Sneak Peek | Lydia and John

Lydia and John’s wedding this past weekend at Wickham Park made us all feel like we were literally on top of the world. It was the perfect Connecticut summer day and the from the top of this hill you can see all of Hartford, our state capital. These two feel right at home in a place where they can see the view, they love to snowboard, mountain climb and just be in nature together. It was the perfect place to host their amazing wedding.

When you walk into a room and Lydia is there, whether you are her best friend or a server, she makes you feel welcome right away. She is always there with a huge smile and ready to introduce you to someone or just give you a hug. I walked into her getting ready home and I felt that same welcome. Lydia has literally hundreds of close friends but she chose to have just her best friend stand by her side for this special day. This was the best friend who has stood by her side through so much along with John. Along with her best friend, there were three generations of women in the room, her Grandmom and Mom were both there to help with all the getting ready details. This was the home she grew up in that she was getting ready for her wedding day with all of the people closest to her. How special is that? None of this was lost on Lydia. She beamed the entire time, okay let’s be honest, she cried and then smiled and then cried a little more. This is basically as good as it will ever get to be a photographer, to witness all this love and emotion is kind of what we live for. John did the same. He had his best friend and dad be there with him to get ready. These are the type of friendships that I get. The kind that are there through thick and thin, the kind of friends who just talk off the cuff when they give your wedding speech because they have that many stories to tell about you.

We arrived at the most beautiful church in New Britain, Connecticut, Holy Cross Church. The architecture is stunning and the most epic backdrop for Lydia to meet John on their wedding day. I was crouching at the end of the aisle taking those initial photos of Lydia walking down the long aisle, then I turned to take a photo of John, but he wasn’t there. I saw him peeking around from a side door trying so hard to see Lydia. Finally the priest let him go to the end of the aisle to meet her. When his eyes finally met hers, I have never seen someone look more at home. When Lydia and John are together they are the calm and the home for one another. It is something I am sure everyone can see. Their ceremony was beautiful and the most fun part for me was seeing these two steal a few extra looks and conversations when the priest had turned. They are so adorable together.

We headed to Wickham Park after the ceremony and guess who met us there? THEIR DOG, Tomkins! I’m sure you aren’t even reading anymore and are already scrolling down to see those photos. WAIT! There’s more. So a big part of their life is snowboarding and outdoor things, so instead of a book to sign there was a skateboard. Okay now you can scroll down and look at it. Everything was so personal, right down to the speeches. Of course these two made sure to enjoy their cocktail hour. I have never seen a couple actually make it to talk to so many people and have so many good conversations on their wedding day! Every person in that room was not just a friend but a close one and you can tell that by looking in the background of every photo. Each person looking on is beaming for these two. . . including me (just from behind a camera.)

Congratulations Lydia and John!!! I can’t begin to describe how happy your smile and friendship makes everyone but here are some photos for proof!

Friends and Family and Well Wishers make sure to leave a comment for these two to read:)

Creative Team

Photography | Stella Blue Photography

Extra Special thank you to Elana Owens our second photographer

Venue | Wickham Park, Manchester CT

Ceremony | Holy Cross Church New Britain, CT

Flowers | Stylish Blooms

Caterer | Catering By Christine

Beauty | Hair Mojo Hair Salon (Marta)

Gown | Watters

Menswear | Indochino

Dress Studio | Emma and Grace Denver, CO

DJ | Sam Lurie TSG Weddings

Sneak Peek | Rebecca and Steven

There is something so easy about being at the beach and there is something so easy about being around Rebecca and Steve. These two celebrated their wedding on the most perfect day on the Connecticut shoreline and a week early on a beach in Florida. My favorite place to photograph is the beach so we are pretty much a match made in heaven (if I do say so myself!) I got to know these two really well on their engagement shoot at Silver Sands Beach in Connecticut. We did the engagement shoot and then got into talking so much that before we knew it the sunset was gone and it was dark! By the time we got back to our cars the exits were gated and closed! I, of course, went to plan Z . . . in my mind we were all sleeping in our cars, I was so annoyed I forgot my toothbrush and Contact Solution, but Steve and Rebecca were so calm and I think I knew why. They both work in jobs that practically require you to be calm in every situation, Steve is a firefighter and Rebecca is an EMT in a city. As you can imagine, this was nothing to them. Steve called and got the local police to open the gate. In fact they were having a long conversation with the police officer (probably trying to get him to prank me which would be easy to do!) That’s just how they roll, they make friends with everyone they meet because of their easy going, life is a beach attitude that we all want to be a part of. You know those people who you just feel better and more energized after you hang out with them? That is Steve and Rebecca. They know what’s important and they both live their lives from that place.

