A long time ago, in Princeton, I used to work at a photo studio. Everything was photographed on film with medium format cameras. 24 exposures per roll and all manual focus. And in that studio worked a studio manager named Michelle. Michelle, being an excellent business woman, would keep us in check when it came to overshooting. Medium format film was expensive, developing was expensive, and proofs too cost money. Now you may be saying to yourself, what does this have to do with Ana Sofia's Quincenera? The answer is this, Michelle is her mom and I definitely did not pay any attention to how many photographs I captured.
Ana Sofia is charming, beautiful, gracious and from what I gather, fiercely loyal and a bit hot tempered. I had not seen her since she was a toddler. Which like any "old" lady I informed her of; by telling her the last time I saw her she was around the height of my knees. That's how I know she is gracious, as she grinned and did not roll her eyes. Ana's dress was stunning. A soft pink with lots of fluff and excellent for twirling, a bonus for pictures and super fun on the dance floor. A sparkly tiara capped Ana's fun and festive style.
You know when you see love in the way someone looks at someone else? Well that's what Ana's dad's eyes were brimming with when he saw her for the first time. The moment didn't last long as Maddy, the dog, was also very interested in seeing her but while it did Dad only had eyes for his little girl. We did all of the posed pictures before the party so no-one would get a glimpse of Ana's dress before the grand entrance.
And grand it was! Escorted by her brother, Matthew, Ana circled the dance floor surrounded by her cheering family and friends. There are several traditions that commenced at this point. The first, was that Ana's dad removed her shiny golden sneakers (and socks) and replaced them with shiny golden heels, signifying her stepping into womanhood. (She was extremely good at walking in them and a little bird told me she's been wearing them since kindergarten. I on the other hand, can barely make it 10 steps, so I was still impressed.) The second tradition is the gifting of a doll from her mom, symbolizing the last childhood present she will ever receive. The doll is custom made to look like the birthday girl. Dad then gave a speech and everyone got to dinner.
Dance party! Some people are dancers and some are not. This crowd was both enthusiastic and talented. Ana Sofia danced her heart out and had an obviously fabulous time doing so. Even a certain someone who swore he didn't dance got out there for Ana's birthday.
Closing out the night was a candle ceremony with 15 candles. Ana did a really impressive job with her speech, enough that I'm sitting here wondering if she would proof my blog posts. Her words were thoughtful, sweet, entertaining, and funny. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and Ana blew out the candles.
Happy birthday, Ana! I hope any wishes you made come true!
DJ: Encore Entertainment & Ultrax Disc Jockeys
Cake: Cramer’s Bakery
Florist: Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co
Venue: Princeton Marriott at Forrestal
Here's the story, of a woman named Kelly, who was bringing up two very lovely girls. Okay so it's not exactly the Brady Bunch, as Kelly only has two daughters and Steve only has two sons but it's close. So close that someone was singing the theme song when Lynda and I arrived at the Grain House. I didn't catch who it was but it made me smile. There was lots of smiling this day, you've never seen kids so happy for their parents and the families seem to fit so perfectly together. After hair and makeup were done, Kelly got into her dress. It was a three generation event as her mom and her daughters, Erin and Jaime were the ones who helped her with the dress, shoes and jewelry. Many of the details of the day revolved around family, from a borrowed handkerchief to the barrette Kelly wore.
First look was in the courtyard of the Olde Mill Inn (thanks to David for helping us work this out!) where I met Steve for the first time. I was warned that he didn't smile. Well once he saw Kelly, that was so untrue! And it lasted the whole day, every time he set eyes on Kelly, bam, smile. We started with portraits of the two of them and were joined in the courtyard by the entire bridal party. Based on the laughter and grins I'd say everyone had a great, if slightly chilly, time. Turns out Kelly's brothers are pretty funny and kept things light and relaxed all the way through family portraits.
Papa is a special guy, I know him as Mr. Nann. He was the landlord for my friend Kris Rupp Photography (who referred Kelly to me, thank you Kris!) and he was always extremely nice. Kelly is his one and only granddaughter. According to the toasts, Kelly is the only girl born into the Nann family in 91 years and you can tell Papa loves her so much. He definitely teared up the first time he got to see her. Checking in on each other several times throughout the day, there were many hugs and moments between the two of them. It was one of the sweetest things I have seen.
Indoors, witnessed by friends and family, Kelly and Steve got married. Escorted by her father, a smiling Steve met Kelly at the end of the aisle. Vows and rings were exchanged and after a kiss, the newly married couple headed back up the aisle together.
