What to expect from your wedding vendors on social media
So you've planned the perfect wedding and can't wait to share it with your family and friends on all your social media profiles. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest are just waiting for the inspirational wedding bomb that is about to be dropped into their laps! Guess what! We are just as excited! We've spent hours of hard work, stress, laughter, stress, tears, and more stress pulling together your vision because it became our vision. We're fully invested and we can't wait for our followers, clientele, and future brides to see what we're capable of.
Many brides, however, don't know what to expect or aren't prepared to see the biggest day of their lives splashed across social media. Some are thrilled and secretly hoping it goes viral! Others may be less-enthused because they don't like that particular image or it brings back the stress of planning a wedding. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when you see your vendors posting images from your big day.
Let's use a Utah wedding florist as our example shall we? :)
Guideline #1: Permission to share images belongs to your photographer
A Utah bride should keep in mind that in most cases (you'll want to check your contract with your photographer) a bride has print rights only and cannot grant permission to share images, so vendors should be reaching out to the photographers for images from the events to use on their social media, websites, and blogs. If one of your vendors contacts you for images, in most cases you should refer them to your photographer. If you have any questions about who owns the rights to the images at the end of the day, you need to ask your wedding photographer and clarify that in your contract.
Guideline #2: Compensation and/or discount for use of images
Because it is the photographer's legal right to give permission to use the photo and not the brides, a bride should not expect compensation for use of images. Most vendors will state this in their contracts. So, as a Utah florist, I'm getting permission from the wedding photographer to share images, not the bride which means I will work out any compensation details with the photographer.
Many brides today consider themselves "influencers" and are hoping to receive a discount from wedding vendors for posting images on their social media profiles in exchange for "exposure". I don't know how else to say this, but in general, your following is not big enough to create enough exposure to be worth a discount. Before you scoff, let me ask you this question. Do you know and follow the florist from Pippa Middleton's wedding? How about Serena Williams? These people are A-list celebrities and faux-royalty and have had their weddings featured on every big name wedding account, blog, magazine, news channel, and celebrity magazine. They were watched via live stream by millions of people all over the globe. They shared their wedding images to their profiles that have millions of followers and gave credit to all their vendors.
I'm sure this resulted in an uptick in followers and several new inquiries, but it's a game of numbers. How many thousands of followers generate an inquiry? And how many inquiries does it take to land a wedding? This is a long-winded way of saying that your following of 3,000 doesn't have the number base needed to generate a final sale. The best exposure has been and always will be a referral. Pay for your wedding and get all the amazing work and talent possible from your vendors. And then as your friends get married and ask who they should use for this or that, pass our info along.
Guideline #3: Vendors select which images will be shared
A bride should be aware that images may be shared on multiple platforms. When I design wedding flowers, I usually post 2-3 times about the wedding on Instagram, update my portfolio on my website, blog about it, and share it to Facebook. I also upload the photos to Pinterest. I will use, on average, 30-40 images (possibly more) from each wedding, editorial, shoot, or event. With very few exceptions, vendors (not brides) select the images that will best portray their work and abilities and designate which images will be posted. We understand that you may not love every single image from your wedding, but don't expect vendors to remove an image or take down a post simply based off of your personal feelings surrounding the image. Again, it's the photographer's right to give permission to share images (see Guideline #1).
If you have special circumstances where certain types of images absolutely should not be posted for legal reasons, like images of foster children for example, this should be clarified with each vendor in each contract in advance. Above all, just keep in mind that your vendors are never trying to purposefully degrade, defame, or harm your reputation when posting images from your wedding. They're simply trying to market and keep up their portfolio and have received permission from photographers to do so.
Guideline #4: It's not my job to make your wedding go viral
In a world of social media influencers, where YouTube, Instagram, or blogging can be a full-time, paying career for some brides, they naturally want to see their wedding go viral. To put it plainly, it is neither the job of your wedding vendors to publicize your photos, nor do they have very much control over what goes viral. Anyone deep in the rabbit hole of social media should know that the algorithms pretty much make posting, getting likes, and building a following a crap-shoot (pardon my French :). You hired your wedding florist to create a gorgeous bridal bouquet, not send your brand viral. If you are determined to have a viral wedding, I would suggest hiring a PR/Social Media Manager manager for your event and trying to pre-book a publication with a Top 100 wedding magazine or online wedding blog. Your wedding vendors should never be held liable or responsible for the number of likes and comments an image or post receives.
Guideline #5: Handle sensitive matters privately
It's the sad truth that no matter how magical and talented your wedding florist or any other vendor may be, they're still human and may have an off day. Or maybe you had an off day, or your mom, or your future mother-in-law. With social media encouraging us to share anything and everything we ever think of with our entire following, our knee-jerk reaction is to jump online and start "venting" about that person. Let me caution you to avoid any degradation or defamation of reputation in a public forum. This could be seen as libel or slander and could result in serious consequences. If you have a concern, disagreement, or miscommunication with your wedding vendor, respectfully contact them in private. Showing respect, tact, and professionalism in your communications will go much farther than slandering a person online.
The same goes for wedding vendors. I can't tell you how many posts I see not naming names, but ranting about "bridezillas" or crazy mothers of the bride. If I were your client, this would make me feel incredibly insecure in our vendor/client relationship. I would always wonder if it was me and feel like I have to walk on eggshells to avoid a similar post about myself. We all get that there are some whack-job crazy emotional brides out there that are losing it over the style of their bangs, but don't publicize it. Keep it professional and keep it private.
Does this mean you have to pretend to be happy with services rendered online when it's quite possible your vendor did a horrible job? Absolutely not. But the difference between a bad review and slander is that a review is based on concrete facts instead of attacks on personal character. A review would cover concrete things like:
Guideline #6: Give credit for Intellectual Property
The internet is a black hole of plagiarism and IP theft. Work is stolen and posted and portrayed as one's own. Even Top 100 wedding journals, magazines, and blogs with supposed "journalists" will post a photo on Instagram with no credit to work seen in the image. Giving credit is a two-way street between vendors and clientele. Let's start with vendors...
