Monthly Archives: March 2012

Photographer & Real Engagement Spotlight: A Q&A with Amanda Young

The photographer Q&A series is back! It’s back in a big way. These posts are some of my favorites to feature because they allow you to connect with awesome vendors (if you so choose) from the Philadelphia area, while also featuring some stop-what-you’re-doing-and-stare type of beautiful, awesome photography.

Amanda Young of SWOON OVER IT captured today’s engagement. The name of her photography company means business, y’all! And you will. You. will. swoon. Aside from the fact that you can tell Amanda, who is originally from Florida, absolutely loves what she does everyday, one of the most interesting things about her is that she got her start in the wedding industry by working for an event planner. As a result, she can quickly pin boutonnieres for your groomsmen in minutes while also making sure to capture the small moments, details, and large pictures of your day that make it…yours.

In today’s Q&A, you will learn all about Amanda and her unique background, and you’ll also find answers to staple questions about Amanda’s favorite locations and why she adores shooting weddings in the Philly area. She also sent along Annalily & Michael’s engagement photos. As a fellow creative Philadelphian, Annalily designs all of the window displays for Anthropologie. What? Yes.

Let’s get to it! Meet Amanda Young and SWOON OVER IT…

Going to the Chapel: You mention on your website that you have a background in wedding planning, and you have also talked about working within the publishing industry. How does your background influence your photography?

That’s a great question! Actually, working for a wedding planner as a side gig in college is what made me get into wedding photography in the first place. But, having this experience helping plan weddings is invaluable to me as a photographer today. I have an innate familiarity of constructing a timeline. I don’t break a sweat pinning on 10 boutonnieres in two minutes. And, I have a knack for balancing tight schedules, various wedding professionals, and dealing with the unexpected should it arise.

My background in publishing actually comes from having an English and communications degree. And, I think it’s pretty apparent how that helps and applies to me and my business. Though it sounds like it’s related only abstractly, I believe it makes me a better communicator with my clients and let’s me woo them with my words (kidding!).

Amanda Young: Why did you ultimately want to make the change and become a photographer?

Well, it depends what you’re talking about. When I worked in wedding planning, it wasn’t that I was necessarily going to become a planner. I just knew I loved weddings and thought the experience would be something to consider. And, obviously it was!

Working in publishing was my first “real” adult job out of college and… I hated it. Well, I didn’t hate it hate it, but I just knew it wasn’t for me. Not forever. Though my colleagues were wonderful, and the job was wonderful pay and great hours, I couldn’t stand the monotony of it all. I couldn’t handle the lack of creativity in general. It was, hands down, one of the most important experiences of my life, because in leaving the job I knew (1) I needed to do something creative with my life and (2) that I needed to work for myself.

GTTC: Why do you love photographing weddings in the Philly area?  

AY: The Philadelphia area in general is amazing and moving here and establishing my business here has been such a wonderful experience. Mostly, I love how there is so much variety from one place to the next. Within a few miles from one another you can go from the rough urban landscape of downtown skyscrapers, to the fun, hubbub of someplace like Boathouse Row, to the rolling hills of the suburbs. And, I love how the city of Philadelphia itself has so much culture; it really makes each wedding and each couple completely unique from one another.

But, perhaps above all else, I absolutely adore the fellow wedding professionals I have met since moving to Philadelphia. There is truly so, so much talent in the wedding industry around here and I love getting to work with such inspiring, kind people.

GTTC: What are some of your favorite Philly places to visit while photographing a couple? What about your favorite hidden gems?

AY: Ooh, what a hard question! Really, I always encourage my couples to pick places that are unique the THEM as I think that makes the session infinitely more meaningful. Also, I love getting to shoot in places that are new or different for me – it lets me flex my creative muscles a bit, which is something I enjoy. But, if I had to pick, I’d have to say how much I love shooting in some of the hidden alleyways in Old City. Always makes for a fun surprise, and I think the couples are always shocked how the images look compared to how the alley may look in person!

GTTC: Can you describe some of the must have shots while capturing an engagement session and a wedding? How do you like to tell the couple’s story?

AY: I think it’s critical to have images that are fun and artsy to represent the couple’s unique relationship, but I also think it’s also important to have some classic images that are completely timeless. So, I like to think my style is a representation of both. I can’t say what a “must-have” shot is because I think that’s really dependent on each couple, but I think it’s essential to have shots that really represent them and their personalities. Sweet, soft shots of them interacting with one another… talking, laughing, hugging each other. Truly expressing their happiness. Moments captured in time.

