Posts Tagged ‘Tony Richards’

We are still a bit in love with our florist, Susie from Black Eyed Susie’s . When my mom and I first met her in her small storefront located in River Edge, I knew she was for us.

Filled with energy, creativity, good ideas and best of all, a sense of humor, she immediately understood our “less-weddingy approach to our wedding.” I didn’t want white flowers or roses. I did want colors that matched my currant-red dress, but I wasn’t sure which ones. I needed input from an expert. She pulled out books with flowers and swatches and walked us through the whole thing, all the while taking notes.

After one meeting, Susie crafted a vision that fit our space (very tall ceilings, art deco look) and the color of my gown.

It was important to me to include food, beyond berries, in the floral decorations. My mother grew artichokes over the summer, dried them and Susie used them in my bouquet. Then, Susie used other artichokes in glass bowls and potted herbs in the cocktail hour space. She even sent us a website with the herbs listed so we could choose ones that we liked. I loved that I could be so involved in the process and help to personalize each detail.

Since it was a fall wedding, I had the vague idea of branches and berries. She used curly willow in the ceremony room, and elsewhere, and included even branches in the table centerpieces. We couldn’t decide between the two beautiful samples she created and ended up doing half and half. That’s how good she is.

The Wonderful Women carried orchids that sprayed down against their black dresses. The men had matching boutonnieres and Susie was able to match my dress exactly for my groom’s flower.

Susie gave my mom instructions on how to dry my bouquet and from my mother’s account in distant NJ, it looks great. My mom was also able to return to the venue after the wedding and pick up the flowers that were left behind by the guests. She has been enjoying arranging them at home. I look forward to driving them to our new apartment on the East coast after we move next summer.

I highly recommend Susie to anyone looking to add a creative and natural touch to their setting. Unlike the other florists who gave me quotes very far outside of my budget, she fit our budget, asked questions and responded quickly when we had questions. Simply put, she is an artist who is fun to talk to.

Thank you, Susie.

Susie is a member of The Weddings By Artists Network as is photographer Tony Richards, who took these photographs.

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Live Love Bead hair vine photo by Tony Richards

When I was thinking about how to do my hair for the wedding, I fell in love with a Swarovski crystal hair vine that I saw in a bridal magazine. A hair vine is a swiggly piece for your hair that can be wrapped around your head with bobby pins. The crystal part of it means that it costs hundreds of dollars.

I was surprised to find out how much it cost. I hadn’t been expecting that. After a quick search on Etsy.com and Ebay.com, I found this company, Live Love Bead, which makes “crystal inspired designs.” That is to say, affordable designs.

The one I ordered lasted through a styling test and the wedding day. It only lost one crystal in the end and I hope to find an occasion to wear it again. I’m open to invitations.

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We’ve all been to weddings where we’ve watched the wedding party awkwardly pose before a fake column or lawn. We’ve seen the obligatory kiss and the hand holding. Nothing looks natural. Everyone looks like a bad actor in a pretend wedding.


You don’t need those pictures, but you do want a visual memory of the day that documents real events.


I recently spoke with Tony Richards, a wedding photographer with a photojournalistic style, who offered some hints about how to find the best photographer for your event.


First and foremost, Tony suggested that you ask photographers about their style. A photographer who is a photojournalist will lean towards more natural, candid shots. For example, they will be able to capture true emotion in the guests and bridal party and include details from the space (flowers, architecture, natural beauty, etc.) A more formal wedding photographer will rely more on portraits and formal poses. 


Here are some samples he shared with me:


By Tony Richards


By Tony RichardsBy Tony Richardsby Tony Richardsby Tony Richards














You will probably want a mix of both styles in the end: a photographer who is a photojournalist, but can also be relied upon in order to set up a few posed family shots. (Aunt Lolly would be terribly offended if she wasn’t asked to pose, at least for a few minutes.)


