Michaela + Josh | Engaged

This post has been a long time coming!! Guys, I FINALLY have an efficient system for blogging!!! Photog friends, check out BlogStomp if you haven't already, your life will be changed!!!

Josh and Michaela are two of the absolute sweetest souls I have ever met! We shot their engagement session at Harman's Luxury Log Cabins and even though it was February, the sun was shining bright! Though, I think most of the light came from Michaela's face when she looked at Josh. Their love is so sweet and it sure does radiate through their smiles!! :) I am more than honored to be their wedding photographer and friend!!! Enjoy a few of my favorites from their engagement session!!

Why you need to hire a ___ | March Madness Part 4

Hi guys! Welcome to the very last blog post in this series!! Much like the National Championship runs into April, I have let this series run out of “March Madness!” Not in my plans, but this whole moving and having no internet thing is killing my vibe!!

Anyway, we are at the end of the series, and I must say that I have had an awesome time telling all of you about some of the most important vendors for your wedding day! Now that you have your DJ, videographer, and make-up artist, you must be all set and ready to get married, right?! Well, you do have the tools for success, but there is one more person that you should consider for the cherry on top to your perfect wedding day: a wedding planner, or day of coordinator!!

I know I know, us brides have it all together, and our days will run as smooth and as perfect as our wedding day Pinterest board, but what if there is a bump in the road that causes a delay in your perfectly planned out day? What if you realize that you simply cannot be in charge of every single aspect of your day and still have an awesome time? Trust me, I was that bride, and I am actually describing myself here. I had every single part of the day planned, organized, and ready to roll, but even the most planned people still need someone to help them coordinate and roll out their timeline. That is where the wedding coordinator comes in, and I kick myself for not hiring one sooner!! Ladies, when I say that I did not have a single ounce of stress on my wedding day, I have to say that I owe every single bit of that to my wedding coordinator, Ashley Anderson. She took care of all of the little details I would have stressed about. I owe the best day of my life all to her!

Today I want to feature two wonderful friends of mine who happen to be boss ladies and Queens of their jobs! 

The first is Ashley Anderson, Owner of Weddings by Kaposys! Ashley coordinated mine and many of my best friends weddings this past year and I can not thank her enough for all that she did to make our days perfect!! Ashley is based in Petersburg, WV and serves many brides in the surrounding area. She is also the wedding coordinator for Harman's Luxury Log Cabins, which my friends, is one of the most beautiful places to get married in the area!! She is also willing to travel anywhere you will take her! :)

I asked Ashley why she was passionate about her job, and she said "On my wedding day I was blessed to be able to wake up, get my hair done, relax, spend time with my bridesmaids, etc. When I looked out the window at the set up I cried. I remember looking at my photographer and saying, “this is just what I imagined.” It was like fairy elves had magically set up everything to perfection. Sure things went wrong (some tall vases blew over and shattered all over a table or two) but I had no idea. I was in a blissful state of perfection. I loved every minute of my special day and I was so thankful it was a stress free experience. That is what I strive to give my brides, a stress free wedding day. I like to take all that worry off their backs and let them relax. I don’t want any bride worrying over last min details, that’s my job. My goal as a planner and coordinator is to give every bride the perfect wedding day I had!"

She feels her services are important because "Somebody has to be in charge on your wedding day and it shouldn’t be the bride! The bride’s job is done and all she needs to do is enjoy her day. Leave it to someone else to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time, the flowers and centerpieces are perfect, the candles are lit, the vendors are set up, etc. While many brides I help plan from start to finish, some I just step in the day before and make the last piece come together. Whichever way you use my services nobody is ever disappointed in spending the extra money for a coordinator or planner. I feel that my services allow the brides and their mothers to enjoy the day and leave the rest to someone else. Nobody wants to look back at their wedding day and say “boy that was stressful” or “man we worked so hard” I want you to look back and say “that was the best day of my life and I’m glad we had Ashley there to help!”

Ashley's piece of advice to all brides is this: "Weddings are like Christmas. We get so worked up about the tree, the gifts, the food that we forget what CHRISTmas is really about, the birth of our savior Jesus. Weddings are the same thing. We get worked up about the dress, the shoes, the table linens and all those extras that we forget to focus on what a wedding truly is….Two people committing their lives to one another in front of God and everyone they love. There will be times in your marriage when you will reflect on the vows you took, so never lose sight of what you are really working towards, a strong and committed marriage….the wedding is merely details."

You can find Ashley on Facebook and Instagram and also at her website, www.kaposys.net!! Thank you Ashley!!!!

