Giveaway: Engagement Session with GraceD Photography!

In honor of the first week of spring (my favorite season!), I’m giving away a free, 90-minute engagement session to one in-love couple!

Engagement sessions are always a ton of fun because they’re super laid-back and often entail little other than wandering around and hanging out with your love in one (or a few) of your favorite spots. Engagement sessions also get you comfortable in front of the camera before your wedding day. And you get to hang out with me your personal, creativity-driven photographer for the day…!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow @GraceDPhotos on Instagram

2. Repost the giveaway photo (above) or your favorite photo of you and your boo on your Instagram. Comment with #gracedphotosgiveaway, followed by where you’d love to have the shoot!

Bonus entries:

1. Like GraceD Photography on Facebook.

2. Share this link on Facebook.

3. Tag a fellow engaged friend who might also be interested in entering!

Casey & Chris’s Winter Wedding at Front and Palmer in Philadelphia

I loved Casey and Chris from the day they showed up to their engagement session with two adorable, smiling pooches. The two are super laid-back, animal lovers and winter warriors with capabilities far beyond my own for handling cold weather.

Casey and Chris’s wedding day was a brisk, but sunny, February Saturday that began in Old City and ended at Front and Palmer in Fishtown. 

We captured a tearful first look across the street from Hotel Monaco where the two got ready, resulting in one of my favorite moments from the day. And from there, we ventured off with Casey and Chris’s dearest friends to the Barnes and Rodin museums to capture their love and take advantage of the soft, early winter afternoon light before the sun would quickly begin to fade. 

Casey and Chris handled the cold temps like no other couple I’ve seen before and the entire bridal party acted in equally high spirits. Troopers, for sure, which made for some great captures before heading to the ceremony.

We all warmed up inside over touching handwritten vows and a funny moment where Casey and Chris shared a PB&J mid-ceremony before dinner and dancing commenced.

Wishing these two plenty of more shared PB&Js ahead as they venture into the future!

Jessica & Carmen’s Intimate Winter Dinner Wedding at Terrain

Jessica and Carmen had the sweetest, intimate dinner wedding at Terrain this past month. 

A unexpected warm day greeted us upon arriving to the venue and an abundance of golden light flowed through into the evening.

Jessica and Carmen met a handful of years back when Carmen first walked into a salon where Jessica was working. Not too long after, Carmen got up the courage to ask her out on a date, and the rest is history.

The two have since kindled a no-frills relationship, full of playful laughter that showed through during every part of their wedding day.

After the ceremony, friends and family gathered around to share a beautiful dinner in Terrain’s greenhouse, alongside celebratory cocktails and music. A cake cutting and doughnut tower added a sweet touch to end the night, as did the outdoor fire pit where Jessica and Carmen shared a brief moment to themselves.

Wishing these two a wonderful future ahead and many more charming, laughter-filled dinners to come!

Venue: Terrain at Styers

Cake: Adelaide’s Bakery in Magnolia, NJ

Florist: Sunrise Florist in Blackwood, NJ

Hair/Makeup: The Manor Salon & Spa in West Deptford, NJ

Dress: Willow by by Watters

Alex & Colin’s Philadelphia Engagement Session

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Alex and Colin came down from their home in NYC to Philadelphia, where they’ll be celebrating their wedding next year at Front and Palmer.

We wandered to a bunch of different spots for their engagement session, beginning at the Barnes Foundation and ending down by the Schuylkill River behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

Together, we had a blast exploring the city and seeking out the beautiful fall foliage that remained on the sunny November day.

Alex and Colin are great at making each other laugh and I can’t wait to experience more of their jokes at their wedding with all of their family and friends in 2017!

Tara and Kevin’s New Hope Fall Engagement Session

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Oh autumn. What a majestic season.

I had a blast soaking in all of New Hope’s fall foliage beauty with Tara and Kevin (and their pup, Agent Cooper)!

We wandered around by the Delaware River near the Bucks County Playground and captured some fantastic shots amidst a background of trees bursting with colors.

Later, we swung by Tara and Kevin’s favorite dive bar in the area (John and Peter’s Place) to grab a beer and hang out for a few.

The day ended on the picturesque Lambertville Bridge after a quick pitstop to the vintage thrift shop Love Saves the Day, where there was plenty to peer at in the window.

Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day and kick-butt couple to spend it with. I’m looking forward to their wedding next year at the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve!

Jackie and Austin’s PA Countryside Engagement Session

I was super psyched when Jackie asked me to be in her wedding next year! After shooting tons and tons of weddings, it always feels extra special to take a Saturday off and attend one as a guest. And it’ll be even extra special as a bridesmaid!

Since I won’t be shooting J’s wedding, it felt like an honor when she asked if I’d shoot her and Austin’s engagement session. The two have been dating for 10+(!) years, originally meeting back in grade school, soon after beginning a relationship as friends and eventually kindling an everlasting romance. 

Ever since I’ve known them, Jackie and Austin have been embarking on hiking adventures, road trips, backpacking excursions and all other awesome getaway situations you could imagine, hand-in-hand, in the good company of one another.

I find that shared sense of adventure really special, so I tried to instill a glimmer of it into their engagement session. From taking a quick pit stop along the side of the road to take in a view (which this couple has done many, many times) to going on a mini-hike in the woods, together we tried to capture the spirit of their relationship in photo form. And of course, that meant taking in many laughs and natural chemistry, too.

So excited for these two and all the fun that lays ahead! Looking forward to being there when they tie the knot next July!

