Monday, February 29, 2016

Emery is ONE! | 1 Year Old | 2.27.16 | Jacksonville Child Photographer

Emery Paige is turning ONE. My little baby girl, who has grown tremendously and way to fast, is turning ONE! It's just beyond me how quickly time flies. She has developed such a personality (a strong one at that), and is so incredibly smart it blows my mind sometimes. Our home has been filled with so much love this past year, I can't even remember what it was like before her. This year has been a very unique journey...becoming a parent for the first time is a once in a lifetime experience and it's been everything from amazing & surreal to challenging & exhausting (and everything in between). Emery, you have been such a blessing to your Daddy and I (and the rest of your amazing family). We can't express our love enough, we are so lucky to have you in our lives! I can't wait to watch you grow & learn as we continue this journey together! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Engagement Session GIVEAWAY! | 2016 | Jacksonville, Florida Wedding Photographer

I'm bringing it back! 
The Engagement Session Giveaway! 
BUT instead of choosing 1 winner, I will choose 3! 
Yes,THREE lovely couples will win a free engagement session with True Era Photography! 

Here's how to enter:
Click here to hop over to my Facebook page, where you will find the giveaway post.
 LIKE + SHARE the giveaway post (you must do both!)
COMMENT that you did so

For bonus entries:
-TAG a friend you think would be interested
-Follow me on Instagram - @trueeraphoto

The 3 winners will be announced on March 2nd on this post! Good Luck!!!

-Winners cannot already be under contract with another wedding photographer.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Brooke + Derek Are Engaged! | 2.13.16 | Jacksonville, Fl Wedding Photographer

Brooke was the lucky winner of my Engagement Session Giveaway, and I am SO glad I got to work with her and her fiancé Derek!
Brooke + Derek are the epitome of "meant to be". They met all the way back in the 3rd grade, have known each other almost all of their life, and just a couple of months ago decided to spend the rest of it together. Derek proposed to Brooke in the middle of San Marco Square, with her best friends and both of their parents as witnesses {so romantic}. 
I couldn't wait to get right back to that exact spot to do their engagement photos, as well as journey through the beautiful neighborhoods behind the square. For part II of their session we walked up the Main Street Bridge and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset by Friendship Fountain. Basically, it was a perfect evening to celebrate true love!
Congratulations to these two soul mates!

part II 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Budgeting For Your Dream Wedding Photographer (And Why It's Important) | Jacksonville, Florida Wedding Photographer

"We really love your work, but you're just not in our budget!"

I can't even tell you how many times wedding photographers hear this. Brides can be totally in love with your work, spend days conversing back and forth with you, and then when you send them your prices they run like the wind {usually without any response at all}. 
More often than not, these brides usually resort to booking a photographer who is on the cheaper end of the spectrum {and usually less experienced}, someone they haven't done much research about {and don't end up liking their style or personality}, or even have a friend or family member photograph the day. While all of these may sound like the easier and better way to go financially, the end results can be...less than satisfying. 

Professional, experienced wedding photographers can easily be one of the priciest vendors {if not the priciest} on your list of those to consider, and that can be intimidating {and even make a bride want to put the photographer on the back burner}. But you know what? Wedding Photography is an investment and a luxury, and it's so important to view it that way! While all of the pieces of your big day may seem detrimental to your wedding being perfect, just remember this...the flowers, the cake, the decorations, the food...while they each play an important role in the moment, they won't last much longer than that one day. The flowers will die, the food & cake will be inhaled, the decorations will be thrown out. But your wedding photos? Now those will last FOREVER.  

"There are so many vendors I need to do I make sure I'll have enough money to book everyone?"

So you've got your list of vendors you'll need: venue, cake, food, alcohol, entertainment, etc. Here's what you should do now, before booking or paying for anything! Take some time to sit down with your fiancĂ© and arrange each vendor in order from "MY WEDDING CAN'T GO ON WITHOUT THEM!" all the way to "It's ok if we don't break the bank on this particular vendor". Once you have your list, it's time to BUDGET. Make sure you have the money for the vendors you want the most, and book them first! Don't book everyone all willy nilly, and then get to that amazing, must have vendor down the road and realize you don't have enough money left. Hind-sight can make you want to kick yourself, trust me.

