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Lauren and David at The Walters Museum of Art

September 2, 2009

Lauren dressing at her parent’s house. All the comforts of home and very nice light too! Genuinely the nicest of people , Lauren and David allowed us the opportunity to create images for them that were timeless.

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Lauren, contemplative. This day was long in the planning. Beauty and joy are the order of the day.

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Mt. Vernon. The bridal party at ease on a gorgeous June day.

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Transition to ‘museum-quality’ black and white images – no problemo. We teach our photographers how to capture images in the super rich Camera Raw mode as opposed to a  jpeg files. Jpegs are compressed files that cast off visual information which is critical for color fidelity and texture in printing.

bridal party mount vernon baltimore

Early evening light reflected back onto Lauren and David by our assistant.

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A moment.

bride and groom mount vernon baltimore

The bride and her father coming down the aisle at that most wonderful of venues, The Walters Art Museum.

ceremony walters wedding baltimore

ceremony walters wedding baltimore

ceremony walters wedding baltimore

The color scheme (pink) for the tables and linens, contrasted nicely with the neo-classical setting of the Walters. Our good friend, Talyia, represented Linwoods, who catered this wedding.

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cake reception walters wedding

Dancing after dinner. The party was a celebration of two hearts becoming one.

bride and groom dancing reception walters wedding

walters wedding

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Amanda and Brian’s Evergreen Wedding-It’s all in the Details!

August 27, 2009

Every wedding we create images for is a unique event. Every bride we photograph is beautiful. We go to these events full of anticipation and excitement knowing  that we’re going to see and experience  moments that will unfold before us only once and never again. Both myself and my associates bring open hearts and a passion to do this work at the highest levels possible.

Amanda and Brian were married a just few weeks ago at Evergreen.

Brian grew up in Boston and is a HUGE sox, pats, celtics, bruins fan. He’s currently getting his MBA at UNC @ Chapel Hill. As for Amanda, she’s a graphic designer and did all of the graphics for her wedding- invitation, fan, donation card, the big banners, etc. Amanda and Brian love cooking together, really enjoy wine and  have two cats they’re slightly obsessed with. They love to travel. Amanda’s  really into art- oil painting and photography. Amanda will be starting photography classes soon and I think I’m being ‘groomed’ as her adviser. ….my pleasure.

In the mid-19th century, when railroads were king, Baltimore’s Garrett family ruled the rails. Evergreen, their home for two generations (from 1878-1942), is a superb example of Gilded Age architecture set on 26 landscaped acres in Baltimore and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Amanda and company dressed at the Radisson Cross Keys as did Brian.

bride getting ready

groom getting ready

The bride had very specific ideas about locations at Evergreen that she wanted as backdrops for creating images. I love this interaction with my clients, we’re eminently  open and available to their ideas and suggestions as this  often results in great images.

Amanda is walking towards the walled garden where Brian is waiting to see her for the first time on their wedding day.

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bride groom evergreen

One of things I think we do better than anyone else out there is to allow people to be themselves. I had everyone in the bridal party walk around and then re-group in a different arrangement. It only took a few minutes before they were having the time of their lives trying to do it differently each time. Here’s just one of many totally fun, irreverent images that resulted.

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Amanda and Brian in the lower garden at Evergreen. They were such a joy to work with.

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The grounds at Evergreen offer a great variety of killer locations to shoot in. While not every couple chooses to see one another before the ceremony, Amanda and Brian, wanting to maximize the time we had together, did. It made for an early start, however the couple had plenty of time after the ceremony to enjoy their cocktail hour on the veranda.

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Amanda’s dress was from Victorian Rose.

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For some reason, it had never occurred to me  to use the side of the carriage house as a backdrop. While we were all strolling back to the main area from the lower garden, I saw what a perfect  contrast it was to Amanda and Brian’s physical beauty – set against the aging patina of old wood and stone work. The scale of the wall, doors and window is harmonious and draws the eye inward to  focus on Amanda.

