One of my weddings was just featured in Pittsburgh Weddings magazine!! Such an honor. To see more photos, check back later this week for a full blog post on Casey and Lee’s beautiful October wedding!
Earlier this week we celebrated little miss Sassette’s fifth birthday. Fifth! Where did the time go? It seems only yesterday that we brought home our little fuzzy-headed, baby powder-scented, 6 pound bundle of love. She was our late Christmas present and by far the best gift we have ever been given. Now our little peanut is a chatterbox preschooler with a blossoming personality and a boundless imagination. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for this sweet little girl.
I love how children encourage us to enjoy the simple things in life. Yesterday as I sat at my computer editing photos, I felt a tug on my sleeve. “Let’s go out and play in the snow, mom!” she begged, bouncing up and down like a jumping bean. I do love looking at the snow, but the thought of leaving my warm house and going out into the snow was making me shiver. Still, how could I say no to such enthusiasm? Out into the frosty winter wonderland we went, bundled to to the hilt. As Little Miss went bounding into the fluffy white snow, I stood motionless, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells all around me. It was…wonderful. Did you ever notice how clean the world smells after a snowfall? How quiet the neighborhood becomes? How the dazzling the snow looks under the moonlight, glittering like a million little diamonds?
“Mommy, make a snow angel!” Little Miss exclaimed. Oh, boy. Lay down in the snow? I used to make snow angels all the time when I was a kid. Sure, when you had your trusty snow suit and moon boots, you felt completely impervious to the elements, and you could roll around in that white stuff till the cows came home. Speaking of which, why don’t they sell full-bodied snow suits with the furry hood and body-length zipper any more? All you can buy now is snow overalls. And what ever happened to moon boots?? So they were a little funky looking. Those babies kept your toes warm the entire day while you went sled riding with your friends! With certain trends coming back into style every 20 years or so, surely someone could bring moon boots back. Like how bell-bottoms came back as flared pants. Ok, I’m going off on a tangent. Back to the story…
“Mommy, make a snow angel!” Little Miss beamed. Reluctantly, I bent to the ground and laid back onto the snow. I felt coolness surround me and slowly seep through my clothing, but to my surprise, I was not uncomfortably cold like I thought I would be. As I looked straight up into the indigo sky, overlooked by by the silhouette of bare trees all around, delicate little flakes drifted onto my face and melted. It was…fantastic. Peaceful. Magical. Suddenly, I was ten years old again, looking at the world from a whole new angle. I didn’t want to get up; I just wanted this simple moment to last forever. If I had my trusty snow suit and moon boots I could have lasted at least an hour…
Happy birthday, baby girl. Thank you for helping me to remember that I need to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. Though it breaks my heart to see you grow up so fast, I have enjoyed every minute of it, and I can’t wait to see what the coming years bring!
It’s technically about a half hour past Christmas, but I say that until you actually go to sleep, it’s still Christmas. :) The upper left photo is my daughter with her two favorite Christmas characters, Heat Miser and Snow Miser. She was so thrilled when she opened these two presents; she has been requesting to see “The Year Without a Santa Claus” non-stop for weeks. The bottom right photo is her looking in the mirror of the “Under the Sea” musical jewelry box I gave her; every girl needs a special place to stash her secret treasures.
Christmas was a blast this year; four is such a fun age, full of imagination and whimsy. On Christmas Eve I watched as little miss Sassette, as I like to call her, spent a good hour diligently wrapping little gifts for each of her favorite stuffed animals, then place the gifts and their recipients under the tree to wait for Santa Claus. What a sight to see that tree was, with Oscar the octopus, Nemo the clownfish, and Frownie waiting patiently for Father Christmas to come. When she woke this morning, the first thing she did before opening any of her own gifts was to help the dog and each of her stuffed friends open their gifts. So cute!
It’s times like these that I feel so incredibly blessed that it takes my breath away. Merry Christmas, dear Reader! May you be blessed with the joy of of being surrounded by your loved ones this holiday, and many moments that take your breath away.
Emily and John were wed at All Saints Church in Masontown, PA. If I had to only choose one word to describe Emily and John, it would be…FUN! Such a fun couple with a great sense of humor and a down to earth, easygoing attitude that makes you feel like you could hang out with them all day, even if you just met them.
Emily and John had already known each other for 15 years before they tied the knot; the first time they met was in 9th grade biology. Though they were friends through high school, they each went their own way after graduation. A decade later, it took a chance meeting at their 10 year high school reunion to remind them of the amazing connection they had with each other, leaving them with the obvious question, “Why aren’t we together??”
Both knew that they wanted friendship in their marriage, and when they finally came together, there was no doubt they had found the person who could be both friend and lifelong partner. You can feel it in the air when you are around them…they are best friends who are so in tune to each other, so at ease, and the fun they have with each other permeates their surroundings. What a wonderful way to start a marriage!
Doesn’t John look dashing in his Navy uniform?
Emily was just a vision.
We went to Emily’s grandparents’ 130 acre farm for some photos. Ahhh, I love the country. At the top of this hill you could see miles of rolling fields and woods in every direction. A storm front was moving in later that night, causing the wind to really pick up, so we had some fun with it!
