Boho Wedding Styled Shoot

What I love about styled shoots is that it’s a way to express so much creativity, and to try new things, without the pressure and time constraints of a wedding day. And the most obvious reason: everything is set up to seem like a fantasy…

In a world that has tragedy and terror groups, workaholics and broken relationships, and sleepless nights and heartache, pretty photos provide a break from real life; a daydream; the hope that a fairy tale could be possible.

Perhaps that’s why Pinterest is so popular. Photos tell us stories, and we all love a good story with a happy ending. Photographers are writers, but instead of a pen, we write with light.

And these stories we create allow us to step into a wooded storybook land and find a perfectly put together table with a delicious cake ready to eat, with magical floating books, princess gowns, roses in bloom, and flowers in our hair. It might not be something we see in our everyday real lives, but our imagination can take us there, and these images can provide a safe haven from the realities of the real world.

So perhaps…a pretty picture can be more than just a pretty picture. Perhaps, a pretty picture is the inspiration for a real life fairy tale, or at least, the hope of one; to see the world like a child, with wonder and imagination; to live a life full of adventure, beauty, and vision. To me, this is the purpose of styled shoots; the purpose of pretty pictures.

This incredible boho styled shoot was part of the Style Shoot Share photography workshop I attended a few months ago, that took place at The Oakley House in New Jersey, hosted by Kay English Photography and Vanessa Joy.

This shoot was styled by the creative and lovely Reverie Events. I adored the vintage Volkswagen van, the naked cake, provided by The Hudson Cakery, the gorgeous models from the Wilhelmina Model Agency, makeup done by Jeanine Mangan Designs and bohemian wedding hair styles by Anchor Salon. The gown designers used in this shoot included Claire Pettibone, Ines di Santo, and Yumi Katsura. 

And the books, the gorgeous hand made book props, which were my favorite part of this shoot, were provided by Green Lace Lion.

Enjoy!

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Pagoda Engagement: Jena and Josh

Josh thought he would never see Jena again after their first meeting. Although they met by chance, they ultimately were separated by distance. But as all of us romantics know, that can’t stop love.

Josh did see Jena again, and now they are planning their wedding. And not just any wedding…they plan to say “I DO” in Disney World. Their Disney themed wedding inspired the location of their engagement shoot at the Pagoda in Reading, PA. It reminded us of Epcot.

Jena is currently participating in the #100daysofhappiness, an uplifting challenge on social media asking participants to pause and be thankful for something every day, and to share it with others. On Day #63, she posted “It was magical: Our Engagement Photo Day.” Her thankfulness made me thankful for beautiful clients like herself.

Congratulations Jena and Josh!! May your dreams come true as you say I do in the magical land of Disney World!

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Annapolis Engagement: Christine and Justin {Annapolis Wedding Photographer}

Theatre 101: where it first began.

Justin, an introverted college soccer player, had to sign up for an art elective during sophomore year. He chose Theatre 101.

Christine, a beautiful and extroverted brunette, also signed up for the class.

Near the end of the semester, Justin and Christine were paired up in a group together, in order to take a field trip. During the drive, Justin was the driver, and Christine rode shotgun. Two other girls from the class sat in the backseat.  “We instantly connected,” said Christine. “We talked about everything under the sun, and we don’t even remember the other two girls in the backseat.”

Lesson learned: sit in the front seat.

For their engagement session, we wandered around downtown Annapolis, Maryland, stopping in front of all the charming and colorful little houses. The second part of the session took place at some nearby docks. I don’t think I could ever get tired of taking photographs in Annapolis. It’s completely adorable and full of character.

Christine and Justin’s grand ceremony will be taking place this November at the Baltimore Basilica with a reception following at the historic Belvedere Hotel.

Congratulations Christine and Justin!

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Couples Session: Janna and Rick {Nashville and Destination Photographer}

These two singer-songwriter-musicians fell in love in Nashville, and continue to live and love {and make music} in the homeland of country music.

While visiting my beautiful cousin Janna, and her husband, Rick, in Nashville last month, we took some time for a few portraits in their backyard, overlooking the city.

