Haley & Oliver-Center City Wedding Hotel Monaco

I don’t normally photograph too many weddings in the city, but it’s super fun to switch it up and see how my style translates in a more urban setting! Haley and Oliver had an amazing October wedding in Center City, Philadelphia. Their entire day was spent at Hotel Monaco with a rooftop ceremony and a candle lit dinner. 

I’m writing this blog post a little differently. I asked them a few questions and I just loved how I received answers from both of them, and I want it written in their exact words. So the rest of this post will be written in “interview style”! 

Haley wore a stunning dress from Badgley Mischka, which I don the “mullet dress” since it’s business in the front, and a party in the back! Oliver’s maroon tux was from Flaccos, and the florals were done by Steins flowers. Both Haley and Oliver had Molly from Molly’s chair get them wedding day ready!

I’m writing this blog post a little differently. I asked them a few questions and I just loved how I received answers from both of them, and I want it written in their exact words. So the rest of this post will be written in “interview style”! 

1. Why do you recommend a first look?:
Oliver - I’m glad we did because I would’ve looked terrible in all the ceremony photos if my mouth was hanging open!

Haley - this is isn’t the most romantic answer, but it’s just really practical. Being able to see each other and take photos beforehand meant we could enjoy every moment of our wedding with our guests without having to take off between things. It also helped calm the jitters! 

2. Describe your wedding in three words:
Oliver - sentimental, joyful, and another word that means all of our friends mixing together and becoming new friends. (I’m sure there’s a German word for that).
Haley - romantic as heck!!!

3. Favorite part of the day and why? 
Oliver - being able to take a breather post-ceremony in the room behind the stage. It really sunk in for me then. There was a lot of excitement with all the family and friends from overseas but that first moment that it was just Haley and I was really special. 
Haley - Saying my vows! I was so nervous that I had to actually read them to Oliver before the wedding. But saying them out loud while having our hands ceremoniously “bound” was amazing. I also really loved the walk down the aisle with my dad! We were cracking each other up with terrible jokes so that we didn’t get teary-eyed. 

4. Any advice for future couples in regards to wedding planning/ the wedding day in general?
Oliver - Be patient. Be kind. Be open to ideas and ready for creative problem solving. And then be ready to party. 
Haley - my sister-in-law gave me this advice: take a moment during the ceremony to sneak a look at the family and friends gathered together to see you (I know it’s hard to tear your eyes away from your beloved). You might be nervous and think that it would make you more nervous, but it’s actually a really beautiful feeling and a super cool moment. 

5. Anything else you’d like to add?!
Oliver - just go with the flow of the day - things won’t always go right but that’s not the stuff you’re gonna remember, so forget about it and enjoy yourself because everyone is there for you. 
Haley - don’t sweat the small stuff. I didn’t get my something borrowed, blue, or old until 2 hours before the ceremony when my mother-in-law realized I didn’t have any of those and gave me a ring to wear. It’ll come together and it’ll be amazing no matter what. Just be in the moment and remember that you’re there for each other. 

Haley and Oliver are two of the sweetest humans, their classic, romantic wedding was so much fun for me to photograph and the love from all their family and friends filled the room. Being able to relive this day while writing his blog post made me miss this day even more! If only I had a time machine and could go back to this perfect day!

Julia & Gaeton- Fishtown in home engagement session

Julia and Gaeton decided to have their engagement session in the cutest lil airbnb in Fishtown. Julia loved the idea of an in home style session for their shoot. She said, “I’ve always been a sucker for good ambiance. I love creating/ visiting spaces that make me and other people feel a certain type of way when I or they are in them. When I began researching locations for our engagement session, I knew I wanted it to feel super intimate, that’s when I began looking at Airbnb’s. When I found Irene’s Place, (the name of our Airbnb) I instantly felt that feeling I had been searching for. It’s mid century modern decor mixed with its vintage appliances had me instantly imagining Gaeton and I cuddled up in every part of the space. When we got there, we could not be more in love with our choice, and Lauren truly brought our imaginations to life.”

