Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year’s Eve Wedding Inspiration

How you choose to ring in the New Year tends to elicit a debate among couples, friends, family, and even yourself. Should you spend the night at one of the area’s trendy restaurants or bars awaiting the final moments until the countdown to 2012? What about going on vacation and heading to the resort’s beach access to watch fireworks light up the beach, ocean, and night sky? The option always exists to stay home and watch the ball drop on TV as the New Yorkers cheer and confetti falls in Times Square.

Here’s an option you may not necessarily think of first: host or attend a wedding.

Clearly people have been getting married for ages (otherwise what would I write about?); however, until recently I hadn’t given the idea of a holiday wedding too much thought. Would guests gladly attend or would they instead think about the fact that they had just (barely) made it through the holidays and would much prefer to relax at home or hang with close friends? I hope it would be the former.

Any negativity aside, I started to think that hosting a wedding or attending one could actually be a really fun way to ring in the New Year. I mean, a reception is already a party, and what better way to welcome a new year than to celebrate the union of a newly happily married couple. There’s emotion, energy, a DJ or band playing tunes new and old, and good food to fuel your fun throughout the night. Also, there’s not a debate to be had because your plans have already been made. Better yet? You will remember how you celebrated that New Year because truly, it’s brave (of the couple) and unique (for you).

Below are some of my favorite New Year’s Eve weddings and ideas from around the web. I’m definitely partial to a champagne, white, and black palette with pops of color. Enjoy!

Favorite flowers:

photo courtesy Pinterest & The Knot

photo courtesy Martha Stewart Weddings

Favorite place setting:

photo courtesy Pinterest

Favorite details:

photo courtesy Style Me Pretty

Favorite favor:

photo courtesy Pinterest

Favorite moments:

photo courtesy Pinterest

photo courtesy Pinterest

A short note of thanks: For those of you who read my posts regularly or for those who are just stopping by now, thank you for reading. Without you, this blog, which started out as a hobby, could never have become what it is – a site with over 11,000 views in just a year. Whatever your plans are, wedding or not, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happy New Year!

Weigh in: Would you/did you host your wedding to coincide with New Year’s Eve? Would you happily attend a soiree on that night?


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Photographer Spotlight: Love Me Do Photography

The best wedding blog inspiration moments are when I can’t stop smiling because I know I’ve found someone or something special. That’s exactly what happened when I came across today’s featured photographer.

My holiday gift to you: photography. We’re marking the return of my favorite series – the photographer and real wedding spotlight – which today focuses on both engagement and wedding photos!

From the font, colors, and silhouette that I first viewed upon entering Love Me Do Photography’s website, I knew I had found someone special. Then I scrolled down to the photos (oh, the photos!), and I couldn’t wait to see and learn more. What did I learn first? Carina, Amanda, and Nadine are the Philadelphia and New York City based photographing ladies behind the Love Me Do Photography…team!

Sharing info on behalf of the team, meet Carina, who graduated from the Tyler School of Art. She often works with her studio partner and fellow alum, Amanda, to photograph weddings in Philadelphia and the areas that surround. Carina started her career as an assistant at Littlewig Studio where she learned some of the ins and outs of wedding photography. She then segued into being a WPPI Hy Sheanin Scholarship recipient and all the while captured environmental and documentary style photographs in order to pay back her student loans while furthering her career.  Now, of course, Carina and her team focus on capturing the best moments of engagements and weddings.

Carina talks about why she loves living and working in Philadelphia, locations she loves to visit to take photos of couples, as well as her favorite types of moments to capture. A photography blog wouldn’t be complete without photos and a fun story thrown into the mix, too. Take a moment and learn more about Carina and Love Me Do Photography in today’s Q&A.

Going to the Chapel: Why do you enjoy photographing engagement sessions and weddings in the Philly area?

Carina: Philadelphia is where I grew up and continue to live.  I love all the hidden gems throughout the city, which is on its own bursting with art and character.  Philadelphia is also one of those big cities that can feel like a small town.  Everywhere I go, I run into people I know; friends, clients, business associates.
Photographically, Philadelphia has everything I could ask for: big abandoned buildings, historical cobblestone roads, parks and gardens, amazing murals, and some really great modern architecture as well.

GTTC: What are some of the most iconic places couples should plan to visit with their photographer for engagement or wedding photos?

