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WEDDING NIKKI KAUZLARICH PHOTOGRAPHY

The Bridal Guide

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WELCOME Hello bride to be and welcome! We are Joe & Nikki, husband and wife photography team. We are so excited that you have chosen us to capture one of the most important days in your lives. We absolutely love what we do, capturing the raw, emotional moments that make your wedding day your own story. We also know how much work planning a wedding is. You have vendors to coordinate, a guest list to draft, decorations to plan, and so much more. This is why we created this guide. We want your photography experience to be the most comfortable and easy process you have throughout your wedding. We hope you find this guide useful and informative. We are so excited to get to know you better and help you never forget this time of your life!

XOXO

joe & nikki

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table of

CONT

Engagement Session 12 Wedding Day 20 Your Timeline 22 Timing Tips 26 Do’s & Dont’s 30 Details 35 Beauty 39 8


T ENTS

First Look 44 Ceremony 57 Family Formals 60 Romantic Portraits 62 Reception Tips 66 After I Do 69 Favorite Vendors 73 9


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your

ENGAGEMENT SESSION

I

inlcude

enagement

my

any time before your wedding day. It’s really

wedding collections because I truly believe

up to you. Just remember that because our

that the best images of you and your man

weekends can be booked with weddings,

can only come from a photographer who

it’s a good thing to get your session on the

knows you. It is difficult for photographer

calendar! Some weeknights work out well

and couple to connect on the wedding

too! Engagements sessions are normally

day

together

held in the evenings, depending on what

beforehand. The engagement session is our

time of year it is. Between 5-7pm during

time to strengthen our relationship through

the warmer months and 3-5pm during the

photography. I get to learn more about your

colder months. As you start to plan for your

story, how you interact as a couple, what

session you will need to start thinking about

you like, and who you are as individuals. You

location ideas. It’s amazing when couples

get to learn how quirky I can be, what types

choose a location that is sentimental to

of poses we'll do on your wedding day, and

them in some way. If for some reason you

how to be comfortable in front of a camera.

can’t think of anywhere specific, I can help

We are going to be spending nearly your

you choose.

entire wedding day together and I'd like to

Do not shy away from crazy ideas! The more

know you as a person and friend so I can

creative the better!

without

spending

sessions

time

in

give you the best images for you. Plus you get some awesome photos out of it, which can be used in so many ways! Your engagement session can be scheduled 12

Be sure to keep reading to find out more about outfit ideas and inspiration!


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this is your time... I really want you to look back on your engagement photos and have no regrets, View this time as a opportunity to be creative, to showcase your personalities and have fun! Rent that amazing sparkly Badgley Mischka gown you’ve been dying to wear, buy those heels you can’t take your eyes off of. If you’re anything like me, you have pinterest boards filled with your style wish lists, photo ideas and much more. Don’t be afraid to try something different! Your engagement session is probably one of the few times in your life you will have professional photos taken, aside from your wedding day, so remember to make this time personal when making decisions on your location, outfits and any other details you decide on. Read on for more tips and ideas! 14


THE OUTFITS what to wear

It is always intimidating to have your picture taken

will not only get to see your make up done, but

if your’e not used to it, which can make preparing

you will get to see how it looks in your photos. If

for your engagement session a little overwhelm-

you decide to opt out of having someone do make

ing. Here are a few tips for outfits and accessories

up for you, and you dont tend to wear a lot of it,

that will help make your preparation a little more

make sure to add a bit more make up than your

managable!

everyday. Otherwise it will not show up too much in your images.

Don’t try to match. Pick outfits that coordinate in-

Bright and bold lipsticks are always awesome for

stead.

these sessions

Don’t be afraid to acccessorize! This is one of the

Do either have your nails painted or no polish at

best ways to bring your own personal touch and

all. No chipped nails please!

add a pop to your photos! Gents: Don’t automatically throw out patterns as an op-

Do be picky with your shoes. Dirty sneakers, san-

tion. Most are ok, just remember to make sure its

dals with socks, or anything else you (or your fur-

not overwhelming or distracting.

ture wifey) may regret seeing in your photos later.

Don’t forget about bold, bright colors. Pair them

Do empty your pockets. You don’t want to have

with neuturals and it will really add a lot to your

keys, phones or anything bulky showing through

photos.

your pockets.

Do set up your make up trial for your eshoot. You

TIPS for your shoot

Most often couples like to have one casual, every-

later you arrive, the less time we have to shoot.

day outfit and than one outfit thats dressier. This

Clean the ring. I love to shoot a few ring shots. The

will give your shoot two totally different “looks”. If

cleaner the better!

you don’t want two outfits thats OK! Relax! You dont have to be a pro at this. Im going Don’t wear something that makes you so uncom-

to help you along the way and we will have fun!

fortable that’s all you can think about.

Enjoy this time together and make a date out of it. Plan a dinner afterwards or something else

BE ON TIME! The sun is only out for so long! The

special.

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engagement session

APPROXIMATE START TIMES

WINTER

JUNE-AUG

During December through midapril you can plan on your session taking place around 2:30 or 3pm. However, the time changes midMarch which will change the start time to one hour later.

