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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Congratulations Danielle and Clint! Danielle and Clint were married at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle, on Friday December 19th. It was a nasty day weather wise, snow flying, icy roads, and accidents everwhere. Danielle and Clint along with their hardy guests kept their natural good spirits and had a blast anyway. Danielle, Clint, family and guests have proven that you can have a really nice wedding in Michigan, in a snow storm. The surprising part is that it was actually a lot of fun.. an adventure and something that will be talked about for many, many years.



Watch for much more of Danielle and Clint on my website at

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Website Updated

I've finally managed to put up the first Album Design. You can check it out on my website in the Album Designs link. I've been a lot busier than I expected, but I'll have a lot more up soon. This design is 40 spreads long in 12x12 format... that means the spreads are 12x24. I really love the Designed Albums, they tell a story much better than the traditional matted albums.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Matrimony & Cheese - Choosing a Reception Hall

The portion of any wedding that everyone looks forward to is the Reception. That should not be a surprise to anyone, and most Brides and Grooms work very hard and start very early in making a Hall selection. Some halls are so popular that you would have to book them as much as a year and a half ahead... and for special dates like July 7, 2007 (7/7/07), even further ahead. What makes these halls so popular? What makes a good hall? What is a Bride looking for? What is a Groom looking for?
A long time ago I was standing on a lakeshore, in a park, with a couple of bridesmaids. We were waiting for the Bride, Groom, and the rest of the wedding party to exit the limo and prepare themselves for an outdoor photography session between the Church and the Reception. The girls went on and on about how beautiful the scene was and how wonderful the pictures would be. This is natural for the ladies. As for me, I had been here many times before, I had measured the light and planned the shoot like all professionals should... but.. I kept wondering to myself what kind of fish just might be in this beautiful body of water. Now, I am a guy, and I think like a guy. It's not that I can't appreciate beauty for beauty's sake, it's just that fishing is built into most of my gender. As we were standing there two of the groomsmen showed up and I heard the one speak to the other saying "Man, there is some terrific Smallmouth Bass fishing out there.. I'll have to take you out here sometime!" I had an epiphany at that moment. Suddenly I understood life like I had never understood it before. I understood all there was to know about the birds, the bees, and the battle of the sexes. It's all about priorities.
What does this have to do with choosing a hall? Well, everything. The bride will be looking for beauty, for potential, for ambience. The Groom will be looking for Good Food. A Reception Hall with a sweeping staircase, a stone fireplace, or an outdoor garden will catch the Bride's eye every time. The Groom will want to know what the food is like. Pretty simple.

So, what should they, as a couple, be looking for? All of the above and a few things they probably won't consider.

Once your reception hall choices have been narrowed down, here is a few things you should take into consideration:


What is the level of "White Noise". "White Noise" is that constant buzz you hear just over your head that's more annoying than a screaming 2-year-old. When you visited the hall was it during a Reception? Could the guests talk comfortably without leaning in and shouting? Some halls are like empty cans. Music sounds tinny and guests get worn out early and they don't even know why. "White Noise" is a Reception Killer.


When you visited the hall was it a sitdown dinner, family style, or buffet? Was the dinner served in a timely manner or did it take hours to finish the meal and get the clearing done? Dinner should not be rushed, but it should not take a huge chunk of your time either. Switching gears from dinner to party should be painless for you and your guests.

If you have helpful and polite servers, a well kept hall, clean restrooms, management that does not hide in an office, and a time management system that runs smoothly without being pushy, you will have found a hall that the owner or owners take pride in and you will have great service. Watch for these signs as well as ambience (White Noise will kill ambience as soon as the party starts) when visiting.


Prices should be reasonable, but not cheap. Spending too little will save you money, but that's about it. You will wish you had paid a little extra to not have that headache the next day. If dinner starts at 7 and you don't have your first dance until 10, you have just had a problem. You get what you pay for, but don't get ripped off at the same time. Same rule goes for hiring a photographer, or any other vendor by the way.

A personal Note: My Favorite Halls

There a quite a few halls in my area that are great buys... good prices, great service, and/or unique ambience. Gino's Surf is great and getting better every day, Blossom Heath is unique, Lakeland Manor, Barrister Gardens, Fern Hill Country Club, all come to mind, but, I do have a favorite in the moderately priced, extemely well managed, terrific food, good acoustics, and really nice people catagory. Tina's Country House. This is not an ad for Tina's, this is my opinion based on my personal experience. I have been there hundreds of times and this hall is always on top of their game with constant upgrades, a beautiful, well kept garden with service and food beyond reproach. One really nice thing about Tina's is that it really is a "Country House". It's out there far enough that it's quiet, and peaceful. If you are having your wedding outdoors in the garden they even have a magic rosary that keeps the rain away... I've seen it work. I would love to hear comments. What's your favorite hall... why?

When choosing a hall look at the big picture... the total package... and your budget. Even when the Music's playing you should still be able to have a comfortable conversation. After all isn't a wedding a great time to renew kinship and old aquaintances? Shouting at each other all night won't do.