The Classic Movie Romance

Years ago, engagement pictures were a half hour session full of prom-style poses in a local mall. With the expansion of social media and advanced technology evolution that includes digital picture frames, the photos we take and share are more elaborate than ever. More thought, effort, time, and money goes into pictures of ourselves and our family. From the hair and makeup, to the ideas that no one has done before, we want to be remembered. Valentine’s day studio sessions, quiceńera photos that rival a full production, and elaborate gender reveal parties. Call it vanity, or a desperate desire for physical memories of life events; photos are no longer candid polaroids. 

For a while, I didn’t think marriage was for me.  So when I finally met my real life prince charming, my entire stance on the celebrations of anniversaries and relationship milestones changed. I knew when it came time to have my engagement photos taken that I wanted something beyond the average studio session. I wanted something that truly represented us and our interests. With schedules that could not be more opposite, Warren and I rarely get time together. I wake up at the same time he’s getting home from work. When I’m getting home from meetings all day, he’s already left for the night. And the every-other-weekends we get together only happen if I’m event-free. Needless to say, “our” time is precious. When the universe finally aligns, we’re both beyond exhausted from long events or a stressful week, that all we really want to do is curl up on the couch, put in a frozen pizza, and watch a movie. That being said, yoga pants/gym shorts, and contacts out, are the normal “date night” attire.

I had seen viral photos circulating of couples who did their engagement photos while working out, or at their favorite pizza parlor. (Both things Warren and I absolutely love to do together), but I wanted something more. When our photographer, Martha, from Unique Design Studios asked us to come up with some ideas, I was forced to hone in on what really made us, us. “What do you like to do as a couple? What makes your relationship dynamic?”

Well… our date nights are mainly movie-driven. We were on to something.

Warren and I are old souls. We have that classic movie romance. What do I mean by that? It’s the chivalrous, timeless, no-eyes-for-anyone-else love seen in Casablanca-esque movies. And what makes it even better is that we actually love those classic films! I’d say one of the most unique elements of our relationship is the mutual admiration we have for old black & whites. Some of our favorites to watch together are Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ In The Rain, and It Happened One Night.

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Sunset Boulevard 1950

Anyone who knows these movies is aware of some of the most iconic scenes and movie plots in cinema history.

Sunset Boulevard is the story of a washed out movie star longing for the cameras and red curtain once again, replaying old films to anyone who will watch. 


A runaway heiress and news reporter cross paths and the unlikely pair fall in love while breaking the law in It Happened One Night.


Now where could I find a setting that was stuck in time, where we could be transported back to the 1930s? A good friend suggested I check out the main street in Homestead, Florida. Upon some further photo research, I found that its downtown really looked like a scene from one of these films.

mr2_4906A portion of the street spanning no larger than a quarter block, housed an old theater. Originally opened on November 26, 1921, the Seminole Theater had been recently revamped without any formal grand opening. I contacted the appropriate managers and scheduled a time to see the building in person. As soon as I was taken into the main theater, my heart fluttered. It was perfect. The empty stage was adorned on each side with a seemingly never-ending red velvet curtain.

Since the theater hadn’t been used since its renovations, you could still smell the fresh velvet of the theater seating. 

Across from the original town hall just next door was a lonesome clock pole, which immediately made me think of a well known part in Singin’ In The Rain when the main character does a dance number while hanging from a street light.

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I was sold on the location right then and there.

Not only did we find the quintessential 1930s town, but the movie theater itself held so much meaning to us with our shared love of watching films.

Without going too kitchy or overdone with the “classic” theme, I knew I wanted to modernize the timelessness of our love with a modern twist. But what should I wear for my engagement pictures? What colors look best? What style dress looked best for my body? I didn’t want the typical decade-appropriate bright red lips and long pearl necklace. With the help of my favorite website, Lulus.com, I risked an online purchase and ordered a gorgeous floor length, ¾ sleeve navy lace dress that I never tried on and accented with silver dangling earrings. GP Exclusives gave my normally limp, bone-straight hair some volume and to-live-for curls. Dressing up for our photos felt really nice, and also really different, since our norm is comfy clothes!

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curls on curls on curls on curls

mr2_4432I told Martha we wanted to recreate versions of the iconic love scenes from our favorite films and, well, our photos speak for themselves…

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“Singin’ in the r… sunlight!”

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Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night
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“I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.”
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“Why didn’t you take all your clothes off? You could have stopped forty cars.”                 “Well, ooh, I’ll remember that when we need forty cars.”

The black and white effect Martha edited with really added to our timeless look. Is it just me or does everyone look better in black and white? Haha.

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So, when it comes time to take your engagement pictures, it might feel like a whirlwind. A list of questions like, “What do I wear? What are ways to make my picture unique? How should I do my hair?” and Pinterest searches of “best engagement shoot outfits” or “what to avoid wearing for engagement pictures”… my best advice to you would be to simply stay true to your relationship.

