Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Anniversary :: to me!

The business of weddings has brought me a lot of satisfaction over the years. I don't ever make wagers on how long this or that couple's marriage will last. One: it is in poor taste. Two: I believe in love.

I believe in love so much often times I sit here, full of love and just stare at him, my husband. I look around in our home and see our kids who are all the same and yet so different and who just bring us joy. There are moments that we are busy and just stop and look at each other and we tell each other I love you with just a look. (I know this is getting sappy) It is those moments, when a kid does something and we look at each other and just smile. It is the moments, in the craziness of every morning getting 5 ready for school when he stops and gives me my morning kiss... I have my hands in someones ponytail while he is trying to wrangle Diego into washing up and going to school (btw, Diego is tired everyday and doesn't want to go to school everyday) all the while yelling at the teenagers to get up for the 15th time.

I love being in the business of weddings, because I truly want my brides to have the long and lasting love I have been blessed with. When I see a young couple who remind me of us, you can bet I have bust out the tears at their wedding. Lucky me I am in the back of the church and I use waterproof mascara.

We have opposing schedules, I work during the day and he at night. We have 5 kids, so we are busy at any given time...but we make time and we show each other love. We don't have to schedule date night, we don't even know what that is. Our date night is everyday and we relish it. It is the small things that we do to show each other love and we show love in front of our children. When we watch a movie at home with the kids, we sit together - I so love that. When we eat dinner, I am always on his right, no matter where we are. There is the light touches, hand on my arm or mine on his as we walk by each other in the house, in the laundry room, the kitchen, in the yard, planting my four fruit trees. Anyway, before I get too sappy: Happy Anniversary.

Here are just few of my fave things about Jaz:
  • I love your arms, I always feel loved and safe in your arms. Thank you for putting them around me several times a day
  • I love that you are a great father with the patience of a Saint.
  • I love that you clean the kitchen. It's just not my thing and I KNOW how lucky I am. I will continue to cook whatever you want as long as you touch the raw chicken.
  • I love that you can fix all kinds of things - you have earned your man card (inside joke)
  • I love that you are so generous with my charitable projects. I know you didn't plan on marrying a bleeding heart social worker who wants to save everyone. I love that you instill these same values in our kids.
  • I love that you support my entrepreneurial spirit and all that comes with it.
  • I love that you listen to 80's music almost everyday.
  • I love that you are the ultimate Cowboys fan. They ARE America's team.
  • I love our babies...we've made beautiful babies.
  • I love that my family loves you and can rely on you. That when my parents call for help, they call us, not just me.
  • I love that we tag team the kids.
  • I love that you keep it real.
  • I love that you accept me for who I am :: the good and the bad, the quirks and the not so quirky.
  • I love that you show me love all the time.
  • I just love you.

our family portrait from Nov 2007. I just love the cooperation. This is typical us... I hope to post an update to this photo someday soon.

Back row: Jaz, Jennifer, Francisco, Alejandro

Front row: Isabel, Antonio and Diego (laying down, because, again, "he's tired")

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meet the Photographer :: Philip Thomas

Today begins a new series on the blog:  "Meet the Wedding Vendor".  Today's feature is one of San Antonio finest photographers, Philip Thomas.  Philip's photography is just beautiful, personal and often breathtaking.  On top of all that, Philip is so great to work with.  When building your wedding entourage, synergy and teamwork are key to a successful event.  Philip would be a great addition to your team.  Thank you to Emilie Duncan for the great idea. 

Business Name: Philip Thomas Photography
Name: Philip Thomas
Phone Number: 210-833-1168
Email: info {at} philipphotography {dot} com

How did Philip Thomas Photography come to be?
I've been shooting professionally since leaving college in 1991 starting a newspaper photographer in my home town in England. After spending ten years working on cruise ships in charge of nine other photographers, it was in 2002 that I met my best friend and wife, Marcie. After many visits between England and San Antonio Texas, we decided to tie the knot in 2006 and settle here in San Antonio. That's also when I started shooting weddings.

How would you describe your style?
I capture 'decisive' moments. A phrase made famous by the master photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and this is what I try to emulate in my very pure documentary style. I shoot unobtrusively capturing the bride and grooms day from start to finish, reacting and anticipating moments. Absolutely love it!

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Well, I have two favorite parts. Leaving the wedding feeling as part of their family and having the honor that they chose me to capture their day. Corny, but true.

How many people shoot for Philip Thomas Photography?
I have sometimes one or two assistants. Other than that, I don't outsource to anyone. I'm your photographer.

