Dr. + Mrs. Hwang | Chateau Elan Winery and Resort Wedding

Heather and John hail from Massachusetts, but chose to get married at the french inspired Chateau Elan in Georgia. The European elegance was not lost on their day and Heather looked gorgeous in her floral Lazaro gown, which she gushed to me about before they even hired me. Finally on their wedding day, she was able to twirl in her dress. The ceremony took place in the atrium with flowers and greenery everywhere. Lanterns hung from the ceiling and the couple chose a round ceremony space where all would be able to see. The wrote letters to one another and sealed them in a box to read in the future. There were many personal touches to the day. John is Taiwanese and the couple chose to incorporate much of John's heritage into the wedding day as well. Heather wore a bracelet she had especially made using the pearls she got while they were in China. During their reception, the couple surprised their guests by conducting a traditional tea ceremony to honor their parents. Heather changed into a traditional red dress for the occasion. There were other details at the reception that were also a nod to the family. Heather made the cloth napkins, which were embroidered with John's family surname. They also served bubble tea. Speaking of the reception, much of the decor was a collection of crystal that Heather and her mom spent months collecting from various antique shops. The chandelier was even loaned to the couple. Heather's mom is also a talented artist and painted a portrait of her daughter and John at Chateau Elan that hung in the cocktail hour space. After the tea ceremony, Heather changed again into a beautiful ankle length party dress to dance the rest of the night away. It was a magical day and I'm so glad they were able to elegantly incorporate their cultures and traditions together. 

Photographer | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Venue | Chateau Elan

Second Shooter | Shelby Norris

Dress Designer | Lazaro

Dress Store | Bridals by Lori

Cake | Sugar Hill Cakes

Paper | Art Paper Scissors

Artwork | Lettered Grace

Florals | Design House of Flowers

Hair and Make Up | Kristen Farner

Videography | Rivet Events

Band | East Coast Entertainment

Chinese Tea Ceremony Dress | Kim's Fashion Design

Party Dress | Bridal by Gilbert

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How/ Where did you two meet?

John and I met through Match.com. A friend of mine created my online profile as a joke because she wanted me to get out and date more. After a few weeks, there was some interest from some guys, but John's profile caught my attention. Thankfully he sent me a message. We planned our first date to be a sort of "happy hour" meeting. We met for drinks at World of Beer in Stamford, Connecticut. It started at 5:30 and we finally decided to leave around 9:30. Probably the longest first date I've ever been on. :-)

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How did he propose?

He proposed in the rose garden of the Bronx Botanical Gardens on June 4th 2016. It was all a surprise and after a long trek across the gardens. It was the perfect setting.

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Describe your fiance in 3 words

Hard worker, dedicated, selfless

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Haley + Zach | Whittier Mill Park Engagement Session

I met Haley earlier this year on a girls trip to Dallas/ Waco.  We got to visit the Magnolia Silos and enjoy some of Texas for a weekend.  So, I was thrilled when she asked me to take engagement photos for her and her fiance!  She wanted a mix of the outdoors and the brick/ urban so we went to Whittier Mill Park, which is known for it's rustic mill ruins.

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Mr. + Mrs. Kovacs | Atlanta Botanical Garden Elopement

Have you ever thought of eloping or having a planned elopement?  Well that's just what Anna and Tim did!  They've been together for years and decided to finally tie the knot, but didn't want to have a large wedding and preferred a low key affair with just their immediate families.  It was a beautiful and emotional ceremony and I feel honored to be one of the few in attendance.  Their wedding may have been small, but that doesn't mean it wasn't beautiful.  Anna and Tim were married on a Friday morning at The Atlanta Botanical Garden in the Fragrance Garden.  Anna wanted to go for an english country garden feel, and I think this was the perfect location for it.  We had to dodge a few visitors in the background and they were congratulated by more strangers than people in attendance at the ceremony.  After couple portraits, the couple met their family on the roof of the Longleaf Restaurant for a small reception.

Anna and Tim also opted for an engagement session before the big day to calm their nerves and get some practice in.  For that, we started at their home in Midtown and walked around their neighborhood.  You can see more from their engagement session HERE.

