Real Weddings

A STUNNING Key West Wedding + Erasing My Bitter Beer Face

I love it when I have a real wedding which I CANNOT wait to share with you. Today's post just so happens to be one of those weddings. Although it is a bit older than I normally like to post and probably has been seen in several other places given it's from 2009, I went ahead and bent the rules this one time because, well...I can...they're my rules. Woot Woot, that's the best part of being the boss.

Anyhow, Melorie and Art were married in Key West, Florida at The Reach Resort, a gorgeous venue in the Waldorf Astoria family with private a pier and gazebo overlooking the majestic turquoise blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. I think their images submitted by Joy Marie Photography via Two Bright Lights are absolutely stunning. And there are so many favorites I don't even know where to start except to say this, I've never been to Key West or anywhere in Florida for that matter, although I've always wanted to. And now...especially with the...let's just say less than stellar day I had yesterday, day 4 of trying to work amongst all this construction, I JUST want to jump into these pictures and let the tranquil setting erase the wrinkled irritation from my face. You guys know what I'm talking about right? The kind of irritation where you can see every ounce of tension reflecting back at you in the mirror and everyone else can too. I call it Bitter-Beer-Face and I'm sure you can picture why.

BBF is not a good look and most days I do everything in my power to avoid it. But when there's nowhere to go to escape the sounds of hammers and saws and sanders and workers talking about problems and issues and having drywall dust everywhere, especially in places it should NEVER be. Not to mention having to struggle holding a 55 pound not-yet-trained puppy on a leash all day for fear she'll tackle and lick every worker to death. But most of all the feeling that our bank account is dwindling to nothingness because of all the "un-expected" things, BBF is unfortunately inevitable.

But today is a different day and I need to keep reminding myself our house will be on it's way to being gorgeous when this is done. Plus it is FRIDAY! Which means, even though we will have an electrician here doing some work over the weekend...there won't be the torrent of people that have been milling about for the last week. So hopefully Bitter-Beer-Face will subside. And not that any of us ever need an excuse for a relaxing day at the Spa...I mean, they're pretty much a right, right? I'm thinking maybe a visit to the Spa will help my face return to normal. Or at least I can hope...

Photography by Joy Marie Photography

Venue: The Reach Resort Key West, Florida

Event Planner: TC Event Design

Submission via Two Bright Lights

Have a Fab You Bliss Friday & Weekend!



Issues with The Future IN-LAWS + An Intimate Detail Filled Wedding on the Island of Kauai

Seriously so much to talk about after last night's Bachelorette, but that will have to wait until tomorrow's post as today I want to bring up a really TOUCHY subject. But it's an important one that I'm guessing not many engaged couples talk or even think about. I know Beef Cake and I never talked about it before. And now after having been married for a while I'd say every soon-to-be husband and wife should make this a priority to discuss...because it's a pretty darn big one.

So...let's let it all hang out.

The subject is...drum roll please...after marriage, with the almost always oh-so complicated blending of two families, do you Step in or Step off?

Say what???

Here's what I mean.

*Disclaimer* Real life in-laws are in no way associated with any examples...wink, wink.

Example situations.

1. Your Sister-in-Law habitually gives into their kids’ refusal to eat any food but bread. Step in or Step off?

2. Your Father-in-Law makes inappropriate comments on your blog thinking it can only be read by you. Luckily you have the “approve” feature activated…can I hear a collective whew!? Step in or Step off?

3. Your Mother-in-Law sips a few too many non non-alcoholic beverages at lunch. Step in or Step off?

4. Your Brother-in-Law borrows are large sum of money from your In-Laws and refuses to pay it back causing the in-laws financial difficulties. Step in or Step off?

Tricky, eh? So what do you think? What would you do? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Okay...let's chat about today's gorgeous wedding at a private residence in Haena on the island of Kauai. Kristin and Justin were married on March 19, 2011 in this oh-so-lovely and beautifully intimate wedding photographed by uber talented Melissa Dunstan at Melissa Dunstan Photography. I just love the way she's captured all the special details fabulously designed by Kim Duncan of KD Event Designs. All of the unique glassware was collected by Kristen from various antique shops in Kauai for guests to use at the reception during the intimate meal of fresh, local Hawaiian cuisine which was prepared by Chef Grant Carnes. And all of the paper products were created by event designer Kim Duncan. Aren't the colorful dinner menus just divine? My favorite are the vintage postcards that Kristin and Justin used in lieu of a guest book which they plan to read on their one year wedding anniversary.

