To Expo or to Not….that is the question

So last weekend Josh and I participated in Just a Girl’s first ever Wedding Expo. I say Just a Girl’s because apparently my amazing other half use to do them with his dad as a kid. Very different type of show than wedding shows, but more experience than I’d ever had with it.

We, of course, in typical Josh and Kylee fashion waited until the last minute to finish our display and had never tried to fit everything in the car until the night before. Luckily almost everything fit,and the next morning we were our way to Innisbrook Resort in Tampa where the expo was being held.

After a hectic morning we finally got everything set up, what I didn’t know however was that the candy and our display would be the mossy popular thing about us all day 😂

We were all set up and ready to go for Florida Wedding Expo by Your Wedding TVs doors were about to open. I was super nervous and Josh was well…Josh, cool as a cucumber we always.

The crowds were flowing and there were tons of eager brides, grooms, friends, and family. The chocolate in both the swag bags and on our table helped us stand out. Brides were filling out our contact cards pretty consistently for a majority of the show and we had some awesome conversations with potential clients.

All in all in 4 hours of talking to brides, about a grand in expenses to get us ready for the first show, 2 engagement shoots, and what hopefully will turn into an awesome season of weddings in the next couple of weeks, I would have to say from the perspective of connecting with potential brides and other vendors alone, that this expo was worth it.

I think for all new photography business out there especially those in the wedding industry, looking into an expo type event whether it be the same one we did or some other event, is definitely worth it. It’ll help you connect with all sorts of people.

At the end of the day, if someone asked me would you do this expo again my answer would be absolutely yes. Even if we don’t get any bookings off of it this time. The learning curve from the first show was steep and I’m excited to keep learning and connecting.

That’s all for now. See you next week

Your friendly neighborhood wedding photographer

Just a Girl Photography

Sara & Pierre

It’s not too often (or at least in my world it isn’t), that you get to go back to College and relive your freshman year, but with this engagement shoot, I got to do just that.

Sara, Pierre, and myself we’re all freshman the same year at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Fl, so when Sara contacted me not only to do an engagement/Save the date shoot, but an engagement shoot back at our alma mater, I was definitely all for it. However, I was slightly confused seeing as I was pretty sure they got married even before Josh and I did. 😛 It was quickly explained that they were in need of some non-selfie mode photos for their save the dates for the big wedding they would be throwing sometime in the near future. Always looking for an excuse to both pick up the camera and go back to Melbourne, we were definitely thrilled to get this opportunity, but what I didn’t know was how fun and amazing this shoot would turn out.

Now on to the photos, because that’s really what you came here for isn’t it?

First Stop, The Alma Mater, also where they met!

Next Stop: The Beach, also conveniently, their original wedding location

It was a perfect storm of things, and I honestly just can’t get enough of this shoot! I hope you all enjoy it just as much as I do.

That’s all for now,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding/Engagement Photographer

To: the Fatherless Bride

Today, I’m going to take this blog to a little bit more of a serious place. This is a topic that hits home for me. Almost every wedding you go to you see a bride and her father walking down the isle, doing the father daughter dance, but has that ever made you think “When I get married, I won’t have that experience?”, then this blog is for you. Whether it be that you’re estranged from you father, your father passed away, you’ve never known your father, or any other reason you’ve ever had that thought at a wedding, just know I’m here for you, as I know how it feels.

My Story:

I was the bride that told my father, I didn’t want him to show up to my wedding, but why would I do that…you may ask? Well, to make a long story short my parents went through a nasty divorce during my senior year in college, to the point that I don’t have a picture with both my mother and father at my college graduation because my father couldn’t come within 2 ft of my mom. So when my father asked me if I wanted him at my wedding, every ounce of me wanted to say sure…but what actually came out of my mouth was “If you can’t be civil, then I don’t want you there”. My husband and I chose to have an elopement style wedding for several reasons, but one of those was to avoid our family drama, so as much as I wanted him there, I wasn’t going to make my whole day about who can be near who. Now on to my message to all of you out there who may feel the same.

To: The Fatherless Bride

Whatever your reasons for not having your father at your wedding, just know you’ll be ok. Your day can still be just as perfect without him, sometimes even better.

If your dad has passed and you were close, you can still honor and remember him as a part of your ceremony, and take solace in the fact that he’s always with you. If you have something of his you’ve kept with you over the years, you can even utilize that as your something borrowed. I know this is going to be a sad day not having him there, but you have to remember that it should also be a joyous one. However you choose to honor and remember him, just know that he’d be there if he could.

If you’re estranged from your dad, and you do everything you can to get him to your wedding, but yet he still doesn’t show up, know that the people in your life that truly care about you will fight through snow storms and hurricanes to be at your big day. You’re not important enough to him, therefore you should stop making him overly important to you. I know this can be hard, I know this is easier said than done, but trust me when I say that your day will be less stressful, less painful, and more joyous if you leave that stress behind and realize that the people who want to be there will be. It’s you and your husbands big day, if your father doesn’t want to be there to celebrate it with you, than SCREW HIM.

