Princeton, New Jersey Wedding - Elise & Michael

Every wedding I capture is a unique blend of personalities -- a story that has never been told before. Michael and Elise's wedding was a beautiful day that I was so blessed to be a part of. 

Princeton New Jersey Wedding Photographer bride and groom in woods

I love the story that these two have to share for a couple of reasons. One being that Michael's family were among the first to welcome us to New Jersey when we moved here from the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only did they welcome us, they gave us a home. And Michael, being the gentleman that his mama raised him to be, even gave up his room for my husband and I to use for a while. When we arrived in New Jersey the housing we had lined up fell through. Without Michael's family taking us in, we would have had a pretty miserable start to our life in Jersey. Instead, it is a time in our life that we look back on with nothing but joy for how it all played out. Even when things don't go exactly as planned, they sometimes are just as they are really supposed to be. (Which ought to remind you something of a wedding day!)

Beautiful lace cap sleeves give this wedding gown an almost victorian era feel. Couldn't she be right out of the pages of Pride & Prejudice? 

Beautiful lace cap sleeves give this wedding gown an almost victorian era feel. Couldn't she be right out of the pages of Pride & Prejudice? 

But this wedding day went off without a hitch... with these two lovely people ending up hitched!

I love the classic cut of this wedding gown, paired with the deep V back. So stunning.

I love the classic cut of this wedding gown, paired with the deep V back. So stunning.

New Jersey wedding photographer bridal prep
Natural elegant wedding day make-up

Natural elegant wedding day make-up

Can we talk about Elise's choice for florals? Peonies and Hydrangeas for miles. There can never be enough peonies. Can I get an amen?!

I HEART peonies. 

I HEART peonies. 

I love how Elise's special loved-ones were commemorated in her bouquet design. Such a meaningful little detail.

The vintage styling of the picture pendants attached to this bridal bouquet lent to the understated elegance of the whole day.

The vintage styling of the picture pendants attached to this bridal bouquet lent to the understated elegance of the whole day.

Such a stunningly simple engagement ring design. 

Such a stunningly simple engagement ring design. 

These Michael Kors pink heels were a perfect pop of color when they peeked out from beneath Elise's gorgeous gown. 

These Michael Kors pink heels were a perfect pop of color when they peeked out from beneath Elise's gorgeous gown. 

Michael is a little bit tall and Elise is not. 

Michael is a little bit tall and Elise is not. 

Clearly she needed more than just a pair of pretty heels for a boost though! Hee hee!

Sometimes you just need a little more height than heels can afford!

Sometimes you just need a little more height than heels can afford!

New Jersey Wedding Photography father and bride in Stonehill Church in Princeton New Jersey

The rest of the day was packed full of all of the special, unplanned emotional moments that weddings are bound to bring about. 

New Jersey wedding photographer Nan Doud Photography Mother of bride and bride

Capturing these moments is one of my favorite parts of wedding photography. 

Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer Groom Prep
Groom and groomsmen image Nan Doud Photography New Jersey wedding photographer
We couldn't have had more beautiful weather for this Princeton, New Jersey wedding.

We couldn't have had more beautiful weather for this Princeton, New Jersey wedding.

Bridal Party Portraits Princeton wedding photographer in New Jersey
Bridal portraits New Jersey Wedding photographer
Princeton New Jersey Wedding photographer Bridal Party
New Jersey wedding photographer bridal party
The blind "first look". The bride and groom don't actually see each other but they have a quiet moment to exchange a note or pray together or just hold hands for a moment before it all begins.

The blind "first look". The bride and groom don't actually see each other but they have a quiet moment to exchange a note or pray together or just hold hands for a moment before it all begins.

New Jersey Wedding Photographer wedding ceremony
New Jersey Wedding Photographer Church ceremony
Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer just married
New Jersey Wedding Photographer Summer Wedding

I seriously could not get enough of these two....

New Jersey wedding photographer Veteran's Park Hamilton New Jersey Bride and Groom

And they obviously couldn't get enough of each other!

Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer in Hamilton Square New Jersey Bride and groom portraits

That moment when you just got married and you are struck with, "How did this all happen? We are married?! Holy cow... we are married!!"

New Jersey classic wedding photography Nan Doud Photography
New Jersey Wedding photographer photojournalistic black and white bride and groom
I think the wedding cake topper sums it up nicely. 

I think the wedding cake topper sums it up nicely. 

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Married Life

I love weddings, yes. But marriage is what it's really all about. You know... I cry a little at every wedding I shoot. I do! Because marriage is something that requires all of you. It's not just the fulfillment of dreams. It's the promise that must be renewed daily in every day action. The wedding day is a thrill and a blur of emotions. But daily married life is where the rubber meets the road, where two people who are different in every way come together and make a whole new thing. It's a beautiful picture of an even greater reality, but it's a hard kind of beauty on many occasions.

