During Jess and I's evacuation, we made a trip to Raleigh and upon a night out with our family, somebody came up to me (that I've never met) and said "I thought I recognized you from your blog!" I kid you not, that actually happened and it was the strangest moment of low-key fame I've ever had... in a good way. It's flattering realizing that people like you are reading these very words. Many people are even writing e-mails with questions especially about my hard-of-hearing upbringing. There seems to be a lot of myths I need to debunk about what it means to be hard of hearing. I'll go through them one by one.
1. "Oh you're deaf, okay you can't talk on phone."
I can't tell you how many customer service representatives tell me I need TTY (teletype)—like Lord, if you already know what I need, go ahead and fix the problem I'm calling about. TTY stands for teletype machines and they are used by SOME people who are deaf or heard-of-hearing to communicate by typing or reading text. I can talk on the phone jussst fine. Go ahead, call me and let's talk!
2. "So if you don't hear very well, you must do sign language."
No, not every hard-of-hearing or deaf individual chooses to American Sign Language as a form of language. Every child or adult makes their own decision but our family decided for me to be mainstream in my communication skills: good ol' fashioned talking. Sure I get insecure if I sound "deaf" when I don't have my cochlear hearing devices in, but I'd rather sound deaf then have to learn a language only about 250,000 people know how to speak (ASL). If someone is calling my bluff, I just do stuff like this:
3. "Bet you can't hear me right now."
Yes, I can hear you. I have cochlear implants that serve as a fancy aid. The better question to ask a deaf or hard-of-hearing person is "Can you understand me?" Even if I have my cochlears in, I might not understand you for many reasons: you're talking too fast, you're covering your mouth (so I can't lip read), you're mumbling, you're speaking too quietly or there is background noise.
4. "OOh, I bet you take out your device when you don't want to listen to someone."
This is actually an insult to me sometimes. You basically just assume that I got three five-thousand dollar surgeries so I could not hear you on purpose? No, I want to hear you, no matter how annoying you are. But that's my personality. Every deaf person has a different personality. If someone really got on my nerves, I'll do what every hearing person does:
5. "How do you watch tv?"
Closed captions are my best friend. My sweet husband has gotten so well-trained that he turns on captions by default without me asking and if we're somewhere else, he'll ask for me sometimes. My family says they still watch tv with subtitles because they got so used to it and liked the funny *sighs vigorously* subtext that came with it.
6. "I bet you wish you could hear."
Let's put it this way, if I could hear, I just know I'd eventually lose my hearing in old age because I LOVE loud music so I'm just beating everyone to the punch and not crying about losing something I never had to begin with. Again, hate it when people assume that being deaf is the worst thing in the world. I gots food, I gots family and I gots a home—that's a lot more than I need.
Thanks for reading Day 23! You're pretty much a total rockstar for reading lots of words. See you tomorrow.
I've been pretty mad and hard on myself for not even being able to keep up with a 30 work-day blogging challenge. Today I was supposed to be done with the challenge and here's day 22 instead. Life has thrown a lot of curveballs lately, and we're all just trying to adapt as best as we can. Jess and I had to evacuate from a hurricane that devastated Wilmington and surrounding areas— the surprising thing is, we got given a hard time about leaving—as if evacuating wasn't sexy and bold enough. That we weren't staying to help when it was all over, guilt tripped at every corner. Not calling anyone out, but here's the thing—when we left, the hurricane was projected to be category four, and there's nothing sexy about being stranded on a roof. There's nothing sexy about purposely putting yourself at risk just so you can tell a story later or save your insured property. Of course there are those who couldn't evacuate due to finances or extenuating circumstances or those who had to stay behind and work—obviously that's an exception.
