EMMY + AMANDA'S ENGAGEMENT SESSION AT TWO RIVERS PARK AND DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK

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It was a gorgeous day for Emmy & Amanda's engagement session! We started early at Two Rivers Park to beat the heat. Amanda & Emmy were right at home as they love to go running together & hang out with their dogs. They left their pups at home for this session, but, the park had quite a few cute puppies to distract us in between poses. 

After Two Rivers Park, we headed downtown to Kilwin's, one of their favorite ice cream spots, and for a stroll around the River Market. I love when engagement sessions incorporate the couple's favorite places, it makes the session that much more fun & memorable. Congratulations & all the happiness in the world to these two! 

 
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Guest Post: Stephanie from Made by Matthews

Hello all, I hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season! Maybe  you were gifted with a shiny new ring (woo hoo, congrats!) and are already thinking about planning the Big Day. No judgement on that, planning can be exciting but, it can be super stressful, too. My experience in weddings has taught me the better prepared you are beforehand the smoother the day will go. 

Awesome wedding planner and all around nice gal Stephanie Matthews was kind enough to share some of her experience with planning & how to best enjoy your wedding day. *Blatant plug here* -she offers different levels of wedding planning to fit the bride who only wants day of coordination to the  bride who needs help through the whole process. Pretty cool.

 

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"Months and months, if not years, of planning go into a wedding day. For that reason alone, I think the couple should enjoy their day and not have to worry about the moving parts that make it all come together. I’ve learned that the couples who have the most fun on their wedding day are those who spend the least amount of time working on the wedding that day.

 

Some couples need a wedding planner to help them from the beginning—to figure out all the details and assist them throughout the entire process. Some couples choose to plan the wedding themselves. Regardless, it’s important to think practically about what happens on the day itself. Who is responsible for all of your plans coming together?

Before I was a wedding planner, I planned my own wedding. I’m type-A and organized, so I didn’t think I needed help. Then, our wedding day rolls around, and I am at the reception venue early in the morning arranging uplights and delivering the flowers and cake that I made (yes, I made my wedding cake and don’t recommend taking that on!). I also stayed up all hours of the night for about five days leading up to the wedding to complete all these projects and then some. I should have been soaking in the excitement and spending time with family and friends, but I took on too many responsibilities, which left me feeling overwhelmed and crunched for time. All of that could have been avoided if I had relinquished control and prioritized and budgeted for a wedding coordinator.

My heart hurts for couples that feel increasingly overwhelmed as the wedding day approaches because they have taken on too many responsibilities. Yes, you are capable of handling them. But, you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to be responsible for these things on my wedding day?”

Here’s the truth about weddings, big or small—something will go wrong, even with the best laid plans. Who is going to troubleshoot and problem solve on your wedding day? Unless you have hired someone, it is most likely going to be your mom, your sibling, your best friend, or you. If someone else is not responsible for being “on call” on your wedding day, people will call you when a problem arises.

On a wedding I coordinated, the cake was delivered and left in front of a window for too long on a hot day. Not long after I arrived, the icing on the top tier of the cake began to pull away from the cake and slide off like an avalanche in slow motion. The cake was delivered from a bakery two hours away, so I could not get the staff back to the venue before the reception. I was able to work with catering staff, who were at the venue and had the proper tools, to smooth some icing back on the top tier and decorate it with flowers so that the missing icing would hardly be obvious. Was it perfect? No. Did the bride or groom ever notice? If they did, they never told me.

What I’ve learned from being a wedding planner is that brides and grooms are emotionally attached to wedding details. It’s personal for them. Wedding planners are a step removed. Of course I care about my clients and want them to have the wedding day they’ve dreamed of, but when there is a hiccup, I start thinking about logistics and plan “B.” I’m not reacting emotionally to the situation. I can’t imagine the pressure my bride would have felt if she would have been responsible for figuring out how to fix the messed up cake herself.

To enjoy your wedding day not only does someone need to be “on call” for you, but also the wedding day has to stay on track, in terms of timing. Timing is one of the most important factors to a successful wedding day. Working with a professional planner to create a timeline for your wedding day is so important. You, your family, and your bridal party will know exactly where they have to be and when. So will all of the vendors you’ve hired. This timeline ensures that you have enough time for photos, that you’ve factored in transportation time from the ceremony space to the reception, and that the DJ knows when the first dance song will happen, for example.

Even more critical than having a timeline is having someone to implement it. Time is money. If you’re off-schedule the whole day, will your photographer have to stay an extra hour to take those must-have photos you want? If your ceremony starts late and, because of the ripple effect, your reception starts late, it still has to end on time. Going over your allotted time at a venue often comes with hourly charges. A wedding coordinator is there to make sure the timeline is followed as closely as possible.

Whether you are someone who wants complete control over your wedding or not, I encourage you to give over that control on your wedding day. It’s okay to “do it yourself” and watch the plans come together as your wedding approaches, but allow yourself the joy of being fully present on your wedding day for all of the things that truly matter—the time with your family and friends, the first time you see your fiancé, eating, celebrating, and dancing night away. Let a professional handle the rest."