European Summer 2017


Hello friends! This August, my best friend and I traveled to Paris, Munich, and Salzburg for a bit of summer fun in Europe. I wanted to share our travels, favorite things, mishaps, and more with you!

Fun fact: I bought a camera especially for this trip then took every single photo with my iPhone! HA!


Stayed in: Marais Airbnb, Latin Quarter Airbnb

Ate: L'as du Fallafel, Le Grenier a Pain bakery, Berthillion gelato, Au P'tit Grec crepes, Le Petit Marcel steak frites, Pierre Herme macarons, Bobalitas bubble tea, flan, chocolate, pho, dumplings, baguettes, tartes, quiche, and more

Must do: Sunset boat cruise on the Seine via Bateaux-Mouches, view from Arc du Triomphe

Places to picnic: Luxembourg Gardens

Sights: Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower via Trocadero Gardens, Ile Saint-Louis, riverwalk, The Louvre area, Pompadou area, Palais-Royal Gardens, Montmartre 

Mishaps: Second Airbnb host a no-show at midnight, flight home cancelled and delayed over 30 hours, constantly got lost

Brought home: Chocolate, postcards, magnets, tapenade, caramel sauce


Stayed in: Airbnb 10 min from Marienplatz

Ate: Bratwurst, pretzels, Radler (beer + lemonade), apple strudel with cream, fried potato salad, sweet mustard

Must do: Shop and get sausage, pretzels, and beer at the Viktualienmarkt or Englischer Garten beer garden, climb up to the top of St. Paul's church for 360 views of the city, shop in Marienplatz

Places to picnic: Englischer Garten, Hofgarten, 

Sights: Rathaus (city hall), Marienplatz, Odeonsplatz, Residenzplatz

Mishaps: All stores and most everything else closes on Sundays so that got a little boring

Brought home: 6 jars of sweet mustard, postcards, magnets, nips, a scarf


Stayed in: Day trip via train

Ate: Schnitzel, apple strudel with cream, potato salad, pretzels

Must do: Panorama Tours Lakes + Mountains (4 hours, includes boat ride on Wolfgangsee), view from Kaputzinerkloste church

Places to picnic: Mirabel Palace gardens, Kaputzinerberg park

Sights: Mirabel Gardens, the river, Residenzplatz, Chapter Fountain + Horse Pond, Salzburg Cathedral, Getreidegasse shopping, Furtwangler Park and market

Mishaps: Unknown construction on the railroad from Austria -> Germany - we de-boarded the train, got on a bus, got kicked off the bus, waited hours for another train in the middle of nowhere

Brought home: Postcards, magnets

Random things to note about Europe:

Public bathrooms are not free

Water is also not free, and expensive at restaurants


Beware of pickpockets

Only metal detectors at airport security?!

Baguettes are super cheap

You greet store owners hello and goodbye ALWAYS

People eat dinner at 9/10pm in Paris

Some stores and restaurants close in the middle of the day in Paris

Uber is all over the world and is brilliant

Air conditioning is rare

The views are spectacular.


Thanks for reading loves! Be sure to follow all my adventures on Instagram!


Mallory & Ryan // A blush summer Willowdale Estate wedding

In the words of the groom, “People said it will never work - she is a beautiful angel and he is a unique-featured weirdo.”

Mallory & Ryan have known each other since high school, through awkward encounters and mutual friends. After realizing they were particularly sweet on each other, Mal & Ry patiently waited for the right timing to be together. Between law school, medical school, Connecticut, and Boston, Ryan popped the question by the romantic reflecting pool in Boston, and she said YES! 

With the forecast showing thunderstorms and rain at Willowdale Estate all day, Mallory & Ryan prepared themselves for a wet wedding day. It poured all morning long, as predicted. As Mallory descended down the stairs to see her husband for the first time, something miraculous happened: the SUN came out. After a joyous first look, the ceremony began. Right before their first kiss, everyone could hear the pitter patter of drops bouncing off the tent - it began to pour as they sealed their marriage with a kiss and ran down the aisle. 

