Surprise Proposal at Sam Houston Park for Flytographer – Houston, Texas

I think proposal photography might be one of my new favorite things. Last summer I photographed a proposal disguised as a styled shoot for a friend of mine and it was so joy giving! The proposal I’m going to share today was very different, but no less exciting!

For those who don’t know, I am Flytographer’s Houston based photographer. In addition to booking vacation photography, Flytographer also offers proposal photo sessions, which is how this shoot came to be!

Reagan and Erin had been together about six years and had talked about getting engaged, but probably not until later this summer. Erin didn’t know that Reagan was already in the proposal planning stages and that “the day” would be much sooner than she expected. Reagan knew that having photos from the proposal would be important to Erin, so he got in contact with Flytographer and that’s where I came in.

We did a Skype brainstorm and came up with the location (Sam Houston Park) and discussed timing and other pertinent details. Once he knew photography was locked down, Reagan finalized all the other special surprises he had in store.

When the day came, I arrived at Sam Houston Park an hour early. It’s right in downtown Houston so I wanted to allot tons of extra time for traffic and parking shenanigans. I also wanted to make sure I arrived early enough to hide. Reagan was concerned that if Erin spotted anyone with a camera she would immediately know what was happening. I literally hid behind a tree. Reagan and Erin’s families arrived to see me hunched down peering around the tree trunk…and obviously immediately knew why I was there! They hid themselves behind a picket fence.

After a few minutes that seemed like eternity, I could see a couple walking towards us from the other side of the park. As they got closer I could see it was them and I did a little mental happy dance because Erin was wearing a red dress and I knew it would look amazing in the photos! Reagan walked Erin over to the little spot we had chosen, on the walkway right in front of the chapel and went down on his knee. I could definitely tell Erin was a little confused at first. Her mind was on meeting the carriage Raegen had told her was taking them to the restaurant where they’d be celebrating her birthday. Once she realized HE WAS REALLY PROPOSING she just got the biggest smile on her face.

Once she said yes and Reagan had placed the sparkler on her hand, their families emerged from behind the fence to congratulate them! After a round of hugs and a few more photos the couple actually did go catch that carriage ride!

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4 Tips To Help You Avoid the Wedding Industrial Complex

4 tips to help you avoid the wedding industrial complex
Newly engaged and already feeling pressure about your wedding?

The Wedding Industrial Complex is a fickle beast with its judgement switch always in the on position. I get it. I was a bride once too…and actually planned two weddings because the first one had to be canceled due to Hurricane Ike!

Even if you’ve never heard that term, if you’re in the thick of planning a wedding, you intuitively know what it means. It’s the societal obsession with anything having to do with weddings that can suck a newly engaged couple into the never ending cycle of wedding/bride/groom shaming causing them to fold and provide a party to the political figureheads in their lives rather than serving their marriage from day one.

Whew! That was a mouthful!

Having been on both sides of this phenomenon, I’ve learned a lot about what is important to couples and their families in the short and long run and how to serve those concerns in a meaningful way. But before I get to far, let me share a story….

At a wedding consultation, the couple that was booking me casually mentioned they had looked into eloping. Not the run off without telling anyone kind, more of a planned elopement, now often referred to as a “micro wedding,” with immediate family only. They really wanted to have a small destination wedding, but that wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t inquire much further because it’s my job to make the wedding they are planning the best it can be, and not to commiserate with them over the wedding they wanted.

A month before the big day I met with the Bride one more time to go over some generalities. I could see the stress on her as I set down a piping hot cup of coffee. “How are you doing?” I asked. She was exhausted and frustrated. After we had settled into our conversation she said one of the most devastating (and yet true, more often than not) things I’ve heard to date. She said, “Our wedding isn’t even about us, it’s just a show for everyone else.”

Is this you? Are you already noticing that your wedding has become more of a political issue than a loving celebration? This is what was on my bride’s mind when she was thinking about her wedding day, the first day of marriage to her love. The evil and ever present Wedding Industrial Complex had struck again, leaving anger, frustration and sadness in its wake.

I’d love to say that these kinds of statements are a rarity, but I hear them fairly often. Even couples that have been married for years will tell me, if they had it to do all over again, they’d cut their guest list in half, and chill out about “the details” in favor of spending their time (and money) more meaningfully.

