The First Man in My Life...Dad


My dad, the first man I ever loved. The man that showed me what a true man looks like, acts like, and should treat me like. He worked long hours to ensure we were provided for. As a carpenter, seasonal work made the holidays a little difficult, but he always found a way to make the holidays special for us. He taught me what it means to work hard.

He always puts others first and has a heart of gold. What ever he does he is humble about it and doesn't like being the center of attention and never seeks out recognition for what he does. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He does not cut corners and will never cheat you.

He is the perfect gentleman when it comes to being a husband to my mom. He's by no means perfect, but he is the perfect display of how my husband should love me. He leads with a gentle hand and makes sure the needs of his family are met, not just physical, but emotional as well.

He is the man who taught me how to drive. He is the one who helped me by my first car. He is the one who worked on my car with me. I am who I am because of this man. Hanging out with him brings nothing but laughter.

I'm proud to call this man DAD.




4 Benefits of Having a Wedding Day Shot List


As you plan and prep for your wedding day; coordinating with all your wedding vendors to ensure the venue is as you want it, the food is delivered on time, and the flower arrangements are delivered on time and set up according to your liking, you should be working with your wedding photographer on a wedding day shot list. Yes, your photographer should be asking you questions and working with you to develop a shot list, but you want to make sure you are advising your wedding photographer about any family dynamics that they might need to be made aware of as well as some of your must have shots that are important to you.

Planning out a shot list will provide several benefits, here are just a few.

Having a plan will reduce the amount of time spent on family photos

By talking with your photographer about what shots are important to you, you and your photographer can create a plan that will speed up the family photos after the ceremony. Your photographer will be able to create a plan that will reduce time and get you back to your guests faster. A wedding shot list has the most benefits when it comes to family photos when you have a big family.

Have a better understanding of time needed

Planning out the shot list with your wedding photographer will give both of you a better idea on the time needed for the wedding photos. This will help you when you are planning out your timeline and will give you a better idea on what time your make up artist and hair dresser should arrive. There is nothing like having your photographer ready to take the first look pictures when your makeup and hair aren't done and your bouquet hasn't arrived yet. You'll also be able to prepare your family and wedding party for the wedding photos by letting them know how much time you'll need them for. 

Reduce the risk of forgetting a shot you wanted

When you are creating your shot list ensure that you ask both sets of parents what shots are important to them. This will give you a more thorough list. Having a list on paper will ensure that all the important shots are captured. A lot is happening during the wedding day and if you don't have a plan before hand something is bound to slip through the cracks.

Reduce awkward moments - wrong parents together (divorced parents - know the dynamics

When talking with your wedding photographer about the shot list be sure to advise of any family dynamics (divorced parents, awkward family relationships). When your photographer is aware of potential relationship issues, they can arrange the family photos to ensure there are no awkward moments and problems don't escalate.

Just like any aspect of your wedding, you should have a game plan for the wedding photos. This goes for the first look, bridal party, and family photos. When you have a plan the risks of problems arising is reduced and you are bound to not forget a particular shot you wanted.

Click here for a sample shot list.


5 Summer Date Ideas


As the temperatures start heating up, heat things up with your love with a few non-traditional date ideas. Forego the dinner and a move date night and spice things up with one or all of these date ideas.

Surprise him with a picnic lunch.

Pack a picnic lunch and go to a local winery or your favorite winery if you have one. You can enjoy some wine tasting or buy a bottle of your favorite wine, snag a picnic bench or a spot on the grass and enjoy the views while soaking up each other's company. After lunch walk the vineyards hand in hand.

Go for a bike ride.

Air up the tires in the bikes and grab your helmet for an afternoon bike ride. Pack some snacks or make some sandwiches for a little picnic along the way.

Hit the hiking trails.

Lace up those shoes and take an early morning or afternoon hike. Nature has a way of bringing people together and what better way to enjoy each other's company than with a trail and beautiful scenery.

Dinner under the stars

Don't feel like heading out for the night, not a problem. Cook up his favorite meal or grab his favorite take out and enjoy dinner out on the patio under the stars. Light up the fire pit and cook up some s'mores for dessert.

Take a road trip

Make a day of it and go on a road trip. Not sure where to go, pull out a map, close your eyes and point to a spot on the map...there's your destination.

However you choose to spend your time together, don't forget to enjoy the experience and each other. Little adventures like these have a way of bringing two people closer and fosters deeper conversations and insight into each other. Go out, have fun, and "love the one you're with".

I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite dates you've had?


