New Jersey Engagement Photography | Linda & John's Beach Engagement Portraits

New Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait Strathmere

*Posted by Matt*

We always try to encourage people to pick a place that really means something to them when they are figuring out where to do their engagement portraits. That philosophy has taken us as far as New York City for engagement portraits because that's where people live. It's also taken us to places like Citizen's Bank Park for engagement portraits.

When it was time to figure out where we were going to meet Linda and John, they immediately thought of doing their engagement portraits in Strathmere, where they spend a good amount of their free time. We love the beach so it was NOT a hard sell to get us there!

We started on the beach and then wandered through town towards the bay before ending up at their family home for a few pictures with their dog!

Now, you might be asking 'but we know these guys from somewhere??' and you'd be correct. If you have spent time on our blog then you've seen them before here. Their Union Trust wedding pictures have graced these pages already. And the reason you're seeing new photos of them is because today is their one year anniversary!

Happy anniversary Linda and John!

New Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait StrathmereNew Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait StrathmereNew Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait StrathmereNew Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait StrathmereNew Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait StrathmereNew Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait StrathmereNew Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait Strathmere New Jersey Beach Engagement Portrait Strathmere with Puppy

Philadelphia Wedding Photography | Ari & Val's Traditional Jewish Wedding at Crane Arts Center

smiling couple at sunset on Race Street Pier in Philadelphia, PA

• Written by Natalie • 

Ari & Valerie seamlessly blended tradition with innovation during their late fall wedding at Crane Arts in the Olde Kensington neighborhood of North Philadelphia. They were able to incorporate a large number of Jewish wedding customs that we had never witnessed before, while still infusing the whole day with their own fresh style. The whole day was jam-packed with awesome, and it was the perfect way for us to wrap up another amazing year.

I met up with Valerie, her mother, sister and friend Beth at Salon Blush in Fishtown.  This salon also houses a photography studio upstairs, so we have a perfect ready-made backdrop for getting ready photos and portraits without even needing to leave the building!

Val's wedding dress was a simple ivory vintage gown with cap sleeves. She paired it perfectly with a bouquet of tied lavender stems and a floor-length antique veil, and all these simple pieces added up to a simply dazzling bride.  There was no bridal party for this wedding, which actually added a special sort of intimacy to the getting ready process.  The love radiating between her mother, sister and friend was so wonderful, and truly a microcosm for general atmosphere for the day.

We met up Ari & Matt at Race Street Pier for their First Look.  I love the long shadows and intense sun in early afternoon during the fall. They added an extra layer of magic to this special part of the day when the bride and groom get to see each other for the first time.

We also made a stop at a graffiti wall in North Philly for a couple more portraits before heading to Crane Arts for the festivities. Crane Arts is a refurbished warehouse and manufacturing building just north of Girard Ave, which now functions as a venue for art installations and events.  Val and Ari held their reception in the Ice Box room, a huge open space they filled with elegant long tables with white linens, a burlap runner and highlighted with with white orchids and tea light candles.

Before the actual wedding ceremony, Val and Ari included many traditional jewish rituals, which invited their to become active participants, and after the ceremony all the guests signed the Ketubah, a wedding contract, as witnesses to the day.  Then the reception started with a lively Hora, which is always one of my favorite parts of a jewish wedding.  There is so much joy and energy, and of course plenty of excitement when the newly married couple is lifted into the air on chairs!  They wrapped up the festivities with one more unique idea—instead of cutting a wedding cake, they smashed a cake-shaped pinata!

Ari & Val,  We're so glad you found us!  Your wedding day was truly an event to remember and a wonderful note for us to end the year on.

Bride gets hair and make-up at Salon Blush in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, PA

smiling bride at Salon Blush in Philly

gold wedding shoes on a tufted green sofa, wedding bouquet made of lavenderdetail shots of bride getting ready in vintage wedding gownmother of the bride looks on as bride checks herself out in the mirror

In addition to making a simply lovely bouquet, Valerie pointed out that the lavender is also very calming, which is always an added benefit for any bride!

bride with lavender bouquet wearing a vintage wedding gown with cap sleevesgroom gets ready to put on his wedding shoes, which are canvas sneakers embroidered with wedding dategroom waits for bride at Race Street Pier for their first lookFall First Look at sunset where bride in vintage dress greets groom on Race Street Pier on Delaware Ave in Philadelphiabride hugs groom as they see each other for the first time on their wedding daylong shadows from bride and groom as they have their first look in PhillyThe Ben Franklin bridge stretches out behind Bride & Groombride kisses groom on the foreheadbride wears groom's jacket during late afternoon fall wedding portraitsbride & groom kiss at sunset on Race Street Piergroom's canvas sneakers monogrammed with wedding datebride and groom in silhouette in field in North Philadelphiashadow of kissing couple on graffiti wallbride & groom in front of Crane Arts center in North Philadephia, PA

