We’re taking a Royal cue today on morning weddings and digging into the Pro’s of getting married in the AM! Our incredible couple, Brady and Michael, got married in a beautiful morning church ceremony followed by a brunch reception with their closest friends and family. It was absolute perfection, and Brady was so sweet to share her thoughts on why they chose to have a morning wedding instead of a traditional evening reception.
What went into your decision to have a morning wedding?
We knew from the beginning of our engagement that we wanted something a bit different, less traditional, less expensive, and less stressful; something more us and more enjoyable for our family and friends. We never cared to throw a party, but rather a wedding where the ceremony was the absolute center. From the beginning, Michael encouraged us to start from scratch, to build the day with meaningful moments, rather than starting with all the expectations and taking away the ones that didn’t speak to us. We are both early risers and have always enjoyed sharing brunch (and brunch food!). We knew we would be leaving early in the morning for our honeymoon, so we didn’t want to be exhausted at the end of the day. Plus, I never quite understood what everyone did during the morning of their weddings, and I honestly didn’t want to wait around all day to marry Michael.
What was the best part of getting married earlier in the day?
So many things! We planned everything in around 12 weeks, the budget was much more affordable, and we were able to spend almost all of the day together. Rather than focusing a lot of time on getting ready, we had nearly 10 hours after the reception to enjoy our first day of married life.
Did you feel like you were missing out by skipping the traditional dinner reception?
Because we planned our wedding from the ground up, only including the most important elements, I don’t feel like we missed a single thing. However, it was challenging to hold our own against traditional expectations and we received some quizzical looks. At the end of the day, though, everyone was so complimentary of our ceremony and reception, it was so affirming to have chosen what felt right to us.
How did you plan your reception around a brunch/lunch time versus dinner and dancing?
We asked for a lot of exceptions and looked outside traditional venues/options. I found when I said the word ‘wedding,’ vendors and venues automatically had a pretty distinct idea for the day-of timeline, so I asked for quotes for a ‘large brunch’ instead. Our reception venue was the strictest around timing (we needed to be cleared out by 2 pm), so from there, we worked backwards. Our pastor and friend who married us was flexible, as was our photographer, and band. We only needed hair and makeup for 3 people, and they opened early to accommodate us. We also had a lot of help from friends and family the night before and morning of, and we didn’t include a lot of traditional elements (bridal party speeches, formal cake cutting, garter/bouquet toss, first dance, etc.)
If it’s helpful, here’s a synopsis of our timeline for the day.
10:30 am- ceremony began
10:50 – family photos at the church (we saved our individual photos for after the reception; this was a great time saver and allowed us more time with our guests)
11:00 am – reception space opened, open bar (with brunch drinks), Smilebooth available
12:00 pm – we arrived at the reception space, welcome, blessing of food, brunch buffet opened. We went through the buffet first and had a short while to eat at our head table before greeting our guests.
12:30 pm ish – Michael and I gave our thank you speech to our guests, then proceeded to spend time with them
1:30 pm – cutting and passing of the cake (very informal, just Becki and Ryan and our family who were nearby at the moment)
2:00 pm – official send off, guests departed
2:00 – 3:00 – Bride and Groom Portraits
3:30 pm – hotel check in
7:00 – dinner reservations
How did you spend your first afternoon + evening as a married couple?
After taking some additional photos and walking through the park between our reception venue and hotel, we checked in and spent some time relaxing in our amazing hotel, sharing some of our wedding cake and champagne. I took off most of my makeup, let my hair down, and felt so much more like myself! We had reservations at our favorite restaurant, Vic and Anthony’s, which was within walking distance of our hotel. At first, I felt a bit embarrassed, but I loved my dress so much so that we decided to wear our wedding attire out to eat! It was such a treat to hear well wishes during our walk to the restaurant, and of course, the waitstaff there was incredible. We even have a special booth under our name whenever we make reservations in the future!
How did you choose your venue?
This was definitely one of the most challenging parts of planning. Initially, we were hoping to host the ceremony and reception at our church because we love the space and it is so significant to our relationship, but we would have had to limit the guest list to 75 people. We looked at 10 or so other locations, ranging from traditional wedding venues to restaurants with larger enough dining spaces. We also wanted to find a space that included as much as possible. While I know other brides enjoy picking out each element of the day, I was frustrated that most venues had separate vendors for chairs, music, food, lighting, etc. We also wanted our guests to have an easy drive to the venue, so we looked at options within 10 miles or so from our church with easy parking (it’s Houston after all!) The menu and design aesthetic were really important to us, and we tried a few traditional brunch options. The Treehouse at The Grove was the perfect size, beautifully designed, and nearly all-inclusive. They had hosted weddings before, but weren’t a traditional option, so it ended up being a great fit. And everyone loved the food!
