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.

Chanteclaire Farm Wedding: Layne and Andrew {Maryland Wedding Photographer}

“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that?” ~A Little Princess

All women were once little girls. Girls who were told fairtytales and encouraged to make believe. And if they were lucky, they had a daddy who told them they were a princess, and they were free to be themselves.

And then little girls grow up, and life happens. Hearts are crushed, competition rolls in, vanity shouts loud, insecurity takes hold, pain stings, and wrong decisions are easily made. And women silently question to themselves, “where is my prince?” and “who will rescue me?”

And they start to doubt if they really are a princess. Who would want this girl in rags?

But the story doesn’t end there. Because there has always been a prince all along, waiting to rescue his beauty.

He is tender yet brave, loving yet powerful. And his name is Prince of Peace, Comforter, Healer, Holy, Wonderful, Savior, Truth; His name is Jesus, Son of the living God. And he came to this dark and hurting world, where women compete against each other rather than loving and embracing each other, where little girls and grown-up girls are not loved fully the way they should be loved. He came to bring the light, to set us free, and to show us who we really are, because this world has been lying to us.  And if we choose Him, to love him, then we ourselves are considered royalty, because God is the King and we are His children.

God sees us through the lens of Jesus, so when he looks at us he doesn’t see anything wrong with us. He sees perfection. Even now, the Heavenly Father whispers to you, “you’re my little princess, my perfect little princess.”

Speaking of princesses, my cousin Layne is a princess.  But at one point in her life she wondered if she would ever get married and questioned if she was even still a princess to be pursued. “Is there a man out there who will love me?” And as she asked that question, God smiled, because he knew there was a man named Andrew asking the same question “is there a woman out there who will love me?” And as these two hearts looked to the Great Author, He soaked them in grace, washed them in the Word, poured His love upon them, and just like He always does, he started writing a new chapter for their lives.

It’s been such an honor to watch my cousin Layne grow into a confident, kind, beautiful woman who loves God. On her wedding day, she walked with grace and poise and her eyes smiled with joy, and you could tell she knew deep down inside that she was a princess, a real oh-so-loved-princess.

Congratulations Layne and Andrew!

“But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

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And a special thanks to the following vendors for making Layne and Andrew’s wedding so wonderful:

Venue & Cake & Catering | Chanteclaire Farm

Flowers | Kelly’s Floral Designs

Makeup | Gina Marcucci, Mary Kay Director

Bride’s Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses | Coni and Franc

Tuxes | PTak’s

 

1920s Inspired Wedding: Samantha and Brandon {Maryland Wedding Photographer}

“I love her and that’s the beginning and end of everything.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

To Brandon, Samantha really is the beginning and end of everything. She lights him up and guides him home, like a candle in a window.

And when they look at each other there is so much depth, as if they have already lived 100 years together. But there is also a newness, a spark, a knowing that something wonderful is about to happen. Like the character Jay Gatsby said, “I knew that when I kissed this girl, I would be forever wed to her.”

Samantha was a dream in her vintage inspired Jenny Packham dress, and her sideswept bangs and soft curls framed her sweet face just perfectly. She was up early the morning of her wedding writing a letter to the man she would marry that day.

And when Brandon saw his bride walking down the aisle, her beauty captivating him to his core, and his eyes were washed with tears.

A vintage rolls royce picked up Samantha and Brandon from the church and drove them to Herrington on the Bay, where guests enjoyed a gorgeous cocktail hour along the Chesapeake Bay, followed by an intimate reception.

Their vintage art deco cake was a piece of art, and the sequined table tops sparkled all evening. The drapery, the flowers, the signature cocktails, it was all perfection.

Congratulations to Samantha and Brandon! May your lives be full of joy and sweetness, and always remember that “life starts all over again, when it gets crisp in the fall.”

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And a special thanks to the following vendors for making

Samantha and Brandon’s wedding so wonderful:

Reception Venue | Herrington on the Bay

Flowers | Floral Accents

Videography | Lovell Productions

DJ | Scratch Weddings

Makeup | My Makeup Book

Wedding Dress | Jenny Packham design from Riziks

Bridesmaid Dresses | BCBG Nordstrom Lord & Taylor

Men’s Suits | Men’s Wearhouse

Pianist | Alexandre Abdoulaev

Great Falls Engagement: Jamie and Andrew {Virginia Wedding Photographer}

It didn’t take long for Jamie and Andrew to fall in love; about one week.

They met during college, and soon after their first encounter, Andrew asked Jamie if she would be his girlfriend, and Jamie confidently said yes.

They have been together ever since.

We adventured through Great Falls Park for their engagement session, a National Park located in Virginia along the banks of the Potomac River. The woods and views were breathtaking, and Jamie and Andrew were intimate and very much in love.

Their wedding will take place next year at St. Francis Hall, a charming venue adjacent to the beautiful and historic Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C.  And I can’t wait!

Congratulations Jamie and Andrew!!

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National Harbor Engagement: Tiffany and Joe {DC Wedding Photographer}

Sometimes love is found across a country or an ocean, and then there are those special times, when you don’t have to go anywhere at all.

After multiple dates with different guys from all over the country, Tiffany found herself single and back at home. Little did she know that her perfect match was close by.

Joe, a military man (and local guy), knew she was the one almost instantly. They met online, and it only took one date for Joe to know he was in the presence of someone truly special. They have been together ever since.

