Intimate beach wedding–all the feels

When I first met with Sandy and Brendan over Zoom, they declared themselves as “criers” and promised a wedding full of emotion…they did not let me down. Buckets of tears and boatloads of laughter. This couple knows how to throwdown a great celebration, no matter the circumstance. My heart goes out to all couples contending with all of the changes in plans and postponements as we navigate this public health crisis. Sandy and Brenden pivoted from a 200+ guest list Texas barn blowout to a family-only gathering of 21 on Cape Cod and I was honored that they chose Salty Broad Studios, to document to such a personal occasion with a tight knit group. Congratulations, Sandy and Brenden. Thank you for letting me share your wedding day story!

What’s in my camera bag?

Savvy brides or grooms want to know that their vendors are prepared for anything. You that you definitely don’t have anything worry with Salty Broad Studios. I have over a decade of newspaper experience so I have learned to be ready for the unexpected.

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When I roll up to a wedding venue, I have my ThinkTank Roller Derby bag in tow and usually someone asks whether or not I’m moving in since it looks like a suitcase. So here’s what’s inside–my collection of essentials: Two Nikon DSLRs, a D850 and a D810. Four strobe units and wireless transmitters for creative lighting during your portraits and fun party photos. I have several Nikkor lens and for those who want the nitty gritty details, here’s the focal lengths: 17-35mm, 50mm, 60mm, 24-70mm, 85mm, 70-200mm and one Sigma lens 35mm f/1.4. This picture does not include my memory cards, batteries, charges and additional light kits and modifiers. I have a lot of stuff.

But wait…there’s more! Not only do I have tons of camera gear but I also come prepared with my own “Wedding Day Emergency Kit.”

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Yes, just call me Auntie Salty because I will have all these goodies at your disposal. In my handy dandy emergency kit you will find: a sewing kit, scissors or a pocket knife, bandaids, a Tide pen (more for me than you but your never know), Ibuprofen, Still Standing foot spray to help ease the pain from a day in heels (yes, it really works), a lint roller, safety pins, bobby pins, fashion tape and deodorant. 

Bottom line, with me you are getting comprehensive photo coverage of your celebrate and I will be prepared for pretty much anything that comes my way. 

10 Unique and Off-the-Beaten Path Places for Exchanging Vows on Cape Cod

As we come to terms with the reality that the COVID-19 pandemic will be canceling all large group gatherings for the majority of 2020, I’d like to try and provide some helpful suggestions to couples who will need to postpone the big celebration but would still like to tie the knot privately on the original date that they intended on getting married.

Here’s some sage advice, it’s always a good idea to ask for permission but as long as you are in a public place, don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Just book an officiant (and maybe a photographer) and go get married. It will probably take 5 minutes total. Carpe Diem!

1. Blish Point – Barnstable Harbor – This breathtaking nook is truly a special place and typically only know by locals. Technically, it’s just a boat ramp but as you venture down the wooden stairs you’ll be delighted by the striking view of Sandy Neck in the distance and the phragmites swaying against the soft sand dunes in the breeze. Stay at the Lamb & Lion Inn, they’re offering special elopement packages.

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2. Cape Cod Lavender Farm – Harwich – Locally owned and operated, this quaint farm is New England at it’s finest. Schedule your private photo session for a small fee but make sure it’s in late June/early July so you can catch the lavender in its peak.

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3. Grays Beach – Yarmouth Port – A favorite landmark for visitors and locals alike. The boardwalk can be your own private aisle then exchange vows in front of the expansive Salt Marsh with Chapin’s Beach in the distance

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4. Kelley ChapelHistorical Society of Old Yarmouth – Formal weddings with up to 60 guests can be held here but why not exchange vows right out front. What a perfect backdrop?

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5. Crowes Pasture Conservation Area in Dennis – Accessing this area might be a little tricky if you don’t have an ORV permit but if you are willing to walk a little, the stunning flats at low tide are worth it. You can bring your pup to this dog-friendly spot too.

