Monthly Archives: January 2012

Photographer & Real Engagement Session Spotlight: A Q&A with Onada

Some of my very favorite moments are those that are so unexpected. It’s moments like having the best day despite the fact that its pouring or discovering that you absolutely love doing something that you never gave much consideration that make life so much fun. However, there are also those activities, like photography, that you may have grown up watching someone else do without realizing it’s exactly what you are going to love doing, too.

Brides, meet Onada of Onada Photography.

Growing up, Onada’s father took photos of her, and he took them often. As a result, she has a host of photos to reminisce about and look back upon from her childhood through her years as a teen. Onada happened to bring along a fun accessory – a Nikon SLR camera – to a friend’s wedding in Jamaica, which was a great decision because she was asked to take a few photos of the bride getting ready due to a (very) tardy photographer. Even though photography played such a huge part in her life, it wasn’t until that unexpected moment that Onada learned she also loved capturing photos, especially wedding photos. Needless to say, she found what she loves, and now her career centers around the same thing her father enabled her to do – freezing timeless moments so couples can look back fondly too.

In today’s Q&A, Onada talks wedding photography trends; favorite Philly places to capture engagement shots (Philly charmers Old City and Rittenhouse Square top her list); as well as a story about a groom who proposed for the second time during a sweet (literally!) engagement shoot in our neighboring city, NYC. Clearly, it wouldn’t be a post about a photographer without photos, and Onada also shares some additional info, so read on and enjoy.

Going to the Chapel: Do you favor classic shots or current photography trends? Does Philadelphia play a part in what you like and what’s popular?

Onada: To be honest I don’t really favor any trends in particular. I just do what I love and what I think works for a particular set of photos. My style varies, I like to try new things but at the same time I don’t like to be excessive so I stay away from heavily edited images. Philadelphia definitely plays a part in my photography – It’s such a beautiful city and I love taking advantage of its beautiful scenery in my photography. I’ve discovered so many gem locations and I’m sure there are many many more – I can’t wait to find them.

GTTC: What are some of your favorite places to visit in Philadelphia to photograph couples?

Onada: Old City is my absolute favorite photography area in Philadelphia, it has so much character – from South Street to Washington square to Elfreth Alley to all the little gardens and pathways – it’s so beautiful.  Next is Rittenhouse area – it can get pretty crowded but it’s classic Philadelphia. Other places I love include Boat House Row, Valley Forge Area and Haddonfield in South Jersey.

GTTC: What should couples consider when choosing their location in the Philadelphia area? Will you travel to multiple locations during their session?

Onada: I think couples should feel comfortable wherever they decide to have their engagement session taken, whether it be at home or in the middle of broad street. I love taking pictures at locations that mean something to couples because it sparks conversation and the smiles and giggles come out which makes for perfect photos! I’m very open to travelling to multiple locations – I usually do 2 locations with couples.

GTTC: So many of the couples featured on blogs and in magazines look so natural on camera. How can couples look candid in their photos rather than posed?

Onada: The most important thing is being comfortable, talk with your photographer before and during the session, relax and focus on having a good time, don’t be afraid to be silly either. I personally feel like there’s no structure around getting your engagement photos taken and your photographer will guide you into relaxed and candid poses everything else will just come naturally.

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

Onada: Vanessa and Joe choose to have their engagement session photographed in NYC. Towards the end of the session we headed over to Sprinkles Bake Shop in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and thought it would be a good idea to take some pictures in there so we bought some cupcakes and then I got this great idea to take a couple photos of the engagement ring in a cupcake. Vanessa took off her ring and handed it to Joe who couldn’t find a seat so he was kneeling in front of her so it looked like he was proposing. All of a sudden we heard a shriek “ THEY ARE GETTING ENGAGED” and saw a lady with two little girls jumping up and down. The whole store went quiet – it was so funny. We played along with it though.

If you would like to learn more about Onada, you can visit her website and learn more about her, view the photos she has taken, and the packages she offers. Like me, Onada also writes a blog, The Fab Bride, so be sure to check out her site as well.

Did you and your groom share a totally unexpected funny moment during your engagement or wedding day shoot that helped you relax? Make sure to comment below and share your story!

*all photos courtesy Onada Photography


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Wrap Your Wedding Bouquet: Inspiration & Favorite Options

So many of the wedding images that catch my eye are those of bouquets, and one specific aspect keeps catching my eye – bouquet wraps. Obtuse (as one of the readers I consulted mentioned)? Absolutely. But, it’s a detail nonetheless. Whether you purchase a bouquet for yourself in an effort to make an everyday seem more special or choose flowers to give to someone as a form of congratulations, those succulents are most often wrapped up in tissue paper in accenting colors. Because carrying a bouquet wrapped in tissue paper may not give off the right vibe (by all means do it, but I’m just saying…), your flowers will need to be kept as one unit in some way. You may not have thought about it yet, or maybe you have, but the way in which you choose to wrap your wedding bouquet offers another chance to add meaning and style to your overall wedding day look (and saves you from clutching those blooms for the day).

