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Why You Should Use Pinterest in Your Wedding Planning

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Many wedding photographers (and planners and floral designers) secretly complain to each other about how Pinterest is ruining brides. Or creativity. Or originality. Or something like that. They complain that brides all just want those Pinterest photos, even if their wedding is nothing like that mason-jar-sunset-glazed-farm-museum-warehouse-magical-scene-with-unicorns.

Maybe. Or… maybe f*ck that.

Maybe photographers should shut the hell up and just take photos. Oh no – this wedding is full of pretty stuff to take pictures of, again. Oh no, not another client that actually cares what their wedding/reception looks like. Oh no – a wedding full of pieces semi-derivative of a post-neo-pre-farm-classic theme I already photographed this  year. (Okay probably no photographer says that last one.)

Getting married? Pinterest all you want. Do it. Collect ideas. A lot of them. Some of them will be useful and others useless. Some will even cloud your judgement and that’s okay. It’s still your wedding. Your vendors are still there to do the jobs you hired them to do. When you hand over your Pinterest “inspiration” boards to your photographer/decorator/planner and they’re full of things we had at the last 40 weddings – GOOD. Whatever. It’s your wedding.

How else are you going to plan the perfect Star Wars/Anime/Dinosaur themed reception? – Pinterest B*tches! That’s how!

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Pinterest | Brides

 

Some Photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

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This is a subject very dear to our hearts – mostly because there are so many god awful wedding coordinators that are useless and difficult at the same time. (In the same way there are so many bad “rockstar” photographers as well.)

Still – we always recommend hiring a wedding coordinator. Or designer, or planner, or whatever title they’ve created for themselves – someone to coordinate your crazy wedding day. (It’s crazy. You might not think it’s crazy, but it’s bonkers.)

We’ve worked with some amazing planners that could do magic at the drop of a hat. Need a new venue the week of your wedding because your first one turned out to be total F*ckers? Taken care of. Need someone to tell your photographer that he needs to stop being a self absorbed diva? DONE.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Rustic | Modern | Portfolio | Virginia Wedding | Vineyard

Your wedding is too important. There are a lot details and things that need to happen that you don’t know about. Not because you’re dumb – but because it’s not your job to coordinate weddings 50 weekends a year. You’ve never had to coordinate the flow of 300 guests from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception while the bride and groom have been kidnapped by the photographer for photos, the band is loving the open bar too much, and the caterer is an hour behind schedule!

Hire a great wedding coordinator. You won’t know everything they did for you – and that’s kind of the point.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co.

 

All Photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

A few wedding planners you should consider:

Stella-Harper Events (Atlanta, GA.)

Natalie Bradley Events (Athens, GA.)

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Atlanta. Wedding. Planner. Coordinator. Why Should You Hire a Wedding Planner. LeahAndMark & Co.

Why You Need a Wedding Videographer

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Wedding Videography is something literally EVERYONE wants. I want it! Strangers want it! YOU WANT IT.

Most people stick wedding videography waaaaaay too far down on their list of wants and needs. I’m not going to say it’s a must – because we all know that other than actually getting married, wedding photos are the only must (ha!) and unlike the flowers, the chairs, or beef brisket – your wedding video won’t be forgotten. In the same way your photos will capture the day and guests – your wedding video saves even more of your day – but more importantly, it will help you relive your wedding day in ways that photos, no matter how brilliant, can’t.

Speeches, toasts, special moments that must literally be watched – these are the real reasons why you want to hire a wedding videographer.

A wedding day is full, and I mean FULL of love. From a father seeing their child entering a new phase of life to a grandmother literally doing everything they can to be present… Because who knows about the future?

I’m saying hire a videographer because you will never be sorry you hired a videographer for your wedding. You will never say I wish I didn’t have video of my best friends and family with me on my wedding day.

You’ll never say “Oh just looking at the photos and barely remembering what my mother said during her toasts is totally enough.”

You will never say “I’m glad we don’t have any video of how happy we were that day, who wants to remember that?

Put wedding videography on the table. Make it a higher priority than pretty chairs, more important than your name in lights on the dance floor (everyone knows your names!) and definitely more important than putting 10 mason jars on every table filled will fake green moss.

 

All Photos & Video by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Six Reasons to Have a First Look (Or Not!)

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*Edited to be 43% less offensive.

A ‘First Look’ is generally when the two people getting  married see each other before their ceremony. It’s usually a semi-staged event, where your Asian photographer (me!) says hey person 1, stand here and look that direction  - and then I’ll tell person 2, hey, walk over there and say hi.

Well. Basically something like that.

Should you have a first look before your wedding? Should you wait and not see each other until your wedding ceremony? Yes.

No.

Yes. And no.

I used to push for the first look – because that’s what photographers do. We want that specific time set aside for us, so we’re guaranteed our space to make literal amazing. I used to push for it. Now? Not as much. What I do require is a 30 minute block of time for the couples portrait session. That can take place before or after the ceremony – as long as it definitely happens. No matter what. No matter how late the schedule gets. No matter what. Here are the things to consider when you’re deciding whether or not to have a first look before your wedding ceremony.