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6. The Knob, Woods Hole – The Cornelia Carey Sanctuary in Quissett Harbor is a popular engagement session spot also but it also makes for a great wedding venue too. I happened upon this couple’s impromptu ceremony on a walk one afternoon and just had to take a picture myself.

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7. Cranberry Bog – There’s quite a few to choose from on the Cape and many have accessible walking trails. PJs Cranberries in Sandwich formally hosts tented weddings. Take a hike along the Pamet Cranberry Bog Trail in Truro, enjoy the view from Bearberry Hill summit and check out the remnants of a former bog house. 

8. Red Maple Swamp Trail – Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham – This is probably the prettiest swamp you’ll ever meet. Explore the winding and recently renovated boardwalk in this enchanted forest of beech trees and pitch pines. You’ll find a “scenic point” that would make a lovely spot to say “I do.” Hemenway Landing is a beautiful spot too and it’s right around the corner!

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9. Scorton Creek – East Sandwich – Take in the peaceful marsh views and the unique shapes that form at low tide. If you explore the Marshside Trail you’ll find a lovely bridge with a stunning view. There’s also a “Nature’s Classroom” with benches overlooking a peaceful scene–perfect for an intimate wedding. Want something different? Get married on a kayak excursion. If it’s just the two of you, you might as well do something special.

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10. Craigville Retreat Center – Eggers Chapel in the Pines – Nestled in the woods behind the Tabernacle Church, this humble cross and rows of benches is quaint and idyllic. Imagine how lovely this will be when summer sets in and the birds are chirping!

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Interesting in booking a small celebration or elopement with Salty? Get in touch here!

Queer-friendly engagement session locations!

By Christine Hochkeppel

Since I happen to be situated near one of the most well-beloved LGBTQ destinations–Provincetown–I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the most queer-friendly cities and towns for an engagement session. 

Provincetown, MA – This place truly does have a little bit of everything! Beautiful sand dunes, ocean views, sunsets and quirky, upbeat nightlife. Every where you turn there’s pride and good cheer! Want to make your session super queer? Come up for the annual Carnival parade–the third Thursday is August. This year’s theme is “The Holidays” and last year’s was “Enchanted Forest.”

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South End, Boston – Home to Boston’s original gay clubs and bars, Club Cafe and the Boston Eagle, this neighborhood has so much history. Gentrification has drastically changed the face of this once gay ghetto but the city has led the nation in bringing the gay rights movement forward. It was the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004. 

Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. – Complete with beautiful historic museums, row houses and a stunning marble fountain, this little corner of the District has long been known as a haven for queer folks. Since 1986, it’s hosted the “High Heel Race”–a drag queen sprint down 17th Street NW. Thank you to Aimee Custis for sharing this photo!

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Gayborhood, Philadelphia – This place is so gay-friendly that in 2007 the city of Philadelphia officially recognized the Gayborhood area by adding 36 gay pride rainbow flag symbols to street signs. Situated in the Washington West neighborhood of Philly this is a great choice for a sophisticated, urban look.

Ogunquit, Maine – Yet another queer enclave in the Northeast. Ogunquit is a great option if you’re a couple who loves the outdoors paired with quaint, nautical New England vibes. Thank you, Jackie Riccardi for contributing the photo!

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Greenwich Village, Manhatthan – So much queer love here! Tons of great landmarks to work with plus the stunning New York City skyline. For a classic backdrop, visit the Washington Square Arc and Fountain then hit up some of the iconic gay bars like Stonewall and Cubby Hole, and, of course, Gay Street!

Portsmouth, NH – This Historic seaport on the Piscataqua River may appear to be a just another sleepy New England town but there’s plenty of nightlife and gay-owned businesses to support.

Castro St, San Francisco – The home to the late, great gay rights activist Harvey Milk and the site of many demonstrations that advanced the movement. You can have fun with the rainbow painted crosswalks! Thanks Zoe Larkin for contributing this photo!