Summer engagaments, just like other seasons, take place two hours before sunset. You can plan around 6:30pm

APRIL-MAY

SEPT- NOV

The sunset time changes throughout the course of these two months and so our shooting times change as well. You can plan on approximately 3-5pm in April and 4-6pm in May.

The sunset time changes again through these three months. In September, you can plan on 4-5:30pm. October, plan on 3-5pm. And after the first week of Novermber, plan on 2-4pm.

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WHAT’S YOUR One of my favorite things about today’s fashion culture is how easy it is to express your style. Before, fashion could be described by it’s decade, but now days, there is a little bit of everything mixed in! You can pick what you want to wear and even mix up styles based on your mood or what your doing. As much as I love this, I also know that it is easy to lose yourself and have no idea where you fit in. And when styling your engagement session, you may feel overwhelmed. This is normal! Especially with pinterest and other similar sites that make everything look so good. You may already have the perfect idea in mind for your enagagement session, However, I still suggest that you and your hubby to be try on your outfit(s) together to make sure you like the way it looks. I also suggest that if there is a look you really like but are nervous about doing it, try it anyways before the session. You may find that you are more comfortable in it than you thought and really want to go for it! I am always here to bounce ideas off of or just to answer any questions or concerns. All you have to do is ask! 18

style?

ROMANTIC soft, flowy, sexy and of course sparkles are always a good thing

CLASSIC timeless, clean lines, pearls, olivia palermo and j.crew

FUN AND FLIRTY flirty, relaxed, natural- NOT slouchy, ill fitting or grundgy

URBAN HIPSTER rolled up skinny jeans, hats, high waisted shorts, chunky sweaters, flannel and booties

BOHO CHIC flowy, accessories, hipie influence, knuckle rings, flower crowns and braids

CITY CHIC carrie bradshaw, sleek and sexy


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YOUR

Wedding DAY

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your

TIMELINE details 1:30-2:15

After the details have been photographed, it’s time for the bride to get into her dress! I usually ask the mother of the bride and all of the brides-maids be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. This ensures that everyone will look nice in those images. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewely, veil, shoes, etc and I will shoot

Every bride loves having those

first look 3:00

some additional bridal portraits!

beautiful shots of her bridal details. It’s an important part of the story and I love having some time to shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. These shots allow me to get warmed up for the rest of the big day. I normally like to allow at least 45 minutes for this part of the day. While I’m shooting details, I;m also capturing some shots of the bride and her girls getting ready! If the groom is getting nearby, Joe will begin photographing the boys getting ready close to 40 min before the first look since it always takes them less time to get dressed!

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2:15-3:45

bridal prep

This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I will fi nd the perfect loca-tion for my couple’s First Look prior to the getting ready portion of the day! Don’t stress about that one bit! I will make sure the location is private and as secluded as possible.


Here’s the page that can be somewhat intimidating! The TIMELINE! The next two pages will outline an ideal wedding day working off of a 6pm ceremony timeframe. This ideal timeline is also based off of a wedding day that includes a first look and you can read more about that option a few pages over! Remember that all wedding days are different and your timeline may differ due to travel times and unique situations.

portraits 3:15-3:45

portraits

Bridal Party

3:50-4:20

..... great shots of the guys and girls both separately AND together! After bridal party portraits are complete, the bride will go into hiding so that early guests don’t sneak a peek and the ushers will begin their duties.

After the bride and groom take their time with the First Look, I will begin taking a few romantic portraits of the two of them while the initial excitment is still present! I will fi nd the locations for these shots as well! Remember, the LIGHT determines where we shoot and so I can’t decide on portrait

Now it’s time for Bridal Party shots!

locations until the day-of. As we

I buf-fer in extra time throughout

shoot these portraits, the bridal

the day just in case we have some

party can start making their way

unexpected things that hold us up!

to us for Bridal Party portraits!

One way to make sure we stay on

4:30-5:00

bride in hiding!

schedule for bridal party portraits is to have someone put the boutonnieres on the guys BEFORE they arrive for portraits.During Bridal Party portraits, Michael and I will make sure to take some.....

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your TIMELINE

CONTINUED

reception details 4:30-4:50

It’s time to get married! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes

family portraits 5:40-6:10

Family formals normally take

long. If your ceremony is longer

place immediately following the

than 30 minutes, we’ll make

ceremony. It’s best to save all of

adjustments to the timeline!

the family formals until after the

Cherish these moments! Your

ceremony because ALL family

ceremony will pass by so quickly!

members will be present at that time.

If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to shoot the reception decor UNTOUCHED. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a coucktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some great shots of your reception before the night begins and gyests start

ceremony 5-5:30

We’ll need about 30 minutes for family formals and I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can list out the shots

laying down purses and coats on

that you want. I recommend

their seats!

shooting portraits outdoors if possible so that they resemble more natural family portraits, especially if the ceremony location is dark.

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extra portraits

the party!

