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As You Wish

photography … As You Wish | Austin, Texas

NAPO Austin kick butt headshots

It was a joy working with the members of NAPO Austin and their guests at the recent Kick Butt Business Bootcamp presented by Lisa Montanaro. Lisa is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker, and Author. Whew! Lisa wears many hats!

During breaks from the bootcamp, attendees were able to join As You Wish photography for a headshot mini session. Here are a few of our favorite pre-touched from the day.

Kick Butt headshots for NAPO Austin

Kick Butt headshots for NAPO Austin

Kick Butt headshots for NAPO Austin

Kick Butt headshots for NAPO Austin

Kick Butt headshots for NAPO Austin

Kick Butt headshots for NAPO Austin

If you ordered a kick butt headshot, look for an email from us with instructions for viewing your gallery and selecting your favorite for a full re-touch.

And if you are in the market for a new headshot, let us help you create one that is just As You Wish!

Party Favors at -and- Gifts for a Wedding

Party Favors are meant to say “thank you for coming to my party” and harken from the days of kids inviting their entire homeroom to the party. At the end of the party, every kid would be given a token of appreciation for attending. Usually, this was a small bag filled with candy and little toys.

Wedding Favors

Favors have grown. They are more elaborate and more expensive. In many cases, they are personalized. They are still, however, pretty different in the South compared to those at weddings held in the northern states.

Down South

The South invented the Groom’s cake. Originally, guests did not eat this cake at the reception, but it was cut and boxed to be send home with each guest at the end of the night. As Groom’s cakes became more flavorful and more elaborate, we started eating them at the reception–often on the same plate with a sliver of the bride’s cake–and stopped boxing them up to send home with guests. Small party favors (boxed candy, pictures, etc.) began to serve as the norm at weddings in the South. Southern wedding favors can range from $0.50-$5.00 depending on the budget and size of the wedding.

Up North

Yankees have always had a bigger thank you gift for their guests. Many are personalized with the couple’s names/date. It’s common to see wedding favors in the $15-20 when planning a northern wedding.

Wedding Gifts

The expectations and norms between Yankees and southerners are different when giving wedding gifts, too.

Down South

In the South, engagement parties are becoming more frequent, but are still only a celebratory occasion, and not a gift giving one. Later, couples will register for gifts…and that will be the bulk of what they will receive at their (usually smaller) showers. Those invited to the wedding, but not to a shower, will also bring gifts to the reception. So, southern wedding receptions will have gift table complete with a decorated box or basket to corral cards. The bride and groom may take the cards to open on wedding night (money for the honeymoon!), but the gifts are usually delivered to their home or to the bride’s parents’ home.

Up North

Northern couples register for gifts early in their engagement. The engagement party is more like a Southern shower and guests are expected to bring gifts for the couple. Receptions up north can be costly affairs and many guests will give both an present from the registry for the engagement party and a cash gift on wedding day.

Blending of Cultures

Money has varied meanings in a many cultures that emigrated to America. Jews may give money in multiples of 18. Some brides carry a drawstring purse that matches her wedding gown; all gifts of money are given to her. (there are also many money-based traditions that have begun to spread across cultures, such as the Czech Redovy, a bridal dance where guests pay $1 or more for a shot of whiskey or cup of wine and a chance to dance just a few seconds with the bride.

Kick-Butt Business Bootcamp


Attending the NAPO-Austin Kick Butt Business Bootcamp? Add kick-butt headshots to your kick-butt day!

Headshots by professional photographer Lori Luza of As You Wish Photography will be taken onsite. This makes it ultra convenient for you to just show up looking your best, and get your head shot taken for your promotional materials.

Special Rate for Attendees = $40 for the photo session (plus taxes and fees).

  1. Purchase your headshot. You will receive one retouched printable image for brochures, business cards, annual reports, etc.. You’ll also receive a web-friendly version and a square version for social media profiles.
  2. Select your timeslot. Headshot appointments will last 15 minutes and will be available after the event and during the lunch break

NAPO-Austin presents Kick-Butt Business Bootcamp

February 17th, 2015

Hosted & Sponsored by NAPO-Austin Chapter

Presented by Lisa Montanaro. Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker, Author

Are you Ready to…

  • …kick your business into high gear?
  • …create the business model you’ve been striving for?
  • …stop working so hard and, instead, work smarter?
  • …charge what you’re worth, and reach the levels of income you’ve dreamed of?

