Do I Need a Videographer? with Embark Films

It’s no secret that planning wedding is no simple or inexpensive task. One category that has frequently been overlooked but is rapidly gaining popularity: a videographer. Do you really need a videographer at your wedding? While at the end of the day it comes down to personal opinion, we believe the answer is a firm yes! Afterall, you only live your wedding day once, so we love having a video to capture even more moments to relive for years to come. We caught up with the extremely talented Dmitry Gordievsky, owner and main cinematographer at Embark Films to learn a little more about him and his company, but also to hear his thoughts on why wedding films are so special and what the filming process is like for couples!

PI: What made you want to start your own videography studio?

DG: I believe it’s something that just happened naturally. I didn’t have some crazy goal of doing weddings specifically. I created wedding films because it came naturally to my style and my personality. I’m super dramatic and love getting to know people much deeper. When I found that I can mix cinematics, love, and storytelling into wedding films, I was hooked.

PI: What’s your favorite part about capturing people’s big days?


DG: My favorite part about a couple’s big day is seeing the two personalities collide. You get two see these two amazing personalities just mix and bounce off one another all day. You get to see how freaking happy they both are when they see each other on this day that they’ve been cultivating since day one of their journey as a couple. You see the best of everyone all in one big day and you’ll never get to experience something like that anywhere else.

PI: How did you develop your style of shooting?


DG: What I found out is that I love to capture the real thing candidly. I hate forcing couples to do something that isn’t really them just for the videographer’s or photographer’s own benefit. Capturing the couple from afar in their natural self creates a film that represents the couple for who they really are and it also lets the couple breathe and feel at ease without having a camera in their face every second.

PI: How did you learn to videograph on a professional level?

DG: Consistency and actually loving what I do. Editing every single day for 10 years, sacrificing time with friends and family, no vacations, constantly investing into myself; all of this cultivated a very hard work ethic which in turn helped me take every wedding very seriously and really focus on my craft. It then grew into a professional running studio with a highly dedicated team so we can meet more amazing couples and create even more beautiful wedding films.

PI: Were there any videographers that inspired you to become one yourself?

DG: I’m proud to say that I became a videographer on my own terms because it’s something that I naturally got interested in. The moment I picked up a camera and found out that I can edit things with music, my life changed forever. I literally felt so alone because, at the time, no one ever talked about videography. It was just a random hobby. It was later on in my career that I started to research other wedding filmmakers and fell in love with their creative style. They taught me that there is absolutely no limit to creating amazing films.

PI: As a video production studio, what are the different roles/jobs that make up your team of professionals?

DG: I remember the days when it was very simple. Just answer that one God-given email, schedule a meeting, book the couple, film their wedding, edit and create their film, done. Now it's on another level. With more and more requests coming in every year, the workload became unbearable and my focus on the client was fading, which for me, was a HUGE problem. My problem was that I said “yes” to everyone and didn’t ever want to say “no.” After a lot of testing, trials, and learning what it takes to grow and manage a video production studio, we are now a full time running, and striving to become an honest company.

Image Source: Embark Films

Image Source: Embark Films

  • CEO (Me) - Lead cinematographer and editor. Handles client meetings. Keeps track of sales and marketing. Trains new videographers and editors.

  • Director of Operations - Makes sure the studio is flowing properly every day and finds new ways to do things better.

  • Assistant - Helps answers emails and delegates which email goes where. Whether it’s a wedding or commercial film request.

  • Artist/Interior Designer - Creates new beautiful packaging ideas we can offer clients and creates backdrops for photographers to use in our studio rental

  • In-house Photographer - Capturing all the behind the scene action during weddings or in the studio

  • Social Media - Posts content on a daily basis. Engages followers. Also keeps track of analytics and SEO

  • 5 Videographers

  • 3 Editors

The Wedding Videography Process:

PI: What do you think the biggest pro is to have a videographer at your wedding?

DG: You get to relive your wedding day! You will never want to forget the day your closest friends and family were by your side as your married the love of your life. There is always something funny, crazy, or emotional going on during a wedding that I believe should be captured and cherished forever. Plus, you get to be a celebrity for the day.

PI: Can you explain what the process entails for having a videographer at your wedding?


DG: Do your research! Look at multiple videographers to help you figure out what films and style you are naturally attracted to. Go with your gut as they say. Schedule a meeting with the videographer to get to know them personally, after all, the videographer you choose is going to be with you 100% of the time during the wedding. Ask core questions! Talk about their style and what makes them stand out from the rest. You want a videographer that you connect with and someone who actually wants to be a part your wedding day, not an awkward person with a camera. Talk about money! See if they’re willing to work around your budget. Humble videographers are the best videographers. They care more about you and your wedding than how much money they are getting. You don’t want to be treated like a number. After you booked your videographer, stay in touch! Make sure they are updated with everything. On the day of the wedding, trust them to do their job. You should never feel like you have to make sure the videographer isn’t doing their job. Feed them! Make sure they are well-fed… trust me.

PI: What are the most important things a couple should know before choosing a videographer for their wedding?

