Weekly Wedding Favorites

After deciding on this week’s favorites, I realized something: I’m pretty excited about life right now. I like this feeling! This week’s favorites include a Rihanna song that might just guarantee a full dance floor, a photo sample from an engagement session that might be my favorite…ever, and an alternative to a sparkler exit. Feeling pumped yet? : )

Favorite Reception Song:

Every time I hear “We Found Love” by Rihanna, I want to dance. Because that is normally the goal at a wedding – get those guests on the floor! – I think this song is one of the best ways to do it. Would you agree?

Favorite Bachelorette Party Idea:

photo courtesy of Pinterest

Opening Day was Monday, so we’re into Phillies season, y’all! I’m pumped to go to my first game in just a couple of weeks with one of my best friends. Attending a game is a great alternative for a baseball-loving bride who is not totally into a bar crawl.

Favorite Engagement Photo:

photo courtesy of Jenna Walcott Photography

Recently, Jenna Walcott hinted on her Facebook page that she was pretty excited about an engagement session she had the opportunity to shoot in the early morning light with D.C couple Amy & Jack. As a fan of sunrises, I was already looking forward to the photos. However, I could not stop myself from saying “wow” as I was looking through her blog filled with images from the session. Stunning.

Favorite Altar:

photo via Southern Weddings

Although so many outdoor venues provide beautiful landscapes on their own, I really, really love the altar that surrounded this couple while they said, “I do.” Lining the aisle with vases, mason jars, lanterns, or petals is also another option. However, by creating an awesome floral alter, this couple caused everyone’s eyes to be drawn directly to them.

Favorite Exit: 

photo courtesy of Southern Weddings

Who has not fallen in love with a sparkler exit? They’re always so beautiful and create stunning images. However, I adore this couple’s balloon exist. Although they had their guests release balloons to celebrate as they left their ceremony, it’s also a great idea to keep in mind for an afternoon reception.

Feeling pumped yet? : )

Happy weekend, all!



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Weekly Wedding Favorites

How was your week? I hope you enjoyed it! This week was completely focused on bouquets, which happen to be one of my favorite features of any wedding. I love the colors couples choose to incorporate, and of course the flowers. As a result, bouquets are making a double appearance in this week’s favorites along with a Christina Perri song, a video that makes me laugh, and more.

Favorite Bouquet:

photo courtesy of MODA botanica

This week’s featured Q&A was with MODA botanica. The group of florists – yes, you read that correctly – is made up of two Philly-based designers. Together, both create modern arrangements, such as the corsage style bouquet featured above, for events and weddings. To learn more about MODA botanica, you can read all of their answers to the Q&A right here.

Favorite Bouquet Wrap:

photo courtesy Ritzy Bee Blog + Martha Stewart Weddings

These bouquets are each wrapped with silk scarves. As someone who is scarf obsessed (I just purchased a special hanger for my scarves because they were overwhelming my closet – problem?), I think that this idea from Ritzy Bee is so unique. The scarves provide additional color to your bouquet, which could be fun for an all white bouquet. I love the texture and added length, too.

Favorite Laugh:

Although this couple is not yet married, they may very well be on their way. Of course it may be a pretend wedding because both are part of a Nike commercial called “I Would Run To You.” I like the message behind it, but even more than that, the guy makes me laugh every time. (Side note: I wish I could run so effortlessly as the girl. Is anyone else with me?)

Favorite Hairstyle:

photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

Last week I mentioned how much I.love.braids. As a result, what’s the harm in bringing back one of my favorite hairstyles for a second week in a row? I came across this hairstyle, which is part of a Style Me Pretty styled shoot. It’s actually two braids – one in the front that’s then incorporated into a larger braid. The feathered headband is also a great added touch that really completes the look.

Favorite Song:

My mom first introduced me to this song by Christina Perri. Helloooo, Philly girl! It’s one of my all-time favorite songs. Because my mom introduced it to me, I think it would be a perfect song for a father-daughter/mother-son dance at your wedding. It’s also a pretty and sweet song for your first dance.

I hope you have a great holiday weekend filled with family and friends. See you next week!

