Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

What To Do With Your Images

Today marks the end of a month long planning series to help couples plan and prepare for the big day. We've covered topics ranging from family formals to flowers, first look to getting ready. Let's pretend then that you're married, the planning is over -- now what? Today I'm sharing a few ideas on what do with all the images you've now received. 

I know that the tendency following the wedding day can be to access your images, download them to your computer, maybe upload them to social media and then nothing. You're busy, life moves on and nothing becomes of your images other than pixels on a screen. But these are your memories and a representation of the legacy you are creating together.  I believe strongly that your images deserve to be preserved and curated into tangible heirlooms, to be enjoyed, shared with loved ones. 

Here are just a few ideas on what do with your images following the wedding day :

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Tips From The Pros

As we near the end of a month long blog series created to help couples plan and prepare for the wedding day, I thought it would be lovely to hear from past DZP couples!! Today we're hearing from the PROS, couples who have planned and executed beautiful wedding days. They are sharing their best tips for those who are in the planning stages and they have some great advice to share!! Read on to gather your own nuggets of wisdom to apply to your wedding planning and wedding day. Take it away DZP pros!!

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Plan The Perfect Reception

The Reception is your time to let loose and celebrate!! It is important to thoughtfully plan out this part of the day and your DJ, caterer and venue coordinator will help walk you through how to best plan for the evening. As you bring together details with your team, there are several things to keep in mind as you map out the night’s festivities. In today's DZP Planning Series I'm sharing my favorite tips to help you plan the perfect reception.

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Dress To Impress : A Style Guide from The Black Tux

In the seventh installment of the DZP Planning Series, I'm sharing a great resource to help your guests dress to impress at your wedding!!

Have you ever received an invitation to a wedding and thought "I have no idea what to wear?" Well today you're in luck because the folks at The Black Tux have put together an amazing resource to help you (and your guests) plan their outfits for the big event!! Beach-y and casual to black tie, this resource will help you plan your outfits perfectly!! With outfits ideas inspired for both men and woman, be sure to PIN this resource for future reference this wedding season!!

Ladies, I'm sure by now you're familiar with Rent the Runway, an amazing site where you can rent beautiful dresses for any occasion. If you've been wondering where is the equivalent for men, wonder no more!! The Black Tux is a suit and tuxedo rental company, tailored for the groom to be and his groomsmen. Finding a well fitting stylish suit is hard to come by. The Black Tux is a great resource to ensure that the men on your wedding day are looking sharp!!  With modern and stylish suits and tuxedos, the Black Tux is the new way to dress for your wedding day -- you can learn more here!! 

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Make An Impact With Your Wedding Flowers

It's no secret that I love flowers -- they bring me so much joy!! If I could live in a house made of flowers, I probably would ;). While my love of all things floral may skew my opinions in some ways (bigger is always better!), what remains true is that your wedding florals will make a huge impact throughout your day. Your florals will be one of the most photographed items on the wedding day and included in almost all of your images. Careful thought and attention should be paid to the style, look and feel of your flower choices. 

*Tip : Your florist will be your BEST resource in figuring out how to choose and display the right florals for your day. Scroll down below to discover some of my favorite florist designers.

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How To Plan Stress Free Family Formals

In the fourth post of the DZP Wedding Planning Series, we'll be chatting about to plan stress free family formals. The success of family formals on the wedding day is in the planning. Often, the idea of photographing grouping after grouping can seem overwhelming, to you, your family and your photographer. While it may seem like this is an easy and quick part of the wedding day -- when you are working with larger groups of people things can quickly become confusing, complicated and down right stressful. Today I'll be sharing my best tips on how to make this time with your loved ones, easy, stress free and enjoyable. 

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Preparing For the Morning Of The Wedding

In the fourth post of the DZP Wedding Planning Series, I am sharing how to prepare for the morning of your wedding day and make the most of this precious time with your loved ones!! Months of planning and preparation have lead to this moment -- getting ready on your wedding day!! There will be lot swirling around you : people, questions and attention. Often it can be overwhelming and a lot to take in. Read on to learn how to reduce stress and enjoy every minute as you get ready for your wedding!!

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Making The Most of Your Wedding Party Portraits

In the third post of the DZP Wedding Planning series, I am sharing how to make the most of your wedding party portraits. Your wedding party portraits are a fun and exciting time to share with your best friends and loved ones. You’ll celebrate and honor those who have supported you over the years, first as individuals and now as a couple. Some choose a large wedding party while others simply pick a best friend or sibling to stand with them. Regardless of your wedding party size, I want this to be an incredibly fun time with your loved ones. Read on to learn how to make the most of this time with your loved ones.

