‘DESSERT FIRST’ TWILIGHT GARDEN WEDDING + DEAR TKB: “I think my sister’s making a mistake. Should I tell her?” | Photography by Serendipity Studios

Whew!  Happy Monday afternoon, my friends my buddies.  I’m relieved to report that the hurricane’s over, and we made it out alive.  Thank you ALL for your incredibly kind well-wishes and concern!  I’ll tell you, there were some light breezes that, for a moment there at the height of the storm, we thought *for sure* were going to blow some loose papers directly into our faces, potentially – and this was the worst case scenario – potentially leaving behind some of the meanest paper cuts ever left on a face.  Fortunately this concern did not manifest, so we’re grateful for that.  Paper cuts are the worst.  Now, there *was* some light rain, and this caused some flooding, as much as two FULL centimeters deep, at its highest points.  We’re feeling pretty lucky right now that we don’t have a car in the city.  I don’t even want to imagine the damage.

Ok, so in actually real news… Today my friends is a double whammy, all slammed into one post.  For a reason that will make sense quite soon…

We’ve got a fantastic outdoor wedding photographed by the insanely talented Candice Cossel of Serendipity Studios, and we’ve also got a reader question that I felt was ideally paired with this wedding, specifically because Candice happens to be one of those kinds of photographers with a personality you’d be hard-pressed not to love, and who just *gets* how to make you feel at ease in front of the camera.  But don’t take it from me; her bride from this wedding has the same to say within her incredible write-up…

Now, that said, let’s get started with our reader question…

Reader Question from S:


Hey there.  Wussup.  Bam says wussup, too.

(oops… sorry Bam.)  Bam’s just waking up, but he’d want me to tell you he said ‘hi.’  So, what’s your question?

My question.  I’m worried my sister is making a mistake about her wedding photographer and I’m hoping you can tell me if this is something I should leave alone or bring up to her (before it’s too late). She’s pretty much definitely going with a certain photographer that I don’t think is a good fit for her. My sister’s the shy one in our fam, and she’s already told me once that communicating with [the wedding photographer she's in talks with] is “kind of awkward, but his style is exactly what I want.”

I’m not saying the photographer isn’t great at taking photos, because he is very good at that, I just know how shy my sister is and how it’s not the easiest thing for her to get on with new people sometimes. And I especially think she needs to have a good rapport with the person who’s going to shoot one of the most important days of her life.  …Right?

My sister and I have a good relationship, I just don’t really know if it’s my place to talk to her about this, and I definitely don’t want to make her even more flustered than she already is, and she’s only just started her planning. Should I leave it alone?  I appreciate any advice you can give me! Thank you so much!

Dear S: You said it’s early in the planning… so this is FOR SURE worth bringing up to her.   In my personal opinion, it’s important to get along well/feel comfortable with your wedding photographer(s).  Clicking with your photographer means feeling at ease in front of that lens that’s going to be following you throughout the entire day.  And feeling at ease in front of the lens means kicka$$ photos of the real you at your best, instead of extremely obvious poses and cold or awkward expressions.  A couple doesn’t need to be besties with their photographer.  But the fact that your sister already told you that communication with this photographer is “kind of awkward” is a HORRIBLE sign.  Even if ”his style is exactly what [she] want[s].”

My lovely readers, I’d like to turn this over to you guys now… what do you think?  Any advice for this bride’s sister?

Ready for a wedding, y’all?  Today’s outdoor wedding was submitted by the always stellar Serendipity Studios, and it’s filled not only with gorgeous grass + floral centerpieces and the most delightful individual desserts, but also lovely, natural images that a positive relationship with your wedding photographer will tend to yield…

Hope you enjoy :)

Here’s the rundown from the lovely bride:

Where did you get your dress? Ever After, Coconut Grove, Miami

Who designed it? Valentino

How you choose your bridesmaids’ dresses/colors?  Let her choose.  She went with a simple black T-length dress.

How did you choose the invitations?  Looked for something elegant and simple.  My dress was lace, so I selected an invitation that slid into a black lace paper sleeve.

Why did you choose your venue?  We wanted someplace that was tucked away, private, intimate, and on the water.  Grove Isle fulfilled all of those.

