McCall & Brian :)
P.S. Don't forget that you can enlarge the horizontal images by clicking on them! :)
Tracey & Caroline met doing what they love best: theatre. The director and the actress fell in love and the rest was history. Brian and I met up with the pretty couple on a chilly December afternoon at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA and we were immediately struck by how happy they are together. We spent the entire session laughing, telling jokes, and getting along famously. Their May wedding can't come soon enough...we're super excited & very honored to be shooting their big day! :) Enjoy some of our favorite pics from their engagement session. :)
McCall & Brian :)
P.S. Don't forget that you can enlarge the horizontal images by clicking on them! :)
I'm giving this advice as a former bride, a former bridesmaid, AND as a wedding photographer. Not all of my tips will apply to everyone, not everyone will agree with my advice. But there are some common themes that I hope will be helpful to everyone considering becoming a member of a wedding party.
Being a member of the wedding party is a big responsibility. It's signing on for months of activities, dress fittings, traveling, parties, expenses. It is time consuming, it generally costs quite a bit of money, and it's also an honor to be asked. The bride and groom are asking you to stand beside them on one of the happiest days of their lives, bearing witness to their love, their commitment, and pledging your friendship & support as they start their journey as a married couple.
As a wedding photographer, I see all kinds of wedding parties, from intimate groups of just a best man and maid of honor to a grand party of 30. I really enjoy taking wedding party pics...it's a chance to show off not only the hair & make up, gowns & tuxes that took forever for the group to decide upon, but a way to express the kind of couple you're representing. But it's also one of the biggest challenges I face as a photographer, especially when someone (or someones) aren't really into it.
Perhaps you accepted the duty because you felt obligated. Maybe the bride or groom was in YOUR wedding party. Maybe they're a family member. Maybe they asked you in front of a room full of people and you said yes because you didn't want to say no or because you didn't have a chance to think it through. On behalf of brides & grooms and yes, wedding photographers everywhere, when you're asked to join a wedding party, give it some thought. Make sure you have the time in your schedule, the money in your bank account, and the joy in your heart.
Be responsive to emails/texts/phone calls. It doesn't matter if they're asking you to pick out a pair of shoes or give them your size or if you'd prefer crab cakes or chicken. The more timely your response, the easier you're making things on the bride & groom. I know it's not as important as responding to say, your boss, but maybe you could pretend that each email question has a deadline.
And on the big day...be helpful. Ask the bride & groom how you can help them best. Maybe it's letting the groom crash in your spare bedroom the night before. Maybe it's giving grandma and grandpa a special ride to the reception. Maybe it's keeping an interfering relative away from the bride. Maybe it's being in charge of the gifts or assisting the DJ in identifying key people. There are a gazillion and one tasks to be done and many times, the bride & groom don't want to ask their wedding party peeps to do more, feeling that they've obligated them enough. But seriously...you've come this far. You've spent the money and thrown the bridal shower or the bachelor party. You've been to ten dress fittings. You're wearing the most uncomfortable shoes you've ever worn, a ridiculous vest, or a dress that cost you $500 that will never see the light of day again. So ask how you can help. It will be appreciated more than you could ever know.
Remember...smile. Smile a LOT. The camera sees more than you realize. Believe it or not, I can tell if you're jealous of the bride, if you think the groom isn't good enough for her, if you hate your tuxedo, if you think the bride's dress makes her look like a Vegas showgirl or an oompa-loompa. Most of all, I can tell if you would rather be getting a root canal than standing beside your cousin/sister/bestie from third grade/coworker you barely know. IMHO, if you really don't want to be there, you probably shouldn't accept the offer...but if there was no way around it (it's hard to say no to family especially), consider it the acting role of a lifetime. :)
Be wary of the open bar. I know it's tempting to drink everything in sight and then dance the night away, but you want to make sure that you are still "on call". Maybe you're a designated driver, or you're keeping an eye on the kids under 12, or you promised to direct the out of town guests back to the hotel. It's totally ok to kick up your heels and truly celebrate your friends and the special night, but do it responsibly.
As far as the formal photos go, usually taken right after the ceremony, trust me-I know it's hot, you're tired, and you really just want to get to that open bar and stuff some appetizers in your face and then exchange those stilettos for some flip flops. But make the effort to enjoy the photo time. Stay nearby, tell your friends & dates you came with to enjoy the cocktail hour while you do your photo duty, and don't leave the immediate area until you're officially dismissed. All in all, it's about 20 minutes of formal portraits. If everyone listens carefully and does what the photographer asks, it will go that much more smoothly and quickly, everyone will look great, and you AND your bride & groom will have a very special keepsake to grace the walls of the house for years to come. And hey, if we get through all the formal posed ones, we'll have time for some funny ones, creative ones, jump shots, model shots...you name it, we can make it happen. But it takes dedication and cooperation. If you have suggestions for fun poses, pull the photog aside privately and make your request. I personally LOVE ideas and try my best to accommodate all requests. If you feel like some specific pose is lame, remember...chances are the bride or groom made the request for that specific shot beforehand. When it's your wedding, you can call the shots on posing...until then, just try to smile and enjoy it as best you can, however cheesy it may feel. :)
I hope I haven't scared anyone off of their lifelong dream to be a bridesmaid or a groomsman. I've always been so honored to be in the weddings of dear friends and family. If you don't know what that honor will entail...ASK. Ask the bride or groom. Google proper wedding party etiquette. That will help you make an informed decision and really be the best kind of friend to have in one's wedding party.