If you’re like me and made the conscious decision to tell your father not to attend, know that you made the right decision. Whatever your reasoning for telling him to stay away, don’t doubt it. It may be hard, you may think you’ll regret it, but from someone who did it and has never looked back, if you feel strongly about your decision you won’t look back. Ultimately, its your day, not theres. You may catch heat for your decision, and you have to be prepared to deal with that, but you won’t die, and ultimately, your day will be better because of that choice.

Not having a father there may make you feel sad, may make you look at everyone else’s weddings and say “Why can’t I have that?”, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, it gets better, and you’ll be perfectly ok. If you don’t want to walk alone, ask another family member to do it, if you don’t want to be alone while your husband has his mother son dance, ask the DJ not to do a mother/son father/daughter dance. There are ways to make your day seamless without your father being there. My personal favorite….doing everything you typically would have done with your dad with your spouse instead. Walk into the ceremony as equals, rather than being given away like a horse. Have your first dance together or don’t do a first dance at all. This day is ultimately about the two of you, do things how you want to do it. Just know that you are not alone, there has been brides before you that have knowledge of ways to maneuver through your wedding day without your father, and there will definitely be brides after you that you can help.

You are the star of your wedding, don’t let anyone else take that away from you.

Sincerly,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding Photographer

Justin and Lissa

Wedding Highlight #3

Spring Weddings in a state where seaons actually exists may be full of flowers and pastel colors, but here in Florida they’re full of blue skies, temperatures that won’t kill you (hopefully), and green country grass, or at least when your wedding is in March, and on a ranch!

The day started with some detail work, and a little bit of rehearsal before everyone went their own way to start getting ready. Obloy Family Ranch is an amazing location for those country brides and grooms looking for a real ranch experience. With rescued and baby animals all over for guests to go see after arrival, this ranch is fun for all ages.

Now on to what you really came to see….the photos.

The Details:

Getting Ready:

Ceremony + Formals

Reception:

This group of people, this wedding, and this night was by far one of our favorites. The leaping point for our career here in the central Florida. We will forever be thankful to this Bride and Groom and their families for allowing us to be a part of this amazing day.

Until Next Time,

Just a Girl Photography

Wedding Traditions…Outdated or Must Dos?

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Probably one of the only traditions I myself followed (unintentionally) at my wedding. Every American bride knows there is a certain amount of tradition worked into your wedding from the moment you start planning it, even before you have colors, you have parts of your day planned just based off of what came before you. That is…if you chose to follow them. I’ve worked with traditional brides and I’ve worked with extremely unconventional brides, yet they’ve all worked in at least one the classic wedding traditions everyone knows. With that introduction out of the way its time from another….

HOT TAKE

Now, I’m going to limit this opinion to just the American wedding traditions, religious or cultural traditions to me are in a completely separate category. The traditions I’m going to discuss here with my opinion are:

-The somethings (old, borrowed, blue, etc)

-Garter/Bouquet Toss

-Not seeing the Bride the day of the wedding

-Not seeing the Dress Before the Wedding

-Cake Smash

-etc.

Now, seeing as I’m a sucker for emotion and tradition (I got married on my deceased uncles birthday and took his motorcycle jacket with me to wear for photos), this is going to be a complete 180 for me as far as my opinion.

I think that Wedding Traditions are completely outdated and unnecessary. At least the standard ones. 

Did I wear a garter at my wedding? Yes, but I did it for myself, because it matched my sash, and because I fully planned on doing a trash the dress photo with the garter but never got around to it. I didn’t do it because some tradition dictated it, and I sure as hell didn’t do it to make my photographer suffer through the awkwardness that is photographing a groom removing a garter from under his Brides dress. I’ve had brides do the bouquet toss, but not the garter, I’ve had brides/grooms do both, and I’ve had brides do none of the above.  Really, I think the whole idea of the garter/bouquet toss is pointless. No one wants to be the singled out single at a wedding. If your a man planning to make a proposal happen at someone else’s wedding during the bouquet toss, JUST DON’T.

Now, that was a lot of hatred for only one of the normal traditions, on to the next one. The Somethings…this one is a tradition that I feel a little less strong about. I think pieces of the something tradition are actually kind of sweet (see previous comment about my something borrowed at my wedding), but I don’t think it is something any bride should stress over.  If you only have something borrowed and something new, than you only have borrowed and new. There shouldn’t be an entire task dedicated to your maid of honor finding all these items for you.

The cake smash is one that I’ve seen time and time again back fire on grooms. Brides constantly screaming “NO” throughout the wedding to their grooms suggesting that cake will end up on and all over their faces at some point during the night, and Grooms just not listening. Inevitably, cake gets everywhere, including the dress and you end the night with a pretty upset bride…especially if the cake was chocolate.

I guess what I’m trying to say in all this ranting is….Make your own traditions or throw out traditions all together. Just like families all have their own traditions for the holidays, even if that tradition is having no traditions at all, every couple should make their wedding day about them. If you want to smash cake in each others faces, then it should be a mutual decision. If you want to have a first look instead of leaving the moment to the altar, make sure your photographer is there to capture it. If you want to forgo anything resembling traditions, than do it, just be aware that you may get some heat from your family members for it.

Thats all For Now,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding Photographer