Stephanie and David's courthouse elopement in Austin Texas was simply awesome. They got tacos from a food truck, had the cutest Judge EVER, and hung out at one of their favorite breweries.
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First may I say that I have loved getting to know all of these couples and was so blown away by all the love and feedback they got on the blog! Tons of people came here to vote! So thanks to everyone who voted and showed these couples some love. And now the moment you all have been waiting for... The winners of the Free Engagement session are Melissa and Gage!! Congrats you two and I can't wait to get together for the engagement session.
I'm going to share with you five of my favorite wedding dresses and why. These are all dresses that I photographed. If I went onto google and just looked for dresses I liked we'd be here all day! It was hard enough picking some out from all my beautiful brides! I hope the ones I chose inspire you while you are out looking for your own.
There is a lot to love about this dress! One of the most important aspects of a dress is fit. Make sure that you have several fittings to make sure the dress is perfect on your big day. Morgan's dress fit her perfectly. I also love the champagne colored ribbon that helps to define her waist, the sheer lace detail along the top and all along the dress. The sheer sleeveless top gives it a different look than just going strapless.
Catherine's dress was elegant and timeless. I just love the contrast of the satin skirt with the lace bust. This was a November wedding so the three quarter length sleeves provided a little extra warmth (although lets face it not much!) as well as an opportunity for some more gorgeous detailing.
Terri's non traditional dress in red was so much fun! I know Mother of the Bride's everywhere are cringing when they hear me say it, but non traditional is great. If you are a Bride looking for a different wedding, go with a different dress! There are so many beautiful options out there these days in a variety of colors and textures. Just get on pinterest and pin to your hearts content.
Give me lace any day! Jodi's lace dress was beautiful and (seemed to be) comfortable. She had beautiful lace detailing in the back. She even had lace flats to match! I love that Jodi went with a full length veil that gave it all a little drama and was really fun to photograph.
Erika's gown was beautiful and simple. However her custom veil from White Orchid Bridal took the whole look to another level. The veil gave her bridal look an Old World feel which tied in perfectly with Erika and Travis' wedding theme. If you are looking for a custom, handmade gown or veil I highly recommend talking to Colleen at White Orchid.
I hope these looks inspired you! I am always available to recommend dress vendors and designers. Have fun trying on tons of dresses and I hope you fall in love with a dress of your own.
How to Feel Comfortable on Your Wedding Day While in Front of the Camera.
Like all good relationships, communication is key. This rule applies with your Photographer whether it is a wedding or portrait session. The more I communicate with a client, the more at ease we both are and the more we both have a clear vision of the session. Plus, it's really fun! I mean what's the point of having all these pinterest boards if you can't share them with someone?
If communication is key, then how do we go about it? Welcome to the wild world of technology! It can be overwhelming but we also have amazing options to communicate even if you are planning a wedding from Zanzibar. P.S. If you are planning a wedding from Zanzibar just have it THERE. I'll come to you!
- Meet and Greet If at all possible, go to your consultation with your photographer. I know this is occasionally not an option due to distance but then set up a Skype consultation. There are so many options! I like to have both Bride and Groom at the consultation. It is going to be awkward otherwise when I show up to capture the Groom getting ready and we're meeting for the first time. It's his big day too ladies so lets get him in on this important aspect! At your consultation, whether its your first or second, take time to get to know your photographer and see if you click. They are going to do the same for you.
- Dream So you met your photographer. Awesome. Now what? The wedding is a year (possibly more possibly less) away! We don't have to talk on the phone everyday but keep your photographer in the loop by sharing your dream with them. Weddings change a lot from the initial "I Will" to the "I Do." One of my favorite ways to do this is to share pinterest boards. It's an awesome visual tool and also helps me to see what my clients are drawn to. The key here is to keep it up to date though!
- Keep Us in the Loop I try to check in with my Brides regularly but it's also nice when they reach out with questions via phone, email, or text. After all I'm here for you! Don't be afraid to reach out to your photographer.
- Take Your Time With Your Answers Many photographers have Brides and Grooms fill out Questionnaires, Shot List, and/or Timelines as the wedding date approaches. We know it's crunch time! However, take your time to answer the questions, fill everything out, and give us any last minute details that maybe you haven't thought of before. Having a surprise Daddy Daughter Dance? Let us know so we can be on our toes! Changing the location of the exit? Definitely mark that down. We can roll with the punches but the more we know the better.
- We're Here for You After All I really love to get to know my clients and several of them have become close friends. When you are working with someone closely on a big event like this you naturally become close. I guarantee every photographer I know has talked to a crying Bride, worked through a crisis, or just sympathized on the stress of planning. As a Professional, I have seen the ins and outs of many weddings and it's okay to let your photographer know what's stressing you out. They might have some helpful hints or tips that can help.
You've found a photographer and signed up for an engagement session! Hooray! Now what? Where to go? And most importantly...what do you wear? Gone are the days of overly matchy outfits and in are subtle color palettes. Here are a few tips on what to wear to get you inspired.
