Emily + Courtney | Outdoor Tampa, Florida "Game Night" Wedding | Destination Wedding Photographer

I met Courtney and Emily a few years ago while I was photographing Hillary and Eric’s wedding. We kept in touch on instagram, and when Emily reached out to me about photographing her own wedding, I was ecstatic! So, a few months ago, Courtney and Emily flew me to Tampa, Florida to photograph their incredible celebration - and I completely forgot to blog it!! I dropped the ball, and I’m so mad at myself. It’s one of a long list of sessions that I failed to blog when life got crazy busy this past fall. I’m making up for it now and sharing a few of my favorite photos from their emotional and ridiculously fun wedding day!

While we were planning together, I asked Courtney and Emily to describe their wedding day vibe and they responded with the following: DIY, casual, simple, unique, fun, intimate, relaxed, personal, low-key, non-traditional, game night turned wedding. Now that their wedding day is here and gone, I have to say that I agree with all of those descriptors - and I want to add one of my own… perfection. Their wedding day was truly perfect, as it was a perfect reflection of their intimate relationship and their incredible love for each other.

Emily and Courtney’s preparations, ceremony, and reception all took place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa. As it seems to be with most of the weddings I photograph, Mother Nature kept us on our toes that day. There were morning and early afternoon showers, followed by some of the most intense humidity I have ever experienced. If you are familiar with camera gear, you know that photographing in the air conditioning, followed by heat and extreme humidity can be quite tricky. However, I was prepared with multiple sets of gear, and everything went off without a glitch! After the rain left, we were gifted the most glorious Golden Hour light I have ever seen!

This was one of the most emotional wedding days I have been a part of, and I cried more times than I can remember. I was crying (happy tears) when they first saw each other at the beginning of their ceremony, during their personalized vows, as they lit their unity candle, and during the most heartfelt speeches I have ever witnessed during their reception. But, there was no shortage of smiles, either - courtesy of their amazing flower girl and ring bearer with the absolute best personalities, or during the reception which was actually just the raddest game night I’ve ever been a part of, or just the way that Courtney and Emily looked at each other all day long. Unfortunately, there were some loved ones unable to physically attend the ceremony, but you could feel their presence regardless. Love ruled the day, and I am so honored that I was able to celebrate Courtney and Emily’s marriage along with them and their dearest friends and family members.

Congratulations again, Courtney and Emily! I hope that married life is treating you both well, and I hope our paths cross again, either here in PA, down there in FL, or somewhere else fun!

Courtney and Emily’s wedding day was made possible by their own hard work, as well as the collaboration of these vendors:

Venue: Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa

Officiant: Reverend Patricia (Rev P)

Hair artist: Christopher Trevena, Fame & Foils Color Bar

Makeup artist: Emily’s coworker Bella did her makeup, and Courtney did her own makeup

Courtney’s dresses: Torrid

Emily’s suit: Men’s Wearhouse

Cuban-inspired buffet and cakes: Moreno Bakery

Flowers: Costco & Pinterest

Emily’s bowtie & boutonniere: Etsy

Band/DJ: iTunes and an aux cord

Chair and table rentals: Fiesta Solutions

Lighting: Tampa Lighting

The Jacoby Family | Outer Banks, NC Family Beach Session | Destination Portrait Photographer

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the Jacoby Family in North Carolina while we were all in the Outer Banks.  I was so glad that our visits overlapped, and that they asked me to photograph their family while I was there.  I have photographed Jeff, Jillian, Charlie, and Fritz a few times before, and I was excited for the opportunity to meet a few more members of their family!  They are such a fun family, and these kiddos always keep me laughing and on my toes chasing after them.  (You may remember Charlie and Fritz from my "holiday fail" photo that was shared by the Huffington Post a few years ago.  Without fail, it pops back up on the web every year at Christmas time!  We re-enacted the pose for a few laughs, and you'll see it in their sneak peeks below...) 

It had rained all week prior to our photoshoot, but the skies broke that morning and delivered sun, wind, heat, and humidity.  What a difference 24 hours made!  Normally, I can do without stereotypical summer weather, but I was just thankful for a day without rain.  I was long overdue for some fresh air and a workout, and this session was just what I needed!  Thanks for being such great sports in the wind and heat, Jacoby Family!  I love how the photos turned out, and I am always thankful for the time we spend together.