Here's to an INCREDIBLE Italian honeymoon and a lifetime of love, dancing, basketball, scooper bowl ice cream, getaway weekends to Burlington, beer, running, and HAPPINESS! <3

Show these vendors some love!

Hair & makeup - Traveler Beauty Company
Invitations - Jen Simpson Design (Etsy)
Dress - Mikaella Bridal
Suit - Joseph A Bank
DJ & live musicians - Czone Entertainment
Florist - Petals, Inc
Cake - Topsfield Bakeshop

Did you like this romantic summer estate wedding?
You'll be sure to love these ones, too!

Katie & Marty // A rustic, summer Harrington Farm wedding

"I choose you."

First, Katie & Marty wanted to throw a surprise wedding at their annual clambake. Then, they decided to try out their own backyard for a low-key wedding. Finally, they found the perfect mix of rustic and beautiful: Harrington Farm. They got ready in an old farmhouse just like the one they live in together. Needless to say, everything was utterly perfect.

With a piece of her dad's shirt sewn into her dress, and a special message for her dad sewn onto his tie, this wedding was full of sentimental details. Katie's mother's eyes began to well up with tears as she saw her own veil wrapped around her daughter's bouquet, and the tears were FLOWING during Katie & Marty's *almost* first look. The rainy forecast made way for sweet sunshine all day as Katie & Marty danced on cloud nine through their wedding day with tons of laughs, an abundance of tears, and so many loving guests.  

As Katie's father simply put it, their families aren't gaining a son or a daughter, they're gaining one hell of a couple. Forever and always, The Derens.

Thank you to the fabulous vendors!

Second Shooting: Rachael Riley
Venue & Catering: Harrington Farm
Hair and Makeup: Christy and Co.
Invitations: Ludlow Printing
Dress: Pearl Bridal
Groomswear: Men’s Wearhouse
DJ: Mike Messina from Greg Bedard DJ Entertainment
Flowers: Jeff French Florist
Cake: The Bean Counter

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Why I Don’t Shoot During Dinner


Let’s be real here… couple portraits and dinner are my two favorite parts of a wedding. Sort of a joke, but hey, your girl loves food, alright!?

For so many years, I felt SO. AWKWARD. standing around during salads and dinner. It felt uncomfortable knowing that I wasn’t taking any photos - but I knew it was for an important reason.

Ladies and gents, NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE looks attractive while eating. Your guests are probably very grateful that they aren’t caught off guard by a flash while they’re trying to fit a forkful of salad or a filet in their mouths.

So instead of pretending to be shooting and stalking all your guests while they’re just trying to eat and chat, that’s when I sneak off and eat dinner. The sooner I’m served, the sooner I can get back to the reception and follow the couple around while they visit their tables (which is usually after they finish dinner, but their guests are still eating).

It's that simple, folks - let the people eat in peace! Amen!


The Pros and Cons of a First Look

If you’re thinking about doing a first look, you’re not alone!

Let’s go through the pros and cons of having a first look.

If you’re wondering...

A first look is a private reveal between the couple before the ceremony. One person will stand and wait with their back turned and the other will walk up to them and when they turn around, bam! Happy tears and lots of hugs.


It allows more time for couple portraits

If these are top priority for you, having a first look will not only give you more photos, but they’re be so intimate and filled with emotion.

It’s private

Instead of having a big reveal in front of your 120 guests, you can have some rare one-on-one time with your spouse-to-be. Often it will calm your nerves and get you so excited for what’s to come. And don’t worry - you will still cry walking down the aisle afterwards.

You can attend cocktail hour

You can plan for a full hour first look, and also complete bridal party and family portraits during that time so that you can greet all your guests during cocktail hour.

