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I'm Elizabeth Gelineau, a photographer, dreamer, and accidental entrepreneur. Based in my hometown of Mobile, Ala., I photograph portraits, weddings and events on both sides of Mobile Bay. Grab a cup of coffee (or other beverage of your choice) and enjoy browsing around. I'm so glad you stopped by!

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Setting the Tone for Your Wedding Day You’ve set the date. You booked the church and reception venue. Your besties are all set to be part of your bridal party. You start to think about sending Save the Dates. That’s when you find yourself visiting a stationery shop and looking at wedding invitations. Chances are […]

February 20, 2019

Setting the Tone for Your Wedding Day

You’ve set the date. You booked the church and reception venue. Your besties are all set to be part of your bridal party. You start to think about sending Save the Dates. That’s when you find yourself visiting a stationery shop and looking at wedding invitations. Chances are that if you’ve wandered into one of these shops on a whim, you just might get a little overwhelmed. Since I’m not married, I’ve never had the experience of shopping for wedding invitations, but I know just how many options I considered just for my business stationery box! Who knew there were so many decisions one can make within just one purchase?!

Thankfully, my friend and fellow business owner, Lindsey Stiegler, is an expert on all things stationery! She helped guide me to the perfect selection. It felt like Christmas morning the day I received my stationery box. Every time I pull out a card to send a thank you note, or to welcome a new bride to the Elizabeth Gelineau Photography family, I smile at how perfect the stationery I’m writing on matches me and my personality. The same should be true for your wedding invitations because they truly set the tone for your special day.

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time at Lindsey’s cheerful midtown shop, Soiree Signatures, photographing several of her wedding stationery suites for her online shop. Every time I think I’ve picked a favorite, she brings out another that I love even more! During one of our shoots, I asked Lindsey for her best advice on selecting, ordering and sending out those special invitations. I learned so much about paper just from photographing all these beautiful pieces! Check out all the tips I learned from Lindsey in this post!

Allow Plenty of Time for Printing

I would estimate that the majority of the weddings I photograph have a guest list of roughly 150 to 200 people. If you’re mailing that many invitations, you’re going to need allow for plenty of turnaround time in order to receive your order and mail those invitations to your guests. Lindsey advises ordering your invitations and stationery at least three months ahead of when you want to send them out. Allowing more time is necessary if there will be some assembly required upon arrival. Also, keep in mind that turnaround times can vary depending on which printer your invitations are ordered from. Lindsey says that planning ahead and giving yourself enough lead time on invitations will give you the freedom to order the right invitation stationery and not just the one that will arrive on time.

Save the Dates

Many of my clients choose to use some of their favorite portraits from their engagement session on their Save the Dates, but some prefer a traditional card that will match their wedding stationery. Lindsey recommends sending out Save the Dates so that they will reach your guests six to eight months ahead of wedding day. If you’re planning a local wedding, six months is plenty of time. But for those couples who are having a destination wedding, or a large number of out-of-town guests, you’ll want to lean towards that eight months mark or longer. Ready to order your Save the Dates, but not ready to order your wedding invitations? That’s ok! Lindsey advises selecting a color palette and some basic design elements that can carry across all pieces related to your wedding.

Printing Styles

When you order your wedding invitations, you’ll find yourself choosing a printing style. There are four main styles of printing: Digital, Letterpress, Thermography and Engraving. Before my first shoot at Soiree Signatures, Lindsey taught me about these different styles. Budget is largely a factor in selecting your preferred style and the size of your guest list often determines your budget. Lindsey told me to think of digital printing as flat printing. There are no indentions/raised areas with this type of printing. It is also the most economical option.

Letterpress printing totally has my heart, which is why I ordered letterpress cards in my stationery box. It’s a classic choice and one that is sure to stand the test of time. Letterpress means the words are pressed into the paper, giving a nice texture to the invitation. Letterpress printing also has the additional option of adding gold, silver or rose gold foil.

Engraving also lends texture to the invitation, but it is nearly the reverse of letterpress. With engraving, a custom metal plate is made and the text is pressed into the invitation from the back of the paper, creating a texture that is raised on the front side of the invitation. Engraving is considered the finest of the printing methods. It is also a timeless selection. Fun fact, if you have your invitations engraved, Lindsey lets you keep the plate that was used for printing!

