The Medoza family was referred to me by one of my other families I have photographed, the Silver family! The original photo shoot plan was to take photographs in Philadelphia, however the weather had a different plan in mind. We ended up having to switch days and locations! We relocated our ideas to Batsto State Park. Despite having to change locations , I was still excited. Batsto State Park is one of my favorite spots to photograph!
Batsto Village State Park is a historic site in New Jersey known for its beauty and historical significance. There are so many great photograph opportunities here with the gorgeous buildings, faded brick walls, and worn barn doors. But my favorite spot to photograph? Is this beautiful blue door.
The door is on the old general store and I have used this door at every session I have done at Batsto. I was saddened to see that they cut down the pretty tree that used to stand tall next to it and am hoping they have plans to plant a new one! I love the color of the blue and the old weathered walls. It never fails to provide some great photographs.
After taking this photo...I knew it was going to be a good one. I saw it in black and white the second I took it! This photograph almost takes you back in time, and the Mendoza family did the model pose so well!
I have been known to say this more than once during a session!
On the way out, I saw this old barn and the way the sun was peeking over the top creating a beautiful glow and illuminance... I just had to take just a couple more!!
It was a little chilly this day, but the Mendoza family killed it! Everyone looked fantastic in their fall/winter attire and we definitely got some beautiful shots. I loved how willing they were with the poses and how they humored me when I asked to take a couple more photos! This session was perfect...a perfect location and a great family!
Thank you so much Mendoza Family! As always I am incredibly grateful you chose me to capture these memories for you!
Meet Tom and Ela. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ela for 14 years, and Tom 12 of those years. Ela and I met through work and became fast friends. Its always a special photo shoot when you get to photograph one of your closest friends!
Ela and Tom met on August 31st, 2007 at the New York State fair during a concert. Tom and Ela weren't looking for love...love found them. Tom was looking for a bike path girl and Ela a runner guy. They were perfect for each other. Their love only grew stronger during their 'thru-way' relationship traveling from Rochester to Syracuse and vice versa! Everything fell into place effortlessly.
Two years later, on February 5th, 2009...Tom proposed. He got down on one knee and stood in front of the huge Epcot ball in Disney World exclaiming that "In front of the whole world I'm asking you to marry me." And the rest is history.
They got married the following October. Ela quit her job, got a new job, and moved to Rochester. Tom became Ela's runner guy and Ela became Tom's bike path girl. And here we are 10 years later. Still so in love.
Ela and Tom share so much in common. They love the outdoors and you can almost always catch them running, hiking, and/or picnic-ing at the local parks. They love to travel and have become avid cruisers. They have already traveled up and down the Caribbean, Aruba, and Mexico!
Ela loves bridges and can never resist a good photo opportunity of them. This is why we knew The Webster Arboretum would be the perfect spot since it is home to some beautiful bridges. And we made sure to incorporate every bridge that day!
The wintery backdrop gave these photographs some life, making the bridges pop with color. Ela made a beautiful banner for their shoot, and brought along some champagne, balloons, and a cupcake! Everything tied together beautifully and made the celebration complete!
On our way out of the park, a blue bridge caught our eye. With birch trees decorating the landscape around the bridge, the water, and snow covered rock...everything was very picturesque! We found the perfect spot by the water with the birch trees and snapped away! These ended up being some of my favorite photographs from the day.
October was a busy month for Ela and Tom. Ela's work schedule was crazy! This didn't stop her and Tom from celebrating the fact they just moved into their dream home.
I was excited to see their new home and it did not dissapoint! It is beautiful. Ela, being an avid baker, dreamed of having a kitchen spacious enough for her baking fantasies and she finally got it! A photo session at their new home only seemed fitting. They celebrated their anniversary, Ela's recent birthday, and their new home with of course a little more champagne.
I am so honored to have witnessed your love bloom, and stand here with you two 10 years later! I hope you have many, many more happy and healthy years together. Thank you for letting me capture these moments and memories for you!
Hilary and Bill...Married | A rustic elegant wedding | The Grove at Centerton | Pittsgrove, New Jersey
These two met on a dating app called Bumble. They knew they both were onto something good when they had their first date eating sushi and bonding over corny jokes. And the rest is history. Bill and Hilary got engaged in Hilary's favorite place: Alexandria, Virginia. They ate at the Chart House and sat outside. There was a storm approaching so Bill asked the waitress to take their picture and he pulled out a sign asking Hilary to marry him. She saw the sign, but didn't see the question. She was definitely surprised once she realized, and there wasn't a doubt in Hilary's mind when she said yes!
I met this beautiful couple back in May 2019. Their engagement shoot was at Smithville's Historic Village. We got some beautiful shots that day and I was definitely looking forward to photographing their wedding day as well! When I asked what kind of wedding they were dreaming of they said, just a simple evening with family and friends. Hilary went a little more into detail saying how she wanted a country glam, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross vibe to her wedding. Classical with a modern twist. And they did just that!
