The Second Dress - Are You Changing into a Reception Dress at Your Wedding?

We know Meghan (now Duchess of Sussex) changed into a gorgeous Stella McCartney design for her reception -  we’re wondering how do you feel about the “two dress” wedding? If you have an extremely elaborate gown for your ceremony and find it difficult to really move, dance, and enjoy yourself -then a second dress is a nice way to get more comfortable and really get boots on the ground at your reception!


photo by Getty Images 

5 gorgeous photo booth backdrops that will make your images pop

Photo booths are the must-have addition to any wedding reception! They add a fun ice breaker for guests and get you tons of amazing [sometimes silly] photos of your guests at play. But a photo booth's backdrop can make or break the photos. The right backdrop not only matches your style of event, it elevates the photos from a bland 'mugshot' to a feast for the eyes that inspires your guests to new heights of play and fun! Here are a few of our favorite trending photo booth backdrops...

Gold Sequins- the classic photo booth backdrop for 2017! This rich sparkly backdrop by Shadowcatcher Photobooths adds glamour to any event! 

Colored Sequined Backdrops - adding an extra flair to the sequined back drop these fun color palettes of iridescent pink, blush, silver, red, and more, by Indybooth are the perfect on-trend way to frame your guests’ happy faces and antics!


Black Rosette - this dark and rich backdrop makes any event more formal! Did you know that a textured backdrop like these beautiful black fabric rosettes by Shadowcatcher Photobooths, adds dimension to your photos and avoids that 'we just hung a bed sheet for a backdrop’ look! 

The Garden Hedge - 2017 has been the year of the garden hedge prop at weddings and event and for good reason! These versatile, bright green, outdoors comes inside hedges - like this one by Indybooth make the perfect complimentary photo backdrop. 

Giant White Roses - talk about dimension! These huge bold paper flowers will have your guests looking as amazing as flowers in a garden! Shadowcatcher Photobooths offers this incredible backdrop that will have your guests lining up to bloom!  

Black and White Damask - in case you hadn't noticed black and white [always a classic] is having a major renaissance in weddings! This classic damask pattern in contrasting black and white by Shadowcatcher Photobooths adds excitement to your photo booth photos! Their damask pattern is also available in purple and black and red and black - awesome for holiday parties!

How to Totally Spoil Your Wedding Guests (and not go broke doing it!)

We believe that your wedding should be a totally special day - obviously for you and your partner, but also your wedding guests. After all, this is a group of people you’re choosing to share the happiest day of your life with! Your guests deserve to be spoiled and there are plenty of ways to make them feel treated on your wedding day that won’t blow the budget. Here are a few fun and memorable ways to do just that...

photo by Paul Douda Photography

photo by Paul Douda Photography

Wedding favors that wow

One of the most obvious ways to make your guests feel special is with some fabulous wedding favors. There are so many different avenues you can go down with wedding favors, and the great news is you can do many of them affordably. Our advice is to channel your love for your guests, and give them something from the heart. A personalized, home-made gift will mean so much more to them than splashing the cash on excessive wedding favors…. get creative and channel your inner craft goddess, or bake something - or brew something! Fill little jars with home-made chutneys, or vintage mini glass bottles with home-made punch or elderflower champagne. There are lots of great ideas for wedding favors out there... And don’t worry - if you’re not super creative, or don’t have the time to make your favors, there is help around! Quirky websites like have a wide range of wedding favors to inspire you at a bargain price - a smooth way of taking the stress out of making your wedding favors while still allowing you to personalize and create cute little gifts for your guests.

adorable  customized wedding favor  playing cards by

adorable customized wedding favor playing cards by

Show or write your appreciation

It’s your special day, and you’ve asked your guests to help you celebrate it. But often as the bride and groom, you’re simultaneously off playing host to everyone, making sure everything is going to plan, and trying to keep a creepy uncle from coming onto the bridesmaids. It’s a juggling act, and it sometimes means you don’t get to see enough of the people you most want to. Let them know how much you appreciate them being a part of the big day with handwritten name places for tables - maybe include a word of thanks or a reason why you love them so much!

image by Paul Douda Photography

image by Paul Douda Photography

Let your wedding guests pick the music…

Risky, oh so risky… But it’ll shake up the music that the DJ plays in the evening, and means that no one is sat in a corner all night wondering why they never get to hear a song they like. Obviously it’s a good idea to vet the music suggestions first, so you can stop any inappropriate choices before they hit the dance floor… but why not! It won’t cost anything extra, and your guests will have a great time!

Great idea alert: why not make everyone little mixtapes of your wedding playlist so they can listen to songs from the wedding and think back to what an amazing day it was.

Give your wedding guests something useful

If you’re getting married in California, chances are it’s going to be a beautiful sunny day. This is why sunglasses wedding favors are such a great idea if you’re having a summer wedding. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony or reception, personalized sunglasses that your guests will actually be able to use on the day are fun, cheap, and easy to do. They’re also a a cute reminder of your sun-soaked special day. 

