Your 10 must-have wedding photographs

Wedding photography has come a long way since the days of stiff, formal, posed shots.

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Today you can choose the style of wedding photography that suits you both as a couple - reportage is increasingly popular and tells a 'story' of your day, the preparations and the unfolding of events. The whole mood is more relaxed and more YOU.

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How to capture those perfect moments

The secret is to find a wedding photographer who is your soul mate.

You need to shop around for a wedding photographer who will suit you. A photographer who will listen to what you want (not what they think) and interpret your ideas in the right ways. You also want somebody who is experienced enough not to be intrusive; who will 'melt' into the background when necessary and capture those 'spur of the moment' shots - like a flowergirl being kissed by the ringbearer or the groomsman patting his pocket to make sure the weddings rings are still there.

Remember that many photographers will be booked up well in advance at weekends during the summer, although cancellations do occur so you might be lucky.

Your wedding photographs will be a long-lasting reminder of your big day and so you really deserve to have the best you possibly can.

Discuss with your photographer beforehand the shots you want and make a plan. In the meantime, here's a handy checklist of the 10 wedding photographs you really must have. These are the classic images that you'll want in your wedding album - to look over with the grandchildren one day maybe?

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Your 10 must-have wedding photographs

  1. Bride ready to leave for ceremony
  2. Bride and her mother
  3. Groom and groomsmen
  4. Bride and her father leaving for the ceremony/walking up the aisle
  5. Groom when he first sees the bride in her dress at the ceremony
  6. Register signing
  7. Bride and groom outside ceremony venue as man and wife
  8. Bride and groom with both sets parents
  9. Bride and groom with bridesmaids and groomsmen
  10. Decorated reception venue with table plan before guests arrive

What do you think? Are there any other must-have shots you should have taken? Let us know if you think we've forgotten any.

A Forest Green Fall Wedding in Arizona

LaBelle Bride, one of my favorite wedding blogs full of truly unique and beautiful inspiration brings you this guest post. I was so excited when she agreed to do it as I am constantly in awe of the blog's amazing posts. Full of inspiration, DIY ideas and real weddings, LaBelle Bride is a must stop for your wedding planning inspiration.

A forest green fall wedding in Arizona

Whether I like it or not, by mid-August I start compulsively thinking: "The end of summer is coming. it's almost over."

Depressing? Yes and no. I love summer, however I have an equal love for all things fall. The colors, the crisp autumn air and let's not even start with fall fashion (my obsession with boots is a little unhealthy). And let's face it, many of your brides are prepping for an epic autumn wedding and need a little fall wedding inspiration. So I present to thee Casey and Bethany's Arizona fall wedding. In all its orange, yellow and green glory. Enjoy the fresh pop of autumn color - I know I did!

Things to look out for at this wedding

  • The olive green silk of the bridesmaids dresses. This is a perfect day-to-night color. It works for day because it's enlivened with the sunflower bouquets and casual hair. But come the evening, these girls can hit the dance floor in style.
  • Love the bride's lace shrug. If you want to wear a strapless dress but want to be a little more covered up at the ceremony, then a delicate lace shrug would work perfectly. It also gives you two wedding looks for the day. Wear the shrug when you want to be formal - and then take it off when the festivities start and the party begins!

Photography: Jennifer Weems - Floral Designs: Bliss Occasions - Reception Venue Los Abrigados Resort & Spa - Invitations: Two Yellow Shoes - Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo

Tip your glass to this stylish winery wedding

This is a gorgeous idea. A wedding not outside in a vineyard but inside the winery itself! The barrels of wine offset with beautiful lighting and a candle lit floor make a great looking backdrop. A reception amongst the vines with feminine details of lace and flowers with, of course, great tasting wine, make this one favorite day to remember.

Why hold your wedding in a winery?

Well first off, you're almost certainly going to have a fabulous choice of wines for your guests. If that's the case, then don't forget to plan the food around the wine you have chosen - this is something your caterer can help you with.

