How to Choose Your Groomsmen

Today concludes our series for gentlemen; we’re discussing how to choose your groomsmen. If you read about the problems many grooms encounter (here), you’ll remember that some of these issues can be avoided altogether by being intentional when choosing with whom to stand at your wedding. Brides receive tons of helpful advice about selecting bridesmaids- but again, you gents tend to fall by the wayside.

First, take a look at this guide for forming a practical guest list- it also doubles as a great starting point for how to choose your groomsmen. Of course, discuss bridal party numbers with your fiancé before making any hard and fast decisions; however, ask any coordinator and they’ll confirm that your numbers don’t have to match (In fact, at our own wedding, he had more groomsmen than I had bridesmaids- take a wild guess which of us is the extrovert).  With these conditions in mind, proceed with these following tips in mind:


Is He Responsible?

First and foremost, can he handle the duties and expectations of being a groomsman? Not sure what those are? The Man Registry gives us an excellent picture of what the role of groomsman entails. Your wedding is a celebration- but it’s not a frat party; if your friend is prone to reliving his youth when there’s a free bar, then perhaps he (and everyone else in the bridal party) will enjoy himself more as a guest.

Most of all, even if he parties hard or is a prankster… can he be organized? We cannot emphasize this strongly enough- weddings require organization! Is he trustworthy with schedules, errands, money, planning meetings or parties, keeping taps on your emergency kit cleaning up after himself, business before play, and keeping you on task rather than the other way around.

Is He a Team Player?

How does he respond to authority or being “bossed around” by people he doesn’t know? Coordinators, family members, and photographers will all have requests and demands. How does he work with others to accomplish goals? Knowing how to choose your groomsmen isn’t so different from choosing fellow players in sports or colleagues for a project. Teamwork will be required for everything from dressing on the big day, to hauling heavy gifts or chairs- there’s no place for alpha dogs or slackers on the groom’s team!

Is He a Willing to Work Hard?

Like we mentioned above, there’s plenty of hard work involved in the duties of groomsman. Often, they act as taxis for out of town guests, lug wedding gifts, run all the errands, beast of burden for various items, plan and execute parties, clean up after celebrations… there are endless possibilities. Physical, mental, and social stamina are important qualities to look for in a your crew.

Is it Practical for Him?

Finally, this one is all about being considerate of your friend. Can he afford the expenses involved? There are costs such as: tux rental/ purchase, travel, accommodation, food, parties, gifts, and grooming (haircuts, shaves, etc). Beside the financial issue, is he able to commit to attendance? If he lives across the country, is expecting a baby on your wedding day, or is already stressed, think long and hard about whether or not you’re serving your friend well by making this request.

If, after consideration and discussion with your bride, the answer is “no,” see this post about honoring friends and family at your wedding, include him in your bachelor party, or give him another honorary role such as ceremony reader, usher, or spend extra time with him at an after party. Being intentional not only makes your life easier, it also, ultimately, is kinder to your friend.

We hope you found this helpful, and would love to hear your thoughts on how you’ll choose your groomsmen.

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Things the Groom and Groomsmen Should Know for the Wedding

Welcome to day four of Gents’ Week at Persuasion(get caught up: groom’s emergency kit here, male perspective on First Look here, and tie skills here))! Today we’re addressing  important things the groom and groomsmen should know for the wedding day. One of the biggest sources of wedding day frustration seems to be- dare I say it- the groom and groomsmen.  Gentlemen, you are not at fault; you likely feel as though you’ve been abandoned on an alien planet full of hostiles, with no map or guide whatsoever. Preparation and planning is largely geared toward the bride, leaving most men in relative darkness about their own wedding. Not only is this approach rather insulting to the groom, it also sets the gentlemen up for logistical failure. Due to lack of knowledge, plans go awry- which causes stress, frustration, and even anger for everyone involved.  Fear not, we want to equip you for success!  here are the most common problems we see at most weddings- the great news is that these issues are 99% preventable! Here are things the groom and his groomsmen should know for the wedding day.