6:30-6:45

I include 8 hours of coverage so that I can be present for the main events of the reception

6:15-6:30

and about an hour of dancing! If you’re interested in having your exit photographed there are several options for this! You can either add additional coverage

7:00 is the BEST time of day for portraits in the late spring, summer and early fall! This is when the sun is glowy and golden. I love having a few extra

This is when the bridal party

or plan a faux exit with just

lines up for introductions and the

your bridal party! We have had

party begins! By this part of the

GREAT success with this and the

day, my timeline isn’t as strict. I

party never stops!

work off the natural light and so

Email me about this!

after the sun is set, my portrait time is over and I begin focusing on the reception events!

minutes with bride and groom to take a few “Just Married” portraits right after family formals!

end!

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APPROXIMATE TIMES Details and Prep: 1.5 hours First Look Portraits: 30-45 minutes Bridal Party: 30-40 minutes Family Formals: 30 minutes Extra portrait time: 20 minutes

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portrait & timing tips for:

WINTER, SUMMER, FALL & SPRING

winter

Winter weddings are gorgeous! However they do take additional planning simply because of the sunset time. The hard part about your wedding is the sun sets around 4:00pm.This means that all your portraits have to be done before then. This isn’t a problem if you’re having a late afternoon wedding. However, if you’re planning on a late evening wedding, you may have a bit of downtime from 4:00pm until the start of the ceremony. You will also need more coverage as well.

fall

Fall weddings are beautiful. There are so many colors everywhere. The temperature is usually good! Your portrait time will vary depending on your wedding date. We’ll be chatting about this when we go over your timeline!

summer

Summer weddings are awesome! I love that there is so much daylight. In some months, the light can last until 8:30pm. So, if you are having a summer wedding, you’ll need to plan on having a few minutes to slip out of the reception for a few sunset portraits.

spring

Spring weddings are awesome because they are usually a great tempertaure. There are also flowers everywhere! Which always make beautiful backdrops. Portrait times will vary a bit are usually best between 5:30pm- 7:30pm. 27


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DO PLAN WHERE YOU GET READY!

DON’T TRY TO SAVE MONEY BY

biggest difference in your pic-

Whether you choose to get ready

GETTING A SMALL HOTEL ROOM

tures.

at home, in a hotel room or at

FOR YOUR GIRLS AND YOURSELF.

-Matching hangers for your bride-

your venue, its important to keep

It always ends up stressful and

maids dresses (wooden ones look

it picture ready! Hotel rooms and

way to crowded. If you want

the best.)

venue areas are usually clean

everyone in one room, invest in a

-Bringing extra details that bring

but its important to keep it or-

suite. You will not regret it!

out the essence of your wedding

ganized. Getting ready means

vision, extra flowers to put in pic-

clothes, make up and everything

DO PAMPER YOURSELF

tures, your perfume, your jewlery,

it takes to make you feel like a

Even if you are so good at doing

extra lace or fabric you used at

bride. It helps to have you and

hair and makeup, allow yourself

your reception. All the little things

your bridesmaids keep personal

to be pampered for your day by

really bring everything together.

items tucked away in one spot to

having hair and makeup done for

- Remember to mention any spe-

keep clutter out of pictures. If you

you. Not only is it less stressful but

cial details so I can capture them.

plan to get ready at home, keep

you feel great when your done!

Something of grandma’s, mom’s or

in mind rooms with less clutterand

DO REMEMBER DETAILS

someone else special.

larger windows are best.

The smallest details can make the

- Are you writing your own vows?

THE

do’s AND don’ts

WHEN PLANNING YOUR DAY...

Handwrite them out to use in

Remember to plan for this. Weath-

enjoy getting ready and preparing

photos.

er you bring a pretty coat, a wrap,

for your walk down the asile.

a swaeter or my favorite, a fur DON’T AVOID OR PUT OFF HAVING

covering of some sort. If you plan

DO CONSIDER A CEREMONY EXIT

HAIR AND MAKE UP TRIALS DONE

ahead and prepare it wont be so

Ceremony exits are awesome

This time is so essential to you

bad! If you dont prepare it really

picture oportunities! Either with

perfecting the way you want to

shows in pictures and can make

petals, ribbons, bubbles, or any-

look on your wedding day. You

our portrait time miserable.

thing else you could creatively

want to avoid as much stress as

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come up with. They are also a

possible the day off.

DO HIRE OR ASK SOMEONE TO

great alternative to reception

DON’T FORGET IT WILL BE COLD

YOU TO COORDINATE THE DAY OF

exits if you have a late wedding or

FOR PORTRAITS IF YOU HAVE A

It may be hard letting go of con-

if you don’t plan on me staying till

FALL OR WINTER WEDDING

trol on one of the most import-

the end.

