Theme Wedding!

From the desk of: Veronica

Fun fact about me: I LOVE a good theme wedding. I get done looking at pictures, and I just want more. I want to see every tiny detail, and bask in the glory of all the planning and creativity involved.

I found a good one for you guys to take a peek at: A Harry Potter wedding! Check out this glorious ceremony!

used with permission of Candice Benjamin Photography

used with permission of Candice Benjamin Photography

If you want to see the rest of the published pictures, head over HERE to see more details of the big day.

How about you? Do you love theme weddings too, even if it’s not something you would do yourself?

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.



Book Review: And Now We Shall Do Manly Things

And Now We Shall Do Manly Things: Discovering My Manhood Through the Great (and Not-So-Great) American Hunt by Craig J. Heimbuch follows Heimbuch on his journey to immerse himself in the culture of hunting that his family cherishes but he never enjoyed.

For those of you who know me in real life or remember my brief mention of hating hunting on my personal blog, it may surprise you greatly to know that I was not forced to read this book and in fact chose to on my own free will. I know, I shocked myself, too. The description and the cover intrigued me (every time Josie saw it, she shouted “A bear in a hat!!”), and I decided that this could be an opportunity to try to see another side of something that I had strong feelings about but had never tried myself.

Spoiler alert: I still dislike the idea of hunting and will never do it myself, but that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good.

In fact, the book was great. If you had told me before reading this book that I would enjoy reading a book about hunting and gun use, I would have slapped you right in the face for insulting my honor. Imagine my surprise when I actually did.

What interested me most about this book was the reason for his experiment, his immersion in the world of hunting. Heimbuch explains “I don’t feel like a man. I feel like a watered-down version of a man. […] I do feel too willing to give in, too willing to cower, to hide from problems, and to shy away in the face of opportunity. I realize that, if I am ever to become the man, the husband, the father, the writer I want to become, I need to learn how to face life standing up.”

I love this sentiment, and while I was still not sure I believed he needed to learn to hunt to accomplish these things, I was interested in this goal he had set, and how he wanted to learn more about something that the men in his family were passionate about.

What sold me on this journey, I think were two main things. 1) He went about this process very deliberately. He studied carefully, really looked deeply into both hunting and gun cultures (and didn’t like everything he saw), and took his responsibilities as a gun owner and hunter seriously, and 2) he says early on in the book that he wants to “be a hunter, not a killer.”

In the end, it seems that this isn’t about needing to be a hunter to be a real man. It is about needing to find a passion for something in life to feel like a fulfilled person. I can get on board with that, for sure.

All in all, reading about a year-long journey to become a hunter turned out to be a very interesting thing that I never thought I would do. I’m glad I stepped outside my box and tried it, because not only do I now think I understand much more about how and why people choose to participate in this activity, but I found a writer whose voice I appreciate greatly. I will be looking for Craig Heimbuch in the future, and hope this is not the last I see of him.

[Okay, now that the review is officially over, I have to say that my junior high Principal’s last name was Heimbuch, and he looked a lot like Principal Belding from Saved by the Bell (or at least he does in my memory), and so the entire time I read this book, I imagined Principal Belding creeping around fields, trying to shoot pheasant. Try it. It’s distracting.] 

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

DJ, Band, or iPod?

I recently read an article on that I personally found pretty bold. The author claims you shouldn’t bother choosing between a DJ or live band for your wedding reception. He thinks you should just load up an iPod and call it a day.

Sure, I can admit that there are some weddings where this would work beautifully, but in the case of my wedding and many others I’ve been to, I don’t know — it sounds risky.

I certainly wouldn’t have done it for my wedding, because I am a very anxious person, and I would have been worried the whole night that the playlist I put together wasn’t working out, and as soon as the dance floor wasn’t packed, I would be racing over and skipping songs frantically. I would not have wanted to spend my night that way.

The author claims that too many DJs don’t take the pulse of the crowd and end good songs early or play too many lame songs. While I’ve been to some receptions with not-so-great DJs, to be sure, my DJ was AMAZING. I tell everyone I know in Michigan to use him.

I also never considered a live band, but I have seen some live bands really make the reception complete, and my father-in-law’s band played quite a few receptions, and I bet you a million dollars everyone was pleased with their choice.

Long story short (too late), I have a hard time agreeing that live bands and DJs are poor options for a reception and playing your own playlist is the easy and perfect option for everyone.

What do you think? What did you do for your reception if you’ve already had one? If you’ve yet to have a reception, what is your number one choice? Who was playing the music at the best reception you’ve every been to? Feedback, please!!

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Location, Location, Location: Jill + Jason

from the desk of: Veronica

In the continuation of the series of amazing weddings in unique locales, may I present the wedding of Jill and Jason Schmidt. I asked Jill some questions, and she was kind enough to answer them for me.

(all photos courtesy of their photographer, Whitney Carlson of Dove Photography, and Jill’s friends and family)

Location: The Barn at Chestnut Spring, Sevierville, Tennessee (Dolly Parton’s parents’ farm)


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography

How did you choose the location?