1.Act Like an Adult

This may sound harsh, and seem obvious- but it is the number one issue professionals, bridesmaids, brides, family members, and guests alike observe in groomsmen. Remember, you are making a huge life decision and taking on one of the biggest responsibilities of your life today- don’t trample the importance of the occasion by reliving your youth with your friends. Dedicate a separate time specifically for that purpose – not on your wedding day or the day before. (For more on this, see here about choosing your groomsmen).

2. Take Responsibility Seriously

Know exactly when you need to be where, what to wear at each location, and transportation logistics involved. Plan backward to give yourself enough time- similar to boarding a plane, give yourself more time than you possibly need. During downtime, don’t spend it drinking, or meandering. The group needs to stay together because much time is wasted in pursuit of stray groomsmen.

Pay strict attention at the rehearsal- you are responsible for knowing every piece of information given that evening, as it directly relates to your role in the wedding. If you are unclear about something, ask! Ask again- and again, if necessary. It’s probably not your fault if you don’t know something, but is definitely your responsibility to get answers.

3.Hire a Coordinator

The biggest lifesaver is hiring a wedding coordinator! He or she and their team will make sure all the timeline logistics are met, that each of you has/ knows the timeline, and that lack of knowledge on your part doesn’t impose on someone else’s wedding duties or experience. Treat your family and friends with due respect- don’t make them your gopher to find out what’s going on… that is part of what a wedding coordinator covers.

4.Elevate Your Tux Game

One of the most crucial things the groom and groomsmen should know for the wedding day is, Do NOT pick up suits/ tuxes the day of the wedding! Doing so destroys timelines, scatters people, and if a mistake has been made- frankly, you’re SOL.

Also, know how to style your attire. Discuss in advance what kind of knot your tie needs, how to fold a pocket square, where to place it, how to put on your bouttonniere, where is goes, and be sure to have a stash of bouttonniere pins on hand because there are never enough.

5.Agree on Cigars, etc, in Advance

Confer with your bride and coordinator what is the best time for you to enjoy a celebratory cigar or scotch. Generally, it should never be immediately before or after the ceremony (it ruins logistics, risks impairment, and leaves you smelling dreadful). Formal portraits also take place during this time and it is unfair to leave an entire group waiting for you to reappear.

*Bonus Tip:

When it’s time for pictures, please just leave your drinks behind. We always lose precious time trying to move, hide, and pry away cups and cans. Leave them where they are, come do pictures for a few designated minutes, then return to your libations.

We hope you feel a little more empowered, and confident with things the groom and groomsmen should know for the wedding day!

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What to Pack: A Groom’s Emergency Kit for the Wedding Day

Despite popular belief, there is actually a lot that the groom and groomsmen have to do on the wedding day. Your regular duties are compounded by fact that you will be faced with the daunting task of knowing how to properly dress in your formal attire: from making sure you all have bouttonniere pins, to knowing the different between a Half Windsor, and Grantchester Knot and which one you’re supposed to wear (for help with tie knots, check our basic tutorial here, and this extensive resource here)! With so much on your mind, and too little time to spare, be sure that you come prepared to the wedding day- you need a groom’s emergency kit to help put out the million little fires that arise.

By preparing a groom’s emergency kit, you have a safety net that will put your mind at ease and remove potential stressors. Be sure delegate it to the most reliable of your groomsmen- your mom has enough on her plate (this simple, thoughtful gesture of letting your mother enjoy herself is one of many ways to honor your family on your wedding day. Click here for more ideas about that). Similar to a bride’s emergency kit, here is a list of no-fail items that never cease to be in demand on a wedding day.

Groom’s Emergency Kit List:

Water bottles

Granola/ Protein Bars (like Cliff or Kind bars)

Nuts (unsalted to prevent puffy faces in portraits- and swollen hands that might make your new ring uncomfortable)

Jerky/ meat sticks

High energy fruit such as apples, oranges, or dried apricots

Tylenol/ Advil

Non-drowsy allergy meds

Tissues (for all those happy tears- or more realistically, for sweat and allergies)

Blister Band- aids

White chalk (It covers a multitude of sins on white fabric)

Stain wipe/ pen

Sewing kit (Even if you don’t know how to sew, someone’s relative or date will be able to help)

Superglue (From abrasions to broken shoe soles, this has you covered)

Safety Pins

Duct tape (In a pinch, it’s great for hemming pants)

Mounting hook (in case you run out of places to hang clothing/ bags)

Blotting tissues (a necessity for sweltering summer days in a three piece suit!)


