Yesterday, I had an awesome session for a 6 year old and her family at a very sentimental spot. I took a selfie and sent to my husband while there and of course we were all 'heart eyes' over WHY it was such an important spot for us
Of all the weddings I've photographed in my career so far, would you believe I myself, DID NOT have a traditional wedding? No wedding venue, no bridal party, no cake, no first dance....
My husband and I got engaged October 15th, 2008 (for all you PHILLIES fans out there - why is this date so significant??) and we set our wedding for April 2010. All the planning was going well - we had our venue (Valley Green Inn.. SWOON), our florist, dress, tux, photographer, you name it! About halfway through, I just got tired of the planning. I was losing focus on what the day was REALLY about. I sat down with my (now) husband and talked about my anxieties and planning this wedding in general and we both decided to just bag the whole 'traditional' wedding and JUST GET MARRIED. So.... we did! crazy right? To all the vendors out there, can you imagine getting a call from your bride saying that you are cancelling your wedding and moving up the date?? I think I'd be a little stunned if I got that call!! (to all my wedding vendors on our big day, I thank you SO much for being so understanding and awesome)
We've been very happily married for 8.5 years now, and every time I look back at our day, I still get as emotional as I did the first time I saw my husband. As a wedding photographer, I look back and wished I'd done things a little bit different. There are a lot of things I missed such as 'cutting the cake', our dances, having a great party with our friends/family, etc.
If you are wondering why I'm writing this blog, it is definitely not to deter you as a bride to STOP your wedding planning!! No.. No! I want you to understand that every wedding, no matter the size, the kind of flowers you got, what band you booked, the most amazing photographer.. is about you and your fiancee. Of course, I LOVE to photograph the most gorgeous local flowers, the most beautiful dress, the most breathtaking venue - as long as this day represents you as a couple that is all that matters.
While I feel I missed out on a lot of the traditional wedding day events, I also look back and realize that our wedding day is WHO WE ARE as a couple - I really wouldn't change it for the world. Besides, when I get the chance to photograph your wedding, it feels just as special being apart of your day as if it were my own.
ALRIGHT... enough ranting - here is a little peek at OUR wedding day.
every single person on our wedding day
Photography: David DiFuntorum Photography
Floral: Petals Lane
Lace Bolero: Etsy
Suit: Calvin Klein
Hair/Make up: Gary Charles Salon
Venue: Carl Kohler Park | Horsham PA
Mariel had contacted me a couple weeks back inquiring about wedding photography services (just as any other bride-to-be would do). I learned that Mariel and Mike both live out in California and are planning a Bucks County wedding. It seems interesting, right? Living out in gorgeous Cali, planning a BUCKS COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA wedding?!?! It turns out that both Mariel and Mike are FROM the East coast (VA and CT) but a few of Mariel's family members moved to Bucks so to keep the travel easy and somewhat simple, they planned for a wedding located right in New Hope PA at the Inn at Barley Sheaf.
Reason number 4937 why I love doing what I do: Getting to know my couples on a more personal level. I get to have the experience of learning (and watching) a love story grow, hear where they came from, and how they (the couple) came to be. It's something that I find so important when choosing a photographer - whether its for photographing your wedding day or even for just your family you need to be able to have 'that connection' with them. When everyone meshes well, you'll be guaranteed amazing outcomes!
Mariel asked me BY CHANCE if I would be available within the next week to meet them and do an engagement session - lucky for them, I was!
Mike and Mariel are just so adorable. It's odd saying that about a grown couple, but they really are! I loved watching them interact and have fun with each other. Some things that they love to do together are: hiking, watch movies together, and (BONUS) they share a true love for the art of.....Karaoke! Mariel's favorite song to sing? Anything Whitney Houston and for Mike, it's most definitely 'Sweet Caroline' by Neil Diamond. Alright, enough chatting about this awesome couple - here is a little teaser from their engagement session in and around Newtown PA:
State Street | Newtown PA
Tyler State Park | Newtown PA
Morning; the time when we awaken from our dreams. A clean slate from the day before. The first moments drinking our hot cup of joe, ready to start the tasks ahead of us. It's a time where I feel most productive, and when I feel the most energy throughout my day. A line, I would not be saying almost 6 years ago...
