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Last-minute photographer

>> Sunday, July 11, 2010

It seems fitting to share a few favorite photos on the blog today, our one-year anniversary. I enjoyed going back to look through the photos to help remember the day that Tony and I both agree was the most fun day of our lives. With friends and family spread out all over the country (and the world), it was a one-of-a-kind moment to be surrounded by all the people we love on that one special day.

And in addition to reminiscing about the wedding itself, we took some time today to talk about all of the things that have happened over the past year: the dog we adopted, the promotions we each earned at work, the new apartment we'll be moving into, and the new business we've started together, not to mention all of the little things that have made this year so happy for us.

When beginning to plan our wedding, the photography was one of the things that was most important to us. After all, once the champagne stops flowing and the music stops playing, it's the photos that you get to hold on to forever. So we immediately decided to work with an experienced wedding photographer from Chicago, who also happened to be one of Tony's close friends (and the person who taught Tony to juggle years ago).

But plans abruptly changed only days before our photographer was scheduled to make his cross-country trip to Charleston. On the Tuesday before our wedding, he was injured in a fire and was hospitalized for weeks, leaving us worried for our friend and scrambling to find a new photographer. (Ironically, on this same day about an hour later, the building attached to the Riviera Theater was badly burned by flames that threatened our venue as well.)

With the help our our wedding planners, we were able to find three local photographers available on our wedding day. As Tony and I made our 8-hour drive to Charleston after work on Tuesday night, our groomsman Chase scouted out our options online and made his recommendation. We made our decision the next morning and then met with our new photographer over coffee the following day to seal the deal.

As it turned out, working with Liz Duren was an amazing experience. She captured all of the details and intimate moments of our day, and did it all in her charmingly sassy way. I was a little concerned at first that we would be working with a stranger instead of a family friend, but Liz just had a way of making everyone around her feel comfortable.

As I was going through her website to put this blog post together, I was excited to see that she has added quite a few of our pictures to her online portfolio, and she included an e-mail Tony sent her in the "compliments" section of her site. I think that e-mail really sums up our experience with her, so I wanted to share some of it here:


We received the DVD of wedding photos yesterday and almost immediately took them to the store to begin making simple prints for our at-home frames, to include with thank you notes to guests, and for our families.

Your photography really was wonderful, and more than that, you were a complete stranger who was suddenly there for the both of us in a time of need. I don't know exactly what we expected to find in a short-notice photographer, but it wasn't anywhere near what you offered us.

We liked your approach, your pictures, and your sass. You listened to what we liked and seemed to understand what we were all about. You seized every opportunity to photograph the zaniness of the night -- which, really, we had no idea would unfold like it did. I don't think either of us would change a thing. Your photos will always remind us of exactly that.

Did I mention how we freaked out when you posted photos online so quickly after the wedding? 100% wow. And Katie was quick to the mailbox all this week awaiting the disc.

Thank you, again, Liz, for being so great to work with, so skilled, and so cool.

Tony & Katie

To see more of Liz's work, check out her blog and her website. You can also check out more photos and a slide show from our wedding on her blog.


An unusual venue

>> Saturday, July 10, 2010

As much as anything else, choosing The Riviera Theater as our wedding venue put our planning into motion. The theater met all of our criteria. We wanted to be inside to avoid that thick Charleston heat (ultimately the wedding day was a beautiful 85 degrees). We wanted the ceremony and reception in the same place to make it easier for out-of-town guests. And most of all, we wanted a unique setting in which to be married.

Built as a movie house in the Art Deco style in 1939, but more recently used as an event and conference center, The Riviera far surpassed other options. That's saying something. Because we had also consider interesting venues like the South Carolina Aquarium and Hibernian Hall.

We ran into the Riviera fairly late in the process after looking at venues including historic homes and the Daniel Island Country Club. But it was obviously the place to be. From its magnificent facade, we entered into a marble entryway featuring historic glasswork and other little touches that show the craftsmanship of the era. We liked the theater-style ceremony area, which has a curtain backdrop that hides the reception ballroom. Murals in the ballroom really sold us on the venue, and later inspired much of our decor.

One perk that we were lucky to take advantage of with the (relatively) cool temperature was the rooftop terrace. After the ceremony, as seen in the top photo, we exited directly to the outside where our wedding party and family joined us for post-ceremony photos. We enjoyed the view overlooking historic King Street and later returned for more photos at sunset.

During the ceremony many guests were left wondering where we'd host the reception. While they enjoyed cocktail hour in the downstairs lobby, the Riviera performed its quick transformation: By simply pulling the theater curtain, which served as the ceremony backdrop, it revealed the connected ballroom.

We didn't spend a lot of time looking at the Riviera marquee, but when we did, it made for special moments. First, as we gathered for the rehearsal, a man with a long pole and a pile of heavy metal letters worked to arrange our names for all passers-by to see. We got some great photos of that process. Second, the marquee really came to life at night -- we'd never seen it illuminated -- and made for an exciting setting for our exit into a black cab.

The theater provided many interesting backdrops for photo opportunities. In the one above, we took advantage of the theater's original seats for an image with the entire wedding party.

We could not have been happier in another venue, and even a year later we still hear from guests who reminisce with us about how great the theater was for a wedding.

To read about the theater's history and see more photos, visit this Riviera Theater history page.

Side note: Less than a month after our wedding, we adopted a bullmastiff from the local animal shelter. We named her Riviera.

All photos taken by Liz Duren.


An introduction to the anniversary series

>> Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tony and I will be celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary on July 11, and to celebrate here on the linenlaid&felt blog I will be sharing a month's worth of posts about our wedding. I'll mostly be focusing on the handmade and artistic elements that made our day a true reflection of who we are as a couple and our shared aesthetic.

Stay tuned to see photos of our custom-made rings, our wedding invitation booklets, our letterpress printed and handbound guest book, and maybe even some tutorials. Oh yes, and probably some juggling too!

To be honest, it almost seems a little silly to me to be celebrating a one-year anniversary because Tony and I have been a couple for almost ten years. We started dating during our freshman year of high school, when we were just 14 years old, and we've been together ever since. Even through four years of a cross-country, long-distance relationship during college.

But regardless of how many years it has been, this relationship is worth celebrating. We're taking advantage of the three-day holiday weekend coming up and heading out of town for an early anniversary trip. We'll be leaving Friday night for Pittsburgh, so if you have any suggestion for must-see places in the city, please let me know!


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