“I will love you as long as the sun burns in the sky,
as long a the moon shines its light into the dark night,
until the raging blue oceans become calm and run dry.
I will love you until the end of time.”
- Christy Ann Martine
Keith and Kendall aren’t exactly high school sweethearts, but they still have had the amazing opportunity to grow up with and get to know each other over the years and build a strong friendship foundation. These two have known each other since high school, and what they both thought was always going to be a friendship turned into something more when an invitation to catch up a few years later sparked the romance. Together Keith and Kendall love the outdoors, they spend a lot of their free time at their beach house, fishing, and hunting. And they are huge Eagles fans.
I met Keith and Kendall at Core Creek Park, which is almost directly in between both of their parents house. Both have fond memories of coming to this park as kids, so I could think of no better place to begin documenting their love story. We braved the chilliness of this March day as we explored the park and chatted about wedding planning. Keith and Kendall will be married at the Booking House, which I am super excited about because not only is it a spectacular venue, it is in my hometown! I loved getting to spend some more time getting to know these two and I can’t wait until their fall wedding!
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.”
When we have a new couple that is friends with one of our favorite couples from past years, you can guarantee its going to be good. Hal and Jessica found us through Evan and Casey – Evan and Hal are childhood friends, and these two exceeded our expectations. Hal and Jess chose Longwood Gardens for their engagement photos – another one of our favorite things! Apparently known to everyone but us, there was an impending blizzard heading right for Philly. But in the last few hours before the rain and snow started, as the clouds slowly rolled in, we had Longwood almost all to ourselves. Nonetheless, we had fun walking around the gardens, laughing and getting to know these two.
Jessica and Hal met at work while on a project together, and their first date followed not long after. Jess lost two bets in a row, and consequently ended up at a Restaurant/Bar called The Recovery, where what both she and Hal thought would be a simple dinner, turned into 5 hours of talking, sipping drinks, and getting to know each other.
Hal and Jess have a fun-loving, laid back relationship. They are always making each other laugh and admire each other’s sense of humor and free spirit. Though they are self proclaimed workaholics, Hal and Jess always make time to travel. Every year they take a trip to Las Vegas and Florida together, and both name these trips, among others, as some of their favorite memories together.
We can’t wait for Jessica and Hal’s big day at the Kimmel Center in Philly in just a few months!
“Promise to stay wild with me. We’ll seek and return and stay and find beauty and the extraordinary in all of the spaces we claim. We’ll know how to live. How to breathe magic into the mundane.”
- Victoria Erickson
Buckle up, it’s about to be a long one folks. Get ready for ALL of the gushing. Or just skip to the pretty images, that’s cool too.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE big fancy weddings. The details thought through months in advance, perfectly placed and coming to life in one magical celebration. Rows and rows of the most important friends and family of that couple, people traveling from all parts of the world to witness this one, perfect, breathtakingly wonderful declaration of love. I’ve made a career of photographing days like this. But when you strip it all down, my favorite thing is the power that is held within the ceremony itself. Beyond all the bells and whistles, fancy cakes, dance parties and exquisite dining, is the most important covenant one person can make to another.
To me, as a Christian and a follower of Jesus, marriage is a BIG deal. It is an outward expression of the inner love and devotion two people have for one another. Perfectly placed, perfectly orchestrated by a God Who loves those people even more then they love one another.
So yes, I love the parties, but I love the promises more.
We all have a person, or people in our lives who quickly come to mind when someone says, “good friend”. These are the people that you know will always look out for you, who have time to listen to your problems and will walk through all of life with you, not just through the good times.
Cue Paul and Carly.
I met Paul 8 years ago when I first began attending a then-small Philadelphia church called EPIC, where services were held in a movie theater . If you ask any person who knows Paul to describe him, you will surely find that he is characterized as one of those truly good friends. Loyal to his bones, he has a way of continuing to challenge those in his circle of influence. He has this unquenchable thirst for growth and a faith in Jesus that is inspiring. Somehow he always makes time for those important to him.
I continually tell him I owe him all of the favors…for presenting my thesis show to a magazine to be featured (in which I got a job later), to the time I messed up my back and he got my keys from a second story window and then covered my role as worship leader (on a Sunday he was preaching none-the-less). Paul Heggie is one of the most quality human beings you’ll ever meet.
So to say the bar was set high for his life-partner, is an understatement.
Then Miss Carly walked in.
They met at an EPIC Church event (naturally) called Night-to-Shine, a prom for special needs. I remember a group of us hearing about her for the first time shortly after. He loved her authenticity and her quirky side that quickly surfaced. They literally brought note cards to their date just like a scene out of Parks and Rec. (PRESH.)
