Andrea King Photography » Family and wedding photography

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I met Vanessa and Blaine last April when I did their engagement photos at the Botanic Gardens. We hit it off and actually became fast friends, but they had already put their deposit down on a wedding photographer by the time I met them, and it was out of state in Kentucky. Fast forward to November 1st of 2014 and they got married in a sweet little chapel in Lexington, KY with their reception at a vineyard not far away. The locations were absolutely beautiful, the weather was not. It had actually snowed the night before, and the day of the wedding was cold, wet, dreary, and did I say cold? They didn’t have time for a ton of formal photos, and with the weather circumstances they were limited on what they could get. Vanessa had this amazing gown for the wedding ceremony and then she changed into a fun ball gown for the reception. Shortly after her photos were delivered she contacted me and asked if I would do a trash the dress session for her along with some formal photos of her, Blaine, and their daughter Kaylyn. Of course I jumped at the chance! We planned the session for about 3 months, we went over exactly what she was looking for location wise and what type of feel she wanted for her photos. I ended up choosing Shelby Forest in Millington for the session. We ventured out on the trails for some photos, we were able to use the dock at the lake, and we went down to the might Mississippi to trash her dress. The results were amazing, and I know we got those glamour magazine pictures she was looking for.

Bottom line: when one of your best friends calls you and asks you to do some post wedding formal photos and a trash the dress, you set aside a good 3 hours of time, you take her to the middle of the woods, and you rock the shot. I am in love with the idea of post wedding formal photos….you don’t have a time crunch, and you aren’t super worried about getting some dirt on your dress because there’s no reception to hurry to. It turned out so amazing that I’m thinking of building the option into my wedding packages. Check of the gallery below to see their amazing shots.

Why is it important to hire a photographer for your wedding? Because you want beautiful pictures that document one of the best days of your life, right? So this particular question has been nagging at me for some time and I decided it’s time to blog about it. Why, if you spend so much money on a photographer, do you try to rush through your formal photos? Many of the weddings I did last year were on a time crunch. We had a very short amount of time to take the post ceremony formal wedding photos because the bride and groom were afraid that people would get agitated at having to wait on them and leave. Too many times I have heard people in attendance  complain that it’s taking too long, that they are hungry, or bored, or have somewhere to be. This is what I don’t understand- it’s your day right? The bride and groom are the ones who are getting married, the bride and groom are the ones who are being celebrated, and the bride and groom (or their parents) are the ones shelling out thousands of dollars on a wedding photographer….so why do the attendants feel the need to rush them? Weddings are a celebration. They’re a time when families and friends get together and celebrate two people starting on a journey that will last a lifetime, so sit back, relax, have a drink, mingle with family, share some laughs and chill out. If nothing else pull out your cell phone and cruise Facebook or Instagram while you’re waiting.

Too often I hear about brides who unsatisfied with their wedding photos because they don’t get the dream pictures they envisioned, but if you rush your photographer and only give them 15-20 minutes to take your pictures you aren’t going to have those photos. A post ceremony formal photo session should last you a minimum of 40 minutes. Think about it, you have both sides of the family to photograph (we’re talking grandparents, parents, any step parents, sibling, and any children that the bride or groom have…and this is for both the bride AND groom) and setting those photos up is no easy task. We have to survey what everyone is wearing, how tall everyone is, if there’s anybody who needs assistance walking/standing for the photos, and we need to arrange everyone. Then we need to make sure we get the shot (if your photographer is anything like me I will take 2 or 3 pictures because I’m always counting on somebody blinking or sneezing or making some awkward face) and then do it all over again. We have the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the best man, the maid of honor, the flower girl and/or ring bearer pictures that need to be snapped, and then we have the lovely and intimate pictures reserved for the bride and groom. Those alone should take at least 20 minutes at a minimum.

So this is my advice to you when planning a wedding- plan for a cocktail hour. It’s called a cocktail hour for a reason, because it should last at least an hour. Your invitation should clearly state a starting time for your ceremony and a starting time for your reception, especially if they are being held at different places. So if your wedding is starting at 5:00pm and will last 30 minutes, you should plan for your reception to being at 6:30 or 7:00pm. I would say 7 if you have to incorporate travel time. If you’re having the reception at the same place as the ceremony than an announcement should be made prior to everyone leaving the ceremony area. Whoever is marrying you should say something along the lines of “Mr. and Mrs. So and So invite you to join them in celebration at such and such a place. They will be arriving at such and such a time so please make sure you are there in time for their grand entrance, which will be after their formal photos are finished.”

I always get the age old question of- what do we do if we aren’t serving alcohol at the reception. I understand some places do not allow alcohol in their facility, and that some people do not drink. You should have some type of refreshment there and lots of little Hors d’oeurves for people to munch on. If you’re not serving alcohol that should leave some room in your budget for other things- perhaps a fun photo booth station, some Polaroid cameras around the tables for guests to snap silly pictures and then place in a specific location, perhaps a game where they guess how you two met, and music should absolutely be playing. As long as they have something to keep them busy they will forget about how long it is taking until your arrival. I never really understood why people rushed to be the first ones at the reception anyway!

If you need ideas for cocktail hours check out these links:

www.marthastewartweddings.com/226732/wedding-cocktail-hour-ideas

http://www.popsugar.com/food/Wedding-Appetizer-Ideas-17812056#photo-17812056

 

Bottom line: be firm with your guests about the need for formal photos. If they’re rude enough to try and make you feel guilty about lavishing in your special day they don’t belong at your reception anyway. Party poopers not needed! Enjoy yourself, get your dream photos, and throw back some champagne. You only get married once!!!