Thermography is similar to engraving and a style of printing that many refer to as “raised” printing. Unlike engraving, thermography does not use a metal plate, meaning it’s more economical if you like the raised look. Thermography does have its limits regarding color and paper types though, so keep this in mind when choosing your printing style.

Letterpress, Thermography and Engraving orders will typically take longer to produce than Digital printing orders. Lindsey recommends keeping this in mind when planning your timeline for ordering and receiving invitations.

What About Calligraphy?

I have always been obsessed with calligraphy! It is one thing I’ve always wanted to learn to do, but I don’t think I have the patience for it. You know those calligraphy videos on Instagram? I could watch those all day long. Why are they so mesmerizing?! When I receive an invitation in the mail that has calligraphy on the envelope, it always feels just a bit extra special. If you’re planning to add calligraphy to your wedding invitation order, you definitely don’t want to wait until the last minute!

The reason calligraphy is so special is because it is handwritten! With traditional pen and ink calligraphy, an actual person is sitting at their desk carefully addressing each and every envelope. Just imagine how much time that takes for an average size wedding with roughly 100 invitations! For this reason, calligraphy services are typically priced per envelope. If you’re looking for the elegance of calligraphy script, but don’t have the budget for traditional calligraphy, ask out options for digital calligraphy.

Calligraphy is not just for invitations! Personalize your wedding with day-of pieces, such as place cards, table numbers and menus. Ask your calligrapher about additional paper details that can add that extra special touch! I personally love a place card! Each time I’m at a wedding that has them, I save mine as a wedding memento.

Fun Extras

There are so many fun things to see inside Lindsey’s shop on Florida Street in Mobile, Alabama. I love popping in when I’m in search of a quick gift (because everyone can use stationery!), or when I find I’ve run low on my thank you note stash.

Once inside Soiree Signatures, you know this is the place to come if you’re planning a party! In addition to all the beautiful papers, they also carry a variety of personalized party items that can be customized to coordinate with any wedding invitation suite. Who doesn’t love a wedding day koozie?! I have collected several from all the weddings I’ve photographed! Other custom items include stickers (for sealing wedding invitations), wax seals and stamps, just to name a few!

Assembly Time & Postage

When my cousin got married a few years ago, a lot of us ladies in the family gathered at her house to assemble her wedding invitations. We had quite an organized team and completed the task in a few hours. In total, it took about eight of us to complete the process in a reasonable time. It was so fun to spend that time together and chat about how excited we were for wedding day. If you have a team that’s organized and can get things done, you’re probably planning to assemble your invitations yourself and that’s awesome!

But, if you’re even just a little pressed for time and don’t have a posse of ladies that can teamwork the whole assembly process, then you may want to consider adding that service to your invitation order. At Soiree Signatures, their White Glove Service gives you the luxury of picking up those invitations and taking them straight to the post office! If you’re a bride who is getting married during a season of life where you’re graduating from college, starting a new job, undertaking a move to another state, or you just have an insanely busy schedule, ask your stationer about assembly services. Trust me, you’ll be thankful you have that extra time!

Don’t Forget Thank You Notes!

You’re receiving gifts at showers. Wedding gifts are arriving on your doorstep daily. You need to write thank you notes before it gets overwhelming. It will get overwhelming if you procrastinate on this all-important task. Get yourself exited about penning those thank you notes, by ordering stationery that coordinates with your wedding invitations. I am personally a fan of a stationery box. In fact, I ordered one for myself! The reason I love the stationery box is because you have the option of customizing four different sets of note cards all within one box.

For brides, this would give you the option to have some cards with your new married name monogram, some with your maiden monogram and some with your future husband’s monogram. If you’re writing thank you notes as you receive gifts, then you may be sending several out before you’re married. A stationery box will give you the flexibility to have some cards to use for pre-wedding and some to use for post wedding. Since your future husband’s name will not change, he will be able to use his set of cards both before and after the wedding.

Writing thank you notes is a task that many brides dread. If you’ve procrastinated on writing those thank you notes, don’t despair. I encourage you to go out and buy yourself some pretty stationery and get writing! Thank you notes are always appreciated by those who receive them and the more personal you can make the note, the better.

