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You’re getting married….and it’s so exciting…you have been planning this day in your mind for years probably since you were a young girl.  You scour bride magazines, blogs and Pinterist to get ideas for your perfect day. You book your venue, you hire your photographer and other venders to make your day perfect and you think that’s all you need right? NOPE. You need to start your first planning with your timeline! I like to give my brides a timeline guide shortly after booking me for their wedding, it’s never to early to really look at the day as a whole before all of the plans are set in stone.

 It’s imperative if your day is going to flow without any (or should I say many) glitches.   Timelines are guides not written in stone (unless you are an A Type personality and then it’s gospel), things will happen throughout the day to either put you ahead or behind schedule but your time line will help keep everyone on the same page as to when things need to be happening.  They are super important too if photography is important to you.  You have to plan and be on time with your photo opportunities if you want a well told story.  We are masters with our camera, but we can’t control time or the lack there of to get the images you have dreamed about.  It’s just a fact.  Most of the beautiful photos you see on Pinterist, and on blogs etc…are either styled sessions where they have time to capture those beautiful images because that’s all they are there for….or they are well planned out timelines to capture those photos either with a first look before the ceremony or plenty of time built in during the day before the ceremony and and again before the reception for the photographer to capture what is desired.

It is so important to trust your photographer when it comes to the timeline, you hired them to be the expert where photography is concerned… so trust that they also know what works and what doesn’t.  They are not trying to run your day, they just want to ensure that you understand the importance of necessary time for photos on your big day.  If this is your first time getting married, you can really be misled that those pretty photos you see on the blogs you see them and swoon over them and think they  “just happen” in 5-10 min.  True some may and do…but more times than not they are the result of a well planned out and well executed timeline…giving you time to relax and create beautiful images.

From my experience these are four things that will cause delays on the wedding day resulting in loss of time for photos… and where staying on schedule are imperative.

1. Hair and makeup does not start early enough or runs late, cutting into or totally eliminating photography time with the girls. Except for the candid getting ready photos. Make sure your stylist knows you need to be done by the allotted time. Make sure your girls are all on board with this and are on time for their appointed styling session.

2. Guys being guys, and having fun are not always on time and where they need to be so it slows down their getting ready and groomsmen photography time.

3. Family formals take longer than expected because of having to chase down all family members who need to be in the desired photos or having to many groupings taking longer than expected. Typically it takes between 3 to 4 min per photo grouping, to get everyone in position and situated and everyone looking at the photographer or not blinking 😉

4.  Travel and set up time, if the ceremony and reception are in different places, you must think about the travel time including possible traffic congestion from one location to the other and time for the photographer to get their equipment transported from their vehicles and ready to shoot.


So here are a few suggestions to consider when working on your wedding day timeline with your photographer or wedding planner to help things run as smoothly as possible.

1.  Hair and makeup – The bride and bridesmaids hair and makeup (including moms) need to be finished and ready before the bride is ready to get into her dress no less than 2 hours before the ceremony time if the bride and groom are not doing a first look.  3 hours if a first look is scheduled.  Me personally I like them both a little sooner if possible just to give us some breathing room. But 2 to 3 hours is the minimum.

I like to have both the bride and groom back in their area of waiting about 30 to 45 minutes before the ceremony start time so they can freshen up and relax and just chill.

2.  Let your venders in on the timeline – If you don’t have a wedding planner helping you be sure to send your timeline to all of your venders so they know ahead of time when and where they need to be and what time they need to be ready.

I generally hand out timelines at the rehearsal to the bridal party and family members.  But they know well before the rehearsal about the timeline.

3.  Give your Maid of Honor and Best Man Day Of Responsibilities– Have your Maid of Honor and Best Man, be in charge of making sure their group is on time so you don’t have to be worried about it. Have them gather up of the details that you want photographed prior to the photographer arriving. including  your wedding rings and a full set of your invitation suite.  Unless I am contracted for an all day wedding, my photographers and I generally arrive about one and half hours before everyone is scheduled to be finished getting ready to get some candid shots and photograph the details. Dress, Suits, shoes, jewelry, and any special details you have and want photographed.

4.  Flowers for Photos– Make sure you have your flowers delivered or on hand for the photos,   the earlier the better if they can be kept in a cool environment until needed for photos.