Ari & Val had a marathon list of family portraits, but everyone was so cooperative and helpful that we were able to fly through them.  A special thank you to all our wranglers!

family portraits at Crane Arts CenterEntrance to Crane Arts Center reception venue in Philadelphia, PA

The pre-wedding rituals started with the Tish, where the bride and groom attempt to deliver a lesson from the Torah while friends and family interrupt, heckle and break into song.

Bride reads from the Torah as guests sing during the Tishbride laughs with sister during the Tish, a Jewish pre-ceremony ritualGroom is heckled by wedding guests as he shares words of wisdom about the week's Torah passage

Then the mothers of the bride and groom break a plate as a symbol of the permanence of the marriage.

the bride & groom's mothers smash a plate as part of the Tenaim

Next, during the Bedeken, in the Gray Space of Crane Arts, the groom lowers the bride's veil and the bride helps the groom into a traditional linen robe. Then they each receive a blessing from their parents.

The groom lowers the bride's veil during the bedeken jewish ritualbride ties the belt of the kittel, a robe of white linen worn by the groom during the wedding ceremonythe parents of the bride & groom bestow a blessing on them before the wedding ceremonyceramic wine glasses, kippot and wedding rings

Finally, the marriage contract, called a Ketubah, is signed by the bride, groom and witnesses.  Then it was time for the actual marriage ceremony!

bride & groom smile at each other during the signing of the ketubah marriage contractWitnesses to the wedding ceremony sign the Ketubah before the weddingparents look on as the ketubah is signed before the wedding ceremony

The bride and groom entered the ceremony space together and processed to the chuppah with their parents. 

bride and groom process in to wedding with parentswedding ceremony in the Ice Box room at Crane Arts Center in Philadelphiabride and groom under the Chuppah during the jewish wedding ceremony at Crane Arts CenterThe seven blessings, Sheva Brachot, are read during the jewish wedding ceremony at Crane Arts center in North Philly

guests line up to sign the Ketubah after the wedding ceremony

Wedding guests sign Ketubahwedding reception at the Crane Arts Centerantique key place cards, long rows of tables with orchid centerpieces lit by candleslong tables at reception with orchid centerpieceswedding guests join in the hora to start the receptionthe bride and groom are lifted up on chairs during the horapeople are lifted into the air during the horabride & groom dance during their wedding reception at Crane Arts Centerbride and groom smash their pinata wedding cake

Philadelphia Wedding Photography | Brian & Shannon's Running with the Santas Wedding

groom in fedora tips hat to bride leaning on antique car

• Posted by Matt & Natalie •

To help get everyone in the holiday spirit, we wanted to share a long overdue post of one of our most unique weddings. Looking back through these photos reminded us just how much we love this crazy couple. Brian and Shannon's big day started off with a pretty traditional church wedding, but by the end of the day they had danced with a flash mob, taken vintage wedding portraits outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art (completing the look with a Rolls Royce, fedora for the groom and faux fur shrug for the bride), had their wedding cake delivered to them by the Phillie Phanatic on the stage of the Electric Factory and had their first dance on that same stage in front of a few hundred (maybe thousand?) people dressed up as Santa Claus and various other holiday characters. To say it was a memorable day may be a bit of an understatement.

Shannon was one of Fairmount Photography's very first clients when we began as a sports team photography business. We've been taking portraits for Rising Stars, her dance and cheerleading school, for the past 5 or 6 years, and it's been so fun to watch our businesses grow together.

We were so excited when Shannon told us she was getting married, and even more-so when she filled us in on her plans. She and fiancé Brian were going to ditch the traditional wedding reception and celebrate at the event where they had met two years earlier and where Brian had proposed the previous year: The Running of the Santas.

