Three Pre-Wedding Wellness Tips for the Bride-To-Be

For all of our brides in the midst of planning, we wanted to remind you not to forget about yourself and your health! With so much pressure leading up to the wedding, it can be easy to let stress overtake your wellness. We have guest blogger Andrea here from Luminous Body and Wellness to give you some tips on ways to be your most beautiful and healthy self on the big day:

Invest in your canvas:  Makeup is a finishing touch, not a solution. Healthy skin is the foundation for a beautiful and natural look.  Begin skincare treatments 3-6 months in advance and develop a relationship with a skin care therapist to avoid unexpected breakouts, reactions to products, or a dry and flaky look with your makeup application.  If you haven’t received a skin analysis in quite awhile, now is a good time to get started with a skin care regimen specifically for your individual needs.

If you are going to work out, do it right!  All too often I see women working out with incorrect form.  Lifting weights in an unhealthy way can bulk up the very muscles you wish to see lengthen.  If you want sculpted arms and elegant posture for your strapless gown…  Work with a trusted expert to guide you through your fitness routine properly.

Take a time out to relieve tension and stress.  Most people don't realize the effects that stress can have on your body and your skin. It's common for brides to experience high levels of stress throughout their planning process which can result in red, inflamed, and blotchy looking skin... not to mention feeling frustration instead of the enjoyment of getting married. Even a few short stress-relieving treatments can bring your focus back to what is really important, ease tension, and result in a much more relaxed experience leading up to your wedding day.

A former dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, Andrea is located in the city but also does home visits. She even offers special bridal packages, so if your bridal party would enjoy a beauty and relaxation themed bachelorette party, or if you know a bride you'd like to treat, you can email Andrea at:

Photo Credits:, Luminous Body & Wellness

Getting the Party Started Part 2: Tips from the DJ

Last time we had dance teacher Annemarie offer her insights into how to encourage people to get moving. Continuing our two-part series on creating great party atmosphere, we could think of no better vendor to shine the spotlight on than Jason Amarante of BIG FUN Disc Jockeys

Photo Credit: Nicole Anne Robbins

At the first wedding we did with Jason, our clients were leaning towards not having a DJ since they couldn't imagine their friends and family dancing. With Jason at the turntables though, every single guest was out on the dance floor, and they didn't want to stop even at the end of the night!

Photo Credit: Tim Sohn Studios

Let's get to know Jason a little more, and find out his secrets to getting the party started.

Quick Q's
Best Meal: homemade Portuguese-style chicken & rice dish prepared by my grandmother.
Best present someone has gotten you: my family threw a "celebrity-style" comedy roast for my birthday last year and invited a bunch of close friends. It was easily the best gift anyone has ever given me!
Favorite place to be: on the island of San Jorge, in the Azores, Portugal.
What do H&T stand for to you? two instruments you'd likely hear on a Motown song: harmonica & tambourine. 

About Your Craft
What inspired you to be a DJ? 
First and foremost, my life-long passion for music. I come from a large family that instilled a love of music from a very early age. My mom said I was banging on pots and pans in the kitchen and humming along to Hall & Oats in the car before I could even talk. That love of music took me on a journey which has provided me with opportunities to travel the country in a marching band, play piano at the House of Blues, and DJ for large crowds of people. Becoming a DJ was a natural progression for me, as I love the art of selecting playlists and playing them for a crowd. There's a special relationship that the DJ has with the dance floor, a feeling you get when you're feeding off the crowd's energy and the crowd is feeding off of yours. It's truly an amazing experience. It's what keeps me out there weekend after weekend, playing for diverse groups of people in all sorts of cool venues!

What's your favorite mood music for cocktail hour? 
This really depends on the demographic of the crowd. For many folks, some tasteful 40s-60s vocal jazz (e.g. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald) really does the trick. While for others, something more contemporary really works the cocktail room - like modern acoustic rock. In the end, it really comes down to what will put that particular crowd at ease and make them feel like they're part of something unique and special, whether that be Jimmy Durante or Jason Mraz.  

Photo Credit: Tim Sohn Studios

What in your experience is the best way to let guests know that it's time to dance? 
That's an easy one: turning off the house lights!

Do you have a favorite couple's first dance song? 
I'm a huge Stevie Wonder fan, so I'd have to go with "Overjoyed" or "My Cherie Amour"! 