Many brides want the beautiful

ant days of your life but allowing

fall colors, or even a winter setting

someone else to take the reigns

DO MAKE TIME TO CHAT WITH ME

but sometimes forget portraits will

the day of. This makes a huge

ABOUT YOUR DAY

still be outside if we can help it!

difference and really allows you to

I can only know what is important


to you if you tell me. Meeting and

want to use that time. Are the

sometimes, your beloved family

chatting over details, how the day

getting ready pictures important?

and friends like to get in the way

will flow and important aspects of

Do you want me with you and your

of me trying to capture all those

your day helps me capture your

maids for the whole time or just

special ceremony moments...ahem

day in more detail. I am aware of

when you put on your dress? Are

Uncle Bill standing in the aisle with

the special things that make your

you having an exit at the end of

an ipad. Having friends and family

day yours!

the reception? These are just a

upload their pictures to your ins-

few questions that help figure this

tagram hashtag is awesome, and I

DON’T FORGET TO MENTION ANY

out. This is deinitely something we

will always do my best to capture

SPECIAL MOMENTS YOU WANT

can work out together!

images without people in them.

CAPTURED

But in an uplugged wedding, you

If you want photographs taken of

DO SEND ME YOUR DAY OF TIME-

will always have that chance

your cocktail hour, out of town or

LINE

of having an uncle Bill stand up

other specialguests, or if you have

It is so important for me to see

during your first kiss as man and

something special happening

your timeline at least 2 weeks be-

wife.

during your ceremony or recep-

fore the wedding. There are times

tion, these are things I do need to

when I have gotten a timeline a

know ahead of time.

day before and had ma jor issues. Don’t let timelines and schedules

DO REMEMBER TO PLAN OUT

scare you. I am here to help!

YOUR DAY FROM A PHOTOGRAPHY STANDPOINT

DO CONSIDER AN UNPLUGGED

You have me for 8 hours on your

WEDDING

wedding day, unless you decide

I know, its hard to imagine ask-

you want to add extra hours. You

ing people to put down their

will need to figure out how you

phones, ipads and cameras, but

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PRECEREMONY

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let the day begin!

This portion of the wedding guide really sets the stage for the entire wedding day. The next few pages will share tips and tricks that will ensure a seamless morning of bridal preparation and beautiful portraits!

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GETTING READY Its the morning of your wedding!

plays a huge rold in your life? Will you

Hopefully all the details are taken

and your groom be exchanging gifts

care of you’re relaxing with your best

during this time? If so, who would you

friends while your hair is being done.

like to deliver them? Are there certain

If certain items haven’t been checked

women in your life that would appre-

off the to do list, it’s time to hand

ciate seeing you get into your gown?

them over to someone else. Dele-

Some brides want very few people

gation is a key part of a stress free

around for this moment. Other brides

wedding day. I know its hard to hand

love having aunts and grandmas

over the decorating duties and all of

present! It’s totally up to you! A few

the last minute things that need to be

other things to consider... as you get

done but it really is important to relax

ready to pt your dress on, refrain from

the orning of your wedding. The rest

putting any jewelry on. I love shooting

of the day is going to be fast pased

all of those final steps when you’re in

and filled with a lot of emotions! Take

your gown! Keep reading along for

advantage of this down time! There

more tips to help you prepare!

are a few things to consider about the “getting ready” portion of the day. Do you want to share a “first look” with your dad or any other man that 34


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DETAILS Your Pinterest board is filled with images of the most beauitful tablescapes, ceremony backdrops, special made signs, grogeous flower bouquets with a piece of mom’s dress tied around the stems, grandmas pearls, the names you sew into your wedding dress, the perfect favors to wow your guests, and the gifts you just have to get your maids. All these perfect pictures make up the details of your wedding day. You spend countless hours planning and coordinating to make these details come to life. I love this having time to photograph these special details in a way that shows the style of your wedding day. I ask brides to gather any details they have before I arrive so I can walk in, say hi, give you a big hug and then begin photographing all those special items. Please know, I will take GOOD care of the dress!

What to Gather 36

DRESS VEIL/HAIR PIECES RINGS (ALL THREE) SHOES JEWELRY

PERFUME INVITATIONS YOUR SOMETHING BARROWED & BLUE BOUQUET & BOUTS


It’s the

little

things...

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“ Happy

girls are the prettiest

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- AUDREY HEPBURN


the most

BEAUTIFUL

you

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and the day you want to feel and look your absolute best! Not only will you of course will look stunning, but you will also be radiant. You will be glowing from all the joy and love you feel inside and everyone will see it. I always encourage my brides to have their hair and make up done by a professional the day of their wedding. This allows you to relax, enjoy your girls and be as pampered as you wish. There are so many talented hair and make up artists in our area and two of my favorites give their favorite tips on how to prep for the big day!

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MAKE UP Tip #1: Prepping the face

day and want to use fake

The cooled cream can help

In order for makeup to wear

lashes, buy the strip lashes-

reduce puffiness and feels

well, you need a good base

-these are much easier to

refreshing under the eyes

to work with. Before applying

apply than individual lashes.

after a sleepless night. Next,

makeup, it is so important to

My go-to strip lashes for a

you want to use a conceal-

prep your face beforehand.

more natural look are the Ar-

er that is a pink-toned color

Cleanse, exfoliate, moistur-

dell’s #110 or #135. Remem-

that will help counter-act the

ize. Applying makeup on a

ber to practice putting them

dark purple/blue tones from

clean, smooth, and moistur-

on before your wedding day.

