5 Must Have Hints From Our Local Expert Wedding Photographer

5 Must Have Hints From Our Local Expert Wedding Photographer

 

Pictured above:  Kristin & Scott’s Maine Wedding // Photo Credit: Liz Banfield // Design and Planning: Florabella Studios (See below for full gallery)

We recently had the privilege of sitting down with one of the country’s top wedding photographers, who just happens to be local to the Twin Cities. Her name is Liz Banfield. For Liz, what started out as a hobby shooting weddings for her adverting agency co-workers, soon turned into a wildly successful career. When brides and grooms are searching for the best of the best, they call Liz! While she still shoots Minnesota weddings, she says about 80 percent of the nuptials she is hired for these days are outside of Minnesota. (See below for her impressive list of credentials!)

Liz is known for her style of shooting what she calls, “Real Weddings.” Through her photos, she tells the story of what it feels like to be a guest at the wedding by focusing on the individual essence and the personalization of the clients. She does this by capturing natural, candid moments. With that in mind, here are 5 of the most important things Liz wants you to remember  when it comes to your wedding day photography.

Choosing a photographer:

We asked Liz about choosing a photographer for your wedding, and her advice on that is really insightful! You almost spend more time with your wedding photographer on your wedding day than you do with your spouse. It’s an intimate relationship that starts with everything leading up to the wedding, then the wedding itself, and continues even after you’ve said “I do”. Your photographer is always about 10 feet away from you all day, so Liz says “it’s important to do a ‘chemistry check’ with your photographer before you hire him or her because it will make your photos even better.” Of course, you must love their work and point of view, but she warns not to be dazzled by a photographer’s website or Instagram account. “Ask yourself how much you really ‘like’ him or her, and how much time would you want to spend with them because that will make a real difference in the photos.” And, if you’re choosing an in-demand photographer, Liz recommends booking 9-12 months in advance because schedules fill up fast!

Time is a commodity on your wedding day!

Liz respects that every wedding day is very individual to the client. For some people, having 15 bridesmaids works, but in general a smaller wedding party is better for pictures. Having too many people in your bridal party will dilute the photographer’s ability to cover the event. Whether you have a huge wedding party or not, Liz thinks it’s better to keep the people and the locations close together. She is not a fan of driving all over town to take photos at various landmarks. She would rather see the couple take all the pictures in one scenic place like a garden, a beautiful vista, or other scenic spot, than to take a tour of the city’s iconic places. “In other words, the less logistics you must deal with on your wedding day, the more meaningful and fun day you will have! And remember, nothing moves fast on your wedding day. Hair, makeup, transportation…everything just takes longer and time is precious!”

Preparation is key:

Every photographer prepares for weddings differently. Liz sends a questionnaire to her clients in order to get an idea of what kind of photos they want, as well as get a sense of who they are as a couple. There is usually important information about your wedding and your family that your photographer should know, so communication is key! Liz recommends communicating any detail you want your photographer to know well in advance of your wedding day, so he or she can prepare. The less surprises, the better! You might have special family scenarios or heirlooms you may be wearing that you want captured.  Really any detail you can tell your photographer before the wedding will help him or her take better pictures of your special day.

A wedding is not a photo shoot!

One thing she does not recommend is trying to re-create Pinterest or blog photos at your own wedding. Liz says a wedding is not really a photo shoot… it is a living, breathing event, so she avoids getting too creative or “art-directing” anything during the wedding day.  The photographer wants to capture your special memories rather than trying to re-create someone else’s moment.  By keeping this in mind, you’ll have meaningful photos to look back on for years to come.

Important Photos: 

Because time is so limited on the wedding day, Liz recommends making sure you allocate enough time for portraits of the bride and groom alone. These important photos should not be rushed. “Try to allot for a minimum of twenty minutes for your bride and groom photos. Also, if the couple can sneak out alone at some point during the evening, such as during sunset or a quieter time, that’s a great way to get some romantic pictures.” Lastly, Liz reminds us that “your parents and grandparents, if you are lucky enough to have them at your wedding, are the most important people there besides yourselves. You really can’t have too many pictures with them!”

Look for our next blog…Part 2 with Liz Banfield. She has some awesome advice for couples about engagement photos, favorite spots to take pictures in the Twin Cities and more!

Credentials: Liz has been honored as a “Top Photographer” by Martha Stewart Weddings and Harper’s Bazaar.  She has been published in other national magazines including Town and Country, Brides, The Knot, and Conde Nast Bride, just to name a few!

Check out her work on Facebook and Instagram too!