DG: Remember that you are hiring someone that sees the world and your wedding completely different compared to another videographer. Express why you love their style. Videographers and artists everywhere love hearing what someone loves about their work. I would love to tell you that videographers treat every couple the same but that's far from the truth. If you throw money in their face, they will treat you like a job. But if you formulate a relationship with them, they will film you and your wedding with such love and care. Let's not forget about price. Videographers of all kinds think very highly of themselves. Some will charge you $5,000 for work that is $1,000 and others will charge you $1,000 for work that is worth $5,000. Don’t judge a videographer’s skill based on price. Compare their work with other videographers in the area and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

PI: How does the collaboration between the videographer and the photographer work?

DG: Contrary to popular belief, videographers and photographers don’t really like each other. They never contact each other before the wedding and don’t plan things out together. It's like a cat versus dog kind of relationship. Why is this? Because you can’t really tell what the photographer and videographer are like over the phone, that's only done in the moment, and in person on the day of the wedding. I think everyone has just has bad experiences in 1 of 100 weddings and then base their opinion of videographers or photographers based on that one activity. We just usually try to work well together once we meet on the wedding day. But professional vendors know how to work well together without even saying a word and are prepared for anything. Plus, most vendors are really uptight and have a huge sense of pride where they believe their job is the most important. Either way, we just try our best not to get in each other's way.

PI: What are the best methods of saving and sharing your video with friend and family after the wedding?

DG: I believe you should always have an electronic copy online, whether it's on Google Drive, DropBox, or any other online storage site. This allows you to have access to your wedding film at any given time, anywhere in the world, straight from your phone or computer. You should then have a hard copy of your wedding film stored safely in an External Hard Drive sitting in your home. In case the internet dies, you will always be able to access your wedding film using a computer or laptop. We offer couples both electronic files and a box containing a flash drive and an external hard drive.

PI: What are the things the couple should think about before the big day that should be shared with the videographer?

DG: No detail is too big or too small. Have a list of every specific detail or moment that you want to be captured. Never assume the videographer will capture absolutely everything. Videographers do their best to capture everything but can sometimes miss something if they were unaware or unprepared. Something important to you might not have been as important to the videographer but the videographer would have never known that so it's best that they know what is important to you. Simply saying “capture my entire wedding” is pretty broad. Be specific and the videographer will be prepared. Not to mention that many weddings have many different cultural rituals and traditions, like honey sugar being sprinkled on the couple's heads during the ceremony and honey being poured on their pinkies…. Yea that's a real thing.

PI: What are some ways you might approach a camera-shy couple to help them have a more enjoyable experience while on film?

DG: It’s normal being camera shy. Heck, even I am camera shy and I work behind one! It all depends on the videographer’s personality. They should be able to make you feel comfortable and break the ice. If the videographer can’t do this, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. I have a sense of humor and like to make couples laugh and even forcefully make things awkward so that I am the one saying what everyone is thinking. In the end, I remind the couple to always be themselves, to never change who they are for the camera, that I am there to make sure they look good, and that I would never make them look awkward on camera. Couples want to be assured that everything they are doing is fine.

PI: What are some of your favorite techniques or ways to shoot a wedding?

DG: I focus on blending in with the crowd and to be as minimal as possible when it comes to camera gear and equipment. Since I like to film things candidly, I point and shoot very quickly so the couple or person doesn’t even know they are being filmed. I constantly focus on making sure the couple doesn’t feel pressured having a camera being pointed on them. You’d be surprised what people do when they notice a camera on them. Some people even stop breathing.

PI: What does a videographer offer to a wedding/event that a photographer can not?

DG: Videographers add flavor. They bring life and excitement to your wedding. They can even make you cry from happiness. Videographers take control of your emotions and express them in your wedding film. Nothing against photographers, but they capture beautiful moments and remind someone “how good they looked.” But once a person sees that picture, they have to remember what they felt during that moment. With a videographer, you can literally see, feel, and experience that moment all over again.  We pull on your heart strings and give you goosebumps.

PI: Do the bride and groom go through the editing process with you after the wedding, or do they just see the final product?

DG: Our couples can go through the editing process with us after we send them the first draft. Couples always trust our creative process and honestly, isn’t that why you are hiring the videographer in the first place? But after we send the first draft, clients have the option of giving us their feedback and letting us know if there are any shots or moments they would like added, removed, or replaced. We do our best to get it 100% right the first time but love working with clients to make sure the film is exactly what they want and more.


If you’re engaged and looking for a videographer for your wedding, we can’t recommend Embark Films enough! Check out their site for all the information, including their great special running now through the end of January!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 3: Photographer & Videographer

header.jpg

Welcome back friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. It’s crazy to me that we’re already in a new year. 2018 was quite the whirlwind for me, and I’m so thankful to be able to be planning a wedding with the best guy around. Today we’re going to be talking about one of my favorite pieces of the puzzle: the photographer and videographer! I’m breaking my usual mystique with this one, because I am so obsessed with these vendors that I have to give them crazy shoutouts. If you are in need of a photographer or videographer -- these guys are seriously the best! Honestly, I knew before we were engaged exactly who would be hired for these jobs.

