Jason Weible on Lighting Design for Your Wedding

Today we bring you a post from one of our favorite Betrothed’s Bros, Mr. Jason Weible of Blackbird Theatrical Services.  Jason and his wife Kelly got married in Brooklyn last year, and ended up working with several of us here at BB, and they’ve been great supporters and friends ever since.  So here’s his piece on the importance of proper lighting for a wedding. Super useful stuff!  Read on, and be dazzled!BBB.docx-1

Over 2 million years ago, when the first caveman decided to wed his soon to be spouse with whom he met in the cave dwellings just around the winding river pass, the first consideration in the wedding planning was not what dress his hairy bride would wear, or what makeup would work well with her mud complexion, or the animal that would have to be slaughtered to document the day and contemplated for catering later.

The first consideration was what part of the day they would choose for the big their big day.

Should they be wed when the first hint of sunlight crept over the mountain ridge with the wonderful hints of the pink and amber hues of the sun creeping over the horizon? Or would it be a mid-afternoon wedding, where despite the heat of the oppressive sun, all the guests would be able to see our happy couple hunched and holding their hairy palms happily at the alter. Or would it be a romantic moon lit evening, set on a beach, with torches creating a glow from wood poles forming the path of the aisle?

Would it be cliché now to say, that in the beginning there was light?

And yet, most people would agree that it is one of the most forgotten elements when planning a wedding.

I always tell my clients you’ve spent thousands of dollars on your wedding, wouldn’t you like people to see it?

Much like my charming tale above, there is a story behind every choice that a couple makes. There is a reason why they chose the particular venue that they did and why they chose a single white rose for the groom’s boutonniere. There is a thought process as to why they chose Anni Bruno (shout out!) to do their makeup over someone else.



Lighting adds another layer of emphasis or as we in the industry like to say: focus.

Lighting if done correctly can help you highlight what you want to see while making those things that are eyesores disappear. Light can help you create a mood.

Perhaps you’ve had a nice candle light dinner at home with your soon to be spouse.

You dimmed the lights, you lit the candles, and you brought your focus to the table. You made that romantic statement that you wanted to share with your spouse stick out.

NOW consider that with over 100 people in a 5000 sq. ft room. That’s what you’re competing with in considering all your design elements for your wedding and making them stand out.

A lot can be lost without good lighting, including the mood of your party. So when considering what you need for your big day don’t forget that it all starts with what your eye sees and let lighting help you see all the details you worked so hard to create.


Above are a few examples of events that I’ve done to give you some ideas of what lighting can do.  And below, check out the before and after.





Gorgeous work Jason!  Thanks so much for the contribution.  You are hilarious and informative.  And thanks for the shout out!  Much love to you and Kelly!


(More) Tips for Staying Sane on Your Wedding Day


Hone the art of acceptance:

Your wedding day, like any other anticipated special occasion, is going to be flawed.  You’re real people, not plastic toppers on a cake, and therefore, life will happen.  Little and big things will go wrong.  Expect them.  Not in a pessimistic, why-is-life-so-unfair? way, but in a way that allows you to be fluid through the beauty, the highs, the quiet moments, and yes, even the disappointments.

Shift your expectations:

It is a day so anointed, so dreamed about and coveted, entire magazines revolve around it!  The pressure is enormous. “THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE” is the not-so-subliminal newsfeed that wraps itself around your celebration.  If it truly is the best day of your life, mazel tov!  And if it’s a beautiful and messy and meaningful day that is like no other you’ve experienced, that’s not only okay, that is normal.  Expect anything and everything, and know that what you end up with is a kaleidoscope of memories that is *your* wedding.  One that is yours (and your spouse’s) alone.

Remember the endgame:

Stay connected to your partner and to what married life means to you.  What do you want married life to feel like?  What rituals do you want to create as newlyweds?  What makes your relationship unique?  Keep these goals alive and present.  Create a vision board of your life as newlyweds or start hosting a monthly game night.  Build the life that is yours – yours and your beloved’s; the one that stands strong long after the band plays its last song and you board the honeymoon flight back. Know, when you look at your mate, that you got the best gift of all.


Ask an Expert: How Do I Not Hire a Wedding Vendor Without Offending Anyone?

Sam (Kristina Hill Photography)

Q: How do I not hire my florist’s daughter, a wedding photographer, without offending anyone?

Planning a wedding without offending someone is a feat next to impossible!  In an ideal world, friends, family, and in this case vendors, would have only one goal: to support you and your fiancé in creating the wedding that reflects what matters most to you.  Unfortunately, it rarely works that way – at least one person’s feathers will be ruffled along the way.

So how to handle an awkward situation with your florist?  Thank her/him for letting you know their daughter is a wedding photographer and if you already have a photographer lined up, say just that (or if you haven’t, “stretching the truth” to avoid hurt feelings is completely acceptable) and that you’d be happy to pass the photographer daughter’s info along to other engaged couples you know.  That is truly all you should have to say; hopefully your florist is professional enough to leave it at that. If you’re still feeling pressured, recognize it as her/his issue, and do your best to let it go.

