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Mary Taylor’s Wedding Planning Program for the DIY Bride

I am so excited that you found your way here today. I can’t wait to hopefully be a part of your wedding planning journey. Whether you have a wedding planner or not, this program is designed for every kind of bride.

This program was designed to help brides turn their checklist(s) into action steps. There’s nothing more daunting then getting a list of a hundred things to do and not knowing how to get through those checklist items. We know that some brides want or need a little guidance through their bridal journey.  Let’s break down those hundred to-dos and figure out when and how to accomplish them. In fact, let’s do all of that while still having fun!

So what is it exactly? Our DIY bridal course is a step-by-step wedding planning program designed by wedding planners, professionals, and brides. It is designed to help brides to stay organized and feel supported through live Q&A’s, resources, and help from wedding professionals. You’ll join other brides from around the world who are also passionate about creating their dream day as you all work through your to-do list together.

What’s Included? 

💍 Timeline Checklist

💍 “Everything You Need” Wedding Checklist

💍 Custom email series based on your wedding date. This email series will help you to stay on track with wedding planning so you don’t fall behind. It includes direct links to resources that you will need to help you complete the checklist to-do items that you’re “assigned.”

💍 Access to our exclusive Facebook group which contains information on how to complete each step as well as more resources and information for each checklist to-do item.

💍 In the future, we want to feature wedding professionals who can give you real-life, up-to-date, and helpful advice as well as videos from other brides and wedding vendors.

💍 We also hope to include exclusive discounts and gifts for our members.

Who is it for?! Our wedding planning program is really for any bride that feels like they could use some help. This group and program really works well for the bride that WANTS to plan their wedding, knows what they want, doesn’t mind making the calls and doing the vendor comparison. She doesn’t need a full wedding planning package, but wants help along the way instead of just a day of coordinator. As a recent bride, I relied heavily on research, reading, and other brides experiences to help me plan my day. It was very time consuming to have to research everything myself which is why I want to help reduce that time for other brides. Think about it, we are all planning essentially the same event (yes, different traditions, different vendors, and different styles but a lot of the information is actually similar)!

How can I learn more and sign up?! Are you thinking, “Why haven’t I already signed up?! This sounds just like what I need!” Then you can purchase your admission directly on our website or on our Etsy shop.

If you’re a vendor and would like to learn more about how you can involved, please contact me directly. We always have opening for you to provide our brides with some value. We even have an affiliate program!

We can’t wait to see you there! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and join Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Mary and Robbie

Why Brides & Grooms Are Loving First Looks

It used to be that the first time you saw your husband or wife on your wedding day was when they were making their grand entrance down the aisle. However, nowadays we see many different traditions about that first look. 

Today, some people purposefully set up a specific time (before the ceremony) to see each other for the first time. Usually the only people present are the photographers, videographers, and the couple themselves!

© Wild Flower Photo and Film |

So why do people do it!?

Having a first look allows you to not only join the party sooner but also allows you to take some “us” time before all of your guests arrive. You pay for your open bar, wedding venue, DJ, and hors d’oeuvres whether you are there or not so why not be present and join in on the celebration?! I mean, the celebration is about you! Recent bride Jessie says, “From a practical matter, there are SO many positives to doing a first look. You will get better pictures because you have more time/flexibility, and your hair and makeup is fresher. You’re less stressed for time.”

© reeseoliverphotography |
© reeseoliverphotography |

My husband, Robbie, and I did a first look and it was absolutely beautiful! I loved having those few moments alone with him before the craziness of the day. It also meant we were able to take all of our family photos ahead of time which allowed us extra time with our guests! Here’s our first look photos by Susannah Lynn Photography.

Let’s hear from other brides…

Brides across the world almost always have something positive to say about their first look! One concern for couples is that walking down the aisle won’t be as magical because they have already seen each other. One bride says, “My husband still cried when he saw me coming down the aisle. I’m so glad we did it!”

Even brides that haven’t had the experience yet are feeling the excitement, “I can’t wait for our first look. That intimate moment seeing each other for the first time.”