Such a sweet and stunning wedding!

Photography by Melissa Dunstan Photography

Hair Stylist: Relish Salon & Spa

Caterer: Chef Grant Carnes

Event Designer: KD Event Designs

Musicians: Kenny Ray Rapozo

Reception Venue: Private Residence

Ceremony Location: Julie Wirtz

Linens and Coverings: Kauai Tent & Party Rental


This Stupid Marine Layer + A GORGEOUS Wedding on a Greek Revival Estate may be asking she posting a Fall wedding when it's almost Summer? at Fab You Bliss Weddings I like to mix things up, keep you on your toes, throw caution to the wind, live on the edge, march to the beat of my own drum, etc., etc.

Okay...none of those are the real reasons. No, to be completely honest, it's freezin' a** cold here on the coast of California and it just plain feels like Fall. Seriously! I know...I know, I'm sure you people in colder parts are probably jumping up from your chairs right now and cursing me in 10 different languages through your computer screen. But when you live at the beach and this damn marine layer is socked in 24/ is just plain cold, so cold it cuts right through you cold. Cold...cold...COLD! And if anyone out there says it's nice I'm gonna bet you've been spending too much time with Charlie Sheen...not 'WINNING' of course. Just sayin'.

Okay...okay, maybe I'm exaggerating...a little. I husband does say I have a comfort zone between 70 and 80 degrees. Anything below or above and I'm either a Popsicle or a melted hot mess. I'd rather blame it on where my office has been moved though. Because...wait for it...after a bazillion years of planning, finally my office and our kitchen remodel is set begin next Monday! Can you believe it? I swear I thought the world would end before this actually happened. But lucky me...I get to try to work in a construction zone for the next month or so. Maybe I should get myself and Quinley, (my dog), a couple of pink hard-hats...because, well everything is better when you look pretty, right?

Ahhaa...but more on that in another post. For now, let's just say if I start writing like a serial killer, you'll all know why. PS...hopefully someone will come rescue me. Thanks...luv ya!'s wedding, submitted by Brett Arthur Weddings is anything but cold. Diana & Jon were married last November at Rosedown, a beautifully landscaped Greek revival estate house complete with Grecian style wings situated among giant oak trees reminiscent of historical southern plantations. The grounds of Rosedown offer several unforgettable outdoor settings for photographing weddings large or small. And I am in love with all of the lanterns, candles and decor which Diana planned and arranged herself.

I had to show these two getting ready shots of Diana, even though in the bottom one the hair dresser has a funny look on her face.'s a REALLY funny look! Don't you just love candids?

But I LOVE getting ready shots when they show emotion like these two. Doesn't Diana just have the greatest smile?

I am lovin' this shoe shot!

And look at this next set, oh my my...doesn't she look stunning? Diana you could be a model!

All of the little details, this handsome boutonniere and Diana's gorgeous bouquet, just blend seamlessly. Great job Diana!

Photography by Brett Arthur Weddings

Submission via Two Bright Lights

Would love to hear what you think so please share any comments.

Have a Fab You Bliss Tuesday!



Kardashian-FREE + A Rainy Day Wedding in Bellingham, Washington

I have to say I am very proud I have never watched a single episode of Keeping up with The Kardashians. Same goes for their spin-off show...whatever the name of that one is. And I promise I plan to keep it that way no matter how many TV commercials try to slam it in my face that I should be SUPER EXCITED to watch the NEW season because of all the drama that is going to unfold...blah, blah, blah.

Now...I know stating the above fact is not really a great bumper-sticker kind of accomplishment. But Kardashian-Free is quite BLISSFUL I must say. And it's thrills me beyond measure not to have the knowledge or ability to tell which sister is which...except for Kim of course. Because the only way not to know which one she is would be if you have lived under a rock for the past several years.