There was no time that it was more clear than on their wedding day. Every little detail was thoughtful, every person appreciated, and each moment lived. Their wedding in Connecticut was at Amarante’s by the Sea in New Haven. This was my first time there and it the perfect backdrop. The breeze of the ocean, the decks, the sunset, the lighted gazebo and the fire lamps outside, it made for an effortless place to host their closest friends and relatives.

When Rebecca walked down the grassy lawn with her dad with the ocean breeze blowing her veil back, I knew this was that moment that a Dad thinks about but tries to put out of his mind since she was a little girl. All of their family looking back to see stunning, calm and self assured Rebecca taking that walk with her dad. This moment is forever still for me. I looked to Steve taking all this in and seeing Rebecca walking towards after all of their work for this moment. When I say work, these two worked longer days/nights leading up to the wedding making this moment even more sweet. We all breathed deep, this day that we had talked about, planned and imagined was here and happening and it was so much more perfect than I could’ve dreamed up. At the end of the aisle was her rock and her best friend, Steve and at the other end was his rock and his best friend Rebecca.

I forgot to mention that Rebecca is also a photographer. So taking photos is kind of our playtime. She was adventurous enough to climb out onto the rocks so we could get off the lawn and as close to the ocean as possible. I am pretty sure she is part mermaid. Steve is always so good about indulging us on our picture taking adventures and was ready with a hand as we scale rocks to get the perfect shot!

Their reception started off with a choreographed dance. . . as if they couldn’t melt me anymore. It was so beautiful you two and thinking of you learning that dance together and the practice it must’ve taken just shows me more of your commitment. You will always have that dance when your song comes on! Rebecca’s favorite science teacher (one of the reason she became an EMT) not only officiated but sang them a song about their relationship that was quite possibly the sweetest thing a teacher has ever done for a student. Crazy dancing, lobster, barbecue, the beach, family and friends made this a party of a lifetime to celebrate the love of a lifetime.

Rebecca and Steve, to say I am happy for you two doesn’t quite begin to describe how I feel. Which is why it took me extra long to write this. I have so much respect for you two as people and love for you two as a couple and enjoy so much becoming your friend. Thank you for allowing me into your lives to capture this chapter for you.

A Special Thank You!


Second Photographer: Nick Cinea

Assistant: Tiana Valliere

Venue: Amarante’s Sea Cliff in New Haven, CT


Sneak Peek | Catherine and Tom

Tom and Catherine’s wedding weekend was beyond anything we could have dreamed up. But it all started back in First Grade when these two met. Do you remember First Grade? I don’t either! What if you happened to meet your husband or wife then? Oh my gosh the CUTENESS! I do remember teaching elementary school at one point in my long list of careers. To think that one of those chubby cheek kids in my class could be sitting next to the love of their life absolutely melts me. Shout out to Tom and Catherine’s First Grade teacher who might’ve let them sit next to each other:)

So this is how the story of this wedding started for me. . . in school! Catherine’s mom was one of the first people I met when I took a new job. She knew exactly what to talk about to make me feel right at home, OUR DAUGHTERS! So we talked about our girls (and her boy, she talks about you too Michael:) Then one day she said “Catherine is getting married to her elementary school sweetheart Tom!!!” Can it get any sweeter? Just wait until you see these two.

The wedding was filled with family and old friends from school, the neighborhood, and college. These are the kind of friendships where you just laugh together over nothing but it’s hilarious or break out into song together. What I am trying to say is, this was such an easy group to photograph! My second photographer said to me “This is such a good group for candids!” (Thank you Nick Cinea! Photographer extraordinaire for always being there for those candids and crushing it while I am photographing portraits.) Candid photos with a group like this was what makes our photographer’s heart beat. Laughing, joking, dancing and we can focus on photographing what is right in front of us, the moment.

Tom could hardly contain his excitement to see Catherine at the end of the aisle. I know you are wondering, did he cry when he saw her? He smiled, looked so proud, happy, content and YES he did cry (I think we all did.) I am going to save the ceremony photos for their reveal though sorry, not sorry.

