New Ask the Experts Category

The Yacht Club at Marina Shores is starting a new category for our blog where you can ask our panelists of experts for feedback on your special event. Please feel free to email us or get in touch with us on facebook or twitter to get your question answered by one of our experts!

Read the latest questions below that our experts have answered and make sure you bookmark us for future answers.


2015 Color of the Year – Marsala


Doesn’t that name make you want to say it with your best sultry voice? Pantone® has released their pick for the 2015 Color of the Year and already wedding vendors and brides are bursting with color theme ideas. Here are just a few.


The Versatility of Marsala

  • Equally appealing to men and women, Marsala is a stirring and flavorful shade for apparel and accessories, one that encourages color creativity and experimentation
  • Flattering against many skin tones, sultry and subtle Marsala is a great go-to color for beauty, providing enormous highlight for the cheek, and a captivating pop of color for nails, shadows lips and hair.
  • Dramatic and at the same time grounding, the rich and full-bodied red-brown Marsala brings color warmth into home interiors
  • An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging. A matte finish highlights Marsala’s organic nature while adding a sheen conveys a completely different message of glamour and luxury.

To see other Marsala color pairings visit

10 Table Settings That Make Us Swoon


Flirty Glam

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Let the Music Play … the way YOU want.

DJ Rob Astro DJ Entertainment Virginia Beach

When it comes to your wedding reception, needless to say, music plays a vital element. There are many decisions to be made, so how do you start? The basic breakdown of a reception is as follows: cocktail hour, dinner, dancing – plus specialty songs for introductions, formal dances, cake cutting, bouquet/garter and last dance. The “feel” of a reception is really up to you. For the cocktail hour, do you prefer jazz, adult contemporary (i.e. Jason Mraz, Michael Bublé), mainstream or something else?  Keep in mind that even early on, songs with lyrics matter. Songs about love, romance – a good positive feeling, set a great tone.  Songs such as “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Everlasting Love,” or “I’m Yours” create a good upbeat vibe.  But your style and tastes are important. Getting some of your favorites into the mix is a nice way for the DJ to announce “These are some of the bride and groom’s favorites” to get your personality into the reception early on while you’re getting your photos done. Dinner is typically soft music, from standards to love songs, and then — the party!

Weddings are filled with friends and relatives from 8 to 80! So a nice mix of new and old works best. Line dances are popular at weddings because they build a sense of camaraderie and you don’t need a partner, per se.  Your DJ can read the audience and adjust the dance music to what is moving the crowd. Your specialty songs such as the introduction can be upbeat and fun (remember, your reception is like popping champagne to your new life) or rather reverent. Since DJs do a lot of weddings, when your are stuck for a song idea, we can help. So, sitting down with your DJ to explain your tastes and requests is a great idea. Music – it’s what we do.

Your first dance, father/daughter, mother/son dances.  These should be songs where the lyrics represent your feelings or songs that mean something — a great song you heard on your first date, a song dad or mom loves. Deciding on the direction and choices of the music is a fun exercise and your Astro DJ is here to assist you every (dance) step of the way!

Budget Friendly Fridays in The Yacht Club Room


While the most popular day to book a wedding will always be Saturday, brides who book their wedding on a Friday night in The Yacht Club Room can save up to 54% on the room rental over a Saturday night rental.

Aside from the obvious cost savings, booking a Friday night in The Yacht Club Room can have other advantages for your wedding as well.

