love to my (practical wedding) sanity.


I want to take a break from my lovely mini-vacay in California to do a shout out to one of my favorite wedding planning websites/communities--A Practical Wedding.  If you are a couple planning a wedding and you have not yet visited APW, run, don't walk, to the site right now--you will not be disappointed!  This community ranks as one of my top 5 when it comes to keeping wedding planning simple, realistic and most importantly, focused on love, rather than dollar signs. 

I did not do much advertising this year, but the 2 places I chose to pay some big bucks for my name was 100 Layer Cake and A Practical Wedding.  I love me some 100 Layer and will blog about them in a few weeks, but today my heart is out to Practical Wedding.  First, APW helped me book 2 weddings so right there I'm in debt to them.  But more importantly, these girls just know how to run a business.  One of the coolest things APW offers vendors is a Sanity Pledge.  It's this lovely little pledge that all their advertisers must sign before being featured on the website.  It's quirky and sweet, but more importantly, it's critical. It says that vendors won't jack up their prices just to make more money and they won't treat couples with disrespect, but rather only sell them the absolute important services for their day.  This totally fits everything I think about when I create packages and options for my couples.  I would never want a couple to feel I were overselling them or pushing services they didn't need--signing the APW pledge reminds me of how critical it is to be cool and chill and honest with my clients at all times. 

Another reason I'm loving on APW this month is their "audition" process for potential vendors.  Unlike a lot of websites, they do not allow just anyone to be part of their list of vendors--they make you audition for a spot--and for those of you who know me, there is very little I enjoy more than some healthy competition.  I had to sell myself to be part of their site and sell myself, I did. I've had many brides tell me that they enjoyed my profile because it felt like they were talking with a friend--that's sweet! My number one goal is to ensure my clients feel comfortable and cozy working with Emily Alt Photography--so mission accomplished.  Below is my audition card:

Emily Alt Photography

Chicago, IL · Prices from $1800 to $4200

Why do you want to work with APW Couples?

My ideal wedding to shoot is a rustic setting, with DIY touches, a special story behind the food and drink, a bride who walks down the aisle wearing her mother’s jewelry, a groom who goes for a quick swim before the vows, a couple who keeps it completely down to earth and remembers that their day is all about the marriage, not about the extravagance of the wedding. I really feel that APW encourages this type of couple and it is my ideal market.

Describe your artistic approach to weddings?

I shoot the details and I believe the details make the wedding. I look for couples who have a unique vision–I am much more interested in working with a couple who has special touches and intimate details than a couple who has all the money in the world to buy a vision. When I photograph weddings, I try as much as possible to blend in; my style is photo-journalistic in nature–capturing the candid and unplanned shots is definitely my strength. When I process my photographs in post-production, I work hard to ensure that the couple sees all the special moments they might have missed in the flurry of the afternoon. Couples describe my style as creative, laid-back and intimate.

What are your non-work-related hobbies?

Running (I run about 10 1/2 marathons every year), long distance swimming (I live a block from Lake Michigan and swim 1-2 miles every morning May through September), hot yoga, reading novels, rehabbing a 1900 farmhouse in Leelanau County with my adorable husband. Otherwise simply spending time with my friends, drinking California wines and cooking fabulous dinners whilst playing Loaded Questions is a pretty accurate representation of a Saturday night.

What’s your favorite book?

If I could write a dissertation on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I would likely die a happy girl.
I have read Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides at least 15 times and have 5 Pat Conroy themed t-shirts that my best friend and I made together.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving taught me about how to maintain a cosmic friendship.
Finally, East of Eden by John Steinbeck is the ultimate family drama and I could spend an entire weekend drinking in his prose.

(My full-time job is as an English teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, so this question makes me flutter with excitement. In case it wasn’t obvious from my responses.)

What’s your favorite movie?

The Big Chill. Hands down. No further discussion. I absolutely love this movie. The first time I saw it, I was 15 years old, sporting a terrible perm and stayed home from school to watch it (I was an odd child). I had about zero idea what was going on in it, but nevertheless there was something about the story of these friends struggling to reestablish their friendships and move forward with their lives that resonated with me and my perm. I have seen it probably 300 times since. I might go home and watch it tonight.

If you could have a one minute dance party at your desk, what song would you pick?

Sugarland’s Little Miss.

Explain your travel policy:

All of Michigan

Finally, what I love most about APW is their dedication to ensuring that not only their vendors, but also their couples are sane about wedding planning.  Wedding planning is stressful (I remember before I was engaged I used to imagine I would LOVE wedding planning...ha! No way!), but APW makes it easy and enjoyable.  They keep the fact that this is about a marriage, rather than 1 day at the forefront of all the work they do.  This helps me as a vendor ensure I'm working with totally awesome brides and grooms, but also helps their clients keep the priorities straight as well.  It's a fabulous online community--if you haven't checked it out yet, hopefully today you'll skip on over and see all the awesome ideas and tips they can offer you.