After the ceremony, Tom and Catherine transported all of their bridal party from the wedding to the reception on a school bus of course! Just like the one they had been on so many times before as a group. So we had to sneak a few nostalgic photos on the yellow bus!

The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown was the most welcoming place for their reception. The rain held off for us so we could take some photos by the weeping willow (but we probably would’ve taken them even if it was raining!) She kicked her shoes off and walked through the grass taking some of my favorite portraits to date. These two are everyone’s favorite couple. So fun to be with on their own merits, each have an awesome sense humor and so much fun to be around together.

The part of the day that I will always remember is Catherine’s dad’s speech. He said the words that every parent thinks of but doesn’t know how to articulate. A mix of emotions of where did the time go? And being so proud of how time has been spent. I get to hide tears behind my camera. But my camera gets to say this moment doesn’t have to go by, this one is going to stay.

I hope you enjoy the moments that get to stay in these photos. The ones we will look back on and will shape the memories of this most amazing chapter of Catherine and Tom’s story. Congratulations you two! I am so excited you have found the love of your life and married her. Cheers to a love of a lifetime.







Sneak Peek | Nikki and Karthik

This past weekend I feel like my heart burst into a million pieces bearing witness to Nikki and Karthik’s wedding weekend. Let me start from the beginning. Nikki and I met and Karthik was at sea, he is in the Navy, and our short meeting turned into a conversation between friends and we got hungry! This is a theme with Nikki and I, we love to eat so we ended up heading to dinner. When I asked what Karthik was like, she showed me a photo of him and their dogs being silly. She said that photo captured his personality best. . . so of course my next question was “are your dogs coming to the wedding!!!” She answered the exact thing she said to Karthik when he asked her to marry him, “YES!!!!” It was official, Nikki and I were cut from the same cloth. Finally, I got to meet Karthik after he got back from deployment. She hadn’t been able to talk to him in months so this was a time filled with all the emotions. Such a gentleman, fun, smart, silly, steadfast, everything Nikki told me about him was right there.

You can imagine my excitement for their two day wedding in Newport that started with a Sangeet. If you are familiar with Nick Jonas and Priyanka’s wedding then you know this is a pre-wedding celebration where friends and family dance, sing, toast and celebrate the couple. I was in photographer’s heaven (or as my assistant calls it a photographer’s comma, where all I see is pictures) photographing the movement, joy, details, colors, and textures of the whole day.

The next morning we were sooo excited. Not even a 90% chance of rain could dampen our spirits. I arrived at the hotel with my umbrellas and hopes of getting outside in Newport to create some iconic bride and groom portraits, capture the getting ready moments, and of course THE PUPPIES!!! Couples if you want portraits with your dogs you can’t be faint of heart! Yes these photos are amazing and look effortless, but what is more amazing is Nikki. Two dogs that needed to go to boarding, rain, and a million people asking her questions might overwhelm some brides, but NOTHING was getting between us and those portraits with her dogs. I was right on board with her!!! It was one of my many favorite parts of the weekend.

Nikki and Karthik chose the most beautiful venue, Belle Mer on Goat Island in Rhode Island. When you walked into the reception, you felt like you stepped into a cloud. The details radiated the same sense of peace you get when you are around Nikki and Karthik. Now comes the part that I am not sure if I should tell you, but I am going to because it was one of my favorite parts of the wedding day (for me.) In the bridal suite, coming off of a whole wedding day prior, we needed to come back to our purpose. So together we sat and simply breathed. We focused together on flowing through the next moments of the day. The moments that we all had been preparing for months. It was about to unfold and together Nikki and I sat and let go of all of the pressure that had been building with every question, every expectation, every last bit of excitement, it was time to let all those expectations go. So we did what we do best and just breathed deeply and let the day wash over and through us. Those five minutes I could’ve been taking photos but instead I was doing exactly what I needed, relying on my amazing second shooter to take the candids (shout out to Nick Cinea) and reconnecting with our purpose.

As I waited for her to come down those stairs, I was waiting as both a photographer and friend. She was so beautiful, poised, confident, and commanded the entire room, I turned to photograph Karthik and saw that moment that gives you the goosebumps. This was one of those experiences where time stands still.

