Daniel Stowe Botanical Brunch Garden Wedding

Justine and Brandon's brunch wedding at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden was such a special one! These two kept their wedding fairly intimate with just their closest friends and family, and decided to have their ceremony at 11am. This was our first brunch wedding, and can I just say we LOVED it! I felt so energized the whole day- mainly because my best working time is 10-2, so this fit right in that time! 

They celebrated with an outdoor ceremony in the beautiful gardens, and the weather was perfect!  The spring weather here in NC can be crazy sometimes, and actually has been lately, but thankfully the day was perfect for our sweet couple! They had a traditional reception with dancing, cake cutting, and toasts, and then had a small Chinese Tea Ceremony with Justine's family.

I so appreciate how trusting and appreciative Justine and Brandon were. They greeted us with a gift right when we got there, and through this whole process truly trusted us to guide them and choose the best locations for pictures. 

Also, a huge shoutout to Kayla and her team from Clockwork Events and Design on executing such a stunning wedding for Justine and Brandon. Kayla works so hard to bring her clients' vision to life, and I so appreciate her and her willingness to serve her clients well! 

Enjoy a few of our favorite moments from this springtime brunch wedding at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden!

Hair: MirrorBomb

Makeup: LaLa Girl

Planning and Coordinating: Clockwork Events and Design

Cake: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Venue: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden 

Florals: Weddings with Barbara

DJ: Split Second Sound

Photobooth: Shutterbooth 

Rentals/Caterer: Best Impressions 

Film Lab: Photovision

Friday Introductions: The Whimsical Rose, Charlotte Wedding Stylist and Vintage China Rental

Meet Heather, Owner of The Whimsical Rose- a Charlotte based event stylist and china rental company

  Photos taken by Click Away Photography, scanned by Photovision Prints

Photos taken by Click Away Photography, scanned by Photovision Prints

When did The Whimsical Rose begin? 

My passion for vintage china began when I was young growing up in Dorset, England, always having tea at home or out and about in cafes and tearooms.  In September of 2013 I got married back in England close to where I spent my childhood, we had the most wonderful wedding I could of hoped for. I had always imagined a unique and elegant wedding, so I decided to rent mismatched china for my reception, teacups and all!  The response to the china was wonderful, everyone loved it, especially my American relatives! It made a wonderful conversation piece, I simply wanted to bottle the day up and never let it go.  So, after many years working in the travel industry and after the response I got at my wedding I decided to create my own business and bring a little piece of England back to North Carolina.  

 

Did you grow up in NC? 

No, I grew up in a town called Wimborne in Dorset, England.  I was actually born in Virginia but spent my childhood in England up until I turned 21 and then I decided to give life a try in the USA.  At that time I moved from England to Asheville NC.

 

Why China?

I just love the history of it, all the different brands and styles, there are so many.  There is something so elegant too about a teacup, I think it's timeless and romantic.

 

What is your favorite piece of China? 

After collecting china for the past four years I started to like certain brands of china, Royal Albert will always be a favorite but I do like patterns that Royal Tuscan offers, Foley, Minton etc.  The teacup is my favorite by far though, so dainty and pretty! 

 

What has been your favorite thing about being a business owner? 

I would say it's the flexibility to figure out your own schedule and what works best for you, but you really do have to stay focused to get your work done, structure is everything, especially working from home.  Naturally being a business owner can come with its own stresses, you do have to learn a lot during the process, I am still learning!  You also have to become adaptable to an ever changing market!

 

Married? Kids? Pets? 

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I am married yes, to a French man, believe or not, we met here in the States.  I have one crazy cat called Alfie who runs the show at our house pretty much!

 

Favorite meal to cook? 

Cooking is not one of my most strongest points but I do love to cook a good pasta meal or a Mexican dish, I just got my first Hello Fresh box, so I'm going to see how I like that! I do try to make an effort! 

 

Favorite movie or TV show?

Oh this one is easy Game of Thrones, it's fantastic!  Anyone who hasn't watched it is really missing out.  

 

Favorite place to visit? 

