Houston Bridal Extravaganza–A How-To Survival Guide

The Houston Bridal Extravaganza happened over the weekend. According to its site over 5,000 brides attended to get help planning their wedding. Hundreds of vendors were there to get seen by brides they normally wouldn’t have access to, and although the space is well-organized, it is still overwhelming. So if you went over the weekend, feel free to add to my survival list!

Have a Plan

Going into an extravaganza where there are 400 vendors vying for your attention requires planning. Get with your significant other and know what you need for your wedding. Make a list of what it is you are struggling to find and what you both want from the vendor. If you go in saying “I need a venue”, but you don’t know what kind of venue, where you want it to be, you will be overwhelmed. There are a ton of choices! Everything from elegant and intimate {The Gallery is a great example for this one}, to out in the country {White Oaks or 2k Reserve come to mind}. There are a lot in-between and they all have beautiful displays.

Same thing with photography and videographers–you will find there are a ton, with various styles. So before you go, sit down together and look at wedding images and decide what style you like. Do you like dark and moody {Endless Exposures is a great example}? Light and airy {Christine Gosch is great at this}? Bright and colorful {Stacy Anderson Photography rocks at that}? Or do you want someone who has more of a feel to their images–like soft and romantic or documentary-style and less posed. Thus, having a plan will help you eliminate vendors and help you stay on track.

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Houston Wedding Photographer – Heaven on Earth

Why Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth is up next on venues I photographed at in 2016. This venue reminds me of Kendall Plantation, specifically the reception area. You can see the magic of that wedding here.

Getting Ready

Heaven on Earth is this huge home that has two separate bedroom areas for both the bride and the groom to get ready in. The bridal area has an ornate bed, which is perfect to showcase the dress for pictures. It also has many different ways in and out of it, so it gives the photographer the ability to be a fly on the wall if they choose, while the bride is getting in her dress.

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Houston Wedding Photographer – Gamez Wedding

Houston Wedding Photographer – Gamez Wedding

I couldn’t help but fall in love with this couple as soon as I heard their adorable story. The now newlyweds met through their mutual friend at a UFC viewing party. Their love story began while Stacey finished school. The age-old phrase must be true– distance really does make the heart grow fonder, which I know from personal experience with my husband! Thus, when she moved back to the area, their love blossomed. On their 5-year anniversary, in front of the Houston skyline (the same spot where Jorge told Stacey he loved her for the first time) he popped the question.

The Wedding

The ceremony was held at the Prince of Peace church, a gorgeous Catholic church in North Houston. The pastor during the ceremony made the traditional funny and personalized.  The setting matched the couple’s colors, royal blue and silver, to the breathtaking stained glass they were married under. La Tranquilla Ranch, which is a few miles down the road, is where the reception was held. A mariachi band serenaded the guests throughout the night– what a fun surprise for everyone! My favorite detail from the reception had to be the candy bar, but really, is that a surprise? They had such a variety of tasty treats to suit every kind of sweet tooth. As the night wound to an end, the couple made their grand exit under an arch of sparklers. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

I loved the touches that represented the couple, from the groom’s cake, to the fireman hats. The shirts the women wore before getting into their dresses. The sparkly Keds Stacey wore after the ceremony. These two really do make a genuinely amazing couple. Not only that, but the people they chose to surround themselves on this sacred day in their lives tells so much about them. Thank you for letting me into your lives and granting me the honor of getting to know the two of you better.

Vendors:

Cake: Who Made the Cake? {http://whomadethecake.com/}

Ceremony: Prince of Peace Church {https://pophouston.org/}

Reception: La Tranquilla Ranch {http://www.latranquilaranch.com/}

Dress: Princess Bridal {http://theprincessbridal.com/}

Flowers: Cornelius Florist {http://www.corneliusflorist.com/}

Bride Tribe Sign: Dixie & Twine {https://www.etsy.com/shop/DixieAndTwine}

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Houston Wedding Photographer – Chandelier Grove

One of the most beautiful venues I had the opportunity to photograph a wedding at in 2016 was at Chandelier Grove. Tucked away in north Houston, this venue has ample room for two buildings plus parking and sprawling land for portraits. The owners only take a certain number of weddings a year, at an intimate size. With its barn location and greenery, it is one of my favorite places to photograph a wedding.

The House

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Not every venue has the space for both the bride and groom to get ready in. Even if there is a space for the groom and his wedding party, most venues have a tiny space for them, making taking pictures more challenging. At Chandelier Grove, this is the exact opposite. There is a kitchen, a living room and reading room for the men to relax in. They are tucked away comfortably at the rear of the house, making the front the space for the bride and her wedding party. The room has plenty of space for a large wedding party and the family. Everything is in dark wood and decorated beautifully. Also, with ample seating, the wedding party can lounge as pictures are taken and the bride gets ready.

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Toronto Wedding Photographer – McKinlay Wedding

Toronto Wedding Photographer – McKinlay Wedding

As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s impossible to undermine the importance of gratitude. However, amidst all the cooking, planning, and cleaning, it’s easy to forget how vitally important it is to stop and take stock of the blessings in your life.  Today I want to take a moment and say thank you to two of my amazing friends – Krislynn and Brandon McKinlay. Thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to capture such a beautiful moment in your lives. Thank you for allowing me the chance to be so inspired by the obvious love you two have for each other.

Kris and Brandon met at a bar, if you can believe it! They both were at Emma’s Back Porch and Brandon saw her across the room and asked her to dance. And as they say… the rest was history. They salsa danced the night away, and as Brandon puts it, Kris was “so much fun, a breath of fresh air”. An instant connection was made, which was so strong that although Kris lived 3 hours away from Brandon, they decided to give it a try. They drove to each other in their free time and Brandon knew then that she was different. He says she still continues to surprise him. It’s stories like this that melt my heart and give me hope. I’d like to share a snippet of Krislynn’s vows with you. These words still bring tears to my eyes, 3 months later

“As a family, we will create a home filled with learning, laughter, and compassion. I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. I promise to nurture your dreams, because through them your soul shines.”