Anything else you want to tell other brides who are considering a morning wedding?
A special thanks to our Bride, Brady for giving us the absolute best advice and insight into her experience!
We also want to give a shout out to all of the incredible vendors that made her day come together in the exact way she envisioned!
Reception: The Grove Houston
Bride’s Dress: Lovely Bride
Hair and Make-up Artist: Butter Artistry
Bride’s Jewelry: Bauble Bar
Florals: By the Bride’s Sister
Calligraphy + Paper Goods: St Honore Paper Co.
Cake: Suzie’s Cakes
Cookies: Tiny’s Cookies + Milk
We’re shouting out to dad today in honor of Father’s day! Here are five photos you don’t want to miss with your dad on your wedding day.
1: The Classic Photo, or what we like to call the “Mantle Hanger”. Stop and smile at the camera. You’ll cherish this timeless photo forever. (This is number one on our list of Must-Have Photos with Your Mom on Your Wedding Day too!)
Tip: We recommend your dad join us for bridesmaids portraits before the ceremony. This is the perfect time to capture this one-on-one photo with him!
2: The First Look; While Mom is typically there to zip you into your dress, we love when dad waits to see you until you are completely ready to walk down the aisle! Its such a sweet and private moment before you say your I-Do’s.
Tip: Your first look with your dad doesn’t have to be a huge to-do; it can simply be a few sweet moments when he gets to see you for the first time before walking down the aisle.
3: The Walk Down the Aisle; Of course we want to capture your husband-to-be the first moment he sees you, but we also love to capture the way your dad looks at you while he holds your hand down the aisle.
4: The Walk from Behind; We love this shot because it is a completely different perspective and holds so much emotion.
Tip: You shouldn’t be thinking about these photos. Enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime walk to the altar and they will happen naturally!
5: The Whole Clan; We love a photo with dad with all of the siblings together! Just think, this photo printed out plus a picture frame and your father’s day gift for next year is complete!
Tip: If your siblings are in your bridal party, aim to take this photo during your bridal party portraits. If not, add it to your family formal list!
6: Dad + Mom Solo; Most people don’t think about taking this photo, but it is truly a sweet gift to have a photo of the couple who made you believe in love in the first place.
Tip: This doesn’t have to be a formal shot, it can be done during cocktail hour or even right before they walk out the door at the end of the night.
7: Dancing the night away; From your first dance to the final jig, we love when dad gets down on the dance floor!
Tip: Pull your dad out on the dance floor during the reception! Its a fun time to reconnect with him after the main events of the day are over and just have fun!
From the first time we meet with a couple we begin talking about sunset times, ceremony start times, and the wedding day first look. This isn’t because we want everyone to do a wedding day first look, and we certainly never want to pressure any couple into doing one. Rather, we want to ensure that the wedding timeline for your day allows time gorgeous light for your ceremony, your family portraits, and of course, your bride and groom portraits.
But whether or not to do a first look goes well beyond the timeline. You have to decide if it is right for you as a couple. This can be tough if a first look is something you had never considered before. You probably have a ton of questions and curiosities about what it will be like.
Which is why we asked two of our brides, Laura and Hanna, to share with us their perspective on the first look.
Laura and Joe got married at The Tremont House in Galveston, Texas last fall. When we first met, they were not thinking about a first look. During their engagement, they changed their minds and decided to see each other before the ceremony. Here’s what Laura has to say about the experience.
Why did you decide to do a wedding day first look?
We decided to do a first look due to timing. We really wanted to enjoy as much of our reception and guests as possible. Doing a majority of our pictures beforehand allowed us to get to the party sooner.
We hope this helps you and your significant other decide on whether a first look is the right decision for you.
Wedding day or engagement portraits, we love love love when your pups make an appearance. So we’re rounding up some of our favorite all-time Engagement + Wedding Dog Photos to make your Monday a little brighter!
Buckley showed up camera ready at Regan + Claire’s engagement session and didn’t hesitate one bit to ask for his own headshot. Ya know, so he can meet all the ladies on Rover.
He was pretty sure this day was actually just a trip to the dog park and loved every second of it. Camera, what?