Why You Need a Wedding Day Timeline




You have planned and hustled to make this day the perfect day for you and your groom...and we can't forget your family and friends, so you don't want to see it all go to ruins by making the mistake of not having a wedding day timeline. There are so many benefits for having a wedding day timeline, but here are just four that should motivate you to create your wedding timeline.


Plan to succeed

Ok, so your wedding wait fail if you don't have a timeline, but you could make it more successful by planning out the day. Your wedding timeline will help get all of the events and details of the day out on paper so you can visually see how everything should flow. It will also help you see some potential problems so you can proactively make decisions or changes that could prevent these problems from ruining your day.


Reduce wedding day stress

There may not be a quick solution to warding off wedding day stress, but you can at least take some steps to reduce the stress the day may bring. Just like preparing for a test in school, when you are prepared for the events of the day and know what to expect, you will be more relaxed.


Get everyone on the same page

The wedding timeline when shared with your vendors, family and friends, can get everyone on the same page and clear up any confusion about when and where they need to be or have have things delivered. Your family and bridal party will know when and where they need to be for pictures. Your hairstylist will know when to arrive in order to have you and your entourage ready for pre-ceremony pictures. Your florist will also know when and where to have the bouquet and boutonnieres delivered in time for the first look session and pre-ceremony pictures.


Keep the events moving

The timeline gives organization to the wedding day and keeps the events of the day running smoothly. Yes you will have some bumps and hurdles come up, but it's nothing that can't be solved or worked around. The timeline just helps to keep festivities moving forward.


Your timeline is not set in stone. It is a working document, and should be looked at as a guideline. There will be hiccups during the day, something may take longer than originally planned, but in the end, the timeline will help keep you, your wedding party, family, and vendors on track. 

Click here to download a free customizable wedding day timeline.


The Wedding Registry for When You Already Have Everything


More couples these days have been living together or are combining two households leaving them with no lack of household goods, so when it comes to the wedding registry they're getting more creative. Instead of the typical registry of years past, with dishes and household goods, couples are doing honeymoon registries and even wine registries. Here are 3 wedding registries to consider if you both already have everything you need.

  1. Honeymoon Registry
    Couples are looking to Honeymoon Registries like Wanderable and Honeymoon Wishes, to help pay for different honeymoon excursions. Honeymoon registries are a fun way to get your family and friends involved in planning your honeymoon. The pictures you take from your honeymoon, doing the things that your friends and family have helped pay for, you could put into the thank you notes. This helps bring things full circle for them and lets them know that they contributed to the honeymoon fun.

  2. Down payment for your home
    This one is a little hard for me to grasp, I personally would not feel right about asking wedding guests to give me money to buy a home, but some couples see this as alternative to the traditional wedding registry. Some couples are thinking more practical and seeking the help of family and friends to come up with a down payment for their first home together. Sites like Honey Fund help couples save up for the downpayment for their new home. The fund allows friends and family to contribute funds to their account that the couple can then put down on their first home.

  3. Charity Registry
    For the giving and charitable couples the charity registries like allow family and friends to donate money to the charities the couple holds dear. This is a great option for the couple that has everything and just wants to give to those who are less fortunate or to fund a cause they hold near and dear to their hearts.

I'm curious to hear from you. What do you think of these unique wedding registries? What does your wedding registry include? Leave your comment below.


6 Questions You Should Ask Your Wedding Photographer


Finding a wedding photographer can be a daunting task. you want someone with the skill level at the right price point and who you jive with. So how do you find this diamond in the ruff? Here are 6 questions to ask wedding photographers to help you find the right one for your wedding day.

  1. What is your shooting style?
    With so many photography styles out there (photojournalistic, lifestyle, classic, edgy, etc.) you want to make sure that the style your photographer shoots meets your tastes. You should be able to determine their style by looking at their online portfolio and/or sample albums, but the style they shoot will also determine how they approach your wedding and interact with you to get the shots they need. A classic wedding photographer might do more posed shots where a lifestyle photographer will photograph the moments as they unfold, with little to no interaction or prompting.

  2. How many weddings have you shot and how many were the same size as ours?
    There are a lot of photographers currently in the wedding industry and more and more are entering the industry on a daily basis. You want to make sure that the photographer you hire has the experience and the confidence to document your wedding. Someone who is experienced will not only have the appropriate equipment, but they will also have good knowledge of the wedding flow ensuring that they are in the right spot for those special moments.

  3. What are your packages and pricing? Are they customizable?
    Wedding packages come in many shapes and sizes and varying price points, so you want to make sure that the photographer fits your budget. You also want to make sure that you can remove items from the package that you don't need or add items/products that are more important to you. The last thing you want to do is pay for something that doesn't meet your needs, something that will be of little to no value to you.

