I’m the queen of taking a very large task and deciding it’s just a quick little chore.  Take painting my entire house for instance…I was sure I could knock that out in one night.  Two tops.  In my defense…painting your house white takes like 37 coats of paint so had I picked another color I think I could have done it.  But it took weeks and if I’m being honest…it’s still not done.  I gave up and painted over my swatches in the bathroom with the original paint so I wouldn’t have to paint it.  I just couldn’t do it.  I was losing feeling in my fingers.  But I look at something and think…sure, I can knock that out in an hour.  Gary and I are experiencing all the joys of homeownership for the first time…one of which is landscaping.  Landscaping is the devil.  Seriously…you need a degree for this sh*t.  First of all…plants are really expensive.  Second of all…weeds are sneaky and from someone who has no idea what’s a weed and what is the beginning of those sunflowers she planted.  It’s a struggle.  Nonetheless we are chipping away at it one day at a time…trying our best not to get poison ivy or be that house on the block.

 

Back to my original story.  So the other day I decided I was going to power wash our house.  It had dead ivy on it and spider webs and beehives.  So I borrowed a power washer from my parents and thought I would knock this out on my lunch break.  For starters…it took me 45 minutes just to get the damn thing to work.  I mean there were so many parts and cords and it was a mess.  But I finally got it going!  As I started power washing I realized that every little thing I was washing off the house was flying right back on me.  Disgusting.  Seriously…I was dripping in sweat and little pieces of god knows what and it was awful.  At one point I couldn’t even see because there was so much sweat in my eyes and crap all over my sunglasses.  The moral of the story is…I spent two hours power washing HALF of our house.  And not even that well!  I finally gave up when my shorts were literally falling off of me because they were so soaked.  So this little thing I was going to do “real quick” still isn’t done and I can tell you right now it won’t be me doing the other half of the house (ahem Gary).

 

Homeownership…it’s awesome but the struggle is very, very real.

 

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It’s a huge decision.  HUGE.  Every choice on your wedding day is big but choosing a photographer is choosing how you are going to remember and relive your day for generations to come.  When your big day is all said and done…you’ll have a marriage, a ring, a dress you most likely will stash in a closet at your parent’s house…and your photos.  I mean that’s so much pressure!!!  But I’m here to help.  The hunt for a photographer can be daunting because there are SO many.  Where do you even start?  To help I’ve put together a list of five tips to help with picking your wedding photographer.  This is not a fool proof system by any means but I feel so fortunate to have worked with tons of brides over the years who have basically become my best friends and these are what I have come to realize are the common denominators.

 

You have to like THEM…not just their photos.

This is huge.  A lot of couples don’t realize that you spend the majority of your time on your wedding day with your photographer.  I mean…where you go…I go.  That means I am with you when you are getting ready.  I am hanging out with your best friends and your family.  I am partying with you on the trolley (sans alcohol of course).  So if you don’t like me as a person…that’s going to be a major drag.  I joke that I’m best friends with all my brides because that is what it feels like.  On their wedding days…I am just another one of the girls.  Because we both took the time to get to know each other beforehand and make sure we were the perfect fit as people…and it always makes for an unforgettable wedding experience.  I can’t stress this enough…love your photographer’s photos…but love your photographer too.

 

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Know a human who has worked with them.

Referrals are king!  I can’t tell you the number of horror stories I have heard from bridesmaids or random wedding guests about their experience with their photographer.  Someone random they found and then this or that happened.  It is SO important to know at least one human who has worked with them or seen them in action.  Someone who can tell you first hand that they had an incredible experience.  When I get an inquiry that is a referral from another bride it is the greatest compliment they can give me because it means they loved their experience enough to take the time to tell someone else about it.  That is so huge!

 

Can you imagine yourself in their photos?

This is a big one.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of wedding photographers out there.  Probably millions but I don’t know that for sure.  All with different styles and skill levels and approaches on wedding days.  As a bride (or groom) it can be hard to know what kind of style you like.  You’re not a photographer…how are you supposed to know how to describe a specific style of photography?  So an easy to fix is to try to imagine yourself in their photos.  Now, I’m not talking about the decor or venue of a wedding day.  I mean the photos themselves.  Do you find yourself wishing they were taken just a little differently?  When you meet with a photographer are you asking them if they can take other types of photos than what you have seen?  If so, this person probably isn’t for you.  If you look at a photo and you can imagine yourself in it…then there’s your winner.

 

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Google doesn’t matter.

This sort of relates to the “know a human who has worked with them” tip, but in the world of wedding photography Google doesn’t matter.  I’ll probably make a lot of people mad by saying that but I really believe it.  This is not to say you can’t find a great photographer by searching Google for them.  But anyone can show up on a Google search.  You can pay to show up first or pay someone to make you show up organically.  Personally, I would rather spend that time and money investing in the relationships of my past and current and future couples so I get to work with more couples just like them.  Because let’s be real…I work with the best couples in the world.  🙂

 

Go with your gut.

I don’t know about you…but I get gut feelings about everything.  Gary tells me over and over again to trust my gut but I constantly second guess myself.  And of course the right choice was always my gut after all.  (that Gary…so smart)  In wedding planning in general…whatever your gut is telling you is probably right.  If you really want an outdoor wedding but someone is telling you that it’s too risky and to book a ballroom.  Don’t listen to them.  It’s your wedding.  Do it your way.  Same with your photographer.  You’ll get that gut feeling when you know it’s right…you just have to trust it!

