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Blog Hibernation

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I’m admitting blog defeat. I really thought I could do it. I thought I could blog all the way up until I had the baby. But I can’t. These last few days of pregnancy are much harder than I expected. The waiting game, the swelling, soreness, and general lack of desire to do anything other than lay on the couch have gotten to me. I keep saying I had no idea doing nothing could be so exhausting. Even the idea of getting dressed to go relax at the pool has proven too much a few times over the past week. I found myself wide awake at 3:30 this morning stressing over what to write, and decided that it’s ok if I don’t.

Waiting for this baby to arrive has been one of the most fun and difficult parts of pregnancy. We sat at dinner last night, talking about how strange this phase feels. Our life is about to change, and we have no control over when. We can’t go anywhere to get our mind off of waiting, because I have to stay close to my doctors. My energy level is about 30 minutes long, so it’s not like I have the stamina to do anything that will distract us. And unless they decide to induce me at some point, we just have to keep waiting. But I keep reminding myself, she’s still not technically due yet. 2 more days before her expected arrival, and yet it could still be up to 2 weeks after that. We’re ready anytime little girl, anytime : )

I’m not sitting over here miserable either though. I still very much enjoy being pregnant, feeling her hiccup and kick, we’re just really ready to meet her on the outside too. And I’m ready to sleep on my stomach and back again, haha. We’ll see when she decides to make her grand arrival. For now though, I’m putting the blog into maternity leave hibernation. I promise I’ll be back on a limited blog schedule in a few weeks! Most likely right after Labor Day. I know that sounds forever away, but it’s only a month! And I promise to do a post once she arrives and we’re settled in at home so you can meet her.

As far as Monday goes, I’m referencing back to my post on “letting yourself off the hook” really pointing fingers at myself on this one. I can’t do it all, and that’s OK!

I’m off now, for real maternity leave this time. Thank you all for your love and support, and I’ll see you again in a few weeks! In the meantime, if you want to stay updated on what’s happening baby wise you can follow our Facebook Page or Instagram @aj_dunlap and @kyle_dunlap. We’ll be posting updates there : )

*If you’re a new couple interested in hiring us as your photographers, please still say hi through our contact form! We might be a little delayed in responding these next few weeks, but I promise we will respond!

Image above by Julia Wade Photography. This was 7 weeks ago…my belly is MUCH bigger now, haha!

Kelly Maloy - July 28, 2014 - 10:34 am

Good for you babe!!

Marcella McFadden - July 28, 2014 - 10:51 am

Good for you to take that time off! But I will tell you, if you plan on breast feeding, you’re not gonna wanna sleep on your stomach just yet. Full smooshed boobs = some serious pain and leakage. Trust me! Lol!!!

Danielle Blocker - July 28, 2014 - 7:18 pm

AJ I’m so proud of you! It’s so good to give yourself this time to just savor the moments.

Oh + thanks for the laugh! I’d almost forgotten about the fact I couldn’t sleep on my belly for months! It’s one of those things about pregnancy that you just don’t think about or realize until you can’t do it anymore. Yes, I totally agree with Marcella and was going to mention the boob thing too then I saw she posted it already! :) Plus I had a csection and didn’t sleep on my belly because of that either. Honestly it felt like about a bit more than year before I felt like my body was more my own again.

I know the waiting is sooo hard, but she’ll be here soon! Aliya made us wait, even while being induced…I had her 2 full days after the induction began! So many people were messaging us wondering if she arrived + we just simply forgot to tell everyone. I wish you the best of luck!!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Wedding Blog Features

We are a tad bit behind with a recent features posts, but only because I don’t like boring you all with these. I know it’s not nearly as exciting to you as it is for us and our couples who have gotten featured. But for us and them it’s pretty much the most exciting thing that can happen professionally!!! We are always truly honored to see our work on another wedding blog. Every time an approval email hits my inbox I do a little (ok, big) happy dance! Seriously, other than making my clients smile from ear to ear, getting your photos published is one of the highest form of recognition in our industry. It takes patience and the ability to be told no (A LOT), but every yes is worth all that hard work.

We are over the moon excited to share with you some of our recently published weddings. We’ve had lots of dream come true publications in the last few months, like a front page Style Me Pretty feature, and 8 different wedding blogs featuring our work! Such a humbling experience. Thank you to each and every one of these blogs for sharing these weddings. Congrats to the beautiful couples, and thank you so much for letting me share your stories!!! If you’d like to see more of a particular feature, just click on the photo to view it!

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Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Giveaway Winner

Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and shared Monday’s giveaway!!! There were so many great questions asked! I loved the pattern that developed of questions about blogging, client relationships, running a small business, and how we got started. All topics I remember having no clue about the first few years in business. I’m excited to start tackling those and helping some of you out in the upcoming weeks & months! I love sharing what I know, but it’s even better when I’m sharing things you actually want to know about : ) So thank you for being honest, showing me your hearts, and honoring me with the privilege of helping you.

I bet you want to know who won, right?! Without further ado, the winner is…Kristen Bailey!! Kristen, if you’ll email me at aj@ajdunlap.com I’ll send you over your gift card : ) Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who entered!!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Are Wedding Coordinators Necessary?

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Wedding Coordinators: should you hire one? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people will tell you it’s an un-necessary expense. Let a family friend do it, they can follow your timeline just fine. Or your mom can handle it, that’s what she’s there for, right? Why waste the extra money when there has to be someone capable attending your wedding?

