I felt like I knew Lauren before we ever met. And I loved her from the get go. She was easy going, super organized, and trusting in our abilities as photographers. It was a perfect match! We had texted and planned for her engagement session to be at Harmony Gardens in Deleon Springs, FL. As the date got closer we figured Florida was going to be Florida and it was going to rain. Cancel or not to cancel, that was the question. I assured her as long as they were down to get a little wet we would proceed as normal. We talked about the expectations of all rain situations we could encounter and we were ready for the romantic walk in a light sprinkle, or the famous "Notebook Kiss" in torrential downpour. And after hearing their story I was not surprised by their willingness to take whatever the session threw at us. You see, Cameron gave Lauren her first kiss on her 13th birthday <3 Seriously, how romantic?! They met when they were 12 at the YMCA summer camp and dated on and off up until high school graduation, when they thought that was where their story would end. Cameron went off to UCF while Lauren went to Rollins and eventually they reconnected right before Lauren's senior year was over. She was to head off to London and study for four months abroad and even that didn't keep them apart. They talked everyday and he was waiting for her at the airport when she returned and they have been together ever since. As avid Orlando City Soccer fans, it was only right that after they changed out of their fancy getup, they put their jerseys and walked through the gardens! Check them out!
I can't contain my excitement! Not only was this a new venue that we get to photograph, but the day was finally here that the world got to see Mechali's ring debuted. Remember in their previous engagement blogpost I shared that Julian was surprising Mechali with her wedding ring at the alter?! Can you imagine the first time you get to lay eyes on your ring is when its being put on your finger forever? Well, it happened and her reaction was the sweetest <3. Honestly, I could go on and on about this wedding but I'll keep it short. The day started in the incredible 900 sq ft bridal suite. Her fabulous bride tribe Brittany, Christina, and Kaitlyn kept her company and celebrated while they all got ready. Downstairs, the guys showed up in boots and jeans (perfect for the rustic, southern charm they had planned for) ready for the days events. After Mechali's dress was on, the couple met at the venue's barn doors for a first touch. For those of you wondering what that is, unlike a "first look", its when the bride and groom want to meet before the ceremony but not see each other. They often will exchange gifts, have a prayer, or just calm their nerves by hearing each others voice. I def recommend this because not only is it a super sweet moment, but it begs for a great pic and who doesn't want that? From there they were ready to get married under the giant oak tree with all their friends and family present. After the sweet exchange of vows and seeing the ring it was time for bridal portraits that they rocked! And then, PARTY TIME! Their reception was so much fun. Here's the deal...dinner, cake in the face, an awesome DJ, line dancing/boot stomping in the rain, mom catching the bouquet from a two-story balcony, an unforgettable garter placement, a super sexy last dance with just the bride and groom, and a sparkler exit to wish them on their way. Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs.
AMAZING VENDOR TEAM
Venue | The Enchanting Barn
Photographers | Dante + Angie
Cake | Rochelle's Tasty Treats
Florist | The Happy Hydrangea
Caterer | Pitmasters BBQ
Videographer | Alexis Grace Productions
DJ | #DJLS Productions 407-722-2351
Dress | KaraLou's Bridal
Day Of Coordinator | All that Glitz
I now pronounce you man and wife.....
That has to be one of my favorite moments of a wedding. I guess because we all know whats coming next. THE KISS. Followed by complete joy from both the bride and the groom. Seleana and Stephen were no exception. You can tell that there was a lot of love and joy put into this day because she coordinated and crafted this day to be exactly what they wanted. Just check out her necklace and boots! The bride rocked her dress, got her hair did, and looked stunning all while making sure the day came together. You see when I first met Seleana I realized very quickly she was a strong-willed, fierce woman... and I knew we would be friends. You have to admire a woman who is a leader and commands an audience. Stephen on the other hand, sits back, smiles and laughs at just about everything and trust me we are not that funny (maybe that was the beer talkin but I think I have him pegged). One thing was for sure about Stephen and Seleana, they love their families and especially their three GORGEOUS daughters. All who were there to celebrate their day with them.
In a quaint little cabin that doubled as a bridal suite, the girls adorned their dresses and put on their boots. The Hammock, Highland Park Fishcamp's adorable wedding venue that is tucked away sitting under a canopy of trees is the perfect setting if you are looking for a venue to host a charming country wedding. There is a super adorable stage that you can get married on, an area large enough for a dance floor, bar, buffet line, and even picnic tables for all your guests to have dinner at. Lets not forget about the fire pit and chairs that were SO needed because it ended up being in the 40's, in April Y'all! But that didn't stop the party!! The party started off with adult beverages provided by the bride and groom and delicious BBQ from Blind Mullet. Does it get any better than BBQ?? I don't think so but thats just me. After portraits on the dock as the sun was setting, the night ended with dancing, a serenade from a special guest, and karaoke from Stephen and his girls <3 Check it out!!
Lets talk Engagement Session!
Engagement Session 101
ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS ARE A BIG DEAL! This is a special time to celebrate the bond that only the two of you share. Im sure it hasn't been easy to get to this point. Yea sure, we like to focus on the glamorous parts of our relationship, but if you're anything like me you've had to work really hard to get where you are today. And that my friend is reason to celebrate! Congrats!
Whether you and your man ( or lady) take every chance to snap a selfie, have had a portrait session, or this is your first time being in front of the camera together, here are few need to know things that I have learned along the way that make all the difference. For this blog were going to feature a few of our favorite couples to showcase how they ROCKED their engagement session.
