Planning Tip Tuesday: Choosing the Right Hotels

So, we've reached the one year out mark and it's time to start looking for the perfect hotel for your guests to stay during your wedding weekend. As Charleston is a tourist destination, the possibilities are endless!... and overwhelming. When looking for the best options here are a few things to consider:

1.) Three is the Key!

We recommend choosing three hotels MAX! One in each price range; low, medium, and high. This will give your guests plenty of variety to choose from when booking their room. Limiting the choices to three hotels will also reduce the stress when coordinating other pieces of the wedding such as transportation. 


2.) Block vs. Preferred Rate

Whats the difference? Well, when the hotel offers you a block of rooms they are offering to hold a certain number of rooms for your guests to book until a particular cut off date. At this date, the rooms will be released back into the hotel inventory for anyone to reserve. Most hotels will start with a block of 10 rooms reserved for your guests. We promise, this is plenty! In the event that all 10 rooms are filled, is is an option to add more rooms to the block at a later date. When the hotel offers a preferred rate, they are offering the rooms at a discount. However, they are not actually holding any rooms and the booking is based upon first come first serve.


3.) Financially Obligated? No thank you! 

Let's put it this way, why would you pay for something that isn't being used? When a hotel offers you a block of rooms but you are financially obligated for rooms that are not filled or a percentage, we recommend steering clear of this hotel. No matter how many guests you believe will be staying at the hotel, you can never guarantee it! At the end of the day, you do not want to be paying for a number of empty rooms. Be sure to double check on the hotel's policy before moving forward. All of the hotels that Pure Luxe Bride recommends are obligation free!

Planning Tip Tuesday: Songs For The Modern Bride

Many couples are opting to choose modern music selections for their ceremony. Pick songs that you and your groom love and symbolizes your relationship! This is an opportunity to play songs that you were debating on for special dances or wanted to have played during the reception. Whether you have a DJ or have ceremony musicians, there are so many options!  Here is a list with some of our non-traditional favorites!

Lowndes Grove Wedding

1. "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey 

2. "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri

3. "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran

4. "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers

5. "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz

Middleton Place Wedding

6. "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

7. "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys

8. "Marry Me" by Bruno Mars

9. "Yellow" by Coldplay

10. "Sugar" by Maroon 5

William Aiken House Wedding

Planning Tip Tuesday: Reception Timing

When planning for your big day, you want to especially keep in mind the timing and flow of your reception so that you, as well as your guests, can get the most out of your special celebration! Here at Pure Luxe Bride, we, along with the input of each bride + groom, create a custom timeline for all of our weddings to ensure that the day goes off without a hitch. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about each step of your reception to ensure that you have the most fun post-nuptials!

1. Consider a First Look: A first look is an intimate photography session that allows the bride + groom, as well as the bridal party and groomsmen, to get pictures out of the way before the ceremony even takes place! We love first looks for so many reasons, but mainly, this allows for the bride + groom to mix, mingle, and sip during their cocktail hour as opposed to being off and away snapping pictures.

Photo Credit: Aaron + Jillian

 2. Space it Out: Don't feel that everything during your reception has to happen back-to-back! Give your guests, and yourself, time to sit down and enjoy your dinner before Maid of Honor and Best Man speeches are made. Take a few minutes and let yourself warm up on the dance floor before all of your dances begin. And lastly, cut your cake about an hour after dinner starts, giving everyone time to digest before they indulge in your cake! Receptions typically last three hours, so play around with this time frame, and space it out!

Photo Credit: Amelia + Dan

3. Don't Stress: That's what we are here for! We want you to remain happy and calm throughout your entire day, so if there is a delay in the schedule, we will work it out and make sure that everything you want at your reception happens!

 Photo Credit: Juliet Elizabeth


Planning Tip Tuesday: Why you Need 8 Hours of Photography

We have interviewed some of our trusted photographers to give our couples an answer to a frequently asked question, "Why is it important to have at least 8 hours of photography?" Funny moments with your bridesmaids and groomsmen, peaking outside as guests are starting to arrive, your dress hanging, getting dressed; each and every moment is important to capture! See below for some great responses!

Aaron + Jillian: It's ONE day, and sadly, as much as we'd all love to relive our wedding days, it just can't be re-done, which is why we believe that having as many hours of photography coverage as you can, will be sooo worth every penny you invest into it! if at the end of the day, you want to have photos of your shoes, your invitations, your jewelry, your bouquet, your dress hanging (all the details you poured over for months), you and your bridesmaids hanging out in the bridal suite and your reaction to opening your gift or card from your fiancé, all the way to the moment you run through a tunnel of sparklers and jump into that vintage rolls royce, you're going to need at least 8 hours! Your wedding photos should be able to tell the story of your day, from beginning to end!!