© theelweddingproductions |
© reeseoliverphotography |

Bride Jessie says, “I was initially COMPLETELY against doing a first look; I’d get angry when someone would suggest it. But we ended up doing one and it was hands down the best part of the day. It’s so much more genuine and emotional than the walk down the aisle.” I love that she went from completely against it to all for it! She adds, “Doing a first look is such an amazing experience! Think about it–with the walk down the aisle, you probably can’t see each other very well at first. All eyes are on you, there’s so much to try to take in, you’re holding back your emotions instead of really experiencing it, and you get to the end of the aisle and just have to stand there and do the ceremony. With a first look, it’s just the two of you and you can laugh and cry and talk and kiss and just SOAK IT ALL IN! It’s truly an amazing, beautiful moment.”

Check out Jessie’s first look below – captured by the incredible Cody Kilgore from Black Cap Photography.

Bride to be Tammy, pictured in the first image below, says, “I was very skeptical at first. I was afraid of missing out on that magic when we walk down the aisle. But it was the best decision that I ever made and I do not regret it at all. It gave us some time alone with each other to really savor the moment and get some pictures in. He sobbed when he saw me at the first look and then cried all over again when I walked down the aisle. Do it!!!”

© Jennifer Lisa Philanthropic Photography |
© Anna Joy Photography |
© reeseoliverphotography |
© Ira Elizabeth Photography LLC |

If you want to stay traditional or one of you is totally for a first look and the other is totally against it, another option is to be blind folded beforehand, go back-to-back, or have something between you (a wall, corner, door, etc). You can exchange gifts, say a prayer, or just have a moment together! Whatever you choose to do will be the right choice for you! 

© N. Godinez Photography |
© Shayna Johnson Photography |

If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Vegas or Bust!

Last week I came across this beautiful photoshoot of Kim and her husband, David, by photographer Tiffany (with Jekalo Photography)! When I asked Tiffany what the shoot was all about, she said, “In the middle of the Nevada desert, this couple boogied and grooved to Earth Wind and Fire. They danced, they made out! We lit some sparklers and set off some smoke bombs until the sun tucked itself behind the red rock canyons, then we went to downtown Vegas and shut down Fremont Street!!” How fun does that sound? I felt like this was perfect timing after I had just published a blog about why photoshoots are important even if you’re already married. You can read about our San Diego photoshoot here.

Kim and David met in Yosemite National Park, while they were both working at the Ahwahnee hotel several years ago. Kim says, “We met at work, and saw each other everyday there, then one day he was in the employee housing area I lived in with a mutual friend of our’s.” She said she was playing her guitar and singing on her porch but David couldn’t see her. He asked his friend where the music was coming from and he said, “That’s Kim from work!” Kim says, “David couldn’t believe it was me because I was super quiet at work and would just sit alone and read on my lunch breaks. But there I was singing Bobby McGee at the top of my lungs in a pair of Daisy Dukes.”

“We were totally stupid for each other from the start, and spent a whole summer hiking around, rafting down the river, and such.”

Kim had already been living there for a year and didn’t want to spend another winter there so she told him that she was leaving and invite him to join her!

“And the rest is history!”

They now have two beautiful daughters and love to travel! They even call themselves, “Little nomads!”

I love that they made the time for a photoshoot like this. The shoot looks like a dream date night. Dinner in the desert and dancing in the city! You can tell how in love these two truly are. 

Tiffany described this photoshoot as “groovy” and wouldn’t have been able to pull off this incredible team effort without all of the other wonderful vendors who participated! They had a florist, HMUA, sparklers, smoke bombs, rentals, table decor, signage, and so much more! To see all of the vendors who participated and to follow them on Instagram, check out the list below!

