Wedding Traditions…Outdated or Must Dos?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I think that Wedding Traditions are completely outdated and unnecessary.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

Do’s and Don’ts for a Beach Wedding

Beach weddings…the dream destination at the perfect time for just about every bride at some point in their life.

They are becoming more and more popular, or maybe I just think they are because I’m a wedding photographer in a Destination Wedding location with beaches…Who knows? Either way, as a photographer who has attended beach weddings and a bride who had one of her own (If you can count our small elopement in a cruise port as a wedding) I’ve put together this list of do’s and don’ts for any bride out there currently planning or thinking about planning a beach wedding.

Do’s

Do – Pick a dress that is appropriate for the heat and sand that you will be encountering on the day of your wedding.

Do- Make the requirement for guest attire as casual (maybe even beach casual) as possible

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Do- Try and plan for a sunset/sunrise ceremony (Makes for fantastic pictures)

Do-Remember sunscreen and Sunglasses (and possibly a darker shade of foundation)

Do- Buy an alternative dress to wear for your reception, I can guarantee you won’t want to be in a full length dress all night in the tropics.

Do-Provide water in some fashion for your guests….if you’re hot they probably will be too. Don’t want anyone passing out and making your big day all about them. 🙂

Do-Have a back up plan!!! The weather (especially here in Florida) doesn’t always play nicely.

Don’ts

Don’t- Be Afraid to have a Trash the Dress session…If your photographer doesn’t ask (shame on them) don’t be afraid to ask them. You’ll never wear it again anyway, might as well have fun with it. I was too afraid to ask, and I wish I hadn’t been.

Don’t- Try and wear real shoes (Heels,Dress Shoes, anything you might find in a typical ballroom wedding), you will sink into the sand, it will be unfortunate, you will regret it. Try out those fake sandal things you see on Pinterest all the time, or maybe even some real ones if you don’t want to go completely barefoot to your wedding like I did.

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Don’t- Try and make your groom and his groomsmen wear a full suit, it will not work, it will be uncomfortable, and you could end up with a groom who decides to wear swim trunks, neon sunglasses, and a fishing hat instead (I’m unfortunately not making that particular scenario up)

Don’t- Forget to file all the paperwork for your marriage license beforehand if you’re doing a destination wedding. Some places can take several days to process, and you don’t want that to stall or ruin your perfect day.

Don’t- Freak out when the day doesn’t go as planned. The weather sometimes doesn’t behave, the schedule sometimes can’t be executed  100% on time, your guests may get a little drunk and try and make things about them. Take a page out of island life mentality and just relax and go with the flow.

Don’t-Expect your groom, his groomsmen, or your guests to be sober by the time the ceremony starts (Even with a sunrise wedding). They’re on vacation, just because you spent all day getting ready doesn’t mean everyone else did. Even at a regular wedding, the groom has probably been drinking most of the day, so don’t expect anything different from a beach wedding 🙂

With no help from my husband, (his only input to this blog was “don’t wear shoes” and “don’t wear white because you’ll blind everyone”) that is my list of Do’s and Don’ts for the Beach Wedding Bride. Even if you chose to ignore this list entirely, the most important thing to remember is, Have Fun, its your wedding day!

Until Next Time,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding Photographer

5 Common Things Brides Wished They Knew Before Their Wedding

Being both a recent bride myself and a wedding photographer who keeps in contact with my clients after the big day, I’ve found that there are some common things every bride wish she knew before planning/participating in her wedding, no matter how different the weddings or brides, some things are common across all wedding festivities.

#1 More Money Does Not Equal a Better Wedding

There is no doubt that weddings are expensive, but they don’t have to be break the bank expensive. With enough time and determined family members/wedding planners a complete DIY wedding on a tight budget can be identical to the wedding that cost $30,000 dollars. I’ve seen amazing DIY elements at every one of my weddings, and those extra dollars saved could be put to use elsewhere. Just because you spend a small houses down payment on your wedding doesn’t mean it is the best wedding out there. Money does not equate to better, and thats something all brides out there should realize. Yes, you have a budget, but if its not a large one, don’t worry, you can still have an amazing wedding.  Below are all DIY projects made by the families of the Bride and Groom before their big day. Proof that you don’t need a ton of money to have an amazing Insta worthy wedding.

#2 It’s Your Day Not Anybody Else’s

Your day is not the time to fix everybody elses drama, but so many Brides and even some Grooms get caught up in trying to do just that. Weddings have become a day to please everyone else, rather than a day about the couple. Grown adults talking crap about the bride on her big day, family members too selfish to realize they’re stressing the bride out more than making her happy,  Mothers of Bride/Groom silencing the wants of the couple to create their perfect vision, you name it I’ve seen it. If there is one thing that I will never regret, it was the fact that my wedding was a total of 5 people including my husband and I, in the middle of nowhere, Grand Cayman (but we still hired a photographer :)), and that is because of all the stress and chaos I see families put the couple through leading up to and on the big day. So if I have any advice to any current or future Bride and Grooms, its don’t be afraid to speak up, don’t be afraid to tell people what you want and how you want it, and remember its YOUR day, not theirs.

