Ordinary Moments | A Personal Share | Lehigh Valley Portrait Photographer

December 13, 2017

The last few weeks have been rough over here.  I mean really rough.  Sleep deprived doesn't even begin to describe it.  In the last fourteen days, we've had two cases of pink eye, a double ear infection, and strep throat sweep through our house.  All of this means the little ones are beyond miserable, no one is sleeping, and we have been stuck inside for way too long. I mean, even in the middle of sitting down to write this blog, my littlest one shoved a necklace bead up her nose and got it stuck.  Seriously.

I've recently realized how therapeutic taking photographs is for me.  It's not just a career or a hobby.  It truly is therapy for the soul and something I absolutely need in my life.  There's something about taking a quick snap of an ordinary moment that reminds you how beautiful life really is.  Yes, in the midst of the snotty noses, unkempt hair, braless and yoga pant days, there is absolute and wild beauty.  Every perceived imperfection and messy moment has something beautiful about it--it's all in the way you view it.

Yesterday, I was really needing that reminder, so I challenged myself to take one photo every hour for 12 hours.  What resulted was exactly what I needed.  How magical to see such a typical day unfold into a beautiful reminder of how perfect the imperfect can be. 

"Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life."-Brian Andreas

Barn Swallow Farm Wedding | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer

Ryan and Kendra's Barn Swallow Farm wedding was an absolute dream!  I had the pleasure of second shooting their beautiful day with my sweet friend Emily of Elle Studios.  

We started the day in the barn's bridal suite where Kendra and her bridesmaids primped and prepped.  After she was all dressed and ready, Kendra shared a tender moment with her father during a Father/Daughter First Look.  I absolutely love when clients request these!  There's nothing quite like a proud daddy seeing his little girl as a bride.  The emotions are so big and the happy tears were flowing!

The ceremony took place outside the gorgeous stone farmhouse, which served as an incredible backdrop as the bridal party walked down the aisle. They took their places at the alter along the property's small stream where they said their "I Dos".  Kendra and Ryan celebrated their union by sharing a shot together at the alter serving a fun and unique alternative to a unity candle. 

After the ceremony, the party got started in the beautiful barn. The inside of the barn is absolutely breathtaking!  The warm, rustic hardwoods paired with the twinkle lights and crystal chandelier make for the most incredible atmosphere.

I can't wait for my next opportunity to document a wedding here.  A big thanks to Emily for choosing me to be her right-hand gal and a huge congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.

Check out some of my favorite captures from the day.  

Contact Alyssa to set up a consultation to discuss your upcoming wedding!

Adam & Kristina | HollyHedge Estate Wedding | Bucks County Wedding Photographer

It's finally slowing down a little bit over here at Hope & Stay as the fall season comes to a close and winter starts to set in.  I am taking this quiet time to revisit and blog some weddings from earlier this year that deserve their time in the spotlight.

Adam and Kristina's HollyHedge Estate commitment ceremony was nothing short of magical.  It was a quiet and relaxed day that was definitely full of joy and laughter, too.  The wedding took place mid-March, but instead of the warmer days of spring, we were surprised with a cold snap and some snow on their special day!  

Adam and the guys got ready in HollyHedge's honeymoon suite.  The dark exposed wooden beams and stone walls made for a dramatic backdrop for photos of their candid moments before the ceremony.  Kristina and the ladies dressed in the bridal suite in an adjacent building.  The gorgeous window light highlighted her beautiful vintage-inspired lace gown and loosely curled hair.  

Their first look took place on the walkway of the main house among the snow-covered trees and brush.  We also took a quick and slippery walk over to the bridge overlooking a pond on the property adjacent from the main house where Adam and Kristina got cozy for some more wintery portraits.  

Adam and Kristina's ceremony was super intimate, beautiful and oh, so unique.  They exchanged vows they had written in front of their closest friends and family.  Part of their ceremony included a blessing of the rings where each guest said a quick prayer over the rings for the new couple.  One really amazing thing to note its that Kristina made their wedding bands by hand from lignum vitae, which is one of the denser Amazon woods!  Can you believe that!?  They also partook in a ceremony involving their "commitment tree" using a desert rose.   Each of their immediate family members added different objects, each containing different meanings and sentiments to the couple.   Fossils, crystals, sand, flint, water, and soil were added to represent the love, memories, and rooted support each of them had provided them in their past, present, and future together.

The unique and personal touches didn't stop there, either!  Kristina and Adam also made their own wedding favors from shoots from a single plant they had grown and placed them in vintage teacups for guests to take home.  

The night rounded out with lots of dancing from Adam and Kristina's tailored playlist, delicious eats, and some flurry filled outside portraits.  

Planning your own unique and beautiful wedding?  Contact Alyssa to chat about documenting your special day.