We’re pretty sure Finn slept for a solid week after his portraits. Elise and Patrick spend a lot of time at Hermann Park with Finn, so thats where we went for their engagement session. I think our total step count was somewhere in the 20,000 range and Finn couldn’t have been happier.
Those eyes and those tiny paws! He may not have gotten to walk down the aisle, but he sure got a lot of love while the girls were getting ready.
Tracy and Josh’s wedding day is actually the second show Braydee stole. He brought his A-Game to their engagement session, but somehow stepped it up even higher with his wedding bowtie.
Jackson the Dalmatian
Y’all. This boy is literally the sweetest and the BOWTIE KING. He traded his signature bowtie look for a gorgeous floral wreath with these bridesmaids though, and managed to get even cuter. If you don’t follow him on Instagram, you need to stop everything and do it right now.
There are no words for how cute Bonnie is in these photos. No words at all. But I think if you googled “Best Wedding Dog Ever” she would be it.
Bonnie’s brother is definitely her sidekick, but he is equally as adorable — especially with the floral wreath from Mom + Dad’s wedding. You can see more of Stax + Bonnie over on Wedding Chicks.
Landry, and her cutie sis Remi, are snuggle maniacs. Believe it or not, the first time I photographed Remi she was TERRIFIED of my camera. Now she jumps right in takes over with that cute pup smile.
Leo makes a lot of appearances because his human-lady, Erica, is our favorite make-up artist on the planet. It doesn’t matter whether we are photographing bridal portraits or a branding session, Leo makes sure he gets his close-up.
Mother’s Day may be over, but we’re still loving on mom hard this morning with this Must-Have List of wedding photos to have with your mom on your wedding day! And a perk of capturing these amazing photos with Mom on the best day of your life? You have the perfect gift to print and frame for Mother’s Day next year. 😉
1: The Classic Photo, or what we like to call the “Mantle Hanger”. Stop and smile at the camera. You’ll cherish this timeless photo forever.
Tip: We recommend your mom join us for bridesmaids portraits before the ceremony. This is the perfect time to capture this one-on-one photo with her!
2: Those final getting ready moments; Zipping your dress, putting in your veil. There is so much joy during this time of the day, and we love when we can share it with mom!
Tip: We recommend mom is dressed at this time so that she is excited for these photos as much as you are!
3: Or, opt for a first look with Mom and capture those moments when she sees you in the dress for the very first time.
Tip: If you are doing a first look with mom, have your maid of honor and bridesmaids zip you into your dress.
4: The in Between Moments; these are harder to put on a list because they are different for everyone, but when your photographer is on the look out for them, these in between moments are often the most beautiful of the whole day.
Tip: Don’t stress about getting these photos. The best in-between moments come when you are truly being present in your day.
5: The Ceremony Shot — whether she is walking you down the aisle, or watching you say your I do’s, we love the smiles, the tears, and every expression inbetween.
6: Killin’ it on the Dance Floor. Mom has fun at the reception too, so we love when we capture her joy and excitement on the dance floor.
We are super excited about catching up with the amazing Skylar Caitlin with Chancey Charm about all things wedding planning! Skylar is the incredible Wedding Planner and Designer at the lead of the Houston Chancey Charm location. She discovered she wanted to be a wedding planner when she was sitting in her Senior AP English class with a friend who had the same dream. Skylar enrolled in the Hospitality Management program at Auburn and discovered her love for events was so much more than a whim.
We did a fun little Q&A with Skylar and here’s what she had to say:
Let’s get to know you a little bit with a game of either/or…
Flowers or Chocolate? Can I pick both? Dark chocolate and gorgeous blooms are a match made in Instagram heaven.
Dogs or Cats? Dogs, 100%. I’m constantly lobbying my husband, Matt, for a four-legged baby.
Winter or Summer? Summer! I prefer sunshine and the beach to snow shoes and hot chocolate.
If you could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? A tie between bread and cheese. Oh, and macarons!
What would you say is the MOST important reason to hire a wedding planner? Having an advocate who’s been there. A planner can use their experience to provide you with a stress-free – or at least stress-reduced – planning process. Planners can recommend a tried-and-true team of vendors who will professional execute your vision within your budget. Planners can offer up design ideas that speak to who you are as a couple. And planners can handle all the little fires on your wedding day that you’ll never know even happened! What’s cool about the Chancey Charm team is that we can draw on the experience of planner across 13 different locations to provide our couples with the best information possible.