If the crowd seems shy or reluctant, how do you as the DJ or MC get them out of their shells? 
If I'm faced with a shy or reluctant crowd, I'll seek out the guests who seem to be the most fun and willing to let loose and I'll adjust my playlist to target them. I figure, if I can get the more sociable and outgoing folks participating, then hopefully, they'll attract the more reserved guests to the dance floor eventually.

Photo Credit: Tim Sohn Studios

When the crowd is starting to look a little tired, what's the best remedy? 
If I've been playing some really up-tempo music and the energy level begins to dip a bit, I'll switch up the genre or tempo completely on the crowd. You've got to keep things fresh out on the dance floor at all times in order to prevent ear fatigue and keep folks interested. It's actually my job to anticipate when the crowd needs a jolt of something new, and kicking in a song that's instantly recognizable, but different from the last tune, usually does the trick. 

What's your personal anthem? 
"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire. It's a timeless track and you can't touch a chorus like that! 

What philosophy do you use to guide your work? 
Rely on your instincts. When you've done as many gigs as I have, you've got to trust your gut when you’ve got a packed dance floor and it’s time to mix in the next song. And more importantly, do whatever it takes to make your clients happy. In the end, your reputation is everything in this business.  

Do you have openings for 2013/2014? 
I have a few open dates, but they're definitely filling up fast. I turn away a lot of potential gigs just because I'm so busy these days. 

What's the best way to reach you? 
I can be reached at or Please also check out for more information (bio, equipment, rates, events, press)!

Getting the Party Started Part 1: 3 Ways to Get Guests Dancing at Your Wedding

Hello Honeys!

We often hear our couples express unsureness about whether or not their guests are "a dancing crowd". Nothing is less festive to imagine than an empty dance floor. We've asked guest blogger and friend Annemarie (Ree) Estess from The 8 Count (www.the8count.comto give us some tips on getting your guests dancing! Take it away Ree!

Photo credit: Alvaro Ponce 2012

Envision your ideal wedding reception.  The flowers smell sweet, the refreshments are flowing, and the atmosphere is joyous.  As the music starts rolling, you and your honey boogie down on the dance floor, followed by waves of guests eager to dance the night away.  

We would all love for the reception to flow in this fine fashion.  However, most of us have born witness to just how challenging it can be to build the party momentum.  Fortunately, there's no need to fear an uncomfortably-sparse dance floor.  We have a few suggestions for getting folks out of their seats and ready to rock.  

1. Dare to draw outside the lines for your first dance.  

We're not advocating that you seek the YouTube spotlight with a flashy routine, but we do encourage you to consider a dance style that suits your personality as a couple and that you'll enjoy using beyond your wedding day.  If you're investing in lessons or choreography, you may as well learn dance moves that you'll have fun with for many years!

The role of the first dance, after all, is to debut as newlyweds and kick off the celebration.  If you're clearly enjoying dancing together, the crowd will follow your lead.

2. Encourage your bridal party and close friends to serve as "dance ambassadors."

Dance parties are largely dependent upon critical mass.  Once you hit a certain threshold of people enjoying themselves on the dance floor, the more hesitant guests will join the fun.  

Bridal party members are the highest-profile guests, and therefore the best positioned to attract people to the dance floor.  Hosting a bridal party dance session just before the wedding day can help everyone bond and get comfortable with upbeat dance moves to show off at the reception.  You can also breathe easier knowing that you'll have a trusted cohort of ladies and gents to break the ice and keep the party from falling flat.  


3. Hire a pro to show your guests the moves.

Oftentimes we hear that guests would like to dance, but they just don't know how.  Hiring a professional instructor to lead fun, simple steps at your reception is a great way to get novice dancers out of their seats.  It also catalyzes the dance party in a much more unified manner, as everyone is able to connect over the same moves.  (And no, this isn't limited to learning the Electric Slide.)

Bottom line: a lively dance floor is largely dependent upon having key people set the tone (and having a timeless music selection, but we'll leave that to the DJ's post). Nothing gets guests more excited to dance than seeing the newlyweds and their loved ones let loose, share joy, and celebrate this beautiful step.   

Annemarie has been teaching dance fundamentals for over a decade.  She specializes in helping clients utilize the social value of dance, recognizing that it is one of the most engaging ways to meet new people, let loose, and enjoy the present. To talk to her about first dance choreography or bridal party dance lessons contact her at .

And watch her fun promo video here.

Vendor Spotlight: Ocean Blue Videography

Happy Tuesday Loves!

