Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

Tips From The Pros

As we near the end of a month long blog series created to help couples plan and prepare for the wedding day, I thought it would be lovely to hear from past DZP couples!! Today we're hearing from the PROS, couples who have planned and executed beautiful wedding days. They are sharing their best tips for those who are in the planning stages and they have some great advice to share!! Read on to gather your own nuggets of wisdom to apply to your wedding planning and wedding day. Take it away DZP pros!!

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Plan The Perfect Reception

The Reception is your time to let loose and celebrate!! It is important to thoughtfully plan out this part of the day and your DJ, caterer and venue coordinator will help walk you through how to best plan for the evening. As you bring together details with your team, there are several things to keep in mind as you map out the night’s festivities. In today's DZP Planning Series I'm sharing my favorite tips to help you plan the perfect reception.

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Dress To Impress : A Style Guide from The Black Tux

In the seventh installment of the DZP Planning Series, I'm sharing a great resource to help your guests dress to impress at your wedding!! Have you ever received an invitation to a wedding and thought "I have no idea what to wear?" Well today you're in luck because the folks at The Black Tux have put together an amazing resource to help you (and your guests) plan their outfits for the big event!! Beach-y and casual to black tie, this resource will help you plan your outfits perfectly!! With outfits ideas inspired for both men and woman, be sure to PIN this resource for future reference this wedding season!!

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Make An Impact With Your Wedding Flowers

It's no secret that I love flowers -- they bring me so much joy!! If I could live in a house made of flowers, I probably would ;). While my love of all things floral may skew my opinions in some ways (bigger is always better!!), what remains true is that your wedding florals will make a huge impact throughout your day. Your florals will be one of the most photographed items on the wedding day and included in almost all of your images. Careful thought and attention should be paid to the style, look and feel of your flower choices. In today's installment of the DZP Wedding Planning series I share practical tips on how to make an impact with your wedding flowers!!

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How To Plan Stress Free Family Formals

In the fourth post of the DZP Wedding Planning Series, we'll be chatting about to plan stress free family formals. The success of family formals on the wedding day is in the planning. Often, the idea of photographing grouping after grouping can seem overwhelming, to you, your family and your photographer. While it may seem like this is an easy and quick part of the wedding day -- when you are working with larger groups of people things can quickly become confusing, complicated and down right stressful. Today I'll be sharing my best tips on how to make this time with your loved ones, easy, stress free and enjoyable. 

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Preparing For the Morning Of The Wedding

In the fourth post of the DZP Wedding Planning Series, I am sharing how to prepare for the morning of your wedding day and make the most of this precious time with your loved ones!! Months of planning and preparation have lead to this moment -- getting ready on your wedding day!! There will be lot swirling around you : people, questions and attention. Often it can be overwhelming and a lot to take in. Read on to learn how to reduce stress and enjoy every minute as you get ready for your wedding!!

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Making The Most of Your Wedding Party Portraits

In the third post of the DZP Wedding Planning series, I am sharing how to make the most of your wedding party portraits. Your wedding party portraits are a fun and exciting time to share with your best friends and loved ones. You’ll celebrate and honor those who have supported you over the years, first as individuals and now as a couple. Some choose a large wedding party while others simply pick a best friend or sibling to stand with them. Regardless of your wedding party size, I want this to be an incredibly fun time with your loved ones. Read on to learn how to make the most of this time with your loved ones.

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Is A First Look For You?

In today's post, the second the DZP Planning series, we're talking all about the First Look. What is a First Look? Is right for your wedding day? How do you plan for a First Look? I'll be answering those questions and more -- let's get started.

The First Look is a period of the day where the Bride & Groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony. This is an intentional period of time set aside just for the couple. Often this is the first and last time you’ll be alone together on an otherwise very busy day. It’s an opportunity for you to express all this day means to you in a safe and private atmosphere. 

With the hustle and bustle of the wedding day underway, the Ceremony does not provide much room to share heartfelt emotions. Often, the Groom may be standing in front of the aisle with all eyes on him watching for his reaction. That’s a lot of pressure and can often lead to a nervous face and stiff body language; not exactly the emotional response a Bride may have envisioned. Couples typically feel more at ease to share their feelings together for the first time alone rather than in front of all of their guests; a First Look provides the room and space to do just that.

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Introducing the Wedding Planing Series

Welcome to January and the official start of 2017!! It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. To kick off 2017, I'm re-introducing my wedding planning series here on the blog!! For the month of January I will be sharing some of my favorite tips, resources and advice for planning a stress free wedding day!!

Over the next 30 days I'll be covering topics such as : 

How To Plan The Perfect Wedding Timeline

Is A First Look For You? 