  • Save 54% on the room rental compared to Saturday night in The Yacht Club Room
  • Black Iris Floral Events will offer a complimentary Bridal Bouquet* ($150 value)
  • Cuisine & Company will offer a complimentary butlered hor d’oeuvre* ($4pp value)
  • Astro Entertainment will offer a complimentary lighting package* ($750 value)
  • ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGES START AT JUST $9999 for a Friday night in the Yacht Club Room for 100 guests.
  • Friday weddings allow the potential to have an all-weekend affair, allowing more time with your guests AFTER the wedding, not before when you’re scurrying with last minute details.
  • We understand the biggest drawback from planning a Friday Wedding is that your guests may not be able to make it as easily. However, keep in mind this is your wedding day. Your RSVP’s are sent out well in advance for a reason… so they “Save The Date”.
  • Friday is a favorite day of the week to let loose and your guests will love starting their weekend with your celebration!
  • Start your event at 6/6:30pm so people at work can still make it to the wedding.
  • Most Out-of-Town guests are happy to have a 3-day weekend in Virginia Beach and we can help arrange a block of rooms at local hotels to earn a discount.
“Love the silver lining in the Friday night wedding ceremony! I went through the decision-making process to select a date (Friday vs. Saturday vs. Sunday) and landed on Saturday. If I’d thought about it like this, I might have changed my mind!”*Limited time offer only. See sales specialist for full details.

Request More Information on The Yacht Club Room

Membership is not required.
  • Choose the date you want to reserve the Yacht Club Room.
  • :

How to Pose Like a Model for Your Wedding Photos


Unless you’re already a model or you’ve been practicing with your ‘selfies’, you may be caught off guard with how to pose for your wedding photos.  What is a flattering angle?  What do I do with my hands? Argghhhhh!!!! These are going to be the most cherished photos you take and you’ll want to be prepared. We’ve scoured the web and talked with our trusted photographers to come up with some quick pointers on the basics.

The Basics.
  • Create separation between your limbs and your body.

Create separation

  • Have a basic understanding of light and shadows.

Understand light and shadows

  • Keep your gaze in line with your nose.

Keep your gaze in line with your nose

  • Elongate your neck while keeping your chin down.

Elongate your neck

  • Place one foot behind the other with your weight on the back foot.

Step on your back foot

  •  Create a ‘fake waist’.

Create an illusion with your hands

  • Un-square your shoulders.

Do not square up with the camera - keep an angle

  • Keep your hands loose and fluid.


  • Never have your knees directly facing the camera.

Do not face your knees toward the cameraDo not face your knees toward the camera




Is that cake…Naked?

Naked Wedding Cakes

The latest trend in weddings for 2014 is Naked Wedding Cakes! Think, ‘rustic’, ‘organic’, ‘natural’ and ‘fresh’.  These stunningly raw works of art are making a grand entrance this year.

The beauty of a naked wedding cake is instead of focusing on the design of the icing, you’re invited to savor the architecture and flavors of the wedding cake.

So far, we’ve seen these cakes topped with colorful blossoms, whimsical plumage, ripe, luscious berries, sprinkled with powered sugar and oozing with buttercream.

Tradition calls for the smooth, perfect appearance of fondant, but we think these new natural cakes will continue to be a big hit!

2014 Color of the Year – Radiant Orchid



The Bride is Never Late: Wedding Timeline Planning

One of the most important parts of planning your big day is the actual timeline for your wedding. Your timeline effects every aspect of your wedding starting with hair and makeup and ending with your exit from your reception. Your wedding coordinator and wedding photographer are excellent resources to help you plan your timeline.

To get excellent photos, I usually try to plan in one full hour of photos with the bride and groom and bridal party either before the ceremony or between the ceremony and reception. Because things tend to run late on the wedding day, planning for one hour of photos usually gives us just enough time so we are not rushed during your photos.

As a wedding photographer, I’ll focus on timeline planning as it pertains to your wedding photos.

The first details you must know before you start your photography timeline planning are below:

(1) What are the starting locations and logistics for the bride and groom when getting ready?
(2) What time is sunset on the wedding day?
(3) What are the photo locations for the day?
(4) Are you doing a first look (where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony)?
(5) How are you and your bridal party traveling (i.e., bus, limo, etc.)?
(6) What time will your ceremony start and how long is your ceremony?
(7) How many people are in the family/friend photos after the ceremony?
(8) What time do you plan on entering your reception?
(9) What is your ending time?

Now let’s take each one in turn.

(1) What are the starting locations and logistics for the bride and groom when getting ready?

