planning that much simpler–we promise. There are many different platforms available, and to help you navigate the options, we asked real couples to weigh in on their wedding website of choice: Squarespace.


When looking for a referral of any kind, the first question is always going to be: “Why did you choose that?” Ashley and Daniel told us that they chose Squarespace for a few reasons, namely, that they were also referred to the platform: “My brother and sister-in-law used it for their wedding and we absolutely loved it. She is a graphic designer, and we were so excited to find out it was a template we could use too and not something custom-created by her. It looks so good – like we paid someone to create it especially for us. Since it’s actually a platform for business sites, it looks super professional. It’s so easy to create on our end, and easy to use on our guests’ end.”

So what is it that sets Squarespace’s customizable wedding site templates apart from others? Bride Amanda said, “The biggest different for me has been the template selection and ability to customize everything to our taste. Most wedding websites have a very “wedding” feel to them–lots of frills, pastels, and outdated design. We LOVE that Squarespace gave us the ability to create a website that is modern, beautiful, functional, and completely us.”

A wedding website will help you collect RSVPs in an organized manner, distribute information to your guests without any inquisitive phone calls from your distant relations, and will also save you money on your stationery costs, eliminating the need for RSVP cards (and postage), details cards, and printed maps. “We have had such great reactions to our Squarespace site! People love how it looks and how easy it is to use. Everything they need is right there–hotel, what to do when they’re here, welcome BBQ details, wedding day transportation options, and so on.”

Squarespace is offering a 10% discount exclusively for Once Wed readers! Simply sign up for your annual subscription using the cost ONCEWED15!


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05.07.15 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog, Wedding Planning

Seaside Day-After Wedding Photography Session

After celebrating their long-awaited wedding with friends and family in Los Angeles, Yvonne and Mo set aside a day for just the two of them, to intimately treasure their commitment together. Already having spent the last 14 years of their lives together, the couple chose a seaside day-after photography session, with Yvonne donning each of her 3 stunning wedding gowns.

More from the stylist, Joy Proctor Design:
“After their beautiful wedding at Greystone Mansion, Yvonne and Mo wanted the chance to spend some time alone, and chose to do a photo shoot in their wedding attire on the beautiful backdrop of the Santa Barbara coast. Inspired by the natural landscape, we styled three different looks for each of Yvonnes custom wedding gowns. The first look was a Grecian inspired look, set on the coastline. In an ethereal champagne gown, Yvonne wore a delicate gold crown with soft feminine make up. For a more traditional look, Yvonnes second gown had intricate lace detail on top of yards and yards of tulle underlay. Camellia Floral Design created an organic bouquet that mimicked the wild feel of the coastal brush, with a few soft peonies and hand dyed silk ribbon to keep the look romantic. Wrapped in an ivory chenille blacket, and surrounded by clusters of pillar candles, the couple warmed up in their intimate sea-cove hideaway. At sunset, Yvonne changed into her red gown, and walked up to top of the bluffs on a lantern lined pathway. In the fading light, Yvonne and Mo shared a dance, before watching the sun fade on the edge of the bluff.”

Photography: KT Merry | Styling and Design: Joy Proctor | Dress Vera Wang Helena:  | Veil: Vera Wang | Burgundy dress: Vera Wang Kandell Dress | Ivory dress: Chaviano Couture Carlee Dress | Tuxedo: Giorgio Armani | White Bow Tie: Gucci | Black Bow Tie: Louis Vuitton | Tuxedo Shirt: Zegna | Engagement Ring: Harry Winston | Wedding Ring(her): Tiffany | Wedding Ring(him): Jens Hansen | Headpiece: Jennifer Behr | Makeup: Grace Lin | Burgundy Bouquet: Aquafuzion Event Planning | Ivory & White Bouquet: Camellia Design

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05.06.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog