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Look What’s Trending: Off the Shoulder Gowns

So what if the groundhog just predicted six more weeks of winter? It’s going to take more than sub-freezing temperatures and inches of snow to keep us from swooning over spring’s most popular bridal trends! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to discuss one of my new favorite styles, the off-the-shoulder gown. This romantic and timeless look is perfect for any bride, and with six million people planning on getting engaged this V-Day it’s a good thing there isn’t a shortage of dresses to choose from.

The off-the-shoulder gown has been “in” for centuries, first gaining popularity in the mid-1800s. While the trend was considered fashion forward at the time, these days showing off the collarbone and shoulders is no longer quite as risqué, and is even considered a modest choice in comparison to a strapless or midriff-bearing ensemble.

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(Russian Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna in 1829.)

 Both classic designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Marchesa, as well as those that are newer to boast bridal lines, including Inbal Dror and Reem Acra, featured gowns with off the shoulder features in their 2015 spring and fall lines. The off the shoulder gown is perfect for the bride who wants to accentuate her neck and shoulders, while still receiving additional support and modesty that a strapless dress may lack. Lace, tulle, and beading are features of some of our favorite off the shoulder gowns, adding a little something extra while not overpowering the dress, or the bride who’s wearing it!

With so many amazing styles to choose it’s hard for us to pick a favorite! Which would you wear?

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Reem Acra

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Oscar de la Renta & Marchesa

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One bride that we loved photographing, Desiree, looked stunning in her lace and beaded off the shoulder gown. Besides her beautiful crystal headpiece, Desiree’s handsome husband Gabriel was the other perfect accessory!

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Curtis Center Weddings – The Wedding of Jaime and Marc

This morning we have the very special pleasure of sharing with you the wedding of Jaime and Marc at the Curtis Center. Although these pictures speak for themselves, I must say that this occasion was filled with so much love, laughter, and joy, that it was a true honor to photograph and be a part of! As always, the Cescaphe Event Group and Beautiful Blooms did a spectacular job creating the perfect setting and atmosphere for the event. We are so excited to have been given the opportunity to capture these beautiful images (seriously, how cute are the flower girl and ring bearer!) and hope that you will join us in congratulating Jaime and Marc on their marriage. Cheers!

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The Problem with Pinterest…

Recently a client sent me this photo, below, that she had seen on Pinterest, and asked me to replicate it at her wedding. (Disclaimer: Faith West Photography didn’t photograph this picture, and we don’t know who did, since it was found on Pinterest.)
 
While I agree the photo is striking and fun, and would be a great conversation piece on anyone’s Facebook page, it’s harder to achieve than you might think. The main obstacle to getting this look is not photographic. It’s in the willingness of your wedding party members to go out of their comfort zone and follow the direction of the photographer to pose in ways that might feel wacky or weird to them, especially on a public street.
 
The other obstacle is the street itself. Everyone envisions their street photo without any other pedestrians in them besides the wedding party, but on a busy weekend during the day, it’s very hard to find a good moment when there are no distracting pedestrians in the background. 
 
I’m not saying this photo can’t be done — it can! And we are more than happy to try. It would look fun and unique on the Faith West Photography blog and Facebook page, too! The thing that most brides and grooms don’t realize is the time involved, and the personalities of the members of the wedding party involved, to achieve what appears to be such a “natural” look in the photo.
 
Here’s a visual explanation of what I mean (click on photo to enlarge):
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Flawlessly Floral: Hair Accessories for the Modern Bride

Accessories are a girl’s best friend. A great handbag, scarf, or statement necklace can not only complete an outfit, but more importantly, boost your self-esteem and make you feel fabulous. However, we often forget one of the most important places to accessorize…our hair! With the proper styling and a little sprinkle of sparkle, hair accessories can effortlessly compliment and enhance a bride’s natural beauty. On your wedding day, finding the perfect dress and shoes may seem like the number one priority, however, your happy glow and ear-to-ear smile will, without a doubt, be the center of attention. It’s crucial to consider the possibilities for hair accessories because, after all, your hair is what frames that beautiful face of yours!