Vendors: Unless brides have a wedding planner coordinating the event and keeping everyone in the loop, most vendors only know what is happening with their own business. We don't know where you bought your dress, who designed your ring, or who did your hair and make-up for the big day, so giving credit when posting can be very difficult. We're starting to ask brides for lists of websites and Instagram handles from all booked vendors in order to better credit our fellow industry members. Try to have this information on hand! Keep it on a note in your phone, in a printed list, or jotted down in a notebook. Or e-mail a complete list to all your vendors! Be sure and include you and your fiancee's social media profiles if you want to be tagged. This will allow us to give credit and help build our fellow industry professionals. Or if you'll just get me a list of the names of the businesses, I'll take the two minutes and Google their info myself. I just gotta have the basic info first.
Brides: When you share the images from your wedding, recognize that you are sharing someone's intellectual property. Give credit and tag vendors related to each image every time you post. If you post an image of your reception, tag the venue, the dress shop, the florist, the caterer, or anyone else whose work is visible in the photo. If you had a great experience with one of them, give a shout-out and recommend them to all your friends, family, and followers! Word of mouth is still our #1 source for new business!
Guideline #7: Critiques of the wedding in captions or blog posts
When designing a wedding, there's often a gray area between what the bride wants done and what the vendor would personally do. As a wedding florist, I see this a lot when brides put together color palettes or flower combinations that make me raise my eyebrows a notch or two :) It isn't how I would do it. It isn't what I would recommend, but that's not what matters. What matters is finding the sweet balance between steering my brides in the right direction and helping them acheive their dreams for their wedding. As an artist, however, I'm constantly critiquing my own work and you may see a caption about things I would change or do differently. Hindsight is always 20/20 right?! A bride may read on my blog or in a caption that I would have recommended a slightly different color palette, or that an upgrade to this flower would have been awesome. We strive to keep things positive online, but also want our feeds to be an honest and true reflection of ourselves, and let's face it... I'm never gonna like burlap as a wedding style. I'll do it, but that doesn't mean I think it's pretty! lol :) So if a vendor shares an opinion about your wedding, recognize it as just that...an opinion. And if you don't know it by know, let me be the first to tell you that posting an image or comment to a public forum is inviting the public to respond. If you don't want people to share their opinions don't share yours. But remember that you don't have to agree with vendors on every aspect of the wedding to have a great relationhip and get their best work! Just scroll on by and remind yourself that you loved your wedding and that's all that matters.
We're all still fairly new to social media etiquette and no hard and fast rules have been written like they used to about soup spoons in the olden days :) So I hope these guidelines help you know what to expect and how to navigate these waters! Be sure and share this with your friends who are getting married so that they know what to expect as well!
This cozy, wintry bridal session was created by the following vendors:
The Pear Blossom
Salt and Pepper Make-up
K Foster Hair
And working professionally and respectfully with others in your industry
Enjoy this gorgeous couple - they're too good looking for their own good! I loved seeing these light and airy bohemian lakeshore bridals come together and how this springtime white and pink cascading bridal bouquet turned out. I really wish lilac, tulip, and peony season weren't quite so short :(
I'm also sharing some thoughts on politely navigating the networking world of the wedding industry, but this would be so applicable to many other work environments out there. And it isn't meant to be ranty or cranky or anything like that. More just food for thought and me writing about a topic I've been thinking a lot about lately. Feel free to share your thoughts below! And a huge thanks to Taynee Miller Photography for providing the gorgeous imagery for this blog post! Be sure and use the link below to check out her work!
Photography Credit: Taynee Miller Photography @tayneemillerphotography
Recently, a photographer posted on a group page of wedding vendors I’m a part of that a florist had reached out to her and asked for some of the photos from a wedding they both worked and she was unsure whether or not to charge the florist for the images and wanted some advice. Curious what everyone’s response would be (because as a florist I’m often in the same situation of needing good imagery for my portfolio) I was pleased to see that almost every photographer offered the same advice – that there are more pros to reaching out and sharing with others in the industry than there are cons!
I get it I really do! We all need to make money at our jobs. I get it that in every industry there are single moms, dads, and even dual income families that NEED the income to make ends meet. I get that there are families out there that are sooo strapped for cash, that losing even $1 may mean the difference between paying a bill and having enough food to eat. Believe me. We’ve been there. My husband was unemployed and underemployed for two years. There are so many times it came down to that dollar; how to earn it, how to keep it, or the best way to spend it with so many basic needs clamoring for attention.
But, do we all need the almighty dollar so badly that there is no room to share and give back to our coworkers, community, or industry? I know that as a florist and cake artist, my talents lie in a certain direction. Sadly, that direction is not photography :( Which means that I really rely on the talents of other vendors in the wedding industry to help me keep portfolio, website, blog, and social media up and running and looking top notch and professional. If I had to pay for every. single. image. that would make this task and the task of making a profit on each wedding verrrrrry difficult. So I’m frequently that florist reaching out to photographers like, “Hey, we recently worked so and so’s wedding together! Would you be willing to share at least 3-5 final images from the bridals and the wedding that are good shots of the flowers for my portfolio?”
Most are very considerate and willing to share at least a few images. Others…are not. And I get why, but today I’d like to offer up a few points to consider when someone reaches out to you and how to handle it respectfully and professionally.
Point #1 – Our work added to your image: While your photography work and editing are gorgeous, it’s also what’s IN the picture! Most people don’t look at a picture and see just the photographer’s capture, framing, lighting, or editing. They’re also seeing a beautiful dress, flawless hair and make-up, an incredible bouquet, or a delicious cake. All of these vendors contributed to YOUR picture to make it look the way it did. In essence, we are a team! An image of a blank cake table or hands with no bouquet isn’t going to sell your work very well. So when these vendors reach out to you, you may want to remember that their talents helped make your shot what it is.
I’ve seen loads and loads of posts from photographers saying things like, “My bride’s florist fell through do any florists have leftovers they could whip up for her?” or “ My bride didn’t order a bouquet for her bridals, but it’s so awkward to just have her there holding nothing. Will any florists contribute a bouquet last minute?” Even photographers acknowledge that their images NEED the fluff from florists, cake artists, jewelers etc. in order to look their very best. And since the florist in those situations bailed you or your client out, I would hope that you would, as a courtesy, send her the images of her work.
