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Shannon Confair Photography » Business Branding and Branding Strategy for Entrepreneurs

Daidra and Chip: Part Two {Central PA Wedding Photographer}

I’ve decided to try and make my blog posts a little more interesting and hopefully useful to future brides, so beginning with this wedding I’ll be doing interviews with my brides. Let me know what you think!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am a small town girl who loves the culture, artistic influences and accessibility of city life. I am lucky to have met a man who enjoys the same (well… insert music and sports) We have lived in Reston, VA just outside of DC for 5 years now and I work in design, Chip works in business. We are both family oriented people with strong roots in PA.

How did you and Chip meet?

Chip and I met at Brodart in Williamsport, PA. He was a Manager and I was a Designer. We started talking about our creative goals, life, and we clicked. It’s been 7 years and we’ve spent almost every day of our lives together.

What about the proposal?
So it was a Thursday in October 2008 when we got engaged and I never expected it in a million years. We have a little restaurant that we both love called Thai Luang and every time something great happens we go there to celebrate (but we also eat there all the time so I had no clue). We also have a tradition, every year where we go out a pick a pumpkin from a local market and carve it together. That year we were really busy and I mentioned how it would be the first time we didn’t carve our pumpkin together. I had no clue that Chip was on a mission… so we went out for Thai and came home a little late. He told me how he got our pumpkin and that we should carve it together and I kept trying to put it off until Friday. I finally gave in and when I opened it and saw no guts I said “where are the guts?” and “what’s that in the pumpkin?” (It was the ring box) I was so confused because Chip hates scooping the guts! Then he got on one knee and asked me to be his wife and I said yes, of course! I started crying and called my mom, his mom, and our sisters and I just stared at the ring in awe all night by his side. 🙂 We were so happy! It was perfect. Oh, and we carved the pumpkin he is forever known as Edward the engagement pumpkin.

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?

18 months. When we got engaged we thought about a Fall wedding but as we started planning we decided to get married in the Spring. We wanted time to save money and to really plan everything out. I never knew the amount of work involved in planning a wedding until we started. It took the entire year and ½ to plan our wedding because we had to travel to PA most weekends to meet our vendors and help prepare.

How did you come up with your theme/colors?

My favorite flower is the peony and I love the mix of country and city so that was our decided theme. We also wanted to have a lot of really meaningful touches that’s where the DIY aspects came in. I didn’t base anything on the color theme, it was more of a feeling.

What kind of a budget were you working with?

Chip and I saved $10,000 for our wedding and had $400 left over. That doesn’t include the help from our parents, some of the decorations and the cost of the food. I’m guessing close to $15,000 total.

Name the three most important items in your budget.

Photography: The pictures last forever, you can always look back at them to remember all of the special things that happened. Everything goes so fast on the day.  For the amount of time and effort that you spend planning the one thing you can take away will be the photos. We also think it’s important for future generations. Chip and I have our grandparents wedding pictures on our mantle, they are very special to us! I look at them every day.Food/Tableware: We knew we wanted my dad to cook but they took care of that part of the budget. The plates and utensils were important to us too, we wanted to rent china but the clean up would have been horrible so we opted for ecofriendly plates that are compostable, they go back to the earth in 60 days. We also use corn cups for cocktails, and bamboo utensils.

Flowers and Design Elements: I wanted to use peonies really bad and Chip was very supportive even though they can get really expensive. Luckily, it was a great year for local peonies and I had a lot more than I expected. I also had a lot of DIY design ideas which involved many trips to Paper Source!

What was one of the biggest splurges for you and why?

The limo bus/transportation: We wanted our guests to have a great time and be safe.

I was amazed at everything you and your family did for the wedding. From the invites, to the flowers and even the food! Why did you decide to do so much for yourself, and would you recommend that to other brides?

We knew we wanted our wedding to be very personal. I also knew I wanted to design all of the paper products; the invitations had so many steps but it was all worth it. We gave wildflower seeds and seedlings (my mom took care of this) as our favors and I designed the packaging for both, Chip helped me too. I created all of the table cards and menus and place cards. (all of this was happening in the 16 months leading up to the hard work) My dad cut the fallen tree branches for the table card/menu holders, my mom and I prepared the peony vases with creek stones to bring the nature feel to the table. For an entire year I was in constant communication with my parents and the main topic was our wedding. We were all collecting decorations in the meantime. My grandmother made the pillows for the ring bearers, the basket for our flower girl and took care of all of the alterations, she even made the linens used in the Ceremony. My grandpa made the peppers for the tables and my dad made ALL of our food… even the cakes! My mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law took off work to help the week leading up to our wedding and were helping over the entire course of the year. My brother and his girlfriend also helped a lot over the year. My parents decorated the church and we all decorated the reception. Chip’s family and friends were there the week of helping with anything that needed done. Our families and friends helped a TON and we couldn’t have done it without them, we are very lucky to have so much support! Neighbors were even helping up with refrigeration and such, it was amazing.

