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So one of my favorite photographers, Randi Voss spent the last week in Hawaii.

“Doing what,” you may ask.

Shooting this beautiful, amazing, magical wedding.

Sigh.

This is her job.

Jealous.

More to come.

So I used to be pretty wholly against this idea. I’m a traditionalist and for a very long time my notion that the groom should see the bride for the first time as she makes her way down the aisle was pretty set in stone. The groom in no way shape or form should see his bride before that sacred moment. But times they are a changin’… and so are my views on this. Mostly, I blame all of the amazing photographers who have documented this in the last year or so. There’s something magical in that very first look. A moment between only two people without all of the eyes of a roomful of guests. A moment that’s yours and yours alone. That moment where the bride just reaches out and touches her groom’s shoulder and he turns around…

It’s magic.
See for yourself…

Photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty

Laura and Mark’s first look…

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Alison and Paul…

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo courtesy of Randi Voss

Jessi & Benjamin…

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

What do you think?

Ohhh I have such a fun wedding to share with you all!  I love me an off-beat bride, and Jessi was just that. Wanting to do everything and anything that was as much fun and unique as she and her fiance Benjamin, they put little bits of themselves into all of the best details of their wedding! Jessi and Benjamin married on November 14, 2009 in Washington, PA, and fab photog  Randi Voss was there to capture the day.

As soon as I saw the pink crinoline and the polka dot shoes… please. I was totally hooked.

I mean, how could you not be? So much fun!

From the bride… Benjamin and I are far from your typical couple therefore we couldn’t have a typical wedding.  I wanted to put as much of Benjamin and myself as I possibly could into our wedding as individuals and as a couple. My attire was my favorite part of our wedding.  My dress with my pink crinoline down to my polka dot shoes.  I feel like it just fit my personality.


Like many couples these days, Jessi and Benjamin opted to see each other before the ceremony.

From the beautiful bride…  I loved, for our first kiss as husband and wife Benjamin picked me up and I wrapped my  legs around his waist and kissed (our cake topper matched).  Our son, Keagan, joined us during our first dance and sang every word of our song while strumming his chest as if he were playing his guitar.

From the bride… It was important to me to remember my grandmother on such an important day of my life so I had her picture in my bouquet.
Years ago, Benjamin found a ring while working and as a joke he sent it to me in the mail (in a regular letter envelope) when it got to me it was half falling out of the envelope with a note saying “Jessica, will you marry me?”.  Joke or not, I wore it then had it sewn into my dress.

From the bride… To down play it, Benjamin and I are Dave Matthews fans.  There was no doubt that we had to incorporate the band into our wedding.  I walked down the aisle “Steady as we go”, at our reception our bridal party was introduced to “Best of what’s around” while we were introduced to “So Right”, our first dance was to “You and Me”,  and Benjamin did the garter toss to “Smooth Rider”.  We named each of the tables a DMB song.  And of course we told our DJ to play as much DMB as he wished!  Our wedding wouldn’t have been complete without DMB.

From the bride… Benjamin’s favorite part was when we were announced at our reception, we were wearing our personalized hockey jerseys… his a Flyers jersey and my Pens jersey.  We may not like the same team but we love the same game.

From the bride… It was also important for us to have a child friendly wedding.  Not only b/c we have a child but because we love children!  We had 2 flower girls and 2 ring bearers and about 20 children attending the wedding.  I had coloring books, crayons, and fun straws at the tables with children and my favorite was hula hooping with all the kids!

VENDORS:
Photographer: Randi Voss– ” I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else.  She is absolutely outstanding!
DJ: Andy Hutelmyer“He was fantastic!
Bridal Salon: Sorelle Bridal Salon“They went above and beyond anything I could’ve asked for!”

I’m really excited to share this wedding with you guys. So Erin is one of my  favorite people in the world. I met her in grad school, while her (now) husband, an Army Captain was stationed in Iraq. Watching her plan this wedding while finishing grad school, finding a new job, moving to Alaska and welcoming Michael back was pretty extraordinary. Amazing actually.