“In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love.” 
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

I'm thankful that even through the hard stuff, I have a partner in life that I am going to not only grow old with, but grow up with into the person I am meant to be. Marriage is not the be all and end all of a life. It's not a goal, but a gift, but it's not even the ultimate gift. It's just one of many tools God uses in our lives to illuminate for us the places where we need realignment. The changes it forces, the challenges it presents, the sometimes painful mirrors we have to look into in order to see ourselves as we really are... totally dependent creatures, dependent on God and dependent on one another in community. 

Weddings are a beautiful picture of two totally differents, differents in practically every way, coming together to make a new single new different thing. It's cataclysmic when you really think about it. The two become one flesh. 

(Picture is of the new thing that came into being when my hubby and I said I do almost 19 years ago.)

Cell phone shot taken by my mom from one of our NYC outings. 

Cell phone shot taken by my mom from one of our NYC outings. 

Choppin' in a Winter Wonderland

Yesterday the Northeast was treated to a beautiful snowfall that covered our streets and our trees with a fluffy blanket of snow. As a regular human, snow makes me want to stay in my jammies, curl up, drink hot beverages and read some soul-filling literature while listening to music.

Natural wetlands in the snow
birch trees in the snow

But the photographer shouts, "HELLO! Snow portraits!" I'm gonna be honest and tell you that the photographer doesn't always win because... seriously? PJ's and hot beverages are pretty serious contenders who don't just roll over and take no for an answer. However, yesterday, the PJ's lost to the beauty that beckoned. 

snow covered trees

But the thing is, I don't always want to just take pictures of nature. I love nature, don't get me wrong. But my hearbeat? It's portrait photography and for portrait photography, you need willing subjects. Once upon a time when I would get the hankering to shoot portraits just because, I had my adorable children as automatic subjects. Now they are in school (and school was not cancelled yesterday, only delayed) and even when they are home, they are not always thrilled with being in front of my camera.

This leaves only one alternative. And I have to say... he's a pretty dang attractive alternative. In fact... kids shmids. Husbands are where it's AT! HELLO!

Lumbersexual bearded man wielding an axe in the woods on a snowy day

I decided that the snow and the woods called for a Lumberjack styled theme. For transparency's sake, my husband is not a lumberjack. He is a pastor. He has cut down a tree or two in his time. But then so have I (TAWANDA!) and I'm no lumberjack. But he sports a fine beard, wears plaid well and doesn't look too shabby in a nice pair of jeans.

bearded man holding an axe in a snowy woodland photo near princeton new jersey

I knew I wanted him to wear red because snow demands that a man wears red plaid. End of story. The axe was a must and he grabbed the Coach lambswool gloves on the way out of the house which was a stroke of genius, I think. I made him tuck in his shirt and wear a belt because this is a gentlemanly lumberjack we are channeling here, folks. The kind that gently helps tiny old ladies across the street and then kills a bear with his bare hands two seconds later, right after chugging a Guinness in one gulp and chopping down some non-endangered variety of tree. (No actual trees were harmed in the making of these portraits.)

portrait of a man in the woods with an axe

My husband, brave, strong and strapping as he is, has about a 10 minute attention span for portrait sessions. You may or may not know a few guys like this. It's common enough. They like to be themselves and at ease, and being in front of the camera makes them feel a little nervous and like they don't know how to follow direction. A good photographer knows how to make them relax and appear as if they know exactly what they are doing and could do it all day with their beards tied behind their backs.

bearded man wearing plaid holding an axe in the snowy woods

Of course this guy is sort of used to me telling him to do things... I mean... asking him nicely to do things, like pick up his socks. Don't let the axe fool you. He's a bit of a softy.

bearded man carrying an axe in the woods on a snowy day photo

He's a great sport and I think these are his favorite portraits I've ever taken of him. Thanks for getting out there in the snow with me, hunkahunka. I love you!

bearded man carrying an axe in a snowy wooded area photo


My boys

I have a confession to make. Are you ready? It's really pathetic and I'm ashamed to admit it. Here it is.

I haven't done a portrait session of my boys for three years. THREE YEARS. Really, there is no excuse for that but there it is.

Today I remedied that problem and took my boys out and had a great time shooting them. With my camera. Being photographer's kids, they have a condition that normally presents when a camera is trained on them. It causes them to spontaneously erupt in strange facial expressions and an inability to make eye contact with a lens. Today, they showed that this might not be a permanent condition.

Brothers-3

As you can see, I have a few clowns on my hands. They are a lot like their mother, actually. And they are cute to boot!Brothers-5 Brothers-22

There is something about seeing these photos today that made me realize just how fast they are growing up. They all look so tall and handsome.

Brothers-39

There are some lucky ladies out there somewhere, I tell ya.

Brothers-47 I'm blessed to be able to capture their personalities with my camera. Most blessed to be their mama.