P.S. Having wedding party members who help out the photographers?
Bonus. At my most recent wedding, I had the lovely Tara regularly asking how she could help us, pointing out who people were, where things were located, answering our random questions, and even offering to get us food & drink. It rocked. :)
Diana & Francisco met when she was a tender 14 years old. They eloped at 17, had their beautiful little girl Giselle a few years later, and are now celebrating TEN years together! And to that end, they are having the big wedding they didn't get to have all those years ago. So on August 30th, their wedding/vow renewal will be lovingly documented by Brian and me and we can't wait! We photographed their engagement/couples session at the DC Harbor and couldn't have asked for more perfect golden hour light, breezy summer weather, or a more charming couple. Brian took great care of Giselle (some of those photos will come later) while I focused on Diana & Fran. It was a great evening and we are counting down the days till they dance the night away at The Other Barn in Maryland. Congratulations, you guys...10 years together is amazing! :)
Please enjoy their photos. Remember...click on the horizontal ones to enlarge them! :)
McCall & Brian :)
We spent the most fun two hours I've ever had at a maternity session with Corey & Ed, mom & dad to be. :) Golden hour on a warm but breezy Mother's Day evening, at Lake Needwood in Rockville, MD, laughing at their incredibly sweet, incredibly silly relationship. :) They share a genuine bond that I think comes across in their photos, and I know that Baby Smith is going to be one happy, joyful kiddo. :) Can't wait for the newborn session, guys! :)
Have a wonderful day!
McCall & Brian :)
P.S. Click on the horizontal photos to enlarge them! :)
A sweet maternity session with Lizz & Richard in Old Town Alexandria. Their daughter, Isabella, will arrive very soon and I can't wait to photograph her newborn shoot in a few short weeks!!! :)
Please click on the horizontal images to enlarge the pics. :)
On a cool, overcast Friday afternoon, an intimate group of family & friends met at River Farm, a part of the American Horticultural Society in Alexandria, VA. They were there to celebrate the marriage of Paula & Michael, who had picked this perfect place not only to wine and dine their guests in elegant style, but to fly kites with them on the expansive lawn, to make them smile & dance to the music of their fabulous live jazz band, and to tie the knot in a sweet & simple ceremony.
Paula & Michael had a terrific mini engagement session at the United States Botanic Garden back in January, so their wedding venue wasn't a surprise...clearly they love all things green. Brian and I absolutely loved every minute of their warm and fun nuptials, from the bride running in her 1940s style heels to let the wind catch her rainbow kite, to the groom and his son sharing some sweet moments pre-ceremony, to the surprise live serenade by their groomsman and dear friend for their first dance. It was an enchanting evening, and we were so honored to be a part of it. I loved that the bridesmaids (Paula's beautiful daughter and one of her dearest friends) were dressed in scarlet & carrying autumn inspired bouquets, that the flower girls wore floral circlets with their pretty dresses, and that their ringbearer was just a cutie pie. They had a classical guitarist for the ceremony and he did a terrific job.
