Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

They made it to senior year

As parents of upcoming seniors in high school, you are about have a lot on your plate! From cherishing the moments of the last basketball game, to planning a graduation celebration, and not to mention getting your senior ready for college! The time to start thinking about senior portraits is now!

When you wait until the last minute to book your session, you’ll quickly find out that everyone else did the same thing! Booking early will ensure that your photographer has a spot open for you to capture the best images possible. Towards the end of the school year, our busiest time slots are during the evening and on the weekends, so finding free time, not only for you, but also for you senior can be scarce. It’s also no surprise that senior year is super busy, not only for your child, but also for you! Time is limited once the school year starts, so why not get your portraits now?


At Corey Rourke Photography, we offer a wide range of senior portrait packages from digital, to guest books for your graduation ceremony. Check out our website for more information on package deals, session insights, and more! We can’t wait to capture the memories your child has made during their high school career, and create memorable material for you to share for years to come.


Call us at 402-466-4644, or email us at to book an appointment with us today!

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Defining Dining

It’s the event every guest looks forward to when attending a wedding reception – the meal. Lisa Petersen, Freelance Wedding Coordinator, and Event Director at The Jasmine Room by Venue Catering and Events, is an expert when it comes to dining at a wedding reception. We reached out to her to get a little more insighton what kinds of styles of dining there are, and to help brides-to-be figure out exactly what they are looking for on their big day!

Defining Dining

The wedding meal is as timeless as weddings themselves. Food has always been a strong focus of the entire celebration. Whether it is a light breakfast while bridesmaids and family are getting ready for the day, light snacks for the wedding party between photos and ceremony or the main event itself, it’s human nature to make food a part of the day.

Let’s define the wedding dining experience by starting with the expense of things. People can get intimidated over the cost of providing a meal for guests but if you are thoughtful, educated and informed in your approach, you’ll sail right through the process. When reception site, food and beverages account for typically 42% of the entire wedding budget, it’s important to be educated about things. On to things that will help you decide what type of meal you will have at your wedding.

  1. Cocktail reception – Heavy hors d’ oeuvres and cocktails. This approach is always exciting for guests because there are usually a nice variety of options. This type of meal is best for the wedding ceremony that is going to start after the normal dinner hour. If you go this route it is important that the invitation states hors d’ oeuvres reception so guests know they will not be served a full meal. Also good to know that an hors d’ oeuvres reception does not equal saving money.IMG_0502
  1. Breakfast or brunch – One of my favorites because it accompanies a morning wedding! For me, there’s nothing better than a beautiful 11am wedding ceremony followed by a lovely breakfast/brunch meal. Usually the food at breakfast will be less expensive than a dinner meal and you most likely will have a lower bar bill since it is early in the day. Think omelet station, waffle station, Bloody Mary’s, Bellini’s and mimosas. Yum!IMG_3640
  1. Afternoon tea or cake and mints reception – Does anyone remember the cake and punch reception in the church basement? There is a lot of merit in this concept. One of my most favorite weddings I’ve coordinated utilized a variation of this style and it was fabulous! Have the cake before dinner. If your church has a reception area, invite your guests to go directly from the ceremony in the sanctuary to cake and a lemonade bar right in the church. Then invite fewer guests to a beautiful dinner and dancing at a reception later. This is very intimate, warm and saves money!
  1. Dessert reception – A lovely option to follow a ceremony that say, started at seven o’clock. Usually set up with stations that portray a combination of sweet and savory offerings. Follow the same guidelines as the cocktail reception above, only this should be a money saver for you (depending of course on what sweets you choose!). Also, it produces a shorter evening, therefore potentially less bar expense. Maybe you will decide to have a lively after party with your wedding party!IMG_3659 IMG_0461
  1. Dinner reception – Dinner is the most popular option in this country. There are several terms to know regarding dinners that will help you decide the style you want to have.
  1. Plated service is all about just that…service. This is one of the most expensive options because it is very labor intensive for the caterer. Typically requiring three waiters for every six tables. It is a good way to control portions as the meal is plated in the kitchen and then served to each guest at their table.
  1. Russian Service – This is a very elegant service used if the meal will be presented in courses, i.e. the salad, then the vegetable, then the entre’, etc. Waiters bring the items out to each table on platters.
  1. Table side service – This is very French and dramatic. Best used for a smaller wedding. Waiters use portable cook tops at each table to prepare portions of the meal and then serve immediately to each guest.
  1. Family-style service – Think a beautiful Italian meal! The food is brought out to each table on platters and each guest helps themselves. Bravo!
  1. Buffet service – Most popular in our area. People think a buffet is always less expensive than a plated meal, you do save a lot of labor expense, but it is wise to have one staff person at each chaffing dish for portion control, to move the line along and to keep the chaffing dishes full. No guest wants to scrape the bottom of the dish. To avoid having guests stand in line for a long time, consider having the

DJ dismiss tables just a few at a time.