Karthik and Nikki danced the night away to a live band and cut their cake with a sword. Family speeches made me realize just a little bit more how amazing these two are. In two weeks they will be off to their next adventure, Navy’s orders, Nikki driving across the country with her dogs. Karthik’s mom said it best when she called them “superman and superwoman” although I know they don’t look at themselves like that, their strength is something that they can’t deny.

On second thought, Nikki said it best in her vows “people tell me all the time that they couldn’t live our Navy lifestyle, that the separation would be too hard or they can’t live without their partner. But that’s okay, because they don’t have to and because they don’t have you. Because if they did they’d see you’re worth waiting for.”

Congratulations Nikki and Karthik. Your love story has touched me in a way that I didn’t know possible. I wish you a lifetime of adventure, love, dogs and tacos my friends! Thank you for entrusting me to capture your love story. This is a small sample of some of the moments from their wedding weekend. Enjoy!

VENDORS:

Photographer: Stella Blue Photography

Second Photographer: Nick Cinea

Assistant: Tiana Valliere

Venue: Belle Mer | Goat Island, Rhode Island

Hotel/Getting Ready: The Viking | Newport, Rhode Island

Bridal Shop: Michele A Bridal BoutiqueMichele A Bridal Boutique

Dress Designer: Mikella Bridal

Band: Protege from Wilson Productions | Boston, Mass

Beauty: Jennie Kay

Florist: Robin Hollow Farm

Caterer: Belle Mer

Painter: Event Painting by Katherine







5 Creative Ways to Add Personality to Your Wedding

Here is the occupational hazard of being a wedding photographer. . . I get so many ideas that I wish I could go back and do my wedding all over again. I got married before the dawn of Pinterest, which was probably a good thing, or I’d still be sitting here folding hundreds of origami cranes (or something like that!) I want to share with you some amazing weddings details that are a reflection of the couples who created them.

Here are 5 Creative Ideas

To Add Your Personality to Your Wedding

  1. Reception Table Numbers

    Table numbers or markers can be an amazing opportunity to express who you are as a couple. Check out how this bride/art teacher/painter by trade created unique table markers. Each table is represented by a different iconic symbol from our state of Connecticut.

Painted Table Signs by Molly

Painted Table Signs by Molly

mollyanddustinreception-59.jpg
table number

2. Dinner + Dessert

The food at your wedding blows me away! Just looking at these photos while editing makes me hungry! Here are just two amazing ideas to make your food memorable. I think a whole blog post about food is in order.

A variety of desserts! Yum!

A variety of desserts! Yum!

Pizza is definitely the most amazing idea.

Pizza is definitely the most amazing idea.

3. Bring the WHOLE family

A lot of the couples I work with, well over 1/2 of them, bring their dog to at least one part of the wedding day. There are services who will come pick up your dog after the ceremony or bring him/her to any part of your day to be in photos. I mean what could be more special than a photo with your furry baby on your wedding day? Pet Taxis to your wedding from West Hartford start at $100. or find a local college student. http://westhartfordpetsitters.com/pet-care-rates/ You will be so happy you did!

photo by Rachel Black for Stella Blue Photography

photo by Rachel Black for Stella Blue Photography

4. Remember

Add photos of those people who you wish could be by your side but are in your heart instead.

5. Music

I saved the best for last! Music is by far the one thing that will add so much personality to your wedding and make it the party of your lifetime! From a harpist, to a mariachi band, to the bride or groom singing their vows, I have seen the most beautiful expressions of love through music.

JulieandEnriquefinal-352.jpg


Sneak Peek | Kay and Jack

This past weekend the two most wonderful people got married and I couldn’t be more happy for them! Kay and Jack wanted a Mystic wedding so they could truly be together with family and friends. The backdrop was the historic Spicer Mansion for the weekend, complete with a ceremony and epic dance party at Latitude 41. I always say wind is my favorite weather and we got wind (might’ve been mixed with rain but I was able to make the most of it by opening the front doors of the mansion and letting it all in. Think magical veil blowing. You have to scroll down and see the photo Kay and her mom. SO much magic.)

The day started with me arriving at the mansion early to set up my gear (I was excited to get there and with the rain I didn’t want to miss a beat.) To say I was excited when I showed up doesn’t quite explain it. If you need anyone to be as or more excited about your wedding than you already are. . . you’ve picked the right photographer for the job. I pretty much had to contain my ooohing and ahhhing over every beautiful texture, surface and detail. This place is a photographer’s playground, a history lover’s daydream, and an art lover’s museum; I happen to be all of those things. Kay and Jack told me that photos of themselves wasn’t really their thing, they are so humble. I have a different opinion. . . just look at these two! They look like they stepped out of a chapter from the Great Gatsby.

