One of the most popular topics that I come across all of the time as a wedding & event planner is styled shoots. How do you start planning one? How do you get vendors involved? What if you don’t have any connections? What if you don’t have any money? Rather than continuing to repeat this information over and over again – I figured, why not make a blog post out of it? I’m super excited to be able to refer all questions regarding styled shoots and how to use them successfully to not only increase the versatility and aesthetic of your portfolio but to also create lasting vendor relationships! Here we go!

Styled Shoot Team:
Photographer: Terri Baskin Photographer // Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Paper Goods & Florals: Amanda Day Rose // Bridal Attire: Gossamer // Hair & Makeup: BobbyPins & Blush // Cakes: Sorby Sweet // Vintage Rentals: Paisley & Jade // Ring Boxes: The Mrs Box

1. Start with a Consistent, Shareable Vision

What exactly are you wishing to accomplish with your styled shoot? Are you trying to increase your portfolio? Introduce some new elements and/or alternatives to the industry? Stretch your creative imagination? Either way, one of your first steps towards executing a styled shoot successfully is to accurately depict your vision in a visual, shareable way. I highly recommend doing this by either creating an actual drawing (if you illustrate well and are going for something more unique and rare), or by creating an inspiration board compiled of images and/or elements that combine to create a consistent vision. This will help once you move towards building your vendor team!

What exactly are you wishing to accomplish with your styled shoot? Are you trying to increase your portfolio? Introduce some new elements and/or alternatives to the industry? Stretch your creative imagination? Either way, one of your first steps towards executing a styled shoot successfully is to accurately depict your vision in a visual, shareable way. I highly recommend doing this by either creating an actual drawing (if you illustrate well and are going for something more unique and rare), or by creating an inspiration board compiled of images and/or elements that combine to create a consistent vision. This will help once you move towards building your vendor team!

Styled Shoot Team
Photographer: Megan Chase Photography // Venue: Bristow Manor Golf Club // Coordination & Styling: Hello Love Events // Florals: Love Blooms // Paper Goods & Calligraphy: Just Write Studios // Bridal Attire: Formal Envy // Hair Stylist: Styled by Anna Fazio // Makeup: Carolyn Thombs // Cakes: Fat Girl Cakes // Linens: Candy Crush Events

2. Be Specific.

This is where you put vision to paper in terms of logistics and will assist you in the next step (budgeting). If this is for a wedding-inspirational shoot, are you looking to have a tablescape? If so, how many place settings do you wish to have? How many centerpieces would you like to be displayed? Will there be models? How many and what will their roles be? Be as specific as possible so that you can ensure that all items are planned for during the research/planning phase for the shoot. Be sure to make note of the decor vision that you have in mind for each element. You will use these notes to explain vision and logistics to vendors and make it easier for them to understand their part and, also, connect with your vision.

3. Budget Wisely.

For each element of your styled shoot – is there a cost involved? Will you require the participating vendors to cover the cost or will you be contributing to the bill? Keep in mind that depending on the scale of your vision, costs can add up quickly and may require some investment on your part in order to bring that vision to life in a justifiable way. Sometimes vendors are willing to cover the some or all of the costs – it really depends on where they are in their business and if they feel as though your end goal is worth their responsible cost. In most situations where experienced vendors are concerned, the more you are willing to invest in covering the costs of your desired elements, the more willing they are going to be to participate!

Be sure to keep in mind that some elements are more costly than others (i.e. – flowers – an item that will need to be ordered fresh and will die shortly after and be unusable – will be more costly than furniture rentals – items that the vendor already HAS and can be returned and used over and over again).

Styled Shoot Team
Photographer: Brandilynn Aines Photography // Venue: Leesylvania State Park // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Florals: The Proper Petal // Bridal Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Hair & Makeup: Bridal Beauty Associates // Cake: Sorby Sweets // Rentals & Linens: Cre8tive Touch Events & Rentals // Artisan Welcome Basket: Marigold & Grey // TeePee: Aggie & Francois // Dreamcatcher: The Foraging Fairy

4. Answer the question: “What’s in it for Us”?

Be prepared – gone are the days of tempting vendors with the promise of online publication in return for their participation. Again, it depends on who you are desiring to join your vendor team. Start-up businesses and those who do not have a huge portfolio may see this as an excellent opportunity. However, if you desire to reach out to more established businesses (those with an extensive portfolio, tons of online/magazine publication features, or who are already booked up for the year), please be prepared to offer something more than the *possibility* of a feature. I always recommend simply asking what would interest them! Perhaps they are needing something that you can possibly provide/connect them with – OR – they may simply come out and request you to cover the cost of the item/service. Either way – the worst that they can say is NO. Don’t be afraid to jump out and test the waters.