#3 Don’t Feel Rushed to Put it Together, Take Your Time and Do Your Research

Nothing is worse than feeling rushed to complete something, except feeling rushed while planning a wedding. Many of my brides have come back to me and said, “I wish I had more time.” In the instant gratification culture we live in today,  you can’t let someone else’s expected timeline of you dictate how your wedding gets planned and executed. If you need time to research venues and vendors, take it. If you need time to get together the money to make your wedding the experience you want it to be, take it. Just because someone has an opinion on the length of your engagement doesn’t mean you should take it. Go on the wedding websites, take the time to talk to your soon-to-be-spouse, and make sure you create a budget everyone is comfortable with. Being a vendor myself, I hate being passed over with a client, but all I truly want is that couple to get the most memorable day for them. So take the time and find the vendors that best suites you, from venue to photographer.

#4 Let the Photographer Do Their Job, If They Want You to Pose They’ll Tell You

Posed doesn’t always work, some couples aren’t comfortable in front of the camera and I kind of prefer it that way. I don’t want to be like that robot in the Season 2 Finale of Rick and Morty, where I announce my presence for every photo. When I can get couples to be organic and candid, thats when I get the best images. Posed always, without fail (at least for me), comes out stiff and unrealistic. The more candid you are, the more you ignore me and act like I’m a fly on the wall, the better images I get. I’ll tell you if I want you to pose, or you tell me if you want a specific image, other than that, mums the word. It’s why I always wear black (Stay Tuned for a whole blog post on what to wear as a Female Photographer) to weddings, makes it easier to stay hidden in the shadows. So let me (or any other photographer) do my/their job, and I promise you won’t regret it when you see your gallery.

#5 The People Who Truly Care For and Love You Will Be There…No Matter What

This one hits home for me, seeing as I was the Bride who told my father not to show up to my wedding if he couldn’t be civil with my mom (spoiler alert: He didn’t show). In truth, barring the extreme uncontrollable circumstances, (illness, make it or break it work situations, death, and college finals) the people that truly love you and care for you will be at your wedding day no matter if its in the middle of the week or if they have to fly across the country to be there. That was something, as harsh it was, I and one of my brides had to realize to get through the entire wedding and reception process. Nothing will stop the people that want to be there from supporting you on your big day, which is why you shouldn’t sweat it if family members or even those that you thought we’re close friends decide to check that “Will Not Attend” box on your invitation. The ones that matter will be there, and thats all that should matter, even if you don’t realize it in the moment.

Christy + Mido

Wedding Highlight #2

Summer Weddings, can be both a blessing and a curse. Typically, here in Florida they would be a curse, especially with an outdoor wedding. It was way too hot, humid, and unpleasant, which is why when I was asked to go back to Utah to shoot yet another Utah wedding my immediate answer was Yes! (Even if that wasn’t Josh’s exact response :P)

Starting from the beginning the wedding was untraditional. Most of my brides are the traditional “I want him to see me at the altar and get his true reaction” type brides, this wedding however gave me a whole new challenge. First look photos that will be ready to be printed for the wedding the next day. We arrived, we shot a whole day of getting ready and first look/bridals, and I made sure those photos were edited and ready by the next morning…..even if it meant editing in the back of a car on an hour long ride.

First Look & Bridals:

 

The first look was stressful, but I adored it, I honestly wish there were more locations like this here in Florida. 🙂

Going into the wedding day, things were stressful, but thankfully Josh and I could kind of relax until the ceremony started. We got a chance to enjoy our time in Utah, at least for a little while. Backyard weddings have a certain sort of whimsical element to them, and that was the essence we tried to capture while working on the details before the wedding.

Details:

With the details out of the way, it was time to start the ceremony. Without really any vantage point to shoot from this time around, I had to find my groove. So, I decided to try something completely different. I decided to move around the small ceremony space to capture the intimate, sentimental ceremony from all angles (Actually, where our now staple dual angle perspective came from)

Ceremony:

A beautiful ceremony officiated by the one and only Christine G (Also my and the brides grandma), the night quickly moved into the reception and family formals. Unlike the typical wedding with a sit down dinner, this crew was ready to party the night away from the minute the newlyweds said “I do”!

Reception & Formals:

Top 5 Brevard County, Fl Engagement Session Locations

So you’re engaged….Now what? Well, before you go off into the black hole that is wedding planning on Pintrest (that will inevitably end all productivity outside of the wedding…Trust me, I know from personal experience), you should probably look for a photographer to do your engagement session/save the date photos.

Once you find a photographer you and your groom-to-be both agree on, one of the first things you’re photographer is going to ask you is if you have any locations in mind. That my friends, is where this blog can come in handy….even if your photographer isn’t us.

Having grown up in Brevard County my entire life (Literally, was born, went to K-12, went to college, and had my first job out of college all right in the glorious county), I’ve become quite familiar with the popular photo spots around town, but this list is my Top 5 Favorite Places to shoot around Brevard.

