Miracles Do happen

This is a true miracle that I am blessed to be a part of and happy to share this story. Their is an amazing organization called Capturing Hope Photography based out of Clemmons, NC. They are a non profit that recruits photographers to volunteer their time to photograph babies and familis in the NICU. I filled out an application and waiting almost two years after hearing about them from a previous bride. Finally the call come through!! There was a family in our area in need. I immediately said yes.

Now please know how nervous I was on so many different levels; 1. I had never photographed a baby inside 2. I had no experience with the NICU and my heart is big (also that meant I didn’t want to cry in front of this family) 3. I wasn’t sure what to expect from mother or child. I arrived to take photos and feel in love. His name was Aiden, and as I write this now my eyes tear up thinking about seeing him with tubes, unable to breath on his own, and a young mother who was unsure of where to go next. He was a precious gift from God who was born early.

I meet Aiden And Carene on December 18th 2014, after he had already been fighting for his life for 3 weeks. Even a year later I think of them both often. My original contract was to visit once but I went back two more times for photos and another time to visit and bring her dinner. I was a young mother and even though I have no idea what it is like to be in NICU with your angel praying that he lives another day I do understand how hard it is to be alone. I watched him grow, get stronger, and even remember seeing him without his tubes in. I was so scared to overstep my boundaries or not take pictures that would do him, and possibly his memory justice. Thank God he is better than ever now and his pictures were not a rememberance of his life, but of how strong he is and his fight to continue to live.

Through the capability of facebook I am able to still keep in touch with her and I love hearing how happy they are now and how far Aiden has come along. She has married and expecting another child. I couldn’t be happier for them both, They will both have a piece of my heart and always will. Carene shared this picture she made with me the other day and I had to write down my feelings and share. Thank you Carene for letting me into a small piece of your life and Aiden’s.


Quote from Carene ” You weren’t a small part! You gave us some of our most treasured moments. Especially going home. ”

More photos of Aiden can be found here : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.877995162244935.1073741874.245082725536185&type=3

Capturing Hopes Photography; https://www.facebook.com/CapturingHopesPhotography/?fref=ts

When you feel like you can’t go on…think again!

Last year I attended the Love is Bald (LIB) Fashion show as a guest and a friend supporting the cause. This year I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph the event. Last year as I stood there watching the men and women that walked that stage I teared up several times seeing their stories and knowing how heart wrenching the experience of cancer can be. I have a mother who has had breast cancer many times, I have seen my daughters grandmother be taken to heaven, I have watched friends suffer, and meet so many amazing people through my business adventure that have been down this long road. Many of those people I have meet I am blessed to now call them my friends.


The Fashion Show was held on September 17th and for many of my wedding friendors they will know that this is in the midst of BUSY season. On top of that I was training for the Battleship Half and had my heart set on a PR (Personal record for those non runner friends). I plan my running schedule in advance and on this day I had the hustle and bustle of three girls in different schools, cheer, dance, cross country practice, prep for 4 upcoming events that weekend, a regular work day, and needed to get in 6 miles. I packed all of my running gear to hit the gym after I photographed the show. I will tell you right now that my intention beforehad was to bring clothes to run but possibly not go. (Best intentions count right?)

I love my job and being able to be involved and help such amazing organizations like LIB but I have to say that on a night like this I am the one who wins. I see the beautiful volunteers, the supporting spouses, the loved ones who come to watch, the beauty of the space and so much more. The night of the fashion show I was blown away by all of the beauty in all the men and women involved, and I don’t mean on the outside. There were survivors that walked for themselves, ladies that walked for their sisters, men that walked for their mothers, and angels among us that night. That angel spoke to me….did you hear her voice? I left this event crying and so moved. I was so excited to go home and look at the pictures from the event that I couldn’t wait.

Remember how I told you that I intended on running but probably wouldn’t? Well, when I left Bakery 105 I headed to the gym. I was tired and it was 11pm but I knew if those amazing people could walk that runway, fight cancer, hold their mothers hand, be so sick they couldn’t play with their children but still hold their head up, watch their grandparents pass that I could run. So I ran… I ran all 6 miles and I do not even remember it at all. The entire time I ran I thought of all those amazing men and women that walked and I just kept moving along. Running 6 miles was easy compared to what they had to endure. When the treadmill said I was finished I didn’t even realize because my mind was whirling.

Do you ever have times you can’t go on? What gives you motivation? Who was a fighter that you can tap into for strength? I tap into everyone who wants to run but can’t because we are all running in different ways through this journey of life. Just remember some of us can only imagine how difficult it would be to walk in another man shoes. Can you go on?