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Dana Cubbage: "In my experience as a wedding photographer, you need at least 8 hours of wedding photography to ensure a relaxed, stress-free + laid back wedding day.  Anything less than 8 hours doesn't give your photographer enough time to tell the entire story of your wedding day without feeling rushed.  I personally prefer to start shooting 90 minutes before the bride puts on her gown, so that I have time to warm up for the day by photographing all of her beautiful bridal details, like the gown, shoes, jewelry, bouquets, invitations, etc.   Most of my clients opt to do a First Look, which is beneficial on so many levels – but it really extends the length of the wedding day as well, so my clients usually need more like 9-10 hours of wedding day coverage if they want me there from start to finish. At the end of the day, you've spent so much time planning this picture perfect day and when it's all said and done, the photos will be the one lasting reminder of everything you saw + felt on that day.  For that reason, I believe it is important to have someone there who will document it all from start to finish – and in my experience, clients need at least 8 hours of photography coverage to accomplish that." View More: © Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014 © Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014 © Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014

Amelia + Dan: "Your wedding day is one of the most important stories of your life, and you want to be able to relive your story for years to come.  Powerful photographs have the ability to take you back to those brief moments in time; giving you the opportunity to laugh, cry and smile over and over again.  Every wedding timeline is unique, but the longer we are there documenting the day the more memories you will have preserved to experience all over again."
Jennifer Bohdanovich + Matt Smith's wedding at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston SC. Charleston wedding photographer, wedding photographer charleston sc, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790, Kristy Roskowski and Zach Martin's wedding at the William Aiken House in Charleston SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790, Liz PRebish and Greg Zinsmeister's wedding at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790,
 Hyer Images:  "When deciding the amount of hours needed for wedding photography, we are always looking for the sweet spot for amount of time.  We want to ensure there is enough time to capture the day and to allow it to logistically flow smoothly.  If there is not enough time allotted for a photographer the wedding day may easily seem rushed, stressed, or possibly not even enough time to tell the story of the day.  It takes time to capture images, and a bride and groom want to be relaxed and enjoy the day, so make sure there is enough time for this to happen.  We find the typical sweet spot for arrival is 2hrs prior to ceremony time, and if a first look is happening more time may be needed.  The two hours prior to the ceremony allows a professional photographer to capture getting ready, details and the grounds before it is over crowed with guests.  Every wedding is not the same, but most are logistically planned out the same and we find that 8hrs of coverage is the typical sweet spot for allowing enough time, but yet stays away from unneeded time."
William Aiken Wedding William Aiken Wedding   William Aiken Wedding William Aiken Wedding

Planning Tip Tuesday: How to Jazz Up Your Cocktail Hour!

The ceremony has gone off without a hitch, and now it's time for your guests to mix and mingle during cocktail hour to kick off the celebration! We've compiled a few things that will help make your cocktail hour fun for guests and uniquely you! 1. Who doesn't love a specialty drink? Whether it's a fun name or cool concoction, guests love to order these up and get the party started! This is also a fun way for you to incorporate something special from you and your groom into the reception, think of the first drink he bought you, or a his and her's drinks to make it unique to you. 0790Cassady Clayton and Joe Hild's wedding at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790,

If you love details, don't forget the specialty straws, stir sticks and napkins!

Kellianne Boyle and Peter Tang's wedding at St. Luke's Chapel and Marion's in Charleston, SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790,© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014

2. Cocktail hour is also a place to have some fun with your food! Introduce guests to the local Charleston fare, or create a custom menu that contains your favorite foods for guests to enjoy.

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014

Kellianne Boyle and Peter Tang's wedding at St. Luke's Chapel and Marion's in Charleston, SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790, ameliaanddan.com0270

3. Who doesn't love games? Most venues are either completely outside or have an indoor and outdoor component, so use it to your advantage! Add some fun to the cocktail hour with oversized lawn games or corn hole.

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014A180

4. Entertain your guests! Having a DJ for your reception and want a live music component? Have your ceremony strings or a special musical guest for your cocktail hour. This can help keep costs down if you aren't willing to splurge on a live band for the entire evening.

View More: phil middleton place wedding web 0367

5. Join your guests! Consider a "First Look" that way your photos are either all finished or mostly finished before the ceremony. Guests will love to see you and chat before dinner begins!

Liz PRebish and Greg Zinsmeister's wedding at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790, ameliaanddan.comMcMillin Wedding-0260

Planning Tip Tuesday: How to Get Creative with Your Guest Book

Traditional guest books are a thing of the past.  Couples today are finding ways to incorporate unique ideas in their guest books that they can enjoy for years to come! We loved a recent wedding that had a book of envelopes for guests to write their own private message to you both, or for guests to write separate notes for each the bride and groom. We love this idea! It allows guests to write something special just for you to read!

© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014

We also love a wishing tree. This is a super easy DIY project for the big day and makes a glam impact (especially when crystals are added!). All you need are branches (available at craft stores)  add little cards tied with ribbon to hang each note.


The tree thumb print is another unique way to have a guest book without guests actually writing. Guests often leave thumbprint as a leaf, a bird to create this original art piece to hang in your home. You can either choose to have the guest sign their name with their thumbprint or to just leave their print as their signature.

Pasha Belman Photography Copyright © 2013

A tabletop book with pictures from Charleston is also a popular idea. This is something you can have in your home and flip through to remind you of not only your guests, but the beautiful city you got married in. Guests can flip through the book and find the perfect picture they want to write their note to the bride and groom.

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More recently, we've seen quite a few Wedding Mad Libs and Wedding Survey cards for guests to fill in during cocktail hour. There are plenty of templates to create a card with an interesting story, but still leave some imagination to the guests for what they want to fill in the blanks!


Kristy Roskowski and Zach Martin's wedding at the William Aiken House in Charleston SC. Wedding photographer Charleston SC, modern vintage photography, amelia + dan, 843.801.2790,