Thanksgiving Blessings

These are my people, my world.  Some blood, others relatives by love.  Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful reminder of that.  I rarely take my camera with me to family functions; mostly because my little ones are busy and need mama's attention and supervision. But, I realized something this year: our family has changed and is continuing to change.  There are some faces that should have been there, but weren't.  And next year, there will be a new little face for us to enjoy as Ronnie and Allison await their little man. This is the last year that our Thanksgiving will look just like this.

I took a few moments throughout the day to observe and document.  And you know what I realized?  I am blessed.  I mean really blessed.  

Here's a short list of the many things I was reminded of while observing through my lens this Thanksgiving:

  • My kids are a handful and are busy, but that's because they're healthy and strong.  They have incredible imaginations and can make fun anywhere and everywhere. You wouldn't believe how much fun they had playing with a rainbow reflection on the floor of the hallway.  How wonderful to see an ordinary thing and be so fascinated by it!
  • My in-laws love me and treat me like I am their own.  I mean, how many people can say that? They're amazing people and I am so fortunate to have them.  It's good stuff being the favorite (and only) daughter-in-law. ;)
  • At 32 years old, I am so blessed to still have all four of my grandparents. My children get to know and enjoy their great-grandparents who think they just hung the moon.  We had four generations in the house that day--truly a gift.
  • I am so thankful my cousins and I grew up together.  We joke, tease and torment one another like childish siblings and I wouldn't have it any other way.  And, I also learned that Erin can, in fact, be domestic. Way to scrub those dishes, gurlll!  
  • My husband is an incredible and gentle father.  The way he looks at our girls just melts me.  I obviously know my husband loves our children, but to take a moment to just stand there and really watch them interact and truly see him as a father is just the most amazing thing.  
  • Tryptophan is a beautiful thing.
  • Not every photo needs to be perfect to be worthy of keeping.  It doesn't matter if the white balance isn't exactly on point or if the highlights and shadows are a little wonky or if there's some grain in the image.  Technically imperfect doesn't mean unworthy. Sometimes keeping that simple memory is worth overlooking some imperfections.

Have an upcoming event or holiday party you'd like Alyssa to document?  Get in touch here.

Heather & Evan | Blue Mountain Ski Resort Wedding | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer

Heather and Evan's Blue Mountain Resort wedding was an amazing day filled with love and the most incredible energy.  

Heather and her bridesmaids got ready at Heather's parent's home in Nazareth, while Evan and the guys prepped at a hotel near Blue Mountain Resort.  After getting ready, the bridal party made their way to the venue in school buses!  Heather and Evan are both teachers, so this was the perfect personal touch and made for some fun photos!  

Originally, the plan was to have an outdoor ceremony to take advantage of Blue Mountain Resort's incredible views; however, Mother Nature had a different plan in place for us!  The day was freezing cold with blustery winds.  So cold, in fact, that Blue Mountain Resort was making snow to cover the trails!  

We opted to do Heather and Evan's "First Look" in a cozy nook we found inside.  They both wrote beautiful letters to one another and read them quietly before seeing each other for the first time.

From there, we moved into formal portraits where we made use of the Slopeside Pub & Grill and then ran outside for a few quick snaps. Fortunately, Heather, Evan and their amazing bridal party were tough and up for a few quick portraits outside! (Thanks, guys!) 

Heather and Evan had a beautiful ceremony within the Vista Ballroom overlooking the ski slopes and beautiful views of the resort.  Their friends and family looked on as they committed to spend the rest of their lives together.

After the ceremony, the party got started!  Dinner, some cake and lots of dancing followed into the evening to conclude the most perfect and beautiful day.

Congratulations, Heather and Evan!  Thank you both so much for the honor of capturing your special day.



Thank you to my beautiful friend and second shooter, Erin, for her incredible talent and help throughout the day.  Thanks, mama! xo

Jenna & Rob | Nazareth, Pennsylvania Wedding | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer

Jenna and Rob are two of the most incredible people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  You may remember them from their beautiful Longwood Gardens engagement session earlier this year!

Their wedding day was nothing short of amazing.  I spent the morning with Jenna, her parents and her bridesmaids at her parent's home where I documented Jenna getting ready and captured some formal portraits of Jenna and the ladies in her childhood backyard.  

Jenna and Rob opted for a more traditional timeline and church wedding at Holy Family Catholic Church in Nazareth, PA.  The space was absolutely breathtaking.  Jenna and Rob committed themselves in an emotion-filled ceremony in front of 200 of their friends and family. 

After the ceremony, we packed up the party bus and took a quick trip over to the Indian Tower in Nazareth.  The Indian Tower sits at the highest elevation in Nazareth, making it a perfect spot for unique portraits with an amazing view!

Jenna and Rob hosted their reception at the Holy Family Club where there was plenty of celebrating through the night.  I truly don't think I have ever seen so many guests dancing the night away!  

Thank you, Jenna and Rob, for choosing me to document your wedding day and a special thanks to my second shooter, Jeanie, for being my right hand gal for the day! 



To chat with Alyssa about your upcoming wedding, get in touch here!