C: I love the west Philadelphia Love Letter murals. But really, when I plan engagement photos with a couple, I like to have them pick out places that are significant to them as a couple.  It’s important to me to have their photographs reflect their personality and tell a story.

GTTC: Where do you feel are some Philly’s hidden gem locations for photos?

C: Again, the murals are definitely hidden gems.  Some are on rooftops are hard to get to, but you can see them all from the train.  Another really great place is the Magic Gardens.

GTTC: Can you describe a couple of photos that couples can’t miss taking during their sessions?

C: It’s great to have a bunch of nice photos of the couple looking at the camera smiling, but I love it when the pictures actually tell a story.  So if I were to recommend a type of photo, I’d want something where the couple is interacting with each other, doing something fun like sharing a bowl of ice cream, riding bikes together, walking their dog, etc; the scenarios are endless.

GTTC: Do you have a story about a couple whose photos you really enjoyed shooting in the Philly area? What were some of your favorite moments during their session?

C: Leigh and Aaron were one of our couples from last year.  They booked us for an engagement session and while brainstorming what we would do, we asked them what were some of the things they liked to do together.  They both looked at each other, shrugged, and said, “We like to drink beer?”  So we ended up going to their favorite bar and took photos of them sharing a beer sampler.  It was really great to photograph them doing something they enjoy doing, as simple as it may be, and get great pictures out of it.  We also took photos of them hanging out in their home, on their roof and around their neighborhood.  Overall I thought it was a great session because every part of every photo told a story about the couple and turned every day things into works of art.

There’s more information waiting for you throughout Love Me Do Photography’s website, as well as more photos (!!) in Carina and Amanda’s profile, as well as Nadine’s profile. The team also details the experience you can have if you choose to hire Love Me Do Photography to capture your day. Blogging, Facebook, and Twitter play parts in their business too, so don’t forget to comment, like, and follow. Of course, you can also send a note

Have you worked with the ladies of Love Me Do Photography? What about the experience did you love? What are some of your favorite photos? Be sure to let me know in the comments below! 

*all photos courtesy Love Me Do Photography

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Philly’s Featured Makeup Artist: A Q&A with Cheekadee’s Emily Aznavourian

photo courtesy Sweetwater Portraits

Brides, today we are taking it back to the basics. Your friends, family, and future husband make up such an important part of your wedding. Forgetting about the many details (for just a moment!), at its core, your wedding is about love. And having fun with those who mean the most.

Even though love and fun are two of the most basic and important components of your wedding, let’s not forget about a couple of others: your dress, your hair, and your makeup. On your wedding day, you really, really want to look your most beautiful. And you should. In fact, you deserve to.

To stay with the back to the basics theme and to help you reach your goal of looking and feeling great on your wedding day, today is all about makeup. Actually today is all about one Best of Philadelphia 2011 makeup artist (and company!), in particular – Emily Aznavourian, the owner of Cheekadee.

After discovering she could combine her love for art and fashion into one career while attending art school, Emily forged her own path as a makeup artist – for 25 years, no less. In 2008, Emily started Cheekadee, her company catering specifically to brides and weddings held throughout the Philadelphia-area. Since its beginnings, Cheekadee has grown from serving 35 brides to now having five artists on staff and the ability to cater to multiple brides and weddings during a busy weekend. Cheekadee even has a studio in Chestnut Hill where you can go to meet with the team and decide on your wedding day look during a trial run (a plan is always a good thing!).

Are you wondering how to highlight your favorite facial feature or vary your makeup for a formal affair versus a backyard-style fete? What about the important points to keep in mind for your photos and how to look great even after you cry (it will happen!)? Emily, who is Erin Proud’s favorite artist, offers her go-to ways to solve each issue as well as her favorite products. Of course a post wouldn’t be complete without photos, so they’re in there too. Read on!

photo courtesy Jennifer Childress

Going to the Chapel: What facial features should a bride highlight on her wedding day, and how can Cheekadee help her accomplish her look?

Emily Aznavourian: Most brides want to know how to bring out their eyes on their wedding day. It is most certainly the best feature to highlight and something that is our specialty here at Cheekadee. During your trial run we allot a full hour and a half to talk, look through photos of your makeup ideas, your dress, your colors, flowers, etc…  therefore create a look that is specifically designed for you!

photo courtesy Kamila Harris Photography

GTTC: Similar to choosing a wedding dress, a bride should also be mindful of her venue when deciding on her wedding day makeup. How would you differ a bride’s makeup if she were getting married in a backyard versus a formal ballroom?