But really, I do admire marvel at how Kim's backside personality and talents have brought her such popularity. I mean, just look at the number of loyal "fans" she has following her on Twitter. The number is staggering!!! Imagine...if instead of promoting "Season {whatever}" of the her show...imagine what she could do for so many serious causes if she just put her mind Tweets to work. I'm guessing that wouldn't mesh with her 20.5 carat engagement ring lifestyle though. Or would it? I'm just asking, cuz...I really don't know. I mean, I'm thinking I would feel bad about wearing something like that on my finger when there are so many worthier things that could be done with that money. Then again, I don't have 7+ million followers on she must know something I don't.

Anyhooodle, let's get back to reality...I mean the real world and talk about this lovely wedding from Bellingham, WA. Breanne & Patrick were married on March 12, 2011 and look at these fun images from their wedding day submitted by Aubrey Joy Photography via Two Bright Lights. Who says rain on your wedding day is bad? These two made the best of it and captured some truly awesome memories in the process.

I don't know about you, but my fav in this group is the little flower girl. So darn cute! And the simple flower placed in Breanne's hair is absolutely gorgeous and so fitting for her. Congratulations you two and thank you for sharing your wedding with us.

Photography by Aubrey Joy Photography

Hair Stylist: Something Different

Reception Venue: Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Shoes: Nordstrom

Have a Fab You Bliss Monday!


PS...feel free to comment if you like or don't like the Kardashian's as well. I'd love to hear what you readers have to say.


My Thoughts on Getting Published + A Red & Black Wedding in Denver, CO
As a photographer myself, I know what it's like to submit a wedding for publication. It's nerve racking, exciting, scary and sometimes saddening if our work is by chance rejected. But that's all part of our business. We put our hearts into our craft and lay those same hearts out every time we show our work to anyone. But the best way to not get published is not to submit. And oh-how-sweet-it-is when we receive that email or phone call letting us know our work is going to be featured. I know I've done a happy dance or two ;-)

So I think I have a pretty unique perspective being a publisher as well because I know what it's like to be on both sides. That is not to say I am the absolute authority on everything photography or publishing because I definitely do not pretend to be. But I do use the unique knowledge I have each time I shoot a wedding. For example, I know in addition to all the must have shots, I'm going to capture as many detail images as possible because details give you the best likelihood at getting featured. The more details the better because they help tell the story of your couple's day. And that helps you too when it's time to put together their album. Plus the more you know about the couple and all of the vendors that helped put their wedding together, the better your chances are of getting published. Publisher's need to tell a story too...just sayin'.

From the publisher's viewpoint, it is so nice when I receive a wedding submission with so many detail images I am almost overwhelmed. I say almost because having too many images to choose from is still never enough. But I was thrilled when I received Nichole & Joe's April 30, 2011 wedding in Denver, CO submitted by Hardy Klahold Photography via Two Bright Lights as there are so many gorgeous images I kind of feel bad not being able to post them all. But here are some of the images I truly love.

What do you think?

Floral Designer: Liz Nielsen at Floral Creations and Gifts

Submission via Two Bright Lights

Have a Fab You Bliss Thursday!



Puffy White Clouds + A Lighthouse Wedding

My sister and I used to live at Lake Tahoe, CA. She still lives there, only now with her husband. But back when I was there it was just us two and a bunch of our friends having fun and enjoying the outdoors on a daily basis in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I love winter, skiing and snowboarding are always so much fun. But I have to admit, being the lover of warmth that I am, that summer in the mountains was and is my favorite season. Anyhow, one summer day my sister and I went to the East Shore of the lake to spend the day in the sun. The East Shore is the warmest side given the sun hits there for most of the day so the beaches become quite crowded. Bookending the beaches there are stretches of huge rocks where not many people want to venture because lying down on rocks isn't the most comfortable...wouldn't you agree? We were always okay with those rocks though, where it was just us two enjoying the beautiful day and no one else was around.