For their honeymoon, the newlywed Kovacs set off for Paris for their honeymoon!

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Niece and Nephew were flower girl and ring bearer and Anna's mom walked her down the aisle since her father passed away.

Niece and Nephew were flower girl and ring bearer and Anna's mom walked her down the aisle since her father passed away.

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Tim's dad performed the ceremony.  He could barely get the words out to pronounce them husband and wife through tears.

Tim's dad performed the ceremony.  He could barely get the words out to pronounce them husband and wife through tears.

The family coordinated in pink for the big day.

The family coordinated in pink for the big day.

How/ Where did you two meet?

We met in college! We did a series of outdoor activities over Labor Day Weekend, 2010, (hiking, camping trip, rock climbing) with mutual friends, by the end of the weekend, I was obsessed with him.

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How did he propose?

He proposed in beautiful downtown Crested Butte, Colorado over a New Years Ski Trip. His family has had a place in Crested Butte since he was little, so he was very excited for me to go with him and see a place that has been so special to him.

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Describe your fiance in 3 words.

Humble, kind, disciplined

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HVL Photo Travels | Boston

A couple friends and I decided to take a quick girls' trip this past July ... like 48 hours quick.... Once of the girls couldn't take any more time off work so we left on Friday night and picked a destination that was in the same time zone and settled on Boston!  My inner nerd came out hard core.  

Outside of Paul Revere's House in the North End

Outside of Paul Revere's House in the North End

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Site of the Boston Massacre

Site of the Boston Massacre

There were definitely more photos on our phones, but I did bring my camera with me of course. Here are just a few moments from our trip!  Enjoy!

We stayed at the Yotel (yes that's really what it's called).  It was one of the most interesting hotels I've stayed in.  I would describe it as if IKEA made a hotel.

The Old State House

The Old State House

The Granary Burying Ground - Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams

The Granary Burying Ground - Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams

Harvard

Harvard

Trying to find the entrance to Harvard that Lorelai and Rory went through on their trip to Harvard.

Trying to find the entrance to Harvard that Lorelai and Rory went through on their trip to Harvard.

For transportation we mostly took public transit - the MBTA.  We opted for the day passes so we could hop on and off as we please. The day pass also includes the ferry across the harbor.

My best purchase might have been my Freedom Trail book I got at Faneuil Hall.  1. Because I'm a nerd and 2. because we were able to do the Freedom Trail at our own speed while getting all of the historical fun facts about each location.  If you care, it's called "The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail" by Charles Bahne. In the back of the book it even tells you the hours and admissions for all the stops.

Wired Puppy coffee break on Newbury St

Wired Puppy coffee break on Newbury St

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Walking along the Charles River

Walking along the Charles River

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Charles River

Charles River

North End might be my favorite area of the city.  It's full of Italian food (we at at La Galleria 33), canolis (go to Mike's), and a cute coffee shop called, 'The Thinking Cup'.  The historical sites like Paul Revere's House and The Old North Church are also in this neighborhood.

I also enjoyed walking around Harvard and walking along the Charles River.  There's this beautiful trail that it goes along for a nice view and a leisurely walk.

Riding the Swan Boat at the Boston Public Garden

Riding the Swan Boat at the Boston Public Garden

Swan Boat

Swan Boat

Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Boston Public Garden

Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

We also visited The Boston Public Garden and rode the classic swan boats ($3) and saw the statues of the bronze ducks from the children's book, "Make Way for Ducklings".  The "Cheers" bar is also close by.  

Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill

The Old North Church - "one if by land, two if by sea"

The Old North Church - "one if by land, two if by sea"

Old North Church

Old North Church

Next time, I want to go to a game at Fenway Park and visit MIT.  

What would you want to see/ do if you visited Boston?

 

Wendy + Chris | Cabbagetown Engagement Session

For Wendy and Chris's engagement session, we took a stroll around Cabbagetown in Atlanta.  Cabbagetown is known for it's small neighborhood feel and colorful art murals.  We ended up over at the Krog Street Market and Hop City.  Wendy and Chris are getting married at Monday Night Brewing this fall so it was only fitting to stop for beer while we were there.  

