As I sit here with my kitchen torn apart in preparation for a Thanksgiving Day feast, coffee in hand, while gazing at the snow hitting the ground, I can't help but be overwhelmed by a feeling of thankfulness.  Of course I feel thankful every day for big things in life like family and health, but I often feel so rushed and am literally living Saturday to Saturday that I rarely take a moment to reflect on that thankfulness.

Keeping it real, I would be a liar if I said I didn't complain about the things I am thankful for.  Let me explain.  I love my weekends spent with loved ones.  Who doesn't, right?  But, you see, that is when I have to work.  I'm a wedding photographer and weddings, generally, occur on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  This has been a difficult transition from working M-F, 9-5.  Ironically, I still work M-F, 9-5 while I edit, shoot portrait sessions, market, or network, and now work on weekends as well.  To add insult to injury, 90% of the work load occurs during the spring, summer, and fall; the best months to enjoy life in the north east.  

However, (and this is a big HOWEVER) I feel completely and utterly thankful and blessed to call myself a wedding photographer.  Although the hours are long and there is rarely a day off in the busy season, I feel so lucky to witness a couples' happiest moments.  I know there are a lot of people in the world who hate going to their jobs every day; whether they can't stand their boss, the hours are unbearable, or the work is just unsatisfying, they hate the daily grind.  Fortunately, I don't feel that way and I realize that makes me incredibly lucky for this season of my life.   I have no idea what the future holds for me and/or my business and, honestly, I am still so thankful every time a bride (or groom) inquires about our services for their wedding day and I am able to do this for another year.

So I learn to enjoy the days I do have with my family.  Like, Thanksgiving Day.  There are a lot of people working tomorrow (which is another story) who may be missing dinner with their family and time with their loved ones.  So knowing that my job, which takes me away most weekends and forces me to miss birthdays, dinners, get togethers, etc., allows me to be home tomorrow makes it all that much more sweeter and special.  And for that, I will be eternally grateful.  

Thank you to the 15 brides and grooms and countless portrait clients who have allowed me yet another year to not only capture their most-important moments, but to realize what I do have to be thankful for.  Ultimately, I'm thankful for all your support.  Without my clients, family, and friends I couldn't be who I am or do what I do everyday and that is something I will always cherish about every one of you.

I hope you can find something to be thankful for this year because every dark cloud has it's silver lining and every person you pass may be fighting a battle worse than yours.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  And because every post is much better with a photo (or two) here I am with a couple of my faves enjoying that rare, free moment:*

*and because I'm a photographer I have to admit that these images are taken with a phone :)

Enjoying a glass of wine at Hauser Estate with my Mom while celebrating my 31st birthday

A fall day at Longwood with Aaron.


Jess + Scott: Married | Moonstone Manor Wedding

Jess and Scott were married on a beautiful fall day at Moonstone Manor in Elizabethtown, PA.  I remember meeting up with them almost a year prior and hearing all the gorgeous details they already had swirling in their mind.  Ever since then, I couldn't wait for their wedding day to come.  Although early forecasts called for rain, when the day finally arrived they were greeted with the sweetest fall weather any bride and groom could ask for.

The details were stunning - The JDK Group was absolutely a joy to work with, their cupcake/cake display by the amazing Jasmine Clouser of The Couture Cakery was beyond beautiful, and the Don Eaton Band was simply out of this world, but what particularly stood out to me at this wedding was the pure emotion Jess and Scott showed throughout the day.  We take thousands of images on a wedding day, but without that raw emotion, the photos will lack life and feeling.

I am so happy to have witnessed this beautiful day and to have been a small part of the beginning of their married life.  Jess and Scott, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the great responsibility of documenting these special moments for you.  We wish you all the best in your years ahead.