5. Enlist family to help with family photo time –  Have someone from BOTH sides of the family ready with a list of names of important family members to gather the up for family formals. There is no way a photographer can know everyone and gather them and take the photos and stay on time.  Keep the list as short as possible.  I typically like to keep it to immediate family only.  Mom’s, Dads. Grandparents and siblings from both sides. Heres a biggie NO OTHER CAMERAS Allowed!!! Because family photos can be a challenge to get everyone there and to keep their focus on my camera.  I don’t allow any other cameras (not even iPhones or God forbid iPads) during this time so everyone is looking at me and not every other camera in the room.  Family photos / Bridal party photos generally take between 20 to 30 min depending on the size of the family groupings.

6. Travel time is needed– Time machines don’t really exist :)…so build in travel time from one location to another, including time for the photographer to get all of their gear out of their vehicles and ready to shoot at every location.

8. Build in time for your private portraits session as husband and wife  – You will want anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on where you want them taken. (not including travel time). This is the part of the day where you get to relax with each other, either during the first look where you get to see each other for the first time with out 150+ people staring at you and you can tell each other just how beautiful and handsome you look and hug and cry and all those emotions….in a semi private situation and get some awesome portraits. OR after the family / bridal party photos. Where you can breath a sigh of relief and say “We are Married!” and you get to bask in the excitement of your new life starting with photos.   Whichever way you decide to go you will want enough time where you won’t feel rushed or pressured because it will show in your photos if it’s to rushed.

Trust me…make the time for these and stick to it, even if other things are delayed to get them.  Because after the cake is gone, and the flowers have dried up…you will likely never wear your dress again…so all you will have left at the end of the day are your photos. Your guests will wait, and your food won’t go bad so don’t worry and don’t cut yourself short you can’t redo this day.

This sounds like a lot but trust me and any past brides who have been through planning a wedding day,  a detailed timeline is needed to assist in a smooth relaxed flowing day.

Here are some quotes from my past on the importance of timelines.

“Having a well planned out timeline allows the bride and groom to breathe and focus on what is important to them. The vendors will know where to be and when to be there. Your photographer will use this to capture all of those important moments that, trust me, will mean the world to you.” Michelle and Jared

“I am so thankful that I had Melody and her crew to capture every moment of that special day. With the guidance of a wedding day timeline we were able to not only stay on track with time but also had the luxury to capture all those important details and specific shots we wanted.”  Kensie and Ricky

So lets make magic happen with your photos…have a generous photography time…you won’t regret it.

Please do not copy or print without permission

Jared and Michelle Wedding Day Blog_0046

Megan and Adam Wedding 9-20-14_0089

Ben and Ellen Wedding Blog_0064




Today-A Personal Journey Back To Where I Came From.

They Say you can’t go home again. (Que the Miranda Lambert song here)

In a way that’s so true…..because sometimes going back to where you came from, is not at ALL like it was when you were there.

You have this memory in your mind….you see it so well when you go back there in your head….but when you actually go back things are way different.

Maybe because times are different and things get old and change or just become run down, but either way it’s different.

That’s what happened to me today..a journey back but for a good reason…but then I decided to go even further back

and it made me so grateful for a couple of things.

1. Where I came from~because humble beginnings are good for you and should keep you humble.

2.  Where I am now ~knowing I have come a long way.  With the help of good parents and wonderful life long friends.

This is not to say that EACH of these places don’t hold very fond memories for me because they did, but they also hold some very hard

life changing memories and times…so go with me for just a little bit and get to know me a little better with this journey.

Stay with me if you can…there really is a point to all of this.

Today Started Here.

Home Again-1

  This is my home church…always will be. I went back today to get a photo of the church with the name still in tact,

because I have a sweet bride getting married there in July and her grandfather was the original pastor of this church when it started back in 1963.

And her mom and I are old friends and darn near family…she was in my wedding and lived next door to me in the second home below.

The name of this church will change to something different soon and I wanted to make sure for her and her mom that we had at least one photo for her album

of the original name. But there is more…

I got married here too.  So did my sweet bride to be’s mom.

I invited Christ into my life within the walls of this little church (which again looked way different back then)

My kids were raised here for the first few years of their lives…growing up in summer bible school….5th Sunday night socials and lock in’s.

I could probably pull out some old photos but I won’t.  For the simple reason that the hair styles alone would scare you 🙂

I can still hear my dad, mom, sister and brothers all singing on Sunday nights.

