Going Green - Your Perfect Guide for an Eco-Friendly Wedding | Guest Post by Harper Reid

Harper contacted me a few weeks ago to offer writing a guest post on such an important topic! Planning an eco-friendly wedding doesn’t have to be difficult, read on for tips to making your wedding a little more Earth friendly.


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If you and your partner try your best to be eco-conscious in every other area of your life, it only makes sense that you’d both want your wedding to reflect the ethical principles you hold dear. However, your typical wedding doesn’t tend to align with the values of an environmental warrior. What with the electricity used throughout the day, the paper and plastic in the decorations and catering materials, and emissions involved in traveling to the venue, the typical traditional wedding isn’t exactly eco-friendly. Check out some great tips and tricks below to achieve a green wedding.

Make it close

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As far as is possible, make your wedding site geographically close to those in your wedding party. Not only will a proximate venue guarantee that more of the important people in your life will be able to make it, but planning your wedding nearby will reduce the fuel emissions involved in taking the wedding out-of-state.  Plus, if your wedding location is near enough, you can ride to your ceremony in a horse-and-carriage, if you so wish!

Make it small

Fewer people usually means less collective waste, so it’s a no-brainer that having a smaller wedding will have less of an environmental impact.  In light of this, why not review your prospective guest list, and make sure that you are inviting only the most important people in your life? One way to curb guest numbers is to consider doing away with plus ones.

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Get rid of paper stationery

One of the least eco-friendly things about organizing a wedding is the stationery that’s involved – and, to some extent, expected. Rid your wedding of the dross of environmental damage by either taking things digital, or using recycled paper for your invites and placeholders.

 Choose an eco-friendly venue

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Choose beautiful, eco-friendly spaces or venues that will reduce energy consumption. One of the easiest ways to do this is to select a space that boasts many large windows to bring in natural light. Depending on your wedding theme, this could be a beautiful outdoor space like a local beach or botanic garden, or it might be a unique site like a gallery.

To further save on lighting, have both your ceremony and reception during the day. If you do go ahead and have your reception party at night, consider a candlelit setting for less cost – not to mention extra romance!

Build your menu from the grass up

Be a model to your wedding guests, and fix a menu for your wedding dinner that champions sustainability. Source locally-produced foods, and if you and your partners are vegan or vegetarian, have fun reflecting this through your favorite gourmet dishes in your wedding spread.

Greenify your wedding favors

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Leave your guests with the best possible impression of your wedding – and more than that, your values – by organizing eco-friendly wedding favors.  Little potted succulents or cacti are a sure crowd-pleaser, as are organically-made foodstuffs, or even a flower or two from the wedding bouquet. The truly philanthropic couples out there may even wish to donate to charity on behalf of each guest, and to let them know with a receipt or token.

Eschew the registry

The modern tradition of the requisite “wedding gift” is an eco-warrior’s nightmare. Not only does a registry put pressure on your guests to provide the goods, but the very notion of a registry promotes the very materialism you’re trying to push against.

You might opt to do away with a gift registry altogether, or to ask for something creative and different – such as some lovingly-chosen garden plants, or for money towards your favorite environmental cause or charity.

Capture Your Favorite Moments Digitally

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Last but not least, don’t forget to hire an excellent wedding photographer to capture all the lovely, solemn, sweet, fun, and silly moments from your eco-friendly wedding. Of course, you can print out some of your favorite pictures from your special day to hang on the wall or give to family, but the majority of your wedding photos can easily be stored on a USB drive or shared on from your online cloud storage system – saving paper in the meantime!


Author’s bio:

Auckland-based freelance writer Harper is passionate about responsible living and believes that even if you start small, simple changes can make a huge difference in our environment. Harper has previously written for local businesses who promote eco-friendly solutions such as Sea Containers. See more of her work here.

Real Wedding Inspiration Round up

As a bride once myself, you have an idea of what your wedding day will look like. You envision what that may feel like and then you start planning.

Scouring the internet tirelessly and looking at luxury high ticket weddings that are, well, not really “real” like you. I’m here to bring all of those styled weddings down to Earth with this real wedding round up.

All of the weddings featured here are real weddings of real couples that I have personally photographed. They are of two people who poured their hearts into each and every minute detail of their day.

I hope that by seeing these real weddings, you can find inspiration in making your wedding your own knowing that it doesn’t have to break the bank either!

Of course, I will say that investing in a quality photographer is a MUST ;). With a great photographer, all that you envisioned for your wedding day will be captured beautifully. And that is worth its weight in gold!

Andrea & Anthony Day After Session, Conchas Chinas, Mexico

What is better than photographing a couple on their wedding day? A day after session, of course!

I had a lot of fun reconnecting with Andrea and Anthony a couple of days after their wedding day for some relaxed beach portraits at their hotel, Costa Sur. The view was just amazing and even though it was sunny, it was such a beautiful time to have a session.

There is literally nothing more spectacular than two people in love with such a beautiful beach backdrop.

Real Wedding Inspiration - Destination Weddings, Mexico

I have another edition of Real Wedding Inspiration, Beach edition! Each bride and groom pour their hearts into every detail of their day. I think it’s really important to take photos of even the smallest detail of their day.