She Said Yes! | Outer Banks, NC Proposal | Destination Engagement and Wedding Photographer

I met Victoria and Dmitriy this past snowboard season at a race at Roundtop Mountain Resort, in Harrisburg, PA.  We hung out a few times throughout the season, and were fortunate enough to end the season together at USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain, in Colorado.

A few weeks ago, Victoria and Dmitriy reached out to me to set up a photoshoot while I was going to be spending some time in the Outer Banks.  Victoria was hoping for a couple's session, but Dmitriy had other plans.  He had been waiting for the perfect time to surprise Victoria with a proposal (and a stunning engagement ring)!  The ring was already purchased and was just waiting for the rest of the plans to fall into place.

When they arrived in North Carolina, we met up at my rental house in Waves.  While Victoria was distracted, Dmitriy passed off some champagne and glasses to my husband, so we could bring them to the photoshoot the next day without Victoria suspecting anything.

If you live anywhere along the east coast, you know how rainy it has been the last few weeks.  The day of their photoshoot was no exception.  The forecast looked promising all day - the rain was supposed to clear out around noon, and our evening photoshoot looked like it would go off without a hitch.  Well, as soon as we arrived at our intended location, Mother Nature decided to defy the weather forecasting technology, and the rain started falling.  We decided to wait it out, because the radar showed that the weather would clear up again in about 30 minutes.  30 minutes later, another rain cloud formed, and there were more following behind it.  So, we decided to get back on the road and drive south until we found a dry location.  I was looking forward to this photoshoot for weeks, and was determined to hold their session that night!

We eventually found a non-flooded place near Rodanthe to pull off the side of the road and park.  I ran up to the adjacent beach area and scouted the location, and it was incredible!  There was only one other couple in sight, and the skies and dunes were picture-perfect.

So, my husband grabbed the bag with the champagne and glasses, I grabbed my camera gear, and the rest is history.  You can see how the session unfolded for yourself right here...

(Big thanks to my husband for helping, and to my daughter and dog for helping distract Victoria while Dmitriy was getting ready to propose!)

 

Jan + Ian | GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Wedding | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

Jan and Ian recently got married at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and I was lucky enough to capture their memories for them.  I would describe their wedding day as romantic, semi-formal, and fun!  Jan grew up in the United States, and Ian grew up in Northern Ireland.  As a result, their day was an amalgamation of US and UK traditions, and it was perfectly reflective of Jan and Ian's unique relationship.

I started my day off with the ladies at an amazing Airbnb rental in Reading, Pennsylvania.  I just don't have the words to describe exactly how fabulous that home was!  I had never been there before, but I will definitely be checking out that hidden gem again in the near future.  (It would make an incredible venue for a day of photoshoots, both indoors and out!)  Meanwhile, my second photographer was hanging out with the guys while they were finishing their preparations at the nearby Doubletree by Hilton.

As soon as everyone was ready, we met up at the GoggleWorks for Jan and Ian's wedding ceremony and reception.  The ceremony and reception decorations were simple, elegant, and fun, consisting entirely of personalized elements.  In fact, Jan created all of the ceremony and reception decorations herself!  Jan threw, glazed, and decorated all of the vases that were used as table centerpieces.  She dyed and arranged the sola wood flowers that were used at the ceremony site and as reception centerpieces.  She made the guest book, table cards, and ceramic tile table numbers.  She even made hundreds of atom-like hanging orbs, to honor Ian who is a physicist!  She painted the wedding arch and arranged the flowers and vines that covered it.  She painted the chandelier that hung in the reception room.  She needle-felted the adorable penguin and bear cake toppers.  She even baked the delicious macarons that served as wedding favors for all of the guests!  She is one of the most talented and creative individuals that I have ever met, and I am truly in awe of her skills (and patience)!  To top it off, the girls even made their own bouquets.

Jan and Ian began their Day #1 as husband and wife surrounded by over 120 of their loved ones.  No one was actually local to Berks County, except for me - most of the guests and bridal party members traveled from places such as Philadelphia, Northern Ireland, and other places in the UK.  As an engineer-turned-teacher-turned-photographer, I felt right at home surrounded by so many other academics and creatives.  I hadn't actually met Jan and Ian prior to that day, but by the end of their ceremony and reception, I felt like I knew them for ages.  The (numerous) speeches had me laughing and crying and laughing again, and the dancing was fabulous!  The food looked and smelled absolutely amazing.  (I didn't actually remember to take a break to taste any - I was having too much fun taking pictures and forgot to take my dinner break!)