These two actually met in college, Julia went on a date with one of Gaeton’s roomates, but ended up with Gaeton in the end! “His roommate and I had gone on a little date to the Flyers game and he had invited me over afterwards to have some drinks with his roommates, ya know - colleges style dating.  After a few too many, one of Gaeton’s other roommates noticed me lip syncing Timber by Kesha to him from across the room. *also cringe* His roommate gave him the heads up and that’s when Gaeton made his move. ” Instead of asking Julia out, Gaeton slid into Julia’s twitter DMs at 3am ~so millenial~

Julia says, “All I know is I’ve never been so happy to go on what was a shitty date to the Flyers game that resulted with a 3AM DM slide. I cannot wait to call this man my husband, and to walk out at our reception to none other than, Timber by Kesha. ”

Before we get to talking about their wedding, you gotta hear about how they got engaged. Julia calls it “the trifecta”.  “In one day, we had our offer accepted on our home, I quit my job and accepted a new one, and best of all we got ENGAGED! Gaeton was taking me out to dinner to celebrate the prior two occasions; it was safe to say I had NO idea it was coming. I did not have the slightest inclination that this was happening to the point that I decided it was not worth me washing my 3 day old hair, and nails? Forget it! I had been biting them away with total confidence that I had plenty of time to grow them back before this day would come. We went to dinner at Moshulu in Philadelphia. Half way through our appetizers, Gaeton suddenly received a phone call from none other than MY mom. He decided to take it and headed outside for AT LEAST 10 minutes. People were staring at me like I got ditched… it was quite comical, but in total Gaeton/ my mom fashion to get hung up on the phone for an extended period of time. He came walking back in with a giant smile on his face. I didn’t know why, but when he suddenly fell to the floor moments later (yes FELL) and pulled out a piece of tissue paper with a ring inside, I knew. *Que the waterworks* I was so in such shock and happiness I couldn’t even get the words out. Gaeton finally said “Soooo…is that yes? Please just say something!” I of course mumbled out the word and nodded profusely. To be honest, this wasn’t the way I thought our proposal would go. But it was SO much better than I could ever imagined because damn was it SO us. We celebrated by ditching the fancy restaurant and grabbing Miller Lites at the bar around the corner from our apartment in Manayunk. This day will never not bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. It was perfect. ” p.s. I basically fell into Julia’s arms while walking into the airbnb….maybe there’s a theme?

Now we get to talk about the wedding day! These two are getting married this fall at one of my favorite places, Morris Arboretum, it’s been a while since I’ve shot a wedding there, and I know this one will be the bomb. I love to ask couples what they’re most excited for when it comes to the wedding, they said, “Simply put, marrying each other. Getting to make a commitment in front of our family and friends that we will work every day to be the best versions of ourselves for each other, in good times and bad. But in a lighter regard, we also cannot wait to have both of our families together. It has always kind of been “one or the other” when it comes to our relationship. My family is spread far and wide, and his close by. It’s hard for us to ever have our family and friends all in one place, that is something really special…and makes us a little nervous too lol!”

Cannot wait to photograph these two making it official, fingers crossed there’s no falling or tripping!

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The ultimate getting ready on your wedding day guide

Let’s talk getting ready on your wedding day! This is when the nerves are hitting their peak, you’re realizing that this is ACTUALLY happening. All of this planning and stress has been on your shoulders for months and months, and it’s now officially here. Getting ready is one of my favorite points in the day. It’s when I get to photograph all the details that you painstakingly chose to go with your vision of what this day would look like. I get to photograph you hanging with your closest friends and family as you snack and get ready for the long day ahead. I wanted to make this blog post to help out any future couples who may be booking their getting ready spots and need some help with choosing where to go/what to do!