  4. Can we pay for more photography time if we need it? How much?
    Photography time is usually included in the wedding package and varies by photographer. You want to make sure that you have enough time for your photographer to capture your wedding day from beginning to end. Ask your photographer if you are able to add more photography time to the package or if you can add photography time the day of the wedding in case the events stray from the wedding timeline. Last thing you want is to not have a photographer capture the two of you cutting the cake, or letting loose on the dance floor, partying it up with all your wedding guests.

  5. How many other events will you be photographing that day?
    Don't assume that your wedding is the only one that your photographer is going to be photographing that day. You want to make sure that you are hiring a photographer that will be dedicated to your wedding that day and not be rushing off to another event.

  6. How long does it take to get the images back?
    This will vary by photographer. If you hire a wedding photographer who shoots with film, you might be looking at a longer turnaround time because they have to send the film to the lab for developing. The editing process of the photographer might also cause a longer turnaround time. Make sure to ask so you know what to expect. Most wedding photographers will post some teaser images on social media or their blog within a couple days of your wedding, but you should clarify the turnaround time for the images.

The important thing is that you find a wedding photographer who you can trust and have confidence in photographing your wedding so you can focus on each other and having fund with your guests. These questions should give you a good starting point.

Remember to embrace this time and enjoy it. Happy Wedding Planning!

If you would like to learn more about my wedding photography services contact me for your free consultation.


How My Wedding Planner Kept Me Sane


He proposed. I said yes. Then he said, "we're getting you a wedding planner."

My husband definitely knows me and knew he did not want to spend a year engaged to a stress ball. Let's face it; I didn't know all the ins and outs of planning a wedding especially a destination wedding, so I went in search of a wedding planner.

Our wedding planner helped recommend vendors in the area, which was extremely helpful since I knew they were coming highly recommended from her. She had seen their work, she had experience working with them, so I felt at ease that whatever vendor I chose would do a great job. I was able to be active in the planning process without having to stress over coordinating all the details.


Our planner was able to help make decisions and also had recommendations based off of her years of experience. After all she had planned and coordinated more weddings than I had.

We really saw the value of hiring her the closer it came to the wedding. She was working hard coordinating the details, communicating with the vendors and making sure everything was right on track. When the day came, we were able to see all the work she had done. Our wedding went off without a hitch...except the one between us (cheesy...I know). She was on top of the timeline, she was aware of the photographer’s time and was quick to ask if we wanted to move the events forward or pay for more photography time. She was even great coordinating cleaning up and getting items such as bouquets and toasting glasses to the appropriate people.

Our wedding was a success because of her. I believe that having a wedding planner allowed us to enjoy the process and the event to the fullest.

If you're a planner and find joy in coordinating such events and look forward to coordinating your own wedding, more power to you. I wish I were more like you, but for those of you like me that want to be part of the planning process without the stress, I would definitely encourage you, if you can, consider the option of a wedding planner. The good ones are worth the investment.


Adventures in the Kitchen: The Couple That Cooks Together Stays Together


Cooking, I like to do it, my husband loves to grill, but we usually don't do it. We are doing more of what we call meal assembly. We're baking chicken, quinoa, and nuking black beans in the microwave and creating our own chicken bowls most of the time. Cooking from a recipe though, typically doesn't happen unless I'm cooking for company. As of last week, this is changing.


We're probably like a lot of couples, we go to the grocery store having in mind what we're going to make for the week, we buy all the items we need, but by the time the week is over, the produce has gone bad and we're having to toss it. We have wasted so much money on groceries that just went bad. This is where the decision to try Blue Apron was made. We have friends and family who have been doing it for a while and they rave about how delicious the meals are, and how nothing goes bad because they receive exactly what they need for the recipes they are cooking. They have also mentioned that it's been a fun time for them as a couple to come together at the end of their day and just spend time with each other.

Last week my husband and I received our first shipment of food and recipes. We're not geniuses in the kitchen by any means, but we found the recipes to be easy to follow. We've really enjoyed the memories that we have created this past week. It's been so enjoyable. It's one of the things I now look forward to at the end of the day.

Cooking together as a couple can really do wonders for your relationship and strengthening the bond. It forces you to work together as a team and communicate with each other to get the task done. Then you get to enjoy your creation together over a glass of wine and conversation.

I would challenge every couple to take at least one night to cook a meal together. If you don't know how to cook consider starting with a service like Blue Apron. If you love to cook, but your partner is not one for cooking, try to incorporate them into your love of cooking. Just remember to be kind and encouraging to them as they try to do what you love to do. I give you all permission to go and have fun with your food.