Point #2 – Marketing, Advertising, and Credit Credit Credit: With intellectual property theft being THE PLAGUE of the internet, more and more creatives are crying foul and getting very aggressive when their work isn’t properly credited on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., but most people seem to know the basic rule of giving credit to the person responsible for creating the gorgeous imagery – the photographer; however, this leaves a lot of work uncredited – bouquets, dresses, HMUA (who really get the shaft on this), decorators, venues, etc. Unfortunately, much of the lack of credit comes from the actual wedding photographer. They post stunning image after stunning image that builds their following, gains traction for their SEO, and helps them rise in the algorithms on Instagram, but don’t credit all the vendors involved in the wedding for one simple reason…they don’t know all of them. In a styled shoot, we are all given a list of every participant and it’s a simple matter of just tagging everyone. But a real wedding?!?! I have no clue where my bride got her dress, or where their rings came from, or who created the macramé backdrop, and I’m sure this goes for photographers as well.
My point is that all these vendors work together to create gorgeous photo ops for a photographer to shoot at a real wedding, but then no credit is given – often simply because they don’t know whom to credit. So when a vendor reaches out to you for images, you now know whom you should be crediting when you post your stunning bride and her bouquet, but on the flip side, you can request that they be sure and credit you anytime the blog or post about it on social media.
After all, algorithms and SEO are based so much upon how much you are being talked about and interacted with. It only helps you to have 20+ vendors from a real wedding sharing their work on Instagram, blogging about it, or pinning it to Pinterest – all with credit to you as the photographer. Even if those vendors only have 1,000 followers each, you’ve just reached 20,000 people outside of your following. I’d say that’s worth 3-5 free images.
In fact, I would go so far to say that a good marketing and advertising strategy would be to have each of your brides fill out a vendor list about three weeks before the wedding and try to find out who as many of the vendors are as possible. Then, as a courtesy, e-mail them the Pass/Pixieset/Dropbox/whateveryouuse file from the wedding along with a note explaining that they are welcome to use the images and to just please be sure and tag you, give credit on blog posts, etc. While this may seem like a lot of effort to organize and implement, it’s FREE advertising and marketing and virtually guaranteed to get your name out there just that much more, whereas boosting your post on Facebook or Instagram may or may not help, and it may or may not reach your target audience (I would know...I tried both of those and it didn't help at all. It was a total waste). All you had to do was add in some extra e-mail addresses when you send out the wedding and BOOM you’ve just reached all of their followers.
Point #3 – Referrals: We all know that more and more brides are using the internet to plan their weddings. Brides are more likely to Google, search Pinterest, or do a hashtag search on Instagram to look for vendors and wedding inspiration. That said, for all of the effort we put into SEO and hashtagging, nothing replaces word of mouth. Our brides text, chat, Direct Message, Facebook, Skype, and share boards on Pinterest and they talk, talk, talk about who they like, what they like, and what they don’t like.
The same goes for vendors in the wedding industry. After over 13 years in the wedding industry, I KNOW who I like to work with and I KNOW which vendors are going to take care of their brides, each other, and build a community. So when my brides come in and want a referrals, you better believe I’m referring not just the talent in the industry, but those vendors who are kind, considerate, warm, giving, and willing to go the distance for not just their paying clients, but industry professionals as well.
Now, if a photographer asks me to pay for images that doesn’t make him or her a bad photographer and it does not mean I won’t refer them. If they truly do good, solid work I’m still willing to pass their name along. But, I’m more excited and authentic in my glowing praise about someone who has truly taken care of me and reached out to help me just as my work helped create their gorgeous image.
So, I guess I can pay you that $25 per image. Or I can send a wedding your way. I might do both, but I’d really rather just receive some beautiful, free imagery, put you on my preferred vendors list, and rave about you to my clients :)
As a final note, whether you share images for free with vendors or ask them to pay (and I would love to build my business big enough that I can pay!), I hope you’ll be professional, gracious, and respectful to the other creatives who pulled that wedding together. Give credit where known and where you can. Share and give back as much as you are able. Think outwardly and build up others. It will only reflect well on you.
Road Trip to Moab, UT!
This shoot was created for those brides who have a hard time reconciling their deep-seated wanderlust with their love for family, traditions, and community. The world feels a lot smaller today than it did 20 years ago, and more and more couples are opting for either destination weddings or elopements in order to make amazing travel memories and get their wedding photography done in some of the most scenic places on earth. But some of us still feel the pull of the family and events of the traditional wedding. We love the idea of eloping to amazing places, but don’t want to give up that Daddy-daughter dance, or having our grandparents there to hear us exchange vows. Enter the destination bridal session...it’s the perfect compromise! Plan a weekend getaway with your fiancée and photographer, dress shop, HMUA, and florist and travel to those far flung places you dream of. Then, come home and surround yourselves with loved ones and your favorite traditions as you celebrate your wedding. It’s a flawless mix of home-grown roots and independent freedom.
From Hawkeye Photography: In Utah we are so spoiled with incredible wonders such as Moab and Arches National Park just a short road trip away. We don’t have to go far to satisfy our wanderlust! Set along the Colorado River, Moab, UT is a location rich in geological wonders with fascinating colors, lines, and movement in the rocks everywhere you go.
For the perfect bridal session, make it a girl’s weekend! Split a VRBO with your besties and head down Friday night for some excellent Mexican food and relaxing in the hot tub. Get up Saturday morning and drive into Arches National Park and enjoy an easy hike to Delicate Arch. Don’t forget to stop by Balance Rock on your way! Then head home and get all dolled up for your bridal session.
We scouted out a beautiful trail in Kane Creek right along the Colorado River and styled our shoot among the foothills and boulders along the river just before Moonbeam Canyon. It was the perfect location for creating that awe-inspiring, editorial style imagery!
From the florist (me) lol: The rock features and natural landscape in and around Moab were a real source of inspiration both in color and in movement. I wanted colors that would complement the palette of the dress and the surrounding rock and undergrowth. An cream and yellow ombre bridal bouquet with pops of sage and grey was the perfect accent to the slate purples and red rock! I used white spray roses and dahlias, a creamy butter-yellow stock (my new favorite light yellow colored flower!) and then for the yellows I used solidago, ranunculus, billy balls, and spray roses.
With the grandeur of the Colorado River and Kane Creek as our backdrop, this dramatic bouquet featured locally foraged undergrowth like sage brush and juniper, along with textural details like silver dollar and gunni eucalyptus, air plants, cacti, and raw branches to create an emotional, sweeping floral bouquet.
