My Week in Instagram Photos {Destination Wedding Photographer}

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Last Friday I was prepping my equipment for two beautiful days of engagement shoots!

The first engagement session took place at the historic Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This engagement session featured a gorgeous couple, Anne and Michael, both with Italian dark hair and eyes. After the session I drove into Doylestown for a Starbucks coffee, and enjoyed seeing an adorable old movie theatre, unique buildings, and quaint streets; my type of town.

The next day my hubby and I drove to D.C. to photograph Jess and Jon’s cherry blossom engagement session at the Tidal Basin. Before the shoot, me and hubby toured the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I could stare at dinosaur bones for hours, as well as the Hope Diamond that was featured in a special room. We then proceeded to meet Jess and Jon down by the cherry blossoms, and boy was it crowded! It was one of the last days to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom and there were people everywhere. We were able to find some lovely spots and got creative. I adore these two and we had so much fun. After the shoot, I treated hubby to dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill, which was established in 1856. It was a favorite of Presidents Grand, Cleveland, Harding, and Theodore Roosevelt and is still a popular meeting spot for political insiders, journalists, celebrities, and tired and hungry engagement photographers and their husbands. We split a chocolate chip bread pudding for dessert that tasted like chocolate heaven.

The past few weekdays have been busy with editing, emails, creating timelines for my brides upcoming weddings, and doing the ordinary (dishes, laundry, paying bills, and playing with Penny my cat).

I also accompanied my husband Jason (a police officer) to his Fraternal Order of Police banquet. I’m slowly getting to know Jason’s co-workers, who are very friendly. Unlike the mean New Jersey State Trooper who pulled me over a few years ago for speeding on the highway and made me cry, no, even worse, he made me weep.

This weekend I have an engagement session in Maryland, and then I will be enjoying Easter with my husband, which should include attending our amazing church in the morning, a big lunch, and a long nap.

Happy Easter! May you dwell in the truth that Jesus has set you free. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you thank you thank you. Because you endured the cross, we can have everlasting life with you, and will never be without love. You were doing something new, and you’re still doing new things in us.

May my focus be more on you, and less on the world, being more selfless and less selfish, being more present, and less preoccupied.

And may I continually sing one of my favorite worship songs:

“Thank you for the cross Lord, thank you for the price you paid. Bearing all my sin and shame, In love you came and gave amazing grace. Thank you for this love Lord, thank you for the nail pierced hands, washed me in your cleansing flow, now all I know is your forgiveness and embrace. Worthy is the lamb.”

Cherry Blossom Engagement: Jess and Jon {D.C. Wedding Photographer}

Sunday was the prime day to see the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The streets, the monuments, the walkways, were saturated with people from all corners of the world.

These beautiful pink-budding trees were a gift to the United States from Japan in 1912, to celebrate the growing friendship between the two countries. A gift that we Americans have enjoyed throughout the century. A gift of beauty never grows old.

Another friendship was also to be celebrated over the weekend; the love and adoration between Jon and Jess. They met a few years ago, with an instant attraction. But it took time and months of friendship until they both realized they didn’t want to live without each other. Our hearts and minds are not always on the same page, but eventually, with listening to that still, small voice within us, the mind surrenders to the heart. In my book, the heart always wins.

They are such a beautiful couple, inside and out, and I look forward to their wedding this June in Virginia. Congrats you two!

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Fonthill Castle Engagement: Anne and Michael {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

Anne and Michael had met before, in passing; friends of friends; a quick hello.

Then one day, Anne and Michael and a group of their friends got together to see an outdoor concert. One of Anne’s friends said to her, “Hey Anne, you remember Michael, right? He just asked about you and said you are really pretty and you should go talk to him.”

At the same time, someone else said to Michael “Man, Anne is so hot, you should go talk to her, I heard she is into you.” A few moments later they were flirting the night away and have been inseparable ever since.

Not only were they attracted to one another, but found out they both have a love for music, corny TV shows, Disney, and their big-loving-Italian families.

Michael surprised Anne with a proposal at Disney world. During their first day, Michael held Anne’s hand, leading her straight to Splash Mountain, a famous Disney ride in which you glide along the water with thrilling 5-story splashes, in a hollow log, accompanying Br’er Rabbit on the adventure of a lifetime. As they approached the final plummet, Michael tapped Anne on the arm and held out a small black box with a beautiful diamond ring.