It makes the day less stressful

Couple portraits are the last activity of the portrait hour, and so often we only have 10-15 minutes before the reception starts to complete them. With a first look, you know you won’t be rushed and can be stress-free for the rest of the day knowing you got amazing portraits earlier in the day.


You MISS cocktail hour

Although this is traditional, it’s important to some couples to socialize with their guests at cocktail hour instead of during dinner.

Later portraits = better light

Portraits earlier in the day will always be beautiful, but the closer they take place to golden hour, the better. Even if you have a first look, I may pull you for 15 minutes during golden hour for some romantic evening portraits!

It may require more coverage time

If you have a tight timeline, ex different getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations to travel between, adding more time for a first look may cause you to run a little over budget. If a couple doing a 20 minute first look by themselves, this usually isn’t an issue, but if they’re adding an extra hour of portraits, coverage may need to be extended.

There are pros and cons to every decision on your wedding day, but even a 20 minute first look can add SO many more beautiful photos to your album and relieve a lot of stress from the day. Still unsure? Let’s talk about what’s right for you!

XOXO, Lena

2 Simple Ways to Show Gratitude Your Vendors

If you're feeling the love for your vendors before or after your wedding, there are a few simple things you can do to make them feel appreciated and loved!

Thank you's

First and foremost, the most heartfelt thing I can get is a THANK YOU no matter the shape or form. Sometimes it’s a thank you card after the wedding, and I melt. Others it’s a few thank you’s throughout the day - and it makes me feel so loved! Lastly, when I deliver the photos, my heart is bursting when I get an email reply gushing over the photos and thanking me. When my clients are happy = I’m happy.

A thank you or two will go a long way with all of your vendors!


Second is a review or testimonial. When I get an email notification from The Knot or WeddingWire, it’s like a surprise Christmas present from Santa. The best thing you can do for a vendor you truly had an amazing experience with is recommending them to others. One way to do this is word of mouth (95% of my clients are from word of mouth referrals), and the other is through online reviews so that they can get connected with more amazing clients like you.

Fun bonus fact:

A few weddings a year, I arrive at the reception to find a PLACECARD with my NAME on it! It feels like I have won the lottery. It’s a silly little thing, and it only works for vendors who are sitting and eating during the reception, but I’ve never felt so welcomed and special (basically like the Queen of England) than when I got a place card from my thoughtful couples with my name on it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy as a clam regardless - it’s just like if you entered a hotel room and there was a pinata full of candy waiting for you. Completely unexpected but SO AWESOME!

XOXO, Lena


The Secret to Better Getting Ready Photos


Keep it clean!

That’s right - you are probably getting ready in a gorgeous venue, hotel, or your childhood home. Let’s show that off! You want to look back on the heartfelt location, not the iPhones and Poland Springs bottles in the background of the photos.

Water bottles, trash, bags, purses - if it is seen, make it unseen!

Hide bags, duffels, etc in the bathroom or a separate room.

Put water bottles on the floor or in a designated corner.

Champagne glasses, bottles, and gifts are OK!

Now you’ll have clean, fancy getting ready photos surrounded by your closest friends and family - what more could you ask for?


Why You NEED a Wedding Hashtag


It’s no secret - I LOVE wedding hashtags. And while some may think they’re trendy, they’re actually the OPPOSITE. They’re the most functional tools EVER!!! 

With a hashtag, the couple and their guests can find all the wedding photos
on Instagram and Facebook in one click.

BONUS - you and your guests can see all the official photos from your photographer when sneak peeks go live! That way, guests can find your full wedding blog and photos that much quicker and easier without bothering you for links.

If you’re struggling to create a hashtag, don’t worry. SIMPLE IS BEST. Witty hashtags are always cute, but if it’s long, hard to remember, difficult to spell or you’re just plain trying too hard, keep it simple. #kateandbarrygetmarried is a great witty one, but works JUST as functionally as #doucettewedding17. Just make sure to search the hashtag on Instagram to make sure no one else has used it before!

Happy hashtagging!!


