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!
Memories by Maria
Every photo has a story and every story will have many photos.