Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Stellar Anniversary Gift

I know, I know. This is a blog about weddings, not anniversaries. But where there’s a wedding, an anniversary is soon to follow. Perhaps you’d like to keep this gift idea in mind for when the time comes:

It’s a custom art print showing the position of the stars on a specified date and location. The traditional first anniversary gift is paper, so this would be a perfect way to commemorate your first year of marriage. I’d suggest hanging it above your bed so you can fall asleep beneath your wedding night sky every evening.

Visit to place an order. They have a variety of horizon scenes to choose from and you can add a personalized message to your print. Prices range from $39 to $119, depending on the size and framing options you choose.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vendors Unveiled: Fran Gagnon Films

Fran Gagnon has built an incredible reputation for himself during his years filming the weddings of New England's brides and grooms. He has taken videography to new heights in his talent to capture the essence of a couple's wedding day. His personality and sense-of-humor (which is obvious in this interview) will put you at ease as the day of your wedding. Please take a moment to meet one of Connecticut's most popular videographers.

Name: Fran Gagnon Films


Where are you located, and what geographical area(s) do you service?
We're located in South Windsor, CT and we service anywhere in Southern New England and the New York metropolitan area. We'll actually consider going anywhere for the right job.

How long have you been in business?
We've been in business since 1989 - back in the days of VHS tape and big bright lights that would sear your eyebrows off.

What drew you to photography as a profession?
As a frustrated artist I was always on the lookout for a medium that would satisfy my creative inner self. Film making has provided a sweet combination of technology and artistry that allows us to tell a story in a creative manner. Most importantly, however, we love preserving the most important day in young people's lives. This is a watershed day in their history and we give them the opportunity to cherish and reflect upon it with their loved ones and future generations of their families. This is a stunningly beautiful and meaningful medium when done the right way.

What do you feel sets you apart as a photographer?
The fact that I'm short, fat and bald. (Wait a minute - that actually describes most videographers!!). Actually, we've established ourselves at the forefront of the wedding industry through our innovative style. We offer a cinematic, documentary style that is unique in the industry. Most of our work is referral from people who have seen our work and know our long standing reputation for quality and dependability.

What do you love most about your job?
The fact that I can work from my home in my underwear.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
One word couldn't possibly describe me. I'm way too complex for one word. Oh, okay. I'll try. How about honest?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Five Items to Eliminate from your Wedding Budget

In today’s tight economic times, little expenses can add up and make a big impact. If you’re on a strict wedding budget, here are a few items you can comfortably eliminate without sacrificing the integrity of your event.

1. Save-the-Dates
Save-the-dates are a nice-to-have and are most definitely not necessary for every wedding. They are really only useful if you are getting married on a holiday weekend and need to give your guests ample time to make travel plans. Even if this is the case, you can do without save-the-dates. Have your friends and family spread the word about your wedding date. You don’t need to spend a couple hundred dollars on fancy stationery or custom magnets.

2. Aisle Runner
Trust me when I say these are more trouble than they’re worth. I had one at my own wedding. They bunch up and trip your wedding guests when they’re walking back down the aisle after the ceremony. If you feel strongly about having one, then by all means go for it, but please don’t feel the least bit obligated.

3. Toasting Flutes
Nearly every wedding reception begins with a champagne toast, but the toasting flutes provided by your venue or caterer will get the job done just as effectively as the $150 Waterford ones. You will probably never, ever use them again.

4. Cake Server
The same goes for a fancy silver cake serving set. It’s just not a necessary expense. Unless you’re planning to cut your children’s birthday cakes with it every year, you’ll never get your money’s worth. There are plenty of other wedding accoutrements you can monogram or engrave.

5. Bathroom Baskets
Bathroom baskets are a bonus, plain and simple. Your guests aren’t expecting them and won’t miss them. (Besides, if you’ve hired us as your day-of coordinators, we’ll have a fully stocked emergency kit on hand with everything your bathroom baskets would contain and more.)

What have you eliminated from your wedding budget?

[Image source: Piggy Bank Wedding]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vendors Unveiled: Kristie Conte Photography

A few Saturdays ago, Jessica and I had the distinct pleasure to visit with Kristie Conte over a cup of coffee. What immediately struck me about Kristie is how vivacious she is and the warmth she exudes. We were also truly impressed with the passion with which she approaches her art, especially her constant desire to nurture and grow her craft. We invite you to spend some time getting to know Kristie in this week's edition of Vendors Unveiled!

Name: Kristie Conte



Where are you located, and what geographical area(s) do you service?
I'm located in Newtown, CT. We serve CT, NY, NJ, MA but will travel wherever a couple's journey takes them

How long have you been in business?
We've been in business for 5 years now

What drew you to photography as a profession?
When I was 13, my grandfather had a twin-lens reflex camera. I had it fixed up, put some film in it, and walked around the house taking pictures of flowers. When I had the film developed, I was thrilled at the results. As I grew older and shot images of people, I realized what an impact a portrait of grandchildren had on grandparents ... a piece of art that would enable someone to relive a moment in time each time you looked at it. I knew I had found my calling.

What do you feel sets you apart as a photographer?
The never-ending desire to continue to learn new things about the craft. Whether it's learning new techniques or revisiting basic photographic practices, it's important for me to invest time in photography master classes and seminars each year. We've always felt that if you think you know everything, you may as well pack it in.