And their adventure continues on June 14 as they become husband and wife!

We had such a lovely time during their engagement session at Fonthill Castle, located in historic Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The castle was built between 1908-1912 and was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Mercer, an archeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, and scholar, built Fonthill for both his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. The Building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles. Fonthill now serves as a unique professional museum.

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French Country Garden Styled Shoot {Raleigh, North Carolina}

A couple weeks ago I attended a very lovely photography and business conference/workshop in Raleigh, NC, called CLIC, which stands for Connect, Learn, Inspire, Create.

I walked away from this conference with fresh inspiration for my 2014 wedding season, made new beautiful friends, and came home with gorgeous images to share.

I adored the French Country Garden styled shoot workshop; ever since I’ve been playing more French music in my office.

Kaitlin Holland, stylist and owner of Simply Put Vintage, provided the French vintage pieces and all the beautiful materials and florals for us to work with for the styled shoot. I was personally so happy to see so much pink! Even an adorable pink cake, provided by Ashley Cakes. The invitations and calligraphy was from Victoria Austin Designs. The wedding gown came from Traditions by Anna Bridal Boutique, and our so-in-love models, Jenny and Martin, were easy going and so wonderful to work with. Jenny’s bright lips and cat-eye makeup was done by Ashley of Makeup by Ashley Mooney.

I love the creativity and personal touches of a styled shoot as well as wedding days. Photographing the pretty details brings me so much enjoyment. I adore working with brides who put much consideration into all the pieces that make up their wedding day. And those who need a little help, there are fabulous wedding stylists you can hire, like Kaitlin, to make everything look perfect for you.

I even encourage details in the engagement session. Brides-to-be are welcome to bring props and memorable items to the shoot, or even think of a theme, to spice things up, and it ultimately makes the session more fun and personal to the couple.

Hair and makeup is also important for engagement shoots and of course, for the wedding. I encourage my brides to have their makeup and hair trials done on the day of the engagement session, or at the very least, to spend more time getting ready, to help them feel more “done up” and to boost their confidence. It’s also super important for the wedding day. It’s amazing how fabulous you feel after getting your hair and makeup done by a professional. It always makes me feel like Miss America.

And all us gals deserve to feel like Miss America every now and then; crown and all.

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Jamaica Family Vacation

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Traveling can be stressful; loads of luggage, babies to entertain, and hungry stomaches to feed. But the moment we arrived at Fairway Manor, and saw the miraculous view, every soul in our family calmed down, and delight flooded in.

The whole family was there, including my parents, Steve and Cher, my brother Jon and his wife, Laura, and their beautiful baby Avianna; myself and my hubby, Jason; my sister Katlyn and her hubby Brock, and adorable Charlie; my brother Nate and his wife, Marissa; my brother Rob and his girlfriend who turned fiancé, Gemma; and our grandparents, Norm and Shirley.

We spent a week in Jamaica relaxing at the infinity pool and Half Moon Bay beach, but the boys were golfing most mornings at the pristine golf course below. We drank the most delicious Jamaican coffee in the morning and ate smores at night. One morning, I grabbed the hubby, and we swam with horses! We actually went deep into the ocean and held on to the tails, while the horses pulled us through the crystal blue water. It was scary and exhilarating; but so worth the fear.

Our butler, Roy, took care of all of our needs; he always had a smile on his face. Ms. Olive was our personal chef and created delicious meals for us three times a day. And the sweetest maids put fresh flowers on our beds after making them each morning.

We felt like celebrities, vacationing in our own private villa, within the Jamaican hills. It was truly a treat that my parents so generously offered us. We were spoiled, we feasted, we laughed, we gained a future sister, and we got to know each other on a deeper level. And most of all, we united as a family.

Thank you again, mom and dad, for this vacation of a lifetime. We love you and could never thank you enough.

Here are some snapshots of our beautiful vacation…

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Dyanna Joy Photography Promo Video

In a world of texting and emails and busyness, it’s quite a challenge to be personal; to look into someone’s eyes and smile at them, to let them know you care.

I enjoy social media, and sharing my life with others, and vice versa. We see and read snippets of each others lives, but it’s hard to really know people just through instagram or Facebook updates.

This is a reason why I wanted to put together a video…

To watch someone move, to hear their voice, to experience their laugh; this is how we can truly connect and get to know each other. Since most of my clients live in different states, we normally don’t get to meet until the engagement session. I wanted there to be a way clients would be able to see me in action, to get to know me in person without literally being in person. Instead of just “telling” about myself, to “show” myself.