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bride groom evergreen

bride groom evergreen

This image was created by my long time associate, Philip J. Weber, who was there with me that day. Philip is an amazingly talented wedding photojournalist in his own right. When he isn’t shooting his own ‘gigs’ with his team for the studio, we’ll work together.

Philip could have stood anywhere to capture this image, however, his highly sophisticated ‘eye’ instinctively registered the arch in the background behind Amanda and her Dad, lending a subtle framing for them.

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The grandeur  and majesty of Evergreen is pretty extraordinary and makes it possible to create sweeping panoramic images like this one.

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bride groom evergreen
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George Rickels owner of Swoon  Creative Group conceived  the overall ‘look’ for this wedding in collaboration with Amanda and her father. The wall pieces are entirely hand made of paper by George just for this wedding and are evocative of the fabric flower adornment on Amanda’s dress. Pretty darn cool, eh?

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This became distinctly more of a family affair since Linwood’s was the caterer and our good friend Sherri, who manages weddings for them, was actually a guest. Sherri’s daughter was one of Amanda’s bridesmaids.

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I think all the best vendors have an innate sense of style. Seemingly unimportant details such as how the glasses are arranged at the bar take on a whole new visual significance when a top caterer like Linwoods gets involved.

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wedding reception evergreen paper sculpture
bride groom dancing reception wedding evergreen black and white

At the end of this truly breathtaking wedding, it really comes down to the fact that Amanda and Brian fell in love and were married.

We were privileged and honored to be the ones to create images that this couple, their families and loved ones will cherish for generations to come.

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Silvia and George at Maryvale Castle

August 13, 2009

Not too many weddings outside of Europe take place in a castle, however, Silvia and George had theirs at Maryvale Castle. Maryvale has it all, green expanses of lawn, secret gardens, turrets and great rooms.

Silvia and George used to work at the same company in Virginia, where they met and their romance blossomed.

They enjoy watching movies, going to comedy shows, cooking and trying new recipes, working on home projects, spending time with family, friends and their beloved dog Chiquita, but most importantly, spending time together.

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maryvale

Luis, Sivia’s father was born in Nicaragua, his father was from El Salvador and his mother was from Nicaragua. Zoila, Silvia’s mother was born in Peru, both of her parents were born in Peru.  Her grandfather on her mom’s side was from Italy.

The look of love and adoration on Luis’s face for his daughter on her wedding day is  very , very, palpable.

bride and father maryvale

bride and bridesmaids maryvale

bride and bridesmaids maryvale

Silvia’s dress was an Alvina Valenta in white (Italian silk and French lace) and her veil was a mantilla veil with French lace to match her gown. Crème Silk Duchess Satin strapless A-line gown, deep alencon lace border at hem, Satin sash and brooch at waist, covered buttons and loops over zipper at center back, sweep train.

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We turned, we saw, we captured this image of George. It begged to be black and white.

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Maryvale has it’s own small chapel just off the main ballroom. Deep , dark,  rich woodwork – hand carved by 19th century master artisans.

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The reception was catered by the best of the best, Linwoods. The videographer was Blue Sky.

reception maryvale wedding

reception maryvale wedding

reception maryvale wedding

Giant sparklers blazed as the newlyweds left the castle after a joyful celebration with friends, family and loved ones.

reception maryvale wedding

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My recent visit to New Orleans-“The Big Easy”-memories both old and new

August 5, 2009

I had a rare-albeit welcome-free weekend in July and used it to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana for six days. I went alone to photograph old haunts, make new discoveries, reflect and recharge the creative batteries.

My parents, grandparents  and forebears were all from New Orleans, some by birth, and others emigrating from France to this most French – influenced of American cities.

As a child I’d spend Christmas, Easter and sometimes a week or so with my family visiting my grandmother at her house ‘Uptown’. My grandmother, who spoke with a french accent  though born in New Orleans (French being her first language) : she was named Edvige Tiblier. She came from an old New Orleans family and  though whatever  wealth they had in the 19th century was long gone, a good New Orleans name transcends all and she was a member of that society. “Vigie,” as we called her had been  a Queen of The Olympians , an old Mardi Gras  society ball , in 1916. The Olympians still have their ball to this day as well as a ‘krewe’ and a float in the Mardi Gras parade.

