Wadsworth Mansion | wedding planning
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wedding planning

Frock It To Me

Whether you’ve been dreading or dreaming of it, the time comes in any engagement when you have to answer the age-old question:  What to wear?  Considering that the obvious answer is “something” – – unless of course you’re on a nude beach somewhere (disclaimer: The Wadsworth Mansion has no beach, nude or otherwise) — you’ll want to think through a few things before deciding on the dress, the tux, bridal party attire, or dress code.

 

 

1.  How you want your wedding to feel.  You’ll be referring back to this one all the time.  It is the key to your wedding seeming cohesive.  Your big event should be a reflection of both of you on your best day   ever.  Decide what that looks like.  Season and location are a big part of this; long, lacy sleeves feel a little imprudent on the shore in August, n’est pas?  Once you select a venue and date, which should help guide your vision, you still may want to think of a few adjectives to fill out the daydream:  whimsical & bright, elegant & classic, modern & trendy, understated & unique, warm & casual…  Once you’ve given yourself a basic road map it’ll be much easier to say, “yes, I loved that sleek, barely-there satin number I saw on Pinterest, but y’know it just doesn’t fit with the wintry, happy, storybook vibe I’m going for.”

 

2.  How you plan to move your body throughout the day/night.  Despite the image you’ve conjured up from the picture-perfect, stock-still photos of gowns you’ve been drooling over since the fifth grade, you will be moving.  A lot.  You’ll be sitting, could be kneeling, oughta be dancing.  Select something that makes you feel like a million bucks and allows you to eat dinner!  Keep this in mind as you try things on, and then again as your fittings happen.  Jump up and down, bend over, put your arms over your head; having to tug/pull/adj ust your wedding finery on the big day is a big no — your tailor’s job is to make you feel effortless regardless of action.
This rule also applies to shoes!  Make sure you can comfortably walk on any surface (and PRACTICE! Yes, you!!) so people are wondering over the vision that you are, not the over/under on when you’ll bite it or go barefoot.

 

2a.  How you want others to move their bodies throughout the day/night.  If you want your bridal party and guests to really cut loose on the dance floor, consider issuing them less restrictive attire and toning down the formality of the dress code.  If the effect you’re going for is a little more elegant than eccentric, remember that bending over to pick up a cornhole beanbag might not be the chicest (or easiest) cocktail activity.

 

3.  How individual you want the bridal party to look.  We are — thankfully — far from the era of matchy-matchy, one-note, prom-esque attendants.  Nowadays it’s acceptable to, y’know, be considerate of the people who’ve agreed to stand next to you and populate all those photographs.  Before placing the order on those shiny, cap-sleeved, mustard dresses and the matching vests and bow ties because they go with your fall scheme perfectly, think about the people who have to wear them.  Think of their body types, shades of skin, colors of hair… You want them to feel confident, right?  Maybe you like the look of similar dresses in complimentary hues. Maybe a patterned fabric in a bias cut will be the most flattering on everyone.  Maybe you want these dresses to actually be wearable more than once.  Even if you want them to be wearing the exact same thing from earrings to nail polish to shoes, you’ll still want to dedicate some time in deciding all those elements.  Do unto others…

 

4.  How you know your invitees.  Unless you’re some kind of royalty with a public ceremony (I’m looking at you, Prince Harry), chances are you’ll know all your guests.  (I mean, except for your fiancee’s Great Aunt Ermingarde who hasn’t left her neighborhood since the Nixon administration and is shockingly making the 3-state trek… although even she isn’t “a stranger.”)  But maybe you’re having a remote, intimate ceremony with just family, which probably invites less pomp and circumstance than a fete with 200 of your parents’ nearest and dearest.  Or, maybe you are having a grandly-scaled affair brimming with all your college buddies, which could make a “Creative Black Tie” dress code apropos.  At the end of the day, your guests will do their best to bedeck themselves according to the standard you set.  Just know the party you’re throwing, and for whom.  And if Great Aunt Ermingarde calls to ask, ” Just what do you mean by Cocktail attire,” she’s not nagging you, but only trying to answer that question:  What to wear?

 

5.  How you feel like you.  Remember when I said your wedding should represent you & your fiancee on your best day ever?  I couldn’t mean that more.  Even if you’re the poster child for the athleisure movement and this is your one chance to really gussy up, or even if you’re a Tuesday afternoon sequins person and you don’t know if there’s enough Swarovski in the world to out-do your everyday, there’s no reason that the fanciest or most refined version of that person can’t be present.  If your heart is set on being a princess for a day, do it — but be yourself.  If you want to wear a jaw-dropping red dress because white isn’t your thing, do it — because that’s you.  Don’t let your makeup artist, or your mother, or your own self-doubt talk you into wearing something that doesn’t make you feel like the ideal version of yourself.  Who cares if it’s different from what you imagined in high school?!  If, on your wedding day, you were to be asked the compulsory red carpet question, “Who are you wearing?” your answer should resoundingly be:  Me.

