Family Gathering | Bridal Shower Style!

We are experiencing an exciting time in our family - my brother is getting married this fall! As a bridesmaid and of course a sister, I was excited to host a shower for my soon-to-be SIL Karlie for our side of the family and close friends. It was such a special afternoon spent together! I wanted the time to feel close, intimate, and sweet. We thought a botanical "Garden Party" theme would be sweet so we went for it, decorating with our potted plants, cacti, and herbs, succulents planted in my Nana's vintage teacups, and added potted herbs and sweet little chamomile and lavender flowers from Blair of Sweet Blossoms Florals! Our sunroom was the perfect space for it because we could all fit comfortably around a big table while visiting, eating, and celebrating...

Tyler and I had been preparing the past couple of weeks in planning but executing over the last couple of days, making sandwiches, desserts, and setting it all up. My mom and Tyler's aunt Tracy contributed much of the food too - mom with a salad and famous lemon bars and Tracy with a humus platter and orzo salad! It was so fun to watch the food table come to life in all of it's vibrant colors and flavors - we all know we love to eat! :) 

Old friends started to arrive... people we've known for 30 years... It was so special to have them all under one roof. Women who have been very influential and impacting in Jesse's life, and in the lives of all of us poured in all at once with open arms to hug, greet, smile, and toast to the welcoming of the soon-to-be newest Cook addition! It was wonderful to have Karlie, her mom Lauren, and grandmother Joyce get to meet our family and friends who are family - all of whom are so important to us, people we cherish so greatly, and for them to meet Karlie and her mama and grandmother too was such a fun way to spend the day! It was such a sweet fun time! 

Everyone contributed a recipe card into a special recipe box we had gotten for Karlie to keep as a special token, and to add to for years to come. After we ate, she opened her gifts and we played a couple of games: a mad-lib all about their wedding day and a "how well do we know Jesse" game. 

I'm so thankful to each lovely lady who took the time to come spend part of their Sunday with us... it meant so much and I loved how we were all together! 

Cheers to Jesse and Karlie!

Note: Huge thanks to Barnes Farm Tables (tables and chairs), Blair Roberts of Sweet Blossoms (potted and vases of herbs and flowers), Marcie Lenick of Celebrating Love by Marcie (easel), and Splintered Luv Soaps, Etsy (soaps)!

Meghan & Luke : Codorus State Park Engagement Session | Hanover, Pennsylvania

When Meghan and Luke got out of the car when we met at the park, I was immediately taken with how relaxed and excited they seemed for the shoot. They were so comfortable together, and in their own skin, just smiling and laughing from the start. 

They were so open with me too, I felt like I'd known them forever after their shoot because of what they willingly shared with me about their life. I learned about their families, upbringings, values, and even some struggles.

They told me about how they first met while both working at the Westminster Panera Bread. Luke thought Meghan was the "prettiest thing he'd every seen" and kept trying to pursue her. It took her a bit before she gave into him but hasn't looked back since. 

Together they have a little boy named Branson who they just absolutely light up when they talk about. He's such a joy in their life! 

Fun fact about them: They've never not worked for the same company. When it was time to leave Panera, they both went out searching for jobs. Somehow they did it separately and both ended up working for Planet Fitness - and at the same location at that! They're just meant to be together, even on the job... :)

They just had such a sweet chemistry together, and all they wanted to do was laugh and flirt and have fun... It was so cute to watch them interact together. They just did their own thing and were so adorable doing it...

When we were standing by the boat house, they leaned in for a kiss and someone in the background jokingly yelled, "ewwww!" :) 

Luke taught Meghan how to skip rocks because she'd never done it before. After a few tries, she flung the perfect stone across the water and away it skipped! 

I absolutely can not wait to see photos from their cruise ship wedding! It's going to be so grand and relaxing and awesome! So happy that I met these two... Their future together is going to be so rich and filled with some pretty incredible things that's for sure!