Styled Shoot Team
Photographer: For the Joy Photography // Venue: Arbor Haven Weddings // Coordination, Styling & Calligraphy: Hello Love Events // Florals: Ginger & Bloom // Bridal Attire: Ava Laurenne Bride // Hair & Makeup: Bridal Beauty Associates // Cake: Sorby Sweets //  Artisan Welcome Basket: Marigold & Grey

5. Build Your Vendor Team.

At this point, you’ve put a bit of time into solidifying your vision, the specifics and how you are going to market yourself to possible vendor team members. It’s time to put this plan into action! The first vendor I recommend starting with is: Venue. This one is normally the piece in the puzzle that is the most difficult to solidify simply because they are the least flexible. Most have very limited dates and times in which you can execute your styled shoot. Some also can provide a LOT of furniture and utensils if this is something that you are looking for – even possibly, decor items that you can use. It will also help you to solidify the date/time of the styled shoot that you can pass by the remaining vendors when you reach out – as this will probably be one of the first questions they will ask. Once you have booked your venue, then you can jump to the next!

I recommend moving in order of importance to you. If florals are a huge element in your styled shoot, reach out to your florist contacts next! I also recommend that you only reach out to ONE vendor at a time. You never want to be caught in a situation where two (or more!) vendors desire to join the team and then you have to explain why you no longer need one (or more) of them. Be polite, professional, and respect people’s time. One last recommendation – please research the vendors you are reaching out to. Don’t simply google florists in your area and mass email all of them in the hopes that at least one of them respond and join your cause. This is in bad taste and reflects poorly on you. You are attempting to build relationships in the midst of this process and this means putting a pause on the hustle and being intentional about reaching out to the hardworking professionals and letting them know that they are not just a person whom you *need* something from but that you are actually desiring to build an actual working (and sometimes even personal) relationship with!


YAY for Part I! I hope this blog post was super helpful for all of you out there desiring to make styled shoot-magic happen! Stay tuned for Part II coming to the blog on tomorrow! See you, soon! XO


Kristina and I crossed paths during my very first Pursuit Community gathering a little over 2 years ago. She shared that she was a wedding photographer who, one day, desired to transition into becoming a wedding planner, herself! We agreed that we would schedule a time to chat about her coming onto my team of wedding day assistants to gain some experience and to learn whatever that she could while working with me.

Fast forward to 2017, and I’m not so sure her dreams are still the same. 🙂 Enjoy reading all about her and her fiance, Joshua, who is also a very kind, handsome young man. I sorely enjoyed standing alongside them on their wedding day as they said, “I do”!

Venue: Rounton Farm (Orange, Virginia) // Photographer: Vanessa Smith Photography //Videographer: Message Media
Wedding Coordination: Hello Love Events //Hair Styling: Event Hair by Lauren //Florals: Courtney Inghram Events
Catering: A Taste of Elegance // Bakery: Frosted Cakes Galore

Describe how you two met.
Josh and I met on the first day of our first job, at Funland.

How long had you both been dating prior to the proposal?
We dated for 7 years before he proposed and 8 years before we got married

Describe the proposal.
We took a trip to New Mexico to visit my Grandpa and to attend the Hot Air Balloom Festival. I had an idea that it was coming but every time I expected it to happen, it didn’t. I thought for sure it would happen at the hot air balloon festival, but it didn’t. I thought it would happen while we were at White Sands National Park. nope, didn’t happen there. I thought for sure it would happen while we were at the top of a mountain at sunset. But nope it didn’t happen there either. The last night we were there, we went to dinner with my grandpa and my aunt. Josh was so quiet and wasn’t eating much. I thought he had gotten sick from traveling. My grandpa said to him “Josh, every time I’ve seen you, you sure like to eat. Are you feeling alright? Why aren’t you eating?” Josh told him he was fine, that he was just feeling tired. As we approached the end of dinner, the server was getting dessert for us. That’s when Josh pushed his chair back and got down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! He did it so quickly I almost didn’t know it was happening. Everything about our proposal was truly us. I was impatient and very plan oriented and Josh was nervous but very caring. He waited until my grandpa could be there to watch him propose. He knows how special my grandpa is to me and he wanted to do it with my Grandpa there. I was so concerned about having a pretty location but Joshua knew better. He knew that I would forever be grateful that my grandpa got to be apart of our special moment. I won’t have many more moments with him and Josh wanted me to have that memory for the rest of our lives. It was perfect!