Erin is/was the best kind of bride. Laid back to all extremes, wanting nothing but a big, fantastic party with her closest friends and family. No muss, no fuss- just fun. Being a girl who seriously loves the snow, Christmas and all things that come with the holiday season, Erin and Michael picked a ski resort in Maryland for their wedding ceremony and reception in late November.

With all the ridiculous weather we’ve had lately, I was nervous she wouldn’t get the snow she wanted, but was I ever wrong. Driving into Maryland, we were greeted by PLENTY of snow.

Everywhere.

Randi Voss, friend of the bride, shot the wedding, and did some amazing work per usual. The setting was pretty magical, which definitely didn’t hurt either.  Here are some photos from Erin & Michael’s Winter Wedding in Deep Creek, MD.

I love a bride who goes bold with the shoes. Their colors were red, black and white, and hiding a little bit of sass under that white dress was just perfect.

Erin is a self-proclaimed non-traditional brides in some ways. One- no flowers. Instead a friend of hers created a button bouquet for her in their signature colors for Erin to carry instead. The best part about this, was their florist worked some details — like the wisps of silver beads– into the bridesmaids real flower bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres. So much fun.

Erin & Michael are world travelers. Dead serious about that one too. Michael proposed on top of an elephant in Thailand, it doesn’t really get much better than that does it? To pay tribute to their love for traveling, each table name was the word “Love” in a different language. Love that. (No pun intended)

Over the last few years I’ve learned something about Erin. She’s kind of a cupcake whore. She loves them. They make her happy. She had them at her engagement party, her city “shower” and her bachelorette party. So when it was time for dessert, Erin opted for a tower of delicious cupcakes– multiple flavors– all spelled out for guests to choose from.  I happen to love the cupcake over wedding cake option at weddings. Keeps things interesting. Oh and they had a candy bar. With takeaway containers.

Awesome.

Especially the next morning.

Erin & Michael danced to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” One of my personal favorites. She shot me one of those” You cry, you die” looks right before they went out to the dance floor. I mean… it’s Sinatra, what do you expect? Also- quickly I do want to point out that this version of this song is WAY better than the Tony Bennett version- ya know the one  that resurfaced in My Best Friend’s Wedding in the 90’s.  Yes it was that long ago. That version is depressing. When in doubt, always go Sinatra.  Moving on…

To the dancing… which was pretty epic. Erin & Michael have friends that are not afraid to show your friends up on the dance floor.

And they will.

I’m not gonna lie. I was all kinds of impressed.

The wedding was wonderful, and I’m so glad I was able to share this (first hand) wedding with you all.

More from Erin & Michael’s Wedding to come.

I love winter. I do. Born and raised in the snow, I have to say there really is nothing prettier or more magical than twinkling lights against glistening snow. When my wonderful friend Erin, seriously of my favorite people in the world, got married last weekend it was just that. Magical snow everywhere, and just in time for her rehearsal. After a super casual (which was amazing and should be adopted everywhere) rehearsal at a brewery with more than a handful of their closest friends and family, Erin & Michael hosted a bonfire complete with marshmallows, snow and some drinks to keep everyone warm. It was beautiful, and a perfect way to kick off the weekend together. Here are some more amazing photos from photographer, and friend of ours and the bride’s , Randi Voss.

The bride shares a laugh with friends by the bonfire…

Father of the Bride…

The bride and groom take a quick sled down the hill with friends…

The bride and her maid of honor head down next…

So you all remember Alison & Paul, one of my FAVORITE weddings from photographer Randi Voss! Alison & Paul decided to go two rounds for their wedding, incorporating a small intimate destination wedding in Maine first, and opting for a seriously fabulous and all out party back in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. I especially love Alison’s multi-dress change incorporating the old with the new. Love. So here it is,  round two… and really, it just keeps getting better. Enjoy!

From the bride…  After our  bed-and-breakfast destination wedding in Maine at the end of September, Paul and I were ready for an all-out party for our at-home wedding reception at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  I was initially under the impression that having an ‘at-home’ reception after our actual wedding would be less stress but it actually turned out to be pretty stressful!  Despite us already being married, we truly were planning a full ‘typical’ wedding reception in Pittsburgh, complete with catering, cake, music, photography, floral details, etc so there was a lot of details, organization, and coordination required. My parents were an absolute lifesaver in the month between the actual wedding and the reception and I owe most of the reception’s success to them for sure as they were my eyes, ears, hands, voice, etc for most of it! Regardless of the extra stress that popped up here and there, the reception turned out fantastic and everything came together perfectly!

