One of the coolest parts of my job is that I’ll occasionally have the opportunity to photograph something TOTALLY different than my normal repertoire. The Harry Potter wedding shoot, our Shel Silverstein wedding brain child, and now this piece of amazingness. In the past, all of the styled shoots I’ve photographed have been ones I’ve helped to plan, so when Amanda of Anthomanic put the word out that she needed a photographer for a shoot that was already planned, it was a new experience for me. It just made me that much more excited to arrive to shoot though, because I had NO idea what things were going to look like!

The entire shoot was dreamed up by Jasika of Two Back Flats (remember that adorable top hat she designed here?) and Amanda of Anthomanic, the creator of all crazy creative floral designs. Jill Andrews, dress designer extraordinaire, was responsible for all of the gorgeous corset + skirt pieces you see, and it was her studio that served as the backdrop for the entire shoot! We were lucky enough to have Maureen Flynn on hand for make-up and A Second Chance Salon with us for hair, and I think you all will agree they did a FABULOUS job of taking things up that extra notch. Oh, and that awesome pink-detailed cake? Courtesy of Fat Girl Cakes. I knew I loved her as soon as I heard her business name :).

And guess what?? The shoot was featured of Green Wedding Shoes last week!! AHHH! Make sure you go leave these lovely ladies some comment love there, too! Enjoy :).

Marie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace PhotographyMarie Antoinette punky bridal wedding shower- Abby Grace Photography

I LOVED this shoot! Amanda and Jasika, thank you so much for having me up to Baltimore to photograph it all- SUCH a fun afternoon!

  • Eddie - Abby, I always read your blog. I just love it and your photography– so much fun. Thanks for continuing to inspire!ReplyCancel

  • Katie F. - I want everything in this shoot: the flowers, those fabulous pink champagne glasses, the dresses, the hats, and those amazing faces (and eylashes)! So proud to know one of the artists involved in all this loveliness! Good luck to you all!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Adams - Fabulous! Love the style, the dresses, and especially the pictures! Amazing job, as always, Abby! :)ReplyCancel

  • Blythe K - such a fun and beautiful shoot!! that bouquet is so romantic!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - So funn!! Good job Abby! I love the cake shots!!ReplyCancel

  • Regan - I love this shoot! So fun, colorful and fresh! You did such a great job of capturing the details! I wish all of life could be this vibrant! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - This shoot is AMAZING! I love the vibrant colors, the fun energy, and the amazing details. You captured it all perfectly!!!ReplyCancel

  • Brianna Venzke - Woah LOVE!! What a rad setup!!ReplyCancel

This is my friend Rebekah.

Rebekah Hoyt- Abby Grace Photography

I love her a lot. We met in December of 2011 after connecting via comments on each others blogs, and I’m so thankful for her! Rebekah is one of those people that cares, GENUINELY cares, and genuinely loves. She’s an amazing photographer but an even better friend, and I count myself incredibly blessed to know her.

Rebekah’s not just my friend, though- she’s also an ally. She’s someone I know I can turn to when I’m facing a difficult situation with my business, need advice on how to handle technology woes, or just need a dose of encouragement. Rebekah wrote a post a few weeks ago for her Fotog Friday series and in it, she mentioned how having a photographer buddy has been such a help- we can bounce ideas off of each other, ask for help, team up, and rely on each other for words of wisdom. When I’m in a difficult situation and my gut reaction is one of bitterness and anger, I know that calling Rebekah will result in a gentle push to give grace. Her heart is firmly rooted in Christ and her wisdom is always, always sound, and I’m so thankful for a friend that points me to to the Gospel every time we talk!

Photographers, if you’re feeling isolated in an industry of sole-member LLCs a S Corps, find yourself a photographer buddy. Because truth be told, it CAN be kind of lonely to sit by yourself all day with no one but a puppy for company, so having someone who’s just a phone call away if you need advice is such an encouragement!

And now, more photos of my gorgeous friend Rebekah Hoyt. You’re welcome.

 

Rebekah Hoyt- Abby Grace PhotographyRebekah Hoyt- Abby Grace PhotographyRebekah Hoyt- Abby Grace PhotographyRebekah Hoyt- Abby Grace PhotographyHappy Wednesday!