5 Things Look For When Hiring a Wedding Photographer


When looking for your vendors, it can feel like you’re lost in a sea of Google searches. You may not know what to look for when you’re browsing through gorgeous websites and emailing vendors. I’m going to write specifically about things to look for when hiring a wedding photographer, but these principles apply to ALL of your wedding day vendors.

You should be looking for…

1) Consistency

When you look through their portfolio, is the editing consistent? How would you describe their work? Light, airy, and romantic, or dark and moody? Whatever their style is, make sure it looks consistent across their galleries. You want to know that the product you’re getting will be consistent with the work they’re showing.


2) Experience

Find out how many years they’ve been shooting weddings. Practice makes perfect, so more weddings = more expertise. You want someone who has handled dozens of unique situations and has problem solved and championed through them. Read testimonials from other brides on their website or on sites like The Knot, Google, or WeddingWire.


3) Prestige

Look for published work and ties to the industry. Most pros have been published in wedding magazines and blogs. Some write guest posts for wedding planners, some hold yearly wedding professional retreats. Whatever it is, make sure you see a few awards or published real weddings.


4) Personality

Technically speaking, your photographer will be with you for more hours than your SPOUSE at your wedding, not to mention countless hours of meetings, emails, and phone calls leading up to 2 years leading up to the big day. You should really like spending time with this person!!! Make sure you could see yourselves becoming friends. You don’t want a stiff, awkward photographer calling the shots on your wedding day. Make sure they’re confident and mesh with your personalities well, whether you’re shy and reserved or bubbly and outgoing.


5) Transparency

Trust is everything! You need to trust your photographer 200%. If you have questions about pricing, or want to see full wedding albums, or want to talk to past brides - your pho


Why You Should Always Kiss Twice


The ceremony is the big kahuna. It’s what most of my couples put as their “most anticipated moment” of the wedding day, the “I do’s.”

So, to make he most of that moment, I ask all my couples to KISS TWICE for their first kiss! That way, I can get multiple creative angles, a wide shot, a close up shot, and your family reacting and rejoicing.

And hey, who doesn’t like kissing?!


3 Tips to Quick & Enjoyable Family Portraits


Ah, the portrait hour, when you and I get to wrangle your family and friends for those cherished formal photos. Everyone is hungry, thirsty, and eager to party - so to make portraits quick and enjoyable, here are three things you should do!

1) Have a master list

6 weeks before the big day, I ask for a family tree or family list of everyone in the photos. On the wedding day, I print two copies and can run down the list in lightning speed so your family can attend as much as cocktail hour as possible. Even more importantly, you don't have to think of groupings on the spot, and you don't miss important shots.


2) Keep everyone in the loop

The biggest slowdown during portraits is when family members aren’t there and need to be found by other family members. Remember to tell anyone on the list that they are to report to X location immediately following the ceremony! 


3) Put drinks & sunglasses away

Portraits are a great time to finally grab a drink and hang out outside, but having to take off shades and hide beer bottles every time someone is called for a photo can really eat up time. Save drinks for after the portraits!

If you follow these 3 simple tips, family portraits take about 15 minutes for family and 15 for bridal party - SO painless! Bring on the party!


How to Find Your Perfect Coverage


The first question before booking is always “How many hours do we need?!”

The answer is simple my friends - most weddings range from 6-8 hours.

I’ve found that the sweet spot of coverage is 1 hour before the dress goes on to 1 hour into open dancing. I arrive during the tail end of hair and makeup, photograph all your beautiful details, then getting dressed. At night, people start to get sweaty and tipsy not he dance floor, so an hour is plenty of dance floor coverage.

If you’re in-between coverage hours, I recommend trying for at least 30-60 min before getting dressed before the wedding and cutting a half hour off of dancing. 

Let’s craft a timeline together and find your perfect window of coverage!


3 Reasons to have an Unplugged Ceremony


Thinking about having an unplugged ceremony? Make sure to consider these three reasons why you should opt for an unplugged ceremony before you say "I do!"

