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Newborn// Baby Von // Huntersville, NC

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing Baby Von’s Newborn photos. As many of my client’s know, I’m running business a little differently this year to improve the client experience with Brook Rudolph Photography. So far, every client I’ve worked with in the new year (new clients and returning clients) have both agreed that they LOVE receiving their slideshow as a way to view their images for the first time. Check out Baby Von’s very first photo session on the blog today <3

Baby Von from Brook Rudolph on Vimeo.

Huntersville NC Newborn Baby Photographer | Family Photography

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Maternity // Tips For Fabulous Maternity Photos

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I like to approach all of my maternity sessions from a glamour perspective. I want all mommies-to-be to have the opportunity to have a photo session taken of them in this stage of their life that looks as if it is magazine worthy. So, if glamorous pregnancy photography is what you’re looking for, here are my tips for making sure you look and feel extra fabulous!

1) SCHEDULE A SESSION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

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The sooner you contact me during your pregnancy the better I can help you with your photo session styling needs. You’ll want to be photographed somewhere near the beginning of your third trimester.

 

2) CHOOSE A LOCATION THAT POPS

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Most professional photographers can make any location look amazing… For instance, I’ve photographed pregnancy photos behind a business building, in a creek, on a dining room floor, in the woods, in a basement, and in the middle of a busy shopping center. Anything is possible, but the priority is to make sure that the location represents you. Don’t have a specific location in mind? Talk to me and we can find the perfect spot for you!

 

3) SAY YES TO THE DRESS

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Dresses are what make maternity sessions look extra red-carpet-worthy. Most empire waist line dresses will work for your session, but if your want something amazing… my favorite maternity photo shoot dresses are found from Roses And Ruffles, TAoPaN, and Boutique By Agnes. For a one-of-a-kind dress, contact my favorite local wedding dress designer, Kimberly Glass. She can literally make anything… seriously.

 

4) DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO TAKE IT OFF

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I totally get that some ladies are NOT into showing off their bodies. What I’d like you to mentally note is that I’m here to make you look amazing in your photos whether you’re clothed or not.

 

5) LET’S STYLE IT!

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“But what does that even mean?!,”  you ask. Opting for a “Styled Session” means that I’ll set up an entire look for you. For instance, when I photographed this beauty shown above, she dreamed of being photographed with a floral wall as a backdrop. From there, we teamed with my favorite event planner to help find an outfit and accessories for our client, create the floral backdrop with me, create a banner using the baby’s name, and we set the mother-to-be up for an appointment for hair styling and makeup. This mom didn’t have to worry about anything aside from what she was going to wear underneath her dress.

 

6) PAMPER YOURSELF

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Why? Because you deserve it! And it will make your photos pop just that much more. Hire a makeup artist, hair stylist, and (you know you want it) go get a mani/pedi!

 

7) BE THE PINNEE, NOT THE PINNER

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Stop obsessing over all the cute poses and props that you see on Pinterest. Instead, trust me and have faith. Remember when I said earlier that I was going to make you look amazing no matter what? I really am.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope you found these tips to be helpful! I can’t wait to photograph you soon:)

XOXO- Brook

Charlotte Maternity Photography | Denver NC Family Photographer

 

 

 

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Personal // 2014 A Year In Review

Just like I did last year, I wanted to write up an overview of the good, the bad, and the amazing from the past 365 days. New Years Eve is my absolute favorite holiday, because of everything that it represents. It’s a time for reflection, motivation, and goal setting. Here is mine.

Many of you may skip through all of these words that I write below, but that’s okay, because this post isn’t necessarily for you. It’s for me.:)

P E R S O N A L  T R I A L S  &  T R I U M P H S  of  2 0 1 4

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1) New Year, New Home, New Career Change… Once mine & Seth’s first house together was purchased last December, the first few months after moving in were definitely trying times for us. We’d never known each other as roommates and many many compromises had to be made for us to smoothly co-habitat together. For the first 3 months, issues such as these were popping up: Who was going to do the laundry? What is the proper way to do laundry? Can you please clear your plate in the trash before putting it in the sink? It’s your turn to take the dog out. Where is the dog? Do you smell puppy poop?… Glad that stage is over… On top of it all I was scared to death of how I was going to pay my portion of the bills. I was working through the week as a school photographer for a major company. I skimmed by pinching pennies, hating my day-job, wishing that my talents weren’t being wasted, wishing that I could be more creative with my job, and wishing that my wallet was even the tiniest bit fatter. I drove an average of 2 hours everyday in a convertible with piled up photography company BS everywhere that left me only an empty driver’s seat & an even emptier gas tank. The wear & tear on my car was getting old, I started hating children (maybe just people in general), and I was poor. My grandfather’s famous quote kept ringing in my head. Before his passing, he continuously encouraged me to do whatever my heart desired for a career, but know that I’d never earn a substantial income as an artist if I wasn’t working for myself. Maybe that’s not entirely true, but it made sense to me. So, I decided that I wasn’t getting any younger, went online, started my LLC, opened a business account, signed up for business insurance… and quit my day job.

