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What do you do if your future Mother In Law (MIL) is making your wedding planning a nightmare?

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

Have you ever had a “whine and cheese” session with an engaged girlfriend about her nightmare future mother in law? Or perhaps it’s your fiancé’s mom that scares the bejesus out of you when you think about what it’s going to be like to plan your own wedding. Especially if she’s the type of person that makes a simple family gathering for Thanksgiving a nightmarish process.

You can’t avoid her completely because, let’s face it, she’s your fiancé’s mother and technically a wedding VIP. But there are ways to make things a little better, and you’re going to need your fiancé’s help!

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

Set boundaries from the beginning.

If neither set of parents is helping plan (or helping pay) and you don’t want them involved, make that clear from the beginning by kindly letting them know you’ve got it all under control. You only have to give as much detail as you want to give. But don’t let it create a rift in your relationship.

Give her something to keep her busy.

If you don’t want her involved in the wedding planning and she’s gung-ho to get right in the middle of it, figure out what exactly you can let her take over that won’t really matter to you and let it be her “baby.” Invitations are a time-consuming pain in the butt but if she’s willing to stuff and mail them, let her do it.

Pick your battles.

Try not to complain to your fiancé about every annoying email you get from your future mother in law, but if something is over-the-top, don’t hesitate to forward it to him and discuss how to handle it. Try not to get into a war with your fiancé’s mother over something that is, honestly, only one day in the thousands you will spend married to each other.

Don’t talk badly about your fiancé’s mother to his friends and family, even if they initiate it.

Not every cousin may love Aunt So-and-So, but the last thing you need is for that cousin to repeat your own snarky remark to her mother and have it get back to your future Mother-in-Law. Let them say what they will, but don’t agree and don’t contribute. Just file away what you’re hearing for research purposes. It may come in handy later.

Try to initiate some wedding-related tasks with your fiancé’s mom if she’s dying to be in the mix.

Bring her along when you shop for china — you don’t have to actually register for anything she suggests. If she really wants you to register someplace specific because of her friends who will be sending gift, play along. It won’t kill you to pick some over-the-top gifts if she wants to buy them or knows her friends will. If she actually does know flowers better than you, bring her along on your consult. Just remember you don’t have to take her advice.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer


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  • David Abel - Great tips, the wedding can be such a stressful process for the couple!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Swann - Wow! This is such a helpful post for new brides and grooms! Boundaries are so important in every relationship – but definitely this one!!ReplyCancel

  • Britney - These are great tips! I think picking your battles is one of the most important ones. There were a few things that I thought, “you know what, if that’s what you want to do- then go ahead!” 🙂 These are great tips for any family member or close friend who is “helping” with your big day. It’s also good to set boundaries now, because the wedding is just one day. There’s a whole lifetime of unwarranted advice and opinions that come from both sides.ReplyCancel

    • poppiestudios - Yes, girl. All about setting boundaries early-in and establishing expectations sooner rather than later.ReplyCancel

  • Christine - The dreaded mother in law… haha! This is a great article on handling situations gracefully, always good to remember on a busy wedding day!ReplyCancel

  • Edwina - These suggestions are perfect! I love the suggestion to have the future mother-in-law send the invites!ReplyCancel

  • Aimee - This is all great advice! A way to keep the peace but still have the wedding you dreamed. I think it’s sweet when people want to be involved in all the planning because they are so emotionally invested in the couple. It’s great!ReplyCancel

  • Alexandria - SUCH GREAT TIPS! I wish I had read advice on how to handle X situations when wedding planning a few years ago. I’m so glad this is out there for future brides to read!ReplyCancel

“Please tell me what to wear to our photo session!” That’s the first thing I often hear from clients after they book a session. Figuring out what to wear can paralyze people and make procrastinators out of even the most efficient preppers. There’s a few basic things I advise clients to take into consideration when choosing outfits.

What Should I Wear to A Photo Session

1. Colors: Choose a color scheme with your location in mind. You don’t want your clothing to clash with the surroundings or for any one person’s outfit to distract from the rest of the family. I recommend picking one main color with two supporting colors and a neutral to tie it all together.

2. Patterns: Now that you know your color scheme, throw in a pattern to break-up the monotony of solids. A solid merlot top and gold scarf can look fabulous next to a neutral plaid.

What Should I Wear to A Photo Session

3. Home Decor: What you plan to use your photos for can, and should, dominate your color choices. If the end-goal is to frame and hang them, take into consideration your home decor. I have a yellow front door, gray walls and blue accents. So my portraits include those colors.

4. Gifts: If you plan to use your photos on your holiday cards, why not gift framed prints too? Parents grandparents and godparents, will always love up-to-date photos that are ready to hang!

What Should I Wear to A Photo Session

And remember, if all of this still seems overwhelming to you, bring your dog. No one will even notice what you’re wearing 🙂

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What’s your current profile photo telling employers? If it’s not truly representative of you and your skills, let me leverage good points for you with a new headshot! More than 90% of employers are recruiting through social media, including LinkedIn, with recruiters spending around six seconds per LinkedIn profile—and 19% of that time looking at the profile picture. The last thing you want is to be passed on because you don’t look the part.

