Wedding Weather Woes | Wedding Planning Tips | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer | Philadelphia Wedding Photographer | Bucks County Wedding Photographer

Your wedding is coming up, so naturally, you’re stalking your weather app to check out the 10-day forecast.  We all wish and hope and pray for sunny skies, but Lehigh Valley weather sometimes isn’t so cooperative…am I right!?

Even with the best laid plans, there is always that wild card: Mother Nature.  With portrait sessions, we can reschedule as needed, but when it comes to the actual wedding day, we have to take each moment we have and make it work.

I’ve compiled some tips for how to make the BEST out of the WORST wedding day weather:


So, you see that you’re due for some cloudy skies or an overcast day on your wedding day.  Fear not! Cloudy days can actually be GREAT for portraits!  Why? Because clouds act as a natural diffuser for the sun’s light!  This means we won’t have to contend with harsh highlights and heavy shadows. Because of this, we’ll have even lighting scenarios for our outdoor portraits, which is a wedding day WIN!

image captured by Hope & Stay for Erin Joyce Photography

image captured by Hope & Stay for Erin Joyce Photography


If you’re wedding day forecast is calling for excessive winds or gusts, consider having your hair styled in an updo that is windy-weather friendly.  Make sure you don’t have any “pieces” that can blow across your face or into the air during portraits.

Also, consider ditching the veil during portraits and instead, replace it with a beautiful headpiece or hair comb! We can always put your veil back in for your walk down the aisle during your ceremony.

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Any bride planning an early spring, late fall or winter wedding should absolutely be prepared for this situation!  Shawls are cute, but will they REALLY keep you and your gals warm during 30+ minutes of portrait time outside?  NOPE.   If you’re cold, the camera will see it—TRUST ME.  (Did you see my blog post that dives deeper into this topic?  If not, check it out here!)

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So, the silver lining is that rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, right? I completely understand when my brides get bummed when rain is in the forecast, but rain doesn’t mean your special day has be a wash!

If it’s just misting or a light drizzle, we can definitely still take some portraits outside! My posing system can have us in and out very quickly. We’ll also utilize clear bubble umbrellas to keep you and your bridal party dry and as comfortable as possible. Have a pair of rain boots handy to slip on for portrait time so your heels don’t sink into wet grass or get ruined by mud.

If it’s really coming down or you’re just not comfortable being outside, we’ll look for great indoor spaces or covered areas at your venue for portraits.  

(Planning tip: Couples, this is definitely something to consider when looking for your wedding day venue.  As you’re touring the property, ask your coordinator/sales person whether or not the venue has a solid indoor spaces for portraits that can accommodate the size of your bridal party and family for portraits, if needed.)

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The most important takeaway from this is that while we cannot control the weather, there are a few things we can do to be prepared.  No matter what Mother Nature has in store for your big day, nothing, especially a little weather, should be allowed to steal your joy!

Alyssa is a wedding & portrait photographer who serves the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, southeastern Pennsylvania, & New Jersey. If you’re planning your own wedding, I’d love to hear from you!

Why You Should Invest in a Wedding Album | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer | Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Many couples I speak with are so excited to learn that each of my wedding collections includes final the high-resolution digital files from their big day. After the wedding day is over, they eagerly view their images, share a few on social media and then, the sad truth is that, the majority of couples let those images sit on their computers and jump drives (btw—have you seen our gorgeous keepsake USBs!?)

This truth makes my heart so sad! You’ve invested in high-quality professional photography, your images deserve to be showcased beautifully!

So, today, I’m breaking down my Top 6 Reasons why you should consider adding an album to your wedding photography investment:

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Let’s face it, unless your home has endless wall space, there are only so many wedding day images you can print and hang. But within an album, you can tell the story of your wedding day all in one place that can easily be displayed on your coffee table for everyone to enjoy!

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True story time…

Ten years ago (gosh, it feels like just yesterday!), when I was a bride planning my big day, we invested $5000 in a high-end wedding photographer to document our wedding. This was long before I was a wedding photographer myself, but even then, I valued photography and wanted to make sure our big day was captured artfully and beautifully.