What is the starting investment for a wedding?
$2800 includes full coverage, an engagement or a bridal session and a gorgeous coffee table book hand crafted in Italy.

Anything else we should know about Philip Thomas Photography?
I've started to win awards for my photographs in international competitions with the WPJA, the Wedding Photojournalist Association. I shoot no more than 30 weddings a year. That may sound like allot to some folks, but it's certainly less than many photographers. I like to keep myself fresh by limiting how many weddings I shoot and careful of the burn out factor. I'm a real homebody. Even more so since our daughter Lily was born in May 2007. Yes, now I'm an expert diaper changer.

Childhood Ambition?
A documentary and television cameraman.

Dream Vacation?
To return to India and explore for a year. I was last there in 1995 traveling to many parts of the country but I ran out of time and had to return home.

Last time you laughed until it hurt?
I think the moment I missed my ship about 5 years ago.
Yes, and I didn't get fired for it. Even more funny or wait, is it embarrassing? Well, this is also the MOST embarrassing moment in my life. I was on the wrong ship when my ship left dock. Long story but I'll keep it short. We were in hurricane season, I met up with the other photo manager on his ship and moments later, because of the hurricane, the ships has to leave port in a hurry. So, I was stuck on the wrong ship for a few days. I got a wrap on the knuckles from my boss in Miami, bought my own flight tickets to rejoin the correct ship I was in charge of, and of-course, I was the laughing stock of approximately 1500 crew members. Add that to the ship that I was incorrectly sailing on, and that's oh, another 1500 crew members. Very funny now and also very embarrassing. Now I've told you that one, I'm going to shoot myself in the head.
So, not only do I laugh until it hurts telling that story, I'm sure many other folks enjoy that one too!
Philip - I laughed out loud at this one too - jennifer

Favorite part of the wedding day?
Actually, my favorite part is many parts. Every wedding has a certain structure to it, but for me, my favorite moments are the small nuances that happen between all these more structured parts. Emotion, light, shadow, lines and tones all play a part here.

Greatest length to get the perfect shot?
Often, it's just a fleeting moment, a look, the light and lots of patience. I've learned to not pursue moments, but let the moment pass if it's just not going to happen. Trusting oneself, relying on self-confidence, reacting and anticipating is the way that works best for me.

Favorite animal at the zoo?
We go to the zoo weekly. My daughters favorite is the lion. Naturally, this is my favorite too, especially when we're both mimicking the lion together.....grrrrrr.

Can't live without?
Oh dear, here's my nerd element coming out...My plasma TV. Actually, my wife and daughter.

Hidden talent?
I can draw and paint. I also love to cook.

Favorite quote?
Bill Cosby's "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Best compliment ever received?
At the end of a wedding and the couple mention that they hardly ever saw me and then letting them know I shot around a 1000 images. I've done what I set out to do in an unobtrusive fashion.

If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?
Probably another nerdy thing, a Apple computer tech of some sort.

Describe your perfect day?
Well, is this past or present tense? Past tense would be the day our daughter Lily was born. The perfect future day would be no telephones, no internet, no technology at all in fact, living with my wife in a shack somewhere in a small village along the Mediterranean coast. Drinking margaritas and reading a good book.

 Philip:  Thank you for sharing.  I love the story about Lily!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Inspiration Boards

Ivory & Gold Spring Wedding..

Ivory & Gold Spring Wedding.. - by Jillyann..Missin Sabre :( on

Inspiration Boards: do you have a lot of ideas for your wedding and not know how to organize them? Do you have more than two colors schemes and can't decide which way to go? Don't worry, you aren't alone. Sometimes I have this problem in my everyday life. Take your pieces and put them together to help you create a cohesive look. There are several blogs out there who post inspiration boards weekly. This board was pulled from Polyvore. You can also use photoshop, publisher, even Paint. Show me your inspiration boards. {boutique} @ {regalaffair} dot {com}

Monday, February 16, 2009

Survey - we just need a minute!

I promise, this will only take a minute of your time! If you wouldn’t mind, please click on the link below and answer 9 quick, easy questions about different design aspects of wedding vendor’s websites.

Wedding Vendor Website Survey

We won’t record anything about you other than what state or country you are from - we don’t even ask for your email address so no spam or anything like that.
You will likely see this link on lots of other blogs and sites - this survey is being shared all over the blog-o-sphere so please take the survey only once.

If you have additional comments on the subject, please feel free to email me with those and I will share them with the other wedding vendors who are participating! We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

(If you are a wedding vendor and would like to participate, just copy this post to your blog and email the link to emilie {@} emilieduncan {.} com - she will send you the results once we have closed the survey in March)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blogging Workshop for Wedding Professionals

You already know why you should blog. We'll show you how.