Allow me to digress, If I had to use one word to describe the year 2017 for me, it would be community. The people closest to me know that 2016 was one of the hardest years I have had so far. I worked too much, didn’t prioritize what was most important, and by the end had lost all sense of community. But by the closing of the following year, God had answered my prayers so tangibly by bringing some of the most amazing people into my life. People who challenge me, who push me to be better and who continue to point me towards Jesus. Carly is one of those people. We have had countless times in the last year where we have asked “HOW THE HECK HAVE I ONLY KNOWN YOU FOR SUCH A SHORT TIME?” She’s one of those you’re-stuck-with-me-forever kind of friends. So Paul, thanks for continuing to be awesome and introducing me to one of my now dearest friends.
Back to the couple of the hour, almost exactly one year after their first date, they met by that same park bench just moments before they said “I-do”, Paul turning to see Carly for the first time that day, with a grin reaching from ear to ear. Some people would say that meeting, dating, getting engaged AND getting married in the span of year is insanity. But the truth is, preparing for marriage is about being intentional. It is putting in the time to learn about one another’s strengths and weaknesses, embracing the good but also diving into the not-so-fun, messy parts. Paul and Carly are perfect examples of putting in the work. Plus, I’m fairly certain Paul has a superpower in which he can make possible things that take other people years to accomplish.
February 18 was a seasonably warm afternoon and after a brief couple session in Rittenhouse Square, Paul had a surprise up his sleeve. Carly thought they would wed at a friends home nearby, surrounded by their closest friends and family. Paul lead Carly on a detour to pass the pop shop that they went to on their first date and convinced her to step inside quickly. Little did she know, he had orchestrated the ceremony to take place there. They walked in and Carly then realized the surprise, her jaw dropped. Romantic music was playing and tears already were forming in the eyes of those attending.
The ceremony that followed was one of the sweetest things I have yet to witness; stripped down, authentic, and real. They promised to be one another’s best friends and biggest fans. They vowed to love one another, to support, trust and encourage each other. They declared that they would help each other move towards a deeper faith and God, even in the darkest times. And in Carly and Paul fashion, Paul stated;
“I promise to be your best friend, your confidant, your biggest fan. I promise to love you like Ben loves Leslie, like Luke loves Lorelai, like Jim loves Pam, like Jalil loves Rihanna.
You’re the one who never leaves my mind. You’re the one I want by my side, on the road, underneath the stars, on this coast or the west coast or halfway across the world. You’re the one who’s become home to me.”
Kent Jacobs, who is not only the pastor of EPIC church but also a dear friend of Paul’s, lead the ceremony. Kent has walked beside him from the dreaming and beginnings of a new church, through the following good days and bad that life surely brings. And then again standing beside him on this very, very good day.
He said it best,
“…sometimes God brings two people together in a way that no one could have predicted. No one could have called it. No one could have planned it. And there’s something almost magical about that…”
He went on to describe their wild story of God bringing two people together. Closing with,
“Now I’m not much for magic, but I do believe in miracles. One thing I know for sure, because I’ve lived it, and because I’ve watched it happen with the two of you. The promise of the scripture is true… God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”
This was an answer-to-prayer kind of day. This was an all-your-dreams-come-true kind of day. This was a good day.
“For the two of us, love isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”
The word I heard most on Tiiu and Doug’s wedding day was balance, and within moments of meeting them anyone could agree that this is the perfect word to describe their relationship. Tiiu has a bright, bubbly personality that draws you in right away. She has eclectic taste, and loves color and sparkles. Doug is steady and classic, but has his own quiet confidence about him. He is supportive and thoughtful with the kindest heart, and when these two are together they complete each other. Tiiu is the mother of Liia, one of our 2016 brides who we absolutely loved. Doug fits right in and they both name family as one of the most important things in their lives.
Doug and Tiiu met years ago when they were both teenagers on the swim team. They had small moments of dating in between other relationships growing up, and eventually parted ways but stayed friends. When the time was right, their paths crossed again, and the connection they had picked right back up. They still name their high school dates as some favorite memories together. Their first date was seeing the premiere of Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight, and the theme of seeing movies together has continued to this day.
Doug and Tiiu were married at Kennet Friends Meeting in a traditional Quaker ceremony. In these ceremonies the bride and groom say their own vows, and then the entire congregation is invited to speak as they feel moved. For nearly an hour the room was filled by friends and family sharing stories, memories, and well wishes for the bride and groom. The word balance again came up many times as guests shared the impact Doug and Tiiu, together and as individuals, have had on them. You could so clearly see the love that surrounds Tiiu and Doug.
Though it was rainy and dreary outside, Tiiu and Doug never once let this get in the way of their big day. We worked photos into the breaks between showers and made the best of the situation. After the ceremony everyone traveled to the couple’s favorite restaurant – Harry’s Savoy Grill in Wilmington. All the guests were invited to the dance floor to share in the newlyweds first dance. Dinner was followed by toasts by the best man, Mike, and Tiiu’s three children. Everyone danced the night away, led by the live band.