Making The Most Of Your Wedding Party Portraits

Preparing For The Morning Of Your Wedding

How To Plan For Stress Free Family Formals

Make An Impact With Your Wedding Flowers

Plan the Perfect Reception

Tips from the Pros

You're Married, Now What?

If you're planning a wedding, I hope that this series will be a great resource for you. I'd love to know : what are your biggest questions surrounding the wedding day? And if you're married : what is the best tip you can give to couples who are in the midst of planning? I look forward to sharing this series with you!! 

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Wedding Love : More Than Just A Color

barn themed wedding deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer

barn themed wedding deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer

I have a confession. More often than not you'll find me on any given Sunday sitting on the couch recovering from my wedding hangover with my new favorite guilty pleasure: My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. I some how stumbled on this show one day and was immediately hooked. David shows up to one lucky Bride's home, takes over all the planning of her wedding day, rethinks all the details and creates a magnificent event for the Bride and Groom! Who wouldn't want an accomplished wedding planner coming and taking over your wedding?! Sign me up for our vow renewal!!

As I've watched the show I've started to think about what it takes to plan and execute a successful wedding day. One where the theme and vision match the tiny details that make up the day. Often times I think Brides become overwhelmed with all the things they need to pull together that sometimes their vision can get lost in all the planning. And how DO you plan an event that is a reflection of who you are but that is also entertaining and FUN for your guests?

By no means am I a wedding planner. But from my experience as a wedding photographer and once being a Bride myself I've found there are a few tips that I feel help pull a wedding together that I think every Bride should keep in mind when executing the overall vision for their day!

1. MORE THAN JUST A COLOR. I would say that a wedding theme needs to be more than just a color palette. While a color palette is necessary to help make detail choices, a successfully executed wedding experience needs to be more than just complimentary colors. Brides need to have a specific VISION of a theme and experience that they want for their wedding day. Through that vision a Bride can make better choices for a more cohesive style. For example, pink could be a great color palette for a wedding, but the color alone will not be a unifying factor. Be specific with that vision even if it sounds ridiculous. You'll be glad you did as that vision statement will be your guiding force as you move forward in your planning!

2. MAKE IT PERSONAL! Make your wedding personal by creating a theme in which all your details and elements can be based around. And I don't just mean using childhood pictures to create that personal touch (while those are adorable and cute:)). Think about what you enjoy as a couple, what makes up who you are and base a THEME around that. Then that theme will dictate all of your details and element choices. For example, if you love the great outdoors then a rustic barn wedding might be for you. You could have rustic flowers, soft lace accents, touches of plaid, burlap and yarn, perhaps all within an actual barn! That theme would be a representation of who you are as a couple and the things that you enjoy while at the same time giving your guests that experience to enjoy WITH you. So think beyond just the pictures of you and your fiance. Make your actual details and design choices a reflection of YOU!

3. APPLY TO THE SENSES. SIGHT, SOUND, SMELL, TASTE, TOUCH. Have you ever thought about how these senses all work together to create an overall experience? Think about what your guests will be experiencing when they attend your wedding. What will they be smelling? What will they be hearing? What will they be eating? What will they be seeing? What will they be touching? How will your elements and details all tie together through these senses? Think of beautiful flowers that also have a strong (delightful;)) smell. Think about the music choices guests hear during the cocktail hour. Think about how the food will be prepared and served... I could go on and on!

4. LIGHTING. Use lighting to create a mood for your reception. Lighting is SO important when it comes to creating a mood and ambience for your guests. Candlelight, uplighting, spotlights, you name it, you can do it. If you do decide to use a specific source of light to create a mood for your reception don't just go half way. Make sure you go all out (whether that is candles or uplighting etc). For example, a single candle will not create that intimate, romantic feel you may be going for. However, entire tables lit with varying shapes and sizes of candles will immediately transform any room. Uplighting is also great for setting the mood, especially when your room is being photographed. It adds just enough interest and contrast to the room. Make sure that what ever you do is a fully thought out and executed idea. Go all out for that one of a kind feeling!