Then it was time to party! The Grain House Ballroom is an intimate place. The dance floor is recessed and next to the table area and what I think is nice is that everyone stands around the dance floor for the first dance. It really makes is a special event that everyone can witness together. After three parent dances, Kelly danced with her dad and stepdad and Steve danced with his mom, everyone made their way back to their tables for toasts. I like good toasts and the bridesmaid and groomsmen did great jobs keeping them short, funny and sweet. Following dinner, there was dancing. That included Kelly dancing with her Papa who made it through an entire song and then some before he had to sit down again! To top off the evening, there was cake. Steve made Kelly feed him first as he wasn't sure she wouldn't smash him with cake. (I had some doubts myself after seeing her mischievous grin.) They both behaved themselves though and there was no need for napkins. A perfect winter wedding!
Photography: Barbara Wentzel + Lynda Bailey
DJ: Nick Cavaleri - Be The Good Entertainment
Venue: The Grain House
Katrina and Bobb met at a church function. Ok it was really a singles group set up by a church at the Continental ( bar / restaurant, ) but it's more fun to say they met at church because it's so not the Bobb I know. We've know each other from grade school and he's sarcastic, smart and involved in lots of things but church is not one of them. Theater, baseball, acerbic wit and causing havoc with his sister, Allison, are more up his alley. So ha, Bobb, God works in mysterious ways. ( Bobb if you're reading this please imagine the big cheesy grin on my face that is incredibly happy for you and enjoys giving you a hard time simultaneously. )
A few months ago and over dinner with this awesome couple, I met Katrina, one of the warmest, kindest and most genuine people I may have ever met. She's an amazing opera singer with an optimistic outlook that refuses to let "that's what he said" die, which I appreciate as it still makes me smile every time. Over shared tapas and wedding plans, I realized she a Bobb were a great compliment to each other.
The day of arrived and it was beautiful, perfect weather. Unlike most of the year, there was no rain or humidity and the temperature was cool. Lynda and I headed over to the Stotesbury Mansion where we found Katrina and her bridesmaids getting ready in the bridal suite on the third floor. After her makeup was done, the fact that she was getting married really hit home and Katrina indulged in a little yell therapy to keep from being overwhelmed and ruining her makeup with happy tears. It worked and everyone had a good giggle too. After getting all buttoned up into her very beautiful and flattering dress, we headed over to Rittenhouse Square for a first look.
While waiting for Katrina to make her way over to the square, Bobb and Kaikatsu (their dog) took some time out to star in a Wharton College music video. So that doesn't happen every day. If anyone ever finds the end project please share.
Both Katrina and Bobb's faces lit up upon seeing each other for the first time but really the most excited was Kai. She LOVES her people and they love her. Kai is an adorable, excited and well accessorized dog. Check out the bow Katrina's mom made her! She was the star of the show and was very intent on stealing some kisses from her mom. Unfortunately, she could only stay a little while before she had to go home. The rest of the pictures went swimmingly and we finished up right before the ceremony.
Back at the Stotesbury Mansion (did I mention this place is beautiful, three floors and so many perfect settings,) Katrina and Bobb got married. After being walked down the aisle by her brother, Chris, the nuptials were customized with a Japanese sake ceremony, performed by Bobb's Aunt and officiated by their friend Dave Whitman. Punctuated with humor and laughter, Dave performed the personalized service, a joyful bride and groom exchanged rings and sealed it with a kiss.
Then they partied. I can't decide my favorite parts. The dancing, especially when Katrina starting dancing with Bobb in the middle of his conversation and he just continued on like this happened all the time. The toasts, or should I say roasts, the speeches were about 50/50 love/jokes. Or maybe the Bohemian Rhapsody rendition, sung by Katrina and all her singer friends (and me if we're disclosing everything but I don't have the voice that they do.) It was an epically good time!
Thank you for allowing me to be part of such a special occasion, Katrina and Bobb!!
Venue: Stotesbury Mansion
Photographers: Barbara Wentzel and Lynda Bailey
Caterer: Owen Hutchison Feastivities Events
Bar: Ryan McKelvey Stotesbury Mansion
DJ: Adam Oded Philly Custom DJ
Cake: Lesly McDevitt The Sugary Philly
Courtney and Josh are so awesome, I'm not even sure where to start. They met at pub trivia through a mutual friend, own a cat, lift competitively, go to Harvard graduate school and technically got engaged with a cupcake on top of a ring pop. To me it sounds like a great movie!