The bride and groom got ready at The Grove at Centerton. They chose their wedding venue because it was the perfect combination of rustic and elegance. The fire place in the front room and the chandeliers created a dreamy and romantic ambiance to the venue. The venue gave Hillary a Chip and Joanna Gaines vibe...and it sold her in .20 seconds! To top it off the bridal suite was named Magnolia (like magnolia farms) and Magnolia is her great grandmother's name. I think it was just meant to be.
How gorgeous is this bride? All of her wedding details...the bouquet, the dress, the color scheme..everything fit seamlessly together and it was beautiful. Hilary incorporated sunflowers into her and her bridesmaid's bouquet as a nod to her mama since they are her favorite flower! This bride's mama also made her dress! Hillary dreamt of an off the shoulder mermaid dress and mama made that happen. Hillary's bridesmaid's consisted of close friends and family. It was pouring rain that morning. Hillary had her red rain boots ready. They were very fitting for the type of morning we had.
Bill, his groomsmen, and his sister all looked perfect. The men all had little dinosaurs on their ties because Bill loved dinosaurs as a kid and Bill wore his grandfather's shoes as a special tribute to him. Bill's groomsmen and groomswoman consisted of his close friends and his sister!
Bill and Hilary did decide on doing the first look. After Hilary read my blog post on first looks and talking it over she was convinced. She realized that the first look she originally envisioned could be much longer and sweeter if it was just Bill and her instead of at the alter during the ceremony.
First look photographs will always be my favorite. You can't recreate the feelings you see in these photos. The looks on their faces were priceless...mirroring so much love for each other! The original plans we had for the first look had to be adjusted due to the weather, but that didn't effect the outcome. The rain stopped, the sun came out, we were surrounded by the bridal party and we got some awesome shots under the carport in front of their venue. Since the rain stopped and everyone agreed to get their feet a little wet we were able to get some of the photographs we originally envisioned before the weather had a mind of its own.
After a few photographs with the bridal party, we headed behind the venue to a tree covered path near the golf course. The rain enhanced the vibrant colors of fall, making the bride and groom pop in the photographs. We laughed when the wind blew and we got a little rain shower. Everyone was in good spirits and so ready to celebrate Bill and Hilary.
While we were posing and getting the perfect shots, a little lady bug landed on Hilary and then flew to Bill's finger. It almost seemed like confirmation that Bill's grandfather and Hilary's grandmother were with us in that moment.
Before we headed back into the venue we took a couple of photos by Bill's grandfather's truck. It meant a lot to them to have photos taken with the truck on their wedding day. These photographs are some of my favorite. I am glad I was able to capture this special idea for them.
I recently asked Hilary and Bill to look back on doing the first look. I wanted to know if they still thought it was the right decision. They both agreed with each other, it was the best thing! They were more relaxed and really enjoyed the rest of the day. And they didn't have to worry about rushing for pictures after the ceremony.
Once again due to the weather having a mind of its own we had a change of plans. The ceremony was originally suppose to be outside, and had to be moved indoors. However that did not change how beautiful the ceremony was. The chandelier and the arch still created that classical look!
Hilary's dad walked her down the aisle to the Game of Thrones theme song. They loved that show and wanted to incorporate it into their wedding in sneaky little ways. Their vows were so sweet, sincere, and there were definitely some tears! They braided the ropes to signify their eternal bond, had their first kiss as newly weds, and then they were heading down the aisle with faces screaming pure joy.
After the ceremony we went right into family photos. Thankfully we had some help from a family friend gathering everyone together! We snapped a few more photographs of the newlyweds and then headed into cocktail hour! Bill and Hilary had a chance to relax a little bit, have a drink, eat some food, and mingle before the reception started.
The couple shared their first dance to Can't Help Falling in Love by Hailey Reinhart, with so much love in their eyes. Toasts were made from the best man, maid of honor, and Bill's sister. Bill's Aunt gave the blessing and both sets of parents welcomed everyone and shared funny stories they had of the two of them.
Everyone danced the night away, There wasn't a moment that the dance floor was empty! So much love and laughter consumed the room. Bill and Hilary played the shoe game, and everyone was erupting with laughter at their answers. There were definitely tears during the father-daughter dance and mother-son dance. I would say that their reception was a roller coaster of feel-good emotions between not only Bill and Hilary but also every single one of their wedding guests.
They had a Game of Thrones themed cake cutting. When Bill came out in his fur coat (he found at a garage sale) there were gasps of awe as well as laughter heard among the wildlings... I mean guests. They cut the cake with Hilary's father's sword.
I had no clue what was going on, and later had to be schooled on Game of Thrones. But I could tell that this was special to them and something they share and bonded over. The cake feeding was all very sweet...up until the end. Hilary smashed some right on Bill!
A wedding day is filled with so many special moments. I got to witness a very special one, and I am glad I did. Bill's grandmother was looking at her late husband's photo on the remembrance table. She then reached out, touched his picture, and said she still missed him. Be still my heart.
Another special moment I was able to capture was when Hillary was talking with one of her relatives and I caught her wiping away a tear off Hillary's face.
Many reasons why I love photography so much is because I get the chance to tell a story with my camera lens. These photographs Bill and Hilary will be able to look back on and feel all the emotions and memories. I am so honored to do that for them.
