Tips and Tricks

Wedding Decor Trends for 2018

If you’re like me, you mindlessly scroll Facebook until you see something interesting or drama inflicting, and earlier today I saw something that literally made me gasp. It was an article (not going to say by who but if you’ve seen it you know it) calling for all brides and couples to stop using burlap and mason jars in their wedding decor. 

I’m here to tell you to shove opinions like this out of your head and use whatever you want for your wedding decor! It doesn’t matter to anyone but you if you use burlap, mason jars, decorate the table with blades of grass from your grandma’s front yard, whatever! A lot of time brides think, “Well, I wonder if people will like this?”  

My dearest brides, stop worrying about what other people will like or think will look cool and worry more about what you want to see images of in your wedding gallery. If that means a burlap wrapped mason jar with sunflowers in it, then so be it! Your wedding should celebrate who you and your spouse are as a couple! I’ve shot many weddings and seen many, many styles and every time I see burlap and mason jars, I smile because I know that’s that couples personality coming through in their wedding. Just like I smile when I seen huge centerpieces with intricate flowers or no centerpieces but cameras and a bottles of beer. 

So, this is me, your wedding photographer, telling you that it’s 2018. Decorate your tables how YOU want to, and not how some magazine says something will be trending. 


Side note: I can take very good macro images of blades of grass. 😂 



Rustic, country wedding at Willow Creek acres in Kingsport, TN, Limestone, TN

Rustic, country wedding at Willow Creek acres in Kingsport, TN, Limestone, TN

Rustic, country wedding at Willow Creek acres in Kingsport, TN, Limestone, TN

Rustic, country wedding at Willow Creek acres in Kingsport, TN, Limestone, TN

Rustic, country wedding at Thomas Farm Events in Kingsport, TN, Church Hill, TN

Rustic, country wedding at Thomas Farm Events in Kingsport, TN, Church Hill, TN

Classic, intimate wedding at Meadowview Convention Center and Domtar Cabin in Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN

Classic, intimate wedding at Meadowview Convention Center and Domtar Cabin in Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN

Classic, intimate wedding at Meadowview Convention Center and Domtar Cabin in Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN

Classic, intimate wedding at Meadowview Convention Center and Domtar Cabin in Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN

Classic, intimate wedding at Meadowview Convention Center and Domtar Cabin in Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN

Classic, intimate wedding at Meadowview Convention Center and Domtar Cabin in Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN

5 Things You Should Wait To Do Until You Find Your Venue

Finding your venue is one of the first steps in the wedding planning process (and can also be one of the most challenging!). There are plenty of things you should keep in mind when starting your search, but what about those things you should hold off on? I’m looking at you, over-planners. I was one of them myself! From dress shopping to securing the final guest list, make sure to hold off on these five things until you’ve found your perfect spot.

Hold Off on Dress Shopping

This can be a toughie, especially if you’ve been eyeing your dream dress for months (or years). But think about it like this—would you buy a dress as a guest to a wedding without knowing where it is? Probably not. You want to know the setting to make sure your style fits. That ballroom gown might be calling your name but if you end up having a casual coastal fete, it may not be THE one.

Hiring a Coordinator

Not to be confused with an event planner! A planner can be such a great resource in helping you find your perfect venue to begin with. But if you’re not hiring a planner or yours doesn’t offer day of services—hold off on hiring a coordinator until you know if your venue offers one for day of assistance. This was something my wedding venue offered and I’m thankful I didn’t hire one of the few I had chatted with beforehand. Lots of venues don’t offer this, so you very well may need to hire one. 

Selecting Stationery

This one is obvious for the date and location—of course you need to know your venue before doing this part! But you’ll also want to hold off on selecting your stationery design so you can tie it into your venue. We like to think of a save-the-date or invitation as your wedding’s first impression. Give your soiree a cohesive feel from start to finish by holding off on choosing your design until you’ve selected a venue.

The Final, Final Guest List

Going into your venue hunt, it’s very helpful to have a close to final guest list count. But this doesn’t mean you need to know an exact count! Choosing a venue we loved was on my husband and I’s top three priority list and we were willing to cut down our guest list to make that happen. Don’t shout out to the world and promise your distant relatives and once-a-year friends an invitation before you find your perfect venue. Once you’ve secured it, go ahead and create that final, FINAL guest list.


You might have good intentions and want to start crossing to do’s off the list early on, but make sure to wait on researching other vendors until after you’ve secured a venue. Similarly to hiring a coordinator, your venue might have lots of in-house resources, preferred vendors that’ll give you a discount or vendors that specifically work at that venue on a regular basis. So before you put time and effort into researching lighting, linens, rentals and more, find out what your venue offers first.

The Wedding Experience | Kingsport, TN Wedding Photographer

What is it like to work with Lakyn Hayes? We’ve compiled all the key information you need to know to get started!

Our Philosophy

After seeing so many stressed out brides during the course of my career and timelines that leave a lot to the imagination, we have realized that there are just some things that we will not do our brides the disservice of allowing. We have a list that every couple needs to ensure the most incredible wedding experience and it has become standard to not offer anything less than that!

Our Process

We want our couples to feel like themselves, to have time with their friends and family, to have the most gorgeous portraits of the two of them that showcase their joy and last but not least, our couples deserve to have a wedding day that is stress-free. The Wedding Experience blog post is designed to give them just that! For more detailed information, contact us! We're excited to hear from you!

Getting Started

Once you're officially official and your date has been secured, it's time to schedule an engagement session! It's the key to our process, and where I truly get to know my couples!

It's during the engagement session that we teach our couples how we work and become comfortable with one another! The trust that we build during that first session emerges once again on their wedding day and it's amazing. THIS is how we're able to capture so many beautiful portraits on a wedding day! Our couples know the poses, they trust me and I already know how to capture them in the most genuine form. There is nothing that makes me feel more successful as a photographer than when I capture an image that radiates a couple's pure and genuine joy!

