In-home Real Life Family Session with the Pentheros Family | Buffalo Documentary Family Photographer

It was such an honor photographing the Pentheros family in their home this fall. They started their morning in pjs making pumpkin pancakes together, sharing breakfast at the table, putting together a space puzzle, and reading stories before naptime. It was a wonderful morning and I am so excited they now have these special moments captured in photographs to cherish for a lifetime!

If you are a parent of young children, you know how fast the days and years go by, and how quickly your children grow in and out of phases. One minute they’re completely dependent on you for their every need, and in a blink it seems, they’re off on their own playing with friends, barely making time for a smile and hug goodbye.

This is one of the reasons why I love the in-home, documentary-style Real Life family sessions I offer. Totally different than your stand-and-smile-at-the-camera style session, Real Life sessions are designed to spend time with you and your family in your home, documenting those most cherished moments with you and your loved ones in this phase of your life. Next year might be totally different than this year, but you’ll always think back with nostalgic memories of some of those special times together. So why not have some of those moments captured on camera, so you can have tangible memories to look back on?

Real Life family sessions include approx 90 minutes (max of 2 hours) of in-home coverage and the final, edited images provided to you in an online gallery with a digital download of the high resolution photos. New in fall of 2018, I also started offering an special extra: if you book a Real Life Family Session (valued at $600+tax) and refer a friend who books their own session with me, YOU will also receive a complimentary 10-page, 8x8 lay-flat album with highlight photos from your session. How great is that?!

And for a limited time, I’ve decided to take this extra one step further: If you and a friend reserve winter/spring 2019 dates for separate in-home Real Life family sessions by December 31, 2018, you will BOTH receive complimentary albums with your session. Your sessions must be scheduled for a date between January 1 and May 1, 2019, and both sessions must be completed in order to receive the albums. Simply email me to inquire about dates, mention the friend who is also planning to book a session, and provide a $150 non-refundable retainer (per family) to hold your date. The remaining balance isn’t due until the time of your session and as long as both families schedule/book and complete their sessions, you will both receive complimentary albums. I’ll even design and choose images for you if you don’t have the time to. And then you’ll be sure to have an album of these special moments before another year passes by!

As your waiting on your friend to get back to you about booking their own session, check out this great session with the Pentheros family for ideas!

Kelsey + David's Committment to Love | An Elegant Buffalo Wedding | Buffalo Wedding Photographer

I first met Kelsey a few months prior to her and David’s beautiful wedding day, at Spot Coffee in Williamsville where we were joined by some of her close family – mom, sister, aunt, and even cousin! Kelsey was home from DC on a whirlwind wedding planning weekend, along with her incredible crew of loving and supportive family. This group meeting gave me a peak into Kelsey’s family and instantly, I knew we’d be a great match. While I may not come from a large Tuscan family, I certainly know a lot about being a member of a big family thanks to marrying into a large, tight-knit Portuguese family. And let me tell you – there really is nothing greater than having so many loved ones to call your family, regardless of how crazy it may be at times.

Fast forward to their beautiful (and unseasonably freezing!) wedding day in early September, Kelsey and David were wed in front of close to 300 family and friends in Kelsey’s mom and step-father’s backyard. Tears were shed by many during an emotional ceremony, where Kelsey’s dad was able to take part in marrying them, and where they exchanged their own, personal vows (my fave) under a custom arbor made by Kelsey’s step-father. They committed their love to one another, and to God, and in those moments, truly nothing else mattered.

Following the ceremony there was an elegant celebration held under a huge tent from McCarthy Tents and Events. In true Italian fashion, there was food located at every corner, and “Good” wine bottles were found at each table. DJ Jickster kept the music going all night, with a smoke machine and colorful lights flashing along with it. And at the end of the night, there were fireworks and the largest sparkler send-off I’ve ever seen. In every aspect, Kelsey and David’s wedding was a extraordinary celebration and I’m so excited to share a few highlight images from their day.

But first… some advice from the bride:

Do you have any recommendations for future couples planning a wedding?

1. Pray & Prepare. Pray – for your wedding day, for your guests, for your future marriage. Prepare – We are 2 imperfect, different people coming together as one. Preparing for your marriage and for life together is HUGE. Find a married couple, a pastor, or role models to meet with a few times before your wedding. We met with one of our Pastors and his wife 5 times before the wedding and went through different topics to help us see differences and potential conflict areas that may arise in marriage. It was so encouraging. Do it.

2. Right before your rehearsal starts the night before, take it all in and refocus on what is important and what the rest of that day and the next day really means. No matter what little detail doesn’t go as planned or something goes wrong, LET IT GO! You are marrying your best friend. All of your guests are there to support and celebrate the two of you, and besides, they probably wont notice anyway.

