A Creative Process: Amy Lauren Floral Design

In early May I had the opportunity to meet Amy of Amy Lauren Floral Design at her quaint home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Amy is an incredible floral designer in the DMV and destination wedding industry and a creative girl boss. We first met at a networking event in about a month before our session and arranged to meet up with a goal in mind to capture Amy in every stage of her design process, highlighting her natural talents and creativity. My love for inspiring others sparked me to create a new blog series I'm starting today called "A Creative Process."

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Elegant Garden-Inspired Wedding at The Henry Smith House | Amanda and Brent

The Henry Smith House in Picayune, Mississippi was home to Amanda and Brent's wedding. This day truly was special for the bride, groom and everyone in attendance. Faces were full of smiles, jokes were told, and memories were made to last. Everything about this day reflected on the joy and love of Amanda and Brent. This venue was the absolute perfect setting for their romantic November wedding. 

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Excitement filled the air as the gals prepared for the upcoming ceremony. Hair pieces were pinned, outfits were zipped, and accessories were donned. Amanda chose a gorgeous long-sleeved lace gown from Modcloth, and I might have squealed a little when I saw it. With the dress, Amanda paired beautiful scalloped Betsy Johnson flats complete her elegant and vintage style. I was IN LOVE!

I think something which made this whole process extra special for Amanda was her being able to wear grandmother's wrist cuff, which accounted for her "something old." What a beautiful way for her to honor her grandmother and wear it on such a special day in their lives.

Amanda was all smiles as she added the finishing touches during the getting-ready portion of her day.

Something I love about Amanda is that she is so down-to-earth and genuine. She's extremely passionate about food and is a blogger herself. She publishes her own paleo recipes on her super-cute blog called "The Mayor of Yumtown." 

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Prior to the wedding, Amanda and Brent opted to exchange hand written letters. Since they were unable to see each other before the ceremony, it was even more special and only added to the anticipation of seeing one another. 

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Amanda and Brent's reception at The Henry Smith House could not have been more memorable. This portion of the day was packed with exciting things, including mingling, meaningful toasts, and first dances. Amanda and Brent shared their first dance together as husband and wife swaying to the tune of "That's the Way of the World" by Kim Pensyl.

Bridesmaid (and makeup artist), Emily Smith, sang a song and played her guitar during the reception, which I know Amanda and Brent were looking forward to and meant a lot to the both of them.

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The family and friends of the couple were overjoyed and full of love during this special time. As for the other guests, the DJ's killer music choices allowed for dancing the night away.

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vendors

VENUE: THE HENRY SMITH HOUSE • ON-SITE COORDINATOR: JEANETTE ENGOLIA • DJ: NIGHTSHIFT SOUNDS • WEDDING DRESS: MODCLOTH • BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: MODCLOTH • GROOMSMEN'S ATTIRE: KENNETH COLE, PURCHASED AT BELK • FLORALS: DIY • RINGS: PAV AND BROOME • OFFICIANT: RYAN RUCKEL • MAKEUP: EMILY SHOLES SMITH • CAKE: NITA LEE • PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT: CLARA GALLARDO

Planning with a Purpose, Part 3: The First Look

Before the internet became a thing, it was traditional for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time down the aisle at the wedding ceremony. First looks are somewhat of a new and modern idea where the wedding couple decides (mutually) to break that tradition and see each other BEFORE the ceremony. Some people think this is bad luck, and that's okay. But before you really make up your mind on the subject, you need to understand why couples are choosing this option over the traditional alternative, and why it serves a purpose in your overall wedding timeline.

Part 1: Details
Part 2: Getting Ready and the Bridal Suite
Part 3: The First Look
Part 4: Wedding Party and Family Formals
Part 5: The Ceremony
Part 6: Reception

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First looks are popular because they allow for quick transition from family formals to reception. This time is valuable to consider for your wedding guests because it is the time they spend waiting on you. The more time pictures take up is more time your guests will have to wait at cocktail hour. Couples are preferring more time now to spend WITH their guests and not AWAY from them. It's important to remember that some guests travel a long way to see you and you need to consider their time. First looks, when properly planned and executed, will allow you that time to spend mingling with those guests at cocktail hour and reception.

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By this part of the day, we've already grabbed shots of your most cherished wedding details. You've put on your wedding dress and have enjoyed spending valuable time with your female family members and bridesmaids in the bridal suite. You look BEAUTIFUL, and it's finally time to go see your groom at the first look!

This happens right after you finish getting dressed. I like to spend at least THIRTY minutes time for the first look. It's enough time to allow you both to see each other and have a few private moments before I jump in and begin taking more photos. Romantic bride and groom portrait time has got to be my FAVORITE part of the wedding day. This is the time where we take those pictures you'll cherish forever. You know, the ones you'll print out and hang on your wall, set as your profile pictures on social media, and share with your family members. This is usually the time my couples remember most as a carefree, relaxing,  and overall enjoyable part of the day. Enjoy spending these little moments together because it's what you've waited for, and some of the few memories you'll keep and will live on as you build your life with your new spouse. 

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After bride and groom portraits come wedding party portraits. You know, your best bridesmaids and groomsmen all together in one picture. These pictures are always so fun and I love getting to experience this at each wedding. Stay tuned for Part FOUR of this series where I'll discuss tips on wedding party and family portraits on the big day!

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Julie and John's Elegant Ceresville Mansion Wedding

I was SO excited when I heard I'd be shooting a wedding again with Katherine Elizabeth Photography at Ceresville Mansion in Frederick. As a Gaithersburg wedding photographer, I was thrilled, because there aren't a lot of great wedding venues over in the area near where we live, and it's great to have a little something that's not necessarily caught up in the hustle and bustle of DC and Baltimore. I'd heard of this venue before and had been dying to see it for a while!

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Julie and John are Katherine's clients and they are the absolute greatest. I had the incredible honor of meeting John and his Best Man at the hotel getting ready, and quickly learned how wonderful of a person he is. Julie looked just as beautiful in her Maggie Sottero wedding dress and her Matron of Honor alongside her dressed in rich, navy blue. The couple gathered together at Ceresville Mansion in Frederick for their First Look, wedding ceremony, and reception. 

I learned from Katherine that Julie is a nurse and John is a police officer—what an incredible and lifesaving combination. Julie and John both play such a crucial role in our lives—and the world—by putting others before themselves. They now stand together as a new kind of team, husband and wife, and what an honor it was to be a part of their wedding day.

vendors

VENUE: CERESVILLE MANSION • BRIDE'S DRESS: MAGGIE SOTTERO • HAIR: KATIE VAZQUEZ • MAKEUP: AIRBRUSH FACES • PHOTOGRAPHY: KATHERINE ELIZABETH • OFFICIANT: JOYCE HILBERY • TRANSPORTATION: ON THE TOWN LIMO • CAKE: PIECE O' CAKE • ENTERTAINMENT: GREAT SCOTT PRODUCTIONS