This is love. This is beautiful love, and thus I wish nothing less than a lifetime of learning, laughter and compassion for these two beautiful souls.


Vendors

From personal and professional experience, I can wholeheartedly say that there is so much unseen work done by so many unseen people when it comes to weddings. Continuing with an attitude of gratitude, I would like to take a minute and extend a big thanks to all of the vendors that helped make the McKinlay’s wedding so beautiful.

Hair/Make up: Jamaican Sun

Wedding Dress: Heirlooms Bridal

Lady of Honour Dresses/Veil: Davids Bridal

Shoes/Accessories/Ties: Le Chateu

Violinist: Barbara Armstrong

Custom Garter/Ring Bearer Pillow: Stephanie McDonald

Custom Suits: Luxury Plus Bespoke Tailor

Decor and Flowers: Victoria’s Decor

Cupcakes: Junior Baker

DJ: Fluid Music

Officiant: Bill Franks

Limo: Dorchester Limo

Donation Cards: Alzheimer Society of Sarnia Lambton

Videographer: Nick Gagliardi

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Game of Thrones Styled Shoot

Game of Thrones I am completely addicted to Game of Thrones. I held off watching it for the longest time, partially because I am stubborn. When my husband and I broke…

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Book Lovers Wedding Ideas

I have been a book lovers since I was able to read. My parents raised me with this passion, my favorite books as a kid being The Babysitters Club and the Anne of Green Gables series. As an adult I do not always have the time to read, but when I do it is usually a book that is fantastical in nature. Harry Potter, the Mortal Instruments series or anything written by Kelley Armstrong. I also love comic books and find them to be my “light” reading.

Book Lovers Wedding

A great way to add a personal touch to your wedding, if you are book lovers, is to incorporate books into everything. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, it can be quite pretty and on-trend. I would like to thank the renegades for blazing the trail because using paper and jewels in your floral arrangements and table centers is no longer “weird”. The theme can event go in a vintage direction and not lose its classy touch. How? Lets dig in!

Invitations

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Styled Wedding Shoot: Shades of Yellow

Shades of Yellow Styled Shoot

Another styled wedding post? Why yes! Last week I posted images from a Lisa Frank inspire shoot, and this one is from the same group of creatives, just a different look. It reminds me of a summer day, bright pops of yellow, and greens. Sparkly gold pillows and a gorgeous model. You can almost taste the lemonade that had been served at the reception.

About the Shoot

I mean there is even a lemon tree on the table! The table setting has fun green plates and clear chargers with gold trim. The chairs are clear, so as to not fight with the table, and the yellow candle holders are dark enough to add contrast to the brighter elements on the table. It’s so bright and fun, thus my heart starts to explode. Yes, I am completely enthusiastic about this set up!

The invitations and paper goods are bright and have complimentary colors to add some variety. I love the dots, as it continues the whimsical theme and makes you feel happy! Topping it off, the model is gorgeous in her dress “Shelby”. The soft white of the dress is contrasted by her edgy tattoos. I love the spicy edge as a compliment to all the softness.

Vendors

Concept & Design: Kelly Kennedy Events & Damsel Whites Label

Coordination: Kelly Kennedy Events

Rentals: EB Inc Events

Floral: Flower Vibes

Gown: Damsel White Label

Paper Goods: My Urban Invites

Lighting: GTX Production

 

Hair and Makeup: Styled by Kelsey V.

Model: Savannah Vawter

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Lisa Frank Styled Shoot

Lisa Frank Styled Shoot

Happy Friday everyone! It is finally cooling off here and thus I am even more excited for the weekend! I plan on seeing some of my favorite clients this weekend and stuffing my face with delicious food, how about you? Next up on the blog this Friday is the gorgeous Lisa Frank styled shoot from June.

About this Styled Shoot

I joined a bunch of Houston creatives in June, and this is just one of the styled looks that I photographed that day! Brandy looks stunning in “Willa”. With a non-traditional with a floral print under the white striped fabric, the dress pops! The florals pop against it, in bright hues. The most gorgeous though? That table! Horses, cookies and invites all with the Lisa Frank theme! It all comes together to create a theme so rich your eyes don’t know where to look first!

VENDORS

Concept & Design: Kelly Kennedy Events & Damsel Whites Label

Coordination: Kelly Kennedy Events

Rentals: EB Inc Events

Floral: Flower Vibes

Gown: Damsel White Label

Paper Goods: My Urban Invites

Lighting: GTX Production

Cookies: Sinfully Sweets

Cake: Who Made the Cake

Hair and Makeup: Styled by Kelsey V.

Model: Brandy Guery

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Behind the Camera Series: My Why

As I sit on my parent’s porch I think about why I love photographing weddings and portraits. As I grow older things become clearer. In my youth I felt like I had all the time in the world and that my friends and family were going to be with me for a good long time. Therefore I could skip important moments because they would happen again. It wasn’t until one of my grandparents passed away that I started to realize how fleeting life is. It has become even more important now that I live almost three thousand miles from my family.

Weddings

For my wedding, three of my grandparents were not able to be there either from passing away or being too ill to come. Therefore the one remaining grandmother who did come was a big deal. Not just for me, but for her as well. She loved Robert and was excited to see us marry. Our wedding was one of the last times we had her in a picture with the entire family, wearing her favorite coral dress. Even though she couldn’t walk at this point, it didn’t matter, she was there are and grinning in every picture.

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