Colgate Whisps and floss

Boutonniere pins… because no one can ever find them!

Two extra pairs of black dress socks- someone always forgets.

At least 6 lint rollers (if someone is still in need, the duct tape mentioned above is also a great substitute)

No less than three copies of the timeline with detailed instructions of exactly where to meet and what to wear!

*Bonus tip: While it’s tempting to fill your kit with fun treats like cigars and mini bottles of liquor- don’t! Designate a special time to enjoy these indulgences with your best friends- preferably at a bachelor party, or during your reception. So many avoidable problems arise when alcohol, and jovial spirits come in contact with a  group of men who may or may not be bored and/ or nervous.

You can easily assemble your groom’s emergency kit in an old tool box, a tackle box, or even a backpack. We hope this proves to be a valuable resource that will help you fully enjoy your wedding day!





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An Interview with Memphis Wedding Hair Stylist Emily Cohen

Today, we’d like to introduce one of our favorite Memphis wedding hair stylists, Emily Cohen! Similar to these interviews with a floral designer, and a makeup artist, we’re helping you get to know some of the faces behind the businesses you’ll need in the near future.  We give you these interviews because we believe in serving our couples as comprehensively as possible; as literal wedding pros, we see a unique change to share our resources with you (for example: venue tours, avoiding common hitches in wedding day timelines, sharing ideas on how to honor loved ones at your wedding, and- of course- helping you get to know the vendors in town. Without further ado, we present one of the best Memphis wedding hair stylist, Ms. Emily Cohen (to see some of the beautiful looks she’s given our clients, look here and here)!

Persuasion Photography Memphis wedding hair stylist Emily Cohen

Persuasion Photography Memphis wedding hair stylist Emily Cohen

How did you become a wedding hairstylist?

When I was 19, I started a job as a receptionist at a hair salon, and instantly fell in love with the energy. Making men and women feel their absolute best, boosting confidence, etc. (and making a living doing it!) was something I knew I HAD to be a part of, and discovered wedding hair is the epitome of that. After doing several brides, and seeing everything (dress, hair, makeup, jewelry) come together at the beautiful venues with flowers – the end result – the happiness of the day captured in gorgeous photos, and our hard work as vendors paying off; It pulled on my heart-strings EVERY time and became my obsession. I still have to pinch myself thinking this is my “job”.

How long have you been a wedding hairstylist, and what kinds of training/certification/career highlights have you had?

Hairstylists in the state of Tennessee must complete 1500 hours of school/hands on training, and pass two State Board proctored exams to receive licensure. I enjoyed styling hair in school so much that I started doing weddings for friends right after graduation to get experience. This year marks my 7th year.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Everyone always asks about the physical aspect, and while my job IS hard on the body, that’s hardly the toughest part. I’d say the hardest part and the best part are one and the same: the emotional and mental energy you put into each and every wedding. As creative and passionate people, your vendors sincerely want for you to be happy. Giving 110% to each bride every weekend is simultaneously the most exhausting AND rewarding thing we do.

What’s the best part of your job?

Knowing I played a part in helping brides feel their absolute best on the best day of their lives!

Inspiration source(s)?

I have stylists I follow on social media that offer practical inspiration: Heather Chapman, specifically, is an INCREDIBLE bridal stylist who’s work I admire. And other local vendors (Katie Allred!, Kelly Ginn, Kasey Acuff, Michael Doyle, Toni Williams, and the list goes ON) just by their ambition and love for their job/craft, are truly an inspiration as well.

Bridal tip to avoid looking dated in 10 years?

Make sure your wedding is a reflection of you as a couple, not just what is trending at the moment.

Most common wedding day mistake you encounter?

In reference to hair specifically, not hiring someone who’s done weddings before. Especially if you have a large bridal party, it is easy to run behind schedule. If hair and makeup run late, then the photographer is put behind schedule, and it’s a snowball effect. The LAST thing you want is for your day to feel rushed and chaotic.

