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A little Q-and-A with Wedding Planner Candice Mock of Patchwork Planning

Next up for a Q-and-A is my dear friend and insanely talented event planner Candice Mock of Patchwork Planning. Based out of Northeast PA, Candice has a traveling heart. Her magic touch has been found on weddings and special events across the country and I know she's itching for her first international experience! Here she talks a little about her start, what she loves most and why a wedding planner is SO important. 

Tropical Barn Wedding by Patchwork Planning -- Image Courtesy of Photography by Seneca

Tropical Barn Wedding by Patchwork Planning -- Image Courtesy of Photography by Seneca

 

When and how did PP begin?

I first started giving tips and advice while I was planning my own wedding in 2013. Word was getting out that we were going to have this incredible DIY wedding for $3,500 and people couldn't figure out how. After our wedding went off without a flaw and we had the best day ever, my engaged friends knew I needed to be there for them on their wedding day (and I wanted to!). So, I operated under "Candice Mock Wedding and Events" and did some "partial planning" and "day of coordination packages for some friends. In fact, our first wedding we got to really be a part of was in Georgia, then our second was in Idaho in the Spring of 2014. We were stoked to have one of our first PA weddings at Friedman Farms right here in Dallas (Pa.), which was such a joy to be able to work with actual local vendors. In the Fall of 2014, I knew I wanted to take this on as a serious business and so I rebranded and became officially Patchwork Planning in December of last year. 

Candice & Evan on their wedding day. Photo by Mika McClurkin. 

Candice & Evan on their wedding day. Photo by Mika McClurkin. 

 

Why did you decide to become a planner? 

After seeing how many details were involved, and how costly things can get, I wanted there to be another way: Another way for a single mom who is working to provide for her kids, let alone trying to save for and plan a wedding; Another way for the bride who has planned it all but wants someone there to make sure the days of is as beautiful as it can be. I wanted to recreate the image that wedding planners are only for large weddings that have lots of money. I guest when it comes down to it, I want to help people, couples, families, on one of their most beautiful days of their lives (and what could be one of the most stressful days as well). 

 

Tell me a little bit about what you do for your couples and clients -- what are the different options for your assistance? What's the most popular type of help wedding couples need? 

We start out with three different packages: Full planning, which can start as soon as they get engaged; Partial Planning, which is a customizable package starting a minimum of four months out, and our most popular and most inadequately-named Day-of Package. As mentioned, our Full Planning Package can start right off the bat. It can include anything that it needs to, from recommending and selecting vendors to attending fittings. It includes monthly checklists of things to do (or things couples would like me to do) and a lot more. I call it the "whole enchilada" because that's really what it is. Our Partial Planning Package is for those that might have booked some vendors, but still need help finding some others. It can also include help with RSVP management and other details that come up in the last three months of planning. Our last package, though called Day Of, starts one month out with a meeting with the couple to get caught up on all the planning they've done. After a venue run-through and a vendor list we put together, we put together our most vital part of the wedding day -- the timeline. This ensures everyone will be on the same page, from bridal party to the DJ. It's also called "Month of" Package and "Peach of Mind" Package. Because each wedding day is so different, we want to be as customizable as possible. That way, you are paying for what you need, and not anything extra. Have something crazy we need to do? (Like making sure your dog can be kenneled during your wedding day?) We can add that, and anything else, to the package. 

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in planning?

As movies have pointed out, there is always the chance we will have a "bridezilla" on our hands -- the most pleasant bride ever, until one small detail can set them off. I think the challenge is, especially because people are so different, is finding what can not just calm them down but bring everything back into perspective. We've dealt with screaming mothers, drunk grooms, late caterers and the list goes on. But at the end of the day, it's reminding the couple that they will be married. And no matter if it was the perfect day they imagined or due to things beyond our control it wasn't the ideal day, they will still be married. 

 

What three words would best describe you/your style/your business?

Organized

Thrifty

Friendly

 

What's been the best compliment you've received?

