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St. John-Neumann Catholic Church, Knoxville, TN

Sunday, May 6, 2007
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Katherine Lefler & Ethan Lefebvre, a very sweet, young couple, were married in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. John-Neumann in 2005. After getting ready at a friend's house nearby, Katherine was loaded into a car (not always an easy task in a wedding dress) and driven to the church where she was escorted down the aisle to Ethan.

After the ceremony and some formal photos, it was time to drive to the reception at The Holiday Inn Select Cedar Bluff. The reception featured a sit-down dinner, a live band for dancing, and several toasts that brought both tears and laughs. Everyone had a great time, but eventually it was time to for the couple to make their grand bubble exit and head up to their room.

Not long ago I had an email from Ethan's mom who told me that Ethan & Katherine now have a little boy about to turn 1! I'm pretty sure that they're my first wedding couple to have had a baby, but they live out of state where Ethan is flying for the Air Force. I'm so happy for them and only wish that they lived closer so that I could take photos of them all.

Lefler/Lefebvre Wedding Anniversary May 6
Lefler/Lefebvre Wedding Anniversary May 6
Lefler/Lefebvre Wedding Anniversary May 6
The cake was a beautiful color and had words (joy, peace, love) scrolling around one of the tiers.
Lefler/Lefebvre Wedding Anniversary May 6
Lefler/Lefebvre Wedding Anniversary May 6
Lefler/Lefebvre Wedding Anniversary May 6
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On Location, Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
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Knoxville CityView Magazine has an April wedding edition on newstands now. The editor said that he wanted to include the best wedding photographers in the East Tennessee area, and I'm honored that they asked to interview me and showcase one of my photos in their feature story.

If you run into an issue (Pilot seems to be one of the best places to find one), be sure to check it out! Here is a scan of the page featuring my photo.


Published in Cityview Magazine's Wedding Edition

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Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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Shannon Baca & Ben McVay were married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown Knoxville on Saturday afternoon. IC is a really cool old church with high ceilings, stained glass windows, and a nice alcove around the altar. The church coordinator and priest were really great at working with me in trying to get the best photos for the couple and even allowed some moving around during the ceremony.

If rain on a wedding day really does bring good luck then these two are going to have one very lucky marriage. I did get a few shots of Shannon and her bridesmaids outside before the downpour. It was chilly, but they were all great sports about it. Everyone was in such a good mood and so obviously happy for Shannon and Ben. The heavens even seemed to participate in the ceremony with a few loud crashes of thunder at key moments.

I liked that Shannon's gown had a bit of color by way of a green sash that matched her bridesmaids' dresses. Her cake also had the same colored ribbon around each tier (and was delicious).

The reception featured a sit-down dinner and DJ at the University Club on Kingston Pike.

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14 

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14
The shot below was one of the last of the evening, taken in a little hallway just outside the restrooms.

Baca/McVay Wedding April 14

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The Foundry, Knoxville, TN

Sunday, March 25, 2007
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Happy anniversary to the Raders! Holli Irwin and Eric Rader were married March 2006 at The Foundry by The World's Fair Park in downtown Knoxville. After a very sweet first look meeting in front of the fireplace where they would later have their ceremony, Holli, Eric, and I spent some time taking couple portraits around the Foundry and the historic L&N depot.

Beside the Foundry, I saw a tree that was just getting its new spring leaves. Something about it there in the sunlight, so bright and happy, just seemed to capture the mood of the day perfectly. There were also some very ominous clouds which made for a beautifully dramatic sky, but the rain held off.

Irwin/Rader Wedding Anniversary March 25

Irwin/Rader Wedding Anniversary March 25

Irwin/Rader Wedding Anniversary March 25

Irwin/Rader Wedding Anniversary March 25

Irwin/Rader Wedding Anniversary March 25

Irwin/Rader Wedding Anniversary March 25
This was the first and only time I've seen the Easter Bunny, a surprise guest invited by Holli's mother,  ask to dance with the bride.
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On Location, Knoxville, TN

Sunday, March 4, 2007
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I ran into an interesting report online today about how much people are spending on weddings. It sounds a little unbelievable, but anyone planning a wedding can attest to how fast everything adds up. I thought that those of you planning a wedding might want to see how your budget compares to that of the average American wedding couple.

The average American wedding in 2006 cost almost $27,000 with the average for weddings around Knoxville closer to $23,000. The following numbers are a general breakdown and should be adjusted for inflation since 2006.

Wedding attire (dress, tux, hair, makeup, veil, accessories) = $1,800-1,900
Wedding Ceremony (location, decorations, officiate, rehearsal dinner) = $1,800-2,300
Favors & Gifts (for parents, attendants, and guests) = $800-1,100
Flowers (bouquets, decorations/centerpieces, bouts, corsages) = $1,400-1,700
Jewelry (his & her rings) = $1,500-1,700
Music (ceremony & reception) = $700-900
Photography = $2,700-4,000
Reception (wedding night hotel, beverages, food, venue, rentals, cake) = $10,000-13,000
Stationery = $600-800
Transportation = $300-500
Engagement ring = $3,100
Honeymoon = $2,600

It all sounds very expensive, but it is possible to have the wedding you want and still stick to a budget if you prioritize. My husband and I paid for our wedding ourselves and had to find creative ways to keep the price down. By finding ways to cut back in some areas, we were able to spend our money on the things that were most important to us.

I booked the venue I wanted - Whitestone Country Inn. I picked the rings I wanted (after all, I do plan on wearing them every day). My husband Marcus wanted a sit-down dinner so that is what we had.

So which areas did I save money on? Luckily, I had a wonderful friend to do the photography. I found Hallmark invitations on sale, and we printed the inserts and STD magnets ourselves. I bought flowers and did the bouquets myself. We ordered his wedding band online. I made my own veil, tiara, and jewelry. The centerpieces were bought on sale at Target after Easter. We had a sit-down dinner but did not serve alcohol (would have been a bad idea since our guests had to drive home in the dark). We kept the guestlist small. We had live music for the ceremony but used CDs for the reception. We did not have a rehearsal dinner (our rehearsal was the morning of the wedding). We did not give out favors to the guests (from experience, I know that they aren't missed). The ceremony and reception were in one location so there were no transportation costs and no rental fees. Happily, Marcus's parents gave us some money as a gift to use toward the honeymoon, and I had enough frequent flyer miles to cover the plane tickets so we were able to go to Italy like I wanted.

Also, we did not hire a videographer. We did, however, have a friend shoot some video throughout the day and put together a little video montage for us. The first time I watched it, I cried, but now we can't help but laugh at ourselves when we see it.

We had an amazing, beautiful wedding. By deciding what's most important to you and what areas you can cut back on, you too can have the wedding you dream of.

Edited 2008: This thread has received some renewed interest lately. Unfortunately, I don't have up-to-date numbers so keep in mind that these figures are a couple years old now. My current clients usually spend between $3,500 and $5,000 on their total photography coverage. My clients appreciate good photography and consider it an important part of their budget so they are willing to pay for the time and skill necessary to create beautiful imagery. However, I am not in a high-end market. Those living in large cities or different parts of the country can expect to pay considerably more for comparable work.

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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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