What do you love most about your job?
To be able to work with a bride and groom and have them trust putting one of the most memorable days of their lives in your hands.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Definitely "romantic"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Aurora Photography Giveaway

The amazing Aurora Photography is offering a really exciting contest and we are so excited about it! Once a month until September 2009, they are giving away a free Trash the Dress/Day After photo session.

This session includes a trip to Joe's Salon, The Wedding Embassy and beautiful flowers created by Simple Elegance. The winners then go on to spend a fun-filled day with Aurora creating memories (and amazing art)!

To enter the contest, simply email Aurora at (the subject line should read "Day After Entry"). Provide some insight into what makes you unique, an interesting story about yourself and a little something about the person you wish to be photographed with. Explain why you're looking forward to spending a day having fun with Aurora and her crew. They will select the person they believe are most unique, fun and deserve this day of luxury and pampering.

So, start writing! In the meantime, enjoy some images of Aurora Photography's day spent with Kelli and Ryan.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sweet Charity

When asked about favors, Jessica and I tend to recommend that couples go with edible favors or a donation to the charity of their choice. There are so many wonderful favor options available today, however this suggestion ensures that your carefully selected gift is never unintentionally put aside and forgotten.

Today I found the perfect combination of delicious chocolate and heart-warming humanity. This great idea results in the website Truffles for a Cause.

Take a moment to browse their site. They offer a variety of rich chocolates that are beautifully packaged. When your guests open this tiny parcel, they will be surprised and touched that there has been a donation made to a worthy cause in their name.

To continue the spirit of giving this post might inspire, please take a moment to leave a response to any of the Following Bliss blog entries to support our Comments for a Cause initiative.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ooey-Gooey Chewy Goodness

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a rare breed of human - as in, the non-coffee-drinking kind. Now, I like Starbucks as much as the next person. What keeps me coming back, though, are not the Caramel Macchiatos, but the rice crispy treats! I LOVE them. Starbucks has somehow perfected the recipe so that it contains the ideal proportion of cereal, marshmallow, butter, and some other top-secret, super-addictive ingredient. They also possess some magical cutting device that yields these perfectly square, thick bricks of marshmallowy delight.

Anyhow, the point of that unnecessarily long introductory paragraph was to say that I love rice crispy treats. So imagine my excitement to stumble upon The Crispery – an online bake shop devoted entirely to rice crispy treats! And these are not your run-of-the-mill “crispy bars,” as they affectionately call them. The Crispery marries them with chocolate, and caramel, and peanut butter, and coconut; it embellishes them with candy, and sprinkles, and cookies, and graham crackers. As my favorite interior designer Candice Olson always says, “How divine.”

I haven’t sampled these babies yet, but I only discovered the website yesterday. What a delectable way to add a little something unexpected to your candy buffet or dessert bar. (Heck, why not create a rice crispy wedding cake?) Visit The Crispery to order individual crispy bars or gift boxes of up to 16.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vendors Unveiled: Creative Image Collections

This week’s Vendors Unveiled features photographer Megan LaBarbera of Creative Image Collections. We met up with Megan for lunch a few weeks ago and had a wonderful time getting to know her. She is such a sweet person who truly loves what she does, and it shows in her beautiful and timeless images.

Name: Megan (Baker) LaBarbera



Where are you located, and what geographical area(s) do you service?
Danbury, Connecticut and I service CT, NY, NJ, MA, RI and I love to travel and will hop on plane to any destination worldwide!

How long have you been in business?
I have been shooting weddings for nearly 8 years this summer, but "technically" opened my business in June of 2004.

What drew you to photography as a profession?
One of my favorite childhood memories was having popcorn and sitting with my family to watch the old slide-shows of our family's pictures. My Dad was the artist in the family, photography being one of his hobbies. If it weren't for him, we would not have much to look back on now to remember growing up as a family. When he past away, we hunted for photographs of him and found very few. That was sad to me. We had very few moments to remember him by. Photographs help people relive moments and emotions. The fact that through a camera and lens you have the ability to capture a single moment in life and transfer it to paper to share with others for generations fascinates me. Photographs help us not only to remember, but to connect with others. My photography/work helps me to connect with people and with life in general. I find it extremely fulfilling. I can't imagine doing anything but this. It makes me happy! Being paid to do it is just a bonus!

What do you feel sets you apart as a photographer?
I feel it is extremely hard to set yourself apart from others in the wedding photography industry for the simple reason that there are so many photographers out there. If I had to say it came down to one thing that sets me apart from others I would say that it is that I always remain myself. There won't be another "Megan" showing up at my client's weddings or portrait sessions! As long as I remain grounded and true to myself, I will always be setting myself apart.

What do you love most about your job?
Oh, there is a loooooooong list for this one! I don't think I can list them in their entirety here so I will list whatever comes to my mind. I love all aspects of my job really. I love meeting new people and learning about them, their histories, their relationships, etc. I love photographing them and being able to provide them with a collection of memories to enjoy for generations. I love creating custom designed albums from scratch, starting with a blank canvas and then having it turn into this beautifully crafted book of memories to cherish. I get a real fulfilling sense of completion and I get a real high from that. Sounds crazy but true. I have even grown to love the business end of things, from marketing to networking to figuring out how to structure my business financially. I guess if I had to put it in a nutshell I would have to say I love the constant challenges this business throws your way. It can be quite challenging and I LOVE a good challenge! ;o)

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
I am passionate. I am passionate about everything I do in life. I don't do something if I am not going to be putting 100% into it and doing it from the heart. From photographing to being a parent. Everything I do requires me in full. I do it all from the heart! I wouldn't want to live life any other way!