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.

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.


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,, 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!

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…

“Singin’ in the r… sunlight!”


Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night
“I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.”
“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.



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.

The End (and a nice end at that)

Happy Planning!


all photos courtesy of Unique Design Studios  


Here Comes the Blog…

Your Pinterest Wedding


You’re getting married! (Cue the excited squeal) Does it feel real yet? Maybe you’ve been too busy trying to fit the term “fiancé” into any and all conversation.

Question: How many photos do you have of your engagement ring? ____*Whatever number you insert here is totally fine, because it’s completely normal to want a picture of your left hand holding your coffee mug (even though you’re right-handed), and who doesn’t need a picture grabbing an apple at the grocery store, right?

 … point is, it’s okay to fill up your phone’s memory with picture after picture trying to capture every angle of your newest bling.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of ring picts
Once your camera roll runs out of space
Once your fiancé bans any more pictures of your ring, it’s time to get down to business.

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Now, like most millennials, you’ve already planned your dream wedding with the help of your good friend Pinterest. You’ve probably also been fed the unrealistic expectations from your arch nemesis… Pinterest. Funny how that works, huh?

Let’s call this “friend” Pin…elope.

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See what I did there? Like Penelope. Heh.











So like any friend, Pinelope has some sound advice most of the time. You picked out some fabulous color schemes and she even gave you the links to find décor accessories. (She’s so organized!) But Pinelope was also carried away looking at nail polish tutorials and shirtless Channing Tatum photos when you told her your budget. Soooo Pinelope starts showing you these gorgeous acrylic centerpieces. You. Fall. In. Love. Like, slightly more in love with that Lily of the Valley bouquet than your own engagement ring.

Just kidding, Ring, nothing will ever replace you. My precious.


So you start Googling where you can find those 3 foot tall vases and extremely rare flowers only to have a florist confirm that the acrylic pieces were indeed custom-made.

Custom-made = $$$. And that 5 tier cake your bestie pinned for you? 1/5 of your total budget. You and Pinelope don’t talk for a while. How could she?! Waving something in front of your face that you clearly couldn’t afford. Psh. What kind of friend is she? (answer: the hypothetical, anthropomorphic kind)

But then she shows you this really cool recipe for s’mores dip, and the next day you’re both looking at Channing Tatum again.

By trial and error, you’ve learned to be a little cautious of Pinelope. It was fun scrolling through wedding photos pre-engagement until you worked out the dollars and cents of it all.

Lesson: Soon after your engagement, set a budget. And once you set that budget, add about 20% more of what you’ve allotted. And then a little more.

I’ve had clients who were accountants that still went over their budget. This doesn’t mean they were bad with money, or that I referred them to the most expensive vendors I could find. It just means you need to be realistic, and that there’s often “hidden” costs (taxes, service fees, county fees, etc.)

We would all love to spend $10 a head for food and beverage. But would we all love to be in the bathroom during garter toss because of those $5 Taco Bell Gordita Supremes? Creo que no!

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Your budget will depend on a lot of things. Guest count, location, menu options, vendor preference, types of flowers, etc. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss what’s most important to you in regards to your wedding. Are you set on a venue with a 5 star rating? Do you have 12 aunts and uncles on each parent’s side, step-siblings, and more cousins than you can remember the names of? Family kinda, sorta, unfortunately, automatically gets an invite- so make sure to account for a massive guest list because of this. Have you decided that your entertainer of choice HAS to be Maroon 5? … okay, maybe not Maroon 5, but your pricey local cover band “Burgundy 4”. Then that becomes priority #1. If you’ve always dreamed of a destination wedding in the Bahamas, rest assured that only a small number of guests will make it so you can splurge on other elements instead of the guest list.

Only you know what is most important to you. So communication is key. Communicate your “must haves” with your fiancé, your parents (if they are contributing to the wedding) AND your planner. She/he will become your best friend. (Second only to Pinelope.) There will need to be compromise as well. Your fiancé likely won’t understand that the Berta gown you must have is worth more than an average used car. By the same token, you probably won’t understand that top shelf liquor is his utmost priority. After all, he and his fraternity brothers have to relive those Kappa Beta Sigma Drunky parties.Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 6.31.12 PM







Don’t get discouraged when your Pinterest wedding isn’t as feasible as you once imagined. Your planner can help you find ways to achieve certain looks and styles, while still adhering to your budget. It’s a good idea to sort through your “Dream Wedding” board and narrow down what you do and don’t like so that when it comes to the actual thing, you’re not scrolling through thousands of pictures wondering why you ever posted that dress or this color scheme back in 2010.

And it’s okay to still divulge in Pinelope’s suggestions, just make sure you don’t get your heart set on that Juliet Rose bouquet.

Avert your eyes if you’re suceptible to falling in love with things outside of your financial means.













*That’s a 15 million dollar flower, by the way. Don’t believe me? )

Now go take more pictures of that ring because YOU’RE ENGAGED!

Happy Planning,