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

From the bride… Our venue, the Heinz History Center was nothing less than perfect. I was certain that I wanted a venue that had its own personality and of which did not require a lot of decorating. The History Center was a perfect fit and provided just the amount of character that I was looking for with its exposed brick walls, steel beams and vintage vehicles, the best being a full-sized classic Pittsburgh trolley that provided the perfect photo-op.

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo courtesy of Randi Voss

From the beautiful bride… The best thing about our reception for Paul and I was to get the chance to celebrate with our larger group of family and friends. We have a large group of friends from our days in consulting and since many of them live out-of-town, we do not get to see them very often. We are also very lucky to still remain close to friends we had growing up through high school, many of whom live out-of-town as well. So, when we get the opportunity to have everyone together, and then adding in delicious food and cocktails, great music for dancing, photographers and videographers to capture everything, it makes for a wonderful time!

Photo courtesy of Randi Voss

From the beautiful bride… We used the ‘a&p’ logo (along with the lower-case font) on our cocktail napkins, menu cards, truffles that were placed on each table, bathroom guest towels, candy table signage, etc.  Our centerpieces utilized two different arrangement-types and included pink, ivory, and green flowers as we similarly had in Maine for our wedding.

Photos courtesy of Randi Voss

Photos courtesy of Randi Voss

From the bride…  One of the things that was meaningful to me and of which I was most excited about was what I ended up wearing to the reception. Soon after we decided to have a destination wedding and then a reception at home, I was convinced that I wanted to be a two-dress bride and wear more of a party/reception dress in Pittsburgh. Enter my mom’s wedding dress….. On a whim, my mom suggested that we take her wedding dress to the seamstress that was currently fitting me for my actual wedding dress to see if she would be willing to create a reception dress for me from my mom’s dress. Only a few weeks later, my mom’s long-train, high-neck, long-sleeved, lace wedding dress was turned into a short, strapless, lace reception dress for me! We made sure to have a picture of my mom in her dress on her wedding day at our reception to show everyone what the dress used to look like! Now that I had my reception dress, a part of me also wanted to wear my actual wedding dress so the guests that were not in Maine with us could see the dress I was married in. So, I ended up wearing my short dress for most of the reception but also changed into my actual wedding dress for our introductions, first dance, and cake cutting. Best of both worlds!

Photos courtesy of Randi Voss

Photos courtesy of Randi Voss

Photos courtesy of Randi Voss

Photos courtesy of Randi Voss

From the bride…  The food was absolutely delicious and was presented as station-style eating, with a pasta, carving, and Mediterranean station that gave a nice variety of food for our guests. The band had everyone on their feet all night long and gave a wonderful performance. Last but not least was the most talented photographer – Randi Voss, who continued as our photographer for our reception and produced nothing less than amazing photographs for us once again!

Congratulations twice over to Alison & Paul from Wedding Belles! Thanks for sharing both of your very special days with us!

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss Photography

This beautiful New England destination wedding comes to us from the very talented Randi Voss. I love Randi and every wedding she sends over seems better than the last. Alison and Paul are originally from Pittsburgh, PA, but opted for a small destination wedding in Maine, followed by a huge hometown reception to celebrate. I kind of love this idea. There’s something really wonderful about having as many people as possible there to celebrate with you, and still enjoying the intimacy of a small ceremony. Love.

Alison said… “After getting engaged on the same day as the closing of our house (and being together for 6 years), we didn’t want to wait too long to actually get married. Waiting until 2010 seemed so far off so we decided we would attempt to plan something for the Fall of 2009 (much to the nervousness of my parents who I think will admit they didn’t think we would be able to pull it off!). As Paul and I began the wedding discussions they started to head towards a destination wedding direction. We liked the idea of doing something different in contrast to the normal hometown wedding ceremony/reception all in one day or even a ‘normal’ destination wedding in a warm, sunny, beachfront location.”

