MELISSA, AARON, BILLY + OLLI

A RELAXED BACKYARD COUPLES SESSION IN BURNIE, TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

I'm about as excited for Aaron and Melissa's wedding in January as Billy and Olli are to see their favourite orange ball! When we first met over coffee they told me about their laid-back, backyard wedding plans and I loved hearing about their upcoming celebration with family and friends. We then found out that we live in the same area, just down the road from each other! They have a huge backyard and plan on having a yurt - a yurt really is just the ticket, don't you think? (I do!)

When thinking about your pre-wedding session (and these are super important, I include them for free in all my wedding packages; they give the couple a chance to become more comfortable around the camera and give the photographer the chance to see how you interact together, meaning that on the wedding day your portraits are of a better quality), I suggest keeping it as close to normal life as possible. For Melissa and Aaron, that included a play with their puppers, Billy and Olli in the backyard at home. (For you, that might be different; it may be a walk on your local beach/in your local park, it may be going out for coffee/a drink, or a visit to the farmers' market and cooking lunch together, something you would normally do together during the weekend is the best way to go.)

Including your fur=babies in the pre-wedding session is a great way of making sure they don't miss out on the lead up to the big day - it's not always the most practical option to have them present on the day itself. As an aside, this can work if you keep them involved for a relatively short time - this is for their benefit as well as yours - say, for the ceremony only, and then have someone they're familiar with take them to a location away from the excitement for the rest of proceedings. This will let them be involved, but will also give them a break - meaning that you're less likely to see "naughty" behaviour (or at the very least, if you do, it's only for a short time and will make for very entertaining ceremony photos!) For this reason, many couples decide not to include their fur-babies on the big day and if you go down that road, don't feel guilty! Weddings are stressful enough for humans, let alone our pets. Which is why it's so great to include them in your pre-wedding session - trust me, or just ask Billy and Olli!

Anyway, I guess that's a fairly long-winded way of saying how much I love it when couples include their pets for their pre-wedding photography sessions! If you're considering it for yours, double-check with your photographer but I'm willing to bet they'll be all for it as well!

The hugest of thank yous to Aaron and Melissa for giving up part of your weekend to spend some time taking photos with me and to Billy and Olli for being such good boys - can't wait for the big day (and that yurt!)

Naomi xx

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