Engagement Portrait Session: What to Wear?


You've booked your wedding engagement portrait session, but now you're wondering "what do we wear." Well here are some tips.

Keep patterns simple. 

Try to chose fabrics that have simple patterns. Busy patterns can be distracting and take the attention away from the two of you.

Don't be afraid of color.

It's ok to add pops of color, but chose one article of clothing to bring that pop and make the rest neutral. Too much color can make your portraits appear busy and distracting.

Don't forget to accessorize.

Another way you can make your portraits more complete is by accessorizing.

Ladies, think about your bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc. This can also be a way to introduce pops of color without being distracting. For the men, they can wear a nice watch, if they like rings and necklaces that would work too.

Bring a couple outfits.

To add more variety to your portrait session, bring a couple outfits to change into. This will give you more variety to choose from. Consider bringing a dressy outfit and a somewhat casual outfit. 
For you ladies, think about bringing a dress and a pair of jeans with a nice blouse.


For the fellas, you can mix it up with a sweater and a more casual buttoned down shirt.

Don't forget the finer details.

Ladies, this is the engagement session, so don't be surprised if that ring ends up the center point of some of the pictures. This would be a great time for you to refresh that manicure. In fact make it a mani-pedi if you plan on wearing sandals or peep toe shoes.

Fellas need to keep in mind that things like socks might be visible in a few of the pictures, so wearing ones that match the outfit or even the shoe is ideal. If you are taking pictures at the beach where you might be barefoot, make sure those toes are in good shape. Maybe consider going together for a mani-pedi. This could be a great moment for the two of you to get pampered together.

Above all, remember to just have fun and let your personalities come through. Just get caught up in the moment with each other and your love will naturally come through in your pictures.


The 4 Reasons You Should Do An Engagement Photo Session


Engagement photos...people have been doing them for ages, but you're wondering is it really for me, or rather, do we really need more pictures of us. Couldn't the money be better spent elsewhere?


Well I'm here to tell you that your money couldn't be better spent and here's why.

  1. It gives you a chance to meet with your photographer and interact with him or her.
    Yeah you probably sat down and talked with them during the consultation, but the engagement session is your opportunity to get comfortable with them. It also allows your photographer to get comfortable with the two of you as a couple and build that report with you so they know how to get the best images of you.

  2. It gives you and your hubby-to-be an excuse to get dolled up and make a date of it.
    Life is busy and add wedding planning to that, you need a date girl, and what better time than any to go have your picture taken with the love of your life. Heck, you could even plan the date and just ask your photographer to be your paparazzi. Go out Hollywood style.

  3. You'll regret not documenting this moment.
    Why not capture this amazing moment of your story as a couple? Capture these moments while your here and in them so you can look back years later and remember the sweet moments together. Make your engagement photo session one of the first in your story and journey together.

  4. The images captured at the engagement session can be worked into your wedding.
    Rob and I took our engagement photos and created a photo book out of them. At our wedding reception we used the book as the guest book. It's our own keepsake from our wedding instead of just a book with names it.

Ready to book your engagement session? Contact me for your free consultation.


4 Tips to Take the Stress Out of the Family Wedding Portraits


Let's face it, you spent the last few months stressing and planning the perfect wedding for you and your fiancé. The formal portraits don't have to add to that stress. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for the formal family portraits so you can relax and have fun.

  1. Get all the parents involved. Find out what family pictures are most important to them.
    Talk to your parents and find out what pictures they would like to have. By having this discussion before hand, you can reduce this portion of the photography time significantly. Your photographer will be able to focus on getting the images you've requested as well as some extra ones without being interrupted by family members making portrait requests. The photographer will know what is important to you and your family which will ultimately eliminate or reduce your stress allowing you to focus on just having fun with your family and wedding party.