The LHP Bride

When we become a part of your wedding experience, you're automatically adopted into the LHP Bride family!  And as awesome as the name is, the true beauty about this "LHP Bride" phenomenon is the fact that all of my brides are absolutely AMAZING women that I can see myself being friends with for a lifetime. They are not just clients, they are such incredible blessings in my life and I'm so thankful for each and every one of them.

There is something so intimate and special about not only being by a bride's side ALL day on her wedding day, but also CAPTURING the whole day as well. It's such an honor to play such a vital role in one of the greatest days of a woman's life!!  It's exciting to think about who our LHP Brides will be in the future! I'm giddy just thinking about it!!  



9 Tips for Your Engagement Session: Outfit Edition | Kingsport, TN Wedding Photographer

1.  First things first. When preparing for your engagement session, the first step is to make sure you choose a great photographer with a personality that you love.  Consider whether they will be able to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera during your engagement session and keep you calm on your wedding day. Will you be able to laugh with them, let loose, and show your true smile? When you have a wedding photographer you completely trust to capture all of the most important moments, then you can sit back, relax, and let them do their job of making you look beautiful.

2. Location. Before you start picking out your outfits, you should determine the location of your shoot. Engagement sessions are meant to be personalized to the max so I always encourage my couples to pick a location that is special to them. Once you choose that location, you can start choosing your outfits.

3. Accessorize. Wear or bring lots of accessories! A necklace, a bunch of bracelets, a scarf, a hat, cute shoes... the list goes on. For guys, I recommend watches or a favorite belt or necklace!

4. Complement each other! Coordinating your outfits a little bit is fine, but don’t wear matching outfits. If you don’t dress like each other every day of the week, I don’t recommend dressing the same for your engagement shoot. However, wearing colors that complement each other and pieces that have common shades are fine.

5. Layer it up. Clothes often photograph better when they are layered, so consider adding a cardigan, blazer, or jacket to finish your look. The weather in Northeast Tennessee can be pretty unpredictable all year round, so prevent uncomfortable photo sessions by layering your look. That way, if you decide to have some photos taken in the cool shade and then hike to your next sunny location, you don’t have to break a sweat. Layers are also great because they hide areas you might not feel comfortable flaunting. For the guys, depending on the weather, it’s often simple enough to have another shirt under a sweater or jacket to change things up halfway through the shoot. Layers can also include accessories like a vest or belt, which always add another element to the photos.

6. Choose outfits that you feel beautiful in. Don’t worry about all of the rules of what you should and shouldn’t wear; simply make sure you feel great when you look in the mirror. Coordinate your colors but don’t be too matchy.  I typically ask couples to bring 2-3 outfit changes for an engagement session, but make sure to ask your photographer how many outfits to bring.  If you’re really stuck on what to wear, ask your photographer if you can send them photos of your outfit options and let them give you their opinion

7. Personal Touches/ Special Heirlooms. Add a touch of sentiment to your photos by including an item that is special to you: your grandmother’s locket, your father’s watch, your favorite sports team jersey or your cowgirl boots.  These items will add a personal touch  and will make your images even more meaningful as you look at them today, tomorrow, or 30 years down the road.

8. If you want extra ROMANTIC images, consider wearing something long and flowy! I absolutely love photographing fabric that flows in the wind! Also, light & neutral colors allow images to appear more light and airy no matter what the weather is like!

9. Don’t over think it! Some of my favorite outfits have been when the guy is just wearing a simple colored v-neck!


10 Things Brides Forget | Kingsport, TN Wedding Photographer

As much as you prepare for your big day, as the fates would have it, things are forgotten. If you're like me, you have lists upon lists of stuff that you can't forget, and then when the time comes, you forget the lists. During my time as a wedding photographer, I have noticed the following things being forgotten, when they're probably one of the most important!

1. The Invitation Suite – The invitation suite is one of my favorite things to style with the rest of your details on your big day. You should remember to pack at least one full suite and any other stationery details that were mailed out during the engagement.

2. Getting Ready Playlist - What's better than a playlist curated by your bridal party? Nothing short of saying I do to your sweetie. Champagne, your favorite girls and some good tunes always make getting ready a little more fun.

3. Marriage License – Seems like common sense, but I've seen it forgotten plenty of times.

4. Phone Chargers – As much as we know you want an unplugged wedding, making sure your phone is charged so is vendors can get a hold of you (or your contact person) is important if something needs to be addressed

5. Eat Your Cake - You'll be having so much fun that it'll be hard to get in more than one bite of your wedding cake. Girl, you paid good money for that! Make sure to appoint a person (or let me know and I can hook you up) to cut a few slices for your and hubby to enjoy after the wedding or if you're crazy like me, for breakfast the next day.

6. Clean the Bling – Your engagement ring goes through a lot! Make sure to have it cleaned so it has that extra sparkle for your wedding day

7. Emergency Kit – Again, common sense, and I always have one on me, but it never hurts to have back ups. Make sure to include things like Bobby pins, safety pins and stain removers!

8. Feed Your Vendors – We work hard to make sure your day is perfect! We will eat quietly away from your guests and appreciate every bite insert angel emoji here

9. Online Reviews – We live for reviews! Make sure to write out a small review for each of your vendors on social media or the knot! Not sure where to review? Shoot me an email and I'll let you know

10. Unplug Your Wedding - There are so many reasons why you should opt for an unplugged wedding. Mostly, it ensures you have the best possible images of your ceremony (i.e. no huge phones/tablets in the way of your first kiss), and also it lets your guests really take that beautiful journey with you and your sweetheart from the first time he sees you, to the first kiss.