There are plenty of opportunities to be stressed in the wedding planning process – thankfully there are also plenty of opportunities to be have fun and celebrate along the way.  The more of the uncomfortable situations you nip in the bud (no floral puns intended), the more you can enjoy the beauty of what you and your spouse-to-be are creating.


Myth Debunked: Hair & Makeup People Are The Same People

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These are not the same tools, and neither are the skills needed to use them. Let me ‘splain the deal.

1) Cosmetology = hair. I know, it’s misleading, because the word sounds like “cosmetics.” Damn you, Latin! Anyway, yes that is correct. However, cosmetology is a training course that focuses on hair. I haven’t gone to cosmetology school, but from what I gather, the vast majority is hair (cutting, coloring, and styling). I believe they spend about 1 week on makeup and 1 week on skincare, and that’s it. And at the end of the program, you get your cosmetology license, which allowing you to conduct hair services in the state in which you were licensed.

2) Aesthetics = skin. An aesthetician is the lady that gives you facials, or other spa treatments. A laser technician at a medical spa will most likely have trained as an aesthetician. They are proficient in skin treatments, body treatments, and hair removal. And the same thing applies – at the end of your training course, you’ll be a licensed aesthetician.

3) Makeup = makeup! And what most people don’t realize is that there’s no license to legally become a makeup artist. Much like a painter doesn’t necessarily have to go to art school to become a painter, same with makeup. There are plenty of makeup artistry schools out there. Some are great, some are not, but none of them are able to provide their students with anything legal. Just a certificate of completion.

Some makeup schools focus on beauty, while others lean more towards special effects for film and tv. That’s a very small, competitive field, where you have to join the union to even be able to work in Hollywood at all. And in both Beauty and FX makeup, a more common practice is to become a master artists’s apprentice, and learn your craft that way. No license involved.

So… this is why, in my experience, hairstylists that also do makeup tend to do it poorly. And makeup artists who do hair do that poorly (that would be me!). It’s kind of like the difference between painting and sculpting. If you’re awesome at one, you probably aren’t great at the other. Or, you’re mediocre at both. Which is why I always suggest people hire specialists. :)


At Real Weddings, S#*t Like This Happens.

I vomited in my wedding dress. And I wasn’t even drunk. Like, not even a little bit.


And it was TOTALLY FINE.

We all want our wedding days to be special, fairytale, magical perfection. But when does life really work like that? I’m gonna say never. And weddings, no matter how much planning or money you throw into them, are no exception to this rule.

So let me tell the story of me puking in my dress. It was right after the ceremony. Chris and I had just done some post-ceremony pics with the photographer on the beach and around the pool, while the rest of the guests descended a few yards down the beach to the restaurant for the reception. When we arrived at the reception, my brother-in-law decided to give a welcome shot to the bride. So he asked the bartender for one.

Now, I don’t know if the bartender was trying to be mean, or just not thinking, or, wanted to see a sloppy American bride, but, his poison of choice was Bacardi 151. Which is different from regular Bacardi in the sense that it’s 75% pure alcohol.

So, Aaron hands me the shot. I down it, thinking it’s maybe a lemondrop, or something fruity and innocuous! When the sensation of what I was expecting lined up with the reality of what had just gone down my throat, my body just said, “NO WAY.” I calmly put the shotglass on the bar and said, “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.” Went to the ladies room, opened my mouth, and like a delicate flower, eliminated the foul liquid from the base of my esophagus. And returned to the party like nothing had happened.

Some brides would be mortified by this story. I love that it happened. My dress was fine, my mood / health / everything was totally fine. It was just one of those things you don’t expect is going to happen.

So if there’s any advice I can give, it’s this: Weird shit might happen. And that’s the shit you’re probably going to remember, and those memories will be cherished way more than what kind of dessert fork you ate off of.


Prospect Park Picnic House Wedding


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A few weeks ago we shared a shot from Diana and Scott’s DUMBO engagement shoot and today we are excited to share a peek at their beautiful Picnic House wedding. It was such a wonderful day in Prospect Park. Carissa, Rebecca and I had a blast working with them. We hope you enjoy this post and congratulations to Diana and Scott!








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lrIMG_1220Additional Vendors:
Venue: Picnic House
Caterer: Naturally Delicious
DJ: Scratch Weddings
Cake: The Sugar Chic
Hair: Bobbie Yanoupeth
Make Up: Kerry Crawford

Hair & Makeup Timeline Advice


Another thing that gets asked of me quite a lot is how the day-of timeline should run, in reference to the hair and makeup schedule. If you’ve hired a wedding planner or a day-of-coordinator, great! They’ll be able to help guide you through it. And if not, I’ll be there to make sure things run along smoothly. Here’s some things to remember.

1) Hair & Makeup take longer than you think they will.