When Kay and Jack are together the whole room lights up and everyone starts dancing. Let’s be real, everyone starts jumping and swinging their hair and pointing at the ceiling, channeling their inner Mick Jagger. When that dance floor opened up, I saw every fun night they had before this day, how close they were with their friends, and how they are the glue to so many friendships in that room. They bring people together. They are perfect together.

The storm of day added to the fun atmosphere and of course Kay played in the rain. How many brides can say that! She is smart, gorgeous, and such a force that I couldn’t help but call her hurriKAY. She brought enough sunshine in the room to light up any grey skies that we had. Jack is just as awesome. He is driven, motivated, accomplished and on top of it all, the life of the party.

Their wedding was TIMELESS. Between the tuxes and the mansion with a bookcase that opened to a speak easy. . . I could’ve easily forgotten what decade we were in. Classic and timeless was the vibe with loads of fun dancing. These two didn’t let any second of their day go by without squeezing as much fun as they could out of it. I know these two live every day like this. We are all so happy for you, Kay and Jack. Cheers to finding the love of your life and marrying the heck out of each other! You two are awesome.

Wedding Panner- Detaille Weddings & Events, Cindy Sanchez Lark

Venue- Latitude 41/Coastal Gourmet Group, Mystic

Getting Ready/Rehearsal/After Party- Spicer Mansion, Mystic

Hair & Makeup- Simply Gorgeous by Erin, Samantha

DJ- Beat Train Productions, Spicer Henderson

Photographer- Stella Blue Photography, Erica Stinziani

Second Photographer- Candice Jeffrey

Florist- Candi’s Floral Creations, Candice Millard

Lighting- EZ Occasions, Karina ALvarez

Transportation- Joshua’s Limousine


Can it get any more fun than this!!! I don’t think so. . . but I am willing to take a shot at it next season! Thank you to all my families and brides this season for making me see and photograph the beauty in life in so many ways. I love this work. Thank you.

A special thank you to all the vendors who made this day so beautiful and to Candace Jeffrey Photography for second shooting this wedding and so many others with me. It is an honor to have such professionals by my side. Supporting one another in this industry is where it is at. Thank you!





Sneak Peek | Tom and Christina

Tom and Christina’s wedding was the most intimate celebration with their closest family and friends. There could have been 150 people there and it felt like 20. Christina and Tom and their families made everyone in that room feel their welcome. The Branford Yacht club was the perfect backdrop for this gorgeous day. I heard they can special order you these clouds when you book the Yacht Club;)

These two started their story together when they were just kids in high school. College and a few jobs later they are inseparable. The groomsmen joked at how when they were all studying at UConn people never saw him. They literally made up reasons why Tom wasn’t there, but everyone knew exactly where he was in every free moment. He was visiting Christina who was studying in New York. This next chapter will be the best yet for you two.

Trying something new here by celebrating the “officially” Mr. and Mrs. with a blog post. Feel free to share with friends and family while you await your full gallery you two.

THE SHOT LIST: What every photographer wish brides knew.

So shot lists are on your mind. Search the internet and there are no shortages of looooong lists of shots that you might want to tell your photographer to take. 

When we start talking about the shot list, I wish that brides knew just one thing. Although we all love a good list. . . the more you put on a "shot list" the less candid photos you will get. What does that mean?! Well here's the real deal, we are watching and listening to find those authentic moments. It's harder than it looks. It takes a lot of patience and being in the moment to capture a beautiful candid. So the more time you give us away from looking at "the list", the more time we have to be in the day and photograph it as it unfolds. That's all!  I am lucky I have been photographing wedding for a long time and have never seen some of the shot lists my photog friends show me. Maybe it's just because Stella Blue Brides value being present as much as possible on their wedding day. Whatever it is, I have lucked out. 

Here are some examples of a list that you SHOULD give your photographer.

1. Special/Immediate family members that you and your hubby want a photograph with. A good photographer should ASK YOU for this.

2. A special person who might leave early (due to health or age) and you should focus on. 

Here are some examples of a list that you SHOULDN'T give your photographer.