1. The Time of Your Ceremony

If your ceremony is at sunset then your portrait session will probably be taking place in the f*cken pitch black dark. That’s a situation when we should’ve had a first look because we need more light than NONE. Of course – if your ceremony is a little bit earlier and then the timing of your portrait session is sunset – that’s PERFECT. See? In that situation we didn’t need the first look. AND now the portrait session is taking place a much better time than at 3pm in the midday sun. Think you can’t have a slightly earlier ceremony time? WHY NOT? It’s your wedding.

Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Colorado Wedding Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Colorado Wedding Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Colorado Wedding

2. Do you want to enter your reception earlier?

The timeline goes like this:

5:00 – 5:30 Ceremony

5:30 – 6:00 Family Formals

6:00 – 6:30 Portrait session

6:30 Enter Reception

If you don’t have the first look – you’re saving 30 minutes of time before you enter your reception. To be honest though – some photographers are SLOW. I’ve heard of other photographers taking an hour+ to complete the family formals and then you STILL have to do your portrait session. That’s a nightmare and that photographer should be fired. Who takes two hours to complete family formals and the portrait session? Anyway… if you happen to have a slow photographer, then YES – you will want to have a first look because otherwise it’ll take 2+ hours before you ever enter your reception. But if you have a generally great photographer – they’ll knock the family formals out and then take care of you during your portrait session and you won’t feel like anytime has passed anyway – and as long as you have a real cocktail hour (you know – with DRINKS and hors d’oeuvres) everyone should be fine.

Of course – you’ll also need to take into consideration any travel time if your ceremony is taking place somewhere other than next door/at your reception venue.

Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co.

3. Do you even want ‘First Look’ Photos?

The thing with the ‘first look’ is that without it – you can’t make those photos. If we try to make them after your ceremony, after you’ve seen each other already… well… now we’re just REALLY faking it. It won’t be genuine and also it would just be kind of weird. So yeah – that’s definitely something you should consider. Do you even want those ‘first look’ photos? I think this is actually the NUMBER ONE question you should ask yourself when making the decision to have a first look or not. Sure we try to go into the portrait session right after this, but if you don’t even want the first look photos then the portrait session can definitely take place after the ceremony.

Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co.

4. It’s tradition to not see each other until the ceremony.

I won’t argue this fact. It is tradition to not see each other until the ceremony. However – I will say that nearly half of our couples DO have a first look, so this tradition is kept up only about half the time among the couples that we photograph. So there. How about that. It’s not good or bad or against tradition – but it’s definitely a perfectly great option that you shouldn’t feel bad about choosing.

Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co.

5. Where might your first look actually take place?

This is a tricky one. Because you could have an amazing location in mind and your photographer might not know how to handle it. There’s a chance your photographer makes average photos in amazing places. On the flip side – your photographer might know how to make amazing photos out of lousy spaces. On the side-side, it’s not your job to do your photographer’s job. Of course – a little help is always appreciated. If you know that the only place we can do the first look is a broom closet – maybe…. maybe we shouldn’t do the first look. Of course – if you don’t care that it’s in a broom closet – then by all means, have at it.

But HEY. This is YOUR WEDDING DAY. Why not give the first look the time and space it deserves because you got dressed up and you look f*cken amazing. Why would you stick yourself in a broom closet for a first look? If you have to take an extra 15 minutes to go over to that amazing spot where the sun hits everything just right – then DO IT.

LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Wedding Photographers Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Wedding Photographers

6. Aw screw it. HAVE A FIRST LOOK DAMMIT.

Seriously. HAVE A FIRST LOOK. I don’t know anyone who’s ever been like - aw man, look at all of these extra photos we have of us being ridiculously happy and in love. 

If you’re paying me a trillion dollars to photograph your wedding then I recommend you get your money’s worth – and demand that we do the first look. It’s okay – you don’t have to feel bad about it. I’ll be fine. Really. So if you want the first look just let me know and we’ll turn on the faucet that sprays amazing and beautiful everywhere while you guys meet up and bask in your love (you know – along with having an Asian guy yelling you to kiss/hold hands/be in love, etc.)