When you are comparing packages and prices, be sure to ask what is included: negatives, prints (and their sizes), DVD of pictures, album type, a web gallery that guests can access later and use to order their own copies, if there will be an assistant, if engagement photos are included, etc.


One venue that my fiancé and I looked at in NJ had a built-in bookshelf in the dining room with a large space for our “engagement photo.” Engagement photo? I hadn’t known about this (should my fiancé have hired a photographer to be on site before he proposed?) I asked Tony about this practice.


Tony includes engagement photos in some of his packages because of their versatility. This more casual photo shoot, which usually occurs sometime before the wedding, allows the couple a chance to become more accustomed to being photographed, more comfortable with the photographer and the photographer can be even more creative with these shots, which makes the final shots more striking. They can be used in save the date, an announcement (like the always coveted New York Times wedding announcements), given as a favor at the wedding, etc. Hearing Tony explain it, it sounded like a lot of fun.


A way to cut down on the cost is to create the album yourself. There are a variety of different kinds of albums, from the old-fashioned kind you simply slip the pictures into to a digital album that is designed page by page by the photographer (or by you, if you have the technical skill.) Tony said that he particularly enjoys designing albums, especially since he can send JPEGs of the pages to the clients to ask for their suggestions before the final printing. This ensures that everyone is satisfied. (Can you remember life before the internet?)


Photographers are often in the way and in every guest’s picture. Tony admitted that it is hard for him to avoid being in the center of the action in order to take pictures he was hired to take. His advice for limiting this potential problem is to give the photographer a very clear schedule of events for the day. If he knows what is coming next, then he can step aside after he’s gotten the shot he wanted, without risking missing anything.


Overall, Tony recommended that couples be as specific as they can with him. Write out a list of people and group shots that are necessary and when they will be taken, when the toasts will be given, etc. The more information that he has, the better job he can do. If you can meet with the photographer and be armed not only with the day’s schedule, but also pictures you’ve cut out of magazines and really like, he can better understand your sense of style and your goals for the day. Finally, during the day, let him know when something changes.


Some religious spaces have rules about when and where photographs can be taken. You can help the photographer out by finding out about these rules ahead of time.


Tony’s background as a photojournalist helped him to be comfortable with large crowds and getting a good shot quickly. In the newspaper industry, you can’t ask someone to pose or try again. He uses these skills while he shoots weddings. You want a photographer who not only has the technical skills to take the pictures, but also the social skills to handle the crowds and make everyone feel comfortable with him (as a poet, I know that not all award-winning artists naturally have these social skills.)


Tony and his wife Grace live in Ann Arbor, but planned a wedding in D.C. recently. He said that they found a photographer through the internet and then face-to-face meetings. They were able to do most of their research online and then met with some people in D.C. before making a final decision. He said that one hint is to look for a photographer with well-lit, indoor ceremony shots. Since indoor ceremonies are often darker spaces, a well-lit photograph shows the photographer’s expertise in lighting.


For more information, check out his website, Tony Richards Photography. He will be relocating to D.C. and would love to hear from you.



Photographers, like other vendors, seem to book about a year in advance. Start looking at websites, asking friends for recommendations, and collecting pictures that you like from websites and magazines. Meet with a few photographers so that you can best compare prices and their work. Each one should have either a web gallery or albums for you to look at in order to get a sense of their style.


All of your pictures don’t have to be taken by a professional. Get your friends’ perspective by setting up a Flickr or other webpage where guests can upload their pictures. You can also put disposable digital cameras on the tables and then upload the pictures for everyone to see.


Professional photography is an expensive venture because it requires a lot of work, from setting up for the pictures to touching up the final shots and creating the album. We all think that we have the skills to do this now that we can so easily take digital pictures, but when you see the professional photographer’s studio and work, you’ll see the difference in quality immediately.


Have a wedding photographer to recommend? Please use the comment section to give him or her a shout-out. Don’t forget to include the website.

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