I loved personalizing this bouquet and look with our sensational purple skirt and J.Noelle top, and then changing into a more traditional white bridal separate, also by J.Noelle! Both looks are absolutely stunning and using both outfits is a great way for a bride to bring in her own style and personality.
Those same elements of air plants, cacti, and branches were used to soften and romance our bridal sitting area. I love the juxtaposition of the sheer cliff faces with the intensely textural bouquet and spiny cacti. This bridal vignette adds a lovely touch of elegance ! For my local friends, I bought the potted cacti and those gorgeous airplants at Sun River Gardens and all of our decor for the bridal vignette came from Target.
From Blushing Blonde HMUA: My most requested bridal look for 2017 has been the half up and half down look. This beautiful bridal style is the perfect showcase for any head piece a bride chooses. We used a smooth texture to showcase theDanani Handmade Stone headwear, but this would also be beautiful with a veil. For her makeup I pulled on the tones in the red rocks and brought in oranges onto her eye lids, and plum into her crease and onto her lips to tie in the purple skirt and local natural colors. It was traditional and romantic, yet dramatic.
I can't get enough of the colors of the rocks, her make-up, and the flowers together!
To end the shoot, we set up a beautiful display of candles and tapers in this moody little natural rock alcove we discovered and I was envisioning the candles glowing and reflecting off the rocks...until a strong wind picked up and there was no way we were keeping those candles lit :( Bummer. But I'm posting the image here because it's still gorgeous and you can use your imagination and visualize my best laid plans!
I hope you guys have found some great ideas for reconciling roots with wanderlust. Leave a comment below and let me know where you would want to go get your destination bridals taken! If you would like to see more from these fantastic artists, scroll down for vendor credit.
The Pear Blossom
Danani Handmade Adornements
Wedding Gown (Grey Top used in all images, and Cream skirt)
Airplants and Cacti
Sun River Gardens
Bridal Vignette Decor
Inspiration for bringing Greenery into your wedding!
I’m seeing all sorts of exciting things happen in my garden folks which can only mean one thing…we made it! Spring is FINALLY here! My daffodils have blossomed, the shrubs and bushes are leafing out, and I spent a very sunny, therapeutic afternoon last week planting peas, carrots, and spinach in my vegetable garden. I’ve also sowed my cut flower seeds I got from Floret Flower…I’m trying out sweet peas, stock, and zinnia this year, and while I’m keeping expectations of my success real low because I’m still a newbie in the gardening world, it’s still thrilling to see the little shoots pop up. And all of this has me motivated to share a project with you that I have been sitting on for months. I could have shared it ages ago under the guise of, “Oh here’s something to keep you warm this winter.” But, I just couldn’t. Trust me when I say that this needed to wait for sunshine and daffodils and maybe even a little spritz of lemon. It needed spring.
With Pantone announcing ‘Greenery’ as the color of the year for 2017, I was so excited when Wed Utah contacted me about helping design a shoot for their online magazine (see the feature here!) that would help encourage brides to pull greenery inspiration into their weddings. The best part of this shoot was that Wed Utah allowed us to have pretty much full creative control over the direction of the shoot and I had such a blast teaming up with some favorite artists I’ve worked with in the past, as well as new talent that I’ve been dying to work with to design this shoot (you can follow our design board on Pinterest here), and the overall effect was stunning. This shoot was also featured on Wedding Colors and you can see that here. Below, you’ll find gorgeous greenery wedding inspiration, along with loads of tips, tricks, and options on how to find, DIY, or personalize it to your wedding. Get ready for ‘Greenery’!
The invitation suite is the first impression your friends and family will see of your wedding style. It’s the glimpse into the color palette and a sneak peek into the feel of the direction the event will take. It’s your chance to say how formal vs. informal, chic vs. rustic, or modern vs. vintage, etc. your wedding will be. Melissa from Lavender and Pine created this stunning modern greenery invitation suite.
I love the variety of elements such as hand-lettered modern calligraphy, the foliage invitation suite and envelope liner, and that crisp modern font that makes the calligraphy really pop and show the many different options a bride could have when designing an invitation suite. This botanical wedding invitation suite is the perfect foundation for a bride looking to incorporate more greenery into her wedding and would be so easy to adjust and customize to make it vintage, romantic, formal, etc. so that it fits your wedding.
And the little detail that makes this whole suite over the top perfect?! The daffodil and greenery stamp :) One thing that I wish I had done was take my invitation suite with me to one of my photo shoots and have the photographer style and shoot a sequence of images for me really quick. It’s one of those items that gets mailed and tossed in the trash so it would be nice to have a memory of it!
And if your groom is there, we can call it formals, but remember when we talked about the ‘G-word’ here and how we don’t use it? Shhh! Don’t even think it. Just call it formals. But for this shoot we went with the classic bridal shoot. Mary’s Bridal in Salt Lake City, UT dressed our model Sara in a stunning minimalist silhouette.
These clean lines and smooth textures really make the intricate beadwork on the back of the dress become such a striking focal point, as well as her luxurious deep-brunette hair and sparkling emerald green eyes. This dress truly highlights the bride and accentuates all of her beautiful, natural features instead of detracting.
It also helps continue the crisp, modern look and feel set by the invitation suite from the very beginning. And you’ll see that the very talented Julie with Blushing Blonde modeled this same look and feel in Sara’s hair and make-up.
I love the neutral, clean palette Julie works with on Sara's make-up. It’s very fresh and puts the emphasis on her more naturally dramatic features rather than painting over them or weighing her down with visual heaviness. Instead, Julie has created an airy, ethereal quality that seems to make Sara glow from within.
Julie continued this fresh, clean look by sweeping Sara’s hair into a low, medium-soft side bun. I’m going with medium soft here, because Julie has kept some lovely volume and texture in Sara’s hair without it feeling stiff and uptight, but it isn’t so soft and loose that we’ve crossed the line into bohemian. Instead of loose braids and tendrils, Julie opted for finger curl accents.
But we also wanted this shoot to be about options, so Julie also styled a half-up bun and finger curl accent with loose flowing waves for brides setting a loose, tousled, garden feel.
