You said YES… now what?

Photograph by Jamal & Lashana Photography

Congratulations on saying yes and I am sure your ring is amazingly beautiful. Now comes all the fun (and at times stressful part) … planning your wedding. Lucky for you I have created a timeline to help you so you are not trying to do it all the first week of getting engaged!

Let’s focus on setting a date first and to do so if you do not already have one in mind is to determine what time of year you want to get married. If you are budget conscious and you live in an area that has seasons, like me in the northeast, choosing an off-season date is the way to go. If that is not a concern, then choose any time. I strongly suggest May, June, or Sept for outdoor weddings. This way your guests are not sweating too badly while enjoying your day.

Now that you have picked a date it’s time to choose your vendors. Some vendors will require you to book them further in advance than others. I made a timeline based on the average time needed before your wedding to choose them. If you book them earlier that’s ok too, but I wouldn’t wait much longer than I suggest to ensure you get who you want!

Let’s talk venue. Choosing the correct venue is important. You want a space large enough for there to be room to eat and dancing, but not so large that it feels empty with your number of guests. Before you start looking for a venue, have an idea about how many guests you will have and the type of wedding you want…. rustic, modern, formal, casual, outdoor/indoor?

Now it is time to start looking to hire vendors. These are the wonderful people you will have ensuring your wedding day is perfection! It is important to plan out your budget prior to starting you search. You need to determine what you are willing to spend for each service…. There is that saying “you get what you pay for” so if you are sticking to a strict budget, you need to make sure you know what you are going to spend.

Now that you have a budget planned out, its time to start searching! Find your photographer and wedding planner (if you are hiring one) first. Photographers book up 1-2 years ahead of time. Take time to look at the types of photos they take and ensure they are what you are looking for. Each photographer has a style and you want it to jive with you, otherwise you may not have the best experience. Take the time to sit with them before signing contracts and make sure everything you want and need is available to you from them and listen to the ideas they have too. They have seen more weddings than you and are full of knowledge and ideas that you are going to want to know about!

Videographers are next on the list. If your photographer does not do video, ask who they have liked working with and/or who they would recommend. The venue may also have a few in mind for you. You want to make sure they can work cohesively! Watch videos from different videographers to get an idea what you would like in yours and the different styles they have.

Each time you are ready to search for another person who want to provide a service for you, take the time to check out their work. Make sure it looks like what you envision for your wedding. Be sure schedule time for a makeup and hair trial. You do NOT want to just wing it and be unhappy with the results. I had a bride come to me who was on her third hair and makeup trial because no one was listening to her. I listened and she booked me after seeing how her vision came to light.

If you are looking for a short engagement, use this list to ensure you are booking the vendors you need and want first. I created it based on how quickly they will get booked up to the services most people wait to book until it gets closer because you cannot do it all on the same day.

Enjoy this time! Your wedding day is a wonderful day filled with love, family, and friends. It will all come together. Take time to breathe, relax, get a couple massage and enjoy the planning process. You only get married once (well, hopefully 😉 ) and it should be an enjoyable experience you and your fiance do together.

Download this timeline to help you!

It’s in the details!

I love walking into a reception room and seeing the tables, the flowers, the seating charts, etc. The tiny little details give the personal touch. It is what makes a wedding unique, it gives you a certain vibe and lets you know more about the couple and the love they have for each other. Oh the details are so important!

Here are some gorgeous details from a beach theme Newport Wedding Shoot. Location was Queen Anne’s Loft, a beautiful venue that is one the second floor and has with large windows to allow you views of the ocean and the city.

Table Setting Perfection

Setting the table with the wedding theme directing you allows every person taking part of the special day really feel your vision. This table setting is perfect.

The florals are gorgeous, a great height and are soft colors. The rope runner has beautiful knots and brings in the beach theme. The glasses tinted green and blue make you think of the ocean. Then there are the pieces of sea glass with beautiful calligraphy as the place cards. I mean, can it get more perfect than that?!

Guests will feel important with the attention to detail you have given to make their place look beautiful.

Your wedding theme starts with the invitation you choose to send your guests. Gorgeous invites that clearly shows the beach theme, the beautiful colors, and the writing will all follow through to the wedding day details.

When there is a custom sign to greet guests when they enter it becomes a photo op and gives guests an idea of the vibe your reception will have!

Gorgeous!

Every detail is perfection. Her dress, jewelry, hair, makeup, flowers, and decor all give beautiful, romantic, spring, beach vibes.

This cake is stunning. The colors and details incorporate the beach theme beautifully. I love that it was not a huge cake, but tall enough to beg everyone to come take a look before it was cut.

Finding a baker that not only bakes a delicious cake, but that is also beautiful can be tricky. Add to that a need to be gluten free and you could be in trouble. Be sure to take the time to find your ideal baker and do tastings to ensure you are happy with the result. After all, no one wants pictures of the bride and groom not liking the taste of their cake.