 A rose blush wedding overlooking the waters of the pacific.

A rose blush wedding overlooking the waters of the pacific.

As a beach wedding photographer, it’s really important to capture these details to give the couple the photos that make them relive their wedding just as they remember. To have them go back in time and remember how they felt during their special day.

 A fashion glam wedding in the Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico

A fashion glam wedding in the Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico

Each wedding is unique in their own way even if they were held at the same venue. Each bride and groom take their time to choose linens, flowers, dresses, and even the earrings that they’ll wear on the day of their wedding.

 A bling whimsical wedding in Cancun, Mexico.

A bling whimsical wedding in Cancun, Mexico.

These real weddings of real couples are here as inspiration for your own wedding. Letting you visualize what the details could look like in your dream wedding. So feel free to pin, save, and share with your planning squad.

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 The two photos above are from the same wedding. A rustic beach wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The two photos above are from the same wedding. A rustic beach wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

All of the weddings in this post have been photographed on the beaches here in Mexico. Do you see anything that you’ll want to add to your wedding look and feel? I really just love all of them!

What to expect from your portrait photographer

There are so many wonderful and great photographers out in the world now. It’s amazing to see so much being created on a daily basis, especially through Instagram. Lots of inspiring work and even more self expression than ever before.

It’s important to note what separates a professional portrait photographer from someone who isn’t. There is a lot of great stuff out there and equally great people, but it’s a good idea to really know what they are best photographing.

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There are photographers who specialize in only newborn and maternity. Others who specialize in only weddings and engagements. And others who only do commercial work.

Then there are photographers like me who do both weddings and portraits and will also take on a special project, only if it truly aligns with my style and business goals.

So what can you expect from a professional photographer?

This is not an all encompassing list because each photographer does business differently and has different ways of doing things, however, I’m sure most would agree that they are basic expectations a professional photographer should meet.

  • They can match their experience with their passion. You want someone who has taken at least 100 high quality portraits because that experience will guarantee you have a great session as well.

  • Website or portfolio of some kind. Let’s include social media in this because sometimes that works best as a portfolio rather than an official website. However, a website will tell you much more about a photographer than social media.

  • They offer options and can answer all of your questions, no matter the question. They are the professional, not you so your questions must be answered with kindness and expertise.

  • They send out official contracts with terms and make sure to let you know of any policies they or their studio has.

  • They can clearly outline the experience they will give you and how you portrait session will be like. You can only expect this from a photographer that knows what they are doing and has enough experience to guide you through the process.

  • They know lighting and can suggest the best times for your session. If they are a studio photographer, they’ll know what lighting is best in order to create the best portrait for you.

  • They will be a little higher priced than the Craigslist photographer, Facebook photographer, or the photographer just starting out. This is because of their years of experience and many, many, years perfecting their craft.

Each photographer is different and has a different business, however, it’s important to know what to expect from a professional because they can make all the difference between having photos you absolutely love rather than absolutely cringe looking at.

When you’re looking for someone to photograph you, if they don’t check most of these off, then I would suggest moving along. If you really love their photos, then ask them directly and go with your gut feeling.

Have you had any great photographers take your portraits? Let me know in the comments below!

Your Mexican Beach Portrait Session Experience | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I photograph in many of the same locations again and again. Here in Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta, this means that I photograph many sessions at the same beach.

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However, it has always surprised me that I could photograph two sessions on the same day at the same location and each session will be SO different from the other. No two sessions are ever alike and this is because of YOU.

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You, my clients, are the ones that make each session unique and truly one of kind. Yeah, I know that sounds cheesy but it’s 100% honest truth. The way that you approach the session is what makes it YOURS AND ONLY YOURS.

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I’m using caps because I need to emphasize that each session is tailored to you and that each portrait experience is not like any other.

I never get tired of photographing portrait sessions at the beach. The sunset, sometimes at noon with the beautiful blue sky reflecting the blue water. The vastness of the shoreline and always, the fun that splashing in the warm water brings.

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Each portrait session experience depends on what you enjoy. Like to be romantic during engagement photos, we’ll be romantic. Like to be playful for family portraits, let’s have fun. Want to mix in a little bit of both for your anniversary session, we’ll do both.

Your experience in front of my camera is important to me and I hope that you enjoy it to the fullest because moments are fleeting and as cheesy as it sounds, photography is all that is left to remember your life by.

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So enjoy the session, don’t be nervous, I got you.

Leon turns 2! Bucerias Beach Mexico

I can’t believe that it’s been exactly 2 years since I went home from the hospital. Leon was born on September 30th at 3:21 pm. He was 40 weeks and 6 days. The doctor’s induced me because he hadn’t grown in over a month according to his ultrasounds.

 Not even 1 day old.

Not even 1 day old.

I wasn’t worried. I knew that he was going to come close to his due date and that he would be born in September. We never found out if he was actually a he! That surprise happened that very day he was born.

Two years old.

It’s crazy to think back, through all the struggles, the adventures, and yes, some mommy frustration and ultimately, GROWTH. Growth for the both of us and now we have this amazing groove.