The bridal party members were a bunch of cards. Miming….need I say more?
Favorite from the day.
Second favorite from the day.
Emily and John’s flower girls, or rather, “flower dogs” made an appearance for photos. Look at that face!
Ok, now let me tell you how I really knew we would get along famously; see that cowbell? Emily and John gave each of their guests one at the reception, and then right before they made their grand entrance, they had the DJ play one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits of all time–the one with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken in “Gotta Have More Cowbell!!” I have never heard such cheering and cowbell clanking as I did when they finally made their entrance. Awesome!
There was popcorn and cotton candy for kids of all ages.
Love the backlighting in this image, courtesy of my trusty radio trigger and off-camera flash.
Emily and John, thank you so much for allowing me to document the love, friendship, and fun that you two share. Best wishes and lots of love! Sandy
Carolyn and Justin were wed at the gorgeous Succop Conservancy in Butler, PA. The Succop Conservancy, which is practically across the street from The Mansion on Route 8, is a 170-year old stately mansion located on 50 acres of beautiful land, truly a photographer’s dream. I can’t say enough good things about this venue! From the moment I arrived, I wanted to do a little happy dance, because all my favorite elements were there: beautiful and charming structures, tasteful art and antique decor, two sparkling ponds complete with ducks and geese, winding trails through fields of tall grasses, herb gardens, colorful doorways of old wood and peeling paint, little nooks for taking pictures everywhere you turn…Oh, Succop Conservancy, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
The upper right corner of this collage shows the bridal suite – spacious, well decorated, and with two windows to allow natural light into the room. Brides-to-be, here’s a tip for better pictures that is so often overlooked: If those getting ready shots are important to you and you want them to be beautiful, take the time to check out locations beforehand. Look for a room that has plenty of natural light, ample space for your bridesmaids to gather around you, nice furniture, a place to hang your dress (preferably near a window), and is uncluttered.
The lace on Carolyn’s dress was so pretty, and the bow was the perfect accent. Oh, Succop Conservancy, I love thee for thy thoughtful touches, such as this coat tree for hanging the wedding gown.
Love capturing the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time. Image by Amy.
It was a gorgeous day–look at that sky! Carolyn and Justin picked the perfect time of day for their ceremony, just a few hours before sunset. The sun was down far enough so that it created the perfect touch of delicious backlighting. Brides-to-be, here’s another tip for better photos: When you decide on a time for your ceremony and pictures afterwards, keep in mind that the best lighting occurs 1-2 hours before sunset. When you check out your outdoor venue, try to be there during the time frame that your ceremony or formals will take place to get an idea for the lighting. Choose a spot that has nice, even lighting like this. Oh, Succop Conservancy, I love thee for thy picturesque spot in front of the pond and even lighting…thy sun sets from the perfect angle…
A few minutes before the reception, I noticed this gorgeous spot of sunlight. I asked Carolyn to go over there and play with her veil in the light–so graceful.
Such pretty colors Carolyn chose for her bouquet and centerpieces by Gift Baskets, Flowers, and More in Zelienople.
Justin and Carolyn gave pine tree seedlings as favors–a unique and earth-friendly idea.
Such a lovely cake by Mimi’s Bake Shoppe in Cranberry.
I would like to take a moment to point out the impressive athleticism displayed by one of Carolyn and Justin’s guests during the bouquet toss. Wow!
The mood was set by the music and colorful uplighting in the pavilion, as well as on the surrounding trees, courtesy of DJ Frank Gloor of Otto Productions.
The perfect ending to a perfect day. Carolyn and Justin, thank you so much for a wonderful time. I’m so glad that you chose me to capture your wedding memories. I wish you both all the best that life has to offer!
If you are planning a wedding in Butler or the surrounding areas, I suggest that you consider the Succop Conservancy. Then give me a call, because I am in love with this venue!
Mandy and Mike’s wedding and reception were held at Bella Sera by Greco’s in Canonsburg, PA. The ceremony took place outdoors at the rear of the building, where there is a pathway surrounded by trees and dappled shade leading to the pond. It was a lovely, bright sunny day, and the weather was much warmer than it is right now!
So much attention to detail went into this wedding; by far my favorite were the many, many origami cranes that Mandy made by hand for each of her guests’ place cards. All I can say is wow.
How cute is that card box–a little birdhouse with their name and “Est. 2009”.
As usual, the flowers by Mocha Rose were gorgeous.
Loved the feathered hairpiece.
Rather than a unity candle Mandy and Mike opted to have a flower ceremony.
Mandy’s sister sang a beautiful rendition of “I’ll Be There” while her cousin played the guitar.
LOVED the cake topper; I am partial to octopi because my daughter loves them. Such an intricate rendition of the framed photo on the table, crafted by Creations by Carlini.
Mandy and Mike honored their parents and grandparents by setting aside a special place for their wedding photos.
Rather than a slow father-daughter dance, Mandy and her father cranked up the beat and did a fantastic dance to “Turn the Beat Around”.
