ardala&matthias {wedding} double creek crossing, college station, texas

The day after Ardala & Matthias met, he called her to ask her out to dinner that night. While on their second date (literally the next day) someone asked them how long they had been married.

Ardala & Matthias' wedding was so much fun & such a joy to be a part of! They did a spectacular job of combining their two cultures (Brazil & Germany) with a little sprinkle of Texas.

I want to point out that Ardala designed & made her own wedding dress. It was simply stunning.

unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, le lafrendi handmade shoes, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride getting dressed, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride getting dressed, wedding jewelry, something old, something borrowed, le lafrendi handmade shoes, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}

To start the day off with a bang, the beautiful couple opted to see each other.

bride, groom, first look, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, bridesmaid bouquet, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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groom, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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bride and groom portraits, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and bridesmaids, bridesman, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
groom and groomsmen, matching socksoutdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
groom, bride and bridesmaids, bridesman, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}

In addition to her wedding dress (as if that wasn't enough), Ardala designed all of the signage throughout the wedding. 

ceremony setup, in case of happy tears, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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bride walking down the aisle, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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ceremony, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom walking down the aisle, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bridal party, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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bride and groom portraits, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom portraits, unforgettable floral, white and green succulent wedding bouquet, bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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wedding guests, red heart balloons, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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For me, the highlight of the night was their wonderfully choreographed & beautifully executed first dance. Nailed it.

greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
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greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
greenbelt dj, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}
wedding send off with sparklers, night, handmade wedding dress, two piece wedding dress, gray sash, bird cage veil, outdoor april spring wedding photo, double creek crossing, college station, texas, austin wedding photographer {dreamy elk photography and design}

Venue // Double Creek Crossing
Wedding Dress // designed & made by the bride
Bridesmaids’ Dresses // custom made in Brazil
Bride & Bridesmaids’ Shoes // Le Lanfredi
Hair Stylist // Allure Salon
Suits // custom made in US & Germany
Florist // Unforgettable Floral
Catering, Cheesecake, Cupcakes, & Cake Balls // D'Vine Cuisine
Macarons // Sucré
Cake Topper // Ready Go Wedding Co.
DJ // Greenbelt DJ
Bartender // Luke's Bartender
Stringed Quartet // Brazos Valley Stringed Quartet
Invites & STD // Wedding Paper Divas
Decoration/Lights rentals // Details Party Rentals
All Signage // DIY the bride

4 reasons you should do a first look {wedding planning}

should i do a first look

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a First Look is when the bride & groom decide to see each other before the ceremony.

Why would or should I do a First Look?

I'm glad you asked. Here are 4 reasons why you should consider doing one.

{First Looks are not for everybody, & I respect any couples' wishes not do one! If you tell me at any point that you are against it, I will not pressure you whatsoever into changing your mind.}

If you're still on the fence or have no strong feelings one way or the other, I do encourage you to consider some of these points.

RELATED ARTICLE:
7 Tips for Photographing a First Look

1 // More photos with your spouse

I’ve seen it happen so many times. The ceremony is over, we’ve made it through the family photos, we’ve done the group photos with the entire bridal party, & we are just now starting photos of you & your new spouse. It is usually around this time when your adrenaline quits running & you realize how tired you are. Your shoes are hurting your feet. You haven’t had any real food today & you are beginning to shake. You think about your 200 guests sitting at the reception waiting for you to arrive so dinner can be served. All of these thoughts just take over & you want to hurry through your photos.  

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking about your guests, remember that this is a once in a lifetime event. You are going to want photos of you & your new spouse. If you suddenly decide to cut your photo time in half from fifteen minutes to seven, you may end up with only a handful of photos to choose from.

However, when we take your photos before the ceremony, none of your guests are even here yet!

Even when my couples decide to do a First Look, I still try to schedule in photos of just the two of them after the ceremony. Three reasons: 1) (You guessed it!) More photos! 2) You're glowing because you are literally newly wed, & 3) you never know when the rain will decide to come, someone has a major wardrobe malfunction, or transportation delays or halts photos altogether prior the ceremony. Having a second time slot for your portraits is always a good idea.