On our 15+ hour detour home, we had the honor of being able to celebrate two beloved friends, Lauren + Wayland on Saturday. They were actually supposed to get married in Atlantic Beach. As you can imagine, Flo messed that up too so they relocated the festivities to the triangle area with the Friday night being at Carolina Country Club in Raleigh and Saturday night being at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro. They legit planned a wedding in SIX days and as a wedding photographer, let me tell you, that is phenomenal— and it goes to tell you that long engagements are overrated. When there's a will, there's a way. Lauren and Wayland had a will to get married and they did it beautifully. It was so hard to not bring my portrait mode out and take pictures all night. I actually got accidentally photobombed by the photographer's camera and took it as a sign that I needed to enjoy the evening with my own two eyes. Thank you two for giving Jess and I a reminder of what life is really about: love, family and friends. Congrats to Lauren and Wayland—y'all belong together and we all know it. Here's to forever.
On Friday, it will have been three months since my lil fur-baby rescue cat Jazzy was killed by a coyote. For those of you who don't know me, Jazzy was my first "child." She was my first pet and meeting her was all an accident. Yes, an accident.
I was on a trip to Raleigh to visit my big sister and her husband, pumping gas at the White's gas station in Mann's Harbor, a little town just over the bridge that goes to Manteo, NC. Out of the corner of my eye, I see this blonde eight or nine-year-old boy crossing a four-lane highway with something in his arms. "Hmm, strange." I remember thinking and before I knew it, he was standing right in front of me with a tiny little fur ball in his arms, a kitten barely a month old—severely malnourished and shaking in fear. Blue eyes staring back at me. He asks me meekly if I'd like to have her—that his cat accidentally had babies and she was the last of the litter and they couldn't afford to keep her. The gas pump clicks in its completion so I check on it and then I see the boy in the corner of my eye again—he's running back across the highway‚ hands free. My passenger door was open because I had reached in there to get my wallet and just below the seat, I see the kitten curled up right next to my stinky tennis shoes on the floorboard. She was already struggling to keep her eyes open —she was three seconds away from nap time. My heart melted and I plugged in a new destination: Williamston Vet (next semi-big town I'd drive through in my trip to Raleigh). I needed to know how I was going to keep her alive that day.
Turns out she was flea-ridden and hadn't eaten in three days but as soon as I saw she was healthy otherwise, I knew I had to keep her. Mind you this was the most spontaneous move I had ever done. But she got me through breaking up a two-year dead-end relationship—she was the companionship I needed to encourage me to break things off. She was not only my first child but the cat responsible for changing my life. If I hadn't gotten her, I would not have ultimately met Jess. Sounds like crazy logic I know but Jazzy did more than just meow. She saw me through the biggest times in my life, rode on huge car trips with me and was my number one office co-worker.
On the night of July 23, my parents were visiting Jess and I in Wilmington and brought their dogs whom were wild with curiosity for her (as you can imagine, chill cats don't usually love hyper dogs) so we put her outside while we were eating (she was a very well-trained indoor-outdoor cat). We called her in before bed but she didn't come but figured she was afraid of the dogs and she often was nocturnal in the summer because she wanted to escape the heat. The next morning Jess found a pack of fur and her punctured collar in our yard and came to me with an expression of concern. He knew July 22 was the last time we will ever see her. I couldn't believe how long it took me to stop crying because I felt like I failed her.
With that said, on the three-month anniversary of her death, Jess and I have been compelled to search for another kitten rescue. If you, or someone you know has a litter of beautiful furry kittens (long-haired female preferred), Jess and I would love to have their contact information. As there are enough abandoned, unwanted or unhoused kittens out there, we are not interested in a bred kitten. We want to celebrate Jazzy's life by finding another rescue to love and raise.
We promise we're good parents, what happened to her was a freak thing and we have made a promise to not allow our next cat out at night no matter the circumstance. We are so looking forward to filling in the hole Jazzy left in our hearts.
