Planning a Wedding is CRAZY!

Planning a wedding is a crazy amount of work. Most anyone reading my blog right now knows that it is not easy because most likely you are planning your own wedding! Being in the industry I had an unfair advantage of knowing exactly whom I wanted to do what way before I popped the question to my lovely lady. Hiring people for your wedding can either make or break your day. It’s important to find the right people who are have high standards of professionalism, customer service and style. Since I just went through the craziness of my planning my own wedding I would love to share with you the amazing people who used their talents and creativity to make our day exactly what we have dreamed it to be. While there were countless friends and family who pulled together to help us out I am going to focus on professional vendors who are in the wedding industry specifically. This 'thank you blog' is long overdue!

First things first. We needed a logo. A 'Cameron & Anna' logo. My web designer, Seth Roberts, was the man for the job. I photographed our tandem bike and he rendered it into a drawing. His wife wrote our names all-fancy to finish it off. The symbolism behind the tandem bike is teamwork. It takes teamwork and trust to ride tandem AND to get married. I bought Anna a tandem bike a year ago for Valentines Day and I discovered quickly that I had a lot to learn about loving and trusting. Our friend Ben Brown over at Ally Company screen-printed these ties for the groomsmen and I.

For our wedding invitations I wanted something really different, not too standard and somewhat artistic. My friend Jaime Merz who designed my business logo helped us out for the invitations. She did an amazing job and really captured who we are even through the invites. Every bit of text we had to stamp with rubber stamps she had made for us. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun! Thanks Jaime. You are the greatest!

To be honest Anna was a bit stressed out about finding a dress that I hadn't seen before. She really didn't want to look like every other bride that I have photographed in the past 5 years, yet she wanted to look like herself. Which makes it even more crazy that she found a stunningly perfect dress the first place that she went, Down The Aisle in Arroyo Grande. The ladies there are simply incredible and took amazing care of Anna from start to finish! Jennifer Blue Allen from ‘Something Blue’ did her alterations to make it ‘fit like a glove’!

Anna isn't one of those girls who likes a lot of make-up so she really had to be selective when choosing a make-up artist. Our good friend Amy Robinson (Hair stylist and Make-up Artist at Ashe Salon Downtown) did a perfect job, not too little, not too much. Simply glamorous!

Brooke Jones from Reveal Salon rocked the ladies hair styles. She also cuts both Anna and my hair on a regular basis, but I was confidant enough to style myself on the day of. ;) Brooke is a really sweet friend and also the wife of my assistant, Simon. More brides should hire Brooke to do their hair, especially when travel is involved... so that Simon and I can bring both of our wives!

Anna had a specific look she wanted to create for her jewelry and had it custom made at this awesome little jewelry shop downtown called La Crème. Kelly, part owner and jewelry creator designed it with Anna in under 3 weeks! It was very antique yet modern, which is completely Anna's style.

Speaking of jewelry... we put our heads together with Matt Moreman over at Kevin Main Jewelry to design our wedding rings. After we talked about what we thought would be really cool, Matt made up a design and emailed us an AutoCAD version of it for approval. From there we made some minor modifications and he made the molds. We stopped by the shop for one last look at the molds before the casts were made and the gold was poured. After the gold had set they hand-etched the vines that scroll around the ring's parameter and polished them up to perfection. It took a long time, but we absolutely LOVE our rings now because they are so personal.

Jessica Cheatwood did the flowers. I was actually the best man in her wedding years ago because she married a good ol' friend of mine. Jessica has such a fresh and creative way of arranging flowers to make them personal little works of art. She has promised me for years that she would do the flowers at my wedding, which made me so excited to finally call her and commission her for the job.

Jeremy Davenport from Eclair Bakery in Arroyo Grande made us the most amazingly beautiful and tasty wedding cake that I have encountered in all my days. I know I am sounding dramatic, but it's true! I shot Jeremy's wedding about 4 years ago when I was a brand-new wedding photographer. They got me at such a deal back then that they have promised me all these years to bless me back with the world's greatest wedding cake. Well...they finally did. And check out that tandem bike topper made of chocolate!!! We couldn't believe our eyes...or our stomachs!

Phoenix Fine Catering rocked our reception with some delicious wild mushroom lasagna. Everyone raved about how amazing it all tasted! After I first contacted Jennifer from Phoenix I realized that I totally underestimated all that their service entailed. When I asked about where to get tables and chairs she promptly replied, 'We'll take care of it.' When I asked about honey-huts and space heaters she said, 'We'll take care of it.' When I panicked about the fact that there was no power at our new venue (3 weeks prior to the wedding) she calmly replied, ‘We’ll take care of it!’ They not only served our guests amazingly tasty food, but they co-coordinated our reception and took care of all of our rental needs!

Being a wedding photographer I figured what better way to decorate our venue than to use humongous prints of Anna and I of our engagement pictures. My incredible print lab, Pro DPI, gave us our wedding present in the form of all these great enlargements that decorated our tables and walls at our reception. Here is a picture of Jeff and Caitlin singing a song to get their dinner while holding some picture party favors printed out at their professional digital photography lab. These guys have been the hugest blessing to my business and make what I do and the high level of quality I have for my prints possible.

My friend Joel Toelbert, AKA 'Snag' rocked the night away with our sweet dance tunes. Being a musician was a plus because he was able to set up and run the sound for my bros who played the intro music. Snag even jammed along on the steel guitar. It sounded great from the ceremony all the way into the reception. Snag didn’t work alone however, and had our friend Cory helping out at the DJ table. The highlight of the dance party was for sure the break-off between Snag, Cory, my brother-in-law Toby, and my friend Simon. It got criz-zazy! So if anyone is looking for a fresh break-dancing, guitar playing DJ, be sure to hit me up.

Last but not least... the awesome Jeff Newsom shot all of these pictures! He has been a dear friend since the start of my business and is the closest thing I have had to a partner. If he weren’t such an incredible wedding photographer, I would have totally wanted him to be standing up there with me during our wedding. Jose Villa actually took this shot of the 3 of us, but I will post about him later.

I hope this blog entry helps people out a bit. I wanted to sincerely and publicly thank all the vendors who did such a spectacular job (ME TOO!!! We are forever grateful!....Anna). I also wanted to share their contact information with you because if you hire any of them for your wedding you won't be disappointed!