Pro advice for wedding day?

Hire seasoned/reputable vendors! Once we’re hired, responsibilities are delegated, and the “stress” becomes OURS. If you have vendors you know you can trust to go above and beyond, it gives you the best chance at a smooth wedding day.

Favorite current trend for brides?

I’m LOVING that everyone is doing a looser, more “care free” look – not as “fixed”.

What is your dream assignment?

I’m doing my dream job, but I’d like to have more opportunity to do destination weddings! My job plus more travel would be incredible.

What is your own dream wedding/renewal?

Being in the industry has made me have such mixed emotions about this. But the more I’ve thought about it, my dream wedding would be an intimate ceremony; just close family and friends, and I’d pull out all the stops. I’d give my vendor friends free reign to “do their thing”. Creative people do better work when given a general direction, then let loose on a project, and that’s exactly how I know I’d be happiest. Followed by a big “Happily Ever After Party” as I’ve seen it called – an opportunity for everyone to come celebrate with us!

Beach or mountains?


Movies or books?


Cookie or cupcake?


Hogwarts house?

Gryffindor, OBVIOUSLY.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Emily! If you are in need of a Memphis wedding hair stylist, you should schedule a consultation- or cut/ color because she’s amazing- to get to know her for yourself!

*Bonus trivia…. Emily and I are both women of Alpha Gamm Delta.

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How to Prepare for a Boudoir Session

Last time, we shared what to expect at a boudoir session. Today, we are going to give you the tools you need to know how to prepare for a boudoir session. Being prepared for your session will eliminate much stress from the equation, leaving room for fun. Similar to a bride’s emergency kit, you’ll find, at the bottom, a boudoir beauty list in addition to a timeline with to-dos.


Make sure you’ve signed the contract, and model release! Along with these papers, submit your retainer fee. Without these three things, your session is not reserved and you do not have a boudoir session for which to prepare. Getting these mundane items out of the way leaves you free to enjoy the planning.

At least a month prior:

Write down your vision for session. How do you want to look? What inspiration have you found (e.g. art, something you saw online, a movie, an era, etc)? Put these inspiration sources beside each other on a Pinterest board, or the like, and find a common denominator (for instance, maybe you gravitate toward ethereal images, perhaps you fancy silhouettes, or maybe you like bolder, sexier poses). Share your vision with your photographer so your he/she can structure your photoshoot accordingly.

Bonus tip: you should never expect your photographer to replicate something you’ve seen from another photographer! Each professional has their own signature style, so be sure you’re hiring one with the aesthetic you want.

A month prior:

Shop for your wardrobe. If you can find items in person, try to do this so you are assured of a good fit. If you shop online, allow plenty of time for any necessary returns and exchanges.

Make any necessary appointments for hair care, facials, waxing, etc. (Get to know one of our favorite makeup artists here).

Now is the time to start drinking a surplus of water and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Your skin will be glowing by the time your session arrives!

One week prior:

Pamper yourself! Get your hair trimmed and colored, reduce your sodium intake to avoid any swelling, and get plenty of sleep to keep those eyes bright and alluring.

Double check your lingerie fit and have any necessary tailoring or repairs done.

Make sure you pay any balance on your session. Knowing how to prepare for a boudoir session is fruitless if your session is canceled due to lack of payment.

Three-four days prior:

If you are getting waxed, do it now so any redness will have time to subside.

Touch base with your photographer to insure you both are clear on time, place, wardrobe, and any other expectations.

The day prior:

Whether you DIY a manicure and pedicure or hire a professional, we cannot recommend this highly enough! Hands are unavoidable features in our everyday life- but especially in boudoir portraits. Be sure to choose neutral looks such as a French manicure or a nude polish (our go-to favorite is Ballet Slipper by Essie).

The Day of:

Today is all about loving yourself and being pampered, so turn on some music, take your time and view your preparation as something to be enjoyed rather than endured. If you opted out of waxing, give yourself a thorough shave. For glowing skin, do a thorough body scrub, and use plenty of lotion throughout the day. Don’t wear elastic ties on your wrist today! Wear loose clothes that will not leave elastic/ button marks on your body! Wear a top that either zips or buttons up so that you can change clothes without compromising your hairstyle. Speaking of which, be sure to arrive promptly for hair and makeup appointments.

