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A moment that can not be edited … Capturing love <3


I write this blog because as I am sure you can guess my fees, process, and lack of editing are often questioned by others in my field…

When a client calls me up or asks for my services in photography my first response is ” I would be honored, and please know that my photos are raw, unedited, and as I see them through my lens!” Why? Because I believe that a moment can not be edited in but captured. For some clients they are immediately uninterested, which is fine, and for others their ears perk up. I have talked to other professionals that tell me I don’t value myself enough by offering cheaper prices, and some say I will never make it anywhere by undercutting them. Well, none of these are my intents!!!

As some of you may know from following my blog or meeting me I was a single mother of three until last September when I married my best friend. I could never afford to pay someone $500 to capture my baby being born, a family reunion, or my child’s first birthday. Thus started my own love for the art. I have always loved photography and capturing moments with my girls that can NEVER be replaced. If my house was on fire and I could only grab one possession it would be my photos. Why? Because pictures take you back much like a song. You have everyday moments that should be cherished just as much as the large events in our lives. Sometimes as parents we throw that amazing birthday party and forget to charge our cameras..oops. Well in today’s society we rely on our phones for our pictures, but you can not print those pictures in good resolution to hang on your wall in your home. 

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I will give you a perfect example; I was hired to face paint for a birthday party and was finished early. As I was packing up I overheard the mother, as well as one of her guests, say their cameras weren’t working. I had my camera in the car from a previous job so I offered to finish my last hour by snapping a few shots. I captured some amazing moments that no doubt would never have been seen. I was able to do this because I wasn’t running around putting out food, making sure everyone was okay, getting the cake ready, and so much more! 

I have photographed births, babies two days old, weddings, bridals, events, festivals, Family gatherings,, and birthdays to name a few. My process is to watch the way people interact and click when they aren’t expecting it. I went to a business function not long ago and we all were to stand up and tell about ourselves and our business. After I stood up another gentlemen described his photography plan. He ended his announcement with “Don’t hire me for your kids birthday party because I am too expensive.” I must tell you that it took everything I had to not say… “But hire me because I am not and would be honored to capture those moments of love.”  In business we all have our own vision, and in that our own responsibility to our clients. My responsibility is to help a mother remember the water gun fight of ’09 at their family reunion, or how she accidentally forgot the candle on her son’s 5th birthday and how nobody cared. I have learned that life is short and every moment should be honored, captured, and cherished for we never know when God takes us home and all we have are the photos.

pho·tog·ra·phy

 noun \fə-ˈtä-grə-fē\

: the art, process, or job of taking pictures with a camera

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What does this photo say to you? Stay tuned for opinions, thoughts, and I have a story to share that you won’t want to miss. :)

How to Plan ahead for Parties and SAVE MONEY!!!


This may seem like an impossible feat but I PROMISE you it is not!!!!

Let me start on this note;

You know when your daughter will turn 5, at least I hope you do ;)

You know when your son will graduate, praise God!

You know if you are a football fan you will have a Superbowl Party, unless your team doesn’t make it :/

You know your best friend is having a baby and wanting you to plan her shower or maybe a reveal party, so much FUN!!

I won’t give you all of my tricks because I am available for hire but I do have a few tips to share. You may be asking yourself the question of how? How do I buy when I don’t know what the theme will be, the colors, or how many people? All very valid questions thus I give you

TIPS TO SAVE YOU MONEY;

1. If you KNOW your daughter loves Princesses and while you are in the store you see party favors that have princesses on them for ONLY $.20.. BUY THEM!!! 

2. If you KNOW (Or anticipate) your son will graduate the year before hand then be on the lookout for the clearance goodies. You can find tons of things without dates. For example plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths. These tiny things add up and I have purchased them for as little as $.10 a package!!

3. If you KNOW that you LOVE football after Superbowl buy your favors for next years party! I went to a store and purchased 2 tablecloths, 4 packs of napkins, 20 party favors (koozies in the shape of a referee shirts SO CUTE!!), hanging footballs, and 100 plates for $2.90!!!! Wow right??

