#TheWeddingEdit - Smiling Bright


If you’ve known me for the past 5 years then you probably know that I love Coca-Cola. Growing up, my sister and I had a coke here and there as a treat on the weekends or after school. Fast forward 10 years and enter late night study sessions in college. I’ve never been a fan of coffee and didn’t want to try energy drinks so I started having a Coke or Diet Coke during study sessions for a kick of caffeine. Before I knew it that caffeine kick was needed more often and I just yearned for the taste. In between classes, on the weekends, out to eat and even just hanging out at the sorority house it was either Diet Coke or water in my hand. Should’ve stuck with just water!

The Diet Coke addiction continued after college and once I started working full time it definitely wasn’t ending. One of the side effects I started noticing the most? My teeth were yellowing. Ugh. Once Kollin and I got our proposal / engagement photos back I actually noticed the difference more and more. With the wedding coming up next year and wanting to look great on our big day, I started looking into whitening options. Kollin and I both tried Crest Whitening Strips and while we could see a difference after a few sessions, he couldn’t continue as it made his teeth too sensitive and the whitening just didn’t last. So I was determined to try something else, starting with quitting the Diet Coke! I talked to my dentist and he told me about whitening at the dentist and while it definitely had great results for people, the price point was not something I could do. Thinking about just continuing the Crest White Strips, I was so excited when Smile Brilliant reached out for me to try their whitening process.  

The Smile Brilliant team sent me their Whitening System including custom tray molds, whitening gel, desensitizing gel, and everything needed to help me smile brighter. Once everything arrived I spent the first night making my trays, which took about 40 minutes. First the top mold and then the bottom. Everything was pretty straight forward, but came with step by step instructions and a back up mold in case something didn’t go right. I mailed back my impressions and got my trays about a week later in the mail. Once they arrived, I started my first whitening session.

I’ll admit, I was a bit shocked by how long the process took given that Crest White Strips was about 30 minutes and you throw them in the trash and you’re good. With Smile Brilliant, it’s the real deal so there are some more steps in the process to make sure everything is working properly. The first step, whitening, takes anywhere from 40 minutes to 3 hours depending on your personal preference. I only did an hour max and then moved on to step two, desensitizing which was 15-30 min depending on how sensitive your teeth are. This was usually only 15-20 minutes for me.

After the first session I saw a noticeable difference and even Kollin made a comment about how white they looked. I continued for three more sessions and liked the level of whiteness I reached and am going to continue to whitening up to the wedding. I immediately felt more confident, wanted to smile more and felt so good about pictures that would be taken in the future. I’ve added some of my before and after pictures below - this difference is just after two sessions!

I’m so excited to be sharing an exclusive offer to The Creative Brief readers from Smile Brilliant! You can receive 15% storewide using code “thecreativebrief15” AND you can enter a giveaway for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit to get a kit or products of your own! You can enter to win here!

The Smile Brilliant team and the entire process has been so great for me - the product worked, my smile is brighter and I’m so happy to pass this amazing brand onto y’all! Comment or message me below to ask me any questions you might have about the process, Smile Brilliant or anything else. Thanks so much for reading and good luck in the giveaway!

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Thank you to Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post. It’s brands like yours that make The Creative Brief possible! All opinions are my own.  

#TheWeddingEdit - Photography


Photography has been a huge part of Kollin and I’s engagement since the beginning. He surprised me with a photographer when he proposed to capture the proposal and my reaction during the surprise party he planned after and they are some of my favorite pictures from the day as they captured the memories perfectly and took us straight back to those emotions we were feeling.

When looking for a wedding photographer I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I searched website after website, talked to friends and families about who they suggested and while everyone was very talented, there was something missing still. I started searching the hashtag #kentuckywedding on Instagram and came across Drake and Eliza Photography.

I immediately fell in love with their ability to capture the smallest moments and make them the focal point of their perspective for the entire shoot. Moments that some people may not even think to capture or pictures of people truly feeling and expressing an emotion purely. I knew we found what we were looking for and couldn’t wait to chat with them.


After a few emails, we set up a Facetime (they are in KY) and met Drake. Drake and Eliza are a husband and wife team and we loved the fact that they experienced their wedding day and know exactly what couples are looking for since they’ve been in their shoes together. We talked about our vision for the day, how we met, what was important to us the day of and more about their perspective on photography.

Needless to say, we couldn’t agree more on everything and we set up our engagement shoot!


I loved the idea of our engagement shoot taking place in Louisville, KY, where we are both from and met. We chose a park that I used to go to as a kid and thought it captured the southern feel we were looking for without it being too rustic. The shoot was so much fun and Eliza made us feel so comfortable. We laughed, jumped and tried our serious faces but ended up laughing even harder!  

After about 15 minutes Kollin and I got comfortable with “ignoring the camera” as Eliza would say and we just got cuddly for the rest of the shoot as she captured our special moments and giggles. 


My best advice for engagement shoots and finding the right photographer? Think about emotion rather than a shot list. A lot of photographers asked us what shots we wanted to capture, the group photos we wanted and how their style reflected what most couples are looking for. What I loved about Drake and Eliza, was their intention and thought behind the shots and entire day. I think it is evident from our pictures that they truly capture the couple they are shooting and we could not be happier with the results!

When deciding what we wanted to wear I knew I wanted something classic that would necessarily show the year or decade if you will. Seeing wedding photos from the 80s makes me cringe thinking about what ours will look like 30 years from now! Given that, Kollin wanted to wear a suit, but chose to stick a bit more casual and go tieless. His only complaint was that it was so hot and all the layers was tough with the heat. For my dress, I found it on Lulu’s a few weeks before the shoot and loved the clean lines and low back. The color was neutral and the style was easy enough to match the vibe of the shoot, but still elegant enough to contrast the natural environment. I added some look a likes below and some other options I think would be great for a similar vibe of engagement shoot!


This last picture was after the shoot and Kollin and I were walking back to the car when we realized we still had an hour until our dinner reservation. We walked by the swings and he ran toward them and hopped on. We then decided we wanted to act like 8 years olds and see who could swing the highest. Eliza was thoughtful as usual and captured the whole thing before heading out. When we saw the gallery of images we got so excited seeing that surprise at the end!

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