GSS Featured Engagement Session :: Brandi & Tj’s Light Saber Fighting Fort Worth Engagement Session :: Tracy Autem Photography

Today’s fabulous featured engagement comes from Wendy Kay of  Birds of a Feather Events,  a Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas based wedding and event planner.  Does her name sound familiar?  It should!  We featured Wendy’s amazing Day After Session (Photographed by the brilliant Tara Swain!) with her husband, Billy, back in November.  If you have never laid eyes on this ridiculously awesome Day After Session, please click here to check it out!  Anyway, Wendy is planning Brandi & Tj’s wedding and thought we might like to feature their fabulous engagement session.  So, with permission from Brandi and Tj’s photographer, Tracy Autem Photography, we’re featuring their SUPER FUN engagement session!  Please, please check out Tracy’s website– she’s SO talented! You can do so by clicking here

Wendy has been so sweet and accommodating to GSS and we have truly enjoyed working with her on this feature. 

Brandi and Tj are to be married on May 27, 2011.   Brandi was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

How did you and Tj meet?  He’s my hairdresser. :)  About 5 years ago, I had just moved to the DFW area to pursue my master’s degree and of course, first things first, I was looking for a hairdresser- haha.  My friend Yvette recommended I go to her hairdresser, Tj, because he was fabulous and well, the rest is history.

How long did you date before the proposal OR How long have you been together?  This coming February, we will be together 4 years!  He proposed July 24, 2010.

Have you set a date yet?  We are getting married May 27, 2011.

Have you picked your venue?  If so, what made you choose this location?  We will be having our ceremony and reception at The Old Red Museum in Dallas, Texas.  I have absolutely loved this location every since I saw pictures of it on a wedding website about a year or so ago.  And when I got engaged, it was the first place that popped into my head as a venue choice.  And once I was able to set up a tour and finally visit the museum, I was won over by its historical elegance  but I would have to say that its black and white tiled floors and grand staircase were what sealed the deal in my mind.

At what point did you know that Tj was “the one”?  When I realized that I could truly be myself with him and that he loved me for the good, bad and the ugly!  He is my best friend. 

Besides getting engaged, what is your favorite memory as a couple?   Our first date. :)

How did Tj propose?  We were in Las Vegas for a hair show.  The evening that we arrived, we had reservations at Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio, where we were staying.  However, our flight had been delayed in Dallas, so when we actually touched down at the Las Vegas airport, we had exactly 30 minutes to get to the hotel, get checked in, get changed and make our reservation!  I still can’t even imagine how nervous Tj must have been because he had been planning this for months!  I, however, was clueless, so I was happy as a lark, not a care in the world-just ecstatic to be on vacation! haha  We made it to our reservation and the hostess took us to our table.  The waiter came over and greeted us briefly and then disappeared.  Seconds, later Tj turned my chair toward him and proposed.  The entire staff at the restaurant was in on the plan and the staff were standing around us and taking pictures.  Patrons of the restaurant were turned around watching the whole thing!  I, of course, said yes over and over, and everyone applauded.  Then, from around the corner near our table,  my best friend and her husband walked out and totally surprised me!  I was crying like a baby!  It was the best night of my life and one that I will NEVER forget!

Were you surprised?  Yes! To say the least- haha!

What made you choose Tracy Autem as your photographer?  She had done a wedding of a friend of mine about a year ago and her photos were absolutely stunning!  And when I mentioned her name to Tj after I had seen that friend’s engagement photos, he said, “Tracy Autem?  She’s one of my clients!”  What a small world!  I also had forgotten at that time, that he had actually mentioned her to me about a year previously that she was starting her own photography business and how amazing she was! It was meant to be!

We applaud you on hiring a wedding planner-  What made you choose Bird of a Feather Events? (Excellent choice by the way!  We just LOVE Wendy!)  Well, Wendy‘s best friend is a very good friend of Tj’s as well and had mentioned to us that Wendy was starting her own wedding planning business.  We decided to contact her and after speaking with her about what we were wanting for our wedding and listening to her ideas, I knew I would be crazy not to hire her!  She has amazing ideas and truly wants to make our wedding special and personal for Tj and me.

Thank you so much, Wendy, for sharing this amazing engagement session with us!  Please stop by her website and blog and show her some love!  Also, please stop by Tracy Autem Photography’s website and blog and show her some love as well!  And thank you, Brandi, for taking your time to answer our questions!  We hope your wedding is everything that you have ever dreamed of and wish you and Tj a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!!  May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at  We HEART submissions!

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GSS Featured Day After Session :: Wendy & Billy’s F-U-N Filled Session :: Tara Swain Photography

Today’s fabulous featured Day After session comes from Tara Swain of Tara Swain Photography. We fell head over roller skates when we saw this AH-Mazing submission in our inbox!  (Roller skates, skateboards, feathers, and pillow fights- OH MY!) Tara Swain is an East Texas and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas based wedding photographer.  Tara has been so sweet and accommodating to GSS and we have truly enjoyed working with her on this feature.

Wendy and Billy were married on August 15, 2010.  This shoot is a double feature, actually… Wendy has just started her very own wedding planning business named “Birds of a Feather Events.”  (Scroll on down, you’ll see a feather theme going on- And now you know why!  So, so cool!)  Without further ado, we are proud to introduce you today to both Tara Swain AND Wendy!

Wendy was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:

How did you and Billy meet? Billy and I met through mutual friends.  We had been hanging out in the same circle and frequenting the same spots, but we had never really spoken to each other.  After a string of nights where our group had hung out pretty much every night I decided should send him a friend request on Facebook.  After reading each other’s pages we realized that we had a ton of stuff in common and it might be nice to actually carry on a conversation the next time we all hung out.  He met up with me and my friends later that evening and the rest is history, we have been inseparable ever since!