1. Photo of me and my husband from the back with me looking off into the sunset.

2. Backs of chairs with handmade signs and me and my husband kissing. 

the list goes on. . . but you get the idea.

Hire a photographer you love and be in your moments, cuddle with your groom, and wear your heart on your sleeve for just this one day. You will find these are more amazing pictures than you could ever dream up for a list. And remember, we've got this and you've got a lot of getting married and partying to do! 

 

INSPIRED: The Impossibly Creative Cassie Stephens

sorry not sorry this is not a wedding post.

Besides my lovely brides, I love photographing artists and entrepreneurs in their element. Are you an artist or entrepreneur? I would love to photograph you doing what you love most.  

You all know I am a wedding photographer, but it was a windy road getting here and that road continues to throw me curves. I found photography in high school and pursued it to college, but I couldn't figure out how to make photography into a living. I started teaching photography. I fell in love with teaching kids and eventually teaching art. Cassie was one of those amazing artists/teachers that I met in my first years teaching. We both started little blogs at about the same time to make connections with others in the very lonely world of teaching. 

Watching Cassie soar into her best self has been completely inspiring. Through the years she has become kind of an "art teacher legend." What really intrigues me though is her fashion and how she has taken a little hobby of making accessories and turned it into how she expresses herself. I keep telling her that one day Target with pick up the Cassie Stephens line. Although I have retired from teaching to seek out my best self as a photographer, I have continued to be inspired by her. I know you will be too.

About Cassie:

Cassie Stephens is a designer, artist, art teacher and leader in the art education world. She hosts conferences, speaks to thousands of educators, but most importantly amazes her students each day with an outfit that compliments her lesson. All of these fashions are created by her! Whether she transforms a vintage piece, sews it from scratch, knits it, needle felts it, paints it, it is how she expresses herself. Let's be honest, everyone who knows of Cassie asks "how does she do it?" I think I have the answer. . . she just does what she loves. Nothing is more motivating than finding what you love and doing it.

Now go find what you love and do it! 

Here is my lifestyle shoot with the IMPOSSIBLY CREATIVE CASSIE STEPHENS! After you check out these photos be sure to follow her on instagram

You've Got to Roll With It. . . or Swim With It!

Chelsea and Shaun tried to explain to me just how laid back they were when we spoke on the phone. EVERYONE says they are laid back, go with the flow, but when it comes to weddings usually that isn't the case. I get it. But Chelsea wasn't lying! She planned her Newport ocean side wedding in just a few short months. Every detail was thought of. From the delicate flowers, cigar bar, beer cozies, patio games, epic dancing and lobster dinner. One thing they didn't plan for was a tiny crack in the dock. As the ring was passed it slipped fingers and through that tiny crack in the dock. In true Chelsea and Shaun fashion, even though their hearts sank at first as they watched their ring drop into the ocean,  they buoyantly brushed it off in a split second. These two always seem to rise up like the bubbles in their champagne. Nothing can keep them down or away from a good time. Chelsea and Shaun are the most down to earth couple you will ever meet (and you can see it in their families too!) We continued the party, I continued photographing away, all the while her dad was hatching a plan to get the ring back! The venue called a scuba diver! They were surprised with a SECOND ring exchange at their reception! It was an unbelievable wedding and the only thing that topped all this was the joy that Chelsea brings to everything and everyone she meets. Shaun and Chelsea your wedding was the best party ever because of your laid back vibe that focused on the fun! It was such a pleasure see you two having the time of your lives with your family, friends and each other.  Congratulations. 

 

Special thanks to Candace Jeffrey our second photographer for this event. If you are wondering if you need a second photographer check out the groom getting ready photos and scuba diver! I would never have been able to wait for a scuba diver while photographing the family photos and what a great memory it was! Thank you Candace!

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsay + Justin - Haley Mansion, Mystic

This was a special wedding for me because this couple (like so many of you, I have become very close with.

It is clear that is their way. Every person in attendance was prepared with their tissues and had a love for this couple that was either familial or as close as family. That is what they do. They open their arms to so many people and all that love is returned, but especially on this day. If you didn't have your tissues handy, you were in trouble. They wrote their own vows and told about how they first met. It is clear they have been by each other's side ever since. They aren't the typical couple  because they work together. They spend so much time together and yet their respect and adoration is ever present and makes us all a little more aware of how we treat each other and love each other. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Hanover! Your wedding could not have been more meaningful and beautiful. Remember, this is just the beginning! And what a gorgeous beginning it is. Cheers my friends!

xo

Your Photographer

Erica

A special thank you to Rachel Black of Rowanberry and Lavender for the epic groom shots and so many more that I get to deliver to Lindsay and Justin! Thank you for being a great friend and co-shooter. We rock it with some very strong girl power and support and this wedding was no exception. 

