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  • WELCOME!

    Welcome to the blog! If the banner doesn't make it obvious enough I'll just spill the beans and let you know that we are a full time husband and wife wedding photography team. We love life, God, weddings, and if you slide over our names to the left you'll note a few other things we love.

    We are based out of Los Angeles, and when I say that, I mean our studio is right in the smack dab center of downtown. However, if you start browsing through the blog history you will soon note that we shoot weddings all over the country and world. We put a lot into making our images so I hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

    If you're up for having a great time at your wedding, and our photos have the look you are going for, then feel free to shoot us a note and we would love to chat some more!

    - Lukas and Suzy VanDyke

In Retrospect: The Stories of 12 Brides (Part 3)


This is part three of the questions I asked a dozen brides. I find it really interesting that there really wasn’t much consistency with any of the answers from any questions I asked. Maybe if I expanded the questions to 120 brides in much wider circle of diversity we would start to see a trend.

But I did note a few things. For some people a wedding planner is a great idea (I personally recommend it) But we, along with many others, didn’t use one and it still worked out. A few people said they wished they had video, but I have also heard stories of people who got video and never watch it more than once. Some people wished they did dinner, but I think the opposite might be true in some cases as well. The list goes on.

I think the big thing I personally pulled away is decided what’s important to YOU. Make sure to include those things and not the things that are important to other people. If it’s not in your budget don’t worry about it. Don’t stress about things, enjoy the day, and remember in the end your still getting married and that’s all the really matters. =).

3. If you could go back to the planning process and do it over what would you change?

– If I could go back to the planning process and do it again, I wouldn’t stress so much over little details. We decided to print our own invitations and programs, and the kits that we used ended up being such huge headaches!  This caused so much stress and literally took weeks to finish. Though it may have cost a bit more, I think I would just get them printed by a printing company if I were to do it again!!  Everything else in the planning process was so much fun though, I really did love it!

– I would have planned the reception better. Our ceremony was so wonderful and perfectly planned out, but we knew it would be long and plus we didn’t start until 7pm on a Saturday evening. So I should have looked ahead to realize our reception should be brief and than taken time to plan out the minutes for cake cutting, toasting, dancing, and greeting guests to make it more smooth and efficient to get it all done and let the guest go home.

– What would I change about the planning process? Um, not anything I can think of off the top of my head. I felt pretty prepared and had made up tons of checklists and a schedule for the ceremony etc and had a friend act as my wedding planner the whole day. She took care of the details and I ended up having a very stress free day! It was fabulous!

– I wouldn’t change anything if I had the same budget. But, if I had an unlimited budget I would have served dinner as well as having a dessert buffet and had a videographer.

– I would make sure that I had a backup plan for everything!  We had planned on getting married at our church and were told that renovations being done to it would be finished by our wedding date.  Three weeks before the wedding we found out that the building wasn’t going to be inspected before the date so we couldn’t use it.  Thankfully, we already had a place in mind as a backup for the reception and when we found out they were available we had the ceremony there as well.  We simply sent out change of location letters to everyone who had RSVP’d to come.  It turned out even more beautiful than it would have at the church, but we did undergo a lot of stress from it in the meantime.

– If I were to go back to the planning process and do something over, I would have definitely hired a video professional to record the entire day. I regret that I did not think of that sooner when I was dividing up the budget into various areas. Video does provide a different feel than pictures do, and it’s always nice to go back and watch videos of your wedding over again whenever you’re in that nostalgic mood (which I get a lot of).

– The planning process is one of the most stressful processes a couple can go through on the way to the altar. I love my family dearly, but if I could do the planning process all over again, I would get less people involved. My husband and I had a vision of what our wedding should be but apparently so did every single person in our family!  They had strong opinions over who to invite, what the colors should be, how the flowers should look, and more.  I would have kept details to ourselves to avoid hurt feelings and family issues. At the end of the day it all turned out wonderful, but we could have done without the drama.