This engagement session felt so true to Wendy and Chris and I can't wait for their big day this November!

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Katie | Ambient + | Maternity Session

Baby June has made her way into the world and she is precious! For Katie's maternity session, she wanted to go for a studio vibe so we got a place at Ambient +.  Katie had a few different looks to show off her bump and personality.  Also, we can just talk for a minute about what a yoga all star she is?! I'm pretty sure I cannot do most of what she did even without an extra bump to throw off balance.  She's amazing.  Also, I should note that June decided to make her way into the world about week after these photos were taken... so there's that. Beautiful Momma and Beautiful Baby! 

Dress | Pink Blush

Dress | Anthropologie

T-shirt | The Bee and The Fox

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Page + Brian | Midtown Atlanta Engagement Session

Page and Brian didn't have a set place in mind for their engagement session so decided to get the best of both worlds and took some photos at a park in Midtown and then walked over to The High Museum area.  I'm pretty sure they laughed for most of the session. Brian would do something silly and then Page would laugh and it was an endless cycle and I loved it.  I know their wedding this fall will be so much fun and I can't wait!

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Mr. + Mrs. Howeth | 550 Trackside Wedding

Emily and Ethan are two of the sweetest!  Their wedding day took place at 550 Trackside and I loved how family oriented their day was. Most of the guests and much of the bridal party were family members.  Emily and Ethan have been together since high school and I love that I got to be there with them as they began this new phase of their relationship.  

One of my favorite moments of the reception was when Emily danced with her grandfather and then her cousin cut in.  Each of the granddaughters proceeded to cut in until the song ended and they'd all gotten to dance with grandpa.  I was trying so hard not to cry so that I could actually see the photos I was taking.  

Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Howeth!

Venue | 550 Trackside

Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Second Shooter | Danielle Hulsey

Assistant | Megan Holley

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How/ Where did you two meet?

We met in the youth group at Newton Baptist Church when we were both young teenagers. We are blessed to be able to say we are high school sweethearts!

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How did he propose?

Ethan put a lot of time into planning the perfect night that I will never forget! Every October my grandparents host a hayride and bonfire for the youth at our church and every year Ethan and I go to help. Ethan was helping with the "haunted" part of the hayride and I was riding in the truck with some of my family. Before going back to the house my grandaddy turned down a dirt road. Off in the distance it looked like some people were standing on the road but I could not see what they were doing. As we got closer, one by one they began to flip signs that read "Emily", "Will You", and "Marry". When we got to the end Ethan was standing off to the side. When I got out of the truck he dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes! I was the perfect night!

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Describe your fiance in 3 words

My Best Friend

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550 Trackside is right next to a railroad track so one of the guests put a quarter on the tracks before a train came by to give to the couple as a memento for the day!

550 Trackside is right next to a railroad track so one of the guests put a quarter on the tracks before a train came by to give to the couple as a memento for the day!

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Amy + Kevin | Piedmont Park Engagement Session

Amy and Kevin are just too cute!  I knew Amy from UGA where we were both in AXO together and was so thrilled when she asked me shoot her wedding!  It was so wonderful to catch up with her and to meet her fiance, Kevin!  For their engagement session, we went for classic Atlanta at Piedmont Park.  It has all the nature feels mixed in with those stunning skyscrapers in the background.  We made sure not to go when Dogwood festival was happening, but little did we know, the Atlanta Persian Festival was going on in half the park!  There were people everywhere, but Amy and Kevin didn't seem to mind and the result is photos full of sweetness.

I'm so stoked for their wedding this fall and can't wait to see them become husband and wife!

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Candace + Grant | Athens Engagement Session

I got connected with Candace and Grant because they were at Brooke and Adam's Wedding!  These two are fun and giggly and I love how much they enjoy each other.  For their engagement session we went to Athens last January and walked around UGA's campus.  As a UGA grad, I was thrilled!  I love any excuse I get to go back and visit and loved reminiscing about my time there.  

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How did they meet?