I’m a big fan of this wedding and the double party. Seriously Who wouldn’t want to go round two in their wedding dress? I also love, love, love, the details of this wedding. From Alison’s “pretty in pink shoes” to the meaningful pennies and monogrammed mason jars. Too cute.

Plus this super bride managed to move into a brand new house, get engaged, plan a destination wedding AND a hometown party in 7 months! That’s pretty amazing.

We’ll have more from Alison and Paul when their hometown soiree kicks off, but for now, enjoy these amazing images from their September ceremony in New England.

The Dress...

From the bride… As funny as it sounds, the ideas for our two main colors – sage green and chocolate brown, came from kitchen dish towels that we had bought for our new house. As soon as I saw the color combination together, the color choice was made. We thought the colors would be perfect alongside the outdoor setting of the B&B in addition to the fall time of year. A little time later, as we started to really plan out the flowers, we brought in accents of pink for a pop of color and pulled in a bit of ivory as well.

Flowers...

More Dress...

Good luck...

From the bride…  My favorite moment of the day and of which Randi captured so beautifully was Paul’s and my ‘first look’ before the ceremony. We had seen each other earlier in the day, but separated for most of the day as the girls got ‘beautified’ with hair and makeup and as the guys lent their skills in setting up the tented-reception.  By the time we were all ready I was so excited to see Paul and to spend a few alone minutes with him just taking in everything together. I was not emotional at all before or after that moment but as soon as I saw Paul, I couldn’t stop the tears, happy tears of course.  Paul quickly was able to calm me down (which he does so well) and we were ready to get started!

After seeing his bride...

Seeing each other for the first time...

From the bride… The task of planning a destination wedding was a little daunting since we were not at all familiar with the vendors available in that area. However, with the help of Paul’s relatives, who own the Inn where we got married, this worry soon went away as they provided great recommendations in all areas such as catering, flowers, cake, etc. Believe it or not, we never even had a cake tasting for our wedding cake!  The vendors were extremely open to working with us through emails and phone calls, although we did make one pre-wedding trip to Maine in July to finalize a few things and of course to get our all-important marriage certificate!

Wedding...

Programs...

Runner...

From the beautiful bride… As soon as I became officially engaged, the obsession with all of the wedding internet sites, blogs, message boards, etc. began as well. The images that I was drawn too included the rustic, garden-style, outdoor weddings that paid great attention to details which were carried throughout the ceremony and reception. Our choice of the Peace With-Inn provided the ultimate back-drop for this “look”.

The Ceremony...

Newlyweds...

From the bride…  Understanding that only a subset of our family and friends would be able to join us in Maine, we also wanted to have a reception for our larger group of friends and family back in Pittsburgh after we returned from our wedding ceremony in Maine. On one hand, Paul and I wanted an intimate, relaxed style to our actual wedding ceremony, but we also are two people that don’t shy away from big celebrations either so another reception was an order!

Stealing moments...

Vintage Chic...

Shoes...

Vintage kisses...

Centerpieces...

Beverage Details...

Mason Jars...

From Alison…  After going through 10-20 invitation books, I was drawn to the casual/modern look of the lower case letter-style and after selecting the invitation, was set on carrying the monogram and lettering style throughout our Maine wedding and Pittsburgh reception.  For our wedding in Maine, I was able to bring this detail into our invitations, ceremony programs, aisle runner, out-of-town guest bag tags and cookies, beverage napkins, mason jar tags, etc.

Cake...

Group Shot...

Walking through the field...

Guests warming by the fire...

Cheers...

From Alison… Now here is when I could go into comments about how the day went so fast and that before I knew it, the wedding was over and there wasn’t anything more to look forward to wedding-wise, but this is where the perks of having a ‘back-home’ reception come into play…yes, our wedding ceremony was over and we were officially married but we still had a big party to look forward to in only a month! So instead of the wedding celebration being over within a day, we had an excuse to keep the celebration going through our reception in October! For our October reception, Paul and I are really looking forward to spending the time with the family and friends that were unable to spend the time with us in Maine. Stay tuned for my updates after our October reception!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE wedding photography, and really good wedding photography blows my mind. In some previous life I think this was my destiny, so I make it my business to meet and greet as many wonderful photographers as I can. These days wedding photographers have so much more to offer than your standard church photos, and the latest trend is seriously hot.