4. For the baby shower look outside the box…just because it’s a baby shower doesn’t mean your plates have to have a baby on them. At every store check for colored items to match your party such as candle holders, ribbons, chargers, quirky containers for silverware, and even try consignment stores for something out of the box.

My philosophy as a single mother for years was always to do the most with the least, because I had no other choice. Please keep in mind that a party doesn’t have to break the bank it’s the originality that stands out most. So buy your clearance goodies and contact me for your Day of Services whether it’s Planning, face Painting, or Photography!! :)

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*Please note those awesome dress notepads w/ pen were purchased on clearance at $.50 originally $3 a piece. Other items such as rings, stickers, and swords (for the knights) were purchased in bulk at the $1 store. Entire place setting for each guest ONLY $3.25!

Writing a large check…and being happy!!! Weird right?


I have to say that this was such a learning experience and so personally fulfilling that I almost feel selfish! Sounds crazy right!!??? I gained more than I ever imagined from planning this event and am so grateful to be able to work with Love is Bald and Pretty in Pink! After all costs and expenses were paid, I am happy to say, for this first time event I was able to raise $2800. I never really thought that writing two checks for $1400 would make me so happy!! Light up the Night 2014 was an amazing success despite the rain that deterred people from coming and some that left early. I started this project with a goal of raising $5,000.00 and I almost reached that goal! So next year I can not wait to see what happens! 

I need to give a shout out to all my vendors, sponsors, and volunteers that were involved;

Volunteers; Dr. Bradley Walter and his lovely wife Becky Walter, Joycelyn George, Amanda Murray, Chris Wright, Shawn Best, my lovely little sister Hannah, Maranda Lewis, Sarah Edwards, Shawn Winter, Megan Pratt, Laura Meade, Kat O’Sullivan, 

Bands & Music; Chasing Opal & Stoney Creek Music, Perculating Sounds was our DJ (Also all sponsors)

Sponsors/Vendors; Dr. Egg Pediatric Dentistry, Crystal Coast Photo Booth, Compassionate Fit, Linda’s Cuisine, Queensboro, Premier Designs with Lisa Clark, Bill Smith Caricatures, Pretty Little me Boutique, Paparazzi Jewelry, Celebrate Home, Pure Romance, Ocean Candle Company, Jilly lights, Sunny Soap, Enchanted Realm, Park Lane Jewelry, Elite Chiropractic, Pampered Chef, Origami Owl, Katiemade Crafts, Dress up that Door, Shelly’s Jellies, Stella & Dot, and Jewelry by Cindy

I can not thank you all enough for your support, help, and donations! A special shout out to Captn’ Bill’s for allowing me to throw this event at their facility. Not only did people purchase puzzle lights all across the U.S. but I also received raffle items and donations as far as California!  I am working on next year’s event so stay tuned for more details. I am thinking about how we can light up the night for a different cause! Please give me your suggestions of an amazing nonprofit that you know needs our help! Feel free to ask me how you can get involved as I need help in many different areas and I love to meet new friends. Because without YOU this event would not be possible!! :)

Here is the link with pictures from the event and more to come!! So stay tuned and like the facebook page to find out more https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.643427365712712.1073741831.533901203331996&type=3

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Light up the Night 2014


As the date is closely approaching I must say that I have gained more than I imagined from this experience. I have had those effected tell me heartwarming stories and meet some incredible people along the way. It makes you self reflect…..see this event is being held to raise money and honor anyone you have lost to cancer or that has survived. A night of celebration for those we love!!

I started this project because of my love, adoration and respect for both Love is Bald and Pretty in Pink. (These are the two non-for-profits that all monies are being raised to benefit) I have seen the organizations work first hand and KNOW the lives they touch, change, and heal. I was honored to work even closer and help in the best way possible..offering my services! In July of 2013 I sat down with both Organizations to pitch my vision, and my ideas. Initially this was to be a sky lantern lighting but through feedback from the community I was pushed to the test to come up with an original idea that would blow the previous one away…..and IN A HURRY!!!