Photographer: Tiffany Fleming JEKALO PHOTOGRAPHY @jekalophotography 

Concept Creator + Host: THE COUNTERFEIT WEDDING  @thecounterfeitwedding 

Videographer: ALAN FLEMING @alan_marshall_videography 

Bride: KIM PAZ @allgoodinthemotherhood

Groom: DAVID PAZ @mrdpaz

Boho White Dress: @chicbohodress_official

Tux: @friartux  




Signage: LEXI SMITH @letteredbyluth 

Hair: MEG DELA CRUZ @megdelacruz

Makeup: ALEXIS @lexxi_geeemakeup 

Tambourine: COFFEE & CALLIGRAPHY @coffee_calligraphy 

Invite Suite: MOLLY


Sparklers + Smoke Bombs: Sam


Macrame: Jess OX AND NAG


Rentals: BLOOMINGBELLE RENTALS @bloomingbellesrentals 

Candles: @lucidcandle

Decor: @target 

Table Settings: @worldmarket

Embroidery: @sarahevellomacrame

If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Mary and Robbie

Photoshoot With Local San Diego Wedding Photographers

Last month my husband, Robbie, and I took a trip to San Diego, California! This trip had many purposes but one thing I knew I wanted to do was get more images of us. Throughout wedding planning, we document so many beautiful moments. From engagement photos to wedding photos but after the wedding it’s as if the other moments don’t need to be documented. Have you ever thought about honeymoon photos? You’re probably visiting somewhere you have never been or at least somewhere that is beautiful! So why not get updated images? Not for cards or albums but just for you. To celebrate your marriage and “new” life together. Images to remember this special time – the first trip as husband and wife! More people should hire photographers while on trips – not just honeymoons!

The purpose behind this La Jolla photoshoot with our San Diego wedding photographers was to explore the idea of honeymoon photos. And I couldn’t be more excited about these gorgeous images! Thank you so much Brittany V Photography and Danny Lewis Photography! We will cherish these images for the rest of our lives! 

Leading up to the photoshoot day, Bethany from Events by BD, helped me plan everything. From deciding the overall look with me to providing us with props and flower arrangements. She was SO sweet and easy to work with! If you’re looking for a San Diego florist or event planner, you should definitely reach out to Bethany! She knew my vision better than I did!

Guitar Beach 2 2

To kick off our photoshoot, Tracie from Makeup by Tracie came over to our house to do my makeup. I honestly didn’t even have to tell her what I wanted and she completely nailed it. She made me feel confident and beautiful. I liked that she didn’t do anything too extreme and kept my look natural. She picked the perfect lip color too! Robbie kept complimenting the color the entire day! Not only did she do a great job with my makeup, she was easy to talk to and fun to work with! If you’re looking for a San Diego makeup artist, drop Tracie a message!

We started our photoshoot at La Valencia in La Jolla, California where one of our photographers Brittany from Brittany V Photography met us to take some candid, lifestyle images at the hotel. They were so nice to let us in for a few images! Brittany was creative, kind, and so much fun during the entire photoshoot. She prompted us, encouraged us, and complimented us!

Mary and Robbie
Mary and Robbie
Mary and Robbie

I mean look at these pictures?! If you’re looking for a bright and colorful San Diego wedding photographer who loves to take charge (in a good way), Brittany is a perfect fit! I could tell she was not only confident but she also knew what she was doing!

Mary and Robbie
Mary and Robbie

Some of the links below may be commissioned. 

After our city images, Danny from Danny Lewis Photography joined us at Windansea in La Jolla. We continued the photoshoot with outfit changes and added props. I love that we got to do two completely different looks. Both of my new outfits came from Amazon (if you don’t have prime, you can use that link for a free trial)! You can purchase the white floral dress here and the long green dress here. If you end up purchasing, we would love to see pictures of you in your new dresses! 

Danny was easy to work with and fun to be around. He brought two cameras and was definitely more of a candid photographer which was really cool to watch. It’s amazing to see the two different styles (in photography and in editing)! If you’re looking for a San Diego engagement photographer or wedding photographer who loves to capture candid moments, Danny is your guy!

Couple Blankey Kiss 5 B&W

I love to work with wedding vendors from around the world because it gives me the opportunity to meet them and actually experience their work for myself. If you’re a wedding vendor or you know of someone you’d like me to get in touch with, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

You can find these vendors online by clicking on their name(s) or going to our Mary Taylor Weddings Facebook Page where we have shared this blog. 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


What’s Married Life Like?

Have you ever gotten this question? Or maybe ever thought about what it’s going to be like for you? If I had to count the number of times that someone asked me, “What’s married life like?” I would be counting on my hands and my toes! I’m not sure what people expect me to say when they ask this. Do they want me to say that it’s 100 times better than being engaged or that it’s way more difficult than I ever thought? Is something drastic supposed to change after you get married? Or maybe it’s just a conversation starter to check in after the wedding.