DO IT. Have a first look.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | High Museum of Art Atlanta Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co. Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | High Museum of Art Atlanta Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | High Museum of Art Atlanta

 

All Photos by LeahAndMark & Co.
– Additional Photography by Joy Hmielewski, Niki Malek

Written by:

Atlanta Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Mark RoX Tioxon

 

 

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Six Reasons for a First Look |Videography | Videographer | Video

Placenta Encapsulation

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

– Text by Leah – Photos by Mark

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta PhotographersSo I decided to encapsulate my placenta. Or, rather, I decided to hire someone to come over to my house and encapsulate it for me (thanks, Melanie!). Honestly, if I think about it too much it still grosses me out. *But* I’m happy to report that the actual taking of the placenta pills is not as gross as I feared. So why exactly am I swallowing my placenta? There are a list of supposed benefits from consuming one’s placenta after birth – from helping reduce postpartum bleeding, to increasing milk supply and a host of other things. There aren’t any big studies to back up these claims, but there are tons of anecdotal accounts from other women, so I figured I’d give it a shot… at the very least, it wouldn’t hurt me. And it could possibly really help with my postpartum recovery. The main reason I wanted to take placenta pills was to help with the huge hormonal decrease that follows birth. Like I said, there aren’t many studies yet on placentophagy, but the few small studies available are promising and show benefits such as decrease in maternal fatigue and postpartum depression. The placenta is super rich in nutrients, and contains a stress-fighting chemical know as corticotropin-releasing hormone, or CRH:

During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes a lot of CRH. The rise is so dramatic that CRH levels in the maternal bloodstream increase threefold. “We can only speculate,” says George Chrousos, the endocrinologist who led the NIH study, “but we think it helps women go through the stress of pregnancy, labor, and delivery.” But what happens after birth, when the placenta is gone? Chrousos and his colleagues monitored CRH levels in 17 women from the last trimester to a year after they gave birth. All the women had low levels of CRH – as low as seen in some forms of depression – in the six weeks following birth. The seven women with the lowest levels felt depressed. Chrousos suspects that CRH levels are temporarily low in new mothers because CRH from the placenta disrupts the feedback system that regulates normal production of the hormone. During pregnancy, when CRH levels are high in the bloodstream, the hypothalamus releases less CRH. After birth, however, when this supplementary source of CRH is gone, it takes a while for the hypothalamus to get the signal that it needs to start making more CRH.

The theory is that by ingesting the placenta after birth, it helps the mother get over the “hump” until her brain starts producing CRH again, thereby warding off the baby blues or post-partum depression. And that’s primarily why I’ve chosen to eat my placenta. (yuck, it still grosses me out to say that!).

I’m only 2 weeks and 6 days postpartum now, but I can tell you that my milk supply is off the charts. BabyRoX is getting plenty of it and gaining weight like it’s his job. There have been two days I didn’t take my pills in the morning like usual, and on those days I felt way more tired and emotionally raw – you know, the kind of crazy everything-is-gonna-make-me-cry feeling…and then I took the pills, and I felt substantially more energetic and emotionally stable. Was this due to the powers of the placenta? Maybe, maybe not. But even if it’s just a placebo effect, I’m all for it. I like feeling great and I’m glad I decided to encapsulate my placenta. And the little purple pills in my fridge aren’t that gross. I just try not to think about it too much. Mark, on the other hand, photographed the whole process… for your viewing pleasure, of course!

(It gets pretty graphic and bloody – which is why we pushed the photos further down than usual on the page.)

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

– Text by Mark

We hired Melanie Nasmyth to do the placenta encapsulation. You can email her at: melnasmyth@gmail.com if you’re interested in finding out more about her services – she’s also a DONA certified labor doula.

To ‘keep’ the placenta – we placed it in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge right after the birth. Two days later we had Melanie come over to turn the placenta into pills.

Of course – the first step whenever you’re cooking human parts – is to prepare the meat.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

There’s an outer lining/sac that you have to remove.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Once the placenta was cleaned – Melanie put it in the steamer and then into a pot of water to cook the thing.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Oh yeah – if you put a lemon slice into the pot – it helps to keep it from really smelling bad as the placenta cooks.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

It cooks faster if you poke a few holes into the placenta meat.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Hey look. Cord.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

And then after 20 minutes or so – you have cooked placenta!

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Now you cut it up into slices.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Get your Food Dehydrator ready – because we’re making placenta jerky.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

… six hours later…. you take all of that placenta jerky and eat it.

No – just kidding don’t do that! You put it into a coffee grinder (one that you will NEVER USE AGAIN) – and grind that placenta meat into a fine powder.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

And then you grab your ‘pill-making’ set and get to work.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers

And now you have 64 pills (or more).

It’s a relatively easy process once you know what you’re doing and once you have all of the tools/appliances you need. Melanie brought a lot of her own supplies with her – stuff like a disposable cutting board, the knives, the food dehydrator, the coffee grinder, etc… think of all of the ‘dishes’ that you end up using when you cook a meal – now think about how you might NOT want to use any of that stuff EVER AGAIN.

It was totally worth it for us to hire Melanie and have her do everything, with her own supplies. Now – if you’re a partner/spouse that thinks this might be a crazy/gross thing for your wife to do – the way I see it is – F*ck the weirdness of the whole thing. If it’s going to keep my wife from getting post-partum depression or just help her from feeling sad/not feeling well, then I’m all for it. Why wouldn’t I be for something like that?

And now – it’s time for a bath and then a nap.

Placenta Encapsulation | Photos | Process | How To | LeahAndMark.com | Atlanta Photographers