The reception came to an end with a huge group dance and a touching slow dance. It was such a beautiful day full of memories to last a lifetime. So much love shared between these two. I got my signature end of the night photographs with Bill and Hilary in front of the fireplace. They were so relaxed and happy. They look like Chip and Johanna in their living room!
When I spoke with Hilary and Bill recently I asked them if their day was everything they envisioned. Bill got the girl so he had no complaints! Hilary said some of her plans fell through, things happened that shouldn't have, and there definitely were some surprises, but it never took away from their day. She had an amazing time and married the coolest guy.
I wish you two nothing, but the best. I knew you both were a special couple the day we walked around Smithville for your engagement session. I loved seeing your plans and dreams come to life and being a part of your special day. You both are so loved and definitely have some angels smiling down on you. As always I am honored to have photographed these memories for you. Thank you! I look forward to capturing the next chapter of your story. Have fun in Disney!
Bill's advice: think of back-ups for everything!
Hilary's advice: Have what you want! If you want to have a game themed wedding go for it. You want to have fun and smile. So pack your day with things that mean something to the two of you, even if no one else gets it. She also suggested to let go of the reins and enjoy because it really zips by.
Venue: The Grove at Centerton, Pittsgrove, NJ
Officiant: Weddings by Dave
DJ/Entertianment/Lighting: BME Event Group
Wedding Dress: Handmade by Hilary's Mom
Grooms Attire: Boscov's
Wedding Rings: Select Jewelers
Florist: Lillie's Florals
Wedding Cake: The Grove at Centeron's baker, Dani
Alissa and Matt...Married | An Ocean City, NJ Wedding | A historic Flanders Hotel Wedding | Ocean City, New Jersey
Meet Alissa and Matt
Alissa and Matt met five years ago through a mutual friend. At first, Alissa wasn't interested in Matt. Little did she know how wrong she was. After, hanging out sporadically for six months Matt and Alissa both realized their feelings for one another were stronger than just friends. October 18th, 2014 is when they started dating. Fast-forward three years and Matt was getting down on one knee asking Alissa to marry him on Christmas Eve 2017.
Alissa could tell something was wrong or off by Matt's demeanor during her family's traditional Christmas Eve gathering. As soon as they arrived to Matt's parent's house, he immediately retrieved the ring, got down on one knee, and proposed. Alissa was in such shock she didn't believe it was happening at first-- but through tears, of course she said, "Yes!".
You can find Alissa and Matt going to concerts together, doing yoga, listening to podcasts, trying out new restaurants, relaxing at the beach, hiking, or just sitting in their backyard having a cocktail and enjoying each other's company.
I met these two last year when they were searching for a wedding photographer. When we met we clicked right away! I was excited for the opportunity to photograph their wedding for them. Matt and Alissa envisioned their wedding day to be a celebration of love celebrated by close friends and family all while sharing with everyone their favorite spot, Ocean City, NJ. Their vision came to life on October 18th 2019. Five years after the day they became boyfriend and girlfriend...they said "I Do".
The bride and groom both got ready at the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City. The Flanders hotel is such a grand venue decorated in a vintage art deco style which perfectly encompassed Alissa and Matt's theme. They loved how it is a historic piece of Ocean City with gorgeous architecture and knew it had to be their venue when they chose it.
Alissa and Matt were getting ready in suites just down the hall from each other, which definitely made photographing the two getting read very easy for me!
When I arrived at Alissa's suite she had just finished with hair and make-up. She looked absolutely stunning with her hair pulled back into a classic bun. Her rings, earrings, save the date card, antique purse, shoes and her bouquet were all beautiful and intricate, but all of those details came to life when she put on her wedding dress. A classic romantic dress with gorgeous sparkly, embellishments on the back. It was gorgeous. I couldn't resist taking down the beach landscape photograph on the wall to capture the beauty of her dress -- even if It mean struggling to put the photograph back on the wall afterwards. Alissa's mother and maid of honor were both there to share these special memories with her,
Next up was Matt. His family was all ready for their photos when I knocked on the door. Matt was so calm and ready to call Alissa his wife. Matt's family were in such good spirits, we were laughing and joking the whole time. They made photographing them so easy and fun. Special thanks to Matt's brother (the best man), for dragging the pretty blue chair up and down the hall for me!
Alissa had mentioned that there was a pretty room downstairs in the hotel. Well, she definitely wasn't wrong. The Terrace Room was perfect. White walls, white drapes and an antique green tile floor made for some truly enchanting and elegant photos. Alissa's grandmother's rosary was her something blue as well as extremely sentimental to her. We took some special photos for her, and her grandmother was happy that she carried it with her on her wedding day.
At first, Alissa and Matt didn't plan on doing a first look. However as their wedding day approached closer and closer they started to consider it. It just made more sense with their schedule and transportation to the church. Getting some of their photographs in earlier allowed them to spend that extra time and celebrate with their guests.