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Rehoboth Beach – One of the mid-Atlantic’s most popular tourist destinations for LGBTQ people! Take a stroll on Queen Street and be sure to get a shot in front of Dolle’s Saltwater Taffy on the boardwalk!

Northampton, MA – This Pioneer Valley town nestled in Western Massachusetts has hosted an annual LGBTQ Pride Parade since 1981! It’s a hub for academics and creatives alike. Lots of unique LGBT-owned businesses to support on Main Street.

Do you have a location to recommend? Make a comment below and share your favorite place!

5 Benefits to Hiring a Gay Photographer for LGBTQ+ Couples

By Christine Hochkeppel owner of Salty Broad Studios

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I think we can all agree that the gay rights movement has made some great strides in the last decade but, we still have a long way to go. We still hear true stories of groom-groom couples being turned away from cake makers and homophobic venues rejecting a gay couple’s wedding celebration. Hell, I even had a bride/bride couple work with me after the first wedding photographer they inquired with said “after praying on it,” she decided she could not work with them. It’s a hard pill to swallow but there is something you can do to fight back! When planning your wedding, seek out vendors who are part of our queer-lovin’ community! Here’s a couple a great reasons why you should go-gay when hiring your wedding day team.

1. Comfort – No awkwardness about misused pronouns or ignorant mistakes (my first hand experience – a florist labeled a bride’s boutonniere “for the groom”)

2. Sensitivity – Every family has drama but families’ with queer kids tend to have a little more (major understatement). I make sure I get to know my couples and their family dynamics before the big day to avoid any painful mentions or triggers.

3. Camaraderie – I’m out and proud and I LOVE celebrating that pride. Simply put, it’s FUN working with gay folks and you can really feel that bond when you work with LGBTQ+ run businesses.

4. Laughter – Let’s face it, you can laugh with LGBTQ+ peeps about things that straight people just don’t identify with and you know giggles make everything better.

5. Advocacy – Supporting LGBTQ+-owned businesses means that you are putting your money where your heart is and you are helping these businesses earn more success and credibility to attract more LGBTQ+ couples for the future.

Here’s a few firsthand accounts from real same-sex couples who hired Salty Broad Studios for their big gay weddings…

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“Working with Christine was a ton of FUN. She was funny, up-beat, and had us laughing when we could have been stressed.  It was meaningful to have a LGBTQ wedding photographer to help us document this important moment in our lives.  Wedding photographers capture very intimate moments, which, for gay and lesbian couples, can feel uncomfortable to share.  It was reassuring to know that Christine understood and appreciated this.  We’d recommend that any LGBTQ couple seeking a wedding photographer consider hiring someone who is also LGBTQ for these reasons, and to support LGBTQ-owned businesses.” -Janie & Cristina

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“As a lesbian couple, we are so thrilled that we had the opportunity to choose a gay photographer to shoot our wedding. For one thing, it is important to us to be selective about our vendors and support local LGBTQ+ businesses when we can. Second of all, we were so instantly comfortable in front of the camera knowing that a fellow LGBTQ+ identifying person was behind the lens. We had full faith that there was no judgment coming from our photographer, and we knew that she would be able to capture our love as something beautiful – and she did!” -Maggie & Kelli

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“Being a gay couple, of course, I was worried about whether I would get along with the photographer, or experience micro aggressions. It can be hard to find, but generally queer photographers are more empathetic, and better able to relate and accurately assess how to be supportive and create and capture beautiful moments throughout our journey.” -David & Nathaniel 

10 Style Tips for Your Engagement Session

So, I get this question a lot and I have to start with the annoying vague answer…it depends. Wardrobe choices for your engagement session will greatly fluctuate based on the season, your body type and, of course, your personality!

I prefer a more casual look because there are plenty of formal wedding day opportunities so dress like you are going out for a regular date night but step it up just a touch. Color coordinate without matching. This is important. I have included some of my favorite palettes for you to get inspired by but, truly, this should be whatever feels right to you.

