Favorite Tree at Bush Park

Family Portrait at Bush House in Salem OregonBush park is one of my favorite places to take clients for shooting. There’s a variety of reasons why I like this place, it’s close to my studio, there are tons of flowers of all sorts and there are different settings all within a short walking distance. But among all this variety, I have a very favorite tree there, a Japanese wisteria. Bush park actually has a few of these dispersed throughout the gardens. There’s a giant one next to the historic Bush house, another in front of the house and a small one across the rose garden from the house. My favorite is the one in front of the house. It’s not small, but not large either. It sits relatively close to the ground and is surrounded by grasses and small flowers. It’s perfect for someone to sit within its branches. That’s often where I direct people to sit. There’s even a stretch of wood that works great as a low stool. Once within the branches, the purple and white petals fall downward and provide a great backdrop.

But there’s one major drawback to this location, it doesn’t last long. Two weeks pushes the height of the best photo opportunities with these Japanese Wisteria, which makes timing with the weather more difficult, but if you can get in a session with me, then you’ll be really pleased with the results! Based on the weather we’ve seen in the Willamette Valley so far, I’d guess this spot will be good in a week and will last about 10 days, so call us and schedule your session with us soon to book your spot!

Senior Portrait at Bush House in Salem, Oregon

Budgeting for your wedding

Weddings are expensive. Let’s face it.

According to CNN, the wedding industry is a 53.4 billion dollar market and the average wedding costed about 28,000 in 2012. Those are some crazy numbers, and I’m certain they are only rising. That doesn’t mean that you have to take a second job just to be able to afford your special day. Plenty of brides are on a budget and their wedding days are magical.

I believe that there are two main factors that need to come into play when you’re planning and budgeting for a wedding:

  1. Prioritization
  2. Effort

Wait, what?

Granted, those traits sound quite boring, but they are of utmost importance in my opinion.

What I mean for prioritization is to organize what you want your wedding day to be and then prioritize each component. Think about all the things you want in your wedding and then place them in order of importance. For example, you have a list like this:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • DJ
  • Cake
  • Flowers
  • Dress
  • Etc

Then you need to organize them in importance to you. Perhaps flowers are at the bottom of your list and the venue is at the top. Then list everything else in order, for example:

  1. Venue
  2. Dress
  3. Officiant
  4. Photographer
  5. Cake
  6. Catering
  7. DJ
  8. Flowers
  9. Videographer

For this list, I put the venue at the top because I think that getting married in a beautiful location is the most important thing. Videography is at the bottom because I am not very interested in watching my ceremony video years down the road. Videography is still on the list though, because I put some importance to it. If my budget allows, I will hire someone to make a video. Perhaps the dress isn’t a big deal to you. List it lower. Maybe having photos is really important. List it higher. Once you have your basic list organized, you can really start seeing how much your wedding is going to cost when you start approaching vendors and seeing their price lists.

The second thing that I think is really important in planning a wedding I’m calling effort. What I mean is that the amount of effort you put into your wedding day should give it greater importance in your life. I don’t necessarily mean that you should try to arrange all your flowers or make your own cake, but by all means do so if that interests you. For me the wedding ring I gave my wife was really important. I wanted to make sure that not only did I choose a beautiful ring for her, but I actually wanted it to cost more money than I normally would have spent. I had to work more hours and save more money to buy her ring, but it was so worth it. For the extra hours and saving, I’ve ensured a lifetime of her being proud of her ring and the symbol it stands for. I’m not saying that anyone who chooses to buy a cheaper ring is going the wrong way. When you have your list of priorities, you’ll list what’s the most important thing first and I think you should work extra for that. If you really want your guests to have a great memory of your wedding day, perhaps a DJ who can keep the day upbeat and rocking is your thing.

So really take time to prioritize your list of wedding things by importance to you and then put in the extra effort for the important items on your list and you will be more successful at keeping to a budget and you’ll still have your special day, perfect for you.