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Chartwell Country Club

Making Tough Calls When it Comes to Guests

Something Borrowed, Something True

Guests liven up a wedding like no other. From emotions during the ceremony to wobble skills during the reception, guests add an extra layer of fun to any day. However, before the wedding, it can be a little daunting coordinating for all the attendees. There's addresses to gather, families to figure out, and seating charts to map to maximize everyone's enjoyment. I know from my own experiences that it can be exhausting, but the thing that worked for Shawn and me when taking them all on: set a cap on guests and hold strong to that number. For our wedding, Shawn and I decided that we would do a couple of things in order to keep our list manageable. Our first decision was to not invite children except for the two in the bridal party (my niece and nephew). The second thing we decided early on was to keep our family invites to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins. Shawn has a huge family, and while we didn't want to exclude anyone, we had to think of costs and what wedding size we could manage. The last thing we did was to put the number of seats that were being held in their honor on our guests RSVP cards. We kept this to just two seats for each of our guests, and they were super respectful of our request. I've heard horror stories of people crossing out these numbers and writing in their own, but luckily, our...

Allowing Outside Opinions In

Something Borrowed, Something True

Last time in my bride-to-bride advice series, I shared some of the thoughts that my couples had about timing and how important it is. For this installment, it's all about those outside sources and what they may have to say about your wedding. I know it's a little bit of a touchy subject, because with wedding planning everyone has their own ideas and a lot of the time there is unsolicited advice offered that isn't always productive. Also, through the wedding process, you may find that some people aren't exactly in your corner on some decisions as you would expect them to be. Wedding planning is definitely a trying time in friendships and family relationships. But a bright spot is how it brings you and your significant other as a couple much closer together, and makes you really start to see the family that you are building. Shawn and I went through a very difficult situation in our own planning regarding a family member, and the situation was completely heartbreaking and really altered relationships. We faced backlash from my family over a difficult decision we had to make, but it was necessary. The thing that mattered was that we learned that we always have each other. Through thick and thin we can look at one another and know that we are a unit, and when either of us need even just a simple hug: it's there. The most important takeaway from this installment in the series is that you...

Timing is Everything

Something Borrowed, Something True

For the first of many installments in the bride-to-bride wedding advice series, I'm going to the most obvious of planning tips: time management. From the questionnaires I send out, timing is the most referenced topic. The thing that surprised me the most in the responses, though, is that timing means different things to a lot of people. It isn't always about giving yourself more months to plan (certainly that comes up) but there are so many other factors to keep in mind during the process. I loved reading all of the responses and I found that getting this type of insight from real couples -- no matter how big or small the advice -- was wonderful. Before I share what these fantastic couples have said, I first want to share from my own personal vault of advice. For Shawn and me, we planned a Friday wedding due to our dream venue being completely booked up two years in advance. The idea of the wedding being on a Friday stressed me out so much. I wanted to be able to have all of our family and friends there and I was afraid that no one would be able to get off of work. I even had an awful nightmare where I showed up to the venue and no one was there, and even Shawn couldn't get off work for his own wedding in this terrible dream world. Pathetic, but such a deep and real fear I had. My...

Should You Do a First Look?

Things to Consider

At this point, more than a few of the wedding planning sites you are on may be telling you to do a first look. They give a run-down of what it is and of all of the good that comes from doing one. Some of those sites may even say that your photographer will tell you to do one. Seriously, though, who am I to say "you must have a first look"? I would be a complete hypocrite if I demanded that; Shawn and I didn't do a first look, and even if we had the chance to go back and have one, we wouldn't. One of the things we both wanted from our day was for the first moment we see each other to be when I was walking down the aisle to him. We instead did an alternative to a first look where we held hands and said a prayer while separated by a door frame. I'm so glad that we did it this way because it was a moment I would never take back for anything. It was special and real and -- yes -- there were tears <3. We knew in our case a first look wouldn't work. Shawn and I talked about it, we made our photographer aware of our alternate idea, and we planned our timeline accordingly. I had where we would be during that last hour of light for sunset all mapped out. I think the most important thing, if...

Ali & Matt

Romantic and Chic Country Club Wedding

When Shawn and I first met with Ali and Matt for their summer engagement session, we had a feeling that their wedding was going to be absolutely fabulous. Little did we know that not only was the day going to be beautiful, but that it was going to be filled with so much warmth and love from everyone involved. Ali and Matt were married on a gorgeous fall day at the St. Martin's in-the-Field Episcopal Church, a stunning location in Severna Park that was surrounded by orange and yellow leaf trees. Their family and friends all cheered when they shared their first kiss and gave high fives to the newlyweds as they recessed. The reception at Chartwell Country Club was glowing with flickering candles that created such a beautiful atmosphere. One of the most touching moments during the entire night was Matt's brother's speech; just thinking back to has me tearing up. We all take so much for granted, but not these families. They cherish their time with one another, and it absolutely shows with the amount of care that they have for one another. Shawn and I are so happy that we got to photograph this special day for these two incredible people. Ali and Matt are just amazing and I look forward to seeing where life takes them!   ______________________________________________________________________________ A little Blue Steel to finish off the portraits :P All of the amazing vendors that made this day the best day ever! Ceremony Venue: St. Martin's...