First Look Explained!

 

 

firstlook.jpg

 

Three Reasons Why I Love First Looks

1. Enjoy the day! Imagine your family photos are done how and where you want (not rushed on a patio that you don't choose) and you are free to enjoy your cocktail hour. Hey! You will even get a few extra portraits in there (usually 50-100!!!) because your photographer was given the gift of time. 

2. You can TALK to each other. When you traditionally walk down an aisle and see each other for the first time all dressed up you can't tell each other how great you look. You can't spin around and show the back of your dress. Exchange a note. Hug. This is what I love most about the first look. The love that can be expressed.

3. It is the best anxiety erasure for the groom I know! The groom is usually sitting in a little room waiting with his best man and then he is hurried out to the front of the aisle with clammy hands. What does he see? Sometimes 60-300 people staring at him while he waits. Moments seem a whole lot longer when you are standing there. All while he is standing there,  you are surrounded by your girls chatting and getting support. For the quiet groom this is an amazing stress reliever. This is definitely not a private moment for him with you. It is powerful but it is a very different feeling. 

 

 

 

The Best Day of My Life: After the Wedding

I have a problem that annoys a lot of people. I am an eternal optimist. That is why I photograph weddings. I pretty much walk around with a bluebird on my shoulder,  a Disney tune in my head and if something doesn't work out it "wasn't meant to be." But in marriage that isn't always how it works. There are times when it feels like you are paddling upstream and you wave at the other people passing you by so effortlessly. You feel like you surely must be doing something very wrong. Because it was so easy when you first met. He or she was so interesting, there were still things learn about each other, and most importantly he/she was just so darn cute. But then there are comfortable times followed by some hard times, happy times and more comfortable times. Me and my husband have to go along our separate paths most days. He works a lot and I work a lot. My daughter started to notice this trend recently. We tried to not make too big of a deal about it and keep things status quo. This is just real life right? 

One morning, Nick (my husband) went into work at 6am which made me and Stella really happy because it meant that he was going to get out by 6pm. These are the days when we feel like a "normal" family and we love them. He is usually tired, but from somewhere he finds enough energy to play with our daughter (which always amazes me as I would be crying in the fetal position if a 12 hour shift was my "easy" day.)

Well Stella decided that she was going to do something special for us. "Mommy, you and daddy are going on a DATE NIGHT!!!" I explained to her that we all wanted to be together so that wasn't going to work.  Whenever Nick has an early night we love being able to be all together. She quickly decided that we needed to go to the grocery store to buy some food because she was going to make dinner. She wanted to bring "date night" to our house. We got a recipe out and went and bought the ingredients. Then she decided we HAD to have wine at this dinner. Because every date had wine and she was going to be the waitress to pour it. Alright! 

When we got home, I started making dinner. Stella came out into the kitchen with her best version of a waitress outfit. Her blackest dress (it had leopard spots but hey, it worked) and an apron. She asked for a piece of paper. As I am cooking, she kept asking me how to spell words. I quickly figured out she was making a menu. She set the table and put out the menus and waited and waited.

Sure enough he came home way after 6 and Stella screamed "Daddy!!!!" She pulled him aside and demanded he put on a "tie" for dinner with me. Then she demanded I put on a dress and high heels. This is a very big thing to a five year old diva . . . high heels. Whenever life seems a little off kilter. . . a pair of high heels are sure to put everything back in place. So I did. While I was getting dressed (thinking that I might break her heart if I didn't) the doorbell rang. "Mommy go get the door!" I came out to see Nick leaning on the door frame, with a tie on, straight out of an 80's movie. I almost expected to see a Deloreon in the driveway. Stella greeted him like a real server and showed us to our table. With the records playing, she danced through the whole cold dinner. There are going to be hard days and this little girl wasn't going to let those hard days get the best of us! She was so happy to see us happy. 