Photo Credits:  Sydney Morgan Photography

The next gal I want to feature is a Liesl Kammer from Purple Dress Events!! Liesl is based in Morgantown, WV but serves the state of West Virginia and the surrounding areas!! 

I asked Liesl why she was passionate about her services, and she told me this: "My love for wedding and event planning started ten years ago when my aunt got married. She was an out of town bride, getting married in WV, so my mother and I found ourselves helping with a lot of the little details. I can still remember making sure all of the fine details were perfectly placed-even down to the way my great-grandmothers quilt was folded in the entry of the church. Ever since her wedding, I have been dreaming of the day when I spend my life making every bride's dream wedding come true. I think every couple deserves a beautiful celebration to unite both of them and their friends and families."

Liesl feels that her services are important because "A wedding planner quickly becomes your best friend throughout the planning process. Wedding and event planning are stressful—especially when you don’t have a lot of extra time to spend focusing on the small details. A planner can help to keep everything in line and in perspective for you. Many couples are getting married for the first time, and, unless you have had a wedding before, may not know anything about the process. Having someone there by your side, looking out for your best interest and ensuring that every detail you dreamed about is a part of your wedding day can make all the difference in the world."

One piece of advice from Liesl is that "Wedding planning can be overwhelming. Don’t let it get too stressful. This is a time you should be celebrating with your significant other! You’re getting married! If you get to overwhelmed, my best piece of advice is to create an epic to-do list—with everything you humanly possibly need to do for the wedding. Once the list is created, sort the list by priority. Once the list is sorted, figure out the tasks that you can ask family and friends to do. Not only does this take a lot of pressure off of you, it also allows your friends and family to get involved—and they will appreciate that you trust them with your special day."

You can find Liesl on Facebook and Instagram, and her website: www.purpledressevents.com

Thank you Liesl!!!

That concludes this blog series!! Thank you for staying tuned and I cannot wait to begin blogging some AMAZING engagement sessions from the past couple of weeks!! 



Why you need to hire a ___ | March Madness Part 3

Hi everyone! Welcome back to my Part 3 of my March Madness blog series! I accidentally skipped last week, but I promise it was for a good reason! We closed on our first home, but I will save that blog post for a different day! ;)

This week, I am discussing the importance of hiring a DJ for your wedding! This vendor is vital to keeping the party going at your wedding! The DJ will be the one who plays those specially requested song for each event at your wedding, introduce you into your reception, and the reason your guests stay on the dance floor all night! 

I have the pleasure of featuring a very good friend of mine who leads a team of talented professionals! J.R. Murray owns Digital Illusion Rentals, a professional DJ and rental service. He serves Petersburg, WV and all surrounding areas, but is willing to travel wherever you want to take him! 

I asked J.R. why he was passionate about his services, and he said "I absolutely love music. Being a DJ is an offshoot of that musical passion.  It has grown into me wanting to help people save money on their special day by having the lowest rental prices with the nicest equipment." Brides on a budget? I think you may have found your guy!! :)

When I asked J.R. why his services were so important on a wedding day, he said "Getting a quality DJ is often overlooked until it is too late.  Maybe they cancel or maybe they don’t play the music you enjoy.  We pride ourselves on never cancelling and building the playlist around your tastes while at the same time using our musical knowledge and people watching skills to play to the crowd."

Finally, I asked J.R. what his one piece of advice for brides was, and he replied "If you know the vendor you want, BOOK THEM.  Don’t wait.  If they are any good they book up fast.  Don’t be disappointed because you said, “I can call them next week.”  Book when you know who you want."

Trust me ladies (and gents), you don't want to miss out on having the time of your life at your wedding!! Book your DJ before its too late! 

You can find J.R. on Facebook and online in the hyperlinks! 


Photo by the amazing  Photos by Mellissa Kay !! 

Photo by the amazing Photos by Mellissa Kay!! 

Why you need to hire a ___ | March Madness Series Part 2

Hey Friends!! 

Welcome back to Part 2 of my March Madness weekly blog series! I hope you enjoyed the last blog post, and if you didn't see it, just scroll down a little further from this post ;) Buckle up, this week's post is a long one!!!! I am highlighting a very important vendor that many brides save to hire at the very end of their budget and at the very last minute. I am guilty of being one of those brides. 

It is prime planning season, and I am sure you are running around securing and solidifying every last detail of your big day! It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning that we forget the true reason for the day. Many of our evenings are spent scrolling through and pinning decor and other trendy new ideas to our Pinterest wedding boards. We browse the aisles at Michael's, throwing a ton of craft items into our carts for the ultimate DIY wedding projects! So many details go into this big day, but really, at the end of the day, those details really don't matter. People don't show up to your wedding to see your beautifully crafted centerpieces. People come to your wedding to share in one of the most important days of your life. But, as the day goes on, and we speak to so many different people, the entire day becomes a blur. 

