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
After talking to Anna, I knew we would be a great match. Which is, in my opinion, very important for your wedding day. When choosing a photographer, number one, you should like their images and number two, their personality. Not only will you spend more time around your photographer than anyone else that day, the more comfortable you are, the better the images. Anna and I had a lot in common, a love of art, video gaming and animals. We bonded over some Starbucks and I was very excited for her big day by the time we left!
After spending all summer landscaping and getting ready, the festivities were at Anna and Cosimo's house in Lake Hopatcong, NJ. The house is on a hill overlooking the lake and lugging rocks and mulch and flowers up and down that hill was some pretty serious exercise. They did all the work themselves and did an amazing job. It was gorgeous!
The things Anna and Cosimo love the MOST are each other, Dave Matthews (I know if they could they would follow Dave around all year, every year.) and their Morkies, Baxter and Dexter (Anna makes their food and they have a better wardrobe than I do.) It was very important for them to have both Dave and the dogs involved.
With a Dave song playing and surrounded by their closest friends and family, Anna and Cosimo tied the knot with a friend officiating. Their fur-babies made two adorably clad (in custom tuxes!) ring-bearers. I love a small, intimate wedding. The vows were said, kisses shared and then it was time to party!
The first dance was, (you guessed it) Dave Matthew's "Steady As we Go" and everyone joined in towards the end. It was obvious that the whole group had such an amazing time eating, drinking and dancing the night away.
It was an honor and pleasure to be involved in telling their story.
Special thanks to Jeri Houseworth for the referral and Lauren Kearns for photographing with me!
Invitations: Tessa Brown
Dress: Galina Signature from David's Bridal
Dog's Tuxes: Amazon
Cellist and Dad: Vladimir Panteleyev
Photography: Barbara Wentzel + Lauren Kearns
DJ: Nick Cavaleri - Be The Good Entertainment
Guitar: Nic Freeman
Catering: Chef Ken Salmon
Tower of French Macarons: Sweet Expressions
Elaine and Mike were already married when I met them on their "wedding"day. They live in California and had gone to the courthouse, parents had flown out to witnesses. To celebrate, Mike's amazing mom, Robin, threw an east coast party for friends and family. With all the trimmings; flowers, cake, pictures and PARTY! And oh boy was it fun! Turns out, Robin has a best friend who, not only is the mom of someone I used to play soccer with in grade school (Hi Jacquelyn!), she's super crafty and did all the floral arrangements for the tables, wait till you see them, they turned out perfectly. Family members styled everyone's hair and makeup for the big day. This is a tight-knit and talented group of family and friends. When the day arrived, Elaine and Mike got ready at the Merion in record time as did their adorable daughter Elise. You'll see plenty of her in the pictures and how much she is loved by her family. After family pictures, Mike and Elaine spent some time modeling for us. They were so sweet and you could really tell they enjoyed laughing together. After a cocktail hour, the bride and groom had a small ceremony in the Empire Ballroom, with Reverend Woehr presiding. It was something special to see a family friend officiate. And then, the food and dance party was on! Elise stole the show for most of the night as she is an excellent and tireless dancer. She ended her night with Mom and Dad "smashing" their cake on her face during the cake cutting. I think she liked it.
Thanks to all of you for being so wonderful to work with, I can wait to see what you choose for your album!
Thanks also to Kelly Joyce for being an excellent second photographer!
Table arrangements: Susan WoehrCake: Sunflour BakeshopVenue: The Merion
I've never been great at setting goals. Growing up I thought, get a job, work hard and eventually retire. Turns out that's not enough, you have to work hard toward something with purpose and to achieve it you figure out how to get there. As I'm not a terribly forward thinker, not the best planner and generally live in the now, I've always had a hard time looking to the future and setting my sights on a goal. For the last couple of years, I've used the New Year to get in the habit of resolutions. After all that's what a resolution is really, a path to an aim: health, money, happiness, whatever you strive for. In the past I've made many mistakes, objectives that are too broad, too easy or unattainable.
Three years ago, I decided my resolution was to "walk more." I was (am) out of shape and thought it would be a good idea to get outside and move. I actually don't like walking, as a thing, I find it boring and purposeless. Now if you put a gluten-free donut at the end of the walk I'd happily trot through the forest but that kind of defeats the point of the walk. After waking up New Year's day, my sisters and I went out and about 3 miles in (they enjoy walking) I declared that I had achieved my resolution and was done. Although, I've never heard the end of it, I did learn that making a goal that's too general and undefined is not particularly helpful. I did continue to walk that year, sporadically, and it was more than the previous year, but unquantifiable.
Last year, my resolution was to eat at least one salad a week. Having heard the benefits of eating raw, green vegetables and leafy things, I though maybe I could learn to like them. Now you may think this is also too easy, however, I don't like salads and my diet concerning salad previous to this was that I had maybe three a year when forced. This guarantees 52 salads at a minimum for the year. And there were rules. It had to be a plant based salad, I couldn't eat chicken salad and call it done. No potato salad either. If I missed a week, I could eat two salads the next week. I couldn't save them up beforehand, no sitting down and eating 52 salads and being done for the year. It had to be an ongoing thing. What I learned from this one, is that I'm still not a salad person, but I'm more willing to consider it as an option, and that scheduling is important. I would've had an easier time if I made Salad Day on the same day every week. It would've established more of a habit and and I'd've made less mistakes. The good news is I did it, I even ate more than I had to because I enjoyed the challenge.
This year, I have several resolutions. I'm sharing them here for accountability, remembering and hopefully inspiration. Next January, I'll be able to look back and see how I've done and this post will still be out there, floating around for all to see, letting you know I had plans, so it won't be just me I'm accountable to. Here they are:
Lights out by 11:30 on days I don’t have weddingsWork every day on my business - 6 days a weekBlog at least 2 times a monthWalk/bike/exercise at least once a weekNo junk food on Monday with an exception to switch to Tuesday on holidays
I've already failed several times on the first one, I'm a night owl but I'd like to reset my internal clock some. I'm not giving up though, a step forward, is a step forward, no matter how small. I'd love to hear about your resolutions and how they're going!
Here's to an amazing 2018!!