Jessica + Joel Chihuahua Destination Wedding

Seriously, this couple is the sweetest.  So in love with each other and very devoted to one another!  It was sweet to watch them on their special day.  Especially when it started pouring rain and we had to change venues, Jessica kept her cool and we were able to make some very beautiful and unique images at the new location.  

I'm so excited to share these with you guys! I loved seeing this family and group of friends again! 

Jessica + Joel:  Thank you so much for having me on your special day! It was great to see the profound love you two have for each other and I wish you nothing but happiness!!!

Should you do a first look on your wedding day?

You might have seen it over and over again as you started planning your wedding on Pinterest or on the blogs of other photographers, planners, and coordinators.  Are you wondering what a First Look actually is? 

What is a First Look?

First Looks are not new, I'm sure they've been around for a long time but really come to become the new tradition about 7 years ago.  Since then they have taken lots of different forms but to put it simply, it's when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony.  

Why do a First Look?

There are many reasons that a First Look might come into play during your wedding day.  In my experience, it usually happens for one of two reasons:

  1. To take advantage of the light.  For example, if your getting married in the fall and your ceremony is at 4pm, that doesn't leave much time for portraits of the two of you.  It cuts into time with family, perhaps a cocktail hour, or another event during your day.  To take advantage of the light, we'll schedule the portrait session before the ceremony when light is abundant.  This way we ensure that you have great photos of the two of you with lots of time. 
  2. Another reason couples opt for a First Look instead of staying with the traditional see-you-after-the-ceremony, is to have a moment alone together.  Usually, after the ceremony, there really isn't much time spent as a couple, alone, together.   Having a couple of hours just the two of you really makes the day even more special.  

How does it work?

The great thing about the First Look is that when you see each other, right after you ease right into the portrait session.  It is a seamless transition that allows for many more photos during your day and also allows the photographer to get those must have shots as well as experiment a little bit without eating time from major events on the day of.  I'm sure that was a run on sentence but you get the idea.  

This is especially important if light is an issue during your day.  After all, your photographs are all that you'll have left and you want to make sure you have the most beautiful photographs of you and your hubby!

But it'll take away the surprise!

FALSE! There is nothing wrong with keeping it traditional, I have many couples who opt for traditional all the time and everything works out perfectly.  However, thinking that seeing each other before the wedding takes away from walking down the aisle, IT DOESN'T at all!

I have had grooms who are beyond nervous and quite frankly need more than a shot or two before the wedding, and after the First Look have expressed to me that it was the best decision because it made them even MORE excited to see their bride walk down the aisle.  

My husband and I also opted for a first look and we got some of our favorite images from it! It was a nice time to see each other and be alone for a bit before seeing our friends and family for the rest of the day.  It definitely calmed my nerves! 

Whether you opt to go the traditional route or do a First Look, just know that you have options.  Make sure you talk with your photographer to see which suits your day the best.  

Jessica + Jordan Puerto Vallarta Mexican Destination Wedding

Wow, where to begin with this beautiful wedding? Jessica and Jordan were referred to me by Wendy, the coordinator at Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta.  We emailed a few times and Jessica was just on it, booked right away.  We meant to "meet" via Facetime or Skype but could never get to it.  Needless to say, with the emails and constant contact, I felt like we knew each other from the start! Both Jessica and Jordan are the sweetest couple!! Very nice and wear their hearts on their sleeves.  I couldn't have had a more endearing couple full of love and family and just sheer happiness.  

Their entire wedding consisted of less than 50 people and each person was the nicest and most beautiful soul.  I don't think Jessica and Jordan could have had a more special wedding than the one they lived that day in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. 

Jessica + Jordan: I humbly thank you for trusting me with your photographs on such a special day! Each and every member of your family, as well as you, made me feel like I was also a part of it.  Each moment was special and I am thankful you allowed me to live the day along side you!! Here is a sneak preview and the rest are on their way soon!! Love you guys very much!!!

If you'd like to contact Wendy at Sunset Plaza Resort in Puerto Vallarta for your destination wedding, please email her at weddings@sunsetplaza.com.mx and she will make sure your day is amazing!! 

 

Monica + Eloy Mexico Destination Wedding

This particular wedding is very dear and near to my heart.  Monica and I met two years ago when I was looking for a Godmother for my baptism ceremony into the Catholic faith.  We didn't know each other and it was God who definitely put us into each others' lives.  For that I cannot express how she has taught me so much on how to serve and be faithful.  In comes Eloy, also a chance meeting in God's plan for Monica.  A sweet and caring person who treats her like the woman she is.  

