wedding ideas

A Stylish City Hall Wedding by Arkady Sandoval

Mark and Miho opted to keep their special day a bit more intimate. Both Mark and Miho are transplants to New York City, and is where they found each other. So they wanted to take their vows here in NYC. Both of them have family outside of the US, some were able to fly in while others were able to be tied in. See their special day below.

Advice from two Floral Designers by Arkady Sandoval


I spoke with two of my friends Sally and Brenna who are two very talented floral designers, about their thoughts on floral design for weddings. I asked them what advice they would give couples looking for a floral designer for their wedding. Please read our conversation below:

Question 1:

What are some things couples should know about florals for Weddings?

  • Flowers are seasonal, so your favourite flower may not be available at the time of your wedding. Or - if you're catching the season - it's early or late in the season, your favourite flower may not look its best. So, trust your florist to steer you in the right direction regarding availability. -Brenna

  • Florals cost more than you would think, especially in the winter. Not all flowers are available all year long. Don’t get caught up in every detail. Let the florists take care of the minutia. You may feel attached to (for instance like the olive leaves in my last wedding), but you don’t need to pick every single flower in every single thing. It’s about the overall look and feel.

    These are perishable and fragile goods. Sometimes flowers come in and they are horrible and substitutions need to be made.

    Unless your wedding is substantial, mock ups or samples are not created for a first consultation. It is costly.

    Shop around. Florists can give wildly different prices. Not all markups are the same. If what you want is some hydrangea and roses (no judgement) then many people can provide that. So reach out to several people. Think of your budget…-Sally

Question 2:

What advice would you give couples to find a florist that’s right for them?

  • Look for a florist both where you live, and where your wedding will take place. If you're staying local that's easy. Look at their Instagram accounts, read their testimonials, ask for a few references. If you're planning a destination wedding, you're local florist may not be able to travel with you. Speak with the venue you're using and ask for their local favorites. But also do your due diligence and check Yelp for florists in the area. You just might find a nearby hidden gem! -Brenna

  • I would tell them to do research before a consultation. Get inspiration photos, look at Pinterest, create a mood board, research florists and their styles. Ask yourself, “What do I value? What is our personal aesthetic and our story? And how can a florist align with our values?” It’s a bit harder when a couple comes into a meeting and is not sure of what they want, the floral designer might be looking at trends and showing that to the couple. But the couple have a different aesthetic, and so even if the floral designer could actually create what the couple likes, they miss the mark because the couple hasn’t stated or shown what they like. I encourage couples to make a wishlist of what they would like to see even if it’s out of reach, because we still could create an overall feel, just cheaper. Also bringing their invitation, a photo of their dress, anything that gives insight into who they are aesthetically helps the floral designer understand who the couple is.

    Don’t be coy about saying what the budget is. People always try and pussyfoot around when it comes to money and it really does them no good. A budget provides parameters and it’s extremely helpful in a proposal from the floral designer.Again, by not sharing your budget, the floral designer might miss the mark, when in actuality they could have hit it out of the park for you. Many people have no idea what things cost and that’s totally fine but there’s always a financial cap of some sort… -Sally

Question 3:

How far in advance would you book a florist?

  • A few months at least. It's best to give your florist time to plan. It's also important to give them time to offer you their design ideas and collaborate with you on your creative concept. - Brenna

  • This depends on the timing, size and what they are expecting. Also who they want to do florals for their wedding. If they are going to a very popular florist and it’s spring, fall or during a holiday then they really need to plan ahead. Like a year plus! For more moderate weddings and florists I’d say 6 months or so. Also figuring out if they need a florist or if they need a full on event company. These things are  different… - Sally

Question 4:

Add any other advice you would give.

  • Please do not treat your florist as a wholesaler, asking if it's "cheaper for the florist to purchase the flowers but have you and your mom arrange them." -Brenna

  • It is difficult when couples expect a proposal right there on the spot. A consultation requires preparation and will ultimately be much more informative if everyone came prepared. Once the floral designer understands who you are and what your story is, then a proposal can be made. This will lead to a happier experience for everyone. -Sally

Advice from Brides by Arkady Sandoval

I decided to ask some of my brides four questions to help couples plan their wedding. I think it is important to hear from someone who has had a wedding, some of their advice can be invaluable. Below are the questions and responses.


