Category archives: I Wrote About...

Recommended Wedding Planning Resources

You’re engaged! CONGRATS!!! Pop the champagne, clink the glasses and celebrate!!… oh wait, I mean shouldn’t you start looking at venues… like yesterday!? 

It can feel overwhelming when you start writing out a to-do list for your wedding! Don’t fear! There are lots of local resources that can help reduce the stress and make the time you spend planning your wedding super productive!

So let’s start here…

Engaged – A Wedding Planning Event

Website: www.engagedweddingshow.ca

I placed this one first because their very first event is being held soon on FEBRUARY 24, 2018 so you can still get tickets! Here is how they are defining their event:

“A purpose driven event that redefines the traditional trade show as an interactive experience for couples to plan their wedding together, topped off with a faux reception gala immersing you in your dream wedding.”

Essentially, you get to do two things at once: 1) meet prospective vendors and 2) actually plan your wedding. How does this happen? They have structured the event to guide you through planning:

  1. Start with the “Core Vendors” – venues, officiants, videography, wedding Planners…
  2. Then onto the “Inspiration Showcase” – photo booths, decor, design and rentals…
  3. And finally the “Marketplace” for food, wine, cake, hair, make-up, dress, suit, flowers, and transportation.

Oh, and did I mention the tickets have staggered entry times? That means…. no crazy crowds!!!! (Hallelujah!) Jasmine & Monica, the two wedding planners who designed this event, want to facilitate an opportunity for you and the vendors to actually have real conversations about your day so you can leave this event feeling awesome because some real planning took place, you may have even booked some vendors (or maybe just narrowed down what you actually want), had a lovely drink and a great time.

Click here to book your ticket!

A Practical Wedding – Blog, Worksheets & More

Check out the website here: www.apracticalwedding.com

If you are looking for a simple and straightforward plan, check out A Practical Wedding and click on their first tab “Get Started!” You will find so much more on their site including DIY, Real Weddings and Advice & Ettiquette posts, but this first tab has all the basics you need!

  • Wedding Checklist
  • Figure Out Your Budget
  • Wedding Spreadsheets
  • and more!

What I like most about this site is that you don’t have to scroll through 10 paragraphs to find the few points you actually wanted to read. It is enjoyable to read but gets to the point.

If you feel like it, they have a planner you can purchase to help you stay on task and manage those to-do’s up until your wedding day. It’s called:

A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You’ve Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process)

It’s a bit of a long title but I would say it’s SO VERY ACCURATE! To the point. Like I said.

Wedding Wire – Website & RSVP Tracking

Visit the website at: www.weddingwire.ca

This website has a lot of wonderful features including local vendor lists and wedding to-do check lists. However, my absolute favorite features include:

  1. You can create a free wedding website where your guests can find all the details and info they need AND – best of all – RSVP!! (Because as awesome as people are, we are just terrible at sending in those rsvp’s on time.) They have all the information at the click of a button and don’t need to send you a text the morning of your wedding to ask for the address of the reception… I know right?!
  2. You can manage your guest lists and food options through the RSVP’s! It’s all in one space and neatly organized!!
  3. Design the reception table layout and seat your guests! Have you ever seen couples sitting down with poster board, sharpies and a massive pad of sticky notes so they can arrange and re-arrange the plan for guest seating? Make it easy and try out this feature!

This website has an awesome blog where you can search inspiration from real weddings and vendors so make sure to browse!

FB Wedding Buy & Sell Groups in your local area

You bet! These groups are great for a couple of reasons:

  1. Vendors. TONS of vendors are just waiting for you to write a “Recommendations” post that they can respond to. (The response may actually be more overwhelming than a Google search!) But that is where this next point matters…
  2. Former Brides. They are more than happy to offer advice, recommendations, and to sell you their wedding decor and even wedding dresses at discounted prices!
  3. Deals. Every so often a vendor will post a promotion or discount they are offering which could help you save some $$ for another area of your wedding or for that honeymoon fund!

There are two of these groups in Calgary you can join:

Finally, the best resource there is…

You Two. 

That’s right. If Pinterest didn’t exist, what kind of wedding would make you happy? We can spend a lot of time stressing because we are so worried about having regrets like not making that super cute DIY thing that other brides are making. In the craze of wedding planning we can forget what it is really all about.

My personal advice: Before you commit to anything, ask yourself:

What purpose does this serve on our wedding day?

Does it emphasize what matters most to you? Does it reflect who you are together? Will it bring you excitement and joy or stress and anxiety? Don’t be afraid to be simple. The most extravagant love is simple in that it understands the one thing it is meant for. What is your wedding meant for?

(P.s. Want to see the groom’s reaction from the photo above? Click here: Katrina & Brayden’s Autumn Romance Wedding)

Well, I hope that helps!

And if you are looking for a wedding photographer, I would love if you would browse my blog and give me a shout! I would love to hear from you at ashleydaphnephotography@gmail.com.

Your Kids Will Love Their Photo Session. Here’s Why.

One of the greatest compliments I receive as a photographer is from parents who receive their photo gallery and exclaim, “How did you get these?!” Parents are hoping the kids will be on their best behavior, sit still long just enough to get a family shot and – the ultimate goal – actually have their kids looking at the camera and smiling naturally!

Here is the trick.

Play with your kids. Those smiling pictures are often after a family tickle fight or being tossed in the air – not because they sat still and smiled wonderfully at me, the stranger behind the camera – but because they had fun. Do you usually wrestle? Play peek-a-boo? Toss them in the air? These are great ways to help your child relax and smile!

Bring a special treat. A good bribe at the right time can totally work! So why not bring along a special snack you know they will smile for?

Bring a favorite toy along. Something familiar like a favorite toy they can hold for comfort can help ease them into the session. Allowing your photographer to interact with your child and the toy will help your child to see the photographer as someone who is friendly and kind!