My mom and dad moved to Baltimore in the late 1940’s where my sister and I were born – partly for my dad’s career, but also to escape the cloistered, close-minded, uber-Catholic, New Orleans society, and it’s expectations for  members, both subtle and overt,  that they found so confining and stifling.

As a kid, I had no negative associations  with the city and found it stunningly beautiful, exotic, deliciously ‘foreign’, and endlessly beguiling. During our visits especially starting when I was about ten years old years old, I’d ride the streetcars- sometimes all day long and without a thought for safety. This was in  ’60’s this was before most of the  tracks were pulled up, when streetcar lines crisscrossed the entire city.

My grandmother had two sisters, my great aunts, Octavie and Aimee, whom we called Tante (aunt) Aimee.

Tante Aimee, who  never married and had polio as a child, walked with crutches and was my favorite ,a real live wire. The first woman to sell a million dollars worth of life insurance in the USA, she was charismatic, charming, generous, warm-hearted and had a wicked sense of humor. As a famous gourmet in New Orleans, she  was one of the few woman to attend Le Cordon Bleu cooking school- well before Julia Child. Because of her disability, when we went out to dinner, we would sometimes have to enter through the restaurant’s kitchens, where there would be a chorus of greetings  to her from the chef’s, waiters and busboys, who  knew and venerated her.

I stopped going to New Orleans when I was about thirteen and didn’t return until my  mid-thirties, long after my grandmother and great aunts had died, in order to ‘prop-up’ my grandmother’s house, which my mother could no longer adequately care for in her old age.

The city had changed during my 20 year hiatus, however it’s beauty and character were intact, thriving in fact, despite  systemic  pervasive poverty and  corruption that have always been a part of New Orleans’ identity

I fell in love with New Orleans once again, and have been returning every year or so to document it’s buildings and people . I also travel to photograph Southwest Louisiana, known as ‘Cajun Country’ – a very special place unto itself.

Here’s a few images and notes about my most recent visit:

Phillip and David, owners and  innkeepers of The Royal Street Courtyard B&B, where I stay when in New Orleans. Truly a great resource and very near ‘The Quarter’. Phillip and David know where all the locals go to get great N’awlin’s cooking and are fabulous hosts. I highly recommend their B& B as a wonderful place to stay.

Phillip-and-David-Innkeepers

The guys at The Camellia Grill, a legendary breakfast spot near Riverbend, in the Uptown section of the city. Their repartee and good humored interactions with the diners are as good as their waffles with walnut maple syrup

Camellia-Guys

Elizabeth’s in Bywater is only a few minutes drive from my B& B. David and Phillip turned me on to it. Incredible food: on par with the best any restaurant could offer in the French Quarter-at half the price!

Elizabeths-Restaurant

Abandon all hope, ye who enter Elizabeth’s.

Elizabeths-Menu

Another New Orleans institution, Hubigs Pies. They haven’t changed their recipes in 70 years -or their ways of doing business. Hubigs was wiped out in Katrina, but their employees returned to work for no pay until the business was up and running again. They are thriving.
Hubigs-Pies

My friend, Arthur Smith. We met in New Orleans a few years before Katrina. I had been searching the neighborhoods for folk artists and interesting people to photograph and at the suggestion of someone I had chatted up at a gas station, who described a man living in a wildly painted and adorned shotgun house on Music Street, I found Mr. Smith. Every time I go back to New Orleans, I make a point of seeing Mr. Smith. I saw him the day before Katrina hit and I found him again the year after. On this visit when I went to his house I found that the city had demolished it. Still owning the land on which his house once stood, he’s created a ‘garden’ of found objects as well as a small shrine to his mother, whose tomb is actually in St. Louis Cemetery Number 1, near the tomb of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen.

