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Tips For Choosing the Best Songs for the Major Wedding Moments

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Music is usually at the core of the celebration, so it’s vitally important that you choose a playlist that best represents the feel YOU want to have throughout your big day. Maybe you have an idea of what songs you’d like played for each major moment or maybe you have no idea at all! Either way, it’s always best to hear from the experts. We’ve enlisted the pros from the premiere wedding band, The Royal Dukes Band, to give some insight on how to create a music list as unique as your love story!

Photos // Brooke Taelor

Tips For Choosing the Best Songs for the Major Wedding Moments

What “moments” in the wedding day need music?

A memorable wedding day soundtrack is so important for every moment! Your walk down the aisle, first dance, and parent dances are such special moments. One fun addition is choosing a final song to close out the night. This can be a romantic moment for just the couple or a group celebration where all your friends and family join in.

What moments are often overlooked? How can music make an impact?

There are rarely overlooked moments at a wedding, but there’s always room for adding extra personality with live music. For example, the cake cutting can be highlighted when paired with an on-theme song (think “Sugar,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Cake by the Ocean”).

Once a bride knows what moments she needs music for, how should she go about finding what she wants or what is meaningful?

This is really a personal preference, after all it is your big day! You could choose music for each moment that has significance for you and your partner or music that the whole room will be familiar with. For instance, a first dance can be an intimate, emotional moment when paired with a slow song or ballad. Some couples have their first dance choreographed and really like to engage the crowd with an upbeat tune. A good band should have enough experience to help out with this if you’re unsure. We’ve seen song choices that get the tears of joy going as well as songs that get people grooving in their seats. We’ve even put together mashups for clients so they can have the ultimate first dance!

royal dukes band

If the bride wants to blend different music styles, is there a way to make different styles sound cohesive?

Of course! We know couples worry about pleasing the crowd when it comes to a great playlist. Mixing your favorite classics with Top 40 is a sure way to get everyone grooving, from Grandpa to your 6-year old niece. A great band will know how to transition seamlessly between Motown, rock, pop and your favorite country song without missing a beat.

Should the bride pick a theme or sound for the event? Or can she just select her favorite songs? How do you recommend people start that process?

One of the first things we do in our planning process with our couples is find out their must plays, favorite songs, artists, and what they really don’t want to hear on their wedding day. From there, we customize a playlist based on their favorite music. This can also allow room for the band to read the crowd and switch up the music when needed, leaving everyone’s feet where they should be – on the dance floor!

In your experience, what is the one thing brides who enjoy their wedding music do?

Dance the night away! Weddings are such a unique event surrounded by your friends and family – the best setting for busting a move (or ten!). A live band makes those dance floor moments that much more memorable!

wedding band

How does live music make an impact?

Live music really sets the tone for your day and elevates your event. A live band gives you a one-of-a-kind, romantic and personal feel for your ceremony. For the reception, it’s like your own private concert and epic dance party with your friends and family!

How do you help brides with this process? What do you love most about it?

A talented and experienced band will know exactly which songs are dance floor favorites. That ability to read the room combined with the couple’s musical preferences is a winning combination. We also have a unique online planning system that allows clients to customize their event timeline and musical preferences. This guarantees that every Royal Dukes event is carried out seamlessly, so couples can focus on life rather than stressing over the details.

Our musicians are passionate about creating memorable events. The Royal Dukes bring energy and fun to every event they perform and pride themselves on filling dance floors. What better feeling than seeing the look of love and gratitude on a couple’s face when all their best friends and family join them on the dance floor! That feeling is why we love what we do.

A special thanks to The Royal Dukes Band for sharing their expert insights. To learn more about their band or how to book them for your wedding, visit their vendor profile here.

7 Fresh New Oklahoma Wedding Venues

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Get ready! We’re unveiling seven fresh new Oklahoma wedding venues! These shiny new wedding locales each offer a bit of something different: southern elegance, rustic barns, outdoor views and event majestic mansions. If you’re looking to host your celebration where NONE of your girlfriends were previously married, you’re in luck with this collection! No matter what your style or look – one of these venues is sure to fit the book.

