Written by Mollie Wetta of Mollie Wetta Photography.  We are excited to have Mollie as a guest contributor to Wedding Wednesdays!

Pinterest Disclaimer:  I could write an entire post about my love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  While it has reeked havoc on the wedding world and raised bridal expectations often to an unreachable height, it is still a valuable tool for collecting thoughts and sharing ideas.

When planning a wedding the venue is one of the first things to be chosen.  The venue of your dreams (go ahead and google "New York Botanical Gardens Wedding" now) it is not always possible.  Sometimes the most beautiful venue available is just not in the wedding budget and even with no budget, space can be a restriction.  If you are going to have a 300-400 guest wedding in Wichita,KS your options become very limited.  As wedding photographers, we have seen the best and worst venues and I continue to be amazed at how a creative bride and/or wedding designer can transform the least ideal spaces.  In our opinion, the best solutions are those that focus on lighting. In photography, lighting is truly everything. The better lighting you have, the better your pictures will be. Something we see often in a venue is a drop ceiling and fluorescent lighting.  When that is what you have to work with, the best thing to do is turn off that fluorescent lighting immediately.  Now you need to add better light back in. Let's start with the tables: one word: Candles.  They are underrated and relatively inexpensive for the impact that they make.  Don't feel like you have to get caught up in a Pinterest whirlwind of trying to be different either...candles are classic and timeless.  (that being said, here is a Pinterest board I have made of well lit tables)  

photo by  Darrin Hackney . Event design by  Jesterbird Events .

photo by Darrin Hackney. Event design by Jesterbird Events.

The other great place to add lighting if possible is over the dance floor.  Here is where that drop ceiling *slightly redeems itself.  If your venue has a drop ceiling, you are more likely to be able and allowed to hang decorations from it. Strand lights, lit paper lanterns and chandeliers can make a huge difference not only to the feel of the reception but in your pictures. (Check out this pinterest board.  The lights are what makes the pictures.) At my sister-in-law's wedding this past New Year's Eve, we added lit lanterns over the dance floor.  Look at how much it adds to pictures.  Yes, the lanterns could have been unlit but the additional light they put off lights up the guests faces and really adds to the overall feel of the room:

photos by Jackie Cooper Photography see the rest of the reception  here .

photos by Jackie Cooper Photography see the rest of the reception here.

Another negative aspect about some venues are the walls.  They can either be too plain or plain ugly.  Easiest fix for this is uplights. We shot a wedding in a space that was originally an areana attached to stables.  The walls were cinder block with mortar that looked a bit messy.  Anybody could easily be turned off by the lack of elegance in the walls.  The wedding designer uplit them and it made a huge difference.  In pictures, it looks like they have a really neat texture. While uplights are the obvious choice, there are lots of other ideas to fix or hide ugly walls. (Check out this Pinterest board for more ideas)

You can see how much all of the lighting adds to their first dance images...see that cinder block wall IS kind of cool...

Photography by  Mollie Wetta . Event design by  Event By Ashley  

Photography by Mollie Wetta. Event design by Event By Ashley  

look at these two pictures and the difference the lighting in the background makes in the second one.

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Photo by  Mollie Wetta Photography . Event design by  Events By Ashley

Photo by Mollie Wetta Photography. Event design by Events By Ashley

At this wedding, the walls were up lit in pink:

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photos by  Mollie Wetta Photography . Event design by  Jesterbird Events

photos by Mollie Wetta Photography. Event design by Jesterbird Events

Photo by  Darrin Hackney

A Little About Mollie:

Mollie Wetta is a photographer based out of Wichita Kansas specializing in Weddings and Newborns.  She (and her husband, Patrick) has been shooting weddings for 4 years and will be shooting their 60th wedding together this year.  She does an amazing job of balancing shoots, editing, all while taking care of her two beautiful daughters. Her photos are timeless and her attention to detail is unmatched.  We are very excited for her to share her expertise and creativity with us as a guest writer! View more of Mollie's work at her website: www.molliewetta.com  or visit her blog at molliewetta-blog.com/


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AuthorGretchen Postiglione

Location, Location, Location.  Changing the location of a party isn't a new idea but still is a great way to add a lot to a party.  Many local museums and some shops even have spaces specifically set up for parties. If your child loves art, think about having the party at an art studio or museum.  Many have spaces they use for classes that you can rent out.  Or if they don't, take a tour and end outside with a picnic lunch on the lawn.   Rental fees can be an added cost, but you can cut down on decorations because the venue fits the party theme.

