Do We Need an Engagement Session?

The Engagement Session.

Do you need one? Do you even WANT one? What’s the big deal? Is it something you can live without?

Let me break down the reasons why the Engagement session is one of the best ways you can ensure to LOVE your wedding photos!

#1 : Get to Know Your Wedding Photographer

Every photographer works (shoots) differently. I have photographer friends, and they are wonderful! But we each have our own style and way of doing things. Your wedding day is one of the MOST important days in your life and the photos are going to be something you care about for years and years to come. Having a photographer there who you click with is very important.

This is one of the reasons that I highly recommend using your wedding photographer to photograph engagement photos. Even if you have a friend who has offered a free session – take it! But, don’t use it in replace of a session with your wedding photographer. Getting to know how YOUR photographer functions, photographs, & communicates will make you feel comfortable with them on the wedding day!

Your photographer is with you from when you are putting on your makeup & getting dressed – all the way until you are saying goodbye and getting in the car to drive away. It’s important you WANT them to be with you for these moments. If your photographer doesn’t make you feel comfortable? BAD SIGN. On your wedding day, you want to be surrounded by family & friends – your photographer should be one of them.

#2 : It allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera.

It is not uncommon for my clients to express a little anxiety about being photographed. Even us photographers can get a little nervous about being in front of the camera. The engagement session is like a trial run. It allows you to get used to how it feels to have a camera on you for more than just one photo at a birthday party.

It also allows you & your fiancé to get comfortable with a little PDA while being photographed. On a wedding day, there are family & friends around – this is the perfect time to get used to giving a kiss, or being snuggled up while having photos taken. The engagement session is very low stress & provides a way for you to be affectionate without an audience. Then – once the wedding day arrives, you will have seen just HOW good the photos look & will be eager to get snuggled up because you know just how sweet it is!

#3 : GREAT Pictures!

-Weddings are full of details. Guest books, invitations, thank you cards, wedding websites, bridal showers, and the list goes on! I have found that a lot of my brides like to use engagement sessions as “Save the Dates” or even in their invitations! I have also had brides use photos as decorations around the wedding, in slideshows, and they even have made an album of their engagement photos for friends to sign as a guestbook. By having some pretty photos of you and your fiancé, it could help out with little details. Who knows when you might need a beautiful photo!

#4 : It allows the GROOM to feel comfortable on the wedding day.

Most of the time – it is the bride who is doing the communicating with me regarding the wedding day. But grooms also feel nervous about being photographed, even if they don’t always show it. This is a way for the groom to get some time to know me in a relaxed setting & will make him feel better about the wedding day!

5.) You Will Learn What STYLE of Image You Love The Most

Each couple is different and the favorite images vary in style. Some of my couples love a candid photo where they are laughing. Others prefer a sweet and romantic photo that involves being wrapped up tight in an embrace. The engagement session will give you a variety of images so that you can see which style of photo you gravitate towards. I love when my clients tell me “I LOVE WHEN……” so that I can make sure to give them images in the style they prefer the most!

Now that you know the details! Let’s see the results! Here are some of my FAVORITE engagement photos!

So, let’s get YOUR engagement session on the calendar! Fill out the Contact Form on the website & I’ll get some open dates over to you!

https://kelseylynnephotography.com/contact

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Feeling Overwhelmed with Wedding Plans? READ THIS.

Hey friend,

I’ve been in your shoes. Feeling Stressed & Overwhelmed. The wedding is coming soon & you are suddenly feeling like there is so much you have to do, decide on, coordinate, PAY FOR, and figure out before the wedding day actually arrives.

It can feel a little daunting. You might be tempted to look at your fiancé and suggest a quick trip to Las Vegas to say “I do” with Elvis officiating the ceremony. I get you! I’ve had more than one client tell me that this conversation happened in the weeks & months leading up to the wedding day.

Can I be real with you for a minute?

It’s all going to work out.

I promise.

Because, at the END of the wedding day, guess what? You will leave as husband and wife. And that is the only thing that REALLY matters.

The rest of it. It’s just a bonus.

The beautiful dress. The fresh flowers. The amazing meal. The dessert. The toasts. The dancing. The menu cards. Or centerpieces. Or million other little details? Those are all a bonus. They are things that add to the beauty of the day.

They aren’t what makes the wedding day beautiful.

What makes the wedding day beautiful is the fact that at the end of the day, you are MARRIED.

The wedding day doesn’t make your marriage. Your wedding day is the start of your marriage. But it’s marriage that is beautiful. It’s choosing, with the people you love surrounding you & supporting you – to bind your life with another. To choose to love, honor, and protect each other. To choose each other. In a million different ways.