Sweetbelle Farms 

With a bit of southern flair, Sweetbelle Farms is sure to make you feel like you are right at home in the south. With its white exterior and iconic pillars, any bride can make this venue her dream come true. Refined, classic and timeless Sweetbelle Farms is one of a kind with its own unique style. This beautiful Southern plantation style venue can host up to 250 guests for a ceremony in their ballroom, or up to 300 for an outdoor ceremony and reception.

Photo: Brook’s Captured Moments

7 Fresh New Oklahoma Wedding Venues

Oklahoma City Zoo

The brand new Sanctuary Asia at the Oklahoma City Zoo is a great event space to meet all of your wedding needs! Floor to ceiling windows overlook the elephant, Asian rhino and komodo dragon habitats, and the space even offers it’s own in-house catering. Guests can enjoy the expansive outdoor patio for an even closer look at the Zoo’s precious wildlife and exotic settings. Go wild for an amazing venue!

Photo: Spark Creative

The Reserve at Emerald Falls

With beautiful outdoor views and a wide, open indoor space – what’s not to love? The Reserve at Emerald Falls is an inviting oasis with an alluring and tranquil setting nestled on a rolling landscape in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The natural beauty of the grounds and charm of the clubhouse will provide the perfect backdrop for your most memorable event.

Photo: Kelsey Marie Photography

The Legacy at MK Ranch

The Legacy at MK Ranch is located right outside of Tahlequah city limits. Although it is just minutes from town, the property is secluded and makes you feel as if you are away from the hustle and bustle. With more than 50 windows, it brings the outside in, creating a warm and inviting feel. It is spacious with over 8,500 square feet, and yet you feel grounded with all the natural light, neutral colors, iron railings and wood tones. You can’t go wrong with a lovely venue that has amazing views!

Photo: MoonDance Photography

The Baumberhof

The Baumberhof has lots of personality and is just downright gorgeous! The venue is a replica of a 400-year-old German stone barn in Bavaria Germany. The four-story building has intricate vaulted ceilings, spiral staircases, wrought iron railings and accents, and a cupola at the top made completely of windows. It sits on 450 acres with lakes, forests, wheat fields, tree farms, orchards and an aviary. Talk about romantic!

Photo: Sarah Libby Photography

High Pointe Mansion

Mansion weddings are a dream come true – don’t you agree? Nestled on an estate atop the highest point in Arcadia, High Pointe Mansion offers expansive spaces, a stately experience and unmatched views of the Downtown Oklahoma City skyline. Just look at that stately mansion architecture!

Photo: Carsyn Abrams Photography

Spain Ranch | Black Barn

The sister barn to the Spain Ranch’s white barn, the all-new Black Barn is a showstopper! The Black Barn is a modern wedding venue that boasts the original’s trademark minimalist aesthetic. The chapel holds up to 75 people and carries over the same natural light aesthetic as the White Barn.  The space was designed for small and intimate wedding ceremonies, making The Black Barn an ideal setting for a Tulsa elopement, too. With lots of options, this barn is sure to meet your every need!

Photo: Kailey Watson Photography

Invest in the Right Photographer for You – a Q&A with Ely Fair Photography

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Finding the right photographer to capture your big day is important – that’s why we’re enlisting Elyse Fair, owner and lead photographer of Ely Fair Photography, to share her pro-tips with us today! From engagement shoot tips to her photography expertise, Elyse is giving us all the info that you’ve been dying to know. So let’s jump into our Q&A with the fabulous Ely Fair Photography!

Get to Know Elyse from Ely Fair Photography

Tell us about Ely Fair Photography.

We are a husband and wife photography team – Elyse and Ryan Fair, and we specialize in capturing connections. We document weddings together, and I also photograph newborns, family and small businesses. Our approach to photography is more storytelling, which lends to images that lean towards a more editorial and photojournalistic style. In case you are confused on how to say our business name – Ely is pronounced “Ellie,” which is my nickname. Don’t feel bad, it’s confusing to everyone.

What sort of process/education did you go through to become a wedding photographer?

