Shadonna & Denard

Shadonna & Denard met almost 10 years ago when they were 18 and 20 on a night that was clearly meant to be! They are both Tampanians, and so we used some of the iconic locations in Tampa for their engagement session.  Denard had some pretty fabulous yellow high tops (I settled the debate between whether they are green or yellow:-) and Shadonna looked so pretty in her flowy dress and then a more casual ivory top with jeans. Denard is center fielder for the Washington Nationals and so we had some fun with his baseball gear, and Shadonna's batting skills!  11.21.15 they will be saying their I Do's and we can't wait!! xoxoxo

Siera & Eric

Siera and Eric and both FSU fans, and Eric was able to propose to her inside the stadium in Tallahassee! They were going to meet her family for dinner when they stopped at the stadium (which was under construction) and one of the gates was open! Eric had the ring with him and was planning to propose that day, but he couldn't resist this opportunity of having the stadium all to themselves! What an awesome story they will have to tell for years to come. It was actually a chilly day (by Florida standards:-) for their engagement session. The breeze, and beautiful light, along with this gorgeous couple could not have been more perfect!  Looking forward to their big day 11.14.15! 

Amber & Michael

I had so much fun with Amber, Mike and their perfectly posing puppy, Ladybug, or "Bug" as they call her:-) I just love their engagement story, Mike get's extra bonus points for this one and I'll share it straight from Amber: 
"My fiancé planned a surprise trip to North Carolina for my 25th birthday. He planned it months in advance and then gave me a PowerPoint that told me everything I needed to know for our vacation. He tailored the trip perfectly me to include white water rafting, amusement parks, and shopping. On our final day of vacation he took me to the Biltmore in Asheville. Once we arrived the weather started looking bad so we decided to take a tour of the house and grab some lunch. By the time we had finished up the weather was perfect. Since it had rained everyone left the property and we had the entire field in front of the house to ourselves. Since no one was around we decided to take a “selfie” in front of the house. After we took the shot he immediately got down on one knee and proposed. It was a perfect moment that he had captured by a photographer that was at the other end of the field. After giving us a few moments alone the photographer took us all around the estate for an engagement session. He did a great job :)"
We can't wait until their wedding 10.17.15!!! 

{Aline & Marcus @Starship Yacht}

Aline & Marcus are from Brazil and had their intimate wedding on the deck of the Yacht Starship. She wore a beautiful open back gown and a crown of sunflowers! Those pretty sunflowers were the accents for the ceremony, cake, and Aline's bouquet. They cruised out to Tampa Bay for the ceremony and it was just sweet and so fun!  Congrats Aline & Marcus!! xoxo
Venue | Yacht Starship | Florals | Andrea Layne Floral Design | Hair/Makeup | Destiny & Light | Officiant | Sensational Ceremonies 

{Jennifer & Tony @ The Big Cat Rescue}

Jennifer is from New Jersey and Tony is from NY.  They didn't actually meet until after both of them had moved to Florida! They've been together 11 years an their invitation said "It's About Time":-)  Jennifer and Tony have a love for a things cat related and have two of their own at home, Pippen & Merry. It was quite fitting to have their wedding at the Big Cat Rescue, which by the way is very interesting and amazing organization. Their colors were coral and leopard print along with Tiger Lily flowers. Jennifer wore a beautiful corset back dress with leopard print flat shoes. She wore a tiara that belonged to her dear friend Cindy who helped her get ready. Tony got ready with his best friend who he has known for over 15 years.  As we traveled through the property it's as if the Lions and tigers were wishing her good luck as we passed by them. Their friend Ellie, officiated the ceremony, and as they recited their personal vows to each other, there wasn't a dry eye! At the pronouncement of Jennifer & Tony as husband and wife, Joseph, the lion, was heard in the background roaring on cue!  During the reception, Tony and two of his friends had a surprise dance prepared, and then Jennifer's friends summoned her to the dance floor with Nsync's "bye bye-bye" (who doesn't love Nsync?:-) ! After the bouquet toss, Tony and Jennifer cut their custom leopard print cake that even had leopard print on the inside. We ended the evening with a circle of guests on the dance floor, along with the bride and groom, singing "Sweet Caroline" before they all departed! Congrats Jennifer and Tony! xoxoxo
Venue | The Big Cat Rescue | Event Coordinator | Debbie Jones | Caterer | Affordable Catering | Hair & Makeup | Lindsay Yarbrough | Musician/DJ | Benski B. Productions | Cake Artist | Cakes Plus 

