Welcome to Our Spring Interns: Part 1 | Wendy | Hannah Bjorndal Photography

The warmest of welcomes to the first of my spring interns, Wendy Zook! 2018 is my FIRST year to offer an internship program, and I am so thrilled to have two fantastic interns working with me!

Say heyyyyy to Wendy!

Wendy will be working with me until mid-May, shadowing at weddings and other couple’s sessions, so you might just see her face again soon! In the meantime, let’s get to know her:

  1. Give us a 30-second introduction: Wendy is many things and loves to wear many hats. She’s a Jersey Girl, Momma of 2, lucky wife to Scott, Down syndrome advocate, aspiring yogi, coffee addict, adventurer and old soul. She loves freezing time and capturing moments and emotions with her Nikon. She wants to bring a little joy into the day and make the world a little better than when it found her.
  2. What brought you to HBP? Hannah and her incredible talent has come across my social media feeds numerous times in the past year or so and I appreciated her work and creativity but didn’t dive deeper until I saw the internship opportunity, at which time I really took some time to learn more about her and her brand and what HBP is all about.
  3. What are you most excited to do as an intern? The internship experience gives me an opportunity to use my talents, develop other areas and help develop the next chapter of a photographer and business I strongly believe in and I am SO excited!
  4. What inspires you? I’m inspired by love and beauty and joy, more than anything else. For me, that comes in the form of my children’s laughter, a hike outdoors, helping others and so much more. Every day, I am inspired by new and unexpected things.
  5. Three of your favorite things? Three favorite things only? Hmm… belly laughs, quiet meditative moments and romance.
  6. Your drink of choice? Sweetened flavored coffee!
  7. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would return to South America and further explore the continent. I lived in Argentina for a short time in college and visited Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and several regions of Argentina and it was completely life-changing. I would love to go back and be inspired by the incredible people that live there and the beautiful and varied landscapes.
  8. Favorite color? PURPLE! All shades, but probably especially a lavender or lilac.
  9. Someone would be surprised to know: I am a terribly shy introvert. I seem able to hide it well in public settings and on busy “people” days like weddings, but I definitely need to decompress with some alone time afterwards. I love people though!
  10. Where can people find you? Website: www.wendyzook.com / Instagram: www.instagram.com/wendyzookphotography / Facebook: www.facebook.com/wendyzookphoto / Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/wendyzookphoto


Interested in interning with HBP? Check out this blog post to apply for the FALL 2018 internship, or shoot me a message directly at info@hannahbjorndal.com!

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A Wow-Worthy, Completely DIY Wedding at the Groom’s Family Estate in Floral City, Florida | The Fleischers | Hannah Bjorndal Photography

This wow-worthy, completely DIY wedding at the groom’s family estate in Floral City, Florida was photographed by Hannah Bjorndal on February 10, 2018. Based in D.C., Hannah is a wedding and portrait photographer servicing weddings in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas of Florida.

“Wow” is putting it lightly for this completely DIY wedding that Erica & Josh planned in just less than 7 short months!

When Erica and Josh got engaged, they immediately knew where they wanted to get married: Josh’s home. However, the Fleischers are selling their home, so the couple decided to move fast. Working within the constraints of a limited timeframe and budget, Erica & Josh pulled off a gorgeous, entirely-outdoor wedding at the Fleischer home outside of Tampa in Floral City, Florida.

Erica & I met on Instagram before she was engaged. I noticed her feed full of photos from Siesta Key, FL – one of my favorite places in the world. She loved my photography, and when she got engaged, she reached out. We were a match from the start! And after hearing their story, I knew I had to be a part of their wedding!

To say I was stunned by what this couple pulled together is an understatement. Everything about the wedding day was a perfect reflection of their personalities: fun-loving, spontaneous, stylish and home-grown. Their special connection to the family’s land brought out sentimental value and reflected the importance of family & history. The homemade details were a beautiful match for the spacious farm setting. And the weather was perfect.