And MARRIAGE is what we are celebrating on your wedding day.

So, while you are feeling overwhelmed. Remember – the wedding is just the first day of your marriage & there is no right way to have a wedding. If your wedding is extravagant and full of beautiful, curated details? IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.

If your wedding is simple & full of homemade details? IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.

Take a deep breath.

Grab your fiancé, put your phones away, and go on a walk. Or grab a cup of coffee together. While you are planning your wedding, also make sure to plan your marriage. Dream about the things you want to do in your first year of marriage. Or in your 5th year. Or in your 35th year. Dream about the traditions you want to start. Maybe it’s homemade breakfast every Saturday morning. Or Thursday Nextflix & Pizza Nights. Or Tuesday Game Nights with the neighbors. Or double dates every month with your best friends. Dream about the things that will happen once the wedding day is over.

Your wedding is going to be beautiful. And your marriage will be incredible.

Don’t let the details stress you out & make you feel overwhelmed. Remember what the day is about & know that it all will be PERFECT.

Kels

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The Best Advice I Can Give Any Bride.

As someone who spends at least half of her weekends every year at weddings, there are MANY things I could tell to any bride who is in the midst of wedding planning. Advice about the schedule of the day, wearing comfortable shoes, waterproof mascara, décor….You get my drift. There are so many things to think about when planning a wedding. But the advice I have has a lot less to do with the wedding day, and a lot more to do with what comes in the first year after the wedding.

I’m speaking as a bride AND a bridesmaid, here. I have been a bridesmaid 10 times. That means 10 up-dos, 10 bridesmaid dresses, 10 specific color and type of shoe searched for and purchased. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, & being wrapped in toilet paper to resemble a wedding gown more times than I can count.

In the midst of your planning, make sure you take time to just be a friend. Not only a bride.

I don’t mean to sound harsh. I really don’t. I was a bride. I totally understand that in the midst of planning a wedding, your wedding seems like the most important thing. EVER. You are worrying about the guest list, and napkin color, and seating chart, and keeping on track with your budget. You have a million things going on, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. So, I know that the “WEDDING” can be in the forefront of your mind for 6-12 months.

Speaking from personal experience, I have never once been sad when a girlfriend asked me to be a bridesmaid. It was an honor, and I was so glad to be a part of such an important day. Your girlfriends probably feel the same. Which is why they will paint their nails the specific color that you want, wear a dress that they might never otherwise choose, and spend $$ on making sure your bridal showers and bachelorette parties are memorable and fun.

What ends up being the hard part, is when during the planning, the only communication that your friends, family, & fiancé  receive is wedding related.

….ouch.

I’m not big on competition. And I don’t like when people rank who’s life is better/harder/more important. I’m a firm believer that everyone is working through their own things. Good times, hard times, changes, transitions, etc. All of us are dealing with our own mountains.

So, here’s my challenge.

While your girls hand address 8 million wedding invitations, make sure you spend time asking them how THEY are doing. Giving them a call to just check in, sending them a text when you know they have a job interview, or a first date, or are sick at home with the flu. While your family is helping you with setting up and tearing down the most giant party you have ever thrown, take time to go shopping with your mom or on a hike with your dad & brother. While your fiancé is listening to you go over every detail of your invitations, make sure he knows how excited you are not only for the wedding, but also for all of the adventures that will come afterwards.

Because there’s going to be a day when you are no longer planning a wedding. I remember feeling a teensy bit sad when my wedding was over because the planning & the excitement of it all was over. But I was so glad to be able to have my friends over for tacos when we got back from our honeymoon to hear about their new jobs, new boyfriends, and old stories. To have my family over for our first Thanksgiving and make brand new traditions. To settle into life with a new last name, but with the same people who had been there for me through it all.

Weddings are so fun.

But you know what’s even better than a wedding?

Marriage. 

Because the wedding is just the kick off to a lifetime of dance parties in your kitchen. Or pasta around your dinner table. Or holidays spent with your new family. Movie nights at home. Trips to the grocery store. New traditions, mixed with childhood traditions. Picking out your first Christmas tree. Meeting your best friend’s new boyfriend. Becoming an aunt for the first time.

So take some time to go to coffee with your fiancé and instead of dreaming about your wedding day, dream about your first year of marriage. Or your first 5 years. Write an list of adventures you want to take together. We did that while we were dating, and we still refer back to it when we are looking for a new idea for date night.

Your wedding is going to be beautiful.

But your marriage is going to be forever.

Make sure that you take some time to plan both.