Their mid-December wedding day started like any other normal celebration with a traditional ceremony at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Millville, NJ. Shannon definitely looked the part of the winter bride by topping her beautiful A-line gown with an elegant white faux fur stole and a bouquet of red roses. Brian and the guys sported plenty of their own style, wearing gray-striped cravats instead of ties, dark gray, striped pants and jackets with long tails.

bride's pink sneakers with wedding gown, bride looking down with beautiful lighting on veil and dresswinter bride with white fur stole and red rosesgroom's brother helps him put on cravat and straighten pocket-square

Two ringbearers with gray-striped cravats smiling before ceremony

Catholic ceremony at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Millville, NJringbearers and flowergirl walk down the aislebridesmaids in red dresses with white bouquets, bride & groom exchange rings

After the ceremony though, they threw tradition to the wind, and their personalities really started to shine through.

Everyone filed into the school hall for a holiday-themed flash mob featuring many of the students from Shannon's Dance Studio, plus Santa, a giant gingerbread man and the bride & groom right in the middle. Then the happy couple hopped into the back of a vintage Rolls Royce headed for Philly.

groomsmen in santa hats, holiday flash mobbride & groom have a solo in flash mob after weddingdance students gather around bride after holiday flash mob at her weddingGroom looks dapper leaning against a white Rolls Royce, and inside the antique car bride & groom have a champagne toast

The Philadelphia Museum of Art was the backdrop for their bridal portraits, and Brian totally worked the camera.  The antique car was such a perfect accessory to complete their classic look.  Their hotel was right next to Philadelphia City Hall, so we took a few more portraits there before the real craziness began.

Bride & groom vintage wedding portraits with white Rolls Royce behind Philadelphia Museum of Artwedding portraits in front of Art Museum in Philadephia, PAGroom in fedora and tails kisses bride with fur stole and red roses near antique car in Philadelphia, PAWinter bride & groom with red accents by Philadelphia Museum of ArtBride and Groom at sunset with Philadelphia skyline in DecemberBride and Groom kiss with Philadelphia City Hall in the background at December wedding

Next stop was Finnegan's Wake Irish Pub, where the Annual Running of the Santas kicks off.  This is where a couple hundred, maybe thousand, people dressed up as Santa and other holiday characters, who have all been drinking since about 1 in the afternoon, "run" about 5 blocks from Finnegan's Wake to the Electric Factory for a huge music festival to wrap up the night.

At the Electric Factory, Brian & Shannon were invited up to the stage so that the Phillie Phanatic and the founders of the Running of the Santas could present their wedding cake and they could have their first dance.  It was a truly awesome experience, and these two definitely enjoyed every minute!

Bride & Groom with bridal party at the starting line of the Running of the SantasA crowd of people dressed as Santa waits for concert to start at Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PAdramatic portrait of bride & groom sitting on a pool table at the Electric FactoryBride & Groom are announced onto stage at the Electric Factory at the Running of the Santas concertThe Phillie Phanatic dressed as Santa joins the newlyweds on stage at the Running of the Santasthe santa-filled crowd cheers for the bride & groom at the Electric Factory in Philadephia, PAAwesome first dance on the main concert stage at the Electric Factory in front of a huge crowdBride and groom on stage at the Running of the Santas in Philadelphia, PA

This past year, we had the chance to catch up with this great couple two more times as Brian's sister tied the knot in September and then his brother in October. Since Brian's oldest sister is already married, 6-year-old Troy is the last unmarried Vallery sibling.

Shannon & Brian,  Happy 2nd anniversary! We're so glad that you're part of our Fairmount Photography family. Thanks for including us in your truly epic wedding day, and then recommending us to Brian's siblings.  We look forward to catching up with you again in 20 or so years when Troy ties the knot (and hopefully a few times in between) :)

Philadelphia Wedding Photography: Matt & Lynda's Rose Valley Wedding

Bride and Groom kissing in a treehouse at Tyler Arboretum

• Posted by Matt •

Matt and Lynda's Fall wedding at the Old Mill in Rose Valley was special to me because I have known Lynda's dad and stepmom for quite some time. Mr. and Mrs. Rayer are both entrenched in the arts in Philadelphia, so there was a certain level of validation that came along with being chosen as Lynda and Matt's wedding photographer! It was also special for Natalie, who got married at the Old Mill a couple years ago!

Lynda and Matt ended up with snowy engagement photos during one of the rare snow days last year, so even though it was still pretty cold the day of their early November wedding, we were happy to see a little bit of the sun! The bride got her hair and makeup done at Karma Salon & Spa in Media before heading back to the Radnor Hotel to finish getting ready. Meanwhile the groom got ready at his parent's house in Media.

The guys had some funny groomsmen portrait ideas (like showing off the groom and groomsmen matching argyle socks) so we spent a good amount of time laughing while doing that.

