One of the best parts about running your own business is that, for the most part, you work whenever you want. One of the worst parts of running your own business is that you end up working all the time. You don’t have any set hours. You work a lot on the weekends and then during the week you just keep working. Sort of feels like you are just working all day every day. So this summer as things are starting to get pretty crazy with my schedule, I am planning my time off – usually a full day – most weeks until things calm down . . . think October. I’ll also have days where I clown around some or meet a friend for coffee or go shopping. But I always end up working too. I have gone through and planned my time off throughout the summer. Some weeks I just can’t do it and some weeks I can. But those days off I am going to treasure.
This past week I spent my full day off going for a beautiful hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge with my friend Tara Brown. And then going for a gigantic breakfast at one of my favorite places in North Bend, Tweed’s. The rest of the day I had a pedicure and did a bit of shopping. My only issue was my very sore and hurting knees from that hike. I am not conditioned for that kind of exercise for sure! I have to schedule this time off or I won’t take it.
+Hike up Rattlesnake Ledge (see above).
+A weekend up at Camano Island with friends. Full of relaxation, laughs, wine, fishing, and good food!
+Meeting new photography friends and getting super excited to second shoot next weekend out in North Bend right at the foot of Mt. Si. Can’t wait!
+Movies with the girls. At Cinebarre. With wine. And Fried Pickles!
+My closet is so clean!
+Hurting knees from hike up Rattlesnake Ledge (see above).
+It hurts me to say it but I saw the movie Aloha with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams last weekend and it might just be the worst moving I’ve seen in the theater in years. Definitely wasn’t my jam.
+During my de-cluttering (see below), I feel like there is a lot of out place in my house or left to deal with during another phase. Things feel a little cluttery right now, unfortunately.
+The amount of time I spent looking for my own little slice of heaven on Camano Island after spending another wonderful weekend at a friend’s place.
+The amount of clothes and books I got rid of during the first 2 phases of my de-cluttering. If you haven’t already, check out the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. And start your own tidying up.
+I am so grateful for this gorgeous, amazing area I live in where there are mountains and trees for miles and miles.
+Breakfast food. It makes me so happy. Hashbrowns in particular. And eggs. And bacon.
+The soothing sound of Annie’s snoring throughout the day as she sleeps right by my desk. P.S. Annie is a beagle.
+Speaking of Annie, our neighbor called us the other morning saying she saw Annie running up our hill. I didn’t hear the message until 2 hours later. We panicked! Annie is a runner and if she had a 2-hour lead, we’d never see her again. But she was in our backyard sniffing around. I’m grateful for neighbors who care enough to call us even when it wasn’t even our dog.
I have favorite parts of weddings. I love the first kiss, a first look, the father-daughter dances. Those are all special small moments that I can capture on my camera. But the one thing about weddings that I think I find most enriching for me is the ceremony. While I’m quietly stalking around getting different angles and big shots of the ceremony space and the mother of the bride dabbing away her tears, I am listening. I listen to wedding ceremonies intently. I hear what is being said and I take so much away from that part of a wedding day. Some wedding ceremonies are light and fun, some are serious and solemn and it doesn’t matter which type of ceremony is it, I always, always come away with something.
The last wedding I was at, I was second shooting for the lovely Cassie Pepper. The ceremony was officiated by the groom’s cousin and much of it was light and fun. And then she read this super sweet poem that I spent about 3 hours looking for on the internet the next day. I’m not a poetry girl by nature and a lot of times when a poem is read I start to hear the parents and teachers from Charlie Brown. But this was so sweet and simple and such a lovely picture of the future for a newly married couple.
The Future – by Emma Salmon
In my future I see you and me,
And a house and garden filled with trees.
I see dinner parties surrounded by friends,
And a vegetable patch we love to tend.
I see cosy nights in front of the fire,
And a four-poster bed for when we tire.