Personally, I felt like using the two options together was the best way to go, with the bride wearing the more traditional updo, and then having bridesmaids or flower girls be incorporated into the look with the half-up bun and finger curls, but not going all matchy-matchy (totally a word). But then, I may be biased because this sweet flower girl is my little girl, but more on her look later. And for the record, in my family, a half-up/half down hairdo is called “Princess Half-up Half-down”. Oh yes. That’s the official name for it :)
Obviously, when Pantone said, “Greenery” every florist immediately thought of the literal greens, the green ferns and foliage we use as the foundation and backdrops of so many of our designs. Greens have become widely popular over the last 2-3 years as bouquets have moved away from neatly rounded, flower-filled bouquets, to lush sweeping bouquets that still have flowers, but are overflowing with greens. In the past, brides have leaned towards the grey-greens like seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, agonis, or gunni eucalyptus like in the bouquets here and here, but one of our goals for this shoot was to show brides the options they have to push past what the current trends were and use true, deeper greens to move into a new mode of styling greenery in wedding bouquets like you’ll see in this lush, all-greenery wedding bouquet.
If you clicked on the link above to look at examples of past bouquets, you’ll see the greenery trends from years past were heavy, draping designs with a very garden-romance feel to them. And while I love their texture, movement, and drama, I wanted to create a new look and feel for greens. I kept the lush full-foliage look, but opted instead to lighten it up with more tropical ferns and foliage.
You’ll see that while the bouquet still has the same sweeping movement, these deeper ferns like ming fern, flat fern, honey bracelet, Italian ruscus, and myrtle seem to float rather than hang. Ferns and greens are super versatile and while I opted for the attention of an asymmetrical cascading arrangement, this same selection could easily be used in a rounded or upright bouquet. Keep in mind that ferns have a ton of texture to them, which looks great in these images because Sara is dressed in such a smooth silhouette, but things could get a little busy if you paired a really textured dress with this mammoth bouquet.
The changeability of greenery also lends itself to tons of options for the wedding party and the décor. I loved styling our bride and our flower girl in her darling crocheted lace dress with gorgeous cascading greenery wreaths. These wreaths would be such a delightful change from the traditional posy for flower girls and bridesmaids. I love the idea of everyone using them for the pictures and then hanging them up as a repeating theme for a backdrop for the buffet or on shepherd’s crooks lining the getaway scene, because let’s be honest, bridesmaids don’t carry around their flowers all night. They get set on tables. So using them again as decor is the perfect way to get the most bang for your buck!
Don't worry. I haven't forgotten those handsome grooms and their mates. I love these mix n’ match foliage groom’s boutonnieres. They’re organic and modern and would look great with any color of suit or tux your groom wears.
Our tablescape was a team effort with Ashley from Hawkeye Photography and I heading up the styling and pulling in some great vendors to put the finishing touches to the table. Ashley brought our table to life with a vision of greenery and marigold and pops of metallic gold.
Diamond Rental Events provided crisp white linens and a marigold table runner, gold chargers, gold-rimmed plates, and gold silverware. The golden place settings lend an elegance and sophistication to all the organic greenery.
We loved accenting each gold place setting with linen napkins, traditional wine glasses, avocado green blown-glass goblets, and custom laser-cut place cards by Jenn and Jules Designs. They were so sweet to use the names from each team member in their place cards, so we all got to go home with a little memento from our shoot. Thanks guys – we love them!
Another great option for a botanical place setting is this lovely spring botanical inspired menu, also by Melissa with Lavender and Pine…and now we’re all starving. You’re welcome.
Ashley and I finished off the look with a 2D emerald leaf garland – again a change up from the spilling, rounded garlands full of seeded eucalyptus we’ve seen in years past – and an emerald leaf chair tie-back, and we’re loving the vibrant effect.
When it comes to wedding décor, really, the sky and your imagination (and possibly the skill of your florist :) are the limits, but we decided to work mainly with ferns and greenery to show brides many of the different options for incorporating greens into their wedding décor.
I created these greenery backdrops as inspiration for a greenery wedding ceremony backdrop or a greenery floral installation. This concept could be used in doorways, archways, along empty wall space, hanging in windows, etc. Again, you’re only limited by your imagination. And an added bonus is that a lot of the greenery is significantly less expensive than traditional wedding flowers like roses or peonies.
I also incorporated artificial greenery into our ceremony backdrop. I found these fabulous moss mats and lush ferns at my local JoAnn’s. They were the perfect backdrop for our bride, and I can see these ferns gracing corners and pedestals at a wedding venue and giving it a very fresh greenhouse look. I absolutely adore this whole set up and would love to see it expanded into a full wedding look.
Our final element in this shoot was a wedding cake that matched the design and feel of a greenery wedding. When I designed this cake, I wanted to make a more organic, spring flavor profile my number one priority, and I don’t know what it is about springtime, but it has me dreaming of fresh fruit and nuts eaten picnic style out in the sunshine. One thing led to another and this is what happened...
Our bottom tier is a combination of nutty pistachios and sweet white chocolate, all nestled into a butter cake. This butter cake has chunks of pistachio and white chocolate chips baked right into it and is filled with white chocolate buttercream and more chunks of pistachio. It’s a fantastic savory-sweet combo, and while I’m not normally a fan of white chocolate, I found out that I love it with pistachios and a buttery pound-cake style wedding cake. I’ve found I can usually discover at least one way I like foods I haven’t previously like. Mushrooms have got to be chopped finely into ground turkey, white chocolate apparently needs a pistachio cake…I still can’t figure out how to eat olives or eggplant in a way that is palatable.
Anyway, the next tier is a creamy lemon cake. We’ve got vanilla cake double-stuffed with cream cheese frosting and fresh lemon curd. It’s like taking a bite of fresh sunshine.
And for our final baby top tier, I’ve created an almond raspberry cake that is absolutely divine. I went with almond, which is a flavor I don’t normally like, but I proved myself wrong and found it impossible to NOT fall in love with this vanilla cake filled with almond cream cheese frosting, raspberry filling, and studded with chopped almonds.
These are all wrapped up in a classic white buttercream, and I decided to do a little throwback to white-on-white piping with this cake and love the effect. It’s clean, simple, and fits the design of our shoot, but to keep it modern I did a green and marigold watercolor effect on the second tier with piped abstract flowers.
The cake was topped off with fresh ferns and greenery to complete the look. And while stacked cakes have been popular for many years now, I asymmetrically separated my cake layers for added height and dimension.