It is beautiful to witness two souls that bring forth so much love, laughter, and adoration for each other.  Their wedding day was nothing short of all that! It was an honor to photograph Monica and Eloy's wedding!  

Ceremony: San Felipe de Apostol // Portrait location: Quinta Gameros // Reception: Quinta Victoria // 


Why every bride should consider having a Day After Session | Tips for Brides

It's more often than not, that I have brides who ask if I photograph trash the dress sessions.  I usually try and answer this by offering them a Day After session instead.  I believe every bride, especially brides who decide to have a destination wedding, should considering having a session like this.  So, I'm going to explain why and what the differences are between the two types of sessions.  

What is a Day After session?

A day after session is one of my favorites! They were known as Bridal Portraits and it is a session where you put on your wedding attire, choose a beautiful and breath taking location, and take your time creating some really beautiful photography of you and your hubby.  Usually, I like to do this one or two days after a wedding and choose a lighter, relaxed look - which is especially nice for destination weddings! That way you don't have to really worry about the portraits on the day of the wedding and can enjoy the party.  

left, day of wedding. right, day after session.

left, day of wedding. right, day after session.

Sometimes, it just so happens that the time line of the wedding day doesn't fit into the perfect time for portraits.  Like the wedding of Cristy + Eduardo, who's wedding took place in the early afternoon, which was bright and sunny.  Not to mention during that hot and humid weather in Cancun.  The ideal time was 6:30am, when the sun rises behind the beautiful waters.  Which is what we decided to do a couple days following the wedding.  

Why do I love Day After sessions?

I love Day After Sessions because of the more relaxed look of the bride and groom.  We can take our time creating something really unique and all of the emotions from being recently married are still present.  We have giggles, flirtation, deep kisses, and emotional hugs.  We have your beautiful dress and his suit to tie in the session with your wedding.  We can create wall print worthy photographs and so that you can relive all of the emotions of your wedding!   It's a session where you can even go for a different look than on your wedding day - maybe going for hair down and more dramatic makeup.   

left, day of wedding. right, day after session.

left, day of wedding. right, day after session.

What is Trash the Dress?

Trash the dress is a session where you put on your wedding dress back on and either alone or with your husband, go out and essentially "trash" your wardrobe.  This could mean rolling around in the water at the beach or a lake, I've even seen people do this in rivers, or throw paint at each other, or perhaps just go out to a field and get dirty in the mud.  

 feel like Trash the Dress sessions are really forced and not all that natural.  Plus, since most of my clients are destination weddings, lugging a wet or dirty dress on the airplane is just a pain in the butt.  

Really, it comes down to having some really beautiful, unique, authentic and real photographs of the two of you and not something forced into a theme or weird shot of you floating in the water (like a dead fish).  I know, I know, there are some really rad photographs taken under water and there are some photographers who really nail it.  For me, it's a matter of preferring the natural and beauty in wedding photos rather than "trashing" them.


What do you think? Would you rather have a Day After Session or a trash the dress?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Abril + Daniel | Mexico Destination Wedding

Ever since the very first meeting with Abril, I wanted to photograph her wedding.  Her sweet soul poured into the details of her dream wedding and I just wanted to be a part of it.  During the next 8 months, we would talk, plan out the details, and get excited!  When we photographed their engagement session, it was such a dream to see how Abril's soul would touch Daniel's.  They are a match made perfect.

The day began with lots of emotions and a great team that created the most perfect day for Abril and Daniel.  Each detail was a part of their love story, a part of their soul.  I can't believe it came and went so quickly!  Luckily, we have amazing photos to relive such a beautiful and love filled day!

This is just a sneak preview, there are so many more great moments that I can't wait to share with Abril and Daniel!

A+D:  Thank you so much for having me be a part of your beautiful and wonderful day!  There is nothing more beautiful than to see two people so in love with each other.  I wish you many happy days and for your love to continue growing! 

Must haves on the morning of your wedding

The morning of your wedding can set the tone for the entire day.  I've compiled some tips so that you have a great morning full of laughter and happiness while you get ready to walk down the aisle and say I Do to your soul mate.  

These tips also help your photographer capture the day beautifully with lots of details so that you don't forget how you felt that morning.  That's what is so great about photography, it really does capture the feeling of your day and when you look back, you can relive those feelings again and again! 

1.  GETTING READY ROBE

Having a special robe while you're getting ready makes the day even more special.  A special robe makes the whole experience feel like a spa and creates that spa like atmosphere! And if you can get your bridesmaids to participate with getting ready attire, then it feels like you're all at the spa together enjoying and taking advantage of being pampered.