 

**bonus tip**

When planning a wedding…budget is king.  It is’s not only important to stick to your budget but to create a budget that ultimately gives you everything you want on your wedding day.  So I think it’s so important to be realistic about what that means.  I can’t tell you how many brides have reached out to me after their wedding saying they went with a different photographer to save money and it was the biggest regret they had about their wedding.  Every time I hear that my heart sinks because I don’t ever want anyone to be unhappy with anything to do with their wedding.  So really ask yourself as you are planning your budget what is most important to you and plan accordingly.

 

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I’ve started this post five times.  Which is funny because these are usually the easiest posts for me to write.  Yesterday marked my four year cancerversary.  Four years ago I slammed the door on a really shitty part of my life and swore never to look back.  But what I didn’t realize was just how often I would.  Usually I write this post about Katharine’s birthday because she was the best part of that day.  Honestly…she’s the best part of every day.  But unlike all the years before…four years seems more daunting to me.  The goal as someone who previously had cancer (I hate the word survivor) is to make it to five years.  I can’t remember all the technical medical reasons why but once I get to five years…I’m good.  “Cured” as some might say.  I kind of imagine there being a lot of fireworks and streamers and maybe even a mariachi band.  But more than anything I imagine it feeling so safe.

 

As I officially put a big check mark next to year four I can’t help but feel nervous.  Which if I’m being honest…was a little unexpected.  It’s like now I’m so close to that big FIVE that it scares me.  But scared or not…I spent yesterday celebrating the one thing that constantly reminds me just how beautiful life is.  That little girl who took a really scary time in my life and filled it up with so much happiness.  Sure…I’m a little freaked out and anxious to make it to the big five years.  But I also know that no matter what…June 19th will come and go…every single year…and there will be a little peanut there telling everyone how lovely everything is and just like that day four years ago…everything will be alright.

 

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I pulled up outside the restaurant with 15 minutes to spare.  I was about to meet Megan and Martin for the first time and I was so excited.  I started gathering my things and all sudden I froze, realizing…I had forgotten my wallet.  I called Gary, who was in Indiana, and had a little freak out on the phone.  He offered to call the restaurant and pay for our bill over the phone because…well…he’s just that kind of guy.  I sat there weighing my options…drive home and be late.  Or fess up and make the world’s best first impression (insert sarcasm here).  I went with the latter.  I mean…meeting a couple for the first time and then immediately saying…oh yeah, I need you to pick up the bill.  Not my finest my moment.  But this is exactly why I love Megan and Martin so much.  I walked in with my tail between my legs and explained my absent-mindedness and they were so awesome about it.  We laughed and I promised them I am typically way more together.  We had a few drinks and chatted about their wedding and buying houses and it was such a great night.  I instantly fell in love with these two and lucky for me…despite my wallet debacle they asked me to be their wedding photographer.  🙂  I honestly can’t say enough good things about these two.  They are so sweet and funny and obviously meant for each other.  Their engagement session was one for the books and as we parted ways I secretly wanted to crash their date night so we could keep hanging out.  They are the real deal and I am so excited for their wedding this October!

 

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My life has been very consumed with paperwork lately.  And being a creative person I don’t do well with forms and cover letters and all these seriously ancient things.  I mean…who faxes anymore?!?  Surely there has to be a better way.  Like…I don’t know…EMAIL!  But between my stolen laptop claim…some bs insurance stuff…getting my broken car key reimbursed…filing our homeowners exemption…it’s just been one thing to stay on top of after another.  And honestly…it’s incredibly annoying.  I can’t say for sure…but I think this is why people have assistants.  At one point my dad even told me I make a great secretary which was just super.  Moral of the story…adulting is hard.  Who has that much room in their brain??  Not me.  And just in case any of the above parties are reading this…it’s 2016…ditch the fax machine.

 

Random thoughts on fax machines means it’s another installment of Random Thoughts of the Day!!

 

Seriously…can someone explain to me why there are still fax machines?  I feel like the majority of Americans don’t even have a home phone line let alone a fax machine!?!?  Weird…just weird.

I read those articles about people who give up coffee and alcohol for a year and are all the sudden 10 years younger and a million dollars richer…and I instantly feel bad about myself.  Then I go pour a glass of wine.

A new Meijer just opened by our house and these are things I get excited about these days.  Grocery stores.

Whatever the opposite of a gardner is…that’s me.  I was so proud of this plant that was growing by our back door.  It was getting so tall and leafy.  Come to find out it’s a weed.  I’d been growing a big, giant weed.

My bestie Sara brought us some farm fresh eggs.  I now have to go purchase some chickens because I can never eat regular eggs again.

We get lots of random mail since we are new homeowners.  And the way in which they butcher our name is hysterical.  I’ll leave the specifics to your imagination.

Am I the only one who can’t stop eating watermelon once I start?  Last night I literally had to make Gary take it away from me.  #addicted

Unreal is back.  Which means summer just got awesome.  If you have not watched this show…go do it immediately.

I just discovered #girlboss radio and my life is forever changed.  I just want to drive places so I can listen to it.

I’m currently in a war against spiders.  They want in my house and I want them dead.  It’s sort of like I’m Katniss and they are my opponents.  Spoiler alert…Katniss wins.

We have bats!  I don’t know why I think this is so cool but they fly around at night and eat mosquitos which thus makes them my bff.  I may even build them a house.

Gary and I just finished the new season of Bloodline.  Man that show is good.  Now we are in desperate need of a new show.  Suggestions welcome…but please do not say Game of Thrones.

I just discovered cherry lime LaCroix.  Game over.

I was in Scituate over the weekend and photographed the most amazing engagement session.  While there’s nothing random about these two…I’ll leave you with a little peek…

 

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