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Is A First Look For You?

In today's post, the second the DZP Planning series, we're talking all about the First Look. What is a First Look? Is right for your wedding day? How do you plan for a First Look? I'll be answering those questions and more -- let's get started.

The First Look is a period of the day where the Bride & Groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony. This is an intentional period of time set aside just for the couple. Often this is the first and last time you’ll be alone together on an otherwise very busy day. It’s an opportunity for you to express all this day means to you in a safe and private atmosphere. 

With the hustle and bustle of the wedding day underway, the Ceremony does not provide much room to share heartfelt emotions. Often, the Groom may be standing in front of the aisle with all eyes on him watching for his reaction. That’s a lot of pressure and can often lead to a nervous face and stiff body language; not exactly the emotional response a Bride may have envisioned. Couples typically feel more at ease to share their feelings together for the first time alone rather than in front of all of their guests; a First Look provides the room and space to do just that.

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Introducing the Wedding Planing Series

Welcome to January and the official start of 2017!! It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone. To kick off 2017, I'm re-introducing my wedding planning series here on the blog!! For the month of January I will be sharing some of my favorite tips, resources and advice for planning a stress free wedding day!!

Over the next 30 days I'll be covering topics such as : 

How To Plan The Perfect Wedding Timeline

Is A First Look For You? 

Making The Most Of Your Wedding Party Portraits

Preparing For The Morning Of Your Wedding

How To Plan For Stress Free Family Formals

Make An Impact With Your Wedding Flowers

Plan the Perfect Reception

Tips from the Pros

You're Married, Now What?

If you're planning a wedding, I hope that this series will be a great resource for you. I'd love to know : what are your biggest questions surrounding the wedding day? And if you're married : what is the best tip you can give to couples who are in the midst of planning? I look forward to sharing this series with you!! 

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Wedding Photography : What Makes The Difference?

What makes a wedding photographer worth the investment? Beyond the obvious (web presence, reviews and referrals, legitimate business practices), there are several key factors to look for when choosing your wedding photographer. Photography is so much more than simply clicking a shutter. It’s about creating art with a purpose, preserving history and serving clients through the medium of photography. My hope that this be the base at which you start. From there, several factors should be taken into consideration when picking the right photographer for you. 

Price

I’m going to challenge you to remove price from the equation. I’m not trying to be unrealistic — I was a Bride once with a very limited wedding budget and I understand that couples often have a specific budget that they need to adhere to. But I want to encourage you, don’t let price be the only factor in why you choose a photographer. 

Are all photographers created equal? No. Which is why there is a large range in price points. In wedding photography you often get what you pay for so make sure you understand exactly what your photographer will deliver. Investing in your wedding photography experience ensures that your day is professionally and artistically captured, providing you with exceptional customer service and a memorable experience.

Style & Approach

No two photographers are alike and will view and capture a wedding day in very unique ways — Will your photographer connect with the vision you have for your wedding day? Will they capture the day in the way that is meaningful to you? When meeting with potential photographers ask them to describe their style - what inspires them as an artist? What are the values that shape their world view? Aside from visually seeing their work, digging deeper to understand the person behind the camera and their approach as an artists, will hep you determine if they are the right fit for you. 

Personality & Professionalism

Your photographer will be someone you spend a significant amount of time with on the wedding day. Do you feel comfortable around their presence? Do you trust that person to capture your day? Will they courteous, polite and kind to your guests and loved ones? Are they responsible, one time and will they dress appropriately on your wedding day?  Having a connection with your photographer is essential in creating natural and authentic images and allowing you to feel comfortable and relaxed on the wedding day.

Craft

Professionally lit images, portfolios edited with a cohesive and consistent style, blog posts that show a range of moments throughout the day, flattering posing, natural looking images — these are just a few of the things you can look for when determining the skill level and expertise of a photographer.

If you're attracted to a more documentary style of photography — is your photographer skilled in unobtrusively capturing the big and small moments of the day? Is their portfolio filled with images that speak to this type of style? Similarly, if you are attracted to romantic or artfully posed images — do you see examples of beautiful and flatteringly posed couples in their portfolio? Beyond their website, asking to see full galleries of past weddings can help you determine if the photographer is skilled at their craft and can capture the wedding day in a style that you feel connected too.

