Surprise, Jess! Styled Shoot
Hold on to your hearts, folks, because mine damn near jumped out of my chest with this one. I'm usually a bit Grinch-y, but anytime one of my couples starts their vows (or something like this happens), it grows three sizes.
An old friend, Rich, with tons of dirt about my early twenties got in touch with me a few weeks ago. He's one of my favorites to do hair in the Philly area, too, so there's that. He asked for something not on my normal menu: a styled shoot centered around a real couple and their wedding. I am happy to say that this went so well, that I will be offering this as a service!
Say hi to Rich!
The story unfolded a bit like this:
Due to uncontrollable events, a couple ended up not receiving their wedding photos (I'd like to assert that it was no fault with either party, life just happens). They had maybe 5-6 cell phone pictures of the wedding. Of course, they were devastated, especially Jess (the bride).
This is Jess. No, it is not fair how pretty she is.
Alex Medvick came in to shoot the whole thing, and Rich's friend Elissa arrived later to do her makeup.
Scott, Jess's husband, is a testament to the good men of this world. As soon as Rich brought the idea to him, he was 150% on board. He made arrangements for the kids, got Jess out of the house, and hunted for all of their outfits from the wedding, including those of her three boys.
He earned his Superman pose here!
I went through the original cell phone photos and took notes about types of flowers used, placement, and all of the accessories. We didn't have the same table, so I adapted the arrangements. She also hadn't had a bouquet on the day, but we made her one as a bonus, in case she wanted it. The weather turned out to be nasty (why does 33 degrees and raining exist? Whyyyyy?) so we built the sweetheart table inside.
Rich makes those roses look cute!
We were looking for her dress while she was out of the house, which was a good thing. I only spotted it because a few inches of tulle were poking out from under several heavy bags of things in a closet. I'm pretty sure quite a few expletives popped out when I realized how the dress had been kept. Note to brides/femmes/whoever the heck wants to wear an expensive dress once: get it preserved. It's so worth it.
I stuck the dress in the bathroom with the hot water going, and made a giant mess of their kitchen assembling the florals. We had maybe an hour before we got the text:
Driving. Be 3 minutes!
We didn't hide, but Alex did have his camera at the ready. When she walked through the door, her immediate reaction went a bit like this
I don't think I was able to understand most of what she was saying at first, but she did go tearing around the first floor hugging everyone, and trying to get the "ugly crying" out, per Rich's orders. Excuse me, my eyes are leaking.
Here are a few getting ready pictures from the shoot, simply because Jess is gorgeous and Rich and Elissa do beautiful work:
Sharing the good vibes between hair and makeup!
About halfway through prep, I gained a new nickname to go along with "the troll at the bridal bridge" and "wedding ninja"- Jess started to refer me as a "fairy f****** godmother". Normally I wouldn't brag, but my titles get funnier by the year. Thanks, Jess!
When they started shooting with Alex, the relaxation in the air was palpable. Scott and Jess were both having fun, joking, laughing, and getting to be themselves in front of the camera. If I could make everyone do this- a six month or anniversary present to yourselves to do some wedding portraits- I would. It takes away from the stress of the day, you don't miss cocktail hour, and you can just enjoy yourselves on both days. I've seen couples (and their bridal parties) miss half of their wedding reception because of how many photos the clients wanted. Solid PASS on that.
Jess and Scott met when they each only had one little monster each, and now they have this squad of cuteness:
What I thought was positively adorable about these three was that when they saw Jess and Scott kissing, we had to actively encourage them to say "ewwww!" for the shot you see below. I thought it was wonderful that they were so accustomed to seeing their mom and step dad in love, that it was normal and not icky.
We managed to get 15 minutes of happy kids before we had a meltdown, but as always, Alex did a great job catching their little moments:
What was beautiful about the day is that it encompassed three different kinds of shoots: shortly before getting her dressed, Alex and Jess snuck up to the roof deck to take a few photos in her wedding underthings. Most of those are For Scott's Eyes Only, but we do have one for your consideration:
Yankee (their golden retriever) also made an appearance with Jess, which led to this adorable photo:
After we went outside (and their youngest decided that he'd had enough), Jess needed to nurse, and had a sweet moment caught on camera between her and her youngest as she nursed. For privacy, we're not putting it on here.
Instead, I present you: the newest Nicholas Sparks novel cover!
The reason why I mention the unmentionable parts is because within this shoot, Jess was able to explore three different sides of her life- as a beautiful, intelligent woman in love with a kind, thoughtful man, confident in her own skin, and mother to three gorgeous boys (and hopefully more, according to her!).
This was also a fun experience for Scott. He enjoyed surprising his wife and see her looking and feeling beautiful. He was looking pretty snazzy himself, and you could tell that this shoot was a wonderful reminder of the way his blended family has come together.
It was a wonderful experience to be a part of an afternoon with Jess, Scott, and their family, and I'm proud to present more photos of their shoot!
Oh, my wittle heart.
If this looks like fun, or something you might be interested in, pick up the phone and give me a call. We'll find you the right vendors and replicate the elements you want (or change the ones you don't!) so you can have stylized photos of your wedding elements. You'll spend a wonderful day reliving one of the best days of your life!
'Til next time, Wed-O-Sphere!