This will effect the travel time (if any) between the getting ready location(s) and the ceremony site. If the bride and groom get ready at the same location, this will maximize your photos because your photographer can just walk down the hall and take photos of the guys getting ready without leaving the getting ready location. Larger bridal parties take longer to get ready – more hair and more makeup. Hair and makeup almost always run 30 minutes late – it’s like a universal constant. Plan on finishing your hair and makeup 30 minutes before you actually need to be ready and you’ll be ready right on time.David-champagne-photography-weddings-photographers

(2) What time is sunset on the wedding day?

You should actually research this before you pick your wedding day. Sunset times vary in Virginia from around 5:00PM in the winter to 8:30PM in the summer. If you had your heart set on taking photos outside in that beautiful garden, make sure you have set aside enough daylight time for those photos.

(3) What are the photo locations for the day?

Whatever the travel time is between those locations, give yourself plenty of cushion time for getting lost, stuck in traffic, finding parking, an impromptu beer run, and hiking to that beautiful scenic overlook in heels.

(4) Are you doing a first look (where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony)?

First looks are the best! Check out a video (with my photos) of real first look on my blog. A first look is a private and special moment between the bride and groom when you get to see each other, just the two of you, for the first time before the ceremony.

Here is why I love first looks: your hair and makeup is best immediately after it is completed, and if we take these portraits right away, your hair and makeup are perfect in your portraits. From my own personal experience, a first look does not take away from the moment when you walk down the aisle – it adds to it! It’s almost like you get two incredibly special moments during the wedding day instead of just one: seeing each other for the first time, and walking down the aisle. Seeing each other before the ceremony takes all of the stress off of you for the rest of the day – because you have already taken your portraits before the ceremony, if the ceremony runs behind schedule (which they tend to do) then the portraits following the ceremony will not be rushed because there is no time crunch for photos after the ceremony and before the reception.

Many of my couples who do a first look even plan to have abbreviated portraits following the ceremony without sacrificing their portrait time; they can get to their cocktail hour early to mingle with their guests.

I have never had a couple regret doing a first look! I have only ever had couples who decided not to see each other before the ceremony wish they had done a first look. No pressure! It is completely up to you.



(5) How are you and your bridal party traveling (i.e., bus, limo, horse drawn carriage, hitchhiking, etc.)?

Even if you have a small wedding party, having your bridal party drive themselves to different locations is risky – people get lost, and parking can be an issue. If one person from your bridal party is missing then those photos have to be put on hold (or might not happen). I recommend arranging transportation so the entire bridal party (and maybe even the photographer if the logistics work out) can all travel together.


(6) What time will your ceremony start and how long is your ceremony?

Ceremonies generally start a little late, however, the bride is never late. If your ceremony starts late, that means it will end late and push back everything else. If you have not planned enough time between the end of the ceremony and the start of your reception, then your photo time will be cut short and you do not want to be rushed on your wedding day.

(7) How many people are in the family/friend photos after the ceremony?

Family photos after the ceremony are like herding cats. Your family pictures from your wedding will be some of your most treasured photographs. It is important that you don’t miss anyone, but you also want to move through the family pictures quickly to make sure there is still time to photograph the bride and groom and the bridal party before the reception. The best way to accomplish this goal is to make a complete list of the family pictures you would like taken and email that list to your photographer so s/he can bring it to the wedding (one less thing you need to worry about!). Please assign one or two family members (who know everyone) to be the “Coordinator(s)” of the family pictures. Your photographer only knows the two of you, and the family pictures always move faster when family members are in charge of the family photos. A strong personality does best as a family coordinator. While the photographer is photographing one group, the family coordinator(s) can organize the next group. When designing your list, check with your parents to see if they have pictures to add to your list. Start with the largest groups first and work your way down to the smallest groups, and ending with immediate family. Listing the family pictures in that order allows you to dismiss large groups of your guests early and then take our time with pictures of your immediate family. It’s also a good idea to email everyone participating in the family photos and let them know that they need to stick around after the ceremony. There’s always one person who wanders off and then we can’t do that specific family photo. Grandma and Grandpa can go first – they are probably tired and need a break. Little kids can also go first – they just want to get to the cake cutting anyway and their parents will thank you.



(8) What time do you plan on entering your reception?