The truth about Pinterest and your wedding photos…..

I love running, and probably have saved thousands of dollars in therapy sessions by getting out in the morning and pounding the pavement.  It's also where many of my ideas and epiphany's in life happen as well. Monday morning was one of those mornings!  Usually our blog postings are filled with lots of pretty pictures and not so many words. This time I'm not going to use any photos because I want you to focus on the words. 
     Pinterest has become such a big thing, and don't get me wrong I LOVE it for so many reasons! Recipes, home decor, outfits, my daughters' birthday parties, and inspiration.  The top 3 overall uses for Pinterest are weddings, recipes, and home decor. I've actually been told it looks like Pinterest threw up all over my house (which I take as a complete compliment:-).  It's also become a big thing with wedding photography and we all know those popular "pinterest-y" photos that brides request.  When I was running the other day, words of how to explain the effect it has on your wedding photos came to mind, so I felt it would be a dis-service not to share.  So, I'm going to get a little Pinterest-y on you!
    When you hire a professional wedding photographer you should be hiring them for their experience, talent, creativity, style, and personality.  After all, every wedding is so different, the location, colors, people, details, emotions, it's all so unique.  There are so many amazing moments to be captured and some of the best are always unplanned photojournalistic moments. If you give your photographer a Pinterest board of photos that you like, we can use that as inspiration to spark our own creativity, but the expectation to capture that same exact moment or expression is just not realistic. Talented, experienced, photographers know what moments to look for and given the freedom to, many times we can get a more epic shot then you could have ever imagined! 
     After all that time you spend creating those unique details, why would you want the same type of photos that everyone else has?  Pinterest is great for physical things you can buy like clothes, types of flowers, jewelry, etc.  It's also great to see the kind of poses or style you like, but here's why there are so many Pinterest photo "fails" out there. You can't have, or replicate, someone else's emotions, feelings, or moments!  The location, lighting, personality, interactions of people are all different, as they should be.  I think I speak for most (if not all) professional wedding photographers, when I say this, it kills our creativity and prohibits us from doing our best, most unique work for you.  If there are photos you really like on Pinterest the best thing you can do is to go find that photographer who shot those images and hire them. Which, by the way, we've had happen a number of times.  One of our brides in particular told me she kept pinning photos we had taken so they had to have us photograph their wedding:-) Think of it as hiring an artist you love and trusting their instinct, not wanting to copy a specific photo that already exists.  THAT is a Pinterest win!  Just some little nuggets of truth to chew on!

Sarah & Keith

This one was extra fun because Sarah is one of our CWP team members! She wore the perfect flowy dress for their session in one of my favorite spots:-)  Keith is a funny one, so literally we just walked around and laughed the whole time!  A beautiful couple, sailboats and pretty light, doesn't get any better than that. I'm so happy for them and their wedding coming up 10.23.15! xoxox
Hair & Makeup | Michele Renee

{Misty & Marshall @ The Renaissance Vinoy}

Misty & Marshall had a beautiful, intimate wedding in the Tea Garden at the Vinoy. The setup was simple, white draping with 6 chairs and 12 guests total:-) Marshall's son, Nathan, was his best man and his niece was the cutest little flower girl. The colors were an elegant black and white with Calla Lillies.  The love and happiness they have for each other and their families was just emanating!  Congrats Misty & Marshall!! xoxox
Venue & Cake | The Vinoy Renaissance | Officiant | Pastor Dean | Horse & Carriage | St. Petersburg Carriages | Florist | Carter's Florist