 

Now — go forth, shop well, be fabulous.

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Focus Is Future (or, How Weddings Are Governed by The Law of Attraction)

I’m not much of a New Age philosphy kind of gal.  Not that I have anything against it, really, it’s just not my particular cup of tea.  But the longer I’m around weddings and the planning stages that precede them, the more I’m convinced that the Law of Attraction is a thing.

For the uninformed, good old Wikipedia defines the Law of Attraction as such:

“…the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life.  This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.”

I can’t necessarily speak to the second part, but the first bit about the outcome of experiences being reflective of the energy put into them is a very real occurrence.  And while I think it’s generally true throughout life, it is of course magnified under the glass of a major milestone event like a wedding.

0398 To wit:

A recent bride of the Wadsworth Mansion was the essence of relaxed.  Her planning was thoughtfully arranged and specific, but even as we met to go over details a few days before her wedding she seemed to be in a lovely bubble of equal parts calmness, happiness, and reality.  She was very aware that unforeseen things could happen, but she trusted her vendors to do what they were hired to do and keep her day running smoothly.  Lo and behold — her wedding was a breeze, full of life and joy, and not a thing went wrong!  Within a week of her celebration she had written us to to say that her dream wedding had come true and she couldn’t have been more thrilled.  Hooray!

On the other hand, I can recall an occasion that had a marriage ceremony and reception that felt nothing like a celebration.  Try as the bride and groom might for smooth, easy sailing, their families seemed determined to encounter disaster.  I met them for a rehearsal a day or so before the wedding, and even then I could feel a cloud of negativity hanging just overhead; by the time the big day arrived, the cloud had fully descended into a terrible fog of malcontent and cantankerousness.  Although the bride and groom left that night seeming peacefully light, their family’s negativity would soon find them and everyone else involved in the event, re-coloring the entire picture in sad, gloomy hues.  It’s so unfortunate when a murky, merciless attitude prevents others from having the time of their lives.

These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reaping what you sow in the garden of weddings.  It’s amazing how we can predict with quite a bit of accuracy the general outcome of an event based on the process leading up to it.  But we can.

And you can, too.  As you plan your wedding, or vacation, or birthday party, or whatever, take a step back and do some honest self-assessment.  If your outlook is positive — even if it’s realistic — your road should be relatively smooth and happy.  If your attitude needs some adjustment, now is the time to find (or create) that silver lining before the negativity gets out of control.  And if the negative influence isn’t you, find a way to redirect, reduce, or remove that person from the process.

 

Happy planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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For Your Consideration

You’re so excited.  The question was popped, the answer was yes, and now you’re on the whirlwind ride that we call engagement.

You’re overwhelmed.  Opinions from all angles are swirling around as you start to climb the mountain of decision-making known as wedding planning.

You’re resolute.  You know exactly what you want your big day to be like, and all you need is for everything to be perfectly as you designed.

Image Photography 039

However you’re approaching your matrimonial celebration, allow me to let you in on a little trade secret.  Your vendors — those you hire for the goods and services associated with your event (florist, photographer, cake baker, etc.) — are human beings.  I know, I know — it sounds obvious, right?  But you’d be flabbergasted at the countless, true stories that would provide substantial evidence to support how often that fact is forgotten.

That’s not to say that all brides, grooms, or their families behave in ways that seem dismissive of the lives of their trusted vendors (far from it), but it happens often enough that I have to wonder how many people outside of the event business are aware of the way their words or actions come across.

For example, I recently heard about a wedding vendor who had an extremely ill child, which set this vendor back on the designated timeline, although not to any real detriment of the services provided; the couple demanded a full refund, and when the vendor gave the very good reason for the slight scheduling setback, the couple’s reaction was not one of compassion but, “that’s not our problem.”

True story.

Not all such tales are quite as horrifyingly unfeeling.  Most could be characterized as simply inconsiderate.

Another story I’ve heard goes like this:  one of the vendors of an upcoming wedding had a parent pass away, to which the mother of the bride responded, “well you’re still going to be doing this wedding, right?!”  The implications being, of course, that vendors aren’t allowed to deal with their own lives like the rest of the world, and that they’re somehow in danger of forgetting their work obligations.

