catskills wedding: molly + derek

It was probably a random Tuesday afternoon when my friend (and super talented photographer) Amy Winningham asked if I’d second shoot a wedding in the Catskills with her in June. (A thousand times yes, because shooting with your amazingly talented friends is the best.) I didn’t have much intel about the weekend until I’d picked Amy up at the airport (she’s based in Portland, OR) and we were prepping in person for the big day between bites of Pepe’s pizza.

The basics were pretty easy. We’d be shooting a wonderful California-based couple named Derek and Molly, the ceremony and reception would all on Molly’s grandmother’s creekside property in a little town called Claryville, and maybe (if there was time) a quick little jaunt up the street for sunset photos to a spot that Molly really loved. Easy and sweet. A joyful day. I’d probably cry a few fat happy tears, like usual.

This magical day, though. Nothing like the usual at all. Molly’s Grandma? Total badass, and kinder than the day is long. Molly and Derek? Two of the warmest, most loving people I’ve ever met. That creekside property? Magical, because of the decades of history of Molly’s huge family returning to the same place and space to celebrate and laugh and love and share time together - I swear, you could feel all that time they’d spent with one another in the air and the trees.

And that little spot down the street? Molly told us on the way there that the family called it the Top of the World, and when we finally made it up the last massive hill, you could see why. You could see for miles - rolling fields and hills in every direction, with a pink and blue sunset edging beyond the horizon. It was breathtakingly beautiful in every way - and so were Molly and Derek as they danced and played and laughed through the grass until it was too dark to see.

There were so many details that made that day amazing - the way the entire family came together to build stuff, and design stuff, and prep the space, and support Molly and Derek on their way to their vows. The flower girls in the leaning afternoon light. The stars when the sun finally set (one of the many benefits of being in the actual middle of nowhere). The homemade s’mores around the coziest bonfire at the end of the night - and yes, I probably had at least one too many.

I’m so grateful that Amy asked me to assist her that weekend - to be a witness to all the love and joy and laughter with Molly and Derek and their families that day was a total honor.

And, gravy on gravy, I’ll be back in Claryville next June, in that very same magical spot, to capture Molly’s sisters wedding. Eily and Tim, I can’t wait!

mothers day mini sessions + giving back

A few weeks before Mothers Day, I had this totally insane idea. I called two of my dearest friends and said, “I want to do a bunch of mini sessions for Mother’s Day, but I want to donate a chunk of each session to support other mommas in Bridgeport. Wanna help?” Lucky for me, I have amazing friends and with less than three weeks, we pulled together one of my favorite days of 2018 so far. 

I knew I wanted to find an organization that I could donate some of the mini session proceeds to, and I’ve long been in awe of the women of the Mercy Learning Center. MLC provides literacy and life skills training to low-income women in a super compassionate and supportive environment - and they are based right here in Bridgeport!  

My vision was two-fold. I wanted to create a space that would let mommas and their kiddos feel super at-home and comfortable with each other in front of my lens, while at the same time taking advantage of a studio setting so we wouldn’t have to worry about weather. And, I’m such a huge fan of natural light, I wanted to be sure that we could create that feeling of home using window light alone.

My dear friend Marcella Kovac of The Bananaland was kind enough to volunteer her gorgeous studio space, which overlooks downtown Bridgeport from the third floor with huge floor to ceiling windows….MAGIC. Bananaland is pretty stylin’ all on it’s own, but I wanted to set up a few vignettes that gave my mommas a chance to be in the same kinds of spaces they’d be in at home - on the couch, cozy on the floor, and leave room for some space to shoot a few more traditional portraits against the gorgeous old white brick wall too.

Another super stylish soul sister of mine, Madeline Rhodes of Oh My Gemini, jumped in to help create the space that felt like what I envisioned - Maddie created a master plan for the furniture and adding cozy blankets and pillows into just the right nooks so it really felt like home. When I walked into the space after she’d worked her magic, I cried! It was so beautiful.

The last touch was snacks, because life. Selfishly, I knew I couldn’t go a whole day with some delish food, but I wanted to be sure that when my mommas arrived everyone felt pampered and we didn’t end up with any hangry kiddos! I reached out to the amazing Chef Raquel Pablo-Rivera of Pinch of Salt, and she put together a super simple and totally divine menu. I snacked all day, and so did everyone else. Totally delicious, and totally worth it!

We started at 10 and I shot until 4, and I had SO MUCH FUN. So many gorgeous mommas and grandmas, just hanging out and lovin’ on their kiddos. When the last family left, I definitely had one of those “life is so beautiful” moments where you catch yourself tearing up at just how good it was. We made some stunning images together that day! The best part - beyond the images and the magic - was the $546 donation I made to the Mercy Learning Center when it was all over. That’s an entire semester’s tuition for a part-time student. 

I’m so excited to share some of the images we made that day. Momma’s don’t get in the frame often enough, and it was such a delight to capture them all with their kiddos. I’m already planning for next year’s Momma Love Day, and I hope you can join me!