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Hello friends! I am excited to share with you another suggestion to help assure you will get the most out of your wedding day photography. This is something I really believe makes a huge difference in your photography experience, so I am eager to get right to it. But, real quick, if you ever have any questions or comments about anything that I write, please feel free to leave them in the comment area. I would love to hear your feedback! Okay, onto this month’s topic …

I cannot stress enough the importance of scheduling an engagement session with your choice wedding photographer. Though brides often think the only result of an engagement session is the final pictures, there really are many reasons an engagement session is beneficial to both the couple and the photographer. If your wedding day photography is important to you, an engagement session should be right near the top of your wedding planning priorities.

Getting to Know Your Photographer

Each photographer is different in the way they approach a session. Preparing for the session, interacting with the couple, and even setting up shots can all be done in different ways producing a different end product. No matter how an engagement session is handled, chances are very good your photographer will treat your wedding day photography in a similar fashion. An engagement session offers a great chance for you to experience being in front of your photographer’s camera and get a feel of how the pictures will flow on your wedding day. Doing this before your wedding day really helps to shake any “picture-taking” nerves ahead of time.

Give Your Photographer the Opportunity to Get to Know You

The biggest reason I highly suggest booking an engagement session with each of my clients is because it gives me the opportunity to learn how my clients interact with each other in front of the camera. Sometimes they want to kiss in front of the camera, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are afraid they are going to look awkward in the pictures, sometimes they prefer to model for me. Every couple is unique in the way that they behave in front of the camera. Knowing this information before the wedding day is crucial in my finding ways to encourage natural interaction between a bride and groom.

See the Quality of Product Beforehand

From a client perspective, this may be the most beneficial aspect of booking an engagement session. Through the final product, you are able to see the photographer’s vision of the relationship between you and your fiancée.  In addition, you can observe some other things that may matter to you as well. Things like the turnaround time, the quality of any products you purchase (guestbooks, prints, etc) and general customer service. All of these things can help you decide if you want to continue with your decision to hire that person as the photographer of your wedding day.

I hope you can see that there are more benefits to booking an engagement session than just receiving the final prints. If you want to get the most out of your wedding day photography, I would highly suggest you book an engagement session and treat it as a trial run for your big day.

‘Til next time!

Thank you again, Liz, for your sage advice! To read her other “Point of View” columns, just click here, and to take a peek at her photography, head on over to the Sincerely, Liz: Photography website … you will be glad you did! All of the work within this posting is Liz’s.

Once again, I am thrilled to have another adorable guest posting. If you missed Rose Marie’s first DIY project, just click here to check it out. This is a perfect idea to use for a wedding or even for a small Christmas gift … how perfect!

Hi Hill City Bride readers! It’s me again, RoseMarie from Home Confetti. This time I am sharing an idea on how to package your wedding favors for your Christmas or even Valentine’s Day wedding.

How adorable is this little red felt gift box? Use it to add a special handmade touch to your groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts, or it is easy enough to make to give one to all your guests! Best of all, this felt box can be customized to any wedding theme or season just by changing the color or ribbon.

Get the full tutorial, with downloadable template, here, and to help you throw a little confetti into your everyday life, visit me at Home Confetti here.

Thanks again to Rose Marie. I have enjoyed following her Home Confetti blog … she always finds the cutest things! Also, if you are looking for little things or even stocking stuffers to put into one of these little gift boxes,  just contact Suzanne Jennings from BeautiControl … there are lots of great things to choose from (and they have a sale ending today!).

Wedding cakes are a central focus for many wedding receptions, and it is something that the bride painstakingly chooses … the flavor, fillings, icing and style are all chosen to reflect the taste (no pun intended!) of the bride and groom and their wedding day.

Recently we attended an event where we saw something that was new … or at least new to us. Fondant cakes are all the rage with the ability to have the icing as smooth as canvas, and that is what some bakers are turning their fondant into … yes, canvas! We would like to introduce you to the painted fondant cake.