Though now homeless, Mr. Smith is a survivor of the first order and there are people who know and care about him and are looking out for him.Arthur-Smith-B&-W-1

Arthur-Smith's-Former-Hse

So there I was walking down Bourbon Street  at night with a ginormous camera on a tripod and a couple more hanging around my neck. Not exactly inconspicuous. “What the hell”, I said to myself , “Let’s chat up the ladies”.

Treat people with respect , show ‘em your heart and they’ll give you images. True with everyone, from brides to the ladies of Bourbon Street.

Ladies-2

Lady

Lucky-Dog-

Cecil J. Fontenot, manager of Floyd’s Record Shop in Ville Platte, Louisana. Floyd’s in the heart of ‘Cajun’ country has been around since 1956 and is famous for Cajun and Swamp Pop recordings. Cecil is holding a hand- crafted accordion he made. It was gorgeous. I made this image during a little trip   out of New Orleans to Southwest  Louisiana,” Cajun Country”.

Cecil J. Fontenot, Mgr. Floyd's Record Shop Ville Platte, LA

Coffee shop near my B&B in the historic Faubourg Marigny just outside “The Quarter”
Coffee shop

“Mr. Okra,” as he is known in the neighborhood.
Mr. Okra

Typical facade of a “Shotgun” house. So called, because the rooms are one behind the other in a straight line. If you fired a shotgun through the front door of one, the blast would go unimpeded straight through the back door.
Shotgun-Door

French Quarter, 7:00 a.m.

French Quarter house

F.Q. 7:05 a.m.

French-Quart.7a.m.

7:20 a.m.
Quater-7--15-a.m.

The “Human Statue” going to work in Jackson Square in the heart of The French Quarter. 7:45 a.m.

Living-Statue-The Lower 9th. Ward. The neighborhood was totally decimated by Katrina and thousands lost their homes-never to return. The house in the background is part of Brad Pitt’s rebuilding project. In the foreground are the foundations of a house destroyed in the hurricane. The new homes are ‘green’ , solar powered, hurricane -proof and architecturally- totally cool..

Lower-9th-old-&-New

New home, Lower 9th.

Hurricane-Proof

Just moved in that day. Lower 9th.
New-home--lower-9th.

Cypress swamp, Magnolia Plantation, Washington Louisiana
Cypress Swamp-Magnolia Plantation

Audubon Park. My grandmother would take me there to feed the ducks in The Lagoon when I was about four years old. We’d get day- old french bread from the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Bonnie and Clyde had a warm spot for Piggly Wiggly’s and robbed them often during the Depression.

Live Oaks -Audubon Park

The “Live Oaks” in New Orleans grow to a huge size.
Spanish Moss & Live Oaks Audubon Park

Spanish Moss and an a abundance of atmosphere

Spanish Moss

The Tomb of Marie Laveau, known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Notice the offerings at the base of the tomb and the triple cross marks on the sides.

Marie-Laveau's-Tomb

The young lady here shared with me that many of the woman in her family, past and present, were ‘Seers’. She explained exactly what some of the offerings left by others, were intended for. Some very hopeful things and some rather ‘dark’ things. Yet another compelling reason why I love to travel;to see how others view the world.

Offering at Marie Laveau's tomb

Triple crosses and other symbols, scratched into the Voodoo Queens tomb.

Cross-Marks-Marie-Laveau's-Tomb

Metairie Cemetery, one of my favorite ‘haunts’. Absolutely beautiful and justly famous for it’s above ground tombs. I’ve been shooting there for years and still find unique and powerful images each time I go. We’re planning a show here at the studio in the future so I created a number of these images in a High Definition mode (multiple/ layered exposures)which can’t really be appreciated in web size for this blog. Full size prints are drop -dead gorgeous with impossible- to -believe sharpness.

