On Sunday I met up with the incredibly talented (and fun!) Stephen of Stephen Gosling Photography for a photo shoot in Old Town, Alexandria.
Stephen offered to do a portrait session for me and I jumped at the chance! After scoping out the other portraits he’s taken for DC Bloggers, Wedding Planners, and Photographers on his blog, I knew I was in for a treat working with him.
To start, we walked around the waterfront area to find some interesting backgrounds. Stephen explained that he likes interesting textures and colors.
Our first location was this rust door with the red brick around it. After that we moved over to the green door you see in the background on the left.
If you’re wondering, “Are you shooting in a sketchy alley Maureen?” Yes. I am. I actually preferred the alley to our second location on the street because it was less busy and less windy.
The exceptionally cool thing about this shoot with Stephen was that he just talked to me the whole time. I was so relaxed and happy to be chatting with a new friend (his wife and my boyfriend used to work together – small world!) and learning all about his style of photography along the way.
Stephen has been shooting since he was 15 and has is degree in photography. He was very patient with my questions and I found the whole shoot absolutely delightful.
You know when you were little and you went to Sears and posed with your little brother in matching plaid outfits, and the photographer put your fingers a certain way, and your head tilted at 48 degrees to the left and made you smile for 20 hours to get the right shot? — This was the opposite of that and it was awesome!
I felt relaxed and comfortable and I cannot wait to see the shots Stephen got!
Our second location was across from a large park on the water. It was definitely busier and way windy. These pictures might be hilarious.
Fun fact: this door was popular! A family was getting photographed here when we came back from my ensemble change at Starbs. And in the background you can see a couple getting their engagement portraits taken behind Stephen. (He also does wedding photography if you’re getting married soon!)
Stephen and I were laughing because there was a cute family, and a cute couple, and then me. Alone. Standing like a weirdo. And talking with my hands. HAHA.
I will post the photos I get from Stephen as soon as I have them. I AM SO EXCITED!
For now I’m just reveling in the fact that I had my very own photo shoot with an awesome photographer. So cool. I can only hope to work with Stephen again in the future. 🙂
Tip #3: Let the venue help you.
Showers vary considerably based on the bride’s taste and the location. The best thing you can do when figuring out what to wear for a shower is to see what the venue looks like. If it’s a winery, you know there will be other people there dressed in jeans for public wine tastings, so you can go a little more casual. If it’s at a nice restaurant, check to see if it lists a dress code. Boom! There are your instant guidelines.
Tip #4. Mimic the bride.
Check with the bride to see what she is wearing. I once wore a fancy pink dress to a shower that was at my friend’s family home. I was certainly overdressed, but the bride had expressed that she wanted all of her bridesmaids to wear pink dresses… so I fit right in. The bride will likely always be honest about how you should dress. If you’re in a sticky situation and she is being vague, go with a skirt and top and flats. That can either be dressed up or down and you’ll be safe no matter which way the event goes!
Tip #5: You can’t go wrong with cotton.
My default is always a cotton dress and neutral heels for a lunch event. Honestly, this is one of my favorite outfits. You will look classy because you are wearing a dress but you won’t be out of place even if others are in pants because your dress is cotton. It’s a genius move! I also love wearing dresses even if others aren’t. Always let yourself sparkle. Also, this event usually takes place during the wedding weekend and things tend to be fancier then anyway.
Tip #6: Daytime event = neutral heels.
For the shoes, I suggest heels because they are more dressy but don’t go crazy. A pair of beige or black patent pumps would be perfect! They always look good and match everything. And that way you save packing room by wearing them to more than one activity!
Tip #7: You look better when you mingle!
If you or your significant are lucky enough to be in the bridal party, you will probably get to partake in the delicious rehearsal dinner. This is a wonderful time to spend with the bride and groom, but also to get to know their families. I love being able to talk to the mother of the groom and thank her for the evening (the grooms parents typically host the rehearsal dinner) and meet people before the wedding. That way, by the time we’re on the dance floor the next day, we’re practically besties.
Tip #8: Aim for in-between fancy and casual.
For attire, I suggest an in-between dress. I have a light pink lace cocktail dress that is my go-to. It’s fancier than a cotton dress but it’s not satin. Save your Sunday best for the wedding itself.
Tip #9: Look like you tried but not too much!
I always do my own hair for rehearsal dinners and opt for a natural look that shows I tried. Most mornings I shower, dry my hair (it’s straight), and go. So for this type of event I’ll curl it and use some hairspray to give extra volume. It takes 5 minutes but I look like I tried. A little effort can go a long way!
Tip #10: NO WHITE!!!!!
Whatever you do, do not wear white. That’s all you need to know.