EA: Lighting is KEY. There is no comparing an outdoor Summer ceremony to a New Years Eve formal in the Winter. These are two completely different looks. I would suggest that the bride who is getting married outdoors in the Summer keep her makeup more natural, glowy and sun-kissed, while the more formal New Years Eve bride pump up the volume with a more dramatic eye and subtle shimmer. That said… there is a different comfort level for each person we meet. What we like to ask our clients upon meeting them is ‘what is your comfort level with makeup?’ What we mean by that is: ‘Are you afraid of makeup or do you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it?!’ Your answer will determine where we can start. We always talk through the steps that we are doing to make the client feel even more comfortable. And we always end the trial with asking the client for feedback. This way there are no unanswered questions.

photo courtesy Pete Malone & 217 Photography

GTTC: In terms of makeup meets wedding photography, what should brides keep in mind?

EA: Keep in mind that you want to look at these photos in twenty years and say ‘yes, I looked amazing!’ not, damn, I looked trendy. The makeup that you choose will have to stand the test of time and the tears. Everything must be waterproof. It should last all day and all night. It should be a little bit more than you are used to wearing on a daily basis, but it should not make you look unlike yourself.

GTTC: What are your top five favorite wedding day (or everyday!) products and why do you love them?

EA: Everything that we use for weddings must be waterproof, and it has to serve a purpose. It is all about soft layering to keep the look natural and to help extend the wear of the makeup!

  1. Makeup Forever HD Foundation—HD stands for High Definition. So, it makes the skin look super amazing up close and in photos!!
  2. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer—makes the makeup go on smoother, also extends the wear of the foundation.
  3. Nars Orgasm Blush/Laguna Bronzer duo—a must have for every makeup artist!
  4. Ulta Black Waterproof Eyeliners (yes, Ulta!) – Eyeliners and mascaras are items that you can ‘cheap out on’. We have tried them all and there is no difference between these and Chanel’s $32 liners.
  5. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer—a really great smoothing and covering concealer. Not cakey!

photo courtesy Allison Conklin

GTTC: What are your top five ways for brides to keep their makeup looking great throughout the day and into the night?


  1. Hire a professional makeup artist!
  2. Be sure that everything you use is waterproof! Mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow base, primer, long wear lip color etc.
  3. Bring along a powder and a lip gloss for touch up. These should be the only things that you will need for touchup throughout the day. Then, assign one of your detail- oriented bridesmaids to keep an eye on your makeup and have her tell you if you need a dab of lip gloss or pat of powder.
  4. Do not rub your eyes or face! Just dab (like a little old lady) with a tissue under your eye if you cry.
  5. Relax and don’t forget to smile!!

If you would like to learn more about Emily, her team, and Cheekadee for your wedding day (or your engagement photos!), take a moment to visit her website and send a note. Emily also blogs too, and let’s not forget about Facebook and Twitter. A talented and connected makeup artist – it’s a win-win.


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Photographer & Real Wedding Spotlight: A Q&A with Jenna Walcott

I don’t know about you, but I love wedding photography. And by love, I mean love, love, love everything about each photo. It seems fitting, then, to introduce you to some of the Philadelphia area’s photography pros. These guys and gals will document everything from your engagement to the moments before, during, and after your walk down the aisle, and you want these photos to be winners.

Shall we get started?

Let me introduce you to our first photography pro, Jenna Walcott. From the moment I first contacted her about this new series, she was on board. Let me tell you, Jenna is fun and very easy to talk to. All of which are important when choosing your photographer.

Prior to beginning her photography studies at the University of Delaware, Jenna discovered the Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work “In India,” and she realized she was really interested in the medium. After graduating and working for a photographer formerly affiliated with National Geographic, Jenna had a (decade long) stint in marketing before rediscovering her love of photography by photographing a wedding, no less. Jenna hasn’t stopped capturing weddings ever since, and on December 6, she launched her redesigned (!) website, which includes her updated brand, logo, and portfolio.