A huge thank you to the amazing team of vendors who made their day perfect:

Ceremony/Reception Venue: Moonstone Manor
Officiant: Rabbi Peter Kessler
Caterer: The JDK Group
Florist: The JDK Group
Cake/Cupcakes: The Couture Cakery
Favors: Sweeties By Kim
Band: Don Eaton Band
Videographer: Aaron Rotz Films - huge thanks to Montana for her help that day!!
Dress Boutique: Cocoa Couture
Dress Designer: Christina Wu
Hair: Park Avenue Salon
Makeup Artist: Aubrey Chung

Moonstone Manor is a breathtaking venue.  Not only is the outside stunning, but the inside is as well. Penny, the owner, was extremely accommodating and helpful, something we are always appreciative of on a wedding day.
Love Jess' reaction to her makeup.
 Time to get dressed! Always such a pivotal part of the day.  This is the moment ALL brides get a little nervous and realize all the planning, stressing, and dreaming has come down to this day. 
 Jess and Scott decided to exchange cards and gifts the morning of the wedding.  Jess' reaction to the Tiffany box is priceless.
This is one of my favorite photos from the getting ready part of the day.  Although it's a tiny detail in the grand scheme of things, just the fact that Jess is proudly showing her Mom the gift she just received from Scott and to be able to see her Mom's hands in the photo is just wonderful to me.  It is such a preservation of time.
This is another favorite.  As Jess was putting on the final touches, she realized she left her earrings at home in VA.  This could be a very upsetting realization for any bride who spent time finding just the right earrings to compliment her overall ensemble.  However, ironically, one of her bridesmaids jumped into action exclaiming she has the earrings she wore on her wedding day in the room with them.  How amazing is that?!  In my opinion, not only are the earrings Jess ended up wearing more valuable than any store-bought ones, but it is such a special detail to always remember on her wedding day.
One more quick check of the dress and she is almost ready to see Scott!
While I was photographing Jess getting ready, Kaila was with Scott as he finalized his outfit and opened his gift from Jess.  
Because they wanted to enjoy as much time with their family and friends as possible, Jess and Scott decided to do a first look and see each other before the ceremony.  This allowed us to get most of the photos finished before the ceremony allowing them to join the cocktail hour.
I'm loving their reactions!!
Jess' Dad seeing her for the first time.
And their beloved Buckley seeing them for the first time :)
One of my favorite parts of any wedding day is the formality of the ceremony. Often, this can get overlooked by all the beautiful things that are planned for a wedding, but truly this is the most important part.  Jess and Scott had a Jewish ceremony, which I thoroughly enjoyed documenting.  The Jewish wedding ceremony is deeply steeped in tradition.  First on the agenda was the Ketubah signing.  

Even though it is my job to be present during special events such as this, it struck a chord with me when the Rabbi said that the people in this room consisted of the closest family and/or friends to the couple who get to witness the signing.  It feels like such a privilege to document these life events for our couples and I don't take that for granted, even for a second.  When I photograph a wedding, I always listen.  I listen to what is happening, what events are taking place, and what makes this day special.  I believe it makes me a better photographer.
After the Ketubah signing, the couple joins the rest of the guests for a ceremony.
This cup has been in the family for more than a hundred years.
Thanks to Kaila for being in the perfect place at the right time to capture this moment while I was still photographing the recessional.
The JDK Group was amazing to work with.  Their attention to the couple and guests was wonderful to witness, not to mention their respect for us taking photos.  
While the guests were enjoying the cocktail hour, we took a few more photos of Jess and Scott in the gorgeous late afternoon light.
I love this.  We were taking photos by the house and Buckley caught sight of his Mom and Dad!
One of my favorite portraits of the day!
When we were finished, they were able to enjoy their cocktail hour.
The reception tent was decorated beautifully.
Once the reception began, the party didn't stop!  This was in part due to the incredible band, but also because Jewish weddings are huge celebrations of love and laughter.  We had such a great time documenting all the fun!
This was all before dinner was served!
I've decided that you can tell a lot about a couple during the toasts.  How they interact, how they comfort each other, and how they react is all a window into their everyday relationship.  
What a perfect way to end the day.

Click here to view their Alexandria, VA engagement session