They exited the reception in a flurry of lavender seeds thrown by their guests, and dressed in full motorcycle gear (Paula's bike helmet had a veil attached!), they rode into the night on Michael's super sexy bike. It.was.awesome. :)
Congratulations, Paula & Michael...we wish you many, many years of good health, laughter, music, flowers, and love. :) :) :)
Hugs & Blessings,
McCall & Brian :)
P.S. Remember to click on all horizontal images to enlarge them. :)
Photography: McCall & Brian Doyle of McCall Doyle Photography
Band: Triple Double Jazz Band
Venue: River Farm
Officiant: Lisa Hawkins-Smith
Classical Guitarist: Mark of Classical Guitar Ceremonies
Catering by: To Your Taste Catering
Cake by: Alexandria Pastry Shop
We met Emily & Paul at dawn in their beloved DC. It was a chilly but beautiful April morning and we had budding cherry blossoms, the monuments, and then the awesome urban area that is distinctly DC, with mosaic murals, graffiti artwork, and coffeeshops. These two computer minded people found love at the party of a mutual friend, and it's been going strong for two years now. Emily couldn't be sweeter and I finally realized who her celeb doppelganger is: Detective Juliet "Jules" O'Hara from Psych! She had some serious style going on for her session and I could have photographed her and handsome Paul all day long...we had so much fun that nearly five hours went by before we realized the time! Thank you for trusting us with your engagement session, guys! Hope your 2015 wedding is as beautiful as you both are!!! :)
Photos by McCall & Brian Doyle :)
Hint: Clicking on the horizontal images will get them to open up for you! :)
P.S. My watercolor image of Emily's engagement ring just won an Honorable Mention in a Wedding Accessories contest: Inspire
Amanda & Tom picked a fabulous venue for their wintry nuptials, a gorgeous mountaintop retreat in the heart of Thurmont, MD. After getting ready at the quaint Federal Pointe Inn in Gettysburg, PA, Amanda & her bridesmaids climbed aboard a shuttle that took them to the snowy resort of Thorpewood. Despite the pleasant temperature in the 50s, the bright blue sky and plenty of sunshine, there were still several inches of snow around the property, making it difficult to photograph the stunning 155 acres of space. Luckily, Thorpewood didn't lack for beauty inside as well as out, and we had lots of pretty photo ops, from the two story stone fireplace complete with roaring fire to the intricate and rustic beauty of the woodwork inside the barn. Elegance from the sparkling glasses and silver flatware blended seamlessly with the simplicity of the carved wooden tables, mason jar favors, and twinkle lights strewn from the rafters. The small wedding party, the 70 guests made up of their closest friends and family, and Amanda & Tom's sweet dog Piper filled the afternoon with warmth and love.
From the joyfully tear-filled First Look, to the heartfelt ceremony of love stories, poetry, rings & vows, and the magical ending of everyone young & old on the dance floor, boogeying the night away...it was a brilliant day from start to finish. I think the highlight for us was the eclectic and amazing band, The Bumper Jacksons, whom they hired to play their ceremony and reception. They describe themselves as "jazz, ragtime, and pre-war country"...I've really not heard anything that quite compared to their own unique sound. They were the perfect score to this fantastic love story. Brian and I feel confident that Amanda & Tom will live happily ever after. :)
Hair: Natural Fusion
Make up: Margo Belle Pisnoy
Band: The Bumper Jacksons
Officiant: Jessica Ben Ami
Photography by McCall & Brian Doyle
P.S. Please remember that you can enlarge the horizontal photos by clicking on then. The vertical photos are as large as they get! ;)
Paige & Bobby picked the perfect winter day for their wedding. There was snow on the grounds, enough to make it pretty but not any on the roads. The sky was that shade of winter blue that looks almost fake. The sunshine kept shining throughout the day. It was a LITTLE chilly (like, 33 degrees)...but hey, at least there was no wind. :)
We spent a relaxed morning with Paige, her Mom, and her bridesmaids getting all prettied up at Statements: The Salon, a place Paige has been frequenting since middle school. They didn't disappoint; they did hair & make up for the large group with skill and beauty and everyone looked gorgeous.
The ceremony at the quaint Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Woodbridge was made even more lovely with the hints of Christmas still everywhere you looked...the tree with twinkle lights sparkling on the altar, the wreaths in the getting ready rooms, the garland and nativity making everything festive. The snow on the ground lent charm to the outside world and we were thrilled that everyone bravely let us take photo after photo of them in their finery, even while freezing their tailfeathers off. :)
Everything was impeccable and elegant, yet had a homey feel that made every guest comfortable. It was as if the Freemans and the Donovans were opening their grand home (Bristow Manor Country Club) and allowing their closest friends and family to enjoy a post Christmas celebration complete with phenomenal live musical stylings by DJ Norm Voss, delicious food at Bristow, ridiculously attractive wedding party attendants, and a classic cake from The Icing.
Paige & Bobby are young, but they are already celebrating their lives with kindness, respect, love, and laughter. They're off to a wonderful start and we wish them every blessing in the world. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)
Erica & Rich were married on an unusually hot and humid, crazily sunny October day. It suited their offbeat, slightly vintage style wedding...just like the chic 1950s short black & white print dress, antique brooch bouquet and sky high bright red peep toe pumps that Erica wore and the Casablanca style white jacketed tuxedo and Star Trek cufflinks Rich wore. The day was filled with their dearest friends and family, delicious food, and a roomful of board games for guests to enjoy. Let's not forget the fill in your own comic strip to celebrate their big day. :) Best of all was the terrific music that played for hours, inspiring everyone, young & old, to dance away the afternoon. It was a great day for a great couple. Here are some of our favorite pics!
P.S. Brian took most of the photos of the guys, and in several where I've combined images, like the "First Look" and parts of the wedding ceremony, it's a combination of both of our images, which is why they vary in style a little. It's so much fun having an amazing partner and husband all in one! :)
P.P.S. Don't forget to click on the horizontal images to enlarge them! :)
MDP is husband/wife wedding, engagement, & feel beautiful photography team in the DC/VA/MD area & beyond.