 

 

Joe + Lauren’s Horse-Drawn Proposal

Joe + Lauren’s Horse-Drawn Proposal

During one of the last snowfalls of the season, Joe arranged an entire evening to make sure his proposal to Lauren, his high-school sweetheart, was perfect.

Their first stop was for drinks at the Nicollet Island Inn, where a horse-drawn carriage arrived to pick them up. They would spend the next hour of their evening cuddled up under a blanket, touring the city. When the horse and carriage stopped on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, the stage was set. Ashley Elwill Photography was ready and waiting to capture that once-in-a-lifetime moment. As Joe and Lauren stepped out of the carriage to take in the view, Joe got down on one knee with their ring box in hand and he asked, “Will you marry me?” and of course Lauren said yes.

Once the newly engaged couple warmed up from the chilly evening, they celebrated at Bar La Grassa and stayed the night in Downtown Minneapolis.

Being so chilly the night of their proposal, Joe and Lauren met up again with Ashley, their proposal photographer, to take more photos on a day that was a bit more comfortable. They returned to their memorable spot on the Stone Arch Bridge, and Ashley captured some really beautiful moments of the soon-to-be bride and groom!

We love being able to team up with local photographers, like Ashley Elwill Photography, to capture the moment our client presents the ring to their new fiancé. Not only does it allow us to be a part of our clients’ stories all the way through to their engagement, but then we get to share these amazing moments and photos with you!

 

Fact or Fiction: When it Comes to Lab Grown Diamonds

Fact or Fiction: When it Comes to Lab Grown Diamonds

Time to reveal fact from fiction when it comes to one of the most controversial products in today’s jewelry industry today. Lab grown diamonds have not only made their debut, they are here to stay. To debunk all the myths that have recently been put out there, Wedding Day is here to show you just how cool and better lab grown diamonds are and why ECO 4 diamonds, exclusively at Wedding Day, should be on the top of your list as a choice when shopping for that perfect diamond.

We’ll give it to you straight.

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Fiction: Lab grown diamonds are made in a microwave.

Fact: That microwave statement may sound quite familiar right now and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. ECO 4 lab grown diamonds are created using a very sophisticated scientific process that took decades to perfect. (Scientists have found a way to duplicate the earth’s process, which took millions of years, and speed it up into a few short weeks.)

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Fiction: Lab grown diamonds are fake like cubic zirconia or other simulants.

Fact: ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds are diamonds. Period.  They are physically, optically and chemically identical to earth mined diamonds. The main difference is where they come from. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, they are simply misinformed of what an ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamond truly is.

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Fiction: Earth mined diamonds hold their value and are a good investment.

Fact: Earth mined diamonds, when purchased at retail price, have never been good investments. If you tried to sell your diamond, you would easily lose 50-90% of its value. But remember, buying a diamond as an investment is not the reason you should purchase one in the first place. A diamond is meant to symbolize the love you have for each other. (Makes no difference where it came from.) If you are purchasing a diamond now to set in a piece of jewelry, selling it for a profit down the road should not be your first thought.

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Fiction: ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds will have no value in the future so you shouldn’t buy one today.

Fact: Our ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds will NEVER lose their value. You will always be able to trade in your ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamond at Wedding Day for another one and you will get every dollar you spent towards a new one. The same holds true for our earth mined diamonds. Nothing’s changed.

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Fiction: Lab grown diamonds are not as beautiful and will not hold their sparkle like an earth mined diamond.

Fact: ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds are grown from the finest diamonds on earth and are considered type IIa diamonds. Out of all the earth mined diamonds available, only 2% of them are type IIa. But 100% of ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds ARE type IIa. They are also cut and polished the exact same way an earth mined diamond is but in most cases, when compared side by side, you will see that ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds are actually more beautiful and have more fire than an earth mined diamond. And because they are diamonds, they will last forever.

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Fiction: Diamond mining has little to no effect on our planet or human race.

Fact: Diamond mining is incredibly destructive to our planet. Just think, there are approximately 25 million carats of diamonds that are mined from the earth, cut and polished every year. That amount of excavation would bury an area larger than the state of West Virginia 1 foot deep. And on top of the earth’s destruction, many of these mines are in areas of the world where civil wars and other conflicts are funding these efforts, making it impossible to uphold basic human rights to the citizens living there. With ECO 4 lab grown diamonds, Wedding Day is able to step back from these challenges and offer an alternative that will in turn help guide us in taking better care of our planet and the people that live here.

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Bottom line and most important:  Your love is pure, and so should the history and origin of your diamond. Our exclusive ECO 4 Lab Grown Diamonds are just that.