If you answered “yes”, then you can not miss this event!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What do you get when you combine an attorney, mediator, trainer of entrepreneurs, business coach to organizers and other entrepreneurs, and an owner of a successful organizing business? You get a kick-butt presenter that you can’t miss!!

During this bootcamp, you will:

  • Go through an in-depth business building assessment to get really clear on what’s going on in your business and where you need to be putting your attention.
  • Make some powerful mindset shifts that will have you think and act like a 6-figure business owner.
  • Leave knowing exactly what to do, with a clear plan to take your business to the next level.
  • Topics include: Define Success/Your Role in Your Business, Passion/Unique Areas of Brilliance, Marketing/Unique Selling Proposition, Ideal Client/Target Market, Multiple Streams of Income/Leverage, Outsourcing/Delegating, Accountability Checks/Tools, Business Systems/Operations Manual.
  • Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, join us for some invaluable expertise for your business!

Bootcamp Registration

  • Early Bird Rate = $149 (until January 6, 2015)
  • Regular Event Price = $169 (until February 3, 2015)
  • “It’s Not Too Late” Rate = $189 (until February 13, 2015)

Registration closes on Friday, February 13

Space is limited to 60 attendees.

First come, first served!

Bootcamp Details

  • Please arrive 15 minutes early at 8:45am to settle in before the workshop begins.
  • Complimentary parking is available.
  • Complimentary morning coffee & tea service will be available.
  • A complimentary lunch will be served to all attendees during which you can network with other attendees, and ask Lisa more questions.

Special Offer!

Add on Private Coaching with Lisa

Lisa will be offering one-on-one, targeted 2-hour private coaching sessions after the Bootcamp to assist you in applying everything you learned in a focused way to your business. Lisa’s process with clients is like a laser beam to help you blast through issues holding you back, come up with a solid plan, and give you the tools to implement, so you know that in 2 hours, you can experience a huge shift.

Special Rate for Attendees = $300 for a 2-hour private session (regular rate = $400)

• There are only 6 live session spots – so first come, first served!

• Choose your slot when you register using Lisa’s Time Trade link.

Wednesday/Thursday February 18-19, 2015

• Coaching Sessions at 9am, 11am, and 3pm

Can’t make any of the live slots?

Don’t fret! If you are a Bootcamp participant, you can do your coaching virtually by phone or Skype with Lisa within 30 days after the event, and still get the special rate. Just register now, and then you and Lisa will choose a mutually convenient date and time to do your session.

Ideas for branding your wedding

Third in a series, this article continues the topic of creating a brand for your wedding.


So, what if there isn’t a “thing” that is you and your groom? You’ve probably seen the book-themed wedding between the two librarians, Star Wars and other geek-branded weddings, and garden weddings. Basically, if it’s way out there or pretty common, we’ve all seen pictures of it. What makes your wedding “you”?

Here are some wedding “brands” I’ve photographed or consulted with over the years:

  • green & brown – brides Savannah, Persephone, Emily, and more all had these colors and they were all different. Savannah included fun cowgirl bridal boots paired with a duck-hunting camo groom’s cake for Len; and yes, it was elegant at their country club.
  • tie the “knot” – Kyle proposed after a climb. We staged their engagement with climbing gear. And, a proper climbing knot was the little symbol that ran through all their printed materials. They even tied all the ribbons at the event with knots instead of bows.
  • hues of blues – Carrie used three shades of blue gave this wedding and reception depth, dimension, and texture.
  • movie – The Princess Bride wedding scene was their ceremony script. The entire event took place in a historic movie theater. The cakes were adorned with bows made from strips of film and stood on stands made from film reels. A Bond film was their reception entertainment. Finally, guests threw popcorn to wish them well.
  • rainbow – For brides Rachel & Melissa, their friends didn’t all look good in any one color, so they went with a rainbow scheme. Each of them kept the colors in the same shades/families. Rachel ordered rainbow Gerber daisy bouquets, and paired each groomsman’s boutonniere flower with the color of the maid he was escorting. Both were very pretty.
  • twin hearts – One bride found two interlocked hearts she liked. I helped her mock them up with her and the groom’s initials. That motif, along with the font I used, became a large part of her theme.
  • font – Laura fell in love with a font. She loved the way their initials looked in it and ordered all her wedding accessories with the monogram in that font. I used the same font for all her printed items: Save the Dates, Invitation folios, etc. Even the cake topper was a the font/monogram done in metal work.
  • Christmas – Ricci didn’t want a “Christmas wedding” but she did want a December one. She chose red and red roses. At the reception, the only “Christmas” was a tree in the corner. As she put it, they “didn’t try to hide the elephant in the room” but they didn’t show it off, either. Their event was elegant and guests loved the nice weather for the outdoor ceremony and indoor/outdoor reception.
  • brown & pink – Stacy & Jan both had these wedding brands at the same church in the same year. Each bride’s take on the shades and look made them unique even with the same backdrop. One of them was and elegant take based on the UPS truck the groom drove.
  • wine – I’ve worked several wine-themed weddings. Even when at the same location, they were all quite different. One used the porch of the location for the ceremony and the cover doubled as their chuppah. Others married among the grapevines. Some partied in the barrel room while others held more intimate dinners with gorgeous views of the property.
  • family – This is what it’s all about, right? Consider these moments: One bride said vows to the groom’s son promising to be a good mother to him. Another bride’s 9-year-old daughter gave her away…and the groom gave her a little ring during their ceremony. And, for a best man that was killed while serving his country, a candle on a pedestal stood in his stead; the maid of honor brought the flame of his spirit on a taper she carefully carried down the aisle.

Whether you have an obvious “theme” or not to your wedding events, it is easy to incorporate what makes the event truly about the two of you and your union.

the Duggar wedding frock

Finally. We got to see Jill Duggar’s wedding dress this week. And wasn’t their wedding sweet and cute? We just had to record this episode and see the big huge wedding.

Jill Duggar & Derek Dillard

As wedding professionals, we’re ready for some of these styles to hit the market, again. The strapless look is far too common and is simply boring. We were hoping that Princess Kate’s dress would spin some new styles, but it didn’t have a huge impact. With Jill’s wedding in the media and Jessa’s right around the corner, hopefully, these modest styles will have some influence on the overall look of gowns, even among those that aren’t necessarily a modest cut.

Update: …and now that we’ve seen Jessa’s gown, we’re even more impressed! Jessa’s beautiful blush gown could be “gown of the year” for 2014!

Bashful Boudoir

What if you want to have that empowering ooh-la-la moment with your body, but you’re just not comfortable in sexy nothings for a camera? That’s okay. Just let us know that you want a “bashful” Boudoir Session. The point is for you to feel confident and strong. We always leave attire choices up to you; that’s part of what makes the experience As You Wish!

Here is a great example of a conservative outfit (and she’s out on the street). You can still see how much attention she commands. The accessories are spectacular and really help sell the entire look of confidence, strength, and more.

Holiday Boudoir Sale


For a gift that’s exciting to unwrap…

  • sessions between Oct 13th & Nov 16th
  • save 20% on individual sessions
  • or, gather friends for a portrait party. Get a free session for you; they’ll save 35%, too!

empowering • romantic • sexy

This holiday season, remind your partner that you are as beautiful outside as you are in.

DIY Details — from our series, “Your wedding ‘brand’.”

Your wedding “brand”, a series of articles by As You Wish.

DIY Details

Whether you are all lace and foo-foo or like a more tailored look, your wedding has a look, a feel, a “brand”. For your wedding to really shine, that Wedding Brand (WB) should be carried through all the details of your big day.

Your Wedding Brand (WB) starts with your Save the Date cards and wedding website…those first things your guests will see. At the time you send Save the Date cards, you might not know your colors and theme; they will likely evolve during the planning process. But, by the time guests see your invitations, the brand will be solid.