In the weeks leading up to a wedding, I work closely with the bride to make sure we have a schedule that will maximize our few precious hours together. Because the ceremony start time & the reception end time are usually fixed, we end up trying to squeeze all of the photos (family, full bridal party, & the bride & groom portraits) into a one-hour slot after the ceremony for those who don’t want to do a First Look. Sometimes we end up with less than ten minutes for just the bride & groom. First Looks offer so much more breathing room.

If you’re a numbers person, try this on for size. On average this year, my couples that chose to do First Looks walked away with 64 photos, while those who didn’t only had 19.

2 // Great expressions

This is one of the harder points to argue, so I’ll just approach it as an observation. The bride & groom’s expressions are great either way you choose to go, whether it be a private moment before the ceremony or when the chapel doors open. But, I will say that the expressions are different.

Going the traditional route, the bride & groom’s expressions are sometimes more subdued. This could be due to the fact that an audience is present, ceremonies should be treated with reverence, or the ceremony is in a church. The expressions & reactions are very sweet & soft. 

I seriously can't look at this photo & not cry!

I seriously can't look at this photo & not cry!

But, there’s something about First Looks that almost feels like we’re doing something we shouldn’t, like we’re caught with our hand in the cookie jar. When the bride sneaks up behind the groom who then turns around to suddenly see his bride close up, you can bet that one or both will start laughing with a few tears mixed in. These photos are just so full of emotion that no words can describe them.

I remember after one wedding was over, I was transferring all of the photos to my computer before I drove home. I scrolled through their First Look photos & started tearing up. Just then, the groom’s mom walked in & I called her over to look. She started crying. She then turned & ran out into the hallway to get more people. The next thing I know, there are at least fifteen people looking over my shoulder, & we are all crying. Someone kept saying, “That’s such a Chelsea expression!”

first look bride and groom

3 // Can get all formal photos done before the ceremony

At that same wedding, we were able to get every single formal photo taken before the ceremony even started, including the family photos! About an hour before the ceremony started, everyone headed into the chapel for all of the formal family photos. No one was tired yet. No one’s makeup had sweated off yet. No one was itching to go find the AC yet. Everyone was very calm, yet still giddy with excitement for what was about to take place. (It did help that everyone was on time!) When the ceremony was over, I took the bride & groom outside for a few more sunset photos, & then we headed straight to the party. It was magical.

4 // Daylight savings time

One of the biggest details that can get overlooked when picking a wedding date & ceremony time is what time the sun sets, especially if your wedding is during the winter months. In the summer, we can usually keep taking photos outside until 7:30, 8:00 if you don’t have any tall buildings or trees blocking the light. However, in the winter, it gets dark so incredibly early. And when that suns starts to go, it goes fast.

If your wedding is in the winter or late in the evening & you choose NOT to do a First Look, make sure you are ok with having very few or zero outdoor sunlit photos of just you & your spouse. You may have hired your photographer based on his or her beautiful outdoor photos full of sun flares, but if it’s dark, we can’t make those happen.

Yes, your photographer should have flashes or lighting equipment enabling you to still take outdoor photos, but that’s a different blog post entirely.

first look bride and groom

Because I am a photographer & I wholeheartedly agree with all of my own points above (haha), I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to do a First Look at my own wedding. But, what I hadn’t really considered was how much more relaxed I would be once that was over. Yes, I was still excited afterwards, but I was able to be more focused & take in the moments of the friends & family around me. There was no more tiptoeing around the venue trying to avoid my future husband.

Photos by Kaylynn Marie Photography

Photos by Kaylynn Marie Photography

But don’t get me wrong! I still had that Oh my goodness, this is really happening moment when my dad & I turned the corner to walk down the aisle.

This was THE moment I realized that this was not just a day at the office for me. This was MY wedding! Photo by Kaylynn Marie Photography

This was THE moment I realized that this was not just a day at the office for me. This was MY wedding! Photo by Kaylynn Marie Photography

In the end, your wedding is about you & your future spouse. If you are absolutely positive about keeping things traditional, that is perfectly fine. If you're worried about bad luck, know that my parents saw each other before their wedding & they just celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary. Just sayin'.

RELATED ARTICLE:
7 Tips for Photographing a First Look

7 tips for photographing a first look

firstlookForPhotogs.png

If you are new to the wedding world, you may not have heard of the term the First Look. This is a relatively contemporary concept, & occurs when the bride & groom opt to see each other in their wedding clothes before the ceremony.

As a photographer, I can give you many reasons why you should consider doing a First Look. As a former bride, I can tell you why you simply must do a First Look. 

