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My wedding dress

11 Sep

(Did you miss Part 1 about how I met my husband slinging mud? Click here.)



I left off my story with a search for the perfect wedding gown. The show, “A Wedding Story” was on TLC during the day and I became an addict! “Say Yes to the Dress” wouldn’t be on air for a couple more years, but the producers of TLC were on to something as we brides-to-be stayed glued to the sappy romances of others in between classes. Everyone said that I would “just know” when I found  my dress. With friends in tow, we all headed to the mecca of all wedding stores.

Let me just say now, as a second-hand clothing junkie and lover of all things vintage: I never should have set foot into this store. But I was 20 and as I said, I still hadn’t nailed down my style or how to make my visions of vintage bliss come true.  The customer service was TERRIBLE and I was treated like scum because I hadn’t nailed down my wedding date exactly. We were waiting on a confirmation from our venue for a Friday or Saturday night wedding. Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for the staff of this mega store and they needed an engraved invitation to treat me like a valuable customer. Can you tell I am still bitter?

After this lack-luster experience, I decided to shop on my own at a local boutique. If you know me, you know that I LOVE to be around people. I am high-energy and get even more energized by conversations and laughter with friends. I mean, I am an actress after all. What would you expect? But for picking out my wedding dress, I decided to visit my second bridal store alone. It was liberating to not have the opinion of well meaning friends about the type of dress that I should purchase.

The little Lakeland bridal boutique (which has since closed it’s doors) was wonderful. I tried on many gowns and the owner could tell I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted. She pulled out a ivory, spaghetti strapped gown featuring a detailed overlay on top of a structured bodice with a unique train and gorgeous scarf for me to try on. On the hanger, it wasn’t looking very promising, but it was a combination of what I was looking for, so I tried it.


It was perfect.


I felt like a bride. It was unique and classic, with just a hint of my figure and a decidedly romantic charm. The train was my favorite part, as it reminded me of a little garden of flowers at my feet. With the gown came a distinctive scarf that could be worn in a myriad of ways. This strikingly different piece made me love the dress even more! I decided that the scarf would be for the reception, giving a cute transition in my appearance from one location to the next. This dress was very different from the style at the time and was moving me towards my vintage wedding.

Knowing that this was “THE” dress, I put down my payment, was measured for a custom gown since the overlay could not be altered in house, and left the store floating. No one else had seen it, not my mom, not any of friends, but I knew it was the dress for me. In this regard, I was fiercely independent and knew I made a wonderful decision.


Months later, my Mom joined me at my final fitting. I was nervous as I stepped out of the dressing room, rethinking my certainty months before. Catching my breath, I stepped out of the dressing room and in front of the angled mirrors. As tears rolled down both my Mom and my cheeks, I knew that this dress had changed me from a little girl into a woman in so many ways. And that I had made the right decision for my wedding dress.

As a gift to my parents, my best friend borrowed her mother’s camera (her mom was a photo journalist), we bought a roll of color and a roll of black and white film and we headed to Hollis Gardens to take some bridal portraits. Yep, I said “roll” because digital cameras were not up to professional standards back then. Most people didn’t even own digital cameras and you definitely wouldn’t photograph something of importance with digital. For my shoot, we didn’t know what we were doing, but we had a great time and my parents loved the images.


Almost 10 years later, I still like my gown. It was unique, classy and I purchased over half of it with my own money (Mom and Dad had a dress budget and this dress went way over!). It was my first grown-up clothing purchase and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been thinking about doing a trash the dress session this summer in celebration of my 10 year anniversary. But I don’t know if I feel ready to let it go just yet.


(Stay tuned for a post about my photographer and the actual wedding day, the last in this 3 part series about my love story.)


Weekend of Fun / Lakeland Photographer

5 Jun

What a busy weekend of photog work!


On Friday night, I photographed a middle school dance. A first for me and I LOVED IT!!! I should have been an anthropologist. I enjoyed watching the kids interact with each other, the teachers and even me. It was an absolute blast and I would it do it again in a heart beat! Unfortunately, I can not share any photos with you to preserve the privacy of the students, but trust me when I say that they are super cute!


On Saturday afternoon, I brought my brand new portable light kit to a faithful client of mine that you might recognize from the this shoot and their Christmas card photo. Number three is on the way and will be here in about 8 weeks.  We photographed some traditional poses indoors and then Alisa and I headed outside to capture her in their backyard.  Alisa looks beautiful!

Tampa Maternity Photographer


Sunday evening I had the privilege of photographing a high school graduation party like no other! Their were five seniors from the same school and they invited all of their family and friends to come celebrate with an open house for several hours. After that, a DJ came to the party and it became a dance just for the graduates and their friends. This picture is of one of the dads who enjoyed the broken pinata as a hat!

Tamap Event Photographer


This afternoon I had fun tromping around Carter Road Park with a theatre friend of mine and her beautiful family. This is a sweet moment captured as they watched a baby alligator swim in the water.

Tampa Family Photographer


Did I mention that I love my job?

New Business Cards / Lakeland Photographer

12 Apr

I have just used up my last business cards this month and am ready to go a little fancier. This what what my old business card looked like:

Lakeland Portrait Photographer


This is fine. Clean. Professional. Informational. But I want my business card to show my work. If my images are already on the card, that allows people who see them without taking the extra step of going to my website. Hopefully this will leave them wanting to see more images and they will hop right on the computer and see more!  So, here is the front of my new, improved business card:

Lakeland Wedding Photographer


And here is the back:

Lakeland Family Photographer


I still need to make some more promotional pamphlets and fliers, but this is a good start. One day I hope my business will be large enough to hire a professional to design all of my business needs. Until then, I have me and my husband. We make a pretty good design team and that makes it all worth it!

Facebook can’t have all the fun!/ Lakeland Wedding Photographer

14 Jan

I have posted almost 30 pictures on Facebook from my last wedding and realized that my blog has not seen one! Today is the day to change that! For those of you who missed the pictures from Josh & Sarah’s wedding, here is a link the Facebook album:

The rain could not stop us from taking some exquisite pictures of this couple! Sarah had originally planned for us to go to Hollis Gardens and do a shoot of just her and Josh for an hour before the wedding. The weather did not cooperate, so we decided to take their portraits in the church. It was precious to see their first glances at each other. I felt very privileged to be their taking pictures during those intimate moments. I just love me job!

I am sure you are ready to see these pictures! Enjoy!

More {almost Halloween} Wedding Pictures/ Lakeland Wedding Photographer

16 Nov

This is a continuation of my previous post as a second shooter. You can find the first post here:

Referral Incentive/ Lakeland Photographer

11 Nov

Want to earn a free Christmas portrait session? I have started a new incentive program. Check out the details below. Some restrictions apply, so be sure to read the second page.

An {almost} Halloween Wedding/ Lakeland Wedding Photographer

4 Nov

Just last weekend, I photographed a wedding for my friend Emily Madgics of Emily Rose Portaits. The wedding took place at my church, the reception hall was the same location I had my wedding reception 6 years ago, and I knew the groom’s family. What a small world! Earlier this week I posted a picture of the groomsmen, but thought you needed to see a couple more. Congrats to the happy couple!