 

  • Alexandra {Heart Love Weddings} - Love her!! And you, too, of course!! xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - Aww Abby, thank you so much!! You really blessed me today :)ReplyCancel

  • molly stillman - this is the sweetest ever. love you both and i have never even met you in person. does that make me creepy?ReplyCancel

  • Kara Smith - I love the relationship that the two of you have! Too often now (especially in our area!) it is all about competition when really we should help one another. I have a friend who immediately came to mind as I was reading this – now I’m encouraged to go thank her for her friendship :)ReplyCancel

  • Williamsburg Wedding Photographers - Beautiful portraits. We couldn’t agree more how important it is to maintain positive friendships with other people in the industry. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Kari tench - She is so beautiful! I love her posts! & the light in these photos…so pretty!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Adams - This is so sweet :) I’m just SO excited to meet you two during your Q&A session!!! And absolutely GORGEOUS pictures of Rebekah!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina - This is so great! As you were describing Rebecca, you might as well have been describing my friend Kim! So thankful for friendships like this.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Elizabeth - you can totally tell the love you have for rebekah.. it shows in those photos! i actually think these might be some of my fav from you abby <3 GORGEOUS!ReplyCancel

During wedding season (roughly April-November), it becomes increasingly easy to make excuses for myself. “How can I possibly think about revamping my client experience when I have 437 other things to do right now?” So all of the non-urgent tasks get pushed to the “off-season,” making this the time where I really have to sort through “what works, what definitely DOESN’T work, and how can I make what I’m already doing BETTER?”

Around December of 2011, I approached my sweet friend Wendy of Weswen Design about creating a pricing guide for me. Up until that point, I’d been typing out my basic package with pricing every time I received an email inquiring about my availability – it was inefficient and unpolished, and if I wanted a reputation as a professional, I needed to change the way I was presenting myself during one of the first interactions with potential clients. So Wendy and I got to work creating a guide with all of my pricing information, chock-full of beautiful design elements, my images and accompanying text. I LOVED it, and still do!

Abby Grace Photography pricing guide

As the year went on, the guide needed updates- my new website + brand launched in July 2012, the images needed switching out, and bits of text needed tweaking here and there. Because Wendy built guide with InDesign, a program I don’t own, I couldn’t make the updates myself, and I didn’t want to bother Wendy every time I needed to tweak the spacing on something. Then I saw that my friends Jen & Ashley had mentioned something about their “client lounge”- a +Site within their ShowIt website that served as a hub for their wedding pricing information! I knew I wanted something similar, but after a few tear-inducing attempts to create one of my own, I gave up and put it on my “eventually” list.

Was my old pricing guide efficient? Did it get the job done? Yes. I could have continued one using it for the next couple of years if I needed to. But I wanted to make it BETTER. Yesterday I finally sat down and forced myself to try one more time, and whaddya know? I did it! Something that’d been haunting my to-do list for 3-4 months, something I’d been putting off because I wasn’t looking forward to it, it only ended up taking two-three hours of my time.

It is SO easy to rest in what’s working enough to “get by,” but I don’t want to just get by. I want to grow, to THRIVE, to constantly be pushing forward. 2012 was a great year for me- I more than doubled the number of weddings I shot in 2011, I left my desk job, and the level of work grew leaps and bounds. But you know what? I don’t want to rest on those laurels- I want 2013 to be bigger, bolder and BETTER.

http://www.weswendesign.com/

What are you doing to make this year better than than the last? Happy Tuesday!

  • ashley barnett - It looks awesome lady! Congrats on pushing through and putting in the hard work- totally worth it!ReplyCancel

  • Abbey - Awesome Abby! I also just created a client lounge and I must say it’s definitely a step up from a plain old pdf.ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina - Love it, Abby!! It’s beautiful! Maybe one day I’ll finally make one too :-)ReplyCancel

  • Christine Bonnivier - Oh my gosh! This is a genius idea!!! :-) You go!ReplyCancel

  • Jean - You are continually improving your business and I admire that you want to make each wedding the best experience possible! You are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - Looks fab. We love having a pricing website, clients love it and it is easy to update!ReplyCancel

  • Dad - You never cease to amaze me, you go girl!ReplyCancel

  • Clarisse - Looking good Abby! That’s a great quote you chose too, if I do say so myself :)ReplyCancel

  • Eryn Kesler - dearest Abby, is there any way I could convince you to email me a link to your client lounge for inspiration?