Image Source: Melanie Zacek/Photo by Ashley Largesse

Image Source: Melanie Zacek/Photo by Ashley Largesse

Picking your photographer (and videographer if you’re planning to have one) is one of the most important choices, if you ask me. This person is responsible for capturing the essence of the day and making your memories last for years to come in the most beautiful way. I knew that we needed to have someone that we were comfortable with and trusted. That being said, there was no way anyone other than the extremely gifted Melanie Zacek would be shooting our wedding! I’ve had the honor of working with Melanie on multiple of our photoshoots here at Parsimony and guys, seriously, she’s amazing. The details she captures, her whole attitude and demeanor, I knew that I needed her at my big day.

In terms of videographer, I had been told by multiple people going into this planning that one of their biggest regrets was not having a videographer. It was something that I wanted to get into the budget if at all possible, and I’m so happy we’re able to make it work. Dmitry Gordievsky and his team over at Embark Films are crazy talented and once again, there was no contest in my mind. Dmitry shot the most epic movie trailer for our Love Lost at Sea photoshoot last year and I immediately became obsessed. I’m seriously like a kid in a candy store knowing that we have both of these incredible artists on our team.

Image Source: Embark Films

Image Source: Embark Films

I think one of the biggest things that most people don’t realize going into planning is how expensive it’s going to be to have a quality photographer and videographer at your wedding. I can’t emphasize this statement enough: you need to know that you’re paying for the quality in this situation! This is NOT an area that you want to skimp in. It WILL show in your end results! That being said, just because they are more expensive, doesn’t mean that they’re the right option for you. Really study their work and make sure that their style is something that meshes with yours and is something you really appreciate! These photos and videos are something that you’re going to look back on for years to come. When your memories have faded and you don’t remember those details on your own, you’re going to want to have these momentos to flood you with those feelings and help you relive the big day. These pieces are investments and you really want to take them seriously. I’ve yet to hear of someone who regretted hiring a great photographer or videographer, but I have heard plenty of stories from people who decided to go with cheaper options and quickly came to regret it.

Image Source: The Southern California Bride

Image Source: The Southern California Bride

Along the same subject line, Jaren and I have decided to have an “unplugged” ceremony. Meaning we don’t want any of our guests to have their phones, iPads, cameras, etc. out during the ceremony. I have seen many a ruined photo or video from someone stepping out into the aisle to try and get a great shot. While I appreciate that people want their own photos to remember the day by, that’s why we’re hiring professionals! We’ll be sharing all the photos and videos with everyone after the fact, but don’t want Uncle Bob’s iPhone blocking my face while we’re saying our vows (don’t worry, there is no actual Uncle Bob). As soon as cocktail hour hits, you can snap away, but until then, phones are away. I know lots of people have started trying this out and haven’t necessarily been successful, so my advice to other couples is to be extremely diligent about it. Not only will we have a nice sign reminding people, but we will also have the officiant make a reminder announcement before we walk down the aisle. Oh, and our vendors have all been given permission to tell anyone that they need to put their devices away should any be seen. Some may think that makes me a bridezilla, but if I’m going to be investing my time into creating a beautiful day and having it professionally photographed and videographed, you can put your phone away for a half hour.

Get Your House in Order with These Top Tips

Who says you need to wait for spring in order to have a good clean out? New year, time to get yourself organized! One of our resolutions this year is to get organized and stay that way. It can be tricky between a busy schedule, changing seasons and decor… you name it. That’s why we’re doing our best is to find simple tips and tricks that will be easy to stick with and follow throughout the year. Here are some of our favorites:

Image Source: Marie Kondo

Image Source: Marie Kondo

Tidying Up

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? She’s the queen of tidying up and wrote an amazing book which has now turned into a Netflix show! We recapped some of her tips last spring, but one of the biggest pieces to her theory is that everything needs to bring you joy. We highly recommend checking out the book and the new Netflix show, too!

Clothes

There are lots of ways to stay organized with your clothes. If you’re struggling to make the decisions needed to cut down your closet, we totally get it. That’s why we love this simple trick: turn all the hangers in your closet so that they are facing with the hook facing outwards. When you wear something, hang it back up with the hook facing inwards. After a little while, you’ll clearly see what you do and do not wear in your closet and it’ll be easier to make donations.

Another great way to stay organized in the clothing department is to lay out all of your outfits at the start of the week. This avoids any last minute rushes or digging through drawers trying to find that top you’re looking for. If everything is laid out ahead of time, you won’t have to stress about finding anything or making a mess in the mornings.

Image Source: River and Ink

Image Source: River and Ink

Lists

We LOVE lists. We have lists for everything. Whether you’re someone who wants to utilize an app on your phone or good old fashion pen and paper, we can’t recommend keeping lists more. They’re such a simple way to keep yourself organized. Between to-do lists, shopping lists, etc. you’re really able to keep things straight. We love meal planning and having everything written down at the start of the week. This also gives you a chance to write out exactly what you need from the grocery store so you don’t end up with unneeded items or forgetting something. See? A list for everything. Plus, a huge bonus: it feels great to check things off as you complete them! Grab some cute notepads and get to town.