Give a 2-3 sentence summary describing your wedding day vision?
We really wanted a fun day filled with our loved ones. That was a priority for us. We envisioned it as colorful, romantic, with a hint of whimsy.

Bride: What do you like most about your fiancé?
I love his sense of humor and his caring heart.

Groom: What do you like most about your fiance?
I am grateful that Kristina loves me even when we have different opinions on things.

What is a favorite hobby that you enjoy together?
We love watching football and playing with our pup Archer.

A fun fact about the bride…
I am a wedding photographer

A fun fact about the groom…
He loves to coach. His dream job is to be a high school football coach. He currently coaches soccer, basketball and football.

Bride’s Favorite Wedding Detail:
My grandmas Turquoise bracelet and the Eucalyptus table runners.

Groom’s Favorite Wedding Detail:
The food! Specifically the appetizers.


Hello Love Events sold us with…
Her attention to the little details, professionalism, and experience in the wedding industry.


Favorite memory from working with us?
Our favorite thing was that we knew the day of, everything would be just fine. I had ZERO stress on my wedding day because I knew that you and Latisha would take care of it!

  • Tammie Sorrow - I love this. My Nephew and his beautiful bride. They couldn’t of had a more perfect wedding.ReplyCancel

    • hellolove - Hi, Tammie!
      I absolutely agree! Thank you so much for stopping by – have a wonderful day! 🙂ReplyCancel

2016 brought a slew of revelations my way – some enlightening and then others downright mindblowing. I was blessed to be able to walk away from my career as an engineer in corporate America and pursue Hello Love Events full-time! I dived into my Word more consistently than ever. I lost close to 30lbs in total. I increased my cardiac endurance to the highest it’s even been in my life. I make some breakthroughs in my marriage. I gained victory over some addictions that I have struggled with since childhood.

2016 was hard – but the results made all of the tears worth i. My aim is to make 2017 even better. My word of the year is “become”. To me – this means that I desire to become everything that the Lord has destined me to become in 2017, whatever that may be. A loving wife. A nurturing mother. A prosperous business owner. I want every single thing that He has for me in this season. How do you plan to achieve all of this, you may ask?

One of the things that I learned in 2016 is that the quickest way to reach a goal is to remove all that hindering you from attaining it. Heading into the new year, I began to hear whispers about the resurrection of Nancy Ray’s Contentment Challenge (which you can read all about here!), I thought to myself – “Well…..I don’t really struggle with being content with what I have” and shrugged it all in every way. But the Lord began to speak to my heart regarding the challenge and, here in January 2017, I’ve begun to hear a new whisper in my heart.

Although I am content with what the things I do have, I am realizing that I have way more than I actually NEED. Therefore, I am answering the call of my heart this year by participating in the contentment challenge and aiming to declutter and purge several  areas of my cluttered life. I want to remove things that don’t serve my or my families’ lives and make room for the things that actually do. These things don’t necessarily have to be tangible items, but we must understand that sometimes the emotions, thoughts, and actions that we can’t touch actually take up the most room in our lives and cause us to lose focus on what’s important and valuable. God is calling me to serve in an amazing and mighty way and in order for me (and my family) to truly be able to absorb everything that He has for us – some things have got to change (or be removed altogether!). Let’s do this!

My contentment challenge will begin in February and go until the end of April. In order to hold myself accountable, I wanted to share something with you! Last week, I was able to dedicate some time to actually recording and organizing the rules, guidelines and monthly goals for the entire challenge! YAY! I want to post them here for transparency (for those of you who are also participating and need some encouragement and/or ideas) AND for accountability (if you read this, be sure to commit to asking me how I’m doing every now and then when you are able! I’d so appreciate it!). Here they are!

I will pop in at the beginning of the challenge (February) and share more specifics about my first month’s theme and goals and also plan to share updates here occasionally. I cannot wait to complete this challenge and review everything that I have learned in order to move forward in 2017 as the very best version of myself that I can possibly be. I am looking forward to supporting hundreds of other women (and men, too!) who have committed to contentment challenges of their own. Here’s to a wonderful kickoff to 2017 – who’s with me!

XO – Coya


Courtney & Joshua found me on Facebook, reached out for a consultation and when we met in-person it was almost love at first sight. The two of them are quirky, funny and beautiful together and I they also have the cutest little person that I ever did see. His hair gives me all the feels and I just loved their lively and vivacious spirits throughout our wedding planning experience!

