A couple weekends ago, I traveled down to the beautiful Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, WV for the WV Weddings Wedding Extravaganza. While this event is geared towards couples planning their weddings, I went as an industry vendor doing some research. What are some new wedding trends for 2013? What are 2013/2014 brides looking for? What are other industry vendors offering?? As a super curious wedding professional, I was hoping to gain some answers and insight by attending.
WV Living publishes the WV Weddings magazine once a year and fills it with 300+ pages of wedding trends, vendor highlights, couples’ stories and real WV weddings. The magazine’s sheer size and amount of information is one it’s most impressive features, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into what West Virginia weddings are all about. Half of my weddings this year and next are either in West Virginia, have couples from West Virginia or are within an hour or so of the Morgantow, WV area, so it was nice to meet some local brides, new industry vendors and just enjoy being surrounded by some of the state’s hottest wedding trends.
I was especially impressed that WV Weddings was able to snag the lovely Mary Marantz of Justin & Mary photography as the keynote speaker. Mary is a West Virginia native and shared a little about her childhood experiences growing up in this Mountain Mama while encouraging the couples and creatives to build their relationships and businesses on love…
Justin in action!
Then it was time for the vendors and their extravagant booths. The vintage chic theme was well represented throughout the expo room. I think this will be a hot trend for future West Virginia brides…and I don’t mind because it photographs beautifully!
I was very impressed with Teresa’s Treasured Moments photo booth display! So many fun props and details!
I met Cheryl of Celebrations! Event Planning at lunch. Her booth was filled with lots of pretty and unique details, which was tons of eye candy for my camera. She’s super detail-oriented and very easy to talk to…both very important when being a wedding planner.
And there’s my friend Jenna on the right! She and her hubby got married in Morgantown this past November and their photographer Amberlee Christey had them on display. I met Amberlee at a bridal show last year and we’ve been referring couples to each other here and there. It was nice to catch up with her and her assistant!
Airbrush makeup on the left and super fun, super nice Lakeview event planners on the right!
I also met Leah Vance…a super cute, super sweet photographer from Logan, WV. She just got married this past fall and used her handmade wedding bouquets as part of her booth display.
The event’s beautiful, extravagant flower pieces were done by Winter Floral and Antiques of Charleston, WV. Owner Stephen was super friendly!
This is Anna from The Cupcakerie in Morgantown showing off her delicious baked goods to Justin & Mary. I’ve had The Cupcakerie’s cupcakes at a couple weddings and they are delicious! They come highly recommended.
This is the fabulous, England-born Belle Manjong of B.Belle Events. Her style and overall cute-ness immediately caught my eye. Then I started talking to her and realized she is as fabulous as she looks…and her accent is super cool!
All in all, the Wedding Extravaganza was a nice event. I didn’t learn as much as I was hoping, but maybe that’s because my new right-hand gal couldn’t make it and I didn’t have anyone pushing me to really find some answers. It was still nice to be surrounded by other wedding industry vendors and I wish WV Weddings the best of luck in their future adventures!
Since Justin & Mary were in Morgantown for the Extravaganza, they decided to bring their Lighting Intensive workshop to West Virginia. I signed up immediately and was so glad that they weren’t 4+ hours away…finally! Then, I received an email from Mary saying that I was the only person who signed (What’s up with that West Virginia!?! ) and we could turn it into a mentor session opportunity instead. So, the day after the Extravaganza, I met with Justin & Mary for some one-on-one time. Never in a million years would I have thought things would turn out this way, so I was super excited! Per my request, we talked all about lighting! In my opinion, photography is light and while I think I understand a lot about light in photography, there’s still lots for me to learn. Justin showed me the lighting equipment and set-up that he and Mary use at weddings and I was instantly inspired. Lighting equipment doesn’t have to be a difficult or intimidating thing. Hopefully I’ll be able to incorporate some new equipment and techniques at my future weddings…and become a little less scared about it all.
Thanks, Justin and Mary…for teaching me and everyone else in this photography industry. You’re a true inspiration and I cannot wait to learn more from you as the years go by! Oh, and a special thanks for being my models during the session. You guys are cute!
I knew there was a way to make artificial light look like natural light…and Justin showed me exactly how to make that happen! We used his Nikon as a test subject and I just love how these few images turned out. They’re nothing fancy, but I envision replacing them with a bride’s pair of shoes or a floral centerpiece. That dynamic, natural-looking light really makes things pop!
And then Justin became my test subject. Do you see that little bit of Rembrandt light?? Learned that from this guy!
And finally, some Justin and Mary love for my camera. These were all taken in a hotel conference room. Ugly walls, ugly carpet, terrible lighting. But Justin and Mary showed me how to set up one off-camera light, one on-camera light and really use them to turn this situation into a pretty one. It certainly helped to have a cute couple as my subject.
Well, West Virginia…you gave me an “extravagant” couple of days at the end of March. Thanks for the opportunities you’ve presented so far and the welcome I’ve received from your residents. I’ll miss you a little when we move to Maryland later this year…but don’t worry, I’ll still be close by.