Thursday, June 25, 2009

The V-Spot: Photography by Valerie

Hi Everyone! This is a new feature (partial reason why this blog was started) that I'm trying out here at Chocolate Rose, The V-Spot aka The Vendor Spotlight!

At the V-Spot you'll get to know a little bit about the vendors available to you out there as you plan your wedding and your life (family portrait shoot, maybe?). It's meant to be helfpul, informative and inspiring.

I'm happy to say our very first V-Spot feature is Photography by Valerie! Read a little more about Valerie's story and her photography below.

{Photo Credit: Portrait shoot via Photography by Valerie}

+ Please tell us a lttle bit about your business and what you do.
Photography by Valerie services the DC Metropolitan area and various destinations, specializing in weddings and custom portraiture.

+ What and when was your "aha!" moment (if one) that you discovered photography was something you wanted to turn into a profession/career?
I discovered my love for photography after I had my daughter. It was very important for me to capture every single important moment in her life. Looking back, I did not have many photos of me under the age of 4, and that was something I wanted my daughter to have. I decided to pursue photography professionally as my creative outlet. I have a different perspective of looking at things and believe that makes me unique in my own right. This is something that I thoroughly enjoy.

+ How did you get your start in this industry?
I started professional photography in 2008 after several months of studying and practicing on my own. I never had any formal lessons, but have been blessed to have so many local photographers willing to provide helpful information and constructive feedback if needed. I have always wanted to start my own business and there is nothing I enjoy more than being behind the camera capturing those irreplaceable moments in people's lives. I am so fortunate to have positive individuals in my corner supporting me.

+ What is the passion that drives you to do what you do? In other words, what is it that you wish to express to your clients and the world through your work?
I am very passionate about what I do. The memories I capture can be held onto forever and passed on from generation to generation. I view photography as creating history.

+ Have you had a moment where you wanted to quit? If so, what made you want to continue? If not, what would you say to encourage someone who has?
Starting out was very difficult in that I was (and still am) very hard on myself. I tend to scrutinize every details and point out things that needed to be done better. I am no quitter and will keep striving to be on the same level as some of the world's best. I say to anyone wanting to pursue photography - have tough skin and take criticism well. It will only make you better at your craft and more experienced to embrace any challenges set before you. Keep studying and keep pushing!

+ What has been your most memorable (good, bad, funny, etc.) experience so far?
My most memorable experience was at a family session, where the 2-year old subject firmly stated "No more pictures!" and stomped away. Well, I ended up winning that battle because candy bribery goes a long way!

+ What is one thing you know now that you wish someone had told you before you started in this profession?
I wish someone would have told me how expensive photography equipment was! I swear, my husband is going to kill me if one more lens order shows up at my doorstep. Totally worth it though!

+ Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
I'm going to the Beyonce concert tonight - do you think they will allow cameras? :)

+ Random Fun Question: What is your current addiction or guilty pleasure
I am a blog-stalking, reality show-watching, chocolate-loving fool! I am also very into vintage items and have been vigorously surfing the web for possible purchases (shhh....don't tell my husband!).

Check out the rest of Valerie's amazing work here.

Bouq -n- Bout Love


{Sources in order: Stephanie Williams and Aaron Shintaku
both via Green Wedding Shoes}


1958 - 2009


Perfect for a funky, backyardsy/barnsy/woodsy wedding or soiree. I love it.

{Source: Erin Ever After}

Beautifully Simple. Simply Beautiful.

I didn't know Joy Bryant was married...for a year...but anyway, below are a few pics from her gorgeous wedding from

The wedding matches her down-to-earth, chic style. Love it.

Table decor: Bold. Simple. I like it.

Why aren't these outlawd?!!

Seriously?! I received a package yesterday packed with these little styrofoam headaches. Why? Isn't that bad for the environment?

I don't like packing peanuts. You know the drill. You open the box and they fall out all over the place even as you try really, really hard to be neat with them, it tends to be a lost cause as they fly everywhere and get stuck to everything including you. It's like you open the box and they yell, "FREEDOM!!"

Bubble wrap is the way to go. Or just newspaper or anything other than peanuts.




Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dresses, dresses and more dresses!

As bridesmaids and brides (and any former pageant beauties or prom and formal attendees), what's a girl to do with all of these dresses, that she'll probably never get to wear again?

While there are many ways to rid your closets of these gently worn, gorgeous dresses, one way to keep in mind is through donation.

I've listed a few places below, but there are many more organizations out there. If this is something you're interested in doing, be sure to do research on these and any other programs in your area to find one that works for you.

Brides Against Breast Cancer

Donate My Dress

Princess Project

The Priceless Gown Project

The Cinderella Project

The Glass Slipper Project

{Chocolate Rose neither has experience with nor endorses any of these organizations. It's up to you to do research on which one is right for you.}

DIY Inspiration: Jenny & Yoongu

Check out the loveliness that is this travel theme wedding shot by Caroline Tran.