In the Enchanted Party. photo by Katie Gordon

In the Enchanted Party. photo by Katie Gordon

For the Fairy Tale Party we wanted "An Enchanted Forest" and our backyard isn't super enchanting so we had the party at my aunt's farm.  We found a neat area on her property among the trees and after some clearing out we had a great party space.    

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione
CategoriesKid's Birthday

This last year my four-year-old REALLY wanted a Rapunzel party.  I really tried to convince her she didn't, but reasoning with a four year old about why mommy doesn't like character parties did not go over great.  So I managed to convince her that a Fairy Tale Party in the "Enchanted Forest" with Tangled things like cake and games would be way more fun.  She of course got to dress as her favorite "character" Rapunzel and I got away from a total character party.    

Fairy Tale Party. photo by Katie Gordon

Fairy Tale Party. photo by Katie Gordon

Kids dressed up and joined up in the Enchanted Forest.   I used "iconic" items from fairy tales like red roses, pumpkins and apples for decor. I used branches and moss accents to add to the woodland feel and hung white tulle from the trees to give the space an enchanted feel.

Hansel and Gretel Candy Bar, Eat Me Cookies, Crown PB&J, Wand Cookies and Jack in the Beanstalk Jelly Beans. photo by Katie Gordon

Hansel and Gretel Candy Bar, Eat Me Cookies, Crown PB&J, Wand Cookies and Jack in the Beanstalk Jelly Beans. photo by Katie Gordon

My sister made some amazing cookies  - Eat Me cookies from Alice in Wonderland and magic wand cookies.   

Cinderella Pumpkin Pudding. photo by Katie Gordon

Cinderella Pumpkin Pudding. photo by Katie Gordon

For the cakes I made Rapunzel Tower Cupcakes that I found the idea for here.  I kept the rest of the food simple - peanut butter and jelly Royal Crown sandwiches, Cinderella Pumpkin pudding, Pixie Dust popcorn,  and a Hansel and Gretel Candy Bar.  Tune in next Monday for Part 2 of the party - Fairy Tale Activities.

Rupunzel Cupcake Towers. photo by Katie Gordon

Rupunzel Cupcake Towers. photo by Katie Gordon

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione
CategoriesKid's Birthday
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Making candy can be somewhat intimidating.  Temperature and cook times are very specific.  So needless to say, I stay away from most candy making. However, I stumbled across this truffle recipe, and made a few small adjustments. It truly is SUPER EASY and makes approx. 50-60 small truffles.  They always get rave reviews when I make them!

Ingredients:  

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract (or flavor of your choice.)  Almond extract is also a favorite at our house! 

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and orange extract until no streaks remain. Refrigerate overnight .

To shape into balls: About 20 minutes before you are ready to roll, transfer chocolate to freezer to firm up. Use a spoon to pull out a small portion to make a 1" ball - the chocolate will be firm and even crumbly at this point. Roll it in your hands and as it melts it will form a smooth ball.  The chocolate will get gooey and will start to melt on your hands so I use a little vegetable oil on my hands to keep the chocolate from sticking too much.  The colder the chocolate is the better, if it gets too warm put the container back in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm back up.  I also recommend breaking the mix up into smaller sized containers - so you can pull one out and the other stays cold until you are ready for those.  

