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
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
What can I say about my beautiful niece? She's the best! A serious, smart and strong little girl with 8 teeth and a serious will to walk. It won't be long now that I will have to chase her with a camera instead of have her sit in one spot. There was some chasing during our session, as she can crawl, but Daddy helped us out by putting Poppy back in the good light again and again. She did a great job and put up with me for about hour, including outfit changes, which, as parents know, is a long time for a nine month old.
Could her outfits be any more perfect? This is one trendy well dressed kid. If only overalls looked that cute on me. And the lacy pink dress was so well coordinated with Mom and Dad. I can't tell you how happy that made me, it really pulled the image together to make a beautiful family portrait.
Halloween is coming up and Poppy, Jen and Paul are prepared, with several different options based on weather. We only did pictures of one, and what an adorably awesome costume it is. She's a lamb! Can ewe believe it! A baaaaaaaby sheep!
I cannot wait for her 1st birthday, cake smash session! Or maybe ice cream as she loves the Little Baby Bum Ice Cream Song already.
Photographing this beautiful dark haired and blue-eyed family of four was a pleasure. I've know Adam since grade-school, (we won't discuss how long ago that was) and it's always special to see how families grow and flourish. His newborn baby girl, Samantha, certainly has a mind of her own and taking sleeping baby pictures was not on her to-do list. Not to worry, not all babies sleep during their sessions, though we did try for several hours to get her to sleep and wrapped up. Awake and alert, the pictures are adorable and in many of them she's looking right at the camera.
Her big brother, Sean, who is very sweet, polite and a little gentleman, was the perfect model and very into taking his own pictures with his own camera. So I know who my competition will be in 20 years!
Samantha loves her mom. Anything to do with her mom, being held, fed and changed by her mom. Anybody else, not so much. Which made me wonder, how does Dana sleep? So I asked and the answer was that she didn't really. Respect for people who have kids, it's so much work; all the time; on little to no sleep. It's impressive what you accomplish every day, props to you moms!!
What a cutie Kayla is! After photographing her baptism last year, I was an instant fan. When asked to photograph her first year portrait, I replied with an immediate, "YES!" and said, "What do you think about a cake smash?" What an awesome cake smash it was!! Kayla's mom and Grandmom really went all out decorating; it turned out perfectly adorable. I was very impressed. Kayla is a big fan of balloons, walking and her mom. Her big brother, the handsome Christian, is a big fan of bear hugs and while Kayla may have yet to develop an appreciation for his hugs, he's an excellent big brother. Happy birthday, Kayla!!!