What I love most about Tiffany and Joe is their joy. Tiffany’s heart sang a cheerful melody throughout our whole session. Her love for Joe inspires her. You can tell they are proud of each other and find happiness in just being together. They are genuine and precious and have a tender nature. I was uplifted by being around them, and found myself smiling throughout the whole evening. I’m incredibly grateful to know them and to be a part of their story.

Congrats Tiffany and Joe! I’m so excited for your Maryland barn wedding in a couple weeks!

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Hideaway Camp Engagement: Julie and Tim {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

It only took one glance at him, and she knew: he would someday be hers.

Every summer, Julie worked as a lifeguard at Hideaway Camp, the same camp she attended throughout her childhood. Every summer would be pretty much the same, until that summer of 2005 when everything changed; the summer she met Tim.

Tim was recruited as a camp counselor that summer. Each day Tim would take his four and five year old campers to the pool, the time of day Julie enjoyed the most. She developed a major crush on him, but he was taken, he had a girlfriend back home.

But at the end of that summer before they went home, Tim pulled Julie aside one night under the stars, to share what was on his heart: that she was someone very special. But it wasn’t the right time…

Until 6 months later on a cold winter evening, Julie received a phone call from Tim, asking her to come hang out with him and some friends while they were both home and on break from college. On the way to see him, Julie still felt those same butterflies from the summer, and she somehow knew this time would be different. And it was, because this time, he was hers.

Eight years later, Julie and Tim are back at the camp where they met, for their engagement session. No other location could be any more perfect. The place where a lifeguard and a camp counselor first fell in love; the spot where she first saw the eyes of her lifelong best friend.

Congratulations you two. I’m so honored to photograph your endearing love for each other. xoxo

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Philadelphia Engagement: Valerie and Steve {Philadelphia Wedding Photographer}

After taking a long hiatus from dating, to focus on herself and her law career, Valerie decided it was time.

She renewed her subscription to match.com. As fate would have it, a guy named Steve viewed her profile the day before, and an email from him was waiting in her inbox that very day she renewed. He was not only waiting for her email response, but I have a feeling he was waiting for her his whole life.

They both are avid golfers, die-hard sports fans, driven in their careers, and committed to family. As time passed, unconditional love and mutual respect for each other grew, and it was obvious they would be life companions and best friends.

Valerie and Steve spend most of their time in Philadelphia, so it was only fitting to take a walk through the city for their engagement session, stopping at a few of their favorite places. I loved how peaceful and at home they were in each other; he makes her laugh, and she brings beauty and comfort into his life. They really are a perfect “match.”

Congratulations dear Valerie and Steve! I’m so excited for your beautiful spring 2015 wedding, taking place where you both feel at home: on the golf course.

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Vintage Pittsburgh Wedding: Angela and Tom {Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer}

She was completely at peace, and the only thing she had on her mind was him.

In the morning, Angela walked through her hotel room as if it was just another beautiful day, but it wasn’t just any day, it was her wedding day. She looked as if she just spent two weeks at the ocean, that look of joy and serenity. She was soft and glowing, and had a confident knowledge that she will feel safe and content to walk beside Tom the rest of her life.

Once Angela put on her wedding dress, one of the little flower girls said, “When Tom see’s you, he’s gonna faint.”

The whole day centered around Angela’s gentle and blissful energy. Her family was lighthearted and joyous, Tom eyes were captivated by his beautiful bride, and friends felt showered with love.

I could sense a heavenly grace throughout the day; the breath of God blowing in the wind.

I adored all the gorgeous summer wildflower bouquets and florals.  The outdoor Mellon Park ceremony was intimate and precious, with Angela’s father officiating most of the ceremony, followed by a colorful reception at a beautifully restored historic Pittsburgh church.

During the reception, that same little flower girl approached the the dessert table, took a long look at all the delicious treats, and I overheard her say out loud to herself, “I feel like I’m in heaven.”

It only confirmed my thought, that it was indeed, a heavenly day.

Congratulations to my dear friend, Angela, and her wonderful guy, Tom.
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And a special thanks to the following for making Angela and Tom’s wedding so beautiful and memorable:

Mellon Park

The Union Project

All Occasions Party Rental 

Prantl’s Bakery

BHLDN (Vintage Inspired Wedding Dresses)

J. Crew

 

 

Harrisburg Engagement: Bekah and Mike {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

They met while climbing a mountain.

While vacationing with some friends in Colorado, Bekah decided to meet up with her cousin Josh, who was also in Colorado on a “guys trip,” which included one of his best friends, Mike.

Together with a few others, they decided to hike a pretty challenging mountain. Mike already knew of Bekah. He was shown her picture a few times by Josh, but Mike never liked the idea of being set up.  But once he saw her in person, things began to change.

He was instantly attracted to this athletic brunette, and her faith and modesty put her in a league all her own.

Bekah knew of Mike too, but the thought of dating a younger man was of no interest to her. Until that day on the mountain, when she found herself in deep conversation with him, and began to secretly desire his pursuit and his heart.

It didn’t take long for these two wanderers, these two adventurers, to fall in love. And although there will always be mountains to climb, Bekah and Mike are up for the challenge; ready to lace up their boots, fill their water bottles, and head for the biggest adventure of their lives: marriage.

Because of their love for the outdoors, their engagement session took place within some beautiful rolling Pennsylvania hills, with Mike’s red Jeep, a picnic basket, love letters, one gorgeous diamond ring, and with Jesus by our side.

And to make this story even better, Bekah is my cousin! I can’t wait for their beautiful 2015 barn wedding at the Historic Acres of Hershey.

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