This time last week, Jess and I were trying to figure out what to do and where to go as Hurricane Florence's projected path was anything but predictable. We didn't know if it made more sense to go North, West or South because Florence basically doing the cha-cha slide gaining strength to become a potential category four storm. As I am from the Outer Banks and have survived terrible category one and twos, we weren't about to see what category four would be like in our hometown of Wilmington, N.C. During all the projections, the one constant seemed to be landfall between Atlantic Beach and Wilmington so we knew that much and decided to make a spontaneous decision to evacuate to Nokomis, Florida. We have a dear friend whose dad has a rental property in Florida so we took him up on his offer and tried to rally our families to come with us. To no avail on our persuasion skills, we ended up just packing up two weeks worth of clothes and our fur-baby Belle and taking the 9 hour trek to the Sunshine state by ourselves. Jess and I made the last minute decision to leave N.C. because we knew with the size of this hurricane, everyone was going to be affected no matter what direction it took.
It has been heartbreaking seeing all that has been going on in Wilmington and surrounding areas and watching our loved ones struggle through 4 days of no power, downed trees and damaged property. However, we are so grateful to hear everyone is safe-and-sound so far. Between rising flood waters and bands of storms packing tornadoes, we know it's not over 'till it's over. Jess and I are unable to get back into Wilmington due to the rivers surrounding Wilmington being at a record all-time high. Wilmington is essentially an island. At one point, the only way there was by boat or plane. We have decided since we own no property yet and we are both able to work from home— to let the first responders and linemen do their thing before we come home. We have felt so grateful that were able to evacuate at a low-cost because we know that's not the opportunity that everyone has. That's why we've been low-key about where we've been for the last six days.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say you've probably gotten enough of destruction photos from North Carolina so I wanted to share some images from Jess and I's stay in Nokomis, Florida. Fun fact, Florida basically calls Summer, the Winter down here so there is hardly anyone here. Nokomis rests on the gulf side just South of Sarasota and here happens to be where the Red Tide is—meaning floating dead fish everywhere. This is what the Florida coast line goes through after prolonged periods of warm weather and warm water generate disease through bloomed algae called —it ultimately prevents oxygen supply to the animals of the sea so they suffocate slowly to death and end up upside down on the surface of the water. The toxic algae bloom has been killing marine life and apparently triggering respiratory issues among some residents and Gov. Rick Scott has been pouring funding into resolutions and cleanup for the Red Tide. Residents are getting increasingly frustrated for clean water. We have been blown away with how much this affects the sea-side towns and how it affects the fishing, the tourism and even the few residents that are here. Apparently it's been the worst this year than it has been in a long time. Usually lasting three weeks, this year the Red Tide has been spanning three months and counting.
Jess and I tried to go 25 miles south and see if there was any pools of unaffected areas but didn't have much luck except a few catfish. While the water is slowly regaining its blue color, it's still very much a graveyard of the sea animals. We didn't take any photos of that because it's just truly disturbing, but this goes to tell you that everywhere in the world, there are places dealing with their little environmental crisis. For Florida, it's the tide, for North Carolina, it is the hurricane. At the end of the day, you just gotta remember we have a lot to be grateful for. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful, safe and strong country like America.
Huge thanks to the Schlegel family for giving us a home away from home for the last six days. Thank you to our friends, neighbors and family that have been checking on our home. We can't wait to get back and start our road to recovery back in Wilmington, NC. Wilmington, let us know what you need us to bring. Stay tuned.
So...the talk of the hour seems to be the impending Hurricane Florence. My way of coping: Whipping up two tomato pies since Florence has gotta like Italian food right? As we live in Wilmington, Jess and I have gotten so many sweet texts from friends and family sharing concern for our hometown and asking what we're going to do. Here's what we're going to do: We're bookin' it out of here. As of right now, the forecast model is calling for a direct hit and then it's just going to sit in water off the coast for at least three days. This is the absolute worst forecast because the longer it sits, the more damage it creates. Eastern North Carolina is about to get a rude awakenin'. This coming Friday, I was supposed to capture Clara and Zack's wedding at Kitty Hawk Pier but unfortunately those plans have been postponed until further notice. My soul actually feels for them because they are so ready to be married and now they have to share their big weekend with our Italian neighbor to the East. Weddings aside, people's lives might change forever as we know it so it has been a very anxious couple of days for us North Carolinians.
