Friday, November 21, 2014

dress shopping adventures - a bracelet saves the day

I love turquoise. The colour, yes. But, I'm talking about the stone. I love turquoise. For my 26th birthday I received this nice little care package from MOH L and opened this amazing bracelet. It was so me.

if I were to be summed up in a bracelet... // Bracelet and Image from Victoria Emerson

Funny story. That Christmas, Mr. Narwhal's mom got me the exact same bracelet. If that tells you anything about how much this bracelet suits me.

So you might be wondering how this bracelet plays into me deciding on a wedding dress.

Mr. Narwhal - Time to peace out again!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

dress shopping adventures - i get overwhelmed

So, we've established I know how to make a decision. Photography, music, food and officiant. Easy peasy. I knew, and then bam, decided (with Mr. Narwhal's input of course).

Spoiler alert: I did not come to the decision of my dress easily.

The problem? I fell in love with two dresses.

Arriving at David's Bridal was overwhelming after leaving a boutique with only four racks of dresses. David's Bridal has a sea of dresses. A SEA. When we arrived BM Click met up with us, and I was feeling confident and excited that with the plethora of options available I would be able to get a dress. Little did I know how hard that would be.

Megan, my consultant was amazing. She listened really well and pulled out dresses based on my inspiration and what I had found perusing on my own with the ladies. She also was really great about price. Before letting me try on a dress she would warn me if it was over $1000.

Time for a bridal lesson learned. It might be obvious, but in the moment you might lose perspective (as I did). Don't try on dresses you're not comfortable paying for. When you're in the moment it might feel like you'd make it work, or it doesn't matter, or it will be fine, but you're only making it more difficult for yourself.

If anything, try on in your price range, and if you cannot make a decision, move up.

Throughout this wedding planning process I haven't wanted to lose the perspective that while our wedding day is a very significant and important day for our relationship, it is just one day. I do not want to us or our parents to spend a lot of money on just one day. It's already going to be costing a lot of money, so wiggling the price up here and there will add up.

That being said, when we got to David's I began trying on dresses. Dresses. Dresses. Dresses.

There is something about trying on a plethora of the same thing, same colour, that gets so overwhelming.

What suits your venue? What suits you? What will your groom love? What will make you look feel like a beautiful bride? What does your audience love?

So, we got started. Mr. Narwhal - time to peace out!


Monday, November 17, 2014

dress shopping adventures - the shopping begins

Waking up on dress shopping day is much like Christmas morning. For probably the first time ever I was up before 7:00 am sans alarm or ten snoozes. As I rushed around the house getting ready, our crew was getting excited - exchanging Facebook posts, comments and texts.

bride and bridesmaid commenting // personal photo 

From Huntsville, Momma Narwhal, Gramma Narwhal, MOH L and I left around 8am heading towards Toronto. Our first stop was Sash and Bustle. MOH Cass met up with us in the parking lot and we all headed to the store together.

Andrea (part-owner with her sister) greeted our team and instructed us how to browse the racks. I knew I wasn't very comfortable spending anything over $1000; however, since Sash and Bustle's dresses start at $1000, I was willing to try on more expensive dresses. My mission of Sash and Bustle was to find dresses that would help give me an idea of what I wanted. In the event I found something that was 'the one' we'd cross that bridge when I got there.

Andrea was really great and we kept all the dresses under $2000 to try on. I loved the set up of the store. The change room was around a corner and had it's own mirror. Something I appreciated (foreshadow moment here) was the ability to look at myself in a dress, form an opinion and then come around and share with my ladies.

I don't know the names of most of the dresses, except the one that was the clear winner at Sash and Bustle.

I'll just let the photos do the talking from here on out. I also think it's pretty much a rule that your face looks ridiculous in photos when trying on dresses.

Peace out Mr. Narwhal!


Friday, November 14, 2014

dress shopping adventures - preparation

The date for dress shopping in Toronto was set months before the day. Knowing that the recommendation is to keep the group size (i.e., opinions) to a minimum I did my best to keep my entourage small. I invited Momma Narwhal, Gramma Narwhal, MOH Cass, MOH L and BM Click.

As a hippie at heart, I had my heart set on a bohemian feeling, soft, romantic dress. Many months before engagement ever happened, I had my heart set on Grace Loves Lace. I was in love with their dresses (well, still am). In my mind, they captured the perfect balance of boho and romance.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

getting the engagement photos you want

We were incredibly fortunate to love about 90% of our engagement photos. Seriously guys, I was so nervous that I wouldn't like them. I wasn't worried about Mr. Narwhal (I knew he'd photograph well), but what if I photographed badly? What if they just looked bad?

