Chesapeake Bay Engagement: Ciara and Blake {Maryland Wedding Photographer}

She has style and beauty, and he has charm and kindness.

I love the way Blake looks at Ciara. To him, she is the most adorable creature on earth. And she loves being wrapped in his arms; safe in his arms.

Their love has grown as they have grown, and as each season passes, they find themselves more in love than ever. So I find it fitting that they will be getting married at the Four Seasons in Baltimore next year.

For their engagement session we walked around Ciara’s family lake house in Maryland, which provided some breathtaking views and the most delicious light. I had such a fun time with these two. They are full of life and love, and together they overflow with joy.

Congratulations Ciara and Blake!!

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DC Engagement: Lexi and Matt {DC Wedding Photographer}

She knew he liked her, but he was never quite sure if she liked him back.

Although Lexi and Matt met through mutual friends the summer before their sophomore year at the University of Maryland, it took some time before Matt was able to build up the courage to ask Lexi out on a date.

Matt found himself studying more at the library on campus to be around her. And Lexi acted like she enjoyed playing Settlers of Catan and intramural basketball.

Then one day, a friend of Matt’s mentioned to him, “what girly girl would keep saying yes to playing the game Settlers of Catan with you if she wasn’t interested?” Once Matt heard this, he began to think that he might actually have a chance to be with her.

And when he finally asked her out, Lexi joyfully accepted his request to go ice-skating in D.C.  She also later accepted his request of marriage… joyfully.

Congratulations Lexi and Matt!!

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Rehoboth Beach Engagement: Krissy and Matt {Delaware Wedding Photographer}

In 2007, a guy named Matt accepted a position as restaurant manager at Bennigan’s. Little did he know that taking this job would change the course of his life forever.

Because at Bennigan’s, he met Krissy, a sweet blonde server, who eventually stole his heart.

These two now live in Lewes, Delaware, a short drive to Rehoboth Beach, a place where I visit pretty frequently, or as known as “my happy place.”

Matt is now the restaurant manager for Fish On! And Krissy is a fifth grade teacher at Milton Elementary School. When they are not working, Matt is a chef in the kitchen and creates the most delicious meals for the two of them. Talk about husband bonus points!! Both my husband and I love to eat but hate to cook.

Although I can’t whip up delicious gourmet meals, I can take delicious photographs, with light so warm and creamy. So instead of filet mignon and sweet potatoes and tiramisu, I give you Krissy and Matt’s beach engagement session. Bon Appetit!

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Historic Smithville Mansion Engagement: Danielle and Greg {New Jersey Wedding Photographer}

They fell in love while making peanut butter sandwiches.

While at a high school party, Greg decided to make himself a peanut butter sandwich. A girl named Danielle approached him and asked, “creamy or chunky?” Greg replied, “creamy.” Danielle couldn’t agree more. Within that moment, Greg and Danielle found their other half; so perfect together, like peanut butter and jelly.

Their fall engagement took place at the Historic Smithville Mansion in Burlington County, New Jersey. And they brought pumpkins and wine with them! And not just any wine, but bottles from their family-run Valenzano Winery, where their wedding reception will be taking place next year.

These two are so lighthearted and fun to be around, and they are Penn State alumni!! Happy Valley has a special place in all three of our hearts.

Congratulations you two! Here’s to next October!!

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Autumn Engagement: Andrea and Eric {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

There are those who shout their love from rooftops and loudly proclaim their sentiments, and then there are those who have a more quiet love, who only need to whisper and their heart is heard.

Unlike a rolling river, Andrea and Eric’s love is more like a deep quiet lake, just like the lake that provided the serene background for their engagement session.

They have loved each other since they were teenagers, and a mature love has grown from days and days gone by.

Their wedding theme is Anam Cara, the celtic belief of souls connecting and bonding. In Celtic Spiritual tradition, the soul radiates about the physical body, and when you connect with another person and become completely open and trusting with that individual, your two souls begin to flow together. When such a deep bond forms it is said you have found your “Anam Cara” or “soul friend.” Your Anam Cara always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light. This is the kind of love Andrea and Eric have for one another; this soul-mate kind of love.

Perhaps the author Emily Bronte knew of this kind of love when she wrote Wuthering Heighs: “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

I’m looking forward to being with the two as they celebrate their marriage on New Years Eve 2015!

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Gillbrook Farms Wedding: Bridget and Matt {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

Teal and coral could be found everywhere, from the wedding invitations to the handmade bouquets to the Chinese lanterns. Along with the fall scenery, Bridget and Matt’s wedding was one of the most colorful and vibrant weddings.

On my way to Gillbrook Farm,  I stopped at a local uni-mart since my GPS was a little unclear where the farm was located, and the cashier told me, “take a left and it’s right after the pumpkin patch.” How can you not love country weddings? I wish every location was “right after the pumpkin patch.”

The ceremony took place down by a beautiful weeping willow tree, my favorite kind of tree. There’s something about a weeping willow that feels like magic, like a fairytale is about to take place.

A beautifully decorated barn reception awaited guests. Twinkle lights were hanging, desserts were waiting to be eaten, and a dance floor was ready for music.