Special shout-out to all the vendors:

Ceremony & Reception Location: The Parlato Residence (The Bride’s mother & step-father’s home in Darien, NY)

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: The bride & MOB Beth Parlato

Officiant: Pastor Matt Gold (Father of the Bride) and family friend Neil Boron

Photographer: Dawn M Gibson Photography

Videographer: White Washed Creative

Florist: Graser's Florist

Caterer: Kennedy's Cove

Cake/Bakery: Cake by Buttercrumbs Bakery; Cannoli’s and individual bread loaves on each plate from DiCamillo Bakery; Paula’s Donuts; Ice Cream from Anderson’s Ice Cream; Cake pops, Cookies & Oreo truffles by Aunt Patti; Italian cookies by Aunt Holly

DJ/Band/Entertainment: DJ Jickster

Transportation: Limo Bus guest transportation and late night bride & groom pick-up by Advantage Limousine Service

Invitations: Minted

Hair: Jess Tripi from Cielo Salon and family friend, Gloria Moretti

Makeup: Jess and Maria from Cielo Salon

Bride/Groom Attire: Bride’s Dress from M.A. Carr Bridal and Groom’s Tux from Men’s Wearhouse

Accessories: Bride's veil borrowed from Aunt Holly

Wedding Party Attire: Bridesmaid dresses from M.A. Carr Bridal and Groomsmen tuxes from Men’s Wearhouse

Tent Rental & Lighting: McCarthy Tents & Events

Tables, Chairs, Table settings: Tesoro Event Rentals (amazing!)

Decorations: Antique shops and Auctions in WNY, Amazon & the best Maid of Honor & bridesmaids in the world that helped so much!

Landscaping, Handmade Bars, Handmade Ceremony Arbor: Tony Parlato (Step-Father of the Bride)

Wine Labels: Designed by Taylor Dawson, printed by Let’s Do Wine & Buffalo Brew Shop

Surprise Proposal and Fall Engagement Session at Amherst State Park | Buffalo Engagement Photographer

Jenna and Tim recently celebrated three years together, and wanted to do a portrait session just the two of them this fall. So a few weeks ago we met up at Amherst State Park – where they had their first date – for some beautiful fall portraits. Only, little did Jenna know that during the session, Tim was planning to propose! Eeep!

Every time I photograph live proposals, it is so exciting! I’ll always talk with the person popping the question (usually the guys), ahead of time to see if they have plans in mind, or work with them to come up with a plan so we’re on the same page. For his proposal, Tim had a plan already in mind – wanting to have the two of them have a moment being back-to-back, so that when Jenna turned around, he’d be down on one knee. I LOVE the excitement in his face when they are back-to-back in the series of images below… it shows not only his anticipation for the moment, but the pause they were able to share in that last moment before he asked her to marry him. I used my longer lens so that I could give them some privacy, so I’m not sure what he said to her, but I do know she said yes and it was an amazing moment! And just after she said yes, the clouds parted in the sky and the sun came out. I hope they always remember the words exchanged, the hugs and excitement shared, and most of all the feeling of such a significant moment in their lives.

After the proposal (since we did it fairly early on in the session), we wandered around the park and took some beautiful photos of them together. I’m so excited to share some highlights from this evening!

Congratulations again, Jenna + Tim!

Are you looking for a photographer to photograph your own proposal in Buffalo, NY this holiday season? Or just interested in engagement portraits with your significant other after already proposing? I currently have a select few spots remaining for the 2018 year, and am actively booking both engagement and wedding photography services for 2019 and beyond. Send me an inquiry today and let’s grab some coffee and chat!

Jillian + Matthew's Buffalo Wedding Ceremony and Reception at the Mansion on Delaware Avenue | Buffalo Wedding Photographer

One of the fondest memories I have from Jillian and Matthew’s wedding day at the Mansion on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, NY this past September is when I asked Matthew’s son, Wylie, what he was most looking forward to that day. His response was: “seeing someone very special to me join our family.” Isn’t that what a wedding is – and should be – all about? Families joining and loved ones coming together to celebrate. It really is as simple and significant as that all at the same time.

From start to finish, everything about Jillian and Matthew’s wedding day was true to them, which made every minute that much more special. Everything took place at the Mansion – bridal prep, ceremony, all the portraits, and the reception – allowing them to keep the flow of the day uncomplicated and centered around their desire to spend time celebrating with loved ones. They did an informal first look where Matthew just came to Jillian’s room to see her, and they invited everyone to the dance floor after each of their formal dances. Even their ceremony felt laid back and casual, with Jillian making her way to Matthew and Wylie through a crowd of loved ones with her parents on each arm. The floral arrangements from William’s Florist, were a beautiful pop of color throughout the venue (and everything Jillian hoped for!); their wedding cake shaped like a hot-dog will always be memorable; and the band, Nickel City Pimp Choir, kept the dance floor moving late into the night. It was such an honor to photograph this beautiful wedding day and the joining of two incredible families as one.