Sphinx---Metarie-Cemetery

Tomb Allie

Welcome-Tomb

The tomb of Arthur deRoaldes, my great-great uncle,from whom my Father and I both took our first and middle names. I’m named after my Dad. Dr. deRoaldes was a very much larger than life figure, a war hero and founder of Charity Hospital in New Orleans. The story goes that Dr. deRoaldes lost ownership of the family chateau, Maison Henri IV deRoaldes, which had been in our family since the Fifteenth Century and bought it back with the winnings he’d accrued from playing poker at the New Orleans Club. I have some pretty cool furniture from the deRoaldes chateau which still exists in Cahors, France.

Arthur-De-Roaldes-Tomb

This visit was an especially good one for me, spiritually, emotionally and creatively. I feel much more ‘centered’ and available to our wedding couples after a visit to this special city.

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A Fashionable Wedding at Chase Court & The Brass Elephant

July 13, 2009

Danielle and Donny were married at Chase Court on 5/29/09 with the reception following at The Brass Elephant.

This wedding was a bit different in several ways. It was on a Friday, (not that unusual) and it was a smaller event in that there were only forty guests in attendance. I covered the event myself without assistance.

Danielle is drop-dead gorgeous and the camera loves her – as evidenced  by the images I brought back.

These images of Danielle getting ready and her portraits were created in the “Bride’s Room” which David, the proprietor of Chase Court, has imbued with his great taste and stunning color scheme for a perfect ‘set’ to work in.

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The stone/wood work, architecture, landscaped pathways and patina of age at Chase Court, a former rectory of a grand old Baltimore church, also gave me a great background to highlight Danielle’s beauty.

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The ceremony started off outside but quickly moved inside as the rain began to come down. We didn’t miss a beat and everyone treated the scene change with great humor and a fun departure from the typical.

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The happy couple were photographed indoors. Not a problem.

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The Brass Elephant, whose reputation for great food and service is unsurpassed, was the location for the small and intimate gathering that followed the wedding. Everyone was seated at a long , single table which enhanced the sense of family and closeness.

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I like this image because it is very photojournalistic, completely spontaneous, and just ‘happened’. Of course I went outside intuitively thinking that a great shot just might present itself. It did.

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Lisa and Chris’s Magical Wedding on Gibson Island

June 29, 2009

I’ve had the opportunity to photograph a number of weddings on Gibson Island.  It is  truly a magical  place and a fantastic ‘destination’ for  a wedding by- the- sea.

Lisa had a charming cottage where she and her attendants dressed for the wedding and was just a stone’s throw from the Gibson Island Yacht Club, the ceremony and reception site.

Elizabeth Bailey, of Elizabeth Bailey Weddings was the wedding planner for this event. Beth is considered, by far, to be the best in her field. Our events with Beth always go smoothly and our clients are worry free since Beth and her team are attentive to the smallest details.

The flowers for the bridal party, ceremony and reception were by Karen Lock of Karen’s Flower Markets, my friend whom I’ve known for years and who always imbues her highly original work with unique color  and design.

shoes and flowers gibson island

Lisa who had her heart set on a outdoor ceremony, was, naturally, a little worried when a storm passed through early in the day. Isabelle, my talented second photographer, saw a small patch of blue on the horizon amidst the clouds and we guaranteed Lisa that it would be blue skies  for the ceremony.

And so it was.

bride black and white gibson island

A ‘p.j.’ (photojournalist) image. Lisa is probably looking at the weather radar on weatherunderground.com. I’m frequently asked by my brides ” What if it rains/ snows/ is too hot?” I tell them that I’ve spent years learning how to make even the worst- case scenarios, indoors and out, look magnificent. It is what we do.

bride gibson island

The clouds have parted, the weather now gorgeous and Lisa and her bridesmaid’s are as excited as we are to go have some fun with photography.

bride and bridesmaids gibson island

The men are wearing classic khaki, perfect for this event, and the women are in navy blue. The lime color  of the bouquets are a great visual compliment to the dresses.

bridal party gibson island

Lisa looking radiant.