The day ended with fireworks: a surprise gift from the groom to his bride. And as they held each other, watching all the color and sparkles fill the air, I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself, “I love my job.”

Congratulations Bridget and Matt!!

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And a special thanks to the following vendors for making Bridget and Matt’s wedding day so special:

Gillbrook Farms

Delectable Delights

Bob Timney

Diamonds Bridal Collections 

 

Meet the Newest Member of our Family: Lulu

A little over a week ago on a dark and cold night, my husband came home and told me he heard a little meow coming from a truck in our apartment complex parking lot. Immediately I said, “let’s go, we need to find it.”

After a couple hours of laying on our stomachs on the pavement trying to find this kitty, who was stuck in the transmission of a large truck, and after knocking on all the doors in our apartment building asking if they lost a kitten but no luck, we were finally able to save her and bring her into the warmth of our apartment.

When I saw her, she reminded me of Penny as a kitten, almost identical. And although we were not planning to get another cat, I of course fell immediately in love with this little kitten who needed a home, and I couldn’t bear giving her away to the SPCA. And after just loosing a baby of our own, it felt right to make her a part of our family; to have this baby in our home.

We named her Lulu, short for Cindy Lou Who, the sweet little girl from Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. And because she just looked like a Lulu with her whimsical coloring and curious little face.

She is very active and will race around the apartment like lightening, and then sleeps for hours, then starts all over again.

Penny is slowly adjusting to having a little toddler running around. Sometimes she seems annoyed but other times she seems to enjoy the entertainment and companionship. I’m crossing my fingers that they will become best friends. We’ll see.

This little kitten came into my life at the perfect time. This is the busiest time of the year for me, and it’s so easy to feel anxious as weddings and engagement sessions keep piling up, and clients are eager for their images. It’s easy to want to cry and just stay in bed, but this little kitty has helped me be in the moment, and to focus on just getting one thing done at a time, one day at a time, and to take breaks. I am so thankful for her, for helping my days be more merry and bright, and for finding joy in the little things.

And let’s face it, cuddling a kitten is the best medicine for going through a very stressful and work-heavy time.

We saved you Lulu, but really, you saved me.

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Fall Engagement: Marianne and Rob {Virginia Wedding Photographer}

What is meant to be always finds a way. For Marianne and Rob, it was providence that brought them together, but grace and love that has kept them together. It was the perfect fall day as we wondered through the picturesqe Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia for their engagement session. Marianne’s eyes held so much depth, and Rob’s humor made them shine. We fit in their engagement session just in time before their wedding this coming weekend at The Winery at Bull Run, located Centreville, Virginia. I’m so honored to be a part of the love story of these two wonderful people. See you on Saturday you two!! 2014-10-28_0001 2014-10-28_0037 2014-10-28_0038 2014-10-28_00042014-10-28_0005 2014-10-28_0006 2014-10-28_0007 2014-10-28_0008 2014-10-28_0039 2014-10-28_0010 2014-10-28_0011 2014-10-28_0012 2014-10-28_0014 2014-10-28_0015 2014-10-28_00162014-10-28_0017 2014-10-28_0018 2014-10-28_0019 2014-10-28_00202014-10-28_0028 2014-10-28_0021 2014-10-28_00222014-10-28_0023 2014-10-28_0024 2014-10-28_00252014-10-28_0027 2014-10-28_0026 2014-10-28_0029 2014-10-28_0030 2014-10-28_0031 2014-10-28_0034 2014-10-28_0033

Penn State Blue and White {and Pink!} Styled Shoot

While Penn State football season was in full throttle, something else blue and white {and Pink!} was taking place in Happy Valley…

Although I got married and moved to Delaware, Happy Valley will always be my true home. So I was delighted when I heard from the fabulous Kristine from Lace and Grace Events, to chat about putting together a styled shoot in State College. Kristine is a mastermind wedding planner that I highly recommend. She brought together an incredible team of Central Pennsylvania wedding vendors for this unique Penn State University inspired #lionloveloyalty styled shoot; to provide inspiration to any Penn Staters or Penn State fans planning a wedding.

And instead of hiring models, we found a real life Penn State couple, Dia and Parth, who met at Penn State! You can read more about Dia and Parth here.

A HUGE thanks to all the amazing vendors involved in this shoot!! I HIGHLY recommend using any of the following vendors for your wedding. They were all extremely professional, lovely to work with, and their products are excellent!

Vintage Furniture | Forget-Me-Not Vintage Rentals

Wedding Dress | Diamonds and Lace Bridal Boutique 

Flowers | Mowrer’s Flowers

Cake | Delectable Delights by Heather

Macaroons | Aubie Cakes

Penn State Cookies | Flour Box Bakery

Invitations | Carpenter Invitations & Shannon Joy Paperie

Jewelry | Contempo Boutique

Make Up & Hair | Evolve Studio

Tux | Formalities

Veil | Restich Studio

And a special thanks to Kristine’s assistant, Molly, for helping us out! As well as Sadie from Designed by A.E. 