  1. Stations – Another one of my favorites because it promotes movement through the room. This is a great option if you are not a fan of a formal time to sit down to eat. Many couples want their guests to begin eating when they arrive and not wait for the wedding party and couple to get there. If you like this idea for accommodating your guests, stations are wonderful. Think of it as splitting up the traditional buffet into individual tables or “stations” and setting them all around the space. For example, the carving station, the loaded baked potato bar, the salad station, etc.


This should get you started. Bon Appetit!

Lonnyof Phoenix Training Systems guest blogger


When planning a wedding, there are a ton of details to think about. You have to find the perfect flavor of cake to feature, book an amazing venue, and create an atmosphere that’ll win over your guests. What a lot of brides forget, though, is themselves! All brides look great on their wedding day, but you want to look amazing! Getting in shape, and toning up a bit before your wedding doesn’t have to be a scary. We talked the owner of Phoenix Training Systems, Lonny Liss, here in Lincoln to get a better idea of how brides can prepare for their big day. “This will be one of the most photographed days of your life; you want your problem areas to be gone or at least less noticeable. Your photos that day will last a lifetime; you don’t want to look at your photos ten years from the wedding and think ‘I should have gone to the gym!’, he told us.

Phoenix Training Systems is all about accountability, customization, and getting you in and out in less than an hour! They have a unique system called metabolic conditioning, achieved by challenging your bodies different energy system. “Ever wonder why you get on that treadmill and burn a ton of calories but don’t see any visual changes?” Lonny told us, “That’s because in order to tone up, you have to build muscle.” With their metabolic training, they do just that.

The biggest tip to brides is that you get out what you put in. “Working out on a consistent basis and changing your lifestyle to a healthier one will give you more energy, a boost of confidence, and a better overall look that will have yourself and others saying you look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G on your wedding day.” So when planning your wedding, think about yourself! You have to make yourself happy, and self-confidence is the way to do that. We can’t wait to photograph you guys looking amazing on your big day! I had a chance to visit Phoenix Training Systems last week. Lonnie is invested in each persons goals, strengths and weakness to find out more about what he can do before your big day click here.


Special thanks to owner, Lonny Liss, of Phoenix Training Systems for his expertise on this subject.

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Catering Your Special Menu

Does planning the menu for a special event seem like a stressful process? Our guest writer, Dana Smith, from Chez Hay is giving us some simple suggestions on how to make thoughtful decisions for your menu.To make it easy she has counted down the seven most important tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning for your wedding or special event.

1. We recommend first looking at the time of day the event is taking place when deciding on the type of atmosphere you want to create for your guests.

2. Light Appetizers are great for early afternoon or late evening receptions. If you take this route, state so on your invitations so your guests know to eat something beforehand.



3. Heavy Appetizers are becoming more and more popular, especially if couples want more of a cocktail reception with happy and full guests. The possibilities are endless in the variety of food options available, making it ideal for anyone’s palate.














4. Traditional Dinner buffets are a classic and loved option. Usually these dinner buffets include a salad, one to three entrees, and two sides. Salad and entrée combinations can be as exotic or as classic as desired. Also, carving stations are a great option for couples who want traditionally prepared meats.























5. Make sure you pick options that you will love! If Chicken and Waffles has a special meaning to you as a couple or family, go for it! More and more, couples are using the food and drinks at their weddings and events to reflect their personalities. It gives the event a unique aspect that no one else can imitate.















6. Be mindful of your guests’ dietary restrictions. If your wedding is on a Friday during Lent and 25% of your guests are Catholic, having a fish or vegetarian option for your guests is a great idea.















