Rebecca & Adam: The Chelsea Wedding in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Rebecca and Adam contacted me this summer about photographing their wedding and from the very beginning, I knew it was going to be a beautiful day. I quickly Googled “The Chelsea Atlantic City Wedding” and immediately fell in love with the photos and details I found about the venue online. When Rebecca filled out my wedding day questionnaire, I learned about all of the meaningful details she planned to include in her wedding which made me even more excited to photograph her wedding! I love when couples incorporate so many things of such personal significance throughout the day!
I didn’t get to meet Rebecca & Adam until the wedding day itself, which is very unusual for me, since I almost always do an engagement session with my couples. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw the absolutely gorgeous bride I was about to have the privilege of photographing! Stunning – and she didn’t even have her hair and makeup done yet!
Read below to hear more about the details you see above and how Rebecca and Adam incorporated their heritage and important family members throughout their day.
Also, check out some behind the scenes photos of me shooting and a few more images from this wedding, on my friend Karen’s blog!
How did you first meet?
I had a really good fake ID and Adam was bartending. I left my number on my tab and he called before I even got the parking lot.
What advice would you give to future brides for their wedding day?
Breathe. It goes by so fast so take in every moment.
What was the biggest surprise on your wedding day?
My necklace! I was a mess the week before the wedding because it was hitting me hard that my dad wasn’t walking me down the aisle. As a wedding gift Adam had my dad’s signature made into a necklace so I would have him with me that day and everyday.
What one moment will last with you both forever?
Besides me knocking over the lantern as I walked down the aisle… The first dance
Why did you chose The Chelsea in Atlantic City as your wedding venue? What did you love most about it?
We wanted to do an affordable destination wedding for our guests to enjoy and AC nailed it! The Chelsea Hotel is unique and has a great view of the ocean. Plus the staff is unbelievably accommodating and helpful. I couldn’t imagine my wedding day being as perfect without the Chelsea staff.
Which moment are you the most excited to see in photos?
I’m excited for all of them but especially the silhouette photo.
What was your wedding inspiration? (think decor, overall theme and feel of the day, etc)
We did a modern theme with a little asian flair in honor of my nana, Noriko, who was not able to make it. The 1,000 crane tradition was our ceremony backdrop and our placecards were handmade origami dollars to gamble at the casino with. We also put a train set around the cake in remembrance of Adam’s grandfather Warren.
Describe some of your favorite wedding details and how you came up with them.
The 1,000 crane backdrop, the train set around the cake, place cards and my bouquet.
What song did you walk down the aisle to?
She’s my kind of rain by Tim McGraw
What song played for your first dance? What song played for the parent dances?
You are the best thing- first dance
You’ve got a friend- bride/brother dance
What a wonderful world- groom/mom dance
Any advice for those planning their wedding now?
Don’t stress it too much. When it starts to become too much and you are on the verge of a meltdown take a break and remember it’s not about how fancy your day is–it’s about celebrating you and the groom with the people you love most.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
Officially being a family.
Why did you choose me for your photography? What did you like the most about working with me?
I stumbled across your portfolio and was drooling by the last picture. You have a uniqueness to your photos that aren’t cookie cutter. I have always said wedding pictures are the same poses with different faces and you are NOT that! You were so much fun to work with and even put up with our crazy bridal party.
2013 was one of the most exciting years for me as a wedding photographer here in Delaware. Opening my Delaware photography studio was definitely a highlight, but I also got to meet some wonderful people, work at some fantastic wedding venues, and take some of my favorite wedding photos ever. I photographed over 40 weddings in 6 states! Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. I am hoping to add a few more locations to my roster for 2014. :)
My favorite wedding photos are not simply about pretty pictures…. they are about capturing the emotions and connection between my clients and their friends and family. The most memorable photos to me are the ones that show more than just beautiful people. They also show the closeness that comes along with lifelong friendships, the elated look on a groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time, the family members all ecstatic to see grandmother join the party, a proud father looking on at his handsome son, the aunt beaming with joy as she watches her niece’s wedding day slideshow… from toddler to beautiful bride. I hope when you look through these wedding photos you see not only a nice photograph, but also a little glimpse into what makes the people in front of my lens so wonderful.
I am fortunate to have had a lot of experience as a wedding photographer. In the past 5 years, I’ve photographed roughly 130 weddings and along the way I’ve noticed a few key things which I feel can help with making wedding photos the best they can possibly be. Below are my Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Better Wedding Photos. I’ve summarized these ideas in a handy infographic, but I felt I should elaborate a bit and provide a few more details of why I feel these 10 Tips are so important.