Budgets

Being organized runs into your financials, too. It’s the start of the year, so there’s no better time than the present to start a budget! Regardless of what your goals are or what your financial situation is, we’re big fans of having a budget and sticking to it. This helps you stay organized and know where all of your money is going in addition to saving up or working towards other big goals. If you need some help getting started, we recommend The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. If you’re not a reader or just need some help setting up a budget and holding yourself accountable, we love apps like Mint and EveryDollar where you can actually hook up all of your accounts to see where your money is going, track it, and set your budget right there. Mint will send you alerts when you’re going over budget, spending more than usual, or even have a bill coming up.

Image Source: The Home Edit

Image Source: The Home Edit

Storage

While those big, clunky opaque bins may be a tempting option to stuff a bunch of stuff into for another day, that really won’t help you stay organized long term. Be thoughtful with your storage solutions. Under the bed organizers, cubes, shoe racks, etc. Opt for clear containers so you can see what’s stored inside to avoid tearing through bins to try and find what you’re looking for. If you already have opaque bins you want to reuse, put detailed labels on each one to avoid the same issue.

Get Moving: Endorphins Make You Happy!

Fitness. It has such a variety of meanings. What fitness looks like for one person can be completely different from what it looks like for another. To us, fitness looks like whatever you feel is best and healthiest for your own body. It’s not something you torture yourself with to lose weight or to impress someone else. It’s something you do that makes you feel good and happy! We love getting our heart rates up and just feeling our bodies move. There really is something to be said about that release of endorphins, which is why it’s on our list of 2019 resolutions to try and get our bodies moving more. Like we said, we’re all about feeling good and being happy when it comes to fitness. We’re not looking for anything that makes us miserable, we want it to be fun! With that in mind, we researched some fun, new ways to get yourself moving this year.

Image Source: @swervefitness

Image Source: @swervefitness

SWERVE Fitness

Usually we don’t do location specific things, but this seemed too cool to pass up. SWERVE is a spinning class but way more fun. You’re teamed up into three groups. These three groups, red, blue, and green, are essentially “competing” for the best score. It’s a great way to push yourself to do your best but in a semi-anonymous way where you’re only seen as a team total versus an individual total. Your personal results and stats are emailed to you after the class, so no one has to know. We love the idea of a little friendly competition and think this sounds like such a fun way to really get your sweat on!

Parkour

Bet you didn’t see this one coming! Have you ever watched American Ninja Warrior or similar shows and wondered what it would be like to try some of the things you see participants attempting? There are so many gyms all around the country where you can do just that! This is such a fun and unique way to get your body moving, seriously, sign us up!

Image Source: @rosegracejones

Image Source: @rosegracejones

Hiking Yoga

Yoga and nature just seem to be a perfect match. Hiking yoga is a great way to blend the two together! These types of classes take you out of the studio and into nature, where you can breathe in the fresh air, have an added challenge of uneven ground, and just really focus on disconnecting and becoming one with nature. We think this is such a great way to see some new, beautiful places while also getting some great exercise. Yoga isn’t for the faint of heart! We love how deceivingly tricky it can be and how much energy and strength it truly entails. There’s really nothing like yoga to help you find your inner peace and strength.

Circus

Circus classes include things like trapeze, fabric, rope, lyra, aerial, and more. These are another example of a shocking amount of strength and endurance, but so much fun and definitely not an experience most people have had! They’re a great option for someone looking for something a little different and creative that brings that little kid inside to life.

Rock Climbing

Image Source: @kacia.fitzgerald

Image Source: @kacia.fitzgerald

Have you noticed a theme yet? We weren’t kidding about out of the box methods of getting your body moving this year! Rock climbing is another really fun way to get out there. There are great rock gyms all over with indoor walls for you to try. Grab a friend and take a class so you can learn the basics, and then just have some fun! There are levels from beginner way up to advanced. Not only will you have fun trying to climb whatever wall you’re on, but it’s also so fun to watch some of the more advanced climbers do their thing. You’ll be in awe!

Rebounding (Trampolines)

This is something that is much more up and coming than a lot of other options on the list. Honestly, how can jumping on a trampoline not bring you back to childhood? It makes us giddy just thinking about it! Seriously, you’ll laugh your way through this one and get a good sweat while you’re at it, too.


Whatever you choose to do to get your body moving this year, just remember that you’re doing it for fun and endorphins! Healthy looks different on everyone. You’re not here to lose weight, you’re just here to have a good time.

Get Your Life in Order This New Year with The Right Tools

Staying organized can be a challenge. We’ve found that one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle is having a great planner. There are so many options out there for planners. There’s one for everyone, regardless of your style. It can be a tricky environment to navigate and definitely overwhelming. With that in mind, we’re only going to share our absolute top picks, so we don’t add any more confusion to the mix. If you’re in need of a new planner, look no further than these two options.