– I can’t think of much that I would change, but as I’ve watched the planning process of other weddings I can say that I’m so very thankful for the friend I had who sort of became my “wedding planner”.  It wasn’t really a position I planned on filling, and I’m not really sure she knew what an incredible role she would play but I don’t think I could have enjoyed my day as much as I did without her and a few other key people.  When you plan an event you have to run an event, and when you’re the Bride the last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is running the event.  My friend was able to walk beside me throughout the whole planning process, she knew what I wanted and we had discussed everything so that on our wedding day she was the one to see it all through, and I was able to just enjoy each moment as it came.

– Simplify!  I wish I had picked less expensive dresses for my bridesmaids.  I did everything myself including the flowers!  It saved me tons of money and the whole family participated to make our day special which was fun.  It’s a very important day, but the most important thing is that the Bride and Groom have a wonderful time, so don’t stress about the small stuff.

– In order to save money, we hired a non-professional caterer. Because she was new at what she was doing, she was unable to give us good pricing up front and didn’t have access to the equipment that a professional would have. In the end, the quality of the food was less than what I hoped for, and the savings were small. There are ways to save money on food, but don’t sacrifice an experienced professional.

-I would definitely had hired a wedding planner to help with coordinating and that day. Also, I would have done bridal portraits. I never really learned about them until I lived in the south, and learned that everyone does them! I am a little bummed I missed out on that opportunity!

– NOTHING.  My entire family had everything to do with the wedding.  I made the plans and everyone executed.  It could not have gone more perfectly.  I know a lot of people say hire professionals, but the one most important and special aspect of our wedding was that there was so much love and hard work from all our friends and family.  So it was not only mine and Wyatt’s wedding, but it was our families and friends as well.  It was really a blend of two worlds coming together as one.

In Retrospect: The Stories of 12 Brides (Part 2)


Part two of my mini survey, I asked the same 12 brides if they could go back to the wedding day and change one thing what would it be? The interesting thing I found is that it seems like a number of people would have spent more time finding a way to see their guests and more time with family photos. I can’t help you with the guest part, but I can with the family photos.

When I first started  shooting I don’t think I had the foresight or experience to really think through how to put a nice wedding day schedule together. Now I will always spend a good amount of time during our consultation going over the schedule and discussing which family photos we want to take. But even now, as we look through the wedding day and how to best use all the minutes, I think at times it’s easy to push all the family photos into a 15 time slot after the ceremony.

True, not everyone wants a lot of family photos from their wedding. But if it’s something you feel will be important to you later, make sure to think about it now. You only have so many minutes on your big day, so as you talk things over with your photographer maybe that’s something which might be worth a few extra. In reality good photos take a little more time, and I think when it comes down to it all of us want good photos! =)

If you could go back to the wedding day and change one thing what would it be? The Answers:

– If I could change one thing, I would have gotten more photos with my family – specifically my grandparents because they are so special to me.  Everything goes so quickly, so I wish I would have had someone reminding me of all of those photos I really wanted taken that day.

– I feel the event was crowded with logistics; me still packing and moving stuff out of my old place, writing thank you cards for volunteers, getting ready all afternoon. I don’t even remember seeing or talking to Ben’s or my family that day, and even more any of the guests! I wish I had more casual memories with eveyone having all the work done so we could enjoy the moments together.

– We did a wedding on a budget, and I wish that I would have spent more money on my veil, and invited more people to the wedding (since so many who RSVP don’t show). Honestly though, it wasn’t about the details, it was about the people who were there and being confident that I was marrying the right person!

–  The only problem we had at our wedding was that the sound system did not work properly.  All of the microphones crackled throughout the ceremony.  I wish we had taken more time to do sound tests and make sure that wouldn’t happen.

– If I were to go back to the wedding and change anything it would be to take more photos with my extended family members. It’s really a once in a lifetime chance for you to capture this important chapter in your life and you really want to take advantage of getting great images with those closest to you.