Tip #11: Check the invitation for instructions.
Wedding invitations will usually specify if there is a specific dress code (e.g., if it says black tie, wear a long fancy dress). If it doesn’t say, then I would always go with a dress. Again, this is just my personal style but I believe in dressing up for two people I love committing their lives to each other.
Tip #12: Get clues from the ceremony.
The location of the ceremony might help you decide what kind of dress. In a field and barn – cotton dress and boots. In a country club – LBD and heels. Gallery – cocktail dress and fun heels. Church – longer dress and kitten heels. Use your best judgment, ask the bride, and be yourself. You will look great! Don’t forget a sweater, shawl, or jacket. Even in warm climates it can get chilly at night.
Tip #13: Switch it up!
For hair, weddings can be a fun time to try new do’s. Use hot rollers and go super curly. Yes I still do this, don’t judge. Try doing your own updo or putting it half up with bobby pins. Since I have straight hair, I always try to curl it a little. But if your hair is naturally curly, maybe go straight! My biggest recommendation is that your hair looks nice and like you intentionally did it that way. You don’t want to look like you just woke up from a nap between the ceremony and reception. Even if you did. 😉
Tip #14: Ask the bride…
This may be the easiest option of all as your dress is usually picked out for you by the bride. First thing to remember: ask the bride about everything. She will likely tell you what color jewelry, shoes, nails, and how she wants your hair.
Tip #15: …But don’t harass her!
Second thing to remember: if you ask her and she says she doesn’t care, then she doesn’t. So don’t badger her. Hah! I know I have been worried at times about making sure I look perfect, but keep in mind she is worrying about a lot of other things. And you are there to support her.
Tip #16: Set clear expectations with your stylist.
I always try to get an updo even if I have to pay for it myself. My hair is long and fine and I am terrible at doing it myself. For me this just works. If you are getting your hair done, don’t be afraid to (gently) tell the stylist what you want. I prefer a soft look in the front so I don’t look like I bald man. That is always the first thing that comes out of my mouth. The stylist can’t help you if she doesn’t know what you want!
Tip #17: Stand up for yourself (within reason).
Lastly, if you are a bridesmaid and you have a choice to pick a dress or a style, pick one that you feel good in. No one wants you up there feeling like your left boob is gonna pop out. However, if you do not have a choice, be gracious, let the bride do her own thing, and remember that you only have to wear it for one night. 🙂
Tip #18: Dance and have fun.
Live it up, you look beautiful!!!!
HAPPY FRIDAY! If you worked with me it would be Taco Friday. TGITF. Yessssss.
The wedding was held at the Gerald Peter’s Gallery. It was a really unique setting and was very pretty.
The programs were attached to the back of these bicycle prints… which the bride MADE BY HERSELF. She’s one talented DIY lady.
Josh and I found our table – named after their street from William & Mary – by locating our very own apple / place card. Under the apples were handwritten notes Casey and Kelly had kept from their 5 years of dating.
I know I know… we’re not really in the mountains. 🙂
Thank you all for your patience as I jet set around to weddings this month. It’s been a blast but yesterday I was completely on my butt. I slept from 8am until 4pm. And then I watched roughly 6 hours of Girls and Downton Abbey. That’s what I get for pushing myself too hard. 🙂
I still had some pictures from Allison’s wedding that I wanted to share with you. I am dreaming of that warm Charleston weather right now!
HAHAHAHA I COULDN’T RESIST! Mich and I look so sad in the sun haha.
Well it’s Friday an I’m not at work! Best day of all time!!!!! Josh and I are currently road tripping with our friends from Denver to Santa Fe. We got ino Denver last night at 4am body time so I’m pretty caffeinated right now!
I wanted to share two things with you today:
1. wedding up-do tips
If you have thin hair don’t wash it the day of the wedding. The dirt helps trust me! Also let them tease it and spray it and use dry shampoo to add texture. It works I promise!
2. Baked squash
Honestly this is the easiest and yummiest side to dinner! Cut it in half, put it on a baking sheet lined with foil, pour whatever seasonings you want on it and stick that sucker in the oven! I bake mine on 350 for about 40 min. I would just keep testing it with a fork and when it’s soft it’s done!
So random but that’s what I’m thinking! Stay tuned for pics from Santa Fe!
The former roomies were up and ready at 9am!
Some of the girls got their make-up done (I did my own) but we all got our hair done. The girls helping us were amazing and came right to our hotel room. It was a little pricey but totally worth it!
The bridesmaids took a limo bus over to the Citadel chapel with Allison to help her get ready there with the professional photographer. She already had her hair and make-up done but we still had to put on the dress and the jewelry!
Snackin before the ceremony!