5. THE TABLE! I think one of the hardest things to visualize when planning out your reception is how your tablescapes will look. The tablescape is one of the most important elements of your reception and the unifying factor for ALL your wedding details! This is where your guests will be seated and what they will be experiencing for the majority of the wedding. It undoubtedly will either make a great impression or be forgettable. Remember to think about the SCALE of your table and your table scape. If you have large tables that seats 8 or more people and you place a small centerpiece in the middle, the table will look disproportionate and out of scale. When photographed the table will look empty. Use varying sizes of vases, candelabras, and other elements to create a MULTIDIMENSIONAL centerpiece. This doesn't have to be expensive, you could use all candlelight for example. But just make sure that it is a complete though out table scape that appeals to the senses and that applies to the scale of the room and table. Also think about your linen choices. A simple white table cloth might be nice, but it can also make the table look empty. Think about adding colorful napkins, sheer overlays and other linen elements to break of the monotony of the table and to create interest and contrast. Finally remember the chairs! It may sound silly but the chairs are what pull the whole look together! They are the most repeated element in the entire reception and will certainly set the tone of the space. Any easy way and affordable way to dress up any chair or table for that matter is to add ribbon, simple flowers, or a linen covering!

6. DON'T BE SO LITERAL. Don't feel pressure to be so literal when it comes to executing your theme or vision. Instead think about using your details to COMPLIMENT your location or your theme. For example, if you are getting married at the beach think about HOW the beach makes you feel! Light, airy, crisp, clean, soft. Think about the colors you see at the beach. Blues, peaches, pinks, greens. Once you have that THEN start beginning to plan your details. Just because you're at the beach doesn't mean you're relegated to just starfish and seashells. Use the feelings and the colors that you experience at your location to dictate your details. You're guests will get an immersive experience and your wedding will have a more cohesive and elegant feeling. I would say this to be true about any place you are getting married. Think outside the box and use your details to compliment and reflect your location and theme!

Like I mentioned, I am NOT a wedding planner and I would HIGHLY suggested working with one who can help you pull all of these elements together in style and unity. If you're budget does not allow for a planner, make sure to do your research. The details, entertainment and location of your wedding day are what are going to TELL the story of your love and wedding day. Use them to reflect who you are to bring together a day neither you or your guests will forget! If you'd like to be connected with a planner or just want some advice on your detail choices, I'm always happy to help couples in their planning! I also have LOTS of inspiration over on my Pinterest page so make sure to follow along! (Warning: I sure do love pinning CAKES:)!)

Below are some video clips of My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. Here David shares some great tips on how to pull a wedding together through the smaller details that I thought would be super helpful to you Brides out there! Happy Planning!

David walks through a Parisian inspired wedding and how that VISION dictated all of the details that they pulled together.

David shares how the table settings related to the overall experience of the reception.

In this example it was the actual wedding venue that set the tone for the rest of the wedding. Because the venue was so over the top dramatic the details needed to fit that.

Finally, while this is referencing a Gothic themed wedding, I think this video offers the most valuable tips on how to throw a fabulous wedding that has a cohesive feel and style. Brides can certainly apply what he is saying about a Gothic theme to their own wedding.

Wedding Love : The Wedding Questionnaire

As the months wind down leading up to your wedding things can get, well, stressful. There are so many last minute details to plan that it can be hard NOT to get overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand. As a former Bride I completely understand! Trying to balance wedding planning and still living your normal life is a challenge. For all those currently planning your wedding, my hat is off to you! I remember what it was like to be in your shoes and all the pressure and responsibility you feel as the planner of a such a major event! As I sat down to plan out the workflow for each of my wedding clients I kept coming back to this thought: How can I make the lives of my bride and grooms easier in the final stages of their planning? Enter the Wedding Questionnaire.

Two months before your wedding I send out a Wedding Questionnaire with lots of questions related to your wedding! It's a place where you can store all the vital information related to your wedding in one place. It's easy to access and easy to make changes to as necessary. Here you'll provide all wedding related information such as contacts, locations, times, and vendors you are working with. There is space to list family combinations for family portraits and specific images you'd like me to capture on the big day. You can write down anything you'd like me to know about your wedding. With all this information collected I have a complete picture of what your day will look like. I can better serve you as your photographer knowing that we're both on the same page!

I asked former bride, Abby, to talk about how the Wedding Questionnaire helped her leading up to the final stages of planning. Here is what she shared:

"The Wedding Questionnaire was very helpful - it provided me with a "checklist" for "day of" wedding details. Knowing that Deborah would be taking pictures of all the details reminded me to collect them all and have them in one place - such as the invitations and special mementos from our engagement. I found it especially useful because our engagement and wedding were so far apart - there were things I had forgotten about, but wanted included in our special day. Over all it was really nice having the Questionnaire to keep me on track. Everything becomes so crazy as the wedding approaches, and you lose track of what to do or even where to begin - it helped keep me accountable!" -- Abby, married in February 2012

North Conway Wedding New Hampshire Wedding Photographer Winter Wedding Mount Washington Hotel Blue Details New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe Photo0032

North Conway Wedding New Hampshire Wedding Photographer Winter Wedding Mount Washington Hotel Blue Details New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe Photo0032

In addition to the Wedding Questionnaire, I also provide Family Portrait and Timeline consultations. Basically we discuss the various family combinations that you'd like from your wedding day and we create a master list that I will work off of. We do the same thing with your timeline, working together to create a timeline that reflects your needs and wants for the day (including photography!!)

