Sara Reynolds Events » A Maryland based events & wedding planner

Boy oh boy, where do I start with this one?! John is my baby brother and after 13 years with the same girl he FINALLY made it legit. (I will never complain about waiting 6 years for my engagement ring, Mitchell!) We always knew that Terra and John would marry each other and I started calling Terra my sister a very long time ago but it’s for real now! I nominated myself as their wedding planner as soon as I knew John bought a ring, which was around November of 2013–they don’t move fast people.

Around May 2014 (yes it took me almost 6 months to get them started with any planning) we made some day trips up to the Lancaster area. They wanted to offer a middle ground between both their families in Connecticut and friends in Maryland, and after searching the ends of the internet Terra came across Lakeview Farms in Dover, PA (right outside of York). Everyone fell in love with the venue after the site visit! September 26, 2015 was the day they would forever be Mr. and Mrs. John Wakeley. Terra-welcome to the family, it’s been a long time coming!

Venue: Lakeview Farms

Photographer: Brittany Thomas Photography

Day-of Coordination Assistant: Lovely Bubbly Events

Flowers: Pennypack Flowers

Catering: Artistic Foods Catering

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When I first started planning corporate events I remember being incredibly annoyed that everyone kept asking for the day-of timeline. “Did we incorporate this into the timeline?” “We can’t do this based on the timeline” and so on and so on. Oh how silly a young mind can be! I live and die by timelines now!

So, friends, let’s chat about the wedding day timeline.

  • Timeline conversations start with photographers

After a photographer has been booked my follow-up conversation with them is always in reference to the timeline. I ask questions such as “how long do you need for detail shots” “how long do you typically allot for family photos” “do you want me to carve out specific times for sunset photos?” Each photographer is different and every wedding is different, perhaps they are trying out a new lens with this wedding and will want more time for details, or they have a stellar system with their assistant and can whip out family shots in 20 minutes (if so, call me, we need to partner). I make photography a priority in my timelines because that is the tangible after the wedding. You won’t be able to touch the tablecloths or flowers ever again but you WILL look at your pictures over and over and therefore I provide ample time to allow that to happen.Brittany Thomas PhotographyP I N I T

  • Account for ALL actions on the wedding day

For my timelines I account for the time that the bride needs to be done with their make-up, when the brides needs to start dressing, what time they need to be done with dressing, (if they are doing a first look) what time the groom needs to be staged, etc. I know this might seem obnoxious but here is why; the hair stylist and make-up artist ALWAYS ask what time they need to be done and therefore by “buffering” the other steps behind that it allows for some wiggle room if someone took longer than expected. There is nothing worse than a stressed out bride because hair and make-up are taking too long. This also allows time for the photographer to stop and pose some pictures of the bride putting her gown on instead of rushing through it because we are behind schedule.

  • Buffer time

As I said, buffer time, buffer time, buffer time. Hair and make-up ran long? Well I gave the bride 25 minutes to get dressed (do they have intricate buttons all down the dress? 35 minutes), she is still taking too long to get dressed? I buffered time with when the groom needs to be staged, etc. It doesn’t have to be large amounts, 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there but I can tell you that makes a world of difference. It allows the bride to feel like they are in control of their day instead of the day controlling them because they are behind schedule.

Stay tuned for Part TWO of my “Smooth Operator” series–incorporating transportation into your day-of timeline

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This is a kick-off of a series on my blog called “Vendor Spotlight”. I have worked with some incredibly talented people in this industry and I want to highlight them. I will showcase vendors from every aspect of the wedding planning process: venues, photographers, caterers, calligraphers, even jewelry designers!

First up is someone near and dear to my heart! This extremely talented lady was MY wedding photographer. We have partnered together on two wedding so far and have four more coming up! Therefore, I am speaking not only as a fellow vendor but also as a bride; she is incredible.

What made you pick up a camera?

My brain told my hands and then I did. (Don’t print that)

Like most photographers, it was kind of an accident. I needed a Technology credit in high school and I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in a keyboarding class, my guidance counselor told me I could take Photography as the credit. I remember thinking that was weird because it was an art class, but now I understand. Photography is very technical! You can’t get to the artistic part of it without understanding the technological side first. Oh, and I can still type 90wpm!

How did you get started in the wedding industry?

