Author Archives: Jackie

destination wedding details
As a Minnesota girl, I was super excited when my friend Janelle asked me to shoot her wedding in Merritt Island, Florida. The weather was getting pretty chilly in my hometown at that time, so I was eager to visit the beaches of sunny Florida!

Thomas and Janelle's Florida Wedding

Thomas and Janelle’s big day was held at a gorgeous rental house on the Banana River, and the ceremony was at the edge of beautiful woods covered in Spanish moss. The whole thing was so picturesque, which worked really well for me as the photographer!

destination wedding details

Janelle took care of many of the details herself, which was a great personal touch to the whole event. She pre-made bridal party bouquets of dried flowers, and then added fresh flowers to the same bouquets on the day of the wedding. Centerpieces were simple and adorable, made of bottles, hole-punched tin cans, and more dried and fresh flowers. The dessert was even homemade – two kinds of bread pudding, the groom’s specialty!

view from Banana River

The reception was held on the edge of the river, right by the huge dock going out into the water. The dock was also beautifully lit with hole-punched cans and candles, which made it one of many cozy retreats for guests who needed a break from dancing.

Congratulations, Tomas and Janelle! It was truly a day to remember.

Geometric wedding inspiration
One super cool, 2014 wedding trend is the geometric theme. I’m not talking about gaudy, 80s geometric patterns. I’m talking modern geometric patterns with much more class and simplicity.

Geometric wedding inspiration

Geometric wedding themes of the 21st century are generally composed of a smaller color palette, often containing vibrant colors mixed with a taming white. The shapes are simple and bold.

This theme can fit into every aspect of your wedding, and the Chevron Pillars invitation is a great place to get started. Add in some other funky geometric details, and you’re on your way to a gloriously angular wedding!

Photos courtesy of:

Cake: Martha Stewart Weddings

Backdrop: Ruffled blog

Name cards: Wedding Obsession

Hanging shapes: Storyboard Wedding

Dress: Angel Sanchez

Table setting – Confetti

Shoes – Wedding Chicks

Any bride will tell you that your wedding day flies by faster than any other… and any wedding photographer will agree! From uncontrollable lighting to chaotic schedules, wedding day photography can pose a few challenges — which begs the question, do all wedding photos have to be from the wedding day?

We came across this styled photo shoot from Terra Cooper Photography, and thought it was a great option for couples that want to get the perfect shots. Jennica and Bryan were able to capture some amazing “wedding photos” long after their wedding day had passed. This post-wedding shoot was awesome because the couple and photographer had all the time in the world to get beautiful photos rather than hurry to hungry guests at the reception. Jennica and Bryan were also able to pick any location(s) and time of day, which allowed them to get the gorgeous lighting you see here.

Save money on your post-wedding shoot by doing hair and makeup at home with a little help from friends or family. Additionally, asking a photographer friend to experiment with lighting techniques on you is a great way to nix paying more for photography!

No matter how it’s done, scheduling a styled shoot for after your wedding (or before if you’re okay with your man seeing your dress early) is a great way to help ease some stress on your wedding day and capture photographs you’ll cherish forever.

Thanks to Terra Cooper Photography for the gorgeous photos!

Wedding Style Photo Techniques Wedding Style Photo Techniques

bride on the beach with bare feet
bride on the beach with bare feet

Planning details for a destination wedding, in my experience, is drastically different than a traditional wedding. Unlike most people in the States, Jamaicans are known to be laid back and go-with-the-flow, so that is how I eventually learned to be.


Our wedding package was very affordable, being that Kuyaba is a small, family-owned resort and it is located on a public beach. The $850 package included bridal flowers, a wedding arch covered in fresh flowers, a bottle of champagne, a reservation of half of the restaurant to have our dinner, a Jamaican minister, and all the legal paperwork. The wedding dinner was a separate charge. I used email and an occasional phone call (although we tried to avoid those due to sky-high phone charges) to do all my planning.


The most challenging part about planning was figuring out flowers for the bridal party, as I didn’t know what kinds of flowers were available. I ended up just telling them I wanted tropical flowers, with purple and any other colors, and they turned out even more gorgeous than I imagined. We were also able to pick our reception food off their regular menu, which we had tried (and loved) on our first visit there.

wedding flowers

In an effort to save money and at the same time be completely unique, I used Etsy to purchase my jewelry. I found a gorgeous hand-made necklace made with stone from my home state of Minnesota. It was a nice touch of home to incorporate into the wedding. I used my own skills and made earrings to match the necklace.

photos of wedding jewelry and wedding dress

I also found some adorable foot jewels on Etsy, and they went perfectly with the laid-back vibe of our wedding day. I didn’t want to mess with shoes at all, since I knew they would get filled with sand, A LOT of sand.