Be careful of the should have’s after your wedding….

I have many brides and even mother’s of the bride approach me afterwards proclaiming they wished they had hired me! Some of them for the same reasons and others are different but among them I hear….

  1. My photographer didn’t capture my day the way I wanted so it broke my heart!
  2. I hired a big name photographer in town and he sent his assistant which was so disappointing!
  3. My mother’s aunt said she would coordinate everything the day of, but it was a disaster!
  4. My wedding planner sent their assistant whom I had never even meet so I felt uncomfortable!

Do you want to be broken hearted, disappointed, uncomfortable, or have things turn out disastrous? I don’t want you to either and to be honest there are SO MANY AMAZING vendors to choose from. So I am NOT professing that you have to hire me but here are a list of questions to get you started on choosing the CORRECT vendor…

  1. If I hire you will you be the one to show up the day of?
  2. If I am paying for your name, but you plan on sending an assistant ask for their experience, and set up an interview with them before signing a contract.
  3. How long have you been in businesss?
  4. How many clients do you take on in a typical busy weekend?
  5. Are we required to book only recommended vendors?

Questions to ask yourself after your interview…

  1. Did we feel heard?
  2. Did the planner see our vision or have input?
  3. Did the planner seem knowledgeable about local vendors?
  4. Did the photographer have the same style as you? Candid, commercial, or stylized for a few examples
  5. Did we connect on a personal level and feel like we can trust this vendor?

Please note that this is ONLY a small list to get you started on your journey. Here at P3 we do Event Planning, Face Painting, & Photography and are booking for 2016! Contact me with any other questions or concerns. Courtney@pthreeplanning.com or (910)688-3433

50th Wedding Celebration 2011
50th Wedding Celebration 2011

Also I wanted to share this guide which goes more into detail with lots of great questions for you to ask. Good luck and Happy Planning!!!!!!!!!!


You’re only a stranger once Part 1

A look into my heart……. From stranger to client to friend

In August I will have been in business for 4 years! I can not believe that much time has passed. It has been 3 years of me running this business 100% after quitting my full time job. I am blessed and so grateful, but always continue to work even harder than the day before

My first “official” bride and groom was Keri & Jason, and I remember that day so well. “Official” because before I started the business I had helped plan TONS of weddings, showers, birthday parties…you name it, but this….this was to be my FIRST WEDDING or so I prayed. I was meeting them at the River Room downtown. So to make me more nervous it was my first time being in this space I had walked by for years and thought was breathtaking. I remember meticulously picking out my outfit, walking in with confidence, even though I was dying inside. The dress I picked out was a little low cut so I put on a blouse underneath so as not to offend anyone. When you are nervous you second guess everything. I worried were my shoes to high? Would it make me too tall? Did I fix my hair just right? Was it the perfect outfit? Would the things I say get me the job? Would they KNOW this was my first wedding and not want to book me as their planner?

I drove a P.O.S. Vw Jetta with the paint peeling off, no door handle, no AC, a string to open the door, and vice grips to roll my window down. So I arrived well in advance to park my car far away so that my potential client wouldn’t see me step out of it. For what client would take me seriously or sign a contract with a planner who doesn’t have a nice car? I walked around the space and once they arrived I was ready! They had driven from Winston Salem, NC so this was my one shot. I was still trying to find my way in this company plan as my partner had just left P3. “You got this” I repeated over in my head! Would this be my first FULL, real pay check?

As we talked I remember being able to feel the love that they share and remember their engagement story complete with a bucket of sand! I had my contract ready in prayers that they would sign it. After meeting for an hour the contract was mine!!! Wow…I had done it!! My first real job!!! I can not tell you the joy I felt that day but MORE importantly I cried tears of joy because that first couple gave me AFFIRMATION that I WAS GOOD ENOUGH!!!! Everytime I wear that dress I remember that day, my nervousness, and my joy.

I am HONORED to say that almost 4 years later that couple is still in my life! I have hung out with them as friends, enjoyed beer tastings as clients, been her saving grace on the wedding day (even though I made a mistake), been a shoulder for hours of concerns or worries, worked with their families, face painted at fundraisers for them back in Winston, photographed their gorgeous baby boy, and even babysat. From stranger to client to friend……. I can’t think of a better way to be blessed! Thank you Keri & Jason, From my heart to yours

Keri & Jason collage

How to be the Master of your own time through Organization Part 1

As some of you know I am Courtney Winter and I own P3 Picture Perfect Planning. I started this business as a single mom in 2011. Currently I am a mom, wife, President of my children’s FSA (same thing as PTA), an avid runner who currently gets in 100 miles a month, I just did my first marathon, coach my girls running team, help my friends, have three girls that attend three different schools (two that have to be driven to school), give my clients 150%, volunteer in my community, and much more. Unfortunately my husband is a truck driver and is gone a lot, but he is amazing and supports us in every way he can. Why do I tell you all of this? I promise it is not to toot my own horn, although I give myself a huge pat on the back. It is to prove that through planning, oraganization, hardwork, and commitment you can not only achieve your goals but succeed at them too!