Below you’ll find a Q&A where Jenna talks about her love of photographing weddings in Philadelphia and beyond (she travels, too!), her photography aesthetic and favorite moments, as well as the reasons why she loved one couple in particular. Oh, and let’s not forget the Real Wedding photos of Phyllis and Brendan’s day, which took place in September 2011 at the Phoenixville Foundry. There’s one photo of Phyllis and Brendan sharing a kiss with her veil blowing in the wind. Oh my. Just wait.

Going to the Chapel: Why do you enjoy photographing couples in the Philadelphia area?

Jenna Walcott: Philadelphia and the surrounding areas have so many hidden gems – from the textured urban landscapes of the city to the quaint environments tucked away in Bucks County to the small but charming towns along the Schuylkill – the variety is endless. I also love Philadelphia couples because (at least in my experience) the area is full of wonderful, down to Earth people who are genuinely lovely to work with. I photograph weddings and couples from metro Philly to DC locally, so I am lucky to enjoy the charms of many of the Mid-Altantic geographies and in the end it all comes down to truly enjoying photographing couples in love – no matter where they come from.

GTTC: Some of the moments you capture are set in black and white while others are in color. Is there one that you prefer? Why?

JW: When I learned to shoot it was on Black and White film. And there is something so timeless and classic about a black and white shot.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love color photography, and the advancement in digital photography has made using color such a different experience and I think color photography has become a very powerful tool. I take careful consideration in converting an image to black and white because I think there are certain qualities in an image that lend itself well to that presentation: the strength of the moment caught, the light used to capture it, the composition and its ability to communicate visually without the use of color. In many ways, when you take color out of photograph, the photo must be able to speak for itself – thus the decision becomes an important one.

GTTC: What is your number one favorite moment at a wedding that you try to capture at every event?

JW: That’s an incredibly difficult question! There are so many moments that I look forward to at every wedding that it would be nearly impossible to choose just one. But I think the “favorite” moment I work hardest to capture at each wedding is the one that I haven’t captured yet before – at any other wedding. The key moments during every wedding are all unique, because every couple and their bond is truly unique, but I am always looking for that true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch tenderness, joy, love and genuine emotion that no one can predict will overcome them.

GTTC: Some couples look forward to taking photos while others dislike the attention. What are your top five ways for couples to relax and have fun at their shoot?

JW: I think it all starts with trust – I work hard to build a relationship with my clients so they can feel at ease. And doing an engagement shoot really helps with working out the “in-front-of-the-camera” jitters. I highly recommend doing one if you are getting married! This dress-rehearsal of sorts gives couples a pressure free environment to practice feeling natural in front of the camera and it helps to establish a level of trust between us in working together. I started creating Pinterest boards with my couples to inspire ideas about wardrobe because I receive so many questions about what to wear. This way we get to explore the style of the shoot together and I learn from them what they really are attracted to visually. It’s a great ice breaker! I also sometimes pop some music on my iPhone to either create mood or lighten it up. What seems to work best though is helping the couple to understand that focusing on each other will help the camera to disappear altogether – allowing those authentic moments to come alive.

GTTC: Do you have a story (and photos!) about a couple whose session you really enjoyed photographing?

JW: Phyllis and Brendan were a pleasure to photograph – from the engagement session to their fabulous wedding day – they always were a romantic and intimate couple that just made you want to curl up in front of a fire with the one you love.

They are honest and gentle and loving – toward one another and toward the world.

From the moment I met them, I instantly felt this genuine sense of tenderness and warmth that you just don’t get all that often from people. Needless to say, it was an emotional ceremony and an extremely touching day – the type of wedding that makes me not just love what I do, but live for it.

The Phoenixville Foundry is a stunning venue, with their loft-style ballroom and full- length windows they provide a dramatic and modern atmosphere in the middle of a charming little downtown locale. Their timber-framed open-style bridge makes for a great location to shoot portraits and group shots and leads into a nice field where you can take advantage of some green and open space. Rustic, modern and urban, this spot is a photographer’s dream!

If you would like to contact Jenna, you can do so here on her website. Be sure to visit Jenna’s new site, in general, become a fan on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter (or you can do all three!).

Featured vendors: Photography: Jenna Walcott {} Venue: Phoenixville Foundry {} Catering: Queen of Hearts Catering

Be sure to keep checking the blog for our next photographer spotlight; however, have you every worked with Jenna? What about your experience did you love? What are some of the photos you are most looking forward to from your engagement session and wedding day? Make sure to comment below! 

*all photos courtesy Jenna Walcott Photography

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