I personally love when couples chose to do a first look. It allows them to share that special moment together in a more intimate setting instead of in front of an audience. Alissa's advice to future couples is to definitely consider it and shared, "Having that special moment together wipes away any anxious energy and brings your focus back to your partner and the union of marriage.".
We took these photographs in the hall of mirrors. It is a beautiful hallway decorated with mirrored doors and gorgeous chandeliers. After photographing the first look we also dove right into their bridal shoot. How could I not take advantage of the mirrored hallway? It added so much elegance to their photographs. The light streaming in from the window at the end of the hall was perfect and really illuminated their silhouettes. And of course we had to take some photographs on the boardwalk!
The catholic ceremony was at St Francis Cabrini Church in Ocean city. The couple walked into the church together to proclaim their vows to each other as fiance's and walked out as husband and wife. The ceremony was as beautiful as the church itself.
I now pronounce you husband and wife
After the ceremony we went to the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City. This is a special place for these two. Making it a part of their special day felt perfect, and you can see how at ease they are in each other's arms. Love was definitely in the air.
Mr. and Mrs. Whelan, the bridal party, and I ventured to the music pier and then down to the beach. The boardwalk wasn't busy and it was a perfect day,
We took photographs at some of Matt and Alissa's favorite spots, and had the perfect amount of time to capture some memories before heading back to the hotel for cocktail hour.
The cocktail hour was filled with laughter, food and signature drinks. Alissa and Matt were enjoying every moment being surrounded by family and friends.
The reception was held in one of the gorgeous ballrooms. Divine chandeliers and sconces decorated the room, and were accompanied by a huge stone fireplace. Matt and Alissa took the less is more approach while wedding planning. They didn't go all out in decorations and flowers. They felt the beauty of the hotel would suffice and that it did. Everything still felt luxurious and looked beautiful. In lieu of flowers Alissa and Matt made donations to the Philadelphia's Children's hospital.
Their first dance was to Shining Star by Grateful Shred. I just love the way they are looking at each other in these photos! So much love! Alissa shared a special dance with her brother and Matt danced with his mom.
Matt's Grandfather blessed the couple and toasts were made from the maid of honor and the best man. There were many tears and laughter throughout! The DJ did a great job getting everyone onto the dance floor! Everyone danced their night away while celebrating the bride and groom!
After the traditional dinner and cake the venue put out a spread of Ocean City favorites: Manco and Manco pizza, Johnson's popcorn, Shriver's saltwater taffy, and boardwalk french fries! It was a huge hit! And it was another way for Alissa and Matt to share their love of OCNJ on their wedding day. It more special for them and their guests. I loved it!
I walked by the terrace room at just the right moment during the reception. The sun was setting and illuminating the room with a gorgeous orange hue! We didn't have enough time to run outside so we took advantage of the terrace room once again..and wow, I think it worked beautifully!
Just before I leave I make sure to snap a few photographs at the end of the evening. From start to finish their day was beautiful, elegant, and perfect for them. I love the classical touch the piano adds in these photographs. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Whelan!
I loved being a part of Alissa and Matt's day. I personally love Ocean City myself, and seeing all of the Ocean City elements tied into their wedding day was magical.
Alissa and Matt didn't have to worry about a thing. They both were very calm and didn't let anything stress or frazzle them. I asked Alissa and Matt recently what their favorite moment of the day was and Alissa said it was hard to pick just one! They will always cherish the amount of love they felt for one another walking down the aisle, hearing Matt's grandfather give the blessing at dinner, their first dance, and the dance party after dinner!
Alissa"s advice for future brides: Less is more! Don't lose sight of the purpose behind the entire day.
I enjoyed this wedding and getting to know Alissa and Matt, I will always be honored you chose me to capture these moments for you. I wish you both many happy, and healthy years together. And Alissa always remember that Matt is your ticket into heaven!
Venue/Caterer/Wedding Planner: The Flanders Hotel, Ocean City, NJ
Officiant: Father James Dever
Wedding Cake: Simply Sweet Cupcakes
Florist: South Jersey Florist
Wedding Dress: Irini's Orginals
Men's Suits: Suit Supply
Dj/Entertainment: James McElFresh
James and Samantha...Engaged! | a surprise proposal | South New Jersey Engagement session | Wildwood, New Jersey
Meet James and Samantha, they go by Pat and Samm
Samm and Pat began working at a special needs school in Northern New Jersey where they met. They became fast friends after meeting up with each other and other coworkers at the weekly work happy hour every Friday. They did this for about a year and half before one of those happy hours with the coworkers became an unofficial first date. Pat and Samm decided to go to one more bar after their coworkers called it for the night. Pat literally swept Samm off her feet and carried her to the next bar. Neither of them have looked back ever since.
A week after their first date they hung out again and shared their first kiss. They moved in together that following May and the rest is history. You can now find Samm and Pat binge watching shows on Netflix, listening to country music, going on hikes, exploring unique hole-in-the-wall dive bars, or traveling! They are so excited for their next chapter.
I was excited for this session. Pat had contacted me about doing a couple's session with a surprise proposal at the end. After talking back and forth we decided to meet at a Kohr Ice-cream stand and venture down the boardwalk from there. He wanted to propose in the middle of the session so we could include some celebratory photos. Samm was definitely surprised and we got some beautiful shots!