your dark circles. Don’t put

ized surface will help reduce

Youtube is a great source to

too much concealer under

the look of your makeup

show you step-by-step ways

the eye area to avoid the

looking too “cakey” and dry.

on how to apply fake lashes.

product from creasing into

To avoid breakouts, never

fine lines of your skin. Last,

use new products on your

Tip #3: Reducing the appear-

set your concealer with a

face a few days before your

ance of dark circles

little bit of powder to ensure

wedding. Instead, stick with

A lot of times, I have brides

the product doesn’t slide.

products you know work well

who don’t get enough sleep

Bye bye dark circles!

for your skin and keep your

the night before their wed-

skincare regiment simple.

ding due to all the excitement, jitters, and happy an-

Tip#2: Opt for fake lashes

ticipation for their wedding

I always encourage my

day, which is quite under-

brides to try fake lashes

standable!! But that lack of

because they really do make

sleep can also cause un-

such a difference in photo-

wanted dark circles around

graphs and they really do

the eyes. Have no fear, there

make your eyes POP! Listen

is a solution to this problem

ladies, fake lashes can and

area.

do look natural! The trick is finding lashes that are the

Dab a little bit of your favor-

right shape and length that

ite eye cream underneath

fit well with your eye shape.

your eye area to prep the skin. I usually like to put my

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If you’re doing your own

eye creams in the refrig-

makeup on your wedding

erator to keep them cool.

Jackie Davidson Beauty by Jackie


HAIR Weeks Before:

Ashley Chin Glam Bridal Beauty

Haircut: Get your hair

Wedding Day:

trimmed at LEAST 2 weeks

When you shower the day of

prior to your wedding. Fresh-

your Wedding, clip your hair

ly cut hair is difficult to curl!

up and put a shower cap

Color: Highlights and/or color

over your hair. The last thing

should be done within the

you want to do is re-wet

week of your wedding to en-

your clean dry hair. Try to

sure complete root coverage

avoid using a hair tie at ALL

and freshness.

between the time you blow dry and getting your hair

1-3 Months Before:

Day Before:

styled - hair ties leave hard

Choose your style: Choose

In general, the best hair for

creases in your hair that are

based on your dress style,

Bridal Styling is the “sec-

super hard to get out! If you

face shape, length of hair,

ond-day” hair. Shampoo,

MUST clip up hair aside from

jewelry, veil placement, and

condition, and blow dry your

showering, do a low bun in

any hair accessories you

hair the night before your

the back, secured by a clip

would like to use.

wedding. After washing,

or bobby pin..

Schedule your trial run: Take

blow dry completely. This

your veil and any hair acces-

means leave no hair left be-

Disclaimer: Always always

sories. Expect extra time for

hind. All hair must be dried,

always ask your Bridal Hair

your stylist to achieve your

with a blow dryer. This cre-

Stylist how they would like

results, more than on Wed-

ates the texture needed for

your hair to be prepped. This

ding Day. You will be consult-

styling. Sleeping on wet hair

may slightly vary based on

ing, making any changes,

is a no-no, as it will make

the desired hairstyle. Curly

etc. It’s a trial run. Be honest

your stylists job harder. No

vs. straight, volume vs. tight

with your stylist if there is

products with the blow dry,

may change the way they

anything that you would like

except maybe a light root

want your hair prepped to

differently. If she is a good

boosting spray. NO oils, NO

achieve best results.

stylist, she will NOT get hurt

hairspray. Your stylist will

Follow these Bridal Hair Prep

feelings if you tell her what

have all the products needed

Tips & you will have a hap-

you do not like. As stylists, we

to create your Look. Use a

py Stylist which means your

can change anything, only

paddle brush & brush hair

hair will be FABULOUS!

if we know what you want

away from your roots as you

changed. 

blow dry to create volume and loosen any curl.

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THE

first look EXPLAINED

I absolutely love “First Looks.” I may even get overly

magical moments of a ceremony. But I don’t believe the

excited when you mention you want one. I am aware

magic is lost with a “First Look,” With the pressure off,

that there are those who get cought up in how “un-

both bride and groom can enjoy every aspect of their

traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. It’s

amazing day. The nerves are gone and true emotions

easy to understand the hesitation when it comes to

are free to be expressed. So if I were to sum up what

choosing between seeing eachother at the alter and

I just wrote... basically, grooms normally become

a “First Look.” Every bride wants to feel special, she

incredibly nervous on wedding days... even if they seem

wants to remember that moment when her groom see’s

cool and collected. For most grooms, the nerves set

her, she wants a REACTION.

in before they see their bride because when they see

One of the biggest lies brides and grooms believe is

her, everything because very real. So when the nerves

that if they have a first look, they will not have that

start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a

special moment again at the altar. That is not true! In

secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony,

photographing many weddings, I have actually seen

what if you took him to a private place... no people, no

more emotion and more reactions from both bride

on-lookers, no distractions... and you let his beautiful

and groom at the alter when they choose to do a

bride, the love of his life, walk up to him and gently tap

“First Look.” The moments prior to the ceremony are

his shoulder. He would turn around and finally get his

of course exciting, but can also be filled with anxiety,

first look at his stunning bride and not only would he

especially for the groom. He has been sitting in a room,

get to see her... he could embrace her... cry with her...