All in all it was the loveliest day and I am so grateful to have been a part of capturing Doug and Tiiu’s happy day.
Ceremony Venue: Kennett Friends Meeting
Reception Venue: Harry’s Savoy Grill
Florist: Beautiful Blooms
Dj/Entertainment Services: The Bullets
Cake: Liberty Lane Bake Shoppe
Catering: Harry’s Savoy Grill
smiled at mine
and in that moment
my heart stopped
time stood still
filled my soul…
I saw forever.”
I met with Tommy & Emma a few days before their wedding to talk final details and walk the venue. The weather was calling for a wintery mix, not ideal for a wedding at the incredible Loews Hotel, known for its breathtaking views of Philadelphia from the 33rd floor. Windows on every wall, revealing the beautiful city below stretching towards the horizon. But despite the iffy forecast these two were anxious to get the show on the road. Both Tommy & Emma are planners and together they thought of every detail. All that was left was to enjoy the celebration.
The morning of February 17th I quickly hopped out of bed to peer out my window and wouldn’t you know, it was blue skies and sunny. I may have squealed with excitement.
The day began with meeting the girls in the most breathtaking bridal suite we have ever seen. Almost every wall was covered in windows, drenching the space with natural light and of course the iconic views of Philadelphia that the Loews hotel is so well known for. Knowing this type A bride, I knew we would walk into a very organized and relaxed atmosphere. Within moments of meeting the bridesmaids (and bridesman!), I knew we were in for a treat.
Emma slipped into her gorgeous lace gown with the help of her two sisters and mother. Her father walked in to see his baby girl and quite literally, his jaw dropped (see image below). They shared a dance together as they practiced their last minute steps.
An anxious Emma was anticipating what was next, getting to see her groom. We traveled up to the ceremony venue where the dapper Tommy was waiting. As he turned to see his bride, every inkling of stress dwindled.
We traveled by bus to grab a shot of another iconic view of Philadelphia, City Hall. The four of us (Tommy, Emma, Victoria and Myself) walked the streets taking full advantage of the uncrowded area. Perks of a winter wedding in Philadelphia!
A short trip to Washington Square followed, where the bridal party unloaded and it was their time to shine. Clouds had moved in as the forecast still called for evening snow. Temperatures dropped, but the attitudes remained excited and never once did we hear a complaint. CHAMPS. Emma’s dress was made for images in front of Second Bank. With it’s regal, sweeping columns and muted marble stone…together they were timeless.
It was then time for the main event. We traveled back, warmed up with some coffee, as guest began to arrive. Everyone in their best attire, admiring the views and anxiously awaiting to see the VIP’s of the day. The ceremony took place in an open space with endless windows, gold chairs and a see-through arbor adorned with gorgeous blooms. Below, a unity candle.
Guests found their seats and the live music swelled as Emma walked arm in arm with her mother and father. Her groom awaiting, tears in his eyes and a grin from ear to ear. If that wasn’t precious enough, their vows were quite possible the sweetest thing I have ever heard. There is no question the adoration these two have for one another. They’ve got it right; striving to continue to put the other above themselves, supporting each other with all that life throws them. You could feel the strength of their promises just by the way they proclaimed their vows.
And then it was time to party…
Guests enjoyed cocktail hour with exquisite cuisine and cocktails. Night was just starting to fall upon Philadelphia and the lights of the city were waking up, creating an even more magical view.
Tommy & Emma had a surprise in store for their guest, inviting them into a separate room for line dancing. WHAT, so fun. Then the intros were made and the reception began. BVT Live bringing the energy from start to finish.
Tommy & Emma had another surprise in store. As Tommy danced with his mother, Emma slipped out of the room to change into her tango attire. The two had been preparing a piece as their first dance. I’m still having a hard time figuring out how to articulate how MIND-BLOWINGLY awesome their dance was. Seriously, we were blown away. You would have thought two professional dancers were before us. They danced with ease, quick feet and completely synchronization with one another. The guests erupted in praise as the two danced above the city, the snow falling around us.
The night continued with dinner, endless dancing and the cake cutting of the cutest cake we have yet to see.
This day was one for the books. We could not have been more honored to have documented this love story. Tommy & Emma, thank-you for being so wonderful. We adore you guys!
Second Photographer: Victoria Walters
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Loews Hotel – Philadelphia
Wedding Planner: Christina with ATP Events
Dress: Philly Bride – Dress by Martina Liana
Grooms & Groomsmen Attire: Mens Wearhouse
Florist: Theresa Mallone
DJ/Entertainment Service: BVT Live
Catering & Cake: Loews Hotel
Hair & Makeup: Pretty on Arrival – Marissa