Back then, the standard delivery method was to burn the final images to a disc. Fast forward 10 years and now I am unable to view my wedding images because we don’t have a computer that has a CD ROM and, unfortunately, we never took the time to transfer those files onto new media. Ready for the worst part? I LOST one of the two discs containing our wedding images while we were moving! (UGH!)

My only saving grace was that we did choose to invest in a wedding album. So while we don’t have ALL of our wedding day images, I definitely have the highlights and most important memories of our wedding day safely kept inside our album.

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Back in the days of film, it was standard that each image would be printed and a wedding day album would be delivered. The great thing about this was that couples would then have something tangible to share and pass down to their children and grandchildren. Even now, one of my favorite things to do with my in-laws and grandparents is to sit together and flip through their wedding albums.

Guys, you’ve invested in high-quality professional photography, your wedding day images deserve to be printed and to have a beautiful home to be displayed in!

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Because your wedding day is documented from start to finish, the images are a narrative story of your big day. From the first minutes of getting ready to the last dance of your reception, these moments are part of one collection of images. To accurately tell the story of your wedding day, these images should be displayed in an album where they can be viewed together as they were meant to be.

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I shared my own experience with this above, but guys, accidents happen! Technology can (and does) fail. It can take one accidental click, or spill, or drop to lose everything you’ve invested in. So, while those beautiful .jpg files can be a great back up, a digital file stored on your computer or phone isn’t where your wedding photography experience should end.

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Sure, you can go ahead and make your own wedding album from a consumer-level lab like Artifact Uprising. But, there are a few issues with this:

First, while we all can have the best intentions, time and life can often get in the way of actually seeing this through. It can be overwhelming to any bride to sift through hundreds of images to choose which ones should be displayed in the wedding album. Then, it takes a whole lot of time to actually assemble those images into the album design. Your photographer can easily and subjectively select the strongest images that highlight your wedding day and work with you to make sure the final product looks exactly how you’d like. Let us take this task off your hands—that’s what we’re here for!

Second, your wedding photographer will have access to printing labs only available to professionals. There is a HUGE difference in the quality of the albums that are available to consumers versus what are available to a professional. Sure, there are some decent quality album companies out there, but they are likely not going to stand the test of time (think warping, color fading, binding issues, etc.) or come with any sort of warranty that would come with a professional-grade album.

I value each of my clients and am fully dedicated to making sure you have access to beautiful and amazing products to display your wedding images in! Nothing makes me happier than to know you’re making the most out of your Hope & Stay Wedding Experience when you add an heirloom album to your investment. Brides, if you’d like to chat more about album options, don’t hesitate to send me a note!



Our 4x4 mini album featured with an 8x8, luxe linen album

Our 4x4 mini album featured with an 8x8, luxe linen album

Alyssa is a Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer serving the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, Philadelphia and surrounding areas. To chat with Alyssa about your upcoming wedding or to schedule a portrait session, get in touch here!

A Few Simple Tips for a Cozy Winter Wedding | Wedding Planning | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer | Bucks County Wedding Photographer

Winter can be such a magical time of year to host a wedding in the Lehigh Valley. The twinkling lights, the crisp weather, the possibility of snowy portraits and creating a cozy space for your guests all make the atmosphere feel so inviting and romantic. There can also be a few inevitable issues that go along with having a late fall or winter wedding, but don’t fret! With a little preparation beforehand, we can have you ready for your winter wedding without a hitch.

I’ve put together a list of a few simple tricks and tips to ensure your winter wedding goes as smoothly as possible:

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Because the sun sets early in the late fall and winter months, making sure we schedule your portrait times during daylight hours is a must. This can be achieved in two ways: having an early ceremony for those who opt for a traditional timeline or schedule a “First Look” so you’re able to get all of your formal portraits completed before sunset. Keep in mind that if we have a particularly gloomy day, it can get dark very quickly.

Hope & Stay Fact: 80% of my couples opt for a First Look on their wedding day. Keep a look out for more on this in a later blog post!