I was seriously crying like a baby when she brought us out the menus. I was crying because I knew this was the best day of my life so far without a doubt. When she was a baby, I went to psychic healer. I was tired and he was away and I needed some advice. She ended up telling me that this baby was going to be a great healer. At the time I thought I was raising a future Dr. but now I see what the medium meant. Stella does this sort of "healing" thing in so many ways for so many people. Even though we don't have the things a normal family strives for like extra time and extra money, we have enough because we love each other so much. With her simple gesture of "date night" Stella made us see that. 

Some days, especially this day, I have to pinch myself because this is real life. 

Published! Styled Bohemian Chic Momma

This blog, Beyond the Wanderlust, is such a breath of fresh in air in the blogging world. 

Can you imagine how excited I was when they choose the first shoot in our new studio as a feature? (More to come about our new West Hartford studio!) 

Check out some of the images from that photoshoot and click on the link to read the amazing article the mom wrote. 

mommandmestudio-37.jpg
Stella (my daughter) just HAD to hold baby Brooklyn! She thinks she is her babysitter:)

Stella (my daughter) just HAD to hold baby Brooklyn! She thinks she is her babysitter:)

Surprise Proposal

Sara and Mike's first date was on a hike. So when Mike called to tell me he wanted to do a surprise proposal (disguised as a photoshoot) I knew we had to go to White Memorial in Litchfield. 

Then the coolest thing happened. Sara contacted me all on her own wanting a photo shoot for her and Mike! So the stage was set. Sara thought she was doing the planning, all the while Mike and I were plotting and planning how to make the perfect day for Sara. 

Mike you really surprised her, and it is not easy to surprise a girl! The best was after  the proposal was over, Sara would just say "huh?" to herself, and then a few minutes later "huh!!" as if she was just putting it all back together! Congratulations on finding the love to live your life with! Seeing a couple that cares so deeply for each other makes me feel so honored to be a photographer.

And here it is. . . the MOST perfect day ever. 

 

High Definition Version

 

Special thanks to 

Kelly Hart of That Girl . . . we love the beautiful hair and makeup and you are the best secret keeper.

The West Street Grill- thanks for helping our couple celebrate in the "best seat in the house!" 

Guys take careful notes! Contact me about your surprise proposal ideas, let me help you make it amazing. 

Beth + Jason

Selfishly I'm going to talk about myself as a photographer for a minute! Working with a couple like Beth and Jason was a photographer's dream. We started with an amazing engagement session at Harkness Park which really helped us get to know each other and get comfortable with the camera. They also did a first look (which I highly recommend!) and planned lots of time for bride and groom portraits. Beth was so considerate of my need to make amazing pictures, she even asked me which color of uplighting would photograph best! All this attention to detail made for a seamless, fun day, with once in a lifetime photographs that will make amazing heirlooms for generations to come!

Beth and Jason sat in my office about a year ago and I knew I wanted to work with this couple. You could see there was a connection that was built on mutual respect and love. During our short meeting, I could see Jason's respect and love for Beth as he deferred to her on every wedding decision (smart man!) and Beth's love for Jason as she gave him smiles that said everything to him. They are the kind of couple that knows what they have is special, and won't take their love for granted. Whether it is an opening of a door or a sweet look from Beth, they are always showing their love. These are the kinds of things that amazing couples build their marriages on. 

Their wedding day was perfection! It was the perfect Connecticut summer day with a warm breeze and blue skies. We started out at the Avon Old Farms Inn and celebrated their wedding at The Riverview in Avon. There is so much to think about on your wedding day, but Beth and Jason left much of that to their vendors (smart couple!) and soaked in their moments from the first look to the first dance, they were always present. This is a modern love story in that they met online, but is truly a classic love story, filled with chivalry, fun, and friends that fall in love. Congratulations to Beth and Jason! What an honor for me to capture your love story! Enjoy your honeymoon and all the chapters to follow. This is a marriage that will be for the books. 

 



Connecticut Country Style

There's something about diamonds and cowboy boots that go together like peanut butter and jelly. We just love how pretty this look is without being too fussy. Because let's face it, dancing is so much more fun in cowboy boots then high heels! 

Sandy models as the girl next door, or in this case the girl in the field;) 

Makeup, hair and styling by Kelly Hart of That Girl

Jewelry by JCREW 

Apparel courtesy of Polished Boutique in Branford, CT

Flowers courtesy of Always Bloomin' in Plainville, CT

Thank you Kelly for inviting me to photograph all of your hard work!