After you form your balls, you can coat them in whatever you would like!  My personal favorites are cocoa - these look so high end - or crushed almonds or pecans.  These are really rich so the cocoa or nuts cut the sugar a bit.   Store in refrigerator until ready to serve! You want them to melt in your guest's mouth, not on the plate!  

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione

It is easy when party planning to get caught up in buying tons of stuff that fits just that theme, and sure these can be fun. But unless you plan on throwing five identical parties, this isn't really practical. That is why I really try to limit myself to items I can use over and over again.  And if you are going to do this, you have to think outside the box on the uses for things.  The vintage stemware below was my grandmother's, and it is a go-to item for me.  I use them as standard stemware a lot, but in this instance I use them as vases instead of drinking glasses.  Using them in an unusual way gives so much charm and texture to the decor, and the mixing of the different sizes and shapes only add to that charm.

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione

written by Faith Geilenfeldt of Bel Amour Events.  We are excited to bring Faith on as a guest contributor to our blog!   

Your wedding day is the one time in your life when everyone important to you is in the same room, so make sure you show them something that reflects you and your fiance as a couple! Always strive to incorporate your own personal style, regardless of what the current trend is. After all, you are the one who will remember the most about your wedding. When you look back on your photos in 15 years, you want to see a look that says “Classically You” rather then looking at them with the classic thought of “What was I thinking?!?!”

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There are so many ways to incorporate a theme or color palette, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I always encourage my brides to focus on the elements of their wedding that is of the most importance to them, then think of how they would apply different themes into that design element. If you fall in love with one, then run with it!

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Design tip of the week:

Be careful not to over-indulge in a wedding theme! Allow some elements of your wedding to be the focal point, and then design around it more simply to accentuate rather then distract.  More is not always better... sometimes it’s just more!

A little about Faith:

Faith has spent the last several years working with one of the top wedding event companies in Southern California, and now she is bringing her expertise home to Kansas!  With an eye for design, she is able to make each event unique by combining a bride's personal touches with her artistic flair and attention to detail! Her years of leadership experience allow her to stay poised under pressure which inspires confidence in her clients and vendors. Faith has one goal, to create an event that is one of a kind and will be remembered for a lifetime.

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione

Wanting to throw a Fondue and Fabulous Shoes Party?  Here are some beautiful products from Etsy that would really make an impact at your party!  

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1.  Amethyst Drink Glass Set, Hazel Atlas "Moroccan" Purple Glasses - Vintageeclecticity

These would be perfect for displaying "fondue dippers" like fruit or pretzels or for small floral arrangements.  

2. Purple Passion Stiletto High Heel Shoe Favor Boxes - shadow090109

How cute would a few truffles stuffed into the toe of this shoe be on every guests plate.  Add a little nametag to it and it could double as a placecard!  

3. Large Paisley Scarf Pashmina - LePetitMonkey

The texture of this could add a lot to the decor draped over a chair or as a table runner!

4. Moroccan / Arabian Candle Lanterns - MoroccanArganOil

A few of these lanterns would make a big impact on the drama in the space.

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione
TagsFondue

Macarons are something we didn't really see in The States until a few years ago.  Now these little pastries are popping up in bakeries everywhere, and are one of the hot items on a sweet table at any party. I think the appeal is two-fold.  Visually they are wonderful to look at with vivid colors and identical size and shape.  Second, they are amazing tasting: crunchy on the outside, and then a layer of gooey flavored cream or fruit spread.  There are so many creative ways to display them too.   Displayed in small bowls or simply lined up on a plate looks great. 

mint chocolate chip macarons made by  Sugar Sisters Bakery

mint chocolate chip macarons made by Sugar Sisters Bakery

For a more dramatic look, you could make an amazing macaron tree like this one!  Only takes two minutes :) 

They can be expensive, but a few can make a big impact.  I am usually an avid DIYer - thinking I can "do anything cheaper" - but unless you are a professional pastry chef, I wouldn't recommend making these because they are one of the hardest cookies to make. 

Posted
AuthorGretchen Postiglione