Why an updated headshot will help get you hired

Princeton researchers have found that people form an impression of you from your photo in 1/10 of a second. If you want the job, you have to look the part. Recruiters connect with this instantly, and only then will they give your skills and credentials the full weight they deserve.

You spend hours perfecting your cover letter, cutting your resume down to fit on one page (without resorting to using an eight-point font), and prepping for the most common interview questions, so it’s easy to believe that these are the three most important components to recruiters. And, while recruiters do spend quite a lot of time evaluating these items, more than 90% of them are now making their first impressions of applicants through social media accounts.

What does this mean for you? Besides making yourself a desirable candidate through cover letters, resumes and interviews, you should pay just as much attention to how you’re visually presented on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Why an updated headshot will help get you hired

And this doesn’t just apply to people looking for corporate jobs either. Small business owners, such as myself, rely on word-of-mouth as much as we do feeling connected with people who visit our sites. That’s why it’s so important to have updates photos in our About Me sections. Potential clients are, technically, “employers” looking to hire us. So while we may not have resumes and cover letters, our About Me sections are essentially just that.

Every person has 43 distinct facial muscles. There are seven universal facial expressions: happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, contempt and disgust. When you begin to mis these facial expression together, the human face can make more than 10,000 slightly different expressions. Now add matters of dress, grooming, light, camera angles and camera distortion/editing to this complication of microexpressions, and you see how every photo tells a unique story.

So, how can you get a winning profile photo? First, hire a professional. Us pros know what we’re doing when it comes to posing, lighting, angles and editing. And we also take into consideration these other important details:

  • Don’t obstruct your eyes: sunglasses make their wearer look 10% less likable. Eye obstruction via hair, glare and shadow didn’t make a difference in likability, but did bring down perceived competency by 15% and influence by 8%. Numbers don’t lie, people.
  • Smile with teeth: In regards to making someone like and trust you, smiling with teeth showing has twice the effect of smiling with your moth closed!
  • Dress for the job you want: doing so for a photo does wonders for getting you hired, as people perceive you to be 43% more competent and 58% more influential in your industry.

Need some help? Let’s chat – I’d love to help you get hired for your dream job!

Why an updated headshot will help get you hired



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  • Taylor - I love the facts that you added! I had no idea that people trust you more when you smile with your teeth. Great article!ReplyCancel

  • Tyrenda - Thank you so much for sharing such great tips.ReplyCancel

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer Wakulla River Wedding intimate backyard wedding.

Wakulla River Wedding

This gorgeous wedding all came about because a fellow photographer was unavailable for this but reached out a hand in an attempt to find this beautiful couple a photographer for their wedding. And that’s why I love Community Over Competition and the Rising Tide Society. Without those connections, this would have been a missed connection. And I never would have met this gorgeous couple. When I found out this wedding was going to be an intimate gathering at Jim’s family home right along the Wakulla River I couldn’t believe my luck! Not to mention, Jordan was a doll from the start: super excited, bubbly personality and a genuinely grateful soul. And when I arrived at the location, she came outside and greeted me with a big hug – which is how I love meeting all my brides!


Wakulla River Wedding

I love weddings that are on family properties simply because they’re, well, simple. And that simplicity lends itself to some gorgeous photos, especially on film. When I arrived and started scoping out the “venue” I immediately fell in love with some of their personal touches. The lined up big fan palms along the fence. Their centerpieces were beautiful blue jars and big, bold sunflowers. The twinkle lights strung along the tent made for a romantic ambiance. And Grandma had made some Mayhaw jelly as the favors, which had its own cute display. An aunt was helping put the finishing touches on the tables and a family friend hung the Japanese lanterns.

It’s those little moments that, as a photographer, I get to see and have come to love. They embody the essence of what it means to be married – two families coming together in the name of love. And because I love love it makes me all sentimental. Which is probably why I cry during the ceremony every time.

From a dog in attendance to handwritten vows, there were plenty of elements to make my heart full. But then, once the vows recited, family photos taken and dinner enjoyed – something magical began to happen… fog. Yes, fog. It slowly rolled over the Wakulla River just as twilight hit. Jordan and Jim were relaxing at a table, chatting with family when Tim (my fiance/assistant for the evening) noticed the fog and pointed it out to me. Just one more reason I love that man! I politely interrupted the bride and groom’s conversation, and to my relief Jordan took one look at the fog and ecstatically said “Yes! Let’s go!” so we quickly made our way back down the pier to the pontoon. And I’m so glad we did.


Wakulla River Wedding

The fog made for some incredibly ethereal images! It made everything seem extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world. Kind of like love, I suppose. Jordan and Jim, and their families, were an absolute delight. Jordan, being the sweet soul that she is, actually made sure we were having a good time! Which I certainly did – it’s hard not to with connections like this. So here’s to Jordan and Jim and their beautiful future together. Thank you for letting me capture the first day of it!