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All About Bouquets: A Q&A with MODA botanica

Remember when I mentioned that I attended the Philadelphia Flower Show? It’s my favorite Philly event, and I look forward to attending every year. Because I am wowed by so many of the arrangements (this year included!), I am so excited to introduce you to one of the florists who exhibited: MODA botanica.

As a result of their modern aesthetic, Philadelphia’s MODA botanica (they’re available worldwide, too!) definitely would be perfect for a couple seeking more modern designs for their arrangements. Not only do they present flowers in different ways, but MODA botanica also likes to incorporate untraditional elements into the arrangements they create (think zip ties, yarn, and shipping containers). Aside from the designs that they create (wait for the photos!) one of my favorite aspects about the group is that is what they are – a group of two florists who decided to collaborate.

Although MODA botanica creates all different types of arrangements perfect for your wedding, today is all about bouquets with a couple of other gorgeous photos of tablescapes in addition. Confession: I. love. bouquets. Do you love them, too? Below MODA botanica graciously answered questions for today’s Q&A, and some of my favorite answers are what they have to say about blooms perfect for spring as well as the top five things to keep in mind about your bouquet.

Take a moment to learn more about MODA botanica…

Going to the Chapel: Why did you want to become a florist?

MODA botanica: We have a passion for design and nature and working with flowers allows us the opportunity to be creative with the most beautiful product available in the world.

GTTC: Why did you create MODA botanica?

MB: After years of creating original designs for other companies we saw an opening in the market for a forward thinking clientele who are looking for a unique floral experience.

GTTC: What services does MODA botanica offer? How do you differ from other area florists?

MB: MODA botanica offers custom floral and event design ranging from complete party décor down to a single gift arrangement. Our designs are based in an avant-garde aesthetic and we think of our arrangements as an individual expression of our client’s personality through the medium of floral art.

GTTC: Why do you enjoy designing floral arrangements for weddings in the Philadelphia area?

MB: Philadelphia is home to an amazing array of creative individuals who are looking for their weddings to be representative of their own personal sense of style and we love to use our talents to bring that vision to life through gorgeous botanicals.

GTTC: What are your top five favorite designs that MODA botanica has created?

MB: Our favorite designs to create are commissioned installations where we are able to let our creativity run wild, so I would have to say that our exhibits at the Philadelphia International Flower Show over the past four years are at the top of the list along with designs created for the Macy’s Flower Show, multiple photo shoots, etc. As far as our weddings and events, they are each so different and representative of the couple or host that it is hard to pick a favorite, that is like asking a parent to name their favorite child.

GTTC: What are your favorite flowers to incorporate into springtime bouquets?

MB: Spring is a time that provides us with beautiful flowering branch material like Quince, Cherry and Dogwood along with a plethora of bulb flowers: tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, etc. Currently the most amazing product on the market during the late winter and spring months are the Sweet Peas that are imported from Japan, if we have a chance to include them in our work while they are in season we will jump at the opportunity.

GTTC: What are your top five dos and don’ts for the bride’s bouquet?


  1. Select the dress before you ever consider the bouquet; the flowers should enhance and reflect the details and line of the dress and not compete with them.
  2. Take measurements. Scale is important; the bouquet should never overwhelm the bride.
  3. Add something personal: a significant flower, photo locket or a fabric remnant from your mother’s wedding dress, something that only you know about.
  4. Don’t be afraid of color. While classic pure white is appropriate for many occasions, it is perfectly acceptable to carry a bouquet of vibrant colored flowers. Remember that the bride is the center of attention and a bold color will grab your eye and bring the focus towards you.
  5. Place some trust in your floral designer to create the best end result. If you allow us some freedom to make something wonderful and unexpected for you, you are guaranteed to have a memorable bouquet.

GTTC: As a result of Kate Middleton’s bouquet, it seems like cascading bouquets are making a comeback. Do you feel that this is the case? What are some of the upcoming bouquet trends that excite you the most?