We wanted someplace really relaxed. Jason and I both have very hectic schedules with him being gone 3-4 days a week traveling all over the country in a tour bus, so we just wanted to go somewhere other than Nashville (where we live) and be away from the city. We talked about flying somewhere, or doing it in Michigan (my home state), but then my sister-in-law suggested looking near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. After seeing a ton of chapels that were not “us,” I finally found it. I saw the pictures and fell in love. Jason was somewhere on the road, and when I sent him the pictures, he said “that’s it.” My mom flew down last October and we drove over to check it out, and we put a deposit down that day.

How much did the location dictate the other details of your wedding?

The barn is very rustic. The interior is all old reclaimed barn wood, yet there are beautiful chandeliers hanging from the large beams. It was rustic and country without the hay bales and farm animals, so we just rolled with the theme the venue already provided.


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography

We had white linens with burlap runners, and a combination of mason jars and old milk vases for the centerpieces. All the flowers, with the exception of the bouquets, were all beautiful pinks, creams, and lavender spring flowers.


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Noelle Moody

Outside there was an arbor we were married under that the florist draped lace curtains over and pulled them back with a flower arrangement.


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Dove Photography


photo courtesy of Noelle Moody

My favorite décor would be the six vintage picture frames holding pictures of our parents and grandparents. We both have a grandparent or two who are no longer with us, and it was just something that made us feel like we were still celebrating with them.


photo courtesy of Dove Photography

Quick! Tell me one more thing about your wedding that made it special and unique!

Jason had an artist that we recorded with sing me down the aisle accompanied by the guitar player he currently plays with. Hope sang “When the Right One Comes Along” by Striking Matches. It was special to have someone we are close with sing a song that means so much to us.


photo courtesy of Wolffy Lion


Flowers: Melissa Timm Designs

Catering: Luxe Catering and Events

Cake and Sweets: The Sweetery

DJ: Corey from Music in Motion

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Amy Smith

Photography: Dove Photography

Hair and Make-up: Hailey Rhea

Thank you so much to Jill and Jason for sharing their special day, and to Whitney Carlson of Dove Photography for letting us use her beautiful images. Your wedding was breathtaking, Jill and Jason! All my best for a long and happy marriage!

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Using the Stars and Stripes in photography

It’s that time of year again –  Independence Day weekend!  It’s usually a time when patriotic pride swells within us.  It’s a time for parades, celebrations, picnics with friends and families and flags are flown proudly.  I have a lot of British friends so of course there are more than a few emails and phone calls coming up this weekend.  Yeah, we tend to be a nation filled with pride, and many (myself included) would say rightfully so.  Seeing the Stars and Stripes flying high…or sadly flying at half mast…still brings a lump to my throat.  So it’s no surprise that we want the Stars and Stripes in our photography.  Just look at Pinterest and you’ll find countless examples of people proudly using our nation’s flag in their images.  Awesome idea…right!?  Wait a minute, before you pick up the phone or hit us up on the website with your flag inspired portrait shoots…there are a few things I’d ask you to think about.

I believe absolutely amazing images can be built around the flag…BUT, there’s a difference between a prop and a flag, and they’re important to remember as we start designing your photography experience.

Combination of symbols represented on a piece of cloth, serving as a medium of social, typically political, communication. It is usually rectangular and attached by one edge to a staff or is hoisted on a pole with halyards. Flags appear to be as old as civilized human society, though their origin is not well understood. The Chinese may have been the first to develop cloth flags, and it is believed that they were introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders. Most national flags in use today were designed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Showing your pride by incorporating the Stars and Stripes is a wonderful idea, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

– The flag should always be flown with respect, with the star field at the top.  A flag flown upside down is a sign of distress.

– Our flag should never be draped over something as a cover or used as a decoration.  Remember flags are draped over the caskets of our fallen as a sign of a nation’s respect.  Do you think the coffee table deserves that same reverence?

– The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground.

– I know it’s incredibly popular, but the flag should not be worn as clothing or used as a cover.  Using red, white and blue themed clothing works terrific as a stand-in and you’ll look incredible.  Patches worn on uniforms are the exception to this one.

– Should never be altered (writing, images, etc).  She’s pretty much perfect just the way she is.

There are some terrific images out there.  However, no matter how cute the kids, or beautiful the model, stepping on the flag, sitting on the flag, draping it over a nude body, etc…is still disrespecting a very important symbol of our nation.  I’m pretty lucky now days.  Living in DC there are countless opportunities and inspirations for incorporating Ol’ Glory into the images we create for our couples, but I constantly remember that that image is going to be hanging in the couple’s home.  The last thing I want to do is create a situation where there is an awkward conversation for them at the next family get-together.

If you’re like me, I tend to want to read it for myself.  So here’s a little light reading for you, in the form of a report prepared for a Senate committee.  Rachel Brenke, the Law Tog, wrote a great piece on this subject too.  You can check it out here.


Getting married and would like us to be there for you?  Couples are already booking their 2015 dates…and locking in 2014 prices (I love a smart couple)  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

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