I kept telling myself that as long as I loved at least five of them, that's all that mattered. I know that sounds crazy when you're talking about hundreds of photos, but I was that nervous, so as long as I loved a few, I told myself I would be good.

Fortunately, I think we did all the right things to get the great photos we did. There are very few I dislike in the bunch. So I thought I would share some tips for getting the engagement photos you want!

Pick the right photographer
If photography is a priority, do your research! It might be considered "risky" hiring two young photographers in their first official year of business, but we loved what we saw. I just had a feeling about them. Love your photographers photos. Love their style. It's a big chunk of the budget for a lot of people, so make those dollars count!

Communicate your wishes
When we first met our photographers I asked them if they were open to suggestions and inspiration (they were). I invited them to follow a specific board on Pinterest with engagement and wedding photo inspiration. I can completely tell they did their homework. I'll let the photos do the talking.

capturing other little details // via 
our photos // courtesy of isos photography

smiling while holding your man // via Gracenote Photography
our photos // courtesy of isos photography 
laughter and fun // via art & soul
pure laughter // photo courtesy isos photography 

Pick two perfect outfits
I'm a big advocate for a new outfit, and two of them. First of all, new outfits just make you feel good. When you feel good, you feel confident. When you feel confident, you look good. It's also good to have two outfits. One might photograph better than the other, and it's always good to have a back up plan (or outfit).

Have fun
I know I said this already, but I cannot stress it enough. Pretend your photographers aren't there. Guidance is fine, but when you get too posy, photos can feel stiff. Be natural. Be you. I think the reason why I love these photos so much is because I feel like they really captured our love, and our personalities.

Now, for an all too fun photo that may look like a blooper, but actually is just a hilariously accurate depiction of us:

courtesy of isos photography

Me: overly interested in the dog, always in need of cuddles.
Nelson: distracted and being a goof.
Mr. Narwhal: contemplative, enjoying the outdoors.

Do you have any engagement photo tips to share?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Narwhal engagement photo reveal!

Our engagement photo session could not have gone better. It felt natural, unposed and was so. much. fun. We had a light dusting of snow and a beautiful sunny day, which is pretty much exactly what I had hoped for.

And now, I have the best kind of problem to have. A major major love for our engagement photos. So much love that it's pretty much impossible to pick favourites. Seriously you guys, I love our photographers. If you live anywhere near Toronto, call them up and book them for your wedding!!

My advice on getting your engagement photos is to pick a setting that you're comfortable in as a couple. Do two settings (preferably indoor and outdoor) and have two outfits. Have fun with each other, and instead of asking to be posed, just do you. Do what feels natural and did I mention have fun?

We decided to get our photos taken inside our living room and then outside and around our property. I love that we have our engagement photos in front of the cabin we're getting married in front of! It just gets me all giddy thinking about getting pictures in front of it for all sorts of stages in our life. I'm seriously never moving.

Anyway, I'll let the (many) photos do the talking now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

planning for engagement photos

Once we had our photographers in place, it was time to pick a date for our engagement photos. Our package included a one hour pre-wedding session with the photographers, which I think is an important part of your photography package.

While it's nice to have some pre-wedding photos taken, there is a method to the madness. If photography is a priority in your wedding, I highly recommend getting engagement photos! They give you an opportunity to feel out your photographer's vibe and style. It also helps you as a couple get comfortable behind the camera.

When we started planning our engagement photos it was the end of August and we were heading into the season of Fall colours. I knew I wanted to wait until after most of the leaves had fallen. While I love Fall foliage and a good pumpkin spice latte, I didn't want our photos to scream Fall. So we planned for our photos in early November.

Nelson loving on the Fall // personal photo 

Monday, November 3, 2014

music priorities

There are these two framed pictures in our living room. One thing that Mr. Narwhal and I bonded over in the beginning of our relationship was our love for and similar taste in music. When we first started dating we would always send each other pictures of love quotes and music quotes that said things like, "Music speaks louder than words."

One of those photos Mr. Narwhal sent me was a picture filled with music quotes and he told me it was his favourite music picture yet. It was small and pixel-filled, so I decided to draw him a new one filled with better quotes and more significant things to us. When I gave it to him he told me he had the perfect gift for me. He had a picture that he had drawn three years earlier that shared many of the same quotes. They now share a wall in our living room.