What is the difference between a planner and a coordinator? These titles get thrown around a lot and there isn’t a really unified industry standard, but a good rule of thumb is a planner is someone who works with you throughout the process to actually logistically plan items (i.e. contacting florists to get quotes, presenting the options, reviewing contracts, and any other to-do to get the florist booked.) while a coordinator is someone who takes the work you’ve already done and wraps it up in a nice little bow on your wedding day (i.e. contacting the florist you’ve already booked and sending them final table counts, layouts, etc. to ensure what you’ve planned is how you expect it to be day of.)
When should a bride hire a planner? I suggest booking your full-service planner 10+ months before your wedding, with 12 months being the optimum selection time. For a coordinator, this can be a little looser with many booking anywhere for 4 to 12 months before their big day. One of the perks of being a Chancey Charm coordination client is that you get access to our online planning program from the day you book us. Meaning you get the same planning checklist and processes we use with our full-service brides at your fingertips throughout the planning process.
Budgets. Where should a couple even begin? I could write an entire post about just this!
Tell us a little about your own wedding (colors, florals, food). What was your favorite part of planning your own wedding? As cheesy as it may sound, my wedding day was magical. Not because of the colors, florals, or food – although I’ll totally dish on that is a second – but because of how calm and sure I felt about making this huge commitment to the man I adore most in the whole world. It was such a blessing to have all of our friends and family near to witness that moment. Okay, now for the part you really want to know… Colors: dusty blue, grey, navy, gold, silver, and a bridal blush. Florals: Sweetpeas for my birthday month, Thistle for my Scottish heritage, Anemones just because they’re so pretty, and lots of dreamy greenery! Food: Family Style! We love dinner parties so passing food around the table was an experience we wanted to bring into our wedding day. Matt’s one request for the menu was Mac and cheese and everyone gobbled it up! Planning as a planner is no joke. You feel like the pressure is on to have the most gorgeous, most organized, most perfectly perfect day ever which really just isn’t reasonable. So our favorite part was planning our ceremony. It was super personal and meaningful to whom we are as a couple. It was a time when I didn’t have to stress over how something looked and actually got to dive in deep to what the day was all about.
That’s a wrap! We hope you’re even more excited about your own wedding planning process after learning more about Skylar and her Wedding Planning tips!
We are so excited to share one of the most gorgeous weddings with you between two of the kindest souls we’ve had the pleasure of working with. From the moment we met Laith and Kathleen, we knew there was something special about them. But before we get too far into their beautiful wedding details, we just HAVE to tell you how sweet their proposal was, especially because Christmas proposals are extra magical.
Right before Christmas, Laith told Kathleen his parents were throwing a holiday party, so, Kathleen made her way to their house to help setup. As she was on her way, Laith called her and said he needed to get out of the house for a little bit because his parents were driving him a little bit crazy. He suggested they both go to a bar at the The Woodlands Waterway and grab a drink before heading back to the party. They started walking back to the car when Laith asked if they could go take a picture down by the water since it was all lit up for Christmas (and if you have ever been along the waterway at Christmastime, you know it is truly magical!). Kathleen had a feeling something was up at this point because Laith is never the first person to suggest a picture. They walked down to the waterway and Kathleen saw a photographer and made a joke that there was already a photographer there for their picture! Little did she know, he actually WAS there for them. Laith pulled her around, got down on one knee and asked Kathleen to spend forever with him. As we’re sure you’ve guessed, she said YES!
Spending time with these two and getting to know them both individually and as a couple has been such a true joy. The details of their wedding were soft, beautiful and timeless.
A few wedding details we especially loved:
Laith’s bolo bowtie and we’re pretty sure you will to!
Kathleen’s Prada Shoes! Alllllll the texture and gorgeous! Serious, perfection.
Every single floral. Not only were the white wedding bouquets and centerpieces absolutely gorgeous, they were literally made with love! Kathleen’s aunt designed and created all the florals for the day.
And last but not least, Becki’s personal favorite thing from the day, Kathleen’s two piece dress from Brickhouse Bridal. It was feminine and detailed — everything you could ask for in the perfect wedding dress!