Brushstrokes on a smooth surface like fondant allow for more detailing than piping icing or using fondant pieces can. All cakes are works of art, yet a painted fondant dessert truly takes the cake as far as artwork goes! Enjoy the samples below, and maybe one of these types of designs is right for your wedding day.

This is the detailing of the cake that inspired this post, which was made by Center Stage Catering. It truly was a work of art.

It would be lovely to have a wedding cake or bridal shower cake that would match the flowers that were in the wedding bouquets and centerpieces!

Nature inspired themes also lend themselves to hand painted cakes.

Peacock feathers are widely used in weddings today, and although real feathers may not be very appetizing for a cake, these hand painted ones fit the bill nicely.

This is one of our favorites due to the three dimensional detailing with the berries.

Inspiring, isn’t it? We can picture many things painted on a cake that would be meaningful to a bride and groom such as interests they have or memories they have shared together. This type of cake would even be fun for a groom’s cake … we can just picture a cake with fun fishing lures painted on for a groom who likes to fish. The possibilities are endless, and enjoy the ideas we have given you to start with.

  • Jennifer England - I agree, the look is stunning when done well. I love painting on cake :)

  • Rachael Eberle - These cakes are simply gorgeous. I love how art is used to make these cakes incredibly creative and memorable. I will definitely suggest this idea to my friends who are getting married!

  • Jennifer - I LOVE them! I had never seen it before, and now I adore the look!

  • Kelly - I agree… these are very unique looking wedding cakes. We’ve all seen the fondant wedding cake sculptures that look amazing… now it’s time for the painters to have their wedding cake due.

DIY weddings are all the rage right now as are “green” weddings, and this idea combines both into a wonderfully fun project. I contacted Pulp Art on Etsy, and they were sweet enough to put together this DIY post on plantable paper just for Hill City Bride!

Plantable paper is one of the newest trends to use when creating your eco-friendly wedding. Because it is made from recycled papers plus a mix of flower seeds that are embedded into the handmade paper, plantable paper uses no trees and allows you to offer guests an eco-friendly idea that they can take home to plant and commemorate your wedding. They will think of you every time they look at the gorgeous blooms in their garden.

To make heart-shaped plantable place cards or favors, gather high-quality scraps of paper in the color of your choice. Card stock and many scrapbooking papers make wonderful handmade paper because they are made of high-quality fibers and have colors that are nicely saturated. Don’t use newspaper, tissue paper, construction paper or flimsy, weak paper. If you want to end up with a good quality piece of handmade paper, you must start with good-quality scraps.

To make your paper, gather everything you will need: a blender, a packet of seeds, a heart-shaped cookie cutter, paper scraps and a mold. A mold is a piece of professional papermaking equipment: a screen is pulled very taught across a wooden frame. You can make your own with an old picture frame without the glass and some screen from the hardware store (you can find directions on the internet) or you can buy them through papermaking suppliers. A mold must have a very tight screen so that there are no sags where water might puddle and create uneven thickness in your handmade paper.

Begin by tearing your paper scraps into small pieces. Make sure to remove any staples, plastic windows from envelopes and any other non-paper materials. Soak them briefly in water to soften the paper so that your blender motor doesn’t have to work too hard. (Make sure to use a blender that is dedicated to papermaking. Because paper is made with chemicals, you will want to buy an inexpensive blender at a yard sale that will never be used for food preparation.) Toss the scraps into a blender with some water and pulverize. You can make a fine pulp or keep the paper in smaller chunks. Once you are happy with the consistency, add a handful of seeds to the blender, and give it a quick pulse to blend the seeds throughout.