Secondly, the scenery is almost certainly going to be rural, rustic and gorgeous. There will be rows of vines in the background and some picturesque barns too. Also, as you can see, a winery gives you a ready-made theme for your big day.

You can use wine labels as a theme for your save the dates, your invitations and your table plans. Call each table after a different wine or grape: Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc ... you get the idea.

A wedding in a winery also lends itself beautifully to a rustic theme. There are probably going to be some barrels around which you can use for props and of course you can set the reception tables up out of doors, as this couple has done.

There are a few touches at this wedding that jump out at us. Let's see. The groom's boutonniere or buttonhole, which is simply a big fat rose bud. The bride's cowboy boots (you don't want to be tip-toeing around a winery in high heels, that's for sure).

We also love the simplicity of the cake. It's pretty and elegant but it's not over the top. This isn't a glitzy city centre wedding, it's a rural event and the cake reflects this.

Full marks to the bride and groom here for their choices.


Images by Kurt Boomer Photography

Wedding invitation do's & don'ts

Save the dates, invitations, RSVP cards, menus, name cards, and thank you notes...there are many elements to creating an organized stationery plan for all of the stages of your wedding.

Wedding invitation do's & don'ts

Most important however, are the official invitations letting your guests know where to be and at what time to capture the beautiful moment that you say "I do". Invitations also tend to be the most traditional part of your wedding and there's some important etiquette you need to follow. To keep you on track, here's our simple list of do's and don'ts to make sure you're aware of the right protocol before sending out all those important envelopes.

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Do's

  • Have a theme that runs all the way through your invitations. Your stationery needs to match. From flowers to place settings, a well-considered color scheme always makes everything appear much more elegant and classy. Matching invitations will also give guests a sneak peek of what they should expect the ceremony to look like.
  • Do give your guests plenty of notice. Save the dates are a really good idea, particularly if you're having a wedding in the holiday season or planning a destination wedding. People plan so far ahead these days and may want to make your wedding part of a holiday. The actual formal invitation should be sent 6-8 weeks before the wedding date itself.
  • Do make sure that all necessary information is included You wouldn't believe how many invitations get sent out missing the date, or the venue, or the time. Double and triple check that the information is accurate and don't forget to include details of accommodation and a map if necessary.
  • Do let your guests know the dress code. If your event is "black tie" then it should be clearly noted at the bottom of the invitation. Wedding attire can range from laid-back beach threads to glamorous red carpet getups, so let your guests know from the beginning what kind of outfit they will need to shop for. There's not much worse than turning up in a lounge suit to a wedding that's morning dress or vice versa. Everybody will feel more comfortable if they're certain what they expect to wear.
  • Do address the envelope formally. That means that everyone's names should include their title and full name. Titles are important because they keep the tone formal.

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Don'ts

  • Don't include your wedding website on the invitations. If you have already made the choice to document your wedding on a personal website, it's okay to want to share it with your guests. However, the formal wedding invitation is not the place to include your website. Either include it in the save the dates, or just advertise it on your personal social media accounts.
  • Don't include registry information. This is a major don't because it is considered impolite. You don't want to come off like you are asking for gifts. Guests should be inclined to simply ask you or your bridal party which stores are registered at.
  • Don't invite everyone you've ever known. The size of the wedding can depend on many factors: the budget, the location, and your personal preference. Yet even if you choose to have a large ceremony, it's always necessary to edit your invitation list. It's unnecessary to invite that distant cousin that no one has spoken to in years. Focus on inviting the people that are nearest and dearest to your heart.
  • Don't choose a font that is illegible. Calligraphy is very popular in wedding stationary, and rightfully so because it usually looks beautiful. Be mindful when choosing your fonts though. Some script can be very difficult to read, especially in light colors. Remember that the invitation is all of the essential information, so it definitely needs to be legible.
  • Don't use labels for your guests' addresses. Yes, addressing envelopes by hand is a very tedious process but that's why there are professionals to help you out. Printed labels come off as lazy and inconsiderate, which is definitely not how you want your guests to feel. Consult your stationery designer first to see if they can also address your envelopes for you.