My sister got married here. Her kids started church here. My niece Brooke went to church here and was baptized here.

This is where my dad and both of my brothers were remembered before being laid to rest.

This is where my mom remarried my wonderful step dad.

This place holds so many memories for me it’s hard to even wrap my mind around the fact that it will be a different name soon.

So once I drove off….from getting this photo for my bride…

I went even further back but just right down the street from the church is where I came from.


I lived in a little quaint (at the time) well kept trailer park community called County View.

The yards were neat, the trailers all new and well maintained

and everyone had a new sapling pen oak trees planted in their front yards.

Sad to say it does not look like that now,

but non the less it’s where I came from even if it was a different time.

My parent moved here before I was born with 3 kids from SC.  My dad was hired to help build the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and life was good.

I was born while they lived in this trailer park so I grew up here. I am a native Virginian.

We had county fairs in the summer, with games and watermelons and cake walks and fire works in July.

We had Christmas parades

complete with marching bands from the high school and Santa arrived on a fire truck and was dropped off at the community building to greet

all the children with small gifts of candy canes and tangerines.  We had a cardboard fireplace to hang our stocking on.

One of the angels out of my stocking still hangs on my tree to this day.

Come to find out one year.. my dad was playing Santa and I let everyone know it..whoops.  🙂


So I drove around the park some.

This little trailer below…I can’t remember her name but this is where a sweet woman lived who sewed me all kinds of clothes and my first Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls

which I still have to this date.  I remember going there and she would let me help her bake cookies.


This is the street I grew up on Holland Drive…the street I learned to ride a bike and follow my sister around and aggravate her and her friends.

This is the street in which the mosquito truck would come down and blow white smoke behind them and we all played in it like we were in heaven.

Good Lord…it’s a wonder

we  or our kids don’t all have 3 eyes and an extra toe or two…with the chemicals we were inhaling.  But we were kids having fun!

Look at those pretty oaks now!


Below is where our trailer WAS….151 Holland, there used to be a pretty yellow and white trailer with an extension much like the one on the side of the trailer below that now stands in it’s place.


Our little yellow trailer is long gone, but I remember playing under the extension….it was my fort.  Standing over the ducts in the floor in the winter to get warm.

I remember

watching my mom cut and perm the hair of her friends and neighbors in the kitchen long before she owned her own shop.

And when my mom and dads sisters and brothers would come to the beach from SC with kids we all slept on the floor but it was fun!

My dad also helped build the Franklin Paper Plant and I remember him smelling AWFUL when he came home but it put food on our table.

I had my 9th birthday in that trailer yard before we moved to Kempsville to our new home.  But man those were some good years.

And the first bridals portrait I ever shot was for the boy next door’  bride to be….years later. AND little did I know it but my future husband lived on one of the other streets in the park…

SMALL world and humble beginnings. They all have their place in our lives.

As I drove home I swung by our house in Kempsville.

Man…I thought we were like really RICH..when we moved into this house on Rittman Road.


Me and my sister had our own rooms we though we were queens..and my brothers had the coolest

room ever…it was BLACK…and had black light posters on the wall.  Yea we were rich! 🙂  We had a HUGE yard and got our first dog!

This house has changed a little…but still has the EAGLE over the garage door that my dad put there when he was alive.

 This home had good memories for me…but there was soon a lot of bad ones on the horizon for my family.

This is where I declare that God’s timing is always on time.   He knew what was about to happen. He knew that we would not survive in the trailer park.

Shortly after my brother Bruce was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and had to be placed on a kidney transplant list at 13 and

dialysis 3 times a week.  My mom and dad were  gone for long periods of time living in Balitmore

learning how to run a machine so we could have one in our home for Bruce to be dialyzed at home.

After several failed kidney transplants and he continued on dialysis for years.

A few short years later my brother Kevin was diagnosed with Leukemia at 19 and a few years after that my dad lung cancer at 44.

 All of the treatments for the Kendrick boys took place at the research hospital in Baltimore Maryland,

so there were days, weeks and months I didn’t see my parents or brothers.  My sister, my aunts and my grandmothers all had a hand in

raising me.  I was a handful!  I am sure…..I was wild…quite frankly on my own or so I thought…you know 13, sassy and a girl…

My parents loved us all and sacrificed so much even in these hard emotional times to keep us together. Even with everyone sick.