For makeup I always schedule an hour with the bride and time permitting, 30-45 minutes with others. This may sound like a lot of time, but it really isn’t. Doing your own makeup with your own products is a completely different ballgame than hiring a pro to take care of several people.

For example, if you’re putting on your own mascara, you put it on directly with the brush from the tube. If a pro is putting makeup on you, she’ll have dipped a disposable makeup wand into the mascara, used it, and tossed it away.

Similarly, she won’t just be dipping her fingers into jars. She should be carefully pulling things out and putting them on sterilized palettes, or, the clean back of her hand. Basically, I just tell people to keep in mind that a sanitary artist will take her time to make sure her kit (and you!) stay germ-free.

And for hair, I know that hair is usually set with hot rollers, then they have to cool down, and then the hair will be let down and styled. So, this is a multi-phase process which will also take up a good chunk of time.

2) You’ll want someone in the hair chair and someone in the makeup chair, rotating everyone around until everyone is finished.  Not cool to make your bridesmaids wait around twiddling their thumbs, same with your stylists.

3) Unless it is bride-only for hair and makeup, you will need separate hair people and makeup people. If it’s just the bride for hair and makeup, and you can find a stylist that is great at both (it is SO RARE), then that’s the best thing to do. But you can’t expect one person to handle all those services on her own. It just takes up too much time. And no one wants to be all exhausted by the time the wedding rolls around.

4) Ideally, hair should happen before makeup. But it’s not completely vital. Just preferred.

5) Keep in mind that your makeup artist will want to arrive about 20 minutes before the first application, and will need about a half hour at the end to clean up. At least I need a full half hour. For example, if I wait until I get home to clean my airbrush gun, it clogs. So I have to do it as soon as I finish.

6) Your makeup artist will need table space, access to natural light, and a tall chair. All hotels have barstools they can bring up to the room. If you’re prepping in a location with no tall chair, let your makeup artist know. In those cases, I bring mine. It’s big and bulky but saves my back and prevents me from doing your makeup all hunched over you. Save time that morning by having the room set up with designated hair and makeup areas. Hair will need a regular-height chair, table space, and outlets.

Hope that helps!


Not Your Mother’s Cake Topper!


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I know, cake topper is a dirty word when it comes to your wedding cake.  Visions of a cheap plastic bride and groom with frozen smiles come to mind.  You might as well add pillars to the cake while you’re at it.  Well now you can throw those misconceptions out the window!

Artisans are reinventing the cake topper for 2013.  Think about a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge or watercolor butterflies as an alternative or in addition to sugar flowers or ribbons.

Mirror Mirror Designs has taken the cake topper to a new level with a line of keepsakes to add to your cake.

Mirror Mirror Designs has taken the cake topper to a new level with a line of engraved keepsakes to add to your cake.

Etsy is a great resource for handmade and alternative toppers ranging from cute little mice to vintage brooch bouquets

Feather and brooch topper by Solbijou

Feather and brooch topper by Solbijou

A charming little couple by Mousey Mimosa

A charming little couple by Mousey Mimosa

Nesting Eggs cake topper by Mirror Mirror Designs

Nesting Eggs cake topper by Mirror Mirror Designs

These are some of the new cake toppers custom designed for your wedding cake to  add whimsy or elegance to the centerpiece of your reception.


Dear Brides, Please Touch Up Your Lips.

Whatever this bride is wearing on her lips, she definitely had to reapply it several times during her wedding. And this particular makeup design is all about her lips, and it is gorgeous.


I do tell clients that they have the option to keep me around for touchups throughout the wedding, but, it’s really not necessary, as the only think she’ll need to touch up is her lipstick.  But unfortunately, she usually gets swept up in the excitement of the day and forgets.

So I always provide the bride’s lip products for her (liner, lipstick, gloss, etc).  I also provide a translucent powder compact with a mirror and sponge for shine touchups, and also so I know she has a mirror on hand to touch up her lips.  And I give this little bag of goodies to the bride, if she’ll be carrying a clutch, or, to the maid of honor or mom or person looking after her.  I tell that person to watch the bride and make sure to let her know when her lip color has faded.

Because no stain in the world is gonna last through the entire day.  Such a product does not yet exist.

Yet still, I see my clients in their wedding photos afterwards, and more often than not, their lips have disappeared into the abyss.  It’s disappointing because we usually spend so much time at the trial finding just that perfect shade… and it mostly doesn’t get seen.

So, just a friendly reminder ladies… don’t forget about your lips!  I know you’ll have lots of other things to think about, but, this is important too!


A Picnic House Wedding – Congratulations Diana & Scott!


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Today I will have the pleasure of working with the lovely Rebecca Shepherd and Carissa Templeton on Diana and Scott’s Brooklyn wedding. I’m also excited to get to work with  Bethany Pickard and Naturally Delicious, Kerry Crawford and Scratch Weddings. Obviously this is going to be a pretty amazing day!!!

Congrats Scott and Diana, and wishing a happy wedding day to all the lovely couples tying the knot on this lovely spring day.







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