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Shoemaker Homestead

The First Touch Explained

Tips & Tricks

When we meet with a couple, one of the questions we ask them is if they are doing a first look. Most of the time, our couples do go for the first look, which we enjoy. It's a great way to get intimate portraits and a sentimental memory. However, not all couple are fans of being that non-traditional. They will often mention how they don't want to see each other, but they still want to do something. That's when Shawn and I suggest what we like to call the "first touch". This option is amazing for the couples that want to have a moment together, but also want to save the big reveal for the aisle. Shawn and I totally understand this option because it's what we did. For those who don't know Shawn, his personality during stressful situations is incredibly calm. It's something I knew I needed when planning our big day. The only problem was that we both did not want to do a first look. So I scoured Pinterest and found a sweet alternative. It allowed us to share a beautiful moment, while still seeing each other for the first time right before our vows. On our chilly, rainy wedding day when everything was going crazy, all I wanted was Shawn. Our first touch was exactly what I needed in order to calm my brain (which was working overtime). I know I've talked about our experience a few times. It's important, though, because it made us...

The Key to Wedding Planning Perfection

Something Borrowed, Something True

Since I'm waist deep in my watching of the Olympics, I'm seeing the word "perfection" everywhere. It's an interesting idea that shows up a lot in sports, and also in wedding planning. There is an insurmountable amount of pressure on today's brides and grooms to have that perfect day. Your decor needs to be new and fresh, and you need to be over-accommodating for your guests. It can be incredibly difficult to balance. However, the greatest shift I've seen in our couples is that the perfect day to them means doing what makes them happy. Following happiness makes the planning process run so smoothly. At a certain point in our wedding planning, Shawn and I had to put aside what our guests would like and do what was best for ourselves. Naturally, we were still concerned with throwing a great party. But when we thought about what we enjoyed, the pressure from "perfect" vanished. We created our own idea of what was best for our day, and it made a huge difference. Seeing couples come to the same conclusion as us is fantastic. There is always the fear that, because of sites like Pinterest, the need to chase a flawless wedding is stronger than ever. Reading the positive advice fills me with so much joy. The key to wedding planning perfection is to throw out the idea of perfect. Focus on the fact that your happiness going into marriage will take you much further.   Marielle...

Beat the Heat

Tips for Photographers and Couples with Hot Summer Weddings

Now that it's August, it's time for summer days to get longer and hotter. I'm having a terrible time thinking how it could be even hotter than July. But it's definitely possible with how ridiculous the weather has been this year. This season has been undeniably on the warmer side for us. Last weekend, we had Samantha and Tim's wedding happen during the peak of a heat wave. Their wedding was a light bulb moment for Shawn and me on how we handle weddings that are absolute scorchers. The tips that we've been able to pick up over the years have made our ability to manage 100° days in a healthy way. As photographers who prefer to work with natural light, we are constantly running around outside trying to find the best places to shoot. We get sweaty - scratch that - grossly sweaty. It's easy for Shawn and me to forget to drink water, to have a quick snack, and to take a break. While the tips below are primarily for photographers, they can also be helpful to couples or bridal party members looking for smoother photo sessions. A little bit of planning and foresight can prevent a lot of problems down the burning asphalt road. Drink plenty of water Back when I was a kid, I always scoffed when my parents would tell me this. It wasn't until I started running track in high school that I realized: staying hydrated is no joke. Even the smallest...

Samantha & John

A Rustic Wedding at Shoemaker Homestead

I think I'm still in shock from Sam and John's beautiful wedding at Shoemaker Homestead. I just cannot get over how the weather forecast predicted 100% chance of thunderstorm for the time the ceremony was to start. I know the Weather Channel can very often be wrong, but the color of the sky in the morning was matching what a storm would look like, so I was a bit worried. However, when Shawn and I arrived and walked in to greet Sam, she was so positive and happy. The weather seriously couldn't put a damper on the fact that she was marrying her best friend. Not only was she positive, but Sam also was prepared. She read up on advice that I shared about having a rain plan and bought some super cute umbrellas from Ikea. I'm convinced that when you think happy thoughts (and spend a bunch of money on rain gear) the weather will completely change it's mind and be gorgeous. That's exactly what happened for Sam and John and I couldn't have been more ecstatic that they didn't need to change any aspect of their wedding plan. Not only was the weather on point, but the emotions within this day were on a whole different level. No one could keep a dry eye throughout the day. Tears were shed while Sam was getting ready, since her dress was the same dress that her mother wore almost 30 years ago. And there was no shortage of feelings from...

Samantha & John's Engagement Spotlight

Shoemaker Homestead

I have been waiting for this day ever since I met with Sam and John a full year ago! These two are the absolute sweetest, and they are getting married tomorrow at one of the prettiest locations, Shoemaker Homestead. Shawn and I got the pleasure to see their gorgeous wedding location during their engagement session, and I was just blown away. There are horses, a beautiful barn and gardens that have the most colorful flowers. If you want to check out their full engagement session feel free to head over to their original blog post. It is truly going to be amazing to see this homestead all ready for Sam and John to be married. Tomorrow is going to look like it's totally out of a magazine! Getting to know these two and their location over the course of their e-session was one of my greatest joys. It really did make this waiting game for tomorrow almost impossible. Leading up to this day, I do have to mention how incredibly organized Sam has been as a bride. I mean, she has been on top of her timeline and her family group shots, which is rare. It's been a total dream to have this super sweet bride keep us in the loop with everything. We get to attend and shoot a little bit of their rehearsal tonight, and I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am to see these two again and meet their families! If their families are...

Samantha & John

A Lovely Homestead Engagement

On Sunday, Shawn and I traveled to the Shoemaker Homestead in Taneytown, Maryland for Samantha and John's wonderfully rustic engagement session! It was quite possibly the hottest day of the summer thus far, but that didn't stop these love birds from wrapping each other in sweet hugs. I was able to get glimpse of what their wedding day will be like since Shoemaker Homestead is where these two will be exchanging vows and dancing into the night. It is a breathtakingly gorgeous location and Laura, the owner, is as sweet as can be. I cannot imagine a more perfect place for Samantha and John to be married! Samantha and John both attended York College in Pennsylvania where they actually were neighbors for a bit. However, it wasn't until they ran into each other in Baltimore that they started talking and eventually dating. Being so close to one another, but never even realizing it until your paths cross in some fateful way, is really an amazing thing. I adore when love stories begin before either person even realizes it!   ...