After sharing a cone together we headed on down to the beach. The walkway created a beautiful backdrop for photographs and the colorful beach huts caught our attention so we snapped a few photos over there as well!
The beach was a little soggy from all of the recent rain we had so we couldn't venture too close, but this didn't stop us from finding the perfect spot for Pat to pop the question.
I told Samm I wanted to take a picture of her posing with Pat in the background smiling at her...this was Pat's cue. I set up the pose and Pat was in position. I told Samm that I needed to change my camera lens quick and to hold her pose. Once I was in position I told her to turn around and look at the pose her boyfriend was doing.
Through tears and squeals of delight, she said yes!!
Nothing is more magical than capturing this moment for couples.
After he proposed we snapped a few engagement photos on the beach with the sun setting in the background. We took a few more photos in front of the colorful huts then headed back up to the boardwalk. We also made sure to take photos in front of the famous Wildwood, NJ sign!
They were so excited and I loved witnessing and being a part of this new chapter for them. The love these two share is very evident and I loved hearing their story too!
Congratulations Pat and Samm
Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of capturing this moment for you!
Such a fun and great couple to photograph, and truly enjoyed this session. I have had four surprise engagement shoots in the month of October alone. Love must be in the air! And I will never not be truly honored to capture these moments for couples! I love making their love story come to life a little through my photographs.
All-in-all I have photographed six surprise proposals now...all different love stories, all a little different. But they all end in "She said Yes!"
Brandon and Megan...Married | An outdoor romantic wedding | Francis Slocum State Park | Pennsylvania
What a beautiful late September day these two had on their special day. I traveled up the Pennsylvania turnpike to photograph these high school sweethearts get married. They fell in love while in high school and Megan has been planning her wedding day ever since.
I met Megan and Brandon when I photographed Megan's brothers' wedding and knew of them from my daughter, who went to the same high school. I immediately knew they were a fun couple when I met them and I could tell that they were crazy in love too!
Their engagement session was so much fun. I met them at Hillside Farms in Shavertown, Pa. I have done many sessions at this location and love the farms, grounds and old greenhouses. I thought it would be a great place to take their photos. They wanted to include their dogs in some of their photos so the location was perfect for them. Check out the blog post about their session that ended with a little ice cream!
I started the day at Megan and Brandon's home. The girls had just returned from getting their hair done and were putting on their makeup when I arrived. I used that time to get some photos of Megan's gorgeous dress and do some detail shots of her bouquet, jewelry, shoes, rings, etc. This time can be a little crazy if things aren't organized. I ask my brides to gather all their important items and put them aside ahead of time so that I can get them without interrupting everyone getting ready.
After the girls finished with their makeup we got the bride into her dress. I love these moments. It is usually the point at which the moms start to cry and in this case, there were tears. Megan's mom helped zip up her dress and pin the veil in her hair. Her future mother in law helped her with her jewelry. Her bridesmaids were dressed and ready to help too. We were all laughing as they were trying to help with Megan's shoes and garter. Her bridesmaids all looked gorgeous in the teal blue dresses.
The guys arrived in the limo right on time. I was able to get some photos of Brandon and his groomsmen in front of the limo. We got their boutonnieres on, which took many a try. I got some photos of Brandon and his mom before they had to head to the ceremony site. The guys blindfolded Brandon because they were all sharing the same limo. You can't see the bride till the first look!
𝓣𝓱𝓮𝓲𝓻 𝓕𝓲𝓻𝓼𝓽 𝓛𝓸𝓸𝓴
Brandon and Megan had decided on doing a first look. I was excited about this because the first looks are such a special moment for the couple. When we arrived at Francis Slocum state park I walked around to find a great location that would be perfect for the first look. Once I was all set they brought Brandon over to the spot, still wearing his blindfold.
When Megan called his name, he took off his blindfold and his reaction was priceless!! He bent over crying! The love they have for each other was just beaming from both of them! While I was photographing this moment I was thinking to myself....this is why everyone should consider doing a first look!! They hugged, kissed, cried and savored the quiet moments they had to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. We even had time to do some photos of the two of them as well as some bridal party photos. When we can take some of the desired photos before the ceremony we aren't trying to hurry and do them later. Most couples even get to enjoy some of their cocktail hour when we do a first look because we have many of their photos already done.
The other day I had asked Megan for her thoughts on doing a first look. The idea of doing one or not doing one is some times a big decision for a couple. Hearing what other wedding couples thought about their experience may help future couples with their decision. Here is what Megan said.
"We were so happy that we trusted Maria and went with the first look. Having that intimate moment to connect before walking down the aisle makes a huge difference. The raw and unfiltered emotions we had for one another will forever be burned in my memory as one of my favorite moments from that day! I strongly recommend! ❤" -Megan
The ceremony was just perfect. The weather was perfect. The location was perfect. Even the dogs were perfect! Megan and Brandon chose to have their ceremony outdoors alongside the lake at the park. We were nervous a few days before the wedding when the weather forecast started to change but thanks to praying to the weather gods they ended up with a sunny, warm day.
