Monday, July 28, 2014

Having a daughter with special needs | what our journey looks like.

I recently met a women that really touched my heart.  She sat on a bench in the shade at the park.  She only had one child to tend and was sketching a picture while he played in the sand.  I had my million children so I was all over the place.  I watched Tulie sit next to her and then over the corse of a few minutes had some of the women's sketching paper and few crayons to draw with.  I finally decided to intervene when  I saw Tulie stroking the women's hair.  The women and I talked about random things and meaningful things. She was wonderfully different from me and I enjoyed our conversation very much. 
Tulie has am IEP in school and learning comes very hard for her.  She was held back in 1st grade and will struggle her whole life with learning, she will always be behind.  Tulie struggles with children her age or shall I say children her age struggle with Tulie.  She is very kind and silly. However, her inability to understand social cues and her lack of personal space can be a problem for others I think.  Weekly I see her in social settings where she is rejected and pushed away in both indirect ways and very awful blatant ways.  Tulie is not fully aware of what is going on when these things happen but she is aware that she normally ends up alone. 
It was getting time to leave so I went to wrangle up Tulie who was crazy high up in a pine tree.  As I awaited her decent the women leaned over to me and quietly comment on what a special daughter I have.  That she hoped I was able to get her around people that accepted her talents.  People that encouraged her to be her and not who they think she should be.   In the quietest voice she reminded me of how special Tulie was and that  I had an obligation to advocate for her.  And to encourage her unique qualities.  
Boy did this open the flood gates.  And still does.  Tulie is quirky.  What the hell does that even mean?  I guess I find myself apologizing for her lack of personal space, for her lack of tact or inability to understand social cues.  I get anxious that by being herself she will push people away.  And you know what, she does.  She doe push some people away.  She does turn some people off.   But those people are not who she needs in her life.  I don't need to apologize for her.  I don't need to be embarrassed by her.  She is a beautiful daughter of God.  I adore her, and anyone that takes a moment to get to know her and understand her loves her too.  
I am so grateful to this women and for her ability to SEE Tulie.  And for her gentle words of encouragement for me and my daughter.  The wonderful power of kindness.  
Photo credit +Jenny Gildea Photography

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chagrin falls | Engagement session

This little family will be getting married in a few weeks and I am so looking forward to it.  I hope that they bring their little puppy to the wedding too. I met at their cute little house just a few blocks away from the falls.  What a lovely location this Chagrin falls.  The park is also close by so that we could spend time throwing the frisbee with their cute little puppy.  We then stopped into the most delicious ice-cream shop!!  Seriosly people if you have never been to Jeni's Ice Cream you are seriously missing out.  It is defiantly a foodie venue.  Filled with ice flavors I can't even pronounce.  Well you two, I will see you in a few weeks to celebrate your lovely day! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jillian and Kevin | Hillbrook wedding

People watching at weddings makes me happy.  I love to watch the hugging and the love.  I like to hear the kind words of welcome, love and gratitude.  Jillian and her Dad had a first look together and it was all tears and love.  Daddy love gets me every time.  I have NEVER seen such a dancing crowd. They had to extend the dance floor and literally force the band to stop playing so that everyone would attend the sparkler farewell.  It was nice to be apart of everyone loving and laughing and happy. 


Cake: Kathy's Cakes
Flowers: Mary Downey
Food: The Club at Hillbrook
Calligraphy: With Love and Whimsy Events
Band: Trilogy
Videographer: Studio58
Stylist/Planner: With Love and Whimsy Events
Party and Furniture rentals: Borrow Rentals, Nimble Well

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wedding time line ideas

I have been to a lot of weddings! Some have gone more smoothly then others.  Below is a list of a few do's and don'ts I recommend to help your day go smoothly.

Make a time line! It probably won't go exactly as planned but a time line is good for everyone!  Have the bride and grooms contact info, the addresses of all visiting locations as well as dates and times of events.  You have a lot of venders that have lots of clients so this can be really helpful for everyone!

Bring your wedding invitation or better yet send me one so I can photograph it with your flowers and such.

 When your photographer arrives make sure that you have your bridesmaids pickup the room.  There is nothing worse then having to spend 20 precious minutes cleaning the room up so you don't have water bottles and empty wines glasses all over the room.

As a photographer I really enjoy doing a first look for many reasons. A first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the wedding.  This time is so special for the bride and groom and often your only time alone together.  Doing a first look also allows you time to enjoy a bit of cocktail hour with your friends and family.

You might want to think about having an electronic free ceremony.  I have had more then one shot ruined by someone else's flash going off, some one walking in front of me to get the shot or a giant iPad in my picture.  All your images will be put online for you to share with whoever you choose so everyone you want can have access to download images.  This is often asked by your officiate at the beginning of the ceremony.  This is not at all expected it just helps me provide you with a better product.

Think twice before you decide on a receiving line! I am not saying don't do it, just be educated.  Depending on the size of your bridal party and the number of guests a receiving line can take a good chunk of time.  If you decide to do a receiving line excusing your bridal party from standing in line is also an option and can help the line go through faster.

Have the family pictures taken directly falling the ceremony in that same location.  This helps everyone know where they are suppose to be immediately fall lowing the ceremony and we aren't left waiting for uncle Joe who got lost in transit from one venue to another.  On the same note outside pictures are always prettier then inside due to the abundance of light.  So if there is a pretty outside location within walking distance I would recommend going that route.

After your introductions into the reception hall, have the caterers put your cake right in the middle of the room.  Right after you are announced go directly into cutting the cake.  This helps things transition smoothly as everyone is already paying attention to you and then the caterer can have the cake ready whenever you are all ready for desert.

Don't feel the need to do all the traditions that were done ten years ago.  Many of my brides do them all, many of them don't do any of them.  So if you didn't make an extra bouquet to throw don't worry about it.  If you think your man climbing up your dress might be uncomfortable don't do it! It is your wedding, do what make you happy!

Now this next one is something I have seen a couple of times this season and can be helpful if you are short on time or have long winded friends.  After introductions and cake cutting, you eat.  The toasts are done after everyone has gotten dinner and eaten for a bit.  This is a good time as the bride and groom have been done eating for a time and have gotten to relax for a bit. You then can do speeches and thank you's.

I also recommend sneaking outside at sunset if time allows.  For the most part the two of you haven't even got to say a word to each other so this is a great time to have a little breather.  These pictures are often my favorite as both of you are more relaxed, fed and happy.  This is totally flexible.  If things are crazy then we might not get to it.  But if there is a lull and the lights amazing a 6 minute great can be a breath of fresh air.

And because all post on a photography blog should have an image. This is an image from one of the first stylized weddings I ever did.  Years later it still makes me happy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Oak Lodge PA | wedding wonderfulness

I love driving down to The Oak Lodge in PA to work.  I love the quiet, the view and the sky.  I always find time to be grateful on these drives.  I often find that I don't have time to think at home.  Every once in a while I find myself saying what shall I think about.  I like those times. 
I arrived to a quiet room full of smiles and laughter.  Nicole was a little nervous I could tell.  This dress of hers made me so happy!!!  It was so simple and elegant!  
Chris was so sweet to her.  I like seeing little displays of love.  The holding of doors or caring of flowers, the wispers and handholding.  It is the little things that show love.  And they were both so sweet with their silent romantic jesters.  May God bless you on your marriage journey!