Featured image credit: Pineapple Paradise Wedding Invitations By Beacon Lane

Photos by Chudleigh Weddings, Kathryn McCrary Photography

A LumberJack and Jill Themed Bridal Shower Party

Thinking about having a couple's shower? After all, it shouldn't only be the bride who gets to bask in the love of friends and family celebrating the upcoming big day.

If you want your bridal shower to be a really good party (and in fact morph into an engagement party of sorts) then why not have a bridal shower with your other half?

It's not exactly a traditional idea but it certainly has its advantages.

  • Maybe you're not keen on all-girl events
  • Maybe your other half wants to have a groom's shower
  • Maybe you didn't have an engagement party and this is the perfect way to combine it with a shower party
  • You've had a really good idea for a party (like the couple here) and you just have to host it
  • You've too many friends to invite to a single bridal shower so why not make it a combined event anyway?
  • You love sharing stuff with your other half in any case and wouldn't want them to miss out

If you thought bridal showers were just pink and feminine then think again. This joint bridal shower party had a lumberjack and jill theme - complete with red gingham.

It's a bit like the classic old movie: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". (Watch this clip to get some more inspiration if you fancy having a lumberjack and jill theme. Maybe you could even host a barn dance in a barn - now that would be different!)

I've found this Lumberjack and Jill themed couple's shower from Frilly Milly Events via Eat Drink Pretty that is sure to inspire you with its creativity. I love the unique theme and food, and the photobooth shots are priceless!

The food shots are certainly worth looking at for inspiration. Hearty and substantial - fries, corn cobs, burgers, baked beans. And for the health option we have fresh fruit on skewers. All beautifully presented.

Also like the silhouettes of the bride and groom here. That's something you could organise yourself too.

Dress code for your guests is easy - it's lumberjack shirts all the way - plus a bit of gingham. Should be a fun party!

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Photography by IGC Photography

How to find the best wedding photographer for YOU

You don't get a second chance at wedding photography. Whilst you can have a rehearsal in the days leading up to your big day, you can't retake your wedding pics. So you need to make sure you're going to get them right.

Which is all about choosing the right wedding photographer.

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Photography is big business

The wedding photography business is a big one. With every wedding in need of a professional to capture its precious moments, there is an endless array of photographers in the field. It's important to hone in on what you really want out of these keepsakes and pick a photographer that can give you just that.

Questions to ask a potential photographer

To help you pick the right person, read through these key questions to ask before you book a photographer's services.

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How long have you been photographing weddings?

Don't feel the need to have a complete interview with your potential photographer, but do get a sense of their experience. Just because a photographer has been capturing weddings for 10 years as opposed to one doesn't mean they're necessarily more talented. However it does probably mean that they are very efficient in photographing under pressure, and know how to get the most shots per time allotted. If you don't want to be hanging around having photographs taken when you could be with your guests then that is something really worth considering.

What's your style?

Your number one to do is to check out a photographer's portfolio in detail before even chatting with them. You'll want to be sure that their artistic style matches the theme of your wedding. For example if you notice their portfolio features mountain landscapes and bohemian portraits, but your wedding is in a church with classic details, you'll want to pick someone who is experienced at shooting more traditional weddings. When speaking with the photographer for the first time check that your vision and their style align. You can even send over some inspirational photos so that the artist can see what you have in mind! We really stress that you get this one right from the beginning. If you have different tastes stylistically, there is going to be a devastating crash at some point.

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Digital, film, or both?

Most photographers nowadays shoot on a professional digital cameras, however film can present a different stylistic touch. If you are planning a vintage-inspired celebration, opt for a photographer that's a pro shooting on film. Plus, the old school medium lends itself to timeless prints.

