A few weekends ago, I flew to Raleigh, NC for the wedding of my sweet friends, Madison and Andrew. I was so thankful to fly in a day early, so I could go to the bridal luncheon and rehearsal dinner while having a mini-reunion with some of my best Liberty friends! Not only was it such a great weekend with friends, but I LOVED being a part of Madison and Andrew’s wedding. I can remember MANY instances during our time at LU that Madison and I shared meals and stories that made us wonder if we would even find our future husbands. Well, waiting on God’s timing is definitely the way to go, as evidenced by the great love that Madison and Andrew share for the Lord and each other.

As we drove to the church on their wedding day, there were a few dark clouds overhead, but the weather forecast promised only a slight chance of rain. The weather man was quickly proved very wrong when it started pouring on our way to their first look, but Madison’s excitement could not be shaken. She just kept saying, “I can’t wait to see Andrew!” over and over. So precious! They were such great sports about the rain, and we made it work, thanks to a great covered porch! I guess I should just let you see for yourself… Check out my favorites!

I always love a TOMS bride.

Madison collects hand-painted tea cups, and her mom gave her this one at her bridal luncheon. I just HAD to use it for detail shots!

This might be the best gift I’ve ever seen given by a bride to her groom. Over 5 years ago, Madison started writing letters to her future husband. On their wedding day, Madison gave Andrew a book full of all the letters she had written to him over the years… Such a beautiful gift.

Love this… So Madison.

Andrew is just a LITTLE bit of a Duke fan… He even proposed to Madison at a Duke game last fall!

Seriously, I have NEVER seen a bride so excited to see her groom. Madison must have asked me at least 10 times if she could see Andrew yet. I might have had to tell her to calm down a bit. :) I just love the look of excitement on her face.

Madison’s gift to Andrew might have been my favorite, but Andrew hit a home run too! What girl doesn’t want a diamond necklace to wear on her wedding day?!

In case you’re wondering, yes, I was crying.

Y’all are so adorable.

Love this!

This is a new favorite bridal portrait of mine… So elegant and classic!

Andrew, you did a great job on that necklace!

I just love them!

Haha. They are awesome!

Married!

Party time!

Here are some perks of shooting a wedding full of friends…

We’re special. :)

Congratulations, Mads & Andrew! :)

Happy 4th of July!!!!

In the last year or so, I have had SO many people approach me and say, “I wish you had taken my wedding photos!” I’ve never felt more conceited in my life than when typing that sentence. I promise I don’t share that to make myself look like the world’s greatest wedding photographer because I am CERTAINLY not. Sure, it’s very encouraging to hear that, but I hate hearing stories of couples who had a bad experience with their wedding photographer. Because your wedding photos are the only material thing that will last past the wedding day, you should be IN LOVE with them! Sadly, this is not always the case, so today I’ll be sharing my 10 tips for picking the perfect wedding photographer!

1. Pick a photographer who you “click” with! You’re going to be followed by this person for your entire wedding day, so you definitely want someone you, your family, and your wedding party will get along with! If you have more of a serious personality, you shouldn’t hire the photographer who’s going to be cracking corny jokes all day.

2. Ask to see their complete portfolio. Many photographers will only post pictures of their bride & groom portraits. While these might be great, what do their pictures of the ceremony, reception, getting ready time, etc., look like?

3. Don’t feel like you HAVE to pick a photographer who lives in the city where your wedding will be. Most photographers will (and love) to travel. Just be prepared to cover their travel expenses.

4. Pick a photographer who has a similar style to yours & your wedding. This one is probably a no-brainer. If you & your fiancé are the type of couple who love quirkiness and a little oddity, you probably shouldn’t book a photographer whose portfolio only features serious faces. On the contrary, if you want your wedding photos to look like they could be in the pages of Vogue, you should pick a photographer who’s style is very editorial.

5. Discuss your expectations before you pick a photographer. If you’re expecting your wedding photos to be ready to be delivered to you within 2 weeks (not super realistic), make sure you book a photographer who works on such a quick timeline.

6. Carefully read over the contract. If you can’t wait to post your wedding photos on Facebook but never realized that your photographer’s contract prohibits you from doing so, you’ll end up being really disappointed.

