Wedding Do or Don’t: Pictures Before, After or Both?

A successful wedding day is all about good timing. There’s only so much you can do in a day (half of a day, really), so making sure you and your planner are on the same page about timeline and priorities is vital. This is especially true for photography — wedding photos are a big investment, so you want to make sure you have the time to make them perfect, without it taking up a gigantic chunk of your special day.

We talked to two of our favorite wedding planners — Kelly McLeskey-Dolata of A Savvy Event and Sonia Hopkins of XOXO Bride— and asked them this wedding do or don’t: When is the best time to take pictures? Before the ceremony? After the ceremony? During the reception? Or all of the above?

seaside real weddingPhoto from Bill & Blaire’s Beautiful Seaside Wedding by Dear Wesleyann.

Q: In your experience, what leads to a more seamless wedding: taking photos before the ceremony, after the ceremony, or both?

Kelly: I feel that doing photos prior to the ceremony allows for more time and a more seamless wedding flow. You are able to get all the photos out of the way ahead of time so you can enjoy your reception after the ceremony. I do however respect the wishes of my couples and if they choose not to see each other prior the ceremony I work with my photographers on a realistic photography timeline during the cocktail hour.

Sonia: Both! We highly encourage our clients to take advantage of the growing popular choice of “First Look” in their photography. We find the couple is able to capture so much more on film this way. But I also personally feel there is an opportunity to capture another moment on your wedding day: the walk down the aisle meeting at ceremony. The walk down the aisle is so special, but it’s also is so quick. It’s nice for the couples to have that time beforehand to take each other in for more than 30 minutes.

Photos pre and post ceremony also allows for two additional options that would not be available if the couple didn’t do a First Look. The first option is to focus more time on the bride and groom photos post ceremony, giving ample time for multiple locations. The other options is to take a short amount of time for bride and groom photos post ceremony and then join their guests for cocktail hour.

first look real weddingPhoto from Gina & Ryan’s Classic Villa Montalvo Wedding by Ashley Maxwell.

Q: What kinds of things should a couple consider before making this decision?

Kelly: I always tell my couples to think about whether or not they want to see each other prior. There are pros and cons to each. I loved an element of surprise, so for my own wedding it was important for me to see my husband at the ceremony. But, I know a lot of couples really like that intimate moment between the two of them when they see each other for the first time. A lot of times the decision is easily made by how many photos they are going to take and the fact they want to be a part of the cocktail hour. There really is no right or wrong way to do it, you just really need to think about what works best for the two of you and work with your planner and photographer to create a seamless timeline for the decision you make.

Sonia: Type of photos desired and the overall timing and layout of the venue will play a large role in this decision. If photos are important to the couple, which they are more often than not are, then planning for time to capture all of the scenarios with family, wedding party and all those fun bride and groom moments take time. We always recommend 1 minute per photo. If you count how many photos a couple would like during the day, those minutes add up quickly. It’s about maximizing the short amount of time you have in one day and not feeling rushed. 

eclectic real weddingPhoto from Julia & Jonathan’s DIY Block Island Wedding by Katie Slater.

Q: What do you find photographers’ expectations are for this? How should that factor into things?

Kelly: I know from experience that photographers love when the clients want to do the First Look — this is great for them, as it allows them ample time to get all the shots they need and not rush through a list of photos in 45 minutes. However, if you are working with both an experienced photographer and planner, they should be able to create a realistic timeline for your day that won’t feel rushed or delayed.

Sonia: Photographers are always wanting, needing and asking for more time. I make it my priority to map out a day that allows for the proper amount of time to give to the photographer to do their magic and not have the bride, groom, families and wedding party feel as if we rushed them throughout the entire day just to get a photo taken. Photographers love when I can give them at least 20 minutes for the First Look and 30 minutes post ceremony with just the bride and groom.

Tell us: What did you do for your wedding? Or when are you planning to take photos? 

Rustic Wedding in Warm Winter Whites

We all know that summer is the standard wedding season — who doesn’t love an outdoor wedding? — but we think that cold weather weddings are too often overlooked. There’s something so romantic about snuggling up in a big cozy throw and watching snow fall with a bug mug of hot cocoa (or mulled wine!) in hand.


This inspirational shoot styled by Wednesday encompasses everything we love about weddings during this time of year: Warm wood accents, autumn-inspired florals, lots of lace and a snow-inspired ceiling installation to hint at colder weather to come. Of course, we love seeing our Gabriella Dinnerware and Antique Silver Flatware as the stars of the tablescape, too. Scroll down to see more photos from this stunning, rustic wedding inspired shoot!


