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Pretty Pretty Pastries

Cake might be the last thing on your mind if you’re still recovering from the inevitable food coma that Thanksgiving uninvitedly brings. Even if your pants are feeling a little snug, and you’re trying to avoid desserts at all cost, you will seriously regret it if you don’t read about these amazing wedding cake trends. Besides, these cakes are more like works of art than calorie-packed temptations, so feel free to indulge in this post absolutely guilt-free!

There are two major wedding cake trends that have taken online blogs, Pinterest, and my heart, by storm. The first is the ruffled or textured icing trend. Dainty, delicate, and ever so natural looking, these cakes display endless charm and opportunity. Many of the ruffled icing cakes I’ve seen have been simple themselves, and are adorned with peonies, roses, or a host of other flower varieties. There is something so beautiful about the simplicity of these cakes and I am completely in love with them! Also, for those of you who, like me, are critically concerned about the actual taste of the cake and icing, choosing this style is a no brainer. Who wants to bite through thick layers of fondant? And while we’re on the subject, even though they say the flowers on elaborate cakes are edible, do you really want to actually eat one? I think not!

Below you can see a few examples of cakes we have photographed that embrace this timeless trend. Please, take a moment to sigh with me over how absolutely adorable that “Just Married” banner is.

Pssst…You can click on each image to be taken to the full gallery of images from that wedding.

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And now for a few of my other favorites…

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The second trend that I’ve been swooning over lately is the gold foil wedding cake trend. This effect is absolutely spectacular and is perfect for adding an extra pop of glamour to your event. Like the ruffles, this style is also extremely versatile. In the cake we photographed below from a wedding at the Kimmel Center, the use of gold was controlled, creating an elegant and formal design. In the two examples I show from Ruffled and Style Me Pretty, you can see that the use of gold is more whimsical and would be perfect for a chabby chic or garden style wedding. I also love the idea of using this relaxed gold foil on a cake for a rustic wedding. The faded and distressed gold would add the perfect touch of sparkle to earthy décor.

Kimmel Center Old St. Mary's Church Weddings Philadelphia-21-23-01

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Absolutely can’t decide between these two gorgeous styles? We’ve got you covered!

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Trenton Country Club Weddings – The Wedding of Colleen & Tim

From the stunning old church where they were married, to the beautiful grounds at the Trenton Country Club, Colleen and Tim’s wedding was one spectacular moment after another! Colleen’s dress is a Pronovias creation, and is complemented perfectly by her gorgeous white bouquet by Petal Pushers. This is one of my favorite bouquets we’ve seen and I absolutely love how she choose to use all white flowers, combining numerous varieties to create a myriad of different textures. I speak for everyone in attendance that this wedding was a blast, but we especially had so much fun taking the wedding party portraits. Everyone hopped on golf carts and drove out into the middle of the course for scenic portrait shots on the wooden bridge! Dreamtime from EBE Entertainment were an amazing band and really inspired some outrageous moves on the dance floor (check out the last picture!). We hope you all enjoy these photographs as much as we enjoyed taking them. Congratulations, Colleen and Tim!

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Introducing Gabrielle Tierney and Live Social Media Feeds

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Faith West Photography is experimenting with live social media feeds at weddings. If you are getting married between now and January 3rd, you will see our newest employee, Gabrielle Tierney, at your wedding utilizing a new gadget called a CamRanger. This device wirelessly transmits images from the photographer’s camera to Gabrielle’s computer or phone so that she can then post a few of the best images to the Facebook and Instagram pages for Faith West Photography. We are working with the couples to find out what their hashtag is (some of them are very clever!). We will be using that hashtag on our photos, so that the professional photos will be mixed in with the others that your guests see when they search for that hashtag.

Look for us to be doing this at tomorrow’s wedding of Jennifer Wall and Brett Bergen. Search for photos throughout the day at #TheBergenWall (see what I mean about them being clever?!).

Watercolor Wedding Invites!

I began researching different wedding invitation styles after I saw a feature for Winifred Paper on Style Me Pretty in late September. Okay, okay, at first I was just drooling over their beautiful office space (you seriously must check it out), but after clicking through their gallery I fell head-over-heels in love with the pink and gold invitations that were shown. My affinity for one-of-a-kind wedding gowns and stunning engagement rings has taken priority for too long. It’s time for wedding invitations to take their place in the spotlight!

The save the date card and formal invitation will set the tone for a wedding and give guests a preview of the celebration to come. Accordingly, your stationery should be a reflection of your wedding theme, colors, or the overall style of your celebration (ballroom, garden, destination, etc.). Wedding stationery prices can range drastically, so when choosing a vendor it is important to determine your budget in advance. The Knot‘s list of top invitation vendors in your locale can help you do just so by making it easy to compare stylistic differences and package pricing.