In Your Bag:

Body lotion

Lipstick touchup

Tide stick (or equivalent stain remover for any stray lipstick


Nail polish for any chips


Any special items you want featured (his favorite button down shirt, your favorite book, a vintage

perfume atomizer, etc).

A top layer: cardigan, button down shirt, shawl, silk robe, etc.

2-3 lingerie outfits

Always bring a nude thong to go under any lace or sheer looks.

Always bring a basic, black thong! It’s the little black dress of your boudoir wardrobe.

1-2 pairs of heels

Any desired jewelry

Plenty of water

A playlist of music that brings the energy you want to your session (playful, elegant, sexy, peaceful, etc.

We hope that knowing how to prepare for a boudoir session has been reassuring and helpful. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more about our boudoir experience.


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What to Expect at a Boudoir Session

Today, we’re tackling a very popular concern: what to expect at a boudoir session (at least, as a Persuasion client).  As you know, we believe in celebrating marriage, and the joy of embracing one’s femininity; the best way we’ve found to serve our clients with those things in mind is through the boudoir experience. You can see an example of one of our favorite sessions here. You have seen our work, you know why we have a heart for boudoir- now, we will dive into the real reason you’re probably reading this post: what to expect at a boudoir session.

Once a client- or “Persuasive Woman”- reserves her session, we immediately begin dreaming up her ideal experience with her. During the planning phase it’s important to schedule a face-to-face meeting either in person or online, so that a trusting relationship can be established before the date. We discuss outfit choices, comfort zones, insecurities to avoid, and any special customization she may want to include.


What actually happens behind closed doors during the session, itself? Whether you’ve chosen to attend a session in our in-home studio, or at a previously agreed upon location, we follow the same routine so all of our clients enjoy a consistent experience. First, you are treated to something bubbly while we spend a few minutes finalizing the outfits and details you’ve brought. Generally, we advise one or two outfits (depending on whether you’ve chosen a 60 or 90 minute session) and either a cardigan or button up shirt- layers like shirts or skirts are fantastic choices. Once your selections are finalized, you are given privacy to change into your first outfit- those layers come in handy because you can start with a cardigan over your lingerie in order to get comfortable with being in front of the camera. Ladies, let us clarify that the first ten minutes of your session will probably feel awkward no matter what- you’re 100% normal! We will coach you, direct you, and adjust you as much as you need so that you do not feel like a deer in the headlights. We often begin with simple portraits of a client looking out of a window while cuddling in her cardigan or counting the layers of a tulle skirt so that your hands have a job and so you can converse as we shoot. Before you know it, you will be well adjusted to the session and ready to either remove a layer or change clothes. Again, you will be coached, but at this point you’ve likely found the motions and poses that make you feel the most glorious- if not, you are still 100% normal and we’ve got you covered! Finally, if our lady has decided she’d like to be draped in the sheets for some portraits, we will end with these. Before your session, we discuss how many layers a client wants to remove- you will never be put on the spot or asked to go beyond your comfort level! Please note that, like classic art, implied or tastefully partial nudity is as far as we go- graphic portraits are beyond the comfort and aesthetic of the Persuasion experience!

We hope that you have a much better idea of what to expect at a boudoir session, and that you feel reassured enough to pamper yourself if you’ve been on the fence. Please don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call if you still have questions about boudoir sessions!

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Love Letter Themed Boudoir Session

The joy of boudoir doesn’t lie in simply celebrating femininity- although that in itself is rewarding- it rests in emotional storytelling. Today we’re sharing a boudoir session inspired by love letters. As wedding photographers, we adore the wedding day tradition of the bride and groom expressing their hearts through written word before the ceremony- that very tradition spawned this boudoir story.

Notice, we keep using the term “story,” because that is what we feel a boudoir session is all about; we approach each client’s time with her tale in mind. Sometimes the plot is about vulnerability to a loved one, other times it’s a celebration of self-love… the possibilities are endless! For this particular boudoir session, we focused on the experience of reading a love letter. Although we live in a day and age where we enjoy quick communication, easy travel, and convenient ways to connect, there is something almost transcendent about the power of a hand-written letter (particularly when the heart is involved!).