This will effect the ending time for your photos after the ceremony to make sure you get to your reception at the right time.

(9) What is your ending time for your reception?

The time you want your photos to end at the reception will dictate the time for your photos to begin earlier in the day. Are you doing a grand exit? If so, and you want photos of your exit, make sure your photo coverage time ends at the right time. If you are considering extending your reception time, give your vendors a heads up before the big day and ask what the costs are for extending the reception end time, just so you don’t have any surprises.

Sample photo timeline from a real wedding:

Photo Coverage will be from 11:30AM – 9:30PM

To Do List: (1) email the photographer family photo list, (2) assign family coordinators, (3) email all family/friend participants to let them know they need to stay for pictures, (4) all flowers arrive by 12:30PM, (5) hair and make-up done by 1:00PM.

Starting Location: Name of Church – Address of Church

11:30 – 12:30 – details, dress, ALL rings, shoes, bouquets, etc…
12:30 – 01:00 – guys getting ready
01:00 – 01:30 – groom and groomsmen photos
01:30 – 02:00 – wedding dress on (bridesmaids completely dressed and ready at 1:30 to help the bride)
02:00 – 02:15 – first look with bride and groom
02:15 – 03:00 – bridal party, bridesmaids, bride and groom portraits
03:00 – 03:30 – ceremony details
03:30 – 04:00 – ceremony
04:00 – 04:30 – family and friends (see family list and refer to family coordinators), bridal party, bride and groom
04:30 – 05:00 – travel to beach

Photo Location: Name of Beach – Address of Beach

05:00 – 05:30 – beach photos
*** SUNSET AT 5:30PM ***
05:30 – 05:45 – travel to reception

Reception: Name of Reception Location – Address of Reception Location

05:45 – 09:30 – reception
09:30 – grand exit

specifically requested important photos: fraternity guys, grandma, sparkler exit

I hope this helps with your timeline planning. Thank you so much and congratulations!:)

All the best,
David Champagne

David Champagne Photography
(858) 254-7365


DIY: Wedding Signage

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs.

Many couples are looking for a special way they can customize their ceremony and wedding reception to enhance their theme.  An excellent way to add your personal touch and satisfy your Pinterest-inspired need to get your hands dirty is wedding signage.

Simple…or ornate, signs are a great way to guide your guests politely, express your love for each other and set the tone for your theme.  Below are some examples of weddings signs used for every stage of a ceremony and reception.

Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-1 Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-2.jpg Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-3.jpg Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-4.jpg Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-5.jpg Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-6.jpg Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club-7.jpg Wedding-Signs_The-Yacht-Club

Customize Your Wedding with Astro Entertainment

Astro Entertainment at The Yacht Club

It’s your big day and you have chosen The Yacht Club at Marina Shores.  Your DJ is Astro Entertainment – now what?  Astro and The Yacht Club have much to offer to personalize your wedding to your exact tastes. For example, recently Danny Gray DJ’d the ceremony and reception for Katie and Jeffrey Hoover. The ceremony had a traditional feel to it as classical music filled the air. The couple modernized the event by adding a tree planting ceremony in lieu of a unity candle.

As the ceremony wrapped up and the wedding party was off to take photos, the guests were invited to partake in the cocktail hour in the stunning Coastal Room. While guests enjoyed hor d’oeuvres, Astro’s Instant Memories Photo/Video Booth offered them a chance to capture some fun photos and leave the newlyweds a video message.

Once the photos were finished the wedding party was introduced to Chris Brown’s “Forever” followed by the bride and groom dancing their way in to T.I.’s “Bring Em Out”. Katie and Jeffrey then joined in their first dance to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Dancing in the Moonlight“.

The night progressed into dancing and fun well into the evening. As the music continued to get folks up and moving, the smiles and laughs could be seen and heard throughout the venue. The night wrapped up with all the guests surrounding the newlyweds chanting “Hoover, Hoover, Hoover” as Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” played.

Customize your wedding. Start with the elegant charms of Marina Shores then let Astro customize the rest. Want to add interactive elements? Visual displays? Lighted Dance Floor?  Photo Booths? Astro offers much to customize your wedding to your exact specifications!