In the meantime, we'll be taking photos of everything in our house for inventory in case we need to claim our renter's insurance, packing up our five cases of water, batteries, desktop computer, three camera bags, our boat, dog, and our beloved paintings from Granddad because we don't know what this place will look like when we get back.
Please pray for every single person who calls the coast of North Carolina, home. We need it.
Ps. This may go without saying but we may lose power, which results in not being able to keep up with the promise of the 30-day blogging challenge. Forgive me if this happens but will tune in with all the updates if the wi-fi keeps chuggin' along.
Clara and Zack were supposed to get married in Kitty Hawk this Friday but the Outer Banks has been issued a mandatory evacuation for visitors and residents due to the unwanted and impending arrival of Hurricane Florence. Life as we know it means that this pier might not even exist this time next week. As of right now, forecasts are calling for this ~450 mile wide and possible category 5 hurricane to directly hit Jess and I's home of Wilmington. Let's just say this 30 work-day blogging challenge might have to be put on hold. Prayers for everyone who calls North Carolina home.
The Outer Banks is essentially a skinny sandbar with the real estate mixture of beach boxes on stilts and 23 bedroom mansions fit for kings. No matter the place you stay, the fact remains that the Outer Banks thrives on a tourist economy more than anything so we WELCOME them because without them, the economy would cease to exist (in my personal opinion).
Being an OBX native, I have a Google Document of information regarding of recommendations that I give to friends before they visit the Outer Banks for the first time. This Google docs has changed over the years as establishments have come and gone but my top five favorite things to do at home have remained the same.
For day 18 of the 30-day blogging challenge, I talk about home and the best local and touristy things to do.
1. Fishing: You would basically be an idiot to travel several hundred miles and cross two bridges and NOT see the Atlantic Ocean. But if you want to see the Outer Banks from a different perspective, I recommend fishing off shore. Whether it be a charter or on your lil tugboat, take in the beauty of the Outer Banks by inhaling salt air all around you. My husband will 100% vouch for this because he left Red Oak, NC to go fishing in Hatteras just about every weekend in his teenage years. If you need a recommendation for a crew to go out with, e-mail me and my husband, Jess will feed my ear with all kinds of names.
2. Kitty Hawk Kites: This is kind of a three-fold recommendation because this company offers three major things to the outer Banks public: Since it was founded by John Harris in 1974, to initially provide instruction, products, and service to the burgeoning new sport of hang gliding, it is now a business that has expanded into flight school, aviation and outdoor sales and retail. So basically, you can go hang gliding in the morning, and go shopping that afternoon. It's a BEAUTIFUL way to see just how tiny the Outer Banks is, get overwhelmed by how life is larger than you and just drop everything and go shopping for some new outdoor gear because you wanna go explore it all with your new R.E.I's.
If you're afraid of heights, just go across the street from Kitty Haw Kites and hike up Jockey's Ridge, which is essentially the largest sandbox in the country.
3. Live Music Scene: Oh my gosh, I'm not just saying this but the Outer Banks is home to some of the most talented musicians I know and they have all this drive to make it through an Outer Banks winter by singing at restaurants every single night. They are passionate about what they do so they will never fail to entertain you with their melodies. Check out the Outer Banks live music calendar here to see where you should go for dinner and catch a show while you're at it!
5. Nags Head Woods: Again, dog mom here so nature walks are right up my alley every time I go home to the OBX because I love exercising and I love exercising with dogs even more. Nags Head Woods is home to some of the most beautiful marsh and forest trails that it's literally one of my favorite places to visit in the the entire island. Every time I go, I see something I've never seen before. Not because it's a big sanctuary, it's not, but because the seasons change, the tides change, the trails meander and it can all seem a little new no matter how many times you take a walk there. Full disclosure, please wait till a frost to go if you don't want to worry about ticks! It is nature after all and nature brings bugggs.