How will you coordinate with the videographer?

Sometimes photographers and videographers can come in a package deal if you are working with a well-known studio. Make sure you get the two of them together before your big day or better still, choose a couple that work together in tandem. They'll know how to complement one another's medium so that you've got the whole day covered.

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What's included in your package?

When your photographer produces an estimate for their work, be sure to get the full list of everything that's included in that. For instance ask specifics such as are prints, albums, or proofs included in that? You'll also want to get a sense of roughly how many photos you should be expecting by the end as well.

Do you have assistants or associates to help you?

Depending on the studio of the photographer, they may have associates under them to help out or even stand in for the wedding. If you're expecting to have the head photographer there on the big day, make it clear that you trust them to be the creative director. You also need to ask them if they will be around the whole time - you don't want them handling over your precious wedding to an inexperienced assistant. You are paying for their services so make sure you get them.

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How long after the wedding will I receive photographs?

Most couples want that instant gratification to see and share their wedding photos right away. However, depending on their workload some photographers can take months to deliver the finished products! Manage your expectations by discussing a deadline from the beginning. Most couples will have photographs to look at when they get back from their honeymoon and if you're marrying at a very busy time of year (say mid-summer) then be prepared to wait a while.

Are there copyright restrictions to using your photos?

If you're a social media fiend, then copyrights and watermarks can sometimes get in the way of your Insta wedding. This comes into play when discussing exactly what's included in the package deal. Will you have to pay extra for the copyrights of the photos or are you part-owner once they are delivered to you?

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Photos by Mia Domenico, Rebecca Hollis, Vasilis Lagios Photography, Southern Jewel Photography, and Brandy Angel Photography

8 secret tips to keep you and your bridesmaid happy

How to pick your bridesmaids? Well, they need to be a group of women who are nearest and dearest to your heart. Your bridesmaid team needs to be special because bridesmaids are an important part of your ceremony.

Whilst you may want to pick your best friend to be your chief maid of honor, this is not always such a good idea. Your maid of honor needs to be efficient, cool under pressure and organised. If your best friend is fun, creative and disorganised and muddled, then you'd best think again and ask somebody else. (And in fact, your best friend might be relieved not to be asked anyway.)

At the same time, your bridesmaids need to understand that it is ultimately your day and they need to respect your wishes. A calm, cool, and collected planning process will ensure that these women will have your back long after you say "I do." Follow these simple pieces of advice to not only keep your bridesmaids smiling, but to keep yourself completely sane the whole way through.

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1. Make sure everyone is well acquainted

It's fairly uncommon for everyone in your bridal party to know each other like you know each of them. Take the necessary time to get the group together and have some girl time to get everyone well acquainted. Once everyone gets comfortable, you will feel as if you have one tight-knit team that communicates effectively as opposed to an unreliable disjointed bunch. You never know, the run-up to your wedding day might spark off some new, long-lasting friendships.

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2. Ask them in a special way

Right from the beginning it's important to make your bridal party feel like VIP guests. The best way to make them feel recognized is to find a creative way to ask them to be your bridesmaids. Try something like sending each of them a little handmade gift in the mail that ties to your overall wedding theme. Once your man pops the question to you, it's time to get crafty with popping the question to your right-hand ladies. This really isn't the time to text or e mail your girls with a message. Instead ask them in person or write a handwritten letter or card. It's an important occasion and you need to give it the drama it deserves!

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3. Ask them what they want to wear

A bride's most common mistake is not asking her bridesmaids what they would like to wear. It's helpful to get everyone's input in order to decide what will best suite both your vision and your bridesmaids' opinions. Be open-minded to maybe choosing one color and letting them pick a style to fit their specific body types. Instead of having everyone match perfectly, you should be more concerned about having cheerful, confident women by your side in your wedding photos. Be thoughtful about this - a girl who's self-conscious about her legs won't want to wear a short skirt and a girl who is voluptuous might not feel happy about wearing a strapless gown. So talk to them about what they feel comfortable in and take it from there.