Place your cookie cutter on top of the screen, and place in a sink. Slowly pour the pulp into the cookie cutter, using your finger to push the pulp into an even layer as the water drains into the sink. When most of the water has drained off, lift the cookie cutter, move to another part of the screen and repeat. When your screen is full, place the screen in a warm place or outside in the sun until dry. As the paper dries, the individual fibers will start to lock together and get stronger. To dry the paper more quickly and make a stronger paper, put another piece of screen on top of the heart and press the water out with a sponge. Once dry, lift the paper off the screen, punch a hole in it and thread a piece of string through the hole.

Remember to give your guests directions on how to plant their paper: place the paper into raked ground, cover with a quarter inch of soil then water and keep moist until germination, about 6 to 8 weeks. Take a look at the last photo to see seedlings popping out of some white plantable paper!

I love this idea, and the little seedlings bursting through with life convince me that this indeed is a darling little project. If you love the thought of doing something “green” for your wedding, but you do not want to tackle a project, be sure to visit Pulp Art and check out what have for your wedding day! They make place cards and rectangle hang tags in addition to the heart shaped ones featured today. Thank you again, Pulp Art, for inspiring us to make some plantable paper of our own!

  • Rachael Eberle - This is so cool!

  • Jessie-Lee - Awesome post! What a truly unique idea. Love this!

  • Heather Cheather - I love this idea Jennifer – thanks for sharing it with everyone!

  • Heather Cheathem - I love this idea Jennifer – thanks for sharing it with everyone!

  • Candace - This is such a great idea and they could be made ahead of time to be ready for the big day. Even a great idea for name tags on Christmas gifts… Love it. Thanks for sharing.

  • claire Gallam - Wow, that is insanely cool.

  • Jennifer - Thanks, ladies!!

  • Stubborn Press & Co - This is great! The fun part is all of that paper, while it can’t be run through a traditional printer, can be letterpress printed on just fine! Because it’s thicker than normal paper, it’s the perfect thickness for a lovely impression. That gives new life to a beautiful invitation—once the wedding is over, you can plant the invite for some lovely herbs or flowers!

  • Adrienne - Thanks for this great idea!

  • Moira - Love this idea, thank you. But do the seeds not start germinating before the paper is dry?

  • Carolyn - Thanks for sharing. Easier directions than I had seen for a similar project. Thanks for the tip about the blender, too. Good and useful post!

  • Teresa Van Etten - I am an artist and I make this all the time. A note, it’s best not to blend the seeds with the pulp. First, blend the paper into pulp in the blender. Then, pour some pulp into a separate container, like a ketchup bottle, the kind used in hot dog stands. You can get them at the dollar store or use a recycled ketchup bottle from home. Then, add seeds to your pulp, shake only 20 times, and pour onto screen. This lessens the bruising of the seeds and lessens the wet time to the seeds.

  • Teresa - ♥♥♥! Thank you so much for sharing this! This fixes my dilemma of not being able to find pretty gift tags!!! :)

  • Catapurple - Great idea to send for birthdays too as it is so coslty to send things in the mail
    Love the pink hearts so cute!
    Great idea!

  • Carol - Great idea for Valentines Day!

  • Marie Hunt - Hi there, just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful idea! I have shared to my facebook page and given you credit and linked back to your fab blog, hope thats ok xx

  • Dani - Is there a rule of thumb for how much card stock paper you need to produce one heart?


  • Shawn - So cute! I have to make these!

  • Marcia - don’t know if it would work or not, try placing a piece of tissue paper on top of the almost dried hearts with the typed info on it and then place the heart instruction side down so the seeds are on top and can rise out of the heart without any obstruction. Yes, I thought about the seeds in the blender. I would say put them in once you have the paper mixed. And a note about seeds being wet. Food dryer, outside on window screens on a warm, breezy day… anything to get them to dry faster. I’d suggest the oven, but I have no clue as to how long, but at the lowest possible temp.

  • Bird - I want to do this in butterfly shape and add milk weed seeds to it for people who want to help Monarchs.