Everything gets put in my calendar for all my family members, work, races, and even family time. I keep it organized by color coding everything. Every person and task has it’s own color so that at a glance I can easily see what we have coming up. I am a fantastic planner and can properly execute what could be the most stressful day to others with ease. Here are a few basic tips to get you started. These tips can help you in your life, home, and business no matter what you do.

1. Write a to list daily or weekly

2. Use a calendar

3. Prioritze and give tasks deadlines whether daily, weekly, or monthly to help fulfill a sense of accomplishment.

4. Communicate with family and team members so everyone understands the projects, deadlines, and to do lists. Perhaps you could send weekly emails to keep your team posted.

5. Create a schedule to help keep you on task each day. Take 20 minutes at the start of everyday to do this. When you know what to expect with each day you can better allocate time to certain tasks.

Some of you may have difficulty or think that you have this mastered but we all falter. I am a fantastic planner but made the mistake last month of not writing down my runs to get in my 100 miles and guess what… I failed!! This is my first time in a while that I am running just to run since I do not have a race till November, so I thought no biggie. See when you are training for a race you have a schedule that you stick to to help facilitate a great run. Right now the miles are just a personal goal to stay in shape. I only got in 50 miles last month and was very disappointed in myself. Needless to say my running schedule is written down now 🙂 Happy planning and stay tuned for : How to be the master of your own time Part 2

Plan ahead…. don’t let time blow by

Chabby Chic Window Picture (How to…)

My husband and I took a cruise back in 2011 and it was amazing. One of my favorite days was St.Thomas Virgin Islands, mostly because I had dreamed of going there since I was a little girl. My father use to travel there a lot and I was in love with the photos and presents he would bring back for me.  Not only did I finally get to see the place I had dreamed of but it was also my birthday! We sat on the deck eating our breakfast when all of the sudden a rainbow appeared, thus an amazing photo one would only dream of getting…..in the USVI…St Thomas 2011 018 bwc

I had this picture printed in an 16×20 size and didn’t know what I would do with it until I came across some old window frames. So I decided to create some art for our home.


Start with your frame outside and wear a mask so that you do not inhale old paint. Use sand paper and even a dremel to get in the smaller locations. This will help get all the rough edges and peeling paint off. ( I left some for the rustic affect)

IMG_3488 IMG_3489 IMG_3491

Once the area is clean to your liking measure out your picture to ensure that once you cut it it is centered in the window.

IMG_3492 IMG_3493Once you cut picture make sure surface is clean and ready to start gluing with Modge Podge. I did this by using windex and a newspaper to clean the glass. IMG_3494

Coat the glass with Modge Podge and then lay the picture in place and cover completely with Modge Podge again. Your picture will be lovely, protected, and ready for display in no time!

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Finished Product!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used this for a display at a wedding show I did to show off my photography but now it sits in our dining room for all to enjoy. Stay tuned for more pinterest How to’s !!! Happy Crafting

Hand sewn Ruby Red Slippers for my wedding day

Many of you may know that I got married and was fortunate enough to walk down the REAL YELLOW BRICK road to meet my soon to be husband. I made decoupaged shoes which I shared on a previous blog, but here are my Ruby Red Slippers!!!! I searched the internet and found some beautiful slippers but the CHEAPEST pair I found were $150 or more for actual beads… and I would never spend that much on a pair of slippers. Thus began the LONGEST project I could have ventured onto for my wedding crafts…making my own hand sewn ruby red slippers. It was such a long craft I was still trying to finish sewing them the day before I got married in between getting my manicure and pedicure 🙂

Ruby Red Slippers #1
Ruby Red Slippers #1
Ruby Red Slippers #2
Ruby Red Slippers #2
Ruby Red Slippers #3
Ruby Red Slippers #3

I found these beautiful ballet slippers that had never been worn at a second hand store for only $5!!! I purchased all of the beads for $10! The key to get the sparkle is to alternate with a clear sparkling bead along with the red. I was so glad I had these after my decoupaged shoes got wet, but talk about a pop of color under my dress at our reception! If you want to see what my other shoes looked like click this link.