Lisa looks natural and un -posed because  of the relationship we established early on, and which is one of trust. One of the first things I tell a bride is that they cannot do anything ‘wrong’, and that they are in very good hands. Not every image we create is a winner however I can guarantee every bride that they will be overwhelmed by the number of great images that we do capture. The ability to allow people to be themselves means that they are actually giving me great images. We  work as  partner’s in doing so.

We used the trees and the horizon  to  frame Lisa  for a stunningly beautiful full length portrait.

bride full length gibson island

Lisa’s hair and make-up by Up-Dos for I Dos.

Please notice the exact point of focus is on Lisa’s eyes and that there are ‘catch-lights’ in her eyes,  showing the life within. From the eyes, everything else recedes into a softer and softer focus. Both myself and my second photographer have spent years perfecting our craft to the point where it is effortless and lets us work intuitively.

The eyes are the windows to the soul.

bride close up gibson island

A moment.

bride and groom gibson island

The site for the wedding ceremony.

gibson island wedding

The little guys, resplendent in their hand- tied bow ties carrying the wedding rings in a really cool floral arrangement by Karen Lock.

ring bearers gibson island

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ceremony gibson island wedding

Lisa provided the guests with blue parasols to ward off the suns rays. Elizabeth Bailey is fantastic at coming up with fun, visual elements that add to the occasion- and have a practical use as well.

ceremony gibson island wedding

ceremony gibson island wedding

Lolly-pops doubling as seating assignments. One of the creative and highly original elements that this wedding had an abundance of.

gibson island wedding

gibson island wedding

During the cocktail hour, The Mellowtones, a steel drum ensemble, serenaded the guests, in keeping with the island theme.

gibson island wedding

Cake by Graul’s Market. The D.J. was  master mixer Evan Reitmeyer  of Mydeejay.com who had everyone dancing all night long.

gibson island wedding cake

Again, Lisa’s color and flower arrangements work in perfect harmony with the environment.

gibson island wedding

gibson island wedding Chris and Lisa’s first dance.The guests were totally enchanted. They earned a standing ovation when done.

gibson island wedding

An example of a scene we captured in a, albeit brief, lull during the reception. We look for the contrasts and situations that are ‘a-typical’ but tell the story of the wedding from many perspectives.

Truly a magical wedding.

gibson island wedding

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Nikki and Greg at The Hillendale Country Club

June 23, 2009

Nikki and Greg were referred to my studio by Christina and Allan, whose wedding we created images for last winter. Nikki was also a guest at that wedding and was delighted by our style and the sense of joy we brought to the wedding. After seeing Christina’s and Allan’s images on line, she became a true believer.

Nikki met Greg met through Nikki’s oldest brother who was best friends with Greg, they were engaged on a N. Carolina beach in ’08 and managed to plan their amazing wedding in just six months!

Greg is a graphic designer in web development and Nikki is an MRI technologist. Nikki say’s that Greg is the ‘artistic’ one, but Nikki’s sense of style is wonderful.

The Hillendale Country Club a charming and beautiful setting for a wedding. Our good friend there, LeeAnn White, treats each bride and groom as if they were members of her own family.

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Flowers by Audry

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Nikki amidst the magnolia blossems, looking radiant in her gown by Waters from Betsy Robinson. Nikki’s hair by Julia Edwards at Padma Salon and her make-up is by the esteemed Jamie Leboe.

Remanjon_090418_0033Nikki.

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The moment where all elements coalesce into an amazing image!

Remanjon_090418_0248A stolen moment.

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The bridal party. Definitely un-posed.

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Nikki’s Dad who is about to escort her down the aisle. His expression says more than words ever could.

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The room where the reception took place was a visual feast and another testimonial of the level at which Hillendale performs. The lighting by Perkin’s Productions further enhanced the ambiance.

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Cake by Yai-Yai’s Bakery. Yum!

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Nikki and her Dad during the Father – Daughter dance.

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Party favors included this ‘personalized’ crab mallet to lend a touch of Baltimore. This wedding was a celebration of families and loved ones, gathered in one place to fete a great couple on one of the most important days in their lives.

As always, we were honored to be a part of it.

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