Between the ceremony and reception, we managed to sneak outside long enough to capture some great photos of the bridal party, and then of Jan and Ian alone.  We made it back inside just minutes before the sky opened up and poured for the next few hours.  (I tried my hardest to play it cool while texts of tornado warnings kept blowing up my phone...)

Jan and Ian's wedding day was perfect.  I'm so thankful that they asked me to photograph their celebration for them.  And, their celebration isn't quite over yet - they are doing it all over again in Northern Ireland this month!  Oh, how I wish I could join them.

I hope you enjoy this selection of photos from their (first) wedding day.

 

Big thanks to the following vendors for helping make Jan and Ian's wedding day a dream come true:

Photographer:  Carrie Kizuka Photography, LLC

Second photographer:  Adam Naples

Venue:  GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Hair and Makeup Artist:  Daneene Jensen

Bride's Wedding Dress:  Sabrina Ann, Ardmore

Bridesmaids' Dresses:  BHLDN and other various shops from Philadelphia and Northern Ireland

Groom's Suit:  Men's Warehouse

Groomsmen's Suits:  Various shops in the United Kingdom

Cake Artist:  Jennifer Low, Frosted Fox Cake Shop

Catering:  Farm Truck Philly

Chairs:  Wolfe's Rental Company

Ashlie + Eric | Westin Ka'Anapali Maui Wedding | Destination and Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

It seems like forever ago that I photographed Ashlie and Eric's engagement session at French Creek park and casually commented at the end of the session that if they wanted me to fly to Maui to photograph their wedding to reach out to me.  I was half-joking when I made that remark, because I was still teaching high school mathematics full time and knew that I probably wouldn't be able to get away to photograph their October wedding, even if I wanted to.  I only had limited personal days, and would use them every year to fly to Colorado to cheer on my daughters as they competed in the national snowboard championships each winter.

Shortly after they received their engagement gallery, Ashlie reached out to me again.  She and Eric loved their photos and wanted to know if I was serious about flying to Maui to photograph their destination wedding - and if I was, they would love to have me join them.  I instantly agreed, and set out to find a way to make it happen... even though I was still teaching full time.  Once I set my mind on something, I make it happen - 100% of the time.  I'm determined, to a fault.

Soon after I accepted their offer and we worked out the details, a crazy chain of events happened in my life that that involved my dog running away (we got her back), me chasing her and running face first into my garage door (and getting a pretty severe concussion and shattered nose), taking time off of teaching, and eventually resigning from my teaching position.  The entire time, in the back of my head, was Ashlie and Eric's Maui wedding that I had booked.  I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I feel like this was the Universe's way of assuring me that I made the right decision to shift my focus from education to photography, and was helping clear the path for me as I pursued this dream of mine.

Fast forward to late September.

I put out a request on social media asking if any of my friends would like to fly to Maui with me and be my assistant for the wedding day, in exchange for a place to stay and someone to adventure around Maui with.  I was thrilled that someone took me up on my offer and booked my exact flights a day later!  (Bonus: She happens to have a lot of the same interests as I do!)  So, we flew to Maui together, spent a few days sightseeing and surfing, and met up with Ashlie and Eric to photograph their Day #1 together as husband and wife!

We couldn't have asked for a better week.  The temperature was in the 80s every single day, the typical Hawaii rain showers were kept to a minimum (even though we did have a few that brought with them some stunning rainbows!), and Ashlie and Eric and their loved ones were so much fun to celebrate with and photograph!  It was a bit windy on their wedding day, but I think it made their photos even more incredible.  From the beachside ceremony, to the sunset portraits, to the ukulele player/singer, to the incredible Hawaiian buffet and bar menu, everything was absolutely perfect.  A rainbow even made its appearance while Ashlie's dad was escorting her down the aisle.  On top of that, Ashlie looked absolutely breathtaking in her silk wedding gown, and Eric was as handsome as ever!  (Ashlie's wedding dress even had pockets - how amazing is that?!)

I hope you enjoy this small selection of my favorites from their destination wedding.  For a list of all of the local vendors who made this day possible, scroll down past the photographs.

Congratulations again, Ashlie and Eric!  Thank you again for asking me to be your photographer.  And big thanks to my friend Amanda for joining me on this adventure!  I surfed more during that trip than I have in the last 5 years combined, and I probably wouldn't have done it if I didn't have a friend along for some added peer pressure!