Lindsey says that the most important thing to remember when beginning the invitation selection process is that stationers are able to work with all types of budgets. If you know your budget at the outset, that will help your stationer guide you to the right printing style, paper type and design elements.

I love that being in the wedding industry has taught me so much about so many different things. I enjoy being able to pass along that knowledge to all the brides-to-be out there. If you found this post helpful, drop me a note in the comments!

 

Category:

Invitations | Wedding Inspiration

Weddings

Open Post

A First Birthday Celebration I love working with couples on their wedding days! I also love getting to know my brides during the months before the big day. Houda is one of my former brides who turned into a friend. We’ve stayed in touch since I photographed her wedding a few years ago. I’ve worked […]

February 15, 2019

A First Birthday Celebration

I love working with couples on their wedding days! I also love getting to know my brides during the months before the big day. Houda is one of my former brides who turned into a friend. We’ve stayed in touch since I photographed her wedding a few years ago. I’ve worked with her family several times, including photographing two of her cousin’s weddings! I was so excited for her when she shared the exciting news that she and her husband, Abrar, were expecting little Naia. Last year I photographed her maternity and lifestyle newborn photos, so when she emailed me saying she wanted to mark Naia’s first birthday with some portraits, I was totally game. And, bonus, I got to celebrate with the whole family at Naia’s first birthday party!

This little princess truly was the star of the birthday festivities. Before guests arrived to celebrate with cake and presents, we did a mini family portrait session. We took the portraits at Houda’s parents’ home…in the same spot where we took many portraits on wedding day and their maternity session. It holds a special place in Houda’s heart and I love that sentimentality of returning to this same location for more milestones. I also love the gorgeous window light in this room. Talk about a photographer’s dream!

There is something so special about working with the same clients over and over again. In many ways you start to feel like you’re part of the family. Naia probably won’t remember her first birthday party. Our memories don’t tend to go back that far. But one day she’ll look at these photos and she’ll see just how much love her parents have for her. She’ll see how much JOY she’s brought to their lives. And she’ll laugh at how thoroughly she enjoyed her “cake smash” – the party’s big finale.

During their maternity session, Abrar shared with me an old Arabic saying. The phrase translated into something like this: God loves him most who gave him daughters. I immediately loved that quote and came home to write it in my journal. I couldn’t help but thinking of that beautiful phrase as I took these photos. Naia, you are so loved by your family! Happy First Birthday!

Y’all isn’t she just a doll?! Her daddy certainly knew how to make her giggle!

You know I couldn’t do family portraits without working in a few of just mom and dad! These two are such pros at being photographed by now. I love every chance I have to get them in front of my camera!

Category:

Naia | Turning One

Portraits

Open Post

Creating the Wedding Album I was once talking to someone about being a wedding photographer and the person I was speaking with said: “You’re a wedding photographer, huh? What do you do the other six days of the week?” To say I was almost speechless is an understatement. Yes, most of a wedding photographer’s visible […]

February 6, 2019

Creating the Wedding Album

I was once talking to someone about being a wedding photographer and the person I was speaking with said: “You’re a wedding photographer, huh? What do you do the other six days of the week?” To say I was almost speechless is an understatement. Yes, most of a wedding photographer’s visible work happens on Saturdays, but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes before, during and after that day. Trust me, we definitely have enough work to fill the rest of the week. I think my fellow photographers would agree that during busy wedding season, we rarely have enough hours in the day to get all the work done that we want to do!

Since I’m a photographer who loves to be prepared, the work for a wedding day begins months in advance. Once my brides have completed a thorough questionnaire, I work on the photography timeline for their day. Sometimes this involves contacting the wedding planner, or videographer for input. Other times it involves meeting with the bride and groom to go through everything one last time before the big day. Two days prior to the wedding I begin charging batteries (for my cameras and flashes) and prepping memory cards. Yes, it takes two days just to charge everything! The night before the wedding, I pack all of my equipment and a non-perishable lunch (because it’s usually six hours or more between breakfast and dinner on wedding days!). I also review the timeline and family portrait list.

