One of the worst things that can happen to a bride would be having to reschedule her wedding day. With all the unexpected COVID-19 situations we’ve faced, Rachel and Joe were one of my many couples that had to make the decision “Do we proceed or reschedule?” Instead of completely rescheduling their plans, they just changed it up a bit! Instead of the original venue they had picked, they chose to be married in their backyard with their close friends and immediate family with a zoom set up with almost all of their guests!
When they told me they were planning to keep their wedding date but have their day be much smaller than planned, at their home, I was so excited for them. I had been to their home before as some of their engagement photos were taken in their backyard. Now, they were going to be saying vows right in the yard where when they walk out of their home, they can look over and memories of this amazing day will come rushing to them. It was perfect.
They had just a few family and friends there which allowed for social distancing and safety measures due to COVID-19. I kept my mask on used my lenses that allowed for distance to be between us all.
They had beautiful details to make their day special and I loved getting to photograph them all. The cake, the champagne glasses, the bracelet she wore, The wedding gown, the grooms boutonnière, the groom pocket square and the bride and groom’s face masks all have a special meaning for them. I remember the day Rachel had picked out her wedding dress, she emailed me a photo of it full of excitement! Since that email, I could not wait to see it in person and my gosh, it was AMAZING! It was truly made for her! The way it flowed in the wind and how she would just play with it to make it move was so beautiful! The detail on the dress was something I had never seen before on a wedding gown- There was orange and blue color design with the words “Je T’Aime” throughout. You really needed to look hard to see it, but it’s there and it is just so classy and romantic.
You see, COVID did not stop them from keeping their wedding date. Things were definitely not as they originally planned, but the beauty that was made out of this situation is all that matters. I guess one benefit of a covid wedding is that I get to see them again next year! Yep, They will have their Castle in the Clouds wedding next June and all the family and friends that joined this celebration on Zoom, will be there in person. For now, they can look back at their original date and remember the official day they became husband and wife.
Rachel and Joe, I can not thank you enough for inviting me back to your home to capture this special day for you. I missed you guys ( and Pepper!) and I just loved that I was there to see you exchange your vows and capture these memories for you. The day was so perfect and emotional in so many ways. Watching you guys light up seeing your biggest fans on Zoom gave me all the feels, and the fact that many of them dressed up for the occasion is so awesome! I am excited to get to see them all in person next year. Nutmeg is adorable and the way she was trying to take over Pirates speech was too funny. I wish you both so much happiness and good memories each time you walk into your backyard. I am excited to celebrate again next year with you guys, but for now, I hope you enjoy this sneak peek of your “first” wedding day. I love you guys! xoxo
Wedding Dress: Leanne Marshall | Shoes: Loeffler Randall | Venue: Backyard at Bride and Groom’s Home (Soon to be Castle in the Clouds) | Cake: Autumn Nomad
Engagement Session Featured on Tacari Weddings
Okay brides, listen up! I am going to let you in on a few of my little wedding day secrets to get those high end, elegant, gorgeous detail photos! Get your pen and paper along with your planning binder and here we go!
#1: THE RING BOX
Many images you see from a wedding day of the rings, is when the ring is inside or resting on a really pretty box! Guess what?? I bring my own ring boxes from The Mrs. Box. I have a collection of these boxes in popular wedding colors that I can use to match your wedding vision. I use these boxes for each wedding about 90% of the time, I just love them so much. Want to know something cool? If you were hoping to have a beautiful ring box for your wedding day and beyond, you do not need me to pick and choose the color/shape/look of it! Although I always have these boxes on me at all times during the beginning of the wedding day, I am providing you with 2 links where you can look to see if this is something you want to have as a part of your details and beyond.
THE MRS. BOX – These boxes are BEAUTIFUL! In real life, they are a lot smaller than they look but that is because they make the ring look even bigger! You can look to see if there are colors and styles you like here, but be aware, they range around $85+ depending on your wants/needs.