Beyond that, to tell their story I really like to make sure to include the details along the way. Maybe it’s the look in his eyes as she laughs, maybe it’s the way she grips his hand as they cross the street, or the way he kisses her temple when she snuggles up to him. I like to make sure I get not just the wider image capturing the scene, but the tighter image capturing the moment.

GTTC: Classic vs. trendy shots, black and white vs. color – which style and photo type do you prefer and why?

AY: I think I kind of inadvertently answered this above. I love, love, love fun and trendy shots. I love coming up with interesting ideas, locations, composition for images. But, at the end of the day, I think it’s essential to have some classic shots as well. I don’t think I could ever choose between black and white or color. Both are wonderful for completely different reasons. I’ve jokingly said I’d be a strictly black-and-white photographer if I could, but I don’t mean it; all it takes is seeing all the breathtaking colors of an Indian wedding, or the stunning vibrancy of the spring flowers in bloom, and I know I could never really leave color images behind. Both are perfect for different types of images.

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

AY: I am so lucky that I really enjoy photographing all of my couples. It’s such an honor to be a part of such a special time in their lives.

But, one in particular that comes to mind is Annalily and Michael. Firstly, let’s start by explaining that Annalily is the one who designs the amazing windows at Anthropologie. You know, the insanely gorgeous, well-designed windows everyone talks about? Yea, those are by her. So, when she asked me to shoot her June nuptials I was completely and totally beside myself with excitement.

And even their engagement session was no exception. They are one of those couples who have such a sweet, endearing kind of love. The way he looks at her is just incredible. The way they laugh together. Everything. Undoubtedly the type of couple that leaves a photographer feeling so fortunate to get to do what they do.

I just have to jump in. I love this next photo because you can feel their happiness. 

You were able to view Annalily & Michael’s engagement here, and be sure to check out their wedding on Amanda’s blog. That’s another fun fact that I learned about Amanda: she really loves to blog as a result of her time spent in the publishing world. If you would like to learn more about Amanda, there are several ways to go about it: visit her blog or website, “like” her page on Facebook, or follow her tweets on Twitter.

Did Amanda capture your photos? Share your experience with other readers in the comments! 

*all photos are courtesy of Amanda Young & SWOON OVER IT

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Weekly Wedding Favorites

Thanks to the awesome warm temperatures, I’m planning to go on an adventure to Washington, D.C. in order to see the Cherry Blossoms in bloom. As a result, I have been seriously looking forward to this weekend! My mirror love fest continued this week, and I’ve also pulled together other favorites, including a bridesmaid dress I adore, as well as a surprise wedding.

Favorite Reflection:

photo courtesy Jenna Walcott Photography

photo courtesy Sarah Schulte Photography

When I starting thinking about gathering photos to continue my mirror love fest (see more here + here), I immediately thought of the first photo by Jenna Walcott. I love how two of the bride’s most important wedding day items are featured in the photo – her bouquet brilliantly in the foreground and her dress softly reflecting in the background. Excited, happy people are awesome, and that’s exactly how the bride in the second photo, captured by Sarah Schulte, looks. Plus she’s glowing, and her mom is too sweet.

Favorite Group Idea:

photo courtesy SWOON OVER IT

As I was linking all of the websites for Wednesday’s post, I was scrolling through Amanda’s blog, and I came across the above photo. I think that this couple’s “must have” – a group photo – is such a great idea! I love how you can see everyone who attended the wedding in one fun shot.

Favorite Bridesmaid Dress:

photo courtesy Southern Weddings

Every time I see this dress pictured, I am reminded how much I love it because it’s so different. Half striped + one shoulder & off the shoulder + pockets + Kelly Green = AH! I love this dress. Who’s with me? I would love to see bridesmaids wearing this piece of perfection in the spring or summer.

Favorite Cake Detail:

photo courtesy Brides.com

The Eiffel Tower is painted onto this cake from Brides.com. What?! I actually did a double take when I came across it on their blog. I also love the Fleur-de-lis, which almost appear as if they are strung like a garland around the perimeter of the cake. Do you love Paris? Did you and your beau meet while studying abroad in Paris in college? Serve this cake.