The two hand wrote their vows and read them to one another. Their dogs were the ring bearers. Megan's sister and Brandon's best man did the readings. Their mom's participated in the sand ceremony with them. The officiant did a beautiful job celebrating their union. And they sealed it with a kiss! Everyone blew bubbles as they walked down the aisle.
They were married!!
I asked Megan to describe her wedding day.
" For a long time, I imagined my wedding day with my now-husband. I used to imagine walking down the aisle. I imagined holding his hands while saying I do. I even would write practice vows now and again because of how much I loved this man. To me, my wedding day would be my most magical day on this earth. And it was, it fulfilled all of my dreams! Everything about our day was so magical! In fact most of the time I forgot any one else was even there, it felt like it was just me and him. The love we have for each other was palpable, exactly how I wanted it to be. Everything was perfect. Nothing could ruin my day. Even when my dogs barked during the ceremony I didn't care because I was marrying my soulmate! ❤" -Megan
This reception was a party!!
The reception was at R and D Memories in Hanover, Pa. I had previously photographed a wedding at this venue so I was comfortable with the lighting and layout. Megan and Brandon chose a rocking DJ. Those DJ's knew how to get the party started.
After Megan and Brandon's first dance, the parent dances, dinner and toasts everyone started dancing. I don't think Megan and Brandon left the dance floor too often.
The food was delicious and the signature drinks were good. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Before I left they wanted to do the sparkler exit. The DJ had just started playing "Sweet Caroline" which naturally meant the sparklers would have to wait till that song was done. Everyone loves dancing and celebrating with that song. Megan and Brandon kissed their way through the sparklers and I got the last photo of the night as the two relaxed for a moment!
Megan and Brandon went on a honeymoon cruise where they enjoyed the VIP beach day and just relaxing. They had no wifi and were unplugged the entire vacation. It was just the two of them, in love, husband and wife in the middle of the ocean!
I enjoyed getting to know these two. I loved their engagement session and just knew that their wedding was going to be special. When I say a truly love what I do I am not exaggerating. It is days like this that I feel lucky to be a wedding photographer.
Congratulations you two. Continue adding pages to your love story and keep me in mind when you need to a photo or two!
𝓐𝓭𝓿𝓲𝓬𝓮 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓯𝓾𝓽𝓾𝓻𝓮 𝔀𝓮𝓭𝓭𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓬𝓸𝓾𝓹𝓵𝓮𝓼
Some of best advice for couples planning their day comes from those that have just been through it. Here is some advice from Megan.
Dresses: David's Bridal
Hair: Maria at Zzoli Studio and Larissa at Larissa Marie Styling Studio
Rehearsal Dinner: The Cafe
Getting Ready Snacks: Weis Deli
Ceremony Venue: Francis Slocum State Park
Reception Venue: R&D memories
Officiant: Rev. Ann Marie Acacio
DJ: Tony Piazza
Limo: The Limo Guy
Cake: Minooka Bakery
Alissa and Matt...Engaged | A south New Jersey Engagement session | Ocean City, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pa
Meet Matt and Alissa. I met these two last year when they were searching for a wedding photographer. When we met we clicked right away and I was excited to have been chosen to be their wedding photographer.
These two met each other 5 years ago through a mutual friend. Alissa wasn't interested in Matt romantically, but she was in denial about her love for him. They hung out sporadically for approximately 6 months and officially started dating September 2014. On October 18, 2014, they expressed the love they were feeling for each other. Fast forward 5 years to the exact day they will express their love for each other once again!
They love going to concerts, doing yoga, listening to podcasts, trying out new restaurants, relaxing at the beach, hiking or just sitting in their back yard enjoying a cocktail. They want their wedding day to be a celebration of love, surrounded by family and close friends. They also wanted to show everyone the love they have for their favorite spot, Ocean City, NJ. They are getting married at a catholic church on the island. We are taking pictures on the boardwalk and beach. The Flanders Hotel, an iconic vintage hotel. is the location for their reception.
Alissa and Matt have taken the "less is more" mentality with their wedding planning. They realize that the day isn't about decorations, food or the place. It is more about celebrating their love.
When we were talking about their engagement session I was excited to hear about their plans. These two love Ocean City, NJ. Matt's family has a home on the island and their heart belongs to the beach. But, they also love the big city life and wanted to do some photos in Philadelphia. I was like, 'sounds good to me. Let's do it."
𝓞𝓬𝓮𝓪𝓷 𝓒𝓲𝓽𝔂, 𝓝𝓙
The first part of their engagement session we did in Ocean City. We started at the beach close to Matt's family home. We had a perfect evening. Matt and Alissa were so easy to work with. They posed so well together. After some photos on the beach, the two wanted to get some shots of them and their bikes on the boardwalk. Alissa changed her outfit and all three of us rode bikes down the boardwalk. We wanted the sunset and the Ferris wheel in the photos. We got both!! These photos make me smile. They are some of my favorites!