A few other fun details: Josh turned around until Erica made it to the back of the aisle to get the full effect of his first look, Erica arranged all the bouquets herself, and Josh & his family built the house themselves nearly 15 years ago!

So excited to share my favorites with you!

Erica & Josh, thank you so much for sharing your wedding day with us!


Photography: Hannah Bjorndal Photography

Planning & Coordination: Honey Belle Events

Wedding Cake: Everything Cake

Catering: Village Pizza

Photobooth: Photobooths By Belinda

Floral Arrangements: Erica Cervantes Fleischer (Bride)

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5 Specific Questions That Will Help You Determine Your Engagement Ring Style | Hannah Bjorndal Photography

Read on to learn five specific questions that will help you determine your engagement ring style.

Questions that will help you determine your engagement ring style

An example of a round cut in a unique setting

Are you engagement ring shopping? Yay! Maybe you’ve heard of the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. If you haven’t, then you’re in good company! I was clueless when I started looking at engagement rings!

So here’s the backstory: when Evan and I started the discussion about marriage, I couldn’t help but spend LOTS of time looking at engagement rings. Ok, maybe I was already looking, even before we started talking. But it’s a good thing that my Pinterest boards weren’t public, because no one, including Evan, would have been able to interpret my style based on my sporadic and ever-changing pinning. On one day, I’d be pinning a cushion-cut diamond with a halo set in rose gold, and the next day it would be a simple solitaire setting with an emerald cut diamond.

While part of this confusion was just loving ALL diamonds (I mean, how can you not?!), the main issue was that I didn’t know how to determine my engagement ring style. Figuring out the style of ring that you’ll be wearing for the rest of your life is kind of overwhelming, right?! That’s why I decided to write about it.

Let me start by saying this: there are a lot of questions when it comes to engagement ring style. While there are tons and tons of options for style, I’ve narrowed the list down to FIVE specific questions that will help you significantly narrow down the kind of ring that’s right for you!

Also, disclaimer: I wrote this post for girls like me, who had NO background in engagement ring lingo or design. If you’ve been eying up sparklers for a while and doing your research, some of the term definitions may seem a little elementary. Stick with me, because the main ideas are valuable for everyone!

QUESTION 1: Do I want a classic or unique setting?

First things first: do you want your ring to be classic or unique? The difference between classic and unique generally comes down to the ring setting, or in other words, the design of the band. Figuring out if you like the standard, classic band or a more unique-looking band is the first step in understanding your ring style!

Classic ring styles are usually less complex and more timeless. A simple solitaire setting (a setting with just one stone) is as classic as it gets, and it’s also more traditional. The setting doesn’t have complexities or unique features, but rather a timeless look that will never go out of fashion. A solitaire setting is also generally less expensive than something more complex, meaning your man can likely get you a higher-quality stone.

If you’re more interested in something unique and less classic, you’re probably more interested in a setting that has unique or interesting qualities. If you love the bands with unique design, additional stones, or filagree (that unique, intricate metalwork design within a band), then a more unique setting is probably right for you!

To determine what kind of setting is your style, pick three rings that you LOVE. How complex are their settings? You’ll likely see a pattern. If you’re stuck right down the middle, keep reading! There’s more to learn!

QUESTION 2: What cut do I like best?

After deciding what kind of setting is a good fit, it’s time to think about the shape of stone that you want – or the cut. This one was tough for me! I loved the unique shapes, but there were so many to choose from. Would some go out of style? Would they look good with every setting? It was a lot to think about!

Ask yourself this question before you go any further: do I care more about the setting or the cut? If the answer is setting, then you’ll choose your cut based off the options that look good with the settings you like. If the answer is cut, then you may want to be more flexible with the setting style, especially if the shape is less traditional.