Grant and Candace met at the University of Georgia, where they were introduced by mutual friends at Sanford Stadium. Later that night, Candace came over to the BYX house, where Grant was visiting with some of his brothers. The two hit it off talking on the couch for hours... and the rest is history.

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How did he propose?

Grant invited Candace down to Macon during an especially trying exam week. She graciously offered to take care of him as he slaved over his notes. One night after dinner, they decided to take a study break up on the roof of his building to dance. When they arrived, Grant had candles burning and music playing. Before she knew what was happening, Grant asked Candace to spend forever with him.

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What are you looking forward to most about being married?

Spending the rest of my life with my best good friend.

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Mr. + Mrs. Vastakis | Greek New Year's Eve Wedding

Margaret and John were married on New Year's Eve and had a celebration to match!  I met Margaret through our mutual friend (and now my roommate!), Corey at Corey's birthday party.  It was an impromptu bridal consultation of sorts and she and John ended up hiring me for their wedding!  Let me tell you, these two are so much fun and I love getting to run into them on the soccer field and elsewhere! This was a different kind of wedding than I'd shot for many reasons.  It New Year's Eve and we were going to be staying later in the evening for the festivities, which meant that it being winter, the sun goes down pretty early.  The sun was gone before the ceremony started so we had very little natural light during the day.  It was my first Greek Orthodox wedding, which was so much fun!  There are many traditions and symbolism throughout the ceremony and reception and as a person who loves cultures, this was so interesting for me to learn.  The Greek dancing was top notch.  I have to say, the throwing of dollar bills might be one of my favorites.  

Congratulations on over 6 months of marriage, Mr. + Mrs. Vastakis!

Venue | Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation

Second Shooter | Kiyah Crittendon

Dress | Sweet Elegance

Calligraphy | Lisa Fox

Hair + Makeup | Van Michael's Salon

Late Night Snack | Waffle House

Band | Alpha Omega Sound

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How Did I Wind Up Here? | Reflections

My journey to becoming a full fledged, full time photographer was a slow, yet also quick one.  

I got my first DSLR (aka “fancy camera”) when I graduated from UGA in the spring of 2011.  It was fun to play with and took way better pictures than any other camera even on AUTO.  I was the friend that brought it to tailgates and trips and my camera would get passed around so we could document the day’s activities.  This was also during the time when “Facebook Albums” were pretty prevalent and you had to try to come up with witty album names. 

Shelby Rae Photographs

Shelby Rae Photographs

It wasn’t till maybe a year later when a recently engaged friend suggested that I take their engagement photos.  So I did!  And I have been photographing them ever since :). We could probably have some kind of art exhibit of the Tuttle family and the evolution of Holly Von Lanken Photography… maybe one day. ;)

Anyway, I loved getting to photograph them!  It was so much fun and it made them happy.. which made me happy!

I was at the stage in my life when several friends were starting to get married and I would volunteer to take engagement photos for them for fun/practice/as a wedding present of sorts.  At this point in time, I never would have thought I’d be where I am now - not that I have “made it” by any means, but where I am in that I am my primary provider and I can sit at my computer at home at 11:36am on a Wednesday drafting this blog post.

Shelby Rae Photographs

Shelby Rae Photographs

So let’s fast forward a little bit..it’s circa 2013 and I’m stalking Kaitie Bryant’s website almost daily and learning as much as I can.  If you know me, you know that when I get interested in something, I will research it till no end.  Around that time, I worked up the courage and asked Kaitie if I could shadow/ follow her around at a wedding just to see what it was like… and she said yes! And it was awesome! At this point though, I still never considered that this could be a job or even a side hustle for me.  It was just a fun hobby.

At the end of that year, I was in my friend’s wedding.  The photographer for that wedding was Chloe Giancola, whose husband was one of the groomsmen.  At the reception we got to talking and I asked to second shoot with her and she said yes! I ended up second shooting with Chloe for the greater part of 2014.  I learned a lot from Chloe and was able to see how the flow of a wedding day went.  I learned to shoot in RAW and in manual that year.  It was an excellent year of growth.  During this time I was also going to workshops and doing more research and toying with the idea that this could be an actual business.  Still I never dreamed it would be a full time gig, but could be a hobby that paid for itself because let’s be real - photo gear is expensive.  I made a really terrible Wordpress website, which hopefully the world will never have to see. I really hope it’s not still alive somewhere in the depths of the internet.   I made some homemade business cards - also pretty embarrassing - and continued to invest in learning this trade.  