Regardless of what life throws their way, all that anyone hired to shoot your video or plan your day or arrange your flowers wants to do is put forth their best work.  Their name is on it.  It will represent them in the future.  They will do everything in their power to give you everything designated in their agreement with you, and then some.  I also don’t know of any vendors worth their salt who would enter into a contract if they weren’t able to fulfill it to the best of their abilities, no matter what’s going on.

The most classic case of ignorant behavior towards hard-working vendors is — you guessed it — pregnancy.  A female vendor “with child” can expect (no pun intended) to be on the receiving end of countless comments relating her gestation once the bump is no longer hide-able.  And, yes, I know vendors who will go to great lengths to hide their pregnancy for as long as possible for this very reason.  Some comments are intended to be jokey, while others are just downright impertinent and rude.  In any case, it’s clear that the old common sense rule of “think before you speak” is woefully absent from the minds of many.

Not too long ago there was a vendor that I know who told me that instead of being congratulated on her soon-to-be motherhood, a family member of a wedding in May said, with actual concern, “It won’t affect the wedding will it?”  Her due date was in January.

The all-too-real stories happen all-too-often.

So please consider, through your excitement, stress, and determination leading up to (and on) your big day, giving some consideration to the people you hire to help you have the event of your dreams.  A little thoughtfulness can go a long way.

As the saying goes: remember that your pants go on one leg at a time just like everybody else’s.

Or, less colloquially, abide by the Golden Rule and all will be well.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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On Uniqueness

MichelleGirardPhotography189-(ZF-7163-86976-1-001) Here at the Wadsworth Mansion, uniqueness is our delight.  Each event is it’s own celebration, standing solo on our calendar for that day and befitting the design of the host’s individual vision.  Our mansion and grounds are merely a (beautiful) blank slate, leaving any and all details  — food, decor, flowers, floor plan, and more — up to the thrower of said party.

When my husband and I were married here almost one year ago, we loved that we weren’t forced into hiring a specific DJ or caterer or florist; the absolute last thing we wanted was a “wedding factory,” where we would just be shoehorned into a pre-set model like afterthoughts and hurried through our wedding to make way for the next one.  The a la carte manner in which the Mansion goes about it’s events allowed our big day to actually reflected us as a couple.  We had the wedding we intended from top to bottom (which, incidentally, you can get a taste of here, just scroll down a bit).

And since then, now that I am employed by the Mansion, I have seen many more weddings and parties here and none are alike.  Even among weddings with similar teams of vendors, the celebrations are unique representations of the hosts.

And all that freedom of choice isn’t for everyone.  I certainly give tours where our historic mansion and it’s one-of-a-kind, symmetrical footprint throws people off.  It does take some creativity to think outside of the same old, single ballroom box.  And that’s okay — coloring outside the lines is great for some and uncomfortable for others.  Plenty of people like to stick to safe, tried-and-true ways of doing things because the enormity of hosting a big event can be stressful enough.

But I can promise that if you’re willing to be intrepid in your party throwing you will reap so much more than if you copy the majority just to stick to the norm.  I recently overheard a comment by a guest at an event (who was late, and purposefully hanging back): “…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”  Yikes.  To be honest, the host didn’t deserve such an assessment at all. However, if that’s the general perspective you’re up against, wouldn’t you want to blow that thought out of the water?

Don’t worry so much about how everyone else did it, or does it, or will do it.  What makes these things so special and noteworthy is how personal they are.

Be uniquely you and your wedding will be extraordinary.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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How to Make Your Wedding Yours

Oftentimes when giving tours of the Mansion to potential brides and grooms I am asked, “what do most people do?”  While I’m happy to relay typical arrangements of tables and chairs or layouts that harmonize fire code with aesthetics, it seems to me that the question is actually much more loaded.

MMwed-353 The pressure put on couples (by themselves or others) to conform to certain ideas, ideals, traditions, and desires is real.  I see it every day.  I experienced it myself.  It varies in shades and degrees from wedding to wedding, but it is always there.  And it is perfectly natural and to be expected — two people in love from two different families [we hope, but that’s a different blog] and backgrounds are uniting in a singular celebration in a finite period of time.

Amid all the excitement it can be weirdly easy to confuse your opinions with those of your loved ones, or feel pressured into conforming to suggestions you don’t love.  Your best friend continuously tells you what colors she thinks you should use, your favorite uncle has written a song he insists on singing during your ceremony, and your parents feel they should get to cast the final vote on every last detail because that’s how their wedding was planned.  And yes, you want to be inclusive, and maybe someone will have a stroke of brilliance that you never would’ve come up with…

But.  Each couple deserves a wedding that reflects them as a couple.  The two of you should dream up a vision together that becomes the foundation for the event.  You have the right to decide if a particular tradition is or isn’t meaningful to you.  It’s okay if you & your fiancee don’t really care about flowers even though everyone else seems to.  Don’t worry so much about keeping up with the Joneses or being Pinterest perfect or agreeing to things just to appease certain people.  Your wedding will be happiest and most meaningful to all of your guests if it echoes you.