The Wedding Questionnaire serves as my way of saying that I'm here for you. As your wedding approaches, if you find yourself overwhelmed or wondering what to do when and where, please don't hesitate to ask me! I'm here to help your day flow as smoothly as possible and to make it a day to remember! I want you to walk into the big day knowing that everything has been taken care of, especially your wedding photography!

Wedding Love : The Family Formals

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0001

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0001

Ick. Could there be a worse name for this? Family formals. It just sounds so, well, BORING. And that's the LAST thing family portraits on your wedding day should be! Think about it. You've gather all your loved ones from around the country if not the world to join with you as you marry. It's a day of celebration, happiness and excitement and your family is a HUGE part of that! Why then would you want a a stiff collection of family formals? Shouldn't your family portraits be ones filled with joy!?

But it's hard being in front of the camera. People often tend to stiff up. They are unsure of what to do and just look, well, awkward. And that really is not the best scenario for relaxed and natural images! Over the years though I've learned that are a few things you can do to ensure that your images are more like the kind you envision: joyful, happy, and fun!

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0005

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0005

1. Communicate. Simply put, tell your family it's ok to relax! Communicate with them the vibe and feeling you want to achieve in your family portraits. Make sure they know that they can let loose, have some fun, joke around, and just enjoy each others company! Your family members should feel free to be themselves in front of the camera. As your photographer it's my job to help people feel natural, but having the right attitude to start goes a long way in creating fun and memorable family portraits! This is especially important for the older family members. They are used to more posed and stiff photography so communicating with them beforehand will help them envision what to expect on the wedding day!

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0002

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0002

2. Organization. Stress can be a huge factor in how successful the wedding portrait time is. Part of what can make this time stressful is lack of organization. It can be hard trying to rally up 30 plus people for your family portraits. Being organized ahead of time can go a long way to ensure that you are stress free and that your family knows exactly where to be and when on the wedding day. I send out a questionnaire to all my couples as well as consult with them before the wedding day. This helps to start the organization process early and gives them the tools and information to communicate to their family. The less you have to think about, the less you have to worry about!

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0003

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0003

3. Relax. People are going to feed off your energy. If you're happy and relaxed, then most likely those around you will also be happy and relaxed. But if you're stressed, well, guess what, that will unfortunately translate to those around you as well. It's all in your attitude. Allow me to take care of gathering people together, organizing the groupings and directing people. It's your job to just ENJOY yourself and hug and kiss your family! If you do find that you're starting to get anxious then, take a deep breath, remember that you love your family and remember the purpose of the day: each other!

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0004

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0004

4. Numbers. Family formals take about 30 minutes. Because we've communicated before hand there are really no guessing games as to who will be in what groupings and generally people know where to be and when. I try to make the family portraits quick and fun so that everyone can get back to what they really want to do: PARTY! That being said, I always advise couples to be aware of the amount of combinations that they TRULY want. Organizing and gathering people does take time. Allowing people to relax takes time. The more people we have to photograph the more time it will take to do so. And that means the less time you have to enjoy the day! So as your planning out who you'd like photographed on your wedding day, remember to be realistic as to how much time you have and how many people you want in your portraits.

Below is a basic combination list that I start with all my couples. Of course every family dynamic is different so this list will often change. Couples can add or remove combinations from this list and we work together to create a family portrait list that fits their needs as well as their timeline!

Bride and Mom

Bride and Dad

Bride with Mom and Dad

Bride and Groom with Mom and Dad

Bride and Groom with Mom and Dad (add siblings)

Bride with Mom and Dad (add siblings)

Bride and Groom with Grandparents

Bride and Groom with both sets of parents

Bride and Groom with both sides of families

Groom with Mom

Groom with Dad

Groom with Mom and Dad

Groom and Bride with Mom and Dad

Groom and Bride with Mom and Dad (add siblings)

Groom and Bride with Grandparents

Groom with Mom and Dad (add siblings)

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0006

deborah zoe photography new england wedding photographer family formals0006

In all honesty, family portraits don't require a lot of creativity. But to me family portraits are not about being artistic and creative. It's about documenting family units. It's about documenting the bond that each family shares. It's about preserving family history. Being able to watch families have fun together and capturing that that in an image is what I love! Ultimately I want you to enjoy the time with your loved ones and to be able to remember them through your wedding day for years to come!