What I love most about them, is not just their super cool vibe, but their depth. They have an intimacy and a commitment to each other that is heroic. They are two introspective people standing together in the midst of a big and busy world; sensitive souls who know how to express beauty and pain and delight, not only in their music, but in the way they live their lives. I love that they walk the road less traveled, and live with the knowledge that the best is yet to come.

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Meet My In-Laws! {Greenville, South Carolina}

In-laws are a roll of the dice; you never know what you’ll get. Some get wonderful in-laws, and some poor souls get, well, not so wonderful.

But for me, I hit the jackpot!

The first time I met Jason’s family, I felt so accepted and loved. They welcomed me as if I was the first girl Jason ever brought home; the first girl he ever loved.

There was even a time, before we were engaged, when I wasn’t sure if he was the one for me, and all three of his sisters separately messaged me, encouraging me to not give up; that he was worth it, and that they’ve never seen him so happy before. Because of their faithfulness and love for their brother, I’m now married to someone who makes my life so worth living; who makes me feel unconditionally loved.

Jason’s family includes his mom and dad, Bob and Joanne. His three sisters (Jen, Julie, and Jeanna), and their spouses and children. Jen is the oldest, and she is married to Aaron, and they have three beautiful children (Lexi, Lily, and Jackson). Jason is the second oldest and only boy. Then there is Julie, who is married to Will, and they have a daughter named Gia. The youngest is Jeanna, and she is married to Steven, and they have two adorable boys (Braden and Kian). Jason’s whole family lives in Greenville, South Carolina, other than his sister Julie and her family. They live close by in New Jersey. I’ve photographed Julie and her family before, which you can view here.

We don’t get to see our South Carolina family members very often, but we try to visit as much as we can. Last month Jason made a long visit to spend time with them. During our trip, I offered to take some family photos for them, although I am in no way a family photographer. So this is my attempt.

Each life is so beautiful and just thinking about these precious people could make me cry. It truly is amazing how God can take strangers and turn them into the ones most dear to your heart. They truly are my family and I would do anything for them. I hope they know that.

So may I introduce to you, my family….

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Vintage Garden Wedding: Allison and Sean {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

Weddings never go out of style. There will always be two people who decide to walk with each other throughout the ups and downs of life. And whether the wedding photos are faded black-and-white, sepia toned, or vibrant color, the promise is the same: to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

As I walked into Allison’s childhood home the morning of her wedding, I couldn’t help but notice generation after generation of wedding photos placed on a vintage piano; a family tree of weddings, of love. Before Allison was even born, her family line was falling in love and fulfilling promises; making the way for her life. And on this day, Allison will join the piano of photographs.

Her romantic vintage updo fit her perfectly; and before we left the house, I noticed some beautiful old veils sitting in a box, which belonged to her mother and grandmother, and I asked if we could take them out for a photo; it was a day of honoring old memories, and making new ones.

Allison and Sean saw each other for the first time in a garden full of wildflowers. Their ceremony took place within the Botanical Gardens at the Arboretum at Penn State. A reception followed at the historic Nittany Lion Inn.

Nocturne, the most incredible live band I’ve ever seen, compromised of amazing NYC musicians, kept the dance floor busy into the night.

I had such an amazing time at this wedding, and felt so loved and welcomed by all of Allison and Sean’s family and friends. It was such an incredible day and I felt so blessed to be a part of it.

Congratulations Allison and Sean!!

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 And a special thanks to all these incredible vendors who made this day so special for Allison and Sean…

Ceremony | H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens 

Reception | The Nittany Lion Inn 

Florals | Avant Garden Artistic Floral Design

Band |  Nocturne 

Dress & Designer | Nordstrom & Heidi Elnora

Tuxes | Jack Harper 

Rentals | Pegasus Rental

 

 

My New Nephew: Baby William

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

There are ordinary days that don’t seem miraculous, but perhaps just being alive, with work to do, and people to love, is a miracle in itself.

And then there are hard days, that definitely don’t seem miraculous, days that tear our hearts into thousands of pieces. But maybe, the grace we feel to keep going, to keep breathing, is the miracle.