This bride was super creative with her DIY's (centerpieces, bouquet, hand sewn invitations, dress beading and lacing...), very much an inspiration. And she even had a guest, contest giveaway for her cake topper that, yes, she also made herself! Prepare to swoon...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 21, 2009

To all of the wonderful fathers out there!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Floral Decor!!!

Sooo pretty! I absolutely adore Indian and Indian inspired weddings. The color and overall beauty of these arrangements are too much for words.

This gorgeous mood board was created by An Indian Summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Postcards from Yo Momma

I first referenced this site here back on Mother's Day. It's such a funny site, when you sit and REALLY think about the conversations you have with your mother (really, parents or any other parental figure in your life). We love them all so very much, but sometimes they just make you giggle.

Check out these wedding related, motherly tidbits, I ran across....

Mothzilla’s Revenge
It’s really sad when the bridesmaids nix a dress that the bride kinda likes…. or say “it makes you look fat” things…. or the mother says “absolutely not - I hate it”. (I’m not going to be that kind of mother of the bride… (mothzilla!!!) unless she picks a pole dancing wedding gown then I’ll say it.


you know, QUESTIONS
Backstory: Two nights before my wedding mom thinks we need to have “the talk”.

I just want to let you know that if you have any, you know, QUESTIONS, you can ask me anything. Your father isn’t the best lover in the world, so I also know a lot about toys. Let’s get dinner tonight.


Mom: I forgot to ask you what you thought of [your sister's] engagement photo shoot
Me: they’re. . . artsy
Me: are we going to have to stand next to oil drums and things like that?
Mom: that’s what Daddy wondered
we’re going to line up in front of garbage cans?
he said, “Won’t there be any NORMAL wedding pictures?
Me: but that’s the STYLE now
Mom: I know. [Your sister] spent HOURS finding the right photographer
Mom: I just hope there’s not a bunch of pictures of things like our FEET
Mom: I insist on the photo of Daddy with his pockets turned inside out
and the one where the groomsmen are dragging the groom into the church

Monday, June 15, 2009

Interior Design Love

This blog has definitely taken a turn for all things wedding-related, but I seem to have neglected post-wedding addictions (as it says to the left of this post :-). Post-wedding addictions, as in things one must focus on AFTER the wedding.

So now would be as perfect time as any to swoon in the beauties below. All of these designs are creations of Robyn Karp Interiors.

Last, but not least, my fav!

Enough Said...??

I love creative invites. I saw this one over at Erin ever After and had to share. :-)

Photo of the Week...


Engaged couple, Candace and Casey

{Source: Luna Photo}

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Not quite a mood board...

...but inspiration nonetheless.

Often times, teal is matched with shades of black, silver, white and orange, but this pairing with a goldeny brown would make for a beautiful wedding backdrop.

Go ahead, swoon. :-)

Source: This is Glamorous

Tips on Tipping...

So, your wedding day is here and everyone wants to be paid. WHAT?! Yes, vendors do expect to be paid, many with deadlines on the day-of the wedding, but hopefully no one is expecting a tip. That's the worst, when some expects a tip. A tip should be something you graciously offer has an extension of your gratitude for the great work (hopefully) this vendor has provided for you, but I digress.

Now, how much should you tip and to whom?

Tipping can be tricky because you don't want to over tip (all of these tips add up--remember to include these in your budget), but you don't want to under tip and feel like you've insulted the vendor.

Check out some general tips on tipping here.

Overall, don't go overboard and do what you can. The vendor will, more than likely, be thankful either way. And remember, if tips just don't fit into your budget on the day-of, then you can always send them later with a hand written thank you note. ;-)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kids, don't try this at home...

Real couple, Efren and it!

Photographer: Chrissy Farrah

Note to self: I still need a big floppy hat and apparently to learn to run and jump very high in heels to go with my hat! ASAP!

My fav!

Check out the rest of this amazing shoot here.

Photo of the Week...

...I could use a little inspiration for this week's photo. So, if you've come across "the best pic ever!" or have one of your own from your own wedding inspired photos, please send them my way.

In the infamous words sung by Beyonce Knowles, email address to submit photo is,

<---- "to the left, to the left."

Thanks. :-)

"This is a story all about how..." know the rest! :-)

Creativity at its best!

Dana over at The Broke Ass Bride posted this amazing love story of her and her husband's that was played at their wedding reception and was a big hit. Check this out!

The video was a part of ther vidoegraphy package from Digital Princess Productions.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Real Wedding: Backyard Shenanigans

Dana and Tim's lovely wedding was shot by Jeremy Igo. Can we say, loving the bean bag toss!

And yes, short dresses are in!

This is apparently a shot of Dana hitting the camera with a beanbag. Oops!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Reception Inspiration...

Not sure what those crystals are hanging from, but to quote Project Runway's Tim Gunn, "Make it work!"


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Real Wedding: Yvonne and Madison

Dante Williams captured these glorious memories from Yvonne and Madison's wedding. Beautiful couple and how fun is this reception?!


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