Image Source: @erincondren

Image Source: @erincondren

Erin Condren Life Planner

Totally customizable, you have so many covers and layouts to choose from. There are all different styles to fit your wants and needs. Track your progress in all things in life, make lists, never miss a meeting or appointment again! These planners are an investment but they’re also a hub of all your important information. We love that you can even have it personalized with your name of the cover. It’s just a fun little detail. Bonus points -- if you’re engaged, be sure to take a peek at their wedding planner too. Check out the site and act fast, they’re having a great sale to ring in the new year!


Image Source: @christybwright

Image Source: @christybwright

Business Boutique Goal Planner

Are you a small business owner? Or aspiring entrepreneur? If yes, then you need this planner. Not only does this planner have the traditional calendar elements to it where you can track your engagements and whatnot (with monthly and weekly views) but it also includes business lessons and tips throughout the year! This will help you set your business goals, give you advice and challenges on how to progress and grow, and give you a place to recap and track that progress. It’s definitely a must-have tool for a growing or new business.

Learning to Love The Skin You're In

Happy New Year! Can you believe we’ve officially rounded the corner into a new year? It doesn’t seem possible but here we are. In honor of the new year, we want to share some of our favorite resolutions to help get your 2019 started on the right foot. With today being the first day of the year, we really wanted to start off with a bang and an issue that is so near and dear to our hearts: self care and self love. This year, we challenge you to find peace and acceptance on your journey to self love, because regardless of where you are in your journey, you deserve to love yourself exactly the way you are at all times. It’s great to want to improve yourself, self-improvement is what keeps us moving forward, but just because you want to continue to grow as a person and move towards your goals does not mean that you cannot and should not love yourself while you’re working your way there.

Image Source: The Law of Attraction

Image Source: The Law of Attraction

We think that a big part of learning to love yourself again is actually focusing on self care. We so easily break promises to ourselves and put others’ needs before our own. This year, it’s time to turn the focus back onto ourselves and our own mental health. Have you ever heard the analogy of “filling your cup?” So many people have empty cups because they’re too busy pouring into others. Think of it this way: if you instead tried to do things to help you fill your own cup, eventually it would overflow and then fill others! That’s why we’re going to take time to work on numero uno. Read a book, take a walk, write in a journal. Find your bliss. What brings you joy? What helps you find relaxation? These are the questions you need to answer and actively make choices to do these things.

Along with this is also removing toxic situations and people from your life. If there’s someone bringing you down, or bringing you stress or sadness, consider removing them from your life. Life is too short to be anything but happy. If there are toxic relationships, or environments, or other commitments you have in your life: remove them! If your job makes you miserable, start hunting for a new one! Part of finding your joy and taking care of your mental health means removing the negative too.

Image Source: Start Today Journal

Image Source: Start Today Journal

Quick Tips to Get You Started:

1. A Gratitude Journal. We love starting our day by writing down all the things we’re grateful for. Right now, we’re obsessed with Rachel Hollis’s Start Today journals. Even if a new journal isn’t in your budget, grab a notebook and start each day by writing down 5 things you’re grateful for that day. Not big picture things, but small things that are specific to that day. Also write down 10 goals for yourself and pick which one you’re going to work to achieve first. This is the same set up of the Start Today journal and we truly believe it’s a recipe for success!

2. Fill Your Feeds with Love. Start your year with a full social media sweep. If you find yourself comparing or envious of other people showing up in your feed, remove them! If it’s not something that lifts you up and inspires you or makes you happy, it has no place in your life anymore. Good vibes only!

3. Unplug. If you’re struggling with #2, try just unplugging from social media for a bit. We’ve found that taking a social media cleanse can be a magical thing. At first you may have some fomo, but after the first few days, you’ll see how it’s almost like a weight lifted off your shoulders. Not to mention it’ll free up a bunch of time with you not sitting and mindlessly scrolling as much.

Image Source: The Everygirl

Image Source: The Everygirl

4. Create a Vision Board. What do you see your year looking like? What are your goals and dreams? This comes back to focusing on YOU first! Put together a vision board filled with all the hopes and dreams you have for yourself over the next year and beyond.

5. Meditate. If you’ve never tried meditation, we highly recommend it. This is so good for you mentally. Take even just five minutes each day to yourself and just sit with the silence and be still. We love guided meditations, especially for beginners. There are tons of great free resources available online for this too! Our favorite is definitely Calm, which also has a convenient app. The first bit is free with options for premium to gain access to hundreds of additional meditations as you get more into things.

Let’s make 2019 the best year yet, especially when it comes to our self care and mental health! Cheers!

Happy New Year... Let's Get Married!

Happy New Year’s Eve! We love celebrating New Year’s and all that it entails and represents. The idea of giving yourself a fresh start, new goals, a new attitude, etc. is amazing and we fully endorse it! Along with that, we love the idea of combining New Year’s with a wedding! Of all the holidays to combine your nuptials with, NYE seems like the most perfect choice. Why not start a new year with a new name and a new level of your relationship? And talk about one heck of a party! With that in mind, we’re sharing some of our favorite inspiration for a NYE wedding! Think old Hollywood glamour -- lots of bling and sparkle, champagne, sparklers, confetti, horns -- the whole nine yards. For colors, stick with metallics and a neutral palette -- blacks and whites with gold and silver. Dance the night away and kiss that new spouse of yours at midnight. Happy New Year!