I have to thank my college friend and former bride, Jennifer, for this one! I have a degree in Communication Studies and I was going to graduate school for professional writing. At the time, I wanted to be a food writer – I had a food blog and a column in the local paper and everything! I just knew I wanted to be a better writer in some capacity and food/cooking was, and is, one of my favorite subjects. I used to take pictures of my recipes for my blog and I got a message from Jen one day asking if I photographed weddings (she was newly engaged!). I didn’t have a price sheet or a contract or anything, it just sounded like fun and I wanted to try it. Thankfully, her wedding was over a year away so I had plenty of time to practice before the big day. I shot a few other weddings before hers and I just loved it. I find I do well in service-based jobs that allow me to be creative while still loving on people and having a lot of autonomy. Photography combines those things really well for me.

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What is your shooting style?

Completely awesome. I’m kidding! As much as I’d like to say I am completely non-traditional, I also know it’s important to have timeless, classic images that won’t look dated fifty years from now. I try to put a spin on that by ensuring my images are romantic and soft and not just two people looking straight into the camera or stuck in a static pose. I love emotional photos – something with a little heat to it; photos where people are laughing naturally or in an easy embrace. I’d also say that I tend to shoot physically close to my clients, I’m not afraid to get right in there with them so we can fill up the frame.

I edit with film presets so they still have a modern appeal but I always hope that when my clients are celebrating their anniversary through the years, they don’t laugh at how cheesy their wedding photos were!

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Who is your ideal bride and groom?

 It took me a long time to figure this one out! I feel like there’s so much pressure to find a balance between holding out for your ideal client and needing to provide for your family. I never really sat down with a pen and paper and asked, “Who are my ideal clients?” I just didn’t have the experience to know the type of people and weddings I’d enjoy being a part of. I find that, with time and experience, I tend to attract ideal clients more often than not, but I also think you can turn almost anyone into an ideal client! Sometimes a bride doesn’t seem like a good fit, and often times she just needs more information about how things work!

Ideally, the best clients read my blog, follow me on Instagram, and they know a little about me before they even send that initial inquiry. I love couples who value family – whether it’s 50 cousins or just the two of them and their dog! Family is everything. I enjoy couples who are funny, sarcastic, and can laugh at me and at themselves. I love when I’m asking about their wedding day and they have a focus on creating a day that is meaningful and not just pretty, and they want to ensure their guests feel comfortable and welcome, too. I absolutely adore countryside weddings. Anything with rolling hills, beautiful sunsets, fields of flowers, elegant barns, and rustic but elevated details. I’ve been shooting a lot on the Eastern Shore and those waterfront weddings are pretty sweet, too. Anything that lets me shoot outside with natural scenery a good part of the day is wonderful. For me, the most important thing is that I can be friends with my couples. How they feel about me will make all the difference on their wedding day.

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What is one thing you wish brides + grooms understood about choosing or working with their wedding photographer?

I can only pick one? 🙂 I would say it’s so important to ensure you enjoy the personality of your photographer and not just their images alone. Make sure you are going to get along well because you’ll be working together for months leading up to the wedding, you’ll spend most of your day with that person, and even some time after the wedding working with album sales and post-processing. I’d also encourage my couples to ask questions about workflow and communication – it sounds boring, but for me, getting my images out and answering e-mails in a timely manner is part of providing a solid experience for my couples. If you pick a photographer whose work you adore but you can’t get them to return your phone calls or you don’t enjoy their company, what good is that?

How can photographers and wedding planners work together for the client?

I think this is so important! These days, the role of “wedding planner” often falls on a relative, bridesmaid or even the venue representative rather than a dedicated professional. Often times, if no one is officially appointed to coordinate the day-of, it falls on the photographer. This isn’t a bad thing, but so much of the day revolves around photography so it’s a natural assumption to ask the photographer what’s next. I think the best combination of wedding planner + photographer involves respecting the timeline, being considerate of the bride’s (and groom’s!) wishes, and making sure everyone is treated with love and kindness in the stress of the day.

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What’s one quirky thing people don’t know about you?

I was going to say that I collect cookbooks, I actually read them cover to cover like novels. Then I asked my husband what’s weird about me and he reminded me that I’m afraid of windmills – not the cute kind you see in storybooks, those creepy modern ones spread across the hillsides of central Pennsylvania. Something about them gives me the jeebies!


Get in touch with Brittany: Facebook, Instagram, Website

 

 

 

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For those of you who follow me on Instagram you saw a few sneak peeks of this post!