Bakers Ranch

The same day we got to be a part of the Bakers Ranch Grand Opening we also got to be the first ones to photograph couples in some of the beautiful spots on the property.  The prettiness is worthy of it's own blog posting:-) Our models were actually Alla and Boris' son Alex and his wife Erin (which is extra special in itself) and Nolia (who works for Alla) and her husband Sam.  Kandice and I each took a couple and had some fun with the 3 gorgeous ceremony sites. This outdoor setting is really a photographer's dream! Here's some of our favorites:-) We are beyond excited to work with Bakers Ranch and their couples!!  
Venue | Bakers Ranch | Hair & Makeup | Aquali Bridal | Wedding Gowns | Something Blue 

{Anna & Ryan @ Wishing Well Barn}

Anna & Ryan's wedding style was a bit of rustic chic, and sunflowers. One of my favorite details is their was a wheelbarrow of sunflower seeds for their guests as favors. Anna gave Maddie, her flower girl a sweet little gift for her wedding someday.  Anna and Ryan didn’t see each other until the white double doors opened and her mom kissed her on the cheek.  It was easy to see the sheer happiness and love on Ryan’s face as his bride walked down the aisle.  Wishing well has a field of blueberries and they were just starting to bloom! The rustic barn was decorated mason jars, burlap, lace, and sunflowers. They even had a kid’s table with hula-hoops, crayons rubix cubes, and coloring books. this was a huge hit with all the kiddos! Ryan’s best man, Justin, made a great speech that had everyone laughing. Justin and Ryan have been friends since kindergarten AND were born on the same day.  The toasts and speeches were followed lots of dancing on the outdoor patio.  Anna and her mother shared a very special Mother-Daughter dance during which they hugged and cried tears of joy, such a special moment!  We snuck out and did some photos in their draped ceremony arch during the reception before they exited through a tunnel of sparklers! Congrats Anna and Ryan! xoxoxoxo
Venue | Wishing Well Barn | Caterer | Southern Style Catering | Musician/DJ | Graingertainment | Hair & Makeup | Collective Creations

{Lauren & Brian @ Cross Creek Ranch}

Lauren wore a beautiful layered organza gown, but underneath she wore teal and brown cowboy boots (with socks that had raccoons on them of course:-) On the stem of Lauren's bouquet was lace with buttons that happened to be a part of her mother's wedding gown. Brian had 2 groomsmen and a groomswoman, she wore the same dress as the bridesmaids but the same color as the guys suits. While we were doing photos them his grandmother arrived and just had the sweetest reaction to seeing her grandson. Their ceremony was on the lawn, through white double doors with a rustic wooden arch. After they were officially the new Mr & Mrs, Brian jumped up and down with excitement, literally.  We love working with the team at Cross Creek because they make everything seamless and are so helpful.  I had this idea to backlight Lauren & Brian behind these stained glass windows and Nancy jumped right in and held the flash for me:-) One of the test shots is my favorite. The antique barn was draped in twinkling lights, lanterns, birdcages, and lace. They had ribs and bbq for the reception and one of Lauren's friends made a perfectly matching "bridal smock" so she didn't get anything on her pretty dress.  Seriously, genius!  One the dancing got under way, Lauren's grandfather said to me "I don't ever dance, but I have to with my beautiful granddaughter on her wedding day." Those are the moments in life that matter and are really just so beautiful. That hat with tuelle blusher on it was actually the hat Lauren's mom wore on her wedding day:-)  The very last dance was just Lauren and Brian on the dance floor enjoying the final minutes of their perfect day. Congrats!!! xoxoxo
Venue | Cross Creek Ranch | Cake Artist | Alessi Bakery | Caterer | Hungry Harry's BBQ | Florist | Alta Fleur | Hair & Makeup | Mikel's Paul Mitchell Experience | DJ | Grant Hemond