wedding jewelry for feet instead of shoes

I had found some local salons in the area, but decided this was an area where I could definitely save money. My bridesmaids and I all ended up doing our own makeup, and a good friend of mine did an excellent job styling my hair.

photo of jackie looking in the mirror

I gave each of my bridesmaids a personalized compact mirror from Ann’s, which definitely came in handy during the warm day. Jason gave his groomsmen personalized pocket knives from Ann’s, which any man can find a use for.

bridal party gifts

The decorations were effortless, on my part, thanks to all the hard work the Kuyaba staff put into making it beautiful. The dinner area was already set up before the ceremony even started with bouquets of flowers to match the arch. I gave them some white lanterns I had ordered from Ann’s, and they hung them up perfectly for me. Guests were also handed program fans from Ann’s to keep cool during the ceremony and dinner. I stained the handles back home so they would match the style of my wedding.

wedding arch with flowers and wedding reception decorations

Our arch was adorned with fresh-picked local flowers, and the “aisle” was sprinkled with the same petals and lined with helconia flowers. We wrote our entire ceremony and vows, and made it extra personal by having Jason’s talented best friend sing and play “Is This Love” by Bob Marley on his guitar.

wedding arch and guitar soloist

We took a big risk for the dinner entertainment by waiting to plan it when we got to Jamaica. We knew there were always musicians walking up and down the beach playing for money, so we decided to ask one of them to come into the restaurant and play for our guests. We found a talented duo the day before and offered them $100, and they turned out to be a big hit!

wedding musicians

During dinner and music, our guests passed around signature mattes and frames from Ann’s and wrote personal messages to us. They turned out to be priceless wedding keepsakes and will be displayed in our home for many years to come!

signature mattes with photos and wedding reception sign

I still feel like having a Jamaican wedding was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Despite travel costs, we ended up spending far less money on our destination wedding then we would have if we had gotten married in Minnesota. As long as you stick to simplicity and are willing to take some risks, your destination wedding can be a great bargain!

photo of jackie and jason in the ocean surf at sunset
wedding photo of jackie and jason

As a photographer, it’s probably obvious I would be super excited to get my own wedding photos back. Well, it has finally happened, and I would love to share my photos and Jamaican wedding experience with all the Ann’s brides out there! I am lucky to have some very talented photographers as friends, so I made a deal with my friend Steve from Steve Harvey Photography to pay for his flight and hotel if he would photograph my wedding. A win-win for us both!


Let’s start at the beginning… my now husband, Jason, first caught my eye at my friends’ wedding, of all places, as a groomsman. It took about half a year for us to start dating, and 3½ years after that Jason proposed to me at a lighthouse just north of San Francisco. We are both passionate about traveling, so it was no surprise we would be having a destination wedding. Jason also had developed a slight obsession with Jamaica after traveling there with his Jamaican cousin a couple times, and I had always wanted to go there, so it was a great fit for us.


A good friend of mine had gotten married in Jamaica a couple years prior, and had great things to say about her venue, Kuyaba Negril. So we decided to vacation there a year ahead of our wedding date to make sure it was right for us. Sure enough, it was perfect!


A year later, our big day finally arrived. We were overjoyed to have about 35 friends and family members from the States join us, as well as some of our friends who live in Jamaica. Our wedding party was small: two of my best friends from high school, Jason’s best friend since childhood and his brother.

photo of the wedding party on the beach

In true Jamaican fashion, the whole day was very laid back. We got ready in a friend’s hotel suite, and had our first meeting on the scenic Kuyaba grounds just outside of the room.

wedding photos at the resort in jamaica

Then we all crammed into a van and took a jaunt to the local golf club for more photos, and arrived back at Kuyaba just in time for the ceremony to start 10 minutes late…but nobody cared since we were in Jamaica!

photos of the bridal party at a golf course in jamaica

We had one of our good friends officiate our wedding, and a local minister was there to witness for legal purposes. The ceremony was beautiful, but the public beach posed its own unique distractions! Tourists in bikinis were watching the entire ceremony, and we had a pretty major disruption by one of the locals. All in all, none of that mattered much to us, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for anyone planning a beach wedding.

photos of the wedding ceremony on the beach

We dipped our feet in the water and took some sunset beach photos after the ceremony, and enjoyed an amazing dinner and drinks after sunset.

photo of jackie and jason in the ocean surf at sunset

dinner with kabobs, rice, veggies and other jamaican style food

When we got back to our room, we were surprised with a message spelled out on the bed in flowers (yes, those red fuzzy things are plants!) and a bouquet of fresh tropical flowers. A perfect end to a perfect day!

resort staff decorates the room with flowers

Make sure to stop back to our blog in a couple days to see more about our beautiful Jamaican wedding! I’ll tell you all about my experience planning a destination wedding and how I saved money, and I’ll share more photos and details from the big day.