On July 26th and 27th I attended an AH-MAZING workshop about styling and floral design hosted by Kat from Dear Sweetheart Events and Amanda Veronee. ::Before I go any further I need to give a public shout-out to my mother in-law, if it wasn’t for her I would not have been able to attend this workshop. Lois, thank you!:: I have always had an interest with working with florals and I knew my styling skills could use some finesse so when this workshop popped up I knew it was meant to be!

It was held at Amanda’s house (an adorable lakefront home) and there were attendees from all over the country—no, really–they were from VA, NC, NE, and MD. The workshop started with a welcome dinner, Amanda makes a mean lasagna! This allowed all the participants to really get to know each other and conversation started so easily! There is something so amazing being around people who share your same passions, same struggles, and understand the highs and lows of this industry. We immediately started sharing tips and I honestly felt totally and completely surrounded by #communityovercompetition.

This picture was taken before some styling tips from Kat! 🙂 –yes this whole post is iPhone pictures

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We started bright and early the next day with breakfast and mimosas (because what kind of workshop would it be without mimosas?!) We were welcomed by gifts from Marigold and Grey! Kat explained some principles for styling and Instagram tips; and then we went right to work experimenting with some of the skills she told us.

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The first part of our floral education was next: designing a pergola. So, real talk, when I first look into this workshop THIS was the most intimating part to me. I have never done anything like this, at all, ever. I am sending HUGE praises to Amanda. She is a patient teacher and also makes everything look so effortless. You truly have a gift girl! Here are a few in-progress pictures of the pergola:

 

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We transitioned to making our bouquets. I loved it! The colors, the theme…ahh everything was gorgeous!!

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From there we worked on centerpieces. I totally forgot to take pictures of them but guys, there were tiny pineapples in them. TINY PINEAPPLES!

Lastly, Katelyn James came to take our head shots with our bouquets! I loved this picture so much I just had to share it! (Clearly not an iPhone picture)

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The conclusion of the workshop was a styled shoot that is super top secret!!

I left the workshop literally sitting on cloud nine. I came in unsure of myself, unsure of why I am working so many late nights, and honestly ready to give up. This workshop gave me a shot in the arm and the boost of confidence I needed. I can honestly say I have worked harder for my brides since then, I burned the midnight oil to get this site up, and I am working to streamline processes. Kat and Amanda—thank you. I am sure you hear those words a lot but I hope my post conveys HOW thankful I am. To my brides that have entrusted me to do some floral work for them—I am ready. Let’s do this thing!

Xo,

Sara

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In case you didn’t know, today is my birthday! I am so excited for you to check out this new and improved site. It makes my heart so happy and I do count this as a birthday present to myself. This is finally out for everyone to enjoy!!

Hi, I’m Sara

For those of you that don’t know me, let’s start from the beginning. I started event planning by begging. Yup. True story. I worked in a training office at the Department of Veterans Affairs as an administrative assistant. We had an event planner on staff to help with all the logistics and conferences. I worked with him on some aspects of event planning and then finally blurted out “I really want to do this”. Soon after we arranged a meeting with my boss, I begged-graveled-pleaded for her to let me drop my admin gig for an event planner position. She granted me that opportunity. I will forever be grateful to her (and Tim) for their trust in me! That job slowly laid the foundation for all the logistics it takes to be a wedding planner.

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Fast forward to November 2012: the wonderful man who I was dating (and the reason I moved to Maryland) got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. ::cue the screaming, jumping up and down, and crying::. I fell in love with all the details I planned for my wedding and the entire crazy (amazing) process of wedding planning.

I jumped head first into planning other people’s weddings in October 2014 (Hey Anna!!). I can honestly say I love every single stinkin’ aspect of wedding planning. Yes, even dealing with the crazy in-laws.

Are you a bride?

Are you planning your wedding now? Welcome! I want this to be a wealth of knowledge to you and I would also love to help bring your vision to life. My motto for my business is “to be more than what is expected”. I hope your wedding day exceeds all your expectations and that I can help make that happen! I work closely with my brides to ensure their vision shines through and their personalities are represented throughout their wedding day. The one aspect I pride myself on is the trust I build with my brides and grooms. I want them to officially turn off their brains at the rehearsal dinner; their next thoughts should rest solely on the commitment they are about to make and the life they will build together.

I invite you to follow along on this incredible journey. I will show you some breathtaking weddings in the coming weeks, highlight some local vendors you should consider partnering with, and some tips for wedding planning (I’m looking you, day-of timeline), and so much more!

Cheers!

xo,

Sara

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