The Sparkle Spot
{Contributing Post} Wedding Day First Look
16 October

Most couples have heard of the ‘First Look’… but what is it, what are the options, should you do it? You know, the moment when you see the love of your life for the first time that initial first glance? Nowadays, couples have options – The Traditional and the First Look.

The Traditional choice is when the couple is seeing each other for the first time when they walk down the aisle to each other. It’s what many couples choose to do, it’s traditional, and it’s what our parents did. However, that’s not the only option. Many couples choose to do a first look.

The First Look is a special moment created so the couple gets to see each other before the ceremony. Even with a first look you have options. Brides can be escorted by the father to meet the future spouse; others do it with the wedding party, parents, and other loved ones present. The most popular option is to have a moment alone between the couple, with no one else around, except the photographer(s) capturing all the emotions.

Many times, the photographer sets up the first look and the groom would be looking away while the bride starts walking towards him. When she’s ready she can speak to him, tap his shoulder as he turns to see his beautiful bride walking towards him. During this time, it’s usually very quiet; the photographers focus is to capturing the event while the bride and groom are lost in the moment and get this time together.

Let’s talk about both options.


*  Keep tradition – you still have a beautiful “moment” seeing each other at the aisle
*  All the emotions are shared with those attending the wedding
*  It’s simply the way it’s always been done, which is beautiful.
*  There’s a rush after the ceremony to finish the photos fast and many times couples and families feel very rushed as the guests are waiting.
*  You get very little time alone with your honey after the wedding
*  You don’t get to enjoy the cocktail hour with your guests

The first look, allows you to have more time with your soon to be before the wedding. All your photos can be done prior to the ceremony allowing you the flexibility to enjoy your cocktail hour. Yes, you will be giving something up. The first time you see each other at the altar, but he will still be just as happy to see you walking down the aisle. Sometimes brides that do the first look wait to put on their veil until they walk down the aisle, changing their look for the ceremony.

*  Allows you the flexibility to take as much time as you’d like for the pictures and all pictures take place while everyone is still fresh
*  Typically, there is a lot more emotion expressed because it’s just the both of you
*  You get to enjoy your guests during the cocktail hour
*  It can calm everyone down
*  That minutes you have during the “first look” may be the only time you have alone the entire day

At the end of the day, it’s what you and your partner feel fits best to your expectations and ideas. If you are sold on the idea of a first look, talk to your fiancé on what you envision for this moment together.  Explain it to your family and give them insight on your thoughts and plans. Many times people feel this is very different. To many, it’s a new option and some find it difficult to get ‘buy in’ from families. Just remember, this is your wedding and whichever you choose will be beautiful and a moment to be remembered. Rely on your photographer for thoughts, ideas and options for you. They are there to assist in making either option memorable.

I spoke with one of my recent brides Brittany, and she offered to give you her personal thoughts on choosing to do a first look with her fiancé Andy.

“We’re really happy we decided to do the first look! A lot of our friends and family were against it and a little surprised. However, it was great because it made that moment just for us. As far as we’re concerned, nothing was going to take away from how Andy felt when he saw me walking down the aisle. If anything, I think it calmed his nerves a little! We’re so glad Marirosa brought this idea to us!”
– Brittany & Andy, August 4, 2012


{Real Invitations} Silver & Pink Boarding Pass Wedding Invitations
10 October

Today I’m excited to showcase one of our latest invitation suites from our destination stationery line.  These silver & pink boarding pass wedding invitations came out just beautifully, full of elegance and glam.  This color combination is just beautiful together and I’ve actually seen this combo together quite a bit this year.



Inspire.Smart.Succes – My Experience Recap
29 September

I’m so excited to share with you a recap of the experience that I had a few weeks ago at the Inspire Smart Success Experience in Orange, Virginia.  Over the past year I have been researching several different conferences to attend because I’m a true believer in continuing to education.  I’ve noticed an increase in people starting their own “workshops” but I knew that I wanted to attend an experience where I would truly learn from recognized seasoned professionals.  I have been following ISS for sometime now and when I learned that they would be hosting an “experience” in Orange, Virginia AND one of my idols Preston Bailey would be attending…it was a no brainer that I would attend!

Stacie Francombe  has been embedded in the wedding industry for over 12 years, starting her own wedding businesses including Get Married. Working as a producer and host for the Get Married TV show and serving as Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly publication Get Married Magazine, Stacie grew the brand into a multi-million dollar company, and sold it in 2008.  Stacie Francombe is the founder of Inspire Smart Success, a three-tiered approach to helping wedding industry businesses grow and succeed utilizing the ISS Magazine, ISS Experience and ISS Mentoring.

The “experience” was held at The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange Virginia and it was just BEAUTIFUL.  I can definitely see returning to enjoy the award winning boutique hotel for short getaways and even a place to visit and be inspired to work.  I’m currently designing a wedding invitation suite that came to me as I worked while there.  The “experience” was amazing. I met a lot of wonderful, motivated wedding professionals and Stacie was such a warm and generous hostess! Having the opportunity to meet, Preston Bailey, Sonny Ganguly {CMO of Wedding Wire}, Brooke Thomas {Creative Director of Weddings Unveiled magazine} and Katie Martin {Editor-in-Chief of Eco-Beautiful Weddings} was just phenomenal.  I have lots of ideas and plans to work on over the next few months.  #Excited!