We've worked with a lot of incredible people, from couples that we've planned every detail with to couples we've met one month prior -- and not to mention some awesome bridal parties that we might only have known for two days but still talk about. One of my favorite compliments was for a couple that I planned almost every detail for while they lived in an entirely different country. Though there's more to it than I can say, after the ceremony, the father came up to me and said, "I can't thank you enough, you've truly brought our entire family closer together." I was flabbergasted and may have shed a tear. What can I say to something like that? It is an honor, an absolute honor, to work with couples on such an important day of their lives. 

 

What is this 100-plus item emergency kit? What are some of the strangest things you've had to find/use?

A fellow wedding planner was gracious enough to send me her emergency kit list. As I bought the different items, (everything from aspirin to fake rings), I realized I was going to need a suitcase. Now, when I head to different venues, I call it my "Mary Poppins bag" and everyone is always surprised when they need something and I say, "Oh, I think I have that." One of the first weekends I had the bag with me, I used almost half a bottle of aspirin, medical tape and an ace bandage. Strange because it was a wedding drinking festival and if I didn't have those items, I don't know what I would have done. I truly feel prepared for almost everything.

 

What about your job brings you the greatest joy?

At the end of the night, hearing the "We couldn't have imagined the day without you" is something that always resonates with me. We hear it at every single wedding we have done, and sometimes multiple people at the event repeat it. It's such an honor to be a part of someone's most special day. Sometimes you might not have known you needed a planner, or maybe you are a bride-to-be and don't think you need an extra hand. You will never know how much easier, smoother, peaceful, etc, your day could be with one. 

 

What does your Instagram feed look like? (www.instagram.com/thepwplanner)

My Instagram is a mix of curated posts of inspiration from others in the wedding industry, our own weddings and shoots, our English Bulldog, Stacy, and adventures with my husband. Every day is different!

 

Why is photography so important on a couple's wedding day? What questions should people ask of a potential photographer?

Professional photos (keyword: professional) are unforgettable. So what if you don't think you're the photo type, or perhaps don't necessarily see the need right now. There may come a time that you wish you could see those photos, or that portrait of your grandma that passed away recently. You're on a tight budget? Generally, photographers will be willing to work with you to capture exactly what you want for a price you can afford. 

Definitely ask first and foremost what their style is. So you like alight and airy photos? When you see heavily-edited, saturated photos, you know they are not a good fit. Ask about a payment plan! Ask how long they are there for your wedding day. She if they've been to the venue beforehand. Discuss having a second shooter. The more you know, the more you'll feel comfortable with trusting them to capture your special day. 

 

What's your favorite part of a wedding day and why?

The end. Ha! That's kind of true (because that means everything went well and now the couple gets to focus on their marriage and not just their wedding day). But really, I would have to say the First Look or the recessional. That moment where the bride and groom see each other for the first time makes me forget the frustrated mother-of-the-bride, the jealous bridesmaid, etc. It puts everything into perspective for those few moments that really at the end of the day, no matter if the caterer is late, the flowers don't arrive or there's a hurricane outside, they are married and get to spend the rest of they lives loving each other. The recessional gives me a similar feeling, exuding so much joy surrounded by the people that love you the most. 

 

What's the future looking like for PP? Any changes coming to your services?

Well! We have been booking 2016 for a while now and even have a few weddings in 2017. We are working on a few "full planning" engagements, which is really like planning an entire wedding. In the midst of weddings, traveling and more weddings, we are also teaming up with some of our favorite vendors (Forget Me Not Vintage Rentals and Photography by Seneca) to do at least one styled shoot a month until November. 

There's a good chance we might need to hire an intern for next year's wedding season, which is exciting. We want to rewire the idea that wedding planners are only for the wealthy bride and will continue to work with brides according to their budgets and needs. 

 

Clockwise from Top Left: Mel and Jesse from Alexander x Pat Furey Photography (http://www.longbrookphotography.com and http://www.patfureyphoto.com) / Kaiti and Jon from Mika McClurkin / Sweetheart Table from a Tribal Wedding, photo courtesy Photography by Seneca / Nell and Chandler table set-up courtesy of Forget Me Not Rentals and Kelley Spurlock Photography. 