Equipment

I believe that equipment does not make the photographer, however it is absolutely essential that the photographer you choose to hire is prepared to safely and securely capture your wedding day using professional grade gear and backup systems. The wedding day is a fluid and ever changing event that your photographer must be prepared for. From backup gear, to extra batteries, to lighting equipment, a professional photographer will be be prepared with the proper equipment to capture the wedding day.

Albums & Heirlooms

If you are interested in creating an album or heirloom with your photographer, ask to see examples and inquire where and how the heirlooms are made. Look for heirlmooms that are hand crafted using archival quality inks and papers. After the wedding day, one of the few things that remain are the images your photographer has created for you. These images deserve to be curated into artfully curated heirlooms that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come. Ensure that the products your photographer offers you will stand the test of time.

Crafting The Wedding Day Timeline

This week I'm delighted to continue the Wedding Essentials series with tips on how to craft a Wedding Day Timeline. One of the questions I receive over and over again is "How much time do we need?" or "How Do we Plan the Timeline?" It's important to think about several key points as you pull together your timeline which we'll walk through today. Planning for these things and doing it well in advance of the wedding will ensure that your day runs smoothly. More importantly, it means you can enjoy each and every moment together, create memories with your loved ones and relax!! At DZP, I work hard to help couples craft a timeline that leaves lots of room for photography, relaxation and FUN. Click the video below to learn more!!

As always, if you have any thoughts or specific questions you'd like to see address in an episode of Wedding Essentials, please join the conversation in the comment sections, I'd be happy to answer your questions!!

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by Deborah Parker

How To Plan For Your Engagement Session

Several weeks ago I introduced a new video series titled Wedding Essentials here on the blog!! Geared at helping couples plan for the wedding day I kicked off the series with an introduction and my heart behind Wedding Essentials and how to stay connected through the photographic experience.

My plan was to share a new video every week and well, wedding season happened. But not to worry, I'm back at it this week sharing my favorite tips on how to best plan for your engagement session!! From location to hair and makeup there are small things you can do to prepare for your session that make a BIG difference, click on the video to learn more!!

As always, if you have any thoughts or specific questions you'd like to see address in an episode of Wedding Essentials, please join the conversation in the comment sections, I'd be happy to answer your questions!!

Next week I'll be sharing about how to plan your wedding day timeline, I can't wait to connect with you!!

Wedding Essentials by Deborah Zoe Photography.
Wedding Essentials by Deborah Zoe Photography.
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by Deborah Parker

Staying Connected Through The Photographic Experience

Staying Connected Through The Photographic Experience

Last week I introdued a new video series titled Wedding Essentials here on the blog!! Geared at helping couples plan for the wedding day I kicked off the series with an introduction and my heart behind Wedding Essentials. 

This week I'm diving right into things and sharing about how to stay connected through the photographic experience. This week's content is geared specifically towards DZP Bride & Grooms as I share how I use my website/blog along with social media to stay connected and in communication with my couples as they plan for the wedding day!! 

As always, if you have any thoughts or specific questions you'd like to see address in an episode of Wedding Essentials, please join the conversation in the comment sections, I'd be happy to answer your questions!!

Next week I'll be sharing about how to use your online gallery, I can't wait to connect with you!!

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by Deborah Parker

A New Video Series To Help Plan Your Wedding!

A New Video Series To Help Plan Your Wedding!

Eeep, I can't believe I'm putting this out there!! Here we go!! My very first, sorta, video post!! Since the beginning of the year I've been brainstorming with ideas of sharing more about how I help my couples plan and prepare for the wedding day. And while a written blog post is great, I thought it would be more helpful to talk with you via video about some of the questions couples have when planning for the day. That is how Wedding Essentials was born. 

Over the coming weeks I'll be sharing new videos with tips and tools on how to best plan and prepare for the wedding day. Everything from planning your wedding day timeline to the First Look to who to include in your family portraits. The series will be geared mainly towards DZP Bride & Grooms, yet the information shared can be helpful to anyone planning their wedding day or to photographers who are walking alongside their own clients through the planning process.

I'm really excited to connect in such a personal way, so I hope you'll join the conversation and utlize the comment section, either in the video or in this post!! As always I would love to tailor the content to YOU so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them here and I'll do my best to answer them throughout the series!!

This week I'm introducing you to my heart behind Wedding Esseentials, next week I'll be sharing about how to stay connected through the photographic exeprience!! I can't wait to connect with you!!

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by Deborah Parker

Planning For Your Portrait & Engagement Session

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Tips and Tricks for Looking & Feeling Your Best!