  1. Looking back on your wedding day what are some things you would have changed?


  • I would have delegated prep work to more people! Our wedding was very DIY and I was the one with all of the plans. However, on the actual day, when others were doing the final touches of setup lots of questions were coming my way. I didn’t have my plans mapped out for others to see and hadn’t delegated enough to others. Everything turned out okay, but the last minute details caused unnecessary stress.  -Brianne

  • I would have considered the timeline of the day and managed time better; we were in a crunch with the lighting/sunset etc and I actually wish Justin and I had done more photos before the ceremony cause you don’t realize how the photos with the bridal party and family take a long time (right?) and at that point we were all like let’s get this party started!!!! Also wish I’d had a videographer cause you miss A LOT espicially as the bride (your walk down the aisles, the bridal parties walk, all the music coming together during ceremony, the groom

    Getting ready with his friends, etc). Thankfully my cousin had a little hand held video camera that captured snippets and I’m SO happy I have at least those moments.  -Stephanie

  • I think something I would have changed was being a little pushier with the venue. When I had done all the walk throughs they told me the way that people were going to walk in etc and I wish I had been a little bit pushier with what I wanted and what vision I had for it. I also wish I would have enjoyed it a little more I was so stressed about everyone else having fun that I didn't really let loose and I wish I had cut myself some slack and understood that it was going to be great no matter what. -Jill

  • I would have had a space for my husband and I to take in the special moment between the ceremony and reception. -Megan


2. What advice would you give couples who are planning their wedding?


  • Find out what’s important to each partner. Have someone be in charge of making you a plate of food at the reception. Enjoy every moment of the special day by pausing to take it all in. Capturing the moment and remembering it forever was very important to us. Set up exactly what you want captured with your photographer. - Megan

  • Hire a wedding planner if you can and sometimes DIY is not as cost effective as you think. I opted to do much of the planning myself, but having never planned a wedding I spent countless hours trying to figure out details that a professional could have done for me. I also ended up spending lots of money on extra decorations, etc. that were never even used. If we had a wedding planner we probably would have avoided this. -Brianne

  • The best piece of advice I can give a couple who is planning their wedding is plan the wedding you wish you would be invited to. While it is obviously about you and celebration of your love, all of these people are taking time out of their lives to show up, bring a gift (most likely), and celebrate so make sure its a party you would want to be at. Also, it's a day that is about you, so don't let parents, etc influence you too much! ALSO -- trust the vendors you're using because you don't want to wake up that day and have to worry about people doing their jobs.  -Jill

  • To think and focus on what you really want and spend money accordingly; like is it the dress you feel amazing in?! Are the flowers and visuals the most important? Don’t be cheap on the things that matter to you both. The things we’ll remember in 20 years are the things I wish we had focused more on. You sort of get in a money spending vacuum so its smart to identify those items ahead of time. Also, at the end of the day the wedding isn’t about what your family wants, other people, etc. If you have a vision in mind and it’s really what you want, just remember ... it’s your wedding, not anyone else’s. If you want a wedding with 20 people - do it! If you want pizza at your wedding - do it! People love weddings that capture the personalities of the people getting married. -Stephanie


3. What is something you are glad you did prior to your wedding?


  • The first look! Omg it calmed my nerves SO much. Otherwise i would have hyperventilated down the aisle with everyone staring at me. - Stephanie

  • I'm glad I spent the night before the ceremony with my best friend -- she made it so much more fun and it really took the pressure off (family stuff, planning stuff) it was nice to just spend the night hanging out. Also, we wrote letters to each other on the morning of that we still haven't opened but I woke up that morning and was so excited to marry my husband that it was nice to put that all down and we can read it one day.  -Jill

  • We took a few extra days off before our wedding to spend some much needed us time together. We knew the wedding week was going to be a whirlwind and having some quality time together before hand was wonderful. We were able to relax and reflect while making memories. -Brianne

  • We were so glad the we had engagement photos taken. -Megan


4. Anything else you would like to add? Please do so.

  • Be prepared that there will be aspects of your wedding that do not go according to plan. My advise is to roll with it and remember this is your special day. Rain or shine you’re getting married to the love of your life! -Megan