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If you’re cold, the camera can see it. Being prepared with cold weather apparel and accessories are essential for staying cozy during your gorgeous outdoor portraits. Thick tights or leggings that aren’t visible under your dress are a great way to keep warm. You can easily peel these off later once you’re indoors for your reception.

Gloves, warm wraps, scarves and coats for yourself and your bridesmaids can make sure everyone stays comfortable during portrait time and can be a fun way to bring in pops of color! Opting for a long-sleeved wedding dress is also an alternative option to be considered.

A cute pair of Hunter boots in your wedding color palette are also a great option in case there’s snow, mud, or ice on the ground.

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While we all know the weather is out of our control, there are a few things that can be done to prepare for weather-related issues. When planning your timeline with your photographer, make sure extra travel time is factored in for the possibility of travel delays in the case poor travel conditions. Alternatively, consider hosting everything in one location to avoid having your family, guests, and vendors traveling to multiple locations.

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Ladies (& Gents!) moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Cold temperatures and dry heat can all wreak havoc on your skin. Make sure you’re taking care of your skin, lips and hands leading up to and throughout out your wedding day—no one wants dry, flaky skin or chapped lips in their wedding day portraits!

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Nothing warms up a ceremony or reception space like the glow of candles and twinkle lights. Sweet little touches like miniature pies, locally made honey, a s’mores bar or gourmet apple cider can be a fun way to surprise your guests while bringing the sense of comfort.

Also, consider working with your caterer to plan a delicious meal of comfort food and fun cocktails to help guests warm up.

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Alyssa is a wedding & portrait photographer who serves the Lehigh Valley, the region of Philadelphia, southeastern Pennsylvania, & New Jersey. If you’re planning your own wedding, I’d love to hear from you!

Choosing the Best Bridal Suite | Wedding Planning Tips | Lehigh Valley Wedding Photographer | Bucks County Wedding Photographer

Some of my favorite portraits of my brides happen while she is getting ready within the bridal suite.  The environment which you select for getting ready can make all the difference in creating light, beautiful images that you’ll cherish forever!  I’ve put together a list of some tips to select the best bridal suite to ensure editorial wedding day portraits:  

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One of the key ingredients for a beautiful portrait is good lighting. Large windows are a bridal suite must. Artificial overhead lights and table lamps can cast unwanted orange light and can create inaccurate skin tones. I’ll ask that any artificial light sources be turned off one I begin photographing; therefore it’s very important that the bridal suite have large windows. Sheer curtains are great diffusers and can help create a light and airy feel to your portraits while giving you beautiful and accurate skin tones.

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Bright, neutral, and minimal is the way to go when it comes to wall color and room decor. The focus of your wedding day portraits should be you, not the brightly painted walls, distracting decor or heavily patterned carpets. If the bridal suite you’re looking to reserve has decor and knickknacks everywhere, it may not be the best option for your wedding day portraits. Finally, colorful spaces can create undesirable color casts on your skin.

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The larger the space, the better! Not only is a larger room more comfortable for everyone, I’ll have more room to get creative. The more space I have to move around, the more variety you’ll receive in your portrait gallery. A large bridal suite is required if you would like full-length bridal portraits.

If your hotel does not have a bridal suite available, consider reserving a series of rooms to ensure there is enough space for everyone to move around comfortably.

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It can be very difficult to work around a half a dozen bridesmaids and makeup artists and all of their “stuff.” Bags, curling irons, shoes, water bottles, phone chargers, food—these are all things we don’t want to see in your wedding day images!

Choosing a bridal suite that has ample storage allows me to take images that don’t look visually cluttered.

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A great way to ensure cohesion in your wedding day images is to have both the bride and groom get ready at the same hotel. Doing this can ensure a similarity in space, decor, and color.

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Arranging all of the details for one of the biggest days of your life requires careful consideration, planning and organization. Selecting the right space to get ready for your wedding day may seem like a small task, but selecting the right bridal suite can make a huge impact on your portraits.

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Alyssa is a Lehigh Valley wedding & portrait photographer. If you’re planning your own wedding day and would like to inquire about having your wedding day artfully captured, send Alyssa a note here!