1) Your guests can be present in the moment

I bet you hear of lots of photographers complaining about people getting in their shots. Yup, that happens more than we’d like it to. However, I personally think the saddest thing about a wedding day is watching the couples’ closest friends, family, moms, dads, and siblings watch the event through their phone screens.

With an unplugged ceremony, the most intimate and anticipated part of the day can be enjoyed by everyone in the moment. Your mother can look you in the eyes when she tears up, and you can wink at your best friend and actually see her unobstructed face.


2) Your photographer can get the best photos

This is almost as important as your guests being free to be present. Everyone wants the perfect shot… and in doing so, many people lean into the aisle at all parts of the ceremony - especially when the bride is making her way down the aisle. I have had a LOT of close calls when guests jump out of their seats and block the precious moments the professional was hired to capture. During the ceremony, I like to photograph the guests reactions - which is impossible when their face is covered by a Samsung Galaxy. If you don’t want to jeopardize your professional photographs, have an unplugged ceremony.


3) No distractions

Have you ever been at a wedding where someone’s embarrassing ringtone goes off during the vows? I have. Get rid of all accidents and distractions by banning phones altogether.



If you’re having an unplugged ceremony, put out a sign AND have the officiant make an announcement. Some guests may miss the sign or blissfully ignore it, so a verbal announcement works like a charm. After all, it's only for the 20 minute ceremony - they can go camera crazy for the rest of the night!

XOXO, Lena


Haleigh & Adam // A sunrise Canoe Beach engagement shoot

If Haleigh & Adam had to pick a favorite place, they would both say Aruba (and probably at the same time). The white sand beaches, the romance, the crystal blue ocean - it's their favorite thing to do, followed closely, of course, by going out to breakfast together. On Haleigh & Adam’s 8 year anniversary, he surprised her with rose petals, eggs benedict (her favorite), and a diamond ring.

Rewind almost a decade ago to high school, where they started dating as freshmen. As most high school relationships and 16 year olds go, though, they went their separate ways. It wasn’t until college that they reconnected, and have been inseparable ever since. Fate? 100%. Since then, they’re adopted an ADORABLE boxer named Bennett and are planning a laid back, oceanside wedding at the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester next year.

Did you like this sunrise beach engagement inspiration?
You'll be sure to love these ones, too!

Adrienne & Billy // An oceanside Barker Tavern wedding

It started on in a rainstorm on St. Patty’s day in Southie, and ended in an Irish wedding at the ocean. From their tradition of Sunday breakfasts to playing on a soccer team together, Adrienne & Billy are so excited that their seven years together have turned into forever.

There was a warm, salty ocean breeze throughout Scituate for Adrienne & Billy's big day. They celebrated their wedding at The Barker Tavern - it was founded in 1634!!! Can't get much more historic New England than that! They pulled up to Old Scituate Lighthouse in a shiny vintage Mercury, as Adrienne the daredevil hiked up her dress and hopped from rock to rock during their portrait session. She wasn't afraid to get her dress dirty in the marsh or by the ocean - now that's my kind of bride!!! Billy spun Adrienne around during their first dance, as their families watched with tears in their eyes. They just landed in Bermuda for their honeymoon - and what a glorious vacation it will be!

Adrienne & Billy, I wish you both a marriage full of love, silliness, kitchen dances, and great Irish beer <3

Thank you to all the incredible vendors!!!