Choosing your wedding photographer is like choosing your wedding dress

Not only is budgeting important, but research is also! It's like choosing your wedding don't buy the first one you try on, right? You try on several {ok, maybe hundreds} at a few different bridal shops before finding the perfect dress. It should be the same when choosing your wedding photographer. Just because their work is great, doesn't mean they're a great fit. Talk to them, meet with them, ask them questions, be totally IN LOVE with their work AND their personality. You are going to be spending A LOT of time with your wedding photographer. Consults, phone calls, your engagement session, and up to 10 hours (maybe even more) on your wedding one wants to spend that much time with someone they don't like (amma right?)

I was able to connect with one particular bride who says she didn't do the necessary research before booking her wedding photographer and definitely regrets it. She shares her experience below:

"My biggest regret with us not doing more research on a photographer was that we really only went off of a word-of-mouth suggestion from two couples. Word to the wise, you get what you pay for!...our photos are so bland...My husband and I aren't models and we aren't completely comfortable just posing in front of a camera. {The Photographer} gave us no guidance and just stood there taking our photos. You can really feel the awkwardness when looking at our pictures now, 5 years later...It was poor planning on my part. I should've researched more photographers, but we had a quick engagement and didn't do it. Unfortunately, those pictures are all I have of that day and I don't love them".

Follow your instincts when choosing your vendors. If they give off a bad vibe, run! But if you are lusting after their talent, they are worth true consideration (and probably every penny). Balance, budget, research, and most importantly, enjoy the process, knowing you've chosen the perfect vendors for your Big Day! Oh, and congratulations!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Guanabana Artisan Ice Pops | Vendor Feature | 2.10.16 | Jacksonville Wedding Photographer

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Wedding Vendor Feature ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Trying to think of a cool, unique treat to offer at your wedding? You have to check out this weeks vendor, Guanabana Artisan Ice Pops!  These delicious, refreshing, 100% real fruit popsicles are sure to delight your guests! Check out their interview below to learn more! 

Guanabana Artisan Ice Pops
by Oliver & Julieta Mosqueda

Jacksonville, Florida
Twitter (@guanabanapops)

Q: When did you first launch your business and why?
A: We’re both from South America, Julieta from Colombia and Oliver from Venezuela. When we moved to the United States, we noticed a stark contrast in the lack of fruit in store-bought pops here versus the 100% fruit used in popsicles back home. We wanted to give our children healthy treats, and ones that reminded them of their roots. 
After months of research and recipe testing (the kids were our very willing first taste testers), we created a product line of over 40 different ice pops! We enjoy introducing people to the tastes of South America with flavors like our signature Guanabana and Pineapple Ginger Lemonade, and we’ve taken inspiration from the United States with pops like our Peanut Butter and our Cookies n’ Cream.
Jacksonville has been our home since 2007, and we love being involved in our community. Look for our green tricycle and cart at events like the Riverside Arts Market, Jaxsons Night Market, Downtown Art Walk, and more!

Q: What made you want to work in the wedding industry?
A: We are a husband and wife team, and we know just how important that big day is for the bride and groom! While we aren’t exclusively a wedding vendor, weddings are so special to us because we love being there for the first step in a couple’s future.

Q: Have you had any celebs come through the door?
A: The Jacksonville Jaguar players and the mascot Jaxson de Ville are big fans of our ice pops. We love being able to hang out with our local football team and offer them a cool treat! Former Mayor Alvin Brown and Melanie Lawson from the WJXT Morning Show have also raved about our pops!

Q: Do you cater to other events besides weddings?
A: We cater to all kinds of events! From the Riverside Arts Market and Jaxsons Night Market to fundraising at schools and food truck rallies, we’ve had our mobile tricycle at all sizes of events.