So the question is really, “how do you keep the wheels on the wagon?”wadsworth00496

Step 1:  Breathe.  In and out.  Slow is good.

Step 2:  Remember, everyone involved cares deeply about you.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so passionate.  (This is an important marriage lesson in general.)

Step 3:  Tell yourself that this is all completely normal.  Because it is.  It really, really is.

Step 4:  Listen to the idea.  It just might be a good one, or half a good one.

Step 5:  Thank your loved one for the suggestion.  Whether it’s “yeah, that’s similar to something we’ve discussed,” or “I hadn’t thought of that before, but we’ll take it into consideration,” be kind and acknowledge it’s coming from a good place.  Sometimes recognition of a suggestion is all that’s needed.

(optional)
Step 6: Gently remind your loved one that it’s your day.  Be firm if you have to, but the key word is ‘gently’.  Emotions are already high and there’s no need to be nasty.  The point will be made.  Slow your roll, ‘Zilla.

Repeat all (especially Steps 1-3) as needed.

 

Trust the foundation that you set as a couple — and I mean that in life and in wedding planning. The rest will fall (okay, sometimes hurtle) into place.9 Dancing 1
Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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The Devil’s In The Details (or, Tips For Planning The Best Event Ever)

Coming from the latin word for flat, the word plan is a much-used root word defined as:  a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance.

Some people have a natural knack for masterminding things while others… well, not so much.  If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret — you’re not doomed to having a less-than stunning party.  The key is creating a detailed plan, which will become the foundation of your event.  So get out your Excel spreadsheet or Eventbrite‘s event planning software or regular old pen and paper because the first thing you should do is…

  1. Write it down.  There is a lot to keep track of — vendors, guests, timelines, budgets, shopping lists, etc. etc.  You won’t be able to keep it all straight in your brain, so don’t even try.  Professional party planners keep detailed notes, and so should you.
  2. Create a total budget. (and put aside an emergency reserve.)  Set these as early in the process as possible.  Beautiful weddings can be thoughtfully designed on any budget, but blindly spending is a good way to add unnecessary stress to the process.  Use the reserve as your safety net or to add extra finishing details in the day or so before the event.  Or save it for the next big thing!
  3. Dream up a vision.  Close your eyes and put yourself at your venue, say, The Wadsworth Mansion.  Imagine the portico’s stately columns rising to the sky, imagine the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the loggia windows, imagine the long expanse of our lush, green vista framed by rows of cedar trees stretching from the terrace… Now pick an adjective or two that describes the atmosphere you’d like to create here for your guests.  Keep your ideal atmosphere in mind as you select vendors and decide on details throughout the planning process.
  4. Photograph & label everything.  If you want your details to look cohesive and reflect your vision, do a test run; when your mock-up looks to your liking, put your smart phone to work and snap some pictures.  Label liberally — what is obvious to you may not be so clear to vendors during set up. This will save precious time on the day-of, earning you extra moments to deal with any last-minute hiccups.
  5. Communicate.  Save the surprises for your guests. Talk to your vendors. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. A quick phone call to confirm plans or specific details the day before can be the subtle difference between seamlessly smooth and stressful disaster.
  6. Walk in your guests shoes.  From arrival through any activities to the exit, step your way through from a guest’s perspective, which will help with 2 things: assessing if you’ve overlooked any details and making sure your festivities are fluid. If you throw a party for yourself and invite people, that’s exactly what it will feel like to your guests. If, however, you keep the invitee’s experience at the forefront of your planning, the likelihood of “Best Event Ever” status exponentially rises.

Photo by: Alicia Ann Photographers

Stay tuned for future editions of posts on event planning…  In the meantime share comments, experiences, thoughts, and questions below in our comments section.

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Old Hollywood Glam Photo Shoot at The Wadsworth Mansion

Beautiful Old Hollywood Photo shoot, set on the grounds of the Wadsworth Mansion.

Even on a chilly day in April, with rain in the forecast this photo shoot was bound to be amazing. With the colors, the design, and the setting, the shoot was both exciting and inspirational.

Beginning with a color scheme of Gold, Black and Purple the scene was set by Stephanie Carmody of Tres Chic Events.  With a mix of Old Hollywood elegance and classic touches, every element of this shoot was a perfect compliment to the mansion and grounds.   Dining was staged among the trees where the beauty of nature meets sophistication. The tablescape was accentuated with a suspended chandelier of purple flowers and bouquets by Dragonfly Event. Gold chargers and glassware brought dimension to the display.