Bear with us for an example of storytelling can be seen in this boudoir session. Notice how our model goes from reading, to daydreaming, then reading again in a more relaxed and open manner? From there, she changes her lingerie to reflect her willingness to be vulnerable with her lover (and/ or comfortable with herself). Finally, she displays joy, playfulness, and sensuality through the interaction with the rose petals. On a much more pragmatic note, you can also see the journey of how we like to grow our clients’ confidence throughout the session: we focus details such as hands, then interacting with a camera, and finally, revealing more skin (only if the client wishes). The plot is subtle, and the lovely images can simply be taken at face value. However, we believe in crafting a customized boudoir experience that is intentional and reflects each client’s journey they’ve chosen to share with us.

Not every boudoir session needs to be an abstract journey like this one! Sometimes, the story is as simple as taking time for yourself with your morning coffee while dressing for the day. Next week we will give you a practical insight on everything about our boudoir sessions so you can stop worrying, and start telling your story!

Model: Fiona Battersby

Skirt: Rose Red Bridal Designs

Hair: Emily Cohen

Makeup: Kasey Acuff

Calligraphy: Rachel Ragsdale

Styling: Amanda Evaul Writesman

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An Interview with Professional Makeup Artist, Theresa Little

Whether it’s your wedding day, an engagement session, boudoir shoot, or anniversary portraits, you should absolutely hire a professional makeup artist! Investing a very small portion of your budget in their expertise will greatly elevate your experience; in fact, we always recommend our clients hire a pro before a session. No matter how gorgeous an image is, or how perfect the light is- if you don’t like how you look in the image, you probably won’t want to frame it over your fireplace!

As we’ve mentioned before, part of serving our clients fully is providing them with insider knowledge. Just like this interview with one of Memphis’s best florists, today we’re introducing you to one of our favorite professional makeup artists, Theresa Little. So keep reading to get to know Theresa, and benefit from her insider tips and advice!

How did you become a Professional Makeup Artist?

My first calling was during my last year in high school. Growing up I was kinda tomboyish, I had short hair, hangs out only with boys, I was into karate etch. You name it i did them all. You would never imagine ill end up in this field. One day my favorite teacher asked me if I can shape her eyebrows. She said she liked how I arched mine, so without hesitation I did what she asked and the end result also surprised me.  Since then I started paying attention on magazine covers, reading articles about makeup and it turned into an obsession.  ______?

How long have you been a makeup artist for 14 years, and what kinds of training/ certification/ career highlights have you had?

During my first year of college in the Philippines. I was taking up classes to become a Nurse. But I was able to fit certain days in the morning to attend classes at Ricky Reyes Institute since they offer Basic Makeup Application classes. I found both career very interesting and so I have manage to balance both at the same time.  When I arrived in the US I got offered to work for MAC cosmetic company and for about 3 years I have dedicated my life working at the counter until I pursued my own business and left the company for good. I have ventured on the wedding and film industry. Some of work garnered front page mostly on bridal magazines, I also had the opportunity to see my work at Time Square and Vogue online.  Film opportunity came when the local News Channel 3 needed my services. It opened doors for me to work with TV shows featuring the Investigation Discovery and a few local commercials like the Norfolk International Airport and Virginia Beach Tourism.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

One thing people always assumed that being in this industry is always glamorous. What they don’t see is the behind the scenes. To coordinate with the talents, Photographers, Sponsors, Write contracts, revised contracts over and over again. To me that is the hardest part of my job. Other than that I love what I do. As long as my clients find my work pleasing. By the end of the day I can come home proud that I have accomplished something good.

What’s the best part of your job?

When I see my clients happy and satisfied with my work specially When I know I made a difference on that persons self esteem.  To me that is the best part of my job.

Inspiration source(s) (art, nature, public figures etc)?

