I love getting to photograph a first pregnancy. Lee glows with a strength and peace in all these photos. There’s a magic that just kind of hangs around a woman when she’s expecting…Read More
Cheryl and Jacob’s relaxed, natural wedding at the GTM research reserve in Ponte Vedra, Florida. It was a day full of so many strong, beautiful feelings.Read More
Weddings are more beautiful and complicated than we give them credit for. There are sooo many emotions from everyone on a wedding day. Nerves about being the center of attention, peace about a decision that was never hard to make, sadness at change, totally asleep on your feet once the adrenaline wears off. And the complicated feelings come from everyone, not just the bride and groom.
But that's part of why weddings are so special and forever hold our interest. They happen in the middle of everything, they hit the pause button on life for a few hours and remind us all of how good we all have it, to participate in life together, as family, as friends, as lovers. The chaos really is beautiful.
Soooo this will probably come as a shock to none of you, but I'm not a big fan of props in pictures. The idea that you need stuff to make a picture of you more interesting? Totally wrong. BUT bringing things that are truly meaningful to you and remind you of some of your best times? That I can get behind.
Christina and Duncan wanted anniversary photos at their favorite spot from when they were dating, him playing her a song while they cuddled in the back of her grandpa's old pickup truck. A little bit country, a lot a bit romantic, and all them.
Summer in Florida can be a tricky time to be a photographer. As soon as the sun comes, up you start sweating (which looks amazing in photos. lol) and then the thunderstorms pretty much every afternoon lasting as long as they want can nix an evening photoshoot. The light is beautiful and romantic at sunrise but I mean, sunrise is eaaaarly. So I usually don't suggest it to my clients because who wants to look pulled together and awake at 6:30 am? Enter Carrie & David. I was dragging and makeup-less but they were glowing with young love.
We totally reaped the benefits of being early risers because the beach was quiet and beautiful. They both work in ocean rescue so this was the perfect place for their engagement session. Even though I had to drag my butt out of bed much earlier than usual, it was so worth it. And if you ever feel brave enough for a sunrise photo session, I'm ALLLL over that!
If there's anything you should be afraid of, it's NOT your own wedding! I have talked to SO many brides who are just stressed out of their minds. The blogs tell them how to have a wedding. Their family tells them. Their friends who got married last year tell them. Even random strangers have opinions on how they should get married.
So as someone who's been around a LOT of weddings, let me give you a few tips on how to keep your wedding planning happy and stress free. ;)
Pick Your Top 3
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you simply can't have it all. But that is NOT a bad thing! When you can't have everything, you're forced to decide what's truly important to you. Then what you are able to really focus your money and energies on, you appreciate so much more.
Before you start buying, reserving, and booking, sit down and decide what the top three aspects of your wedding are. For me personally, it was the photographer (yeah, shocker I know!), the dress, and the flowers. My budget went in that order too. Anything outside of that, I made sure was the more budget option, DIY-ed or just skipped.
On your wedding day, you should not be the point person for anything. I repeat, NO ONE SHOULD BRING ANY PROBLEMS TO YOU ON YOUR WEDDING DAY! Your only job is being blissfully happy and enjoying every moment. So whether it's a bridesmaid, mother, friend, or hired coordinator, you need to have a person that knows everything (you can even give them a binder with the info from all your vendors) so that any questions or problems that may come up are directed to them and not you. Seriously. Just get some help. ;)
It's Literally About You
The whole point of a wedding is to celebrate 2 people coming together in marriage for the rest of their lives. So if a celebration to you and your fiance feels like an elegant, candlelit dinner for 30 of your closest friends and family, do that. If it's fun food trucks and dancing under the stars with 300 people, then do that! If it's just the two of you eloping in the jungles of Puerto Rico, do that (and take me with you!)
Use Inspiration Sparingly
There are so many articles on wedding blogs telling you everything that you NEED to have, that everything is crucial to your wedding, but they have to. Their advertisers sell everything wedding related under the sun and they won't be too happy if the blog suddenly tells brides that all they need to get married is a marriage license. So while blogs, pinterest, instagram, magazines, etc. can be super helpful at finding inspiration for your own priorities, don't let it shift them or make you suddenly feel unhappy that you can't have a gigantic wall of peonies, an elopement to Iceland or a celebrity DJ at your reception. Use inspiration, don't let it use you.
When did we suddenly start a wedding competition? If comparison is the thief of joy, then it has NO place at our weddings! There are so many unique people and circumstances around each wedding that there is no possible reason to compare them. What matters is that you are in love and have a beautiful moment promising that love to each other! I've had people ask me what my 'best wedding' was, and I honestly didn't know what to say. Is there some ranking criteria that I'm not aware of? Does whoever get the most instagram likes win? Why on earth would you want to make something as beautiful, and meaningful as a wedding be part of some bizarre popularity contest? Ok, I'm off of my soapbox now. But seriously, guys, it's NOT a competition!
What Really Matters
When my grandparents got married, it was a little bit spur of the moment. My grandpa was about to be deployed during WWII and they decided to get married before he left. My grandma bought a white dress, wore it to a few dances before her wedding (such a little rebel!), and they were married at a friend's home and had cake afterwards. The only photo from their wedding (see below) was actually from their honeymoon. No one took a single photo of their wedding. (Insert all my wedding photographer nightmares here!)
Though they did regret not having any photos, the point is that for a wedding, all you need is to get married. My grandparents' wedding would be almost shocking in modern america, though it was pretty much the norm in their time. They were happily married for over 50 years, so I think that counts as proof that all you need is each other.
As fun and beautiful as all the invitations, decorations, photography, dresses, and flowers are, you don't need them. All you need is love, commitment to your marriage, and to enjoy your wedding day as the exciting start of all that! #DontStressOut