Go with the flow. We want to capture your child and your family in those natural moments – not the forced ones. So be ok to let them guide the session a little bit. If they want to play, play! If they need a break, let’s let them chill. If they are curious about the surroundings, let them explore!

So what if things do go a little awry?

That’s totally ok. In fact, it is completely normal. They are in new circumstances and they are with unfamiliar people. In other words, they are probably going to act a little out of the ordinary. (I mean, even as adults, seeing a camera pointed in our direction can make us act totally weird!)

Take a break. You know your child best. If your child needs a 5 minute break, lets do it! It will make the rest of the session better. It is SO much better to pause when they begin to show frustration than wait until its too late and they are just too frustrated to continue at all. We just take a break, snap some other photos without them, and let them warm up to the camera again.

Create FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I’m kinda serious lol. Who doesn’t want to be a part of a tickle fight or being tossed in the air? It may not work for every kid but if you look like you are having fun (and hopefully you really, truly are!) they might want to run right back into the fun!

Let the kids choose what kind of photos we take. Maybe they want a photo of their favorite toy! When I turn the camera around to show them the result it might make them more curious and they might want another photo! Do they want a picture of dad tossing them up and down or of mom swinging them around? Does bunny enjoy having pictures taken? Maybe they will too!

When you have a photographer capture your family, it is more than just the photo you get at the end of the day. It is an experience your child will remember. All of us want your family to have fun and enjoy this experience because if you don’t… you probably won’t want to do it again. Getting those family pictures will be more and more difficult because you and your child will remember the struggle. The photo on the wall won’t quite make up for that – at least in your child’s mind.

This is why finding a photographer that understands and values children makes all the difference. We realize what is going on and try our best to put you and your child at ease. Let’s navigate the unfamiliar environment together.

Here’s the main thing: If you want your children to smile, let’s give them a real reason to smile! Nothing forced or coerced. The goal should always be genuine, playful, joy-filled smiles.

Then we all just might relax and enjoy the session.

And, you’ll get some incredible photos too.

Why Saying “No” is a Gift to Others

I was completely terrified to say no.

Why? Because I found a lot of my value in compliments like, “Wow! You did such a great job! You are so reliable. Thanks for showing up! I really needed help and you came.” And on and on it goes.

The hard part is that these people didn’t see what was really going on in my life. In order to do those things, I was compromising my own health, my family, my husband, my sleep, my eating and just plain old fashioned fun.

I was so busy that I lost touch with what really mattered.

You know, like FOOD. Because apparently that was just an inconvenience. Not nearly as important as all the commitments I had made. (Come to think of it… I may have been in a perpetual state of hangry…) Not to mention, I rarely had time for regular life things like laundry. Ok, so I might still put off doing laundry until I’m on my last pair of underwear… but at the time, pretty much all of my priorities were really REALLY backwards.

As a result, I asked others to give beyond what was reasonable. The standards I held for myself were crazy high and my expectations for other people went right along with it. If you weren’t willing to push through the exhaustion or hunger, you were ‘obviously’ not dedicated to the task.

I remember being so busy that my family and boyfriend (now husband) were constantly rescuing me from the chaos. I was always desperate for help, on the verge of breakdown, and running on empty. I would beg others to help.

But then, the moment would come. The moment I met that deadline and all the compliments poured forth – BOOM! So worth it! SO TOTALLY WORTH IT.

I was so terribly mistaken.

I remember this one particular time when I was panicking to find help and someone, for the first time, without apologizing, holding themselves with a sincere confidence, kindly said: “no.” I remember that sickening feeling in my gut. “But that means, I’m going to fail!”

They didn’t become worried over my worry. They didn’t feel compelled because of my stress. They didn’t even feel bad for saying no. They just so kindly said it and went on to have a good day. (how dare they!) I walked away discouraged.

Reality Check: I needed to drop the ball. I needed to stop creating situations where the people I loved had to come to my rescue. I needed to learn my limits.

One of the reasons I never pulled back is because I had always been rescued – it just never clicked that I might actually be doing too much.

I was doing WAY too much.

Over the past number of years I have slowly de-busied my life. A slow, painful and yet strangely rewarding process.

I discovered laughter.
I discovered the gift of unscheduled space in my calendar.
I discovered naps (my husband is a pro)!
I discovered un-rushed exercise.
I have time to learn how to cook!
I feel a million times better.

It started with someone saying ‘no.’ I tumbled down from my pedestal of achievements and landed in the puddle of chaos below that was my life. But it started me on a healing journey.

I believe that life is spiritual and there is a loving God who created us and wants to show us real abundant life. I had to figure out my identity, my values, and my worth was not wrapped up in all these achievements – and the value of other people wasn’t either.

I was surrounded by incredible people (like my awesome family above) who prayed with me and taught me the way of Jesus that was not caught up in busyness and compliments. The way of Jesus was purposeful work, harmony with all things, holistic health, and rest (to name a few) that led me to experience a more abundant life than I had ever had. Every day I am grateful to know Jesus and humbled that He loves me enough to help me every day.

Once I saw how upside-down my values were, I could begin to untangle them.
Once I saw how I devalued my relationships, I could begin to make amends.
Once I saw how unhealthy I was (body, mind, and soul), I could begin to find health.
Once I saw how chaotic my life really was, I could begin to seek peace.

It all started with the gift of someone simply saying “no” because they knew their values and knew the cost of the compromise.

I didn’t know this yet. I needed to see it demonstrated.

Now, I get to demonstrate this for others.

It is never fun to say “no,” especially when you can see how overwhelmed someone is. Sometimes we do step in. But, in other cases, the best thing we can do is demonstrate to that person why ‘no’ is actually a good and healthy choice.