A lot of people cruise through my Instagram and say "Oh wow so you do only weddings?" That's actually one of the biggest misconceptions about my photography business.
The truth is I just tend to do a lot of wedding posts because I do more of them than anything else just by chance. It doesn't mean I do not enjoy the family portrait session, the birthday party, the newborn portrait, the graduate celebratory shot, the model portfolio or the professional head shots. The reason why I've done more weddings than anything is most likely because of how the market is coupled with how much people love to get married!
When the market is good, people are making more money, taking chicks and dudes on dates and falling in love with them and before you know it, they're asking me to be their wedding photographer. Everything else is more "trendy" for the lack of a better way to say it... Weddings are the biggest constant as people have been getting married since the dawn of time.
Family portraits are a matter a targeted sentimental demographic of folks who want to treasure the little milestones here and there. The birthday party is rare because most people have cell phones with incredible quality cameras and the traditional headshots are not as needed now because due to a modern day trend of "lifestyle" photos. People want to see you in your element and get a "lifestyle photo" rather than a traditional studio photo. LinkedIn is probably the only thing that keeps headshots a popular phenomenon. Otherwise, everyone uses "lifestyle" photos for their websites and profile pieces. They should though—what you look like at the studio is not really what you look like in real life. When it comes to selling yourself, people want to relate to you, so lifestyle photos are the best way to go.
This is all purely my opinion though. I just wanted to showcase all the little things I do so you know that while yes I LOVE romance and weddings, I also love to do all of this too:
small business ie jewelry + clothes:
Dog Portraits (Yes you read that right, they are children to most people).
Family Portraits (Lifestyle):
Family Portraits (Posed):
Newborns and Infants:
...and Weddings (obviously):
Pretty big variety right? That may scare some people if they think that means I don't have a specialty—but I do... People. Almost every one of those photos involved a person. There's a reason I'm bubbly, it's because I feed off human exchange. My compulsive drive to make you happy is what propels me in this customer service business!
I was having dinner with a great friend @laurieclaire last night and she was talking about how her boss @lizcarrollinteriors has her own incredibly successful business, raises her kids, loves her husband and still makes time to give back to the community almost every week. Hearing this story inspired me to give back this month in the best way I know how: Photography.
For ONE day only, I'll be offering 8 FREE 15-minute portrait photography sessions in downtown Wilmington on Wednesday, September 19th from 5:00pm until 6:45pm.
All donations will go toward The Care Project, a non-profit dedicated to bringing hope to families who have children and/or adults with hearing challenges through counseling experiences aimed at the processing of the emotional stages of grief. As I myself am significantly hard-of-hearing, this non-profit hits close to home for my loved ones and me.
The Care Project offers retreats and workshops for families with children and young adults with hearing loss. At these events, these families get to see they aren't alone and that it will indeed be okay. That life doesn't get harder, it'll get easier.
The sessions will take place at the Downtown Wilmington boardwalk at the end of Market Street: 1 Market Street, Wilmington, NC
You will receive 3 retouched digital images delivered to you via the e-mail that you use when you book your session.
Who can go? Need a headshot? Book a session! Need a holiday family photo? Book a session, but 1 family max please. If you show up with 15 people I will be a little perturbed.
How do I prepare? Look snazzy and be ready to go at least 5 minutes prior to your slot session. Time is of essence, no outfit changes please.
How quickly do I get photos?
For more information beyond what is provided, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
If you don't live in the Wilmington area and would like to donate, please visit The Care Project website
To book your session,
please visit visualsbyhelen.com/careproject
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE.
PLEASE AWAIT A CONFIRMATION FROM ME AFTER BOOKING.