Q: What is your most popular popsicle flavor?
A: While every event can have a different favorite, our overall most popular flavors are watermelon, coconut, pineapple ginger lemonade, and guanabana.

Q: What is YOUR favorite flavor?
A: Currently our favorites are moraberry, Super C, and our namesake - guanabana! We’re always experimenting with different flavors though, so when you visit us be sure to ask what flavors we’ve come up with recently!

Q: What makes your business and talent unique?
A: Guanabana Ice Pops is a small family company. We take great pride in sourcing local ingredients wherever possible, and using trusted partners for our tropical ingredients. We believe in educating consumers on healthy ingredients (and new fruits!), without being stuffy about it. Our ice pops will always be healthy treats that anyone can enjoy!
 We are a happily married couple who also works together - and we wouldn’t change it for the world! 

Q: How do you envision your business growing and/or changing in the next 5 years?
A: In the next 5 years we’re hoping to expand and have multiple mobile tricycles, as well as a storefront! We are always finding new ways to be connected and involved in our community, and we’d like to continue to find new ways to do that. We’ll continue to add flavors, and build partnerships with local farmers!

Q: Do you have any funny, business/wedding related stories to share?
A: During one of our weddings, the grandfather of the bride ate six pops! He had expected them to taste like a pop you buy in the store, but as soon as he realized how fresh and homemade our pops are, he couldn't stop coming back for more! And each time he came back he wanted to hear about every flavor. We love when people are enthusiastic!

Q: What is your favorite thing about your job?
A: Getting to meet so many really fantastic people. We love watching people’s faces when they try new flavors, and we love when kids realize that eating healthy can still be fun! We also have so much fun experimenting with new flavor combinations!

Q: Do you travel/accommodate out of state brides, or do you only do local weddings?
A: We’re always happy to talk to out of state couples about their needs! We love traveling!

Q: What advice do you have for brides-to-be?
A: The most important thing is the love you have for your partner. When you have stressful moments about something that might be going wrong, remember that your love will far outlast the wedding day. Your family and friends are there to celebrate all of the serendipitous moments that happened to allow you to meet and fall in love with your soulmate. Soak up every moment of the day in joy and happiness.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

SPR Events - Wedding Planner | Vendor Feature | 2.2.16 | Jacksonville Wedding Photographer

*~*~*~*~*~*~ Wedding Vendor Feature *~*~*~*~*~*~

This week I am featuring a fabulous wedding planner, Staci Reid of SPR Events! Staci had an interest in planning parties from a very young age, and pursued her passion throughout her life and started a business of her own!
Check out her interview below!

SPR Events
Staci Reid
Location: 5711 Bowden Road, Suite 2, Jacksonville, Fl 32207 
Catering to: North East Florida and South East Georgia
Instagram @staciporterreid | #spreventsjax

photo by: Clara Faye Photography

QWhen did you first launch your business and why?
A: I planned my first wedding in 2004 at the age of 19, but planning didn't start there.  I was planning my birthday parties from at least the age of 5, and every year thereafter.  My official business launch date, though, was July 27, 2012.  In January 2015, we expanded the company, and knew it was time to give it a new name and new look, so, on the 3rd anniversary of my first planning company, it's all in the details, we re-branded, launched as SPR Events.

Q: What made you want to work in the wedding industry?
A: Like I mentioned before, I have always been a planner and have had an eye for the details.  I was the 12 year old at the Public Library counter checking out bridal magazines.  Becoming a wedding planner was a natural fit for me. It started small, more of a hobby, and has now grown to more than I ever imagined.

Q: Have you had any celebs come through the door?
A: Not celebrities, but I have planned wedding for brides coming as far as Australia, Hawaii and all across the US.

Q: What styles/trends were big in 2015?
A: 2015 has been the year of burlap, lace and baby's breath, for me.  Rustic, County, Rustic Elegance, Rustic Glam and Vintage have all been very popular trends with my brides this past year.  The colors have been more in the neutral tones with the occasional pop or a bright coral, teal or mint green.