After the big day, the work continues. I sort through all the photos taken at the wedding, edit photos for the blog, write the blog post and prepare the rest of the photos for editing. When the editing process is complete, I upload the photos to an online gallery and deliver to my clients. Once my couples have their gallery, I can finally begin working on their wedding album! Yay! I send a selection of favorite images to my album designer and she creates the most beautiful layouts from my photographs. One of my favorite things about the album process is seeing that initial design. My other favorite part is receiving the finished album in the mail! It’s like Christmas morning every single time!

Spring wedding season is just around the corner! As I prepare for all the weddings that are coming up on my calendar, I find myself thinking back to last spring. I love photographing my clients’ albums before delivery when I have time to do so. Today I’m sharing Katie & Patrick’s beautiful heirloom wedding album with you! Katie selected a light grey linen and silver embossing for the cover. I thought it turned out so lovely!

When I look at a wedding album, I see the fruits of many months of work. I see brides and grooms who have become friends. It’s a bittersweet moment because the delivery of the album means my work on the wedding is complete. I imagine that’s how teachers must feel at the end of a school year, or when their students graduate.

I tell my clients that their wedding album tells the story of their day so that they can relive all the wonderful moments. Truthfully, it does the same thing for me, reminding me why I love what I do so much.

I’m still obsessed with this First Look spot!

It was an unexpected find that turned out to be perfect for this sweet moment!

There was a high chance of rain the day of this wedding. Katie ordered enough bubble umbrellas for her entire bridal party just in case we needed them. As it turned out, it only rained lightly for a few minutes, but we still took that opportunity to take some bride and groom portraits with the umbrellas.

I love that we were able to take portraits in two different locations.

It added such nice variety to their portraits!

I loved how Katie & Patrick’s album turned out so much that I ordered a miniature version to be one of my samples!

This six inch square album is also perfect for gifting to parents after wedding day!

Album Designer | Andrea, Align Album Design

Category:

Katie + Patrick | Album Love

Weddings

Open Post

A Mobile, AL Mini Engagement Session The beginning of the year is usually a quieter time for weddings. After the flurry of the holidays and fall wedding season, things slow down a bit after the first of the year. On the Gulf Coast we don’t truly have an off-season. Our mild weather means we can […]

February 1, 2019

A Mobile, AL Mini Engagement Session

The beginning of the year is usually a quieter time for weddings. After the flurry of the holidays and fall wedding season, things slow down a bit after the first of the year. On the Gulf Coast we don’t truly have an off-season. Our mild weather means we can do engagement sessions outside for most of these months. This time of year is also proposal season! My Inbox is full of emails from newly engaged brides, my calendar full of consultation meetings. I love this time of year and the anticipation it brings for the coming spring season!

 

A SPECIAL PHONE CALL

A few weeks into the new year I received a phone call from Aunt Robin (who is actually my cousin’s wife, but we don’t go into particulars about those things down South). Aunt Robin shared the exciting news that my sweet cousin Mila is engaged!  For the fifth year in a row we have a wedding to celebrate in my family. How fun is that?! I loved weddings before I was a wedding photographer, but I think I love them even more now. Maybe it’s because I enjoy being on the other side of things once in a while. 🙂

Mila and her equally sweet fiance, Tyler, are planning on a summer wedding. A week after they became engaged, we met up for a mini engagement session so that these two would have some photos to display at their engagement party. Y’all, I remember when Mila was born, so it is blowing my mind that she is old enough to get married!!! It was such a treat to do this session while the newness of their engagement was still fresh.

I’m so happy that Mila and Tyler found each other. They are so clearly meant to be together! This session was full of joy and giggles. An early morning session was the only thing that fit all our schedules. I loved shooting at one of my favorite locations in Mobile, Ala. at a completely different time of day than I usually do!

I am so thankful for a full 2019 wedding calendar! A few wedding dates remain available. If you’re planning a late summer, or fall/winter wedding and want to chat about wedding photography, contact me today for packages and availability!