If you appreciate this information and think someone else would find it useful, please feel free to share! :)
10 Tips for Better Wedding Photos
1.) Schedule an engagement session.
Engagement sessions are wonderful ways to practice being photographed. This may sound silly in a world full of selfies and Instagram, but really – having a professional photographer point a big camera at you can be a little overwhelming for some. I know, because even as a photographer I find it a little uncomfortable being the subject of a portrait. Your photographer will likely give you little tricks throughout the session to help you look your best. It’s also a fantastic way to get to know your photographer’s style of interacting with you during portraits. I find engagement sessions especially good for grooms, since they are not generally that into having their photos taken. By the end of the session, my clients usually tell me it was actually FUN even though they were nervous when we started. By the time your wedding day rolls around you will feel like a pro, and that intimidating camera will have you saying, “I’m ready for my closeup!”
2.) Plan a generous timeline.
Wedding days can be hectic and the last thing you want to worry about is if your hair will be done in time to walk down the aisle. One thing I’ve found that makes couples feel much more relaxed and less stressed is having a generous timeline. If you think something is going to take 15 minutes – plan for 30. It is much better to have 10-15 extra minutes to sit down and catch your breath, than it is to feel you are 10-15 minutes behind and have to rush through things to get them back on track. In addition to alleviating stress, you will have more time to relish in the little moments of the day.
Wedding planners can help in many ways, but they are especially helpful in planning and directing timelines that consistently work well, so think about hiring one – it’s one less thing you have to worry about!
3.) Hire a professional hair stylist and makeup artist.
You may have a friend who is really fantastic at doing hair or makeup, but on your wedding day – go pro. Professionals know professional tricks to keep your hair and makeup beautiful throughout the often very long wedding day. Makeup artists know just the right shades to flatter your best features and reduce shine. Even if you’re not someone who normally wears makeup, an artist can prevent you from looking washed out and make you look like the most amazing and naturally beautiful version of yourself.
Professional hairstylists create styles that can last all day and look fantastic from all angles. Also, go for styles that keep your profile visible from the side. When you’re standing at the altar saying your vows, it is nice for your family and friends to be able to see your face, and it’s nice for your photographer to be able to capture the emotions you’re experiencing as your husband looks into your eyes and asks you to be by his side forever. :)
4.) Keep the bridal/groom prep areas neat and tidy. Choose rooms with lots of natural light.
The background of photos are very important and should not be forgotten. Wedding days can get messy with plastic dress bags, empty drinks and random pieces of used wrapping materials. It is super important to keep these things hidden from view during the prep time. Another very important aspect of this day that is often overlooked: choose a getting ready room with lots of natural light. Artificial lighting can be not so flattering and not only will a bright room help your photographer, but many makeup artists prefer natural light for applying makeup.
5.) Wear something nice before putting on your gown.
Most brides know to wear a button up shirt that can be removed without messing up hair and makeup, but also keep in mind that whatever you wear will be visible in your photos. Choose something cute and flattering. It may not be the most important thing you wear on your wedding day, but it will still be in some very important photos! :)
Another tip: It is best that anyone helping the bride get into her gown (mothers, grandmothers, bridesmaids) be dressed and ready before the bride. Everyone should look their best at this key moment of the day.
6.) Plan your schedule around the sun.
It is imperative that you plan your schedule around what the lighting will be like during different portions of the day. This is particularly essential if your ceremony is being held outdoors. Positioning of subjects must be strategic and meticulous for harsher early afternoon sun, but this is simply not possible during a ceremony, as it is a portion of the wedding day that requires purely photojournalistic/candid coverage. Talk with your photographer and get their advice on the best times to schedule any periods when photos will need to be taken outside – especially during formal portraits of you as a couple!
7.) Have a cocktail hour.
Cocktail hours are nice for many reasons. Not only do they give your guests a place to gather and relax after the ceremony (when most formal family photographs are being taken) but they also provide a bit of time for your photographer to take photographs of the details in the reception area. Months of planning and a lot of expense usually goes into reception room decor choices, so photographs of the scene while it is still neatly presented can be very important to couples. Another good reason to have cocktail hour is that it gives your photographer time to put in fresh batteries, set up any off camera lighting, and make other preparations for photographing the reception.
8.) Put your wedding cake in a nice location.
One detail that is sometimes overlooked is the location of the wedding cake. Be sure to check with your venue beforehand and make sure they have chosen a beautiful location for your wedding cake. The background should be free of distracting elements, such as fire extinguishers, restroom signs, cords, plugs, etc.
9.) Do not eat during toasts.