Some people think that tying the knot means they will feel more secure, more wanted, or even happier! I’m personally not a fan of thinking of marriage as “hard work” because I know that’s not my relationship. I’m not saying it’s all butterflies and rainbows but when you learn to communicate effectively, have similar wants and needs, and have respect for each other, marriage is actually easy. *gasp* You’re probably thinking, “Did she just say that?!” It doesn’t mean it doesn’t take “work” (because let’s face it even if something takes work it doesn’t mean that work has to be difficult)! In fact, I wouldn’t even call it work. I’d call it commitment, love, patience, and effort.

For us, not much changed when we got married – which is a surprise since we went from engaged and living in a two bedroom house alone to married and living at Robbie‘s grandparents house. Even when we were engaged there were no feelings of, “I can leave at any time – we aren’t married yet!” The moment I said yes to marrying Robbie was the moment he was going to be my forever. We spend just as much time together, go on just as many dates, and adventure like always.

They say you’re supposed to date your spouse and this couldn’t be more true. I recognize that things are easier for us because we don’t have children (or pets) yet but whether you have kids, animals, or no extras at all, dating your spouse is so important. Even couples that have been together for more than 50 years can still learn more about each other!


I’m not an expert when it comes to marriage but I do know why my marriage seems so easy. We’re constantly communicating how we feel, what we appreciate, and things that frustrate us. We have so much genuine love and respect for each other that yelling and name calling is not a thing in our house. If there’s a disagreement that is affecting us negatively, we talk about it right away! My advice for newly married couples is: don’t expect things to automatically change just because you’re married. They might change because you’ve never lived together before, never been intimate before, or never spent so much time together before but marriage isn’t the thing that changed. Marriage is what YOU make it. If you want things to change, you have to put in effort and communicate with your spouse now. Don’t wait to tie the knot to start having those conversations!

So, to answer everyone’s question: Married life is the same as engaged life (at least for us)! It’s just as fun, loving, and busy!

If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

IMG_8029 edited GI

Heart for Art – Wellington Hen’s Paint Party

One of my favorite aspects of being involved in the wedding industry is getting to help connect wedding vendors and brides. I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting wedding ideas, businesses, and inspiration. Heart for Art is a Wellington (New Zealand) based company that specializes in painting parties! How fun is that?! When I first came across their page on Facebook, I knew they would be a great fit for brides. If you’re looking at hosting a Wellington hen’s party, Heart for Art is the place to go. Their paint parties are a super fun and creative way to celebrate your bride-to-be.

The best part? You don’t have to organize anything – just show up! Trust me when I say, you don’t want to have to do everything yourself. Heart for Art provides everything from your canvas, brushes, and paint to your inspiration and hands-on teaching! Even if you say you can’t paint, they say, “We have never had anyone leave without a big smile on their face while holding their beautiful painting!”

More images can be found in their gallery on their website!

I asked Silke, the founder of Heart for Art, if we could have a sneak peek into a real bride-to-be’s hens do party which was perfect timing as bride-to-be Hannah was just about to have her Heart for Art Paint Party! Eleanor, Hannah’s maid-of-honor, said that she did tons of research and ended up hiring Heart for Art because of how warm, welcoming, accommodating, and personable Silke was. They had a BYO private event with pizza, nibbles, and a cheese platter. Hannah’s favorite part of the day was trying something new while being guided instead of just being told, “Here’s your inspiration, now paint that!” She said she felt confident through every step and was extremely happy with her painting which she can’t wait to hang up in her bedroom! Because some of the girls were traveling, Silke went out of her way to make sure they could still take their paintings home. Eleanor, who had planned the entire party from Australia and would be traveling back, got to paint on a rolled canvas which she could easily transport back to Aussie. Hannah says, “The important part of a hen’s party is to enjoy yourself with your friends so this was an awesome way to do that – to have fun, to do something a little bit different, and to be able to encourage each other and build each other up!”

When I got chatting to Silke I learned that her inspiration for her company is far more than just a way to have fun. Their mission is not only to share the joy and healing of art but also to help teach their painters that everyone holds creativity within themselves. I absolutely love this message and think it’s extremely important! Silke and her team are passionate about making art more accessible and understandable so that more people can experience the positive benefits of painting. I love that Hannah, Eleanor, and the rest of their hen’s party got to see and experience that for themselves!