AMAZON DOUPE– Here is another beautiful ring box found on Amazon!! It has a similar look to the Mrs. Box and they range from $15.99-$25.99! The price difference is amazing and it will still give you that high end look to your details. You can add this to a wish list or even your gift registry if having your own box is important to you on your wedding day!
#2. Styling Ribbon
Another detail I love to add is ribbon. Sometimes I can find things in the room to use for an added pop to the image, but almost all of the time, I am getting out my silk ribbons from my styling kit. I carry with me on the wedding day 3 neutral popular wedding colors, just as I mentioned above with the ring boxes. These ribbons are so delecate that I need to have them wound and folded a certain way to look the way I want them to. Again, just because I have these with me on a wedding day does not mean you can’t have some too. You can get the exact color you want to have to match your details!
SILK AND WILLOW – These silks are amazing! They look gorgeous in photos and they even have ribbon spools that can make for cool photos if you add the spool into the frame. These range from $30-$90 depending on the exact look you want.
AMAZON STYLING RIBBON– If the Silk and Willow brand ribbon is not in the budget and you still want to have your very own ribbon, another great Amazon option is their ribbon! These ribbons range from $10.99-$20!
#3. Wooden Hanger
There is nothing like getting to a wedding where everything is exactly as you imagined it would be. Your Kleinfeld dress still in the garment bag… when it’s time to open it up and get some dress detail shots… what happens? The dress is on a plastic hanger! This always makes my heart sink when I see this. The dress is a HUGE investment along with the rest of the wedding…. The dress NEEDS a nice hanger! It does not need to be a hanger with a new last name, Mrs. or even Bride. It can be plain! It just should NOT be plastic.
Just like the details I mentioned above, I carry a hanger with me! It’s amazing how many times I have needed to use to too! Which is fine! Thats why I have it with me. I bet a hanger is the last thing on your mind during your wedding day… so don’t worry… It’s one of the top things on my mind when it comes to details which is why, I got you.
Feel free to get a hanger with a cute saying on it! Those make for wonderful photos! I love them! You can find those on Etsy. If you wanted to get hangers incase you decided you wanted not only your dress photographed but you want your girls dresses too, then invest in a pack of wooden hangers. I always will have 1 hanger and if you remind me and request that you want the brides maid dress shot with your dress, I will do my best to bring matching wooden hangers, but I can not guarantee I will have enough of them for all of the dresses. Enter… AMAZON!
AMAZON WOODEN HANGER– I suggest the shirt hanger where there is NO bottom bar to fold pants. The shirt hanger in the photo below is perfect for the dress shot. The bottom bar is not there to draw the eye to it. Imagine this gorgeous dress on a plastic hanger…. now click the link and get some wooden ones. 🙂
#4. Glue Dots
Why glue dots? I will tell you why! These are so amazing to give you those ring shots that stand up! You see, sometimes the rings just do not fit to stand up inside of one another because the bride and grooms fingers are all different sizes and causing the rings to slide, fall down, or just not sit the way I want them to. So, glue dots! These little bad boys do not harm anything! They are primarily used for scrapbooking so you can peel the photo off the paper if you decided you did not like it there. For a ring, it does what I need it to do, and then it peels right off not causing any stickiness to the rings at all. They are glue which means they are clear so when you take a photo, you can not see them at all. It’s magic!
GLUE DOTS- You can find these at any craft store in their scrapbook section. I included an amazon link for you since we can not really get to any stores at this time so Amazon is the best way to go! I always have these with me on the wedding day too! So if you do not get them, I will have them! Just a cool little tip and hack I can share with you while planning your wedding day.
#5. CLEAR THE CLUTTER
I am not sure if this one is a hack, but it involves your bridesmaids! Whatever room you decide to get ready in, have someone go in and be sure there is zero clutter around the room. No trash, bags, luggage, clothes, etc. Make sure the room where you will be getting dressed in is clean and ready to be photographed. I am not shy to move things around that need to be moved for that perfect shot, however, I do not like having to move personal belongings if I do not have to. Setting this as a job for one of your bridesmaids will help take some stress off of you the day of. The room will be ready to be photographed in and your photos will be amazing!