Shelby Rae Photographs

Shelby Rae Photographs

Things turned when I booked my first weddings during the later months of 2014.  I had been told, “If you’re going to shoot weddings, you need to have a business license.” So that’s what I did.  I did more research and learned everything I could about business licenses, taxes, and all that other nasty legal stuff that if you’re going to have a company, you need to know. In October 2014, I officially launched “Holly Von Lanken Photography”.  

Also, can we give a quick shout out to the first weddings - the couples who trusted me the most and decided to take a risk?  Thank you Andersons and Timmons!  The Timmons booked me first, but the Andersons were the first wedding I shot that was “mine” in January 2015.

Shelby Rae Photographs

Shelby Rae Photographs

From there, things grew.  During all of this, there was a lot of prayer.  I prayed and asked God if this was really something I could or should do.  I prayed that I would do a good job and that the couples would love their photos.  I prayed that God would send me the “right” couples - not the couples who had the most aesthetically pleasing weddings (although that’s always a plus), but those who were excited to get married and weren’t going to sweat the small stuff and who I genuinely liked.   These are prayers I’ve prayed many times and will continue to pray along with many others.  

God kept answering my prayers.  I remember praying to shoot 5 weddings in 2015.  I thought that was a pretty good goal for having shot zero in 2014.  I ended up shooting 12.  

Shelby Rae Photographs

Shelby Rae Photographs

I may also need to mention that during this time I was also working full time as a teacher, teaching high school Spanish.  I really did enjoy teaching and I loved my students (most of them ;)).  However, it became really difficult to do both full time teaching and photography.  Plus, I was driving about an hour to school and back every day.  More prayers were prayed about what I should do and probably for another year of prayerful consideration and meeting with Shanna Skidmore, a creative business consultant, I decided to make the switch to full time.  I finished out the 2015-2016 school year and then jumped into full time photography life.  

This summer marks the completion of the first full year of full time photography and I’m so thankful for the clients, vendors, and friends I’ve met along the way.  It’s been good to reflect on various things about my life and my career being one of them.  The Lord is ever faithful.

I wanted to share this story for this anniversary of sorts, but also for other creatives because I’ve been there.  I know about the long hours, the considerations, the one million resources out there that everyone tells you that you “need.”  I’ve found some of my most helpful encounters came from being able to sit in front of another human being and just talking.  Don’t get me wrong, there is value in webinars and online courses and there are great ones out there.  They are perfect for reaching the masses, but there’s still nothing like a face to face meeting over a nice warm cup of coffee or working with someone in a hands on environment to learn.  

Shelby Rae Photographs

Shelby Rae Photographs

If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you.  

With all that said, I want to give creatives starting out more opportunities for one-on-one, face-to-face meetings.  This is why I decided to start offering mentoring sessions for small creative businesses.  This could be a one hour conversation over coffee to figure out the government side of a start up.  It could be to get clarity or work on action steps to achieving your goals.  It could even look like setting up processes to make your business run smoothly.  I also realized that there are those out there who need some practice with using a DSLR camera whether simply for themselves, to hone their skills, or because they run their own businesses - maybe not even a photography business, but want to know how to take better images of their products.  

If any of this sounds like you, I’d love to chat and help get you where you want to go.  Thanks so much for reading and being along for this crazy ride. 

Word to your mother,

Holly

Ansley + JB | Atlanta Engagement Session | Tanyard Creek

Ansley and JB are awesome! We rescheduled their engagement session because of weather and then on the day of the rescheduled shoot, the weather had been uncooperative again! JB had the foresight to call the park rangers where we were planning to go and we changed course because of flooding.  The main things Ansley and JB wanted from their engagement session were some form of trails and water.  So I mentioned this little park along the Beltline to them and we made it happen!  I'm so glad we were finally able to do this session.  They are so full of joy and laughs and I can't wait for their wedding this coming September!