The bride exuded elegance in a lace gown that blended flawlessly with the Beaux Art style of the mansion and Dana Bartone and Company gave her the classic Hollywood look. We love it when talented vendors come together to create new and stunningly unique ideas in this space.

We were thrilled to  have this photo shoot take place at the mansion.  It was originally featured on Reverie Gallery and now we are happy share it with all of our readers, enjoy!

To see the Reverie Gallery blog click here

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Featured Wedding – Sarah and Joshua 8/15/14

When Sarah arrived at the mansion for her tour, she told us she was looking for the perfect venue for a Disney princess Cinderella wedding.  The moment she walked through the door, her eyes lit up and she knew this was the place for her.  From then on, Sarah was known to us as our “princess bride” and boy, did she deliver!  Sarah and Josh were such a wonderful couple to work with.  They were so in love and just so happy to be getting married that all of the details and planning were just icing on the cake.  Congratulations to Sarah and Josh on the beginning of your happily every after!

Caterer: Coastal Gourmet
Photography: TAB Photographic 
DJ: HG Entertainment
Florist: TK Florist
Hair and Make Up: Nicole
Cake: Mystic Market
Shoes: Nina
Dress: Maggie Sottero
Rings: Hannoush
Mens Attire: Jos A Banks
Pianist: Kyle Landry
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A Seamless Setting – Bliss Celebrations features the Wadsworth Mansion

We were thrilled to see the beautiful wedding of Kathryn and Lev featured in the newest publication of Bliss Celebrations.  If you haven’t been able to grab a copy of the magazine, we have you covered!  Check out the Wadsworth Mansion  as “A Seamless Setting” for a romantic wedding.

To see the full e-zine, check it out here!

 

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Meet Our 2014 Mrs. Wadsworth {All 3 of them!}

This coming Sunday, February 23rd, we are hosting our annual Wedding Show.  From 11:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. we will open our doors to welcome brides and grooms, and their family, and friends to come meet our hand-picked, best of the best vendors in the wedding industry.  Our goal is to provide all of our future mansion brides the resources to plan a day that is perfectly executed from start to finish.  To see a list of the vendors who will be here, check out this link.  But because we like to go above and beyond, and because we love our brides and grooms so much, we will have an invaluable resource on hand for all of those planning weddings here at the mansion…

Meet “Mrs. Wadsworth; Expert Bride”

This year, we don’t have just one expert bride, we have 3!  2013 was an amazing year for weddings, with over 60 to choose from and every wedding with it’s own unique story, we picked a few brides that really stood out and asked them to come back to discuss their planning process, experience and ideas with other brides thinking of or already planning their wedding here.  Much to our surprise, and delight, all of the brides we contacted wanted to come back!  And we are happy to have them.

So, when meandering through the mansion on Sunday searching for ideas and inspiration, make sure you stop by the booth to say “hi” to our mansion staff (Deborah, Anne and Jessica) and meet our wonderful Mrs.Wadsworth’s!

In no particular order, here they are!

Kimberly
Kim and Jay were married on 8/3/13 in a beautiful ceremony on the vista.  Her wedding was previously blogged and you can find it here.  Kim had such an infectious and joyful personality that translated into every nuance of her wedding and, as you can see from these photos, was a stunning bride and the life of the party!

Eric Foley Photography
Eric Foley Photography
Eric Foley Photogaphy


Elizabeth
Liz and Brendan were married 7/13/13 in a beautiful ceremony at the tennis pavilion.  The weather was a bit precarious that afternoon, but the ceremony went on without a hitch and they were such a fun couple!  Liz really personalized her decor with paper heart garland made out of antique printed book paper and her favors were classic literature books to honor her and Brendan’s profession as teachers.  All smiles and celebration, their wedding really chased the clouds away.

Hanlon Photography
Hanlon Photography
Hanlon Photography
 
Melissa
Melissa and Joe were married 9/13/13 in a beautiful ceremony on the vista.  Melissa has since become famous as the face of our fashion show “Be Bride Beautiful” and was asked to be Mrs Wadsworth because of her simply elegant style.  Lucky for us, she will be bringing her groom Joe with her as well, so we are excited to have a Mr. Wadsworth too!
VO Photogaphers
VO Photographers
VO Photographers

We look forward to welcoming our “Expert Brides” this year and hope all that attend can gather some knowledge, inspiration, or ideas from these fantastic ladies!  See you on Sunday!

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