Be sure to visit Candice and Patchwork Planning at:

www.patchworkplanning.com

www.facebook.com/patchworkplanning

www.pinterest.com/patchworkplanning

www.instagram.com/patchworkplanning

E:mail: patchworkplanning@gmail.com 





Chris & Shannon {Wedding} -- A Long Beach Island Love Story

If rain on your wedding day truly is good luck then Chris and Shannon are most certainly blessed in their marriage. Even with 35-mph wind gusts, sideways torrential downpours, collapsing tent walls and a few more unexpected curve balls, these two lovebirds kept calm and didn't let Mother Nature or anything else dampen their dream beach wedding.

Despite being two of the most laidback people I've ever encountered on what should be a stressful day, the details laid out beforehand had most definitely been planned out with such care and consideration. Blues and reds and yellows popped in and out of beautiful wooden signs from Rustic Drift, a gorgeous ring, and sea-themed table runners, centerpieces, even the bottle openers! Guests signed an anchor and munched on Swedish Fish.

And you should have seen the way Chris looked at his bride, even after seeing her all dressed up and ready to go. He just beamed. And even more touching were their loved ones. There was undeniable support and love in a white tent on a corner of Beach Haven that night. Groomsmen smiling with pride, bridesmaids fighting back joyful tears, moms who nodded as if they knew they raised a good one and dads who stood back and took it all in. New babies passed around and kiddos twirled on the dance floor. And gosh was there some dancing! The dance floor was never empty!

Couples years into their marriage could take lessons from Chris and Shannon. Roll with the punches, remember the reason for it all and always, always laugh.

Chris & Shannon

6-27-15

101 Centre St/LBI NJ

Boho Bridal Shower {Styled Shoot} -- Part Two

Yesterday, I shared some of my favorite images of the details of our boho-themed bridal shower styled shoot -- the food, candles, table set-up and all of the fun decorations and favors. Today, it's all about the models! This part of the shoot is where I am most in my comfort zone and at my happiest behind my camera. As fun as a creative detail shot like ring close-ups or flowers can be, capturing a story -- friendship or family or a love story -- is what brings me greatest joy!

We had eight female models who portrayed our bridal shower attendees at various stations along our shoot and then one of the ladies and her boyfriend who were not only SO cute but also SO in love! They braved a super-quick rain shower right before sunset photos and were patient as three photographers directed them towards their own styles. Me? I love a good romantic, fun shot. If there's a serious face, my camera might get sad, haha!

So, we created a calm, fun, laid-back atmosphere and we tried not to make any photograph too boring, slow-paced or uninteresting. Conversations, questions and always planning your next move while working out your current one make the entire process a little easier for everyone involved.

Enjoy the photos and please check out the amazing vendors who shared their talents, time, space and love with me this week! And a very big thank-you to our fantastic models!

Patchwork Planning {Planner}  Forget Me Not Vintage Inc {Rentals & Styling}  Monzie's Floral Design {Flowers}  Peculiar Culinary {Desserts} Woven the Shop {Dreamcatchers} The Hunter Collection {Pillows}  The Post Home and Body {Soap Favors} Christine Conrad {Jewelry}  Make Pie Not War {Rings} Thrift Store Decor {Candles} Ryan Kenton {DJ}  The Dusty Daisy Shop {Feather Name Cards and Driftwood Decoration} Momental Designs {Invitation Kit} TattooByYou {Tattoos} Confeteti Warehouse/Lavender Linens {Linens} Jammin Barefoot (Karen) {Jamberry Favor} Erica {makeup}

Wendy also worked with some FANTASTIC photographers, including: Kelley Spurlock Photography / Elizabeth Lilly Photography / Chelsey Travelpiece / Photography by Seneca -- thank you for sharing your talent and many, many laughs!

*Special thanks to Mandy and Doug Chapman, for allowing us to use their property and disrupt their lives for a few days! Your family is beautiful and we are all so grateful to you.

You can see more images, including behind-the-scenes snapshots at WZP Instagram and WZP Facebook!

Boho Bridal Shower {Styled Shoot} - Part One -- The Details

Sometimes, when all of the T's are crossed and I's are dotted, and a group of amazing creatives gather together and rainclouds hold off, magic happens. When models are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside and everything around you inspires you, special moments are captured. Such was the case with a styled boho-themed bridal shower shoot that took place earlier this week. Led by Candice of Patchwork Planning and Renee of Forget Me Not Vintage Rentals and Styling, our images now inspire others!