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Mr. + Mrs. Drewer | Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center Wedding

Jessica and Tom are so much fun and both are so creative.  They DIY'd much of their wedding, which you can read more about over on Something Turquoise, where their wedding was featured.  However, they still made sure to hire some great vendors listed below:

Photographer | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Second Shooter | Katuschka Rakovec of Reclaiming Eden Photo

Coordinator | Then Comes Marriage

Venue | Atlanta Contemporary

DJ | DJ Cuttlefish

Caterer | Sweet Auburn BBQ

Invitations | Minted

Paper Props | Groom

Dress | Borrowing Magnolia

Skirt + Belt | DIY'd by the Bride!

Cake | Bride!

Florals | DIY

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How/ Where did you two meet?

We met at the Clermont lounge on a Tuesday Karaoke night. HE was there with coworkers and I was coerced into attending with some friends. Our eyes met when I walked in, and we eventually ended up talking and exchanging numbers...

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How did he propose?

We planned a trip to Florida for a long Fourth of July weekend (2016) first to see my family in Vero Beach on the east coast of the state (so that Tom could ask my father for his blessing. Which went very well!) and then over to St. Pete Beach on the west coast of the state, to spend 4th of July with my friends from high school. He was going to propose during the fireworks but there were lots of people and it was noisy and we both had gotten sick from the dinner we ate :/ So the next morning during a walk on St. Pete Beach, he got down on one knee and popped the question, which was met with a YES and a delightfully unexpected round of cheers and applause from nearby beachgoers.

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What has been the hardest part about wedding planning?

Trying to make everyone happy and trying not to spend too much money! I'm a DIY kind of person, and unfortunately I feel like I need 10 of me to get everything done!

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HVL Photo Travels | Chicago, IL

Last fall, I travelled to Illinois to visit family, take senior portraits for my cousin's kids and visit the great city of Chicago.  We were in the actual city for less than 24 hours so I definitely need to come back and check the architectural boat tour off my list, but I love getting to explore big cities!  When I told my family I was coming up, I made two requests.  One - to touch the bean and Two - to eat deep dish pizza.  I like to think I'm pretty low maintenance and we did both of these things and it was the best! Expectations exceeded!

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One thing we did learn is that parking is mega expensive.  If you can take the EL, I'd suggest it.  If not, park in one spot that isn't timed like the parking deck at Navy Pier and keep it there all day and walk or uber/ lyft yourself around.  I introduced my aunt to Uber while we were there and I think she's a fan now.

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This photo doesn't show it, but I did in fact, touch "The Bean".  The Bean is actually just a nickname for the "Cloud Gate" in Millenium Park and it's actually not that old.  The sculpture was built between 2004 and 2006.  It makes for a beautiful photo op - hence all the people, but also reflects the city's skyline on the other side. 

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We did a lot of walking and also got to see the boats on the waterfront of Lake Michigan and the Buckingham Fountain.  For lunch we got deep dish pizza from Gino's East!  It takes awhile to bake, but it's yummy!

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The view from Navy Pier was one of the best skyline views and you guys know what a sucker I am for a good view.  Also, for those of you who remember that amazing World Series game that Cubs won last fall (yes I stayed up through the rain delay to see history happen - I can't wait for someone to make a movie about it) well, we were there a week or two before that happened - thus the Ws. Blue Ws fly everywhere - on signs, tv screens, ferris wheels - with pride for the Cubbies.

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Thanks for reading!  Where are you traveling this summer?

Horsetooth Reservoir | Colorado | Personal Reflections

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I sat for a long time just staring at this photo on my computer. Just thinking. Remembering. Pondering life’s changes.  This is Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, CO.  This photo was taken this past January, but I’ve been here before about 2 years ago.  In July of 2015 I travelled here with my friend Caitlin.  We were staying in Boulder with her family, but made a late afternoon/ evening trip to Fort Collins to visit the town and go to the drive in movie theater there.  A old college friend of mine owns a shop in downtown Fort Collins so we saw her and she gave us a tip that we should go see Horsetooth Reservoir before the movie, so we did.  We followed the winding roads up the hill at sunset.  When we turned the bend and saw the view of the mountains and water and the sunset colors on the horizon, it was breathtaking.  We drove to the top as far as we could and I made Caitlin stop the car so we could get out and I just wanted to stare at the beauty of God’s creation.  It was so tranquil and lovely and green from summer.