WOW. Jess and I had our first Labor Day Weekend here in Wilmington and we entertained his folks, his brother and brother's girlfriend and it was the best time spending it with family. There must've been something in the air though because I got several wedding photography inquiries on Sunday and Monday for folks that got engaged on Friday or Saturday. Patriotism must bring out the romance! So when newly engaged couples approach me for wedding photography packages, they ask me about prices and then almost all of them asked me who I hired for my wedding.
Photographers are one of the first wedding vendors that couples tend to reach out to so for me, a lot of thought goes into the best custom palette of wedding professionals for each and every couple. I tell each and every one of them to take their time and get to know these professionals because they are the people that bring your wedding together. They are the ones that you spend most of your time communicating with during your engagement and if you love them, you will love being engaged because you will see how easy it's supposed to be despite contrary belief.
After Jess proposed back in November 2017, I told myself one thing: that I want it to be about the sanctity of our marriage... not about koozies, flowers, dresses, bridesmaid gifts, or any of that tangible mess. I made myself promise to never bring any stress on my family, on my fiance and his family because stress meant that it was forcing something that wasn't supposed to happen.
I know you won't believe me when I say this, the tangible things I spent about three seconds on, the wedding vendors however, I spent forever on. Here is the dream team that helped Jess and I make our day so special and why we chose them. Keep in mind that every one has different taste, different priorities, and different sentimental reasons for making decisions. Keep in mind I was the last of my family to get married and I'm a wedding photographer for a living so naturally, I just wanted to marry my sweetheart and be done with it. Don't feel like you're making the wrong decision just because I wrote a blog post about it.
The wedding ceremony venue: St. James Parrish
Not trying to fool anyone here... we aren't the greatest Christian couples out there—we barely make it to church whenever we're home but Jess and I made it clear from the beginning that God is always first and that's why we wanted a spiritual wedding. We didn't want to forget what it was all about in all the glamor that weddings can create. We went to St. James Parrish before we were engaged and felt like it was a church we could connect with so it made absolute sense for us to get married there. Another drive to get married there was for sentimental reasons. My aunt and uncle got married there over 25 years ago and are still happily married and greatly involved with St. James.
Reception Venue: The Surf Club
Okay, like I said, last one to get married so we had to go all out and let everyone be able to invite everyone so we needed the space to accommodate that! The Surf Club fit the bill after looking at all the venues that Wilmington had to offer. We also loved that it was by the ocean which made perfect sense for us since Jess grew up fishing on the Atlantic and I grew up a beach girl from the OBX.
photographer: matt mcgraw
Jess basically put me in charge of this for obvious reasons (that he was about to have a photographer for a wife) but I promise I kept asking him what he wanted and he seemed to be completely nonchalant about it. So let me tell you, this was the hardest decision to make probably in the whole wedding experience because I loved everyone I talked to. Everyone had their own personality, their own style and their own way of approaching me, a potential client. The problem was that I had to pick one.
I narrowed it down to picking a Wilmington photographer because of three reasons: 1. I wanted to get to know other photographers in the area as Jess and I had just moved here 2. I wanted to support the local Wilmington economy 3. It was my gut instinct to hire someone within a 30-mile radius (I know super silly but go with it).
When I met Matt, he supported me with open arms since day 1 before I was even engaged. He welcomed me into a photographer's industry and not only encouraged me to network more and more, but he also referred me to business he couldn't take care of personally. That little bit of compassion went a long way on making a first impression on me.
Videographer: luke brown of light cannon films
Let me preface this paragraph by saying that videographers are not required for a wedding—at all. I am just a highly sentimental person and know how fast weddings go by so I wanted a way to literally pause on all of it after it was all over and see everything I missed. There are also some moving memories you cannot capture in photography—as much as I hate to say it as a photographer. It's true.
I ended up finding out about Luke Brown through my wedding planner (I'll get to her after this) and feel so fortunate to have found out about his name. His artistic but romantic style was everything I wanted. You'll see why when you watch the highlight video yourself.
weekend-of Wedding coordinator: Amy mcgraw of Do me a Favor Weddings
Amy happens to be the wife of Matt McGraw, our wedding photographer, but I met her separately through a networking meeting before Jess and I got engaged. We hit it off right away because she was so easy to talk to and just like Matt, as welcoming as anyone can be.
