full length photo of bride and groom looking at each other in front of the tarrant county courthouse
Weddings

How to Adapt Your Wedding Because of the Pandemic and Stay Sane

Hey y’all. This is a truly stressful time right now, and none of us know if, when, or how it’s going to get better. It’s cheesy to say, but these are uncharted waters, and we are in this together.

backyard elopement at home with pets

If you’re trying to plan your wedding in the midst of this, it might feel like the sky is falling. I assure you though, it is not. Take some deep breaths, eat your stress away with cake (in moderation of course!), or meditate – whatever you need to get you through the moment. For me, I have been going through Beachbody’s Barre Blend program; dancing around like a fool has been great for my mental/physical health! Once the feeling passes, break out your favorite list taking app or an old school notebook, and map out your thoughts.

Should you postpone? Or should you keep your original date with an elopement and then throw a big party later? Maybe your wedding was already small and your main concern is keeping everyone safe and healthy. Sit down with your fiance, and discuss your options. You may want to involve some of your vendors at this point to see how they’re enforcing social distancing. Remember, this is hard for them too – don’t tolerate rudeness, but be patient. 

Once you’ve decided how to adapt your wedding plans, it’s time to act on them:

Lesbian elopement

Your Pandemic Wedding Process:

  1. Make a list of what matters most to you and your fiance. You may end up having to scratch some things off, especially if they aren’t taking safety steps that are important to you, so it’s vital you place your must-haves at the top.
  2. Reach out to your vendors to understand your options. If you have to leave messages, keep calling/emailing/texting. Whatever it takes. This is a tricky spot for you and your vendors. Your contracts will likely have force majeure clauses – while most vendors are human and understanding, they have bills to pay too. Take a really deep breath and come to terms with the fact that as much as it sucks, you might lose some of your deposits. Make sure you talk safety with each vendor. Like it or not, your vendors might not be following any CDC protocols, and you may need to part ways.
  3. If you have to find new vendors because of booking issues, contracts, or safety concerns, don’t panic. It’s going to be OK. This is where that list of must-haves comes in. Think about what matters the most, and make sure it happens. The rest is nice to have, and if you have to go without, it will be alright. No one will notice what you think is missing.
  4. Approach your invite list about your new plans. Be prepared to proceed with caution. You might want to write a script. It’s not actually anyone’s business why you’ve made your decision, yet a prepared statement can make the conversation easier. Some of your family and friends might fight you; stand your ground because whatever decision you’ve made is right for you.
  5. Be flexible where you can and firm where you need. You have the right to make the decisions that help you sleep at night and so do your vendors. No one has the right to bully you for your choices. 
Courthouse elopement

So what am I doing for my clients and potential clients during this uncertain moment? I am extremely risk-averse, so I am still social distancing and only leaving my home for bookings and essential trips (and yes, I dearly miss my friends and family right now). I always wear a mask and wash/sanitize my hands, clothing, equipment, and car every time I go out. 

My Pandemic Pre-Wedding Procedure:

  1. As much as I want to hug my clients, all meetings will be virtual until I get to see your smiling face in person on your wedding day or engagement session.
  2. I’m offering flexible payment plans to help ease you through this stressful time.
  3. I’ll be in a mask for the entirety of your wedding, and I’ll be sure to keep six feet of distance between myself and your guests, your wedding party, and you!
Elopement with pets including a dog and lizard

My Pandemic Wedding Day Process:

  1. More verbal instruction (and patience!) for posed photos. We’ll get through it together – I promise!
  2. I think it goes without saying, but I’ll be washing my hands on repeat, and I always have hand sanitizer on me.
  3. One week out from bookings, I will take my temperature daily to make sure I’m not surprised. If either myself or my second begin showcasing COVID symptoms, I will provide a substitute photographer at no extra cost. I only recommend people I 100% trust.
  4. I am only taking weddings with less than sixty guests for the rest of 2020 to keep myself and everyone else as safe as possible.

I know this is weird for y’all. It’s weird for me, too. And we’re all learning on the fly, just trying to take it one day at a time. We. Will. Get. Through. This.

Destination elopement in the mountains

One thing I know for certain. There will always be love. There will always be celebrations of love. There will always be weddings. They might look a little different, sound a little different, and/or feel a lot different. That doesn’t make them any less filled with love.

bride and groom laughing at tarrant county courthouse

Wear your masks. Be kind to essential and service industry workers. Stand up for what’s right. We are all in this together.

Are you considering eloping in 2020? Contact me today and let’s talk about capturing this moment for you.