Ladies, if it’s spring or summer, it’s always nice to see a lovely, flowy dress but, please, avoid busy prints, stick to the solids, except for polka dots–that’s my one exception. If you must wear a pattern, then please have your partner were a solid. I also think going simple: jeans and a nice top can be lovely as well. For shoes, dress for the terrain, if we’re going on a hike, obviously, don’t wear heels or something you are worried about ruining. Don’t hesitate to bring options, maybe a walking shoe for the duration of the shoot and a sexy pair of pumps or boots for just before or at the end.

For the guys, I think a nice fitting pair of jeans, nothing too worn out or dated, with some brown leather shoes (stay away from the sneakers and flip flops) and a button-down shirt, maybe a sweater on top? Layers are nice because we can add or subtract for different looks. Solids are preferred but if it’s a nice gingham or plaid that color-coordinates with your partner’s look, go for it!

Blazers are great for both men and women but just don’t be twins. Accessories are awesome! Bring a hat to add some variety or if it’s weather appropriate, how about a scarf?

My friend and former colleague Candace Hammond is a fashion columnist and social media manager for several clothing stores, Here’s her Top 10 Tips:

  1. Compliment each other but don’t match. You don’t want to look like a Gap ad from the ‘90s.
  2. Make sure you feel good in what you’re wearing. If you’re not comfortable it will show on your face. Choose something that makes you feel amazing.
  3. Wear clothes that fit well – nothing too tight or baggy. You want something that is flattering and comfortable. Being able to breathe and move is important!
  1. Be yourself. If you’re someone who always wears vintage, then wear that. But don’t be costumey or choose something trendy that’s not you.
  2. Think in terms of – ‘Will I feel good about this outfit 10, 20, 30 years from now’ or will it be…‘What was I thinking?’
  3. When choosing your outfit, consider where your photo shoot will take place. What might work at the beach won’t be as fitting for an urban shoot.
  4. Bring a couple of options. Having choices is always a good idea, but don’t bring your whole wardrobe!
  1. Accessories – A fall shoot with a beautiful scarf can look warm and cozy and add some texture. If you’re known for your cool hats, take some shots with one or two! If you have something that means a lot to you – a necktie that was your dad’s, a pin from your grandmother, wear it! It will add very personal details to your photos.
  2. A few hard no’s – No fleece, no plain t-shirts or sweatshirts, it’s an important event, not a keg party. These are photos your grandchildren will look at someday. Look like you put in some effort and cared!
  3. Choose a location and style based on who you are as a couple, not by something you saw on Pinterest. If you would never go on a hike in the mountains don’t choose to shoot there and dress in outdoorsy clothes. Be yourselves and let the location and what you wear reflect who you are together. There’s nothing as beautiful as authenticity. 

Set Yourself Up for Skincare Success!

By Nicole Perullo, licensed esthetician and founder of Nolia Mabel

Congratulations on your engagement! 

In all the happy chaos of planning it’s easy to overlook one of the most important parts of your big day, making sure your skin is in tip top shape. If you’ve ever wanted to know the best way to get your skin prepped and glowing before you say “I do” then read on for my suggested timeline for your Wedding skin care routine. 

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12-9 month before your wedding 

Interview estheticians who will guide you through this exciting time before your wedding. Meet at least 3 different professionals and go prepared with goals and questions. You want to make sure that you find someone who, not only has the expertise, but also a good personality.You should feel confident that they will listen to your needs. For example, if using natural products is important to you, ask your esthetician what skin care lines they use. If you are struggling with acne, ask your esthetician if this is something they specialize in. We all have our areas of expertise and it’s important to find someone who can help you make the improvements you’re looking for. 

Develop a game plan for monthly/bimonthly spa treatments that will be performed in the Spa. For most brides and grooms, I recommend a basic facial treatment within a few weeks of our consultation, so I can get to know their skin ASAP! Then I give them some options for facials leading up to the wedding. 