{Heather & Randy @ The Hyatt Clearwater}

Heather and Randy traveled all the way from Los Angeles California to have their wedding at the beautiful Hyatt Clearwater. Heather and Randy are a very fun and lively couple and have been together for fifteen years.  Since it was destination, instead of an engagement session we did a portrait session with them and their family on the beach the day before the wedding.  I'm so glad we did because on their wedding day, it rained the entire day!  Heather wore a gorgeous, lace, Jim Hjelm Couture gown and she looked positively breathtaking. Her flowers were  blush, pink, and white roses with subtle touches of green. Everyone enjoyed a night filled with good times and lots of dancing! Congrats Heather and Randy! xoxoxo
Venue | Hyatt Clearwater Beach Resort | Cake Artist | Chantilly Cakes | Florist | La Vie En Rose | Hair & Makeup | Michele Renee The Studio | Gown Boutique | Jim Hjelm Couture

{Amie & Ryan @ Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club}

Amie's bridesmaids wore long blush dresses that looked beautiful beside her lace gown. Amie had a lace and crystal beaded bodice coverlet that she wore for the ceremony. We could not wait to see the prettiness that Jana, from Events in Bloom, created for this wedding. She transformed the ballroom into a floral extravaganza for both the ceremony and reception.  The centerpiece for the ceremony was an archway of flowers and draping with a chandelier hanging from the center, otherwise known as "the fortress:-)  The half-moon shaped table that sat in the center of the arch was later Amie and Ryan's sweetheart table during the reception.  The lighting was dim and the candles that lined the aisles truly created this wonderful, intimate, ambience. Ryan was escorted by both his mother and father down the aisle to await his beautiful bride’s entrance.  Haley (one of photographers:-) was a guest at this wedding and her son, Kyson, was the ring bearer. He walked down the aisle with a sign that said, "if you think I'm cute you should see the bride". When the doors opened and Amie walked through with her dad, Ryan was brought to tears. His beautiful bride was nothing less than perfection.  . Diane, Amie's mom, told us she had a few surprises up her sleeve.  The first was that all the guests had streamers with bells attached to ring as the newlyweds exited down the aisle.  There was so much happiness on Amie and Ryan's faces when they were finally announced as the new Mr. & Mrs.
     One of the things I love about Amie is how she gets so excited and just loves life. The look on her face when she saw the finished ballroom was just plain priceless. It was decorated with floral masterpieces and dark brown chivari chairs with pink organza ties (or unicorn tails as I like to call them).  Our love of wedding cakes runs deep, especially sugary creations from the Cake Zone. The detail made you question whether it could even be real, but it was, and delicious of course. After dinner, Amie's cousin (who now shares her birthday with Amie and Ryan's anniversary) sang while the guests danced. The singing was then turned around and everyone sang happy birthday to her.  As the end of the night approached, Diane had another surprise for Amie and Ryan, glow sticks for their exit. As we lined up the guests for the grand exit, we couldn't help but wonder where the couple was?  I ran upstairs and found them sharing a last dance, just the two of them.  They were both in tears, and you could just feel how absolutely head over heels they are for each other.  Amie and Ryan exited through a tunnel of guests with glow sticks into the limo. Congratulations to you both! It was an absolutely gorgeous wedding with so many amazing moments and we were honored to be a part of it! xoxo
Venue | Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club | Florist | Events In Bloom | Hair & Makeup | Destiny & Light | DJ | Grant Hemond | Cake Artist | The Cake Zone | Videographer | Trinity Wedding Cinema 

Sweet Ella's First Birthday!