7. The last tip from Chez Hay is to trust your caterer or wedding planner to guide you in the right direction on some decisions. We know you saw the cutest thing ever on Pinterest, but the pictures on Pinterest don’t always show the price of the item, or the quality of the product. Let your vendors know what you would like them to do, and let them figure out the best way to execute it!

Wedding Hair

Getting back to our Tuesday Tips, we have a guest article from Holly, the owner of Atlantis Salon and Spa. The following is great information on wedding day hair and makeup to help the brides and her attendants get the perfect look! Let’s see what advice Holly has offered us!–

Whenever I see my bride for her hair and makeup consultation, I always like to know the feel of the wedding. Is it formal and classic, outdoors and playful, casual and laid back? The bride is  looked at the most on the wedding day, the cherry on top. It is important the full look is taken  into consideration. Does the hair flow with the gown? Is the makeup appropriate for the whole look and the theme of the day? How does my hair and makeup look from all angles? Does it compliment the bride’s face shape and profile? Does it feel comfortable?


As a stylist and makeup artist, it is great when the bride has suggested photos of hair and makeup. With the perfect consultation, together we can create the beautiful look the bride was imagining. Helping the bride and her party to look their best and assisting in the enjoyment of their day is so special to me. Traveling to the destination is my favorite way to focus and de-stress for the day. I’ll pack up all my supplies and come to the location the bride desires. Hanging out with the bridal party and eating breakfast together while being pampered is always a great way to start the wedding day.


Atlantis Salon and Spa has everything a bride will need to treat herself from beautiful skin with our extensive array of facials to relaxing in the spa with a massage, preparing your hair with sparkling color and cuts, dazzling up you fingers and toes with a manicure and pedicure. Don’t forget the extra wink with a fan of eyelash extensions! Congratulations on your wedding! May your day be full of joy and happiness!

–Thank you Holly for some awesome advice!


Colors of the Seasons

To kick off 2014 spring right, I have asked Emmy from Blush Bridal to help our blog followers.  She chose to enlighten us all on the color palettes for different seasonal weddings.  Enjoy!


Hi everybody!  This is Emmy from Blush Bridal Boutique located here in Lincoln!  I live in the world of weddings, so I am thrilled to write this guest post for Corey’s blog.

The biggest mistake I typically see brides make when they begin planning is that they only choose one or two color combinations for their wedding designs and decorations.  Sure, eggplant bridesmaids dresses and grey suits are a perfect combo, but more color choices must be introduced to make this interesting to our eyes!

The easiest way to decide on a color palette or theme is to envision your bridal bouquet!  What colors will be represented here?  Ideally,  4-5 color choices are ideal here and they will serve as a guide for your attendants fashions, table scapes, printed invitations and more!  Below are some inspiration boards of color themes  for winter and summer weddings….


Winter Wedding

Winter Palette

I simply adore winter weddings!   Soft color themes, snow covered earth (if Nebraska weather cooperates), and early evenings are a perfect combination for a photographers dream!  Yes, if there is snow on the ground, throw on some boots and get out there for outdoor  pictures.  You will not regret those images and the making of a fun memory!



Summer Wedding


In the summertime the Nebraska landscape is so vibrant and lush.  During the summer months I prefer bold color themes.  Don’t be afraid to dress your attendants in different colors, generally 2-3 in each color works beautifully for pictures.  Gold tones are also really big right now, incorporate gold metallics in these details to add warmth to your decor!

Engaging Before the Big Day

After the ring is on your finger and the celebrations start, the engagement becomes about the all-important wedding day. Before you know it, the wedding day is here and you are on your way to start your new life together.  But before the you tie the knot, you might want to capture the engagement stage of your life.

Here are a few reasons to engage in those pre-wedding portraits:

You will have formal portraits to display at your wedding. Think about the guest book table, gift table, and reception tables.  You will want to have formal pictures of you as a couple to display and celebrate your relationship.  Why not make them fun and professional to show off to all your guests?


You will have pictures to put up in your home.  Once you have a place you call “home”, you will want to display pictures of the new family you have started.  Don’t get me wrong, you will want plenty of pictures of the wedding, but sometimes it is nice to have more of an everyday feeling of the both of you as a couple.  Plus, your friends, family, and other individuals that may enter your house will be able to see and enjoy your relationship through these pictures.  Making that house or apartment feel more like “home.”