If you have already had your hen’s party, no worries! Heart for Art also offers other Wellington private parties such as team building events, work functions, and so much more. They even do public events so you can go and check them out before you hire them for your private paint party!

Don’t forget to find Heart for Art on Facebook and check them out online! You can even see their upcoming public Wellington events here.

If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


The Grissom Wedding at Big Bend National Park

When I first saw pictures from Cody’s wedding, I had to know more! It looked unique, boho and totally Pinterest-worthy! I had no idea what I had gotten myself into (in a good way) when I first started talking to her! She was so easy to talk to and opened right up about her wedding. Cody and her husband got married at Big Bend National Park. Their entire wedding weekend sounds like something from a movie or a book. 

Some of the links included in this blog are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use them. I cannot see who purchases what and it doesn’t cost you anything to click on them.

Click on this image to see where Cody got her flowers!
Click on this image to see where Cody got her flowers!

They started their wedding adventure by taking the Sunset Limited overnight train from Houston with their friends and family. They arrived in Alpine and drove to Terlingua, a Ghosttown just outside the park. They had dinner at a motorcycle bar, with dancing and music, then roasted marshmallows around a bonfire. Dreamy right?!

If you’d like to get 500 free points for Amtrak’s loyalty program and free train rides, please fill out this form (you will not be added to our email list by submitting your email) or head to our Facebook group here and leave your email there.


When we got chatting about why they decided to tie the knot in Terlingua, Cody said, “I have always been in love, most particularly, with West Texas. I went out once in college and was dazzled by the red rocks and incredible vastness of the mountains. They go on forever! And we’d spent several anniversaries there. We were very familiar with the area and the park, so I already knew that my mom and sisters (and friends) would have a lot of fun in Terlingua. It’s a ghost town with shops, art, music, and great food. I really wanted a more relaxed vibe, and my goal for the wedding was to have NO stress. I’d learn of the train from one of my clients out in West Texas (the Marathon Motel) and a friend out there who I’d met during my trip in college. People out there live incredible lives! I love trains so we went out there in March to test the waters and see what it would be like. It was easy, beautiful, excellent… The beds were comfortable and the food was great. It was so fun to go to sleep on the train and wake up in West Texas. So many of my friends immediately wanted to do that too! And tickets started at $65, so they were very affordable!”

To keep things simple and relaxed, Cody decided to wear only a small amount of foundation, rock her red cowgirl boots, and carry a handmade bouquet that she made in the aisle at Michael’s.

On the wedding day, they went to the park and had a first look ceremony outside of the Chisos Lodge. Cody says Chisos Lodge is a “beautiful mid-century modern lodge in the basin of the Chisos Mountains.” She says, “We had a toast (both crying the entire time haha), then we were dropped off at a trail with our officiant, a close friend, and our photographer, who was also my best friend.” Now, this is when their story gets even more interesting! They hiked out to a beautiful remote peak and said their vows in private. How special is that?!

I asked Cody why they decided to hike somewhere private for their vows and she said, “[It] was actually my husband’s idea. We love to hike and be outdoors, and he is somewhat of a private person and the idea of standing up in front of a large crowd intimidated him. I liked the idea of bucking tradition and doing something more personal, since I stand up in front of crowds for a living (I am in/manage presentations/classes/events) and I know that when you are in front of a crowd, on some level, what you are doing is for them. I immediately agreed! I’d also seen some beautiful photos of what were called “Adventure Weddings” from a couple I followed online, “thehearnes.” My husband’s request was actually a secret dream of mine! I love red rocks, big mountains, and beautiful landscapes. And you can’t get a cheaper venue than $50! (The fee for using the park).” I love when people do what is best for themselves – especially when it comes to their own wedding.

By the time that they got back, their friends and family had gathered at the lodge for the reception. Trevor Reichman played acoustic guitar as they danced the night away. I love that they had their officiant sign the marriage license in front of everyone so they still got to feel included in the process. Cody said that she was torn because she wanted her girlfriends to all feel special and a part of it while still having a private ceremony. Much to her surprise, they all wore the matching necklaces that Cody had given them at her bachelorette party as a thank you. In true wedding fashion, they had toasts and first dances! Cody says, “It was really an absolutely perfect day! The stars and mountains were out, and it felt magical. Our family and friends had a great time, and I was so incredibly relaxed and happy for everyone.”