This past January, my family travelled to Colorado for my Uncle’s funeral.  He was killed while on duty working security near Union Station in Denver.  The reason for our visit was much different than mine had been two years prior and that weight has been carried with us.  However, it was good to see extended family and before we left to fly home to Atlanta we had a little bit of time to explore so I told my family about Horsetooth Reservoir, which was a short drive from where we were in Loveland, CO.  It looked much different this time.  The earth was brown from winter.  The wind was strong and cold so we didn’t stay long and it was the middle of the afternoon, so no colorful skies this time.  But, the view was still beautiful… just in a different way.  Time changes things.  Seasons change.  I am not the same person I was 10 years ago or even two, but I am reminded that God’s love is constant always.

I was reading this yesterday morning about creating space to be with God and allow Him to move.   This photo has also reminded me of that.  These wide open vistas are something I want to run to - physical space to be with God and his creation.  Building space doesn’t have to look like this mountain. It can be building out time for rest, prayer, and activities that are life giving.  This is definitely something I have to work at - especially when I feel like I have so many moving pieces of life all happening at once, but I am thankful that the Lord is sanctifying and refining me each day and that he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

 

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;

With singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

Psalm 63:1-5

 

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Last fall, I was able to photograph this lovely wedding at Callanwolde in Atlanta.  While, for specific reasons, I cannot tell you a ton about this couple, I do want to share with you some of the amazing details from their big day!

Venue | Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Planner | Brianne McMullan for Stella Harper Events*

Second Shooter | Caroline Grenier

Florals | Amberly Odom of Wrennwood Design

Dress | Bridals by Lori

DJ | Lou Guzzo with Spectrum Entertainment

Videography | LiveView Motion Pictures

Catering | Endive

*Side note: I couldn't remember some of the vendor names and didn't have them on file.  When I asked Brianne, she spat them off immediately!  If that isn't a sign of a true professional wedding planner, I don't know what is.

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I absolutely loved these florals and this greenery staircase by Wrennwood Designs!  It was so elegant and I hope to see more installments like this in the future.

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Class of 2017 | Senior Portraits | Georgia + Illinois

Being a Senior, whether in high school or college, is such an exciting time in a person's life.  I was able to photograph a few of my favorite seniors this year and now it's graduation time!

Congratulations to all of you out there who have studied and worked hard and now get to walk and now finally get to celebrate this great achievement! 

First up on the list is sweet Camille!  This lady is not only beautiful but also incredibly intelligent.  She'll be graduating at the end of the month from Union Grove High School, my alma mater. Go Wolverines!  For her session, we wandered around the McDonough Square and then went to over to the church (also where I grew up) where she's spent so much of her time learning about the Lord.  I love that she wanted to incorporate that into her session as it holds such a special place in her heart.

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Next up, Chase!  I have some extended family in Illinois that I went to visit last fall.  One of the reasons was so that I could take some senior portraits for my cousin's children!  It was harvest time and they live in a farming community so I got to learn lots about farming corn and meet all of their animals, plus some other fun stuff.  I think they definitely had fun showing this city girl about farm life. Chase also does work with the fire department and he got dressed in his uniform so we could take some photos.  I also may or may not have made him pretend to save a kitten from a tree.

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Last, but certainly not least, Makayla!  This lady is certainly a busy one.  She is also super smart, but also a talented volleyball player and I happened to come on tournament weekend which meant snagging photos whenever we had a spare moment.  Makayla loves her horse so we also got a few of her riding around their property!

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Congratulations Class of 2017!