  • Lolalolita - As an art teacher I have done this with kids and it was awesome. Love the hearts idea for V-day. Perfect. Wondered about the seeds – probably mix them in gently right before pouring. Wouldn’t put them in the oven though. Heat might kill the seeds. Keep outside or run a fan over it. Very cool project – and kids will see how to MAKE paper!

  • brandi - I’m making these for my daughters preschool class for valentines day, does anyone know if the seeds will still sprout and grow if the kids wait until spring to plant them? We live in Chicago so they won’t be able to plant them right away.

  • Jennifer - Brandi, I’m pretty sure that the seeds will remain dormant as long as you keep the papers dry. Thank you for commenting!

  • Miriam - How much paper? How much water? What kind of seeds work?

  • Rena Mooney - Great idea! Money saving tip: if you have more than one blending jar, you wouldn’t need to have two bases. Either save old jar when you get a new one, or any jar with a broken yard sale blender with the same blade.

    However, if this is more than one or two times, do have separate blenders and make sure to use enough water so the motor doesn’t burn out too fast.

  • Dorothy Lunsford - Very cute ideas Thanks for sharing

  • Regina Kreighbaum - I might just do this with my Daisy Girl Scout Troop!

  • Debbie Eden - This is a very great idea for any gathering situation. Family, friends, gifts for seniors etc. Love this.

  • Denise - Love this! I think it would be great to do and give with teacher gifts!

  • valentynsdag « My klaskamer – idees en gedagtes uit 'n juffrou se pen - [...] Plant ‘n hartjie:  Maak pienk papierpulp en meng met sade.  Giet dit in ‘n vormpie en laat droog word.  Gee dit as ‘n kaartjie of plaas ‘n hele paar hartjies in ‘n geskenkpakkie. [...]

  • J’Adore Tuesdays: Valentine’s Day Inspired Crafts | For the Knit of It - [...] DIY from Pulp Art – Plantable Paper from Hill City Bride (Click for Pulp Art’s Etsy [...]

  • Cherie - What a great idea and something new to try for the garden!

  • annie baiz - I’m going to make these for my son’s 15th bEarth Day party! Thanks for the great idea.

  • DIY: valentine’s inspired goodies | estelita - [...]  plantable tags  } everyone has the friend who has a pair of green thumbs, so here is the perfect DIY present! [...]

  • Melyssa - I.love.this.idea. I am DEFINITELY going to be doing this sometime soon! I posted it on my recent DIY Roundup (http://thenectarcollective.com/2013/02/diy-roundup-valentines-ideas-that-dont-suck/)
    Thank you for the great tutorial! :)

  • Izzabella - This is a really good idea would like to see them it for any type of party not just for weddings thanks

  • DIY Roundup - 8 Valentine's Day Ideas That Don't Suck - [...] Plantable Paper Hearts by Hill City Bride: Not to be biased, but this might be my favorite thing on this list, both for [...]

  • Not-So Wordless Wednesday: Valentine’s Day - Raspberry Kids | Raspberry Kids - [...] of all they are made with recycled paper. Check out the instructions for these amazing cards on Hill City Bride. Perhaps you have a last minute Valentine’s Day idea or something to keep in mind for next [...]

  • fun little craft | Jeans & Bare Feet - [...] here are the basic steps, and you can get more detailed directions here, where I found my [...]

  • File it Friday: Plantable Paper, Homemade Samoas + More - [...] DIY Plantable Paper: This is such a clever idea! The next time you need party favors, you can make your own biodegradable paper with flower seeds in it. Give your guests planting instructions! [...]

  • Grace Dillon - I love this! Inspiring me to make some. Thank you!

  • Plantable Paper Heart tags! | Illuminated Beauty - [...] via Hill City Bride | Lynchburg Wedding Bridal Blog » Blog Archive » DIY from Pulp Art – Plantable P…. [...]

  • Katy - Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • Allegre bomboniere! » My Mei Tai - [...] e nel giro di qualche giorno iniziare a vedere i primi germogli. Potete trovare tutte le istruzioni qui. Sono in inglese, ma le immagini bastano per capire come si svolgono le varie [...]