Jule and Paul’s Fun Farm Wedding at Lauxmont in Wrightsville, PA

When Jule walked out in a red dress, I knew it was going to be an awesome day. And it was.

Jule and Paul’s wedding undoubtedly deserves two (or three, if that’s possible) thumbs up! The couple’s chemistry shines through in every photo of the day and their comfortableness both with each other and just with the day in general put everyone around them at ease and in high spirits.

Laughter abound, as did plenty of lighthearted goofiness. Both Jule and Paul aren’t afraid to get a little silly nor look a little silly - that goes for with each other, with their friends and even with me, their photographer. As a result, if there was one word to sum of the essence of their day, simply stated, that word would be “fun”. 

Jule and Paul did their wedding right. They had fun. And lots of it. Sure, I’m certain tons of planning and likely some stress went into it, but no sign of any anxiousness showed up on their day. They simply let loose and acted purely as themselves - a couple in love and at ease with one another.

We had fun wandering around Lauxmont Farm’s property, a countryside venue where at night you can hear the crickets and see the stars. You can’t beat the romance of a venue out in the middle of nowhere. A table full of pies and a sparkler exit concluded this magical day.

Wishing Jule and Paul plenty more days full of endless fun to come!

Venue: Lauxmont Farms

Planner: Simple Soiree (Jodi)

Florist: Weddings and Blooms

Officiant: Steve Lewis

Hair: Anna Cafone

DJ: T-Rex 

Band: The Bailsmen 

Caterer: The Scarlet Runner  

Rentals: La Lucia Boutique 

Cara and Will’s Beautiful Wedding at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia

Cara and Will were wed at the American Swedish Historical Museum and everything from the details to the vows to the hour-by-hour gifts given to Cara by Will pre-first-look made the day both special and beautiful to capture.

One of the highlights was undoubtedly when Cara surprised Will mid-ceremony by singing him a song, after which the officiant went on to give a bit of a backstory to their relationship. He spoke of how Will was by Cara’s side as she went through cancer, and supported her when afterwards she decided to take some time to travel the world on her own.

Today, their chemistry is obvious and Cara’s laugh contagious to Will. I wish them many more laughs and good times ahead - including well-executed Soldier Boy dances with the fam!

  • Venue: American Swedish Historical Museum
  • Florist: Love ‘n Fresh Flowers
  • Ceremony Musician: Mark Tremalgia
    • Makeup: Ashley Leoncini with Philly Hair and Makeup Co.
  • DJ: Kim Alexander with No Macarena
  • Caterer: Jeffrey A. Miller

Baby Shoot: Amelie’s 1-Year Birthday!

Interrupting wedding season here real quick to feature this adorable baby shoot.

I had the pleasure of doing some newborn photos for this little lady, and one-year later, had the opportunity to capture her cuteness again. 

As the location for Amelie’s birthday shoot, we chose the East Passyunk Singing Fountain, a neighborhood spot that together Amelie and her parents visit quite often. 

The highlight was without a doubt watching Amelie devour her very first birthday cake. Just minutes before, an elderly lady walking by on the street stopped to look Amelie in the eye, and sweetly tell her how much there is out there in the world to experience and explore. “You have so much in front of you to experience,” she told Amelie.

After the woman left and as I was watching Amelie experience a chocolate cupcake for the first time ever, that statement really hit me. Wow, the beauty of being a kid and all of the novelties that come with it…and yet, there’s still so much left for us all to explore in this world.

With icing smeared all down her face and not a care in the world, I was able to capture a moment of true bliss.

Needless to say, it was a priceless shoot and I am so happy I was able to be a part of Amelie’s one-year. Looking forward to watching her continue to grow! And wondering what kind of cake experience will come next year…

Kristen & Tim’s Playground Wedding in Philadelphia, PA

I met Kristen earlier this year and we immediately bonded over our passion for food. Later, I learned that her soon-to-be husband was involved with opening up Martha, a new bar/restaurant that had become a go-to spot of mine for cocktails when in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philly. Needless to say, I quickly became psyched to shoot their wedding.

Kristen and Tim chose to host their wedding day at the Smith Memorial Playground in Fairmount Park. Naturally, the venue was a haven for playful, pre-ceremony portraits. Together, we found a nice balance of goofing around on the swings and slides and taking part in other playground fun, while also using the surrounding greenery to create some more elegant portraits. I’m not huge on kitschy photos, but seriously, what could be better than riding down a 40-foot-slide with your lover on your wedding day? Or kissing on the swing set? There was no way we weren’t going to make that happen.

Before kisses at the playground however, Kristen and Tim met for a first look at City Hall. When chatting about the weekend crowds at City Hall, Kristen says, “We live in this city and interact with these people every day, so it only makes sense for them to be in our pictures, too.” As a photojournalistic-style wedding photographer, that’s totally the kind of attitude I love. 

For the food, Kristen and Tim kept things laid-back, choosing their all-time favorite BBQ spot, Deke’s BBQ out of Manayunk, to cater the wedding. Then, they brought down one of their favorite party bands from Brooklyn, The Engagements, which put on a funky show during the reception to carry out the night.

Wishing these two tons more playfulness and smiles as they continue their future together!

Venue: Smith Memorial Playground

Wedding Planner: Courtney Smith Events

Florals: DIY

Band: The Engagements

Caterer: Deke’s BBQ

Cocktail Hour Apps.: DiBruno Bros.

Desert Table: Kristen’s lovely friend Sofia

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