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Welcome to the blog!

Hi there, I am Cat and I am so thrilled you stopped by! I am a wedding and portrait photographer based in Valdosta, Georgia (soon to be Maryland!), where I live with my sweet husband and our crazy rescue pup, JJ.

I am a perpetual traveler, champagne-loving red lipstick-wearer with a passion for telling stories through images, food and travel.

I hope you enjoy  viewing my latest work and getting a little peek into my life. Make yourself at home!

                                      Cat

YOU'RE ENGAGED, NOW WHAT?

 You're engaged, yippee! That is SO exciting and CONGRATS! Now that the question has been popped, what do you do?

 

1 Well, first things first! POP THE BUBBLY!

 

That is right, get your bubbly (or martini / beer / scotch) and celebrate! You're getting married!

 

2 GET A MANI AND TAKE A RING SELFIE

 

Make sure your nails are pretty and get that ring selfie #engaged

 

3 INSURE YOUR RING

 

If your fiance(e) hasn't yet, make sure to insure your bling. They also need to be regularly inspected and cleaned (every six months).

 

 

 

4 CREATE A WEDDING IDEA BOARD

 

It's easy to LOVE IT ALL, but slowly you will start defining what you love the MOST, colors, textures, create a Pinterest board and start pinning your best ideas (also keep in mind that all of those drool-worthy weddings come at a price, so be realistic with your style and budget).

 

5 SET THE DATE!

 

This is going to let you know if your favorite venue and vendors are available! Have a specific one in mind you are not willing to forgo? Keep your date open and check with them first, like you photographer ;)

 

6 MAKE THE ANNOUNCEMENT

 

It's time to let everyone know that you're engaged, and once you have a date set, it's time to schedule your e-session and get save the dates! If you are going to be a #catgrangerbride you know your e-session is always included in your wedding collections, so get in the books ASAP!

 

6 ASK YOUR BRIDAL PARTY

Ask your besties to be by your side on your special day! Make sure to give them plenty of time to even check the dates with them before setting your date.

 

7 TALK PRIORITIES AND SET A BUDGET

Oh, weddings are a very long decision-making process and sometimes decisions aren't easy, so get your priorities straight! What do you value MOST? Is it your bouquet, your gown, or your photography? Do you must have a live band, or you don't care if you have a DJ? Sit with your fiance(e) and decide how much wedding you can afford and prioritize! Here's a breakdown of how much each thing should cost you. A wedding planner will also help you make those decisions and will take much of the stress out of the planning process.

 

Hair + Makeup: 2-3%
Transportation: 2-3%
Cake/Dessert: 2-3%
Lighting + Sound: 4-5%
Dress + Accessories: 5-7%
Tipping: 5-7%
Venue Rental: 5-10%
Entertainment: 5-10%
Video + Photo: 8-12%
Stationery Suite + Signage + Paper Goods: 5-10%
Flowers, Linens, Decor: 10-15%
Planning, Design, Coordination: 10-15%
Food, Beverage, + Functional Rentals: 40-50%
Extra Cushion: 2-3%

 

8 DRAFT A ROUGH GUEST LIST

This is a very important step, and should also be done before you start finding  and booking some of your vendors, because your gust number will greatly impact your venue choices, linen and table rentals and even church, to name a few. So get that list up! Making a guest list is no easy task, there are a few questions you can (and should) ask yourself before including or excluding someone from your list.

 

Things to consider:

 

1Are they family?

 

2 Are they living with or seriously dating a member of your family?

 

3 Are they married or engaged to a member of your family?

 

4 Are they dating one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen?

 

5 Have you been friends more than 10 years?

 

6 Have you spoken to them in the past year?

 

7 Do you see them on a regular basis?

 

8 Have you seen them within the last six months?

 

9 Do you like them?

 

10 Does your future spouse like them?

 

11 Will it be awkward if you don't invite them?

 

12 Will you care if they get mad they're not invited?

 

13 Were you (or will you) be in their wedding?

 

14 Were you (or will you be) invited to their wedding?

 

15 Did they help you plan your wedding?

 

16 Were they there for you during your bridezilla moments?

 

17 Are they a coworker you hang out with outside of work?

 

18 Have they always supported your relationship?

 

19 Are they always one of the first on the dance floor?

 

20 Have you told them at any point they're invited?

 

21 Are they a fun drunk?

 

22 Would you be OK if they end up in the background of your pictures?

 

23 Are they fun?

 

Have they checked 1 to 5 boxes? Unless you have plenty of money to spare, the $150 extra probably is better spent on your honeymoon fund.

 

Have they check 6 to 10 boxes? These are your maybe guests, people that you don't have to invite.

 

Have they checked 11 to 15 boxes? IYou should probably invite them!

 

Do they check more than 16? These are your hard YES! You should definitely invite these guys.

 

 

9 PLAN AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY

 

This party doesn't need to be a big affair. Close friends and family are normally the only guests. Make it your own, do you prefer an elegant dinner at a local fine-dining restaurant? Skip all the hassle and meet everyone for a nice night out. If you'd love to just gather at your best friend's place, make the party your own, from color palette to cute little signs, a signature cocktail and party favors as a partying gift to your guests.

 

 

 

10 BRAINSTORM VENUE OPTIONS

 

Choosing a venue is one of the biggest decisions you will make, along with your date, your photographer and your music. Three things to look for when choosing venues

 

1- The bridal suite (I cannot stress this enough) bridal suites can be a second though, but it is where you will spend most of your morning, where you will get ready AND where your getting ready pictures will be taken too! Dingy and unsightly (also extremely small) bridal suites can make your wedding morning feel more overwhelming than it needs to be (it will get messy).