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And of course a couple portraits of the gal whose idea this was in the first place! Thank you Kristine for bringing us all together to make some magic. You’re a beautiful person and I had so much fun working on this project with you. Continue being amazing!

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Baby of Mine…

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I was a mother. For two short months, I was a mother. I found out I was pregnant the day before my birthday. It was the best birthday gift I’ve ever received. Something I longed for was finally mine. I would put my hand on my belly and would smile, sing, talk, and pray over this baby of mine. A relationship was already formed; I was in love.

And then one day, something didn’t seem right, pain that shouldn’t be there.

An unexpected ultrasound brought me the most tragic news of my life: my baby will die. It attached to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus; it didn’t make it far enough and my life was in danger.

I had a feeling. When the ultrasound technician asked me again if I had a positive pregnancy test, tears started streaming down my face, I knew something wasn’t right. My husband still had hope that everything was going to be okay.

And while we anxiously waited in a room for the doctors to tell us the result, all I could do from falling apart was to sing a song I’ve known since childhood that always brought me comfort: “I cast all my cares upon you, I lay all of my burdens down at your feet, and anytime I don’t know what to do, I cast all my cares upon you.”

And once the doctors arrived in the room after the ultrasound result, asking again what my symptoms were and why I came to the emergency room, I interrupted them and said “Just say it.”

Time stood still in that cold hospital room, and the worst emotions I’ve ever experienced in my life flooded my heart; and it actually felt broken. I could feel pieces of my heart being torn apart. My husband wept with me, and I’m sure his heart felt the same, as we are one.

After they injected me with a drug that would end the pregnancy, my husband and I got in the car, and didn’t stop driving until we got to the ocean, where we grieved hour upon hour. But it was somewhere deep in the grieving and the sobbing when I experienced something not of this world. I wanted to collapse, to just fall because it was hard to walk; hard to go on. But I felt these hands around my body, as if they were holding me up and supporting me. And I heard a voice whisper to me, “I am with you, I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” So that is what it feels like to be upheld by the righteous right hand of God. Now I know.

We thought it was over, until a week later when the pain wasn’t subsiding. We found out the drugs didn’t work, my baby was actually growing bigger and stronger; my baby didn’t want to leave me. Another ultrasound was done; we saw a little heart beating.

And so an emergency surgery was scheduled immediately to remove the pregnancy. As the preparations were taking place, my body was laying on the hospital gurney, but my spirit was somewhere up high, rocking my baby in my arms, saying it will be okay. “I love you my baby, my precious one, mommy loves you.”

And right before they filled my veins with anesthesia, the doctor told me they would also remove my left fallopian tube, and that it would lessen my chance for getting pregnant again.

When I woke up, I could sense this little life was removed from me. It felt lonely; barren. And now instead of a growing belly, there are scars.

One week later my nephew William was born, and he was perfect. I was there at the hospital the day he arrived, and I remember them laying him next to my sister, and her nuzzling him and making that sound of complete relief. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to do that or feel that way with my first baby was overwhelmingly painful; beyond belief. And then I held William, close to my heart, and I cried, and held him closer. Holding him was the first step towards healing.

Losing a child, no matter the circumstance, is devastating. It changes you. I’m changed. Within two months I had both the greatest happiness and greatest heartbreak of my life. This baby will always be a part of me and I carry him or her in my heart as I go about my days. And although my heart is healing, every once in awhile I still feel that sting, that sharp pain of loosing someone who is a part of you. After that day, a part of me was gone, a part of me that I’ll be reunited with eventually.

Through it all, I still have hope, that someday, I will have life within me again. That the next time I’m in a hospital gurney is when I’m holding my newborn baby who is crying in my arms, to feel the warmth, to smell the skin, to look into the eyes.

For now, I rest in knowing that my baby lives in complete love, within the arms of the Father of fathers. And although I didn’t get a chance to know my baby in this life, I already know him or her by heart, and I will recognize this incredible being in eternity. Precious baby of mine, first baby of mine, I have, and always will love you.

I dedicate this blog post to all the women who have ever felt the pain of loosing a child; women who felt life come then disappear. No one else can understand this pain, other than our Heavenly Father, when his only son, his only son, was slain and killed. He let his only son die. And that was a revelation for my husband. As Jason was standing in the kitchen a month ago, all of a sudden he started to cry, and said “I would die for my baby, and God let his only son die for us. I can’t imagine the pain God felt, to let his son die, so that we could be set free from sin, to be with our Father, and to have a relationship with him, just like Jesus.” We really are insanely loved, even on our worst days. And He knows our pain. And that is how my husband and I are moving forward, because we have a God who knows what it feels like; He’s been here before, and He knows exactly how to comfort us, exactly how to heal us, and exactly how to help us become more like Jesus, because that’s what it’s all about.

Life is fleeting. My baby lived here on earth for two months in my tummy. It was not for nothing. God will not waste my pain. Something beautiful will bloom from this deep dark ground of my soul watered by tears. And just like the dawn, God brings the light.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

If you’ve gone through an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage and ever need someone to talk to, I’m here, and you can reach me at dyanna@dyannajoyphotography.com. You’re not alone.