'Tis the season for portrait and engagement sessions! I've been busily working behind the scenes helping my couples and famillies pull together style and vision for their upcoming sessions this fall. It's actually one my favorite parts about the creative process, pulling ideas and inspiration together and then bringing that vision to life. But if you're not like me, planning and styling your session might be a bit overwhelming. What should we wear? Where do we get outfits? How do we pull everything together? In today's post I'm sharing some of my best tips and tricks on how to style and plan for a portrait or engagement session to help you make the most of your time in front of the camera. Planning doesn't have to be overwhelming, in fact it can be a lot of fun! With just a few tips you too can bring your vision to life and create beautiful memories in front of the camera! Here's how :

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 Vision & Theming//Location//Style//Resources

Every great session starts with a solid theme or vision. This vision is what will tie everything together. In everything that I do, I try to tell a visual story, with images that connect from one to the next. A common vision or theme can be a great foundation to this visual story.

This vision doesn't have to be an elaborate set up or overly styled prop backdrop. It can simply mean choosing an idea, location or color that has meaning to you. I would encourage you to think about the things that you enjoy doing together, the things that remind you of each other, places that you feel most in love.  You'll begin to notice a pattern, a common thread in all of these places, things and ideas. 

It is that commonality that will become the foundation of your vision for the session. It will dictate everything from location to style to color choices. This is a really fun part of the planning process, so don't be afraid to dig deep and think outside the box!

Things to think about : color, patterns, things you enjoy, mood, style

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//Location//

When you have a vision for the session, choosing a location becomes a much easier task. When you look back on your images, the location should enhance the connection you have together and play off of the theme and vision you have created. The location should be a place you feel a connection to, a place where you are comfortable and at ease. All of these factors play into the success of your images and are what truly allow your personalities to shine through. 

Things to think about : simple backgrounds, remove distracting elements, de-clutter the space, pretty does not always mean perfect, think outside the box, relatable to your relationship, places of meaning

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//Style//

Style is another piece of the planning puzzle that helps to tie everything together. Similar to the vision and theme of the session, you want your personal style to be connected and consistent throughout your images. You'll also want to choose outfit selections that are true to who you are, that you feel comfortable, confident and beautiful/handsome in. 

Remember that colors, patterns, layers and textures should all be complimentary. So for example, if your vision focused around a pastel color palette, you would select style choices that were soft, light, and neutral (think linen, denim, flowy, feminine.)

Things to think about : simple styling, relatable to environment, reflective of your personality, tailored and personalized, patterns, textures, layering

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//Resources//

There are many great resources out there to help aid you in the planning of your portrait or engagement session. Here are some of my favorites : 

Hair & Makeup : I believe strongly that if you are going to be photographed it is worth investing in having your hair and makeup professionally done. Hair & makeup professionals know how to enhance your best features and what will photograph beautifully. Professionally hair and makeup ensures that you feel your absolute best in front of the camera which allows you to focus less on being photographed and more on the moments you are creating together. 

Some of my favorite hair and makeup professionals are list below :

Amanda McCarthy Beauty

Makeovers By Ligia

Hair That Moves

Just Hair by Kris

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Styling : Not everyone is a natural born stylist, sometimes you need a little help pulling together the perfect selection of outfits for your session. One way I help direct in this area is by creating inspiration boards for each session based around a color palette and theme along with outfit inspiration To bring that to life, working with a stylist may be the answer. Below are a few great resources for help with styling a portrait or engagement session:

The Stylish One Julie is a Boston area stylist who works closely with her clients to create personalized style that fits with your session, event or wedding.

J.Crew & Nordstrom offer personal stylist who can help tailor outfits that fit perfectly together.

Rent The Runway I've heard about Rent The Runway over the years but it wasn't until recently that I discovered just how amazing it is!! Don't have it in the budget to splurge on that designer dress? No problem!! At RTR you can RENT your favorite designer gown at an incredibly affordable price and feel like a rockstar during your session. WIN.

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Florals : I love flowers. Like loooove flowers. And if we didn't have a cat who liked to eat any bouquet my sweet husband brought home then I would be living in a sea of beautiful blooms. Perfectly picked florals make my heart soar and when they are uniquely designed into the theme for a session…it is perfection. Here are great places to source blooms for your upcoming session :

Les FleursDogwood Floral, and Whim Events are three amazing floral designers who delight in the art of crafting the perfect floral arrangement, whether that be a floral crown, bouquet, arrangement or simple accessory. They are masters when it comes to picking the perfect blooms for any occasion.