Well I do love to go back home to England to see family, friends and eat all the food I miss out on whilst I'm here in the States.  I do love also to go to Normandy to visit my husbands family and recently we took a trip to the Mont St Michel which was just magical.  I really do like Spain also, especially Barcelona, I have some great fun memories of a trip I took there with my best friend which involved a tad too much sangria!

 

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Coffee or Tea? 

Take a guess? Tea, of course, in the mornings the one thing I must have is a large cup of tea with milk, then after breakfast I have a coffee.  If I don't get my cup of tea in the morning though, I'm not a happy camper!

 

Advice to those who want to own their own business? 

Go for it!  Realize there may be things that you may have to figure out along the way such as the financials/legalities etc.  Also be open to new challenges and changing up how you do things, every industry changes, expectations change so along the way you may have to learn new skills.  Don't be afraid though, it's a great feeling to create something that is yours!

 

If you haven't already, check out Heather's work HERE

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If you are a vendor in the Charlotte area, and are interested in being featured on our Friday Introductions, feel free to send us an email at moreinfo@clickawayphoto.com

Why I Continue to do Styled Shoots

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Why I continue to do styled shoots.. 

This has been a big topic lately, especially with the closing of Style Me Pretty, so I just wanted to address a few reasons why I still think Styled Shoots are helpful, and how my main goal is not getting them published. 

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I've heard a lot of photographers recently expand their thoughts on styled shoots, especially after the closing of Style Me Pretty. I have heard people say "See, this is why I don't do styled shoots.." "This is why real couples are more important" etc. Let me be the first to say, the wedding photography market has become over-saturated with styled shoots and elaborate designs that make the typical bride feel inferior when planning her own wedding. I will also say, that wedding photographers have put too big of an emphasis on ribbon, Mrs. boxes, and all the pretty things that we stylize and shoot to be featured. Wedding blogs scream DETAILS and if a bride doesn't have details, well then she's just not good enough to be featured. So, I definitely see the side of things where people are saying that "This is why I don't do styled shoots". But that statement right there is why I am writing this post. If you have stated that, I believe you are looking at things from only one perspective. 

I believe that styled shoots can be a great tool for photographers and for future brides, but only if you let it. 

One BIG reason that I continue to do styled shoots is so I can improve as a photographer. This is like my practice field and the wedding day is the game field. This allows me to practice using different equipment, film stocks, posing techniques, and lighting without the pressure of a wedding day. If you are a wedding photographer and you think you don't need to practice, you should think again.. Just like any other skill set, you have to continue to practice so you can keep up with your craft and your field.

In college I took several drawing classes, and ended up really enjoying pencil drawings. I created some of my favorite work in those classes and truly felt myself excel in that area. Well, a few years passed and I hadn't sketched in quite a while, but I wanted to create a drawing as a gift to someone in my family. I finished that drawing after several days of hard work and stepped back to look at it... wow-not my best work. My skill had declined so much since those drawing classes that I took for several hours a day, 3 days a week. Why? Because I hadn't kept up with the craft- I hadn't practiced! 

The same can be true about different hobbies, talents, and careers. When you don't practice, you won't improve, and dare I say your skill may even decline! So the big reason for me to create and photograph styled shoots is to practice and improve my craft. 

Another large reason I continue to do styled shoots is to meet and connect with different vendors. While I will argue that a personal connection with my real couples are important to me, I will also say that a personal connection with my fellow wedding professionals is just as important to me! They are real people too, and on wedding days, there really isn't that time to connect- except for a short introduction with each other. I love that during styled shoots, I can truly see the creativity and talent of these wedding professionals. They all shine and excel in their own areas and take ownership of their tasks. We are able to truly collaborate, lift up each others work, and get to know each other more during the planning process and the day of the shoot! 

Another benefit from working with fellow vendors is the ability to recommend them to brides with confidence, because we know them on a deeper level and can truly say that they have our couples best interest at heart. 