I honestly have no clue how my mom kept it together. I am not sure I am made of that kind of strength. Mom…you are amazing.

I did say there were great memories here… and there were….

We had numerous pig pickings, fish fries and church gatherings, and wonderful Christmases.

John and I had our wedding reception here at this house. In the backyard and it was perfect.

My son Jacob had his first birthday party here.


I remember the one defining day in my life while living in this house… my dad took me to a garage sale in the neighborhood

and bought me my first camera.  It was a turning point for me, I had something to focus on (no pun intended).

It had all these fancy lenses, long, short, wide angle.  I had no clue what to do with it or that it would have such a huge impact on my life today.

I was wild… but creative…so I played with that camera….after my dad passed I went to school for graphic arts and photography then got married

and majored in a husband and two kids

but years later I am still holding a camera in my hand. I think my daddy would be proud.

Wow talk about then and now.

Home Again-5

The bride on the left was my VERY first bridal portrait.  I took it for her announcement in the paper (yep that’s where they went before FB or Blogs 🙂 )…her name is Kandi.

It was all done on film and in a dark room.

She is the wife of the boy that lived next door to us in the trailer park that I mentioned earlier.  They are still together to this day.

The bride on the right is Sam.

Her bridal portrait was one of the finalist in a world wide contest of 110,000+ images submitted from artist around the world.

In going through my old files to find Kandy’s photo for this post I found some of my earlier work from my film and dark room days.

Home Again-6

Isn’t it funny how you start on one journey just to grab a photo for a bride because of a name change of her granddaddy’s church


All of this comes flowing out.

I don’t now if I wrote this for me…or for my kids….or for anyone who wants to know me better and what makes me tick…

but it had to be written.  It’s been on my mind for a long time. I just had not had the nerve to go there for some reason.

I could fill in this blog with so many other stories from the church, the trailer park and Rittman Road… some good some bad. but I won’t. This blog has turned out far to long already. Sorry, but thanks for hang in in there.

 The point is

You CAN go back home…and sometimes you need to…it’s good to….to remind you of your journey and what brought you to where you are today and

all of the friends and family you still have today because of a time long ago.

Thanks for coming along.



  • David Bradford - April 7, 2015 - 10:50 PM

    Hey girl I loved this. I’m man enough to admit I got tears in my eyes reliving my past along with you. I’m blessed to have great memories of all the laughs I had with your family and it makes it hurt less to think of the sad times . Thanks for including Kandi in your blog,she is still the love of my life and Kevin drove her to the church in a limousine and Bruce was my Groomsmen. Just shows how much church and family shapes lives. Thanks for the trip down memory lane,a few tears a lot of laughs and ending with a smile on my face. Love you, DaveReplyCancel

  • David A Bradford - April 7, 2016 - 12:03 PM

    I reposted your blog again today can’t believe another year has passed. Love to all.ReplyCancel

Tell you how excited I was

when Sharon emailed me to say….” Bri and I would like to invite you to dinner….we have a few upcoming projects we want to include you in”  I of course said yes lets do it…

I sit so much in front of my computer during the week….dinner with new friends sounded amazing!!!

 I had only met Sharon twice…and Bri once when I was asked to photograph their BEAUTIFUL Chic Unique inventory at their cute little shop in Suffolk…and there was an instant feeling of having known them for a long time!  What two wonderful souls they are!!

Dinner was soooo good at the Riverstone Chop House in Suffolk…I HIGHLY recommend them and the fish taco’s  YUMMY!

But getting to know them a little more was even better!!

Bri…I hope you don’t mind that I oooo’d and awwww’d at your day job….She works for NCIS!!!  How cool is that…I felt like I had met a movie star..LOL.  She was kind enough not to burst my bubble…about how the show and the real life NCIS were different hehe…  And then to realize that Sharon has one of the toughest jobs imaginable….in Hospice.  Just make me appreciate these two ladies even more….

But when they pulled out a pretty little green bag with pink paper and a white curly bow…and inside I pulled out this little beauty below…

I had a hard time (even now thinking about it) holding back the tears….

Bri had even researched MY  “M” font from my logo for it….I was speechless for a second…

…then blubbered probably way to much and to loud as the table next to us kept turning around and looking at me LOL..

Sorry who ever you were…but I was excited. 🙂


When I got home I just kept thinking how lovely a gift….THEN…when I opened it today (with Amelia’s help as you can see) to make it a permanent member of my camera family…

… And I started reading the box…and again I teared up!!!

