I met up with Anna this past weekend for her senior portrait session. She graduates from high school this school year, and it was super fun spending some time capturing her senior portraits to celebrate. The colder, more Fall-like weather we'd been having warmed up a little, and we had the most perfect mild temps for venturing down to Falls Park on the Reedy River for her session. We even ventured up to a little garden area downtown, and the purple flowers gave a unique twist on the typical Fall color palette for an almost Halloween-like look. So it was perfect! This girl is a beauty inside and out, and it was so fun hanging out with her! Enjoy more of Anna's portraits on the blog today!
Olivia & Adam are the epitome of easy-going couples. It was such a joy to work with them and get to know them! Traveling to Pawley's Island for their wedding was so fun and exciting. After a little unexpected issues came up with their ceremony space and then some rain in the forecast, the outdoor ceremony got moved inside. But as soon as we knew this was going to happen, Olivia had the best attitude. She and Adam were both just so excited to be married to each other that everything else didn't matter as much. But, it was still such an amazing day, and everything turned out so perfectly. The weather cleared up, and we got to head outside for portraits, and they are some of my favorites to date. This wedding day just goes to show you that there's always a way to make the day just as amazing even if things don't always got as planned! Enjoy these images from Olivia & Adam's day!
Photographer: Nichole Lauren Photography
Bride's Dress: Dmitra Design
Bridesmaid's Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu
Florist: Greenskeeper Florist
Ceremony Venue: Litchfield Country Club
Reception Venue: Reserve Harbor Yacht Club
DJ: Myrtle Beach DJs
Cake: Pawleys Island Bakery
Caterer: Reserve Harbor Yacht Club
Groomsmen and Groom Attire: Generation Tux
Why should I do a bridal portrait session?
Oftentimes, when I meet with a bride for their initial consultation, they aren't sure what a bridal session is or if they want one. I always love explaining the benefits of a bridal session and why I love them, so I thought it'd be fun to write a post about it as well for prospective brides or brides that haven't met with me yet. Plus, I included my most recent bridal session with Olivia!! Now that she and her groom are married, I get share these stunning portraits with you! We got to take them at the SC State House, and they turned out to be favorite for sure.
A bridal session is simply a time for you, the bride, to get all dressed up in your wedding attire as a final "run-through" before the big day. You'll don your wedding dress, any jewelry you may have, shoes, and a full trial of your wedding hair and makeup if you like, and we'll get pictures of you with everything all put together! It's such a fun time, and I love that I get a special chance to see a sneak peek of my brides' looks before they officially get ready for their wedding. So here are my top three reasons you should definitely do a bridal portrait session:
You get extra portraits of just you.
Traditionally, Southern brides would display a large, framed bridal portrait at the reception. Tradition has waned, but it's still a really special thing to do. When you have a bridal session done, you'll have more than a few more photos of just you in your wedding getup and normally in a location other than your ceremony or reception venue. Of course, we'll get some photos of just you on your actual wedding day, but with a bridal session, we have plenty of time to focus on just you and your prettiness and all the details that you've worked so hard to perfect.
You can see if there's anything you need to tweak.
Since a bridal session means you'll run through your entire look for the wedding day, including hair and makeup and down to even the little details like your earrings, you'll be able to see your entire look come to life and also decide if there's anything you'd like to tweak about it before the big day gets here since you'll still have time!
You get to wear your dress another time.
Brides, you know how much money you spent on your dress! And you might have cringed at the thought of only getting to wear it once for your wedding day and then storing it somewhere to never see the light of day again. With such an investment, you'd probably be excited at the opportunity to wear it another time, so a bridal session would be a perfect way to do just that. You get another chance to wear something you've invested so much in: the wedding dress of your dreams!
The SC State Fair holds a special place in my heart. Fall is already a magical time of year. Things start to get cozy with the weather, and snuggles, sweaters, and comfort foods start making their way into our lives a little more. Even though it's no secret Summer is my favorite season, I'm starting to warm up to the idea Fall. And the best way I know how to do that is with a visit to the state fair. I went for the first time last year, and it was nothing short of incredible and downright fun! You can eat some really great food, ride some pretty fun rides, see a bunch of really cute animals, but I just love the atmosphere the most! Everyone's happy when they walk around the fair. You can't not be!! So I was super excited when I got to hang out with Abigail at the fair this week to take some new portraits for her. Be sure to give this girl a follow on Instagram!! She's doing great things. I hope this post transports you to the fair for a bit if you can't actually make it there this year! :)
What do you get when you mix golden hour, a Clemson orange dress, a pretty senior, and Clemson University's campus? An amazing senior session, that's what! It's been quite the weekend. Things are really starting to ramp up around here with wedding season officially starting back up for me this past weekend! I'm going to be running on full drive until school's out for Christmas break in December, but it's a good thing I love what I do! :) Plus, Fall seemed to be here to stay this past weekend. Temps got to the low 50s, pumpkin spice candles were bought, and all my summer clothes have been put away. So, I'm officially embracing the season! And it couldn't have been kicked off in a better way than hanging out with Sara in Clemson for her senior session! Enjoy the rest of her images, and have a great week!