1. Choosing two outfits for the session is ideal. Generally one is a little more casual than the other but feel free to have two casual or two cocktail style or a mix like Blakley rockin a gorgeous white dress while Hank stayed in his button down, jeans, and boots!
2. Coordinating over matching. Choosing outfits that complement each other is ideal. Don't stress about finding the same shade of color. Rather choose things that go well together. If one of you has a pattern, the other would like nice in a solid neutral. Blakley's beautiful floral shirt goes well with Hank's solid darker shade of green shirt. While they both have on their boots and jeans there is no need for them to be the same color either. This may be my biggest personal preference. I love seeing two people complementing each other through a color palette. Not sure about a color palette? Click here <3
3. Be You! Wearing what your comfortable in will translate into your portraits. Adding your own personality into your session will capture who you are as a couple. Phil + Marybeth brought along a blanket and they LOVED cuddling. So naturally, they cuddled!
4. Plan for the season. We do most of our shooting in Central Florida and are pretty adamant about the weather during our rainy season so when Jenna + Chris picked day where rain was possible, instead of freaking out, we embraced it and got a romantic kiss under an umbrella. On the other hand, if you find the temp to be a little too warm for you, then layering is better. Undershirts can be a lifesaver if you're prone to sweating.
5. Accessories!! Scarves, jackets, and jewelry are your friend.
6. Pick a location that is meaningful for you. If there isn't a particular place that means something to you don't worry. It is our job to capture you, not a pretty background. Here are a few portraits that display an incredible backdrop for the day. And also, some that show off when it doesn't matter where you are. Your bond is the star of the show.
7. Incorporate something special to your session. Heres the deal on adding our furry friends to our session. Make sure to bring an extra person to help out when its not the pets turn to be in front of the camera. Make sure to have treats, doggie bags, and a plain colored leash thats not distracting. On top of everything, make sure to let go of stress about the dog not behaving. Chances are they won't do everything right, but who does? We can work with them :) Check out James, Sierra, and Korra!
8. Pick something flattering to your body type. It may sound obvious but many of us forget that we will be captured from angles that aren't a selfie :) For instance, I don't particularly like the way I look in sleeveless tops, but I LOVE off the shoulder options. Even though I go sleeveless the majority of the time I don't want to be photographed that way. Dante dawns a super red beard, which means he shouldn't be wearing many shades of red. So he sticks to blues, olives, and neutrals.
9. Ladies today is a great day to treat yourself to professional Hair and Make-up. This is a day of celebrating your love so why not feel and look your best?! Having your hair and make-up done can take away a ton of stress and help you to be relaxed. It will also give you a pretty good idea of what you will look like on your big day. Think of it as a trial run for the wedding. This is not one of the things you want to forgo.
10. HAVE FUN! Remember to plan, pick out your complimenting attire, get your hair and make-up done, and let loose. Whatever happens happens, even if your man throws you over his shoulder :D Happy Engagement Session planning!
If you haven't been, DeLeon Springs is a beautiful natural spring named after the famous Ponce De Leon, where people from all over come to visit the crystal clear freezing cold water lol. It is cold, but totally worth it. The lush greenery, canopy of gorgeous trees, and water all around make this place a picturesque gem to show off the love that Julian + Mechali have for each other. They were engaged on December 19,2015 after dating since high school. Julian is a pretty awesome guy you know. I say that because if you're wondering why there is an engagement ring missing from this engagement session it's because he is surprising Mechali with her wedding rings on the day they get married (WHO SAYS ROMANCE IS DEAD). Thats right ladies he hasn't put a ring on it... technically. But all you have to do is look at these two and see how much they are in love <3 From one portrait to the next the relationship between them became more and more evident. We CANNOT wait for their wedding coming up at The Enchanting Barn in a few weeks. I will keep you posted on that, but in the meantime check out their super romantic and fun engagement portraits. And seriously folks, if you haven't visited here before (especially for The Old Spanish Sugar Mill to have pancakes) you are missing out.
From the moment we shot their engagement session we were stoked about shooting Kara + Doug's Rustic DIY, "The Hunt is Over" themed wedding. The bride was rockin a fab Alfred Angelo with Ariat Cowgirl boots. The ceremony and reception was held at the beautiful Harmony Gardens in DeLeon Springs, Florida. We asked Kara a few questions about her wedding and here is what she said.
What was the inspiration for your wedding?
"The wedding was outdoor and we love outdoors! So we went with a rustic, "the hunt is over" theme. We used a lot of wood, deer horns and mason jars. I wanted to incorporate items that we made for the wedding, that we could put in our home to remind of us the best day of our lives."
What is one thing you would advise a bride on that is planning her wedding?
"I would start with The Knot app, it is helpful with planning and knowing what needs to be done by when. And I would definitely say get a "day of" coordinator so you as the bride or mother of the bride aren't worried about the details once the wedding starts and you can enjoy!"
What was the best part of having your wedding at Harmony Gardens?
"I just loved the venue in general, it is a beautiful place! All the big oaks and ferns makes for beautiful pictures! One of the reasons I liked it so much was they offered a grooms room and a bridal cottage, it was nice we both had a place to get ready with a/c and bathrooms. Also Janice the wedding coordinator was very nice and made sure my day ran smoothly so me or my mom didn't have to worry about a thing once the wedding started and we could enjoy!"