Establish a regular skin care routine, if you have not already. On a daily basis, in the morning and evening you should be cleansing, using a toner, and moisturizing. This will ensure that your skin stays clean and balanced all the time. You also need to start a weekly routine that will include exfoliation and a treatment mask. Exfoliation is the often overlooked key to achieving authentic results with your products

8-6 Months before your wedding

Begin more intensive skincare treatments. Hydrodermabrasion is a treatment I specialize in at my skin spa that provides deep exfoliation and intense hydration, and this is the time I generally begin a scheduled series of treatments. Unless you are already working with a professional esthetician, DO NOT get a facial or any kind of skin care treatment less than 2 months prior to your wedding. The month before your wedding is NOT the time to try a peel for the first time, reactions can happen and you may not have time to allow your skin to recover before your big day. 

The month before your wedding

This is a great time to check in with your esthetician!He or she will be able to help you with any last minute unwanted skin conditions and perform your final facial treatment.  At this stage, you and your makeup artist should discuss your game plan for the morning of your wedding. Some will want you to perform your regular skin care routine and others may want you to just wash your face and then let their team do the rest.

I always suggested to my brides and grooms, that they lay low on the alcohol and sugar, drink plenty of water, and get as much sleep as possible. Stress can do a lot of bad things to your skin. Sign up for a yoga or meditation class in the last few weeks before you walk down the aisle. 

The morning of the wedding

Today is the day! If you have followed the advice of your esthetician your skin should be glowing, smooth, and evenly toned. Keep in mind that stress, diet, and hormonal changes can affect the condition of your skin. Even those with strict skin care routines can get the occasional blemish here and there. You have done your makeup artist a favor by taking care of your skin and the reward for that is flawless and natural looking makeup.  When the wedding party is getting ready to pour the pre-ceremony cocktails, remember that alcohol can give an unwanted flush to your cheeks. Take a deep breath and enjoy every second of the memorable and happy occasion!

Forget the Trends. Choose a Makeup Artist Who Understands Balance.

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By Lisa George

Don’t  be swayed by current make-up trends when it comes to choosing your wedding day look. Going with what you are  comfortable with is key! Many looks you see trending in magazines are not appropriate, particularly in a white dress, on a summer afternoon. 

My job as a make-up artist, is to enhance your features and bring you into symmetry for photography.

This does not always translate into heavy make-up. The camera does not erase what it sees! Symmetry is balancing the face. Perhaps one eyelid is larger than the other or a nose needs to have the bridge highlighted in an area that is flat. It might be appropriate to straighten a chin or decrease it’s length.  All of this is done with highlighting and shading that even the eye does not detect as corrected. However, these subtle changes are beautiful in person as well. This is how I achieve the right look for you.

Now, I am not saying every bride should have a gentle make-up application. If your daily make-up is on the wild side then, YES this is your comfort zone. Or you have a signature red lipstick you always wear–stick to it! A great make-up artist will create your desired look with perfection and to be camera ready. 

Don’t Forget Your Mani! Wedding Day Planning For Your Fingers & Toes

By Sarah Mason, owner of Cape Cod Nail Co.

Photographer, CHECK! Flowers, dress, cake, CHECK! Hair & Makeup, CHECK & CHECK! …But what about your wedding day mani?! With so many details to plan and coordinate, nails for the big day can easily get overlooked. Your hands however, can show up in a lot of detail shots. We’re here to give you a few tips to get your nails wedding day ready and how to narrow down your color choices.

Keep it simple!