(And if anyone else is looking for a photographer for a wedding outside of Pennsylvania, be sure to check out my Wandlerlust deal that is currently running!  Help me check more states off of my list so I can complete a personal project, while you score a great deal on a wedding photography package!)

Thank you to the following people who helped make Ashlie and Eric's wedding day truly magical!

Ceremony and Reception Venue:  Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Wedding Coordinator:  Beata Vanderzee

Ukulele Player/Singer:  Music by Kalo

Hair/Makeup Artist:  Melissa Dyckman, Melissa Brooke Hair + Makeup Maui

Wedding Dress Boutique:  Sabrina Ann Couture, Ardmore, PA

Bride's Sandals:  Sam Edelman

Photographer:  Carrie Kizuka Photography, LLC

 

The Hobbs Family | Maui Hawaii Family Photoshoot | Pennsylvania and Destination Photographer

17 years ago, I decided to leave the snowboard industry (where I worked as a product engineer/snowboard boot designer) to become a math teacher.   Around that same time, I met Caroline (and her mom and brother), when I started tutoring her in math.  They are such a fun, loving family, and I'm so fortunate that our paths crossed all those years ago.  Caroline's mom helped us purchase our first home in Orange County, California, as well as our current home when we decided to pack up and move back to Pennsylvania!

Less than two weeks ago, I traveled to Hawaii to photograph a destination wedding.  While I was there, I met up with Caroline who happened to be vacationing in Maui less than a mile from where I was staying!  It was such a treat to see her again after all these years, and to meet the rest of the Hobbs Family!  Their family is growing by one in a few months, and I'm so honored that I was able to capture some memories for them during this exciting time in their lives.

Just as we made our way to the beach outside the Hyatt Regency, the sky decided to open up and pour on us for a few minutes.  They were such good sports about it all, and we got some great moments before, during, and after the rain - including a stunning Maui rainbow!

Here are a few of my favorite photos from our brief time together.  Thank you again, Hobbs Family, for fitting me into your schedule!  It was such a pleasure seeing everyone and creating these photographs for you.  I hope we are able to meet up again in the near future!

Czech Republic | (aka I finally czeched Europe off my Bucket List!)

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of traveling to Europe to cheer for my oldest daughter as she represented the United States as an alpine snowboard racer at the Junior World Championships.  It was our first time visiting Europe, and it would be an understatement to say that we were both excited.

Kaiya had a fantastic two days of racing!  She finished 23rd on the first day and 16th on the second day, and was the the top American finisher both days!  It's such an honor for her to be so high-ranked among the top junior athletes in the world, and I'm so proud to call her mine (not just because she's an incredible racer, but because she's an incredible human being).

Her races took place at Klinovec, a ski resort right along the border of Czech Republic and Germany.  Before and after her races, I was able to take some time to sightsee and take a few photos of Prague and the spa town Karlovy Vary.  My time was not nearly enough to take in all of the history and sights that Czech Republic has to offer, but it was a good start!  I definitely want to brush up on my history and go back when I have more time to act like a tourist.

Anyone eloping, renewing vows, or looking to have portraits done in Czech Republic?  You know who to call! ;)

Here are a few of my photos from our quick trip to Europe.  Enjoy!!

Jackson, Wyoming - Part 2 | Kaiya, Class of 2017 | Destination High School Senior Portrait Photographer

While Kaiya and I were in Wyoming in November, we decided to add a few photos to her ever-growing high school senior portrait portfolio!  Here are a few of our favorites from Grand Teton National Park, Mormon Row, and downtown Jackson Hole.

Here's a fun fact about the incredible antler arch that you will see in the photos...  Jackson is home to a National Elk Refuge, and the roughly 8,000 antlers that make up the four matching arches in downtown Jackson Hole all come from the elk's annual antler shedding.  No animals were harmed to obtain the antlers to create these enormous and iconic arches.

Jackson, Wyoming - Part 1 | Elk, Coyote, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Waterfowl | Wildlife Photographer

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter was supposed to have a snowboard race in Jackson, Wyoming.  The race was cancelled due to lack of snow, but our plane tickets and hotel were nonrefundable, so we decided to go on our trip anyway.  Neither of us had ever been to Wyoming, so I thought it would be a great experience for both of us.  We packed up our laptops, camera gear, and sense of adventure, and headed west.