Back in November I saw puzzle lights and fell in love with them and tracked down a vendor who was able to come to this event with their uniqueness. The puzzle lights started over on the West Coast and are slowly moving here. Together she and I created a custom design specifically for this event. Thank you Jill Turner!!! Now I am even more excited than before because guests get to take their light home with them as a keepsake. I even had someone tell me that they have been waiting for this event ever since the fashion show last September!

I have always loved planning events but again I will say that I have gained so much I feel like I am unworthy of it. However I know that God will use my knowledge and I can not wait to see where it takes me next….

If you are interested check out the Event page, invite your friends  https://www.facebook.com/events/482113305250083/

Want to know how you can donate or purchase your light? $25 in advance and $30 at the door

http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/light-up-the-night/75178

CHECK OUT EVENT LINEUP ONE EVENT PAGE, TWO BANDS, DJ, PHOTOBOOTH, 21 VENDORS, RAFFLES, SILENT AUCTIONS, AND FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wedding Show ………. A….MA….ZING!!!!


As I am home reflecting and unpacking from  The Perfect Wedding Planner Magazine’s wedding show at Holiday Inn Resort I am feeling so blessed! Blessed for so many reasons…….

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1. I love my job!!

2. I love my clients that have all become my close friends! I look forward to making new ones :)

3. I love to meet other like minded professionals.

As I unwind from the excitement I think about my two favorite days in the planning process. What days  you ask? The first day is the day I meet my clients and get to know everything I can about them.  My philosophy in planning the best wedding ever is to know in and out what my clients want. Because sometimes I have to make a rush decision and I need to KNOW what my client would choose if they were in my shoes.

The second day is the day of the wedding and it’s not because I get to see the vision come to life, and not because the job is done. Don’t get me wrong seeing the vision in full swing is amazing.  I love the wedding day because it is the day that I run around making sure everyone shows up, making sure all candles are lite, every flower is in place, the cake has arrived, and the food is set. However when I walk into the dressing room to make sure my bride is ready to go is when my favorite moment occurs. She (the bride) looks at me as I walk in and her face lights up. She hugs me with a sigh of relief because she knows that I have taken care of everything and all she has to do is enjoy!! :)

A few pictures from today!!! Looking forward to hearing from my new brides, grooms, mothers and mothers to be!

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Favor Display '14
Favor Display ’14

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St. Thomas '11
St. Thomas ’11

Reasons to hire a Planner….not your Aunt’s sister cousin….


I know many of you ask why? Why do I need to hire a planner when I can make everything myself or go to pinterest?  Why hire a planner when I can organize all vendors? Why hire a planner when I don’t need any recommendations for vendors or venues my grandmother knows everyone? Why hire a planner when my Aunt’s sister’s cousin is going to take care of it all?

Those all seem like valid questions right? As a professional planner I almost cringe especially when I hear the last question. Why? Because the last question tells me two things. First that you do not want to have to worry about anything the day of your wedding so you have asked someone else to help. And second that you may be in for a disaster…

I KNOW you love your Aunt’s sister cousin and I am SURE she has the best of intentions but there are so many things you need to think about outside of that. Does she know how to facilitate a timeline for the day of a wedding? What if she gets too sick? What if she is a little controlling and her vision is not your vision? And last but not least what happens if there is a family dispute ? Let’s face it sometimes there are :) and it helps to have a person there to help who’s ONLY interest is making her clients happy while professionally intervening.

Keep in mind that as an event planner there have several packages available so even if you don’t need a full wedding planner please consider hiring for at least your day of coordination.  As an event planner I am here to help you with your budget, bring your vision to life, help with fellow vendors/venues, vendor meetings, and much more. The most important job I am have is to help my clients be at ease and know that all they have to do is sit back, relax, and LOVE each other. Please don’t let your Aunt’s sister cousin ….well….you know! The best place for her to be is front row watching you get married and enjoying your beautiful day with you!