The best dance by far was when everyone got their zombi groove on to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
I was able to sneak these two away from the reception for a few minute for some romantic images in the tall grass.
Mandy and Mike, thank you for including me into your special day! I wish you both the best of everything!
What’s this? TWO posts in one week? No, dear reader, you have not stepped into an alternate universe where everything is turned upside down, nor are you dreaming. Photographing Jessica and Danny’s wedding, however, was a dream! Not only were they a fabulous couple to work with, but they gave me the ever precious gift of a little extra time with them between the ceremony and reception. The result? So many favorite pictures that I had to pare them down for the blog.
When I walked in the room and laid my eyes on these apple green babies I knew it was going to be a good day. :)
Jessica and Danny were wed at Epiphany Catholic Church, a beautiful old church located near the Civic Arena. Their reception was held at the PPG Aquarium in the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The wedding was beautiful, and I felt privileged to witness the Filipino traditions that they incorporated into the ceremony. I loved the barongs that the men wore instead of tuxes, and the dresses that the women wore were gorgeous.
Loved the colors Jessica picked for her bouquet.
Jessica and Danny had such a sweet idea for favors; each of their guests received candy “penguin stones” with an explanation as follows: “Penguins mate for life and stick together in sickness and health…and REALLY cold weather! They also bring their mates stones as a soothing gesture or greeting. Enjoy these edible Penguin Stones to celebrate the bond that we have made to one another today as a married couple.”
Although Danny has a look of mischief in this photo, he was a perfect gentleman.
Jessica and Danny, I can’t thank you enough for the trust you placed in me to capture your precious wedding memories. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness together! Also, a big shout out to a past couple of mine, Vanessa and Matt–it was wonderful seeing you both again! Vanessa and Matt were nice enough to refer Jessica and Danny to me before I even photographed their own wedding. Thanks guys!
Monica and John were married at St. Anne’s Church in Castle Shannon, just a hop, skip, and a jump from where I live. Their reception was held at Salvatore’s, which is a stone’s throw from St. Anne’s! Monica and John were referred by a lovely couple whose pets I photographed for Christmas last year.
John looking cool and confident just minutes before the ceremony.
These three boys were so sweet and cooperative through all the pictures–thanks guys! Don’t they look handsome in their suits?
I love the look on little man’s face here; being a ringbearer is serious business. Of course, you have to make a little time for play, right? :) Notice the green koosh ball laying innocently on the table, and then in the second picture he’s been busted by grandpa.
Oh, that father-daughter dance…gets me every time.
So sweet. What that must be like for your little boy to be all grown up and taller than you in the blink of an eye. I love the way he is holding his mom with such emotion.
A romantic kiss goodnight.
Monica and John, it was an absolute pleasure working with you both! Many happy years to you!
Meet Jessica and Derek, and their two adorable kids. Are they not the cutest family in the universe? I knew both Jess and Derek as co-workers in the past, and I was thrilled when they asked me to take some pictures of their family. They are such nice people, as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.
I absolutely love doing family portraits, because for a couple of hours, I get to be a guest in the lives of others, an insider to the special bonds that they share. And because it’s FUN!
Here the boys are having a blast climbing a “mountain” and the taking a giant leap down!
Look at that big smile as daddy twirls her in the air.
And those soulful eyes…how could you ever say no to those eyes? Jessica has her work cut out for her. ;)
I don’t know what it is that I like so much about this image. Something about it evokes carefree childhood memories for me…
Little Miss ‘O.’ stops to smell the sweet clover blossoms.
Eeee! A whole field of tall grass! Was I in heaven? You bet I was.
A stolen moment while the kids were off playing.
Jessica and Derek, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your family life for a little while. I had so much fun!
This past Sunday my husband and I had the honor of becoming the Godparents of our nephew, little Mr. K. Isn’t he a little cutie? Sigh…there is nothing like holding a sleeping baby; the sound of their soft breathing and the downy feel of their fuzzy hair on your cheek is so relaxing. (That is, until they wake up…lol.) I’ve only known him for a short time, and yet I already love him.
I remember when I was a child and there was just my sister and I. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like with another sibling; I couldn’t imagine loving a complete stranger who would soon be a part of our family. Our family, we were just fine the way we were, I thought to myself. Why change things now? My mother was going to have another baby, but I didn’t think we could feel the same way about him, the same attachment, the same love, the same sense of belonging that we had for each other. Or at least it would take a long, long time to feel that way, once we got used to him, I thought. Oh, the silly mind of a seven-year old.
When Andrew was born, instantly it was hard to imagine what life was like without him. Was there really a time when there was just my sister and I? Why didn’t we know how incomplete our family was? How did we not know that something was missing? It was strange to think of a time in our family’s history when he didn’t exist. It was like he had been there since the beginning…
And so this Sunday, as I looked down at my little nephew, I somehow still felt the same sense of wonder and amazement that I felt when Andrew was born, and when my little girl was born. What was life like before them? I can’t remember, because it’s as if they had always been a part of our family. It makes me wonder, who else haven’t I met yet that will become an indispensable part of my life as time goes on?
Welcome to the world, little K. We’ve been waiting for you.