1 // Location

When I’m doing a First Look, I pick out a location that is far enough away from the hustle & bustle of staff, early arriving guests, & family members. I want this moment to be just between the bride & the groom. Yes, I will be there, so that’s when I stick on my zoom lens & back away as far as possible while still able to clearly see faces.

2 // Prep the Groom

Once the groom is in his spot, I tell him that his beautiful bride will be walking up behind him. I tell him that the bride will either be tapping him on the shoulder, hugging him from behind, or something else. I let her decide. I then tell him to either turn to the left or right, depending on where I’m standing. If I’m off to his right, I want him turning to his right so I can see his full expression. (I also tell the bride which direction I want the groom to turn.)

I then tell the groom to forget everything I said, & to focus purely on his bride.

I tell him it’s ok if he turns to the left, when I said right. This is their moment. I want them to be focused only on each other & not on the camera.

This usually means that the groom has to stand & hang out here while I go get the bride. That's ok. Guys' jobs on wedding days are to carry things when asked, & to wait.

3 // Pick MY Spot

If I'm shooting by myself, I need to pick a spot that will enable me to see both the bride & the groom well. My goal is to be at a 90­° angle when the groom has turned around. Sometimes this requires me running to a different spot if the groom didn’t turn as I anticipated.

If I have a second shooter, we position ourselves so I'm focused on one & she's focused on the other person. When the groom turns, we switch people. For example, if I'm focused on the groom as the bride walks up, I switch to the bride when he turns around.

4 // Let go of the moment

I then let go of the moment & put the action entirely in their hands. I let her walk up to him. I let him turn on his own. I let them hug, kiss, laugh, admire each other for however long they take. Then, when they are ready, one of them turns to acknowledge that I am there, & we proceed with their portraits. All in all, the whole process takes about five minutes.

5 // Don’t Ruin their moment

At one wedding, I had no choice but to stand about five feet away from the couple during their First Look because it was raining. I had given each of them their instructions, but because I wasn’t able to back way out of the picture (pun!) they couldn’t forget that I was there. So, instead of focusing on each other, the bride said several times as she walked up behind him, to make sure he turned to his left. While I really appreciated her dedicated-ness to my instructions, I felt like I ruined their moment.

6 // Learn from others

If you’re like me, you’ve probably second shot for other photographers a time or two. It’s always fun to see how others work firsthand & to learn from how they do things.

One photographer I’ve worked with in the past had a tendency to give her instructions to the bride & groom during the First Look. It was almost like she was directing a magazine photo shoot. Ok, she’s walking up behind you. Ok, Bride, tap him on his right shoulder. Groom, turn to your right. Now kiss! Great! 

I’ll be honest. This kind of bothered me. To me, she was taking away from the moment. It was no longer natural but very, very scripted. It was purely about the photographs & not the couple. 

On the other hand, some photographers like to stand so far away from the couple that you can’t even see expressions at all. I believe in happy mediums.

7 // Find your Rhythm to work quickly

These moments are so fun, but sometimes difficult to capture because they do happen so incredibly quickly & you can’t replicate them. Figure out your rhythm & come up with a plan of attack that works for both you & the couple.

RELATED ARTICLE:
4 Reasons You Should do a First Look {for brides & grooms}

elise&alfred {wedding} chapel dulcinea & thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas

The weather was about as perfect as you could ask for on a spring wedding day. The sun was shining, burros came bearing drinks, & bbq wafted gently through the air. Ahh.

Elise & Alfred are also about as sweet as any couple could possibly be, & their day went by almost as sweetly with only one small hiccup involving the car keys.

toms lace wedding shoes, unique wedding band, diamond engagement ring, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
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green bridesmaids dresses, mod cloth, lace wedding dress, lace wedding veil, white wedding bouquets,
groom, traditional hungarian tux, groomsmen, hunter green bowties, green bridesmaids dresses, mod cloth, white wedding bouquets, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
groom, traditional hungarian tux, groomsmen, hunter green bowties, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
groom, traditional hungarian tux, green bridesmaids dresses, mod cloth, lace wedding dress, lace wedding veil, white wedding bouquets, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
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After portraits at Thurman's Mansion, we headed to Chapel Dulcinea. 

outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and dad walking down the aisle, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride walking down the aisle, groom's reaction to bride, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
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outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
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bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, bridesmaids, green bridesmaids dresses, mod cloth, groom, traditional hungarian tux, groomsmen, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, lace wedding dress, lace veil, white wedding bouquet, wedding hair down, groom, traditional hungarian tux, outdoor spring april wedding photo, chapel dulcinea ceremony, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
wooden wedding signs, calligraphy, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
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wooden wedding signs, calligraphy, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom first dance, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom with beer burros, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom with beer burros, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride and groom with beer burros, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}

In Hungary, a bride changes into a red dress to symbolize her becoming a woman. Elise surprised Alfred with a third dress & they danced the night away to her granddaddy's accorddian.

bride, traditional hungarian red dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
traditional hungarian dancing, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
traditional hungarian dancing, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
better bites bakery, cupcakes, hungarian cake topper, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
better bites bakery, cupcakes, hungarian cake topper, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
better bites bakery, cupcakes, hungarian cake topper, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}
bride, groom, sunset photos, traditional red hungarian dress, outdoor spring april wedding photo, thurman's mansion, dripping springs, texas {dreamy elk photography and design}

Planner // In Her Shoes Coordination
Ceremony Venue // Chapel Dulcinea
Reception Venue // Thurman's Mansion
Second Wedding Dress // Marry Go Round
Bride's Shoes // Toms
Bridesmaids' Dresses // Mod Cloth
Florist // Central Market
Catering // Salt Lick BBQ
Cake Bakery // Better Bites Bakery
DJ // Byrne Rock
Beer Burros // Texas Hill Country Events
Decor // all decor DIY made by the bride & her parents (wooden signs & slices, calligraphy, cupcake stand)

9 things i've learned in 9 years of business as a wedding photographer

Nine years ago today, I photographed my very first wedding. I showed up to the church wearing heels & carrying my friend's Canon Rebel XTi camera & 50mm lens. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did my best to impress the church coordinator that I did. All I managed to do was put my foot in my mouth a few times.

No really, I did. To this day, I still think she thinks I'm a heathen.

Considering how lost & drowning I was in this thing called wedding photography, I still think that my first wedding went by fairly well. Sure, I made several technical & practical mistakes (did I mention I was wearing heels?!), & I was scared out of my mind, but I survived & learned many valuable lessons. On top of that, my clients seemed happy with what I gave them. So happy that they asked me back to the other daughter's wedding. (I made sure to wear flats to that wedding.)

Nine years & 75 weddings later, here I am. Never ever did I think this was what I would be doing with my life, but I am so happy I am. I was in grad school (two years after my first wedding) before it even dawned on me that one could make a living off of photography. I was in year four of my career before I realized it was even my career at all.

So, I have compiled a list of things that I wish I had known earlier in my career. Some of these pertain to owning your own business in general, some of them are wedding specific. Some of them are my preference only & may not be how anyone else likes to do things. Nevertheless, here we go *takes a deep breath*:

1 // draw lines when working from home & take breaks without guilt

Working from home is difficult when it comes to drawing that line between working & resting or doing personal work. I've been taking baby steps with drawing those lines & learning to be ok with those lines. For example, I try not to email clients after 6pm or on the weekends. That's a very small thing, but it drastically helps improve my concentration when I'm trying to finish editing a wedding & I'm not constantly checking back to see if a client responded to my question.

In the last two years, I've learned the hard way how my body responds to large amounts of stress. Without retelling the entire story, suffice it say that I needed to learn to be ok with taking a break. I have always been a night person, so I get a lot of my best work done late at night well after "business hours." Because I don't have to have conventional office hours, I am finally ok that. I don't feel guilty with going to the pool in the middle of the day or shopping on a Tuesday at 3pm because I know I'll be up until 1am editing photos in front of Netflix. 

2 // stay hydrated & exercise

I'm not the most active person, something else I'm really working on. It's so easy to sit in front of this screen working all day & not getting up & moving around. I had too many morning-after weddings where I felt like I got hit by a train, because my body wasn't used to moving. Yes, it still hurts, but not as much because I am exercising during the week. 

I'll also admit that I'm don't drink enough water. It's something that I have to remind myself to do, & more than once I've found myself close to dehydration or passing out during an outdoor wedding ceremony in July. 

