Should I Do A First Look?


(My wedding shot by Melinda Snyder Photography)

Whether it’s with your groom, your father, or just someone incredibly special to you, I will ALWAYS recommend a first look, and here’s why:

If you are anything like me, then you are probably skeptical about the first look. I was. 100%.  I was that girl who dreamed the big moment would happen right as I walked down the aisle. All the tears, all the excitement, all the applause. All of the fairytale weddings start like that, right? But, get this…it still did, just in a little different, and maybe even better, way. Sure, I was hesitant, but being the food driven junkie I am, I was quickly persuaded into doing one, just for the sheer fact that I was having some bomb-ass appetizers during cocktail hour. And I refused to miss them. Seriously, I was given the chance to actually eat them without a waiter having to shove them in my face-hole in between poses, and I jumped right on that. Now I know that may not be everyone’s reason why, but it was mine. Romantic right? But, let me tell you, with out a shadow of a doubt, that was the best decision I could have made for our wedding day. After our ceremony, not only did I get to partake in those bomb-ass appetizers, I also got the chance to greet (mostly) everyone, take our family formals with no rush, get all of the hugs, and casually change my shoes and bustle my dress, all within the timeframe it would have taken to JUST do portraits!  When you finish your ceremony, you immediately go into host mode extreme. I’m talking “Fine dining and breathing are all I know” level of hosting. (SpongeBob anyone? No? Just me? Okay.) Chad and I had already had our moments alone together, oogling over my dress and taking in the grander that was the day, that we were okay to go straight into host mode. I mean, that’s essentially what you’re doing right? Unless you’re Kim K, this will probably be the largest dinner party you will ever host in your entire life. And it goes by fast. So the fact that Chad and I were able to take a few moments and soak in the goodness of what today meant, it really allowed us to be fully present in the day itself. We were able to celebrate without being swept away in the wave of  the “thank you for coming”s and the “so glad you could make it”s, and feeling as if we never got the chance to absorb this pivotal moment for us.

We did.

That’s what the first look is all about.

Picture this: Your groom is positioned in a beautiful spot outside, alone, and is waiting in extreme anticipation for you to arrive. The emotions from the morning, and the months before, all hit him right then and there – this is it – forget the centerpieces and the seating charts, he get’s to see what HE’S been waiting MONTHS for. His back is turned to you, as you quietly walk up to him and tap him on the shoulder. He turns around and witnesses the most beautiful sight he has ever seen. You, in that stunning gown. That gown that has been locked tightly away acting as the biggest secret you have ever kept from him. Hair done impeccably. Make up to the nines. He’s never seen anything quite so magnificent in his life. And he gets to marry that. He gets to spend the rest of his life…with this. That’s when the emotions start flooding in and he can’t help but shed a few tears, or be able to wipe that insane grin off of his face. All the while I am behind the scenes, capturing every. single. moment.

You are given as much time as you are needed. No interruptions. No distractions. No one but you and him, soaking it all in.

Once you’re ready, we can go straight into your portraits together! All of this time will allow us to roam the venue, bathe in the goodness of your love, and capture all of those “swoon worthy” moments together. These are the important ones. These are the wall-worthy, life-changing, awe-inspiring moments that make your day yours.

Once your portraits are finished, and if time allows, we can go into bridal party photos and maybe even immediate family portraits! (No, I’m not joking we really can do this. All before your ceremony.) And guess what, when it’s time to walk down the aisle, those butterflies don’t magically disappear. They’re still there, and sometimes even greater than before. Because now…Now everyone is there. All of your closest friends and family are going to cheer you on as you two take on the next greatest adventure together.

This only happens once.

Make those moments.

Whenever and where ever you can.

You wont regret it.



p.s. if you’re anything like me, then your a down-right daddy’s-girl. And freaking proud of it. Don’t forget him. He deserves these moments too.

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Sara’s Email Made Her Yell at Her Dog. Don’t Be Like Sara.

Photo by from Pexels

Let me tell you what happened the other day.

So, the same as any other morning, like most of us, I woke up, rolled over, and…you guessed it…checked my phone. BAM. Smacked in the face with notifications. I had a novel of crap that I had to scroll through that happened all within, I don’t know, 12 hours or so. Someone did something on Instagram. So-and-so commented on a Facebook post. Yatta-yatta-yatta…. And then there it was. A Gmail notification… “You’ve received an email.” I won’t go into details, but let’s just say – it wasn’t a good one.

And guess what. I was in an AWFUL mood ALL DAY. Literally, I woke up, and was immediately pissed off. I yelled at my dog, got frustrated with the laundry, was irritated with my husband, ALL FREAKING DAY. For NO reason. Just because of that little red number above my Gmail app, telling me HEY! GOODMORNING, here’s a pile of shit for you. Have a great day! (insert middle finger emoji here.) This little red bubble had complete control over my emotions and set the scene for how my day was going to unfold.



Literally two or three days earlier, I was watching an instastory… or a live… or something, by Abby Grace Photo, and she explained that she DID NOT have her email on her phone.


I was like, how do you know if someone’s contacted you or how do you know if Michaels is having a 40% off sale… how do you know if the world’s not ending?!


