When a new couple books with me, not only do I get to add another couple of clients to my list, I get to add a couple of new friends to my family! That's why I love pampering my couples with a few surprises along the way. A couple months ago, I shared all about my welcome packages that I send to each new bride when they officially book with me. If you missed that post, you can read it first here. After an engaged couple books with me, the next step is finding a time for engagement portraits. I LOVE this time to get to know my couples' stories and help them get acquainted with my shooting style. But after the engagement session, I often don't see them again until the wedding which is usually several months away! I wanted to be able to send my couples a little something to let them know I'm thinking about them and to help them take some time away from the craziness of wedding planning to enjoy some time together, celebrating this season!
In comes "date-night-in-a-box." A new feature I'll be spoiling my 2020 couples with starting with weddings booked for next year! A month before the wedding is when we finalize all the wedding photography details, so I thought, why not also send some goodies to my couples to celebrate?! My vision for this box is that it will be a way for my couples to connect with one another and to focus on spending intentional time with one another before the wedding day. Keep scrolling to see all I'll include in my date night client gift boxes!
"Take some time to treat yourself to scrumptious appetizers or desserts from one of my favorite restaurants followed by a night at the movies. Afterward, come home, light a candle, and be transported to one of my favorite places-- the beach, with the smell of driftwood and sea salt filling the room as you open up a bag of sweet treats and write each other love letters to exchange on your wedding day!"
My hope is that when my couples receive this gift a few weeks before their wedding day, they'll be able to take a load off, open their Packlane custom branded box, choose a date night and head for The Cheesecake Factory and Regal, come home to one of my favorite Target candles and some Skinny-Dipped Almonds and be able to cherish a few moments together as they write. I am SO excited to start implementing these into my process and workflow, and I cannot wait to see what amazing memories my couples will be able to create with their date night boxes! :)
Something super fun about being a wedding photographer is getting to pamper my clients! While photography in itself is a creative art, putting together client gifts is just as much of a creative endeavor, and one that I absolutely love! I have always enjoyed giving gifts even more than getting them. I love going to pick out things I know my friends will loved, and carefully handpicking the items for these gift boxes was no different! Each of the items in these boxes is not sponsored in any way, just products I personally love! As soon as a new bride for 2019 or 2020 books with me, she'll be getting this new and improved welcome box! So I thought I'd give you a little peek inside. Can't wait to meet you, future Nichole Lauren Bride! :)
Starting off, I knew I wanted a branded box that was both easy to mail and visually appealing. Packlane really did the job right, and I love how these mailers turned out! Next, I want to make sure all my brides know exactly what they're getting into when booking me as their wedding photographer. So I've created a custom bridal magazine specifically for my brides! This baby is full of advice, info about me, and images from past weddings sprinkled in. This is the most important piece of my welcome gift!
When you get engaged, EVERYONE is going to be asking to see your ring and that also means... they'll be looking at your hands! I want my brides to pamper themselves and keep their hands the prettiest they can be. So I've included this Glow Lab hand cream and Essie nail polish in one of my favorite colors to do just that!
Finally, as wedding time approaches, there are no doubt, countless times you'll need to write things down during everything from venue scouting to cake tasting. I love these Rifle Paper Co. notebooks that are both adorable and easy to stick in your purse for on-the-go writing.
So excited to send these new packages out soon to all my new brides!! If you're interested in becoming a Nichole Lauren Bride, head to my contact page to inquire, and I can't wait to send one of these packages over to you!
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!
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! :)
Preparing for portrait sessions can be tricky and may even seem downright intimidating. I know. I want my clients to be prepared, so today I'm introducing a new Client Education blog series. And it kicks off today!! I'm answering the most frequently asked question, "What should I wear to my session?"
If you're anything like me, you might take one look at your closet and think, "I have NOTHING to wear!" or "Maybe I should postpone the session until I hit the gym a few more times." I know exactly what you might be going through, and we've all been there! That's why I put together these 3 tips for for helping you look your best in portraits. This isn't rocket science, but if you pay attention to the little things, they will pay off big time in the outcome of your portraits!
1. Make sure the clothing you pick keeps you the main subject of the portrait session.
Distracting pieces/colors or clothes that don't fit quite right may take away from the purpose of the shoot. Avoid clunky jewelry and or uncomfortable shoes. You want to aim for a tailored look! Flattering clothes will make you feel great and look great, too! And everyone has their own taste when it comes to style, so you do YOU! It makes it that much more fun!
2. Try everything on in advance
I suggest, whatever you decide to wear, that you try everything on (including shoes, accessories, and even makeup and hair) several days in advance. That way you can get a feel for whether or not you would enjoy taking photos in that outfit beforehand. Walk around a bit, sit down, stand up, head outside and see what it feels like out in the elements and think through the weather, location, and situation. Seems like a simple thing to do, but it makes a world of difference and will help you feel more confident when the day of your shoot rolls around.
3. Wear something you feel wonderful in!
What do you love about yourself? Pick clothes that show it off! When your personality comes through in a portrait session, it's literally the best thing ever! This, however, might not be the best time to experiment with a "new look" or a style that isn't quite you. Simple and classic is always best and brings out your features better than a crazy or overly trendy outfit.
Need some inspiration? I may be a little biased, but my clients always seem to show up in the cutest/most handsome outfits. Win for me!!
Ready for even more portrait session prep? See a featured engagement session or a featured senior session for a better idea of what to expect on your session day! And stay tuned for more from my new Client Education blog series!
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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