  2. Plan on arranging entertainment for your guests to keep them busy during this time.
    The formal pictures after the ceremony can take upwards to an hour or two, so you might want to consider arranging entertainment for the cocktail hour. Photo booths are a great idea for this. This could also be the time that you have people sign your guest book or photo mat, you could even consider having your guests video tape a message for you. Check out 4 Must Haves For a Successful Wedding Cocktail Reception.

  3. Consider doing first look pictures before the ceremony.
    I know this idea is still a fairly new concept and you may or may not be open to breaking the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding, but I do ask that you hear me out on this. There are many benefits to doing a first look session (check out 4 Benefits of the First Look Session) and one of those is it gives more time for the family portraits. Typically the portrait time after the ceremony is divided into getting pictures of you and your fiancé with the various family arrangements. After that you have to take pictures with your brides maids and maid of honor and him with his men, this too can include it's own multiple arrangements. Then, you can't forget pictures of the two of you. All of this within 1-2 hours. The first look pictures can free up some of that time and also produce more pictures of the two of you than if you waited till after the ceremony.

  4. Communicate with the family members participating in the pictures, what to expect and where to be after the ceremony for the formal portraits. Last thing you want is to have a scavenger hunt for aunt Betsy.

    This is important. You can eliminate a lot of time if you communicate to your family what is expected of them and where they need to be after the ceremony. This is even a great task to delegate to your mom and/or his mom or to your maid of honor and/or bridesmaids. By letting people know what to expect and where to be it could move things along quicker when it comes time to taking the family portraits especially when you don't have to waste time waiting for Uncle Bob or Aunt Betsy who are at the bar talking it up with cousin Allan.

Whatever you do, just remember to breathe and have fun. This is, after all, your day!


4 Must Haves for a Successful Wedding Cocktail Reception


The cocktail reception should create a social atmosphere, encouraging your guests to mingle amongst themselves and keep themselves occupied while you're busy taking pictures after the ceremony. The last thing you want is your guests to get bored and start interrupting your portrait session, or worse yet leaving. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while planning your cocktail hour.

  1. Good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
    You want to not only cater to your alcohol drinking guests, but also your non-alcohol drinking guests. Have a good selection of both. Maybe consider working with your bartender on creating a signature drink. Consider creating a virgin signature drink as well. The more creative you get with this the better. If you have a drink that tells a story about your relationship even better.

    A friend of mine for her wedding chose the Mei Tai as her signature drink because her and her husband had met each other in Hawaii. Choosing a drink that tells something about your story as a couple gives your guests a little glimpse into who you guys are as a couple.

  2. Delicious appetizers
    Everyone loves food, so make sure you have a good selection of delicious appetizers. Your guests will be getting hungry by this time and food always fosters conversation. There's something about eating and enjoying people's company, they just go hand in hand.

  3. Live Music
    As opposed to just having music playing in the background, live music gives people something to do. You'll have a few people get up and dance, you'll have those that are just entertained by sitting at their table watching the band and tapping their toes, and you'll have those guest that just enjoy the background music while they catch up with old friends or meet new ones.

  4. Photobooth
    Photobooths are really popular. They not only provide entertainment for your guests, but it creates great memories for them and for you if you chose to have your guests create a scrapbook from their photos for you. Most photobooths allow your guests to post their photobooth pictures straight to their social media which allows those that maybe couldn't make it to your wedding to still participate in it.

These are just a few essentials to consider when planning a successful wedding cocktail hour. These ideas will keep your guests happy and entertained until you make your grand entrance. Think about ways to add your own personality and story into your cocktail hour to not only make it your own, but to get your guests acquainted with who you are as a couple.


Jason and Tiffany: Engagement Session


Jason and Tiffany are a dynamic duo. I had so much fun with them in November during their engagement session at the beautiful Cathedral Park in Portland, Oregon. I'm looking forward to their wedding in October. Here's a sample of some of the moments captured.

Tiffany and Jason have a unique story, one that I've never heard until I met with them for their consultation. These two met online, but not in the traditional sense. They met while playing Words With Friends. Tiffany saw that Jason was a local Words With Friends player, so she invited him for a game. He accepted and the rest is history.