  • Relax and enjoy yourself! The day flies by faster than you would ever imagine. Sneak away during the wedding and have a moment where you can talk to each other. You’d be surprised and how little time you’ll actually spend together during the reception!  -Brianne

  • It goes by so fast and things happen and stuff gets messed up but it goes by so fast and all anyone remembers is how much fun you had. No one else notices all the little things that could happen because they didn't even know they existed. One thing I was really happy we did was while people were finishing up their dinners, before all the crazy partying started, we went outside alone and just had a moment together. It was literally the only time that night we were alone! It was special to just have a moment of us two and look into the room and see all of the people we love the most celebrating us in there. It made it so so special. -Jill

  • ask for help; i was planning a wedding in another state but had family that was able to help and it was invaluable. I feel like the wedding was only a success because of all of their help and letting go of tasks, etc helped the stress level so much. If you’re doing a more do it yourself wedding without a planner or day of coordinator you don’t realize how much you really need someone’s help the day of - keeping to the schedule, decorations, putting up signage or any other “display” you’re planning on, etc. -Stephanie

I hope these tips help as you plan your wedding.

Why consider an Unplugged Wedding... by Arkady Sandoval

You have planned this day for a very long time now. You thought about all the little details. You’re looking forward to sharing this day with your family and friends. You want your invited guest to be in the moment with you. Not looking behind their phones taking blurry dark or over exposed images. You don’t want them to upload those poorly taken photos to social media and tagging you. Remember how much time you took to get the little details right? You deserve the right to be the first to share your day before anyone else does, and you should be the first to decide what they see.

You hired a professional photographer to capture those little details, and your professional wedding photographer understands how to get “the moment” with the right lighting. Your wedding photographer puts in a lot of effort planning photos out and creating the right lighting, they do deserve respect for their craft.

Talk to your wedding photographer about having sneak peak photos before all the edited ones, and share those on your social media when you decide.

Also, you don’t have to have your whole day unplugged but I would recommend definitely for the ceremony. Let your guests free during reception. 

Below I share a link of some photos of why you want an unplugged wedding…

Small Couple Shoot in Washington Square Park by Arkady Sandoval

Recently I had the pleasure of shooting a quick couple shoot in Washington Square Park. The couple were very professional and highly motivated to get some great photos despite the chilly temps. But what can one expect in March… Please have a look below.

Coney Island Couple Shoot by Arkady Sandoval

One of Brooklyn’s most nostalgic places to photograph is Coney Island. Coney is always a popular destination with tourists, and one of my personal favorite places to shoot. It makes for a great place to photograph couples and engagements.

I spent one very very chilly Saturday afternoon with Tatiana & Darrell, who were celebrating 3 happy years together. We bundled up and headed out to the beach, so we could get some creative and candid shots for their anniversary. They were real troopers with the chilly temperature, and had fun all the while. Please take a look at the photos below.

If you would like to take some candid and creative photos at Coney Island or any other personal special place, please get in touch with me!

Why you want a Wedding Planner! by Arkady Sandoval

Wedding tip #1 


Welcome to my first post! I hope to continue to add helpful tips here for couples planning a wedding. Now you may be wondering why I chose to write my first tip about the need of a wedding planner. Well the answer to that is simple, you need one! Wedding planners are a major help. They will make your wedding day so much smoother! 

How so? 

  1. Wedding planners WANT to help you with your vision for your special day. It’s what they do. They will keep you on track as you plan your day and will keep you organized. It’s always great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and help you find what you’re looking for.

  2. Many people don’t want to spend money on a wedding planner, they think it will put them over budget. Well consider this, wedding planners are a wonderful resource in finding affordable wedding vendors. They also know the right questions to ask, so as to get the best price for you. In the end you’ll be able to stick to budget and most importantly save money!

  3. On the day of the wedding things may not go as exactly as planned (i.e inclement weather, no electricity at the reception venue, missing Best man, etc…), your wedding planner will have your back! So instead of everyone running up to you and your better half asking “what do you want to do?” Your wedding planner will be able to deal with the unexpected and keep your day on track.

For those with a limited budget here is another option to consider. Ask a trusted friend to be a point person. They can help with organizing and diffusing any issues that arise the day of your wedding. They will feel honored that you think highly of them and you trust them with such a great task.

Final thought, in the end you want to enjoy the most important day of your life with your family and friends. Having a wedding planner will help accomplish that.