Many of these tips can be applied not only for engagement sessions but any type of portrait session.
- Color Choice Go for colors in a similar palette with pops of different colors. I love Blake and Jodi's colors from their fall engagement session. They choose from colors from that time of year with browns, oranges, cream, and navy. Later they had reds, cream, and more blue with Jodi wearing a plaid shirt dress. Keep your colors seasonal!
- Keep the Colors Subtle Gone are the days where everyone wore matching blue shirts and jeans for family or engagement portraits. I love a variety of colors and textures that are pulled together by one theme. See the example below from the Smith's family portraits (it's easier to see the subtlety in a bigger group).
- Flowers Aren't Just For Your Wedding Day Your engagement session is a great opportunity to test run some of your potential vendors including your florist! I love a beautiful bouquet, a dreamy flower crown, or small flower hair piece to take a session to the next level. This is also a great opportunity to try out your make up artist and hair stylist.
- Don't be Afraid to Get Flirty or Formal One of the great aspects of an engagement session is you can have a couple different moods just by bringing a change in attire. I love for my clients to have a casual and a formal look. I think it adds a little romance for the girls to have a skirt or dress. Make a date night out of it! Have your last outfit be a beautiful dress and the Groom to Be in a casual suit. Finish up your session and then go out on the town! Most of all communicate with your photographer! I am here to help my clients dream up their perfect engagement sessions. I love working on details with clients. I often share pinterest boards, talk about locations that are special to them, and even pick out outfits over the phone. I want you to look and feel your best on the first step to celebrating the two of you!
Full Disclosure: If you haven't noticed, I AM a Professional Wedding Photographer. So this post is naturally a little biased. However, Professional Wedding Photographers are more than just photographers for a Bride to Be. We consult, we calm, we lend a hand, and we are involved in all the details. That said, I see so many Brides go with a family member or friend for their wedding photography and it breaks my heart. Not just because their pictures might not be great but because there is so much more to a true professional than just the pictures.
So here it is, my top five reasons for hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer:
- Experience I cannot stress this enough. When you are hiring a professional you are getting experience from many many weddings. A professional isn't just taking the shot in front of them, they are thinking ahead to the next shot. This is crucial in weddings. Weddings are hectic and a time crunch. You want an experienced professional who knows how weddings flow, who knows what to expect, and especially who knows how to deal with the unexpected.
- Professionals are, well, Professional As a wedding professional I am personally invested in each wedding I photograph. I want to make a good impression and do my best for you. Word of mouth is also key, I know that your friends and family are watching how I handle myself. You don't want to hire a friend and have them hanging out with the Groomsmen when the cake cutting is going on. This is my job and I give it my all.
- Unbiased Third Party Weddings are highly emotional events which is why I love them! The love is flowing, the friendship, but also the stress. At times it is crucial to have a third party who can diffuse the atmosphere and does not have a history with anyone involved. It's easy for me to ask a family or friend to go ahead to the reception while we do couples shots without hurting their feelings. They don't know me and have no beef with me, or at least I hope not! The point is its easy to give direction, instruction, and move people along with some authority when they don't know me.
- Art My favorite part! You are hiring an ARTIST. There is so much more to photography than having fancy equipment, or just pointing and shooting. Photographers are painting with light, gently revealing emotion, paying attention to color and lines, and capturing raw reactions. This takes experience (see Reason #1), and an artistic eye.
- Products A wedding professional is going to offer you amazing products. The wedding day is over, Uncle Jim has given you your photos on an unlabeled burned CD and they're now sitting in your drawer. And that's where they will stay. I offer my clients high end albums, gallery wraps, metal prints, countless options so that their memories come alive off their walls. You are going to pour so much time, energy, and lets face it--money into your wedding that you should have constant reminders of that amazing day surrounding you. That is what makes those memories last and remind you of those emotions years from now.
We all know that weddings are expensive and wedding photography is one of the most expensive parts of your wedding. However, it is also the most lasting. If you hire a professional you are not paying just for the act of taking photos that day. You are paying for consultation, communication, behind the scenes, experience, an artistic eye, high end editing, gorgeous products and it will be well worth the money because you will have the best.
I have absolutely been DYING to share this wedding! Seriously, I've been on the edge of my seat waiting for everything to get wrapped up so I could share it. I am in love with the location, details, emotion, all of it.
Erika and Travis' wedding was absolutely stunning. It was one of those weddings that you open up your favorite Wedding Magazine and fall in love with. All the details were perfect from the champagne and gold colored bridesmaids gowns, to pops of pink and fushia in the bouquets. However, as anyone knows who has helped plan a wedding, it looked amazing and effortless due to lots of planning, and hard work from friends and family. But what better way to celebrate a union of two people than to have everyone involved? That's really the perfect word to sum up this wedding, FAMILY. Erika and Travis are both huge family people whether its through blood or close friends. Their love and compassion radiated over the whole ceremony. I really can't put it into words. So without further ado...Travis & Erika's big day. Congrats guys!