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4. Let them know what you expect

Some women are bridesmaids many times in their lives, and some just once. Don't assume that everyone automatically knows how to be the perfect bridesmaid. Be up front with your ladies about when and where you will need their help within the many steps of planning your wedding. It's a good idea to learn to delegate and give each bridesmaid a separate task that plays to their skills and strengths. Keep communicating - your girls won't be mindreaders and they need to know what you want and what you're after.

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5. Delegate certain tasks to the maid of honor

Your maid of honor should be the first one to assist you with everything you need. She's your confidante who you can truly count on. Let her show you her worth by taking on some tasks that you feel she would be good at. If she's super-friendly, then let her be the key contact to communicate with the rest of the group. If she's the creative type, then let her handle packaging all of the favors. While the urge to resist handing over some of the reins will be there, you will feel a immediate relief when you don't have as much on your plate.

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6. Realize the world exists outside of your wedding

Your bridesmaid should realize it is definitely an honor to be a part of your special day, but that also doesn't mean their whole world needs to be turned upside down. Acknowledge that they have other responsibilities that they have to tend to when planning things like dress fittings or catering appointments. If she's a friend you can trust, then she'll make every effort to be there for those important decisions. Don't turn into that dreaded thing, a bridezilla!

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7. Avoid having arguments

It's almost inevitable that you'll hit at least a few rough points over the course of your engagement. However, the good news is that your bridesmaids already know there might be a few meltdowns, so they are well prepared. Don't worry if there are a few moments when your stress levels sky rocket, it's all part of the process. However, try to keep yourself in check. Is a battle with your bridesmaids really worth the fight? Try and talk things through beforehand so that they don't become cause for a row.

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8. Say and show how grateful you are

Saying thank-you is by far the most important thing to remember to do. On your big day, these women will be going above and beyond to keep you happy. Take note of the little things they have done for you along the way and remember to let them know how much it mattered to you. Gifting your bridesmaids with small matching tokens or even just handwritten cards will remind them of your gratitude for years to come.

They're going to play a big part in your big day, so respect that.

Photos by Jen Huang Photography, Abby Jiu, Black Hue Photography, Ivey Pictures, Brandy Angel Photography, Maria Harte Photography, and Ryan Nicole Photography

An old-fashioned red barn wedding

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Are you a rustic romantic? Then maybe you've been considering a barn wedding.

If you haven't quite decided yet, then browse through these inspirational photographs and we think you're going to make a decision pretty quickly.

Because if you like rustic and the countryside, there's nothing better than a barn wedding done right. This gorgeous one captured by Austin Warnock Photography hits it right on.

Here's what we particularly like about it ...

  • Bridesmaid dresses with chunky belts and cowboy boots - genius styling there!
  • Red cowboy boots for the bride - very sassy and great for the photographs!
  • Check out the cake table. Mm hm.. This couple OWNED the day by not having a cake tier - but having different cakes laid out on a cake table, doubtless in different flavors. (Because one flavor doesn't suit all, does it?)

And yet - with the addition of some well-chosen lace, this wedding is dreamily romantic too. The bride's classic gown is traditional and classy, and we love the detailing on the bodice. Wear a gown like this and you'll probably want to wear your hair in an updo - at least to start - all the better to show off the decorative neckline.

Spot the touches of blue too, which weave their way throughout these images. On the groomsmen, on their sky-blue ties and buttonholes and in the flowers on the bridesmaid's bouquet and the bride's showstopper.

Some evocative old vintage touches here to go with the historic red barn. Check the calendar from 1937, the old wagon decorated with bunting ...

The more we look at this wedding the more we realise how beautifully simple it actually is - this is not a grand location but it's historic and memorable and with some cleverly chosen props the bride has made it all her own for her big day.

