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To do an engagement session, or not to do an engagement session? I say do, and here are the top four reasons why.

Get to know your wedding photographer, and let them get to know both of you.

On your wedding day, you will spend almost as much time with your photographer, as you will with your soon to be spouse!  From the time you start hair and make up early in the day, until you get in the car and drive off at the end of the night, your photographer will be by your side. It’s important you like this person, and feel comfortable having them around, so you have the best chance of relaxing and be yourself in front of the camera. By working with your photographer on an engagement session, you get an a great trial run to ensure  you will all get along seamlessly on the day of the wedding. It also gives your photographer a chance to learn more about you as a couple, and see how you naturally interact with one another. The better they know you, the easier it is to for them to document your wedding day in a way that reflects your unique relationship.

Get comfortable being the center of attention.

Unless your Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian, you are probably not used to having everything you do all day long be photographed. The engagement session is a great, no pressure way to get in front of the camera and practice being the center of attention. Trust me, you don’t want to be working out those nerves on your wedding day! I like to encourage couples to think of their engagement shoot as if they are planning a fun date (that I just happen to be tagging a long and photographing). After shooting an engagement session, I have a much better feel for who needs help relaxing in front of the camera, and what angles and poses they are most flattering for them.

Create art for your wedding day

Engagement sessions can be very useful for getting images you can use throughout your wedding planning. The pictures can be used for announcing your engagement, save the date cards, a portrait or a slideshow to display at the wedding , or to make a signing album for friends and family.

Commemorate this special time in your relationship

These pictures preserve a special time in your relationship. They show the love and excitement you have for one another  as you look forward to taking the next step in your journey together. Unlike the wedding day, there is no strict timeline to adhere to and nobody else around to worry about, so you two can just relax, have fun, and let the camera catch you having a good time together.

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Did you do an engagement session? What did you find helpful about it? Would love to here about your experiences. Please leave me a comment, and let me know your thoughts! And if you to chat more about booking an engagement session, give me a call!

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  1. Pingback : Helpful Tips for Picking the Perfect Location for your Engagement Session - Classic Wedding Magazine

Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, an anniversary celebration, or a family trip with the kids, Maui is an awesome destination!

Since it was our first time traveling to Hawaii, I decided to consult an expert, Megan Taylor with Epperly Travel (who also happens to be a past bride) was my first call. We discussed each of the islands and what they had to offer. We wanted the tropical look you envision when you think of Hawaii, complete with beautiful beaches, but also were hoping for an area with good food, nice resorts, and plenty of things to do. While I heard great things about the beauty of Kahwai, it is a little less developed, so we went with Maui, which seemed to have everything we were looking for. Once we were set on going to Maui I started doing more detailed planning, and a friend recommended the book “Maui Reveled”, it has a ton of great info, and will save you a lot of online searching! Here are my top tips for where to stay, how to get around, what to do, and where to eat while in Maui, along with some of my favorite pictures from the trip!

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Where to stay in Maui

There are a number of beautiful resorts to choose from in Maui. At the suggestion of our travel agent we went with the Andaz.  If you’re going with a resort, the best options will be in the Wailea area.

The Andaz is one of the newest, and had a modern look, good amenities, and nice beach front property (as seen in the picture above) with chairs and umbrellas (only bummer is the bar does not deliver drinks down to the beach, just to the pools). They did offer an adults only pool, which was nice since we were traveling without our daughter on this trip. All of the pools were very nice, and not crowded at all, which I heard can be an issue at the Grand Wailea. The staff was helpful, and service was great, just be prepared to pay top dollar to drink and eat! Average drink cost was $16-18. We decided to hit an outside store for some snacks along with wine and beer we could keep in the room. The Andaz did offer Paddle boarding classes, along with movie nights and outdoor yoga, etc…which was nice, but we were busy doing other things during the day, and didn’t take advantage of most of them. Also be prepared to pay daily “resort fees” at all of the hotels, it’s not optional, and basically a way to just get more money, but make the daily hotel rate look lower.

Due to the high resort fees, and overall pricing, on our next trip I would consider checking out Airbnb or other sources for renting a house to see what other options are out there. Of course then you would have to get to and from the beach, bring your own food and drinks, and miss out on the fancy chairs and umbrellas, but it would probably be a good way to save some money if your trying to stick to a tighter budget.