My family has always been the DIY type so I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It is so nice to look back on all of the work and know we accomplished something that huge together!

If you’re the type of bride that wants to spend the week of your wedding getting pampered or relaxing I wouldn’t recommend it. I was busy the entire time! We all were… but I enjoyed every minute of it and the memories are great. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure! There is a lot more pressure when you and the ones closest to you are in charge every aspect of a party for 140 people, you can’t blame anyone for any mishaps.

What vendors did you use?

Photography: Shannon Confair. I had so many guests compliment how involved you were. They said “I didn’t take pictures because your photographer looked like she had it covered”, and you did. Thank you! I can’t wait to see our pictures!

Flowers: Rizzo’s Greenhouse. Paul Rizzo is amazing, he helped me and my sister make our bouquets the day before my wedding! He happily took time out of his busiest season to help, and that really meant a lot! They turned out better than I could have imagined. He was also very flexible and let me come get my flowers at 5:30 the morning of and gave me great tips on how to preserve the flowers I collected earlier in the week. He even stored them for me too.

Decorative Cake: Becky Yeagle. The cake was beautiful and also very delicious! She was very flexible, and everything was delivered on time and perfect.

Food: Ralph Hershberger My dad is an amazing chef, he made our delicious appetizers, Italian buffet, dessert even the salad dressing. It was very meaningful because this is the type of food I grew up enjoying and the fact that my dad made it. He did a fantastic job, everyone loved the food! We couldn’t have asked for better, everything was spectacular!

Location: Ralph & Denise Hershberger’s My family spent the entire year preparing their property for our wedding… the amount of work they did was huge! I don’t think I could list it all because they were involved in every aspect of the wedding. Everything was so beautiful and it was the perfect location for our reception. Thanks to Ralph & Denise Hershberger, Rich & Devin Hamiln, Braucht Hershberger & Cassie Englert.

Transportation/DJ Service: Kevin Head Entertainment/Premier Limo Inc. Tony (our DJ) did an awesome job, our guests were dancing the night away even though it was 85 degrees and humid! The limo service was a great decision, we loved the hummer and the fact that we didn’t have to worry about our guests drinking and driving.

Tents and Rentals: Central PA Tent Rentals. The tents were great! The main tent was huge, the chairs were very sturdy and everything was very clean. They came and set up on Thursday so we had plenty of time to get the layout right and they also brought all of our linens. Central PA Tent Rentals made everything stress free and worked really hard! They are extremely accommodating and prices are great too.

A-1 Porta potties. The porta potty was very clean and modern, it flushed!

My Dress: Diamonds and Lace I had my dress customized and they did a great job, everything came in on time and they were great to work with. The seamstress even met me on the weekend because I didn’t live local and that helped a lot!

Wedding Party Attire: Tuxes: The Clothier made sure everyone’s tux fit extremely well, they also made sure to check with us often on the colors and sizes because I ended up changing things up a few times but everything was perfect and it was even during prom season.

Maid of Honor and Flower girl: TS Adams Bridal and Formal Wear. We found the perfect dresses here, they were great to work with and everything was on time.

Ceremony Music: Chadd Watson & Laurie Crist. We had Chip’s longtime friend Chadd play piano and guitar and sing along with the vocally talented Laurie Crist. They did an amazing job, it was perfect.

Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express The rooms were great and Chip’s sister and brother-in-law hosted a brunch for us the morning after our wedding, it was beautiful!

Any advice to other brides planning their wedding?

My advice would be to do something that is very personal and remember everything isn’t going to be perfect. You have to be very flexible. I tried not to have a particular image in mind for anything, sometimes that way of thinking limits you and you get frustrated. Be willing to make changes because it will most likely turn out better than you could have imagined. Also, try to remember people are helping you so respect their opinions and pick your battles. Even when things get stressful try to keep everything in perspective and have fun!

The plates were like the coolest thing ever! You can find them here.

I loved the blue ring Daidra borrowed from her grandmother!

Daidra’s mom raises chickens, and she wanted a picture with one. She was such a fun bride to work with!I just wanted to add, that I was really amazed at the attention to detail from this wedding. Daidra and Chip- I truly enjoyed working with you! Your wedding was amazing, and I hope you cherish your photographs for many years to come!