Not So Common Wedding Prep


That big day is right around the corner. Months and months of planning have gone into this moment to make sure that everything is perfect. From your dress, to the flowers, to the venue, all the details have been mapped out and thought about over and over. However, there's a list of not so obvious planning tips. Sometimes when you're wrapped up in all that planning, you can forget about yourself. Here are a few ways to prep to make sure you look and feel your best.

Happiness Is A Good Hair Day

They say that 90% of a good selfie is your hair. Your hair is important on your wedding day! On average, your hair grows at ¼ inch per month. This is important to consider when you are getting your trims and cuts leading up to the big day. Talk with your stylist to understand the desired length needed to get the look that you want. However, great hair also starts from the outside in. Hairfinity vitamins are packed with Niacin which promotes healthy blood circulation to the scalp as well as biotin, which supports existing hair growth and increases hair elasticity. Don’t forget about the guys! Men want to feel confident when they are standing at the end of the aisle as well. Hims is a company that offers hair loss options as such as Finasteride. It helps by blocking DHT, which is said to be the hormone derived from testosterone considered to be the main cause of hair loss. You're able to connect with doctors online and they send the prescription to your home without any embarrassing in person conversations.


That Wedding Glow

Many believe that food is the best medicine. A study in the Journal Evolution and Human Behaviour said that a diet full of vegetables and fruit could give you a glow that is better than the sun! Red and orange vegetables are able to give you the best sun kissed glow without the damaging effects of the sun. Sweet potatoes are an excellent vegetable choice when it comes to clearing up your complexion and radiating your skin. Papaya is fruit that is packed with enzymes that are great for your skin. Chympopapain helps to relieve inflammation in the skin and it can be applied topically to dissolve pore-clogged fats and cleanse the skin. Here are some papaya recipes that you should try when looking for a healthy, sweet treat!


Give Peace a Chance

With all the chaos that goes into planning a wedding, it's important to take a deep breath and remember that everything is going to be okay. If you are feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, try downloading Insight Timer for your smart phone or tablet, an app that offers guided meditations for any kind of situation you're going through. From improving your mood, to helping you relax, you'll be well on the way to clearing your mind and ready to take on any kind of challenge that may come your way leading up to your wedding!


Any ways you can be kinder to yourself and future spouse, you should certainly try. There are so many things to keep track of and these are just few ideas that you might have forgotten about. Remember to take care of yourselves!


The Groom's Wedding Detail

The flowers.

The centerpieces.

That large, flat piece of wood with gold inlayed calligraphy that artfully tells people where to sit.

With so many different details to consider when planning a wedding, naturally there are a list of things that are rated high priority and things that are rated low priority. 

Sometimes there are things you don't realize are high priority until you wish you gave it a little bit more time! 

Although I haven't had the experience of wearing a tux or custom tailored suit, I can say for sure that wearing an outfit that fits me to a T instantly elevates me from the inside out. I feel luxurious. I feel fancy. My posture naturally straightens and I hold my head a little higher. 

I think a groom's outfit should make him feel the same way. After all, it's your wedding day - wouldn't you want to feel like royalty? ;) 

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Whether you're going for the classic look or forgoing a tie or bowtie for a more casual look, a well made suit that fits you perfectly in the shoulders, rests at just the right place on the wrist, and hits the top of your shoe will make you look like a million bucks. Guaranteed to make your guests say "Looking sharp!"

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With all the available (and affordable! especially compared to the price of wedding dresses!) options out there, I say invest in this small detail of the day for yourself. 

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To start, try checking out the suit and tuxedo rentals at The Black Tux- they even have an entire guide on groom styling and wedding tips.



Throw Back... Interview with Melly Lee Photography

I can't believe it's been about two years since Melly Lee Photography approached me to answer a few questions for a blog post featuring a few wedding photographers. She talked about how although yes, she's a photographer, she's not a wedding photographer. 

And yes, I'm also a photographer, and I am no conceptual editorial photographer. Come up with an incredibly creative, conceptual, and unique portrait? I'd rather not interfere! :)

I was rereading my answers to a few questions she had for me and I thought I'd like to share again, because these words still ring very, very true. 


ML: Out of all the photographic subjects what drew you to weddings?

AH: My favorite kind of photography is where I can observe and shoot without interfering with a scene or moment. Weddings draw me in because I get to document one of the happiest days of a person’s life as they share it with their friends and family, and I can do so without drawing attention to myself because the day is already all about them.


ML: Unlike traditional wedding photographers you have a specific documentary approach. Can you describe what it’s like anticipating and waiting for the right moment?

AH: There tends to be a natural flow of events that are typical of weddings (getting ready, ceremony, toasts, dances, etc). At every point in time, I’m looking for good light, interesting compositions, and people’s interactions. I’ll observe a group of people through my lens and wait for the right expressions and movement. I get really excited when I’ve captured a moment with the light just right, a strong composition, and storytelling layers throughout the frame. If nothing interesting happens, I’ll just move on. I also have to move on quickly when someone notices me and gives me a thumbs up or something.


ML: What are some of your favorite moments to capture?

AH: Toasts have always been one of my favorite parts of a wedding. People get incredibly emotional and are overwhelmed by laughter and tears, and nobody is focused on the photographer at this time.


ML: You have a unique style of alternating between b/w and color photography. What started this style? Can you elaborate on what elements determine whether the photo will be processed as black and white or color?

AH: I’ve always loved how classic and timeless black and white photographs look. There’s a quote by Elliott Erwitt that goes something like- “Color is descriptive; black and white is interpretive.” When I take a photograph, I usually already know whether it’s going to end up in color or black and white. I love black and white images because when color is stripped away, what’s left is the content, the composition, the light, and the heart of the image upfront. When there’s a really emotional and/or decisive moment I’ve captured, I process the photo as black and white so that the color isn’t distracting the viewer from seeing how the light and shapes are working together. Color needs to have a meaningful role in a photograph.