What all makes your brand?

This is different for almost every bride. One season of a wedding planning show–David Tutera is my favorite–will showcase how every bride wants her wedding to be unique to her and her groom. For me, it was bluebonnets mixed with yellow roses. That’s hardly original in Texas, but long-stem roses and bonnets (yes, there really are long-stem bluebonnets; Aggies grafted/bred them) made pageant-style arm bouquets with near floor-length ribbons made them the only bouquets like them I’ve ever seen. When I told people my theme was bluebonnets, all my vendors knew what that meant. They each brought their special talent to their area to make their work fit within my brand.

Your brand should include your colors, but it should also include some other visuals: a monogram, a logo or other type of iconography, or another element people can picture.

Wedding Wednesday: Baby Sitting

We have blogged about kids at weddings. Inviting them is a personal choice for the bride and groom, certainly. If they are included, there will need to be some plans for keeping them comfortable and entertained; wedding days are far too long for their attention spans.

Having a kids’ room at the wedding may sound like a great way to keep them happy so adults can enjoy the reception. However, don’t think that this comes cheap: rates on the east coast range from $95 to $205 per child for a 5-hour reception. While this comes with a full tea party, a character, and the option for a candy bar (yay for sugaring them up and then sending them home!), this is more than a lot of brides spend per adult guest.

Keep in mind, if your guests “expect” babysitting, then they aren’t the ones who would have made the efforts to attend your event, anyway. But, if a kids’ room is something you feel you need to keep the majority of your guests happy, then plan carefully.

If you want to set up your own kids room and hire sitters, check with your local chapter of the American Red Cross (who offers baby sitter certifications as well as First Aid and CPR certifications) or your local Nanny Service for guidelines on babysitting groups of kids. They can help you figure a good baby-to-sitter or kid-to-sitter ratio. Remember, the more young babies, the more sitters you’ll need. Be sure that anyone you hire has impeccable references (or works for a reputable agency), is First Aid and CPR certified, and is experienced with children in the ranges you’ll be inviting. A Nanny Service might be able to refer some of their weekday nannies for your weekend event. And, the local university’s “future teachers” organization may have some members with enough experience with the age kids you’re inviting.

A kids room should also be equipped with entertainment geared for the ages attending: movies, games, puzzles, and toys. Babies will also need cribs or “pac-n-play” sets for napping differently than they do in a car seat.

Any coloring activity should be “clean”. Think crayons and sticker books instead of markers or paint. Friendship bracelets are fun for girls (just make sure beads aren’t too tiny for the youngest kids). If you a game console and tv for the room, be sure the games are a good fit for both genders and all the ages you’re inviting.

No pieces of any toy in the kids room should be too small for the youngest child in the room. The last thing you’d want is for a baby to eat a doll accessory and choke during your reception.

A kids room needs to be equipped with an emergency kit that the sitters can access. Be sure to include plenty of “fun” bandaids because when one kid gets one, they’ll all want one.

If you are hiring any entertainment for the kids room, be sure it’s age appropriate for the youngest child. Don’t hire a clown to make balloon animals for the elementary-age kids if you have toddlers in the same room. Instead, consider a magician or a storybook character.

In lieu of a candy bar, consider heathy snacks and goody bags for them to take home.

And don’t forget to hold the bubbles to the end. They’ll love rejoining their parents for your sendoff and getaway!

Wedding Wednesday: Tradition Talk – Generations Dance

One wedding tradition that involves all married guests regardless of background is a Generations Dance. This is a touching moment for your wedding reception.


You’ll need to do a little homework with the parents and grands. In addition to knowing how long they have all been married, you’ll want to know about couples in the family who have had their Golden anniversaries.