Let me tell you my story. My simple, low budget, church wedding story. We got married on April 23, 2005. We were 19 and 21, and had absolutely no idea what we were doing. All we knew was we wanted to get married. So Kyle proposed, I said yes, and then we went to my parents for a budget. I didn’t know what was realistic, so I asked for very little thinking I could do it all. Because of our small budget, we chose not to have a coordinator. First, I asked my sister, the one who runs events for a living, and she nicely explained she’d rather enjoy the wedding than work it. Completely understandable. That’s when we decided to ask a friend who had the personality to run a wedding. She did a great job at what we asked her to do, but seeing as we had no clue on what we were doing we missed asking her to run few important things…like the cake cutting, and every other big reception event. My mom ended up running the reception, making sure things happened on time, pouring Sprite into plastic toasting glasses (which takes FOREVER by the way), and didn’t get to enjoy the reception the way we would have liked for her to. We also ran into a big snafu that our friend “wedding coordinator” didn’t know to handle because she wasn’t trained as a professional wedding. Which was that our minister told us 5 minutes before the ceremony no pictures were allowed. Now I’m not saying a hired professional could have worked magic in that situation, but you never know…she would definitely have had a better chance than someone running their first wedding.

This is why I’m a huge advocate of hiring a wedding coordinator! There are so many things that you can’t plan for on a wedding day. Something is going to go wrong, and who would you rather have dealing with it on your day: your mom, a family friend or a professional? I could tell you story after story of family friends who have been assigned to run a wedding day practically falling apart at the seems when it comes time for them to run things. There was one, and I’ll never forget it, who came into the bridal suite screaming at the bridesmaids for something petty. After a few minutes of berating, I had to nicely ask her to go outside with me and calm down. While I’m glad I was there to intervene on the bride’s behalf so she didn’t have to, I’m also sure there were moments I missed photographing because of it. And if I hadn’t been there, the mom would have most likely been dragged into it too (because it was her friend), and she would have been distracted from celebrating with her daughter.

So before you decide to cut that part out of the budget, consider the alternatives. And if I haven’t convinced you out of fear, how about this…wedding coordinators have connections in the industry. They have florists, linen companies, caterers, cake designers, etc all lining up to work with them. I can’t promise you’ll get discounts in every area, but you’ll probably get more for your money because you’re working with a particular coordinator. I’ve had several tell me that they’ve made up the cost of hiring them in the savings they’ve brought to their brides.

Moral of the story: hire a coordinator! Whether it’s just for day of or the entire event planning process. Take that stress off your shoulder and let someone else handle it. Then go enjoy your dream day!

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Jenny Herrera - July 23, 2014 - 1:44 pm

I agree 100%! My DJ didn’t show up until after all of our first dances, and I was mostly clueless because Priscilla Kylee Erwin worked some voodoo magic and turned into a latin music DJ for quite some time :) She also set up, cleaned up, and kept things moving. Totally worth it!

Graceful Wedding Management - July 23, 2014 - 6:30 pm

Great points we stress to our potential clients as well!

Sweet Sarabell - July 24, 2014 - 11:29 am

Great post AJ!!! <3

Hannah McArdle - July 24, 2014 - 2:59 pm

While just reading the headline my only thought was YES!! Hire one! Being in that role, a good professional will know the ins and outs of both ceremony and reception. Details as the bride, you shouldn’t need to even think or worry about. It’s the coordinators job to forsee the unforseen. let someone else take on the stress and please let your poor mothers enjoy their child’s big day! ;) great post AJ!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Beach Maternity Portraits Taken By Kyle

There’s still time to enter yesterday’s giveaway! Click here for details!

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One of the first pregnancy things Kyle requested was to take some maternity portraits of me. Of course, I was all in! Once we decided to go to the beach for a few days, I knew I wanted him to take some of me there! I’d planned for him to take them at Pawleys Island in SC since that’s where we spend most of our beach time, but the tropical storm rained us out. Next best thing was Oak Island before he left for work! And it was perfect. We did them on the first day, in case of early labor, and I am so in love with them. He did such an amazing job! We took my younger sister out with us as my style consultant/hair helper/flattering pose monitor, and Kyle handled the rest.

He’s the best husband & future Dad ever : ) I absolutely loved my time in front of his camera. He’s so good at it, but often doesn’t get the recognition he deserves since he’s more of a behind-the-scene type of person. This is all him though! I had no control whatsoever. Kyle, thank you so much for taking these of me and our daughter. She’s going to cherish them, because you took them! I love you more than words can say!

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It’s so weird to say I love photos of myself without it feeling like bragging, but I love this one below! 0022 0031 0041 0043

And because we just happened to dress alike, we made my sister grab some of us together! 0046 0052 0056

 I love you darling! Thank you for taking these of your girls : )

Kristen Hill - July 22, 2014 - 1:22 pm

Gorgeous!! Amazing job Kyle!!!

Sarah May Leech - July 22, 2014 - 1:26 pm

These are all fantastic!! Pregnancy looks good on you! Can’t wait to hear of the arrival of your sweet little girl!!

Alexandra Beauregard - July 22, 2014 - 2:26 pm

So, so pretty!!

Sharon Adams Wright - July 22, 2014 - 2:34 pm

WOW…….You look amazing….He did a great job.

Danielle Blocker - July 22, 2014 - 3:11 pm

Gorgeous AJ!

Jessie VeraCruz - July 22, 2014 - 3:12 pm

So beautiful!! He did a great job and you look incredible!!

Louisa - July 22, 2014 - 7:14 pm

Oh my!!! I love this!
My favorite photo I had of myself and my daughter during the pregnancy was taken by my husband at 29 weeks!
It’s in her nursery hanging above her crib. She’s 1 now and whenever she looks at it, she reaches up and says ‘mama’…. It melts my heart and brings me close to tears everytime! There is no stronger love :)…. Be prepared :).

Kate Dicus - July 22, 2014 - 8:11 pm

Beautiful!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!