Even moreso, Courtney’s parents – Mr. & Mrs. Pamela & Delbert – were SO much fun to work with and continuously had me in giggles all of the time. I believe by the end of the night I wasn’t sure who I would miss more – Courtney & Joshua or her parents!

Courtney & Joshua held their special day at 8 Chains North Winery, a quaint winery located in Waterford, VA – a town a few miles north of Leesburg. Some of my favorite details from their day include a rocking photobooth, pink & green china, and gold dot accessory dishes (what?!!). I also had the pleasure of working with some AMAZING vendors – including Windows Catering and Camille Catherine Photography!

What’s even better – Courtney was one of my interns for 2016 and she worked a wedding with me the weekend AFTER her very own wedding! Either she’s crazy, or she just wanted to be in the wedding scene just a little while longer. Either way, I’m so grateful for these two and the happiness that they brought into my life. Enjoy these amazing images and be sure to take a peek at the vendor team below! xx

View More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More: More:



If you are in the wedding industry and have not made the leap to activate an auto-responder for your email account – stop reading this now and go do it. This blog post will be here upon your return. Trust me! I will, most likely, make a future blog post showcasing my love for the auto-responder that I’ve been using for my own business for the past few months now!

Back to the meat – one of my main frustrations with Gmail (there actually aren’t a lot – I am in LOVE with Gmail, so please understand I’m nowhere near a disgrunted customer) is that they do not have a dedicated auto-responder setting. They do, however, have the option to create an “out-of-office” auto-responder, which is what I use to basically create a never-ending “out-of-the-office, but not really (okay maybe, but regardless), I just don’t check my email every minute of every day, BUT thank you – I did receive your email and will respond as soon as possible!” auto-responder. The only downside to this setting is that it’s meant to be just the opposite: a “temporary” auto-responder – thus, there really aren’t many customizable options to ensure that this function works exactly the way that you want it to in the sense of a general auto-responder.

One of customizable options that I would love to be able to set manually is to not have the auto-responder message saved to the “Sent” folder every time it is sent out to someone. I receive several messages per day, and eventually, this clutters my “Sent” folder and whenever I go there to search for something that I actually manually sent to someone else, it is extremely difficult to find because the entire box is cluttered with auto-responder messages that have been previously sent out. UGH! I had been searching Google’s most innerthoughts trying to locate a solution for this annoying issue to no avail – there was nothing!!!

UNTIL YESTERDAY! I was tinkering around and found the ultimate Gmail hack. The solution to all of my problems! No longer will those messages pile up and clutter my Sent folder! They are now deleted upon arrival and will vanish into thin air. Want to find out how? Read on! (P.S. – I love you, too!)


STEP 1 – Locate one of the auto-responder messages inside of your ‘Sent’ Inbox. Click it to open it in full view.


STEP 2 – Click on the ‘More’ Button to access the drop-down menu. Select “Filter messages like these”.


STEP 4 – A new window pops up attached to the ‘Search’ box. The “From” field should be auto-populated with your email address. Now copy/paste the subject line from YOUR autoresponder into the ‘Subject’ Field. If you don’t remember it, feel free to go and check! This line must be accurate or this will not work correctly. Once completed, select the “Create filter with this search” button.


STEP 5 – A new window appears. Here, select the ‘delete’ option. Also, select the option next to the ‘Create filter’ button that will delete all CURRENT auto-responder messages.



This gmail hack will not only delete the future auto-responder messages being sent to your Sent inbox, but it will also take care of those already bogging you down. YAY! You can finally go to your Sent folder and not be totally overwhelmed by the amount of auto-responder messages that are backing up in that folder! Go ahead and start searching for those long lost emails that you just sent YESTERDAY! I promise you it will be a breeze from now on! I hope this was a helpful post for y’all. It’s the little things, right?

Happy Tuesday, friends! xx – Lacoya

  • Christina l forbes - YAY!!! Oh my goodness! You’re a lifesaver!!! I was just complaining about this on Friday because I was trying to catch up on emails since I had been out of the office due to my Grandfather passing and it was BEYOND overwhelming. So THANK YOU!!! XOXOReplyCancel

    • hellolove - YES!!!! So happy this post was as helpful to you as it was for me when I discovered it. OH GOSH! You’re welcome, girlfriend! xxReplyCancel

  • Ashley Miller Robinson - Life Saver you are!! xoxo!!ReplyCancel