 

2 - Is it big enough, or too big? Having a venue that accommodates the number of guests is important. Too little people in a huge space will make your party feel empty, and not having enough room for everyone can be a bit embarrassing. 

 

3- Outdoors/Indoors: Which type do you prefer? I personally love both, I love natural light and outdoor ceremonies the most, but when the sun is set and the party has started, I love white ballrooms and tall white ceilings! Keep in mind the weather too, if it rains, is there room for a backup plan? Will you need to rent tents?

 

4 WRITE DOWN YOUR PROPOSAL STORY WHILE IT'S FRESH

 

Write it down in a diary, or better yet, you can order a beautiful custom calligraphy letter-style story on custom paper. That would also make the perfect background to use on your wedding details and it would make a gorgeous keepsake.

 

11 CONSIDER HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER

 

Do you really need a planner? It;s totally up to you! Here are a few things wedding planners will do for you:

 

Help you find other vendors in the industry (and also recommend based on your vision)

 

Take some of the stress and pressure of planning a wedding

 

Make sure all of your guests are cared for

 

Take on the boring stuff and the logistics, so you can concentrate on the fun stuff

 

Help you stick to your timeline, so things run smoothly

 

12 RESEARCH PHOTOGRAPHERS

 

Okay, I am biased, but when I got married and threw a party, photography was my #1 priority. I wanted portraits of Kyle and I together, formal, beautiful portraits that I didn't take, or my mom. Most of my wedding budged went into two round-trip tickets to Brazil and my photographer, really, that was probably 50% of it, that's how much I cared.

 

Once the cake is cut, the lights are out and you're off to your honeymoon, the photographic and video registrations will be all you will have left. Memories can be forgotten, photographs will be your reminder, not only now, but when you're celebrating your 50th anniversary. Choose your photographer wisely, do you LOVE what you see? Is their style consistent? Do you think you will love your images 5 years down the road? What is most important to you? Ask them questions and make sure you are both a good fit! Read more about how to find the right photographer

 

 

 

13 BOOK YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION

 

When you find the perfect photographer, the contract is signed and your date is officially booked, it's time to get your e-session in the books! All of my #catgrangerbrides receive a complimentary engagement session and I could go on and on about how important they are but just to name a few reasons. They will allow you to get to know one another, it will give you and your fiance(e) to practice! You will be able to see what you like and what you don't, so you can do more of what you love on your wedding day. It's also the perfect time for you to get a trial run of your makeup and a excuse for you to get your nails and hair done too!

 

14 PLAN A DRESS SHOPPING DATE

 

Shopping for your wedding gown can be super exciting, but it can also be scary and overwhelming, so choose the right wedding shop! Do they have music? Do they serve you mimosas and specialize in helping you with your shopping? Having someone who gets your vision and your budget may open your eyes to dresses you might have missed altogether, so go to a reputable spot with great service. You can even make a portrait session of it! Like this girl! 

 

A few tips: Gowns look very different on you and in the hangers, try many styles before you say no to them, have an idea of what you want, bring pictures, magazines or samples of dresses that caught your eye.

 

If you are having pictures taken, get your whole look together (hair, makeup, nails) it will give you the FULL experience!

 

Start shopping for your dress at least 8 months prior to your wedding date.

 

15 CREATE A WEDDING PLANNING TIMELINE

 

12 Months Before: Set a Date + Budget

 

12 Months Before: Scout Ceremony + Reception Locations

 

12 Months Before: Book Your Wedding Planner

 

12 Months Before: Ask Your Friends to Be in the Bridal Party

 

10 Months Before: Book Vendors

 

10 Months Before: Hire Your Officiant

 

10 Months Before: Go Dress Shopping

 

10 Months Before: Reserve Accommodations for Out-of-Town Guests

 

9 Months Before: Think About Ceremony + Reception Entertainment

 

9 Months Before: Take Engagement Photos

 

8 Months Before: Contact Rental Companies

 

6 Months Before: Plan Transportation for Day Of

 

6 Months Before: Send Out Save the Dates

 

6 Months Before: Wedding Cake Tasting + Order Any Desserts

 

6 Months Before: Shop For Bridesmaids' Dresses

 

6 Months Before: Start to Plan the Honeymoon

 

4 Months Before: Shop for Menswear

 

4 Months Before: Do Your Hair + Makeup Trials

 

4 Months Before: Shop for Wedding Bands

 

3 Months Before: Hire a Calligrapher

 

3 Months Before: Finalize Menu

 

2 Months Before: Mail Invitations

 

6 Weeks Before: Print All Day Of Paper Goods

 

6 Weeks Before: Print All Day Of Paper Goods

 

One Month Before: Finalize Favors + Other Details

 

One Month Before: Send your photographer a copy of your paper goods and full invitation suite

 

One Week Before: Finalize Seating Chart

 

One Week Before: Pack for Your Honeymoon

 

48 Hours Before: Deliver Welcome Baskets to Hotel Concierges

 

48 Hours Before: Confirm any final changes and a rain plan

 

Day Before: Rehearse Ceremony + Attend Rehearsal Dinner

 

Morning Of: Have Fun and Relax!

 

Day Of: Live Happily Ever After

 

Whew, I know I just gave you A LOT to think about, and your head is probably SPINNING right now. But don't fret, even if you are not hiring a planner, just remember to take a task at a time, focus on what really matters and try not to sweat the small things. Choose your vendors wisely, take wedding planning breaks, go on a "no wedding talk" date and remember to have fun with it! Before you know it, it will all be over and you will be MARRIED!

 

Happy planning!

 

Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MARYLAND • WASHINGTON, DC

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