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2) OH YEA, FULL-TIME YEA… The BEST part about 2014 was going full-time with Brook Rudolph Photography! It was terrifying and invigorating all at the same time. Of course I didn’t just jump without being smart about it. I knew I had at least 3 months of solid work lined up and that income would be more than what I was making at my current job. I advertised like crazy, prayed a lot, took advice from other entrepreneurs, and clung to the faith & encouragement that my friends, family, and boyfriend had in me. Now that January is almost here, I’ve made it 6 entire months as a full time business owner.

3) Convincing People that I was/am LEGIT… I feel like there is a stigma against photographers and the struggle to convince people otherwise is real at times. The first month that I was full time I went to an event where I found myself in small talk with a friend-of-a-friend. The question arises, “So what do you do for a living?” I smile and reply that I’m a photographer. He comes back with, “Oh. So that’s like your hobby… and then your job is…?”…………. Later I met a MUA who first gave me a story about how her career wasn’t working as she’d expected so she was going back to school for nursing. I told her what I did for a living and she gave a half laugh and said, “Yea, so you know how I feel. There are so many photographers out there. It’s hard to find business. Have you thought about going back to school?”…… The last, and maybe my favorite of the year, was when a client’s husband flat out told me that my pricing was outrageous (as he pulled up in his brand new $70K truck & orders a $15 coffee). SMH. Dear Jesus, Hold me back!

4) Convincing MYSELF that am LEGIT… I’m a recovering people-pleaser. I thoroughly enjoy the act of giving, which has at times, interfered with my pricing. As I’ve reviewed my recorded revenue for the past year I shake my head and laugh at myself. What was I thinking at times? I was probably thinking, “I like them, I’ll give them a deal.” Next year, I’m turning this thought process around. Instead of thinking about pricing myself cheaper to make people happy, I’ll be thinking, “I like them, I’m going to do an exceptionally good job on their photos to make them happy.” After all, what are you going to remember? How much money you spent on something or how much you love the final product?

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5) Taking time to learn from experts… The best business decision I’ve made in 2014 was to attend and watch as many business & photography workshops as possible. You want to talk about gaining confidence? Who doesn’t love a good motivational speech or hands-on training? I’ve honestly learned more in the last year than I think I did my entire 5 years in college. I’ve had Sal Cincotta convince me that in-person sales are what this business is all about (hello new goal for 2015), Blair Phillips gave me secrets to marketing for my volume photography & the tools needed for some amazing off-camera flash, and Amanda Holloway taught me all what’s needed to know about branding my business.

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6) No More Studio?… One of my former co-workers so generously let me sub-lease a photography studio space from her this past year. I was there for exactly one year and ultimately decided to leave. Although the convenience of having the space “saved me” a few times from having to cancel or reschedule a session, I felt that it did more harm for my brand that it did good. While working in the studio I found myself thinking less creatively and I was using a style that wasn’t what I wanted to represent my business. Without a studio, I’m now going to be able to save for a new space and location that will better fit my brand, serve as a location for in-person sales meetings, & consultations.

N O W . . . F O R   H I G H L I G H T S   O F   S O M E   O F   M Y   F A V O R I T E   S E S S I O N S   O F  2 0 1 4

This year I photographed indoor weddings, outdoor weddings, a surprise wedding, a rainy day wedding, second & third marriages, a wedding in the city, a wedding in the mountains, one in 100 degree weather, and even a wedding where I was asked to only photograph the flower girls and ring bearers. THIS diversity is what keeps me fresh and helps me expand my creativity and skill set.