This wedding was elegant, romantic, and simply stunning. Every last detail was thought of and taken care of. Working with event planners can help you find the perfect wedding vendors to work with and it can ensure a flawless theme. As a woman, former bride, and makeup artist I appreciate all the work that goes into creating your perfect wedding. Start to finish there are endless details that cannot be overlooked. If you liked the personal touches and details from this wedding here is the list of wonderful people who made it all possible! If you contact any of them, be sure to tell them Jess sent you 🙂

Custom Foundation!

Ladies, do you find yourself looking at all the different types and colors of foundation and wondering what to do?  This has been a struggle for so many women and I wanted to be part of a solution.  Imagine having a foundation made just for YOU!

I have always believe that makeup should enhance a woman’s beauty and by creating custom foundation just for you, I am able to fully enhance your natural beauty! First, I will ask you to complete a survey to determine what your skincare needs are and what you are looking for a foundation to do.  Some women use it to cover up spots they feel are imperfections, some use it to cover sun spots and dark circles under their eyes, some just like it to create even skin tone.  No matter your reason for wanting foundation, I can provide the correct coverage.   

The consultation begins!

Now that I know your desires for foundation, we talk more about skin care. Would you like sunscreen in your foundation? Do you have sensitive skin? Are you concerned about aging? You answers to these questions allow me to customize your foundation even further.

Get your perfect match!

Let the mixing begin! Not only will you get the absolute perfect match for your skin tone, and the coverage you want, you will also have skincare additives in there to help improve your skin and any “issues” you have with it!

Mixing up the magic!

Here I am adding some anti-aging serum because she does not want to see fine lines and wrinkles! I will also add a soothing serum to combat redness and she would like the primer to be in the foundation to make her makeup routine less steps! I am happy to fully customize this foundation for her. Once I am able to satisfy all the skincare needs for you, I will then mix up your color!

The perfect color match requires a few base colors and some toners. There is a science to it that I love! I also love the smiling face of a happy customer. There is no better feeling than helping another woman feel like her most beautiful self by creating a one-of-a-kind product.

If you would like your own custom foundation fill out the form and I will be in touch! I cannot wait to help you have the perfect foundation!

Self Care

I was recently sick. Completely down and out for the count with the stomach bug. It was awful. I needed to be quarantined from my family to ensure our three year old and 6 month old did NOT get infected. I was unable to move without being nauseous. The mere thought of food made me reach for the bucket. It was while I laid there, listening to my kids laugh, listening to dad handle almost everything, that I realized I had brought this on myself.

I am an avid hand washer, grocery cart sanitizing crazy person. You will see me with hand sanitizer after pumping gas, reading menus, before eating snacks while out, after touching handles, etc. I always make sure we all wash our hands upon coming home and yet here I was sick as a dog! I am thankful it was I who got sick and not one of the kids, but I feel like it’s kind of my own fault…. because I NEVER give myself a break.

Let’s think about this, ladies, especially moms…. when was the last time you took some time out of your day, your week, your month to relax, unwind, meditate, exercise, read? If you are anything like me the answer is ummmmmm because I have no idea! I have been running around for the past three months getting everything and everyone ready for all the holidays! I mean there has been NO break since Halloween, do you agree? After the candy craze, we go into making sure to book photo sessions for Christmas cards, prepping where and when we are going to see family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, who we need gifts for, and my husband and I always plan a family vacation in December as a gift to the kids because we believe in experiences more than toys. There are countless parties to go to, and let’s not forget to throw in some birthdays into the mix too! It’s list upon list of what needs to get done, decorating, tree trimming, lights, cards, gifts, wrapping, cooking, baking, etc etc…. and I know some of us have husbands that help, but most of that falls to us ladies.

So now here I am, the holidays are done, I can finally relax, right? No! Everyone gets a cold from seeing so many people. It’s a constant boogie fight and who is coughing, and who needs another bath etc. And as a mom, you are doing it all, I was managing feeling blah and not 100% but taking care of everything, until I wasn’t! It hit like a ton of bricks! I really believe it was my body’s way of yelling at me. I was not eating right, not drinking enough water, and living off of gluten free cookies and fudge!

Getting sick was the worst best thing that happened. It forced me to stop. It forced me to realize I am not superwoman and I can get sick and knocked on my butt. It made me realize that asking for help isn’t so bad and that I have a pretty awesome husband who has my back when I need him. What was I so afraid of? Why didn’t I just say, “Hey, I need a break”? It’s because I felt I needed to be able to do it all, but that isn’t true.

I realize I need some “me time” because I can take care of anyone else. If I am not at 100% I cannot possibly give anyone else 100% and my kids and family deserve all of me. I am learning that I should NOT feel guilty about telling my husband I need a break, a breather, a little time to replenish my cup so that I can be the best mom and wife I can be. Once I have my cup filled, I am completely present and able to provide for everyone else.