Wakulla River Wedding

Jordan + Jim’s Wakulla River Wedding

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5 states. 3 houses. 2 dogs. 1 fiancé. Those are the big things I think of when I reminisce back on the past four years. Four years ago I, and my parents, packed up everything I owned and moved me along with my ever-faithful doggie-companion Bailee to Tallahassee, where I became a Tallahassee Photographer, instead of an Indiana Photographer. 14 hours away from everything and everyone I knew. And yet, I wasn’t scared. Even after my parents had helped me settle-in and drove away, I didn’t think to myself “did I make the wrong decision?” Instead, I was at peace. There was a calm inside me. My heart and my head both were telling me this was the right direction for my life. I remember the exact moment, the time of day, the place that I realized I needed to move to Florida.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

I was at work, as a graphic designer, for the Ball State Daily News Advertising agency. It was my second senior year of college (I double majored in Fine Art Photography and Advertising, completing both majors in exactly five years). The sun was beaming through the windows behind me. It was the time of day we (myself and the other two designers) would close the blinds because otherwise our section turned into a sauna and we couldn’t’ see our monitors through the glare. My boss, Joy (who was the BEST mentor I could’ve ever asked for during my college years), was out for her afternoon break and the grad-student intern was in her seat, proofing tomorrow’s newspaper edition for accuracy. I don’t know what struck me, maybe I was browsing through photos I had taken during my most recent spring break in St. Petersburg, Fla. when I realized I didn’t just want to vacation there. I wanted that to be my backyard. I wanted to take Bailee to the beach every weekend and watch the sunset over the ocean more than just twice a year. I dreaded winter, shoveling out snow, having to wear layers, shivering numb toes from November to April. Literally, dreaded it. Even as I type this, the thought of snow makes my soul sad all over again.

The grad-intern asked me how the job-search was coming. I very distinctly remember the sunlight streaming onto my face as I turned around, standing up to close the blinds, and said “I’ve decided I’m moving to Florida. So I guess I need to start looking there.”

I wish I could say is was all poof, magic and the day after I graduated I moved but that wasn’t the case. God had a few more great things in store for me before Indiana was through with me. I spent that summer unemployed and sad. But I also had a lot of time to think about Poppie Studios – which I started pursuing a few years prior but hadn’t made it into anything more than a Facebook page. So, during my depressed unemployed summer, I built my first website. I started creating content for my Facebook page. I made a logo. Granted, all of those things have since evolved (thank God!) and become a much better representation of who I am and my talents.

I struggled for a full year after graduation, but every job lead me closer to my Florida-dream. Every job helped me hone my skills and develop my own style. Every job lead me to great friendships that have withstood time and distance. And of the things I miss the most, are a few friendships with beautiful people I don’t get to see everyday anymore (except when I creep on their Facebook pages, which kind of counts as friendship – right? Right?!). But eventually, and I kept interviewing for positions in Florida for the next two years, I got a call for a graphic design specialist job in Tallahassee, Fla. My first thought: “where is Tallahassee and how close is the nearest beach?” Turns out, Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and is about 90 minutes from my most favorite beach, St. George Island. After the first call with that company, I knew. I felt it in my heart. This was the one. And three weeks later, on October 5, 2012 – I became a Floridian.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

How quickly four years has flown! And how awesome that I’m now a Tallahassee Photographer! The connections I’ve made since moving here have been monumentally important to the growth of my business, and my personal development. I discovered the Tallahassee Professional Photographers Guild, which lead me to Shannon Griffin, who reminded me why I fell in love with and should fall in love with film photography again. Which lead me to Becky + Jesse, who coached me into being brave, taking the leap and focusing on being a film photographer again. I rediscovered my passion for film photography after moving to Tallahassee. Those connections have also lead me to beautiful people I’m now so thankful to call friends. And to a handsome man I’ll soon get to call my Husband. And to an adorable three-legged dog, who annoys Bailee, but gives us lots of laughs. These people (and fur-children) have opened my heart more than I thought was possible. Whether as an employer, coworker, parent, sibling, friend or fiancé – I value the roles you have in my life and how everything combines to lead me down the path that I’m on.

So here’s a toast to Florida! And every state, and stage of life, in between.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

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  • Star Hansen - Loved learning a little bit about you and hearing your story. Happy anniversary!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Anna Osgoodby - What an incredible journey! Congrats on 4 years and your adventures in-between. Isn’t it amazing to look back and look at the way things worked out and how different introductions led you to different things?!ReplyCancel

  • Donna Emley - SO proud of you and what you’ve accomplished! As a fellow Hoosier with that wanderlust and “not lost, just exploring” attitude, I can relate. You were fearless, stepped out, and are definitely blooming where you have planted yourself. Congratulations on your success and all of the wonderful things happening in your personal and professional lives. Love and continued success to you!ReplyCancel

    • poppiestudios - Aww, thank you SO MUCH! That means so very much coming from you! I have always admired you, for your attitude, your work ethic and your generosity both professionally and personally. <3ReplyCancel