The Happy Bride: Great Expectations

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You have spent HOURS/DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS planning this wedding and you want people to appreciate all your hard work! Right? When your guests show up and look around, you want them to be blown away with all the time, preparation, sweat, tears and MONEY (because we all know weddings aren’t cheap :) that went into this thing! Like an obsession, it has you up at night and thinking about it all hours of the day until your vision goes fuzzy and you need another Aspirin to take the edge off your headache. You may be envisioning it like a theatrical mind-cinema and letting your imagination control the characters as they ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ at you in your gorgeous dress (and how SEXY you are!) and at how happy and in love you and your groom are. :) After all, it’s going to be the best day of your life and nothing is going to ruin it for you!… except perhaps your own expectations.

Expectations can be your greatest strength, but they can also be your worst enemy if they aren’t realistic ones. From our experiences, the most common unrealistic expectation we have seen at weddings is a bride’s expectation of how her groom should respond when he sees her for the first time on their wedding day. 27 Dresses is the epitome of this expectation as she describes how when everyone else is looking at the bride, she is looking at the groom to see the look on his face (side note: I watched this movie purely for educational purposes). Thank you HOLLYWOOD! :) If you have imagined that your groom will have that glint of teary-eyed joy when he sees you in your finest hour, you are not alone! I say that 90% of brides would prefer a teary-eyed groom over a trip to the day spa… even WITH those little cucumber slices that they put over your eyeballs. I have seen it written on notes handed to the groom telling him he better be crying when she sees him! :) Even if the expectation is not spoken, it is somehow telekinetically communicated through the unmistakably intense desire of a bride who better get some tears from the man she is choosing to spend the rest of her life with! :) Now, this may come as a shock so sit down if you aren’t already, here it comes; most guys don’t cry… MOST of them! You may be thinking ‘Well, Andrew, I’m sure MOST guys don’t but MY guy isn’t ‘most’, you don’t know MY guy’. :) You may be right! I have seen a LOT of guys with tears in their eyes at the altar! BUT… :) I know MOST guys’ reactions and they just flat out don’t cry. So why am I telling you this?

I was a groom once and I still remember all the pressure on my wedding day (and Emily was probably the LEAST expecting bride in the world!). I remember walking out to the altar to wait for the ceremony to start and I was pretty scared, I’m not going to lie! Not because I didn’t want to get married, but because it was a completely new experience and us guys like to feel in control, know what I mean? :) When we don’t feel in control, it is a crazy vulnerable place for a man. Actually getting to enjoy seeing my bride walking down the aisle towards me is one of the last things on my mind. And crying in front of a bunch of our family and friends? Forget it! THAT is why most guys don’t get all teary-eyed when they see their bride for the first time. The pressure to perform is INTENSE.

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When my beautiful baby girl was born in February 3 years ago, I decided I wasn’t going to have any expectations on myself and was just going to enjoy the moment. When the time came for her to come into the world and I saw her pretty little face for the very first time, my vision was so blurry with tears I couldn’t hardly see her at all! I was beyond overjoyed. It is still to this day one of the 3 happiest moments in my life :) So what does this have to do with your wedding day?

Just let go. Allow your groom to react however he is going to. In fact, you can tell him that and it will probably help. Here’s what the Happy Bride would say; “Babe, I know on our wedding day that you are going to be under a lot of pressure and you may feel the need to ‘perform’ for me or everyone else and show how ‘in love’ we are. :) I KNOW you love me. I KNOW that you think I’m beautiful! You don’t have to perform for me or anyone else. I just want to be married to you and I don’t care about all the rest of it (you have to mean it, though! :).” Something like that. I guarantee that he will feel the weight of the world off of his shoulders! You just freed him up to ‘THINK’ about how excited he is to marry you and to ‘FEEL’ how amazingly attracted and in love he is with you. In short, you just freed him up to enjoy the day WITH you which will make you one really, really Happy Bride!

Have you thought about doing a first look? For those of us who prefer to show our emotions in private (90% of guys!), it is much easier to do so without everyone looking than to do it in front of 200 people all staring and whispering to see if he is going to get teary-eyed. We highly recommend doing first looks for so many reasons (maybe I’ll write a blog about this to go more in detail). It’s not the traditional thing to do but they are often times some of our favorite photos from the day! Just food for thought.