Generations Dance

The DJ is given a montage of romantic slow-dance songs starting with the most current song and moving back one era at a time. He then “lets go” each of the following couples off the dance floor. For every ~decade, the music should change to reflect that time period.

to start: all married couples
first cut: those married less than one day
next cut: those married less than one year
…less than three years
…five years
…ten years
…15 years
…20 years
(In the design of this event, milestone years should be adjusted to best honor the couples closest to the bride and groom: their siblings, parents, and grandparents. So add in 25 or skip 40 in lieu of 45, if necessary.)
…25 years
…35 years
…50 years
at this point, the bride usually presents all 50-year couples with a token that represents this milestone…a yellow rose tied in gold ribbon, for example
…52 years
as more couples are eliminated from the dance, the years should be:

Once the last couple is left dancing, the DJ/MC will recognize them by asking all guests to applaud. Your guests will likely give them a standing ovation.

Other Notes

And don’t forget to tell you photographer you are doing this. The pictures will be amazing!


This is a sweet testament to your future as a married couple…and a wonderful memory for your wedding day. The best part: after the first minute, you get to watch and enjoy the whole thing!

Ethical Donations

Small business are capable of donating products/services, and thus, receive many requests. I used to run a tiny non-profit; I know how a few more donations to the silent auction can make a lot more money for the cause. Gift Certificates for silent auctions are easy for us to donate. Unfortunately, not every donation is smooth, so As You Wish has a donations policy.

This week, we received a donation request from a group that technically fits the listed criteria, but still doesn’t meet our standard: they discriminate against GLBT persons.

A local animal group asked for a silent auction donation.

The group seems organized. Their offer of advertising in return for the donation was clear. Again, they seemed to meet all the criteria in our donations policy.

For all the good this group does for their animals and for Austin, they do not meet our ethical standards. They discriminate, even in this day and age.

I know of a couple that was turned down from participating in the group’s primary purpose. The couple is gay. The volunteer from the group said that they won’t allow a gay couple to adopt. (Yes, there are a lot of “Well then why….?” and “How did it even get that far?” pieces to this story.)

The couple was heartbroken and angry. They had already fallen in love with the critter and met all of the written criteria. This very private couple had taken enormous risks to be truly honest with the group and was punished for that honesty.

Unwritten “rules” are not honest. Discrimination is hurtful to everyone. Just look at how embarrassing this show host was this morning. This hateful nonsense has to stop.

I’m not writing this to flame them or out the group for this behavior (which I did not personally witness), so please forgive the vague language. They do a lot of good, too, I’m sure. It’s a bit unfair to the group that I know any backstory, but I’m involved in my local community …and that’s probably a big reason why they asked me to donate in the first place. Although they did not mention it, I also think that an acquaintance may have told them I’d consider a donation. Normally, I would.

My purpose here is to explain this sliver of the values that drive As You Wish photography and to out the behavior itself as unacceptable. I will also share this with them so they will know why I’m telling them, “no, thank you.”

This is a chance for me to do something about bad behavior. This is a chance for me to stand up for what is right and shun what is wrong.

Their bigoted behavior does not fit the value set of As You Wish photography.
For the next month, all sessions and orders will include a donation to a local LGBT organization.

Wedding Wednesday: No candles??? What the…?

Believe it or not, some venues have “no candles” rules. It is our opinion that this reduces their liability and keeps their insurance premiums lower. In some cases, it’s the pure mess.

Because, what if this…?
Clearly, they “got” them. Still, your venue is wondering, “what if something like this did happen?”…and so is their insurance company.

What’s a bride to do?

  • Ask if tarping the area under candelabras will make a difference? If they don’t have to clean wax drops off the carpet, they may let you have them.
  • Ask about shaded/hurricane pillar candles and/or jar candles. These are both far safer than exposed tapers.
  • Ask about mechanical candles. Some ceremony venues exclude messy wax candles, but will allow you to have have (rent) “mechanical” candles. Either way, you’ll probably need to make sure protective sheets of fabric are put under candelabras and other pieces that tend to drip.
  • Stock up on LED votives and plan to use them, exclusively. Buy them early and look for sales and coupons. They are pricey little things.
  • Research other lighting options.*
  • Consider other venues. How important are candles to the mood you want to set? Is a unity candle essential to your ceremony, but unallowed, even at the altar? It boils down to what is most important to you.

* It was not until our wedding day that I learned our church windows opened. I’d never seen them open before (or since). The natural light from the outside was far superior to the normal look in the space.