There are so many beautiful piping and watercolor options out there, that this is really just a foundation or springboard and ready to customize to any look or style a bride wants to achieve!
For my final display or wedding backdrop option, I created a DIY hanging-ribbon backdrop incorporating those same green and marigold colors in pastel tones. This is a super-simple DIY wedding decoration that adds color and movement to anywhere you hang it.
This entire shoot was captured by the lovely Ashley from Hawkeye Photography and I hope that these images have you enjoying the awakening that is springtime! Get out there and dance in the rain, go on sunny bike rides, watch your trees leaf out, and have a great time planning your wedding. Let this shoot provide you with lots of inspiration for incorporating greenery into your wedding! And below, you’ll find a complete list of vendors, so that you can get these same amazing artists to do your wedding as well.
Spring Fern and Foliage Vendor List
Photos: Hawkeye Photography
Flowers and Cake: The Pear Blossom
HMUA: Blushing Blonde
Invitation Suite: Lavender and Pine
Bride's Dress: Mary’s Bridal SLC
Custom Name Cards: Jenn and Jules Design
Rentals: Diamond Rental
Location: Elizabeth Cooper Design Studio
Vintage Wedding inspiration for the bride who wants to partayyyy!
And we’re talking about how to use recurring themes in your DIY wedding projects to create a professional look and feel at your wedding!
Guys. The thing I remember most from planning my wedding was that I just wanted everyone to have FUN. I wanted every guest to spend the entire night laughing, dancing, chatting, and eating great food and to walk away saying, “Wow that reception was actually super fun!”
My wedding was without a doubt, an amazing party. But so much wedding inspiration today is so serious and moody that the question of, “Where did all the fun weddings go?” literally woke me up in the middle of the night. I have problems :) But for realsies?!?! Where did all the bright, fun parties go? Where are my “Wahoooo” brides who want to get down on the dance floor? (Name that pop culture TV show reference for $1,000,000 Monopoly monies) These burning existential questions woke me up, got my brain churning and couldn’t be resolved until I had culled a Pinterest board of retro wedding party inspiration and late-night texted my work besties to tell them they had to check it out when they woke up and that I may need professional help lol :)
I needed a wedding that was fun, flirty, and full of sass and I needed it now. And nothing says sassafrass to me like a 1950’s pin-up girl…those cat-eye sunglasses, tea length dresses, and cherry red lips??? Mmm mmm good. But you can’t go 1950’s pin-up girl and just stop there. So I collaborated with Ashley from Hawkeye Photography and Julie from Blushing Blonde (yep, totally my work besties who get my 2 AM texts) to bring you an entire wedding full of 1950’s Retro Soda Pop Wedding Inspiration.
This shoot is crazy full of details and I can’t tell you how amazing our entire team was. It takes A LOT of work to pull together a shoot with this many vendors, but each and every vendor was so gracious to work with and absolutely nailed it. They were such an example to me of the kind of person I want to be in my work and home life…gracious, fun, artistic, and totally on the ball (I’ll get there someday I know I will!) Excuse me if I gush a little – or a lot – about each and every one of the vendors and artists who helped me pull my late-night wedding baby together. So scroll on down and check out our fun and flirty Retro Soda Pop Wedding Inspiration and be sure see our feature on Bespoke Bride!
I knew the second we went retro that we had to have that old fashioned soda-fountain vibe, but with a modern twist, and nobody does soda nowadays like Sodalicious.
If you haven’t heard of Sodalicious before now, let me introduce you: Sodalicious, this is my friend who needs a ‘dirty’ drink stat. Friend, this is Sodalicious. They specialize in taking your normal, everyday Diet Coke and mixing it into a frothy confection of deliciousness.
They also serve the most divine store-bought cookie I’ve ever eaten (go for the Peanut Butter with Nutella Buttercream…trust me on this) and freshly popped popcorn. Perfect afternoon snack...or morning pick-me-up, or late night run, or, or, or…basically anytime! Keely Ballard with Sodalicious and some of her darling soda gals put together a drink bar with six of their signature sodas, popcorn, and those world-famous sugar cookies. That’s my kind of catering people. Nothing says fun like a sugar buzz of soda and sugar cookies and having Sodalicious cater a soda bar at your wedding. They were so fun to work with!
K so for those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that the filter on my mouth functions better somedays than others – I’m thinking of the time I said, “Holy Crap” REALLY loudly in my church services or when I literally shouted for joy in Costco because they brought back my dark chocolate-covered sea salt caramels. In my defense, it had been AGES since they had them in stock. Anyway, when I picked up the invitation suite from the printers it happened again :( Before I could even stop myself I was squealing, jumping up and down, and trying not to pee my pants that’s how excited I was.
And now you see why. For reals what did Cassia with Cassia Leigh Designs think my reaction would be when the printer pulled out a custom-cut vintage record registry insert?!?! So cute! And it was the perfect accent for the vintage vibe on this wedding inspiration.
And those bright florals and black and white polka dots?!?! These are the little details that make a style or decorating concept really pop.
But my very favorite are Cassia’s wedding favors. This was one of those ideas where I was like, “Hey Cassia you invite guru you – I need wedding favors and in my head this is what they look like.” And she reached right in there and pulled out my brain child and made it a reality. That’s when you know you’ve found an amazing vendor, because I know next to nothing about graphic design, layouts, paper, or any of the logistics revolving around an invitation suite and it appeared in my hands all ready to go. Thanks Cassia!
We can’t get over how fun and easy to assemble these Starburst wedding favors were! They’re a great, budget-friendly DIY project for a wedding and came together in a snap assembly-line style. Especially since our printer perfectly pre-cut all the tags.
Side note: If you’re looking for a printer to take care of your invitation suite, menus, signage, favors, etc. I can’t recommend J-Mart in Spanish Fork, UT enough. I work with them all the time and always have a great experience. Their printing comes true to color, they use fantastic paper, and they don’t break the bank for the quality work they produce. Love you J-Mart! Mwah!
Here’s a picture of the cake...
Did you giggle?!?! Because I totally giggle every time I see this cake. I can’t help it. It is so cute, so fun, and just so so…I don’t even know but I love it. But let me back up and tell you the story behind this happy little number. There was this one time that the most darling person in all of Canada, we’ll call her Rosie, started the happiest sprinkle shop in all the world, Sweetapolita. And there was this other person, we’ll call her Emily, who fell in love with her sprinkles at first sight and had been NEEDING to do a sprinkle wedding cake out of her sprinkles. They’re just whimsical and joyful and the color ways are all fantastic.