Mad Props Go to:
Caterer: Mark Wischhusen
Venue: Candoro Marble
Florist: The Flower Pot
Baker: Vickie Davis
DJ: Firehouse DJ, Ryan Ladd
Makeup: Scarlet Strange
Hair: Alyse Wieland
I met Jacob and Morgan when Jacob hired me to photograph his surprise proposal. Which means I met Morgan mere moments after she said, "Yes." Kissed Jacob. And then asked, "What's that clicking noise?" And I jumped out of the bushes like a crazy creeper, grinning like a fool and yelling, "Congrats!!" Since then we've been bosom buddies. Well, maybe not bosom buddies, but I'd say we're pretty tight. When they asked me to photograph their wedding as well I was overjoyed.
Jacob and Morgan are pretty awesome people. And by pretty awesome, I mean really awesome. They met in the 5th grade! How adorable is that? Apparently though, Jacob was not interested even though Morgan had a huge crush on him at the time. Their families became friends and traveled together, so they were around each other alot. This also made the wedding feel like a big family reunion instead of two families becoming one. They began dating in college and were engaged their senior year (see previous paragraph on awesome engagment).
One thing I absolutely loved about their wedding is that they were themselves. The wedding was chock full of details that were little pieces of each of them, their love story, and their families. You could tell Morgan loves Disney. From the Disney quotes on the bottom of her shoes from her bridesmaids to her first dance with her Dad to "When You Wish Upon a Star," each detail was perfect. Jacob was clearly a Lord of the Rings fan from the attendants processional being "Concerning Hobbits," to the SPECTACULAR Groom's cake theme from The Lord of the Rings (seriously the best Grooms cake I have ever seen...no lie). But you could also tell family was a huge part of their day. Morgan did a first look with her Dad (which I adore!) and afterwards gave hankerchiefs to her Mom, Dad, and soon to be Mother in Law with notes stitched on them for each. :ENTER WATERWORKS: It was incredibly sweet and touching! Morgan and Jacob are also the first couple I have ever photographed that had all sets of grandparents on both sides at their wedding. It was a serious legacy of love. They incorporated a lot of vintage details into the day and I felt like those were small shout outs to their grandparents. One of the best being an heirloom cake topper from Morgan's family from the 1930s.
However I would say, because Morgan and Jacob were themselves, it meant each moment was lots and lots of fun. The Groomsmen were a blast to hang out with. Jacob's two Best Men, his brother Kyle and best friend Evan, gave fantastic speeches that had everyone crying with laughter. Best of all though was Morgan and her Dad's surprise father daughter dance. One moment they were elegantly dancing to "When You Wish Upon a Star," and then BAM they were breaking it down to "Uptown Funk." I. LOVED. IT.
The truth is I could go on and on about these two and their wedding day. Morgan and Jacob are the type of people you are honored just to know. They are the type of clients that when it's all said and done, you're sad not to have an excuse to talk to them on a regular basis. So guys, don't be surprised if you get a lonely email in a couple months from yours truly, just wanting to chat and tell you that I'm glad I got to know you.
Mad Props Go To:
Planner: Mardee Miller
Florist: Rainbow Florist
Baker: Publix (Main Wedding Cake) and Sweet Angel Cakes– Toni Repko (Amazing Groom's Cake)
DJ/Band: Sound Force
Makeup/Hair: Hair-Stephanie Holt, Makeup-Maddie Holt
The first weekend in November it was freakishly cold here in East Tennessee. There was even snow in the mountains, which is unusual for this time of year. Despite the cold, Catherine & Bryan got married at Dara's Gardens and had one of the most beautiful fall weddings I have ever experienced.
Catherine's dress was a classic ivory with a beautiful lace jacket over the top. She looked absolutely stunning! The dress went perfect with her colors of grey and yellow.
The pictures and ceremony were outside, while the reception was in a heated tent. I have to give it to this bridal party, despite the unexpected temperature they were all great sports! Everyone went with the flow and made it for a truly heartfelt day.
After family photos (and a quick hot apple cider break), Bryan, Catherine and I snuck off to take some amazing fall photos on Dara's Garden's property. I absolutely love the way these turned out!
After the sun went down it was time to go inside and enjoy the party! I loved the lights in the tent, and all the beautiful succulents Catherine had used as pops of color and table centerpieces.
Catherine and Bryan thank you so much for sharing your beautiful day with me and letting me capture it. Catherine, I know you and I hit it off from the first meeting and I loved getting to know you! You have a beautiful spirit and I loved getting to know both of your families better. Congrats Mr & Mrs!
A special shout out to Amanda Womble for being my amazing assistant that day! My preggo self couldn't have done it without you! Thanks for helping me carry gear and braving the cold.