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel abroad. My plans were to visit a friend who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland and explore from there. I love any chance I can get to travel, so having friends all across the world is a nice perk. Plus, while I've been many places, I've always wanted to see Ireland and England (specifically London), so I jumped on the $350 Norwegian Air ticket to Belfast and headed there! I spent a total of 11 full days over there exploring, and we ended up going all over the place very spontaneously which made it incredibly fun! So, instead of giving you a day-by-day synopsis of the trip, I'll include my recommendations for each city below along with some "fancy camera" pictures from my trip! It was so fun putting this blog post together and reliving my trip. And I can't wait for my next adventure! Can you guess where I'll be headed next?
Belfast, Northern Ireland
There's something pretty special about Belfast. It's a city (and country) rich with history, and a unique, troubled past. An amazing city for sure and easy to overlook, so if you ever have a chance to visit, you really should add it to your list! Here are some of my favorites from a few of the days I spent exploring this charming city. Head to the Ulster Museum first to get educated on just what Northern Ireland has gone through in the very recent history. And make a stop at the beautiful Botanic Gardens on your way out.
Many don't know that the Titanic actually was built in and set sail from Belfast. There is an amazing museum that you must visit if you're in town. City Centre and the Mall are both fun places to go. The Mall has an amazing 360 degree view at the top of the glass dome. and there are plenty of cute coffee shops along the way. St. George's market is a great place for some locally crafted goods and food. Also, make a stop at Maggie Mays for breakfast or lunch and head to Five Points for snacks and drinks accompanied by live Irish music in a very authentic atmosphere in the evening. For the more adventurous types, there are plenty of outdoor excursions like hiking Cave Hill or visiting the Belfast castle. Be sure to stop at the local Tesco (grocery store) before you head up for a £3 meal deal to take with you! I ate a lot of these!!
Probably my favorite part of Northern Ireland, though was exploring the North Coast for a day. Buying a rambler (bus) all-day ticket lets you get to places like Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge easily and quickly. You could easily spend more than a day exploring along the north coast, but it's an amazing experience even if you have only one day to hop around.
We got to spend three full days in London after we bought spur of the moment tickets aboard RyanAir for $30 a pop. Best. Decision. Ever. I have been dreaming of going to London for a while, and it was all that I imagined and more! Truly one of my favorite cities in the world, and I got just enough of a taste for it in three days and can't wait to go back!
If you only have a couple of days in London, the best way to see the most things is...you guessed it...those very touristy double-decker tour buses!! It was actually really fun riding around London on top of one of those, and it really wasn't a bad price for the time it saved us from walking around. Plus, having a live guide on the bus really makes it interesting and fun! We basically just rode the bus around both days to get an overview and then stopped where we wanted to explore more. Also, our ticket came with a river cruise as well! So that really was a great value! Here were some of the highlights.
Definitely do the London Eye. It's a little pricey, but it's a once in a lifetime experience you shouldn't miss if you can help it. Hyde Park was beautiful! And we got fish and chips at a restaurant in the park for lunch. Big Ben was under construction, so that was a big bummer! But we got to attend Evensong at Westminister Abbey which is a really cool experience, AND you don't have to pay admission. Visiting the outside of Buckingham Palace and watching the changing of the guard was fun, but I liked the night before when we walked down the road toward the Buckingham Palace and witnessed none other than PRINCE WILLIAM himself riding down the street in his Range Rover and within a couple steps from me. I had a serious fan girl moment, and it was totally unexpected!! But one of my favorite parts of London by far was the London Dungeons. Definitely an experience like none other. You go through the Dungeons as actors recreate parts of London's not-so-nice history for you, and it was an experience I'll never forget!
The Irish Coast
For the last leg of my trip, we flew from London to Dublin to meet up with a couple other friends who had arrived a couple days prior. We spent the rest of the trip in our little rental car, driving along the southern Irish coast, hopping from Airbnb to Airbnb, and it was just the best!
Some of my favorite sites included the iconic Cliffs of Moher, Killary Fjord, Connemara National Park- The Diamond Hill Hike, Dunamase Castle, and Kylemore Abbey. One of my favorite memories of this leg of trip, though, was when we headed to Dog's Bay a beautiful white sand beach in Ireland of all places! The water was crystal clear and the sand was pure white. You could have easily mistaken your location to be a Caribbean island, which seemed so crazy to me! But as soon as we all jumped in, we realized we definitely weren't somewhere tropical with the 40 degree water. It was freezing!!! But honestly one of my favorite memories of the whole trip!