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How to get around Maui

We rented a convertible from National Car rental (shout-out to them for the upgrade to the Mercedes). The convertible was a fun way to explore Maui while driving from place to place. I will say Maui was more spread out than I realized, and to get to many of the restaurants or activities we were doing, it was often a 30-45 Min drive. Having a car at our disposal, did make it a lot easier to get around, but it does mean getting stuck with the daily parking fees at the resort. Uber was available most days when we checked, and many of the hotels do have limited car services that can help you get to nearby places. Depending on where you stay, there may also be a few options in walking distance.

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Where to eat in Maui-

Mama’s Fish house

This is a place everybody told us we had to go! You do need reservations, try and get them a few weeks out to ensure you can get the day and time you want. I was able to get one within a week or so, but it was a super late dinner. If you can’t get a reservation, you can also try walking in and waiting for a spot up at the bar (you can order off of the full menu there). The bartenders were really cool, full of fun stories about the island and the people who have been there. The drinks were great, the bread and butter is amazing, and the fish I had was excellent. The area around the restaurant is also cool, so bring your camera for taking pics while waiting for your table.

Other favorite restaurants

Monkey Pod Kitchen, in Wailea, the gnocchi was amazing! Morimoto, a Japanese  restaurant with a sushi bar, from a celebrity chef , Masaharu Morimoto. The sushi was yummy, but my favorite thing on the menu was hands down the calamari salad. For breakfast the Ka’ana Kitchen in our hotel had an awesome buffet, which was included in our stay thanks to booking with Epperly travel. After having such a big breakfast we often didn’t even need lunch! We did try Ka’ana Kitchen for dinner one night, and while the food was very fresh farm to table concept, with an innovative menu, it didn’t end up being one of our favorites. They do have an impressive wine list, but be prepared to splurge!

Luas

For the full Hawaiian experience you should try and get into one of the Luaus. I heard great things about the Old Lahaina Laua, but that was booked up, so we went to the Feast of Lele instead. The food came out in courses, and while we didn’t like everything, there was something from each course we both enjoyed. The entertainment and music is fun, and the view of the beach at sunset is spectacular!

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Things to do in Maui

Sunrise and bike trip down Mt. Haleakala-

The view of the sun rising from the top of Mt is amazing, and totally worth getting up for. I recommend booking this on the first night or two you are in Maui  (if you are coming from a more Eastern time zone) so when the alarm goes off at 2:30am, it feels more like 8:30am, which isn’t so crazy! You still may need a nap later in the day, but the experience will have been worth it. A couple of warnings, this bike ride is no joke,  you start about 7,000 feet up, it’s all downhill, lots of turns, and cars are using the same road as you are. The views are amazing, but you need to keep your eyes on the road, to make sure you don’t end up as part of the scenery. Because of the dangers involved, I would suggest going with a reputable company, that stays with you the whole time. We had a great experience with Bike it Maui. They had all the gear we needed, were good at preparing us for what to expect and how to deal with it, and the best part is their van rides behind you so he blocks cars from zooming around you. Without the van in the back, cars would be just a foot or two away from you the whole way down, and when your going 30 miles an hour, downhill with turns that’s just an accident waiting to happen. You don’t have to peddle, so it’s not difficult, but being comfortable on a bike is super important. Also, at sunrise on teh top of teh mountain it can be quite cold, even so layer up, and bring a hat and gloves. You can take off layers as you go down.

Snorkel and Sailing

The Molokini crater has really crystal clear water which was perfect for snorkeling. There were a good number of fish, but you had to get a little further away from the big groups of people to see them. I heard the early morning boat trip is better because there are less groups of people out, but we didn’t want too many early days on our vacation so we went with eh later departure. We booked with Kai Kanani Sailing Charters (if you book online they give you a discount) , the crew was great, very knowledgeable, and made sure everyone was taken care of and having fun. One benefit of this company is they pick up closer to the crater so you spend a lot less time going to and from, and it picks up close to the hotels in Wailea. Our trip did two stops, the second one was in “turtle town”. The water at this stop was not nearly as clear, so you had to be fairly close to a turtle in order to see it. The waves were rough, so I didn’t last long in the water, but for those that stuck it out, they did end up seeing quite a few turtles by the end of our time there. Lunch and drinks are included, the food was sandwiches and chips, so nothing fancy, but enough to fill you up after spending all the time in the water. And be sure to bring some money to tip the crew:)