My first meeting with Courtney and Josh was actually at another wedding ( shout out to Magda + Robbie! ) Courtney, there is no bigger compliment than that you wanted me at your wedding too and I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. You and Josh are really amazing people and it was my honor to be a part of your day.
Upon walking in to Courtney's hotel room, I knew we were in for a great day. Sure it was going to rain, but so what! Everyone was warm, welcoming and ready to party ( or have a cheese break. ) After finishing hair, makeup and getting the bride in a beautiful lace dress, we made our way to the Stone House at Stirling Ridge for the first look. It was as the time, quite rainy, so we picked a very pretty room in which to let Courtney and Josh have their a first moment together ( mostly private, I mean Lauren and I were there taking pictures. ) Josh playfully sneaked up on Courtney, tapped her on the shoulder and when she turned around their smiles couldn't have been bigger! After asking the happy couple to sit on the backs of some chairs, the rain slowed and we were able to head outside. Special thanks to Lauren for letting me borrow her clear umbrella, it made some beautiful rainy portraits possible.
A private Ketubah signing was next with family and the bridal party. Courtney and Josh signed their marriage contract, witnessed by the matron of honor and best man. After being "technically married now" as Courtney said, you could really see how happy they were to be husband and wife. The public ceremony, had the most gorgeous chuppah with birch logs and flowers galore, under which was said personally written vows. ( Josh's actually had some blood on them from a papercut and Courtney's matched the lining of their invitation envelopes. ) My favorite part though, was at the end when Josh stepped on the glass and it went skipping away, twice! I'm not sure it ever actually broke, but after a shrug and grin they made it even more official with a kiss and headed back down the aisle.
While waiting for introductions to the reception, Lauren told me a story about how she had just witnessed one of the older male guests, swipe his finger through the cake and lick the icing off his finger! I was flabbergasted! We went over to look and sure enough, there was the finger mark, all the way down to cake! Lauren was not sure who it was, I think she was in shock. The reception was perfect. I learned about how Courtney and Magda ( the matron of honor) were originally frenemies, which I still find hard to believe as they are both extremely nice people. And that Josh's grandmother does not approve of the best man's facial hair. And that all of Courtney and Josh's guest know how to boogie. The energy on the dance floor was contagious and continued until the very end of the night!
The perfect day. I'm so happy for the two of you!!
Hair: Diaz Hair
Makeup: Sarah Munoz for Sarah Jeanne Makeup
Venue: Stone House at Stirling Ridge
Photographers: Barbara Wentzel and Lauren Kearns
Flowers: Jardiniere Fine Flowers
DJ: Anthony Battista for Eclipse Events
Meeting these two at Breaking Grounds in Mt. Holly was a great time. I can't say we talked a lot about photography; horseback riding, the Air Force, Call of Duty, and using your college major all came up though. Keiana and Evan met in college in North Carolina. He's in the Air Force and they ended up in the best state, New Jersey ;) Anyway, he was about to be deployed and they decided to get married. I don't know much about the armed forces but from what I can tell, you have to go where they say. Which I would like to interject, is super hard and I don't know if I'd be able to move away from everything and everyone I know. To those of you that do, I'm super impressed and a little awed by your independence and adventurous spirit. Back to Keiana and Evan's wedding, turns out, he didn't go. Deployment was cancelled. They decided to get married anyway!
The day of had arrived and the ceremony took place at the office of the Burlington County Clerk, Tim Tyler, who also presided over the wedding. After some paperwork ( lol wedding license ), signed by Keina's dad and Evan's mom, we got down to business. Tim was an awesome , he makes you feel at home, even though you are getting married in his office. Photographer's side note, the light in there was beautiful. Keiana and Evan had a perfect ceremony and ring exchange in front of family (who had driven up from North Carolina) and friends.
After the ceremony, Keiana and Evan and I toured around Mt. Holly for a bit doing portraits. It was a very windy day with a very threatening sky. According to my weather app, it was actually supposed to be pouring. Thankfully, the deluge held off and we were able to spend a very cozy and fun hour taking portraits of these two sweeties. Keiana, who's dress I loved, did her own hair and makeup. They looked fabulous! Evan had the most perfect tie and pocket square combination, which I hear he picked himself. We ended up at the Local, a pub in Mt. Holly, where Keiana and Evan had a celebratory beer. The Local (hi Aimee!) allowed us to go upstairs and make some romantic images in their loft. Wait til you see :)
Officiant: Tim Tyler