Leon at 2:

  • Loves to play and can play alone for hours if you give him something to assemble or put together and take apart.

  • Loves water. Playing in it, spraying it, dumping it, putting water from one cup to the other, swimming in it, and of course, hates showering. He’s definitely my kid. ;)

  • His vocabulary is growing and growing and can even repeat sentences that are simple like “where are you?” and rightly knows his name is Leon. Can also recognize his written name.

  • He will take forever to go down stairs because, duh mom, jumping down is the only true way to go down stairs.

  • Loves to egg us on in games and asks for “more” when he likes a certain game. Usually if it involves him laughing he’s all for it.

  • Says, “awe” when he sees babies, animals, especially dogs. It’s the cutest high pitched “awe” you ever did hear.

  • He’s had precisely one hair cut since birth. It just keeps growing and growing. And it’s so beautiful.

  • Currently he’s getting potty trained and doing really well. Except when he does the pee pee dance and mommy or daddy don’t catch it in time.

  • Drinks water like it’s going out of style. Loves all things sweet, no surprise ;). Hates veggies but slowly getting them in. Can officially say “more cake” now.

  • Still goes to daycare and loves playing with other kids.

  • He shares easily and is a sociable kid when he feels comfortable enough. Is very confident in what he does want and doesn’t want, especially in social situations.

  • Loves Paw Patrol and we’ve seen the same two seasons like a bazillion times already on Netflix. When he wants to watch he says “lala guau guau”.

  • Loves anything that resembles a bus or big rig trailer. He currently sleeps with his two favorite Hot Wheels. He also doesn’t discriminate, he’ll play with the dollar store cars too.

  • Loves music and dancing to music. If it has a cool beat, or sounds a little electronic, he’ll flail his hands up and down as if playing a guitar in mid air or something. He’ll also stomp his foot to the rhythm and then if he really likes it, full on dance.

  • He’s a sweetheart and has begun to give us hugs and kisses out of the blue just because he feels like it. He also says “I la u” when prompted haha, which I try to get him to say to me all day long! It makes me melt each time.

  • Loves to play with daddy. Knows that daddy is fun and can always come up with games and when Aldo comes home from work, Leon scrambles to find a toy and give it to him.

Okay, I can go on and on but that’s Leon in a nutshell. He’s a really good kid and I’m truly blessed to have the chance to get to know him and grow with him. Thank you God for this gift that I wouldn’t have otherwise given to myself. That’s when you know God always knows best.

I just pray that I can be a good mom, keep my calm, and know that as you grow, I need to grow with you and not against you. I pray that I always appreciate your quirkiness and personality 100% because that’s who you will always be on the inside. I pray that I am able to love you but also let you be your own self. I pray that I don’t get in the way of your kindness, sensitivity, independence, and confidence because all of those traits can make the world a better place.

Over all, I just pray that you always give me such wonderful kisses and tight hugs.

Happy 2 years my boy!

Baby Chema Bucerias Maternity Photographer, Mexico

I get asked often what I do for a living, and when I was first starting out, I would feel really silly proclaiming that I was a portrait photographer. Or a photographer in general. At the time, I was so immersed in perfecting my craft that I felt like everyone was becoming a photography. It’s like when you’re looking to buy a new car and then you suddenly see the car everywhere.

After 10 years in business, I’ve learned that in order to continue doing what I love, everyone must know that I’m a photographer. This is particularly difficult for me since I’m naturally an introvert and don’t like talking to strangers on a superficial level.

But this means that even my landlady knows that I’m a photographer. And when her son and daughter-in-law were looking to have their maternity photos taken, she thought of me.

You see, sometimes, you might be the only person people know who does what you do. So never shy away from proclaiming your talents, passions, and career choices.

You just never know the wonderful people you may meet. Monse and Chema were so fun to photograph and they came to me with a truly unique idea that I just love how it turned out!

Congratulations you two are going to have a lot of fun with your little baby boy!

Want a portrait session on the beaches of Mexico? Contact me HERE.











Andrea & Anthony Costa Sur Resort Conchas Chinas, Puerto Vallarta

When Andrea and I spoke for the very first time over the phone, I immediately fell in love with her heart. She wears it on her sleeve and makes you feel like you’re family. She speaks to you with such a calm and loving tone. So when I didn’t hear from her for a few months, I was saddened and figured that she and her fiancé Anthony had chosen another photographer.

To my delight, she contacted me a month before her wedding and we made it happen! It was a wedding filled with the most love and closes family and friends.

Never in the 10+ years that I have been a photographer had I heard such beautiful and heartfelt toasts from their guests. Each speech reaffirmed how beautiful they were and how fortunate everyone was to have Andrea and Anthony in their lives.

It was moving to hear Anthony’s father say he was blessed for having Andrea in their lives. And when Andrea’s father said the same about Anthony, it is sure that there was not a dry eye in the whole of Puerto Vallarta.

It rained during family portraits but this didn’t hinder anyone from having a great time and enjoying time with family and friends.

It was a beautiful sight to see these two humble souls love each other deeply. It made my heart remember why I got into photography in the first place. Why I photograph weddings.