And to “show” ourselves means we must be vulnerable, but to be vulnerable is to be brave; and brave people, they are the ones we love to watch.

So here I am, imperfect but living in grace, enjoying my life, and my job!

Click anywhere on the box below to play…

 

A HUGE thank you to Stephen Nathan Productions for this gorgeous video, that showcases the heart and soul of Dyanna Joy Photography.

 

 

Jamaica Engagement: Rob and Gemma {Destination Wedding Photographer}

One evening during our recent family vacation in Jamaica, Gemma and Rob walked hand-in-hand to the beach. Little did Gemma know Rob was about to propose, and that I was about to shoot their engagement session! In case you missed it, check out Rob and Gemma’s Jamaica Proposal.

Gemma still had tears in her eyes when we started the engagement session immediately after her proposal. It was precious, she was real, and joy was radiating from both their faces.

We walked the property of the legendary Half Moon Bay Resort. I was in photography heaven, and realized I need to be doing destination weddings, as soon as possible, like now. Any takers? You can’t beat the warm sweet air, the palm trees, and the colors. It was like being wrapped in a rainbow.

Congratulations Rob and Gemma! You both mean the world to me. I’m so excited to gain another beautiful sister and friend, and for another amazing family wedding! It’s going to be quite the dance party, and thanks to Gemma, I now know the steps to Cotton Eye Joe!

Congrats. Respect. One Love.

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And because we were in Jamaica, an encore…

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Winner of best ending to an engagement shoot!

Jamaica Proposal: Rob and Gemma {Destination Wedding Photographer}

Rob performed the oldest trick in the book: He made Gemma look “over there” while he got down on one knee. Little did Gemma know that once she turned back around, she would be engaged.

It all started with a family vacation to Montego Bay, Jamaica. My amazing and generous parents, Steve and Cher Stupar, invited all us “kids” along with our significant others to a week in paradise.

Our family includes: Myself and my husband Jason: My brother Jon and his wife, Laura, along with their beautiful daughter, Avianna: My pregnant sister Katlyn and her husband Brock, and their adorable son Charlie: My brother Nathan and his wife, Marissa: My brother Rob and his girlfriend, Gemma: and my grandparents, Norm and Shirley. It was quite a group and quite a vacation.

A few days into the vacation, Rob was ready to propose to the woman he met at church a little over a year ago.

The surprise was tactfully planned. In advance, I told everyone in the family that I would be taking photos of everyone while in Jamaica. My brother Nathan, an NFL athlete, as well as a mastermind videographer, was also assisting me with a promo video for my business down at the beach.  We had a photographer, a videographer, and a gorgeous backdrop: all the ingredients needed for a surprise engagement.

Two hours before sunset, Rob walked Gemma to the beachfront veranda at the Halfmoon Bay Resort. We told them we wanted some “wide angle shots” and that Nathan was videotaping me in action for my promo video. Gemma still had no idea.

And then they approached the veranda. Rob had her look “over there” and seconds later, she looked back at her boyfriend, who in that instant, was becoming her fiancé.

Congratulations to my “little” brother Rob, and his precious Gemma. While I watched you two in that moment, saying yes to love, joy flooded into my spirit and your happiness was my happiness. What a blessing it is to celebrate with the people we love. I love you both from the deepest part of my heart.

The full engagement session is on its way! But for now, here is the gorgeous beach proposal…

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A Snowy Dunkin Donuts Engagement: Layne and Andrew {Delaware and Destination Wedding Photographer}

My cousin Layne, she might as well be my sister, because that’s how close we are. She brings so much joy and laughter and light into my life. An unwavering and loyal friend; relentless in loving those in her life. We’ve walked and talked through so much life, through mountains and valleys and across changing seasons. She is a heartbreak healer, a laughter doctor, and a precious listener; isn’t that what we all crave at our center? Someone who will listen? Someone who will just let us be ourselves without judgement? That is my Layne. That is my sister.

As a little girl, she used to be in love with Elvis; but now she is in love with Andrew.

Seeing her with Andrew is like waking up early to watch the sunrise, knowing it’s going to be such a beautiful day. Their love is inspiring and hopeful, full of depth. They have both traveled such a far distance to be together; fighting giants along the way, being sustained by only manna at times, but finally they have seen their promised land.