    Also, so you send it to anyone who inquires? How does that work. I’ve been thinking about a printed guide, but this is easier to update, and also more economical :)ReplyCancel

Friends, I’ll be completely transparent with you- Monday Mash-Ups started as a total cop-out. My thought process went something like this: “I want to blog 5x a week, but I don’t have enough content to be able to blog heavy-hitting/super informative posts that often. How about a FILLER post called Monday Mash-Up??” And yet every couple of weeks, someone will tell me it’s their favorite series of mine! How crazy is that? Maybe it’s my uncanny ability to be able to make fun of myself :).

I don’t know about where you all are, but it is COLD here in Virginia. Real cold. Miss Virginia’s weather system is such a tease- it was 64 degrees on Friday, perfect for my first run since the marathon in October. And then on Saturday, she decided the time was ripe for bone-chilling winds and sub-freezing temperatures. Oh Virginia weather, why must you be such a flighty temptress? But as much as I rag on my state’s weather, I honestly couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Except England. I could totally manage that.

As always, lessons learned/things that transpired over the past week!

  • Running is my preferred method of exercise, and swimming is Matt’s. He was a swimmer all through high school, so it’s his default form of workout. I’ve never been a swimmer out of a sheer lack of know-how, so on Saturday we went to the community center pool for a lesson. I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing my face at the next summer Olympics. I definitely missed my calling as a swimming prodigy. (sarcasm)
  • There’s nothing that’ll shred your ego like seeing your non-in-shape self in a swimsuit in the middle of the winter. There’s also nothing that’ll serve as a better motivator to get fit!
  • Yesterday was my first time volunteering as a Sunday school teacher at our church. Lesson learned #1: when you ask a child what sound a lion makes, be prepared for the next 15 minutes to be filled with RAAAWWWRs every minute or so. Cure for said problem: ask them what sound a giraffe makes.
  • Lesson learned #2: Singing Ludacris’ “Rollout” in front of a 7-year old: not appropriate. Especially at church. Especially when she’s the pastor’s daughter.
  • Fact: wearing a cute apron make me a better cook. Or at least, I FEEL like a better cook. I’ve been coveting Anthropologie’s aprons for months now and was SO excited when Matt bought me one for Valentine’s Day!

See? Can’t you feel me channeling Julia Child’s spirit?

Anthropologie apron teal white gray- Abby Grace Photography

Happy Monday!

  • Rebekah Hoyt - I LOVE Monday Mash-ups!! So fun that you went swimming and oh my gosh can I relate to seeing yourself in a swimsuit in the winter – ahh! Swimming is my preferred method of exercise so I’ve been having to cringe at the mirror a lot lately. Also, that story about the kid in Sunday school class made me laugh. I have NO idea what sound a giraffe makes!!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - Oh! And I have that same apron but in orange. Clearly I was excited that I could relate to this entire post and had to tell you all of the specific reasons why :)ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Haha!! I too went swimming yesterday with my little man (one year old, Liam) and lets just say it was a sobering experience. On the bright side, we still have a few months before TRUE swimsuit weather…there is hope for me! ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Mia Bjerring - That is most probably the cutest apron ever. Ever. And I totally agree that I love Monday mash-up posts! Have a great week!ReplyCancel

  • Dani - You can go ahead and mark this one down as the best Monday mash Up ever. Everything made me laugh literally loudly and my dogs looked at me. Can’t wait for Summer Olympics 2016!! And flighty temptress…omg. I die.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - I love your Monday Mash Up! Love the apron! Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Love the story about the lions & giraffes! :D Kids are so funny!ReplyCancel

  • Alicia - I have the same apron!! And I always look forward to Monday Mashup, one of my favs!ReplyCancel

  • Dad - And for a first run in nearly 5 months you did great!ReplyCancel

  • Rici - Oh I love the one with the sound of the giraffe!!! Great!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Marantz - Ahhh LOVE that apron!! Good job Matt! :)

    xo
    M:)ReplyCancel

  • Matt - My favorite is being right there when you are singing roll-out and the 7-year old covering her ears and telling you to stop because two-seconds earlier you had told her it was a bad song.ReplyCancel

  • molly stillman - i have that EXACT apron! john gave it to me on our wedding day last year!! love it! you are totally julia child.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Ziegler - love love love the apron!! so cute!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - You. Are. aDORable. I LOVE fun aprons :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah B. - I love aprons and that one is SO cute!!