So, Emily decided that this shoot was it. She was going for the sprinkle cake. In her head she was seeing black and white polka dot tiers with pops of sprinkle tiers. She reached out to Rosie to see if she wanted to be involved in the shoot and imagine her surprise when Rosie a) responded to her e-mail - because can you imagine how many e-mails she gets from people? and b) was totally interested! Emily was thrilled! She’s really just a nobody…a small fish in a big ocean of brides and chiffon and Rosie didn’t know her from Adam, but Rosie was so gracious and sent her a product package of sprinkles along with A HANDWRITTEN NOTE WISHING HER LUCK WITH THE SHOOT. Insert all the fan girl heart eyes here while I swoon.
It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. Isn’t that the best story? Who takes the time to be that gracious and generous anymore?!
I’m thrilled that I got to partner up with Rosie from Sweetapolita to create this cheerful confection. The bottom tier is a vanilla cake dyed yellow and orange, with bright pink marbling throughout (I use and love Americolor food gel). It’s a fun surprise inside the cake! I frosted the tier in a yummy vanilla buttercream and then rolled it in Rosie’s sprinkle medley “Bright Skies”. I love the colors and textures of all the different types of sprinkles. It’s truly the happiest wedding cake I’ve ever made!
The top tier is done out of Satin Ice fondant in white with black polka dots. My mom and I could not stop giggling while we put together those dots :) And inside is another surprise inside cake with layers of Funfetti cake and vanilla buttercream.
My favorite part about creating a cake for a styled shoot (besides eating it afterwards) is that I have the artistic freedom to create not only a decorating scheme that matches the look and vibe of a wedding, but flavors that match as well. And to me, Funfetti and brightly-colored layers of marbled cake were exactly what fit the look and feel of this shoot.
I finished off this cake with a colorful selection of fresh florals and a bright red cake stand and laser-cut wooden “Happily Ever After” cake topper, both fromPick Your Plum. Pro tip – large cake toppers like this are a great way to add height to your cake without adding more tiers (a.k.a. more money).
Julie with Blushing Blonde pulled together a large portion of our inspiration for the bridal fashion, and from her head filled with luxurious pin curls clear down to her darling color pop pump toes, our model, Gabby Hawkes, is on point. Julie swept Gabby’s locks up into a combination of rolls and finger curls for a darling vintage up-do and topped it off with a white bird-cage veil.
We’re totally crushing on Julie’s vintage make-up vibe with cat-eye eyeliner and kissable cherry red lips. All the heart eyes to brides who can pull of this look because it’s truly one of a kind! You’ll also see some glitz and glam in Julie’s jewelry selection (can we just pause and admire those earrings?!?!)
But she keeps it fun and a little kitschy with those cat eye sunglasses…I’m dying! This is really just a look I could never ever in a million years dream of pulling off, but I love it. So hard.
We loved working with Sweetheart Bridal in Provo, UT where we found the most darling tea length wedding dress! Between the lace accents and the perfectly-poofed skirt, we didn’t think we needed anything else.
But then this happened…
Oh the shoes!!!!! How does a woman stop falling in love with shoes? Does she die? Julie found these adorable color-pop pumps on Amazon (of course – where else would we find anything?!?!)
The cherry red, the white piping, the darling bows…THE HEELS!!! K imagonna reign it in a little, but it might be hard ‘cause these shoes leave me squealing like a little girl.
We knew we had to expand on this shoe idea because the more shoes the better right?!?! Yay for our bride squad all in color pop pumps. Those high heels are some serious sass. This is the kind of shoe your girls are going to hate you for, but your pictures will make it all worth it.
See what I mean? Total flirty bridesmaid inspiration. And maybe we went a little crazy, but once we had a bride squad, everything snowballed and we needed a mini bride squad too! How cute are these flower girls?!
Julie’s taken our older flower girls (better hair to work with) and made these darling finger curl pigtails. I'm kicking myself that we didn't get a birds-eye view of those pigtails - next time Ashley! The youngest gals got the retro helmet bob complete with a little flip action at the bottom.
And since little gals have so much natural coloring, she finished off their look with just a little pop of sweet pink lipstick. I tell you what those girls felt so grown up wearing real lipstick. Plus it was cute and funny seeing them hold their lips all wonky because they were trying so hard not to ruin it :)
We had a blast dressing these flower girls up, and nothing beats the iconic Converse shoe for that retro vibe. The best part is that we were able to go online and find them in all sorts of adorable colors, making it easy to mix and match colors to fit our color palette.
And I love how the bright colors pop against the black and white polka dot skirts. One thing to remember when putting together your wedding is that details pack more punch when they happen in a recurring theme. Now, you don’t want to go crazy and have it everywhere, but you’ll notice we have a few repeating themes in our shoot, one of which is the polka dots. We had polka dots on the cake, in the invitation suite, polka dot flower girl dresses, and then you’ll see it later in the ribbon on our bouquet wrap. This kind of continuity is what brings the wedding together as a whole and makes it feel complete and professionally done as opposed to helter-skelter (comment below if you notice any of our other recurring themes…if not, I’ll point them out to you as I go!)
And if you’re an accomplished sewer, these little polka dot circle skirts are another great DIY flower girl project. We…are not…so we hopped on Etsy and found these at Vintage Galeria. They’re well-made and very affordable! Plus, Vintage Galeria had them to us all Johnny-on-the-spot like, so there’s that.
The shirts were sourced from Down East Basics and then with just a little run to Joann’s and Hobby Lobby we had darling ribbon sashes and flower bows. Again, an easy-peasy DIY flower girl project. But, the proverbial cherry on our fun and flirty cake? Little baby cat-eye sunglasses from Gymboree!!! Stop! I can’t even handle the cuteness! But I may be biased because two of these darling little retro flower girls are mine :)
Is this the area in a wedding that stresses anyone else out? I’ll be the first to admit that while my trades add to the general splendor, I’m not a decorator (unless you want only fresh flowers as your décor. Then I’m a decorator :). When clients ask me for ideas on how to decorate their space, I get totally overwhelmed because there are so. many. options. Like, more than my brain can handle. Hats off to you decorators because it’s just a lot! That’s why for this shoot, we collaborated with an entire team to decorate our venue.