With that in mind, I’ve come to realize there are 4 basic rules to keep you from getting sucked in to this same downward spiral. If you’re newly engaged you can implement each of the items below and really tailor a day that brings you joy and comfort. If you’ve already been planning for awhile, with vendors booked and money spent, you can still take the truth of each tip and apply it to decisions going forward.

4 BASIC RULES

1.) Realize the “wedding” is the ceremony ONLY. What about the reception, you might be thinking. The reception is the party that comes AFTER the wedding. A reception is not mandatory for getting married. The only things you need to get married are your partner, some kind of officiant, a witness (the officiant can also act as a witness in many locations) and a license. BOOM. MARRIED. How many people are you REALLY CONCERNED about seeing you get married? Let me rephrase that…how many people will be personally invested in the success of your marriage? For most of us this list widdles down to parents, grandparents, siblings and a few best friends. The marriage happens at the ceremony. The ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day.

Walt Disney World elopement at the Beach Club Resort

2.) Think about WHAT YOU REALLY WANT before you look for inspiration or talk to vendors and otherwise start planning. I recommend having this talk with your fiancé first. Think beyond the “details” to things like, how you want to feel, moments you want to experience and traditions you want to share with your guests. Write down your ideas in as much detail as you can. For example, one of my couples wanted 15 minutes of completely alone time after the ceremony, so they added an hors d’oeuvre to the cocktail hour to keep guests happy! Once you have a clear vision for the important moments, I recommend making a list of big ticket items you’ll likely purchase for your wedding. Venue, wedding dress, tuxedo, rings, decor, bouquets, boutonnieres, DJ, caterer, bartender, honeymoon package, etc. Make two copies of your list. Keep one for yourself and give the other to your partner. Separately (without discussing it first), look over the list and rate your TOP 5 most important items in order by priority. Your top priority should be rated #1. Then, cross out your 3 LOWEST priorities. Once you’ve each done that, you can compare notes. Maybe you both have Caterer and Honeymoon in your top 5, which will ease the decision making in those two categories. Maybe you both crossed out wedding cake, meaning you can go ultra simple and use the savings toward one of your priorities. Deciding first how you want to spend your time and the emotions you want to make room for on your wedding day will help guide all your financial decisions. Knowing that cutting the cost of the centerpieces will allow you to have the DJ for an extra hour so you can party longer with your out of town friends makes the decision easy because you had pre-planned how you wanted to spend your time. Just remember…time and emotions, then money… so you can fully plan the day rather than just book vendors and hope it all works out.

Walt Disney World elopement at the Beach Club Resort

3.) Be very candid with family and friends who might have been hoping for, or expecting something different. Openly and candidly share with them, “we realize that you might have been dreaming about a different kind of celebration from the one we are planning. There is an immense amount of pressure to have a certain type of wedding which just makes it about everyone else rather than about us and our union and we don’t feel comfortable starting our marriage that way.” Be firm but kind and try to come from a place of understanding. When your parents got married, weddings were not so free form and boutique as they are now. They might be in a situation of living vicariously through you, hoping to plan the kind of wedding they would have loved, unknowingly putting you in a situation you feel overwhelmed by. My own mom hates the water and I am a water baby married to a water baby. We had a nautical themed wedding. A few years later I was helping my mom and dad plan a 35 year anniversay wedding of their dreams complete with a Cinderella theme and pink chair sashes. Your wedding day is not a day to plan a party that will appease your parents or friends. In fact, the venue, centerpieces and mashed potato bar should be the things that your loved ones are least concerned with. It is 100% okay to tell a family member or friend that is putting on the pressure that they are making you feel uncomfortable, less than, or pressured. Don’t be mean, of course, but be honest and forgiving and then stick to your course.

