new jersey

Emily + Mike | Long Beach Island

t h e s t o r y o f e m i l y a n d m i k e

Michael and I met a long time ago.  Our families were wrestling and field hockey friends. Mike wrestled at Rider University and I played field hockey at Indiana University. My dad was a long time wrestling coach at Rancocas Valley HS and his mom was the Executive Director of USA Field Hockey.  

Our paths crossed quite a bit. We connected through my youngest brother. It was his senior year in high school and Mike wanted to get updates on his matches. We eventually met up at the historical NJSIAA HS State Wrestling Tournament in Atlantic City. After watching wrestling all day we danced to Brown Eyed Girl at the Bally’s Casino. From that moment on we knew our connection was more than wrestling. Not you average romance story,  but it is ours. Wrestling has been a part of our lives since we were born. 

Michael proposed at our first date location in Beach Haven New Jersey at the Engleside Inn Restaurant on Christmas Eve. Whenever we eat there now it’s a friendly reminder of where we began. 

Mike and I have had the it factor since day one. He may or may not know this but I was so in love right when we met. When our families connected that was it. Mike is home for me just as much as New Jersey is. ♥️

Venue : Little Egg Yacht Club

Florist : A Rose in December

Dress : Grace loves Lace

Shoes : Seychelles Footwear

Jewelry : West Village Tribe [bracelet/necklace]

Hair : Billie Curtis

Bridesmaid’s dresses : Show me your mumu

Band : Captain Eric and the Shipwrecks

Bar : Barrel Mobile Bar

Brittney + Ressie | Hamilton Manor | Hamilton NJ

How did he propose? : “It was at my nephews preschool graduation party, with all of my family. He put the ring box in my nephew’s legos because my nephew always asks me to help him build lego houses. So just like any other time, my nephew pulled out the legos and we were building away. My nephew picked up the ring box and was playing with it and said “what is this?!” I looked at it, turned around and saw Ressie on one knee.”

Unplugged Wedding

DSC_1666 LR.jpg

Oh, your wedding day! What a magical time for you and your loved ones! And such an important time for all those in attendance to be truly present and invested in the moment.

Sometimes I wonder, do we honestly even know what that feels like anymore, to really be in the moment? We are so over-stimulated with our phones and other wonderful devices that it feels like it has become an actual part of our experiences. I’m guilty of it, too! I carry my phone with me everywhere; it's always in my hand or at least in my sight [I can literally see my phone out of my peripheral vision as I write this]. As much as our phones have become a fixture in our every day lives, there's no denying that there is a time and a place for technology, but your wedding ceremony is NOT one! 

I have heard and unfortunately witnessed several horror stories where beautiful professional photographs have gotten ruined by eager guests getting in the way of the camera. People will literally lean out into the aisle, or even worse, stand in the middle of the aisle, to get their own [blurry, unflattering, amateur] photos of the bride. Sometimes, they stand right in front of the groom with their phones in front of their faces, oblivious to the magic happening all around them. WHAT?! I know! Guests, with the best intentions, often get so caught up in getting a quick snap for themselves, that they don’t realize that they are actually stealing that moment from the couple, AND the photographer!

In our digital world, everyone wants to be the first to post the best shot and get the most likes. However, chances are your guests don’t even realize they are sacrificing your most precious moments and memories in exchange for their own “perfect” photo. By standing in the way of your views of one another, or standing in the way of the photographer, or by hiding their raw and authentic reactions to the love story that is unfolding in front of them behind the screens of their ugly cell phones, they are ultimately missing all the good stuff! What they are forgetting is that they are very much a big part of the wedding day! Your guests become part of the backdrop. They set the mood; their faces are a part of the story. It’s really difficult to see your favorite aunt’s beaming smile when it’s hidden behind a giant iPad and it’s such a damn shame when the tears of joy that are streaming down your mom's cheeks as her actual dreams play out right in front of her are completely overshadowed by the Hello Kitty phone case positioned right behind her gorgeous up-do. Maybe we get lucky and no one dives out into the aisle during the first kiss and I have a clear shot, but then Uncle Bob decides to bring his entire camera set up and starts snapping photos on the side. His flash goes off at the same time I'm taking my shot. I wasn’t planning for that, so my settings are not set for someone else’s flash to blow out my exposure [photographer jargon, did I lose ya?!]. The entire frame is now just a white blur. I have now missed the photo of your first kiss as husband and wife, and it only happens once! You get the picture? It’s just NOT WORTH IT.

DSC_3139 LR.jpg

Think of it this way: You most likely spent hours going through websites and reading reviews before you booked your cake vendor. You thoroughly examined the menu, had a taste-testing to carefully chose your favorite flavors, and even showed them your wedding-cake Pinterest board. What if someone decided to take it upon themselves to bring their own home-made, clearly amateur cake and served it to everyone at your wedding? Even as a kind gesture, there’s no denying that would be absolutely ridiculous! Why should you look at your wedding photos any differently? So someone can Facebook blast an unflattering angle of you in your gorgeous wedding gown? You selected your photographer for a reason [it’s probably because we take professional pictures and would never let something like that happen]! Unfortunately, between all of the technology upgrades and updates, we haven’t really been programmed to think that way about our camera phones. A small sign at the entrance of the ceremony sight or a quick line addressing it on the ceremony program is all it takes to politely bring it to your guests attention. 