 

Our Clients Offer You Their Best Advice

Our Clients Offer You Their Best Advice

We asked and you answered! We went straight to our fans and clients on Facebook to get real life advice from those of you that have already been through the sometimes stressful and confusing task of finding the perfect engagement ring. To make this easy we condensed the responses and put them into categories. With that let’s get started, shall we!?

 

First piece of advice: Choose what ring YOU truly love

The majority of advice people offered were to get what you truly like, not just what is popular at that time. Buy what you love and not what everyone else has. We love this piece of advice because trends do come and go, but the symbol of your love will always represent your relationship and that won’t change. If you like halos pick a halo if you like rose gold go with rose gold! Even if what you love isn’t currently on trend that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. And you’re the one who has to look at the ring every day; shouldn’t you be the one who really loves it?

 

Second piece of advice: Shop together

We were honestly kind of surprised by this response. Today we see a lot of couples who shop together but there are still those that shop alone and are sticking with that traditional route. Many people said to go shopping together so that you can be on the same page about what you like. They even offered up suggestions of how to still keep it a surprise! Abby said “go shopping together and pick out a few different options that you like, then let him make the final decision, that way it will still be a surprise!” Still not sold on shopping together for this purchase? Start dropping hints about what you like, create a Pinterest board, point out styles in magazines that you love, or go opposite and tell them what you HATE so they can steer clear of those styles and still surprise you with an amazing ring.

 

Third piece of advice: Budget

I know budget sounds boring and not something we all want to think about, but it’s a reality. Many of our respondents said to stay within your budget. You are most likely still able to get the ring of your dreams within your budget, especially when it comes to the style and shape of your diamond. (Insider tip: Our Client Advocates are experts at this…)When you stick to your budget you will get the ring you love while keeping your spouse happy and won’t cause undue stress before they pop the question. And hey, if by chance you can’t seem to afford your dream ring now, consider upgrading in the future! It’s a great way to celebrate a big anniversary down the road. Don’t want to wait to upgrade? Check out our amazing financing options that could help make your dreams come true.

Do you have any advice that we didn’t cover? Leave a comment below!

How to Spoil Yourself Without Emptying Your Bank Account

How to Spoil Yourself Without Emptying Your Bank Account

When I first started working at Wedding Day over 4 years ago, I thought my jewelry wardrobe was pretty complete. I had my wedding ring set, my favorite watch, a small diamond necklace that I love, and a few other items in my jewelry box. Sure, I have had my share of “costume jewelry” with CZ’s and the like. But all of these pieces had become old and “used” looking, so I donated them to charity after a while because I never wore them. Plus, I wasn’t exactly in a position to start buying diamond and gemstone jewelry. We have an amazing line of beautiful fashion jewelry here at Wedding Day, but these pieces are real diamonds and gold; the type of item that my husband might buy me for a special birthday or anniversary and not in my “wardrobe” budget.

A year later, we started carrying a new line of high-quality cubic zirconia and genuine, as well as lab created, gemstone jewelry from a company called Lafonn , and it is AMAZING. Lafonn is a design house and manufacturer that creates works of art. Everything is expertly crafted in sterling silver bonded with platinum, which allows the jewelry to wear more like gold or platinum, but at the price-point of sterling silver. The best part is: the silver isn’t going to tarnish. Ever. They are hand-set with the world’s finest cubic zirconia, genuine gemstones, and lab created gemstones. Some pieces are also available plated with yellow or rose-gold. Every Lafonn piece is exceptional. You would never know it wasn’t “real.” That is what I hear all of the time from my friends and family who compliment me on my jewelry!

At Lafonn, they have always believed that a woman’s desire to look and feel beautiful should not be reserved for a privileged few. Every woman of any age, ethnicity and lifestyle should be given the opportunity to own a beautiful, well-made piece of jewelry at a price within reach.  And when I say within reach, I really mean within reach! You would not believe the prices! Literally a Lafonn pendant that looks like it costs $3,000 could retail for just $140 and it looks just as beautiful as the $3,000 one!

I wear my Lafonn jewelry almost every day. I have several pairs of earrings, a couple of pendants, and I have given many pieces as gifts. I cannot begin to tell you how many compliments I get. What is really impressive is that Lafonn pieces hold up perfectly over time. The stones are perfectly brilliant and clear, the metals never tarnish or scratch, and the pieces look the same today as they did 3 years ago. I happen to have a sterling silver necklace from a very well-known jewelry company, but it is tarnished and needs polishing to make it look brand new again. This never happens with my Lafonn pieces.

Best of all, we can order any Lafonn piece at Wedding Day. Just browse our collection at weddingdaydiamonds.com, or go to the Lafonn website and we will order it for you! Happy shopping!