If you're on a budget, Whole Foods is a great option for sourcing florals. They have a beautiful selection of seasonal blooms that can be made into a simple bouquet or hair piece. A simple silk ribbon can help tie it all together.

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I hope that these simple tips have equipped you to plan your engagement or portrait session with ease. Sometimes it takes the help of others to bring a vision to life, so don't hesitate to gather together a creative time of professionals to make it all come together. You are unique, your love is one of kind. Your engagement or portrait session should be too. I can't wait to celebrate that beauty with you!

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by Deborah Parker

Wedding day family portraits

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The Family Formals

Weddings draw people together. Friends, family, loved ones will travel miles if not across oceans to attend weddings. These may be people the couple has not seen in years. It's an incredibly joyous occasion that brings people together and as a photographer, I love being there to document these relationships and mini reunions! As a photographer, that is a big responsibility and one that I do not take lightly! For many photographers, the Family Formals are not their favorite part of the day. But for me, I love witnessing the relationhips the couple has with their family, friends and loved ones. I love watching as Grandpa clings tightly to his darling granddaughter or how the Groom reaches over to give his Mom a kiss. I love these moments and I love capturing them!

Over the years I've noticed that preperation goes a long when it comes to Family Formals. Because I want these images to be happy, joyous, celebratory, I work extensively with the couple BEFORE the wedding day to ensure that there is room for FUN, SPONTENEITY and a relaxed environment. Below are a few tips that I share with every couple in how to help best prepare their family (and each other!) for the Family Portraits!

1. Communiate. Communicating with your loved ones before the wedding day can make a huge difference in the atmosphere surrounding your family formals. First, remember to communicate where your family is to be the day of the wedding. I can't stress this enough, especially if a couple chooses to take their portraits before the ceremony. If you have older relatives, who may be unfamiliar with this, a gentle reminder of when and where they need to be the day of the wedding can eliviate time spent waiting for lost guests. Additionally, communicating the vibe and feeling you want to achieve in your family portraits is vastly important. Let your family know that they can let loose, have some fun, joke around, and just enjoy each other's company! As your photographer it’s my job to help people feel natural, but having the right attitude to start goes a long way in creating fun and memorable family portraits!

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2. Organization. Stress can be a huge factor in how successful the wedding portrait time is. Part of what can make this time stressful is lack of organization. It can be hard trying to rally up 30 plus people for your family portraits when food and drinks are in the apposite direction;). Being organized ahead of time can ensure that you are stress free and that your family knows exactly where to be and when on the wedding day. Two months before the wedding day, I send out a questionnaire to all my couples to go over exactly who they want participating in their family formals. This helps to start the organization process early and gives the couple the tools and information to communicate to their family. Come the wedding day, the Bride and Groom know exactly who will be having their pictures taken and when! We check things off as we go and make any adjustments as needed. The less the Bride & Groom have to think about, the less they have to worry about!

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3. Relax. If you haven't noticed it already, there is a theme going on here, relaxation. People feed off certian energy; If the Bride & Groom are happy and relaxed, then most likely those around them will be also. It’s all in the attitude. Allow me to take care of gathering people together, organizing the groupings and directing people. It’s the Bride & Groom's job to just ENJOY this moment, hug and kiss their families and to just simply take it all in. If you do find that you’re starting to get anxious then, take a deep breath, remember that you love your family and remember the purpose of the day: each other! 

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4. Numbers. For each wedding I alot around 30 minutes in the timeline for Family Formals. Because there has been extensive communication before hand, we alreayd know who will be in what groupings and people know where to be and when. I stirve to make the family portraits time a fun and relaxed environment while being efficient so that everyone can get back to what they really want to do: PARTY! That being said, I always advise couples to be aware of the amount of combinations that they TRULY want. Organizing and gathering people does take time. Allowing people a moment to breath and relax takes time. The more people we have to photograph the more time it will take to do so. As your planning out who you would like photographed on your wedding day, remember to be realistic as to how much time you have and how many people you want in your portraits.

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Below is a basic combination list that I start with all my couples. Of course every family dynamic is different so this list will often change. Couples can add or remove combinations from this list and we work together to create a family portrait list that fits their needs as well as their timeline!