Before I had kids, the only times I'd ever wake up early were days I had to be in the office before 8am. I hated every second of it. The weekends were my time to sleep in; basically wasting my mornings away and I LOVED every bit of it. Then, my daughter came along and oh my, was my normal routine thrown into a tornado. My girl is and always was a morning person. Up at sunrise and more than ready to start the day. I had no choice but to adapt to her likings. To all my parent readers out there, you know that once those sweet little babe comes along your world gets flipped upside down and your life as you know it is not the same as it was. I wanted to be able to not only adapt but to appreciate my morning 'lifestyle'.
So, I bet you are wondering "what does this have to do with photography?" A LOT, I promise :) .
Golden hour is the time in the day, about an hour or so before the sun sets where the light is SO golden over the horizon. It is every photographers soft spot to shoot during this time. I will be the first to admit that if I schedule a session during golden hour, it will surely be a home run. Just take a look and see for yourself:
you get the idea. Golden, beautiful, glowing light that just makes you go 'ahhhhhhhh' when you see it (I know I do). NOW, what does this have to do with my little blurp about the early mornings and my kids? right, okay --
I got it wrong. I got it ALL wrong, friends. Golden hour is wonderful, yes, but thanks to my daughter and my new appreciation for that early morning start of the day I have a new found LOVE for SUNRISE SESSIONS. Oh. My. Goodness I was living under a rock all these years. Sunrise is where you need to be. The soft quiet air around you with the frost settling on every single leaf of grass. That faint yellow line you see upon the horizon waiting for that gold sun to make it's grand entrance. It's romantic enough as is, all you need is...
OH yes... that golden gorgeous light and a gorgeous couple. IN THE MORNING! Thank you, sweet daughter for giving me the opportunity to appreciate that morning sunrise! I was truly missing out, but I am no longer!
Here is a small little photographer tip: When we think of golden light (golden hour, sunrise sessions, etc) we always go right to Summer time. Listen friends, Winter time is a must for sunrises. There is something so fiercely golden doing those January days that you don't see in the June-August months. Big bonus, sunrise times are MUCH later than in the summer. There is still time, get out there bright and early my friends - go appreciate that beautiful morning sun.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Brittany and Brian back in September. They seemed so calm, easy-going, and natural with one another. I just knew that photographing their wedding would be a breeze (and it totally was!). Every step of the way, they have been so easy and understanding; which I feel is just like their relationship. Their special day took place at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, in Bethlehem PA. Let me tell you, what a BEAUTIFUL venue! The staff is so wonderful and every where you turn there is magic! Brittany and Brian were so lucky to have gotten married at the time they did, I heard their magical Christmas decor was taken down the very next day! (from what I hear, Bethlehem is THE place to be during the holiday season!)
Brittany has such an amazing connection with these girls right here. It's great to witness such unity with friendships, these girls would do anything for each other!
Brittany and Brian opted to not have a first look with one another, but Brittany requested one with her dad since they are SO close. I absolutely LOVED that idea, after all daddy is always a little girls 'first love'!
There is a Chinese parable called 'The Red Thread. The premise is that fate connects us at or before birth with our perfect mate, and we share important connections with that mate, if only we can find them. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.
"I felt incredibly calm the entire day. I only went nervous once the time came for my dad to come get me from the room to head down to the ceremony. As soon as I saw Brian's face, I felt complete peace in every way. It was hard to look away from him during the ceremony because I truly felt like it was only him and I in the room. The night was perfect, better than anything I ever could've imagined. From the second, I was announced as Brittany Koons, I've never been more proud. "
"Friday night and Saturday during the day I had to keep reminding myself that we were having a wedding. I kept feeling like we were there for someone else and not our wedding. My Saturday was great. Very little nerves and got to spend time with a few family members that came from out of town. I started to get nervous when I was alone in the room just before coming down for the ceremony. At that moment, a good friend of mine sent me a text and I asked what room he was in. I stopped down at his room for a few minutes and talked with he and his wife. This surprisingly calmed me down and we all walked down to the ceremony together. Once I walked to the front of the ceremony room all my nerves went away upon seeing Brittany. During the ceremony I forgot we were in front of everyone and it only felt like us up there. Being up there with Brittany made everything seem right, it all felt correct. Everything after the ceremony seems like such a blur and went by incredibly fast. It was a great night and everything went perfectly. It was a fantastic way to start our marriage together!"
Mr & Mrs Brian Koons!! Hooray!
