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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Millbrook Marsh Engagement: Jessica and Michael {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

Sometimes all it takes is moving back home to find the man of your dreams.

Just like so many other new college graduates, Jessica moved back home to her parents house, single and needing to save money.  While hanging out with friends back in her hometown, she saws Michael again.

They’ve known each other for awhile; grew up in the same town, went to high school together, and Jessica’s best friend dated his older brother. Michael was always interested in Jessica, but they both always seemed to be in other relationships and nothing every bloomed between them.

But as we all learned from romantic movies, timing is everything.

And with the passing of time comes the ability to see others in a different light. And Jessica began to fall in love with Michael, just like he has always been in love with her.

They are truly best friends, and together they are parents to two happy dogs and four cats. For Jessica and Michael, home truly is where the heart is.

I’m looking forward to their Stone Barn Winery wedding next September! Congrats you two! 2014-09-12_0001 2014-09-12_00022014-09-12_0003 2014-09-12_0004 2014-09-12_00052014-09-12_00072014-09-12_00082014-09-12_00092014-09-12_0010 2014-09-12_0011 2014-09-12_00122014-09-12_00132014-09-12_00142014-09-12_00202014-09-12_0015 2014-09-12_0016 2014-09-12_0018 2014-09-12_00192014-09-12_0021 2014-09-12_0022 2014-09-12_0023 2014-09-12_00242014-09-12_0025 2014-09-12_0026 2014-09-12_0027 2014-09-12_0028 2014-09-12_0029

Ironstone Ranch Wedding: Kasey and Jonathan {Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer}

I could talk about how Kasey looked like a woodland goddess in her wedding gown, or how the wildflower florals were both delicate and magnificent. I could go on and on about how Kasey and Jonathan said their vows in the midst of a delightful apple orchard, or how the flower girl stole all our hearts. If I wanted to, I could mention the horse drawn carriages, the delicious cupcakes, the smores, the tears of joy Kasey cried throughout the day. And don’t get me started on the gorgeous (and happy) bridesmaids, the vintage barn, the dancing, the sparklers. These are all beautiful things that came together perfectly for a celebration of love!

But what is even more notable was the warmth and tender love between Kasey and Jonathan. Kasey was a little anxious all morning until she saw Jonathan during their “first look.” As soon as they were together, she was smiling; she was peaceful. He calms her, and she brings joy into his life.

They also care so much for others. For instance, it was the Penn State Dance Marathon, a fund-raising and awareness campaign for the fight against pediatric cancer, where they first met. They even decided to choose a wedding venue (the Ironstone Ranch) that donates its net profit to Brittany’s Hope, which provides assistance in the adoptions of special needs children and to improve the quality of life for those who still wait for a home.

Beauty has so many forms; it’s endless. It’s not just in what we see, like sunsets and oceans, but it’s also in prayers, righteous actions, forgiveness, grace in the midst of suffering, imperfect days, imperfect people, solitude, laughter, sleep, eating, growing old with someone and being true to them, and adopting a special needs child. There is always something beautiful to see or experience each day, and I can tell Kasey and Jonathan have this ability.

Last week while I was sitting in a waiting room. I saw a very old man, pushing his very old wife in a wheelchair. Once they got to the front desk, he slowly filled out her paperwork, with his unsteady right hand, as she sat there and looked around the room confused. You could tell he had to take care of her and that she needed him to survive. I quietly started to cry from where I was sitting. Even there, in a cold impatient waiting room, I saw beauty, and beauty always makes me cry. We will all be old someday, and I hope when I’m an old lady my husband will love me the way this old man loves his old wife, and may I also be that person who loves beyond what is expected or deserved.

What a privilege to love someone, what a privilege.

May we all love and live (and grow old) with grace.

Congratulations Kasey and Jonathan! What an extraordinary day it was… what an extraordinary love you have.

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 And a special thanks to the following vendors for making Kasey and Jonathan’s wedding day so beautiful and special:

Ironstone Ranch

C&J Catering

The Pennsylvania Bakery

Global Hair Design

Lana Addison Bridal 

Alfred Angelo

Top Line Tuxedos

Klock Entertainment

Brittany’s Hope

 

Horse Farm Wedding: Natalie and Justin {Maryland Wedding Photographer}

Rain, although wet, unwanted, and often times cold, brings life; it allows the flowers to grow. So it is with us; the rainy days of our lives can expand our souls, strengthen our roots, and nourish new life within us. The rain brings hope that beautiful things are to come.

It was a very rainy wedding day for Natalie and Justin. The expectation of a beautiful sunny outdoor wedding was unmet, but something more beautiful was in the making…

As Natalie made her way into the ceremony & reception tent, you could see it there in her eyes; the commitment to love Justin rain or shine. And as she locked eyes with Justin, it was as if they created their own little heaven on earth, as if no one else in the room, or even weather, existed. And within that one minute, the meaning of life was demonstrated so delicately: it’s all about love. Everything else will pass away, but love will remain. And it will be this strong and determined love that will get Natalie and Justin through the hard times, and it will be this same cherished and devoted love that will allow them to enjoy the more easy times in life.

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan, but if we have love, we’ll not only get through it, but it will be an adventure.

Just like Vivian Greene once said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

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And a special thanks to the following vendors who made Natalie and Justin’s Wedding Day so wonderful:

KS Design

Hedgerow Farm

Hair Design by Krystin

Betsey Robinson Bridal

Jos. A. Bank

Cinematic by David M

Nightsong

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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