Bob and Lara | Married in Columbus

“Forever is not long enough.”  Bob is such a romantic, right?  I was fortunate enough to attend the rehearsal for Bob and Lara.  I said to him, “Tomorrow, you get to start forever with Lara!”  And “Forever isn’t long enough” was his response.  How sweet!  Bob and Lara are so totally in love and I am honored to have had a front seat to their big day.

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara: Love Never Fails

Bob hails from the west coast and Lara is a native of Illinois. Both of them landed, professionally, here in Columbus.  Bob’s first words to Lara were “I hope I don’t stink!”  And, as they say, everything from then on out is history!

Bob and Lara were married on Lara’s parents’ anniversary and in the same church as them, Clinton Heights Lutheran Church!

I love the sentimental and beautiful details of the day.  See the purse in Lara’s hands? Her family sent off both her mom’s wedding dress and his mom’s wedding dress to someone one Etsy; they took some fabric from each and made it into this lovely purse!  I love it!

Bob and Lara

Lara had so many capable hands to help her get ready.  And, seriously, her bridesmaids were the best at doting over her.  I loved ever second of this!

Bob and Lara

And these two groups were fun, despite the heat!

Bob and Lara

I loved the cufflinks these groomsmen wore.  On one arm, they had maps of where they are from and on the other, where they were when Bob asked them to be in his wedding!  Love!

Bob and Lara

I melt over the processional at weddings.  Don’t you?  We knew Bob would cry.  Good job to Scott, best man, who had tissues at the ready for Bob!

Bob and Lara

I love how Christ-centric their ceremony was.  I am falling in love with the second kiss–maybe even more than the first kiss.

Bob and Lara

There’s something about bubbles that brings out our happiest faces, am I right?  Seriously, Bob and Lara are thrilled during their bubble exit!

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara: Celebrate the Love

Then, we made our way to the Franklin Park Conservatory for the rest of the evening.  Lara grabbed a quick and gorgeous shot with her fave ladies!  I love these girls!

Bob and Lara

And we spent some time with just Bob and Lara, grabbing some pictures of these lovey-dovey newlyweds before we went in for the ultra-fun reception.

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara

I love dinner time at the reception because it gives me a chance to sit down, eat, run through my checklist, and grab more detail shots.  Between the ceremony and the reception, details were classy–not overstated.  What a classy day, Bob and Lara!  I think flowers are the most foundational element of the decor of the day.  These white roses, provided by Madison House Designs, are the perfect foundation for Bob and Lara’s vows.

Bob and Lara

Okay, so, no fair: Bob and Lara have a logo!  I want a logo!  I’m so looking into a couple logo… :)  Also, the treats at the reception were delicious!  These cupcakes were scrumptious!  Carrie’s Sugar Buzz, yes, you rock!

Bob and Lara

Now, Kari, you totally got Bob in your speech.  What a great toast!

Bob and Lara

Oh, Lara, you are gorgeous!  I love the after-speech smooches!

Bob and Lara

Um, Bob!?  You are a dancing machine!  Did you get it from your dad? What a fun dance moment!

Bob and Lara

After all of the fun dancing, we took a quick five minutes to grab this picture, which I love!

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara,
Your commitment to one another is unbelievably obvious.  I pray God blesses you as you begin your marriage and continues to draw the two of you closer to Him as you practice loving one another and others even more than you already do!


PS: Here’s a cute kid being entertained during the ceremony:
Bob and Lara

PSS: Here’s a hunk taking a breather from helping me capture reception moments:

Bob and Lara

PSSS: Here’s a nerd who took far too many tries to snap a nerdy picture of herself in a mirror: Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara: Vendors

Florist: Madison House Designs
Cake Artist: Carrie’s Sugar Buzz
Makeup Artist: Ashley of Avola Lanza
Caterer: Milo’s Catering
Reception Venue: Franklin Park Conservatory
Bridesmaids Dresses: Wendy’s Bridal
Tux Rentals: Romanoff’s
DJ: Encore Entertainment

Bob and Lara: Sneak Peek!

Check out Bob and Lara’s same-day slideshow that I was able to surprise them with by cocktail hour! :)  What a loving family these two bring together! I can’t wait to enjoy the full album with them after they return from their honeymoon!

Marriage Hack: Daily Compliments

One thing I love about marriage is that my man compliments me daily.  And lavishly.  The other morning, I mentioned the concept of daily compliments to him–specifically, the role of complimenting one another in marriage.  There are so many reasons daily compliments will change any marriage for the good.

