In November, Maddie from DMV wedding and Events reached out asking me to participate in a styled shoot at Citizens Ballroom, a new venue opening in 2022 in Frederick, Maryland. Even though I am always looking for opportunities to add to my wedding portfolio and meet more vendors since I only do weddings part-time, I almost said no. This past semester has been insanely busy for me personally. I picked up chair of the English department in addition to my normal teaching duties; while I applied for the job at school, I had a lot of upfront work. Plus, the fall is the busiest time for family photographers. Even though I was cutting back on how many sessions I was taking from previous years, the styled shoot at Citizens Ballroom was going to be more work when I was just almost finished with the insanity of the fall.
My husband, my biggest cheerleader in the world, however, told me that I should do the styled shoot at Citizens Ballroom, so I told Maddie yes. If you’ve made it this far and you are wondering what a styled shoot is, it’s a chance for a group of wedding vendors to join forces, get to know each other, and come together to provide a common vision of wedding inspiration. We all get practice doing something we may not normally do; for photography, I get to try venues I haven’t been to and do poses I may not normally do to see if I like them and want to use them on my couples. It gives me opportunities to practice my craft so that I can be efficient and my best on my clients’ wedding days.
So let me tell you about this styled shoot at Citizens Ballroom. I was lucky to be one of three photographers, and Maddie picked people with very different editing styles, which was nice. The venue was not completely finished yet, which did make it a bit tricky because we were pretty limited to where we shoot, but WOWZA guys…when this venue is finished, it’s going to amazing. It had so many unique features; the vaults were still in tack, the windows and clock just make an amazing backdrop, and there was this tiny room upstairs that had the coolest windows and could be such a cool lounge.
“I wanted to set it up because I love networking with other vendors and giving people an opportunity to show what they can do without the restrictions that sometimes come with working on a ‘real’ wedding. We all get to be a bit more wild and creative,” Maddie said. “I also really wanted a chance to work with this new venue in Frederick because it’s a very exciting prospect to have a new venue downtown. Once I did the walk through, I knew I had the perfect table setting in mind, so I contacted my awesome vendor friends and got it set up. I have also been really interested to do a shoot with multiple photographers because I see the different editing styles and how different artists approach the same models, venue, and vendors so differently.”
Here are some lessons I was reminded of form this styled shoot at Citizens Ballroom for all of those planning a wedding.
First, this venue was amazing because even if weather outside didn’t cooperate, you could still get absolutely amazing bridal portraits, bridal party portraits, and even family portraits inside. I hope they keep the walls and ceiling white. White is such an important color at venues; it makes your entire day look more high end, and for photographers, the white makes the photography so much better. I didn’t need to use off-camera flash for any of my images because the natural light combined with the white made an amazing backdrop.
Second, I can’t say enough about using real flowers. I know something that doesn’t last long is a big splurge for many, but I’ve even had weddings where the bride has done them herself to save money. There’s a huge difference photography wise when you use real flowers. Nothing beats them. My niece gave her sister the flowers as her wedding gift back in November, and they were just stunning. They add so much to the day and make your photos so much nicer.
Third, splurge on a day of coordinator. I’ve done weddings with them and without them. Some venues I have worked at have people who assist, but none of them know your vision like a day of coordinator who is working for you. The couples who have had one have been less stressed and enjoyed their day. (And shameless plug: I worked with Maddie at DMV Wedding and Events last spring, and she’s awesome.)
Let your uniqueness shine through in your cake, you decor, and other little details like calligraphy. You can still be simply and elegant. There are so many great wedding vendors in the Washington, DC area. Couples have so so many options. Here are just a few for you to check out!
The Amazing Vendor Team for the Styled Shoot at Citizens Ballroom
Planning and design – @dmvweddingsandevents
Venue – @citizensballroom
Jewelry – @colonialjewelers
Hair – @priscillambeauty
Photography – @brittanydunbarphotography @asummersphoto @tcjdesignweddings
Florals – @blossomandbasketboutique
Dress – @tlcbridal
Videography – @cburkefilms
Calligraphy – @paperkateco
Cake – @sagecakery
Rentals – @mdeventrentals
Bar – @blacklabelbarllc
Glassware – @bloomingarrowevents
Models – @the_real_ray_k @thehwanandonly