If you struggle with your natural nails, there’s no need to go crazy and invest in a full set of artificial nails just for your wedding…especially if you’re not used to wearing them. Bi-weekly manicures will do wonders leading up to your wedding day. We recommend starting a regimen at least three months out. Regular maintenance will help curb stress biting and picking, heal and condition unsightly cuticles, and promote healthy nail growth. If getting to the salon isn’t practical, you can absolutely DIY at home! Here’s a few tips to follow for wedding ready nails:

  • Use a nail strengthener! (We love Duri Rejuvacote.)  Biotin is also great for supporting healthy hair, skin, nails, as is drinking plenty of water.
  • Cuticle oil is a must! Dadi Oil is a great option. Use it generously! Keep a bottle in your purse. If you pick your nails or cuticles, slather on some oil every time you start to pick. If you have cracked or open skin around your nails, Neosporin also works great to moisturize and heal.
  • Keep your nails on the shorter side. Letting your nails grow too long will increase the chances of a break. File your natural nails with a fine grit file, keeping them nice and even.
  • Don’t cut your cuticles! Gently push them back but don’t go to town with the nippers. Leave that part for the professionals! Cutting cuticles can cause peeling, painful and sensitive skin, and even infection.
  • Avoid using your nails as tools and wear gloves when doing the dishes.

Now the fun part: Let’s pick a COLOR!

Believe it or not, brides are moving away from the traditional French manicure. We’re seeing more reds, blues, and even dark purples and bright pinks on our brides. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your nails! Your pedicure is the perfect way to add in a last minute “something blue.” Even shorter nails look great with a darker or bright color. Let your personality shine through!

When picking a color, consider your accent colors and colors from your bouquet. Pick a seasonal color or play on your wedding theme. If your wedding is super glam, black tie, elegant…maybe a metallic will polish your look! If you’re more boho or natural, a taupe or earth tone would be a great choice! And of course, if a neutral is your comfort zone, have at it! There’s nothing more timeless than a clean classic manicure. Here’s a few tips to picking a color shade that’s right for you:

  • Choose two shades lighter or darker than your skin tone to add contrast. Avoid choosing a color too close to your skin tone.
  • If neutral is your wedding day go to, avoid wearing bright or dark colors leading up to your wedding day. They can stain and be difficult to remove.
  • Your nails don’t have to match your accent or bouquet, they should however compliment the colors to not complete the look.
  • Book your nail appointment three months out and no more than two days before your wedding day. Have your favorite clear coat on hand. Use a coat of clear at the first signs of wear to save and extend the life of your main through your honeymoon.

Whether you decide to DIY or treat yourself, we’re confident you now have all the tools for flawless wedding day nails!  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, check out Cape Cod Nail Co.’s favorite bridal colors to get started and reach out anytime for more advice on specific nail troubles!

Preparing Your Hair for Your Wedding Day

By Hillary Peavey, Hill the Hair Painter

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The #1 thing is to make sure your hair is “clean” of buildup and chemicals. Talk to your stylist about what you can do to make your hair feel as clean as possible! Water and pipe chemicals can cause damage to your hair and well water can leave a greenish hue that will show in photos. I recommend looking into either Malibu treatments or Color Wow Dream Filter spray. Also, look into a shower head filter. You can get a Britta shower head on Amazon or your local hardware store.

While you certainly want your water to be clean, don’t overdo it with the shampoo! You don’t need to wash your hair everyday! Every other day is perfectly fine and this will preserve some of the natural oils in your hair so it will style better. For blondes, consider using a purple shampoo or conditioner to keep out brassy/yellow tones! It will also help keep your blonde bright for the big day! Just don’t over do it. Even once a week or as needed is perfect!

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Keep your hair free from frizz and broken ends! Length is great but remember to keep your hair looking its best. You can always get clip in extensions. If you have the extra money in your budget, bond extensions are a GREAT option! Unlike tape or sown in extensions, bonds are small and easy to hide with most wedding styles!

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When picking a style for your wedding day, remember you are going to have these memories and pictures for life! Don’t get too caught up in what friends, family & trends are suggesting. You want to feel comfortable and confident! 

Hillary is one of Cape Cod’s most sought after balayage specialists. Check her out on Instagram.