More than ever in my life, Romans 8:28 has become so real to me. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” It’s so comforting to know that even if I mess everything up, God can work out my mistakes for good, just like He did with so many people in the bible. He is the God of second chances, the God of happy endings, the God of forgiveness, the God who never gives up on us. He gives beauty for ashes, turns our mourning into dancing, our weeping into laughing, and our sadness into joy. He Brings restoration.

He has brought Layne and Andrew together for a reason. Not only to enjoy lifelong companionship with each other, but through them, they can be a light in the darkness, a compass for others walking in the desert, healing balm for broken hearts, and a couple who restores others with grace and mercy.

May we all be unwavering and loyal friends to those in our lives. May we always believe the best in people. And more than anything, love.

Layne and Andrew’s engagement session was filled with coffee, donuts, snow fields, and letters that they wrote to each other. God’s beautiful glowy light was shining all evening, and the session flowed so effortlessly. The love that Layne and Andrew have for each other energized me, and we truly enjoyed ourselves. I explode with love for them. They are my family, my heart.

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My Old Hollywood Wedding {Happy Valley, PA}

My wedding day was sweeter than my best dream. There was snow on the ground, my favorite people by my side, and a man I met two years prior became my husband.

I was in love with the whole day. I woke up early and took a hot bath, ate a catered breakfast with my bridesmaids at my parents house, and saw Jason for the first time that day on a secluded waking path I’ve walked thousands of times before.

Our candlelight ceremony was dark and romantic; I walked down the aisle to the song “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera. We wrote our own vows. We cried.

Guests joined us for an Old Hollywood reception, with a signature “Pink Lady” drink, lots of feathers, a strolling saxophonist, jazz piano player, silhouette artist, top hats, old records, and a choreographed father daughter dance.

The day ended with sparklers, and a long kiss.

And without further adieu, my wedding day…

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My Parents House in Happy Valley2

 My cousin Hannah went out to get me a Starbucks. Love you Hannah! My client and friend, Jess, did a fabulous job on my hair. And I did my own makeup! Impressed?

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My Girls <34

 My sister, Katlyn, helping me with the final touches. My sister-in-law Marissa on the stairs

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This makes my heart happy; my family7

I love you mother8

Of course Penny would be dressed to the nines for this grand event!9

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My handsome husband to be12

 First Glance: So Perfect: He cried

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Me with my nephew Charlie (he also stole my heart) and my beautiful family22

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Jason with his groomsmen (studs!)24

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 LOL! This speaks for itself

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Jason with his parents and his three gorgeous sisters28

Ceremony time! Candles Candles Candles27

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My mom and grandfather sang “In The Garden” before I walked down the aisle. I listened.31

Time for my life to change32

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My grandmother reading a love poem 35

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My aunts and uncles singing “Household of Faith” So Beautiful41

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My grandfather covering us in prayer44

My sister singing “Grow Old Along With Me.” Precious and emotional.45

Jason and I both cried while doing communion. God was with us. His presence divine.46

I’m officially his
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My immediate family48

Sisters forever 49

Jason’s Immediate Family 50

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My mother was my wedding planner and designed almost every detail. She trumps David Tutera in a heartbeat. She blew us all away. Amazingness.63

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Red velvet and coconut cake!68

 Candy Bar

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Introduced into the reception71

We danced to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Lady Antebellum 72

Amore73

Best Man Chris’ speech/toast74

Sister’s Speech with cousin Layne assisting75

Mother Son Dance76

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We danced to Dean Martin’s “Good Morning, Life” Great job dad! We did it!78

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My whole bridal party learned The Waltz and performed it for the first group dance85

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In the middle of the circle87

My Aunt Nancy was our “Cigarette Girl”88

Jason changed into his police uniform and came after me89

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Time to go!92

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My own fairytale ending

A special thanks to Shannon Confair Photography, Nancy Hostetler, Daniel Hostetler, Jessica Thomas, The Gourmet Girl, Laura Ashbrook Photography, Best Event Rental, The State College Assembly of God, The State College Ramada, Igor our Silhouette artist, Nicholas our piano player, Woodrings Floral, Saxophonist Rich Hersh, and our DJ Jeff Helfrich.

And the biggest, most special thanks, to my mother, Cher Stupar. You went above and beyond mom, and made my dream come true. You are extraordinary and I love you.