Ladies, mommas, you need to take time for you and keep your cup filled. Allow people to help you and make time for you to get some “Self care”. The more time you take the fuller your cup and it will overflow to all your loved ones. There are so many ways to get a little time in, here are a few ways I have discovered:

  • Hire a housekeeper – Once a month, bi-weekly, weekly … whatever you can afford, it is worth every penny! A clean house is calming and you can enjoy your kids while she cleans or take a class if your kids are not around at the same time!
  • Take an exercise class – They happen at all hours of the day, many have drop in availability so you do not need to join a gym or feel pressure to go the same time every week. Make it more fun and have a friend go with you!
  • Grocery Delivery – order online and they bring it to you…. no more trips to the market… saves you time and money and you can use that time to relax!
  • Get up 30 minutes early – I know, I know we all LOVE sleep. Getting up early gives you time alone to write in your gratitude journal (if you don’t have one, I highly recommend it. I’ll be writing more about that another time. ) You can exercise, enjoy a cup of coffee, or read a book. Anything that YOU want to do before you have to start your day.
  • Scheduled “time off” – This one is especially for the stay at home moms. You do not get time off, you are always on! Schedule a time every week that is YOUR time. I recommend planning it with your partner so you both know when that time is. It can be an hour or more. This is your time to do whatever you like…. walk around Target aimlessly, go shopping for new clothes, take a class, read, go to starbucks and just sit and people watch, dinner with a friend… it doesn’t matter. I guarantee that knowing you have this time scheduled will help you and enjoying that time without feeling guilty about leaving the house will fill you up!
  • Nap time relax – How many times do moms use nap time as a time to do as much as possible? That was me! Now I use nap time to read or exercise, thank you youtube, or watch trash TV (no judgement please)! Doing this relaxes me so that when the kids do get up I am refreshed and ready to play and do not feel like I am always working to get something done.

I hope you found this helpful. Remember, you can only give as much as you have. Taking time for yourself is not selfish, it is necessary. Give yourself some love, you are doing a great job!

How much changes in a year…

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Reminiscing by looking back at photos from last year should not make me want to cry, yet here I am blubbering away because so much has changed.

Last year at this time I was booking a photoshoot to create our “We’re expecting” surprise card! We had some great shots taken and choose this image to give our families on Christmas. Yes, holding in this surprise was one of the toughest things to do because 1) I love me some wine and my whole family would find it bizarre that I was not having some during the holidays and 2) I was soooooo sick and not just morning sickness, I am talking about the whole day ruined because I could barely lift my head up without the world spinning uncontrollably sick!

We were able to keep it a surprise by filling wine bottles with apple juice and water or sparkling apple cider LOL and NOT sharing it with anyone. Also, if anyone poured me a drink, my husband took one for the team and drank it or i disposed of it down the sink.

Last year I was just growing this beautiful baby girl that I now get to hold and snuggle and care for. She has completed our family in ways that I didn’t even realize needed completing. Her little smiles, coos, and baby giggles make us all so happy and I feel so blessed to have a third healthy baby. She already wants to talk and move more than she can and I can tell she is going to be a feisty one! I thought that having another baby might take away from the amount of time and activites that I could do with my other two children, but it hasn’t. Now there is one more kid tagging alongside as we continue to travel and make memories. There is no stopping us and what we want to do. Getting out of the house may take a little more time, but with good planning we get where we are going, and sometimes we are even on time!

The biggest change is actually not a new baby, sleeping less, or taking more time to get out of the house. It’s that my son decided and was allowed to go live with his father. (cue water works) For 13 years I said good morning and good night to my son, I helped with homework, made meals, brought him to practices and games, taught him how to snowboard, ride a bike, roller skate, ice skate, etc and within a few weeks of turning 13 he wanted a change. Many moms wonder why I would let him go, and it was simple…. I did not want my child to feel that I was holding him back, or that I was dictating how he should live his life. 

No one can fully prepare you for the heartache motherhood entails.  It is even harder when mom and dad are not together.  His father was the fun weekend dad for years!  Prior to that he was the fun one day a week dad and before that the non-existent because a baby is too much work dad. I am not here to criticize, I did that years ago and he is stepping up to be a better dad, I mean he has to be now that his kid is with him 24/7. I digress…. Zach left because he thought the grass was greener, he thought he would have it easier, that he would be able to get away with more, etc.  I am sure that he does and that the rules are not as strict as they were in my home, but I am learning to be ok with that.  I am learning that just because everything is not done my way, that he will be ok.  I am learning how to talk to a teenager through texts vs seeing him everyday.  I am learning how to decipher emojis and forte night lingo.  Hell, I am even letting him show me how to play it (I am terrible!) 

He is still my son.  The lessons and values I have spent the first 13 years of his life teaching him are still there.  I let him know I love him and he can come “home” whenever he chooses, if he ever does.  I value the days we get to spend together even more because they are so few and saying goodbye makes me cry every time.  No one prepared me for this.  Nothing anyone could have said would have prepared me for this.  This is me, hurting, so that I can maintain a good relationship with my child.  It is by far THE hardest thing I have had to do and I watched him be flat-lined as a baby because of a heart condition.  I know we will make it through and my hope is that when he becomes an adult and when he has his own children, he will realize the torture he put me through and maybe appreciate the depth of my love for him a little more.  

We may not be a complete family of five 24/7, but when we are, it’s great.  When we are only a family of 4 we have a blast and the girls are the best sisters my husband and I could have ever dreamed up.  Who knows what the future is going to bring us, but I know whatever it is, I’ll be able to handle it with love and the strength I get from being their mom! 

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