We ended our last night in Galway at an authentic Irish pub/restaurant called The Quays. It was the BEST time! The band was amazing!! They played a mix of Irish traditional music and American music with an Irish twist, so we knew a lot of the songs, but it was really a unique experience! Even just wandering around Galway was a highlight and definitely my favorite city in Ireland! A great end to an even better trip! Bonus points if you sing Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl in the car as you drive around! Good times!
This part of the world was truly amazing, and it was also so nice going somewhere we spoke the same language. But they all had super cool accents! If you ever get the chance to venture to either Ireland or the UK, I highly recommend it!
Whew! It's been a hot minute since we had a little heart-to-heart chat, and I knew that needed to change! :) As I've been meeting with prospective brides over the past few weeks, I remembered how conflicted the topic of first looks can be. So I thought it'd be fun to talk about first looks on the blog! There are so many ways your wedding day timeline can look, it can almost feel overwhelming and a little daunting. Plus, when you don't entirely know what a first look is or what all it entails, it can be easy to dismiss the idea altogether. So, if you're a prospective bride, read on to get a better idea of what a first look is and why it's an amazing part of any wedding day!
I want to start off by saying your wedding day is exactly that... yours! Don't ever let anyone (myself included) make you feel bad about choosing a plan that doesn't fit your dream for your best day ever. Yes, there are a whole bunch of benefits to having a first look. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe that you should do one on your wedding day because it's amazing! But, no, you should never feel pressure from anyone into doing something you don't want to do. Because, when it comes down to it, what matters on your wedding day is you and your spouse. Your opinion takes the number one spot! But that doesn't mean I can't try and convince you to come to the other side! :)
What is a First Look?
Let's start with the basics. A first look is a time set aside before the wedding ceremony where just the bride and groom (and the photographer) get to spend some quiet time together alone to see each other before they exchange vows. It is an intimate, joy-filled time where a bride and groom get to share a "first look" at each other before walking down the aisle. After several minutes enjoying each other's presence (with the photographer capturing candid photos), the timeline moves seamlessly into bride and groom formal portraits and then full bridal party portraits. All, before the ceremony has even begun!
It's a Guy Thing
Believe it or not, my biggest objectors to the first look aren't brides! Surprised? It sure surprised me when I was first starting out in wedding photography! After all, the number one reason I thought I'd hear against doing a first look was the bride wanting to preserve her groom's reaction for the moment she walks down the aisle. But more and more, I'm realizing it's actually more of a groom thing! So, if your groom is hesitant, it might be because of one or more of these reasons:
Why do a first look?
There are so many reasons first looks are incredible. I'll give you my top two:
But I want him to cry when I walk down the aisle!
It's a valid objection. Every girl wants her groom to be so filled with emotion when he sees her walk down the aisle to become his wife that he can't help but tear up. But the common misconception is that it won't happen if you share a first look with your groom beforehand. That is just wrong! :) Hear me out on this!
Walking down the aisle is an unmatched, unique moment.
And that is still true even if you've shared a first look beforehand. There is nothing like seeing your bride, the love of your life, walking down the aisle to become your wife on your wedding day. And there is nothing like walking toward your groom, your very best friend, as he stands waiting to pledge his life to you as your husband on your wedding day. It's just an unmatched experience, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of moment. That will not change if you've shared a first look beforehand. Your groom isn't going to be standing up at the altar thinking to himself, "Ah, well I've already seen her today. She looks okay, I guess." NO! If anything, he will be even more filled with emotion because he's already seen you. He's gotten the wedding day nerves out a bit. He's not as stressed or anxious. His raw emotion has the ability to flow more freely because he isn't inhibited by the nervousness and natural anticipation that comes with any wedding day. I would even posit he is able to be more emotional if you've shared a first look beforehand because you've gotten those wedding jitters out. Regardless, the walk down the aisle is unparalleled. It's the climax of every wedding day. It's pivotal and symbolic and oh so special, and it always will be. And I'd argue, having a first look only enhances that moment.
I hope you feel a little more knowledgeable about first looks and are better equipped to think about whether incorporating one into your wedding day would be right for you as a couple. Either way, whatever you decide, it's going to be an amazing day. After all, it's your wedding!! And I'd love to help you keep planning for it! Questions? Feel free to reach out to me! I'd love to help in any way I can! :)
I love travel and adventure. I love seeing things from new perspectives. I love to find good food in exciting places. And I love making moments last for as long as possible.
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