Anna + Tim | Midtown Atlanta Engagement Session

For Anna and Tim's engagement session we started off at Anna and Tim's perfect midtown condo right by Piedmont Park and then walked around their neighborhood.  I love that they wanted to incorporate this sweet in home portion of their session.  It was personal with added details like reading books and drinking tea, which they enjoy together.  When thinking about your own engagement session, I encourage you to think about locations or activities that are special to you and your love or even something that you would do on a date.  

I can't wait for their intimate ceremony at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens this month!

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Creative Conversations | Meet an Atlanta Wedding Planner | Taylor Dawn

I met Taylor when I reached out to a local group of wedding professionals about doing a styled shoot.  She was the perfect person to our Coast Wedding Inspiration shoot with and from then we've gotten to know each other and even work on other projects as well!  I'm so excited to know this lady and you should too, which is why I did a little interview with her!  

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Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Taylor and I am a Wedding Planner here in Atlanta! Although most of my time is spent in the city, I also double-time as a coaches’ wife. My sweet husband is a high school football and baseball coach, so many Friday nights after rehearsals are spent on a ball field! I absolutely love my job and am so thankful to be able to work for myself full time! Making brides’ dreams come to fruition is my passion. I love seeing brides enjoy a stress free and beautiful wedding day with the people they love most!

 

How did you get into wedding planning?

I got in to wedding planning from my sweet friend, Molly McKinley! I met Molly while I was in college, and it was such a God thing. His direction in my life came at the most perfect time when I had NO idea what I wanted to “be when I grew up.” After working for Molly, and with my husband’s encouragement, I was able to start my own little business!

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What are your current favorite color combinations or trends?

Well! As I am currently going through rebranding, I have really been stretching myself to include more “color” into my life, and not just sticking to neutrals, which is totally my MO! I’m a neutral gal! I am loving soft mauves and darker pink and blue hues marrying neutrals. SO dreamy. 

 

Any advice for couples getting married?

Of course, my number one planning advice is to have a planner! (Shameless plug!) Really, having a great vendor team and someone to be the point of contact can really create a seamless day. I always tell my brides (and their moms!), you don’t want the caterer calling you while you’re getting your makeup done asking where a table should be placed. Also, and most importantly, remember that at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are GETTING MARREID! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have a mimosa, kick back, and let your team take care of business!

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From our most recent shoot - CLICK HERE to see more.

From our most recent shoot - CLICK HERE to see more.

 

Any advice for new wedding planners just getting started?

There is no better way to learn than working at weddings! I would say to assist anyone and everyone. I have learned almost all that I know simply from doing weddings! Working with someone who is a bit further in her career than you should not be intimidating, you should soak it in! Learn from them! (Even if they’re doing the exact job you are!) It’s the best way! This business is made up of the best girl bosses!

 

Favorite Atlanta venue(s)?

My favorite venue has got to be Summerour. I absolutely love working with the staff there and it’s simple aesthetic just speaks to me! (Also, it takes me back to Italy, where we spent our honeymoon and I would be more than happy to move to tomorrow! Any takers?!) 

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What is something about wedding planners that many people may not know?

My favorite question I get asked, which can probably be echoed by most entrepreneurs, is “So what do you DO all day?” The answer is, my days are all different! However, being a wedding planner is really mixed with equal right and left-brain activities. Everything from making timelines, layouts, reviewing budgets, and catering proposals to meeting with brides, picking out flowers, scourging for the perfect invitation, and visiting venues!

 

What are your hobbies/ non wedding related activities?

As I mentioned before, with my hubby being a high school coach, you can usually find me at a baseball or football field any night of the week being a coach’s wife! I love these moments! Getting to know high schoolers and going through life with them is such a great experience. Also, you can probably find me out to eat with my sister, who is definitely my BFF, as often as possible (probably with a margarita in hand)!  Going out to eat is a hobby, right?!

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After planning your own wedding, was there anything you wish you did differently knowing what you know now as a professional?

Hmm, I would say that just not caring what other people think! The most important thing about getting married is your marriage! I love how truly the Lord’s love for us is displayed in marriage. Maybe also having a rain plan would have been a good idea from a professional point of view (oops, don’t tell my mother!)! 

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