Road to Hana

This is another one of those things everyone said we had to do. Luckily our tour guide for the bike trip gave us a bunch of good inside tips on to get the most out of our Road to Hana adventure. First, he suggested we do it in reverse. Most people start near Paia town, so we did the opposite and came at it starting with Hana. If it’s been raining a lot they don’t suggest going this way. The upside, is a lot less traffic, and the views of the water are breathtaking, you get to see the back side of Haleakala mountain. The downside, there are sections that aren’t really paved and only one lane, which is ok when it’s a straight section, but going around corners can be a little stressful, at least it was for me. My husband thought it was fun to drive, I was ready for a drink by the time we were done!

If you go the way we did, there is a great place to stop for coffee and snacks before you get too far into your journey. It’s called “Grandma’s Coffee House“, they have great coffee, and we stocked up on sandwiches and snacks for the long ride. There is also a cute winery nearby, but we didn’t stop since we had a lot of driving ahead. Our first stop was in the Haleakala National park, to explore the Pipiwai Trail. We spent a couple of hours here. It’s a 4 mile round trip hike, where you see some amazing waterfalls, and hike through a bamboo forest. It’s worth doing, but bring water, wear sneakers, and know it’s going to take some time, because parts of the path can be muddy and slippery. The 400 foot waterfall at the end is beautiful to see up close. At the suggestion of others, we did ignore the sign at the very end, and crossed over to get to the base of the waterfall. It felt perfectly safe, but I guess under the wrong weather conditions it might not be. Keep an eye out for rising water. The view was so much better that it felt worth the extra hundred feet and risking getting fined. Because it started raining we didn’t get out that much on the road to Hana. A highlight was when we stopped at Wai’anapanapa State Park to see the black sand beach. It was fun to photograph, and they had some neat above ground caves walk through. The rest of the 39 mile drive back felt long, and we were very ready to get out of the car by the end.

Paia town

This is a little hippy surfer town, but has a lot of fun shops, and we enjoyed walking around and getting some fun gifts to bring back. We also had a great massage here at a place called Body Therapeutics. It’s really small, but the massage therapist was really great, and a lot less expensive then the spa at our hotel. For a little extra, you can also hire them to come to the resort if you don’t feel like driving over to this side of town. While you are in the area, if you go to the beach just past Mama’s Fish house, you can see a number of the large sea turtles coming to shore at the end of the day. They look a lot like rocks from far way, but are cool to see up close. There was also a lot of surfers and kids playing on the beach, so it was also a good spot for people watching, and killing time until our dinner reservation.

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As for cameras, if you have it, bring something other than just an i phone to document your trip. If you don’t have a digital camera, borrow or rent one. I carried a back pack and took my Nikon D750 with  a 50mm or my 24-70mm lens almost everywhere we went, except on the bike trip, where it was in the van that followed us, so I was able to grab and take some pics when we stopped. Go Pro’s are also a great choice, we had ours and got some fun footage while biking down the mountain as well as while snorkeling and hiking. 2016-08-12_00302016-08-12_00132016-08-12_00122016-08-12_00402016-08-12_0010

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Maui is such a cool island with so much to do and see. I look forward to going back again someday, but until then, I’ve got my pictures to help remind me of all it’s beauty! All photos shown belong to Bre Sessions Photography and outside of the ones I am in, were all taken my me:)

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Leave a comment and let me know your favorite things to do in Maui, or feel free to ask a question about anything I’ve mentioned above. Happy travels, Bre

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  1. Lauren Boyles said:
    Incredible photos! Thanks for the tips...John and I hope to go here someday!
    August 14, 2016  9:47 pm
    Reply
    • Bre Sessions said:
      Thanks Lauren! You should definitely add it to your travel bucket list! It too us awhile, but glad we finally got to go!
      August 15, 2016  11:53 am
      Reply