Let’s talk details, they’re kinda important. This can include anything that means something to you on your wedding day. For example rings, invitation suites, family heirlooms, vow books, you name it. I want to photograph it all! On the wedding day when I arrive, that’s the first thing I’m going to photograph. I suggest to all my couples to try and keep everything you want photographed together, it can be in a box, or a pouch, I just suggest to try and keep it all together so that you’re not running around the room trying to find all the little bits you’d like photographed! Another tip, designate someone to be in charge of those items, that way when I arrive, if you’re busy doing other things, that person can guide me to your goodies!

Last pro tip for them detail shots; See if your florist can give you extra flowers or greenery so that we can add them into the detail shots! It always adds an extra touch to the flat lays and incorporates more of your color scheme!

Let’s talk the dress….definitely an important thing! You probably spent a good chunk of change on it, so the more photos capturing it’s beauty, I think, the better. One thing to think about is the hanger…I know, such a small detail, but a plastic hanger with an amazing dress is kinda a funny juxtaposition. I carry around a few hangers to switch out on the wedding day just in case my couple forgets to get one, or the place you’re getting ready at doesn’t have any wooden ones in the closet!

Most of the time, I’m gonna take your dress out for a lil stroll, I’m looking for a solid spot to hang the dress and good light. If I can get a photo of the dress where it shows off your venue in some way, that’s always my go to!

phew. Now let’s talk the actual getting ready stuff…first, your getting ready space! Make sure it’s big enough to fit all of the people who will be getting ready with you, plus vendors! When doing walk throughs of venues, the room might seem decently large, but once all your people get in the room with all their stuff it’ll get overwhelming. Not to mention, your makeup and hair vendors will be bringing all their tools and equipment as well.

Some options to make the getting ready space less crowded are:1. Go off site for hair and makeup, that way all you’re doing in the booked space is getting into your outfits. 2. Book joint rooms so that one space can be empty for getting ready photos, while the other is used for hair and makeup prep.3. Have wedding party and family “get ready” in their own rooms (if booking a hotel or b&b) that way all of their extra things won’t take up more space in your room

When it comes to weddings, I’m not one to tell you exactly what to do. It’s your day and I want you to be the happiest you can be. There is one thing, that every couple should take as a lil tip though….natural light. Getting ready in a dark room can bum you out. I know personally I’m a big fan of bright open windows and lots of light. If the room is too dark, I’ll always suggest we do some shots outside that way I get the best light for photos. Also, your hair and makeup artist will thank you!

Let’s talk about the guys…how could I forget?! Now with the guys they usually get dressed in about 5 minutes, have less details than the girls and are just ready to get the day started. Which is not a bad thing.

When I photograph the groom getting ready, a few things to keep in mind are:1. Refrain from putting on your entire suit or tux before I arrive. I know sometimes you can’t help it and get ready as soon as you wake up, but photographing the guys getting ready is just as important as the ladies!2. Make sure you check your tux/suit rental for all the pieces you ordered, it’s no fun when a cufflink is missing.3. Make sure the people you want in the getting ready photos know what time to be ready and where to be.

Guys have details too! It might be a smaller selection but they’re just as meaningful! I love photographing everything from watches, fun socks, custom cufflinks, even the alcohol of choice the wedding party might be toasting with, that day.

Why not have the groom pampered up on the big day, I love that some guys are having a hair stylist come in specifically for them before they get ready. Their hair is important too! Another super fun suggestion is to head to a barber shop before getting in your tux. That way you’ll definitely be in tip top shape before the ceremony.

Finally, sometimes guys just don’t want the getting ready photos at all, in that case, some guys head to their favorite bar before heading to the venue to get a drink and a bite to eat with all their friends! The photos are always super fun and really capture the energy for the day. I just suggest that you call ahead to make sure it’s okay that your photographer would be there for a few shots!

Whether you’re getting ready at your childhood home, a funky airbnb or your favorite hotel, I hope this long blog post helps you out a bit when it comes to planning the getting ready aspect of your big day! If you got this far, thanks for reading, you da real MVP.

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