The 5 Things You Need to Know Before Moving Forward With Your Wedding Plans


STOP! Right now...don't make one more wedding plan before you find out the 5 most important things you need to know before making any more wedding decisions.

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  1. Know what your venue looks like at the time of day you're having your wedding.

    This is especially important if you are having an outdoor wedding. You'll want to keep in mind what the lighting conditions will be for your guests and most importantly you and your groom. I don't know about you, but I don't like standing in the hot sun in regular clothes let along a heavy wedding gown. 

    In terms of wedding pictures, the best time of day for lighting is early morning or just before sunset. Although, any good wedding photographer will be able to produce beautiful images in mid-day full sun. It's not the easiest light to work with, and it's not very flattering, but there are ways to work around it to still get stunning images.

  2. Find out if your venue has beautiful landscapes with plenty of open shade.

    When searching for a great venue, take note of the lighting and the landscaping. Wedding venues have some of the most beautiful landscaping, but if that landscaping is in direct sunlight, or even in spotty lighting, it could impact your wedding images. Look for venues that have a variety of different landscapes and backgrounds you can use for your wedding images and make sure those backgrounds are not in direct sunlight, or have spotty lighting.

  3. Determine how many guests you are realistically expecting.

    Knowing how many guests you can realistically expect to attend your wedding will play an important role in your venue decision and could alter your wedding budget. You'll want to make sure your venue can accommodate your wedding guests comfortably. You'll also have a better idea how much the catering will cost and will be able to budget accordingly. 

    The number of guests could also impact the wedding photography. Although any wedding can be photographed with one photographer, no matter the guest count, you might want to budget for a second or third shooter if your guest count is going to be over 100. This allows for more candid shots of your guests and ensures that not only are the important events of your wedding day being captured, but so are the little moments happening amongst your guests.

  4. Plan enough time for the unexpected.

    Ok, it's a wedding, something unexpected is bound to happen. The unexpected could throw your wedding day completely out of wack, or they could happen without a glitch to the time line. These unexpected items can be handled with a little pre-wedding planning and a timeline that has enough wiggle room for the unexpected. Work with your wedding planner and photographer to build a wedding timeline that will make the unexpected things the unnoticeable things.

  5. Plan enough time for the formal wedding portraits.

    When planning your timeline make sure you allow enough time for all of the formal wedding portraits (family, wedding party, you and your groom, etc.) You should plan roughly 3-5 minutes for each group shot. 

    A shot list of must have images that you and your photographer put together should help to eliminate any time crunching. It's a good idea to include the parents in this portion on the wedding planning to ensure that they get the images they want as well. It can eat up a lot time on the wedding day when mom brings her list of portraits she wants. This is where planning plays a huge role.

I can't stress enough how important planning is when it comes to your wedding day. A properly planned out wedding is a less stressful wedding. Know your venue, know how many guests, and know your shot list must haves. And most of all have fun planning your special day. Make it yours and enjoy the process. Happy wedding planning!


The Role of Your Wedding Photographer and How it Affects You


Gone are the days of hiring a wedding photographer and not having any further conversation with them until they show up on your wedding day. Photographers these days are seeking to be more involved in the wedding planning to ensure that you have enough time for the wedding images you want.

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Wedding photographers are not wanting to take the place of your wedding planner, but instead they want to be involved in the conversation especially when it comes to your timeline. Your wedding photographer has a better understanding on how much time it will take to get photos of you and the wedding party, you and your fiancé, and we can’t forget the family photos. It may seem like an hour is sufficient, but in reality, you may need more.


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It’s inevitable, things run late and your photographer can help you create a timeline that allows enough buffer, so your day is less stressful. This also provides a more relaxing mindset for your photo sessions giving you the opportunity to just be in the moment.


Including your wedding photographer in your wedding plans sets the stage for a a less stressful day at least when it comes to the photos.


I Apologize...


It’s been a while and I apologize for leaving you high and dry wondering what happened. I could offer up all the excuses, but I know you’re not interested in those. You deserve better than a list of excuses.

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You deserve an explanation though, so here it goes. In the past few months I have taken a step back to revisit my purpose and evaluate the content I have provided you so far. Although the content has been decent, I feel it has room for improvement. Instead of being all over the board talking about everything wedding, I have refocused  to bring you content that is specific to wedding photography. Yes I might throw in some content that may not be photography related to keep things fresh, but I am here to answer your questions about wedding photography, approach different wedding aspects from a photography view point, and provide you with tips to make your wedding as picturesque as it can be.