Have you even been out somewhere and noticed a couple on their third date? The date where you realize that you really really like the person you’re on the date with. You actually more than like that person, you love that person. The date where the whole world fades away and there’s just the two of you. You go home and you’re walking on air, smile permanetly plastered across your face, you’ve got the good kind of nervous jitters, and you realize that you want all of your days to feel that way, and if you’re lucky enough they do. Well, over the weekend I got to photograph Todd and Blair’s wedding and I swear the entire day felt like third date material to me. The loving looks, the stolen kisses, the happy smiles. I don’t think that I have ever seen two people more at ease and so love with each other on their wedding day. To witness such a thing was truly nothing short of amazing.

They got married at their home in Oakland and everything was just perfect. The entire week I feverishly watched the weather forecast for Saturday, hoping and praying that the rain that plagued us all week long would stay away for one day. We all hoped for a mildly warm day with sunshine and perfectly clear skies. And we got it! The backyard was decorated simply, elegantly, and wonderfully. The inside was the perfect mix of cozy and rustic, and the guests were incredibly happy and nice. I think the love that just radiated off of Todd and Blair was a tad bit contagious and we all couldn’t help but be relaxed and laugh throughout the day. The ceremony was short and sweet, it flowed perfectly right down to a baby starting to babble when the Minister asked if anyone objected. (I think we all had a loud laugh at that point) The bridal party speeches were touching and heartfelt, the cakes were amazing (he had a FedEx airplane! Holy cow it was neat), and the guest book was the letter “B” that people wrote well wishes on and would later be displayed in their home.

They also had another reason to celebrate, and it arrives in 26 weeks. (We’re thinking pink, everyone. So when you send your blessings send pink wishes as well!)

As I got into my car to drive home I plugged in my iPhone. The first song to play from my playlist was Brad Paisley’s “Toothbrush” and I thought it couldn’t be more fitting. Congrats guys, you really are a match made in heaven and I wish nothing but the best for you!

Here are a few previews from the wedding. Enjoy!

Ring Shot

Ring Shot

Guest Book
Guest Book
groom cake!
groom
groom
bride
bride

 

And just in case you are wondering…here are the lyrics

:)

Love starts with a toothbrush,
A big razor and a Dixie cup
A little splash of aftershave,
Before you leave for that first date
See stars in both your eyes
After that long kiss goodnight

Forever starts with a suitcase,
Sneaking out the window to get away
To the car parked by the curb,
Gassed up for Gatlinburg
A little chapel and a couple of rings
Will get you two toothbrushes by the bathroom sink

And everything that’s anything
Starts out as a little thing
Just needs a little time and room to grow
Step by step, day by day
It all adds up along the way
And the next thing that you know

Life starts with a little house,
A corner lot on the edge of town
A weed eater and a picket fence
You think it’s good as the getting gets
Then she wakes up feeling bad
You both wonder what’s up with that

Everything that’s anything
Starts out as a little thing
Just needs a little time and room to grow
Step by step, day by day
It all adds up along the way
And the next thing that you know

One night around eight o’clock
You scrub him down then you dry him off
You pick him up and put his little feet
On the stool by the bathroom sink
You grab the crest and the Dixie cup
It all hits you as he opens up…
Love starts with a toothbrush

This year I am offering my Baby’s First Year session plan. We photograph the newborn, 6 month, 9 month, and 1 year/cake smash sessions. I love love love working with kids and watching them grow. I am so excited to be a part of the process and to document it for the parents. We did Miss Emily’s newborn session last year and waited a little bit past her 6 month milestone (poor baby girl was sick!) to do her 6 month session. Paige has become a great friend of mine and sent me a few pins on Pinterest asking if we could try and replicate them. There was one in particular with a blanket that she wanted to try to do and I was all for it. I was unaware at the time that the blanket had a very special meaning to Paige. Paige’s mother passed away before she was able to meet any of Paige’s children, but before she gave birth to Paige she knitted a blanket for her. Paige has had her other two children photographed with this blanket and wanted the same to be done with Emily. When I read her status and saw our final photos beneath it I couldn’t help but cry. How lucky I am to be able to do something so special for someone. (Our next task will be getting all three of her babies plus mom and dad with that blanket, and I have the perfect plan!)

Memphis was hit with some snow and ice this year (crazy, I know!) so we held the session at my home on a weekday with no school. She brought all three of her babies along and we had a huge playdate/photo session. Her son Ben was a big help with the kids, and he even helped make Emily smile for us when she was getting cranky and had enough with the picture taking! We got some awesome studio shots as well as some lifestyle photos of all the kids. It was a huge success and I can’t wait for Emily’s 9 month session!!!

 

Back in December Kristen Gay contacted me about doing a family session for her. She and her husband were in the process of adopting two sweet girls from foster care. Since the girls were foster kids they weren’t allowed to be on social media until the adoption was complete these photos would be a social media debut as well. I was super excited for the session and planning lots of cute things. We waited until a warm day in January, got the family together (complete with the pups!) and had a ton of fun. We decided to tally the total days the girls were in foster care and use the chalk board as a prop. I waited and waited and finally (after it felt like forever!) I was able to post a preview on my Facebook page!

I am so excited to announce that Kristen and Christian Gay have found their missing puzzle pieces in Lexie and Emma Leigh! These 4 were made for each other and I am so lucky to have been able to meet and work with them!

 

The entire Gay family, complete with pups!

The entire Gay family, complete with pups!

Lexie and Emma Leigh are adopted!

Lexie and Emma Leigh are adopted!

Lexie and Emma Leigh are adopted!

Lexie and Emma Leigh are adopted!