Venue & Catering: The Barker Tavern
Invitations: Prospect Hill Company / Carlson Craft
Save the Dates and Favor Labels: Wedding Paper Divas
Favors: Peppermint Twist Candy Shoppe
DJ: Stephen from Good Times Unlimited
Makeup: Paige Hill
Hair: Niki Snips
Flowers: MaryEllen’s Flowers
Bagpiper: Paul Boyle
Limo: A Plus Coach
Calligraphy & Design: We’re Into It - Amelia & Natasha



Joan & Jeff // A York Harbor Inn Maine wedding

"It's never too late to live happily ever after"

Joan & Jeff have such a wonderfully quirky love story. In 2015, these two met at a gathering and were found "making out in the kitchen like two teenagers." They found out that they both drove the same exact Town & Country minivan, both had dogs named Zoey, both had sisters named Anne, and were blind in their right eye. Well, these Californians took a trip to Maine, and Jeff proposed to Joan at the York Harbor Inn and sealed the deal! Their bubbly personalities are meant to be, always laughing, dancing, kissing, and caring for everyone around them. They celebrated alongside their family, friends and a whole bunch of starfish. Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Connell for getting #yorkedinmaine !

Thank you to all the incredible vendors!

Hair & makeup: Euphoria Hair Salon and Spa - York, Maine
Nails: Cindy’s - York, Maine
Invitations: Elegant Lace - San Jose, CA
Suit Rentals: MadTuxx - Portsmouth, NH
DJ: Fred Pappalardo
Flowers: Flower Kiosk - Portsmouth, NH
Venue & Catering: York Harbor Inn
Cake: Beach Pea Baking Company - Kittery, Maine
Trolley: York Trolley Company, LLC - York, Maine

Natalie & Alex // A summer, oceanside Kernwood Country Club wedding

It all started in English class, freshman year of high school... Natalie & Alex are that special kind of couple that are destined to be together. After dating through high school, weathering long distance through college, graduating together at Salem State, and moving in together 10 years ago, these two have been at each other's sides practically forever. After proposing on a beach with his Great Aunt's ring (to Natalie's response of "Holy shit!"), they started planning their dream wedding in their beloved town of Salem. Through storms and sunny days, dozens of half priced burger nights, road trips to Maine, star gazing, and one very spoiled cat later... we have a 17 year love story: and finally presenting, the new Mr. & Mrs. Poverchuk! Congratulations you two, #itsaboutchukingtime!

Thank you to all the amazing vendors!

Hair: Katelyn Votto
Makeup: Jocelyn Witkus
Invitation: Watercolors painted by Lisa Harris, designed by bride Natalie,  printed at The Scarlet Letter Press & Gallery
Dress: Chantilly Place / Casablanca Bridal
Tuxes: Russo's Tux Shop
Catering: Kernwood Country Club
DJ/Uplighting/Photobooth: DMD3 Entertainment
Flowers: Salvy The Florist
Cake: The Rustic Baking Company
Videographer: Chris Thomas Creative

Alia & Austin // A Boston Museum of Science Wedding

"Come let me love you, let me give my life to you."

Alia and Austin descended down the escalator to the lower level of the Blue Wing, stealing a kiss while their guests cheered them on. This was their first entrance as husband and wife. They took to the dance floor, as their bridal party looked on with joy in their eyes. Alia’s grandfather nervously picked up the microphone. He looked over to his daughter, Alia’s mother, for reassurance. She reached over and pulled a guitar from the case by her feet. Alia’s mother began to strum, as Alia’s grandfather began to sing: “You fill up my senses, like a night in a forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain…”

Alia and Austin interlocked their fingers, pulling each other close. They slowly swayed, as their family serenaded them to John Denver’s “Annie’s Song.” The room was silent, listening to the duo, with the exception of a few sniffles here and there. As the song ended, her grandfather gave her two thumbs up, as she ran over to give him the biggest hug. “You did great Papa - you did great.”



Alia and Austin managed to incorporate dinosaurs in every part of their day, whether it was walking down the aisle to the Jurassic Park theme song, to literally strutting around in dinosaur heels all day. Oh, and who can forget their kissing dino cake topper, or more importantly: the dinosaurs that beat extinction and joined the party? They poured themselves into each detail of the day, and enjoyed every last minute of it (and every last bite of their chocolate peanut butter cake).

To road trips, to ups and downs, to love, to snuggles, to MARRIAGE. 