Erin & Stephen : Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery | Frederick, Maryland Summer Wedding

Erin and Stephen are such a sweet couple that just love to be together. You can tell that they're best friends, put each other first, and just love to be by each other's side. They've been together for over 8 years and are finally husband and wife, something Stephen knew was going to happen since he met Erin. 

Their wedding day was everything I knew it would be - tender and sweet, intimate and special, and truly all about honoring each other and their unity before their friends and family. 

I met the girls as they were getting ready at RoseBrook Studio in Frederick, Maryland. Erin had written letters to each of her bridesmaids and handed them out shortly after I'd arrived. It was so special for each of them.. her two sisters, and best friends. Erin's sister Fiona is so good with hair and makeup and was working her magic on some of the girls while Brenda from RoseBrook was doing what she does best too... This part of the day was so fun!

I headed over a couple blocks to All Saints Episcopal Church where Stephen and his groomsmen were getting ready. I'm not sure I've ever seen a group of guys care as much about helping their friend get ready as I did with Stephen's groomsmen. They all had fun with it, wanted to pin on their own boutonnieres, help Stephen into his suit jacket, and did it all with smiles. It was so fun to watch.

The church was beautiful. I loved the stained glass windows and of course the red door!

After Erin got into her dress, she and Stephen had a little secret look to exchange letters and gifts to each other. It was really sweet and nice to have a quiet private moment before the ceremony started. Both of Erin's parents officiated and her brother escorted her down the aisle which was so special. Watch as their little nephew Lincoln kept wanting to join them at the front of the church during the ceremony... hehe. :) Afterwards, they got to ring the church bell! We climbed up into the tower and they rang it together. It was so cute!

We headed to Springfield Manor for portraits and of course, the reception! I loved the ballroom decor. It was beautifully simple and the flower arrangement centerpieces were stunning. Everything was tasteful and elegant.

After speeches, we headed out for some portraits after it got a little cooler.

These two make 90 degree temps look easy breezy! Erin just loved her veil and couldn't get enough of it. I bet she would wear it every single day if she could. :)

I was so happy that even after some recent flooding, the rows of lavender were still in tact. The evening carried on with dancing, corn hole, and a cupcake cutting! 

After their wedding day, Erin and Stephen spent their honeymoon in Italy where they saw so many iconic sights, tasted incredible flavors, and even took a gondola ride! Best of wishes to these two! I know life will take them on some amazing adventures together...

***

Flowers - Fiddlestix Florals
DJ - Shewsical Entertainment
Invitations - BettyLu Paperie (Etsy)
Dress - David's Bridal

Artistan/In-Studio Portrait Session | Reagan Ashley Pottery - Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Pottery has always been something that has interested me. When I was in connection with Reagan to come to her studio to photograph her at the wheel, I was thinking about so many life-parallels about her as an artist, molding the clay. I was also thinking about how soothing and relaxing this type of expression must be, and how satisfying I imagine the feeling when your piece is finally finished, having been processed through each stage, and finally ready to be on display.

I met Reagan at her resident studio in Lancaster, Pennsylvania - Lancaster Clay Studios, where you can take class or even rent a space to do your own work. The lighting inside was beautifully crisp and clean, with white walls and pottery materials tucked into every corner. Some of the artists' finished pieces are shown on display when you walk in too, which were fun to look at and see all the different styles of work. I loved Reagan's pour-over coffee cups and some of another artists' hanging planters.

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As she worked, I asked Reagan questions about where she was from and what got her started in pottery. She grew up in northern Virginia and settled in PA after college with her husband of three years. She had taken a pottery class in high school and fell in love with it. She loves to make the pour-over mugs but has recently been making more vases, and has a few projects going with some local florists.

First, she starts with a weighed-out chunk of clay and kneads and works it a big until it's malleable enough to throw onto the wheel. Then, once it's on, she has a petal she pushes with her foot, similar to a sewing machine, that spins the wheel while she molds it with her hands. It's important to feel the clay as it spins, not only to shape it, but to make sure there are no air pockets or bubbles in the clay. She also has to make sure the clay contains just the right amount of moisture so that it doesn't crack but isn't too wet to topple over or deform. She worked on a little mug and then a vase while I was there. 