I’m hoping you’ll find the content here enjoyable and informative.  I look forward to hearing your questions and reading your comments.


Guesterly...Introducing the VIPs of Your Wedding Day


Are you looking for a way to make your wedding day programs different and unique to you? Want a way to feature those who have been with you through the long haul and have impacted you as individuals and as a couple? Why not present them like the stars they are and give your guests a bit of background information about who is standing up at the alter with you as you say your vows.

McMahan Wedding-7805.jpg just might be the solution for you. From their website you can create questions to ask the various people you want to feature, add their picture, their social media handles, etc and print the information out into a simple flip book for your guests to keep. 

Pricing is pretty reasonable and the flip books can have as many pages as you like. They even offer an online flip book for the more environmentally conscious bride. Your guests are able to log into a password protected personal URL and read about the members of your bridal party, parents, grandparents, etc.

You can also use the tool to give your guests background information on your vendors if they are important players/contributors in your life. For example, if your officiant was a childhood pastor, or if your DJ was your roommate in college.

This tool could be an option for making your wedding programs a little more memorable and taking your wedding to the next level.


Valentine's Day Engagement? What should you do now?


Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days for proposals. If you're one of those lucky girls who received a proposal last night, first CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Second you're probably wondering what next. The wedding planning process is looking to be very overwhelming. You may not know where to start or where to look. Don't fret, in this post I'm going to give you some resources and next steps that will hopefully ease your stress and give you a starting point to what should be one the most enjoyable times for you as a couple.

Create a budget
First and foremost you should create your wedding budget, trust me, the last thing you want to do is start your life together in a mound of debt. Figure out what areas are important to you and how much you are willing/able to spend keeping in mind what is realistic.

According to The Knot, the national average cost of a wedding in 2017 was $33,391. Couples on average spent $15,163 on the venue, $2,630 on photography, and $2,379 on flowers. Click here to read the full article.

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I know these seem like big numbers, but during the budgeting stage, this is where you and your fiancé will figure out how the wedding will be paid for and who will help pay for it. In a recent blog, Traditions: Who Pays For What, I discussed who used to pay for what, but nowadays couples are footing a majority of the bill if not all of it. This is something that you and your fiancé will need to discuss, taking into consideration the financial situation on your families.

If you're not sure where to begin and maybe you aren't an excel or budgeting whiz, there are some great online budgeting tools, like this one from WeddingWire, that can help you set your budget and track your spending.

Start creating your guest list
This is actually something that you will be working on while creating your budget and through the whole planning process. Having a good idea of how many guests you are inviting, will help you in selecting the right venue and how much to budget for things like food, drinks, and favors.

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When creating your guest list you might want to talk with your parents to see if there are any family and family friends that should be invited, this is especially important if your parents are helping pay for the wedding.

You'll also need to decide if kids will be invited, or will it be an adult only event. Adult only allows for couples to get dressed up and go out without the kids. Most couples will see this as a nice date nite and may take advantage of the babysitter and get a hotel room for the night. 

As a rule of thumb you can expect about 85% of the people you invite to attend.

Select a date
When selecting your wedding date you'll want to keep a few things in mind such as holidays and your own work schedules. Of course during the busy season at work, you may not want to get married because it might be too hard for you to get the time off every year to celebrate your anniversary and, if you are able to get the time off, you'll probably be too stressed to enjoy it. 

Consider what season you might want to tie the knot in, and what colors go with that season. Do you like the orange fall tones or the bright vibrant colors of fall? You also want to keep in the mind the weather in the location you want to get married. An August wedding in Arizona may not be ideal unless your goal is to melt down the aisle.

If you find yourself struggling to decide on a date, try picking one that has meaning to you both. Maybe the first day you met, or the day you had your first date.

Another way to decide on a date is find your venue and make a selection based on their availability. Some venues can be booked out years in advance, so if you have a venue in mind, start there before selecting a firm date.

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Splurge on a wedding planner
I highly recommend investing in a wedding planner. They know the industry, they have connections to vendors and can connect you with ones that they personally have experience working with. A good wedding planner will help relieve a lot of stress by taking on the coordination of vendors and making sure the wedding day events go smoothly. Having a wedding planner will allow you the freedom to enjoy the day without having to worry about the flowers, the catering or getting the DJ to flow with the wedding day schedule. You can read about my experience with my wedding planner on my post How My Wedding Planner Kept Me Sane

Congratulations again lovely. Embrace the wedding planning process and allow yourself to enjoy this time in your journey together. 