You’ve Got this,

Kels

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The Most Important Wedding Accessory : The Bride’s Bouquet

One of my favorite thing at each wedding is seeing the different details each bride decides to make a part of her ensemble. From the shoes, the veil, the jewelry, the accessories, and even the dress, there are so many ways to make your dress and details into a perfect reflection of your style and taste.

But, there is one thing that I love even more than the jewelry. The BOUQUET. I mean, ladies, what other day of your life do you get to carry around a gorgeous bouquet of flowers? I WISH I could get away with that in everyday life. There are so many different styles and types of bouquets, but there is one thing for certain, IT MATTERS. It might not seem like the most important accessory, but in my opinion, it is.

Why? Because the bouquet is in a LOT of your photos, and it definitely can add to the gorgeousness of the day. Some brides might go for something simple and monotone, and others will choose something bright and colorful. The bouquet is a way to add some personality into your day.

As a photographer, I see SO much value in trusting a florist to design a bouquet that will be the perfect reflection of your tastes and theme of the wedding. I would say that the bridal bouquet ends up in at least 50% of the photos from a wedding. From portraits, bridal party, and family alone there are so many reasons to have a bouquet that is not only beautiful from all angles, but is the proper size!

Below are some tips that one of my FAVORITE florists, Paula from Paisley Petals gave me in regards to bouquets :

“Your bridal bouquet is your ultimate wedding day accessory. Much like the invitations you mail to your guests, it will help set the tone for the feel of the entire day. It should set the stage without stealing the show and compliment your dress beautifully.

With literally thousands of options for wedding day florals, an experienced professional florist will be able to help you sort through the noise and the over-abundance of available ideas to make bloom selections and style choices that will suit you and your day perfectly.

In the age of Pinterest, the number of ideas you see can be seriously overwhelming!

My best advice for honing in on your perfect bouquet match? Find lots of photos of bouquets you love AND lots of photos of bouquets you don’t love. Go through these with your florist. The best way to communicate about floral designs is through photos. Your florist will be able to see what you’re drawn to and what puts you off and put it into words, even if you aren’t sure how to say what you’re looking for. You’ll end up with a finished product that is perfect for you.

The one thing you shouldn’t do? Don’t show your florist a photo of someone else’s bouquet and ask them to duplicate it exactly. It doesn’t feel good to us, and ultimately does you a disservice. You should have a bridal bouquet that is brilliantly one of a kind, just like you!

You want to have enough of a vision to give your florist direction, and enough trust in their talent to let them create something you’re going to swoon over.

One of our favorite things to do is to incorporate personal details into your bouquet. Things like your grandmother’s brooch or lockets with photos of your parents on their wedding day can be easily added to your bouquet handle. We’ve even used lace from the mother of the bride’s wedding dress to wrap the stems of the bride’s bouquet! If there is one particular flower that is especially meaningful to you, we love to use that in your bouquet, even if not in all of the other arrangements. Another idea to make your bouquet meaningful is to pick some flowers with amazing fragrance. You’ll be reminded of your beautiful wedding day every time you smell them! You can even plant some of that particular flower in your own garden after the wedding.”

AMAZING advice, Thank you Paula!

Now, let me show you some of my favorite bouquets! They are all different, but they each compliment the dress and the wedding!

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This bouquet was created by Paula from Paisley Petals. I LOVE that the bouquet was loose and natural feeling. The ribbon detail made it feel romantic and I love the colors that she chose!

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Amanda’s Bouquet was created by Distinctive Designs. I love that since she had a summer wedding, she went with bright colors! The orange really popped against the greenery of their outdoor wedding ceremony!

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Connie’s Bouquet was created by Love Blooms. I LOVE the loose greenery around the edges, along with the lavender and deep purple colors!

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Jessica’s Bouquet was created by Amy at Mae Flower Co.. I LOVE the bright colors and the addition of succulents into the bouquet. I also love the size. I love when a bouquet makes a statement!

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Anna’s bouquet was also created by Amy at Mae Flower Co. ! I love that she went for white flowers, but had her bridesmaids carry a bright coral color that was a contrast from her bridesmaid dresses.

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Jessica & Dan got married in December, so I LOVE that she chose some pinecones to go in the bouquet!

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For Claire’s Wedding (Above), she went with simple white blooms and greenery to compliment her bridesmaid’s navy dresses.

Emily’s Bouquet (Below), was created by Flora Laura. I LOVE the beautiful colors. The contrast between light blue and peach just made me so happy!

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I hope you found some inspiration and are highly considering hiring a professional florist to design your bouquet. The photos don’t lie, a bouquet REALLY adds to a photo and to the day!

Cheers, Love!

Kels

For information about wedding photography, visit www.kelseylynnephotography.com.