Concept, styling, paper goods: Wednesday
Photography: Ely Fair Photography
Rebecca’s Silver Rose
Venue: White Dog Hill, Clinton, OK
Dress, earrings: Meg Guess
Original dress design: 
Harper Henry
Hair: MaKenna Estes
Sarah Roark

winterwedding-styled-05 winterwedding-styled-07winterwedding-styled-09 winterwedding-styled-22 winterwedding-styled-10

Our 7 Favorite Wedding Instagram Accounts

Last week, we shared our absolute favorite wedding Pinterest accounts to help you find inspiration for your big day. This week, we’re sharing some of our top picks on our other favorite venue for wedding inspiration: Instagram! Read on to take a peek at our 7 favorite wedding Instagram accounts.



From engagement parties to last minute touches on the big day, we love how Loverly’s gorgeous Instagram accounts covers all the little details that make weddings special.


Hey Gorg Events

Stylist and wedding planner Rhiannon Nicole Bosse’s Instagram gives followers a fun sneak peek at her stylish events every step of the way.


How He Asked

We’re suckers for a good engagement story, and this adorable Instagram account has enough romantic fodder to make anyone shed a few happy tears.


Laura Hooper Calligraphy

There’s a reason so many people love following Laura Hooper’s Instagram: Her stunning calligraphy provides eye candy and inspiration to any design lover, even if they’re not in wedding planning mode.


Beth Helmstetter

Of course, we had to include one of our favorite wedding planners. Beth’s beautiful events speak for themselves, and it’s too fun to get a sneak peek behind the scenes before each and every big day.


Tulipina Design

The incredibly talented Kiana Underwood’s Instagram feed has always been one of our absolute favorites — if you’re on the hunt for wedding floral inspiration, you won’t want to miss out on her gorgeous designs.


Inspired by This

From real weddings to real wedding problems, Inspired by This covers just about every issue you could encounter before your wedding. Check out their Instagram for cake, floral and fashion advice!

PS: Don’t forget to follow Pottery Barn on Instagram for home, design and registry advice and inspiration. 

Farm-to-Table: Rustic Elegant Wedding Inspiration

We’re all for grand, elegant affairs, but there’s something extra-special about a more small, casual wedding. It’s hard not to fall in love with this shoot full of rustic elegant wedding inspiration by Clayton Austin.





Austin’s shoot reveals a no-fuss wedding, where the groom bakes the cake and the couple hosts family and friends at their own home. Austin set the scene at the elegant Dana-Powers House on California’s Central Coast, and staged a relaxing day where the bride and groom served a meal from their garden (on our Vintage Wood Cheese Boards with our Rustic Luxe Ruffled Linen Napkins) with their nearest and dearest friends and family.






Photography: Clayton Austin
Florals: Panacea Event Floral Design
Venue: Dana-Powers House
Stationery + event design: Clayton Austin
Table, chairs + props: Embellish Vintage Rentals 

Wedding Dos and Don’ts: Should You Hire a Videographer?

Budget is everything when it comes to your big day. Unless yours is unlimited, odds are you’ll have to compromise on something — for some couples, it’s a video. Today, we’re talking to to of our favorite wedding planners, Kelly McLeskey-Dolata of A Savvy Event and Sonia Hopkins of XOXO Bride, to get the scoop on whether or not they think having a wedding videographer is worth it.

Destination Wedding Filmmaker {Pierre & Angeline} Caneros Inn, Napa from LoveSpun Handmade Wedding Films on Vimeo. Wedding planned by A Savvy Event.

Q: What’s your opinion on having a videographer? Is it a must? Why or why not?

Sonia: Cinematography is definitely a nice added feature to any wedding. We do encourage our clients to consider capturing this lifetime moment on film, however we find it really comes down to budget permitting. Photographs remain the strongest priority, so photographers will obtain the bigger portion of funds within a budget.

Kelly: YES! I think video is so important and the biggest regret couples have if they don’t do it. I have heard more than once that they so wished they would have had video at their wedding. It is the only thing you have that brings your wedding to life! Photography is beautiful, but the video really brings back all the memories to life and the little things you might have missed.

Q: Budget-wise, are there things that should prioritize under having a videographer?

Sonia: Yes, in fact we always try to allocate, based on the clients overall budget, the photography and videography/cinematography funds together in order to capture this vendor choice, funds more often than not are decided all to go towards the photographer packages. Beyond photography, venue and design fees play a huge role in the beginning of the planning process. Flowers, rentals, lighting and draping are sometimes must have design items, leaving very little for videographer fees.

