The Stars of Bethlehem

A long long time ago, when Bethlehem became my home, I met one of my best friends here. My friend is one of 6 siblings who I have also inherited as friends, and now I have photographed 2 of their weddings! What an honor and a joy to be part of the celebrations of one of my favorite families once again.

Rachel and Chris came together in a joyous evening ceremony at one of my most favorite places ever, The Historic Hotel Bethlehem of course! I noticed that as the night went on, this wonderful town became a main character in the love story… The hotel, the amazing shots right on the central star of Bethlehem on Main Street, and even the Moravian candles and stars on the tables at reception. You just can’t do better than that.

You also can’t do better than watching this family join together, kids and all for the first dances, and even first look! As per usual, I shed more than one lil’ tear behind the lens. Congratulations to Rachel, Chris, and kids and family on truly a beautiful event, and on finding each other in our beautiful town.

5 Amazing Lehigh Valley Engagement Photo Locations

If you’re happily engaged and looking for a great place to get your engagement photos taken, you couldn’t be in a better spot. Here in the Lehigh Valley, there are MANY amazing spots for engagement photos, much more than 5, but the following are some of my favorites, and deserve your consideration!

Trexler Memorial Park – Allentown, PA

This park is amazing for it’s varied scenery, trees, grasses and overlook, and is so big that it’s a great little bout of exercise too! I have taken many a favorite shot here and I come back again and again.

Engagement Photo Lehigh University

Lehigh University – Bethlehem, PA

I am an “old building” lover and you just can’t do better for architecture than the turn of century buildings and gorgeous landscape at Lehigh University. It’s academic, timeless, and I have so many favorite corners, you will always win here.

Engagement Photo Historic Downtown Bethlehem

Historic District/Downtown Bethlehem, PA

I am biased, because I live in this town, but I know this area by the back of my hand, and I love that you can go from open pathways, to quaint brick doorways, to stunning architectural interest all in a few blocks. I will always push this one especially to Bethlehem locals!

Maternity Photo Valley Forge PA

Valley Forge Park – Valley Forge, PA

It’s a teeny drive from the valley, but well worth the trip. Valley forge is vast and breathtaking, with monuments and structures that will simply stun time and time again. Any time I get to come out for a shoot, I wind up blown away by the results.

Engagement Photo Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens – Kennet Square, PA

Ok… hear me out, this one isn’t exactly in the Lehigh Valley either but it’s just such a favorite for me I couldn’t not end on this note. Longwood Gardens is one of my favorite places in general, truly a marvel to behold any time of year, and when there is love in the mix, it’s like a fairy tale come true.

Do you have a favorite location in this amazing group of towns? I must know! Leave me a comment!

My 8 Tips for a Stress Free Wedding Day

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of planning your big day, or it’s right around the corner, you want to make sure your wedding day is smooth sailing. You put a ton of planning into this event, but when the day comes, you want to let all that go. Every couple expresses to me that they just want to enjoy their day, and focus on each other and their family and friends. Read on for some tips that will really help this come to fruition, so that not only are YOU relaxed and happy at your wedding, but your vendors and guests feel this way too.

1 – Hire a planner/day-of coordinator

More and more, couples are choosing to take advantage of a planner or a day-of wedding coordinator. They do the hard work so that you don’t have to! They can talk to you about what your needs and desires for the day are, and they can interface with your other vendors to communicate and strategize for the day. It can be very helpful to have just one point of contact to go back and forth with, while knowing your wishes are being communicated to everyone. I love working with coordinators, and if you don’t have one, I will have some names in hand for you, whether the wedding is in Bethlehem, PA, the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, or Bucks County and beyond.

2 – Gather your details

Flowers, jewelry, accessories and stationery. You spent the time curating these details to tell the story of who you are as a couple, and to communicate the vibe of your wedding. The little things are beautiful and important! One amazing thing you can do for your photographer is to gather these bits and bobs together BEFORE your photographer arrives, and have them ready to shoot. Often, this will be the first thing your photographer shoots while everyone is getting ready. You can designate someone in your wedding party to be in charge of this!

3 – Have a family point person

Family photos are often very important to my client, and therefore important to me! One thing I have to stress to my clients is that even though YOU know who all of these wonderful people are, as the photographer, it is often my first time meeting 99% of them. Therefore, even though I am experienced at corralling the masses, I will not be as quick to know your aunt or your grandparent’s name, and it might take a little longer to gather the right people. It is super, super helpful to choose a family member, maybe one on each side, who doesn’t mind using a loud voice to gather your loved ones before they run away!

4 – Feed your vendors

Your vendors are working so hard for you, and often are on their feet for a very long day. We LOVE it, and are fueled by our passion for our work, but we do need calories! Make sure you are communicating to your venue or caterers that your vendors will need a full dinner, and the most amazing thing you can do is to feed your vendors before the guests. This may sound wacky, but it makes sense. If your photographer can eat their meal right after everyone is seated, they will be fed and happy by the time you’re up again for those special dances. I am happy to see this happening more and more, and it’s a great call.

5 – Have an inclement weather plan and stick to it

Nature often has other ideas than we do when it comes to the weather. It might be a bummer if you can’t have that outdoor ceremony or portrait session, but the best thing you can do is have an open mind and embrace the plan B. Venues will have an indoor location if it rains and your photographer can make magic inside or with some props, I promise! It can be tempting to want to wait 5 minutes or try to ride it out, but indecision can have a domino effect on the rest of your schedule. Your guests will also thank you for keeping them out of the weather.

6 – Put the phones away

I don’t just mean the wedding couple, although you totally should! I heavily advise communicating to your guests and family that you have a photographer covering all aspects of your wedding day, and that they need to keep their picture taking to the reception, if at all. I love that your aunt with the iPad or dad with his GoPro are so excited to have these memories, but it can be very hard to work around them when important moments are happening during your ceremony. Having a hard and fast rule about this makes my life a lot easier! You can have your officiant make an announcement at the start of the ceremony.

7 – Bring all the pins!

Safety pins, bobby pins, sewing pins and some thread. I don’t think I have to elaborate on this one! Things happen! However, if you forget, I will always have these things on hand, and I am a wiz with the last-minute garment repairs and veil pinnings. I got you.

8 – Take a minute

When you’ve gotten hitched, and we’ve taken some amazing photos, take a second with your love, send me away if you want to, and just breathe with them. This is advice I received before my wedding day and I am so glad. Just be the eye of the tornado, the two of you, because it’s about love at the end of the day ❤

Wedding Photography in the Poconos Pennsylvania

Small and Sweet Spring Vows

I met Tanya and Avi at Bethlehem’s district court for their quick and sincere marriage ceremony on Monday. They had decided the hullaballoo of a larger wedding was not their style, and were happy to tie the knot in a low key and un-fussy way. They made this decision look super appealing, and it was nice not to have to worry about anyone else but each other during such a special moment. After the ceremony, we took a stroll around Bethlehem’s historic Archibald Johnston estate, which we had all to ourselves to capture some casual but loving pictures. The newlyweds were brilliant at smiling and laughing through their photography trepidation. Any wedding day that turns into laughter is a win in my book!