MB: We are definitely seeing the return of a cascading bouquet and are getting more and more requests for them and this excites us as we are a bit tired of seeing the same rounded hand-tied bouquets that seem to have been in style for over a decade. As designers focused on the cutting-edge, we always want to be ahead of the trends so we are presenting non-traditional bouquets with alternate carrying methods: draped over-the-wrist, a sphere cupped in the palm of the hand, or bouquets constructed off of a ring that slips over your finger are all a personal favorite.

GTTC: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MB: Similar to answer #5 in the do’s and don’ts section, I would like to add that placing some trust and freedom to create in your floral designer will always yield the best results. I know that many brides have spent years imagining their wedding day down to every last detail, however if you allow your vendors to invest some of themselves into their product you will be surprised at how much better the big picture becomes. Given some leeway as professionals we will always put our best foot forward to produce something that is truly special.

Thanks so much to MODA botanica! There’s even more info and photos on the group’s blog and on their Facebook page, so be sure to visit.

*all photos are courtesy of MODA botanica

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Weekly Wedding Favorites

Well, biking through Washington, D.C. while viewing the cherry blooms did not happen last weekend because of the serious threat of rain (which did not happen, mind you). I wasn’t bothered though because relaxation and a spontaneous shopping trip always make up for botched plans. Are you searching for a creative Philly photographer or wondering if you need to tip your wedding day vendors? Both are detailed in this week’s favorites along with a lot more.

Favorite Engagement Photo:

photo courtesy of Amanda Young + SWOON OVER IT

The above photo of Annalily & Michael’s engagement is my favorite from their session because you can tell that Michael adores Annalily plus they both exude happiness. Yes! Amanda Young of SWOON OVER IT captured the couple and shared the photos as part of the Photographer Q&A series, which she participated in this week. Wondering about Amanda’s favorite hidden gem locations in Philly or photos she loves to capture at weddings? Learn more about Amanda and read all of her answers right here.

Favorite Place Card Idea:

photo courtesy of Pinterest + Every Last Detail Blog

This idea, which I originally stumbled upon on Pinterest, has been getting repined a whole lot this week (along with this pin). As a result, I thought I would share it here too. I was on the hunt for fun place card ideas and I liked this idea (and still do!) because a.) Polaroids are fun, b.) the photos provide a visual representation of the wedding guests for the bride and groom for a vintage-style album, and c.) I like the idea of a give and take. For a more modern take, you could also choose to have guests snap photos with a digital camera for the same effect without the vintage feel.  Side note: if you’re not on Pinterest, considering joining. It’s so helpful to “pin” your likes and loves from around the web rather than saving links that do not provide any visuals.

Favorite Detail for Your Envelopes:

photo courtesy of Staples

How perfect are these labels as an accent for your favors? I also like these metallic seals to close your save-the-dates, invitations, or thank you notes. If you choose to seal your own envelopes, the task at hand will be made much quicker and easier (without losing any of the pretty!) with these labels, and you don’t have to worry about writing on each of your favors if you so choose. Oh, and by the way, Martha Stewart designs both for Staples. Are you with me now? Wedding details and so much more designed by Martha Stewart…sign.me.up (hmmm…maybe hold me back because I love office supplies a little too much).

Favorite Informational Post:

photo courtesy of Southern Weddings

Tipping your wedding vendors is tricky, y’all. Whom do you tip? How much should you give? Is tipping even necessary? Although the title begins with “Southern Etiquette,” I think these very helpful tips from Southern Weddings apply to all Northerners, too. The post details when to tip your wedding planner, how much to give your hairstylist, and why a gift is one of the most appropriate options for your photographer. An added bonus is the chart pictured above – it’s perfect to print and keep with your wedding file to use as a reference point.

Favorite Hair Style:

photo courtesy of Pinterest + Brides

I believe my exact reaction when I saw this hairstyle was “AHHHHHH!” Fun fact: I often incorporate a side braid a la Lauren Conrad (here’s a great how to) into my every day look. As a result, I am head over heals in favor of this side swept braided updo for your wedding day or even for your shower from Brides’ Pinterest page. It would also be perfect for bridesmaids too. The best part? If it’s pinned well, that puppy is not moving at all throughout the day. LOVE BRAIDS.

I have high hopes for this weekend with friends! Enjoy yours, readers!

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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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