Happy wedding planning.


5 Romantic Date Ideas


With Valentine's Day approaching you're probably scratching your head to figure out what do do for that special someone in your life. Yes it's true most girls like chocolate and flowers, but why not take it a step further with one of these romantic date ideas. These date ideas are good all year 'round.

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  1. Dinner for two in. Why not surprise him or her with a romantic candle lit dinner at home. you could cook up his favorite meal, have some Marvin Gaye playing quietly in the background. The delicious aroma of their favorite meal is bound to make their mouth water and their heart melt for you. Don't forget to cook up a little dessert and see where the evening takes you.

    Take it a step further and make it reminiscent of a place you guys went together. My husband and I do this at least once a year. We had our honeymoon in Hawaii, so I'll try to find some Hawaiian themed dishes, desserts and even drinks to make. As we sit down to a romantic dinner it takes us back to our time in Hawaii. It's fun to look back and remember the memories we made.

  2. Take a cooking class together. I have heard nothing but great reviews about the Portland's Culinary Workshop. They always have couple's cooking classes on the calendar. My husband and I have been wanting to do this. We've even considered making it a group date with some of our closest friends.

  3. Go wine tasting and splurge on the cheese and crackers. Oregon has some of the best wineries, so why not make a day of it and go wine tasting. Our favorite winery is David Hill. The wines are great and the views are spectacular. You can pack a picnic lunch and sit out on the picnic tables with a couple glasses of wine. In February it will be cold, so dress in layers or bring a blanket to snuggle up in.

  4. Play board games. Bring out those board games you loved to play growing up, or ones that you enjoy as an adult. Lay out a nice spread of cheese, crackers, chips and dips, and candy too. Taking the time to shut off the T.V and just enjoy each other's company is the perfect foundation for some good conversation and great memories.

  5. Collect stamps for your McMenamins passport. If you don't already have a McMenamins passport I encourage you to get one. If you don't know what that is you can find out more about it here. You're guaranteed to have fun going on scavenger hunts, playing a game of shuffle board or just enjoying a beer or wine flight. Our favorite McMenamins is Edgefield. Check it out if you haven't been.

I would love to here what your favorite date nights are. Leave a comment below. I'm always looking for fun date ideas.


Wedding Spotlight: Jason and Tiffany McMahan


This post is a bit overdue, but still so worth the post and wait. This precious couple tied the knot on October 14th at the gorgeous Veiled Garden at the Abernethy Center in Oregon City. It was chilly day, but the love between these two was hot.

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It was refreshing watching these two interact with each other throughout the day. So much love and laughter.

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Jason and Tiffany met in an unconventional way...playing Words With Friends. They both stepped out with hearts open and took a chance on something that has proven to be a match made in heaven.

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Spending time with them in the year leading up to their wedding day convinced me that they were made for each other. They fit together like a ball and glove.

It was amazing to see such a beautiful blending of families and to see how Jason's boys accept Tiffany and how Tiffany's son and daughter accept Jason. This family is nothing but laughs and these laughs are sure to last for eternity.

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Congratulations Jason and Tiffany! We wish you both and your precious family, a lifetime of happiness.

Venue: Veiled Garden - Abernethy Center
Bridal gown: David's Bridal
Tux Rental: Men's Warehouse
Florist: A Floral Affair
Cake: Chanel Shavers
DJ: CJ Martinez
Hair and Makeup: Jennifer Jones


Groomsmen Gift Ideas


When creating your wedding budget don’t forget to budget some money for gifts for your best guys and ladies. Here are a few gift ideas for the groomsmen.

Think experience

Instead of giving a material gift, think of gifting an experience. Is he into action and adventure, or traveling? Check out experiences at and gift him the experience of flying a helicopter, golf lessons with a PGA pro, or a paintball game.

Sports Car experience

How about gifting the best guys win the wedding with the experience of driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini with What guy doesn't like getting behind the wheel of a fast beauty?

Personalized shavers

Are you looking for something more practical? How about a personalized shaver from Backyard Sawdust on

The flask has a lot of gift ideas for every guy in your wedding party. Check out their customized flasks, poker sets and grilling sets.

These guys have been by your main and are standing with you as a couple on the most important day of your life. Show them some love with a gift of thanks for being such an important part of his life and your's.