– Mel

facetime portrait photo
Lifestyle

Facetime Photo Sessions – Life in Quarantine

Hi everyone! How are y’all doing? Hope you’re staying as safe and well as you can in these times. Yes, I know – everyone is saying “in these times” these days, and I think if I hear the words “the new normal” or “pivot” one more time, I might lose my mind!

Nick and I are doing okay: we’re self quarantining at home right now, and he’s still teaching piano lessons remotely. I won’t lie – it’s been scary, but I’m so grateful my clients have all postponed rather than cancelled their celebrations. I’ve been thinking about what to say – wanting to be an encouraging presence online, but as is normal for me, I have been overthinking on what to share here on my blog. But after an extremely rewarding week taking these FaceTime sessions, I wanted to share and open up scheduling for all.

What the heck is a FaceTime Session?

It’s a way to take portraits even in the midst of social distancing. I will use your phone’s camera to take and edit photos from my computer. The results are low resolution and can be a bit grainy, but I have been LOVING embracing the imperfections and having a new creative outlet.

You can even book directly with me online!

facetime session

You might be thinking, “Woah, wait – taking portraits of people in their homes through FaceTime?”

Yes, exactly! It’s weird, it’s awkward, but it’s also full of joy.

facetime session

Why do a FaceTime Session?

  • Spend time with your significant other and view this as a possible at home date!
  • Quarantining alone? Throw on a fabulous outfit and let me take some fancy/artsy selfies of you.
  • It’s a great reason to really tidy up your house!
  • They can act as content to share on your feed at the moment.
  • Spend 40 minutes laughing and being goofy with me. (Laughter is fantastic medicine right now!)
  • Document this moment in history.
facetime session

I have found myself so much more creatively fulfilled rather than just worrying about the future of weddings and my business. (Don’t worry, y’all. I’m not going anywhere!)

Pricing:

The cost of these photoshoots is pay what you can between $20-$50, but no one will be turned away because of lack of payment. Message me and we’ll talk.

When you book online, simply specify the amount you’d like to pay, and I’ll send an invoice your way.

We are all just doing our best right now, and that is enough.

facetime session

Currently booked clients have the option to book a FREE at home FaceTime session with me.

I am absolutely going to be sharing my backlog of elopements and sessions I had photographed before COVID -19 but wanted to get these out into the universe. Still adjusting to this new way of life.

If you’re interested in booking a FaceTime session with me, let’s talk, or feel free to book an appointment directly online!

YES, we are still booking weddings for late 2020 and 2021! I expect 2021 to be very busy for all wedding vendors, so contact me today to talk about your wedding plans.

Couples

The Kerstetters’ Park Slope Portrait Session – NYC Photographer

I met Rachel and Matt back when they got married in 2017, and in addition to being wonderful clients, they’ve become great friends as well. We all are similarly minded, and I even ran into Rachel’s mom at the Dallas Women’s March in 2018. It’s such a small world! We were thrilled to book a Park Slope portrait session with them this past year.

Rachel and Matt live in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, New York and wanted to take portraits around their neighborhood in order to document this time in their lives. We started out in Prospect Park and watched everyone bring their good doggos to play on the grass given that it was a crisp, Saturday morning. Afterwards, we wandered around their neighborhood with the iconic brownstone buildings and shops. And then we got to take a family portrait with their calico, Rosie! (And if y’all know me, you know I am always 100% down to take a photo of your cat.)

If you’re wondering if I travel for clients, the answer is always yes! Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to come to wherever you are in the US.

Brooklyn, NY Photographer

Park Slope Portrait Photographer

Destination Portrait Photographer

Brooklyn, NY Photographer

Park Slope Portrait Photographer

Park Slope Portrait Photographer

Park Slope Portrait Photographer_2019-40 We were cheered on by the locals. They said they were cute! I 100% agree. (Love the iconic 5th avenue sign, too!)

Park Slope Portrait Photographer_2019-47Their favorite pizza place – opening up for the day.

Park Slope Portrait Photographer2

Park Slope Portrait Photographer

Park Slope Portrait Photographer

 

Park Slope Portrait Photographer

Family Portrait with Cat

Park Slope Portrait Photographer19-82

Park Slope Portrait Photographertter_2019-87

New York City life is so different from DFW, and I love visiting every chance I get. The hustle of the city, the ability to find anything (especially food!) that you want, the lack of personal space (but feeling like you have your own little bubble); so many lives and stories on top of each other.

This was the coolest thing – Rachel and Matt live in the same neighborhood as my sister-in-law, (also) Rachel, and her husband, Nate. Here we are all being guests at their wedding together.

Photo by Shawnee Custalow

I don’t know if I love anything more than connecting people.