Bride and Mom

Bride and Dad

Bride with Mom and Dad

Bride and Groom with Mom and Dad

Bride and Groom with Mom and Dad (add siblings & significant others, families, grandparents)

Bride with Mom and Dad (add siblings)

Bride and Groom with Grandparents

Bride and Groom with both sets of parents

Bride and Groom with both sides of families

Groom with Mom

Groom with Dad

Groom with Mom and Dad

Groom and Bride with Mom and Dad

Groom and Bride with Mom and Dad (add siblings & significant others, families, grandparents)

Groom with Mom and Dad (add siblings)

Groom and Bride with Grandparents

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As your photographer, family formals are all about documenting family units, the bond that each family shares and preserving family history. Being able to witness as families come together and capturing that that in an image is what I love! My goal is to provide you with images that help you to remember your family for years to come. Maybe you won't see them again for many years or maybe they live right down the street, either way I hope that your family portraits serve as a reminder of just how much love was shared on your wedding day and the people who make your life bright!

If you have any questions about how I organize the Family Formals or would like more detail on what this part of the wedding day looks like, leave a comment below and I'll share my responses today! Happy Wednesday everyone!

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by Deborah Parker

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal

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Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal

Welcome to Wedding Love, my blog series dedicated to all things Wedding Planning! I started this series almost five years ago (!!!) with the hope of inspiring the Bride to Be as she plans her wedding. Over the years I have shared my experiences as a Bride and Photographer in hopes of equipping Brides with insightful content and fun stories!

When it comes to Wedding Planning, there are three areas that I am frequently asked about by my Brides : The Engagement Session, The First Look and the Family Formals, all of which I will talk more in depth about in the coming months. For today I wanted to tackled the topic of the First Look. If you’ve been around the blog for any amount of time you know how strongly I feel about the First Look (you can read more here & here). I’m unashamedly for the Bride and Groom carving out time for each other on the wedding day. Today we're going to talk about the differences of the First Look and Traditional reveal and hopefully give you insight into what might be the best option for you. Before we dive right in, let's chat about what the First Look is exactly...

The First Look is when a couple chooses to see each other before the ceremony. It is a private moment alone together before the rush of the day begins. Shocking? Yes and no. As more and more couples become aware of the First Look they are choosing to take advantage of this option for their wedding day. Around 90% of my couples choose to see each other before the ceremony. When my husband I were married in 2006 we didn’t even know that this was an option! Almost 10 years later and this “trend” has only gained in popularity, with more and more couples deciding how THEY want their day to flow.

Looking back, I wish we had a First Look. I was only familiar with the traditional way of doing things and so that's exactly what we did. The morning of the wedding, I was SO nervous. (It was the first and only time I’ve ever had to breath into a paper bag!) All I could think was that I just wanted to see Dave, he is the person who gives me peace, assurance and security. But we waited unitl the ceremony. What I thought was going to be some magical moment at the church aisle turned out to be nothing like I had imagined. I was a hot, sweaty mess. My dress caught in the doorway and my Dad and I could barely fit down the tiny aisle together. I couldn’t see because I was crying to badly. Dave was so nervous to be the center of attention he forgot to smile! AND to top it all off, everyone had stood up and blocked my view of my hubby to be! We didn’t have a moment alone together until later that night when we had left the reception. Looking back, oh how I wished we had a First Look.

As a photographer I can only share my experiences. Each and every couple is different, some want the traditional aisle reveal while others want to spend their time together before the ceremony. My job as your photographer is simply to educate you as to what might be the best decision for you. While I am a huge advocate for the First Look, I know that option might not be right for everyone. So with that in mind I have compiled two lists to help make that decision process easier. Choosing a First Look or Choosing a Traditional Reveal! Let’s dive in! 

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look:

  • It’s a time JUST FOR YOU. I can’t stress enough how quickly a wedding day passes and how limited your time together is. A First Look pauses the day and gives you an opportunity to be alone during an otherwise very packed and busy day. 
  • If you find yourself nervous, jittery or anxious, a First Look allows you time to release that energy before the ceremony starts. As I’ve shared above, I was that Bride! Knowing that I could have seen Dave before the ceremony would have alleviated much of that anxiety.
  • A First Look realigns the timeline allowing you to take many of the portraits such as Bridal Party & Family before hand, freeing up your time to enjoy parts of the day with your guests, like the cocktail hour. 
  • Emotions. When it’s just the two of you, you’ll be more likely to express how you are truly feeling. It is much harder to display your emotions and the impact of seeing each other when you’re in front of all of your guests. 
  • Many of my clients worry about privacy during the First Look. Because I truly believe that this should be a time for just the couple, I work very hard to ensure that this moment is private and documented in a respectful way. If you’re going to have a First Look, we want to ensure this moment is meaningful and special. 
  • If you are getting married later in the year (late fall & winter), a First Look might be your only option to ensure portraits in daylight. 
  • MORE PORTRAITS! A First Look allows us more space in the timeline for portraits. And because we are not fighting against a reception start, it is a much more relaxed and calming atmosphere. Portraits are my favorite part of the day and as a photographer it’s where I feel like I truly shine. I also believe that given the time and space along with a calming and enjoyable atmosphere, a couple is more likely to let down their guard in front of the camera. Which in turns produces beautifully honest images of two people in love.
 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a Traditional Reveal :

