I am, by NO means, a budget expert. It’s some sort of miracle that Aaron and I came in under budget for our wedding. Despite this, one thing that we didn’t prepare for was the amount of tax that we would have to pay, and that stuff adds up SO quickly. I hope that today’s post will shed light on this sneaky, little, money-sucking monster, so you don’t have to be blind-sided by it!

Unfortunately, there’s no way to get around taxes without getting arrested, so the best thing you can do is prepare for them!

-Before you start budgeting, find out exactly what your county/state charges for sales tax. Where we live, sales tax is 9.25%. Yes, you read that right… Absolutely crazy.
-While making your wedding budget, decide ahead of time whether the amounts that you set will include tax or if you’ll have an entire budget line to cover taxes.
-When meeting with vendors, ask if their prices include tax. Most of the time, they will not, so it’s better to know exactly what you’ll have to pay before you sign a contract.
-It’s pretty common to receive or win a free tux rental, toss bouquet, dress steaming, etc., but there’s still a chance that you’ll have to pay tax on those. Obviously, you’re still saving money, but just know that “free” usually isn’t totally free.

If you’re reading this and are still thinking that taxes aren’t really a big deal, let me put it in perspective for you. I live in Washington County, and like I said before, between the state and county, I have to pay 9.25% tax on everything I buy. Let’s say I was getting married (to Aaron again, of course, or maybe Robert Downey Jr… I don’t know), and I hired a caterer for my wedding with 200 guests. If I’m paying a modest $12 a plate for dinner, I’m also going to be paying $222 in taxes! And that’s assuming I don’t have to pay a delivery fee, set up fee, or an hourly rate for the wait staff. I realize that $222 might not seem like much, but once you add the tax for your venue, flowers, photographer, dress, decorations, videographer, gifts, etc., you can EASILY be paying a couple thousand dollars that you didn’t plan for! They say, “knowledge is power”, but in this case, knowledge is a happy fiancé, stress-less planning, and the only chance to have to stay on budget!

Happy Wednesday! :)

I’m so excited to share this session with you! I LOVE shooting maternity sessions. I’ve said this before, but there’s a certain sweetness and level of trust between a married couple that isn’t present (yet) when I’m shooting an engaged couple. Add anticipation of the arrival of a little baby, and maternity sessions become the epitome of a love-filled shoot. A little cheesy? Yeah, probably, but it couldn’t be more true.

I know Jill & Brandon through our church, and Jill and I started talking about doing a shoot almost a year ago! Of course, I was so thrilled to hear that she was expecting their first child and even more excited when she and Brandon asked me to shoot their maternity photos! These photos were taken last week – Less than 3 weeks before Jill was due. You might not understand why that’s a big deal, but you will once you see the pictures because she looks SO GOOD! Seriously, she’s THAT woman that other pregnant women look at in hatred because she is the tiniest preggo mama ever. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. :) I can only hope to look half as good as her when that day comes for me!

At the beginning of our session, I asked Jill and Brandon if there’s anything specific they wanted (as I do for all sessions). Jill responded with the best answer I think I’ve ever gotten – They just wanted normal pictures where she happened to pregnant. I can’t even tell you how much I love that!

Baby Elliott Brooke is going to be the luckiest girl in the world because her parents LOVE Jesus, they happen to be hysterical, and she is about to be born into one of the sweetest, closest families that I know! Here are my favorites from their session…

I asked Jill if she could give me a serious face, and she quickly responded, “Oh, yeah!”
She was NOT kidding.

I teased this on my Facebook Page after their session. It’s one of my favorite portraits I’ve ever taken.

I seriously am in LOVE with these next four photos.

Holy favorite, Batman.

Such a pretty mama!

Oh my word. Y’all are the sweetest!

Happy Tuesday!

I think June will consistently be my busiest month of the year. Between my job and traveling for Aaron’s, there’s not a whole lot of relaxing in my summers… Especially in June.

Highlights of June:

-Walking (don’t judge) a 5k to support our friends who are moving to Africa.
-Lots of emails and even more editing… Definitely not a “highlight”, but in every spare moment, those two dominated my time.
-Danielle’s wedding!!!!
-A LOT of beach time. This Florida girl was NOT complaining, even with an abundance of seaweed. :)
-Shot 2 beautiful weddings and a bridal session!
-Ate a fair amount (okay, a ton) of terrible food. Seriously, after all of my traveling in June, I came home with an extra 6lbs. No bueno.
-Spent a week in Destin for our high school student ministry’s beach camp. Super fun times!
-Got a way-too-short visit from our Atlanta family. Aaron and I want to make an ATL trip SO bad!
-Mini LU-renuion at Madison & Andrew’s wedding!
-Spent over 14 hours on airplanes, and who knows how many waiting in airports.
-Celebrated the 4th a few days early with our church… It was a PERFECT day!

Happy Monday!