HAPPY PLANNING and more importantly CONGRATULATIONS!!

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FULL Invitations for $1….postage included!!!!!!


How you ask????

If you can recreat something from pinterest you can do this!! Bargain shopper even BETTER!!!!

Look for clearance items especially after season. I did this for wedding invitations but  you can use the same idea for any party or function you are having. I purchased a full set of 50 invitations with inserts, envelopes, reply cards and all for $1!!! (Since they were only $1 I bought several boxes!!) Break this down…that’s $.02 PER invitation! That in itself is awesome!! Right?

 

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We had our wedding at the Land of Oz and I actually walked to my husband down the yellow brick road. It was a beautiful rainy day. I purchased the postage card inserts from zazzle.com for .18 a piece. So just to help you I will keep a running tab….that’s $.20 per invite now. I drew the yellow brick road on every single one of my invites, printed from my home computer verbage. The directional insert printed from home,  also came with original invites purchased. I purchased all of the Wizard of Oz books to make paper flowers then tore out a page  from a book to  glue inside of envelope to add style. Adding $.01 totaling $.21. I cut up yellow bricks and added a hot air balloon sticker to exterior of envelope for effect. My friends were finding yellow bricks for months after!! Adding another .01 totaling $.22.

Last but not least postage…to send out invitations it cost .46 and postage for Reply cards was .33. making my grand total $1.01 PER INVITE!!!!!!

As an experienced Event Planner I want to help you save money but remember if making invitations isn’t right for you, order them from a reputabable source. There are other ways you can save! Stay tuned for more tips, and feel free to ask Questions!!!!

Expert Wedding Tips for Newly Engaged Couples <3


First and foremost CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that you are on the way to wedding bliss please don’t start by being overwhelmed. Below I am listing tips to help you cope and ENJOY this process thoroughly!

1. What kind of wedding do you want?

Do you see yourself as a more laid back couple or formal? Think about the feeling or vibe you want your guests to feel. Do you want a church wedding, non-religious, or to be married by an independent officiant?

<MOST IMPORTANT ….remember do not be affected by what you think your families will want, friends, or otherwise;this is your wedding day and needs to be reflection of your love!

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2. Who to Invite?

Make a guest list first as there is no point in looking at any venues until you know the guest size you are expecting. Please remember to make your list so that you can share this special day with people that are most important to you. Do not feel the need to invite everyone you know! While you are making your lists you can star each name of those most important to help you narrow down your wedding party.

3.When and Where to Marry?

I feel that these two items go hand in hand because you may already have the perfect venue in mind and be flexible on the date or vice versa. If you prefer a destination wedding you may consider a major holiday which can make it easier for guests to attend. This can also be effected by your budget so if you want to try for an all outside wedding pick the right temperature month so guests don’t burn up or freeze to death.

4. Decide what is more important to you….

This list varies for every bride, groom, and couple as we all have different things that we are willing to weaver on but others we will not budge. Whether this is your food, caterer, photographer, florist, or even hiring a planner. Decide what is of utmost importance to help make your day go smoothly. For a larger wedding I say you need a year to plan but I have had great success with smaller weddings being planned in 6 months depending on location availability, vendors, etc. Decide what items you are willing to pay top notch for and what ones aren’t as important. This will thoroughly help.

5. Know your budget!

Sit down and decide what your budget will be for the entire wedding and then divide everything out per item of what you want to spend and be able to fill in with what you actually spend. This will help you stay on target and not go over budget. (Feel free to contact me at Courtney@pthreeplanning.com as I have a great budget I will be willing to share for a minimal fee of $10.00 . Budget allows you to set items at priority levels, tallies it up automatically and more. )

6. Hire a planner or Day of Coordinator!!!! A MOST!!!!!!!

I will stand by the statement most as you need someone outside of your family to help keep things in check and running smoothly. Maybe you don’t have the money for a full planner but at least spend the money on a day of coordinator so that you can honestly sit back and enjoy your day and know that your planner has everything in order!! 