– Despite some of the pre-wedding stress we encountered, most of our day ended up as close to perfect as one could probably hope for. If I could change one thing I probably would have not had a getaway vehichle, because it came late and stalled the exit for my husband and I . We were so tired that we were ready to collapse. I wanted a big exit, but I think it ended up being an expense that wasn’t necessary.

– When I look back at our wedding day I’m happy with the way it all went.  There were a few little things that I didn’t expect, things like: ~our “slide show” (an outdoor version) didn’t happen because there wasn’t enough time for set up ~It was FREEZING cold by the time the ceremony started and my poor bridesmaids were not wearing shoes ~We didn’t really get to eat any of the very yummy food! But, I think one thing that Mark and I both look back at and really wish is that we could have had tons more fun, creative, special pictures of just me and him together.  I would have spent more time looking at wedding photos so that I could have had a better idea of what kind of photos I wanted to have to remember our day.  That said, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pictures that we do have and no matter how many good ones we got that day I think there would always be one more pose or angle that I would wish we could have gotten.

– If you could go back to the wedding day and change one thing what would it be?
I wouldn’t change much, except maybe have a smaller wedding party and I should have gone around to visit with my guests a little bit more during the reception.  We had 200 people so that is automatically difficult, but I had some family in from out of town and I feel I should have spent more time with them.

– We didn’t have dancing at our reception, so guests didn’t hang around for very long. I hate to dance, so I wouldn’t change that part. But unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to greet most of the people who were there. I thought it would be easy to make my way around the room, but those dresses do not make it easy to move! If you have a lot of guests, I would suggest coming up with a creative way to greet all your loved ones.

– RELAX. I cared way too much about everyone else on my wedding day. Were the families getting along? Were my friends having fun? Did I make time to talk to everyone? Yuck. I never enjoyed my day for myself, and it really breaks my heart to think about it. I would have let it all go, had a wedding planner to worry about everything, and enjoyed my special day with my husband!

– I would have done bridal portraits. I never really learned about them until I lived in the south, and learned that everyone does them! I am a little bummed I missed out on that opportunity!

– For every aspect of the wedding, I had various checklists and memos, which all seemed to work well with the exception of the photo list.  I forgot the list I made of what pictures we had to take and with whom.  My husband comes from a divorced family, so it was hard to keep track of who we forgot in the photos and what combinations we needed.  We got most of the ones I could remember, but missed a couple I would have really liked to have had.


February 3, 2010 - 9:12 pm

Steph Beals - Great posts Lucas! Thank you! I coordinate weddings at our church so these thoughts are super helpful.

In Retrospect: The Stories of 12 Brides (Part 1)


Over the past few weeks I have been thinking over things that might be helpful for future brides as their wedding day draws closer. As I was thinking it over, I thought what better way to get some insight into your wedding then ask someone who has already had their own. So that’s what I did. I interviewed 12 brides who’s weddings I have done over the past 7 years and asked them three questions.

1. What was your favorite part about your wedding day?
2. If you could go back to the wedding day and change one thing what would it be?
3. If you could go back to the planning process and do it over what would you change?

This first post has the answers from the first question. I was going to put all the answers but it was getting really long. So I will post the rest of the answers in another post sometime this weekend. If you have your own story PLEASE leave it in the comments as I’m sure it will be helpful for other future brides.