Thank you to all the amazing vendors!

Second shooting: Anthony Fusco
Venue & Catering: Museum of Science
Hair & Makeup: Shamona S, Tiffany C, and Jessica N from Be Glammed
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Cake: Sweet Tooth
Flowers: CeBola Design
Shoes: ZombiePeepshow / Etsy
Band: Con Fuoco String Quartet
Acapella group: Vinyl Street
DJ: Aux Boston
Lighting: Design Lighting

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Somaly & Samnang // A Cambodian Stevens Estate wedding

On a hot, sunny June day, Somaly & Samnang (lovingly known as Maly & Nang) celebrated their first ever moments as husband and wife. As she recalled the first time they met during the ceremony, Maly began to cry. The pair has known each other for over 15 years, shared Long Island iced teas in clubs all over the world, got engaged on a beach in Bali, had a beautiful daughter Abzelle (quote from the bride: "She's the best thing ever"), and are so excited to spend the rest of their lives together.

They mixed American and Cambodian traditions, having a single-day wedding at a nontraditional venue, The Stevens Estate in Andover, MA. They had an American ceremony, then Somaly changed into a traditional Khmer bridal dress to collect envelopes full of money from their guests. From their doughnut bar, to the guests' talents in breakdancing and c-walking, to the hundreds of family members traveling from near and far to celebrate, last night was a night they will never forget!

Maly & Nang - your wedding was such an incredible experience full of SO many laughs and even more love. Abby is the luckiest girl to have you both as her parents - congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Kong! You're the!

Thank you to all the amazing vendors!!!

Officiant: Johnson Jones
DJ: DJ Phat
Florist: Consider It Done
Planner: Lian of Mikadow Weddings
Cake: Reesie's Cakes
Catering: China Pearl
Makeup: Solis Makeup
Hair: Paula Somangka
Invitations: Zazzle, designed by Blush Paper Co.
Dress: Inbal Dror
Bridesmaid dresses: Soieblu
Groomswear: ASOS / H&M

Lena's Wedding Day Survival Kit // What's In My Bag



It took me seven years to write a
“What’s In My Bag” post…

But as I sat down to write it, I realized there’s a whole lot more that powers me through a wedding day than camera gear.
I crafted this list to showcase all my favorite things to help me rock a wedding day, from shoes, to hand cream, to my go-to lens.


Canon 5D Mark IV

My main body is the 5D Mark IV - with wifi, a touch screen, and unparalleled low-light noise handling, this camera purchase was way overdue. I can send a photo to my phone during dinner, edit it on my phone in VSCO and Lightroom Mobile, and post it before the wedding is over! Hello extreme sneak peek!

Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip

I have never owned a camera without a battery grip. It may make your camera a bit bigger, but it holds two batteries (which often gets me through an ENTIRE wedding day without ever even changing them). The biggest reason I use it? SIDE BUTTONS! I can shoot vertical (which I do for 7/10 photos I take) without straining my elbow to the sky. The shutter, along with focus point buttons are on the side of the grip, making your camera right-side-up regardless of vertical or horizontal shooting.

Canon 5D Mark III

My backup camera is the 5D Mark III. This was my main body for over 3 years and 230,000 shutter clicks - and still looks brand new. 

Canon 50mm f/1.2

My one true love. I could (and have) shot an entire wedding with just the 50. This incredible piece of L glass performs miles better than the 1.4 - it’s sharp, with unparalleled bokeh, great with low light, and minimal lens distortion (which you correct in Lightroom anyway). If I were to use one lens for the rest of my entire life, this would be it.