The morning after this debacle, I sat down and thought to myself… “Self, is it really necessary for you to wake up and be punched in the face with a world of nonsense every morning? Do you REALLY need to know who’s done what on some social media platform FIRST thing in the god-damn morning?!”

NO. You really don’t.

Well, turns out I’m still a glutton for punishment in all forms of social media (baby steps, people). But! I did the thing and I took Gmail off of my phone. I also customized my notifications on how and when I would like things to pop up on my phone.

And let me tell you what… Even though it seems like I have no friends, and no one is trying to talk to me…That was probably the SMARTEST decision I could have ever made.

I can breathe again. Now, I get up, let my dog out, grab some coffee, maybe eat some breakfast…and then sit down at my computer. And even though I am still sickeningly obsessed with Instagram, I don’t even look at my phone until I sit down. Now, instead of peeling the crust from my eyes to be bombarded with things I can barely comprehend BECASE I’M STILL ASLEEP, I can look at everything with clear eyes and I’m ready to take on whatever the world throws at me.

I’m not saying that you need to take all of your social media off your phone. Or even delete your email app. All I’m saying is, step back for a minute, think to yourself, how does this make you feel? Does your phone control your emotions? Are you stressed out by all of the notifications you’re receiving? DO YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT SO-AND-SO EATTING A BURRITO?! Or is this all just nonsense that drives you to think or feel a certain way through out the day?

Social media has SO much control over everything we do, and everything we feel, don’t let it determine the outcome of your day. Only you can do that.

So, turn off those unnecessary notifications. Gain back your control of your technology and don’t let it determine your happiness.

Sara’s email made her yell at her dog. Don’t be like Sara.



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Sean and Vicky’s Proposal // Cupcaked Bakery, Clifton, VA

I met Sean about 2 years ago when I first started working at All That Glitters in Clifton. He and his family own an amazing Irish pub in the town, that I used to frequent WAY to often! When you first meet him, being this incredibly tall, bearded Irish fellow, he has a pretty intimidating feel to him – at least I thought so! Until you ACTUALLY meet him… then he is probably one of the nicest, and most caring people you will ever come to know. So when I was asked to be a part of his proposal to his girlfriend, Vicky, of over 3 years, I was basically in tears from excitement. With the help of some amazing people, including one of my favorite humans, Kristina at Cupcaked Bakery, Sean managed to put together one of the sweetest proposals ever. As we all waited in anticipation for Vicky to arrive, every single one of us was shaking from excitement and nerves for Sean, but, unlike us, he was incredibly calm and collected. With 4 dozen red velvet cupcakes, twinkle lights for days, and a whole lotta love waiting for her, Vicky reached the front door. Sean greeted her and she immediately knew what was happening and burst into tears. He lead her into the bakery, where they first met, and sat her down. As he whispered his love to her, you couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming amount of love and devotion in the room. It took me everything I had not to burst into tears right there! Shaking like a leaf, she said yes to forever, and their adventure began.

The moment you realize all of your best girls were in on it, and watching from the kitchen window.I had to sneak in a few new engagement shots!And then he surprises her with ALL of the family down at his pub for dinner! 

Hannah’s Senior Session // Sneads Farm, Fredericksburg, VA


Oh my goodness – does this girl look like a Hollister model, or what?! Not only is this girl insanely gorgeous but she’s also a killer athlete! Once she graduates she’ll be attending Shippensburg University with a scholarship in softball! How cool is that?! Hannah was totally rocking all of my branding colors during her senior session too! That beautiful red bell sleeve had me dying but I couldn’t get over the green semi-turtleneck and plaid skirt. If you know me, you know I love a good forest green! Snead’s Asparagus Farm made the most perfect backdrop for this gorgeous lady to slay the senior portrait game. Her older sister tagged along and made the session even more fun! I definitely recommend any senior to bring along their sibling or best friend! It makes the session SO much fun, and you get to have your very own fluffer, cheerleader and portrait buddy!

I’m so honored that I could capture this special time for Hannah, and give her an her family some gorgeous memories to treasure forever!


Ava’s Unicorn Third Birthday // The Nook, Arlington, VA

Not only did I get to photograph a dream location with a dream team ONCE, but TWICE! Host and Toast has out-done herself on this one. Mandy put together one of the most glorious unicorn themed birthdays to date!  Fluffy Thoughts Cakes killed the unicorn cake game and Brightly Ever After made pastel clouds look SO good! Not to mention that insane 4ft ombre marquee number three! Is there anything this girl can’t do?! If you’re ever in need of some seriously delicious foods at your next party, Relish Catering has some of the BEST chicken and waffles and BLT bites I’ve EVER tasted! (I may or may not have been enticed to eat all the leftovers, #sorrynotsorry) Also, some serious talent was in the house here with Ace of Face on face painting and All About Balloons constructing a massive unicorn balloon installation! No details were spared in the making of this extraordinary iridescent color scheme and phenomenal unicorn theme! Huge thank you to Ava’s parents for letting me share this special day with them!

Friendor Dream Team:  

Venue: The Nook

Photographer: Sarandipity Photography, LLC

Planner/Coordinator: Host & Toast Events

Clouds/Marquee Number/Misc Hanging Décor: Brightly Ever After

Catering: Relish Catering

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes

Balloon Installation: All About Balloons

Face Painting: Ace of Face

Table Settings/Misc Décor: Target