    Also, I can’t imagine your “out of shape swimsuit body” being bad at all!! You’re so thin and cute!! Oh my…. my out of shape swimsuit bod was bad!! But I’m kick it’s butt and getting ready for a honeymoon on the beach! :DReplyCancel

  • ashley link - hahaha. i need to try the giraffe thing with my 3’s at school. i always do the, “what sound does a lion make?” question because i KNOW they love it, haha, but you’re right. after 15 min of RAWWWWRRRs, they need a change of pace! thanks for the tip! ;)ReplyCancel

Matt & I aren’t huge Valentine’s Day consumers- he does such a good job of making me feel loved throughout the year that I don’t really feel compelled to go all out on February 14th. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a sweet note and a little gift, but we keep things pretty conservative here in the Springmann house. The first Valentine’s Day we were together was when we were still in college and with Matt four hours away at Mason, we didn’t get to spend the day together. So what did he do? He had a Ravenclaw hat & scarf sent to me in Radford, because the previous month he’d casually asked me which House I thought I’d be in if we were at Hogwarts. Scoff if you must, but this man is amazing :).

Our first married Valentine’s Day was only a month after we returned from our honeymoon and in an effort to spare our bank account, we did Chinese food and a RedBox movie. We loved the low-key evening so much that it’s become our new tradition, so instead of a fancy dinner reservation, we’ll be watching Sherlock Holmes and enjoying take-out from somewhere here in Reston while spread out on a picnic blanket in our living room.

A couple of days ago I told Matt I really wanted him to write me a letter for Valentine’s Day because we’d forgotten to get cards for one another for our anniversary this year. Whoops! And in true Matt style, he took my request and made it better. I woke up this morning to find Scooby-Doo Valentine’s notes tucked all around the house with a sweet little message from Matt and a bit of scripture to accompany it :).

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in what I’m SUPPOSED to want on February 14th- expensive chocolates, even more expensive flowers, the best table at the fanciest restaurant. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting those things! But deep down, that’s not really what I want on Valentine’s Day- I want to feel pursued, valued, and treasured. When I find myself getting wrapped up in what I think I’m supposed to want vs. what I actually care about (because truly, I’d hate myself the next day for eating an entire Whitman’s Sampler), God always has a way of gently showing me what an amazing man I married, how he is exACTLY what I need and want without the pretense of media-prompted expectations.

Instead of truffle chocolates I’ll regret next week, Matt bought something he knew I’d love- a book about all the “off the beaten track” places to go in London- the best local pubs, the best shopping, the best coffee houses, and quaint places to rest your head at night. We spent the evening mapping out where we want to go when we’re there in June!
Anyone else have a low-key Valentine’s Day tradition? Or an elaborate date night you’re really looking forward to this evening?
  • Rebekah Hoyt - I love that you keep Valentine’s Day to a tradition that you both enjoy, rather than trying to fit the “standard” that society has made up. Last year, I cooked dinner for Matt. I decorated the table with balloons and it was fun, low-key and romantic. We don’t really have any set traditions, so this year Matt is taking me out for my favorite kind of food – Thai! Happy Valentine’s Day, Abby! :)ReplyCancel

  • Emilia Jane - Love the little notes! Wil and I need to do better with those. Our Valentine’s Day tradition is to make spaghetti together for dinner :-)ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Grandt - I’m a Ravenclaw, too! Was totally bummed that was not more Ravenclaw stuff when I went to Universal last year.ReplyCancel

