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Nicolas & Kayla | Bohemian Garden Wedding | Gathering Oaks Retreat, Crawford, Texas

A bride and groom embrace with the Texas sunset behind them during their spring wedding day at Gathering Oaks Retreat in Crawford, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com

Easter weekend was the most gorgeous spring weekend you could ask for, and the perfect weekend for Nicolas & Kayla’s wedding celebration!

When we arrived at Gathering Oaks Retreat we found Kayla in the La Casita cottage, getting her makeup done by Callee Kelly. This cottage is the cutest bridal suite! And the big windows and large mirror made for some beautiful portraits of Kayla getting into her dress.

Kayla picked out her dress from Georgio’s Bridal - a gorgeous, fitted gown, complete with intricate lace detail on the bodice and train. She looked stunning! Her daughter, Aubree, agreed, and it was adorable watching Aubree admire Kayla in her dress all day.

Before the ceremony began, we had to take pictures of the beautiful work Kathy Thorman with Before I Do had done. Her hanging baskets filled with soft purple and white roses, and a touch of macrame fringe, hanging from the arbor completed the bohemian garden vibe for the ceremony. All the tables were decorated with spring blossoms and lanterns, and the bridal bouquet Kathy made Kayla was so beautiful it brought Kayla to tears.

While it’s always fun to admire the hard work our wedding vendor friends put into such beautiful weddings, our favorite part of our Sweethearts’ wedding days is still noticing all the special little moments that happen. And being there to photograph them.

We’ll never forget how in awe Aubree was of how beautiful her mom and dad looked on their wedding day. Nor how much love Nicolas & Kayla had for Aubree so obviously on their faces whenever they looked at her.

Nicolas & Kayla wrote their own vows to one another, and Nicolas even wrote vows to Aubree and shared them with her during the ceremony. It’s little moments like those that are such an honor to photograph

We still laugh about how Aubree learned to count like Jason- “1, 2, 3, cheese!” -during all the family portraits, and how she even stood beside him directing her grandparents and aunts and uncles in photos. Kayla emailed us later to say Aubree had been playing photo shoot with her dolls since the wedding day, so we’re looking forward to seeing her work in the future!

And when we snuck these Sweethearts out of their reception for some sunset pictures, we were able to photograph them with a Texas sunset in the sky and a field of cows behind them. It’s the perfect image for them to hang on their wall in their new home in Alabama and remember the magical place in Texas where all their family and friends came together to watch them begin their life together.

Purple and white roses hang in wooden holders from the arbor for a spring garden wedding at Gathering Oaks Retreat in Crawford, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride taps her father’s shoulder and he turns around to see her in her wedding dress for the first time | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride hugs her father before her wedding ceremony at Gathering Oaks Retreat in Waco, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride poses with her flower girl daughter before her bohemian garden wedding ceremony in Waco, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A groom cries as his flower girl daughter walks down the aisle before her mom | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
Groom cries as his bride walks down the aisle at Gathering Oaks Retreat in Waco, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride and groom have their daughter be their flower girl for their wedding day | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride holds her groom’s head and looks into his eyes while they dance during their wedding reception at Gathering Oaks Retreat | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride and groom swing on a tree swing in a field on their wedding day at Gathering Oaks Retreat in Crawford, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A groom gives his young daughter a bite after he cuts the cake with his bride | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A groom dances with his young daughter during his wedding reception at Gathering Oaks Retreat | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride and groom leave their reception under a tunnel of sparklers at Gathering Oaks Retreat in Waco, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride and groom kiss under a tunnel of sparklers at the end of their wedding day | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com

Dear Nicolas & Kayla,

The only thing more beautiful than your wedding day is the love you share between you…and with Aubree. We pray for many more years of whiskey in mugs, loving glances at one another, and a close bond between you. We hope Alabama feels like home because you are all there together.

Love, J&M

A bride and groom look out over a field as the sunsets in Waco, Texas | Jason & Melaina Photography | www.jasonandmelaina.com

Wedding Professionals who made this beautiful wedding possible-

Venue | Gathering Oaks Retreat

Planner & Florals & Decor | Kathy Thorman of Before I Do Waco

Caterer & Cake | Bestyett Catering

DJ | DJ Kris with a K

Hair & Make up | Callee Kelly

Bridal Gown | Georgio’s Bridal

3 Posing Hacks to Rock Your Next Selfie

Christmas is coming, New Year’s Eve isn’t far behind, and you know what that means? It’s time for PARTIES!!! Christmas parties, office parties, end-of-the-semester parties, your kid’s classroom party, Christmas gatherings with extended family, and the biggest party of the year, New Year’s Eve! And do you know what parties mean? PICTURES! Whether it’s your Aunt Edna pulling out her point-and-shoot for family photos at Christmas dinner, or your BFF taking a million selfies on NYE, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up in a few pictures that make the rounds on social media in the next couple of weeks.