for what seems like forever, waiting to be called to his

ker her... and enjoy that moment for as long as they

place at the alter where he walks into a room filled with

wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times

people watching him, who have an expectation for

and then asks him what he thinks... his nerves start to

him to react. Talk about pressure! This moment, your

diminish. After all, the one who can calm him down the

groom, waiting for you, in front of all your family and

most is standing right infront of him.

friends, to take you as his wife, is of course one of the

Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they can casually

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move into their romantic portratis. No one is around,

is stunning. He watches her walk towards him, towards

the coordinator isn’t annoucing how many minutes you

their future and the closer she gets, the bigger he

have left, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of

smiles.

them and their photographer, capturing the excitement

Please understand, you are not required to do a first

and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to

look. All this is said, not to place pressure on you. I’ve

be together and to be alone. When does that happen

seen the benefits of a first look and so I only share this

on a wedding day? Without a first look it doesn’t. After

because I want the best for my couples. It is definitely

their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with

ok if you choose not to share a first look.

their best friends. The bridal party joins them and the

side note : Bride’s, if you have never seen your man

bridal party portraits begin and they’re fun. They’re fun because there is time to make them fun. It’s wonderful!

cry or get emotional, you can’t expect him to be

overly emotional on your wedding day. Some guys

After the portraits are done, the girls and guys seperate

just embrace their brides and never cry, and thats OK.

and prepare for the ceremony. The groom takes his

Some guys show very little emotion when his bride is

place at the alter and clasps his hands, which aren’t

coming down the aisle and thats ok too. Just enjoy this

clasped out of nervousness but excitement. He is about

amazing day and try not to put any expectations on

to see his bride, his best friend, his sweetheart and she

him.

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from the brides

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LUIS & BECKY “I absolutely LOVED doing a first look. At first, I was worried about breaking tradition or ruining the beautiful moment of him seeing me for the first time walking down the isle. However, I know that I tend to easily get stressed. And when I get stressed, he calms me down the best. I knew my day would be better off and more enjoyable if I saw him beforehand. We made the decision to take pictures before the ceremony, and it was one of the sweetest moments that I remember from that day. He was standing with his back to me and covering his eyes and I surprised him! We both cried (don’t tell him I told you) and I knew I made the right decision. I was more at peace and when I walked down the isle, it was like it was the first time we saw each other all over again! We both cried tears of happiness and it was it’s own beautiful moment like I had hoped.” - Becky

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BRETT & MANDY “I hadn’t thought much about a “first look” prior to my actual wedding day. I decided to do it based on several people’s recommendations and seeing other people’s photographs from their “first look”. I had been SO stressed and nervous all morning during wedding prep. Not because I was nervous to marry Brett; but because I was nervous about the day going perfectly and as planned. When I saw Brett standing with his back toward me as I walked down a hill to meet him, I had butterflies reminiscent of when we first met. I turned him around and as we shared that private moment of excitement and love, I felt a wave of calm and happiness come over me like I have never felt before. My nerves were gone and that moment felt like the true beginning of the rest of our lives together. When I go back and look at those images, I am filled with those same sacred emotions and am so grateful that they were captured on film thanks to Nikki.” - Mandy


JON & TARA “Making decisions for the wedding was definitely a challenge. One of the hardest decisions for me was deciding between a first look and a traditional look. It was extremely difficult for me to choose, I was starting to drive myself crazy over it! My fiancé didn’t have a preference, so it was ultimately up to me. Deep down I wanted to do a first look but was so worried that it would take away from the experience of walking down the aisle. I will say I couldn’t be happier choosing to do a first look. The first look was very special, and it didn’t take away from the ceremony one bit. The ceremony was every bit just as special- even more than I imagined. Not only was the first look an amazing experience, but some of our favorite photos are from it. We spent a lot more time than I expected taking family portraits after the ceremony, so I would say in my situation we saved a lot of time doing a first look. After family portraits were completed, we were ready to mingle with family and friends during happy hour and relax! Whatever you decide to choose for your wedding, it will be amazing either way! For me, a first look was perfect and worked for our wedding.” -Tara


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CHAD & JENNIFER “As we were making plans for our wedding day, Nikki was an enormous help in guiding us in planning for which shots we’d want captured on our big day and during that process, she suggested a “first look”. We could not be happier that we had that special moment, just the two of us, to connect before the ceremony. It truly was a magical moment when I snuck up behind my now-husband, tapped him on the shoulder, and he saw me for the first time in my wedding dress, excited to marry him and I got to see the look on his face reflecting those same feelings. The moment itself was so special for the two of us, and to this day, we love having our “first look” photos to look back on. We feel so fortunate that Nikki was there to capture the first time we saw each other on our wedding day and those memories and photos are priceless.” -Jennifer 51