Other fun but practical ideas are sunscreen, handheld fans or parasols for your guests. No one wants to leave a wedding early because they’ve got sunstroke! Lemonade anyone?

photo by Paul Douda Photography

photo by Paul Douda Photography

Set up a candy corner or wedding reception dessert bar

Treat your guests to treats! Pretty much everyone has a sweet tooth…Setting up a candy store is a sure-fire way to delight your wedding guests (and spoil their inner child) - fill yours with vintage candy, mini popcorn buckets, cookies and milkshakes, baked goods… Check out our previous posts and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots more inspiration. This is your time to shine if you love your making and baking!  Any kids that are coming to your wedding will love you forever as a result, and the adults taking a rest from the dancing for a late-night snack will definitely feel the same…

image by Paul Douda Photography

image by Paul Douda Photography

Don’t forget the kids at your wedding!

Your little weddings guests deserve to be treated just as much as your big ones. Think about what they’d enjoy too, and how you could make things like your wedding favours suitable for children too. For example, if you’re giving your adults guests home-bottled cocktails, use the same bottles but fill them with milkshakes or hot cocoa for the kids.

It’s also super easy for kids to get bored and grouchy over the course of a long wedding, so why not combat this by keeping them happy with plenty of games and fun things to do? If you’re having a beach wedding, how about making a beach games box full of bats and balls and other toys, or maybe setting up a scavenger hunt? (Obviously getting a responsible adult to supervise while you’re hunting out the canapes.)This is a great opportunity for your smaller guests to make some new friends and have fun with people their own age!

These are just a few ideas on how you can totally spoil your guests on your wedding day without breaking the bank... Do you have any you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below...

image by Paul Douda Photography

image by Paul Douda Photography

Article by guest editor Hollie Jones: Hollie is a freelance writer and co-writer for the Hollie and the Ivy blog. She is passionate about upcycling, interior design, crafts and weddings. Hollie enjoys writing about these topics and spreading her knowledge and experience to others.  

**Want to see more of this awesome wedding photography? Visit expert San Diego wedding photographer Paul Douda's website

Tap Truck Brings Craft Beer Right to Your Wedding Reception with a Friendly, Fun Style

One of the coolest wedding catering ideas to hit San Diego is Tap Truck, a gorgeous vintage 1952 Chevy Panel truck modified to serve craft beer on tap right at your reception! This is such a fun and unique wedding reception idea especially for craft beer savvy San Diego!  We had the pleasure of catching up with Co Founder Corbin who served up beer to hundreds of brides and grooms with a smile. From Grandpa to Groomsmen, you'll be your craft-beer-loving guests' hero with super friendly, fun and engaging Tap Truck at your event!

Co Founder Corbin doing what he does best - making people happy with great beer and a great attitude! All photos above by Paul Douda for The Wedding Party EXPO.

Tap Truck enjoys being the big hit at any [over 21!] Their wedding packages are a great guide to develop what you picture for your event. Each package includes a bartender(s) for safety and insurance purposes. Tap Truck is fully licensed and able to provide certificates to venues. Owners Corbin or Taylor are always ready to create your custom quote but here are a few faves: 

The Showcase Package (A Wedding Favorite) 
House Blonde and IPA Beers,  House Red and White Wine, served in style with a Tap Truck and bartender(s)

The Keg Convoy Package
House Cider, House Kegged Wine, and two custom beers, served in style with a truck and bartender(s) 

Custom Chrome Package
Pick your top 4 beers, served in style with a truck and bartender(s)

The Rally Package
House Blonde, IPA, and Stout beers, served in style with a truck and bartender(s) 

Nuts and Bolts (Truck Rental)
Put simply, we can rent our trucks by the hour and delivery milage, if the truck you desire is not booked!

Mechanic (Bartending Service)
We are able to supply additional bartenders, or just simply a Bartender for your gathering. This is based on start and stop time, Location and number needed.

The Fuel Pump (Cash Bar)
We love playing a part in festivals! Whether you need a provide whatever is needed to make your event successful. Ranging from simple cash bar at your wedding, party or event to full scale sales at a festival. Keep in mind we hold minimums.

Wow Your Wedding Guests at Your Reception with indybooth Photo Booths!

indybooth photo booths are San Diego's newest modern photo booth. The North Park based photo booth company was founded Nicole and Paul Herzog while they were planning their own engagement party!

For their event, Nicole and Paul created a DIY photo booth using their DSLR camera, floodlights, a PVC backdrop frame, and some wrapping paper. Surprisingly, the jerry-rigged photo booth set-up was a huge hit! After seeing the enjoyment their guests got out of the homemade booth, Nicole and Paul decided that their new mission in life was to offer a top of the line photo booth to everyone they could in San Diego. 

So, riding the wave of inspiration, they started their own photo booth rental company. They decided on the name indybooth, as they felt that captured some of the North Park style they loved. The indybooth photo booth set up is a far cry from the old DIY booth from their engagement. They now offer a social media integrated, video, and GIF booth with professional lighting equipment and one of the best printers on the market. 

The two soon-to-be-married business owners claim that the best part of each event they do is watching people let loose in the booth.  Nothing brings a smile to their face more than seeing the bride’s solemn father hopping into the frame with a huge smile rocking a sweet prop mustache and cowboy hat. They know that those pictures will be cherished.  Every event is crazy in its own way, at that’s exactly what they hope indybooth helps capture- those silly moments that will make you smile for years to come. And yes, they will be bringing the indybooth photo booth with them to their own wedding this October.