I see our kitchen which will be the heart of the home,
And a Victorian bath brimming with foam.
I see muddy wellies by the front door,
And the kids eating cookies and asking for more.
I see nights in the garden camping under the stars,
And shelves full of mismatching local jam jars.
I see family picnics outside with the dog,
And a little blue shed containing the logs.
I see us sat by the window watching the snow,
And reading the papers and learning to grow.
I see pictures of family in quirky frames,
And letters on the kids’ doors spelling out their names.
I see laughter, pain, kisses and tears,
And helping each other to confront our fears.
I see you as my friend and also my lover,
Your confidant and your children’s mother.
I see a wonderful future for you and I,
And it’s cloaked in love until we die.
As many people know, I am a TOTAL sap at wedding ceremonies and this poem had me wiping away tears while I continued shooting and hoping my focusing system wouldn’t turn it’s back on me.
Save the Date cards are a fantastic way to announce your wedding to your family and friends. They can be particularly useful if you’re having a lot of guests coming in from out of town or if you’re having a destination wedding. Best to give your family and friends notice about potential travel arrangements they may need to make.
You can just send out a card without a photo but many people choose to use photos from an engagement session for their Save the Date cards. For my business, I choose to include Engagement Sessions with all of my wedding packages. It’s the best way for me to really get to know you, for you to really get to know me, for you to get comfortable being in front of the camera and know what to expect on your wedding day. And you’ll get beautiful photos from your session. Win-win!
If your wedding photographer doesn’t include engagement sessions in their wedding packages, ask if they offer them. You can expect a standard engagement session with a variety of images to cost a few hundred dollars. It really is worth the investment.
If you’re planning to send out Save the Date cards for your upcoming wedding, it’s best to start planning as early as you can. Save the Date cards should be sent out 6-9 months in advance of your wedding, or even a bit earlier if you’re having a destination wedding. Your guests appreciate knowing with plenty of lead time so they can plan their vacations or travel to attend your wedding.
Here are 3 tips for getting the best photos for your Save the Date cards
1. Location, Location, Location
What should we wear and where should we have it are the two most common questions I get about engagement sessions. I’m happy to suggest some pretty places for an engagement session but I’d prefer if my clients pick a location that’s special to them. Don’t be afraid to bring more of you as a couple to the session.
Was your first date a day hike and then that’s where he proposed? Perfect spot for an engagement session! Do you love baseball? How about a baseball field? I’ve seen sessions where couples have arranged to come into a major league baseball park when it’s empty for their session. What a cool idea. Do you love boating or sailing? Plan your session on a sailboat. I’d love to go on a sailboat. Get creative.
Don’t be afraid to do something or be somewhere you love. When you share this part of you on your Save the Date cards, you tell your family and friends more about you as a couple.
2. Top Tips
Engagement sessions don’t have to be boring or nerve-wracking. Here are a few ways to ensure success at your engagement session and get the best photos:
- Be Yourself – If you are a goofy person, be goofy. If you are a serious or conservative person, own it. Be who you are. If you’re soft and romantic, work it. When you are being yourself, you will be more at ease.
- Relax – A lot of people are nervous in front of the camera. It’s normal. If you’re particularly nervous, go have a cocktail before your session to help with the jitters. (Notice I said A cocktail – don’t have 6 cocktails.) Take a few deep breaths or go for a walk beforehand. It’ll be easier for you to relax.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Show Affection – This is a Be Yourself thing. Don’t hold back from snuggling, hugging, holding hands or kissing during your session. Is it awkward at first to be kissing in front of a camera? A little I guess, but you can do this!
- Have Your Hair and Makeup Professionally Done – Ladies, want to know the number one way you can feel more confident and sexy during your engagement session? Have your hair and makeup professionally done beforehand. You’ll feel glamorous and special and most importantly confident. And when you feel confident and beautiful, your photos will show that.