  • Spring - We have never been much for big over the top Valentines Day plans- this year i’m making dinner and I got Silas a scotland sweatshirt (one with the scottish flag on it) we spent hours walking around all the tacky shops in scotland on our honeymoon looking for one and they all seemed cheap so I found one online and ordered it. We are going out to dinner tomorrow night as week nights are hard when he gets up at 4:30am for work. But I must say the Chinese food and red box sounds pretty romantic in my book :)ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Minskey - Jacob picked our wedding date of August 14th so that it would be exactly six months from Valentine’s Day, so it’s a holiday that’s very special in our house. It was the date we also shared our first kiss and saw each other again after years. We usually don’t have a babysitter, but we still try to make each other feel as loved as we can. This year, he got up early with our sons to make red heart shaped cupcakes to surprise me with at breakfast. We’ll actually be going out to dinner somewhere tonight (yay for having my MIL living in town this year!) but we’ll keep it really low key. Like I was literally JUST explaining to him, it’s about just spending time together reminding each other why we fell in love in the first place. I’m not a roses and chocolates kind of girl. I appreciate the simple gestures like the cupcakes way more. Your husband Matt’s idea with the valentines around the house is sooooo sweet! Love that, and I’ll have to casually mention that to Jacob or just go ahead and do it for him instead! :)ReplyCancel

  • molly stillman - so sweet! :) my hubby left me a card and some non-alcoholic sparkling cider for me this morning since i can’t have the real stuff. it was all i could have ever wanted!ReplyCancel

  • malika luthra - aw, those sweet notes all over the house is an adorable idea! arjun and i aren’t that big on the traditional valentine’s day either. since last year was our first year celebrating it as a married couple, we started our own tradition of building a giant fort to encompass our couch and tv, and then we eat dinner and snuggle up with a movie! it’s a little silly but so totally fun!
    here’s wishing you and matt a very happy valentine’s day! :)ReplyCancel

  • Regan - I love this post! What a sweet guy you have there! :) I love the picnic style dinner idea – I think I just might steal it for our stay-in evening! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Carter - I am 24 years old & still hopelessly in love w/ certain beloved stuffed animals. No, they aren’t from my childhood either. I just love stuffed animals now as much as I did as a child so I keep buying them & often my husband buys them for me. He has started a tradition of buying me flowers on holidays like Valentine’s, cutting the stems short, & then positioning them around the apt w/ my favorite stuffed animals so that it looks like the stuffed animals are holding them & presenting them to me. I worked 13 hrs last night at the hospital & honestly forgot it was Valentine’s Day. When I got home, my husband had already left for work but what a huge smile came to my face when I opened the door & saw the futon covered in adorable stuffed animals holding a dozen pink roses. I swear I am not psycho or anything but I just find this so incredibly cute.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - We learned a long time ago that expensive restaurants Valentine’s Day specials are not for us. Since being retired, we opt for a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Today we took a drive into the country then had lunch around 2:00 p.m. We do exchange beautiful cards and my honey always makes sure I have red roses and chocolate. After almost 37 years, he’s still my Valentine every day of the year!ReplyCancel

  • Holly - This is so sweet! :)ReplyCancel

  • David Abel - We don’t usually do a whole lot, maybe a small gift and a nice dinner. Either we eat out or at home and watch a nice movie together. Tonight it’s love actually. I think the most important thing is to be with each other. I love your story though.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - I feel like Matt just continually sets the bar higher and higher for men… And what you post is probably only like 5% of the adorableness that actually happens. You two are beautiful :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah B. - How beautiful, Abby! Thanks for not only sharing your photography on your blog but also your beautiful, God-honoring marriage, and your heart!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Gordon - This is SO sweet! I hope someday to find a guy that really gets me :) I am so glad you had a great day together!!!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - Ray & I had a super low-key 1st Valentines day together but it was perfect for us. He woke up super early & made me breakfast in bed (before I had to leave for work at 6:30AM!) And then that night I stopped off to pick up his favorite beer & made dinner for us. Simple, and perfectly us!ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - I had just had our second baby a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day. So on V’day, my hubby brought home PF Chang’s takeout (my favorite) and we ate with the kids. :) I’m not really “into” Valentine’s Day either, so this was perfect.ReplyCancel