I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up to both of these amazing speeches done by Brittany's dad, Jeff and her best friend since 3rd grade Nicole. This couple is loved by SO many!
...and I'd be totally lying if I didn't crack up over Sean's speech!
Photographer: Rachel Betson
Second Shooting: Renee Nicolo
Dress: David's Bridal
Hair: American Hairlines, Bethlehem PA
Make Up: Bride
Groom Attire: Ventresca LTD, Doylestown PA
Table Centerpieces: Costco
Floral Bouquet: Phoebe Floral, Bethlehem PA
Cupcakes: Ciao Bakery, Harrisburg PA
Venue: Historic Hotel Bethlehem, Bethlehem PA
DJ: Freddie Frederick JR Entertainment, Macungie PA
Officiant: Circle of Life Ceremonies, Dorry Bless
I had the pleasure to be able to capture Chloe and Matt's amazingly Fall wedding at the Rose Bank Winery in Newtown PA. They are so sweet together and absolutely loved watching them have fun and just be smitten with one another. Chloe and Matt are surrounded by a great group of people and it shows just by how much everyone loves each other. Please enjoy a nice little snippet of Chloe and Matt's special day:
Dress Designer: Allure
Veil Designer: Maggie Sottero
Dress/Veil Boutique: Angel Bridal (Haddonfield, NJ)
Shoes: Betsy Johnson
Bridesmaid Plaid shirts: Etsy
Invitations: Minted (the suite is titled "Gone To Seed")
Hair: Marta (Studio 454 in Southampton, PA)
Catering: O'Neill's Catering (Bensalem, PA)
Cake: The Caketeria (Newtown, PA)
Flowers: LeRoy's Flowers (Hatboro, PA)
Band: Soul Patch Philly (Bellmawr, NJ)
Suit: Tony Laguda (Ambler, PA)
Photographer: Rachel Betson Photography, LLC
Second Shooter: Renee Nicolo Photography
I absolutely loved being apart of Nikki and Jimmy's special day - It was such a heartfelt time, from the ceremony, all the way to the reception! There is no denying the love they have for one another, you can just tell by all of these images! Scroll down to see more of their special day!
Click the link to view a teaser of their special day
When Katie and Mike first mentioned they were getting married on a Wednesday, I was in complete shock - who get's married on a Wednesday? These guys do! and you know what? it's genius!! They had the absolute most perfect day, the weather couldn't have been any better, it was so calm and quiet (not the usual hustle and bustle of a Saturday), and the day didn't lead into a super late night. I could take weekday weddings ANY DAY! One thing I can say about Katie and Mike's special day, is they both truly adore each other; I couldn't help but watch them (without my camera) and admire the way they look at each other, it reassures me to know that this is why I love doing what I am doing - to capture these moments in time for them to look back on years from now!
Katie and Mike truly had an amazing DIY wedding with help from their loving family and friends - everyone did such a great job! Leading up to the big day, they both couldn't wait for it to be here already having been together for almost 8 years. When the day came they felt certain, eager, and victorious! I had asked Katie and Mike a few questions and one question I asked was 'give me 3 words that best describe your relationship?' they answered "Laughter, Adventure, and Heartfelt". Heartfelt indeed, take a look at their special day:
Katie's Father, Charlie, seeing his beautiful daughter for the first time
"When Mike was trying to get the courage to ask me out for our first date, he flipped a quarter and it landed on heads so he decided he would go for it and ask me out that night. Six years later, he proposed on Christmas Eve (my favorite day) by asking me to marry him while handing me the ring and a double-sided quarter to "help me decide", so no matter what it would land on heads and be a "YES!". I did say yes and since we were at my grandmother's house with the family all there for Christmas we got to walk right out and announce it to everyone. It was great."
Wedding Dress Designer- Vnaix Bridal
Tux- Vera Wang
Venue- The Washington at Historic Yellow Springs
Catering- Semplice Catering
Music- Starlite Entertainment
Cake- Krystal Gamez (Maid of Honor)
Hair and makeup- Larisa and Alex DeFrangesco
Bride’s headband – made by Sally Wehr
Flowers- made by bride and groom
Jewelry- provided by Angie DeFrangesco and Sally Wehr (mother and grandmother- I’m wearing jewelry that belonged to my great-grandmother and my great-great-great grandmother)
Centerpieces - Sister Larisa
We all know that social media can get a pretty bad reputation, but I have to tell you, social media can also be such a wonderful thing - especially for small business owners like myself and Hannah Rees! Hannah and I met through a Bucks County Vendors Association group on Facebook. We know mutual acquaintances and have been virtual cheerleaders for one another! I've had the privilege of meeting her and her daughters for a mini session back in May and when she contacted me to work with her on head shots I was so thrilled!! Hannah is so easy-going and her drive for the business is so contagious.