3. Save the Date Designs – The Chicken or the Egg
What comes first? Seeing your engagement session photos and then finding a perfect design that fits a photo you love. Or finding a cool design that you love and taking a picture to fit in that design?
I don’t know that either one is 100% correct. I think it’s sort of a combo-burrito. It doesn’t hurt to look at Save the Date designs and have a couple in mind that you really like. Share them with your photographer in case there is a special type of photo they will need to capture. But I caution you to not pick a Save the Date design that shows a photo in it and then ask the photographer to recreate that photo. It’s hard to do for so many reasons.
Maybe you selected a photograph where the couple is walking down a tree-lined path in the woods with gorgeous sun flare behind them. But you want your session at the beach where there are no paths or trees and you’re in the Pacific Northwest where I am and you wind up on an overcast day. Getting inspired by images is great. But you will never be in the same exact spot in the exact same light and the exact same time of day with the exact same weather as that ideal photo was taken.
Here are some examples to show how it can be helpful to share with your photographer what kind of designs you are liking and having the best opportunity to get the right photos:
If you love, say, the following design and you have your heart set on something like it (a full photo with large print covering most of the photo, your photographer may need to know so that they can make sure to take photos that aren’t super bright with a lot of white in the sky or ground or the words would become unreadable.
For this card, you need some fairly wide photos where the you’re smaller in the image so that you fill up each band in the design. If you only have photos up close of your faces, you would not be able to use this type of card.
This is a perfect example of a heart-shaped card that requires a special type of photo. Notice in the first example, the choices are to either lower the couple’s faces into the shape of the card which will end up with the words directly in front of their faces. But in the second example, the couple is over to the left side of the image and the words are able to be pushed to the right. By the way this heart card is ADORABLE!
This final example demonstrates that same concept. That not all photos are perfect for all designs. In the first example, the words run across the woman’s face. I don’t particularly like that. But in the second example, the couple’s faces are a bit higher in the frame with space for the words at the bottom.
So with all of that in mind, I’d recommend looking at designs before the session, sharing those ideas with your photographer and then work together to create something beautiful and unique to you.
By the way, one of my favorite sites for cards, invitations and overall cuteness is Paperless Post (all of the examples above are designs from Save the Date section of their site). I love how easy and quick it is to design a card that you can either send electronically or as a actual paper card through the U.S. Mail. Their designs are modern and fresh and you can customize almost everything about your card – including the color of the envelope and the liner inside the envelope (my favorite). Paperless Post has Wedding Invitations, thank you cards, birthday invitations and stationery, among other items and a great option for Save the Dates.
Pop over there and check it out.
The photo above is from a day at the Edmonds Beach at super low tide. You could walk under the ferry dock it was so low. It’s fun to just wander around and take pictures for no particular reason. Just experiment with light, composition, and look at things in new ways. I went with my friend, Tara Brown, and we both only had our macro lenses with us and it was just different to have only one lens and make it work for whatever you wanted to photograph.
The other thing that I’m working on but struggling with lately is getting back into the swing of blogging. I have a blogging calendar for blog posts and ideally I want to get things written ahead of time to some degree and not have it looming over me every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights for those Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts. The reality is that it’s hard to keep up with consistent posts, come up with ideas for posts, do research and write. I’m not whining – just something that is hard to get back into and then get ahead of.
+Starting out the wedding season by second shooting with Cassie Pepper at the Lairmont Manor. What a gorgeous venue. You could shoot there for hours. And it was one of the biggest weddings I’ve worked so far.
+I got to go to my absolutely favorite restaurant, El Gaucho, in Seattle to celebrate my father-in-law’s 70th birthday and my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday. We had a lovely (loud) time and as always the food was amazing. Luckily we had a private room. They wouldn’t have wanted our loudness in their main dining room.
+Participating in a gorgeous Styled Wedding Shoot – originally set at Rattlesnake Lake (I want to shoot an engagement session out there so badly) but ended up at Lincoln Park in Seattle. You can read all about our Wedding Shoot here.