  • A Traditional Reveal at the Ceremony is how many Brides to Be envision their wedding day. Plus this is what most guests are accustomed to, so there will be no explanation needed for guests or Family.
  • Along with that, your family and guests will be a part of your reveal, a moment that many Families want to witness and be a part of. 
  • Your dress will not have been exposed to the elements before the ceremony. 
  • If you are feeling pressure to have a First Look, but you know that it’s just not for you : DO NOT DO IT. (skip down to #5 in A Few Things to Consider!)
  • If anything runs late the morning of the wedding such as hair & makeup or a wardrobe issue, it will not interfere with a First Look.
 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

A Few Things to Consider :

  • If you are getting married in the late fall and winter months you will have a very limited window of natural daylight. As a natural light photographer, I would strongly encourage you to have a First Look.
  • Parents and family can absolutely be a part of the First Look if that is something you are interested in. In fact it can be an incredibly emotional time sharing that moment with the people you love! 
  • If you choose not to partake in a First Look, the Bridal Party (Bride with Bridesmaids & Groom with Groomsmen) will be taken before the ceremony.
  • If you choose not to partake in a First Look, the Bridal Party, Family and Bride & Groom portraits will be taken afterwards meaning you will miss much, if not all, of your cocktail hour. Your reception details will be photographed after the guests have arrived and may be disturbed before being photographed.
  • As your photographer I will need 30 minutes with the Bridal Party, 30 minutes with the Family and 30-45 minutes with the Bride and Groom on the wedding day. If you only have 10 minutes for your Couple Portraits you will have a very limited amount of images and limited variety in your wedding portfolio.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve! Whether you choose to see each other for the first time during your First Look or during a Traditional Reveal, share your emotions! Don’t hold back! This is your opportunity to let your spouse to be know how you feel regardless of who is watching or where you are. This is a day to celebrate! Your wedding day will be happy and memorable occasion for you as a couple, share that joy with those around you!

From The Pros :

“ I loooooved our first look. We both cried like babies. It was so special and honestly my absolute FAVORITE part of our wedding day. It was like time slowed down and that's the part I can remember the best!” - Stephanie

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

“Our first look was one of my favorite moments of our wedding day! So glad we decided to do that, Jason's reaction was priceless! It was such an intimate time that we have captured forever!!” - Amanda

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

“The decision to do a First Look at our wedding was a little controversial, but ultimately it's a decision we're both very glad that we made.  Our families were a bit confused about the whole idea because it goes against tradition, but I got everyone on board! The First Look was time just for the two of us. I've really come to cherish the moments from our First Look because they would not appear again until the reception was over and everyone went home. Seeing each other before the ceremony lifted all the stress and butterflies away. It calmed our emotions and anxiety, allowing us to really enjoy the ceremony and the special moments of our wedding. It was a special part of our day that still stands out as a favorite!” - Marlo

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

“My favorite part of our wedding was our ceremony. We were able to take the best parts of a traditional wedding ceremony and make them our own. In particular, I loved that we brought together all of our closest family and friends to stand beside us as we recited our vows. In a sentence, it was the moment where I felt the deepest amount of love between us and surrounding us.” - Lisa

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

“Our first look was the best part of the day. While primping and prepping I had worked myself up and grown more and more anxious. When I walked outside to the park, I tapped Rob on the shoulder and immediately felt at ease. We were able to be ourselves and cuddle while Deb captured some intimate photos. That time alone to reflect on how lucky we were was just what we needed. From there on out, I just knew what an amazing day it would be and all the nerves went away!” - Rachel

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

"My favorite part was the the anticipation leading up to seeing my groom for the first time. Focusing on him as I walked down the aisle was the most magical and romantic moment of my life! I still remember the look on his face!" - Lindsey

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

“The morning of the wedding was a stressful time for me. Having a First Look shortened the waiting period to see my Bride to Be, which was wonderful and exactly what I needed. I could see Hannah and this time allow us to soak the day in a bit. I think that's one of the biggest perks about the First Look. There was time before the ceremony for us to see each other, there was a flow, a reasonable and enjoyable pace to the day, that let us enjoy each other and the party. Furthermore, given that we got married in a field and the 'aisle' was really long, being able to actually see Hannah in her dress from a reasonable distance was preferable to me over seeing her walk across a large open field from far away. The fact that I had seen her previously didn't detract from seeing her walk down the aisle, but let me take more of it in!” - Barrett

 Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

Choosing a First Look or Traditional Reveal by Deborah Zoe Photography.