Hannah studied at the University of South Carolina for Restaurant and Tourism Management. She has had her hand in events working with 'mom and pop' catering companies all the way to 4 star hotels. If that is not enough, she also has her real estate license! Personally, given how well-rounded Hannah is, it sets her apart from most event coordinators since she has taken different types of experiences and applies them to her business today. Most recently, you can find Hannah coordinating events at The Farm Bakery and Events in Quakertown. If you have a wedding coming up there, Hannah will be your go-to gal (you are in good hands, trust me! Check out this styled shoot she recently did here).
It has been such a pleasure working with Hannah on my side of the business and I can only imagine the magic if (or when) we are able to work together on a wedding - she truly is a southern gem in the center of our great little town. Enjoy our session together!
PS - if you happen to be in the Souderton area, you HAVE to stop by this amazing little (not so little) coffee shop, The Broad Street Grind. Seriously, my new favorite place!!
Fun Little Fact:: You may wonder where the "bee" comes from... Well, Hannah's mother used to call her 'Hannah Bee'. Since then, she has always had an afinity for bees. It seems fitting for a business totem since the bee symbolizes diligence and indefatigable effort. (LOVE THIS!!)
It all started with my mother's heirloom luncheon set. She has kept so many pieces from our family (we tease her that she'll become a hoarder one day - but hey, at least these items are neat!) and came across a half-opened box in the garage with something sticking out. Curious as to what it was, I got closer and saw the gorgeous detail work of the patterns. The intricate floral pattern with olive greens, yellows, and the most subtle hint of pink. I was blown away - how could something so simple, be so complex and beautiful - I instantly felt myself travel back in time. It got me thinking, I can't not let these plates go unnoticed, they need to be out of the box to breathe the golden hour light, with blush's and greens.
I couldn't wait to get home and write down ideas (in this technological day in age, do people do that anymore? I know I do!) Three adjectives that came to mind when I first starting planning this shoot: texture, mix-match, golden hour. I know I wanted to find pieces that were floating around my mothers house since they all seem to fit the general idea. There is a story behind almost every single piece; to me, that means so much; it's a conversation starter and an instant attachment. With the enthusiasm of other vendors, they too pitched in and found story-old pieces to add to our shoot.
From the deliciously delicate cakes and macarons, to the rustic farm table and sage green chairs - The contrast of textures: soft yet heavy glass. Endless layers of peonies and roses with fresh herbs and eucalyptus. The mixture of metals: rose golds, yellow golds, and pearls all the way to the delicate homemade paper goods and hand-written calligraphy; it's enough to make a vintage lover swoon!
Not only did we want to create such a warm, romantic setting, we also wanted brides to feel inspired by their own family's pieces and hope to create a story of their own.
This amazing group of local vendors really did such an amazing job at collaborating their ideas and making them into a reality. I couldn't have asked for a better team! Scroll through and try not to drool over that gorgeous golden hour light!
Vendor Team and Model List:
Cakes/Confections | Snacky French | @snackyfrenchcakes
Dress | Priscilla Costa Bridal | @priscillacostabridal
Floral | Caroline's Floral Design | @carolinesfloral
Hair styling | Christine Mitchell | @churak1
Jewelry | Marnie Lewis Jewelry | @marnielewisjewelry
Make-up Artist | Anna Sky Beauty | @anna_sky_beauty
Mens Attire | Ventresca LTD | @ventrescaltd
Photography | Rachel Betson Photography, LLC | @rbetson_photography
Ring(s) | Lauren Priori Jewelry | @lpriorijewelry
Stationery/Calligraphy | Pretty Ink Press | @prettyinkpress
Videography | Jess Palatucci Photography | @jesspalatucci
Models | Bride & Groom | Abbey Markward & Tom Morris
Models | Bridesmaid 1 | Suzie Lee
Models | Bridesmaid 2 | Liliana Daly
Rachel; passionate, artistic, capturer of all things wonderful