Carissa & Stu: A Fabulous Affair Where Whimsical Meets Modern Pop
Photographer and Bride Carissa Woo's 10 Tips for Planning A Wedding
We fell head over heels for Carissa and Stu's wedding--and not just because of the sweetest details (their own hot sauce and the coolest ribbon ceremony backdrop!) and her amazing gown--over the past five years, the talented Carissa Woo of Carissa Woo Photography has captured more than 200 couples on their own wedding day. So not only are we thrilled to share her day--but we tracked down the busy photographer for some insider tips to making your wedding more than perfect.
from Carissa: Finding the one: Three years ago, I was having dinner with a high school friend and telling him about my online dating fiascos and he gave me some advice "Carissa, you are trying way to hard, love should just come to you naturally." A few weeks later, my high school friend and I were together, and I'm not going to lie, I was planning my wedding months before he popped the question. I even booked the venue! My friend and family thought I was crazy but I knew I wanted to get married before "wedding season" started and the hip venues get booked very fast. When he proposed I had exactly nine months to execute our dream wedding--and special thanks to my amazing vendors that made my day so special.
Three months before my wedding I wrote a blog post on my website on planning a wedding--check it out here and now, here is my perspective six months after the wedding.
1. Rain or Shine, The Show Must Go On: Our wedding was in late April. I woke up and all the weather reports said there was going to be a wind storm and 70% chance of rain. I had been obsessing about the weather the entire week, checking weather.com every 5 minutes. It was freezing and windy when we took photos before the ceremony and when we got to the venue, it started pouring down cats and dogs. We didn't know what to do because the ceremony was outside. The rain then stopped. God was watching over us and the sun litterally came out as my dad walked me down the aisle. It made the day that much more magical. Brides, things are not going to go exactly as planned on your wedding day but stay positive and enjoy every minute of it.
2. Be present: Hiring a wedding planner really helped me stay present and be in the moment on our big day. I trusted that my wedding planner could take care of all the details so I told my bridesmaids not to ask me any questions of the day off. I cherished every moment of it and spent quality time with my love one.
3. Location, Location, Location: As you can see from the photos, we took photos at a couple different spots. I got ready and did the first look at the trendy Avalon Hotel. Pick a good getting ready hotel or check out airbnb.com for a cool pad. You will get stunning images. The party bus took us to rodeo drive and LACMA.
4. First look - Do it! 80% of my clients do the first look. It's when the bride and groom sees each other before the ceremony. Seeing my future hubby was an amazing emotional moment and we had a blast hanging out with our closest friends and immediate family before the ceremony. We got most of the photos out of the way before the ceremony so we can enjoy our guest during the wedding. The day goes by fast!
5. Stay Connected: It's important to stay connected with your guests prior to the wedding. One of my past clients made a facebook group with all their guests. Not everyone has facebook so I kept track of my guests through paperless post. I sent the save the date e-card via paperless post so I could keep track of everyone from the very beginning. I sent a reminder to my guest a week before the wedding letting everyone know about parking, what to wear, and even a UBER coupon.
6. Transportation: You may not know about this but you can get a $20 UBER coupon for all your guests for your wedding. You can even create a custom code. I encourage all of my guest to take an Uber so they wouldn't have to drive.
7. Entertain Your Guests: From all of the weddings I have shot, I can honestly say that some were more entertaining than others. I wanted to entertain my guests.Therefore me and bridemaids and me and my dad performed a choreographed dance. It wasn't easy getting the moves down but it was such a bonding experience with my bridemaids and dad. The guests loved it and it was so fun to watch all the videos after. We also had a amazing singer Jessica Garcia and the best dj mc in the industry Hilo Productions.
8. Personal Details! We included details that meant something to us:
*Hot sauce from the 99 cent store with custom labels. All my guests said they still use our hot sauce!
*Polaroid camera - I had a bunch of polaroid cameras at the guest table. I had them take photos and write us a personal message.
*Custom Menu cards with our engagement photo on it.
*Catering from one of our favorite restaurants Parks Finest.
*I encourage all my clients to prints their engagement session photos. We had a sign in book but there are also canvases, wood prints and more. Your guests will love seeing photos of you at the wedding!
9. Hashtag Slideshow: I did not want a unplugged wedding. I love Iphone photos, not only professional photos. Our hashtag was #sturissa and during the reception, I had a hashtag slideshow running the entire reception. It was a live feed so the guest got a kick out of seeing their photos projecting on a big white wall. I used the company events tag and their technology let me download all of the Instagram photos the next day.
10. Cutting Costs: As a wedding photographer, of course I love fancy details, expensive rentals etc. During the planning process I had to have a reality check. I think every bride with a budget realizes that money goes very fast when planning a wedding. I had to cut some items that I really wanted such as chivari chairs and specialty linens. It's not worth going into debt for things that you do not need. You can still have your dream wedding on a budget.
If you want to see more from Carissa and Stu's wedding, check out the video here: Watch here
Venue: Studio 1342
Photographer: Sun and Sparrow
Wedding Coordinator: Nicole Alexandra Designs
Bridal Gown: JLM Couture
Floral Design: Chloe + Mint
Rentals: La Pinata
Ceremony Arch: Circa Vintage Rentals
Caterer: The Parks Finest
Programs & Menu Cards: Ramon Cho
DJ: Hilo Productions
Live Music: Jessica Louise
Makeup: Classy and Chic Makeup Boutique http://www.classyandchicmakeupboutique.com
Bartender - Goose on the Rocks