Tell me about the style/theme of your wedding.  Intimate twilight garden.  We had soft overhead lights, non-traditional floral centerpieces wrapped in wheatgrass and bundles of the flowers in season (cherry blossoms, delphinium, tulips, orchids…).

What were your favorite moment(s) of your wedding day?  Taking photos with my ‘husband to be’ before the ceremony.  The first time we saw each other was so intimate and special and between just the two of us.  I will never forget it.

Saying the vows we wrote for one another.  It really personalized the ceremony.

Sitting down at dinner and being able to have all our friends and relatives sit at the same table with us.

The laughter.  Whenever I think about our wedding day, that is what I hear in my head.  We were happy, our guests were happy and it was a beautiful night.

Our first dance.  We danced to a song that had a lot of personal significance to us from when we first met and although the dance was not orchestrated or formal, it was a chance to hold one another and reflect on how far we have come.

What details were especially important/meaningful to you?  Having everyone sit at one table together.  My husband and I live far away from most of our friends and family and we wanted to make sure to keep the attendees small so that we were able to spend quality time with them and take in the evening.

One item on our bucket list was to go to a restaurant and order dessert first, but we had not done it yet so we decided to incorporate that into our wedding.  Since both of us are in the horticulture industry we put a personal spin on it.  So the place settings were small clear bowls filled with a crumbled chocolate cake and white frosting (to simulate soil) and then Rosie (our cake designer) made individualized edible sugar flowers for each bowl. They came out better than I had imagined.

We selected our wedding date because it fell on a full moon and we were lucky to have a beautiful evening on the water that closed with the moon emerging from the clouds and reflecting beautifully on the ocean.  It was gorgeous.

What tips/advice would you give to other brides?  Try not to worry about the details.  The day goes by faster than you can keep up with what details were not addressed.

Write your own vows.  The whole world drops away and gives you a rare opportunity before your friends, family, and God to express your feelings to the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with.

Take photos before the ceremony.  I was skeptical like many, but I am so glad I did, and thankful to our photographer, Candice, for recommending it.  From a photo standpoint you are the most fresh (especially if you are like me and end up shedding some tears during the ceremony).  More importantly though – it gives you chance to take in the day and spend some time together just the two of you, before the rest of the world joins the event, whether it is 5 or 500 people.  There are so many nerves wrapped up in everyone on a wedding day, and everyone is going a mile a minute – but the first time I saw David everything slowed down to a heartbeat and we were able to hold one another, laugh and cry and know without a doubt how happy we were to have found one another.  It made the rest of the day much easier.

Remember to take in moments and register them. Literally step aside for a moment or two and look around. The first time you see your husband.  Hugging your friends and family after the ceremony.  They way your flowers smell.  The way the food tasted. How your dress felt beneath your hands.

Be selective about the photographer you choose.  The photos are one of the few physical manifestations of the moments from that day. Having a photographer who understands who you are as a couple – will mean you take away so much more than just blank smiling faces staring at a camera when someone says ‘smile’.  For every photo we have, there was something behind the look, or laugh, or position, that was caught on film.  We were just being us and Candice captured it.

And now, A Day in the Life of Bambino McPuppyPants…

Here’s a photo we tweeted the family while hunkered down during the storm this past weekend (without the text, of course; that’s new.  Pretty sure they haven’t created a Photoshop App yet.  … I mean have they?)

Ok so!  Here we go dear readers…

1) As always, I’d really like to turn to you on the Reader Question portion of this post.  Any thoughts/feedback for this sister of a shy bride, as far as what she should do?  Let her sister hire the amazing photographer with whom she doesn’t have a great relationship?  Or step in and express her thoughts on her sister’s decision…?

2) As far as this wedding goes, how lovely is this shindig?  And what do you think of doing dessert first?  And, more generally, choosing to rock your wedding the way you want to rock it, in the order in which you want to rock it?  Excited to hear your thoughts. :)

xoxo!  - Alison

Serendipity Studios is a member of Vendor Love, The Knotty Bride’s Preferred Vendor Guide.  To view this listing, click here.