Rock New Year's Eve with These Trendy Looks!

Can you believe that we’re only days away from New Year’s Eve? Man did the year fly right by us! If you’re searching for some last-minute outfit inspiration, we’re here to help. We want to wrap up 2018 with style and by making a statement. On that note, we’re looking at all things sparkly! We love a good sequined skirt. Dresses, shorts, jumpers, you name it! If it’s sparkly, we like it. If sequins aren’t your jam, how about some velvet? Such a great style and perfect for the winter weather! If your plans are more casual, go for a fun backless top for a more understated yet still show stopping look. Cheers to putting a cap on 2018, we can’t wait to see all that 2019 has in store!

Keep the Holiday Spirit Alive with This Signature Drink!

IMG_7532.PNG

We love soaking up as much holiday spirit as humanly possible! That’s why we’re keeping the spirit alive with this delicious eggnog drink. While some consider eggnog more of a Christmas beverage, we think that you can (and should) enjoy it all winter long! That being said, we love this drink and it’s perfect for large gatherings -- think New Years Eve and beyond. Enjoy!

1545854911684.jpeg

Chocolate Stout Eggnog

  • 3 quarts Eggnog

  • 1 quart Chocolate Stout (we recommend Samuel Smith)

  • ¼ cup Chocolate Syrup, or to taste

  • 6 oz Bourbon

  • Chocolate shavings for garnish

If you’re looking to go really fancy, try making your own eggnog instead of using store bought! We love this recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch! Cheers!

Our Favorite Hot Cocoa Bars for National Hot Chocolate Day!

Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! Did you know that was a thing? We didn’t either but now we’re in love with the idea. After all, who says no to a warm, cozy mug of hot cocoa?! Being the perfect seasonal beverage, we love the idea of having a build your own hot cocoa bar at your winter event or wedding this season. There are so many fun things you can include: Bailey’s, candy canes, all the marshmallows you could ever dream of… the list of possibilities is endless! So in honor of this national holiday, we’re sharing some of our favorite inspiration shots to help you dream up your own DIY hot cocoa bar this season! Cheers!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 2: Contracts

header.jpg

Okay guys, one thing I didn’t fully prepare myself for coming into this wedding planning thing? Contracts. There’s a contract for everything. Which makes sense, it protects both parties and makes sure that everyone is getting what they are promised and providing what’s promised. But when I first started, it was a lot. I didn’t really know what I should be looking out for. What red flags would look like, if I could negotiate… I knew nothing! So today I wanted to help anyone else going through, or preparing to go through this process and share the list of things that Melissa showed me to look for in a contract, using our venue contract as an example. Obviously, each contract will be different in some way, but there are a lot of general things to look for regardless of what it’s for.

The Specifics

First thing’s first. Make sure to double check the spelling of all names and that contact information is correct! This may sounds like a no-brainer, but I totally missed that Jaren’s name was spelled incorrectly when I initially read our venue contract and that my phone number was missing. It wasn’t until my second pass that I noticed. Details people! If you aren’t detail oriented, it would be a really good idea to have another set of eyes on your contracts, at least while you’re getting the lay of the land. I have Melissa read through all our contracts before we sign off on anything.

Also in this category is the location information. Make sure the address, date and time frame are all correct. If you’re using multiple spaces within one venue, make sure that is all listed our properly as well.

Deposits and Minimums

Image Source: Real Simple

Image Source: Real Simple

If there are any minimums with your venue, you should already be aware of them. However, make sure that they’re listed correctly on your contract. For instance, our venue has a per plate minimum for catering, so we double checked that the figure quoted aligned with what what reflected in the contract. There should also be a clear statement of what your initial deposit is. Make sure that this is something you can pay TODAY! You can’t sign a contract if you’re unable to fulfill the financial obligation, especially because a credit card declined or a bounced check usually results in an additional fee. Always fully understand what your deposit goes towards (it should be going towards your balance of the event). They’re usually non-refundable to definitely be committed before signing anything!

Most contracts will lay out your payment schedule for the remaining balance after your initial down payment. Really review this, understand it, and make sure that you can meet the outlined plan. If you have any questions, ask! There was an error on our original contract, charging us $1,000 more than we were quoted. That was fixed in the next revision but our payment schedule was not, so it looked like we were going to pay more than our wedding was supposed to cost. (See what I mean when I say it’s all in the details?)

We had to give our credit card information for them to keep on file. Know what they are and are not allowed to use this information for. On our authorization form we had options for what could be charged to the card, so we know that the remainder of our payments will automatically be charged on the agreed upon dates.

Food & Beverage

Our venue has catering included, so this part may differ if that’s not the case for other locations. Regardless, know what is and isn’t allowed. Health laws will most likely prohibit any outside food from coming onto the property. This includes alcohol. Some venues will make exceptions for things like wrapped candy if you’re planning on having a candy bar. Know what the penalties are if you want to change your guest count, date, or time of the event as this will also affect your food and beverage charges.