It is almost impossible to get a flattering photograph of someone while they are eating. This is why photographers do not photograph guests during the meal. The same rule applies to toasts – even if the venue offers you a salad or hors d’oeuvres during the toasts, do not eat until all of the toasts are done. You will definitely be photographed at this time and good photographs can’t easily be taken if your mouth is open with a piece of spinach between your teeth.
10.) Most importantly: Relax and relish all of the little moments
Feeling comfortable and relaxed will make your photos more natural and the best they can be. Don’t stress — be happy! All of your family and friends have come together to celebrate the beginning of a new era in your life. Don’t forget to treasure the tiny moments going on around you, because this day you have been planning for so long will be over so much more quickly than you may realize. These are memories you will cherish for a lifetime. While you are living in the moment and enjoying your family and friends, your photographer will be capturing all of the fleeting glances and loving gestures between you and your loved ones.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to Facebook “like” it / Google “+ 1” it or share it with others you think might find the information valuable! :)
If you follow me on Facebook, you may already be aware that I recently opened a photography studio in the Hockessin / Yorklyn, area of Delaware! I am constantly tweaking the space, but I think it is finally complete enough to make the big official announcement!
The studio is in a building that was once the science lab for the National Vulcanized Fiber Plant in Yorklyn, Delaware. Since the NVF factory closed it’s doors in 2008, the area fell into a bit of disrepair, but is currently undergoing revitalization in partnership with the state of Delaware. You can read more about the improvements and progress for the area on Yorklyn Village’s website detailing their restoration and redevelopment.
Collin O’Mara, DNREC Secretary, says: “This recreational space and redevelopment plan will create a destination for Delaware unlike any other in the country. With the beautiful, historic setting of Yorklyn as a backdrop, we believe the synergy created by the master plan, that includes a trail, an antique car loop, and railroad will make this a uniquely Delaware destination.”
The end vision for the studio was to give it an industrial loft sort of vibe, combined with a bright and airy feel. Much of the contents are recycled pieces reclaimed from the surrounding factory, and even the floor was reclaimed wood from another old factory that was listed for sale on Craigslist. I am so thankful to everyone who helped this all come together – they all know who they are, as I have thanked them profusely and as often as possible. :)
I was so lucky to find this hidden gem of a space filled with beautiful soft, natural lighting. The studio is in a nice tucked away place in the Brandywine Valley area of Delaware, and truly something special with multiple gorgeous backdrops and landscapes at my disposal. I can’t wait to photograph more and more clients in and around the studio. If you’re in the neighborhood, let me know – I love visitors! :)
Be sure to stay tuned this coming week for a special announcement detailing my official studio opening reception in December – with a very important visitor!
Without further ado, I’ll let these pictures speak their thousand words. :)
2012 has been an incredible year for me. I had the pleasure of working with some really great wedding clients, photographing weddings throughout Delaware and Maryland and even some in New Jersey and New York. We had fun, shared laughter and I was fortunate enough to be able to witness life changing moments with some fantastic people.
Being a wedding photographer can be an odd thing. While I like to become friends with my clients, the fact is that I am not someone who is a big part of their daily life. I do not *really know* who they are inside, but being there on their wedding day is like taking a course on what makes my clients special and deeply loved by family and friends.
I try to be like a butterfly on a wall (see what I did there?) and witness events as they naturally occur around me. Quietly clicking my shutter as I see important moments evolve and unfold. I see a mother’s eyes swell with pride as she realizes that her beautiful little girl has now grown into a breathtaking young woman. I see a father’s thoughtful gaze as he realizes he is about to walk his daughter down the aisle to the new “most important man” in her life. I see vows spoken between two people who make lifelong commitments to stick together through everything -good and bad- that life throws their way. I see men and women leading toasts and reminiscing about their fondest memories with their very best friends. I see friends and family members celebrating the life, memories, the past and future of people they truly care about and love.
I’m just an acquaintance at the beginning of the day, but by the end, as I’m packing my bags to go home, I have learned so much about the people I photograph. I feel very fortunate that my photographs – these memories I’ve captured in photographic form – will be around years and years from now, so that when a grandchild says, “tell me about when you married Grandpa”, a grandmother can say – “I would love to tell you that story. Here, let me get my wedding album and -show- you!”
Weddings are one of the very few moments in our lives during which we celebrate both memories and new beginnings. This January I want to celebrate the memories of some of my favorite photos from 2012, as I look forward to new beginnings with my 2013 clients.
If you are recently engaged or friends with someone who is, I would love to be the one you invite into your life on such an important day.