+My friend, Tara Brown, and I took an afternoon and headed down to Edmonds Beach on a day when there was a super low tide. See above.
+Dentist appointment . . . enough said.
+Feeling groggy and tired most of this past week. I hate that feeling.
+Refer to “The Best” #1, oh my heck, I was so sore and tired the next day. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep. It’s amazing how much those first few weddings each season take out of you.
+Refer to “The Best” #3, oh my heck, the weather that night out at Rattlesnake Lake. It was raining cats and dogs, there was lightning and thunder. By the time things got packed up to get out of there we all looked like drowned rats. I ended up having to shoot most of the night barefoot at Lincoln Park because my shoes were soaking wet. To the point where you could HEAR them sloshing.
+My husband generally does the laundry in our house. Real talk because I suck at it. But this week he was out of town for a few days (laundry days) and I did ALL of the laundry for the week . . . and only in 3 days. I felt to triumphant!
+I seriously have the best book club ever. I so enjoy hanging out with those ladies.
+We had a BBQ over the Memorial Day weekend and SO many friends showed up. Originally it was supposed to be like 8 people but it ended up more like 30 people. So fun to spend time with friends and have A LOT of laughs with them. Highlights are my brother-in-law dancing to 70s hits in the house, kids and parents playing soccer in the backyard with a beach ball and the kids jumping over the fence about 100 times to retrieve said beach ball, potato chip surprise (which is just a bowl that contains all of the scraps from the other 6 potato chip bowls sitting around), and recreating some shots I took a few years ago with the couple who posed for me.
+I’ll be heading up to Camano Island this weekend with some of the nicest people who invite us up there to hang out with them. The property is right on the beach, it’s gorgeous and it’s a great place to chill and have a relaxing weekend. Can’t wait.
What a night! I signed up to a part of a styled wedding shoot put together by Rebecca Anne Photography. Rebecca is setting up these wedding shoots for local Seattle Wedding Photographers to come, get more experience, practice, work on their portfolios, network and have fun! I love it. #communityovercompetition
Seattle Weather is Unpredictable
This wedding shoot was originally set to take place at Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend. I have never shot out there and I was dying to. It’s gorgeous. Engagement sessions anyone?
Just as I got there, we noticed a couple raindrops on the lake, then more, then a lot more. Then a straight-up downpour. With lightning and thunder and all that jazz. We had two pop-up tents for about 20 people to huddle under while trying to also cover up models and cakes and accessories that were borrowed.
After about an hour it was still pouring. And we were all very sad.
Wedding Shoot Relocation
Thanks to Rebecca keeping her ish together and a lot of really helpful people, we relocated the entire wedding shoot from North Bend to Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Everything was set up again but this time the weather was gorgeous. Gorgeous!
Styled Wedding Shoot was back on!
We worked with one real-life couple, one couple that were models and one bridal model. Today I am sharing the images from the work I did with the real-life couple, Olya and Nate. And they were incredible nice, fun people and incredibly smoking hot together. You can’t ask for anything more than their chemistry on a shoot or at a wedding. Smoking hot!
I’ll be showing two more sets of images over the coming weeks from this wedding shoot. So stay tuned.
Coordination: Rebecca Anne Photography + Lilac & Lace
Hair+Makeup: Seattle Bride Hair
Floral: From the Ground Up Floral
Rentals: Vintage Ambiance
Wedding Gown: The Dress Theory
Models: Olya+Nate Snyder
Last week I posted Brides – What to Pack on Your Wedding Day listing all of the essential items a Bride should have with them on their wedding day to keep their day stress-free and be ready for emergencies that may happen.
Today is all about the Grooms! What to Pack on Your Wedding Day Checklist
Grooms, have you been thinking about what to pack for your wedding day? You may be surprised to learn how much stuff you’ll actually need when all is said and done. I’m going to make it really easy for you. I have a list below of everything under the sun you may want or need on your wedding day. And at the end of the list, there is a handy FREE downloadable Wedding Day Checklist PDF for you. Just download, print and start checking stuff off!
