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When A Wedding Photographer Becomes the Bride: Our Engagement Session Experience

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Hi friends,

I am writing a more personal note to you all this week because I just wanted to share some encouragement as well as explain a little bit about my heart behind my work. In May, Kevin and I met with our wedding photographers Katelyn and Michael (Katelyn James Photography) for our engagement session! Those of you who are new may not know that I am also a bride, counting down the days until I get to marry my love and business partner, Kevin. September 10 is coming FAST you guys.

New friends may also be hearing this for the first time: My love for Katelyn James’ work is unmatched. I have followed her for more than four years, and she is the one who introduced me to running a wedding photography business. I took many of her courses, and now I get to be a #KJBride!

Showing up to our engagement session was a surreal experience for many reasons. First, it was so strange to be the one dressed up meeting with a photographer. My mind didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have to scope out the location or the light. I didn’t have to fiddle with my camera settings on the way to the first spot. Second, when we spotted Katelyn and Michael, my nerves kicked in. Stuff just got real. I’m the bride… Kevin is a groom… a wedding photographer is getting hyped about US getting married! What?!

I’ll leave some of the details of our session out. Part of me wants to keep the deeply personal, sweet experiences and memories in Kevin’s and my heart. Honestly, all you guys need to know is that Katelyn and Michael are truly SO GOOD at their job. My nervousness surprised me. But the “20 minute” rule is so true. Within that first 20 minutes of posing, I was feeling much better. And Kevin and I had an AMAZING time.

What I really want to say is that the engagement session MATTERS. If you didn’t believe me before when I shared why you should schedule an engagement session with your wedding photographer, believe me now that I’ve had my own.

If you’re a bride, you might understand this. Wedding planning is not as easy as I thought it would be. And that’s coming from someone who, for the most part, knows how weddings get planned and pan out on the day-of. There’s a lot of decisions to make, and on top of that, a lot of emotions felt. It is sometimes hard to feel like a bride when you’re fighting off the feeling of being a people-pleaser or peace-keeper. So, trust me… I get it. As your wedding photographer, I am immensely empathetic to the ups and downs this season brings.

But our engagement session was a mile marker for me. I not only felt like a bride, I felt like a “future wife” for the first time. I could look at Kevin and think “oh shoot… I’m marrying this man!” And those feelings amplified after the session ended and we enjoyed a date night at the same restaurant that we had our first date and celebrated our engagement after the proposal.

By the way, KJ posted our first sneak peek before we even paid for dinner… how amazing is she!? I shamelessly cried on the way home telling Kevin how much I appreciated him helping me become a Katelyn James Bride and how much our engagement session meant to me in celebrating our season. You’d think this photographer would get numb to those moments. But no way. This one was ours.

Now I get to share these amazing images!! Enjoy and go check out @katelynjames on Instagram or head over to her website to see more photos of us on her blog (and stay tuned for our wedding images after September)!

Of COURSE I had to get a photo with my rockstar photographer! Can’t wait to have her capture our day in September!! AHHH!

**Disclaimer: If you didn’t gather from my blog post above, these images were NOT taken by me. They are all credit to @KatelynJames**



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Xx Emily


Wedding days can be stressful, but they don't have to be. One of the number one causes of wedding day stress is a disorganized, tight timeline. In this guide, I'm sharing a sample wedding day timeline I use to craft all my brides' wedding day timelines, as well as diving into some pro tips only a photographer might know.


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