ALI B AMAZON STORE FRONT PHOTOGRAPHY + BRIDAL HACKS
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Just before the ceremony the gravity of what is about to happen begins to sink in and the calm, cool, collected groom was playing golf in the AM and is not starting to feel a little anxious. What happens next? The groom waits in a little room somewhere waiting for the coordinator to tell him when to go. It seems like it’s taking forever. Eventually the coordinator comes in and leans her head inside of the room letting him know, its time. With clammy hands and some deep breaths, the groom enters into the ceremony to find anywhere from 80-250 people, all looking at him…. right at his face… because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first REACTION. This moment is the furthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Yes, 100% it is SO SO powerful and SO SO wonderful, as I mentioned above this moment was one of the best moments of my whole wedding day. It was so magical!! But I can assure you that PJ was nervous. He spent the whole morning with his best friends and the pressure was OFF. By the time I was walking toward him at the ceremony, he was ready to enjoy our day. The nerves were gone and when the nerves were gone, true emotions were expressed. It was so beautiful. We both cried and cried tears of happiness!)Now, let me summarize what I just wrote… you see, Grooms normally become extremely nervous on their wedding day. The might seem cool and collected, but deep down there is some anxiety. For many grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, all of a sudden it all becomes VERY real! So, when the nerves start to creep up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded area until it is time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a prive place… no people, no on lookers, no distractions…. and you let his beautiful bride walk up to him. Tap his shoulder or say his name to turn around. He turns around and he finally gets his first look at his stunning bride. Not only would he get to see her, but he would get to embrace her, cry with her, kiss her… and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress and spins a few times and she says “what do you think?” His nerves start to fade. After all, she is the only one that can make him most comfortable anyway.Since they are not on a time crunch during this time, they can casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator is not announcing “15 more mins!”, there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer…. capturing the excitement and joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be ALONE. Their time to be TOGETHER. When does this happen on the wedding day? Without a first look… believe it or not, it doesn’t happen. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their wedding party joins them because hey still have plenty of time to spare.. The bride touches up her makeup and hair while the boys act like boys. After several minutes of the wedding party portraits the vibe changes and everyone is having FUN. Why? because there is time to make them FUN! There are no guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there is not a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s AMAZING!After portraits are done, the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands… they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The musics builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up and here comes the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart…..she’s stunning…. ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger his smile.
It just occurred to me that I have not blogged about the topic of having a first look! Can you believe it?! I mean, I know I have confessed my love for “first looks” so many times on the blog when I blog about a wedding and they happened to have a first look. but for me not to have a blog post all about just that… I can’t believe it! So, here it is!! The first look is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day. They are AWESOME! They are so awesome that unfortunately not everyone is aware of how awesome they are. Many brides think the only thing to do is have the “traditional” first look of walking down the aisle that they immediately disregard the first look. Guess what? I was one of those brides. With a big wedding party a first look would have made sense but I did not even think twice about it. I knew when I was walking down the aisle was the first time he would see me. I wanted that reaction. The tears. The happiness.
Isn’t that EVERY girls dream? Who doesn’t wait that reaction? Thankfully, walking down the aisle to see PJ in tears of happiness was a sight I will never forget ( behind the tears pouring down my face). He was in tears and so was everyone that was watching him!! I felt like a million bucks. Walking down the aisle on my wedding day is a moment that I will treasure for a lifetime!!
After experiencing my own wedding and shooting over 80 others…. I have come to this conclusion. Sure, some brides really LOVE “traditions”…. but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time is his REACTION. Many couples who are not interested in a first look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as walking down the aisle. You see, what I have found is so ironic! (insert Alanis Morissette lyrics here). Everyone knows that planning a wedding is stressful, and that stress does not go away come the wedding day for both the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, be on time, the groom usually has no idea what side the bout is supposed to go on or how to fold a pocket square and little by little, tension grows.
Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue…my clients are not required to do a First Look… AT ALL. This is totally up to the bride and groom. I used to feel bad for sharing this option and encouraging couples to do it but I’ve gotten over that phase. I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again and so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one:) Ok, now lets keep going.