  • Pinterest of Interest Thursdays | The Affair Shop Blog - [...] of my close friends ordered these for her wedding favors, Plantable Seed Paper. I LOVED them. I was stealing them from total strangers. Only slightly [...]

  • Lisa - I have been purchasing my seed paper to make business cards. So excited to try my hand at making my own!

  • 30 Things to Do With Lavendar topic | book for all world - [...] pot as a gift for someone, or place in a card. These also make great wedding favors. Check out hillcitybride for the how [...]

  • kathleen babbitt - I have always wanted to know how to do this! It is such a wonderful way to use up scraps and flower seeds. I think it would be great to use the state flower seeds. ours are black eyed susans. thank you so much for sharing!

  • L'inspiration mariage de l'été : DIY graines à planter | The bride next doorThe bride next door - [...] bien le blog Hill City Bride vous donne (en anglais mais Google translate est votre ami) le mode d’emploi pour fabriquer [...]

  • Ashley - How long will these last? As in, will they sprout before being planted and if so how long after being made will they sprout?

  • Jennifer - Those are great questions, Ashley! If they are not left wet, the seeds won’t germinate, and I would consult the seed packets to see what their suggestion is as to how long the seeds will be viable. Thank you for stopping by!

  • lauren - Make sure the seed paper is kept in a dark place and if possible wrap in tinfoil. This will prolong the life of the seeds and keep them from drying out.

  • Joyce Warren - Thanks for the great idea! I will use it for my church group.

  • A Green Wedding by Katie Carrico | Titans of Sustainability - […] As a thank you gift to our guests, we are going to give everyone plantable paper cut in the shape of flowers. We will use 100% recycled paper and wildflower seeds to make this gift. We will use biodegradable hemp twine and recycled paper to attach our advice about how “Love Grows.” Find directions to make plantable paper at http://www.hillcitybride.com/2010/11/diy-from-pulp-art-plantable-paper/ […]

Ok, well maybe “with a twist” is not the only blog title description we could use … it could be a twist, a wrap or a tuck. Let us introduce you to the most fantastic idea for bridesmaids’ dresses ever. Behold, the convertible dress by Butter by Nadia.

A covertible dress can be worn in a plethora of ways (they say 15!), which is sure to delight any attendant. These dresses are available in two fabric choices (jersey and satin), and they are designed to fit ladies from size 2 to 16 … as in one dress will fit a size two or a size sixteen!!  Imagine not having to fret over sizing and alterations.

One of the best features about this gown is the fact that a bride can choose her color, and then let her bridesmaids decide how they want to wear the dress. It gives women the choice to express their own personal style while still being congruent with the other attendants. In our opinion, it is a win-win for both the bride and her bridesmaids!

The Signature Jersey dress (in red below) comes in 27 colors, and the  Signature Satin dress (in gray below) has 22 available colors.


Lastly we wanted you to see this cute dress, the LuLu Dress, that can be worn four ways. What an adorable dress for a bridesmaid or even for someone attending a wedding as a guest. Many of Butter by Nadia‘s designs are convertible, and we would love for you to check them out.

Although these are not available in Lynchburg (yet), check out Church Street Bridal and Church Street Couture along with Celebration Bridal for your special occasion dressing needs. Also, don’t forget about our giveaway!!

*All photos are property of  Butter by Nadia.*

  • Rachel McLean - Oh my goodness, I LOVE the black and white number. ADORABLE!

    What a fun blog post!

  • Jennifer - I know!! I want to figure out which one of these I want to get b/c it is the ULTIMATE in dresses. Pick a favorite color and wear it so many ways. Choices, choices!!!

  • angie - i love the black and white dress, too!

  • Candace - A bride knows what she wants for her wedding — I love this dress saw it on the show My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. It will make any body type look good.