Anyhoodle...on the particular day I mentioned I remember sitting on those rocks looking up at the sky filled with gorgeous, puffy white clouds like the ones pictured in the wedding featured below photographed by Paul Retherford Wedding Photography in June of 2010. this point you may be asking yourself why I am telling you this story and what in the world it has to do with a wedding. Well, you a photographer myself, I enjoy images that evoke emotion, whatever that emotion may be. And these images took me back to that day on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe with my sister sitting on those rocks while watching the puffy white clouds float by.

Of course there is more to Kaelie & Christopher's Lake Huron wedding than just puffy white clouds. Look at the fantastic lighthouse for instance. And that gorgeous wooden boat, that nostalgic, old station wagon and the most adorable beach themed cake. This wedding has the perfect mix of simplicity and fun! And how wonderful for them to end the day on a private beach with some celebratory cocktails.

Thank you for Paul Retherford Wedding Photography for submitting this wedding and to Kaelie & Christopher for sharing your beautiful day with us. Also...happy almost anniversary!

Cake Designer: Miller Street Bakery

Submission via Two Bright Lights

Have a Fab You Bliss Monday!




The movie "Bridesmaids" + A Sweet Wedding at Martha Clara Vineyard

I'm sure you've heard of the movie "Bridesmaids", right? I'm so looking forward to seeing it. Seriously I can't wait! Anyone else looking forward to seeing it? I expect there will be some teeth pulling to get Kevin to go with me. Or maybe not...sometimes he surprises me. But I've heard great reviews about it and I watched Melissa McCarthy on Ellen yesterday and Oh...Em...Gee she makes me laugh! Ellen too...but Melissa just had me in stitches. And although I have not seen her new show Mike & Molly, I was a complete Gilmore Girls devotee and watched every episode of Samantha Who? during it's very short life. So I'm so glad to see Melissa in a movie that's doing so well.

I have to say I'm not a super big fan of Kristen Wiig though. I don't know, there's just something about the way it sounds like she curls her tongue under the roof of her mouth and talks like a Muppet with most of her characters. Does anyone else here that? It's kind of annoying, but I'll put those thoughts aside and give it a chance because everyone else in the movie looks hilarious! And who knows, maybe Kristen Wiig will surprise me and I'll become her new number 1 fan...maybe???

Anyhoo...let's talk about today's wedding submitted by Mindi and Rich Verdi of Photography by Verdi via Two Bright Lights. Alexandra & Joe's celebration was held at Martha Clara Vineyard in Riverhead, NY. What a great venue! This place has it all from the beach to the gorgeous farm house to 18 acres of vineyards. But the best thing about it...they are dog friendly! And anyone who knows Kevin & I knows how much we love our Goldendoodle Quinley and she's pretty much with us 24/7. But the hardest thing is finding restaurants or lodging that will allow us to bring her. So the fact that there's a gorgeous place like this that allows dogs...I am definitely a new fan! my soapbox and back to the images. Aren't they beautiful? I just love the sunflowers and that old time truck. And what great bright colors. What do you think?

Photography: Photography by Verdi

Event Planner: L.A. Productions

Floral Designer: LA Blossom

Venue: Martha Clara Vineyard

Other Vendors:

Makeup Artist: Pretty Me

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Have a Fab You Bliss Thursday!


Remodel Tizzy, Dissing Brangelina and Bright Lights's a holiday weekend and I'm interchangeably working on blog posts, scouring the 'Inter-Webs' for new ideas and Fab You Bliss finds for y'all...and gathering inspiration for our new kitchen & office remodel, which is scheduled to commence in T-Minus 2.5 weeks...eeek!

No...I didn't just say eeek because I don't want the remodel to happen. Heavens no!!! I've been waiting for this remodel to start since before the world began! Since before it was cool to say cool, even before that movie came out, you know the one where Brangelina fell in love....while he was married to someone else. But of course they denied it the whole world only to give an interview about it years later saying that's just how they fell in love. Dumb liars! Oh, was that my out loud voice?

Okay, okay...that should be water under the bridge by now, but my memory is long and I still don't forgive them for that...we're not stupid, ya know. I've hopefully well established the wait for my new kitchen and office has been a long time in coming. But I'm freaking out a little because there are so many decisions that come with the many choices from paint to counter tops to sink and faucet styles to the office flooring and the wall color I will want to look at, (or not look at), day in and day out. It's a lot of pressure to make these decisions as some of them are permanent...well, permanent as the life of a kitchen or office goes.