Again, you have invited your guests to your wedding to create memories with you; to step away from the rest of the world into a magical moment made up of two people's love for each other and everyone around them. I challenge you to have an unplugged wedding. This will require you to ask your guests to be fully present with you. To request that they take mental photographs and to allow themselves to feel everything that is happening. I promise to get all the shots of the ceremony and give you an opportunity to share them with your family with a sneak peak and your online gallery. They will certainly be able to view that special moment again. However, no one will ever be able to re-LIVE those moments, so it’s best to enjoy it as it unfolds before your eyes and let the professionals you chose do their jobs.

Seriously! I got this, you guys! I just want you and your guests to be able to relax and take in every single moment for exactly what it is. You have worked really, really hard to bring this day to life. It’s only fair that you and your hand-picked special guests get a chance to enjoy it to the fullest. So kindly tell them to put down their phones, iPads, and cameras and just be there with you!

Still not sure how to go about it? Try looking on Pinterest for “Unplugged Wedding” ideas and see how other couples made it happen! Click here for a great article by the Huffington Post about this very topic.

DSC_3182 LR.jpg


queen of cups :

introspective, psychic, loving, compassionate, honest, healing, empathetic, psychic, mysterious, dramatic, melancholic, inventive

who is the queen of cups : the queen of cups looks directly into the deepest corners of our hearts. she is dreamy and intuitive and aligns with the diving principle of love, being a channel of light in all that she does. in her realm, we see the starts of the cosmos above her, a sacred mirror of her connection to Source energy. from a deep place of knowing, she lives her life with a sense of care for all who cross her path, always putting others before herself.

the queen of cups is a nurturing individual who is deeply attuned tot eh needs of others. her warm and tender personality will make you feel at home from the moment you meet her, and she gives advice freely and unconditionally, with love. this woman is real and won’t other with small talk or formalities, so expect to connect with her on the deepest of levels. it’s not uncommon for the queen of cups to be a natural healer, working her magic subconsciously through her creations of in actual musical or spiritual practices. the queen of cups expresses a deep wisdom from the unseen realms of spiritual insight [and may even have the ability to see into the sprit world]. she might appear quiet and shy but is highly intelligent and strong in her convictions. remember to be gentle with her heart, for she hurts easily.

the message behind the card : this card comes as an opportunity to nurture your relationships with others and to make time for celebratory gatherings. listen to your inner voice and psychic abilities. the manifestation of loving energy and soulful experience with the people in your life. creativity and expression in all of its glory. 

the cups are ruled by the heart. plain and simple. with this attachment comes sensitivity in all aspects of emotion, psychic awareness, and perception. intimacy is extremely important to this type in all relationships, whether platonic or romantic. the cups want to connect deeply with the people they care about and can sometimes overanalyze other’ opinions or actions. cups are intelligent dreamers and can spend a huge amount of time visualizing or wanting to escape from the stress of the real world. when they are not harnessing their creativity properly, they become prone to sadness, flakiness, or emotional detachment. cups are creative and artistic and love to express themselves in all areas of their life. they are extremely compassionate, empathetic individuals who are nurturing and caring toward others.

the cups rule our emotions and deal with love and spiritual consciousness. they tap into our subconscious mind, psychic abilities, relationships, and internal forces. the element of water is mutable and ever changing, which reflects the flow of our emotions and feelings.

vendors :

photographer+creator : @stephanie_bar

model : @carissa_macy

set designer+creative director : @blondeandblueboutique

makeupartist : @beautifulnightmarefx

hairstylist : @mollys_chair

threads : @sgstyleme

jewelry : @creadesigns

florals : @eastlinfloraldesign

crystal : @kaytmoats

Sarah + DJ | Eagle Manor | Fairton NJ

“I really can’t say enough good things about having Stephanie as my photographer for my wedding day!! Her photos speak for themselves [they are amazing!!] but what you don’t see from the photos is how amazing Stephanie is to work with. She made the entire day, and experience go so smoothly! She made me, DJ, all my friends, and family feel so at ease and comfortable in front of the camera. [I know because they all told me multiple times after the wedding how much they loved working with Stephanie!] Stephanie was so organized and professional to work with but also felt like a friend who was meant to be part of the day. She made us laugh and kept it fun [even if it was freezing cold and 30mph winds], she even put up with the groomsmans silly antics [trying to include a creepy doll in our wedding photos] without missing a beat. I seriously couldn’t have picked a better photographer for our wedding day!!” -Sarah R

Brittney + Ressie | Evergreen Dairy Bar Engagement Session | Southampton, NJ

"On the day of our engagement shoot I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect. My fiancé and I are not the most photogenic people (it’s quite funny actually haha). On our way there we were laughing thinking of how awkward we were going to be. When we arrived and met Stephanie for the first time I had an instant feeling of relief. She was so funny, bubbly, and laidback. I knew she would laugh at how nervous we were. For the first few pictures we were still nervous, but as it went on we started to just simply have fun. We really enjoyed our engagement shoot and realized how important it is to have a good photographer. We felt so comfortable with her and knew there was no judgement at all. She was seriously like just one of our friends! She had a certain way with things and it just started to feel so natural. I wouldn’t change one thing about our engagement shoot. I look back and smile about it all the time. In that moment I truly just felt very happy and it made me so much more excited to marry my best friend and have Stephanie capture it all!" -Brittney B