Couples who opt for a First Look experience these benefits:
– You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography and with a first look, you get 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you decorate your first home with! This is a huge investment for you and so obviously your photography is a BIG deal. With a first look, you make the most out of this huge investment and get the most for your money.
– You actually get intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Normally, most people think walking down the aisle is the BIGGEST, most emotional moment of the whole day because that is what the tradition is. But people don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look… he can’t touch you or embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 40 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 40 minutes of gazing into each other’s eyes, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.
– First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time. With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your wedding party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of your wedding album will be filled with just images from this time together before the ceremony.
– First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. You can cry and laugh and cry some more… and then that will put you in the PERFECT mood for your romantic portraits. Normally portraits are rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other and I always capture some SWEET images during those moments!
– You get rid of the nerves. I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have done a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from so many grooms that initially weren’t a fan of the first look.. but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!
Straight from the Groom:
“ We had been a a few weddings where the couples had a first look. They talked about how amazing that moment was for them, that it was just them and their photographer and they wouldn’t change that moment for the world. Laura mentioned that she wanted to have a first look for our wedding and I thought it was a great idea. We learned more about the timeline and how the first look will fit in with the day and we knew it was the right decision for us. The moment I first saw her on our wedding day is a moment I will never forget! I was so excited to see her I couldn’t help smiling the entire time waiting to turn around. WhenI turned around, she took my breath away. All these months of planning were finally here, and she was so beautiful. We had our moment together, laughing, crying, talking about how we couldn’t believe this was happing right now, and Alex had us let her know when we were ready for her to being our portraits. This moment is truely one of the best moments from our day. I will never forget it.” – Troy Perry
“I don’t regret a first look photo at all! It made a normally exposed moment very private and intimate, and actually took a lot of pressure off the day. Alex was hiding behind bushes and she captured that very first moment I saw Vicky. It was amazing, it was emotional, it was funny ( I turned around and said “ OH HEY!”) which I think eased her nerves but then we had those moments where tears feel and we were able to enjoy those moments first thing without everyone there trying to get our attention. I woudl not change that mement for the world. I definitely recommend it!” – Sean Barag
“When Hannah told me she wanted to do a fist look, I was hesitant. Would it be cheesy or on the other hand, would I be too emotional and not be able to hold it together? The minutes of anticipation before she tapped on my shoulder, signaling for me to turn around, might have been the most memorable part of the day. I remember standing there, eager to see her, and her dress for the first time. It was the right way to kick off the wedding and I can’t imagine doing it all over again without a first look.” – JUSTIN MINER
“I loved doing the first look. I remember your team setting me up to look at the Boston skyline and thinking how surreal the view was, the weather we had, and that the wedding day had actually arrived. Then Gina snuck up behind me and asked me to turn around. Upon turning, I immediately had a big smile and the perfect mix of calm & excitement. She looked strikingly beautiful and I couldn’t wait to marry her and everything else to follow. Finally, doing the first look gave us the opportunity to spend more time with each other, and our guests, immediately following the ceremony. It was a 100% the right decision for us.” – KEVIN FIELD
Congratulations! You’re engaged! This is such an exciting time for you, and I am so happy you stopped by! Now that you said YES and shared this exciting news with all of your family and friends, it’s time to get to work! Let the wedding planning begin!
From setting the date and choosing the perfect venue, to the DJ, hiring a wedding planner, deciding to use a rental business and next the wedding photographer, you are in the right place!
As you choose your vendors that fit best for you and your fiancé, you will see that everyone, every style and all investments are so different, and for different reasons. There isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to choosing what works best for you. Know that each of your vendors are there any time you have a question. Trust they will guide you in the right direction to assure you that your wedding day will be THE BEST DAY EVER!
Once you have interviewed with your wedding photographer, and agreed on the investment package that works best for you, you will notice that many photographers, including myself offer complimentary engagement sessions. These sessions are so much fun to plan and are not just an engagement session. I love to think of these sessions as a chance to get to you know!