I would say my biggest inspiration would be my older sister. She is in a different field but she works as an Animator. Her artistry is expressed with her drawings. But the similarity comes from our creativity.  The second person that is my inspiration was the late Kevin Aucoin. When I got hold of his book at a second hand store. Till this day, I still cherish and delicately scroll through each page because his book encourage me to chase my dreams. He wrote his hardships and triumphs.  The up and downs of the business and plenty of beauty tips that everyone is now obsessed with which is “contouring”. I honestly think Kevin Aucoin was the original Contour King!.

Bridal tip to avoid looking dated in 10 years?

I suggest to avoid Following trends. The key is you want to look at those bridal pictures without regrets. Stay with classic looks. They are timeless!.

Most common wedding day mistake you encounter?

Mostly Bridemaids or parents are the reason why the bride is often late. A great example: A small smudge of mascara or lip liner. I feel like they over see things too much. When in most cases other people can’t really see it unless you point at it or use a magnifying glass.

Pro advice for wedding day?

Drink tea and relax! The time passes by so fast that you don’t realize the wedding is over.  Learn to breath and enjoy the moment. Expect certain incidents that might occur. I highly suggest to LET IT GO! At this point there is nothing you can do. I always tell them that what matters most is the time you walk down that aisle and you see your love ones smiling telling you how beautiful you are and most importantly your man is standing at that altar waiting for you. Create good memories that’s what matters the most.

Favorite current trend for brides?

Airbrush application has been my favorite trend.

What is your dream assignment?

I would say a destination wedding. Although I had clients that flew me to Virginia Beach a couple of times already but it would be nice if it’s somewhere in the Bahamas or bora-bora. I love the sound of the ocean and that’s the place Im the most happiest so I wouldn’t consider destination wedding as work. A girl can dream!.

What is your own dream wedding/ renewal?

I have always pictured myself renewing our vows one day on a secluded island with our closest friends and family. Preferably less than 20 people.  This way we can really enjoy each others company.  I would love to wear a Vera Wang dress since her style is simple but very elegant. Im also determined to add something that showcases my culture. My husband and my son  will be wearing an embroidered formal shirt and considered the national dress of the Philippines which is called Barong. To me it is important to add small details from each others culture that makes the union complete.

Beach or mountains?

100% beach. Hearing the waves and the wind blowing my hair is very relaxing.

Movies or books?

Movies. Its very rare I get the chance to finish a book due to my schedule.

Cookie or cupcake?


Hogwarts house?


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All About Styled Shoots

Recently, we shared a styled shoot that served as an inspiration for lilac-hued color palettes (see that here). No doubt, you have heard the word “styled shoot” from photographers. We’ve been observing on the sidelines for sometime now while engaged couples debate about whether or not photographers are honest about their work because they only show off images from styled shoots. Brides (and grooms) are understandably confused and concerned by this growing phenomenon. So, we’re getting off the sidelines and coming in to help you understand all about styled shoots; what they are, why they’re done, and how to know you’re getting the “real deal” in your chosen photographer!

What is a Styled Shoot?

First, a styled shoot is when a group of professionals collaborate to bring a creative project to life. Similar to a magazine editorial, it presents an idea, product, or persons in a cohesive, visually appealing manner. It can occur in any industry – fashion, wedding, commercial, etc.- but we’re going to address wedding styled shoots for this blog post. In the wedding industry, we are creatives at heart who long to make beauty; as vendors, we love to channel this need into something that can help and inspire our clients.

For instance, when in Alaska, we fell in love with the architecture of a Russian orthodox church that was mere steps from the beach. Our minds buzzed with ways to interpret Russian wedding fashion, old-world charm, and seaside romance in a modern, fresh way.  We contacted other professionals in the area, shared our idea, gave parameters, and the vendors ran with the inspiration but put their own signature spin on the aspect they brought to the table. As a result, couples were also inspired by the styles presented in the project and they were given more planning resources by exposure to more vendors in their community. (see this shoot featured on a wedding blog here)

How Styled Shoots Help Engaged Couples

First, when creatives are allowed to do what they do best- create- magic ensues! Styled shoots give professionals a stress free outlet to unleash their potential. Each vendor has a particular strength or passion within their work. During a styled shoot, we make sure that each collaborator puts his or her signature spin on their contribution- we want their strengths to shine, and we want seeking couples to be able to recognize a vendor by their personal style. When planning a wedding, there are so many options and after a while, everything starts to look the same! When your vendors are able to clearly express what makes them unique, your job becomes easier because there is one less decision to make (whether you recognize and love their style, or recognize and hate it- at least it’s a clear answer for you!).