They closed off the night at the Boquillas Hot Springs. What an amazing way to end an eventful day! Thank you so much Cody for sharing your wedding story with us! We cannot thank you enough! Your wedding day looked absolutely beautiful and we are so glad everything turned out perfectly. If you’d like to see some of the vendors that helped make Cody’s wedding day extra special, please check out the list of vendors below!

Photography: Stills By Garcia (

Invites: Half-Moon Media (

Music: Trevor Reichman (

Dress: Vivienne Atelier (

Location: Chisos Mountain Lodge ( at the Big Bend National Park (

We love hearing from real brides like Cody! If you’re interested in being featured too, fill out our bridal collaboration from here. We’d love to hear your wedding, bridal shower, bachelorette, or even engagement story!

If this blog helped you to find inspiration, we’d love to have you join our free wedding group on Facebook here. And don’t forget to like us here so you can stay up to date with new blogs!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Wedding Nails Inspiration

Hi brides! I am super excited to share this blog about wedding nail inspiration. I love seeing inspiration threads on Facebook because it helps to see what real brides are doing. For the same reason, I also love to do inspiration blog posts! It’s an easy way to show you several different options from brides around the world! As a current bride myself, I couldn’t even decide what I wanted to do – why is it such a hard decision?! I ended up just going with French tip because you can’t go wrong with French tip right? Take a look at these and let me know on Facebook which is your favorite! You can find this blog shared onto my page at Mary Taylor Weddings.


Thanks to all of the amazing brides and photographers for providing these incredible inspiration images!

If this blog helps you to get some inspiration, don’t forget to like me on Facebook at Mary Taylor Weddings and join me in my deals Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds. And after you’ve decided what you’re going to go with, I would love to see! Feel free to comment a photograph of your wedding nails on this blog post that is shared onto my Facebook page and into my group! Your nail image will help other brides to make their decisions as well <3 It’s all about helping one another! I cannot wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


My Bridal Shower

I have been helping brides to plan their bridal showers – giving suggestions, helping them to look for what they need to create their bridal shower, creating templates for brides, and browsing through Pinterest non-stop. Then, it was time for me to have mine! And just like any good mom and maid of honor would do, they said I wasn’t allowed to help (for my own good)! I gave them some suggestions and a couple of things that I really wanted (like these super cute napkins that we got on Amazon) but other than that it was ALL them!! They pulled off a Pinterest-worthy day for me and I couldn’t have been more thrilled! If you want to see where we got things from, look for the images with the captions which tell you which items are linked to those images. Click the image to take you to that product.

This blog contains commissioned links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may earn a small commission for purchases made through the links provided. I cannot see who purchases what and it doesn’t cost you anything! 

Mimosa Bar Package

My favorite parts about the bridal shower included getting to see so many important women in my life, the mimosa bar, wearing a beautiful princess gown, the donut and treats table, the decor, the games, and the adorable video my mom recorded with Robbie (my now husband). So, pretty much everything was my favorite parts. I am so thankful that so many people could attend just days before our wedding! We had a blast playing the toilet paper wedding dress game which my sister in law ended up winning (although it was a hard decision because everyone’s dresses actually looked good)! 

I had a few special vendors help me make this day just that much more special. Wedding Apparel NZ gifted me this adorable “Future Mrs. Burke” cake topper!

Cake topper

On the bridal shower day, everyone was ooo-ing and aww-ing when I walked down the stairs. Throughout the day people kept telling me I looked like a princess. And honestly, I felt like a princess!! I actually did my hair and makeup trial with Peretti Hill Glam Squad in the morning before my bridal shower. It was so much fun getting all dolled up and a great way to see what I liked and wanted to change about my hair and makeup before our wedding day (which was only a few days later). I highly recommend doing your trial on a day when you can actually take advantage of professional hair and makeup. And, if you’re in the San Diego area, I highly recommend contacting Peretti Hill about getting your hair and makeup done by them!

You’re probably wondering where I got my GORGEOUS dress from! Picking out my dress was just as much fun as it was wearing on the day. I literally spent hours at Occasions with Tracey in Whakatane trying on and picking out this dress. Tracey was a blast to hang out with and her shop was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! If you live in New Zealand and you’re looking for a dress to wear to any special occasion, I highly recommend checking out Tracey’s store! 10/10 would recommend.