Our photographed our little styled wedding at The Startup Building in Provo, Utah. It’s this great vintage brick wedding venue with the most amazing photo ops. On the outside, The Startup Building is killing it with their retro painted ads and on the inside, you’ve got so many natural backdrop options, from white painted walls, timber trusses, and oversized copper barn doors to old brick walls and white shiplap. It’s a decorator’s dream because it’s got interesting backgrounds and great lighting, but it’s empty enough that you can personalize it to any look.
We worked with Emily Herrick from Emily Herrick Designs to decorate our space using gorgeous hand-made quilts on the walls. Giving quilts as wedding gifts has been a much-loved tradition for centuries, and we were so thrilled to put our own updated spin on this by decorating with Emily’s modern quilts.
You’ll see her “Spin the Bottle” quilt as the backdrop for our soda bar, with other quilts decorating the cake table and as a backdrop for the wedding invitation. She made all the quilts from her fabric line “Sodalicious” (see what I mean about those recurring themes? It just feels good amiright?!)
Custom placemats from the same fabric line were sewn and tucked into our cake display, soda bar, and tablescape. Modern quilting is the perfect way for a bride to incorporate memories, colors, and décor into her wedding. I won’t say quilting is cheap or easy DIY wedding décor, but if you or a family member or friend are way into sewing and quilting, this is such a fantastic DIY wedding décor project that could then double later as home décor, bedding, a thank you gift, etc.
If you’re looking for easy decorating ideas, we loved creating this little vignette of rainbow soda pop bottles. I found the most colors in Jones and Stewart’s brands, but IBC had a couple of great colors/flavors as well.
The rainbow soda bottles also made a bright, kitschy accent to our tablescape, and would be a fun family-friendly drink option at a wedding lunch or dinner. If you’re the creative type, an entire display of rainbow sodas could have names tied to them as a soda seating chart, or could be passed out at the end as a wedding favor. There has to be all sorts of cute “soda pop” thank you quotes on Pinterest…excuse me while I go look…
Aaaand I’m back! And I found some, but I won’t go there. Moving on, I love Love LOVE Hello Maypole and they were a dream to send me a product package so that I could get my hands on those cute felt ball garlands! This perfect touch of whimsy adds depth and dimension to our décor. Plus, not to beat the “recurring theme” horse until its dead, but it’s like an entire garland of colorful polka dots! When you’re planning your decorating, don’t forget to look at what types of lines and shapes you’re using. Obviously in this shoot, we went with lots of circles, i.e.: balloons, polka dots, placemats, cake/cake stand, florals, felt ball garlands, etc. Again, the attention to these types of recurring themes throughout our entire shoot is what gives it the continuity; the “finished” professional feel.
Hello Maypole sells these felt balls loose or in garlands, so if you’re feeling crafty and needing a girl’s night before the wedding, this super simple DIY project requires no skill and looks good in pretty much any way, shape, or form. Basically, you can’t screw it up.
Other fun touches of décor include vintage cameras and old soda crates. These are great filler items in a display and add personality when decorating your wedding! For example, we got all the old cameras from our photographer, Ashley, who decorates her home office for her photography business with them. Don’t be afraid to pull items straight out of your home or that of a friend or family member if it completes your “look”.
And last but DEFINTELY not least, we love these over-the-top jumbo balloons we found on Pick Your Plum. They blew up to 36” in diameter (it took me three car trips to get all the balloons home and it popped the orange balloon :( But, they are still one of those over-the-top details that are just going to get everyone laughing! Trust me, I was in a SUPER bad mood today, but looking at these pics and thinking of how much fun everything was has totally brightened my outlook.
These suckers are big enough to stand alone as their own décor, but they’re so fun, who can resist using them for their bridal portraits??? Um definitely not us!
In a wedding world of white and pastel roses, be a gerbera daisy! Could anything be more charming? I went bold on our color palette and pulled bright yellow ranunculus, button poms, and crespedia. From there, we’ve got bright pink tea roses, orange ranunculus, red gerbera daisies (although I do wish I had used the mini instead of full size), pops of green hypericum berry and purple lisianthus, and a few cheerful sprigs of feverfew.
I specifically used the more traditional round, hand-tied bouquet because of the shape and style of the dress. A large cascade or free-flowing bouquet design would have covered up that dress completely and we can’t have that.
Instead, this rounded bouquet really pops with the white dress as a background, accentuating both the dress AND the bouquet instead of one over the other.
And I used these same flowers to create mix n’ match brightly colored boutonnieres.
Last, but not least, we’re sending this bride and groom off with custom-colored handmade confetti by Jan with Pity Partyer and a get-a-way moped! Jan creates custom color way confetti and was a doll to work with. She incorporates not just paper into her hand-cut confetti, but feathers, sequins, and so much more! And so much of her confetti creations reflect her great sense of humor. She's definitely one to follow on Instagram. Our flower girls loved tossing Jan's confetti mix so much that we may or may not have staged that…ahem…several times :)
You better believe I'd be hopping on the back of that thing with my hot new groom and riding off into the sunset! Or maybe his and her mopeds because they're not really built for two, but who cares about things like actual logistics ;) The skies the limit right?
If you’ve read this far, you’re a champ. I’m fully aware that I love to share, overshare, and then share again when I’m excited about something, but when you work so hard and then Ashley with Hawkeye Photography gets you back images like this, it’s pretty much next to impossible not to be over-excited. It’s so important for the photographer to catch the vision behind the look and feel of your wedding so that their images and editing style work seamlessly into all your tireless planning and preparations and Ashley gets it every time! Here is some of my favorite portrait work from Ashley on this shoot!
Thanks for stopping by my little corner today! I hope you loved this Colorful Retro Soda Pop inspired wedding. Feel free to drop a comment below, share this with your friends, or pin away! And keep scrolling for a complete vendor list. You guys are the best!
Vendor List: Retro Soda Pop Shoot
The Pear Blossom
The Pear Blossom
*Featuring Sweetapolita Sprinkles!
Felt Ball Garland:
Soda Pop Quilt:
Emily Herrick Designs
Cassia Leigh Design
The Startup Building