The tools in the box you'll see are for "trimming". After the clay piece has been formed and dries out, it gets trimmed and perfected before going into the kiln for firing and then glazing.

It was such a pleasure to meet Reagan. She's so down to earth and conversational, and has such a talent for sure. Her work can be found and purchased at reaganashleypottery.etsy.com.

2018 First Lady's Luncheon | Washington Hilton, Washington DC - American Grown Flowers

The First Lady's Luncheon is a bipartisan event to honor the First Lady of the United States. Proceeds go to a charity of her choice.

Over 15,000 stems were donated from flower farmers across the country. 170 centerpieces, 800 boutonnieres, 50 bud vases, numerous other arrangements, and an 8x8 flower wall were designed and executed by about 30 florists, farmers, and volunteers from different parts of the country from Alaska to Rhode Island. It was such a cool experience to meet and connect with such talented and wonderful people, documenting as they worked so hard to bring the 106th First Lady's Luncheon together!

Thank you Kelly of Petals by the Shore for asking me to photograph on behalf of you and American Grown Flowers as you lead this team of hardworking individuals to execute the vision you've been working on for so long - what an honor it was!

It was fun to photograph a head shot of each of the volunteers and flower designers who were there to execute. They were all so sweet and enjoyable to spend time with! Luckily the sun was shining in the hotel courtyard for us to use as a nice green backdrop.

After a delicious lunch together at the hotel restaurant, it was time to set up the ballroom! During this time, we were given word that Melania was still in the hospital after undergoing kidney surgery which was obviously disappointing since she was the guest of honor.

After a stormy night spent in the hotel (with tornado warnings!) we woke bright and early to get ready by 5:00 am and head down to finish the morning-of setup! The flower wall had to be put into place, ballroom arrangements, the boutonniere/corsage bars, and so much more! Once we were all ready to go, we showered and changed and got ready for the guests to arrive! I believe I heard that there were over 2,000 guests! It was so fun to watch the ladies pick out their corsages and take pictures in front of the flower wall, enjoy a few mimosas, and mingle together! I loved to see the styles these women had - and let me tell you, they brought it! Hats, shoes, gorgeous dresses...

Once the luncheon began, introductions of the spouses of congress, followed by Mrs. Karen Pence, wife to our vice president. She gave a beautiful speech and we all carried on with a lovely lunch and celebration in honor of Melania. 

I was so blessed to be part of such a beautiful event! It was such an impressive sight to see so much hard work be put in my Kelly and her team, and be able to photograph such influential people of our country. Would love to be back next year! 


Lead designer: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore

Co-lead designer: Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet

Design team: Fancy Florals by Nancy, Harmony Harvest, J Starrs Flower Barn, Goodness Gracious Florals, Blair Sweet Blossoms, Green Sinner, Sophisticated Floral, Westcott Diana, Christina Flower Co., Bergerons Flowers, CW Floral Design, Pamela Primrose, Susan Marie, Atelier Ashley Flowers, Crimson and Clover Floral, Whats up Buttercup LLC, Pollen and Pastry

Support Team Members: Wayne Zimmerman, Alaskan Legacy Peonies, Betty Joslyn, Sunny Side Flowers PA, Fresh Blooms, DV Flora, Dream Floral Art, Rose Gold Event, Anna MK, Arnosky Family Farms, Hagerstown Garden Club

Farms: Mellano and Company, Gallup and Stribling, Westland Orchids, Resendiz Brothers, Kendall Farms, Ocean View Floweres, Callaco, Holland America Flowers, Sun Valley Floral Farms, Len Busch Roses, Eufloria Flowers, Dramm and Echter, Green Valley Floral Co, Fern Coolie, Arnosky Family Farms, Oregon Flowers, Bloomia Flowers, Harmony Harvest, Protea USA

Sponsors: Accent D├ęcor Inc., DV Flora, Oasis Floral Products, Shop Nature Supply

Host: The Congressional Club