We wanted to shed a little light on the creator of Diana & Jon's wedding video from our last post.
Van Hsieh is the lovely storyteller behind the lens. A reassuring and sweet presence, we love having her with us on the day!

Let's get to know a little more about Van:
Quick Q's!

Best Meal:
I love Japanese food. I had the best Japanese tapas at Guu Garden in Vancouver.

Favorite place to be:
Coffee Shop

What do H&T stand for to you?
Happiness & tenderness

Best present someone has gotten you:
When I was about 10 years old, my dad worked late and came home after I was asleep.
One night he woke me up and showed me a plastic bag that emitted bright green lights. It looked magical in the dark. He had brought back a firefly bug. I had never seen one before, and so close!
My friend and I released the firefly into a small garden at school the next day. But I've always remembered the magical lights shining in the dark.  

About Your Craft

How did you become a videographer?
I've always been fascinated by visual arts and literature. While getting my MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology, I took many video and film courses. That was when I discovered how much I love FILM as an art form. Video/film allows me to combine visuals(form) and stories(content) to create something very meaningful and powerful.
After graduation, I wanted to do something related to my field/passion, and make a living at the same time. In 2003, I went to a bridal show as a volunteer, and chatted with a wedding filmmaker there. That was when the idea of starting a wedding/event video studio was born.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
When you have been thinking very hard about an idea, a story or technical/artistic issue of a project, and suddenly you have an epiphany.

Tell us about a favorite moment you’ve captured.
I can't pinpoint a specific moment, but I think it is precious when a groom/bride tears up when being interviewed or when reading his/her loved one's letter.
Usually this happens in a quiet room. In these quiet moments, the groom/bride is only thinking about the other person, without being weighed down by other logistics of the wedding day. It is a very pure and tender moment.

What do you hope people will feel when they watch your work?
I hope they can feel the emotion(s) of the character(s) in the video, be it happiness, anticipation or sorrow. I hope they can be emotionally engaged.

What philosophy do you use to guide your work?
Give the best of you to your craft. Stay truthful. Enjoy the process.
Talking about this, please watch the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."

Do you have openings for 2013/2014?
Yes we do. Feel free to contact us for availability.

What's the best way to reach you?
Please fill out the contact form on our website (
We can also be reached by email or phone
(Ph: (408) 316 3932; Email: info [at]

Vendor Spotlight: Gem Photo

This week we'd like to shine a light on one of our favorite photographers: Emily Scott of Gem Photo. We showed you some of her work on Tuesday, now let's hear a little more about her!

Photo by Gina Zeidler

Quick Q's!

Best Meal: anytime my husband makes breakfast for us. he is a wizard in the kitchen. 

Best present someone has gotten you: a pair of black Christian louboutins. 

Favorite place to be: my grandparents summer cottage on the lake in Canada. 

What do H&T stand for to you?  my two favorite things : hugging & traveling 

About Your Craft

What inspired you to be a photographer? Living in Japan for a year after college made me want to capture every new sight I saw and share it with everyone back home. 

Tell us about a favorite moment you’ve captured. I recently photographed a dear friend just a few hours after the birth of her first child. It was the most incredible thing to see her hold this product of love and sacrifice  

A moment that has made you cry: I cry at literally every wedding I photograph. Usually during the father daughter dance.

A moment that has made you laugh: I love photographing grandparents and I really wanted to photograph my brides grandmother as she was walking into the reception and when I stopped her I was hesitant to ask her to move into better light. She told me - "Listen, when you have as many kids as I do, you get used to people bossing you around! So you just tell me where to go."

Biggest challenge shooting a wedding: deciding what to focus on when there are so many moments happening at the same time. 

Best thing about shooting a wedding: being with people on the best day of their lives. 

Favorite type of shoot: lifestyle shoots - or engagements where we go and eat at amazing food spots in the Bay Area. 

What philosophy do you use to guide your work? A while back I found a quote from scripture that struck me so deeply - it goes "All beautiful you are, my darling, there is no flaw in you." And the idea that through the eyes of love - there are no flaws. That's how I try to see and capture everyone. 

Do you have openings for 2013/2014? Yes! Only a few weekends open for 2013 left. 

What's the best way to reach you? Email


So sweet and calming, Emily is always a pleasure to work with. She's also a big inspiration to us to follow our hearts and do what we love! To see more of Emily's moments of laughter, light and love, visit her websiteblog and facebook!