Little Miss Ella turned one! We had so much fun celebrating Sarah & Troy and this little cutie at the park.  She loved the giant pink balloon!  After the park, there was a fluffy pink cake with a tutu and little banner just for her.  She wasn't quite sure what to do with the cake at first but she figured it out:-) We always love seeing our couplesaHappy birthday Ella! xoxoxo

T.J. & Brooke

One of my all time favorite events to photograph is surprise proposals!  T.J. called me and said he wanted to propose to Brooke with the Lights of Tampa Festival in the background.  He had planned a scavenger hunt for her when she got home from work and it ended with him down on one knee in front of the beautiful night sky.  It was actually a pretty chilly by Florida standards, and T.J knew Brooke would be cold so he brought hot hands and even had some extra ones for me!  We had T.J. spot lit with 2 video lights to get the festival in the background. When Brooke walked up he read her a letter and then asked her to marry him, she said yes! 

Magical Masquerade Ball @ Bakers Ranch

We had the honor and privilege of photographing the grand opening party of the brand new Bakers Ranch!  Alla and Boris own The Cake Zone, you see lots of their sugary master pieces in our weddings:-) They really are some of the most talented people and also genuine and amazing friends as well. It has been a dream of theirs to build a wedding venue on their property. Boris is the quiet one (Alla not so quiet but that's why we love her:-) but also talented at not only cake designing but building as well!  "Friendors" from all over the west coast of Florida came out to celebrate, and contribute their services for their magical masquerade ball.  We linked to everyone below who took part.  It's a tudor style building with 3 different outdoor ceremony options.  The first is a huge oak tree with a love lock bridge like in Paris! Boris and Alla attached the very first lock to the gates and threw the key away.  The 2nd site is on the other side of the property, it is perfect for a ceremony in the round with a paved walkway leading to it.  The 3rd site is their outdoor chapel on the side of the venue. It has tall wooden doors and pillars on each side with church pews for guests. The inside is neutral and really a blank slate with very tall vaulted ceilings.  I got to see it a few times as they were building and they asked for a lot of input from everyone to incorporate things that are unique, and even make our lives easier!  The bridal suite is pretty, and simple with a makeup station sofa and attached bathroom. Upstairs is a man cave with a pool table and the perfect spot for guys to get ready.  There is a balcony off the man cave for the DJ that overlooks the entire space and is a great vantage point for photos. The theme was "Magical Masquerade" and the perfect kick off to the party was Jonathan Cortez singing Phantom of the Opera from the balcony.  The colors were golds and metallics with textured linens. That chandelier, AMAZING.  Jana, from Events in Bloom, designed it with little white bouquets in different layers. I had to lay on the floor under the bar and get a shot of it from below, so stunning!  The patio had a beautiful floral fountain with tiers of cupcakes and little tipsy cakes on gold and crystal.  The cake inside was covered in edible gold leaf!  Delicious food, acrobats pouring champagne, signature drinks, and so much fun.  Brides and Grooms are going to love this new unique space!  Congrats Alla and Boris we are so happy for your new venture and know it's going to be a huge success.  Thanks for including us!!!  xoxoxox
Venue | Bakers Ranch | Event Coordination | Stonehouse Events | Lighting | Grant Hemond - Affairs In The Air | Caterers | Mattisons - Simply Gourmet Caterers - Puff N' Stuff - Delectables Catering - Mattison's - Good Food Catering - Fete Catering - Michael's on East | DJ | Jonathan Cortez - Grant Hemond | Bar | U Dream Events | Hair & Makeup | Aquali Bridal | Coffee | Cafe A La Carte | Stationary | Invitation Galleria | Florals | Events In Bloom - Elegant Design - Carters Florist - The Perfect Setting | Linens | Linens by the Sea | Furniture | Reserve Vintage Rentals | Cake & Sweets | The Cake Zone | Gold Leaf | CornucAupia Gold Leaf Mfg | Entertainment | Breezin | Bridal Couture | Something Blue Bridal | Valet | Southwest Parking | Photography | Carrie Wildes Photography - Theresa NeSmith | Marketing | Moonlight Marketing | Rentals | US Tent Rental