We were surrounded by the most beautiful color palette -- pinks and greens with a touch of whimsy --  and the most beautiful textures -- woven vibrant rugs and decorative dreamcatchers, lace dresses and floral crowns. Fabulous food with even more delicious displays and the blingiest chandeliers ever!

Tomorrow, I'll highlight some of my favorite moments between our models -- a group of eight lovely ladies (and one handsome guy!) near a fabric teepee, enjoying a delightful dinner set-up, wrapped up in a sunset in a field and more. Today's blog, however, is showing off all of the tiny little details that helped create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

I'm going to let the images tell the story, but please take a moment to acquaint yourself with the terrific vendors I've listed below!

All photos taken with my Nikon D700, switching up between my 24mm/50mm (with and without macro filters) and 85mm.

Patchwork Planning {Planner}  Forget Me Not Vintage Inc {Rentals & Styling}  Monzie's Floral Design {Flowers}  Peculiar Culinary {Desserts} Woven the Shop {Dreamcatchers} The Hunter Collection {Pillows}  The Post Home and Body {Soap Favors} Christine Conrad {Jewelry}  Make Pie Not War {Rings} Thrift Store Decor {Candles} Ryan Kenton {DJ}  The Dusty Daisy Shop {Feather Name Cards and Driftwood Decoration} Momental Designs {Invitation Kit} TattooByYou {Tattoos} Confeteti Warehouse/Lavender Linens {Linens} Jammin Barefoot (Karen) {Jamberry Favor}

Wendy also worked with some FANTASTIC photographers, including: Kelley Spurlock Photography / Elizabeth Lilly Photography / Chelsey Travelpiece / Photography by Seneca -- thank you for sharing your talent and many, many laughs!

*Special thanks to Mandy and Doug Chapman, for allowing us to use their property and disrupt their lives for a few days! Your family is beautiful and we are all so grateful to you.

You can see more images, including behind-the-scenes snapshots at WZP Instagram and WZP Facebook!

Ben & Megan {Engagement} -- An outdoor engagement session in Central Pennsylvania with Wendy Zook Photography

A lot of things have to happen in order to create a flawless, magical engagement session. And boy did the stars align on Saturday!

Equipment. Check! It was my first opportunity to use only my three favorite prime lenses and no zooms and I was SO pleased with the results. Sharper, in-focus images with beautiful bokeh.

Location. Yup! We used Ben's family farm (Picture field of wildflowers and tall grass perched on top of a mountain overlooking rolling hills of green as far as the eye can see), and two waterways nearby that had particular importance to Ben and Megan's relationship (like near the place where he proposed!). OH, and my apologies to the owner of the field on the drive to the reservoir. See, we were driving by and almost all three of us yelled to stop at the same time. You know you have magic then!

Weather. Partly sunny skies leading into a golden sunset. No one had to squint and there was no harsh light to deal with! The temperature was rather comfortable, too!

A cooperative groom. Um, yep! Ben actually suggested the first spot as we walked towards the aforementioned field on a mountain. His idea of a large apple tree was the perfect place to start! He was such a good sport, though -- jumping in a creek with cowboy boots still on and driving his brand new (like hours old!) truck down dirt roads!

A beautiful bride-to-be. Whoa. Megan is stunning, but she's radiant inside and outside. Her eyes are so gorgeous, she greeted me with a giant hug and she thanked me at least a thousand times. I loved her outfit choices and she looked like a model!

Authentic love. This is the most important part. Couples can be stressed from a busy day or from planning, can be self-conscious or feel unphotogenic. But you know what? None of that matters if you keep them comfortable and just let their love shine through above everything else. There are some beautiful catchlights in their eyes and mouth-dropping vistas in so many photos, but my favorite ones are where love is in the foreground. The way she looks at him... the goosebumps from listening to him tell the story of how they met... the kindness to each other.

Ben and Megan are getting married in November and I can't wait to get more time with them and capture more of their love story.

Portage, PA -- May 9, 2015

Favorite Moments

There are honestly a million things I love about being a photographer. So I thought I would share a few (not all 1,000,000, don't worry!).