Q: What styles/trends do you predict will be big in 2016?
A:  Things have definitely taken a turn for the more glam looks - metallics, pinks, sequins and all things glitter have started taking center stage.  The designs are becoming more simple, clean lines and very elegant looks, where lush greenery is replacing the baby's breath.  Farm house tables are replacing the burlap table runners and heavy linens.  It's a nice change!

Q: What's your favorite part of planning/coordinating weddings?
A: I love it when all of the hard work, late nights, hundreds of emails and panicked phone calls, all come together in a big pretty bow that's been tied together just perfectly.  When at the end of a 14+ hour day, a bride comes to you, hugs your neck and tells  you that her wedding was more than she ever imagined it would be, you know you've done your job, and it is so, so very rewarding.

Q: What makes YOUR business and talent unique?
A: SPR Events isn't just a planning company.  We truly are full service, and we're bringing a full team with us.  We're not going to help you all year long plan your wedding and then just show up and tell people where things are supposed to go and how they're supposed to be done.  We are completely hands-on on the wedding day and won't stop until your vision has been executed exactly how you wanted it!

Q: How do you envision your business growing and/or changing in the next 5 years?
A: The next 5 years?  Wow!  Had you asked me this question 5 years ago, I never would have imagined it would be where it is now.  In the next 5 years - the sky is the limit!  Some of my future goals include adding on at least 1 additional, full time, planner and be in our own store-front; instead of 34 weddings in a year, doing 68 with a full staff for every wedding; and who knows, maybe opening that venue I've been designing for at least the last 10 years!

Q: Do you have any funny, business/wedding related stories to share?
A:  I think I say it at least once every wedding I do, that I should write a book!  There are SO many funny things that happen behind the scenes that you really just can't make up.  I think one of the funniest and fun moments we've experienced has been at the end of the night, the Bride, Groom and most of the bridal party decided the party wasn't over and continued the party in the pool at the inn they were staying at... in full wedding attire.  Thanks to their awesome photographers (IRROK Photography) we made the initial jump a photo op, and captured it on camera.  The photo is below! 

photo by: IRROK Photography

Q: What is your biggest challenge on the average wedding day?
A: There are so many moving parts on a wedding day, and my type A personality sometimes finds it hard to delegate certain parts of the day to my team.  When you work for so long on a design, it's hard to not try and have your hands in all of it.  I have an amazing team though, and they really do allow me to focus on my couple and coordinating all of the vendors, while they handle the other stuff.

Q: Do you travel and/or accommodate out of state couples, or do you only do local weddings?
A: In the past year, we've planned weddings for couples that came to Florida from as far as Australia, Hawaii, Missouri, Philadelphia, California and Colorado.  This year we have a destination wedding in Savannah and a couple others outside of the immediate Jacksonville area.  So yes, we can accommodate any bride, in any location.

Q: What was the most unique wedding you've helped plan?
A: Thankfully I have been blessed with some VERY creative and fun brides.  They come to me with some crazy ideas and we help them bring their vision to life.  So far we've done a dinosaur wedding, a pirate wedding that took place on an actual pirate ship, and we're just finishing up a Hobbit themed wedding... oh and don't forget the armadillo cake (yes, like Steele Magnolias)!

Q: What advice do you have for brides & grooms-to-be?
A: As cliche as it may sound - enjoy the process.  There's no reason to stress!  Hire a planner (not just a day of coordinator or venue coordinator) to help you throughout the process, and utilize the resources they have to offer.  Above all, though, my number one tip I give all my couples is to hire professional vendors.  You only get to do this day one time, and it's not worth risking your special moments by hiring non-licenses or uninsured vendors.  And remember, at the end of the day, as long as you remembered to get your marriage license, you will be married!  Don't focus on what might go wrong, focus on the reason you're there in the first place, and the people who love you that are there to support you in the next chapter of your life!

Table set up photo by: IRROK Photography
Seating Assignments photo by: Jenn Guthrie Photography

Mr. & Mrs. {chairs} photo by: IRROK Photography
Center Piece photo by: Jenn Guthrie Photography