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This next one isn't necessarily a reason that we do styled shoots but is more of a benefit to doing them: our couples are real couples! They treasure these photos too, and being asked to be a part of our shoot is a huge deal to most of them. We had a couple a few years back that we asked to be a part of our shoot (in the pictures featured) and the shoot was right around their anniversary. Come to find out, their wedding day had poured rain and they didn't get the kind of pictures they had hoped for. So this styled shoot took on a whole new meaning for me as a photographer. Just because it's a styled shoot does not mean that the pictures don't hold value and meaning. 

The obvious reason we do styled shoots is to inspire. For me personally, I will submit to blogs and publications, but it isn't my end goal. I truly feel so inspired and driven after doing styled shoots, and that is why I continue to do them. Yes, it is an inspiration of colors and style for future brides, and if it gets featured somewhere then great! But most importantly it inspires me and pushes me to think more as an artist than just as a photographer. 

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Let me encourage you, if you have sworn off styled shoots, to rethink the WHY behind your styled shoots. If you truly do them with genuine intent and purpose to bring up those around you, to connect with fellow vendors, and to stay inspired then you will quickly see why I love them so much! 

If you have any thoughts you'd like to share, you can share those below! I'd love to hear what you think about styled shoots! 

What Should I Wear to my Engagement Session?

This may be one of the number one questions we get in regards to engagement sessions. And it's a valid question, because it DOES matter. 

First, it's important to note your photographer's style. Is it dark and moody? Light and airy? 

The reason this is important, is because your clothing choice will either take away from this style or add to it.. you want to add to it! 

Keep in mind that I am doing my best to write this from a non-biased perspective. I only want to give you a few guidelines on what looks great on camera! 

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Let's start off with color! 

For our style, we get a lot more couples who show up with neutral colors and shades of blue. This truly compliments our work because we either shoot with film or digital made to look like film, and the neutral and blue tones are only enhanced with this! Another thing we love about neutrals, is that the attention is on you as a couple, and not so much on what you're wearing. Now, I will say a fun pop of color doesn't hurt either! 

Most photographers that I know will allow two or more outfits at an engagement session. Typically couples will choose one dressy and one casual. This is the perfect opportunity to have one neutral outfit, and one with a little more pop of color (reds, oranges, and pinks tend to be a great pop of color!) 

I would shy away from neon colors or overly bight colors that may cast a neon orange or pink light back into your face when the sun hits it. It's also a headache to edit later! Another color to be mindful of is green. A lot of our sessions are shot with a green background. Meaning, trees, grass...you get the picture. Depending on the shade of green, it can easily blend into the background.  

If you are planning your session downtown or with more of a neutral background such as concrete, stones, buildings.. then you may want to lean more towards color than neutrals. 

Okay enough about color! 

Let's move on to patterns...

I will keep this brief. Larger patterns are okay, but smaller stripes, gingham, plaid, etc. are usually not a good idea. 

You can see a few examples below of patterns that photograph well.

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This may be the most important thing to consider (In my opinion), and that is FIT. 

Make sure if you are wearing a short dress, and you do not like your legs in pictures, that might not be the best option. Opt for a maxi dress for a little more coverage if you are self conscious in that area. You should also make sure what you wear accentuates the smallest part of you. So ladies, if you are pear shaped like me, an A-line dress may be your best bet. If you are thinner, you may want to choose a straighter more fitted option that creates a silhouette. 

Guys, if you plan on wearing dress pants or a suit, or even a dress shirt for that matter. Please make sure it is the right size. If you want to, it's not a bad idea to take it to a taylor before your session to make sure everything is fitting properly   

To wrap things up, we encourage all of our couples to dress how they feel comfortable! I never want you to look back at your photos and think, "That doesn't even look like me".

Dress in something that makes you feel beautiful (and handsome guys) as well as confident! 

A few other tips: 

  • If you don't plan on doing bridal portraits, this is a good time for a makeup trial run. Most of our brides get their hair and makeup done professionally for their engagement session, and it does make a difference! 
  • Try to stay away from fake tanners, and don't schedule your session right after a tropical vacation.. there may be some bad tan lines that show with your outfit choice. If you do tan, make sure to give your skin a few days before the session so you don't look orange or a fake tan in your pictures. 
  • Guys, if you're going to get a professional shave and haircut, make sure to do it at least a few days before the session. Your skin will have time to breathe and if any reaction occurs, it will have time to heal. 
  • Bring an extra pair of shoes if you plan on wearing heels.
  • Sometimes there's not always a place to change so be flexible with possibly changing in the car! :) 
  • Ladies, don't color your hair right before a shoot, make sure if you do color your hair to wait at least a week before your session so if there is any color left behind on the forehead, neck, etc. it has time to come off. 