Camille and Bill have waited along time to find one another, but once they did, they knew they wanted to get started on their forever, as soon as possible. With the help of friends, family and some talented vendors, their wedding day was absolutely perfect! From the dramatic dress, and feathered flowers to the special tribute to their loved ones who were watching from above, every detail was so thoughtfully put together. There was a buzz in the room as over two hundred friends, from near and far, gathered to cheer them on. I have never heard so much applause and excitement as a bride and groom are pronounced man and wife, as I did this day! I can’t imagine a more joyful start to this next chapter of their lives. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the day.2016-07-27_00462016-07-27_0044 2016-07-27_00452016-07-27_00482016-07-27_00492016-07-27_0050 2016-07-27_00692016-07-27_00552016-07-27_00032016-07-27_0056  2016-07-27_0024 2016-07-27_0023 2016-07-27_0021 2016-07-27_0020 2016-07-27_00672016-07-27_00582016-07-27_0061 2016-07-27_0002  2016-07-27_00012016-07-27_00512016-08-03_00082016-07-27_0076 2016-07-27_00772016-07-27_0028 2016-07-27_0068 2016-07-27_00252016-07-27_00272016-07-27_0038 2016-07-27_00262016-08-03_00012016-07-27_00592016-07-27_0060 2016-07-27_0062 2016-08-03_00052016-07-27_00652016-07-27_00642016-07-27_00312016-07-27_00742016-07-27_00322016-07-27_00332016-07-27_0073 2016-07-27_00342016-07-27_0039 2016-07-27_00352016-08-03_00072016-08-03_00032016-07-27_0018 2016-07-27_00722016-07-27_0075 2016-07-27_0040 2016-07-27_00042016-07-27_00712016-07-27_00292016-07-27_00052016-07-27_00092016-07-27_00072016-07-27_00062016-07-27_00082016-07-27_00702016-07-27_0010 2016-07-27_0011 2016-07-27_00152016-07-27_0016

Camille and Bill- It was such a treat to get a front row seat to your big day! I am so grateful for your friendship, and for you entrusting me to document one of the most important days in your lives. I look forward to spending more time with you guys together in the future!

Assistant Photographer: Rebecca Bennett/ Ceremony and Reception Location: The Engine Room/ Event Coordinator: Nicki Guilbeau with Guilbeau Events/ Bride’s Hair: Bombshell Creations/Wedding Dress: Oleg Cassini for David’s Bridal/Groom’s Suit: Men’s Warehouse /Cake: Hoosier Bakery/ DJ: Mike Walsh with AMP’D Entertainment/ Floral Design: Meg Bullock / Video: Zach Veatch Video

 

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If you’ve never been to The Twelve Oaks bed and Breakfast, you are missing out! This incredible mansion has such a rich history, dating all the way back to 1836 when it was first built. It was the inspiration for Ashley’s home in Gone with the Wind, and it is one of the best examples of Antebellum architecture in the South. The amazing restoration of this beautiful property was all thanks to the passion of Nicole Greer, the owner and now bride! She and John have worked together on much of the renovations,  so it was only fitting that the house play a featured role in their big day! The wedding was a perfectly intimate southern affair, with every detail lovingly thought out and executed. The talented bride, along with her friends did much of the decor design, which as you will see from the pictures below, is quite impressive! It was such a special day, watching these two join their lives together, and made even sweeter by Nicole’s adorable son who proudly walked her down the aisle, and gave her away (at least until the honeymoon is over)!  Here are some of the highlights from the day.2016-06-21_00012016-06-21_00032016-06-22_0016 2016-06-21_00042016-06-21_00082016-06-22_0021 2016-06-21_00322016-06-21_00022016-06-21_0007 2016-06-21_00172016-06-21_0005   2016-06-22_00072016-06-22_00082016-06-22_0003 2016-06-21_00212016-06-21_00412016-06-21_00272016-06-21_0028 2016-06-21_0031 2016-06-21_00302016-06-21_00102016-06-21_0038 2016-06-21_0037 2016-06-21_00122016-06-21_0009      2016-06-22_0001 2016-06-21_00162016-06-21_00132016-06-21_00152016-06-21_0014 2016-06-21_00352016-06-21_00342016-06-21_00262016-06-21_0018 2016-06-22_00122016-06-21_00402016-06-22_00052016-06-21_0025 2016-06-21_00362016-06-22_00192016-06-21_0024

Nicole and John- Thank you for choosing me to document your day. I was honored to capture not only your beautiful home, but the incredible love you too share. I wish you guys a lifetime of happiness! And I can’t wait to see what exciting things God has in store for you all next! All the best, Bre

Special thanks to Rebecca Bennett for helping me shoot the wedding and for capturing some beautiful moments throughout the day!