Daily Compliments

Marriage Hack: Daily Compliments

Maybe you read my love story.  On our first date, The Hunk called me beautiful.  I was taken aback–mostly because I thought he was crazy to think that.  He still thinks that.  And I still think he’s crazy. But over the years, he’s continued to regularly compliment me.  His language toward me is full of compliments.  And the compliments go both ways.

I don’t think our marriage would be nearly as enjoyable if we didn’t deliver daily compliments to one another.  Mark Merrill defines five ways to compliment your spouse.  Here’s his list and basic descriptions with examples from his post.

  1. People Skills: Compliment how they treat a stranger.
    This type of compliment starts with observing your spouse. Note when they show uncommon kindness, generosity, chivalry, courtesy, or patience with someone. Let them know what and why you admire that. Say something like, “I really admire how kind you were to people in that crazy crowded store.”
  2. Parenting Skills: Compliment the way they handle your kids.
    Your spouse is more aware of their parenting mistakes than their parenting strengths. You can help them see what a difference they make in your kids’ lives. Just yesterday, I texted my wife, “Susan, I just heard you talking with Megan and Emily, and you really coached them well on that issue. Great job!”
  3. Get ‘er Done Skills: Compliment their ability at a task.
    It’s important to let your spouse know that you admire their abilities, but don’t just compliment an extraordinary skill. Let them know you appreciate all the things they do by saying, “Thanks for cleaning the kitchen…I was tired and I really appreciated you doing that.” Don’t just treat it like it’s just their job…you should still compliment them.
  4. Challenges: Compliment their handling of a difficult situation. If you see your spouse navigate a hard situation well, let them know that you noticed. Tell your spouse that you see how they help your marriage and family. Say something like, “I know the last few days were unexpectedly difficult, but we couldn’t have made it through without your steady hand. Thanks for keeping us calm.”
  5. Appearance or Style: Compliment the impression they make on you. If it’s been a long time since you’ve complimented your spouse, unprompted, about their appearance, do it this week. To be most effective, compliment how your spouse improves what they wear, not vice versa. I sometimes say to my wife, “Susan, you make that dress look really good!”

Daily Compliments: When and How?

Getting started on your daily compliments is simple, but not necessarily easy.  You may find that you are not naturally good at delivering compliments.  Perhaps you have a career in evaluating, problem-solving, or deciphering problems.  As a teacher, I definitely have an affinity toward finding problems and pointing them out.  I am not naturally bent toward looking for specific positive aspects of things or people.  But marriage has helped me work toward improving that part of me.  If you’re like me, you will have to start out making a daily compliment more intentionally.  And that’s okay.

First, look for something you admire about your husband or wife.  Be sure not to choose a compliment that is actually pointed; for instance, if the house is a mess when you come home to your husband or wife, don’t say something like, “You’re really good at chilling on that couch.”  That is not a compliment.  Instead, consider looking through the list above and gather inspiration from that list to start your compliments.

Then, just say it.  Whenever.  Wherever.  In front of people. In private.  Before heading off to work.  As soon as you greet another after work.  During dinner.  In the car on the way to a social gathering.  There is no wrong time to give your husband or wife a compliment.

But you may be asking yourself: Will my husband/wife reject my compliments? It’s a valid concern.  Sometimes, compliments aren’t well received.  There are a few reasons this might be the case.  Firstly, words of affirmation may not be your lovely spouse’s love language.  It may not seem to make a huge difference in your relationship if this is the case.  Either way, though, a lack of compliments can give the appearance of a lack of affection for your love.  So push through if your compliments seem ineffective.  I can tell you from experience that consistent compliments create a better marital atmosphere.

Over time, work your way up to delivering more daily compliments every day until it is second nature to compliment your husband or wife.

Daily Compliments: The Benefits

There are numerous benefits to delivering daily compliments.  I’m speaking only from experience, here, but I’ve gathered a few benefits I’ve found in my marriage that are a partial or a direct result of The Hunk’s daily compliment habit.