Boudoir photos are the hottest trend in wedding photography. Think sexpot, pin-up, Moulin Rouge… whatever you envision, wedding photographers are bringing it to life.

Personally, I think this is an amazing addition to your world ladies! I think every girl should bring that sexy back for herself, and her hubby. Whether it’s a single shot as a pre-wedding gift for your soon-to-be husband or an artistic book of sexy photos for  your first anniversary, this is a gift he definitely won’t forget.

Randi Voss, one of my favorite and totally talented wedding photographers started offering up Boudoir Sessions to bride’s and works with each individual client to create exactly what she’s looking for in the session.

“Beforehand, I take the time to send the model some clothing suggestions or talk with her on the phone about what she wants and expects from the session.” Randi said. She also recommends hair & makeup for the session to make sure the “I feel pretty” effect really comes through in the photos. Who doesn’t want to get all dolled up for a little sexpot session? I mean. Let’s be honest. Even if you aren’t the kind of girl who flirts with an above the knee hemline from time to time, these photos are for you and your hubby’s eyes only, not for your downstairs powder room, so there’s nothing to blush at.

When you’re looking for a photographer to “step out of the box with,” make sure that you feel comfortable with them. If you don’t, it’s definitely going to show.

“I ask her what she wants me to focus on (and what she wants me to hide.)  The sessions are always a little rocky for the first 10 minutes.  You never know how comfortable someone is going to be in this situation.  After the first few shots, I’ll show my model an image on my camera’s LCD screen so she can make any adjustments she wants.  Then, smooth sailing.” said Randi.

The other great thing about Randi. She opts out of Photoshop on these shots. She believes that true beauty doesn’t come with point and click photoshop, so why should these images. I love this actually. While I think some people would be all for “hiding” whatever your least favorite parts about you are, the truth is, your guy is marrying you for all of you, not the photo shopped version of you. So relax, strip down to your skivvies and ENJOY it and it will make for some super hot, and super fun photos.

Here are a few sample shots from Randi. Special thanks to these BEAUTIFUL brides-to-be for sharing their sessions with us! For more information on what to expect from a Boudoir session check out The Knot’s take on this sexy new trend.

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Randi Voss

Photo Courtesy of Rand Voss

This beautiful Real Wedding was sent to me by Randi Voss of  Randi Voss photography.  Krissy and Jon met in Charlottesville, VA, so when it came time to plan their wedding it seemed like a perfect fit. Krissy, a UVA alum and Jon, who was originally from Charlottseville, opted to get married at the chapel on the University of Virgina’s campus. Their reception was at Veritas Vineyards, and the weather absolutely cooperated. SO great. Love me some vino weddings!

Entering Cocktail Hour

Veritas Vineyard

Bouquets

 

 

Vineyard Weddings

From the lovely bride… “Walking out of the chapel with Jon was one of my favorite moments of the day. I think we actually high-fived.”  

” My other favorite moment was dancing with my dad.  I experienced what Oprah calls, “the ugly cry” 🙂

Love it.

Veritas Vineyard

The Venue

Place Cards

Krissy and Jon opted for a pumpkin ice cream cake  specially made at Chaps, their favorite, and one of Charlottesville’s oldest ice cream parlors.

Chaps Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake
From the bride…”We both love their pumpkin ice cream and don’t really like cake so the owner so kindly made us our ice cream cake. It’s not the prettiest cake by any  means, since it melted by the time we took pictures, but it certainly was the best tasting cake I’ve ever had!” 

Guess where they went on their first anniversary…. 

Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake

Reception Hall

 

From the bride…”For favors we had a chocolate bar. We bought gourmet chocolates from Wegmans Grocery store (they are sooo good and have different flavors, like key lime pie and PB&J). I ordered boxes online and my sister made labels for the tops with our names and our wedding date. We put all the chocolates out and everyone fill their own boxes with the chocolates they wanted.” 
 
DIY Favors
Chocolate Bar

 

First Dance

 

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