Traditionally, many couples have chosen a printed invitation, but breathtaking watercolor stationery has been popping up recently in real wedding blog posts and styled shoots alike. No two invitations are entirely the same, adding an abundance of charm and making each creation seem more personal to your guests. Because each watercolor invitation is handcrafted, the bride and groom are often able to completely customize their order and really capture the spirit of their celebration in the invitation. From landscapes, to ballrooms, to delicate maps, each invitation is a true work of art and will surely leave your guests in awe (and maybe feeling just a hint of jealousy).

Our lovely bride Alyssa was way ahead of the trend when she chose this gorgeous wedding invitation for their celebration:

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A few of my other watercolor favorites from wedding blogs are below!

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Erin Braun Design

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Proper Prints

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Julie Song Inc.

Ruffled - photo by http://www.ashleighjayne.com - http://ruffledblog.com/green-autumn-wedding-inspiration/

Tina Chiou

Now that you’ve seen for yourself just how pretty these invites are, you can get even more wedding invitation inspiration from Shindig Invites, who are top rated on The Knot and Style Me Pretty and have an office right here in Philly!

Another amazing resource for fresh stationery ideas is Minted, which is where I ordered my own wedding invites when I was married last year! Be sure to browse their beautiful collections and take a peak at my invitation below.

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Lighting Can Make or Break the Look of Your Reception

What’s the biggest bang for your decor buck at the wedding? It’s something most brides and grooms  don’t think about: lighting!  Many brides and grooms are not even aware that there are event lighting companies that can take a space from drab to dramatic in no time.

Since most brides and grooms are not aware that lighting is a “thing” at weddings, let’s start with some terminology:

Uplighting: The lights that shine from the floor upwards towards the ceiling to produce dramatic colors on walls and columns. Uplighting is provided for free or very cheaply by many venues, but not all.

Pin Spotting: The focused beams of light that are trained on each table by a technician before your wedding reception. This is typically an add-on at some wedding venues, and for some venues, you have to hire your own lighting person to get this effect.

A Wash on the Dance Floor: This is a broad, spread-out light that hits the dance floor, usually through something called a “go-bo” (which is short for “go between”.) The go-bo will make the light look like your initials and your wedding date, for instance, or maybe like light shining through trees in a garden. Typically, to get a wash on the dance floor, you do have to hire an outside professional, rather than rely on the venue to do it.

My advice, after seeing hundreds of weddings, is always try to carve out money in the budget for lighting. If you don’t, your wedding room will look more drab, no matter how beautiful the flower arrangements are. It’s the lighting in the room that gives it that “wow” factor. We recommend some event lighting companies that we work with regularly: Eventions and Synergetic Sound and Lighting, but there are others in the area as well, including event production companies that handle it all from flowers to lighting like Evantine Design and Eventricity.

Here are examples of weddings with lighting we feel was done really spectacularly.

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By contrast, this is the same room without any lighting except some decorative lights strung from the columns:

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Glen Foerd Mansion Weddings – The Wedding of Kassandra & Brian

Kassandra and Brian’s charming fall wedding at Glen Foerd Mansion will definitely have you oohing and ahhing over every detail from the gorgeous tent right down to the lace-wrapped mason jars. The happy couple first met while working for Guimarellos, a tiny Italian restaurant in Westmont, and just tied the knot in late September. The bridal party was flawless, but of course Kasey stole the show in her Vera Wang fit and flare gown and beaded belt. (It was the first dress she tried on, so we know it was meant to be!) While the colorful florals by Michael Bruce Florist enchanted the eyes of their guests, a personal friend of the couple, Mike Galioto, was the perfect DJ to keep the party going all night long. For even more pictures of this beautiful event, you can view the entire gallery here. Cheers, Kasey and Brian!

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One Atlantic Weddings – The Wedding of Emily & David

Emily and David were married in late September at one of our favorite venues, One Atlantic.  The couple were initially set up through a mutual friend, though they certainly had a lot to talk about having both attending Princeton University (albeit seven years apart). The bride’s stunning lace gown is a Paloma Blanca creation, purchased from the VanCleave Wedding Pavilion in Paoli, PA. The ceremony and reception boasted gorgeous floral decor by The Manic Botanic and EBE Events & Entertainment kept guests on the dance floor all night. We are so excited to share this couple’s stunning photos with you all. Please join us in congratulating them once again! Cheers, Emily and David!

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It’s the Little Things…

There are more resources for brides to use when planning their wedding than ever before. Magazines, online blogs, and Pinterest boards all feature photographs of the real weddings of couples whose big day was flawless (we’ll make sure your pictures are flawless, too!). But with such an abundance of theme ideas, DIY projects, and charming minute details at your finger tips, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the endless possibilities. In order to avoid hours of deliberation and (sometimes tense) conversations with your mother or finacé, it’s import to discuss which elements of your celebration are most important to you. Are you a romantic who has dreamed about the moment she walks down the aisle in a stunning church? Or are you a food-lover who drools over tasty bite size hors d’oeuvres?  By creating a list of two or three aspects of your wedding that are most important to you and your finance, you can put a lot of time and energy into making sure each of these elements is perfect, unique, and up to Pinterest standards. Of course we aren’t expecting you to let all the other decisions fall to the wayside (place settings, invitations, flowers, etc.), but choosing simple aesthetics for these features will balance out the intricacies and details you have chosen to focus on.