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Kissing poses were Jason's favorite. He just couldn't get enough.

Being in Oregon, rain was inevitable, but this cute couple was up for anything. They were such good sports and didn't let a little rain spoil any moments.


Basic Invite: Invitations, Stationary, and More


We are proud to announce that we have partnered with BasicInvite.com to give our clients a special discount; and the ability to create beautifully designed invitations instantly online.

Basic Invite is a custom stationery company that has been in business since 2006, and offers a wide selection of completely customizable invitations and cards perfect to introduce all of life’s biggest moments.

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No Matter if you’re looking for the perfect save the date to tell your friends and family about the big news, or if you are just sending your annual Christmas card, Basic Invite lets you create a card that is as unique as you.

Why Basic Invite?

Hundreds of Colors

Basic Invite is one of the only companies online that allows you to change the color of each element on any one of their invitations giving you almost unlimited color options so you can create your own unique look and let your personality shine.

Free Printed Samples

Basic Invite offers a completely free customized sample of your invitation with your photos, colors, and text so you can see your exact card before you place your full order.

Love It Guarantee

Basic Invite is so confident that you will love your invitations, that they will reprint your invitations, or offer a refund, if you are not happy with your cards for any reason. This is all a part of their “Love It” guarantee.

Basic Invite offers hundreds of hand picked invitation designs to give customers the perfect starting point for any style or taste. Choose from a full line of customizable wedding invitations, graduation announcements, and baby stationery as well as holiday cards at www.basicinvite.com.


Traditions (Overhauled): Ceremony


Wedding ceremony traditions use to include things like the unity candle, releasing of doves or butterflies, to even communion, but the traditions they are a changing.

Here are what some couples are doing to update and overhaul the wedding ceremony traditions.

Wedding Ceremony Tradition #1: The unity candle

Overhauled: The reversed unity candle

In the normal unity candle ceremony the mom's of both the groom and bride light two separate candles. The bride and groom then take both of those candles and light one big candle to symbolize the unity of the two families.

According to Kristen O'Gorman Klein in her article 10 Meaningful Touches for Your Ceremony (Bridalguide.com), in the reversed unity candle ceremony each guest is given a candle, the bride and groom light a single candle and start by passing the flame to their bridesmaids and groomsmen. The wedding party then turns around and starts passing the flame to the guests until all candles have been lit resulting in a stunning ambiance of light.

Wedding Ceremony Tradition #2: Sand Blending

Overhauled: Beer Blending

For this tradition instead of mixing together sand of various colors into a vase or glass container as a symbol of your unity, Kristen says you take two different kinds of beers (a dark beer and a light beer) and blend them together and drink. With this overhauled tradition, the officiant will describe the beer and relate it's qualities to the bride and groom's personalities. The bride and groom then blend the beers together in a glass making their own blend and drink.

Wedding Ceremony Tradition #3: The Vows

Overhauled: The New Vows

The vows are very sacred and are usually only between the bride and groom, but in this tradition the bride and groom aren't the only one's taking vows, the family and friends are too.

With this new vows tradition, after the bride and groom have exchanged their vows the officiant addresses the guests, “Now that you, beloved friends and family of the couple (names), have heard them recite their vows, do you promise, from this day forward, to encourage them and love them, to give them your guidance, and to support them in being steadfast in the promises that they have made?” (Kristen O'Gorman Klein, Bridalguide.com)

I love this one, marriage is difficult and I think this tradition is very powerful and speaks volumes knowing that so many people are fighting for you and your marriage.

Wedding Ceremony Tradition #4: Seating

Overhauled: Ditch Sides and Go Round

Ok, so this one isn't so much of a wedding ceremony tradition, but I like it. Typically, more so in the past than in current day weddings, the bride's family would sit on one side and the grooms family and friends would sit on the other side during the ceremony. Why not switch things up a bit and go with circular seating.