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Images by Austin Warnock Photography

Should you elope? Or not?

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Are you hyperventilating at the thought of 500 wedding guests watching you say your wedding vows? So you'd rather do it privately thank you?

Or would your parents be mortified if you got hitched on your Caribbean vacation?

Eloping and then celebrating later has been a growing trend in weddings around the globe in recent years and celebrities aren't the only ones that have made way for it. If you're both private people and don't like too much fuss, then getting married quietly and having a party later on might be perfect for you.

The pros and cons of a private ceremony with just the two of you

Steffen Wedding  10.3.15 by Megan Noll - Roselle Photography

The pros

  • You'll save money: All the details of a traditional wedding really add up. By cutting the guest list down to zero you are guaranteed to save at least 30% or more on your special day.
  • The romance: A wedding is meant for the bride and groom. But frequently the importance and true meaning of the wedding can get lost in the midst of all the planning. Couples who have eloped all agree that the simplicity of the ceremony truly makes for an unforgettable memory for just the two of you.
  • The destination: Of course Vegas is always an option, however with the money you save by eliminating the cost of guests, you and your fiancé can definitely find the funds to escape to somewhere gorgeous. Think of a destination on both of your bucket lists and go!
  • You're in charge: Forget about appeasing your mother in law's wishes, elopement means that you hold the reins and don't have to please anybody except your partner. Chances are the ceremony will turn out to be exactly how you envision because there are less opinions involved.

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The cons

  • No shared memories: The hardest part about deciding to elope or not is accepting that your wedding day will only be shared with your partner.
  • Fewer gifts: Not that you want to admit that you're the materialistic type or anything...but let's be honest. Everyone can admit that the gifts coming from a lavish traditional wedding definitely help you settle into your newlywed life.
  • Hurt feelings: With the spontaneous nature of elopements, they often come as a surprise to family members. It's hard for friends and family to not take the decision personally, especially if they were expecting to be present when you say "I do."
  • No guest photos: Many photographers admit that elopements are much more spectacular to shoot. The unique settings make for a perfect backdrop, however there isn't much diversity. Know that an elopement means no guest hashtags on Instagram, no group bridesmaid shots, and no wild dancing photos at the reception.

Are you spontaneously eloping or are you keeping it traditional with a big ceremony? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by Vasilis Lagios Photography, Megan Noll Photography, and Sylvie Gil Photography.

A cultural Cambodian wedding day

We love featuring weddings from different cultures - and this Cambodian wedding day is no exception.

If you're invited to the marriage of Cambodian friends, then you will notice that the day is made up of different ceremonies. A gong signals the arrival of the couple to each stage of the wedding - making a clear announcement that something new lies ahead!

There'll be lots of music, a lavish dinner banquet, gifts and plenty of people.

Traditional instruments play songs and there is usually a master of ceremonies who guides everybody through what is happening. The ceremony might in fact take a couple of days.

You'll see silver or gold trays, candles, flowers, decorations, fruits. You'll notice that it's all very colorful, as shown in this wedding day. A lot of time is taken to present food in time-honored ways, which haven't really changed much over the years.

The couple getting married will wear co-ordinating colors, with the wedding outfits made of bright silks. Cambodian brides will change their dress frequently at different parts of the ceremony, and sometimes the outfits get more elaborate as the day progresses. In some cases this culminates in all-gold silk outfits as the couple is royalty for the day!

Guests mingle, watch the ceremony, interact, enjoy food whilst kids run around and play. It's relaxed but there's still a structure.

If the couple are from different cultures, they may well decide to mingle different aspects of the wedding ceremony from each of their backgrounds.

In this wedding you'll notice the Cambodian knot-tying ceremony - Sompeas Ptem - where guests personally bestow blessings and well wishes on the couple and tie red strings around the bride and groom's wrists.

Enjoy these photographs - our favorite is the one of the elderly relatives laughing and having a wonderful time!

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Images by Jason & Anna Photography