Maybe I should have titled this post The Happy Bride/Groom :)

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Brenden + Michelle: A Desert Engagement Session

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Happy Monday to all of our incredible blog readers! We hope that you all had an incredible Easter filled with people that you love celebrating the resurrection of our Savior. :)

Andrew and I had a packed weekend full of shoots, a gorgeous wedding that we cannot wait to share, and then lots of time with family and people that we love. This particular engagement session is close to my heart as I (Emily) just adore the daylights out of Michelle and have been looking forward to this shoot for some time.

I met Michelle at Starbucks several months ago to get to know each other and chat about her wedding photography. We clicked immediately and she has felt more like a friend than a client since we first sat down together (these are my favorite kinds of clients!). Between dreaming up her wedding day, chatting about the sunset and detailed timeline planning and venue coordination, to the countless hours I spent on my email excitedly looking at EVERY single potential wedding dress that she tried on and giving my input, to the day she actually picked the perfect dress for her… I have adored Michelle. I am thrilled that she has shared so much more than just the “photography aspect” of her wedding day with me… I get to be apart of every little detail! Here is a peek into Michelle and Brenden’s relationship that Andrew and I captured together on Friday. We love these two and cannot wait for their gorgeous Tucson wedding in May!! :)

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tonya and bob m - Emily and Andrew….wonderful shots. ..awesome setting. ..beautiful couple!!!!!!. .. excited about the upcoming event! ! Hope to see you there. …

Andrew - Thanks Tonya and Bob! As do we :)

Logan + Alison: A Picture-Perfect E-session

This session was AMAZING! I have to get that off my chest right off the bat before I explode. Logan and Alison brought some amazing outfits to this shoot, including a retro-themed golf outfit that they downplayed like it wasn’t a big deal. :) Also, not many photographers have had the chance to shoot a photo session at Mirabel Golf Resort; it’s a members-only club so they try to keep it pretty private to respect their members. luckily for us, though, Logan is in management at the club so we had free reign of the place!

When we met up with Logan and Alison and started shooting, my first thought was ‘This is going to be EASY.’ They have SO much chemistry in front of the camera and everything was perfect from the truly stylish outfits they picked out to the locations we shot at. It was outstanding. They are a lovely couple; Logan is a good-old gentleman, born and raised in Kentucky (I picked up on his southern accent right away :). And Alison is just about the sweetest soul you could ever hope to meet. Together they laugh and just have a good time, which is exactly the kind of relationship that we love to capture. Working with couples like Logan and Alison is why we love our job so much and we cannot wait for their wedding in November! :)

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Allison L. - Beautiful pictures! Love this shoot

Abigail Gorman - how amazing is this location!!! i LOVE the water pics! And how cute are the golf pics, super cute outfits!

Andrew - Thanks Allison! We loved every minute of this shoot! :)

Andrew - Yes! The water pics are our favorites! We begged them to take their shoes off and get in the yucky water because we knew how awesome it would look! We were thrilled when they agreed! ;)

Meagan - Beautiful pictures!!! Wow. They definitely belong in a magazine! Nice work :)

Cailey - Amazing photos!! LOVE them all!

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The Happy Bride: Trust

Have you ever done a Trust Fall? I have seen this done as a team-building exercise. It’s pretty much the same, whether it’s at a summer camp or an employee seminar for team-building; one person gets up on a ridiculously high platform, turns their back to the drop, and then falls backwards to everyone else who is waiting to catch them. Seems crazy? :) I have never seen anyone hit the ground so I think it’s a pretty safe exercise, but I have seen some people absolutely FREAK OUT up there! :) They literally are in tears and crying because they are so terrified of falling backwards, knowing that they have to trust the people who are going to catch them (hopefully ;).  And when they DO finally get the courage to fall, they scream the entire way down like they just fell off the Empire State building to their death. :)  Now I am not poking fun at people who have a serious fear of heights or trust issues, but more so at those of us who have these irrational fears. I myself am terrified of tight spaces and I start to internally freak out when I am in one; I start to sweat, heart pounding, and I try as fast as I can to get free when I start to panic.  No matter how hard I try to convince myself that I’m being ridiculous, when the fear and panic sets in there is no escape except the escape from whatever the fear is caused by.

This reminds me SO much of a bride’s relationship with her vendors. The bride that is exhausted with anxiety on the day of her wedding day either 1) doesn’t have enough solid people who she has trusted to help her wedding day run smoothly or 2) she isn’t used to trusting other people with such an important day in her life so she thinks she needs to make sure everyone is doing their job.  This is no way to be a Happy Bride!  The number one thing that will KILL your happiness on your wedding day is stress and anxiety.  Emily and I have seen a few times when our poor bride, riddled with anxiety, just cannot enjoy what should be the happiest day of her life because she is so concerned that all her planning is going to be ruined; in her anxiousness, she runs through her mental check list over and over to make sure the flower girls are dressed, rings are accounted for, floral arrangements are in place, caterer is paid, tables are set, lipstick is on, DJ is on time, and on and on… For the stressed out bride, the list will not stop until she and her groom are running through the sparkler exit at the end of her wedding day.  This, to us, is a very sad wedding experience.

