Tips and Advice

As a wedding photographer - maybe more importantly, as a former bride - I learned that wedding planning is intense.  It's exciting, overwhelming, and all leads up to one of the biggest days of your life, no matter how big or small it is.  Either way, at the end of it you'll be married, and hopefully have some of your favorite moments to remember forever.  These are some of biggest lessons-learned while I planned my own wedding and some tips and tricks I wish everyone knew from the moment they got engaged.

 
 
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

PICK YOUR PRIORITIES

You can totally "have it all," but I don't recommend it.  Planning a wedding comes with many, many, many choices, and many, many costs.  I'm guessing that you, like everyone, will start with a budget, and a great starting point is to pick your top priorities at the beginning and know where you're willing to splurge - maybe it's the dress, or maybe it's your invitations, or a really great photographer.  

 
THE UMSTEAD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

THE UMSTEAD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

wedding venues : what to look for

You can get married anywhere - from the top of a mountain, your favorite museum, or your dad's backyard - but not every location is going to give you what you're looking for.  Some of my favorite venues in Raleigh and Durham are at the top of my list for reasons that have nothing to do with the altar.

 
YESTERDAY SPACES, LEICESTER, NORTH CAROLINA

YESTERDAY SPACES, LEICESTER, NORTH CAROLINA

YOUR STYLE AND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER FOR IT

When I got married, people kept asking me what my "theme" was going to be.  Why did I need a "theme?"  Your wedding is about you - it should feel like you - knowing your style and finding the right photographer to compliment that style is crucial.  There are things you to look for as you sort through your options, and red flags to keep in the back of your mind.

 
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

SAMPLE TIMELINES FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY

Whether you get married inside or outside, or during the winter or summer, the timeline of your wedding day will impact every part of the day - I'll share two timelines from opposite ends of the spectrum : an outdoor wedding in June at Timberlake Earth Sanctuary outside Durham and an indoor wedding in December at 214 Martin Street in Raleigh.

 
ST MARK’S CHAPEL AT MORDECAI HISTORIC PARK, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

ST MARK’S CHAPEL AT MORDECAI HISTORIC PARK, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

THE BEAUTY'S IN THE DETAILS

After planning my own wedding and photographing many many others, my opinion hasn't changed : it's all in the details.  It's not just about the dress or the flowers - there are so many other subtle touches that will help tell the story of you day and build the mood.  A good photographer can make any wedding look thoughtful and beautiful, but including some of the small things in your planning process only makes it better.

 
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MY FAVORITE WEDDING INVITATIONS ON ETSY

Wedding invitations are your guests’ first impression of what your wedding will be like - they set the tone for colors, setting, overall vibe, etc. Choosing the right one and finding someone to make it can be daunting! I scoured Etsy for a few of my favorite creations - check them out!

 
THE MERRIMON-WYNNE HOUSE, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

THE MERRIMON-WYNNE HOUSE, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

EXITS & SEND-OFFS

While sparkler send-offs might be the most common, there are tons of creative ways to exit your ceremony or reception to think about! Some venues don’t allow open flames, some weddings take place ONLY during the day, and sometimes you’d rather have your guests celebrate you on your way back down the aisle vs. at the end of the night - there’s a creative solution for all of it!

 
FALLS LAKE, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

FALLS LAKE, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

ADVICE FOR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

Chances are good that your engagement photos will be the first time you and your fiancee will be photographed together.  I include engagement photos with each wedding because I want you to feel comfortable with me and in front of the camera - whether we're hanging out at Raleigh Times or renting a cool Durham loft on airbnb or road-tripping to Craggy Gardens.  These are some pointers for making our time together feel more like hanging out someplace cool vs. another "to do" on your wedding planning checklist.

 
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA

ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS : WHAT TO WEAR

I think 9 out of every 10 couples asks me what they should wear for their engagement photos.  What you choose for location will have a big impact on the answer to that question, as well as the time of year (ie: at home near Christmas might look pretty different from outside in May).  Overall, I want your personalities to be the driver behind choices like this, but here are some general pointers while you're staring into your closet.