Favorite Shocker:

Y’all, this couple surprised their friends and family by planning a wedding and not telling a soul. We’re not talking about secretly eloping. We’re talking about a fully planned wedding on New Year’s Eve without telling anyone. The details, flowers, photos, and wedding look beautiful in this post from Style Me Pretty. The fact that they planned their day in mere weeks because he was serving in Iraq (thank you for what you do!) is insane, but it’s a great reminder, as the bride says, “Remind yourself that a wedding isn’t about dresses or cakes. It’s about committing to a lifetime together, and nothing can take away the beauty that brings to your day!” Agreed.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Mirror Inspiration: Engagement & Wedding Photos

Last week’s mirror inspiration board was only the beginning of the mirror love fest (think mirror backdrops, centerpieces, and menus). These mirror details reflect light and add to the overall ambiance of your reception whether it lasts all afternoon or well into the evening. However, the fact that mirrors also reflect emotion may win…ever so slightly. Photos filled with double the emotion? Yes, please!

As promised, today’s post is filled with beautiful shots of dresses and bouquets; brides, grooms, and flower girls preparing for the big day; as well as an engagement shot that I really adore. All of these photos were captured by some of Philly’s best photographers. Seriously, these ladies are awesome.

Mirror Love Round 2 awaits…

Photo credits: 1, 2, 8, & 10: Jenna Walcott Photography; 3, 4, 7, & 12: Swoon Over It; 5, 6, & 11: Sarah Schulte Photography; 9: Heather DiPiazza Photography)

Tell me, are mirrors up your alley too? 

For more information and to get to know these photographers better, be sure to visit their respective websites, which are linked above. They really are fun to work with!

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Weekly Wedding Favorites

It’s warm(er) in Philly and the trees are in bloom! Who is happy about this shift toward spring? This blogger right here! I was able to stay inside though and pull together my favorite mirror detail finds into Going to the Chapel’s first inspiration board. YES! What do think? Aside from my mirror love, I have a couple other favorites from around the web this week…

Favorite Accessory:

photo via Any Kind

I happened upon this cute fold over clutch on Dodeline Design’s blog last Friday (right after I posted my Weekly Wedding Favorites, of course!), and I quickly clicked over to Any Kind’s Etsy store. Between carrying my phone, keys, and cash, clutches and wristlets fill up very quickly – and then tend to bulge. I love that you can carry all of your essentials to a wedding in this cute clutch without carrying a larger (slightly out of place) bag that takes away from the chicness of your overall look.

Favorite Flower Girl Dress:

photo via Southern Weddings

To be honest, I really love this couple’s entire wedding, which was featured on the Southern Weddings blog. However, if I have to pick one detail that stands out just a little bit more from the rest of the gorgeousness, it’s this flower girl’s dress. I love the tulle, the flowers, and the fact that it’s an age appropriate one-shoulder gown.

Favorite Centerpiece:

photo via Martha Stewart Weddings

I adore this centerpiece from Martha Stewart Weddings, which I featured yesterday on the mirror inspiration board. It’s a favorite because the mirror and its frame create a space for the bouquet and candles to be arranged closer together rather than scattered across the table. The candles’ reflection will also cast an even more dramatic glow on an elegant evening reception.

Favorite Cake Topper:

photo via Brides.com

I mentioned last week that I love this pom-pom adorned car, so obviously I’m also smitten with this cake topper. The colors, the price, and the overall look make it stand out to me. Added bonus? I love untraditional cake toppers that have that wedding feel but don’t necessarily feature a bride and groom on top of the cake – this one has that base covered.

Favorite Backdrop:

photo via Pinterest & Style Me Pretty

I mentioned yesterday that I love mirrors because they reflect light. A mirror backdrop complete with a gorgeous cake? I die! I love that all of the mirrors are different sizes and shapes, yet they combine to create one beautiful cohesive look.

I am so excited for the beautiful temperatures coming our way this weekend! Warm weather is definitely a favorite always. Have a great weekend!

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Inspiration Board: Mirror Details

Fun fact: I love mirrors. I think that they are a perfect detail to incorporate into your wedding because they reflect light, which suits both an afternoon reception as well as an evening party complete with candles. As a result, I created an inspiration board of some of my favorite mirror details from around the web.

{credits: Cake: Style Me Pretty via Pinterest, Garland: Etsy, Table numbers: Etsy, Centerpiece: Martha Stewart Weddings, Seating Chart: Brides.com; Menu: Southern Weddings}

I have a definite obsession with the mirror backdrop behind the cake. I love how even though the backdrop includes mirrors of different shapes and sizes, everything combines to create a cohesive look. And the cake’s reflection? Perfect. I am also a huge fan of the mirror centerpiece because the mirror allows simple elements to pack a much more dramatic punch (hello, added light reflection from the candles!).