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CANCER; Mending Hearts through Light up the Night 2014


I have been trying to schedule my posts and blogs to stay more in tune with my audience. Today I was suppose to write, and post on pinterest, a pair of shoes I made for my own wedding, but instead……

I want to get more personal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Over the past two years since starting my business I have had the honor to work with many amazing woman, men, and organizations but none have touched my heart like Love is Bald and Pretty in Pink!!! The men and women behind both are amazing and inspirational as well as the champions they help!!!

I have also personally been touched by cancer as many of you have. My mother had breast cancer three times in her life and dealt with a lot of struggles and someone else I adore is dealing with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and currently in remission. I understand the threat of family, the scare of potential lose, the hope of getting better and most important the joy of recovery. Cancer is a life long battle for everyone involved and my wish is that through these organizations, we as a community, can help each other heal and be reborn. When cancer effects your home directly you deal with many emotions and it is not always easy to focus on the positive or the light at the end of the tunnel. So I challenge you today!! How will you help? Who’s life will you touch? Will you join us as we Light up the Night to HONOR all the men and women who have passed and survived this pain we call CANCER?

Halloween and Fall Events


So for those of you that know me I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!! It is my favorite time of the year and as I am on facebook and other social media sites I see the same question over and over again…

What events/activities are there to take my children to the Wilmington area?? 

So here are a few that come HIGHLY recommended (** denotes personal recommendations)

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1. **Mikes Farm —— http://www.mikesfarm.com/ ——Lovely family outing located in Beulaville NC !!! All month of October they have everything from hayrides, pumpkin patches, concessions on Saturdays, Dinner musicals, to a haunted hayride and carnival on October 24th, 25th, and 26th

2. Poplar Grove ———- http://www.poplargrove.org/annual-events/halloween-festival/ —– Located between Ogden and Hampstead they have costume contests for kids and PETS, petting zoo, fortune teller, bonucy house, haunted hayride and more. Visit website for specific dates and information.

3. **Panic Attack Haunted House —— http://www.panicattackhaunt.com/tickets.html —– $20 per person BUT WORTH IT!!!! One of the best haunted houses I have been to! Get a group of 20 or more and pre-register and you can only pay $17 per person. They also give military discounts and a VIP line for fast pass. MUST SEE!!!!!!!

4. USS North Carolina Battleship —– http://www.battleshipnc.com/Events/BattyBattleshipsHalloweenBash —– PLEASE NOTE THAT GHOST SHIP IS CANCELLED THIS YEAR! However they have Halloween Bash featuring caricatures, popcorns, tattoos, bounce house,  and trick-or-treating on Tuesday October 29th 5:30 to 8pm.  $5 per person children 2 and under are free. 

5. **The Pumpkin Patch ——https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Pumpkin-Patch-at-Wesley/122818257775811?sk=info —- Best place in town for the funniest experience for the kids to find the perfect pumpkin for your family in ALL SIZES!!!!

6. Trick or Treat Under the Sea ——— http://www.ncaquariums.com/archives/18622 —— $8 per child for this event under 2 is free. Checkout website for more information and registration. Thursday October 24th and Friday October 25th 5-8:30pm

The list could go on and on and on so here are a few websites to find out more!

–Riverfest, Railroad Extravaganza, Mark Twain event at Thalian http://www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/events-calendar/

–Pancake Breakfasts, Salty Paws, Blues and Jazz Festival, How far to the Bar http://www.pleasureislandnc.org/events-list.php P3 will be at the Pleasure Island Blues and Jazz Festival to face paint again this year!! We are honored to be a part of this amazing event for the 3rd year in a Row!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Image