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

Ok, sometimes we need to go wide. The 24-70mm is my favorite for the reception, because I can hold it above my head on the dance floor and shoot, shoot, shoot! Getting pullbacks of the bride getting ready, fun dance shots, and full venue shots are key with this lens.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB CF Card

The fastest out there. Tried and true, I have 7 of these and buy fresh ones every year.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB SD Card

My camera has dual card slots for CF and SD. When you shoot with both, your camera will read and write at the slowest speed (always the SD), so make sure you get a fast SD card or your camera will have a hard time writing the files while you’re on burst during the first kiss.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Simple, effective, and can even flash on BURST - which is why this makes this my favorite flash. The built in diffuser is so handy, and the commands are simple. It's not a battery guzzler, I go through one set of batteries on 1/4 power for a full wedding day and use fresh ones for the next shoot.

Locho Satchel Camera Bag

I love this bag! I have purchased from the Cheeky Lime family before and had that bag for 3 years (before passing it down in the family to my second shooter). This bag doubles as a messenger bag, shoulder bag, AND backpack. I love wearing two straps, but needed to find a “backpack” formal enough for weddings. This bag is large, has a nice amount of zipped pockets, and the leather is gorgeous. 

Locho Camera Strap

Still keeping it in the family, I couldn’t pass up a $9.99 camera strap from Locho as well. It’s so comfy and more padded than the original Canon strap. 

AmazonBasics AA Batteries

48 batteries for $11… *adds to cart*

They’re packaged in sets of 4, so it’s super easy to throw in 2 sealed mini packs for my flash for a wedding. I will never buy batteries at the store again!

Macro Filters

Did you miss my love letter to the $9 macro filters? Instead of spending $800 on a macro lens for a handful of ring shots, get these - $7.99 for 4 macro filters, and you can stack them, too. These ones fit the 50mm 1.2, but you can search any mm lens thread!

Zazzle Business Cards

I've printed with Moo and Vistaprint, but my favorite is Zazzle. These extra thick, glossy business cards are sophisticated and simple. You can upload your own designs or customize pre-existing designs (and boy are they snazzy). Zazzle is constantly running sales - wait until you can get 40-50% off packs of 100, so you'll pay around $15 for them!

Kate Spade Business Card Holder

For so long, I didn't keep cards on me because of how dirty they would get in my purse. Then, I'd have an embarrassing exchange where I would write my info on the back of a receipt. I got this as a gift and I can't stop showing it off! Card problem solved!

Safety & Bobby Pins

Take a trip to the dollar store and grab some packs of safety pins and bobby pins to keep in your bag - you never know when they'll come in handy.

Command Hook

Just in case there isn't a convenient place to hang and photograph the dress, bring a command hook with you. They hold up to 5 pounds and you can stick them anywhere for perfect hanging.

Bride Hanger

I keep this wooden custom bride hanger from Etsy in my car in case the dress is on a plastic generic hanger - mine says "Bride" on dark wood with a white bow.

AmazonBasics iPhone 5/6/7 Cable

6 feet cables smoke the 3 footers. I’ve had two for over a year and they still work perfectly.

Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm

For the creamiest lip balm out there made with honey, a hint of mint, almond oil, shea butter, and white chocolate. 

Lush Charity Pot Hand Lotion

I keep a mini 1.7oz container of this in my purse at all times - it’s self preserving, which means there are a lot of cocoa butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe, and more. Plus, 100% of the price goes to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.

Lush Dirty Solid Perfume

Just in case it’s a really hot wedding day… I keep solid perfume, which is the exact same size as my lip balm tin, in my purse to rub on my wrists or neck in case I need to refresh.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

For eyebrows that don’t melt on a wedding day or get smudged pushing your camera up against your face all day… this stuff changed my life. A container lasts me about 5-6 months! Smudge free, waterproof, LIFE. SAVER.

Tom's Natural Moroccan Crochet

For breathable, comfy shoes on a summer day, definitely wear Toms. I can’t wear heels while working a wedding, so I spend the past two years wearing these - they’re simple and cute, however they do not provide arch support.

Photo by Mei Lin Barral

These are the tools that help me rock a wedding day!

Do you have any products or rituals you swear by to have the best wedding day?

Share in the comments!

XO, Lena