 

Here are a few more of our favorite engagement sessions to get you inspired for your engagement session:

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Downtown Charlotte Film Engagement Session

Nikki and Brendan 

Nikki and Brendan were so much fun during their engagement session! This was my first time meeting them, but they are the type of people that you meet once and you feel like you've known them forever. Nikki is a teacher and Brendan works for Red Ventures. I could tell almost instantly that their personalities really balance each other out. Brendan was making us all laugh,  he sure knows how to make his bride-to-be smile. 

I love all the laughter in their pictures, because I truly believe in capturing couples the way they really are with each other. Laughter, tickle fights, and all. 

We started out shooting at Romare Bearden Park in downtown Charlotte and then moved to Marshall Park for the last part of the session. It was definitely windy and cold, but these guys are troopers!

I am SO excited to shoot their wedding this September, and I know it will be stunning and such a great time! Enjoy looking through some of our favorites from Nikki and Brendan's engagement session. 

Film Scanned and Processed by Photovision 

How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue

 swan house Atlanta, ga
 

How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Venue? 

First, Establish your Budget! 

Before even thinking of where you want to get married, it's important to first establish your budget. This looks different for everyone, since everyone's financial situation is just a little different. Decide if your parents will be helping you, if they will be paying for the entire wedding, or if you are paying for the wedding yourself. From there, make a list of what's most important to you (Venue, Photography, videography, florals, planning, music, food, decor, etc... ). It is SO important that you and your spouse to be are on the same page when it comes to this. This will be the first area of compromise in your marriage ;) Make sure to choose what's important to you both! 

Next, you must then decide how much total you want your wedding to cost. From there you can look at the categories listed and choose which items get the highest percentage of the budget. This is when you find out how much you have set aside for your venue. 

It is also important to do some research on what the cost of weddings are. That includes the cost of the venue. After doing some research, you will quickly begin to realize venues (like most other wedding vendors) can differ greatly in price. There's a reason why. (And no, it's not always because the venue just wants to make more money)

TIP: If you are on a tight budget, consider a Friday or Sunday wedding to save some money! 

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Consider what the Venue Includes

Most wedding venues will include a few items, and some will include everything. Literally, some venues have packages that include EVERYTHING: florals, photography, videography, cake, decor, chairs, tables.... I would caution you with packages that include everything. These vendors, are most likely talented in what they do, but this limits your creativity in planning and choosing vendors. 

Ask your venue if they include: Chairs, tables, linens, trash service, lighting, catering (some require you to go with their caterer), use of the kitchen, rehearsal time, time to get ready before the ceremony.. the list can go on, but these are the things that factor into the cost of a venue- as well as location (real estate price and taxes), popularity, power bill, etc. 

One other thing to consider when looking at what venue offer or include, is a backup plan in case it rains, as well as their rain policy. 

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Establish your Wedding Day Style

Establishing your style before picking your venue is so important! I have heard too many brides regret their venue choice because they only allowed photography at a specific location, or their venue was all indoor with no great outdoor space for photos, or limited their freedom with certain decoration and floral options that they had envisioned for their day. 

Just because a venue fits into your budget, and has everything that you need for your wedding day, does not mean that it is the venue for you. 

Take into consideration if you want an outdoor or indoor ceremony. Do you invision more light and airy images? Be sure that your venue has plenty of window light for getting ready, and even for the ceremony if you plan to have it inside. Do you want a more rustic look to your wedding? You should consider looking at farm venues that have lots of open space, or even a vineyard with lots of wood and stone details. If you invision a more formal European style, look for older estate venues and mansions. The options are limitless, and there are so many great venues in our area, make sure you give yourself enough time to establish a style for your wedding day before rushing into booking a wedding. 

 

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