Walt Disney World elopement at the Beach Club Resort

4.) Be forthcoming with your vendors from the beginning about EVERYTHING. Tell them your budget, your ideas, priorities (your top 5 from #2), what you don’t care about (your bottom 3 from #2), special considerations, everything. Tell them those sweet moments you are dreaming about (especially your photographer:)They are dying to know that you want to share a special dance with your grandparents, or you’ve got a fabulous day of brunch planned for your wedding attendants. Vendors are there to serve you and your vision. They are not there to try to trick you into spending more or doing what they want. If a vendor is not listening to you or is pressuring you, find a new vendor. Most vendors that I have worked with genuinely care about their couples and want to do good by them. A wedding, whether there are only two people or 200, requires teamwork to create. It might not seem like your florist needs to know about your photography goals or your invitation suite design, but sharing details from one vendor to the next can actually help inspire them. Perhaps your florist, upon seeing your invitation, can help you choose a flower that matches the artwork. Or maybe your caterer can recommend a timeline for the dessert bar that gives you 15 minutes of alone time at sunset. Each vendor is looking at your wedding through their own professional and artistic lens, so the more information and detail they get from you, the easier it will be for them to serve you, maybe even in more ways than you expect!

Happy marriage day planning!!!

Walt Disney World elopement at the Beach Club ResortP.s. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter where I share tips about wedding planning, travel and other fun stuff! Click here to get on the list!

And if you want more wedding planning info and tips, visit the Wedding Cake Sessions section on the blog.

L~ F~:

I just stayed at Beach Club! I love that the couple featured in our photos eloped. I would do that if I had it to do all over again!

Announcing Couples Beach Mini Sessions at Beachtown in Galveston

couples engagement and anniversary beach mini sessions in Galveston
Grab you sweetheart and your sunglasses and meet me in Galveston for a mini session on the beach! These mini sessions are exclusively for couples. Whether your dating, engaged or about to celebrate your 17th anniversary, if you love the beach and need a photo update, these mini sessions are for you! I’ve never offered mini sessions before, so if you’ve ever been curious about having photos done with me, this is a great opportunity for us to connect!

We’ll be meeting at the beach access pavilion on Seaside Dr. in Beachtown on the east end of Galveston Island. You’ll receive directions for parking and shoot info at booking.

THE DETAILS

Dates:
March 18-19

Times:
5-7pm (3 slots available each day)

Includes:
25 minute session
12-15 high resolution digital files downloadable from an online sharing gallery
a free 5×7 print of your choice
some sweet moments with your love!

Investment:
135

Book now by emailing dawn@degreesnorthimages.com. Since we only have 6 slots, I expect them to fill up quick, so don’t wait to claim yours!

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Gifts from Abby, Katherine and The Signature Atelier

destination wedding photography workshop

A few weeks ago I shared that I made a HUGE investment in my business and signed up to attend The Signature Atelier, a destination photography workshop in Paris, France. I wrote all about how I didn’t think I’d be able to go because of cost, but that I couldn’t get it out of my mind and ultimately my husband had to help me pull the trigger. What I didn’t talk about was how nervous I was to even share that I was in need of some inspiration and guidance.

As a photographer, I have to constantly be inspired…the creativity in the “on” position at all times. My clients expect it and they should! As a business owner I have to constantly have my hands on multiple controls at once…managing multiple clients and vendors, posting to social media, responding to emails, editing, album designs, a newsletter, networking events and so on. Each is necessary and deserves time to be developed and fine tuned, but ultimately I have started to see that THE WAY in which I do some of these things has become a hinderance to my growth, both as an artist and a business owner. So I have to be willing to humble myself, admit some defeat, and ask for help.
destination wedding photography workshop in Paris FranceOne of the reasons I couldn’t get the workshop out of my head is because of the two wonderful women that will be hosting and teaching it. Abby and Katherine are a photographer and bridal fashion designer that constantly give and share their hearts, and with just under five months to go until we all meet in Paris, they are already gifting!

Last week I received a very unexpected delivery from Abby and Katherine. I opened the padded envelope to find a linen bag with a postcard, homework assignment and a French phrase book! It immediately got me so amped! Signing up was the first step to making this adventure happen, but this little package made it so real! I’ve already designated a notepad to work on my homework and made space in my purse for my phrasebook so I can study it while I’m out an about. It’ll be a great supplement to my Rosetta Stone.

Will you be in Paris in July, or do you know someone who will? Don’t miss this chance to book a session with me! Contact me via the “Reservations” page to schedule your session!
destination wedding photography workshop in Paris Francedestination wedding photography workshop

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