Furthermore, the point of a styled shoot is to take an idea, present it beautifully, and create inspiration for the viewer to glean. Without styled shoots there would be far fewer wedding ideas on Pinterest, no wedding blogs, and no editorials in bridal magazines. Couples who are searching all things wedding are able to generate inspiration of their own from what they see, and they have access to the vendors involved- resources for the win!

How to Make Sure Your Photographer is the “Real Deal”

Now that you know all about styled shoots, let’s discuss what’s really on your mind- are you getting what you see, or is your photographer inexperienced with real weddings? As a rule of thumb, if all you’re seeing from a photographer is styled shoots, or if they are presenting them as real weddings, do more investigating! There is nothing wrong with styled shoots at all- in fact, we showcase them often; however, balance is key when reviewing a perspective photographer’s work. Here are some simple ways to make sure you’re buying what you see:

  1. Do they continually post/ blog recent work?
  2. Are a variety of  different weddings, people, and moments displayed in their portfolio?
  3. Ask them frankly about the images in their portfolio.
  4. When meeting in person, are they willing to let you review a gallery that represents a recent, full wedding or session?

The most important indicators are probably points one and four. A portfolio is where vendors display the crème de la crème; regular blog posts let you know that photographers are still actively employed and producing new work, and reviewing a full sample of a real wedding day shows you their skill in all the scenarios that arise on the big day.


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How to Keep Your Guest List Small

Hurray, he put a ring on it; let the joyful celebrations, and cake tastings begin! It’s important to enjoy every moment of this special time- but unfortunately, it isn’t all fun. When planning a wedding, one of the most common causes of stress and frustration is the guest list! This can be a touchy dilemma, and there aren’t always easy answers, but we want to help you to the best of our ability. After years in the wedding industry, we’ve made some observations on how to keep your wedding guest list small. Keep in mind that you will never be able to please everyone –but you most certainly can respect everyone!


Slow Down

First, give it some time! This is probably the most important tip we can give you on how to keep your wedding guest list small. Like we mentioned in this post, sometimes the best move you can make is to take a step back and do nothing. Emotions run high, and it’s easy to be impulsive when newly engaged. Especially in this digital age when news is shared in real-time, the congratulations seem to flood in, and every old friendship is briefly rekindled. Let the dust settle, evaluate your priorities and budget. What do you really want out of your wedding? (More about that here)

Family Matters

Second, have a long conversation with your families about your wedding priorities, who they would like to include on the guest list, and who is paying for what? Financial etiquette is vital, but we won’t delve into it here- we must refer you to the timeless Emily Post for everything you need to know on this topic; however, we must brush on the this point. Respect and honor for your family, aka, your own roots, is incredibly important to the health of your marriage. Even if your parents aren’t paying, they still likely had a huge hand in shaping who you are, and deserve to be honored (see more about honoring your family throughout your wedding).

Ask “Why”

Next, understand WHY the guest should be present. Understanding WHY you, your fiancé, or your parents want to share this day with someone is half the battle. For instance, if it is a matter of nostalgia, ask yourself if they are still an important part of your life, or do they just “like” your activities on social media? If the relationship has been dormant for a year or two, perhaps you need to evaluate why you want them present on this important day. Or maybe a family member insists upon including someone whom neither of you knows; see if you can find a satisfactory compromise such as including the desired guests at post-wedding function.

Happy Ever Afterparty

Finally, we love the idea of larger celebrations after the wedding- now known. Many couples are opting for smaller weddings with more “pampering” of the special guests involved, yet still including their larger circles by gathering after settling into marriage.

We know there are difficult decisions, and potentially uncomfortable conversations ahead, but we hope you’ve enjoyed our ideas on how to keep your wedding guest list small.

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delighted to make your acquaintance

Helo, my name is Katie. I have a love for old-fashioned romance.


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