 Not only is it a beautiful strap with MY font….and my branding color.

But the company they chose also has a non-profit side…which just make me smile even bigger…

…because most of my “corporate career” jobs have been in Non Profits…like Make-a-Wish, Operation Smile, and Operation Blessing.

And I have always had a heart for non-profits who help those who can’t help themselves.

So to know that something I will take with me to every wedding has helped someone less fortunate…is like icing on the proverbial wedding cake SWEET!

So I immediately went to Fotostrap site and hit LIKE…on their Facebook Page and so should you!

Collage 1

Sharon and Bri  have no idea how something like this blesses a heart like mine!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU…

I am very excited about our working together in the very near future on the projects we talked and look forward to wonderful fun!



If you haven’t already….you should go like their FB page and tell all your friends and brides about their VAST selection of cool vintage items!

Chic Unique Vintage Rentals Facebook Page…Here!


He’s a nurse…she’s a preschool director and there could not be a better match made in heaven!  They met via a mutual friend and after a few long distance trips to see each other…and a few thousand text and late night chats…he moved to be close to the one that “Had him at Hello”   He had fallen for the girl…so when he asked…she of course said YES.  Our first meeting was via Skype, and I had the same exact feeling…they had me at Hello…what an absolute adorable couple!

The first time we met face to face was for dinner the night before their engagement session, and it was like we had known each other all our lives….it was a perfect fit!  The next day we had the BEST time running all over Hershey PA, to different places.  The Hershey Gardens, The Milton Hershey School, and of course the old Hershey factory as our back drop….to finish out the day.   Tommy and Abby are getting married in TWO weeks…I am thrilled to be able to capture their day…and I am so excited to share the photos from their engagement session that meant the most to them!  You guys are totally adorable and your wedding at the Moonstone Manor in Elizabethtown PA will be absolutely gorgeous!

Here are their favs…..There were so many to choose from….It was hard for me to even narrow it down for their gallery!

©MelodyGillikinPhotography 757-620-7952

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

I found this sign about 3 weeks before their engagement session….little did I know it was meant for them…but after hearing their story it was obvious!


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer


© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer

© 757-620-7952 Hershey PA, Engagement and Wedding Photographer



She is a lab mix…we rescued her.  But if the truth be known…she rescued us.  We lost our Missy last November after spending 12 years loving her as a member of our family.  I was not sure this hole in my heart could be filled with just another dog…I knew we wanted to rescue a dog again because pound puppies are the BEST!  We had Roscoe an English Bulldog for a brief time but he needed more than we could give him so he went to live with someone who knew how to care for him, I was again heartbroken….  Then Gina came into my life….from East Coast Canine Alliance….she had these precious black puppies…and they needed homes…I knew If John and I went to look at them…one would come home with us…and it happened…Bella picked us…We were at the foster home a matter of minutes when Bella came right up to us…sat down, then rolled on her back for us to rub her belly….Done!  She was ours.  She picked us, and we are so glad she did we are the lucky ones….

So on the days when she drives me CRAZY with her puppyness…digging holes in the yard that I keep filling in….barks at me non stop  to play….gets caught under the deck…and comes out muddy then dashes through the house with those muddy feet and I want to scream…or the days she melts my heart when I find her laying where Missy is buried in the yard…it’s a fact.  I love this dog.  She picked us…she knew we needed her.  This week she turned 6 months old…weighs 45lbs and is the smartest sweetie..who LOVES car rides, belly rubs and The Cape and learned to swim today…how much better can it get?  She is our Bella Boo.


We arrive early in the day on our little boat…The Wee Three….and there are very few around us only sea gulls….

And dolphins

She played soooo hard she fell asleep IN her water bowl…LOL.

She found her way into the dunes trying to hide…

The clouds at The Cape are always the prettiest…

Yea…she can sit in my chair…it totally matches her collar.  🙂

Our Bella Boo….6 months old….and she has our heart.

  • Gina - February 17, 2014 - 2:01 PM

    I can’t believe that I am just now seeing this wonderful story! The pictures are so heartwarming and beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • mgillikin - February 18, 2014 - 12:12 PM

      Awww Thank you Gina….can you believe she is a YEAR OLD today? It’s been a sweet journey with her so far. She is a great family member!ReplyCancel