So I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't really need her to plan anything—I was in the industry so I knew the motions of wedding planning. I just personally needed her to be there to tie it all together when the weekend finally arrived. My family is so selfless that they would have done everything Amy did, but that's exactly why I hired her myself. I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and leave all the itinerary action items to her. She not only excelled, she exceeded my expectations. She took care of me like I was her family. She is multitalented so she did flowers, venue set-up, tended to bitty crisis items, and everything in between.
Cake: Cakes by Carla
Went with a local lady that does cakes out of her home. Total inside scoop from my aunt who lives here as well. Our priority was not spending thousands of dollars on sugar. This yummy 5-layer bad boy only cost $400 (average is $1,500 for that size).
Hair: Ultimate Hair by Chelsea
Okay, the one vendor I didn't go local on was one of my very good friends from Jamesville, NC who has her own salon called Ultimate Hair by Chelsea. She's one of those people that fits me into her calendar on her day off when I only give her a week notice. That's how sweet she is. I wanted someone I knew well because after all, you hang out with all day when you're getting ready. Of course she's talented too, but I'm already biased there. What's even cooler is that she enlisted some help from another hair stylist I knew. Her name is Fharren, so I felt like we were all friends just chilling on the porch getting pretty.
makeup: flawless makeup by Isla
For anyone that knows me, you would know that I'm just not a makeup person. I splurge on foundation and by splurge it's $50 on something that lasts almost a year. The rest of my makeup is all drug store nonsense. Needless to say, I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to painting on my face. Isla from Flawless Makeup by Isla was a contact through my wedding coordinator, Amy. I had her do a test run with my bridal portraits and absolutely loved how she intertwined both the natural but glamorous look so I knew she was the right fit. I also loved how she went into the wedding day thinking she was only going to work her magic on three or four girls but ended up doing the entire house of girls because everyone loved how talented she was. The even more amazing fact is that she STILL finished on time whilst also making all my sisters, mom, mom-in-law, and aunt feel confident and pretty. Sometimes this isn't always the case with makeup artists because some ladies get traumatized through a makeover that's so intense to the point where they don't even recognize themselves and it actually moves them to tears. That's why I always recommend to my brides to do bridals because it's a test trial with the dress, makeup, hair and you also get to savor feeling like a princess .
Rentals: Party Suppliers and Rentals
We rented the Surf Club intentionally because they included chairs + tables but we wanted to spice up the tables with some pretty linen. I knew one of the owners of the place, Ashley from working at a non-profit event called The Care Project and remembered she worked in the event rental business. She took care of us like we rented out the whole store when in reality, all we got was just a few orders of beige textured linen!
transportation: azalea limousine service
We had a budget but also had about a 23 minute trip from the church to the Surf Club so we could only afford to transport immediate family and bridal party (Didn't make sense for us to order 16 different Ubers to get everywhere and too risky for them to be on-time). Azalea Limousine Service gave us a great deal after we told them what we could really pay. I think it helped that our wedding was in the off-season though! Brides and Grooms, negotiate! Everyone is always trying to make a buck so it usually ends up being a win-win.
Flowers: lydia Hines + close family friends
This was another contact from my aunt who lives here. Lydia doesn't market herself to the public and does word-of-mouth and referral weddings. We feel so grateful to have met her as she had several weddings in one weekend and still made time for us! Her talent coupled with Amy, the coordinator and our close family friends, we were able to put on wedding decor at an affordable cost.
At the end of the day, you are going to get married and that in itself is a treasure to experience. Don't forget to cherish it because after all, it only happens once! (I'm going to be naive and pretend like divorce doesn't exist in this blog post).
See you lovers tomorrow for Day 16.
Ps. Jess, thanks for letting me broadcast our wedding photos all over the internet. Love you husband!