Decorating: ME Productions / Flowers: ME  Productions / Venue: Grove Isle / Cake: Elegant Temptations / Dress: Ever After

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, Color, {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Amanda on August 29, 2011

    I loved the centerpieces and aisle decorations at the wedding. Simple and absolutely gorgeous. I’ve always been curious how people feel about pre-ceremony pictures but the aspect of “being fresh” for all the photos really makes sense! Gorgeous all around.

  2. Didi on August 29, 2011

    I think you should definitely tell your sister your opinion on the photographer situation! :) That being said, one or twice is enough. Don’t push it. It’s still her wedding, and whatever she decides to do you should back her up, if you see that the relationship is a little ‘awkward’ try helping out with that a little. Don’t alienate her by being too pushy about the situation!!! :)
    Show her you care, but you care more about her and your relationship than her choice in a photographer. ;)

    This wedding is beautiful! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the white ‘lamps’? I don’t know what they’re called…. And the orchids!! To die for!

  3. Alison on August 29, 2011

    Amanda – SO agree. Being fresh for the intimate photos is def UPside. And it also serves to ease the tension of the ceremony, especially if one of you is on the shyer side! xx

    Didi – right on, great advice :) And I believe they’re lanterns… right? Hmm, now I’m doubting myself…

  4. Koru Kate on August 29, 2011

    AMAZING centerpieces! Love, love, LOVE!

    As for the reader ?, it may be a tough conversation but it’s worth having. At the end of the day, you spend more time with your photographer than anyone else, including your partner. A good rapport with your photographer is key!! At the very least, suggest your sister have an e-session with the photographer to get a feel for the rapport between them. Maybe things will work between them or she’ll realize on her own that it’s time to find another photographer. Good luck!

  5. Lena on August 29, 2011

    Your title made me SURE this was a “My sister is marrying the wrong guy” post, so I’ll admit that a photog dilemma was a bit of a let down in the drama department but VERY MUCH worth discussing.

    My guess is that sis knows this person isn’t quite right-she already mentioned how awkward their interaction seems. She needs someone to agree with her and encourage her to go with her gut, and you’re (you being sister reading comments) are incredibly, impossibly sweet for wanting to be that person. So do it! What can you lose, especially in light of the fact that you’re not telling her she’s getting hitched to the wrong dude?

    Oh, and that wedding? Magic. The dress, the links, the flowers, the DESSERT. I’m in love.

    And super glad you guys survived the storm. My parents swam to safety on a bit of destroyed shed.

  6. Alison on August 29, 2011

    Kate – an e-sesh is a stellar idea. Great advice!!

    Lena – yeeeaaaahhh… *those* questions I answer privately via email. But I’m thinking it would be a good idea to pop one up on the blog, with permission one of these days. :) And I’m glad we had a side conversation to this comment conversation assuring me your parents were safe at home, draining the pool. Your parents are also the best.

  7. Alicia @CharityWedding on August 29, 2011

    HA. I love how you described the storm. P.S. America people are STARVING in Africa. Flat out babies dying daily. And it is raining in New York and I can’t find out about any other damn thing on TV because of it. Except that Beyonce is pregnant, equally news worthy of course. Oh and I’m not sure if you all remember but there are people in Japan and Haiti still struggling after ACTUAL storms. If there is a benefit concert I am going to sh*t.

    On to the wedding… Amazing!!! Those place cards are epic and the centerpiece blows my mind. Purely gorgeous!

    Oh and yes, tell your sister to reconsider. There are A TON of great photogs that can do exactly what you want that actually have good personalities. So don’t settle for awkward.

  8. Laura *You Stir Me* on August 29, 2011

    oh my goodness, I love weddings that throw tradition out the door. Heck yes, dessert first…I say have the reception and then the ceremony, right? I love it and wish I had more cahones (cajones?) to have done dessert first at our wedding.

    And yes, tell your sister your thoughts on the photographer. 9 times out of 10 the biggest complaint out of all my friends who are married is they didn’t like their photographer because they rushed into booking one.

  9. Alison on August 29, 2011

    Alicia – right? I mean SERIOUSLY. Covg was *slightly* overblown, news media. It ruffles my feathers when every station in the land is exploiting the death of a person from this storm every five minutes. Seriously, I kept hearing *teasers* about a death. Deaths should not be used in teasers on news channels between commercials!!! Meh. Anyway. Those little desserts ARE epic, I wholeheartedly agree. Love the shots Candice captured. :) xx lovah!