Set the ceremony venue up with the stage in the middle and the guest seating wrapping all the way around the two of you. The will not only create a more intimate atmosphere, but it allows your guests to see and hear what's taking place from all angles. You can even take this idea and expand it out to others such as spiral seating or even all around ceremony seating. Check out Bridget Clegg's article 7 Seriously Creative Ceremony Seating Ideas.


10 Things to Consider When Creating Your Wedding Budget


Congratulations on your engagement. This a very exciting time and one that should be enjoyable for you. I'm sure you've already started dreaming about the dress, the venue, and the flowers, but before you get too ahead of yourself, it is important to sit down as a couple and create a wedding budget. The last thing you want to do is start your life together in debt. Wedding budgets can be a little overwhelming, but can save you both from a lot headache.

Let's face it weddings can cost a lot. According to http://www.costofwedding.com, the average Portland, Oregon wedding costs $8,110. A lot goes into weddings, so here is a list of 5 things you should keep in mind when creating your wedding budget.

  1. Figure out who is paying for what.
    You and your fiancé should sit down and discuss if the two of you are going to pay for the wedding, or if family is going to help out. Have a meeting with both of your families and see if they are willing and able to pitch in. Sometimes families want to help and almost have the expectation, or assumption that are expected to pitch in (read Traditions: Who Pays For What) where they can and sometimes they don't have the means to do so. Now is the best time to find out how much each family can contribute. This is a key step in helping you figure out how big or small your wedding budget really is.

  2. Location
    When setting up your wedding budget consider your location. Are you planning a destination wedding in Fiji, or a quant ceremony at the local church with a reception at the neighborhood park? Knowing your budget can help you determine your location.

    Different geographical locations will vary in price and come with extra added costs. If you do a destination wedding you'll have to take into consideration the extra travel costs. Are you going to help cover some travel expenses for important family members who maybe can't afford to pay for their own travel costs.

    When Rob and I were considering a location for our wedding we were looking at doing a destination wedding in Hawaii. After looking into the costs and figuring out who we really wanted to be present at the wedding, we discovered that we just could not afford it. We would have to help our parents with their flights and pay for the kids to fly out as well. Instead we settled on the next best option which allowed us to splurge in other areas because we didn't have the extra travel costs. We decided to go with a semi-distant wedding (8 hours travel time for most of our family and friends), which still allowed a lot of our family and friends to attend while eliminating the extra travel expenses we would've encountered with the Hawaii wedding.

  3. Date and time
    If you are looking for ways to cut back on your budget, so you can have more honeymoon money, or you're budget isn't as big as you would like it to be, but you don't want to skimp on things, consider having your wedding during the week or even during the day. These aren't popular times for venues or other wedding vendors, so you can usually get the same service and elegance at a price that could work better for your budget. Having a wedding during the off days almost guarantees that you'll get the vendors you want and the venue you want, so there aren't other couples wanting the same day.

    Also, scheduling your wedding during the week or during the day, can help keep your attendance down and help reduce costs, as some people won't be able to make it due to other obligations.

  4. Number of guests
    Another thing to keep in mind when creating your budget is how many people are you going to invite. Typically you can expect about 80% of your invited guests to actually attend. The number of guests you have will effect your catering, stationary, and favors budget.

  5. Beauty treatments
    Ladies, let's remember to take some time out of the wedding planning to unwind. Planning a wedding can be very stressful and a little spa day with your entourage of girls is a must. Also, budget for those beauty treatments such as tanning, regular massages, and the mani pedis you need to make sure you are ready and looking and feeling your absolute best on your special day.

    Guys, I haven't forgotten about you. You too will also need some down time with your guys. Make sure to include in your budget a golf day, a hunting trip, an indoor racing day, or whatever you and the guys like to do to unwind.

These are just a few things to keep in the back of your mind while you make decisions about your special day. With the proper budget, you can at least reduce a little of the money stress and focus on the journey. Don't forget to let go, have fun, and make memories together.