Above all, I’m blessed to have had the privilege to work amoungst other wedding vendors that share my same passion and who’s talent makes me want to be better as well. Some of my favorite vendors that I shared moments with this year were…

Wedding Planners- Simply Southern Wed, Always Go Overboard Events

Wedding Videographer- Crown Alley Films and Shelby Camera, Video, & Photo

Cakes- Christy’s Cake Factory, Wow Factor Cakes, Curly’s Cupcakes

Florist- Carey Roberts Design Co, Albertine Florals, Springvine Design

Musicians & Djs- Dean’s Duets, Sabra Callas, Audio To Go with Chong Lor, DH DJ

Rentals- Got You Covered, Cooke Rentals

Venues- The Earl Scruggs Center, Brakefield at Riverwalk, Rock Springs Campground, Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard and Winery, Roof with a View, Laboratory Mills, Vesuvius Vineyards, Levine Museum of the New South, Beatty’s Ford Park, Jetton Park, and Freedom Park

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BridalPortraits

engagementsHere are a few clips of my newborn sessions this year. All but one of these sessions were photographed at the clients’ homes.

BabiesWith about 1/3 of my sessions styled, I’ve thoroughly become obsessed. In 2015 I’m looking to push for at least 1/2 of my sessions to be styled, because I firmly believe that personalization is worth so much more. In 2015 I intend to set up dates for at least 3 styled mini sessions that will most likely be for Spring, Fall, and Christmas.

Smash Cake SessionPhotographing events and birthday parties is so much fun for me. I’m able to capture the day for my clients in a way that they’d never have the time or patience for and it’s the perfect time for me to practice my wedding photography skills… detail shots, candids, low light photos, fast paced moments, crowd gathering skills, and Off-Camera flash. This year I photographed Johnson & Wales University’s Spring Formal, Costner Law Offices Christmas party, Terpsichore’s Dance Centre‘s Spring Dance Recital, and too many events to count for I Always Go Overboard: Events.Birthday PartiesEventsI accomplished a personal goal this year of photographing a preschool. It was a big deal for me for multiple reasons. One of which was to prove to myself that I COULD make it into the market and another reason was to show clients that school photography doesn’t have to be boring or traditional. Thanks for contracting with me, Little Scholars Academy of Lake Norman!Preschool photographyI’ve mentioned before in my blog posts that my FAVORITE sessions are ones where I get to photograph women. Whether it be for professional headshots (like I took for Simply Southern Wedding & Event Design), Bridal portraits, High School Senior photography, Boudoir sessions or Maternity sessions. I’m quite obsessed with creating portraits for women in a way that represents them in the most beautiful way.Senior HeadshotsMaternity SessionsOur Styled Fall Mini Sessions this year were a huge hit. Our theme “Apple of My Eye” revolved around bringing the family together in the crisp Fall air, photographed with the most precious decor that included apples, apple cider, handmade quilts, a vintage couch, Autumn leaves, and southern flair.Fall Mini Sessions

Now that the past is the past, it’s New Year resolution time!!!

Here are 9 GOALS for my business in 2015:

1) Incorporating In-Person sales to create a full service photography experience for all of my clients! (blog post about this coming soon!!!)

2) Getting more involved in volume photography (dance studios & preschools)

3) Mentor uprising photographers (high schoolers and college students in particular)

4) Learning more about and incorporating video into my skill set

5) More networking and making new photog friends

6) Attending an out-of-state workshop

7) Attending a Wedding/Bridal Show

8) Incorporating a reflector and/or off-camera flash into EVERY session that I photograph!

9) Write at least 1 blog post every other week

Thanks for being supportive in Brook Rudolph Photography’s success!!! Love you all & hope everyone has an amazing year!

XOXO- Brook

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UPRISING 2015 WEDDING TRENDS

13 Hot Wedding Trends for 2015

Being a wedding vendor means that I’m obsessed with all things wedding related and that I see a lot of trends happen throughout the years. Here are my top 13 trends that I know will be hot in 2015!

1. Downton Abbey Theme

Although the burlap theme may have ran it’s course, the vintage theme is still alive and very popular for Spring and Summer weddings. My favorite finds are from The Whimsical Rose who specializes in renting out authentic Vintage English China & Accessory Rentals in Charlotte, NC. The owner, Heather, is the sweetest and always posts really fun vintage themed ideas to the business’s Facebook page! Check her out if this is a theme you are into!

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image: The Whimsical Rose

2. Lots of Greenery

Brides will be thinking less of lots of color this year and setting their weddings to a more natural tone with lots of greenery!

 

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image: Martha Stewart Weddings

3. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”

This WILL be the wedding song for 2015. It’s the sweetest <3

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4. Tossing the Burlap

With the rise of Pinterest a couple of years ago, every southern belle wanted to incorporate burlap into their wedding theme. This year we’re likely to see less and less of this fabric selection.