3 posing hacks to make you look less awkward in front of the camera - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

But what if having your picture taken fills you with dread and makes you get the nervous sweats? What if you want to look posed and confidence like the picture on the right, but are terrified you’ll look more awkward and uncomfortable like the picture on the left?

Have no fear, friend! We’ve literally taken courses on how to pose people in flattering poses and we’re going to share with all you ladies (sorry, fellas) 3 quick posing tricks to give you confidence the next time your picture is taken.

These posing tips deal with 3 areas of the body women often consider unflattering in pictures - their necks, their upper arms, and their hips. So scroll down to learn our tips to make your neck double-chin-less, your arms slender, and trick the eye into thinking you’ve dropped a full dress size!

The Neck - “The Turtle” Posing Hack

Ever open up the camera on your phone and look down to realize it’s still on selfie mode? Then you know how unflattering multiple chins can look! If the potential to have a double-chin or saggy neck is something you worry about when you get your picture taken, there’s actually a really easy fix for this.

Get rid of your double-chin in photos with this posing trick - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Before I tell you the fix, though, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This posing hack is counter-intuitive to what your body will want to do. You see, when we have insecurities about how we’ll look in pictures, our tendency will be to back away from a camera. Someone brings out a camera or pulls out their phone for a group selfie, and we start worrying about how we’ll look in the picture and wish we weren’t getting our picture taken, and then we’ll start pulling our body away from the camera or phone in an attempt to “hide” ourselves.

But here’s the thing, if you pull your face back, you know what happens to the skin on your neck? It bunches up on itself! Even if you have barely anything to be considered a double-chin, pulling your face away from the camera is going to exaggerate that area of your neck. And you’ll end up with exactly what you were trying to avoid!

Profile view to demonstrate posing technique to get rid of your double chin in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

So instead of backing away, you need to do what we call “the turtle.” Imagine a turtle slowly stretching his neck out to push his face out of his shell. And then, ever so slightly, push your nose and chin towards the camera.  Pushing your face toward the camera slightly is going to stretch out your neck and get rid of any extra chins that could potentially show up.

The Upper Arms - The “Elbows Out” Posing Hack

Now not all of us are blessed with Michelle Obama arms and this trick isn’t going to help you have defined biceps. But it will help your upper arms to not appear as large as they could, which is a huge win!

Once again, your fears over how your body will look in the picture could in fact make your fears reality. Just like pulling our face away when we’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, our natural tendency with our arms will be to clamp them down at our sides. Maybe it helps us feel more secure, or maybe it’s our way of forcing ourselves to be as thin as possible? Whatever the reason behind it, holding your upper arms tightly against your body is going to force all the muscle and fat on your upper arm to spread out. Go ahead, try it now. If you hold your arms against you, you’re actually going to make your upper arms appear bigger than they normally are!

Before and after examples of posing trick to make your arms look slimmer in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Instead, remember our simple trick, “elbows out.” If you’re concerned about how your upper arms look in pictures, when it’s time to pose simply pull your elbows away from your torso. This will allow a slight gap between your upper arm and your torso. By leaving this slight space you give your body definition and avoid flattening out the muscle and fat in your upper arm. Your upper torso will appear slimmer and the upper portion of your arm will look it’s thinnest. Win-win!

The Hips - The “Hip Swivel” Posing Hack

What if I told you that remembering to do our “hip swivel” posing trick in pictures will make you look one dress size smaller than you are? I haven’t actually measured to verify this claim, but I can say our “hip swivel” will trick the eye into thinking your hips are not the widest part of your body.

If you are concerned about how your hips look in pictures, you’ll want to avoid standing squarely facing the camera. Standing with your hips squared with your shoulders, pointing at the camera, is going to showcase the exact width of your hips and make them appear as the widest part of your body. But keeping your hips at an angle is going to give the illusion of a slim bottom half.

Before and after examples of posing technique to make your hips appear smaller in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Here’s how to pull off our “hip swivel” technique. First, figure out the hip closest to the center of the group in the picture. Next, shift your weight onto that leg, pushing that half of the hip towards your rear. Now bring the other side of your hip slightly towards the camera. Finally, put a slight bend in your front leg, popping the knee and pointing it slightly towards the center of the picture.

So for example, say you're posing for a picture with your office BFF and she’s standing on your right side. You’ll need to shift your weight onto your right hip/leg and push it slightly behind you. Next you’ll bring your left hip slightly forward toward the camera. And finally, you’ll put a bend in your left knee and angle it towards the center of you and your friend.

Ta-Da! Now you're selfie ready!

And there you have it! 3 quick little adjustments you can make the next time you're in front of the camera to tweak any body areas that concern you. But more importantly, these posing hacks will give you confidence in front of the camera, and confidence is the most important tweak you can make in front of the camera!


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