Wizard of Oz Wedding Part 1 and my UNIQUE Decoupaged Shoes

Ruby Red Slippers #4
Ruby Red Slippers #4

Best and Hardest thing I have ever done…….

I have been so fortunate and blessed lately! So please do not take this blog as a complaint!!! ( I am also sorry for not blogging since October but MAN have I BEEN BUSY) Thank you God!

A little over three years ago I decided to start my own business. Making this decision my main goal and objective was to be able to be here for my girls, volunteer at school, and be the best mom I could be (now that includes wife). One way this business has helped me is that I get to teach my girls that they can strive to be anyone and do anything they truly set their hearts desire on. I have been told by fellow business owners and vendors that I won’t amount to anything or my business won’t grow. I may not be the David Tutera of Wilmington, but I have no desire to be! I strive to be the best Courtney Winter I can be and I give every client whether I am taking their picture, planning their event, or face painting for their children 150% of everything I am. I am creative, fun, loyal, outspoken, trustworthy, organized, and hardworking. I get asked on a daily basis how I do everything I do. The answer to me is very simple. One; I LOVE MY JOB Two: I love my family Three; I am a great planner for everything has a place on a calendar 😉 .

It has been a little overwhelming the last few months as the business grows. I recreated my website and web designer I am NOT! However the penny pincher I am I knew I had no choice but to buckle down and Just do it! It took me 20 hours, some of you IT pros may laugh, but we do what we have to do. It is hard some days to balance everything and not everyday is easy let’s be real. Some days I want to just turn off the computer, cuddle with my girls and not worry about uploading to Pinterest, working on a family photo shoot, or emailing for leads that sometimes have no end. I especially love the clients who waste my time with emails, phone calls, and scheduling a session or event for them to call back two days before hand and say “Oh my best friends mom is a (Planner, Photographer) and she will do it for us for free, but we will keep you in mind for next time.” Did you stop to think that next time I may not be available, or did you ever hear the saying Burn my once?? Well, we know what happens next right?

I have experienced bumps in the road, times of joy, times of worry, being drunk off creation, and blessed beyond my imagination. I have some of the most amazing clients that compliment me the most by using my services over and over again. For your support, love, kindness, and trust I THANK YOU.

“We all have a vision, a goal, and a dream! Don’t smother mine because yours are coming true!! ”

Once upon a time
Once upon a time

How to make hanging flower balls for any occasion

I had a wedding that I was planning where the bride and groom were laid back and wanted simple decorations for an outside gazebo where they would hold the ceremony. (Trust me when I say the area was beautiful enough they needed minimal decor.) I came up with these….


I purchased 2 different size balls and scrap pieces of burlap we used to wrap the mason jars for the centerpieces. The bride also had fake flowers for part of her bouquet so I incorporated those as well. I started off by heating up my glue gun and getting all supplies on hand and even prepulled flowers off of the stems and precut burlap. All supplies are ready to be glued.

Start by adding a line of glue and wrapping base ribbon around to which you will hang the ball. ( You can also choose to leave this step off if will use the balls on a table, or you could tie it in a bow)


Make sure to wrap the base ribbon in a straight line all the way around the ball leaving at least a foot on either side for hanging.


Next wrap the ball with the burlap for a base color. I used both teal and natural to add texture and color.

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The hot glue dries very fast and makes this craft simple and easy to complete in no time at all. Next step is to add flowers in an assortment. I choose to not cover the ball entirely to expose the burlap. Add as many or as little as you want 🙂

IMG_7275 IMG_7283 (2)

Also remember you can use these for aisle runners to hang from chairs, centerpieces, decor over a buffet or dessert table and so much more! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Courtney

Summer Coming to an End

As today is my last official day of summer I will miss my girls going back to school, planning daily activities, and enjoying hearing their laugh. But more importantly I miss the summer fun that me and my crew are blessed to take part in. We have been volunteering at Carolina Beach Boardwalk for 7 years and I can not imagine our summer without it. I have watched the kids grow and I adore seeing them each week.

4th Fun
4th Fun


New peacock design in the works
New peacock design in the works
What Fun!
What Fun!

I have painted the same thing on some of the same faces time after time, and some kids request different things every time. Either way it doesn’t matter to me! I LOVE seeing our line that never ends because it tells me that from a customer perspective you LOVE what we do. I thank you Carolina Beach Downtown Initiative for your support and allowing us to come back over and over 🙂

We will be out there for the last Tuesday of the summer August 26th 2014 from 6:30 – 8:30 so come see us!!!!

From our heart to yours #iheartp3planning

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