Part 4! Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

Whew! We made it! This is the fourth and final installment of our expert photographer series on Wedding Day poses and positioning.  Thank you SO much to RCMedia, Firstlight Photography and Jenny Storment for quickly answering my call for help and sharing these beautiful pictures.

Let’s finish up this project with some “back of the dress” shots.  We all know you want a picture of the back of your wedding dress.  Its a classic shot that most photographers will try to capture.  The bride standing on a bridge, facing away from the camera, eyes cast down… we’ve seen that one a million times.  Check out how these photographers captured the back of the gown without seeming contrived or clunky. Continue reading


Part 3! Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

Part THREE! In which we discuss kissy faces, sexy anticipation and squished noses.

Everyone loves a good couple-kissing picture.  The trick is nailing your kiss without it seeming forced or an overshare (Hello! No tongue!).  These images show how to capture the perfect kiss-pic… and how stunning the almost-kiss-pic can be. Continue reading

Part 2! Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

We are Holding Hands today, people! So put on the hand lotion, and grab a seat.

this is the second part of my Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love.

When it comes to wedding photography, holding hands shows a couples connection and unification. Here is a round up of a few shots that showcase different ways to hold hands in your wedding and engagement pictures. Continue reading

Expert Panel: Wedding Poses Photographers Love

SHUT IT DOWN, Y’ALL! I have the best group of photographer buddies right now. Read on to discover their favorite poses and why they positioned couples the way they did.   I whipped off an email yesterday, asking for help, and they came through!!

**I received so many submissions, that I have made this a four part post. Keep an eye over the next week for parts 2, 3 and 4! No empty promises here! I already wrote everything! HAHA!**

Today’s Topic? “To Touch or Not To Touch” It’s very natural for couples to want be attached to one another during an engagement session or wedding day shooting.  It’s part “OhMyGod I love you soooo much!” and part, “I am so uncomfortable, hold me close and let’s hope this is over soon.” Continue reading

Pretty Things.. and another photo shoot

Wedding Photography Inspiration!  All pictures by Mandee Rae. Here is her website. Today I am hooked on the idea of a post-wedding photo shoot. And all things Mandee Rae, apparently.

The couple was wed at Canterwood (remember the brunch wedding write up I did in November?) But did a post-wedding photo shoot around our little town of Gig Harbor, Washington. Continue reading

People I Crush On: Jessica Janae

A friend of mine got married last fall and has the most AMAZING photographer (and a simply stunning venue).  Let’s drool shall we?

The first picture you are seeing is of our little town here – Gig Harbor, Washington, as taken by Jessica Janae. (as are all the pictures in today’s blog!)

But let’s move on to wedding things, yes?

Continue reading

Holy Crap it’s almost February

Oy!  I’m too new to say I was on hiatus… so can we blame that little absence on engagement season? Pretty please? The header picture is just one corner of my otherwise overflowing office.  This time of year it looks like a wedding-war zone in these parts!
Last weekend I attended the Seattle Wedding Show and met LOADS of amazing people.  We are gearing up for our Bridal open House at Canterwood, so a majority of my time was spent talking up the event to potential brides and grooms. Here’s a picture of our booth.
2016 wedding show
But did you see my DOORS!!!  Here’s a shot after our facilities guy built stands for them.  I picked them up off a guy on Craigslist.  From his basement.  On a dark and rainy night.  The things I do for my couples…  So now that they are all amazing and (will be) repainted, they can be rented for ceremony’s at my Club.
doors in progress
During the Wedding show I also met a few new vendors to collaborate with and finalized plans for the Open House with my Jen from Jen’s Blossoms and Beyond the Blossoms.  She did all the floral for our booth and boy, am I lucky she is in my life.
If you are in the area and want to stop by, here is the info on our open house.
Bridal Open House (2)
Even if you have your venue booked, it’s a great chance to meet photographers, DJs, taste cake, etc. Get yourself organized for your 2017 wedding or finalize the details for your 2016 wedding all in one place.
Happy Planning!

5 Steps to Finding YOUR Wedding Venue

Starting the search for your perfect wedding venue can be intimidating, tedious and frustrating.  Follow these 5 steps and you will be on the road to wedding venue bliss.

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Set a Target Budget, Guest Count and Date Frame

Without these, there is not much you can do – and not much your venue consultants can work with. I have toured so many couples who come in and have no idea of how many guests they plan on inviting… I don’t need to know an exact amount, but have a target, say +/- 15%.  So, 60-75 people or 90-110, or 180-220, 450-550, etc.