    Laura – amazing points, all! I’m totally in agreement, girlie. Like, TOTALLY.

  10. Melissa F on August 29, 2011

    If she’s already paid the retainer, I’d forget talking to her. She has made up her mind. As a former bride for others to tell you that you are making mistakes about your own wedding. As a photographer, I offer an engagement session complimentary as a chance to get to know the couple. If they cancel, I just keep the amount I charge for an engagement session. Perhaps she could suggest her sister just do an engagement session with this photog and see how that goes. If it goes well, then great. If not, then she can decide from there. It may be the guy was having an off day, and everything will be just fine.

  11. Aleah + Nick on August 29, 2011

    Numero uno, we’re so happy you and the little one fared well through the storm. Numero dos, Lulu has a teeny little crush. Finally, absolutely positively should your reader speak up about a photographer. As a close relative who knows her well the bride-to-be should be able to understand and thank her later!

  12. Rachael on August 29, 2011

    While I’m all for e-sessions, I’m not sure I’d want to use one to ‘test’ a photographer. I’d be worried that if I didn’t love the photos or feel comfortable during the process, then I’d have to go test another one and spend another however much it costs to have an e-session (though I know many photographers do what Melissa up there said, so it might not be THAT bad, but I know I probably won’t have an extra $500 for an extra e-sesh when the time comes).

    Obviously I don’t know your (reader-questioner’s) sister, but as another Shy Person, I know the first couple conversations I have with someone, especially in a setting where I’m wanting to pay them for something, often make me nervous. I might feel a little awkward talking to someone I’m hiring to take pictures just because, well, I’m a little awkward. I’m not saying, however, that your sister should necessarily just run with what she has. If I were in that situation, I’d probably shop around a little–”Okay, I feel a little awkward with this one, does that change with others?” If the awkwardness is consistent among everyone, then I’d go with the person whose work I love. If I felt significantly less awkward around a different photographer, I’d strongly reconsider.

    AND on a related-to-this-gorgeous-wedding note, I effing love that picture of the ring on the orange. I mean, I see rings on fruit all the time, and I always love it, but I’m used to it being a stereotypically romantic fruit like strawberries or cherries. I don’t usually consider oranges romantic, and that just *makes* the picture for me. Love love love.

    • Inayatulla on December 21, 2012

      Erin T. – Samantha,You do did a amazing job on Rach and Tony’s wnedidg! As an attendent of the big day, you captured all the emotion that I felt and witnessed! I wish you the utmost success in what you do, as you are truly gifted and talented.Erin

  13. Diana on August 29, 2011

    If I hadn’t already hired our photog I’d be after this one. Love this wedding! And love dessert first, what a cool concept!

  14. Elle on August 30, 2011

    Is it god-awful that when I saw “Twilight Wedding”, I assumed that it was Twilight themed… as in Vampires.

    Seriously, I must still be 13.

  15. Erica Ann Photography on August 30, 2011

    Gorgeous wedding – the couple shots are my favorite, but what a location! LOVE!

    So – I am a wedding photographer and speaking from experience, you should definitely talk to your sister! The truth is, even if she loves his style, if they aren’t clicking, then his style probably won’t come through in the photos. Yep, we photographers have our types too and if there’s no chemistry, the outcome can be less than stellar. I agree that an engagement session is an awesome idea if they can do that without committing to the wedding.

  16. invitation consultants on August 30, 2011

    dessert first = love it.

  17. Karen on August 30, 2011

    Of course I am a dessert first kind of girl! Love it!

    And she MUST tell her sister her concerns about communication! If communication is awkward now, I can only imagine what it’ll be like on the stressful wedding day. If she can’t tell her photographer what she wants, she’s going to hate her pictures!

  18. Megan @ Are We Wed Yet on August 31, 2011

    I just love those lanterns they used! I think those “moraccan” inspired accessories are getting so popular and with good reason! They’re awesome. What a great wedding! Thanks for sharing! <3

  19. Once Upon Your Day -- Julia on September 12, 2011

    Gorgeous! I love the “live” centrepeices

  20. sandra on October 26, 2014

    Where can I buy the dress? So in love with it!


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