And then there are wonderful days, the ones that are full of celebration and joy, when the miracles are easy to identify. Like on July 31, when William Joseph was born. My sister gave birth to this beautiful baby boy that morning and he couldn’t be more perfect. We are all in love with him, especially his big brother Charlie. I am so blessed to have another hand to hold, cheek to kiss, and little boy to chase around the house and tickle.

“From this day on, for you there is no such thing as a good day or a bad day. There is only a day of grace. And some days the grace of God allows you to enjoy what is happening. And some days the grace of God allows you to endure what is happening. There are no good or bad days anymore; just days of grace.” ~Graham Cooke 

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Old Hickory Golf Club Wedding: Jessica and Jonathan {Virginia Wedding Photographer}

The sun was behind the hazy clouds throughout the day, above the raindrops that fell during part of the ceremony, but it didn’t matter at all, because Jessica was the light that brightened the day; the sunshine that warmed our hearts. Her smile, her laugh, could cheer up even the most melancholy soul. No wonder Jonathan was drawn to her, and it’s not a surprise that out of a world full of women, he chose her.

Cheerful yellow roses (the bride’s favorite color) and deep sky blue dresses colored this beautiful summer wedding day. The men’s yellow and blue socks matched the theme. Happy white flowers adorned the bottom of the bride’s dress; one of the most fun and unique wedding dresses I’ve ever seen.

The Old Hickory Golf Club provided the perfect backdrop for this playful couple. And their first glance on the green was like a scene from a movie; romantic, exciting; you just wanted to watch it over and over.

The outside ceremony overlooking the golf course was stunning. Raindrops fell halfway through the ceremony, but as they say in show business “the show must go on” and these two lovebirds needed to be married. Umbrellas went up, and I took my cardigan off to wrap it around my 70-200mm lens.

The reception was filled with cupcakes, laughter, and lots of dancing.

Congratulations to the VERY happy couple!!

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Old City Philadelphia Engagement: Sarah and Scott {Philadelphia Wedding Photographer}

Question: What is sweeter than ice cream? Answer: Sarah and Scott

As a couple, they are so genuine, lovable, and generous. Being around them actually makes you feel more lightheaded and cared for.

Sarah, a therapist who specializes in helping women with eating disorders, and Scott, a chemist, met back in college, right after Sarah pledged a sorority. One of Sarah’s new sorority sisters knew Scott from art class and told Sarah he would be the perfect fit for her. Eventually they were introduced, and they’ve pretty much been together ever since.

For their engagement session, we took a walk around Old City Philadelphia, where Sarah and Scott currently live. We walked through Washington Square Park, Elfreth’s Alley (our nation’s oldest residential street, dating back to 1702), and stopped for ice cream at The Franklin Fountain, a vintage ice cream shop.

Congratulations Sarah and Scott!

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Disney Princess Bridal Shower: Layne Mae {Destination Wedding Photographer}

I believe a girl is never too old to throw a princess party.

Especially a girl who grew up on Disney movies and is an old-soul hopeless-romantic at heart. And this girl is our Layne Mae, my beautiful cousin, whom I love with all my heart.

Her Disney princess party was like a fairytale, which included ballerina tulle skirts for Layne and her two sisters. When I brought them into the woods for a mini photo shoot, they looked like the three woodland fairies from Sleeping Beauty, but having a tea party.

Delicious royal cupcakes were provided by Hoonie Cakes, owned by Hannah, Layne’s youngest sister, the blonde. The shower was styled by Lori Kehl and Cher Stupar Events.

Guests enjoyed watching Layne opening gifts as they sipped on rose champagne and munched on chicken salad sandwiches and chocolate covered strawberries. A name that Disney princess game was played, and yours truly tied for first place.

The shower ended with photos of Layne and her bridesmaids. All in all, it was such a wonderful shower, filled with hugs, full bellies, and so much laughter.

I can’t wait for my darling cousin to get married this October at the most gorgeous Farm venue I’ve ever seen: Chanteclaire Farm, in Friendsville, Maryland.

Until then…

“Have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish, will come true.” ~Cinderella

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