I can’t say enough good things about Leo Patrone‘s photography. He is incredibly talented, and is by far one of my favorite photographers. I think when you see his work, you’ll understand why…

Because he loves the look and feel of it – the color, the grain, the softness – Leo shoots exclusively with film. However he does it, he’s definitely doing something right! If you haven’t already, check out his brand new website, and see updates on his blog – his work is truly inspiring, and any couple would be lucky to have him capture their special moments on film.

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Jose Villa‘s work is a constant inspiration to me, so it’s no surprise that one of his photos is on the cover of PDN’s new book by Jacqueline Tobin, Wedding Photography Unveiled, a book full of work from some of the best wedding photographers in the world. I used Jose’s cover photo to create today’s inspiration board – I imagined an elegant, formal wedding set against the backdrop of colonial Mexico, draped in lush bougainvillea. And… to celebrate the book’s release, Jose has offered to give a copy to one Snippet & Ink reader! Just leave a comment on this post about why you’d like to win the book, no later than 5:00 PM on Thursday. I will announce the winner in my Friday post.

Mood: vibrant, romantic, old world
Palette: bougainvillea, stone

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Top row from left: Wedding Photography Unveiled cover photo by Jose Villa, bougainvillea fromflickr, boutonniere photo by Alisha & Brook, monogram parasol via It’s Lovely
Row 2: seating cards from Brides, bouquet via Little Winter Bride, veil via Absolutely Beautiful Things
Row 3: flowers by R. Jack Balthazar via The Bride’s Cafe, ice cream cones from Paula le Duc, photo by Elizabeth Messina, invitation by Flush Designs
Row 4: star lanterns from Oh How Charming!, bouquet by Artfool, photo by Meg Smith

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Happy weekend lovelies! In my brain it’s been Friday for the past three days… Lots of good stuff on the web this week – here are some of my favorites!

Whimsical invitation illustrations, via Oh So Beautiful Paper.

So much cooler than the portrait studio at the mall.

Would you rather be a bridesmaid, or a candy bartender?

Darling baby shower thrown by talented Jenna for sweet Erica.

Luxury for your out-of-town guests.

Embellish everything with organza flowers, via Elizabeth Anne Designs.

An inspiring, carefree and laid-back wedding.

I love these love notes!

Take wedding planning to a whole new level.

Keep things short and sweet with a wedding haiku.

There’s more than one way to have a wedding reception.

Sweet little porcelain jewelry, via Katy Elliott.

Gorgeous ring pillows, via Love Notes.

Raising the bar for DIY invitations.

And thank you to Nancy Liu Chin and Janie for your sweet posts!

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If your style is more playful and modern than fussy and traditional, then a city hall ceremony followed by a restaurant reception might be the wedding for you. Holding your ceremony at city hall not only imbues a certain low-key mood to your wedding, but it is also a way to stay within your budget – there are no ceremony decorations to buy, no programs to print out, and no attendant flowers to pay for. Asking guests to celebrate with you at a favorite restaurant also has its advantages: many restaurants won’t charge you a site fee; you won’t have to rent tables, chairs and linens; and it’s a great place to return to for anniversaries! For this budget wedding board, I imagined a quirky, playful couple with minimalist sensibilities…

Mood: playfully minimalist
Palette: blackboard, concrete, chalk

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Top row from left: photo by 5ive15ifteen, chalkboard from Martha Stewart Weddings, jacket and tie from Nordstrom
Row 2: invitation by Mr. Boddington’s Studio from Minted, chalkboard candle via EmilyStyle, city hall ceremony via {frolic!}
Row 3: shoes photo by Michelle Armas, dress by Thread, restaurant photo from Modern Restaurant Seating, white sparkling jasmine Golden Star Tea
Row 4: chocolate lemon tart from Cannelle et Vanille, save-the-date by Justin Pocta, cymbidium nosegays from Martha Stewart Weddings

The Paper: Get clever with your save-the-dates and take a photo of yourselves – no professional necessary. You can turn them into cards on Shutterfly for as little as 45-cents apiece. If you’ve always dreamed of letterpress invitations, but feel constrained by a budget, design your own with a unique font and have Mercurio Brothers print them up for as little as $1.50 each when you order 150.

The Fashion: Some designers are now offering what they call “bridal alternatives,” which can be great budget-friendly options – this dress by Thread is only $375. With some tulle or netting for as little as $2 a yard, you can save by making your own veil. Vintage ribbon, clip on earrings, or silk flowers are all great ways to dress-up and personalize plain shoes without overspending. For the groom, this jacket and tie are a bit of a splurge, but if they fit his personality and are something he will wear again, then they’re worth the extra expense.

The Decor: Cover candle holders with chalkboard paint, and write table numbers on them. Not only is it a clever way to let guests know where to sit, but candles are a great way to warm up a modern space without breaking the bank. You could also paint flower pots (filled with live paperwhites or orchids) and write guests’ names on them.

The Flowers: If you’d prefer floral centerpieces to candles, consider a single potted orchid on each table. You can find them for under $20, and give them as gifts after the wedding. Or, in winter, grow your own paperwhites from bulbs for even less. For the bride’s bouquet, a nosegay of cymbidium orchids is a way to carry a bit of luxury down the aisle for less than a large bouquet would cost.

The Food: Many restaurants will set a minimum that you have to spend on food, so instead of adding another vendor by ordering a traditional wedding cake, serve one of the restaurant’s desserts to your guests instead. If you’re not a fan of champagne, or not a fan of the cost, but you still want to have a celebratory toast, sparkling Golden Star Tea is a delicious non-alcoholic option (and it’s way more grown-up than sparkling cider), and will only set you back about $12 a bottle.

Other Details: Instead of a traditional guestbook, continue the chalkboard motif by setting up a photo station with a chalkboard backdrop. Ask guests to write notes and take photos standing with their notes – if you set up a Polaroid, they can put those right into a book for you.

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