#1 Downtown Melbourne

With so many colorful backgrounds to explore, Downtown Melbourne is the perfect setting for a newly engaged couple to show off the merchandise. The old antique accents make for an easy change in pace. This versatile space allows for all personalities to shine through. Even when it rains, this location can be a blast to explore and find new places.

#2 The Beaches

All across Brevard there are gorgeous beaches to pick from, stereotypical, yes, but a gorgeous shot at both sunrise and sunset is guaranteed even with a phone photographer. They may not be white sand beaches, but you’re guaranteed amazing photos just from the scenery.

(No, you don’t have to do your session in bathing suits, this couple just chose to let me photograph their day at the beach)

#3 Florida Institute of Technology’s Botanical Gardens

Now, I may be biased to this location, seeing as I spent 4 years wandering the jungle when I was suppose to be doing homework. 🙂  (Go Panthers!) This location can create a sense of adventure even for he tamest of couples. Where all the students go to hide, the Gardens (or Jungle as I came to know it) is a location filled with trees, rivers, and beautiful scenery.

#4 Obloy Family Ranch

Located in Merrit Island, Fl Obloy   Ranch is both a fun place to do engagements and venue for a ranch style wedding. An animal rescue to all sorts of creatures ranging from kangaroos to horses, the twinkly lights strung along the wedding venue area, the small lake at the front entrance, and many other things along the path make for stunning photos. You can even request to have a horse/ride a horse in your photos if given enough time and preparation.

#5 Downtown Titusville

A bit far from the typical tourist attractions along Florida’s East Coast, Downtown Titusville has one of my favorite landmarks to photograph couples in front of. The iconic Cocoa-Cola wall has been a staple of my photography since I started with my first engagement shoot back in High School. Across from the iconic Coke wall is also an amazing view of the River equipped with docks to also go and photograph on.

Jareck + Kara

Wedding Highlight #1

The room was filled with Blush and Gold, the bride in a boho sheik style dress and accessories, and the groom filled with emotion. Our first wedding is one we’ll never forget. Not only because it was the first wedding my husband and I shot together, but also because it was the wedding of the two individuals who were the witnesses at our wedding. This wedding will always hold a special place in Just a Girls portfolio.

The Details:

Every wedding is unique in this arena. Every bride has her own style, every groom tries to work in his despite his brides protests, and every venue has its own unique little things that can create an image that stand out.

The Ceremony:

Whether it be religious, short and sweet, traditional vows, or self-written vows, the ceremony is always the emotional part of a wedding. This couple chose not to do a first look, leading to the true raw emotion when the bride walked down the isle. There was laughter, there were tears, and there was a kiss.

The Reception & Bridals:

The fun part of a wedding, where the dancing starts, the food is passed, and the stress the bride and groom felt up until their ceremony starts to melt away. Honestly, I think I like receptions more than I do ceremonies as a photographer, its a better chance to get those candid moments and raw emotion of the bride, groom, their families, and their guests.

At the end of the night, the wedding went off without a hitch, well….as much as weddings can at least. We left the venue happy with what we we’re able to get and couldn’t wait to deliver the images to the amazing couple who came on the journey to the altar with us.

Until Next Time,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding Photographer

Just a Girl?

Our name can be misleading, so we thought we’d start this company’s jump into the blogging world with a little more of an introduction you can put on an About page. I want our couples to understand who we are, just as much as we want to understand them and what they’re about in order to best capture their big day.

Who are we?

By day:

We’re both engineers with uber technical, stressful, and chaotic jobs.

By Night:

We’re Florida Nature Loving free diving and paddle boarding free spirits that come home to a house full of 3 fluffy creatures (2cats and 1 bunny).

By Weekend:

We’re also those nature loving people, but we’re also photographers looking to make other couples big days and special events easy and amazing.

Our Journey to the Altar:

We met in Downtown Disney, truly apart of our generation seeing as we met on Bumble. It was a short, sweet, whirlwind, kind of love. We went into this relationship knowing what we wanted, we had both had rough lives growing up and weren’t typical 23 year olds.

Fast forward 3 months after we met and there was a perfect ring on a finger of a 23 year old woman completely head over heels in love. Remember that feeling? We sure do.

Fast forward another 3 months, we we’re hopping on our cruise ship with our favorite other couple (Also our witnesses 🙂 ). In case you didn’t catch on, that was 6 whole months from first meeting to marriage, told you it was a whirlwind. We decided to have a small intimate thing with just us and the people closest to us, we realized sometimes our families can be a lot so the smaller the better. It was perfect, we were perfect, the cruise was perfect. The perfect day, for what in our heads was the perfect couple.

Fast Forward a Year and some change….(Brings us to present day). We’ve celebrated our one year anniversary, about to celebrate our 2 year dating anniversary, photographed some weddings together, went through some crazy adventures, and now are looking forward to making other couples weddings as special as ours was.

We want everyone to feel as special as we did, and as Just a Girl Photography, we strive to make a couples big day or special event in life turn out as perfect as we can. We shoot from a dual angle to catch all emotions of the day. We’re a couple that has been through all the chaos recently, we understand what it is you’re going through and try to make it easier on everyone involved.

Now on to the photography,

Just a Girl Photography.