  1. Daily compliments reinforce trust.  I trust my man more because he regularly shares his appreciation for me–what I bring to the relationship, my intellect, and his attraction to me. There are plenty of ways to develop trust between two people, but compliments are definitely one way The Hunk has made it easier for me to trust him.  Conversely, The Hunk feels he can trust me with his feelings, internal struggles, and even joys because he knows that I have favorable thoughts toward him.
  2. Daily compliments reinforce genuine love. He loves me.  One way he expresses his love for me is by complimenting me.  I feel cherished, wanted, and–well, honestly–loved when I’m never searching for his general feelings for me.  They are positive.  And being in love with a man who finds me generally a good, attractive, intelligent woman makes me feel loved. Conversely, The Hunk feels loved and respected because he knows I have expressed love toward him as well.
  3. Daily compliments build up your spouse. I’ve seen The Hunk’s entire countenance change when I’ve complimented him.  And, in return, his compliments have improved my self-esteem.  I think it’d be tough to argue against the building up of one another in a marriage.  The healthier a person’s view of himself or herself, the better his or her relationships are in the long run, right?  Makes sense to me.

Wow! I didn’t think I’d have this much to say about daily compliments. Go out there and compliment your loved ones–especially your forever love.

The Wedding Day Timeline

As a bride planning her own wedding, I paid particular attention to the events of the day–the schedule.  I called it the itinerary.  My groom’s parents made fun of me for it; they’d never really had a traditional American wedding for any of their children so they didn’t know how important it was to get all the deets in order. It is, obviously, very important. As a wedding photographer, I spend a great deal of time working on the wedding day timeline for each of my brides.  A good timeline helps get you to everything on time and helps ensure you get the photographs and moments that you want to get on this all-important day.

Wedding Day Timeline

Creating a great wedding day timeline is truly an art form.  I’ve honed the process over the years; with each bride, I’ve improved the process a bit.  Or a lot.  Wedding photographers have a varying level of involvement in creating the wedding day timeline.  I pretty much told my wedding photographer what was happening and when.  It worked out just fine.  For my brides, I gather as much detail as possible from the bride and groom, run it through a magic information decipherer, and then put together an amazing spreadsheet rough draft for the bride to review and approve.

Questions to ask when creating your wedding day timeline

Do we want to see one another for the first time before the ceremony or during the ceremony?

This is the first big question that defines the schedule of your big day.  And this decision is really personal and depends on who the two of you are as individuals and as a couple.  Are you two distracted by or intimidated by being in front of others? Do you find it difficult to express moments during important moments?  If your answer to either of these questions is “yes,” then you might opt for a first look.

On the other hand: Is tradition important to you? Do you prefer to keep special moments in their traditional place? If so, you might opt for a ceremony first look.

How many pictures do you anticipate wanting?

If mass pictures your goal on your wedding day–plenty of family groupings, tons of wedding party hangout time, and lots of party pics–you might want to be sure to space out your events accordingly.  For instance, plan for your guests to have snacks to munch on while you gather your groups together for the appropriate time.  We’ve all been to weddings where we waited for what seemed like forever for the bride and groom to show up to the reception.  When we had food, the impatience was assuaged–music and food made the wait even easier!

I tell my brides to expect each family gathering to expect at least 3 minutes for each family gathering.  And more time with bridal parties equates to more images delivered of the bridal party.  When putting together the wedding  day timeline, keep this timing in mind so that you can set realistic expectations for your photographer, yourself, and your wedding party.

How far apart are your desired photography locations from your venue(s)?

Some brides have an all-in-one venues, complete with scenic backdrops for photography, a ceremony location, and a party room.  These brides don’t have to plan much more than a flight of stairs between events on the wedding day.

If you are traveling between the ceremony location and the reception venue, be sure to allow time for that in your timeline.  If you want to go to a specific location for your bridal party pictures or your bride and groom pictures, make sure you have ample time–with a little cushion in case there’s traffic.  I’ve even had a bride use Uber to commute from a getting ready location to the ceremony reception.

Do you want getting ready pictures taken? Which getting-ready images do you want?

If you’re looking for the iconic hairspray pictures, you’ll want to be sure you’ve contracted enough hours for your photographer to capture that moment.  When will it happen? Ask your hair stylist.  Will your make-up be done within the hours you’ve contracted your photographer? Double-check with both.

If you’re not interested in too many getting-ready pictures, you might consider having your photographer capture the final details of getting ready: your mother lacing up the dress, attaching your “something old” earrings, grandma putting on your “something borrowed” bracelet, your sister carefully placing your tiara.  This can usually take 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

This is one of the big things to bring up to your photographer during the initial contact or a month or two before your wedding day.

What reception events do you care about?

When planning your reception, keep in mind when your photographer’s coverage ends.  The best idea is to front-load your events: cake cutting, dinner prayer, first dances, etc.  Obviously, dinner is in there; but you’ll get far more events covered if they are front-loaded.  And, honestly, after a while, dance party pictures all look the same.  Keep this in mind when planning your wedding day timeline.