You know what I'm talking about right?

In a way...I think the design process of a home remodel and the design process of a wedding are very a teeth pulling, ranting and raving, hair falling out torturous kind of way ;-)

But seriously...both convey style, both involve budgets and above all else...both are a reflection of ones personality. Take the detail images shown below from Stacy Haldeman & Marco Figueira's Real Wedding submitted by Katie's Lens Photography via Two Bright Lights. Isn't the lighting just Divine? I love the way the way the pink, purple and gold lights play off all the detail pieces from the frame to the flower arrangements to the snowflake hanging off the edge of the Chiavari chair. It's definitely bright and showy, but it's a statement and I can see a lot of love went into designing just how everything here would look and definitely paid off.

Caterer: Feastivities

Floral Designer: Offshoots Decor

Reception Venue: Archmere Academy

Cinema and Video: Kenneth Stillman Video

Band: City Rhythm Orchestra - Email

Lighting: BEW Productions

Makeup Artist: Email Makeup by Ren

Jewelry: Etsy

Submission via: Two Bright Lights

Now...back to thinking about wall color. Any ideas for the kitchen color with cream colored cabinets? I'll take any suggestions.

Have a Fab You Bliss Memorial Day y'all


A Sweet Connection!

What could be better than having your wedding at the gorgeous Montelucia Resort and Spa in Scottsdale Arizona???  Making a sweet stop before the ceremony at chic culinary artist Julia Baker Confections...of course!  Julia designed their wedding cake, but Kimberly & Frank picked up some specialty chocolates for their guests to make the day even sweeter.

I love this idea!  And I love how these images truly convey the fun of the day and the humor of the couple as you will see by Kimberly's big smile and genuine laugh.  Also the image of Kimberly and Frank making faces into a mirror is pretty funny too. 

So many little details went into this wedding and I love them all, but my favorite by far is the yellow heart shaped tin that reads Follow Your Heart on it. 

So poignant...on a wedding day and in all of life.  If there is any one motto to live by I believe it is that...Follow Your Heart!


Photographer:  Photography by Verdi 
Floral Designer:  The Flower Studio

Cinema and Video:  Arizona Wedding Video

Cake Designer:  Julia Baker Confections

Linens and Coverings:  Fabulous Linens

Makeup Artist:  art by kvk

Submission via:  Two Bright Lights


Andrea & Kevin's "Fab-You-Bliss" DIY wedding was held at the gorgeous Orcutt Ranch in West Hills, CA., which has amazing photographic opportunities at every turn with its rich history dating back to the early 20th century.  Beyond just historical significance, the grounds are simply beautiful; with 24-acres of gardens, walking paths, flower beds, a citrus orchard, barn, windmill, fountain, and a variety of exotic shrubs and trees.  You can even take a portrait beside a 700 year old oak tree! 

All of this natural beauty makes is quite easy for the DIY couple such as Andrea and Kevin to have a gorgeous wedding on a modest budget.

Photography by Stephanie Saul Photography
Venue Orcutt Ranch

Table, chairs & linen rentals by Smart Party Rentals

Flowers by the Flower Factory

Catered by Red's BBQ Simi Valley, CA.  

Cake by Pluskos Cakes

Bar services by Monterey Concessions Bar Services 

Photo booth by Photo Booth moments Jackie Astman


Laura & Darrin were married amongst the love of family and friends on rainy weekend in San Diego. The wedding was held on February 26, 2011, one of the only weekends where the staff at The Dana Hotel on Mission Bay actually had to move the ceremony from it's planned outdoor area to inside the ballroom where their amazing catering crew flipped it during the cocktail hour and transformed the ceremony area into a beautiful room for the reception. 

Lucky for the photographer, the rain held out for some of the day and she was able to capture these beautiful images.

Ceremony & reception venue:  The Dana Hotel on Mission Bay, San Diego

Flowers & favors by Christine Barongan ~ Sultani at Fancy That! Designs


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