7. Ask them why they are a wedding photographer! You should hire someone who LOVES their job (this should be true of all your vendors), and you can usually tell a lot by their answer to this question.

8. Make sure the photographer you pick will be able to offer you & your fiancé an engagement session. I’ve talked about this before, but engagement sessions are such a great way for you to get to know your photographer before the wedding day!

9. Ask them about their editing process. You should usually be able to figure this out by looking through their portfolio, but what do their finished photos look like? If you want clean and real looking photos, make sure you don’t book a photographer who airbrushes every face in their photos.

10. Reconsider your budget. No, I’m not telling you to throw your budget out the window, but the fact is that great wedding photographers are expensive. The saying “You get what you pay for” has never been truer than with wedding photography. If the wedding photographer that you & your fiancé have fallen in love with is $1000 out of your budget, consider moving some money around. Sure, that might mean giving up those Kate Spade shoes that you’d been drooling over, but after everything is over, you’ll care more about beautiful pictures than the shoes you wore that day.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Happy July! It’s so crazy that 2013 is halfway over! June was such an amazing month… I shot two beautiful weddings, spent a week in Jacksonville for my best friend’s wedding, had a mini-LU reunion in North Carolina, and spend a week in Destin for high school camp with our church! I’m glad that July will be a little bit more quiet cause I’m needing some rest after all of that.

June’s BUSINESS Goals

1. Finish reading Jon Acuff’s Start. Uhhhhh…
2. Invest in the Canon 100 2.8L Macro. Just bought it over the weekend!
3. Update all of my paper and marketing products to match my new logo. Still working on this. Slowly but surely!
4. Create custom instructions for clients explaining how to use PASS.
5. Shoot two awesome weddings in Virginia and North Carolina.
6. Continue blogging consistently. I’m crossing this off because I honestly did the best I could. June was SO busy, and I felt like I was barely home. I’m thankful for the next 2.5 weeks at home to get my routine back on track.

June’s PERSONAL Goals

1. Go to the gym at least 4 times a week and do alternating levels of 30 Day Shred 3 days a week. HAHAHAHAHA. Not even close.
2. Have an amazing week in Florida celebrating my best friend getting MARRIED!!!  Loved every minute of it!
3. Take a walk every night with Aaron and Noley. Again, wasn’t home a lot, but we did do this a lot when I was!
4. Celebrate Noley’s first birthday. Judge away, people. Judge away. (Insert sheepish smile here.)
5. Start going through our belongings and getting rid of everything we don’t need or use. Our lease it up at the end of September, and we will most likely be moving. Didn’t even think about it.
6. Unpack my suitcase the day after I get back from traveling.  High-fives to me!!!

And for this month…

BUSINESS

1. Continue updating my marketing products with the new logo. I’m doing it a little at a time cause that stuff is EXPENSIVE!
2. Finish Jon Acuff’s Start. Yep. It’s here again.
3. Learn how to shoot with my new 100 2.8L Macro in live view mode. I hear that’s the way to go!
4. Blog consistently. I’m not going to say this is 4-5 days a week because I’ll be out of town at the end of the month, and we all know how that goes.
5. Shoot Josh & Anna‘s Jacksonville wedding with excellence.
6. Catch up on editing. I’m not behind any deadlines yet, but being out of town so much has slowed down the process more than normal.

PERSONAL

1. Get a haircut. I understand that this isn’t really a goal, but I’ve been procrastinating on this for a few months now. My ends need some serious help.
2. Take walks with Noley everyday. I cannot believe how nice this summer has been. On Sunday, the high was 75 degrees! Weather like that does NOT make me miss Florida!
3. Clean out underneath our bathroom and kitchen sinks. I’m pretty sure I have a mini Bath & Body Works underneath there.
4. Find someone to teach me how to sew a pillow. It’s sad how much I’ve failed on this on my own.
5. Start a new book. I finished the Harry Potter series, and if I don’t find another fiction book soon, I’m probably gonna start HP all over again.

Here are two shots I grabbed on Sunday during Fireworks at the Crosses at our church’s Pinnacle Hills Campus. It was such a great day… Perfect weather, live music, over 100 people got baptized, lots of junk food (I love funnel cake.), and an epic fireworks show!

Happy Tuesday!