Workin’ With a Budget : Wedding Planning Tips

We are right in the midst of the busiest time for proposals. Between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, approximately 35% of all engagements will happen this year! Let the wedding planning begin!!!!

I am in my 6th year as a wedding photographer, and my 2nd year as a wife, so while I might not have the most knowledge, I do have some that could help when planning out a wedding! I figured I could share some with you!

As most wedding magazines, websites, and parents will tell you, the first thing you need to decide on for your wedding is a budget. This might be easier said than done, because if you’ve never planned a wedding before, there is such a range of what things cost, so it might be hard to know how much would be enough. But once you get a rough idea, once you start contacting vendors, you will get to nail down a specific budget. This will help in determining if certain vendors or items would be a good fit for your wedding. We live in such a beautiful state with SO many options for wedding vendors, it makes it easy to plan a wedding!

Here are a few things that I have learned or even implemented in our own wedding to keep us right on budget.

1.) The Longer the Engagement, the more opportunity to add cost to the wedding.

I realize this is a blanket statement, and I have brides who have waited to finish college or other things before their wedding day, while still keeping on a budget. But, in most cases, the more time you have, the easier it is to decide that you need those extra napkin rings, or you should make 300 personalized favors for our guests…because WE HAVE SO MUCH EXTRA TIME!

Working with a shorter timeframe 6-9 months might allow you to just focus on the necessary details, while still allowing enough time for ordering dresses, enjoying the planning, and getting the major things planned without stress.

2.) Some Vendors will offer off-season discounts.

Not all, but some vendors you ask might be willing to work with you if your wedding doesn’t fall into the peak season for weddings! Summer and early fall in Washington tend to be the most popular, because that is when we have less rain, so outdoor weddings are more of a possibility. So planning a wedding in February/March or even October/November might allow you to ask certain vendors for a small discount based on time of year. Most venues already have an off season rate posted online also, or a discount for a wedding that doesn’t fall on a Saturday. Some vendors don’t offer discounts, and that’s okay, but they might be willing to have a conversation about a custom package that more easily fits your budget!

3.) Consider the Bar

While having an open bar is great, sometimes it can run close to $75/person.  There are different options to keep cost down, while still having an open bar feel. We have gone to many weddings where they have a limited bar, and everyone has been very happy! Consider offering a signature cocktail or a bride’s favorite/groom’s favorite cocktail along with some beer and wine options to allow for some variety while also not needing to purchase everything in bulk. That way, people can still choose from some options, but it allows you to stick to your budget.

4.) Review the Guestlist

Most caterers charge per person when calculating for food. Extra chair rentals, table rentals, and set up fees all were things we encountered when planning our wedding. When creating your guestlist, the thing that I think a lot of people worry about, is having to please other people. If you are trying to keep costs down, reviewing the guest list can help determine if you really want 300 guests, or if you only really want 250.

5.) Ask Your Venue about Extra Costs

When planning our wedding, I was not aware that when you pay for a venue, sometimes they charge a flat fee for set-up or tear down. Also, tax can also be added. Which, in Washington can be close to 10%. So asking those questions before hand can help assure you that you won’t have any surprises.

6.) About the Venue – Choose Somewhere You ALREADY Love.

With so many beautiful options for wedding venues in the Pacific Northwest, it might be easy to count a venue out just because of cost. Here’s my advice. Don’t. There are so many venues that are already naturally beautiful. What I mean, is that there are venues that don’t need a lot of additions to make them a dream location for a wedding. While they might be more expensive up front than some other venues, you probably don’t need to add a lot of décor to make them into a perfect setting for a wedding or reception. Which may mean less cost in the long run!

Some venues are a blank canvas, which is so fun if you have a desire to make a space exactly what you want! Others are already set up with beautiful backgrounds and locations around the property that all they need is a few details to make them your own. It just depends on your style!

7.) DIY might NOT be the cheaper option

I have a lot of brides tell me that they are going to be designing and printing their wedding invitations, or putting together their favors, or other items. However, that might not always be the cheaper option. Doing something yourself might seem like it would cost less, until you realize that you have to purchase 250 small mason jars and spend 40 hours tying ribbons around them. Projects always seem to have extra supplies or items needed that you might not realizing when planning. So contacting some companies for a quote might save you time AND money in the long run. For instance, consider looking for invitation designs on Etsy, or maybe a company who is just starting out. They might be less expensive than you think! And win-win, you won’t have to worry about blisters on your fingers from tying 300 ribbons. 😉

 

So, there you have it. Some tips that I hope will help you when planning your dream wedding but sticking to that budget! If you have any tips that you found helped when planning your wedding, I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments section!

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Happy Planning, Loves!

Kels