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DEV & SHELBY There are a couple of reasons Dev and I really loved doing the first look- for me, I enjoyed having that intimate time with each other before all of the crazy movement of the day. Weddings go by so quickly, and I loved be able to have a relaxed session with just he and I before everyone’s eyes were on us. It also gave me a chance to get some good pictures before my make up was ruined during the tears of the ceremony! Dev loved that it gave us more time to share with our family afterward. He fully believes that we had a better turn out on the dance floor because we didn’t make our guests wait for an hour after the ceremony to get the party started! - Shelby

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the CEREMONY Here is it! The moment everyone has been waiting for. The music is playing and the guests have been seated. Ushers make their way to the back of the church and the coordinator is lining up the bridesmaids while giving musicians a 5 minute warning. The bride is about to walk down the aisle to the love of her life... and if she’s like most girls, she’s dreamed about this moment for a long time! Vows will be shared and promises will be made... this is what it’s all about!! In a world full of wedding blogs, Pinterest and bridal magazines, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and consumed by the “prettiness” of the event. While details do matter and planning is necessary, it’s important to never lose sight of the real purpose of this amazing day!

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lighting

Ceremony lighting is really important. If you get married outdoors at 12pm, the lighting will be extremely harsh and not only will there be harsh lines of light on your faces, you will also be squinting. I suggest planning and outdoor ceremony 2 hours before sunset if you are having a FIRST LOOK. If you are not interested in sharing a first look, then I would suggest having your ceremony 3 hours before sunset to ensure that you will have plenty of time for all your portraits afterwords. The lower sun, the more romantic the lighting. If you are having an indoor ceremony, it is always best to have EVEN lighting at the altar. If there are two spotlights on the bride and groom, I will not be able to expose the rest of the the bridal party. It is better to have soft even light across the whole altar. 58

order of service

I have seen so many couples do so many AMAZING things during their ceremony. I’ve photographed couples washing each other’s feet, symbolizing that they want to serve each other for the rest of their life. Some couples share in communion while some light a unity candle. I’ve seen sand ceremonies, rope ceremonies and military ceremonies. The options are limitless! As you plan your ceremony, make sure you design it to be exactly what the two of you envision it to be. This is your day! If you have the freedom to be creative, then by all means, be creative!


programs

The best advice I have for the program making process is to remember that not EVERY guest needs a program. Most families only take one. Also, before ordering your programs, have SEVERAL people check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Programs and the ceremony decor is something that the bride can plan in advance but then deligate the actual job of setting it up to a friend or coordinator. The last thing a bride needs to be doing the morning of her wedding is running around setting up floral arrangements! Which leads me to my next column!

coordunation

Hiring either a full event planner or just day-of coordinator is SO important! Brides realize very quickly that if they do not have someone in charge of the coordination of the day, that responsibilty will automatically fall on the mother of the bride, the photographer OR the BRIDE! When a photographer is in charge of the timeline and the coordination of the day, the images will suffer. And as the bride, you do not need to be worrying about the details while you should be relaxing and getting ready!

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sample list for: FAMILY FORMALS We absolutely love meeting our couple’s families on the wedding day! Family formals are normally our first interaction with them so we love to have a game plan for this part of the day. One month before the wedding, you will receive a questionaire from us that will ask you to list out the family formals you want us to capture. Here is a sample family formal list to help you start preparing what shots you need. We do have to limit the family formal time in order to ensure that we have plenty of daylight for your romantic portraits. However, any large family group shots that we don’t accomplish during family formals, we can be sure to capture at the reception! B&G with bride’s immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews) B&G with bride’s parents B&G with bride’s siblings Bride with her parents Bride with mom, bride with dad Bride with bride’s grandparents B&G with grooms immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews) B&G with groom’s parents B&G with groom’s siblings Groom with his parents Groom with mom, groom with dad B&G with groom’s grandparents B&G with both bride and groom’s parents

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romantic PORTRAITS We understand that all wedding images are important, but the real favorites are from our time with the bride and groom. These romantic portraits of just the two of you will be the images that you frame beside your bed or over your mantle and they will also be the images that will fill your album for generations to come. These images are always my favorite not only because of their beauty but because this is such a sweet portion of the day. For this breif moment in time, you will be alone with your groom on your wedding day. You will have a chance to love on each other and really connect before the craziness begins. Romantic portraits are normally done before the ceremony (after the first look) and then I love shooting just a few “just married” portraits after the ceremony as well. There is always such giddiness and joy after you have said I do! This is also when the light is low and golden. It’s such a romantic time for bride and groom portraits. If you’re not interested in a first look, we will make sure to include a lot of time after the ceremony for these portraits!