My love for photography began in high school in a black and white film darkroom. Learning to shoot on a 35mm film camera really gave me the understanding on exposure and the technical side of using a manual camera. From there, I congruently enrolled in classes at our local college to learn lighting and concept, but my interest in wedding photography began long before that. My mother always had a subscription to Martha Stewart Weddings, and I remember taking the magazines and ripping out the pages, putting them in a scrapbook – not because I was planning my own dream wedding, but because I liked the way the photographs were taken. I shot my first wedding when I was 16, and it all began.

What advice do you have for brides preparing for their engagement photos?

I think the main thing is to not stress too much about it and try to have fun. Make the shoot personal to you and your fiancé rather than trying to fit yourself into and recreate something you have seen before. This will make your photos more meaningful and unique. As far as practical – set yourself up before hand to look and feel your best. Choose clothing that’s more fancy and you feel beautiful in, but not so out of the ordinary that you look at the photos and don’t recognize yourself. I 100% suggest getting your hair and makeup done professionally so you know you will look like a million bucks – plus makeup artists know all the good tricks on what will photograph well.

Do you shoot film, digital, or both?

I shoot both! When I first started shooting weddings, film was the only option. When we started our business about 10 years ago, we were shooting everything on digital, and then about three years ago, I reintroduced medium format film into our coverage because I love the softness and dreamy grain that can only be achieved with real film. Plus it really helps me to step back and be intentional about what I am capturing. Overall, I think it makes me a better and more thoughtful photographer. Digital is awesome because there is a lot of flexibility to it, so I love that I have the option to shoot both so I can choose which is going to be the best fit for my brides and their venues.

What do you love about photography?

As I mentioned before, I love seeing, creating and capturing connections. Obviously on a wedding day there is so much connection and emotion, which I find to be so beautiful. I think one of the biggest honors I have in my job is when I get to photograph my couples not only beginning their marriage, but also getting to capture their big milestones as they grow as a family. I just photographed the third baby of one of our first wedding clients – and one of their daughter’s middle names is Elyse! I mean, I know it wasn’t technically after me, they just liked the name. It still felt pretty special to me.

A huge thank you to Elyse of Ely Fair Photography for her awesome tips! Interested in booking Ely Fair Photography for your engagement session or wedding? Inquire with her directly on her Brides of Oklahoma vendor profile!

Blush & Blooms Wedding Inspiration at High Pointe Mansion

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Soft pinks, cascading florals and sophisticated, classic charm: this wedding inspiration from High Pointe Mansion has all the blush and blooms we could ask for! Planned by Embellished Weddings and featuring two different bridal looks with gorgeous gowns from Bella Rose Bridal, this stately scene shows off one of Oklahoma’s newest and most impressive wedding venues just beautifully. Setting the tone for the day, a bright and feminine invitation suite from The Letter Box Shop beckons guests to celebrate, while Poppy Lane Design outfits the grand staircase with burgeoning blooms of roses and peonies and greenery galore for a fresh, springtime feel. In the ceremony area, acrylic floral boxes from Marianne’s showcase more blooms beneath the stately windows and in the reception hall, luxurious tables welcome guests with furniture and place settings from Mood Party Rentals and BC Clark Jewelers ready to host a delicious meal from Abbey Road Catering. The bridesmaids looked ravishing in blush dresses from Prim, standing by their best friend’s side as she says yes to the man of her dreams. Don’t forget about those fabulous rings from Jewels by Simpson! With sweeping vistas of the Oklahoma countryside plus blush and blooms in an unforgettable mansion setting, this styled shoot is one we’re so thrilled to share and hope you love as much as we do!

Photos // Emily Nicole Photo

Dreamy Tulsa Engagement Shoot Captured by Amanda Watson Photography

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Full of lush and atmospheric garden walkways, Italian villa-style architecture, and a field at sunset – this dreamy Tulsa engagement, captured by Amanda Watson Photography, has us all giving all the heart eyes! Catherine and Mick’s classic style is the cherry on top of this light and airy engagement session. Between the sweet giggles and intimate moments that this darling duo shared, Amanda truly captures their personalities and love for each other. Not to mention, this shoot has us ready for sweet summertime love this year! Keep scrolling for the ultimate engagement shoot inspo!

Photos // Amanda Watson Photography

Needing some inspo for YOUR upcoming engagement shoot? Check out the other engagements sessions shared on the Brides of Oklahoma blog here!