3 // Take control (of the wedding day) if no one else can or will

This is one of the few items on this list where not everyone is going to agree with me, which is fine. I know some photographers like to purely be a fly on the wall on wedding days—they don't want any moment to be "scripted." I believe there is a balance between letting events unfold naturally & giving a few directional instructions to make sure something was captured or that it was captured in the best light. Some events are best left untouched, & others need a little bit of guidance. For example, I may ask you to pretend to put on lipstick, or pause while lacing up the dress, or angle your face to the window & adjust your posture ever so slightly for a more flattering angle. 

Considering that I am contracted to be at your wedding for a certain amount of hours, I also want to make sure we spend our time wisely. This means that sometimes I'll politely ask your bridal party to start getting dressed, or to politely remind the hair stylist that photos start in 20 minutes, or I'll politely ask guests loitering in the sanctuary to head towards the reception so we can begin family photos.

Do everything with a sincere smile & apologize for any inconvenience when necessary.

RELATED ARTICLES:
Should I Direct Wedding Days?
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4 // Never underestimate how long it will take to get somewhere

Anytime I'm planning a photo shoot or helping a bride come up with a wedding day timeline, I always stress the fact that driving to the reception or getting a group of girls in long dresses & high heels to walk even just one block to the church will take so much longer than Google Maps says.

For me on wedding days, I add at least 30 minutes to my driving time to any wedding. If Google Maps tells me it will take 1 hour, I expect that it will take me 1.5 hours. Twice I've gone to the wrong church, & once I thought the venue was 20 minutes closer than it was. Getting stuck behind a slow driver on a two-lane road, car accidents, road construction detours, stopping to fill up on gas, & grabbing a Subway sandwich for later can all add up.

5 // Wear proper/appropriate attire

I showed up to my very first wedding wearing high heels. Why did I think that was a good idea?! In my mind, I wanted to look professional, & I guess heels suggested professionalism. I never made that mistake again. I'm on my feet from 6-10 hours every wedding day, & am only sitting when I'm scarfing food down my face at the reception. #memoryfoamshoes

I prefer to wear pants because I'm running, bending, & squatting way too much. Unfortunately, we women are still fighting for pants pocket equality, so I like to carry a bag with plenty of extra pockets for anything I may need. Don't forget your sunscreen & bug spray for outdoor weddings.

RELATED ARTICLE:
What Should a Wedding Photographer Wear?

6 // Never rely on the wedding to feed you lunch & dinner

Yes, you may have told the bride's mother that you need one vendor meal at the reception, but the reception is hours away from now & there is no cheese & cracker platter in the bride's room. Not everyone thinks to provide finger sandwiches for the bridal party before the wedding, & I've gotten myself into a bind more than once with relying on that food. Late afternoon or evening weddings are a little bit easier to handle because I am usually not arriving to the wedding until after lunch. It's the midday weddings that can cause trouble.

If you're new to the wedding photography world, you don't realize how many calories you are burning. So, just because you ate breakfast three hours ago, you've practically been running a marathon since & you've gone through your nutrient supply. Make sure to keep power bars or a bag of nuts nearby. I like to get a foot long from Subway & save half of it for later, even if I plan on eating at the reception. My rule on wedding days is Calories don't matter, so eat up

One wedding day according to my Fitbit.

One wedding day according to my Fitbit.


7 // Stay organized

This is a super broad statement, & I could talk forever about this, but I'll try to keep this short. Come up with an organization & work-flow system that works for you & stick with it. Modify as needed.

8 // Make a will or a step by step in case of an emergency

This one was hard to do, & difficult to talk about. My husband didn't like the idea of it at first, because of the "what if" it implied. I've read too many horror stories from other photographers who found themselves in very difficult positions & had clients waiting or relying on them. It then fell to their spouses or other family members to figure out where the photographer was with each client (planning phase, halfway through editing, etc.) & follow through with their contracts.

It took me about 3 months, but I now have a very extensively detailed Google doc shared with my husband & my parents outlining every aspect of my business. Every. Single. Part. It's so detailed it's painful. I told my mom that I wrote it for her to understand, & I laughed when she got a little offended. Well, mom, do you know how to use Photoshop? Her eyes got as big as dinner plates. Oh.

Don't forget to update it when things change. Glance through it every few months. You'll be surprised how quickly it can become outdated.

9 // Each client is a learning experience

Every couple is different. Every wedding is different. Never stop looking for those lessons & applying them to the next client.