From weaving ribbon around the stems to including an heirloom (and more!), below are a couple of my favorite options:

photo via Style Me Pretty

photo via Southern Weddings

photo via Pinterest

Ribbon: Wrapping ribbon around your bouquet is definitely one of the most popular ways to dress your flowers, and it’s popular for a reason. Satin, seersucker, striped, long or short ends…there are so many options! Martha Stewart also has a how-to video where you can learn to weave your own bouquet wrap.

photo via Southern Weddings

photo via Ruffled

Lace: Lace adds such a romantic quality. I love how the lace used in the first photo falls away from the bouquet while the same fabric is used as an overlay in the second portraying a totally different look and feel.

photo via Martha Stewart Weddings

Monogram: Whether you choose to order a monogram bouquet wrap, embroider one onto a handkerchief, or use a lettered button, monograms add a classic touch to your wedding day floral arrangement.

photo via Pinterest

photo via Southern Weddings

Pearls: I love pearls because they are oh-so-feminine and a definite classic. The first photo represents a different idea – wrapping a strand around your bouquet. If you choose to do this, make sure the strand is secure. I happen to love the second photo because the pearls secure the ribbon and look like buttons at the same time – winner!

photo via Pinterest

photo via Style Me Pretty

Heirloom: Wrapping your bouquet in an heirloom is a simple, yet meaningful way to incorporate your “something old.” Popular items to keep in mind: a piece of your mother’s wedding gown or veil, a handkerchief from a grandparent, or a broach from your aunt or grandmother.

Make sure to consult with your florist about options for wrapping your bouquet. How are you planning to wrap your flowers? Are you going to use one of these options? Be sure to explain your plans in the comments! 

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Real Wedding Spotlight: Jeanine & Cory by Jenna Walcott

I was so excited when this wedding, which was photographed by Jenna Walcott, landed in my inbox. Why? Because Jeanine and Cory decided to tie the knot right across the river from Philly at The Westin Mount Laurel on New Year’s Eve, and they threw one rockin’ reception with just enough glam to boot!

As evidenced by the photos and Jenna description below, even though the energy was definitely high throughout the night, so many sweet moments were captured between the bride and her mother, the bride and groom, and the couple and their guests. I love the sparkle in Jeanine’s mother’s eyes right after she has placed her daughter’s veil on her head, as well as Cory’s pure happiness while watching Jeanine walk down the aisle. Then there are the shots from the reception where Jeanine cannot help but laugh as Cory twirls her around the dance floor, in addition to moments of breaking out in song between Jeanine and her guests. These moments combined with the details of this wedding (it’s complete with the necessary NYE hats and horns too) are what make these nuptials truly stand out.

Take a look at the photos and Jenna’s note below – I think you will have to agree that if this wedding doesn’t seem like one fun and meaningful time, I’m not sure which bash will.

From Photographer, Jenna Walcott: Jeanine and Cory, a truly and genuinely kind and lovely couple, got married on New Year’s Eve at the fabulous and newly renovated Westin in Mount Laurel, NJ. The day started off unseasonably sunny and mild for December and when we began the coverage we caught the last of some beautiful window light falling on us while Jeanine, her mom and her matrons of honor gathered in the bridal suite to put on the finishing touches. Once the sun was down, the party began! With an elegant ballroom ceremony and a guest list of 200+ who were ready to celebrate, this occasion was one of the more exciting ones I’ve had the pleasure of capturing! The dance floor was packed from beginning to end and guests of all ages were on their feet – a truly electric energy pulsed through every minute leading up to the turn of the new year and beyond. Yet, amidst all the bustle and wild spirit, I saw countless moments of tenderness and calm between Jeanine and Cory that gave me goosebumps – the kind of love that you know can stop time and make us all believe in “happily ever after”. Once the clock struck midnight, it was as if the party got it’s second wind and the crowd started all over again – bursting with energy and proving that the New Year really is all about New Beginnings. 

Make sure to point out your favorite moments in the comments, and head on over to Jenna’s blog to see even more photos of Jeanine and Cory’s high-energy NYE wedding.


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Going to the Chapel Heads to the South

As much as I love living in the North, where we experience varied seasons and have the ability to travel to neighboring NYC quickly, I love the South. To be more specific, I love Charleston and Kiawah Island. In my previous post, I mentioned that one way to ring in 2012 was to watch fireworks light up the night sky over the beach and ocean. Well, that’s exactly how I welcomed 2012.

I spent a week enjoying the beauty of Kiawah Island, a barrier island located 21 miles outside the charm of Charleston. My mornings were spent walking on the 10-mile stretch of beach scanning the ocean for dolphins, while my afternoons included long bike rides meandering along the island’s many bike trails. And then there were the sunsets – so beautiful every. single. time. Oh, and most of the days included temperatures in the 60s (in December and January!), which is downright balmy coming from Philly. Needless to say, my week spent with my family was wonderful. Kiawah never fails, and the pictures I snapped below help to show why.

If you’re searching for the perfect honeymoon spot that isn’t too far from Philadelphia, or if you’re looking for a fun place to go for a getaway weekend, consider going to Kiawah (more info here + accommodations info here). Activities ranging from biking and kayaking to golfing and tennis await, as well as ten miles of sandy shore. To help you plan your trip further, here is a link to help you learn more about Charleston (a horse and buggy ride through the city is one of the best ways to experience the town), and US Air continues to offer fairly inexpensive flight options.

I’m still a Northern girl, but my heart may belong to the South. Have no fear though, I’m still as dedicated as ever to helping you plan your Philly wedding. Stay tuned because another post is coming your way next week!

*all photos courtesy Going to the Chapel


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