Military Engagement Photo
Every couple wants amazing engagement photos, and this is definitely possible! Start by finding a photographer that fits your style. If you like posed photos, find a photographer who does it well. If you like a photojournalistic approach, look for that type of photographer. Many photographers do a little of both. Do your research and view a photographer’s portfolio before deciding. Your research will play a big role in how happy you are with the final outcome.

Military Engagement Photo

Courtesy of Dulce & Bellezza Photography

Once you have chosen a photographer, tell them your interests as a couple. The photographer can then brainstorm ideas of how to incorporate your interests into the photos. He or she will come up with posing ideas, specific locations or even props that cater to those interests. You should brainstorm ideas as well and communicate them with your photographer before the shoot. If you’re wine connoisseurs, try some shots sipping wine at a local vineyard. If your dog is practically your adopted child, play “fetch” in the dog park! If you’re die-hard baseball fans, head to a local baseball field for some batting practice.

Wine Glass Engagement Photo

Courtesy of Procopio Photography

Another fun idea is to pick a theme for your photo shoot. It could be your favorite movie, or era. You might choose a patriotic or state fair theme. The options are practically endless. You don’t need to use the chosen theme for your entire photo shoot, but it’s a sure way to add a unique flare to your final album.

Movie Poster Engagement Photo

Courtesy of Michelle Chiu Photography

Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and explore places you wouldn’t normally think of for a photo shoot. Your photographer can still pose shots here, but can also capture genuine moments that come naturally while you get to experience something new together. Some of the best engagement photos are ones that aren’t posed at all; this is becoming more and more of a trend in engagement photography.

Do what comes natural for the best Engagement Photos

Courtesy of Photos by Suki

Last of all, be goofy and be yourselves. Genuine smiles and laughing automatically make any shot ten times better. At times, it’s best to forget there’s a photographer there and just do what comes naturally.


Wedding Ribbon Rolls
Invites a little pale? Décor a little dull? All you need is satin ribbon from Ann’s! Our bulk satin ribbon is available in lots of different colors for a great price. Add it to any number of things throughout your wedding for a soft, romantic touch.

Wedding Ribbon Rolls

Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Accent your wedding invitations with ribbon. Choose an inexpensive wedding invitation, like our All in White invitation, and spice it up with colorful ribbon.

Tie ribbon around your wedding favors. Satin ribbon adds the perfect finishing touch to any wedding favor.

Add ribbon to bridal party gifts. A beautifully wrapped gift with all the trimmings means you took the time to make it truly special.

Incorporate ribbon into table centerpieces. If your centerpieces are looking a little dull, colorful ribbon is sure to add a little pizzazz!

Wrap ribbon around stems of bouquets. Satin ribbon complements flowers beautifully. Consider adding it to all of your floral arrangements.

Having trouble deciding how to include your mothers in the wedding planning process? We’ve laid out a list of responsibilities for the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom to help you decide what tasks to assign to each.

Now remember: the mother of the bride has more responsibilities than the mother of the groom, simply because traditionally the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding. Today, however, many couples are choosing to split costs more evenly between families or pay for the wedding themselves. So we say divvy up tasks however you see fit!

Responsibilities of the mother of the bride:

• Help the bride find the wedding dress of her dreams, as well as other wedding attire.

• Help look for wedding and reception locations, particularly if the wedding is taking place in your home town and not theirs.

• If you haven’t already met, contact the groom’s parents and arrange to meet.

• Choose your mother-of-the-bride dress as soon as possible, then let the groom’s mother know what you have picked to coordinate.

• Discuss the wedding budget with daughter and her fiancé, including what you are willing to pay for.

• Discuss guest count with daughter and fiancé.

• Help choose family or ethnic traditions for ceremony or reception.

• Draw up a guest list for your side of the family.

• Closer to the wedding date, call any guests who are late in RSVPing.

• Reserve blocks of hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests and other guests in need.

• Attend the wedding shower and rehearsal dinner.

• Help spread the word about where the couple is registered.

• Participate in parts of the ceremony such as unity ceremonies or possibly walking the bride down the aisle.

• Stand in the receiving line after the ceremony.

• Act as hostess at the wedding and reception, making sure guests are comfortable.

• Make sure the bride has greeted all her guests.

• Dance with father and groom!


Responsibilities of the mother of the groom:

• May serve as the main contact for wedding professionals

• Help scout out reception sites and vendors.

• Provides guest list for the groom’s side of the family.

• Choose dress to compliment the mother of the bride. (i.e. if she selects a long dress, the mother of the groom should wear a long dress.)

• Help choose family or ethnic traditions for ceremony or reception.

• Make hotel reservations for out-of-town guests invited by the groom’s family.

• Attend showers.

• Hosts the Rehearsal dinner.

• Participate in parts of the ceremony such as unity ceremonies or possibly walking the bride down the aisle.

• Stand in the receiving line after the ceremony.

• Dance with father and son!