Florals: By the bride’s aunt
Bride’s Dress: Brickhouse Bridal, brickhousebridal.com , IG: @brickhousebridal
Linens: My Angel Events
Groom’s Suit: Nordstrom
Our inquiry form has a question on it that says “where did you hear about us?”. When we got Shannon’s inquiry after Eric proposed, I think it was the longest note we have ever had written in that section, saying something along the lines of “my brother, my sister, my mom, basically everyone!” which not only made my heart so happy, it was also entirely true. I have known the Geuther family for years, and Ryan has known them even longer. (Shannon’s brother actually knocked out Ryan’s front tooth with a golf ball retriever in the second game while they were throwing around golf balls in the backyard.) All this to say, Shannon and Eric’s are an absolute dream, with a family legacy with the Geuther’s behind them that could only be rivaled but how incredible Eric’s parents are as well.
Shannon knew from the very beginning the vision that she had for her Houston wedding day, and she executed it so beautifully. From the gorgeous details (especially her ribbon bridal shoes!) to her almost-too-perfect-dress from Whittington Bridal and classic chignon bridal updo, it was a wedding we won’t soon forget. But you know we love a good proposal story, so let’s go way back before we dive into the wedding day!
Eric arranged with Shannon’s parents, brother and sister-in-law to go to the Houstonian for Christmas Eve brunch. Eric proposed to Shannon right in front of the Christmas tree. She couldn’t have been more surprised and it made Christmas even more magical for the two of them. Christmas lights, a gorgeous tree, family AND a proposal?! We love everything about it.
Shannon and Eric shared their I Dos at the Second Baptist Church in Houston and we’re still dreaming about the beauty of it, thanks in large part to so many incredible vendors we had the opportunity of working alongside and Shannon and Eric’s wonderful friends and family who attended. The beautiful brick, gorgeous greenery surrounding the windows and the gorgeous archways and white pillars, – such a dream!
After the ceremony we made our way to the reception at the Brae Burn Country Club and we immediately fell in love with the classic style and décor Shannon curated for the space. But it wouldn’t have been truly complete without the transition into an epic dance party with a live band, Hawaiian leighs and colorfun sunglasses. We saw some pretty phenomenal dance moves — we definitely took notes.
But my absolute favorite part of the day may have been Shannon and Eric’s grand exit. It was truly epic. They were surrounded by all their loved ones holding sparklers and every single person was beyond excited to be sending them off from their celebration (still wearing sunglasses and leis!). It was truly one of the most beautiful moments.
Thank you so much, Shannon and Eric for choosing us to photograph your wedding day! We are so thankful for you and can’t wait to see you bust a move as you celebrate your first anniversary at your sister’s wedding next fall at the Bell Tower on 34th!
Shannon and Eric’s Creative Team was absolutely a dream to work with. Click Below to see more of their work.
Church: Second Baptist
Reception Venue: Brae Burn Country Club
Florals: Deam Bouquet
Cake: Who Made the Cake
Bride’s Dress + Veil: Whittington Bridal
Custom Veil Details + Custom Bridal Belt: Laura Couture
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groom’s Tux: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Make-up Artist: Hair by Liz
Band: The Royal Dukes
Videographer: Ab Motion
Sarah and Thomas had one of the most romantic and beautiful engagement sessions EVER. You know it is impossible to ever have favorites, but this San Antonio engagement session is a top five for sure! We just HAVE to tell you two of our favorite things from their session!
First: the location! We photographed Thomas and Sarah’s engagement session at the San Antonio Missions and immediately fell in love with the stunning scenery and textures. And second: the light that day was so incredibly dreamy. Throw an amazing couple in the mix and we photographers have it made! If you can’t tell from their images, Sarah and Thomas are super adorably in love and they truly know how to make each other laugh (but of course, we still threw in a few of Ryan’s hilarious dance moves for good measure).
True to Smith House form, we HAVE to share their proposal story. Thomas had been invited to a wedding in Spring Branch and since it was an out-of-town wedding, he asked Sarah if she wanted to go for the whole weekend to spend time with family and to go out on a date night together. Thomas gave Sarah two options, 1: a totally new date, something they had NEVER done before, or 2: to combine her favorite parts of multiple past dates into one epic day date. Sarah chose option number two, the epic favorites date! So Thomas set out planning. They started out with sushi in Austin at their favorite restaurant, followed by a walk around Enchanted Rock where Thomas popped the question on top of the dome! (Of course, him popping the question in the MIDDLE of their date instead of at the end made it even more of a surprise!). The date continued with an engagement celebration dinner in Fredericksburg and a surprise party brunch the next morning with all of their family and closest friends. Ahh, sweet love!
We had so much fun getting to know these two and we feel so honored they’ve chosen us to photograph their wedding at Lost Mission this summer. We can’t wait!