Then it was off to the ceremony at Nativity BVM Church in Media. They decided to have a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony followed by family portraits right inside the church. Nativity BVM is such a gorgeous church, it was so easy to get great pictures while we were there!

Next up was our favorite part of the day as we headed to Tyler Arboretum for bridal party portraits. All of the fun sculptures and pieces there lent themselves nicely to some funny bridal party portraits and some really beautiful bride and groom portraits as well. Keeping with their big ideas for portraits, all of the guys had superhero t-shirts for a groomsmen photo!

The reception took place at the Old Mill in Rose Valley and the couple did a great job of making that unique as well. Instead of a cake they had a cupcake display, they had mini pumpkins as table numbers, Tastykake pies as gifts for people to take home and much more. They also had one of the best sets by the Mummers at a wedding I've ever seen!

Matt & Lynda, thank you so much for making us a part of your big celebration! You had so many creative ideas for your wedding and your photos.  We're so glad you trusted us to help bring them to life!

Bride and bridesmaids get hair and makeup

Bride with fatherGroom and groomsmen show off their argyle socksCeremony at Nativity BVMBridal Party Portaits at Tyler ArboretumGroom gets stuck in chairBridesmaids and Groomsmen have fun during portraitsGroom and groomsmen wear superhero tshirts under tuxedosOld Mill reception detailsMummers strut at wedding in the Old MillBride and Groom smash cupcakes during wedding





Danika & Matt's Fall wedding at Valley Green Inn

Groom lifts bride for kiss in woods in Fairmount Park

• Posted by Matt •

Danika & Matt were our third wedding at Valley Green Inn this year, which meant that this quaint Philadelphia wedding venue along the Wissahickon River officially overtook Bear Creek Mountain Resort as our most-visited venue.  You'll hear no complaints from us, though, since this is one of our favorite Philadelphia wedding locations, especially in the fall when the surrounding woods create such a colorful backdrop. (To see more Valley Green Inn weddings, check the links at the end of this post.) Danika & Matt capitalized on the season and wove pops of red, yellow and orange throughout their Fall-themed day. A special thanks to Melissa Kelly who joined me as a second photographer for the day.

This quirky couple brought lots of personality to the day. Danika shared a handful of portrait ideas with us beforehand so we knew going into it that they were going to be a fun couple to photograph. They are both trained fighters (think mixed martial arts, jiu jitsu, etc.) and they met at the gym they where train at so they decided to incorporate that into their day. There were cookies shaped like a bride and groom wearing fighting gloves, their actual gloves they train with were on display and a lot more. The bride and groom even burst through a banner with their gloves on just like they would at the beginning of a fight!

It was also pretty funny to see their friends from the gym, all seated at a table together, with a variety of black eyes and visible bruising from recent matches.

Danika & Matt, Thanks for bringing so many fresh ideas to a familiar place. Your taste and style really made us feel like we were at a venue we had never been to before!

Bride's shoes with name and wedding datespecial cufflinks for Father of the bridebride helps bridesmaid with dress, bride checks make-upbridesmaids lace up wedding gowngroomsman helps groom with tie, orange rose boutinniereWedding at Valley Green Inn near Wissohickon Creek in Fairmount ParkOutdoor fall wedding in Fairmount Park, PhiladelphiaBridesmaids show off purple dresses with fall-color bouquetsPlum bridesmaids dresses with yellow, red and orange bouquetsGroom laughing, bride with fall colors bouquetGroomsmen in gray suits with orange boutonnieres in goofy posesGroomsmen over-react to groom's wedding ringdramatic groomsmen on fence, groom with bridesmaids and bride with groomsmenBridesmaids show off their tough sidedramatic fall portrait of bride in woodsbridal portraits in the woods in Fairmount Park near Valley Green Inn in Philadelphiawedding bands, bride and groom as cookies with boxing glovesdetails from fall themed reception with red, yellow, orange and brown wedding colors including brown wedding cakebride and groom tear through banner to enter their Valley Green Inn wedding receptionbride and groom laugh together during first dancewedding party lined up across dance floor during bride & groom's first danceBride & groom welcome guest to their Valley Green Inn wedding reception in October 2012bride dances with her dad while mother looks ongroom dances with his mother during an October wedding at Valley Green InnBride and groom laugh during a toast at their October wedding reception at Valley Green Inn in PhiladelphiaFun dancing photos at Philadelphia wedding at Valley Green Inn

Additional Valley Green Inn weddings: Lindsey & Brad, Steve & Lara (more to come as we catch up on our blogging!)