Part 2 of their engagement session we did in October. I was on my way home from a wedding in Upstate New York. It worked out perfectly that I would be able to meet them in Philly on my way through Pa. We had another great weather day especially for October. I met them under the Ben Franklin Bridge at the Race Street pier. We used all areas of the pier, It was amazing. Photographers adore areas like this! I loved the bridge in the background. Some of the perspectives and lines came out so wonderful.
I am looking forward to celebrating with these two. I too love Ocean City! I am excited to photograph Alissa and Matt in the beautiful town, on the boardwalk, in the historic Flanders Hotel and of course on the beach!
They are only a few sleeps away from becoming Mr and Mrs!
Megan and Vinny...Engaged | Engagement Session | New Jersey Wedding Photographer | Ricketts Glen State Park | Pennsylvania
“So this is love, so this is what makes life divine.”
Meet Megan and Vinny. This was a special session for me. I have known Megan for almost seven years and she is one of my daughter's closest friends. I was so excited and honored to photograph her engagement photos.
Megan and Vinny attended the same high-school, but did not officially meet until they both started working part-time at a local pizza shop in 2013. They started dating in 2015 and have been inseparable ever since. They both share the same love for pizza, marvel superheroes, college football, and Disney.
Vinny proposed to Megan this past June at the happiest place on earth. He got down on one knee right in front of Cinderella's castle while surrounded by close friends that felt like family. To say Megan was surprised is an understatement.
The couple envisioned their engagement shoot somewhere forest-y, magical, and definitely wanted to take pictures in the water. So we made that happen at Ricketts Glen State Park in Northeast Pennsylvania. And magical it was.
Ricketts Glen State Park, Adams Falls
Their session is full of all of the things they love, from Disney to Gators football. These pictures truly capture what makes this couple who they are and how they fell in love.
These two are so cute together. You can see and feel the love they share.
During their session they wore Disney headbands to attribute to where they got engaged. They plan on having Disney touches all throughout their wedding. Megan even brought pizza for them to eat during their session from the very pizza place they met and worked at!
Twirling, Kisses, and Waterfalls
We walked down the path and decided to take some photographs in front of the waterfalls. The colors of fall and the algae on the rocks by the falls made for some beautiful photography. The lighting was perfect how it illuminated Megan and Vinny!
While heading over to the bridge, a tree caught Megan's eye and she wanted to do this one pose. I loved the idea and we made it happen, it was perfect for her and Vinny. Now it will forever be one of my favorite photographs I have taken.
Modern-day Prince and Princess
Megan envisioned taking some photographs in her gorgeous blue dress in the water and that is what we did! I was so excited for this, I just knew that we were going to get some great shots! These photographs definitely captured some magic, Vinny and Megan look like a modern-day prince and princess. Hands-down the photos are some of my favorite I have ever taken.
Pop the Champagne!
To end our session we celebrated with popping some champagne, throwing some confetti, and of course some Gator chomps! Vinny's gator on his shirt perfectly molds around Megan, I loved it!
Cheers to Vinny and Megan
I had so much fun capturing these moments and memories for you both. I am so honored to be able to capture some of your love story and I am looking forward to your wedding in 2021. Have so much fun planning, enjoy being fiancés, and soak in this special time in your life!
Catherine and Ron...Married | a vintage wedding | Atlantic City, New Jersey | South New Jersey wedding
What a great day Catherine and Ron had on Sept 8, 2019! They couldn't have asked for better weather. Catherine's plans were for an outdoor ceremony and reception so she was extremely happy that all her plans were a reality!
I met Catherine a few months ago as she started to plan her wedding. A daunting task putting together a wedding in a couple months but she was up for the special project.
Her plans included a wedding on the boardwalk, their reception at the Atlantic City Aquarium all with a vintage old Atlantic city vibe. Her colors were inspired by the sunsets, nautical themes and muted tans.
I always like to know how my couples met and about the proposal. It is part of getting to know my couples stories. These two met by chance. They met after a night hanging with friends. When she and her friends pulled up to her house Catherine's neighbor pulled up to his house across the street with his friends. Her friends invited the neighbor and his friends over to have a few drinks. Catherine and Ron said hi, talked a little that night, exchanged phone numbers and that was it!! After months of keeping in touch they finally decided to go on a date. Catherine loves the Outback restaurant. So they were going to do dinner and a movie. They ended up having a blooming onion and skipped the movie to sit and talk at the bar. That was 8 years ago.
Ron proposed on Christmas Eve. It was the first Christmas in their new home. He planned a special evening for just the two of them. Of course Catherine said yes! He had her ring custom made to resemble Catherine's grandmothers ring and incorporated his own family heirloom diamonds! So romantic! Catherine's parents stopped over later to have a celebratory drink.
These two are excited about starting on this new part of their journey, as husband and wife
Catherine, her friends, mom, future mother and sister in law all were getting ready at the Golden Nugget Casino. I met them there to capture her wedding details and getting ready photos. Ron and his guys were getting ready at the same location so that work out perfect.