Are you reading this with a pounding heart and rising blood pressure because some of this is hitting home?  Are you worried that the people you have trusted with the most important day of your life are going to let you down?  Or maybe you are realizing that you are doing a trust fall and there are only 3 people trying to catch you and you haven’t planned on enough help?  You need to change something up and remove yourself from the thing that is causing your fear.  Here are 2 ways that The Happy Bride would deal with this.

First, know your own shortfalls.  If you know your weaknesses you know where you need help.  Do you need a wedding planner who can help you organize your big day?  Or if you are an extremely organized person and you want to do all of your own planning, you may want to hire a day-of wedding coordinator so that when your wedding day comes, you can relax and enjoy all of your hard work!  Either way, you need someone to be your go-to person on the day of your wedding.  You don’t need Aunt Barb asking you about the table centerpieces when you are putting your dress on.  We ALWAYS suggest that if you you do not have an official wedding planner or coordinator, that you have someone whom you could trust your LIFE with to help run things on the day of your wedding.  Someone whom you can trust completely and know that without a doubt, they can handle anything that comes their way whether it’s the florist is running an hour late or the cellist got food poisoning and isn’t going to be able to make it. :)  Will these be stressful things?  YES!  So you don’t need to be worried about them on your wedding day!  You cannot predict everything that will go wrong so just go with the flow!  The Happy Bride chooses to let these things go because she has set herself up with people she TRUSTS to handle these kinds of issues :)

Second, be SMART and use people you can TRUST!  A good DJ is absolutely essential to an outstanding reception.  A wedding planner who you genuinely love to be around is HUGE when you are spending months and months in contact with them.  Weddings are such a relational thing and you will be spending ALL DAY with your vendors!  Realize that you will not just be hanging out with your guests and your bridal party on your wedding day; your vendors (especially your photographers ;) need to be people that you just LOVE to be around.  From a photographer’s point of view, the couples that see us as friends on the day of the wedding love their photos more than the couples who see us as hired help because they trust us completely to capture their day.  More often than not, our brides and grooms give us HUGE hugs at the end of their weddings and want to get together afterwards for dinner or coffee.  This is because The Happy Bride surrounds herself with people she genuinely LIKES, and who many times become good friends throughout the process. She surrounds herself with people who she truly enjoys, and with people who LOVE to see how HAPPY she and her groom are on their wedding day.

Can you say this is you?  Are you rethinking some of your decisions after reading this?  If you are planning your wedding and have a bad relationship with one of your vendors, I strongly suggest looking into canceling your contract with them (or even asking for your deposit back).  Don’t let people take your money and ruin your wedding day, too.  This may seem harsh, but I think it is worse to go through with a contract with someone you can’t stand than to lose a deposit yet spend your wedding day with someone you trust completely and love being around.

So choose the Happy Bride route and be a JOYFUL, STRESS-FREE, PEACEFUL bride and surround yourself with trustworthy people on the most important day of your life!

-A

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Joe + Gabby: A Tempe Engagement Session

We laughed our way through this e-session :) All the way from the bridge at Tempe Town Lake to the people-packed streets of downtown Tempe and Mill Avenue, we laughed and talked and just had fun. Joe and Gabby are casually blissful; they love so naturally you almost miss it if you don’t have a camera in your hand to capture it. After dating for 4 years, and having been friends for 2 years before that, they go together like Ben and Jerry :) You can’t have one without the other. Emily and I had so much fun just getting to know their story and who they are as a couple (I’ll tell you more in their full wedding post later on down the road :). In the beginning of the shoot, Joe came right out and said he was super anxious about the photo shoot. No surprise there, that’s most of us guys! They warmed up in no time, though, and we had a crazy/fun/whimsical/casual shoot that looks more like a Sunday afternoon date than an engagement session. I think it fits their love perfectly.

-A

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Joe and Gabby loved the look of this movie theatre on Mill Avenue. They keep it simple on date night with a good movie so we took some photos here.
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Estrella - What a sweet shoot! Love the movie theater shots, so cute!

Andrew - Thanks Estrella! :)

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