Melanie: My favorite part of the day was seeing Robert, the groom for the first time and seeing him as I walked down the aisle.  I also loved our reception.  So many of our friends and family got on the dance floor and our band was amazing.  It was a fun, relaxing and joyous way to celebrate our special day.
Tara: So many moments were special on my wedding day, but I think one of my favorite things was actually our receiving line.  Though it took about an hour to an hour and a half of our day, it was a chance for Mark and I to see every single guest, to give them a hug and to thank them for their support of us. Having our parents in the receiving line as well allowed for lots of introductions to be made that might not necessarily have happened otherwise.  So when I look back, that is one of my most cherished memories of the whole day!
0 Julia: I was really excited to see Ben after a long day preparing, but we were still both a little tense and thinking about details during our private moment. So I think it was more exciting to be with him during the ceremony after everything started rolling. There were so many special emotions from walking down the aisle and finally getting to be by his side and hold his hand, to singing with his parents, and finally the kiss! So the ceremony and just afterwards when we were on a total high feeling now that we were finally married were the most exciting for me.
Jeanette: The favorite part of my day would probably have to be hearing the speeches from our maid of honor and best man. My husband and I had so many mutual friends who were there for us throughout our entire relationship from conception to fulfillment. It was fun and sweet to hear our good friends recount how our relationship has positively influenced their lives and how we as a couple became so knit together with these dear friends.
Dana: The best part of my wedding day was the fact that I married my best friend. Sure I could say that my other favorite part of day was getting all gussied up and wearing a gorgeous dress, which is true. But looking back on it, purely and simply I am just so happy that I got married!
Deidre: I have to say I think our wedding was perfect! It’s difficult for me to choose one particular part that was my favorite.  It was special that Jesse and I could see one another for the first time alone in the gazebo.
Jacky: My favorite part about our wedding was that everything from the photos and music to decor and location was such a reflection of our personalities.  It was important to us to have a day that we could look back on and say that it uniquely represented us. We wanted it to be a fun day for us and our guests as well.  Also, it rained after the wedding and we were able to get some great pictures.
Elizabeth: Although my wedding had so many memories I will never forget my favorite part which was seeing my husband before the ceremony for our pre-ceremony pictures.  We had debated over whether or not we should see each other before the ceremony, and ended up deciding that the photos would make it worth it. It was indeed true! We decided to do a “first-moment” photo, and to exchange a special gift.  Some of the pre-wedding photos of us as a couple are my favorite photos of the day. It also allowed me a chance to relax with my husband before the big moment, and took some edge off of the day.   Seeing him and spending some time with him helped me to stay calm and enjoy those first moments seeing each other dressed up.
Kat: My favorite part of my wedding day was exchanging vows.  I did not know how much it would affect me, but standing at the altar at that moment, the entire world disappeared and I was able to really take in every word that I said and that was said to me in return.
Terah: I loved my wedding day, for many reasons!  From the people, to the food, to the fun of finally wearing my wedding dress, to walking away from the huge clean-up job knowing that was one thing I didn’t have to be a part of, to spending almost the entire day standing next to the man I love.  But, one thing that I enjoyed about the day in it’s entirety was just being the Bride.  As we planned our wedding day I knew that it was going to go by so quickly, and I wanted to be able to enjoy it.  I had a few key people who took on great responsibility so that on our special day I could just sit back and be the Bride.  I slept long and well the night before, I fully trusted those who had responsibilities, I determined not to worry about the little things that would inevitably go differently than I had hoped; and thus I simply went where I was told, held my (now) husband’s hand, laughed with the wonderful friends who made up our Bridal Party and enjoyed every moment!  Because of that I think my memories and our photos of that day are beautiful, I don’t remember being stressed, tired or in a hurry.  And our wedding photos reflect that!
Becky: The whole day was great, but I especially liked our ceremony. Ryan and I worked really hard to make sure that part was special and unique for us. Instead of asking our head pastor to do the ceremony, we asked the youth pastor who knew us much better. Ours was his second wedding, so everything he said was written especially for us. We invited all of our guests to participate in communion with us as our best friends played our favorite worship music, and we ended with a Puritan Wedding Prayer. My favorite part was saying the vows we wrote. It was amazing to think that as these words were spoken, I was becoming life-long partners with the man I loved.  That’s what the day should be about.
Michelle: Although the whole day was amazing, so much of it I cannot clearly remember and it is now a blur. I do remember the joy and relief of hopping into out getaway car and being driven away from our friends and family. So much was behind us, and the future stretched out before us. We were FINALLY married and it felt great! It was a wonderful feeling and time in our lives with so much to look forward to!
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