 

5. Sparkles for Days

We’re finding more and more brides opting for full sparkle gowns or putting their maids in sequins from head to toe. PAH-LEASE call me if this is what you’re thinking of doing. I will give you an amazing incentive if this is the style you’re wanting to go for.

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image: Rock My Wedding

6. Tossing the Photo Props

Again, Pinterest pressured all of us to want that ampersand prop, lots of chalkboard signs, and a prop for every single photo from your engagement session and wedding day. These days couples are realizing that the props aren’t what make or break the photo. It’s the couple. This photography studio is D.O.N.E. with the typical photo props and moving on to more creative ideas. Unless your hanging out in the photobooth, leave the props at home this year.

 

7. One-Of-A-Kind Dresses

Brides want exclusivity and are steering away from the typical David’s Bridal gowns (there’s nothing wrong with a David’s Bridal gown, by the way!). Now Brides have the option to hire seamstresses to custom design their wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses, and flower girl attire. My favorite local dress designer has to be Kim Glass. She’s amazing and has made 2 bridesmaid dresses for me and wedding gowns for 2 of my very best friends. She even made one of the wedding dresses convertible so that the bride had one look for the ceremony and a completely different look for the reception.

 

8. Dapper Grooms

We’re noticing more grooms getting involved into the wedding attire process. We’re noticing more tailored looks and grooms that want to look less like they are going to the prom and more like they are heading to the Grammy’s.

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Suit by: Jack London

 

9. New Age Dress Rentals

This year is going to be all about the rentals for the ladies. We all say it, “Oh you can totally wear that bridesmaid dress again.” But do we EVER wear it again? Nah. How come all the guys can rent a tux, but the ladies have to buy their dresses? Not anymore. Online sources like Rent The Runway and Little Borrowed Dress, allow the Bride to find the perfect designer dress rental for the rehearsal dinner and the perfect bridesmaid dresses for her ladies.

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10. Elopements

With the pressure raining down on every bride + groom of this generation to have the perfect wedding with a perfect seating plan so no one sits next to an ex or a bridal party that isn’t offended by their position, we’re finding that more engaged folks these days are finding it easier to make the decision to elope. It’s less pressure and it’s ultimately ALL about you two. Of course, you’re going to want photos of the moment, so call me when your planning this idea on a whim. Even if you’re thinking of doing it this weekend… or this afternoon. :X

 

11. Double Uses

Brides are getting smarter about their wedding decor purchases. They are purchasing items that can be used again for another purpose. Like lantern centerpieces that are later gifted to members of the wedding party and photo prints as wedding favors rather than a bags of candy.

 

12. Registering for your Honeymoon

For those who don’t need anymore towels or spatulas, opting to have guests contribute to your honeymoon is an awesome idea. The last thing you want to do after you just spent thousands on your wedding is to spend a ton more on your wedding moon and come home broke. Sites like Wanderable.com and Honeyfund.com are becoming more and more popular. Guests can help pay for your airfare, butler service, meals, scuba diving, couples massages, and room + board.

13. Styled Bridal Portraits

You’re wedding day will not be long enough. On your wedding day I want you and your fiance to live in the moment as much as possible. Sure, we’ll make time to take creative and stunning portraits of you in your favorite dress ever on your wedding day, but bridal portraits help make that gown purchase all the more worth it. My 2015 brides are asking to go further with their bridal portraits by going to stunning locations that we’d never be able to photograph at on your wedding day. We’re bringing in vintage rental furniture, floral walls, the flower crown you wish you could wear at your wedding, your horse, or even your grandmother who may not be able to make it to the wedding. It’s a personalized photography session that is quite literally all about the Bride.

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image: Style Me Pretty

 

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Babies // Steps To Prepare For A Newborn Session

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Whether you’re planning a newborn photography session for your first child or your fifth, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In this post I’ll give you 11 simple steps on how to prepare and what to expect from your baby’s first photo shoot with Brook Rudolph Photography.

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Step 1: DECIDE WHETHER MY STYLE IS FOR YOU OR NOT

I’m a “lifestyle” newborn photographer. This means that I don’t bring a ton of props with me. I photograph you and your baby in your home in a way that showcases the tender interaction of you all together. I’ll photograph you cuddling on the couch, rocking on the glider in the nursery, feeding, outside in your yard and snuggling on your bed. And I’ll also photograph the baby on it’s own, focusing on all of their tininess. Tiny toes, little fingers, bitty nose, little bird mouths, and of course the chubby rolls. I want you to remember the moments more than the outfits and the way your baby fits into your arms more than how they fit into a wicker basket. This is the main focus of all of my sessions. With that said, I always allow for one styled set up for your baby on his or her own. Sometimes this includes a cute outfit you purchase off of Etsy or with a special blanket or backdrop that we both agree is a must-have shot. Keep reading to find examples of styled set ups I photographed in the past.