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The End (and a nice end at that)

Happy Planning!

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all photos courtesy of Unique Design Studios  

A Planner’s Prayer

What could go wrong at a wedding? After many a wedding’s eve of sleepless nights wondering this same question, and experiencing the results… I decided it wasn’t enough to just be wished “good luck” at an event.  I’ve seen more than one industry professional break down in tears and I can spot a fake smile from a mile away. With a plethora of strange happenings that can occur at a single event, I’ve compiled a “prayer” to cover almost everything that could go wrong. As planners, it’s our responsibility to prevent rain, and it’s our fault when the food is cold or a guest shows up with an uninvited plus 1 (read: we get blamed for things unlisted in our services let alone out of human control). So here’s to the coordinators, the designers, and the hardworking industry professionals who work so hard to prevent all the things that are bound to be “our fault” sooner or later. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 6.13.29 PM.pngA Planner’s Prayer

May thou not have cockroaches or drunken grooms 

Or hotel keys that don’t open rooms

May the day never sway far from the timeline you made

and may your outdoor wedding have plenty of shade


I pray for your patience and sanity

and at the end of the night may you still look pretty.

I pray that the vendors deliver what they promised

and your wedding is awesome and simply the bomb-est


May the un-recommended band not play an explicit song

May your “wedding hangover” not last too long

I hope the weather stays in your favor

I pray the wedding cake is the right flavor


I hope that your feet last all 14 hours

and that no one is allergic to the wedding flowers

May there never be more guests than expected to show

and may everyone speak a language you know


I pray the officiant says the right names

and that your flammable centerpieces don’t catch flames

May the toasts be short with no inappropriate jokes

That the boneless chicken be boneless so nobody chokes


May the venue “planner” not step on your toes

and if she does, God help her, ‘cause what you say goes!

May you know how to sew buttons and tie a bow tie

and bustle a bustle and out-stain red wine


May there only be tears of the happy kind

May the mother of the bride not lose her mind

May the limo always show up at the right place

and may the bride never trip and fall on her face


May the rings always be with the groom or best man

and the bride not show up with an awful spray tan

May the “photographer” not be an Uncle Bob

‘Cause your clients hired a professional to do that job


May your vendor meals not be served in a brown bag

and the bridesmaids dresses not make you want to gag

I pray that thy wedding does not get extended

and that the limo driver’s license isn’t suspended


May all your florals be delivered alive

and that your band doesn’t attempt an impromptu stage dive

May kids not show up if they weren’t invited

I pray that no ex-boyfriends or girlfriends are sighted


I pray that the guests don’t storm the buffet

and that someone deserving catches the bouquet

I pray the bride’s veil won’t get caught when she walks

That there’s no food in her teeth during vows when she talks


I pray that your tables have linens that fit

and that you have a fully stocked emergency kit

I pray that the photo booth prints out all the photos

and that none of your vendors turn out to be no-shows


I pray that you have enough pins for the boutonierres

That your couple stays married for plenty of years

I pray that the wedding party not be too large

(Anything over 20 might mean an upcharge)


May all makeup be cry-resistant

and that you have hired a competent assistant

May all thy vendors show up professionally-dressed

and sober and nice and acting their best


May you limit the times you think, “I told you so”

This wedding will all be over tomorrow

May you have superglue for broken shoe heels

May the bride stay away from chemical peels


May you laugh and pretend you’ve never heard someone say

“Are you like J-Lo?” ten times that day

Be prepared to hear at least one person tell you

They want to be a planner ‘cause they planned their wedding too


I pray thou is prepared for what is to come

At the end of the day, our jobs are still fun

After they’ve married and said their I Dos

Remember, other planners are praying this prayer for you

And though we are masochists for what we go through

We adore being planners and love what we do

 

[Insert below stanzas if you work in South Florida/Miami]

I hope that at midnight your hora’s not too loca

and that you don’t get stuck in Miami when the wedding’s in Boca

May the champagne not be poured too early

and the Florida humidity not make your hair curly

I pray that hurricanes don’t come your way

and that over-friendly alligators don’t ruin your day

That you never tire of beach weddings or sand

That your wedding attire doesn’t leave you weirdly tanned

May you keep your cool at a celebrity sighting

and that Zika mosquitos don’t come a-biting

 

Honestly, I’ve experienced or seen 90% of these terrible things happen. Cockroaches. Limos picking up the wrong bride. Uninvited guests. The list goes on. While laughable now, in the moment… not so much. So, pleeeeeeease, remember to pray for your fellow planners before their big day. WE NEED IT!

Bonus: because I’ve half-seriously joked about making a BINGO sheet for all the inevitable things that we see at weddings, I decided to make a WeddingBingo sheet for your amusement! Behold, the Oh My! Occasions WINGO 1st Edition

 

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Happy Planning!

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