Last Week’s Post: Brides – What to Pack on Your Wedding Day
What to Pack for Wedding Day Checklist: Grooms
WEDDING CLOTHING, ETC.:
- Tux/Suit, of course
- Tie or Bowtie – Bring an extra
- Accessories: Suspenders, Pocket Square, Belt, Handkerchief, Watch
- Cuff links – Bring an extra pair
- Socks – And extras
- Undergarments – Including White Undershirt
- Pre-Wedding Clothes: Hanging out with the guys, helping with decorations or pre-wedding setup.
- Rings – Or make sure your Bride has them for detail photos.
- Fun Accessories you Might be Using (Sunglasses, Hats, etc.)
- Cologne, Smell good for your Bride.
- Hair Styling Products/Tools
- Prescription Medicine
- Glasses or Contacts, etc.
WEDDING DAY NECESSITIES:
- Vows – And extra copies – give one to your Best Man to keep just in case.
- Presents: For Bride, Parents or Groomsmen
- Cash/Checkbook/Credit cards – Just in case
- Music + Speakers – Liven up that getting ready room
- Water+Drinks: Whiskey anyone?
- Car Keys
- Marriage License
- Envelopes with Tips for Vendors
- Directions to Wedding Day Destinations:
+Getting Ready Location
+Reception – if Different from Ceremony
- ID – You never know what you might need this for
- Honeymoon Items, if Heading out Right Away:
+Travel Information + Itineraries
+Passport + ID
- Extra Buttons
- Small Sewing Kit
- Floss or Toothpicks
- Eye Drops
- Lint Brush
- Pain Reliever
- Stain Remover Wipes
- Breath Mints/Mouthwash
- Static Cling Spray
- First Aid Kit
- Crazy Glue
JUST IN CASE:
- Compact Steamer – So much easier to steam a wrinkly shirt than to get out the ironing board and sketchy iron at a hotel.
- Shoe Polish Kit
- Extension Cord
So the Groom’s wedding day checklist is a bit shorter than the Bride’s list but there are still a number of things on this list and as I’ve said before, it’s way better to be safe than sorry. It’s not a matter of IF something happens, it’s a matter of WHEN. Something always happens. Be prepared.
MAKE THIS EASIER:
If Groom is getting ready at the same location as the Bride, you can possibly combine efforts on man of these items and rely on your Groomsmen to fetch things for you from the Bride’s getting ready area.
As I mentioned with the Bride’s list, help yourself out and ask your Groomsmen to help with some of these items. Maybe someone can bring the extension cord and steamer and someone else can bring the speakers and music? It’s worth a try.
AND FINALLY – THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP – PACK EARLY:
Finally, don’t decide to try to gather this stuff on the morning of your wedding. You will literally lose your mind. No one wants that! Start gathering a few weeks, ore more, before your wedding. Keep all of the items in one place, in one bag or one suitcase along with the printable list so you can check off what you’ve already gathered.
Download Your FREE What to Pack Checklist
Engagement Session Special!
Special Price – $300
Regular Price – $500 | Savings – $200
Offer Expires 6/19/15
For a limited time, Cheryl Ford Photography is offering a promo on a standard Engagement Session. This engagement session is normally $500. Special price through June 19, 2015 is $300! You save $200!
What’s Included in the Engagement Session
An Engagement Session with Cheryl Ford Photography Includes:
- A Personal Consultation and Session Planning
- 1-2 Hours of Photography with Cheryl Ford
- Up to 2 Locations + 2-3 Outfit Changes
- 50+ High-Resolution Digital Images presented in an Online Gallery with Print+Use Release
Now $300 (regular price $500) – price valid through June 19, 2015 – see fine print below.