So let’s talk about the cut. First, we have the classic shapes: brilliant (round) or princess (square) cut. These two are the most traditional and timeless diamond cuts. From there, it varies widely: cushion, emerald, marquise, oval, pear, and asscher are just some of the unique options for cut.

Now that you’ve read about the setting and the cut, you’re starting to get a clearer vision of what kind of ring fits your style.

Now, a couple other questions to consider.

5 Questions to help you determine your engagement ring style

A large pear-cut diamond ring

QUESTION 3: What do I want my wedding band to look like?

Maybe you’ve been looking at a lot of engagement rings, but having you also looked at wedding bands? This is a factor that I TOTALLY didn’t think about until after Evan popped the question, and it’s actually really important!

You’re only going to have that engagement ring on your finger a year or two before it is joined by a wedding band! You’ll definitely want to match your band to your ring, and so if there are wedding bands you really love (or hate!), you should definitely take this into consideration before settling on a style!

Let’s start with the most obvious: do you want a straight or curved wedding band? Or do you care? With my own engagement ring, the shape only made sense and looked good with a curved wedding band. At first I was kind of bummed by this, but I quickly grew to really love how it looked! As you’re looking at engagement rings that you like, think about whether or not your band would need to be curved. This could make a huge difference!

Next, do you want your band to be completely plain, or do you want it to have a little something extra? A simple solitaire setting with a round cut diamond can be beautifully complimented by a band with a few diamonds. If you’re concerned that your ring style is too plain, here is your solution! The best part? You can add additional bands or even get new bands as an anniversary gift in the future if you want to change it up even more.

So did you already have an image in your mind of wedding bands that you like, or do you have some thinking to do? The next question may change your mind, so keep reading!

QUESTION 4: Am I set on a diamond?

The thought of having a ring without a diamond might sound horrible to you, but maybe it intrigues you? While it’s definitely on the less traditional side, more and more brides are dreaming of rings that feature a different type of stone.

How should you determine if this is right for you? For the first two questions, did you lean towards a more traditional ring, or did you discover that you like a design that is more unique? If you’re a lover of the classic, then you’re probably not going to go for any stone other than a diamond. Diamonds are classic, timeless and have a rich tradition behind them. However, if you were leaning toward the more unique designs, you might be surprised by how much you like a different kind of stone!

Sapphire, Quartz, Amethyst, Opal and Pearl are all beautiful alternatives if you’re interested in a non-diamond stone. Pink Quartz can have a diamond-like form with a slight huge of pink, while a peal looks completely different and is totally unique.

Take a moment to browse these different stone options. Look each one up, see them in different settings, and decide if it appeals to you. This is also something you might want to talk to your S.O. about, as he may have pre-formed opinions and preferences that you don’t even know about. But keep reading for more about that.

Questions to help you determine your engagement ring style

A solitaire-style ring with a basic setting

QUESTION 5: Do I have a say in what ring I get?

This is probably the MOST important factor of all, isn’t it? You can dream up a ring design as much as you want, but if your S.O. already has something in mind, it might not matter! While not all couples talk about it, if your ring style is important to you, you need to have a discussion about it with him.

It doesn’t have to be super in-depth or specific, but even a vague conversation can help you to both arrive at a general idea for engagement ring preferences. 

Let’s face it: your guy is making a HUGE investment for YOU. He’s gifting you with something incredibly special because he loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you. At the end of the day, this is the most important thing. He also may have a larger or smaller budget than you realize, or he might have a secret family heirloom ring that he looks forward to giving you. The bottom line is that you might not actually have a say in what you receive.

However, if you’re about to commit to one another in marriage, it’s totally normal to talk a little bit about this this big investment that he’s going to make, at least in a general way. If you’re already talking about marriage, then it’s totally appropriate to ask if he wants a little help. If you’re kind, respectful and loving, you two will be able to work together on something that is perfect for you!

So, do you still have questions about your engagement ring, or have you it narrowed down? Feel free to drop me a question in the comments below!

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