If you’re wondering where we (mostly my mom) got all the cute decor, look for images with captions throughout the blog. That shows what product is linked from that image! This is pretty much the ultimate #CreateThisLook (if you don’t know what I am talking about, join our shopping group on Facebook and follow me on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean – it’s a whole lot of fun)!

Lace table runner
Gold plasticware
Pop the champagne napkins
Plastic champagne flutes

What did you for your bridal shower? Let me know in the comments of this post on Facebook or join our group and post some images! We can’t wait to see!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

P.S. We love to hear from real brides! If you would like a chance to be featured on the blog, feel free to fill out the form below <3 We cannot wait to hear from you!


Engagement Photos: Questions Answered & Inspiration

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You’re engaged! Congratulations! Let the fun begin! One of the first things you might want to do is get your engagement photographs taken. Here’s a guide on a few suggestions!

As a current bride and photographer myself, I highly recommend getting your engagement photographs taken. If you have your eye on a specific photographer for your wedding, now is your time to try them out or finally invest in their photography for your special day. Lots of photographers offer engagement sessions as part of their packages in order to get to know their brides and grooms better. If it’s an option, take them up on it! It’s a great excuse to dress up, get updated professional images, and get to know your photographer (their photography and editing style, their personality, and their posing/guiding). 

“Do I really need to get engagement photos? What’s the point?” I actually see this in a lot of posts on Facebook. People want to know if they really HAVE to do them. Often times photographers include free engagement sessions in their packages so why not?! This helps you and your photographer to get to know each other better. It helps you to feel comfortable around them and get a better idea of how they run their business. If you have to pay to add on engagement photos, I’d say it’s still a good idea. We used our engagement pictures as decoration at our venue, gave our parents copies for their home (thanks Shutterfly – we got prints and super cute magnets), and used them in our own home. You could also use them for save the dates and invites! 

“When do I book my engagement photos?” This is a mix between personal preference and when your save the dates and invites are going out. If you’re not sure about when these go out, check out the blogs linked in the corresponding words above (click save the dates to see the blog about save the dates and invites to see the blog about invites). Engagement photos are great to personalize your save the dates and invitations. We didn’t use our for our save the dates or invites and I really do regret it. Learn from my mistakes! 

“Where should I have my engagement photos taken?” You should have your engagement photos taken somewhere that means something to you, describes your personalities, or fits your wedding vibes. These are photographs you’re going to have on display in your home and in albums for the rest of your lives. They’re also photographs you might use around your wedding venue, on invites, and on your wedding website so you want to make sure they fit the look you’re going for. You may also want to choose somewhere that has versatilely so you can move around and look like you’ve changed locations. This allows you have to several backgrounds to choose from when selecting which photographs you’re going to use. 

“What do I wear to my engagement photos? I need some inspiration!” This is a great question and something that I see a lot! I always recommend bringing at least two outfits for you and your partner. For men, it’s easy to switch out their shirt or button up to make a whole new outfit. Women, this is where you come in! I recommend bringing one casual outfit (think either jeans and a nice shirt or a sundress) and one fancier outfit (a long dress or something similar). I wore a short, tight white dress with a wrap around skirt over it so that I could easily convert my outfit. Robbie (my now husband) wore jeans with a t-shirt and, overtop, a button up. That made it really simple for him to change from casual to “fancy”. Switching outfits also helps to give you options when selecting photographs to use. With change of backgrounds and change of clothes, it’ll look like you’ve actually done two photoshoots (for the price of one)! Here’s our photos by Susannah Lynn Photography:

Here are some good Amazon engagement clothes options that other brides recommended (they come in different colors/patterns):

Images from their corresponding listings.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group for more wedding shopping and inspiration. You can find us at Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds!

If you have any more questions about engagement pictures, please feel free to let me know in the comments on the Facebook post where I originally posted this blog or message me! If you had a unique or interesting engagement story or engagement photos taken or just loved your photographer, feel free to tag them and thank them on the post. You can even submit images and your story below for a chance to be featured on the blog!

Signing off, Mary Taylor <3