Venue- The Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast / Catering- Aaron Castellanos with The Grand Gourmet / Surprise Dessert- Nikki with Kona Ice of Hampton/ Linens- Connie Duglin Linens / Music- Jonathan Moody Band/

Day of Coordinator- Alyssa and Craig with Fleury Events

 

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  1. Andrea Hammond said:
    Beautiful photos!
    June 23, 2016  1:59 pm
    Reply
    • Bre Sessions said:
      Thank you Andrea, it was such a beautiful day!
      June 23, 2016  2:28 pm
      Reply
  2. Dawn Johnson said:
    Just beautiful Will be a special memory to be a part of that day. Your pictures captured every special blessing of their wedding
    June 29, 2016  10:50 pm
    Reply
    • Bre Sessions said:
      It was such a beautiful day! I was honored to be the one they choose to document it!
      June 29, 2016  11:59 pm
      Reply

Most of the weddings I attend these days , are as a photographer not a guest. So it was super exciting to be on the other side of the lens, when my little sister got married last month! I was so honored to stand by her side, as she started this next chapter of life. She has been dating Daniel for ten years now, so this day was a long time coming, but I have to say the celebration was worth the wait! We had a blast getting our whole extended family together, along with all of Daniel’s family and all of their amazing friends who traveled from near and far, to join us for a week at the beach. It was my first time at the Outer Banks, in North Carolina. What a beautiful area, worth the drive if you need a good beach vacation! The weather was a unseasonably cool the week we were there, but we didn’t let that stop us from throwing on our bathing suits, and attempting to get some sun for the few moments it poked out from behind the clouds. Luckily, the rain held out and we were able to have the wedding on the beach as planned. Melissa hired a very talented wedding photographer to capture the day, so I was just in charge of getting some getting ready photos and party pics at the end of the night. In between, I tried my best to put down the camera and embrace being in the moment with the people I love most! Here are a few of my favorites from the day.

 

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Lovies Hair Salon

Lovies Hair Salon

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Bride at Outer Banks

Bride at Outer Banks

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Daniel and Melissa- I’m so happy for you both! I pray that your future together will be full of the same laughter and joy that was felt by everyone on your wedding day! Love, Bre

  1. Melinda Szegedi said:
    This are so amazing! What a talent you have for capturing the moment! Beautiful!
    June 9, 2016  9:25 pm
    Reply

As a parent, one of the things you want most for your kids, is to be loved well. This wedding is extra close to my heart because the bride, for the last eight years, has loved my children well. She was the magical babysitter that my kids actually looked forward to coming. She came with crafts to do, special recipes to try, and sent cool gifts while traveling overseas. Megan has a heart for others, she is  caring and thoughtful, and deserved a man who would love her well. As her dad shared during his toast, he and her mom have been praying her entire life for this special man who would one day be worthy of her heart. God works in funny ways, and while Meg and Alex had crossed paths in college, it took a few years of them both traveling around the world before they would both landed back in the states, and on a first date. It didn’t take long for them to know that this was something special, and nine months later they were engaged. While I have only spent a little bit of time getting know Alex, it is clear Megan is happier than she has ever been. Her parents rave about him, and his parents are glowing with pride as well, as they send them off to begin this new chapter of their lives as husband and wife. With such adventurous spirits, and so much love and support behind them that I know they will do even more amazing things together than they were ever able to do a part!

Here is a sneak peek from their beautiful wedding at the Marietta Brickyards last weekend. Not only was the weather perfect, but they had a dream team of vendors headed up the amazing Joshua at Tailored Events, that helped bring to life their vision for the big day! With Meg’s thoughtful creativity, and Alex’s knowledge and passion for food, every detail from the custom coloring books, to the perfectly pink macaroons was flawlessly executed! Enjoy!

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Megan and Alex- It was such an honor for our family to be a part of your wedding day! Thank you for entrusting me to document it!

I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures around the world! I wish you guys a lifetime of happiness! Love, Bre

 

Assistant Photographer: Angelica Yim/ Ceremony and Reception Location: The Brickyards / Event Coordinator: Joshua with Tailored Events / Bride’s Hair: Ashlyn with Aura Salon/

Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet /Groom’s Suit: Menguin /Cake and Dessert: Mickie Kimberly / DJ: Chris Miller/ Floral Design: Caroline Guarino / Video: Jack Holloway

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