When I photographed Cassie and Vinny's engagement session in Philadelphia this past winter- I instantly fell for them. They are a "cool" couple- how "uncool" does this make me sound? Let me explain... they know every worthy place to visit in Philly. Their engagement session was anything but typical. They planned out three very specific locations- Philadelphia's Magic Gardens (maybe one of the coolest mosaic art galleries EVER), Percy Street Bar (one of the best BBQ restaurants), and Tattooed Mom (a bar with graffiti everywhere)- can you say, a photographer's dream? Not only are they total foodies, they also love to travel together and have been all over the globe. See- you totally want to be friends with them now. Did I mention their dance moves?? Well, you'll just have to see for yourself. Besides all of the aforementioned facts that make them awesome- they have a love for each other that is just adorable to see in person. During their First Look- I was teary eyed behind my camera. Have I mentioned I love First Looks? Enough already- take a look at their colorful wedding at one of the coolest venues I've had the privilege to shoot- Congress Hall in Cape May.
Some of my favorite moments from Tricia and Steve's wedding day... Tricia's excitement as she slipped into her gown- you could tell she felt absolutely gorgeous and ready to get married. Tricia as she chatted with her best friends, just minutes before the ceremony, the porch filled with laughter and well wishes. The moment Tricia's father walked her down the aisle, I got goosebumps, the expressions on their faces- full of emotion. Steve's smile as Tricia walked toward him and joined hands at the end of the aisle. The contagious smiles as they exchanged vows. Steve asking me if his wedding ring belonged on his left or right hand.
I feel so honored to be a part of their story and to capture it, as I saw it. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Buganski, you deserve all the happiness in the world!
Four days before Christmas I met up with Devin and Nicole for their engagement session. The previous weekend, it was freezing and the roads were covered with ice... but this particular Saturday in December was 70 degrees. It was a welcome surprise. Devin and Nicole are two, fun-loving sports fans and you can't help but smile when you're around them. I found myself smiling as I edited their photographs recounting their jokes and the expressions we captured. We started at Devin's childhood home, then ventured to a field in Moorestown that I've been eying up for quite some time. I can't wait for their November wedding!
What should I wear to the engagement shoot? This can be a difficult decision and ultimately it depends on your style as a couple. I always advise my couples to compliment each other and not necessarily dress to "match." The days of wearing matching jeans and a white shirt are long gone. See some examples below of how past clients have totally pulled off complimenting, but not matching.
Whatever you choose- remember it should be something you are comfortable in and reflects your style!
Kevin and Kelly got engaged just two short months ago at Kevin's 30th birthday celebration. Friends and family surrounded them, as everybody knew what was about to happen... except Kelly. During a German birthday tradition, Kevin got down on one knee and asked Kelly for her hand in marriage... Have goosebumps yet? Kudos to Kevin for the planning and bravery of such an amazing and memorable engagement! Kevin and Kelly have been in full-swing wedding mode since then choosing a super cute venue, picking colors, and even special wedding shoes for both bride and groom ;) We got together one evening at historic Smithville Mansion in Mount Holly for their engagement session. Smithville is a wonderful place to shoot because there is so much variety and its so quaint and quiet. Every time I'm there, I come across something new- it's like a little adventure. Anyway- Kevin and Kelly are one of those funny couples who love to joke around and just enjoy each other- did I mention this makes for fabulous engagement photographs? The proof is here! I cannot wait to document the best day of their lives next August!
Hair by Kate Spencer Hairstyling
This week's question is close to my heart: Can I bring our dog to our engagement session? You're getting married and the two of you are starting your own family. Well, maybe you already have another family member or two- pets! My last two engagement sessions included pups and to be honest... I LOVE it! How could I not? I have a little, furry man at home that stole my heart, Pixel. My husband and I included Pixel in our own engagement shoot.
I think the answer depends on your photographer. I always tell couples that I would love if their pet could join us at the beginning of the engagement session for about 20 minutes and that their pup comes accompanied by a handler that can take the pup home while we finish the engagement session.
How can I make sure my wedding day goes as smoothly as possible? All brides want a flawless wedding day with no disasters. One way to avoid disaster is to make a schedule. Sounds silly right? We get ready, go to the church and go to the reception- so what is there to schedule? Face it- a bridesmaid forgot her shoes at her house, the boutonnieres weren't delivered to the correct place, the best man is missing and your uncle is late! I find that sitting with my brides and creating a schedule for their big day really helps to avoid disasters (and sometimes even hiccups) on their big day. I also encourage the bride to share the schedule with their bridal party and family. It is so important to let the key players of your day know your expectations prior to the day of the wedding. I'm not saying to print out a copy for each member in the bridal party and have them take an oath to memorize it- but to at least take a look at it before the wedding day. I have an assistant with a watch and the schedule printed out to help keep us all on time!
Here's a sample schedule below.
12:00 PM • Photographer arrives to bride (Bridesmaids should have hair and makeup finished. Bride should be finishing up.) • Photographer arrives to groom
1:00 PM • Groom and Groomsmen leave for church
1:15 PM • Bride and Bridesmaids leave for church
2:00 PM • Ceremony Begins
2:45 PM • Formal Exit- Rose Pedals (Photographers will assemble guests)
3:00 PM • Family Formal Portraits at Church
3:30 PM • Leave for Reception Venue
4:00 PM • Bridal Party Portraits (All Bridal Party meet in the front entrance of venue directly after exiting limo)
4:30 PM • Bride and Groom Formal Portraits
5:00 PM • Bride and Groom leave to enjoy remainder of cocktail hour
6:00 PM • Reception Begins
10:00 PM • Reception Ends
Even with a schedule, there might be times throughout the day where things are running ahead or behind, but I find that working with a schedule tremendously helps the flow of the wedding day. I would love to hear about your thoughts on a schedule. Are you planning on having one? Why or why not?
Do photographers like when you share your Pinterest boards with them? I LOVE Pinterest. I'm actually sorta sad because it didn't exist three years ago when I was a bride! I think Pinterest has definitely stepped up the game in DIY weddings and I love it! Many of my brides share their Pinterest boards with me and I think it's great because it gives me a better idea of their style and if they are photography pins- a better idea of the type of photographs they would like.
On the other hand, it can also hinder a photographer's creativity if you give them a 10-page printout of your pins and you want every shot on the page. Compromise is the way to go in this situation. Pick a handful of your absolute favorite pins to share with your photographer, and let your photographer put their own creative spin on it! That way they are not being put into the uncomfortable place of recreating someone else's work and they can use their own creativity, to give you something unique!
I met Rose and Joe on a warm July evening at Barnegat Lighthouse to capture their engagement session. Rose and Joe came ready to have some fun- maybe a little bit too much! I love shoots like this because it feels like hanging out with friends! We had lots of laughs and even more great shots. I love that they brought their adorable little guy, Riley, who was just as photogenic as his mom and dad. I can't wait until I see you again at your wedding- clearly it is going to be a good time!
Kara and Matt are engaged! When I put out the call for a couple within a moment's notice to shoot at the gorgeous Collingswood Grand Ballroom, Kara responded quickly and enthusiastically! I'm so glad she did! Kara and Matt are so adorable together and up for anything. The weather had been less than perfect for about two weeks prior to the shoot, rain- every single day. I think we can say we were all concerned about what Mother Nature decided on doing that day. Luckily, we got our shoot in and the VERY MOMENT I got into my car to leave, it started downpouring. I think it's safe to say Kara and Matt are a lucky couple!