Presented by Liene Stevens of Blue Orchid Designs and The Smart Planner™

Who: Any wedding professional who wants to effectively leverage online
media to grow their business
When:July 15, 2009
Time: 9 am - 4 pm
Where: Winfield Little Studios,
21650 Milsa Dr., San Antonio, Texas 78258
Cost: $150 per person
Click here to Register

Since the launch of the Blue Orchid Blog in 2006, it has grown to include over 3000 unique daily visitors and is partially to credit for the launch of two new Blue Orchid Designs offices on the East Coast. In the Blogging Bootcamp, Liene will share specific strategies and techniques she has personally used to grow the Blue Orchid Designs blog to where it is today.

This workshop is open to all wedding professionals, not just wedding planners. Space is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis so reserve your spot now! Laptops are optional and lunch will be provided.

Topics covered will include:
*How to discover and leverage your blogging voice
*How to maximize your blogging ROI
*How to develop killer content - consistently
*How to set short term and long term goals for your blog
*How to effectively analyze your stats and blog traffic
*How to increase your readership and keep them coming back for more
*Specific strategies and techniques to use your blog to improve your main website's SEO or "findability" on Google
*How to promote your brand through your blog's design and content
*Maintaining professional boundaries while still being personable
*And more!

The Blogging Bootcamp will not be a class on blogging philosophy. You already know that blogging is a good idea. We'll be showing you how to do it so that it is worth your time. No topic will be off the table, and any questions you may have will be fair game.

With prior experience in planning events in the non-profit, corporate and private sectors, Liene Stevens opened Blue Orchid Designs, an event design and planning firm specializing in luxury weddings. One of Arizona's fastest growing wedding planning companies, they have expanded nationally to include the New York City and Washington DC bridal markets. Liene's expertise has been sought out by numerous publications, including The New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio, Washingtonian Magazine, Arizona Society Magazine, and CNN.

Liene studied cross-cultural psychology at Arizona State University and her experiences working in developing nations have enabled her to think quickly on her feet. While serving as one of the executive directors at an international non-profit, Liene received specialized training in leadership, crisis management, teambuilding, as well as conflict resolution and mediation. In addition to planning stylish weddings and events through Blue Orchid Designs, Liene is the founder of The Smart Planner, a business coaching resource for professional wedding consultants. Event planners from around the world have credited Liene's strategic mentoring with increasing their profit margins and improving productivity goals. Her first book is scheduled to be released Spring 2009.

The Longest Day

"Twenty-four photographers. Twenty-four hours. Two teams. But there can be only ONE winner."

WPPI is right around the corner. What is WPPI? It is the mega of all conventions for photographers in Las Vegas. Why would a wedding planner care about WPPI? Well, all the great photographers will be there and the parties are fabulous. I only go for the networking and parties, I couldn't tell you squat about F Stop this or white balance that...but I can find tons of great industry friends. Since we do a lot of destination weddings, we like to use photographers from all over...

I've been watching episodes of "The Longest Day" .  At the end of this project, the winner earns $3k for their charity.  Click above on "The Longest Day to watch from the beginning.  You can watch the final product here:

You will recognize many of the names here:  Robert Evans, The [b]ecker, Joe Photo, Amber Horlitz, Dane Sanders, Brook Todd, Jasmine Star, Jessica Claire...the list goes on.  Here are my fave parts of the final product and I know you will enjoy them too:
  • Robert Evans, Mr. Tom and Katie himself...and his awesome equipment bag, uh, I mean sack
  • the [b]ecker with his 1's and 4's and bouncing light off the fat aunt - new fave words "Foof and Buttery"
  • Dane Sanders Fast "Crack" Photography book - we need one for wedding planners
  • Jules Bianchi and her gummy bear white balance solution
  • the Mike Colon spoof was very very funny...can't wait to ask him about his reaction
  • And please, can I send my personal photos to Kevin Kubota!?
  • Bambi Cantrell can carry her bling
  • And lastly, don't miss Brook Todd busting a move on stage, then off...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Wedding & Event Alphabet Project

So, I stumbled across this website: Project Alphabet. And i've done my own little twist to their idea and will be blogging about it. We will be posting our favorite wedding things that begin with a certain letter in the alphabet. Naturally, my instinct is to begin with the letter A, but I am going to start with the letter S. I love shoes - which is explains the "shoe" label on a wedding planning blog. Keep a look out for Alphabet Wednesdays....

"S" is for shoes and style. Go all out and wear some awesome shoes under your fabulous dress.