As you've read, choosing whether to choose a First Look or Traditional Reveal is a very personal decision. I would challenge you to think carefully as you approach your wedding day as to what decision is right for you. As your photographer, regardless of whether you see each other beforehand or at the ceremony, I will work hard to capture that special moment in a way that is meaningful to you. Either choice is extraordinarily personal, one is not right and one is not wrong. Simply put, one is the perfect fit for you and your day. I hope that this post has given you more insight into the First Look and pointed you in the direction that is right for you! 

Group participation time! Did you have a First Look or Traditional Reveal? What did you enjoy about your time together? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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by Deborah Parker

How Adding Florals Can Enhance Your Session

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How Adding Florals Can Enhance Your Session

Well I suppose the secret it out, I love florals! In case you missed it, over the weekend I shared several sneak peeks of a beautiful family session. With a little planning beforehad we had the opportunity to incoporate several floral elements into the session. It was the PERFECT accessory and a beautiful compliment for a darling family. In short it was a dream to photograph!

Florals are a wonderful way to add interest and whimsy to your engagement or portrait session and as a photographer I adore when clients take the time to think thoughtfully about how to do so in a meaningful way. Whether it be a floral head wreath, a hand picked bouquet, a floral pin, or a slew of soft petals, blooms are the perfect way to let your session stand out from the rest! And with the many blooms that are available in the various seasons throughout the year, the options are seamingly endless! 

In additiona to adding interest and charm, florals can be a great way to give you something to do with your hands which is especially helpful for those who might be nervous in front of the camera! Plus they smell good, who doesn't love that?:)

Dogwood Floral, Les Fleurs and Whim Events are just a few of my favorite floral designers who have created works of floral art for DZP sessions in the past. If you're interested in adding a touch of florals to your upcoming portrait or engagement session (of course I HIGHLY recommend it!), please reach out! I'd love to help you incoporate beautiful blooms into your session for a unique and whimsical touch! Until then, enjoy some inspiration for your viewing pleasure. May it inspire your floral dreams;):)!

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by Deborah Parker

Why Invest In An Anniversary Session?

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A week or so ago Dave and I welcomed a friend over to dinner, a friend that we had not seen in years. Late into the dinner conversation we found ourselves talking about photographic experiences. Our friend recounted how he and his wife had a less than stellar experience with their own wedding photographer and because of this, four years after their wedding day, decided to fly in one of their favorite photographers to have an anniversary session. More than just a redo, their anniversary session celebrated their relationship, honored their marriage and brought them closer together as a couple. Dave and I looked at each other with a knowing glance...because we did the same exact thing. Like our friend, four years after our wedding day we flew in one of my favorite photographers, Katelyn James, to document a session for us. 

Incredible that even six years later, the emotions and meaning behind our anniversary session are just as powerful today as they were then. Katelyn made us feel like our relationship was something to celebrate; she deeply understood how important this experience was to us I will be forever grateful for that.

To be able to create a First Look and to see my Hubby for the "first time" in my wedding dress was a moment I will never forget. The way that the looked at me, the way that I felt and to know it was all captured in a photograph makes my heart feel like it could burst. The images are a representation of our marriage and all that it means to us. Investing in an anniversary session has been one of the greatest blessing to our relationship. Every time I look at these images I am flooded with emotion and gratefulness.

And now with a growing toddler who often looks at these images I am once again reminded of just how important these images are, not just to us but to our growing family.

Because it's Throwback Thursday I couldn't help but share a few of our favorite images from our anniversary session. Looking at these makes me all weepy and emotional, so excuse me as I go look for a box of tissues....

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I truly believe that every marriage deserves to be celebrated and an anniversary session is the perfect way to do just that! If you are interested in celebrating your commitment with an anniversary session, please email me for all the details. I would be honored to celebrate your love with images you will cherish for years to come.

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by Deborah Parker