Catherine looked beautiful. Her hair and makeup were so exquisite. Her wedding dress was her future mother in laws. She had worn it several years ago to a party. When Catherine saw it she said if Ron and I get married one day I want to wear this dress. It was a beautiful creme colored dress that had a beaded design that covered the dress. It was vintage and boho and fit her theme perfectly. She also wore a cathedral length veil, which completed her timeless look.
Catherine wanted her bouquet to have a romantic feeling. She choose different shades of tans, roses and lots of greenery. The guys boutonnieres had no flowers. They were thistles with wheat and air plants.
After capturing her detail photos and some shots of them getting ready I rode the elevator up to the 22nd floor to see Ron and his groomsmen. There were some comedians in that group as I laughed the whole time. Ron looked handsome in his blue suit. You could tell he was a bit nervous but was excited too!
After the guys headed to the ceremony site the limo came back to pick us up. We went to the boardwalk at the north end of Atlantic City.
The ceremony was on the boardwalk. Catherine's father had mention the location to them because he knew they wanted something outdoors and with a relaxed setting. Catherine's family has many ties to Atlantic City so the boardwalk made perfect sense!
All of their favorite people were there. A harpist and violinist played for the guests and as they walked down the isle. Their friend was the officiant and was able to add many personal touches to the ceremony. After their "I do's" Catherine wanted to do a photo with everyone at the ceremony. We were able to capture everyone toasting with a little confetti to celebrate! They wanted the sunset, their favorite people and a huge group toast and they had just that!
We used the beach right by the ceremony site and timed it perfectly for a little sunset glow. Catherine's veil was perfectly blowing in the breeze which always makes for such great photos. After some kissing, walking and snuggling by the water we headed to the reception at the aquarium.
The reception location was at the Atlantic city Aquarium. Catherine's plans were perfect for the location and it was fun to see her ideas come to life! She spent many hours working out all the details. Her and Ron even had a code word to use when she was getting too crazy with all the planning. All of her details were DIY projects. She had oyster shells for the seating assignments. Vintage goblets of varies sizes and colors for the table flower arrangements, which were gorgeous. They had vintage frames, chalkboard painted frames and lots of string lights. They both love vintage/antique things so they incorporated as much as they could into their decor. It all looked perfect!
They both wanted a relaxed evening with family and friends. They had a first dance to the song, "In my life", by the Beatles. They had parent dances. And that was the last formal event of the night. They enjoyed their family and friends for the rest of the reception.
Their guest enjoyed drinks, yummy food, music by the band, The Juliano Brothers and a delicious dessert table.
I enjoyed this wedding so much! The location, the details, the couple were all just perfect.
Catherine and Ron may you have lots of love, laughter and happiness. I hope to see you two again as your story continues!
Officiant: Ryan Sandman
Bridal Hair: Emery Zentmeyer
Bridal Makeup: Kerri Skull
Caterer: Romanelli's Garden Cafe
Cake and Desserts: Romanelli's Garden Cafe
Band: The Juliano Brothers
Florist: The Secret Garden Florist
Jeweler: Linwood Custom Jeweler's
Bridesmaids Style: Athena Pleated Maxi Dress
Grooms Attire: Men's warehouse Custom suit
Groomsmen Attire: Formal Dimensions
Wedding Invitations: Esty Beyond Design
Party Rentals: Atlantic County Rentals
How cute? I met Evelyn and her family last year, when she was about a month old and wow time flies. I always love seeing families again and watching the kids grow up, it makes the sessions so much more than a job.
I was excited for this session! Mom and Dad wanted to use their surf board as a prop and I knew it would really make for some awesome shots. The fact that Evelyn herself was adorable as well definitely helped too! These photos are definitely going down as some of my favorites. These are some of my favorites from Evelyn's first photo session.
Cupcake time! They got the cutest cupcakes from a local bakery here in Ocean City called The Beachin' Bakery. We decided to stay under the pier for the cupcake smash and used the surfboard again to really add to the beach-y shoot. When we gave her the cupcake she was so hesitant at first. She looked so dainty at first when she tasted the cupcake. A few tastes of the frosting and then before we knew it the cupcake became a sand-cake...
It was foggy morning in Ocean City. I personally love the look of foggy mornings. They create such a soft and matte look for the photographs.
After the smash we cleaned up and had a quick wardrobe change before we took a few more photos with mommy and daddy. Evelyn had fun, and I made sure to capture some of happy baby smiles while she held hands with her parents. She love the water and is definitely a beach baby!
Mom and Dad personally loved the photo with Evelyn looking over Daddy's shoulder from her first photo session, which is personally one of my favorites as well. We recreated that photo and hope to do that every year as well! Evelyn made the perfect little model and made my job easy! I swear I don't always say that! If you scroll through the photos you may even see a mermaid!
I loved this session and seeing Evelyn and her family again! Being able to celebrate Evelyn's first birthday with her is an honor . We already made plans to meet again in a year and celebrate her second birthday too, same place, same surfboard!
I love capturing these memories and moments for my clients. Thank you for letting me capture these moments for you and I will see you next year Evelyn! Have a fun year!
Memories by Maria
Every photo has a story and every story will have many photos.