Using floral-themed accessories is the perfect choice for any bride. The enchanting photograph below from Marchesa’s spring Ready-to-wear line is proof of that. Flowers are simply beautiful and adding them to your wedding look can’t possibly be wrong. For the traditional bride, a veil with small flower appliqué, like the BHLDN one below, can add the perfect feminine touch to an otherwise unembellished ensemble. I also love the use of a floral barrette or hair clip to attach the veil to the back of the head for a traditional, yet fresh style.

                    Marchesa Spring 2015                            BHLDN Cascading Fleur Lace Veil                        Photo Taken from Pinterest

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If however, a veil is not the best choice for your event, depending on the venue and the style of wedding you are having (think ballroom vs. bohemian), another favorite trend of mine is the use of fresh flowers to adorn the hair. The versatility of flowers makes them a unique choice for any bride-to-be. In Martha Stewart Wedding’s most recent issue, two styled looks featured floral hairpieces, and their charm and elegance will take your breath away. The first look would be perfect for an outdoor spring or summer wedding, and would be fitting for an adventurous, free-spirited bride who seeks a casual, intimate wedding event. The second look is bold and elegant. Bright flowers draw attention and speak volumes, and the up-do is a signature look for a no-nonsense bride.

Martha Stewart Weddings: Hair design by Sarah Winward, photographs by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

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At Faith West Photography we are constantly given the pleasure of working with amazing couples. Wed at Water Works (one of our favorite venues!), Bridget and John exuded such joy and love on their big day that we just knew they were the perfect match. Bridget’s hair perfectly complimented the romantic and wistful air of their entire event; the red roses that were tucked into her elegant up-do were beyond stunning.

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This beautiful bride combined fresh flowers with a cathedral length veil to create the perfect look. See more photos of her stunning style here.

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Two other hair accessories that I am dying to see on a bride are this Gold Brass Voila Headband by Jennifer Behr and this “Callie” Crystal Barrette from Untamed Pearls by Amanda Justice. Accessories like the ones below are the perfect match for a decadent gown that only needs simple finishing touches. Whatever the style you are hoping to achieve on your wedding day, remember to consider the ways your hair accessories can complement your look and leave you feeling fabulous when you tie the knot!

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Curtis Center Weddings – The Wedding of Marissa & Brendan

What a treat it was to photograph the wedding of Marissa and Brendan at the Curtis Center! We could not be happier for this sweet couple and are thrilled with the beautiful images we were able to capture from their special day. The Cescaphe Event Group and Gina Sole The Wedding Planner put on a beautiful affair with each intricate detail more beautiful than the last. Flowers by Beautiful Blooms and entertainment by Synergetic Sound and Lighting truly brought the space to life and made this an event to remember. Just as important as the space itself, though, were the wonderful people within it! We cannot stop gushing about this beautiful bride whose hair and make up were done by Just B Beautiful, and whose Kenneth Poole for Victor Harper dress boasted stunning details on its bodice. The bride purchased her gown from the famous Bridal Reflections salon in New York City. Allure Films was there to capture the entire day on video for the happy couple and their family and friends to remember for years to come! We hope you all enjoy these photographs as much as we do and that you will join us in congratulating Marissa and Brendan on their touching union. Cheers!

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Tendenza Weddings – The Wedding of Ashley & Charlie

Make sure you have a tissue box on hand because these photos from the beautiful celebration of Ashley and Charlie’s marriage will surely make you tear up! This loving couple met in middle school and dated for eleven years before recently tying the knot, and we are so excited that they choose us to help them capture the day. Beautiful Blooms created the bride’s perfect white rose bouquet and the simple hydrangea center pieces, both of which complimented Ashley’s gown from Sposabella exquisitely. The couple had a stunning day to capture some outdoor photographs. The ones from center city ending up being some of our favorites. Congratulations, Ashley and Charlie, we loved your wedding and wish you many years of happiness together!
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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.

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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.

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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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