On our first day in Wyoming, we went out in search of a grocery store and Starbucks... and found much, much more! My daughter noticed something moving in the tall brush on the side of the road, so I pulled over to check it out.  What we stumbled upon was a migrating herd of elk.  I grabbed my camera, hopped out of the car, and ran alongside the herd snapping as many photos as I could.  It was absolutely incredible and breathtaking to witness.  On a separate trip, we encountered bighorn sheep, moose, a coyote, and various waterfowl!  (We eventually did find the grocery store and the Starbucks.)

Here are some of my wildlife photos from our trip.  I definitely plan to go back again when I have more time to explore... and next time I'm planning on bringing some bigger lenses!

Everything Happens for a Reason | A Personal Session in Park City, Utah

A few years ago, I "met" @lindseasnow on Instagram.  She commented on a few of my snowboard-related posts, and we soon realized that she used to snowboard at my "home" mountain.  We quickly determined that we seemed to have a lot in common and joked that we were practically the same person - just separated by 10+ years in age. ;)  I hoped I would meet her in person one day, but that possibility seemed a bit far-fetched once she packed up and moved from Baltimore, MD to Utah.

Fast forward to this fall...  

If you know me personally, you know that snowboarding is kind of a big deal in my family. ;)  My oldest daughter is competing in the Nor-Am Cup for alpine snowboard racing, and had a last minute race added to the calendar for November.  The race was supposed to take place in Jackson, Wyoming.  The cheapest airfare we could find required that we fly in to Salt Lake City, Utah and then drive 4 1/2 hours to Wyoming.  I made our travel reservations, and then remembered that my Instagram friend, Lindsay, lived in Utah!  I reached out to her to see if she lived anywhere near the SLC airport, and as luck would have it, she was very close!  I told her that we would be in town and we decided to meet up for lunch while I was in Utah!

I also found out that Lindsay had recently undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstruction, and I wanted to use my photography passion to help celebrate her strength, positivity, and kick-ass zest for life!  So, I offered to donate a photoshoot while I was there.  I'm so glad that she immediately took me up on my offer!

The week before the race was supposed to take place, it was cancelled due to lack of snow.  And when I say lack of snow, there was literally no snow to be found in Jackson, Wyoming.  Winter got off to a very late start in Wyoming this year, so there was no way the race could go off as scheduled.  They got a few inches of snowfall right before the race was supposed to happen, but it was too little too late.  Our airfare and hotel were prepaid in order to get the best rates at such short notice, and were nonrefundable.  So, my daughter and I decided to make the best of a crummy situation and take our trip anyway.  And, I'm so glad we did!  Not only did we manage to see some incredible wildlife while in Wyoming (one day I'll post those pictures when I find the time), but we also managed to meet up with Lindsay for lunch, incredible conversation, and an amazing photoshoot.  We even managed to squeeze in one more dinner (and dessert!) with her on our last night in Utah before we flew back home!

Here are some of Lindsay's blog posts that discuss our online friendship and our in-person meeting, since she's way better with words than I am:

https://lindseasnow.com/2016/11/09/woman-crush-wednesday-the-amazing-women-ive-met-via-blogging/

https://lindseasnow.com/2016/12/13/using-social-media-to-actually-socialize/

If you browse around her page a bit, you'll learn more about her story and her incredible outlook on life.  I highly recommend that you pour yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea and check it out!

Since I'm much better with photos than with words, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite images from our brief time together.  (Her photoshoot took place at Jordanelle Park and Jordanelle Reservoir, some of her favorite spots in Park City.)  Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Lindsay!  I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know that our meeting was meant to be.  I have a feeling our Instagram meeting years ago was just the beginning of what is to become a long friendship.

Naples, Florida Family Session | The Vishio Family | Destination Photographer

A few weeks ago, I returned from a trip to the mountains of Wyoming and Utah and less than 24 hours later hopped onto a flight to sunny (and HOT) Florida!  The Vishio Family flew me to Naples to photograph their family in time for the holidays.  It was my first trip to Naples, and after an amazing weekend, I hope that it won't be my last!  Even though I'm a snow lover, I admit that I fell in love with the sunshine, scenery, amazing food, and generous people I met while I was there.

I snapped photos for them at the beach, at their home in front of their Christmas tree, and at the Naples Ritz Carlton.  On my last day there, I went on a short adventure in search of wildlife and snapped a few personal photos for my own collection. 

Here are a few of my photos from my quick trip.  Thanks again, Vishio Family!