 

Category:

Mila + Tyler | Engaged

2019

Open Post

A Texas Sized Surprise We were on the way to ballet class when my mom told me my cousins were moving to Texas. I was about eight years old. Laura was the girl cousin closest to my age and her brother, Chris, was only a few months older than my sister, Katherine. I remember I […]

January 22, 2019

A Texas Sized Surprise

We were on the way to ballet class when my mom told me my cousins were moving to Texas. I was about eight years old. Laura was the girl cousin closest to my age and her brother, Chris, was only a few months older than my sister, Katherine. I remember I immediately started crying. Katherine would say that is because I am the dramatic one, but I know it was because even at that age I knew that I’d miss them so much! We were always doing stuff together and I couldn’t imagine them not being in Mobile. Texas seemed so far away!

After the move we all stayed close. Every time we get together we always have fun and usually a lot of laughs. One year, our extended family traveled to Texas for Thanksgiving. It is still one of my favorite holiday memories! Over all the trips I’ve made to Texas over the years, the one I made last month is definitely my favorite! I was sitting in my office working on some editing the day Laura called with the plan. I knew she wanted to give her parents (my Aunt Shari and Uncle Ike) a portrait session for Christmas, but I had no idea that Uncle Ike had figured out the surprise early. Isn’t it just like dads to guess their presents?!

Laura revealed that Uncle Ike had figured out the surprise and then they both revealed they had an idea to take the surprise to the next level. What if they secretly flew me to Texas so that I could take the portraits? Talk about such an amazingly fun idea?! I was of course DYING to go and do the session for them, but we had one problem. I was in the midst of busy season and booked solid. We also had to plan around Uncle Ike’s travel schedule. He was due to be in California for a month for business. There was literally one week where we could make it happen.

We settled on the dates. Laura booked my plane ticket. Then, between the booking of the plane tickets and the trip, my grandmother passed away. Aunt Shari made many trips to Mobile during those final weeks Granny was in the hospital. I just knew I was going to accidentally say something about the trip. Somehow, we all kept the secret, even when the entire family was together for Granny’s funeral. Aunt Shari suspected nothing.

Finally, December arrived. I was flying into Houston in the early afternoon. Silly me thought that would beat rush hour. But I was thinking in Mobile traffic terms. I had no idea that I was putting us right in the midst of Houston rush hour with my arrival time. Uncle Ike and Lauren, Chris’s girlfriend, picked me up. The plan was for us to get back to the house before Aunt Shari returned home from work. But the traffic derailed those plans. We came up with Plan B. When we pulled onto the street, Uncle Ike let Lauren and me out of the car two houses away from their home. I walked up to the front door and rang the bell, completely forgetting that would cause the dogs to go into all-out protection mode!

Aunt Shari cracked open the front door and I could immediately tell she was surprised! If you want to see the video of her reaction, you can find it on my Facebook page. Y’all, it was just THE BEST! I am SO thankful that Lauren videoed the whole thing! The next day we headed out first thing in the morning to location scout and we found an amazing spot just a few minutes from their neighborhood. We also lucked out with the most perfect weather and beautiful light! I was only in Houston for one full day, so we really needed the weather to be cooperative. Everything fell into place so perfectly! Praise the Lord!

I absolutely LOVED getting to do this portrait session! Of course I had a horrible time trying to narrow down photos for this post because I had too many favorites! I decided that since this was a Texas-sized surprise that I’d do a Texas-sized blog post! Enjoy!

Y’all know I had to work in some couple portraits for Chris and his sweet girlfriend!

I’m obsessed with this one! I love all the giggles!

Laura and Lauren…say that three times fast!

The difference between a photo with your sister…

And a photo with your girlfriend…

Akira is my god-dog. Yes, that’s a thing. She’s always trying to steal the spotlight. 🙂

How sweet is this little gazebo?! Wishing I could have brought this park back to Mobile with me!

Laura is a veterinarian, so the day after the family session we did some portraits of her and her fur-babies for her bio page on the vet clinic website. This trip was my first time to meet Chuck, Laura’s massive German Shepherd. We’re now besties just in case you were wondering.

But Akira will always have my heart! How could you not love this sweet girl?!

Category:

Eickelman Family

Portraits

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth.

Read More

I'm Elizabeth Gelineau, a photographer, dreamer, and accidental entrepreneur. Based in my hometown of Mobile, Ala., I photograph portraits, weddings and events on both sides of Mobile Bay. Grab a cup of coffee (or other beverage of your choice) and enjoy browsing around. I'm so glad you stopped by!

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