How long is your ceremony?

Most of my brides have Protestant ceremonies, which last about a half hour or so.  But if your wedding is a Catholic wedding, the ceremony may last significantly longer. Personally, I pause photography coverage about 45 minutes before the ceremony; this chunk of time is important for transitioning, last-minute detail shots, and for a little padding in case Mom is running late or you hit traffic.

How important is it that you have detail shots of your wedding day?

I love detail shots!  They really do convey your personalities and the atmosphere of the day.  If you love detail shots as much as I do, you should be sure to allow for that in your schedule.  For instance, if you want pictures of your dress, be sure to allow time for the photographer to snag your dress before you dress; the more detail shots you want, the more loosely you’ll want to set up your wedding day timeline.


Kourtney and Brett | Married in Kentucky

Usually, when we plan a wedding in mid- to late-May, we assume the weather will be mild–maybe, MAYBE a little rainy.  Even though Kourtney and Brett had a day with overcast skies and cold Canadian winds, the day was so sweet.  And there was no rain.  Whew!

And Kourtney, you are a stunning bride!

Kourtney and Brett

And your groom, what a hunk!

Kourtney and Brett

I absolutely love when brides have a first look for their fathers.  I’m going to encourage more of these to my future brides.  They get me every time!

Kourtney and Brett

I loved Kourtney and Brett’s flowers!  The groomsmen’s boutonnieres!  I mean!  Look at ’em!

Kourtney and Brett

Kourtney and Brett: The Ceremony

Kourtney and Brett’s ceremony was an awesome picture of their devotion to Christ.  I mean, I truly believe Christ will express excitement upon seeing His bride come to Him!  Think of it!  I love the symbolism of a marriage and wedding ceremony.  And I love that these two stopped the ceremony for a couple of praise and worship songs.  I mean, what can be better than capturing a love story while literally singing praises to God!?

Kourtney and Brett

We ventured back outside for a few wedding party shots after the ceremony and these peeps were troopers!  I mean, look at those rolling hills!  The winds were just whispering over the field.  It truly was beautiful. And the guys thought it would be fun to frisk Jimmy, here.  These guys were a riot!

Kourtney and Brett

Once we got to the reception venue, Neltner’s Farm, we got some stunning pictures of Kourtney and Brett.  Seriously, the farm grounds are beautiful!  I’d shoot here every day and twice on Sundays and still have a wonderful time!

Kourtney and Brett

Kourtney and Brett: The Reception

And seriously, this cake by The Sweeterie!  It was as delicious as it was beautiful!  Kourtney is actually a baker and works with Susan over at The Sweeterie.  They don’t do cakes very often, but, in case you didn’t now, we should all make exceptions for the amazing Kourtney! :)

Kourtney and Brett

Kourtney and Brett danced to the most romantic version of 500 Miles that I’ve ever heard.  I added it t my playlist and can’t get enough!

Kourtney and Brett

Now, in the photography world, a lot of photographers will complain about dry wedding receptions.  But, seriously, I will never complain about them.  Ever.  One of the plethora of reasons: These GUESTS! And DJ Rob put on one heck of a party.  Everyone had a blast!

Kourtney and Brett

Do any of you remember Kailee? She is my go-to video referral with Reel Love In Focus.  She’s also Kourtney’s sister.  Here’s an epic capture of her failure during the bouquet toss.  Kailee, I love you.

Kourtney and Brett

And people had a nice time in the photobooth.  Kourtney wanted the photobooth to match the theme of her wedding, so we used the inside of the barn as the backdrop.

Kourtney and Brett

Kourtney and Brett: The Exit

Lastly, we capped off the evening with a super romantic sparkler exit.  I love how many people stuck around for this exit!  It made it so special and fun!

Kourtney and Brett

Kourtney and Brett,
I loved capturing your day and telling your story.  Thank you for the honor of trusting me with your big day, your priceless images, and, most of all, your Christ-centered love story.
I wish the both of you an amazing marriage–that you’ll lean in toward one another during hard times and rejoice together during the happy times.  And that there will be plenty of happy times.

Kourtney and Brett: Vendors

Cake Artist: Susan of The Sweeterie
DJ: Rob of Showtime Cincinnati
Church: Piner Baptist Church
Tent Service: Adventage Tent and Party Rental
Reception Venue: Neltner’s Farm