Now, with my sessions, they are voluntary. You do not need to schedule it should you decide not to but I love talking about them, and helping you to see the importance of having an engagement session.
Here are my top 5 reasons to have an engagement session:
#5: Get Comfortable in front of the camera before your big day!
– I love that engagement sessions can be thought of, of a way to get used to being in front of a camera before your wedding day! Many brides come to me and express that their groom is not interested in having their photos taken. I completely understand. Being in front of a camera is hard! It’s uncomfortable and you feel like you are put on the spot! I assure you that within 5 minutes of just meeting me, you will both begin to feel comfortable, your body language will grow confidence and you will feel great being together, as I capture your love for one another before the big day! Have those special little fur babies you want to include?? Bring them along! I’d LOVE it!
#4: It’s NOT just an engagement session, it’s a getting to know you session!
– Yes that’s right, let’s look at this as a getting to you know session! We get to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes together. Let’s learn about one another! I want to hear how you met, how he proposed, anything and all wedding plans, you name it, I want to know all about it. It’s a great time for you to ask me questions, and one of the best things is that you get to see me work. You will see a glimpse of how I will interact with you on your wedding day, see the candid moments and the posed moments that I will assist you with but most of all, I want to see you. I want to see love and I want to capture everything about it.
– Many couples want to hang out a bit before the session to ease their nerves! Let’s! I Would LOVE to do that! We can grab an appetizer/drinks before we get started which can help to calm the nerves before you’re in front of the camera!
#3: Brides- Schedule this time for your hair and make-up trial!
– Well, maybe not the wedding day hair trial, but you can get a style blow out and definitely the make up! You will get to see how you look on camera with professional make up done. You will feel confident, look absolutely beautiful and you will love getting pampered before your session. When we schedule our session, together I will send you an Engagement Session Style Guide! It has awesome tips for you and him to look and feel your best. It will also help you with the dreaded questions of “what to wear?!” “How to accessorize?!” “What time of day should we do this?!” and turn it in to a big day for you! You deserve it!
#2: Turn it into a date night!
– You got your hair and make-up done, you are dressed to the nine’s! Choose a restaurant or movie and make it a date! Spend time in front of the camera first then head off for a nice night together OR invite me to your date. Having a photographer attend your date might look a little silly but it’s during this time I will capture raw moments of you together in a setting no one would think to have photos taken! If you need suggestions for dinner, I’d be happy to tell you a few places I love! Coffee date? Ice cream date?! Awesome! It’s all about the two of you. What would you feel most comfortable with?
#1: It’s Complementary with Ali B Photography when you book your wedding with me!
– As if all the reasons above are not enough to have an engagement session with me, all of my wedding investment packages include a complementary engagement session! You have a friend who can take your photos for you, you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, okay! I respect that, I think its so awesome! That’s so nice of your friend and I understand how being in front of the camera can be uncomfortable as I mentioned above, but like all of the reasons I have mentioned, I can help to ease those nerves and you will get a preview of what’s to come on the wedding day! These sessions are NOT mandatory. Whatever you choose is totally up to you. If you have questions or concerns about your engagement session, contact me! I would love to talk to you more about it!
So, what do you say?! Let’s connect and talk more about your engagement session!!
Happy Wedding Wednesday! I am bringing back this Alyssa and Craig’s engagement session to today’s wedding Wednesday not only for engagement inspiration but also, these two were to be married this coming Saturday but with all that is going on in the world right now, their wedding day is now in June. I am still so excited for them and I am looking forward to giving them both hugs once this is all over! Enjoy their engagement session photos for some E-sesh inspo!
** FROM THEIR PREVIOUS BLOG**
Alyssa and Craig had their engagement session this past fall in downtown Portsmouth, NH. I have only been to this town twice before their session and I have to say I am so glad they chose here! I just loved that we had so many different locations to choose from, and the light was just so perfect! The weather was starting to get a little chilly, but it felt good to walk around without jackets, chatting the whole time and laughing! We had so much fun and I am so excited to celebrate the Eve of Henry’s birthday with them this April!