Be sure to stop back next week for a collection of mirror inspired photos from some of Philly’s awesome photographers (think brides, grooms, and flower girls preparing for the big day). The moments and details captured in these photos are definitely worth the visit!

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Weekly Wedding Favorites

I stayed true to my word this week, and I visited the Philadelphia Flower Show. The stunning arrangements definitely made up for the fact that I went on a tour of some of Philly’s parking garages (read: it took three to finally find a spot, and I could have hugged the attendant who allowed me to pull my RAV4 into a compact car slot). In addition to the inspiration provided by the flower show, including a Philly venue idea, two getaway mobiles and a lovely wire ring for your bridesmaids also blew me away. Read on, y’all!

Favorite Centerpiece (and Philly event!):

photo courtesy Going to the Chapel

You already know how much I enjoy going to the flower show, which continues until Sunday. You can only imagine how excited I was then when I came across the rainbow centerpiece pictured above. As I said here, it’s beautiful and so amazing.

Favorite Philly Venue:

photo courtesy V.I.P. Magazine

With spring and summer upon us (hello, warm weather!), I can’t stop thinking about outdoor weddings. I love that The Fairmount Park Horticulture Center allows you to host your wedding within the walls of the greenhouse or outside by the reflecting pool. The grounds seem gorgeous, and I love that Fairmount Park is part of Philly’s landmark core. They have also just partnered with Stephen Starr Events, so you’ve just found your caterer too.

Favorite Bridesmaid Gift:

photo courtesy Fabulous Wire

Pinterest is one of my favorite sources of inspiration, and I immediately clicked on the photo above, which was posted by Emmaline Bride. I love (enjoy the pun because it’s true!) this ring created by Etsy designer Fabulous Wire. It’s such a reasonably priced gift to give to your bridesmaids, and aside from being unique, my favorite feature is that it’s adjustable – no need to worry about sizes.

Favorite Getaway(s):

photo courtesy Southern Weddings

photo courtesy Southern Weddings

Everything just looks better with cascading ribbons and flowers, don’t you think? I love these getaway bikes that this Southern Weddings couple hopped on to ride away from their soirée together because they added both! Biking away from your reception is definitely one to consider if you are hosting a wedding down the shore. Although I was completely sold on the getaway bikes, I also was swooning over that getaway car! I love that the couple adorned their car with pom-poms instead of cans because they add a great blast of color.

Favorite Honeymoon Item:

photo courtesy Kate Spade

Since I can remember, there’s always been a special place in my heart reserved for Kate Spade. Although I don’t own any of her pieces (yet!), when I came across this (albeit slightly expensive) bow adorned bag, I immediately thought it would look perfect to carry on your honeymoon to one of the Caribbean’s tropical islands.

After a busy couple of weeks, I am planning to relax and possibly buy my LOVE ring find this weekend. What are your plans? 

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Going to the Chapel Visits the Philadelphia Flower Show

Last Friday, I mentioned that one of my favorite Philly events is happening this week at the PA Convention Center – the Philadelphia Flower Show. Every year, I am amazed by the ways in which the participating florists create stunning arrangements from the beautiful blooms of the chosen geographical area. This year’s chosen area is Hawaii. Yes, please!

I was true to my word, and I attended the show yesterday, which also just happened to be Wedding Wednesday, hosted by Philadelphia Weddings magazine. What better way to gather inspiration for your bouquets and centerpieces than at the flower show? Not only is the show a great place to be inspired, but it’s also where you may stumble upon a florist who can create your wedding day arrangements because so many area florists participate.

Rather than explain all of the arrangements that made me giddy, I thought I would show you instead. Enjoy these snaps from my iPhone.

The waterfall? It’s just one of the event’s main focal points. I also had to revisit the starfish. It would be such a different take for centerpieces at a Jersey Shore wedding! I loved the aisle design by Stephen Starr Events because it depicts the wedding that you could have if you were married at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. However, my favorite arrangement of all is the rainbow centerpiece at the reception table. In a word: amazing. A Philadelphia Flower Show adventure is never complete without roses from Kremp Florist. $4 for a dozen roses? I’ll take those beauties!

Need a fun plan for this weekend? Attend the Philadelphia Flower Show and then take a break for lunch or dinner at Reading Terminal Market. If you already have plans but are searching for an amazing florist, check out the list of participants, which includes Bucks County based Flowers By David and Philadelphia based Petals Lane (whom I featured here).

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