This is where one of the most important wedding vendors in the industry come in. The videographer! Do you remember the look on your moms face when she saw you in your dress for the first time? Or the tears that fell when your groom saw you walking down the aisle? I know I don't....but thankfully, I hired a videographer that captured all of the small moments that I missed. These moments were so important to me, and I kick myself for not hiring my videographer sooner. Like many brides, I was on a strict budget. But, I understood the importance and significance of preserving memories for years to come. When I finally convinced my then-fiancee that these things were more important to me than having the most expensive and elaborate food and decorations, we truly realized that at the end of a wedding day, everything is gone. What you have left to hold onto is your pictures and your wedding film. And I am so beyond thankful that I decided to invest in a wonderful videographer! When we saw our highlight film, we were both in tears, because the entire day came flooding back to us and we truly felt like we were living through the entire day again! Trust me when I say that the whole day will be a complete blur. You NEED to hire a videographer! :)

So, in conclusion, I wanted to highlight two very special people to me! One being our very own wedding videographer, and another who is such a wonderful friend and a member of our local community of creatives! Enjoy some highlights from Anthony from Sparks Productions and Leo  from Gonzalez Videography!!

Also, if you missed my highlight video from our wedding, check it out below!!! 

Anthony Sparks

Anthony Sparks is the owner of Sparks Productions! He is based out of Morgantown, WV but frequently travels through Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. When I asked Anthony about why he is passionate about his services, he said "To hand make videos to tell people's stories. Whether you like it or not, you have a story and because of that story, you are who you are. Every project, especially weddings, are all different. We have to cater the tone and feeling of the film to the people involved. We've made it known that we take our time to include small personal details in our wedding videos (mentioning pets, a new pregnancy, showing close family, friends). We meet with you a handful of times before the wedding. We want to make it as personable as possible. Our films are completely catered and molded for you." 

When I asked why he felt his services were important, he stated "Wedding videography can be one of those things you wait until the last minute to talk about doing, but it should be one of the first things. Everyone assumes all wedding videographers are all similar, but that's wrong. We are not your typical wedding videographers. Your wedding day is long and exhausting. You've talked to 300 people with just a few hours, so there's going to be things that you've missed throughout the day. You missed Uncle Jim doing the whip and nae-nae, well I'm glad the camera was recording while you were across the room. Also, I recently had two different weddings where someone had passed away that were close to the bride and groom just weeks after the wedding. Having those memories of your loved one is so invaluable."

Anthony and I both agree that skipping out on creative services is the most common regret we hear from brides and grooms!

Leo Gonzalez

Next up, my wonderful friend Leo from Gonzalez Videography!! Leo is based in Morgantown, WV but absolutely LOVES to travel, so there's no limit on where you can take him! I asked Leo why he was passionate about being a videographer, and he stated "Anyone who knows me knows that I love people. I could sit down for an hour with anyone, listen to their story, and enjoy it thoroughly. That's because everyone has a unique one to tell. The real game changer for me was when I got the opportunity to learn to use a camera. Now I not only get to hear a couple's story, but creatively help them share it through my lens.

Patrick Moreau, of the filmmaking company StillMotion, captures the process of visual storytelling well; "Allow the story to move you, before you move the story." There is no shortcut to getting to know a couple and sharing their story in a unique and captivating way. I love people. I love videography. I count it a blessing to be able to do what I do for a living!"

I love that, Leo!! 

Leo feels that "With today's technology, anyone can point a camera and record events. And while that can certainly be valuable when it comes to storing memories, I think there ought to be more. A highlight film is a way to not only capture events, but actually retell those precious moments in a way that puts you right back into how you felt that day and not just what you saw. The aim is to create something meaningful that can be enjoyed and shared for years."

Further emphasizing the importance of wedding videography, Leo's piece of advice for brides is this: "In our culture, it can be really easy to give into materialism and try to plan the biggest, fanciest wedding of your dreams. In reality, the real beauty of it is simply the fact that you are getting married to each other. The rest, no matter how elaborate, is just details. As a wedding videographer (and as someone who's gotten married), I'm all for making it a special day that you'll remember. But my advice in the midst of it all is to keep in mind what's really important: the gift of marriage itself."

This series is one of my favorite vendors to highlight!! If you like what you see, give these guys a shout!! And if you would like to see more posts like these, comment below and let me know! :)