I love getting to know a client -- whether it's an engaged couple planning their wedding or a little girl twirling in the snow. I love the transformation that occurs in a boudoir session when a woman loses inhibition and self-esteem worries and just embraces all of her beauty. When I capture an unscripted "real" moment -- a father and newborn locking eyes or Grandpa crying as his littlest girl walks down the aisle.

Some recent highlights:

* I will usually start a private Pinterest board with my brides or moms for family sessions. It's an opportunity to get on the same page and usually, it just takes a few photos and I already have a style pegged or am jotting down ideas I can't wait to try. Recently, a 2015 WZP bride and I started a board and within FIVE MINUTES, we both unknowingly posted the EXACT SAME photo! She sent me a message: "You get me!"

* An expectant mom and I were sharing ideas on Pinterest and what I loved best about planning this newborn session was the transformation. I think she went into it thinking of props and poses and within those few weeks, the board actually took a turn to a much more natural, lifestyle-type photo session. (I admire the Anne Geddes and Heidi Hopes of the world; the ladies like my dear friend Nicole who create beautiful images with bonnets and chairs and vintage suitcases and tell a gorgeous story! -- but, it's just not me, and that's OK!) We were on the same page and we were so comfortable on the day of the session. It turned into a "Day in the Life..." and it was a really special day.

* I am a natural light geek. I've been known to rearrange couches and sit clients in front of or behind or to the side of a beautiful window inside. And outside, oh my my my how I lose my mind over a golden sunset and soft dusk light. I step out of my car and am looking for the sun.

*At one of my 2014 weddings, the bride and groom wrote their own vows and read them to one another during the ceremony. Their words were so beautiful. I watched grown men in pews before them wiping away tears and watched women sob over this couple's love. I may or may not have had a shaking hand once or twice. Oh, it was so touching.

* Earlier this year, I photographed my teenage niece. Much like a woman in a boudoir session, I watched her teenage awkwardness disappear and saw her self-confidence rise. Even if it was only for a couple of hours, it was so amazing to have that sort of positive impact on someone with my camera, some poses and positive conversation.

* A client's grandmother recently passed away. I saw on Facebook an image she posted of her and her grandma on her wedding day that I had taken and felt such a blessing inside of me to know that in the smallest of ways, I provided comfort and memories to her on a much different occasion years later. She later told me how much she treasured the moments with her grandma that I captured on her wedding day.

* I can not help but share an "LOL" moment or two. Like when a boudoir client changed into her next outfit and I just heard "I'm sorry my butt is just out there." We laughed but it really wasn't a big deal. I'm focused on flattering poses and great light. There's moments where people see my camera looking their way and they have tripped or walked into a chair (they didn't get hurt!) and a couple of other giggly moments. Things happen, life happens. I trip all the time. I do a lot of backwards walking for images and am constantly walking into things or barely holding my balance. It's life and what I do is very, very real!

Like I said, there's a million things that I have captured, seen, loved and enjoyed, but I wanted to share some of my favorites. The list grows all the time. My blessings multiply with every session and every new client. I love what I do!

untitled shoot-029 untitled shoot-077 McKenna and Kyle - Engagement-261 M&J-994 Kacey and Drew (36 of 68) Elliott (10 of 11) Amel - newborn (20 of 76) web-5

Wendy is at wendyzookphotography@gmail.com !

Spring Sessions (remaining dates available)

It's going to be a busy year! I have a few dates to be solidified with engagements and family sessions, but despite the frigid cold going on everywhere right now, Spring really, truly is going to happen soon and my dates are very limited!

I am accepting engagement, family, headshots and boudoir sessions for the following dates (broken into a couple of central PA dates and the rest in NEPA):

Northeast PA:

April 11, 12, 18, 19

May 2, 3, 25, 30, 31

June 14

Central PA:

May 9, 10, 24

June 21

*These will be the last photo session dates in Blair/Bedford/Cambria counties until November!

If you and I have a tentative date or if you've been waiting for warmer temperatures and sunshine to book, please don't wait too long! I only have these dates listed above for photo sessions and only a limited amount each day!

I can't wait for sunrises and sunsets with all of your smiles!

E-mail Wendy at wendyzookphotography@gmail.com to book your preferred date!

Altman - Nov.2014-211 Ebersole - Nov2014-125 untitled shoot-118