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Step 2: BOOK YOUR SESSION WHILE YOU’RE STILL PREGGERS

Sometimes, babies come on their own schedule, but if you let me know your due date, I can make sure to leave several dates around that time available for your session.

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Step 3: LOOK AROUND YOUR HOUSE AND DECIPHER A COLOR SCHEME

Why? Because this helps tremendously when choosing outfits. When you walk into your favorite shopping store would you purchase hot pink curtains for your living room that is dowsed in fall colors? No way. Consider this when deciding on outfits for your session. Our end result is to create wall art to be displayed in your home. With that in mind, decipher whether it’s best to choose outfits that are neutral colors, bold colors, patterned, or pastels. Can’t decide on your own? Send me a few pictures of the interior of your home and I would be more than happy to help guide you in the best direction!!

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Step 4: DECIDE ON TWO or THREE OUTFITS  for the baby

Remember that our end goal is going to be to photograph your baby to remember baby at his or her tiniest stage in life. For this reason, we want to see as much skin as possible. I ask that you choose at least 2 outfits, because this not only adds variety to your photographs, but often parents like to have one outfit for when they are photographed with the baby and another outfit for the child when they are photographed individually. Keep it simple… choose a onesie, headband, diaper cover, or other small accessory. Contact me to see a list of some of our favorite shops & vendors! I’ll also be bringing along plenty of wraps for your baby, so don’t worry if you don’t have time to find something for him or her to wear on your own. Below are a few examples of some styled looks that clients and I have came up with together.

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Step 5: DECIDE ON ONE OUTFIT FOR MOM, DAD, & SIBLING(s)

You’ll want these outfits to match the baby’s first outfit… and remember if you’d likely not buy curtains for your home in the color outfit that you’ve chosen, then you should reconsider your selection. We find that the most flattering outfits are dresses for moms and a solid colored cotton tops for dads. The quicker you decide on outfits for your family, the more at ease you’ll feel.

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Step 6: SEND ME PHOTOS

Send me simple cell phone pics or screenshots of the outfits that you’re planning to use as well as the baby’s nursery and your living room. I don’t always bring a ton of props, but when I do, I like to make sure that they will match the environment that they will be displayed in. Make sure to communicate any specific ideas that you may have!

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Step 7: KEEP ME UPDATED WHEN BABY IS BORN (& schedule an exact date & time for your session)

Ask someone to contact me when the baby is born and when you are expected to be able to come back home. We’ll want to photograph your baby within the first 10 days of birth, so communication with me is key!

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Step 8: ASK YOUR MOM, MIL, SISTER, or BFF FOR A FAVOR

I know you are likely going to be exhausted after the baby is born, so put your pride aside and ask a friend or family member to come over to help lightly clean for you. The locations I’ll likely be venturing into are the nursery, your bedroom, your living room, and the room in the house that has the most windows or brings in the most amount of light (this is often the dinning room or foyer).

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Step 9: KNOCK KNOCK! YOUR PHOTOG IS AT THE DOOR

Once I arrive, I’ll verbalize every step that we’re about to take, help you with posing, make sure your hair is in the right place, and stop for breaks whenever they are needed.

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Step 10: YOUR ORDERING SESSION

Before I leave your home, we’ll schedule a time for me to come back to your house for the following week. At the ordering session you may invite anyone that you think will want to purchase prints, digital files, and other products from your Newborn Session.

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Step 11: RECEIVING YOUR WALL ART AND PHOTO PRODUCTS

Your order should be available within 2 weeks of your ordering session. Because these products are so important to you, we want to ensure their safety from our hands to ours. For this reason we choose to hand deliver these items rather than mailing them!

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 PREFERRED VENDORS

FAVORITE ETSY SHOP | Roses And Ruffles

COMPLETE WARDROBE STYLIST | Allison Bridges of Always Go Overboard

HAIR STYLIST | Eva Rudolph of Salon Utopia in Cornelius

MUA | Erin Ashley Makeup

MATCHING MOMMY + BABY HEADBANDS | Headbands of Hope

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