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You will get to have a fun experience as a couple. Who needs to take dance lessons when you have a couple hours of taking pictures as a couple?  No seriously, it might be nice to step away from the planning of the wedding and actually enjoy each other’s company with a few hours of worry-less fun.


You get to prepare for the wedding day in front of a camera. I know you are probably not camera shy, but most people are not used to having a camera constantly shooting pictures of them for an entire day.  Engagement photos are a great way to become comfortable in front of the camera and get to know the photographer before the wedding day comes around.  You are also able to see the photographer’s style  and personality before the wedding so you know what to expect on the big day.


Something many people have said about me is how well I get to know them as a couple which makes them feel comfortable.  I love shooting couples from the engagement to the wedding and meeting with them in-between.  I really like to have a fun and creative relationship with each couple in order to make the start of their new life enjoyable and visible in photographs.

Stay tuned for the next Tuesday Tips & Tricks!

Location, Location, Location!



We teamed up with Lisa Petersen from the Grand Manse to give you this week’s Tips & Tricks. Enjoy!


Finding the perfect venue for your big day is not as daunting as you would think. The best thing you can do is go to your site visits prepared. Take notes, ask if you can take pictures (photos will help jog your memory if you are looking at a number of different venues). Photos are also fun to look back on after the wedding.541


After determining that your date is available, you will want to make sure the venue hold the appropriate number of people for your reception.  You may want to clarify the number.  Is it for standing, a cocktail party setup, or seated, a dinner setup.  I would even try to ask for pictures of the different setups so you can really get a feel for how your reception will look.

Next, ask what all is included in the price.  Sometimes the price may be a little more expensive, but include more.  For instance, one venue may offer the room for a longer time, let you setup days before, have a certain caterer or DJ that you would use, or provide a variety of table setups and tablecloths.  Having some of these things included in the price could save you time and money and save you the hassle of worrying about more items on your to-do list.


The most important part of the reception is being able to celebrate with family and friends and to make it the most enjoyable for everyone.  In order to accomplish this, verify that parking is easily available near your venue.  Another helpful tip is to have the reception near the hotel that many of your guests are staying.

At the end of your meeting, ask if there are any rules and regulations that have not been covered. It is hard to think of every possible scenario. Mindy Weiss, professional wedding planner, says that some venues require you to work with a professional wedding planner, other venues have a specific florist/event designer that you must use, while others still will have a list of approved professionals you must work with.


Happy searching!




Ceremonial Snaps

When a couple gets married in a church there are many questions that can arise as to the boundaries of the photographers and the time allotted for formal pictures, even down to the flowers and unity candle.  One thing is for sure, it is you special day and you want to make sure that everything goes well.  I have compiled a list of things to ask and discuss with your wedding planner, photographer, and church contact person.


1.  Determine how much time is available for formal portraits in the church. Many churches have functions or services after your wedding and it is crucial to communicate with your contact person at the church to make sure you are not rushed to get the pictures you really want on your big day.


2.  Make sure the photographer knows his/her boundaries.  Most wedding photographers know how close they can get without disrupting the ceremony, but some churches have rules about staying out of the isles and not using flash.  Ask the church contact person about the rules for photographing the ceremony.  Ask the photographer about his/her usual method of photographing at the ceremony.


(Our Method)

At a typical church wedding, we stay in the back or out to the sides of the church and pews.  Our equipment allows us to capture the same quality of pictures without distracting.  We will never use flash during the ceremony. This is so we don’t disrupt during the ceremony and so we can create intimate lighting in our pictures.


3. Check the flowers for the ceremony.  Flowers will most likely be a part of the décor in the church.  Check to see if the flowers block the view of the guests and photographers from seeing the ceremony.  Also, make sure someone is in charge of helping the men put on their boutonnieres.  Ladies, they don’t always know how those work.


4. Make sure people can see the unity candle or sand.  In many cases, the bride and groom get caught up in the moment and forget about turning towards their guests or taking a step back so everyone can see them light the candle or pour the sand.  Discuss with the wedding coordinator and church contact the setup for this part of the ceremony.  It might be nice if the bride and groom faced towards their guests for this special moment.  And it can certainly help the photographer get a better picture of this event.


Again, the key to avoid any mishaps or difficulties is to communicate with all the individuals involved. See you next week for our Tuesday Tips & Tricks!