Allowance and Limitations

Once again, it’s important to know what is and is not allowed with your rental. Can you bring in outside decor? Can you hang lights from the ceiling or walls? Know your limits! Also know what you’re liable for in terms of damages, replacements, clean up fees, etc.

Another point to note is what is done in-house and what is done by third-party vendors. For example, our venue contract outlines that they do not have in-house audio-visual equipment, but can provide it from a third-party vendor with proper notice, charging us for the usage.

Image Source: Wedding Sparrow

Image Source: Wedding Sparrow

Any quiet hours should also be listed on the contract. If nothing is listed, I would inquire -- maybe they don’t have any, but it’s pretty unlikely. Know what these are and make sure it’s something that you’re comfortable with. If you’re night owls and quiet hours start at 9 pm, this might not be the best fit for you.

Planning Deadlines

There should be a clear deadline listed for when you need to have your guaranteed guest count reported. Add this to your planning timeline (along with your payment schedule) so that you don’t forget! It would be a shame to pay for 70 plates if you only have 60 RSVPs yes. Wasted food and wasted money. No one wants that!

“Force Majeure”

This will appear in probably every contract. Standard legal language removing liability should anything crazy or Earth-shattering occur. If this is something that freaks you out, you should definitely look into wedding insurance (more on that another day).

Final Notes

Keep a copy of everything! Every email, every draft and revision, and your signed copies. Know the dates that they were all exchanged and when deposits were made. Heaven forbid anything come to pass, you’ll need to have all of this information at the ready. Being the crazy organizational freak that I am, I have a two part system. I have a hard-copy of everything stored in our wedding binder (complete with color-coded tabs) and I also store a copy of everything in our shared “Wedding Planning” Google Drive folder. This is my favorite because I have it with me everywhere I go and can easily check on details even if I don’t have my binder with me. It’s honestly a control freak’s dream come true.

Not the most exciting installment this week, but I hope it can help some other couples making their way through the process! I promise that next week will be way better… we’re diving into one of the topics I’m most excited about: photographers and videographers!

Finish off Your Holiday Presents with a FREE Printable Gift Tag!

December is in full swing and we’re busy wrapping presents for the upcoming holidays. This year, instead of spending money on all the gift tags at the store, we’re giving you some of our favorite in-house designs for free! We have four different styles, each of which come in a variety of sizes and are easy to print out and use at home. We hope they help with your holiday gift wrapping!

Happy Holidays from our Parsimony Inspired family to yours!

Wedding Essentials: Insuring Your Engagement Ring

You’re engaged, yay! One of the first -- and frequently overlooked -- steps is to insure your engagement ring. Your fiance most likely spent quite a pretty penny on it, or maybe it’s a family heirloom. Regardless of its history, it’s extremely important that you get insurance on it as soon as possible. Why? You insure other items that are high in value: your home, your vehicle, your health… so it makes sense that this would go right along with those things, too. This way, you have a backup plan if something were to happen to your ring. Instead of losing thousands of dollars in the ocean on your honeymoon, you know you can file a claim with your insurance when you get home to recoup your losses to replace your ring. Going about acquiring your insurance for your ring can be confusing, there are lots of different options! So today, we’re going to break down all those details and help you make sense of what your options are.

Image Source: Olive Ave Jewelry

Image Source: Olive Ave Jewelry

Your Options:

There are two main avenues you can pursue for insuring your ring. The first is to add it onto your home or renters insurance as a “rider.” While home and renter insurance typically covers items within the home, it’s really only up to a certain dollar amount. That’s why it’s best to get a rider to cover your ring specifically to avoid any complications. The other option is to get an independent policy just on your ring, usually from a company that specializes in jewelry insurance. A big pro to this option is that they usually offer more comprehensive coverage than a rider would. So instead of just getting the cash, your policy may actually issue a replacement ring in the event something happens to it.

The Process:

The first step in any process is usually to have an appraisal done. Make sure that you’re having this done with a licensed gemologist. There’s usually a small fee associated with this process. It’s also good to note that you should get your ring re-appraised on a somewhat regular basis. We recommend every two to three years to make sure your insurance coverage is still the right amount. In addition to your appraisal, some companies will require your original receipt as well as a copy of your GIA certificate.

Image Source: Charla Storey

Image Source: Charla Storey

What can I expect to pay?

Typically, most policies will include a premium that is 1-2% of the ring’s value. So if you have an $8,000 ring, you can expect an $80-160 premium. That being said, rates will differ depending on the cost and quality of the piece, your location, and your level of coverage. Shop around and see what different quotes you can get with different options.

Questions to Ask:

This is the time to ask all the questions! You want to make sure you have a full understanding of your policy and exactly what is covered and what isn’t. Are there any hidden stipulations? Now is the time to dig in and really get all the answers! Some of the questions we suggest asking include:

  • Is the ring covered if you lose it accidentally, or only if it's stolen?

  • How will the company replace the ring? Are you insured for a replacement or only cash? Will they require you to purchase a replacement through a specified jeweler? What happens if a suitable replacement cannot be found?

  • What if it's a vintage ring or other unique piece? How will the quality and size of your diamond—and that of a replacement if needed—be documented?

  • Is the ring insured to full cost or a fraction of it?