2.  GET READY IN A HOTEL 

Getting ready in your home can be a more cost effective solution, however, getting ready in a hotel room can take away the stress of having to clean up after and coordinating everyone to get ready in your home.  The photos in a hotel room are also much prettier as they always have great window light and decoration.  They also provide lots of spaces to photograph you, the bride, by herself in beautiful settings without.

3.  HAVE EVERYONE DRESSED BEFORE YOU GET DRESSED

This tip is so important when it comes to your photographs.  Having your bridesmaids and your mom, and who ever is going to get you ready be dressed and ready to go.  Everyone looks beautiful and there is nothing to distract from the moment of getting their friend ready for her big day.  It's special and only happens once, and when everyone is ready the photos are effortless and beautiful.  They also look great inside of your album to help tell the story of your day.

4.  THE NIGHT BEFORE IS IMPORTANT TOO

This is technically the night before but can affect your day in so many ways.  Drink plenty of water so that you are refreshed the morning of your day.   Try to do a relaxing activity and allow all of your thoughts to float away.  Stressing out about any last minute details of your day can really wreck your mood the next day.  

5.  DON'T STRESS 

Don't stress out about anything on your day.  In my experience, something always goes awry on the day of... can be anything from traffic to having less time for your photos.  These things happen and it's better that you don't stress.  Take on the day knowing what is most important: vowing to love your soulmate!  That is the real reason why you are up and getting ready for your day.  When you take on the day without stressing about the day, you will enjoy every moment of it and it'll show in your photographs.

I hope that these tips help you when your big day comes!  Don't forget to have some bubbly as well! 

 

Real Wedding Inspiration

Each bride takes an incredible amount of time planning and putting together all the details of her wedding day.  And usually it begins with color or theme.  That is why, as a wedding photographer, it is incredibly important to photograph even the smallest of details.  I've always said that if it isn't photographed, it won't be remembered! 

Each of the following inspirational boards are from REAL WEDDINGS that I have photographed.  You can see how the personality, theme, color scheme is pulled together to create a unique event!  If you are in the planning process of your wedding, make sure you pin these real wedding inspirational boards!  

Jackie + Kevin Laguna Beach Wedding

Jackie + Kevin Laguna Beach Wedding

Yessenia + Charlon Mexican Themed Wedding

Yessenia + Charlon Mexican Themed Wedding

Anais + Mario Mazatlan Tiffany Blue Wedding

Anais + Mario Mazatlan Tiffany Blue Wedding

Linh + Mannie Anaheim Glam Wedding

Linh + Mannie Anaheim Glam Wedding

Anastasia + Duanne California Citrus Wedding

Anastasia + Duanne California Citrus Wedding

Analin + Javier Earth Toned Glam Wedding

Analin + Javier Earth Toned Glam Wedding

Amber + Kevin Vintage Christmas Wedding

Amber + Kevin Vintage Christmas Wedding

There are soooo many more inspiration boards but I will leave you with these six.  Each uniquely different and all making the bride and groom's day special! 

Do you like any of these ideas?  Write your comments below!!!  And don't forget to pin these great real wedding inspiration boards.

Happy Sunday!

 

One Year

There is so much to say about the first year of marriage.  However, all I can really muster is that it has been one hell of a year.  Such an  amazingly beautiful journey.  As time keeps moving forward I am reminded of all the wonderful memories we have created together.  As a moving force that only works if both parts are in sync.  Marriage is work.  Marriage is love.  Marriage is acceptance.  Marriage is willingness to provide for the other person's needs.  Not just one, but all of their needs.  Marriage is fun. 

We have a rhythm that only our hearts can walk to.  Thank you for always being supportive of my passions in life.  For being there when I need a hug and when I need a reality check.  Thank you for always looking to make our life better, together.  You are such a great person and one of the best people I have come to know in my life.  I can't wait to see what we can do in the future together.  

Here is to a hundred more years of work, love, respect, diversion, and most of all... each other.

photo by brenda bravo 

all photos by brenda bravo at www.bravoimage.com 

Roberto + Scheila Chihuahua Mexico Wedding

Since I have lived here, I have been so fortunate to meet a lot of my husbands friends.  What is more unique is when they become a part of your family.  We learned of how they met and their love story when we photographed their engagement session.  How during a mission event with their church they began to message each other which lead to an special inside joke only they would know.  Later, that small spark grow to a flame and when Roberto hung a hand painted banner with the words "Will you marry me?" all the while serenading her with his lovely guitar and voice, she knew her answer was yes! 

This adorably in love and happy couple reminds us of why love is so powerful and how when we know who is the right person for us, we never want to let them go.  I am beyond words for these two, our friends, our family.