And so many couples don’t know what time of year they are considering (yes, it’s GREAT to have multiple dates, but to not even know the season? You might not be ready to start planning – and that’s OK, you do not have to plan your wedding the day after you become engaged!).  Talk with your fiance and set up your date parameters – Any Saturday in June or July. Or, sometime Labor Day weekend, with the following weekend being an alternative.

Get real about your budget.  And be comfortable talking about it.  Have a number.  A range. Something. Be wary of saying you want the least expensive option, and then plan to add upgrades – a venue might only here “I want something cheap” and prime dates might suddenly be “booked” or you might not meet their published minimum.

Here’s the deal.  Pretend you are shopping for a house and I am your realtor.  I have no idea what houses to show you if I do not know your budget.  If I show you a $200K house, when your budget is $750K – you will be disappointed and not think the housing market is high end enough for you and the luxuries that you want are not attainable. On the flip side, if I show you a million dollar house and your budget is $100K, you will think I am crazy and just trying to get you for your money. Truth is, I have plenty of $100K houses, I just didn’t know what to show you, so I guessed.  I tell my couples that it is not my goal to get you to spend over your budget and send you home broke. My goal is to maximize every penny that your budget allows (if not, just under) and get you everything we can cram into your (comfortable) spending cap.

Think your budget is embarrassingly low and unrealistic? I’ve dealt with less.  I promise.


Start Searching Online – And with an open mind

I recommend that you start your search on the major wedding websites –,, and other wedding websites.  Most of these sites feature reviews, unaltered by the business (I can tell you from experience that most sites do not permit altering or deleting a review, unless the company can prove it fraudulent or threatening). These sites also showcase pictures of venues, videos, packages and sometimes special pricing.  I recommend you decide the geographical location that you are looking for, and start your search.  At this point, I hope you are sourcing out about 15 places.

request info

Ask For Information – then wait

Nearly all venues have an online information request form, or something similar, to let the venue know you would like information emailed to you.  There is usually a spot for you to free-type specific questions – I recommend you put something there (ie. “looking for a gluten free wedding,” “do you allow sparklers?” something… you will see why later) Most will also ask for your phone number – which I recommend you submit.

Now Wait.

and Wait.

and Wait.

How many of the 15 venues responded to you in a timely fashion? How many responded at all?  Here is where you can start to weed out the list.  If a venue didn’t get back to you, but you really wanted to learn about them, I recommend you try calling (once) and see what sort of response you get back. Otherwise, off the list they go.

This first point of contact is crucial.  Did the venue rep pick up the phone and call you, asking questions and sounding genuinely interested in what you have to say?  Did they respond to your email with a personal greeting and specific commentary on your date/guest count and/or an answer to the question you posed?

Or did you get a canned email with no personalization? Or did you get stood up, with no response at all?

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Tour. Tour. Tour. – go at it alone (or alone-ish)

Once you make the initial contact with a venue, (and like what they have to say) set an appointment to go out for a tour. Hopefully, you are narrowing down to 5-8 venues to tour.  By.  Your.  Self. (for the most part.  This is not the time to bring the whole fam-damn-arella, maaayyyybbeee bring your fiance – but only if they want to be super involved with planning)

Split this over two days (so it’s all done together, but not one exhausting day). Take notes, take pictures, ask questions,  and see how you like the venue person (ie event coordinator, sales person, etc).  And ask for a custom quote THAT INCLUDES ALL SERVICE CHARGES AND TAXES.  *I should note that I am working on a detailed post about the actual tour itself, and hope to publish it next week, so keep your eyes out for that!* The reason I recommend you go at it alone, is to narrow down your choices.

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Go Back with Your Entourage

Dad needs to see the venue before signing off? Bring him.  Fiance skipped the first round of visits? Bring fiance.  Future Mother In Law needs to feel like she is a part of things? Let’s go baby.

I recommend that you return to your top three wedding venues with the “decision makers and check writers” for another tour – for a couple of reasons. More details in the aforementioned follow up post, but basically a second viewing gives you a chance to control the number of options that the decision makers have, to see your venue (and venue staff) on another day of the week and/or time of day, and to make sure the venue is what you remember.

Then go home, spread the three quotes in front of you, drink a glass of wine, and make your decision. I promise you, it’s that easy.

More on your wedding venue tours to come!