  • How will you need to prove the ring vanished if you make a claim?

  • Are there any circumstances of loss or damage that aren't covered?

  • Can you choose who repairs your ring?

  • Will you continue to be insured when out of the country?

  • Are you covered for damage or just loss/theft?

  • Will the policy adjust according to inflation?

  • What maintenance is required?

  • What services go towards a deductible?

Image Source: The White Wren

Image Source: The White Wren

Remember, if there’s anything that you’re confused about, uncomfortable with, or just unsure on, now is the time to ask!

Things to Remember:

If you opt to insure your ring through a rider on your home or renters insurance, make sure you remember to move your rider with you to your next residence! This is something that can easily be overlooked and forgotten, and unfortunately you most likely won’t remember until you need it most. A lot of policies will require regular cleanings and checkups on your ring, even if your policy doesn’t, we highly recommend getting into this practice because it’s the best way to catch if something is coming loose before it’s too late!

Our Favorite Holiday Season Centerpieces

The holiday season is finally here! We’re so excited to be fully in the swing of decorating and we’re already dreaming up some ideas for our holiday table this year. As always, you can go as ornate or as simple as you want, but there are some key elements we love to include in all of our holiday tables this time of year! The first on the list is greenery. The natural greenery that matches the winter holidays is just perfect. With this as your base, you can really carry it through the holidays and into the winter as well. We also really like including candles. The just really give that warm, cozy feeling! Other things to think about are adding in pine cones, berries, or even some ornaments, bells, or candy canes. Go wild and create that perfectly magical winter wonderland right in your dining room!

I Do! (Not Know Where to Begin) Month 2: First Round Guest List

header.jpg

Welcome back friends! Can you believe it’s time to start going over the events from month TWO?! Holy moly, time is just flying by. The first thing we’re addressing this month is the process of starting to develop the guest list. Ugh. To be honest, I had already started coming up with a rough idea of this months before we even got engaged… that’s just who I am. This whole thing is definitely my least favorite part of wedding planning and reminds me why I stopped having parties growing up.

Image Source: @becccawaugh

Image Source: @becccawaugh

The guest list is pretty much synonymous with stress. Being that we’re trying to keep things small, you know going into it that you’re going to end up disappointing some people. Being a people pleaser, it’s really rough going into things knowing that. While I would love to invite all our friends and family from near and far, we’re just not looking to have a 200 person wedding (or have the budget for something like that). So, with that being said, Jaren came up with a really great guideline for us to follow: anyone being invited to our wedding has to be someone we both know on a first name basis and are familiar with. The more I sat with it, the more I loved the concept. Anyone that’s going to be invited to such a small an intimate gathering should be someone that we’re both comfortable and friendly with. It’s truly the people that we can’t imagine saying “I do” without.

Even within our families, there have already been some potentially ruffled feathers -- which I was totally expecting. Being that I come from such a large, close-knit family, my numbers kind of shoot up right off the bat. Just my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins total around 20 people. They’re all people that I can’t imagine getting married without. My cousins aren’t like normal cousins, we’re incredibly close and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. We grew up with my two closest cousins in age living less than 5 minutes away. They’re practically a second sister and brother to me. So that was my non-negotiable family list. With that, there wasn’t much room to add in any great-aunts or uncles. That wasn’t to the pleasing of my grandparents at first, but luckily they’re very understanding and know we’re working with small numbers. Jaren’s family is much smaller and therefore he has a lot more flexibility to pick and choose who he really wants there. His numbers round out to be just under 20, so we’re pretty close on that front.

Image Source: Mod Weddings

Image Source: Mod Weddings

When it comes to adding friends into the mix, there’s not much room to play with. I think with our first round, we’re around 15 guests each, including plus ones, putting us right around our max guest goal of 70. It was difficult to make the decisions here, but at the same time, I tried to follow a similar mindframe as with my bridesmaid selection. Who are the people that I’m closest with in my life and really keep in touch with? The list kind of fell together and just felt right.

It’s funny to look back at some of the articles I’ve written pre-engagement and how my advice stacks up to what I’m actually doing. I actually looked back at my guest selection guide to help with the process. One thing that I hadn’t thought of before that has since been brought to my attention is having a secondary list. It’s possible that a lot of guests on our initial list may not be able to make it to the big day, which means we have two options: have a smaller wedding or add more guests to the list. Honestly, the idea of having a secondary list gives me anxiety too, because I’m worried that people are going to be offended if they weren’t invited originally but then get invited later on. But I would hope that on some level they would be happy to be invited in general. If not, they always have the option to say no.

Image Source: Junebug Weddings

Image Source: Junebug Weddings

With the wedding being almost two years out still, and save the dates not going out for quite a few more months, there’s always a possibility that things will change. That’s why I think it’s so important to develop your list early, so that you have time to tweak and really think about your choices. Right now, I’ve hit a point of acceptance where I’m trying not to overthink or stress over the guest list. With us not taking action on it for a few more months, there’s no use in fretting. I tend to be an overthinker, so instead of driving myself crazy, I’m focusing on the more fun and exciting aspects of the planning process! But more on that next week.