ML: If you could name one thing a wedding photographer should have what would it be?

AH: I’d like to say passion, but it’s also really important to have good business and marketing sense.



Thanks again for the thoughtful interview, Melly!

How to Plan and Tackle Large Groups of Formals Like a Champ


When couples plan their family formals list, I encourage them to keep the list short and simple. Bride and groom with bride's family. Bride and groom with groom's family. Bride and groom with bride's grandparents. You get the idea. Smaller groups mean quicker formals, and the couple doesn't need to spend an hour smiling at the camera. I mostly suggest it to keep them from getting overwhelmed and exhausted.

However, Lisa and Ryan had 11 groups of formals, with about 8-17 people PER group, and they completely ROCKED IT on organizing it all beforehand. *virtual high five, you guys* We only spent about 20 minutes taking group photos!

Before each wedding, I write up a cheat sheet with all the necessary information I need to know. Here's what their formals list looked like:

Here's how they organized it.

1. They printed out each group of formals containing the group number and the people in the group on small, invitation-sized cards. For example, Group 10 had Lily, George, Minh, Elaine, Janice, Michelle, Kalvin, and Kristy. 

2. Each numbered group card had one person's name in bold. The person with the name in bold was then the "group leader" and was responsible for collecting their group members, which shouldn't be too difficult since each group was unique to each other (USC friends, Mother's side 1, etc). 

3. Before the ceremony (I'm not quite sure when these were handed out), these cards were given to the respective group leaders. These group leaders then knew their responsibility when it came time for group photos. 

4. Lisa and Ryan's awesome officiant and close friend helped by calling out the next group as I was finishing up with the previous group. 

Great job, Lisa and Ryan!

A Case For Getting Ready

“Wedding day.”

Actually, it doesn’t always feel like it, does it? The wedding jitters usually start earlier than that - the day before, at least. More like “wedding week.” Maybe you’re up late desperately trying to finish up those wedding favors you’ve decided to take on yourself, or unable to sleep because you’re so nervous.

Oftentimes, a couple will try to save money on wedding photography by limiting their coverage as much as possible. Usually, the first thing to go is the getting ready photos. For a photographer who prefers to be as hands-off and documentary as possible, I personally believe that this is disadvantageous for a few reasons, and not for logistics such as if you want your dress, shoes, rings, etc photographed.

When your photographer begins the day getting ready, we’re already somewhat behind. We only get a glimpse of all the emotions and anxieties that have already been brewing up since the days, weeks, and months before. To purposefully have your photographer show up to start at the ceremony puts us at an even greater disadvantage because we don’t get to observe all the little details - I’m talking about the conversations between you and your friends while you’re getting ready, the facial expressions you don’t see us notice, and all the other nuances we’re experiencing that will add to the storytelling in your images.

Here are a few bullet points on why I think having your photographer present during your getting ready is important.

1. You have more time to get comfortable in front of your photographer.

    As hands-off and discreet as I try to be, it’s still obvious at the beginning of the day that there’s a photographer clicking away at you. There’s a well-known story among wedding photographers that back in the day, the photographer would show up, start shooting a bunch - of the bride, bridesmaids, things going on - and then after half an hour or so he’d finally stick a roll of film into the camera.

    It takes a while for someone to get comfortable in front of a photographer. Eventually, people get tired of paying attention or trying to make funny faces and just ignore us. To me, this is perfect. I want people to ignore me, because then they can concentrate on being themselves and I can concentrate on documenting what’s really happening. Letting this process happen earlier in the day is much, much better than having this process happen merely moments before a ceremony is starting.

2. I get to catch moments like these…

Best friends seeing her for the first time in her wedding dress!

Granted, every wedding is different. I’m not going to get the exact same images every time because that’s not what my photography is about, and that’s what’s wonderful about it. Getting ready photos aren’t just about shoe shots or makeup brushes-against-your-face shots. I feed off of the energy between you and your loved ones early in the beginning so that the moments I document are truly yours.

3. You get to see each other’s anticipation and what the heck the other one was doing!

    That’s super fun! We all know that not all grooms naturally stand next to the window as they fashionably adjust their cuff links. The guys are usually hanging around watching the game for most of the time, and then frantically trying to google how to tie a tie or how to fold a pocket square, and helping each other out with their cuff links. The jokes and laughs as this goes on between friends can’t be staged, and this is pure gold.

4. Your wedding coverage will feel more complete.

    Without it, I feel like it’s almost like stepping into the movie theater 15 minutes after the film has already started. You know you haven’t missed any major plot points, but you’ve missed the setting of the scene and how the main character is introduced.
     I’ve always felt that a set of wedding images has more of a sense of cohesiveness and context when it includes the getting ready, no matter how un-getting ready it might feel.  This is great for the album, for the scrapbook your crafty family member likes to put together, or just to have for the memories.

If something has to give, I encourage you to rethink cutting out the getting ready. Even if you only put in half an hour to make sure your photographer gets to be around you earlier, it’s better than coming into the story part way through. Perhaps consider planning your day to have most of the major events (things like toasts, bouquet toss, cake cutting, etc…) happen towards the beginning of the reception and be willing to have reception coverage end a bit earlier.

Of course, these are all just suggestions and my whole philosophy of wedding photography is not to dictate your day and not to tell you what to do. It’s your wedding day, so do whatever makes you happiest. I simply invite you to reconsider our perspective of the day and why I feel it’s an important part of the day to include. Happy wedding planning!