Rachel and Matt, we are forever grateful for your friendship and business!

Nighttime bride and groom portrait with groom in wheelchair.
Weddings

Jillian and John’s Wedding at Sanford House in Arlington, TX

Jillian and John’s Sanford House in Arlington Texas wedding took place on a crisp, November evening in 2019. I didn’t get a chance to meet them until their wedding, and when I meet couples sight unseen, it’s always a joy to discover that they’re a couple of goofballs! (Not to mention their family made me feel instantly at home: seriously warm, kind and incredible people.)

John is a pro wheelchair basketball player, and they both met at UT Arlington. Arlington will always hold a special place in my heart because I went to UTA as well. Go Mavericks! Granted, I have never been the best student (sorry to all of my teachers and professors!), but Arlington is where I became independent, where I met Nick, and where I discovered myself.

It was such a pleasure to work with both Jillian and John’s family and their friends! Scroll down to see the vendor list below.

 

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Bride getting ready at Sanford House

Bride getting ready at Sanford House

Bride getting ready at Sanford House

bride and dad first look

portrait of bride and mom looking at each other

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

bridesmaids flower details

bridal portrait sanford house arlington

bridal hair detail

Groom and groomsman posing

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

groom laughing portrait

bride and groom first touch
The most hilarious “first touch” ever. Jillian and John just kept cracking jokes and making all of us laugh.

bride and dad walking down the aisle

groom watching bride walk down aisle

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

wedding ceremony bride smiling

groom smiling at bride

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer
When it came time to read their vows, they played “rock, paper, scissors” for who was going to go first.

 

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

wedding cake at sanford house arlington

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

sanford house first dance

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

sanford house arlington first dance

bride and groom in wheelchair share a kiss during their wedding reception
Probably one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. It’s cool.

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographere_arlington_tx-49

sanford house reception

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Sanford House Arlington Wedding Photographer

Check out Jillian and John’s blog here!

I want to share if you’re wondering how to pose someone in a wheelchair – it’s just like posing anyone who’s sitting down! Don’t be afraid to get creative with it. You’re there to capture their love. Let them be natural but still direct them as you need. I always research and look at photos of venues and couples before I shoot anywhere, so I can have new, fresh perspectives in my head. There are plenty of examples online of differently abled couples.

We still have some 2020 dates available. I’m so happy to be sharing actively on my blog again. It feels like it’s been awhile! I fully plan on sharing some tips and tricks about hiring the perfect photographer for your wedding and more about my life.

Vendors:

Planner: Rhianna Dempsey with Polished Planning Events
Venue/Catering: Sanford House
Videography: Everlasting Wedding Films
Cake: Baked by Kim Lisa
DJ/Photobooth: It’s Your Night
Bridal Beauty: Pretty on Premises
Florist: The Blooming Bride
Rentals: Gold Dust Event Co

Weddings

Becki and Brittany’s Brik Venue Wedding

Becki and Brittany’s Brik Venue wedding was one for the books! The day started off with Beki doing a bit of homework and chilling while Brittany and her squad partied and sang to Lizzo in her getting ready room. While Becki was having her makeup done, I got caught up with her and her Matron of Honor, Lindsay, who we had the great pleasure of working with back in 2017. I truly felt more like a friend than a vendor – mostly like a friendor! We always love photographing and working at Brik Venue.

Their first look was full of happy, joyful tears and the beautiful Brik Ivy wall was covered in bright, vibrant fall colors. The ceremony was heartfelt and a T-Rex even made an appearance during the reception.

Becki and Brittany, we loved getting to photograph your wedding! Be sure to scroll down to see the inclusive and fabulous vendors they used.

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

wedding dress on hanger

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

wedding rings on flowers

Brik Venue Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Weddingbrik_venue_lgbt_wedding-7

Brik Venue Wedding

Two Brides Wedding Reception Setup
brik venue lgbtq wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Weddingwedding-11

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

First Look at Brik Venue

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Weddingue_lgbt_wedding-38

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding
brik venue lgbtq wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

Brik Venue wedding exit

Brik Venue wedding exit

Brik Venue LGBTQ Wedding

In the near future, I’m planning on sharing tips and tricks on how to best serve LGBTQIA+ couples. I can’t wait to share all of these ideas and thoughts bouncing around in my head for 2020. I believe DFW is becoming more inclusive every day, and I’m extremely happy about it.

Shoutout to these LGBTQIA+ welcoming vendors:

Planner: Cloud Creative Events
Venue: Brik Venue
Florist: Sage Fine Flowers
Hair/Makeup: Ashley McNabb Artistry
Cake: Leigh Baking Co
DJ: LeForce DJ