Here are a few of my photos from the event! 


{LaToia + Bernard} Posh Princess Wedding
27 September

A few weeks ago I shared some of our first look photos from LaToia & Bernard’s  grand affair Baltimore Wedding, today I’m happy to be back with professional photographs from the amazing Amanda Gilley Photography.  If you recall the grand affair was held at the breathtakingly beautiful  Grand Lodge of Masonic Temple in Cockeysville, Maryland.


{Quick Look} Lori + Shun: Charming Whimsical Wedding
21 September

Today I’m excited to share with you a few of our amateur photos from one of our recent weddings a couple of weekends ago.  I have been working with Lori since December of last year and it was so lovely to see their wedding day go off without a hitch!  Lori’s wedding was pretty much planned back in February which left us lots of time to focus on all of the lovely details that Lori so carefully picked out.

The beautiful affair with located at the lovely Sunset Crest Manor that is nestled in the rolling meadows of Chantilly, Virginia.  Guest were captivated as they drove through the thick of trees and arrived at this sprawling venue.  Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, over 160 guests joined Lori and Shun for the beautiful event.  I can’t wait to share professional photos when they are ready!



It’s ME! That’s my uterus!
19 September

Yes, its true….that’s my uterus!  We are expanding – LITERALLY…:)  Couldn’t be happier.  Lots of changes coming to make room for this little dude or diva’s arrivals!

 Thanks for following our journey!

Thank  you to The Purple Pug, Carolyn Horten Events, Lynlee Petite Cakes and Party Box Design for participating in my baby crawl!

{Real Soiree} Hello Kitty Moonlight Cinema!
14 September

It’s been almost a month since this party and I can’t believe that I’m just now posting these pictures.  We have had a whirlwind the last few weeks in our family and I’m finally coming up for air.  I’m so excited to share with you the photos from my daughter’s 6th birthday party.  When I talked to Sadaia about her party months ago, she gave me a list of everything that she wanted to do… 1) Hello Kitty 2) Bouncy House 3) Special cookies that her friends have never had before like “Thin Mints” and 4) To watch a movie like Scooby Doo.  OOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKK!  So I thought to myself, how in the world am I going to pull all of those things together.  I asked her again and she gave me the same answer.  I am a FIRM believer in that when you are throwing a party for your child, it should really be FOR your child. As planners, we can sometimes go over the top with it and even I am at fault of that at times.  For this party, I wanted to give her what she wanted AND try my best to keep it old school.

So I thought that I would throw a backyard moonlight cinema party for her.  As much as she loves Hello Kitty, I tried to keep Miss Kitty confined to the dessert table only, with just a few touches throughout the party. The kids had a blast!  They colored and bounced to their hearts content and then when the movie started that sat to still the entire movie, they were completely mesmerized by the canvas screen and projector.  I’m sure that they were all tuckered out by the end of the evening.  Sadaia said it was her “most favorite party ever” and that is just A-OK with me!


LaToia + Bernard: Posh Princess Wedding
29 August

It gives me great pleasure to share with you some of our amateur photos from our couple LaToia and Bernard’s wedding.  We have been working with LaToia and Bernard for over 18 months and it is hard to believe that it’s over!  When LaToia and I began discussing her ideas and visions, I knew instantly that this was going to be an absolutely beautiful wedding.  LaToia’s posh sense of style is evident throughout every detail of this wedding.

This grand affair was held at the breathtakingly beautiful  Grand Lodge of Masonic Temple in Cockeysville, Maryland. You may remember their wedding invitations that we also designed.  Guests were certainly astonished as they drove through the private gates of this historic temple and viewed the sprawling gardens.  The foyer is marble with a beautiful staircase and glamorous chandeliers.  The ceremony was held in the Masonic Temple that features an elaborate double wide aisle. LaToia wanted the aisle lined with beautiful pewter urns with oversized arrangements featuring hydrangea in white and pink, shades of pink and white roses and dendrobium orchids. Between each arrangement were glass cylinder vases of varying heights with floating candles.  The couple exchanges vows under a beautiful arch draped in luxurious white fabric embellished with curly willow and white orchids.  Alongside the arch were beautiful orbs of pink hydrangea atop pewter columns and urns.  Simply stunning!

While the bridal party took photographs on the ground, guests enjoyed a four piece band and delicious hor d’oeuvres.  For the grand finale, their guests entered the beautifully illuminated ballroom where the dance floor was lit in pink and each one the luxurious 3 1/3 foot tall arrangements were pinned spotted.  The arrangements featured hanging crystal votive’s and floating dendrobium orchids. The gorgeous tablescape couldn’t be complete without the beautiful slate pintuck tablecloth, fuchsia napkins and silver chargers.  LaToia and Bernard dined at a beautiful illuminated sweetheart table that was adorned with a fuchsia rosette table cloth and bedazzled silver chargers.  Guests were impressed that no detail was forgotten.

I wish LaToia and Bernard many blessings and thank them abundantly for allowing us to be a part of their special day!  I’ll share professional photos as soon as they become available.