How long have you been together? We started dating Memorial Day weekend of 2009, so only about a year and a half.  When you know, you know! :)

How did he propose? About a week after we started dating he picked me up from work and took me to lunch at 8.0’s in downtown Fort Worth.  As we were walking to the restaurant he stopped me on the street corner and asked me to be his girlfriend, which I thought was super cute!  So, when it came time to pop the big question he took me back to that same street corner.  He pretended like we were going to dinner downtown, but he stopped me on that same street corner and asked me to marry him.   After he proposed he took me to the restaurant where we had our first date, Piranha Killer Sushi in North Arlington.

When was your wedding date? This is a bit of a long story, but I will give you a short version.  Before he ever proposed he set the wedding date, 8.16.10.  This date was based on my birthday being on 6.16 and his being on 10.16, and 8.16 was right in the middle.  So for months we would always text each other when it was 8:16am/pm, send pictures of things with 816 in it, our address is even 3816.  Once we were officially engaged and were planning the wedding we realized that 8.16 was not going to work for everyone since it was a Monday.  We thought for a long time about it and decided to compromise, we would have the wedding and reception on 8.15, but sign the marriage license on 8.16 so that our anniversary would be 8.16.  So, I guess we really get 2 anniversaries now, right?!

Your wedding dress is GORGEOUS! Where did you get it? Thank you!  It is by Simone Carvalli and it was my dream dress!  I had originally just thought I would get a dress at David’s Bridal and not spend too much money on it, that is, until I saw my dress in a bridal magazine.  I could not stop thinking about it and I couldn’t seem to find anything comparable anywhere!  I decided to search online and try to find the price, but it was not listed anywhere.  Only one store in the entire metroplex carries Simone Carvalli, Stardust Celebrations.  I went to their website and as luck would have it they were having a Simone Carvalli trunk show the following weekend!  I set my appointment, with a woman named Wendy even, and when I showed up my dress was the only one they did not have!  I tried on other styles, but my heart was set on 7135.  Wendy sent me home dressless, but promised to track the dress down for me.  She called me about 2 weeks later telling me she had found the dress and it was being shipped so I could try it on.  Luckily the dress was within my budget and we purchased the gown on Valentine’s Day (Awe, lol)

We understand that you recently launched your own wedding planning business named “Birds of a Feather Events”- How exciting!!! Tell us about it: Wow, where to begin?!  I’ve been working in television in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the past 9 years, editing, directing, making motion graphics etc.  I’ve always dreamt of working for myself and doing something that involves creativity and my passion for organization, haha!  With so many friends getting married this year, not to mention my own wedding, it was something that I just fell into at first, then realized that I had an overwhelming desire to make it a career.  I really get involved with all of my brides and take on their wedding days as if they were my own, pouring over decor selections, cakes, flowers, invitations, making sure everything is the perfect fit for that particular couple.  I don’t really care for the over the top, cookie cutter style weddings.  My focus is on doing something unique, something that not only fits the couple’s style and interests, but something that none of the guests will have seen before.  You can visit my website at and also “Like” our Facebook page at

Below are some of Wendy’s head shots for Birds of a Feather Events.  So adorable, fun, and creative!

Do you have any advice for brides that are in the planning process? Hire a wedding planner of course!  But seriously, if a planner is not in your budget or if you prefer to plan everything solo, at least hire a day of coordinator.  They will save your wedding, trust me!  The last thing you want to do on your big day is call vendors, do set up at your ceremony and reception, or clean up/fix any problems that arise….and trust me, something WILL go wrong, most likely the thing you least expect.  Also, try to do as many DIY projects as you feel comfortable with.  Personal touches go a long way in making your wedding personal and rememberable!

What was your favorite part of your big day? I wouldn’t say I have a favorite moment, more like highlights!  I loved doing our First Look, they are my favorite pictures from the entire day and I highly recommend doing them to anyone.  Billy and I only had one member in our wedding party, our flower girl.  I decided to ask my mother to be my matron of honor a few weeks prior to the wedding, but I waited to surprise her and ask her right before the ceremony started.  That was a very special moment for me.  Being introduced as the new Mr. and Mrs. Tylaska was pretty great, as was dancing with my father.

And lastly, what was your inspiration for your day after shoot? One of the many things Billy and I have in common is we both grew up skating, me on roller skates and him on a skate board.  Skating was a huge part of our lives growing up and Billy still skates today and I get to the rink every now and then.  I really love pictures where the couple incorporates their interests into the shots and adds some character to them, they seem so much more interesting and dynamic than just a simple shot in a field or of them sitting on a park bench.  I came to Tara with the idea of having some feathers floating in the air in front of us during the wedding gown portion of the shoot and she loved the idea.  Once I told her that the most economical way to get the feathers was from down pillows, she had a light bulb moment and decided we should do a full on pillow fight!  Billy totally cheated though, he was pulling fists full of feathers from the pillow and throwing them into my face.  I had feathers in my mouth, feathers in my throat, feathers in my eyes…you get the idea!  We were finding feathers for days afterwards.  I also bought some cupcakes so we could do a “cake smash”, like a food fight, but with cake and at a close range…but Billy wasn’t having it.  I really don’t blame him, staining our clothes probably wasn’t the best idea!  Hopefully Tara can pass my idea along and talk someone else into it, I would love to see those photos!

Thank you so much, Tara, for sharing this amazing engagement session with us!  Please stop by her website and blog and show her some love!  And thank you, Wendy, for taking your time to answer our questions!  We wish you luck with Birds of a Feather Events– We know you’ll be a HUGE success!  And we wish you and Billy a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!!  May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at  We HEART submissions!

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