For Esha and Kevin, who were married at the Deerfield Country Club in Newark, DE, it was important that we capture the stunning details of their Hindu and civic ceremonies and the reception that followed. Below are a few of our favorite detail shots where you can truly appreciate the rich colors and the myriad textures of the celebration. Together the pictures share just a glimpse of their story, but if you are dying to see more you can view the rest of the images here. Lighting, angle, and composition each play a key role in composing a successful detail shot and we hope you enjoy these details as much as we have! Thank you again for letting us share in your celebration, Esha and Kevin, we loved it!

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Have You Heard? Philadelphia Makes the List of Top Wedding Venues in the U.S.!

Did you know that, according to Brides magazine, three of the top wedding venues in the entire U.S. are right here in Philadelphia?

The winners are the beautiful Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, with its recently renovated rooftop garden and balcony overlooking Broad Street with a view of City Hall. Garces is the fine-dining caterer there.

Second up is the oh-so-chic industrial loft space at Front and Palmer Streets, called Front and Palmer, and catered by Feast Your Eyes caterers. Feast Your Eyes always have their eye on beautiful presentation of scrumptious foods.

Third is the gorgeous grounds of Andulusia Mansion, which has a Greek Revival mansion and tent for events right next to the expansive Delaware River. (Technically it’s in Bensalem, but it’s just a couple miles outside the city limits of Philadelphia.)

Faith West Photography is proud to have photographed at all three of these wedding locations, and, of course, many more. (In our 18 years we’ve photographed at almost every place brides and grooms think of to get married.) Here are slide shows of highlights of weddings held at the three national wedding venue winners:

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (ceremony at Old St. Mary’s Church in Old City)

Front and Palmer (this slide show was not a wedding but a networking event with way cool lighting provided by Synergetic Sound and Lighting, though we have photographed weddings there, too)

Andalusia Mansion (ceremony at St. John the Baptist in Center City)

And here’s a link to the whole list of best wedding venues in the U.S. from Bride’s magazine.

And a link to a Philadelphia Wedding article about the three venues in our area that won.

Roses Are Red…

I’ve had engagement rings and wedding bands on my mind lately. Scratch that, I think I need an intervention. I am completely obsessed with discovering beautiful new settings, cuts, and metals.  After almost 20 years of photographing weddings, we’ve practically seen it all when it comes to the ring. Recently however, we’ve noticed a new trend popping up all over: the rose-gold engagement ring. “Rose gold engagement ring!” you might exclaim, a reasonable response to anyone who is accustomed to seeing the platinum, gold, and white gold metals that typically adorn the ring fingers of our friends and family. Featured in a recent issue of The Knot and now appearing on almost every woman’s Pinterest wedding board, the value of the rose gold wedding ring goes way beyond its unique and timeless beauty. The varying hues of pink available allow a bride-to-be and her fiancé to choose which shade will work best to compliment her other jewelry. A light rose gold ring (created by mixing only a small amount of copper with yellow gold) will effortlessly blend well with both gold and silver jewelry alike, eliminating the hassle of trying coordinate your accessories with your ring.

The moment after a proposal, the ring quickly becomes one of a bride-to-be’s most valued possessions. That being said, she would be crazy to let it out of her sight, let alone take it off her finger for an instant. In the midst of all her bliss and wedding planning though, she might not notice that occasional irritation and redness that many women with a slight nickel allergy fall victim too (not to be confused with the “seven year itch” as one Wall Street Journal writer jokes). Statistics say the number of women with a nickel allergy in North America is between 24-36%. That number is astounding! The allergy isn’t something you are necessarily born with, rather many men and women develop an allergy to this metal after prolonged exposure. All different types of metals can contain trace amounts of nickel, but it is most commonly found in white gold and gold-plated metals, thus, rose gold is becoming increasingly popular because it is hypoallergenic. Taking this into consideration, we encourage you and your fiancé to consider different metal types when talking about engagement and wedding bands and to check with your jeweler about the nickel content of each band before making any purchases. After all, what woman wants to have to leave their ring at home? A little bit of sparkle is always the best accessory.

Rose gold is also a hugely popular trend among celebrities (though their sparkle usually isn’t so little), with stars like Blake Lively, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panetierre, Lauren Conrad, and Katie Holmes (pre-divorce from Tom Cruise) rocking (pun intended) the gorgeous style. While we’re dying to photograph a bride with one of these pink beauties, we love how each of our beautiful brides has a special ring that reflects her personal style and symbolizes the love between the couple. That’s why we consider the ring shot such an important photograph to capture and cherish! Here are some of our favorites for you to ooh and ahh over. See more on our Pinterest board.

The classic ring and invitation shot.

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Special boxes and trays that instantly add extra charm.

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Custom engravings are so special, and the combination of ring and rose is stunning.

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Consider personalizing your ring shot to fit your hobbies, interests, or wedding theme as these brides did.

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