Engagement Sessions, aka Couples Sessions
This special offer for $200 off an Engagement Session is also valid for Couples Sessions. Do you have a special love in your life? Are you married but want some special photos of just the two of you? Celebrating a special Anniversary- maybe 1, 2, 5, 50 years? This is a perfect time to showcase your love.
Fine Print for Engagement Session Special
- Full payment of session fee and contract required to secure booking.
- Session must be booked and paid for by June 19, 2015.
- Sessions can be booked for anytime, May 22, 2015 through October 31, 2015.
- Session dates are limited to Tuesday, Thursday and select Fridays through August 31, 2015. Weekend dates are available in September and October.
- This session special is valid ONLY for Engagement Sessions and Couples Sessions. Not valid for Seniors, Families or Portrait Sessions.
- Discount cannot be applied to any other product or service other than Engagement Sessions and Couples Sessions.
Book Now! Contact mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org to book your session today.
Last summer I collaborated with Westland Distillery in Seattle, Washington and a whole bunch of amazing vendors for a styled wedding shoot. I visited Westland one evening for their open house in 2014 and was immediately inspired by the location. So I stalked the events and marketing coordinator that evening and asked if we could plan a styled wedding shoot at the distillery? He was in! And I was so pumped up.
I was initially drawn to the exposed wood throughout the front area and in the barrel room. I knew from the beginning that we needed a lot of green and bright flowers to really pop off the wooden tones.
Styled Wedding Shoot Dream Team:
The very first thing I did for this styled wedding shoot was contact some of the best and my favorite in the business: Of course I called my girl, Hanna Mazur, for her wonderful Makeup Artisty, A Princess Bride Couture, who let us borrow the gorgeous wedding dress with the beading across the bodice, Sholdt Design, who loaned me ridiculous Wedding Rings and Baked. Seattle, who made the exact Wedding Cake I wanted for the shoot but didn’t know how to explain it to them.
This group is a dream team for me. I love working with these vendors and they’re always my first call. They are fun, generous and have amazing products and services.
And we spread our wings and found some other amazing vendors to be a part of this styled wedding shoot. I had not worked with any of these vendors before but they were all wonderful and I have built some great connections with them since the shoot.
Floral was a really big part of this styled shoot. Getting a ton of greenery and bright flowers was a priority. Kate from In Bloom Design in Bellingham did exactly that. I loved the reds, oranges and greens she combined to create the floral pieces. We had a long greenery runner than spanned the length of the giant table from Seattle Farm Tables and then added some punchy red and orange arrangements. GreenLight Events brought in the super cool Edison Bulb chandelier and hung it right over the middle of the table with additional strings of lights expanding out to the tops of the whiskey barrels. Grand Event Rentals in Bellevue provided all of the beautiful china, glassware, flatware and gold Chivari chairs. And the table decorations were rounded out with linens from Choice Linens. Our groom, Sean, is the owner of Pike Street Press and created our invitation suite and all of the table numbers, menus and paper goods. And his real life fiance, Marta, was our beautiful bride. Sean and Marta were married in September of 2014.
To wrap it all up, Ashley and Christina from It’s Your Day Events and Expressions pulled all of this together to coordinate the shoot and the vendors and created all of this from the little idea I had for a styled wedding shoot when I walked into the distillery for the first time.
It turned out amazing, beautiful and everything I could’ve hoped for. This styled wedding shoot was featured on Seattle Bride Online.
Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Hair & Makeup: Hanna Mazur
Wedding Dress & Accessories: A Princess Bride Couture
Wedding Rings: Sholdt Designs
Wedding Cake: Baked. Seattle
Floral: In Bloom Designs
Tables: Seattle Farm Tables
Lighting Design: GreenLight Events
Rentals: Grand Event Rentals
Stationary: Pike Street Press
Linens: Choice Linens
Styled Shoot Coordination / Wedding Planning by It’s Your Day Events & Expressions