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reception TIPS The fun has begun! It’s time to relax, dance and celebrate! Your reception should be a blast. The last thing you need to be worrying about is your timeline. Your coordinator and DJ should take care of making sure that everything stays on schedule so that you can enjoy your night. Here are some helpful tips that will help your reception flow smoothly. - Take your guests into consideration when planning your timeline. If you have a lot of elderly guests that will not be staying until the very end, make sure you schedule the cake cutting at a relatively early time so that they can be a part of it. Grandma’s love seeing this sweet tradition! -Keep it moving! Chat with your coordinator about how you can plan your reception in a way that will keep guests engaged and moving all night. - Make it your own. If you want to have a special dance with your grandparents, do it. Make your reception a reflection of who you are and don’t feel tied to traditions. Also, make sure you give your DJ or Band a “Do not play” list if there are some songs you really don’t want to hear during your reception. - Don’t get too caught up in the formalities and the details. Sure, details are pretty and fun to photograph, but they can steal the joy of the day if you get too caught up in them. Plan your centerpieces, welcome table, etc. well before the wedding date and teach your coordinator or family friend how to set them up so that you aren’t even thinking about those things the day of! - If you haven’t purchased enough time for your photography to last until the exit, that’s ok! We have several options. I recommend planning your timeline so that you can have at least one hour of dancing photographed. They guest dance during the first hour will still be dancing in the third. One hour of dancing will be enough time to really capture the joy of your reception! - Exits! If your coverage ends before you exit, you have the option of planning a fauz exit with your bridal party. this is more common than you may think. Instead of saving your exit until the very end, you can plan a fauz exit with just the members of your bridal party and a few family members instead. this allows us to have more control over these shots and the party never has to stop. In most cases, no one even notices that the bride and groom are missing for a few minutes. Another option is to have a special exit planned for the ceremony. Ribbon wands, confetti or even bubbles make beautiful pictures!

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after

I DO

One of the most comon thoughts after a wedding is; “I can’t wait to see the pictures!” Though it does take a few weeks for me to send them, I try to get them into your hands as quickly as possible! Here are a few common questions:

a week after the order is placed. If you order any prints off your custom site, this is done

Will I get to see a preview? Yes! I try very hard to get a preview up 1-2 weeks after your wedding day. This preview goes up on my blog and the link is sent to you via email.

How do I order my album? No matter which album you choose, the leather bound, the linen layflat or curl pages coffee table book, the process is the same. I ask you to choose 50-75 of your favorite photographs from the wedding. I know with so many photographs, this can be daunting and I have explained this a little further in pages following. Once you have favorited your images through pixiset, I will go through and create a draft of your album. I will then send you the draft to review and after I will make any changes you asked requested. You will have one final check before it goes to printing. Once the album is ordered, it will take 4-6 weeks for delivery.

When will I get my pictures? My turn around time is usually about 6-8 weeks for you to have your online gallery sent to you. How many pictures do I get? You will receive between 600-800 edited images. Your final delivery number depends on how many hours I will be there, how many details you have, how long the ceremony was, how much time we have for portraits and how much you do during your reception. What is an online gallery? I use an online gallery called Pixieset. It is pretty much a pinterest board for your photos. It is your own custom website, with your own link to share with family and friends. This site also allows you to save favorites for your album, print directly from the site and download original size images right onto your computer with a download code. This website is up for one year and than backed up by their servers. What else will I get? If you chose a collection with an album, this is a sepereate process we go through together. If you decided to add any additional products or prints, this will about

directly through the site and should arrive in only a few days.

Can I print my images myself? Yes, though I highly recommend using my lab, you do have reproduction copy right. This means you may have them printed somewhere else. I do offer my prints at a very low cost because of the value in quality I place on high end images. I spend hours editing your pictures to my exact style and color desire, many labs will not print true to what I edited. If you do decide to print elsewhere, I recommend shutterfly. They do a pretty comaprable job of printing color. Please avoid Walmart, CVS, Target, Walgreens and any other locations such as those. If you have any other questions, dont hesitate to ask!

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favorite

VENDORS

Make up/Hair Beauty by Jackie website: www.beauty-by-jackie.com Phone: 301.910.1010

DJ Shew-sical Website: http://www.shew-sical.com Phone: 888. 743.9742

Glam Bridal Beauty Website: www.glambridalbeauty.com Phone: 301.471.0048

Videographer Shaking Hands Productions Website: www.shakinghandspro.com Phone: 434.258.1212

Florist Floral Bloom & Deisgns (also does rentals & planning) Website: www.floralandbloom.com Phone: 240.481.1588 Blossom & Basket Boutique Website: www.blossomandbasketboutique. com Phone: 301.829.8300 Vintage Floral Design website: www.vintagefloraldsgn.com Email: info@ella.wedding Custom Save the Dates and Invitations Ribon & Ink Website: www.ribbonandink.com Bakery Fresh Bakes Website: www.fresh-bakes.com Phone: 240.899.1757 Event Planner Lovebug Weddings Website: www.lovebuggsevents.com Phone: 240.882.9795 A Sweet Affair Weddings & Events Website: www.asweetaffairevents.com Phone: 410.913.173

Thirty1films Website: www.thirty1films.com Email: thirty1films@yahoo.com Bridesmaids Dresses Little Barrowed Dress Website: www.littleborroweddress.com Vintage Rentals Rusty Love Vintage Rentals Website: http://RustyLovevintagerentals. com Phone: 443.388.0886 Rent the Runway https://www.renttherunway.com/rtr_home Local DIY/Vintage shops Sweet Clover Website: http://sweetcloverbarn.com The Old Lucketts Store Website: www.luckettstore.com Chartreuse & Co. Website: www.chartreuseandco.com The Vintage Barn Website: http://theoldpaintedbarn.blogspot. com/

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