Kelly: I always say if you want to have it all, scale your guest count back. The fewer guests you have, the less you have to spend. Invite the guests that are really the most important to you so you can have all the things you want on your special day

Q: When do you think having a videographer is as important as the photographer? Certain settings? Certain types of weddings?

Sonia: When family dynamics play a large role in a couples lives — such as family members unable to travel or attend or grandparents who are aging — we encourage our clients to document this time on film to preserve that memory forever. It’s also a great tool to have family that can not attend the wedding feel included in the festivities after the event has concluded.

Kelly: I think both are equally important. Weddings are different then they use to be. No matter what the budget is, there is a lot more thought and a lot more planning that goes into planning a wedding. Video and Photography in my opinion, go hand in hand with one another. I did not have video at my own wedding and it is also my biggest regret! There is just so much of your day that goes by so fast and at the end it all seems like a blur. I have the photos, but so wish I could have heard my vows, best man toast, maid of honor toast  and my dad’s toast.

Tell us: What do you think? Is having a wedding video a must or a bust? 

Add a Splash of Orange to Your Registry!

Did you know it’s PB Color Week on Instagram? This week, we’re posting photos all about one of our favorite fall hues — orange! So today we’re rounding up some of our favorite orange picks to add to your registry. Take a look, below, and don’t forget to follow @potterybarn on Instagram and use the hashtag #pbcolorweek to see more photos.

orange to registry

1. Leya Tote Bag/ 2. Ikat Napkin Set/ 3. Abby Sheet Set/ 4. Leya Embroidered Pillow/ 5. Jensen Woven Tray/ 6. Cambria Stoneware Persimmon/ 7. Marlo Jacquard Towels/ 8. Solid Mohair Fringed Oversized Throw/ 9. Diamond Tile Phulkari Pillow Cover

Fiesta Bachelorette Party in Southern California

Summer weekends in California practically beg for a margarita on the rocks. So, cocktail and entertaining extraordinaire Whitney Adams recruited stylist Dean Renaud to help her put together a fun, elegant and colorful fiesta bachelorette party for her soon-to-be-married friend Claire Thomas in Los Angeles. “I wanted to think outside the box a little and do something during the day. As summer is coming to a close, I think we wall want to soak in every last bit of outdoor time and sunshine that we can.”

Margarita_Cheers_by_Whitney_AdamsAdams put together a classy but playful party with two fresh, seasonal and easy-to-make margaritas, a build your own tostada bar and fruity paleta popsicles for dessert. It’s a more grown up (and delicious) take on nachos and tequila shots — with minimal effort.






Pottery Barn product shown: Blonde Wood Wine Trough, Blue Ombre Outdoor Drinkware, Jug Outdoor Drink Dispenser, Rhodes Drink Dispenser Stand, Jus de Fruits Glasses, Vintage Wood Pizza Paddle Board



Note: Drink recipes can serve a crowd of 8, and can be easily doubled or tripled for larger groups. 

Blackberry Mint & Honey Margarita
1 bottle Don Julio Blanco Tequila (750 ml)
2 pints blackberries
1 bunch mint
12 oz lime juice
12 oz honey simple syrup
1.5 cups water

For the blackberry puree:
Blend blackberries and mint. Add a small amount of honey to help soften the berries and better incorporate ingredients.

For the simple syrup:
Put honey in saucepan with 1.5 cups water. Heat until combined and let cool.

Place everything directly into the beverage dispenser. Serve over ice and garnish each cocktail with lime and fresh blackberry.



Spicy Jalapeno Margarita
1 bottle Don Julio Anejo Tequila (750 ml)
4 jalapenos
12 oz. lime juice
12 oz. agave syrup
1.5 cups water
Dried papaya
Chili powder seasoning (like Tajin Clasico)

For the simple syrup:
Put agave in saucepan with 1.5 cups water. Slice 2 jalapenos (with some seeds for heat) and add to the pan. Heat until combined and let cool. Strain out jalapenos.

For the chili papaya:
Cut dried papaya (or mango) into strips, coat in a squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle with chili powder.

Place everything directly into the beverage dispenser. Slice 2 fresh jalapenos (remove seeds), add to dispenser. Serve over ice and garnish each cocktail with lime, a slice of jalapeno and chili papaya.


Creative Direction & Cocktails: Whitney Adams
Styling & Food: Dean Renaud
Photos: Whitney Adams