Wedding

Nuriya and Jess - A Philadelphia Moshulu LGBTQ Wedding

I knew this wedding blog post was going to be a long one because Nuriya and Jess had the most spectacular LGBTQ wedding in Old City Philadelphia this past spring but I had no idea I was going to have this many favorite images!!!  I have wanted to shoot a wedding at the iconic Moshulu in Philly for years now and despite what ending up being a very rainy night, these two trusted us to take them around Old City Philly that afternoon for wedding portraits.  And they are some of my favorite photos from my entire career.  

This sweet lesbian couple hired us last summer and from the moment I met them, I knew they were going to be more than clients.  They are both so incredibly kind and look at each other in such a way that you can feel the love around them.  They both got ready at the same AirBnB in separate rooms before sharing the sweetest of first looks.  The photos show Nuriya's utter joy when she saw Jess for the first time and I tear up even now looking at them.  I also loved Jess's mom reaction to seeing Jess in her wedding suit!  So many parents struggle with seeing their children wear different than what has come to be expected of a bride or groom and seeing her mom’s face light up with joy and hear her gush over how incredible Jess looked, lets just say it was a really special moment.  We then drove over to Old City and I got to photograph them on the 18th floor of our apartment building BRIDGE over looking the Ben Franklin Bridge.  I loved how their outfits complemented both themselves and each other, Jess in a custom bespoke suit from Bindle and Keep, Nuriya in a gorgeous blush gown from Bhldn.  After some more photos in Old City, even stopping at our favorite coffee chop, United By Blue) we headed down to the Moshulu to do family photos and capture a few shots of their bridal party.  

As the guests gathered for the ceremony, the windows picked up and the dark clouds rolled in, forcing the ceremony into a different space than originally intended but I was struck by how calm Nuriya and Jess were.  Even when there were mishaps from the torrential down pour that lasted for several hours (the sound equipment got wet, water leaked all over the reception space, mics wouldn't work), these two faced it all with such calm and unaffected joy.  Jess had planned a surprise to sing to Nuriya and when the water caused the sound equipment not work, Jess grabbed a guitar and sang acousticly to her new wife.  And there were few dry eyes in the room after that! 

Thats what married life is about though.  Making it work.  Staying by each other when the figurative (and in their case!!) literally storms roll through.  Its making each other laugh, being present, finding joy and holding each others hand the whole way through.  And these two did that so so beautifully.  Listening to their friends and family give toasts about how strong, resilient, compassionate and kind these two are, confirmed what I already knew.  Nuriya and Jess are the kind of people who's love will not only last but inspire.  

And a HUGE shout out to their DJ and our friend DJ Jovi for working through all the craziness and being such an incredible DJ.  It is so fun to work with people we already love!  If you are looking for an LGBTQ friendly DJ and someone who knows how to keep your dance floor going all night long, Jovi is your girl!!!

It was my honor to not only photograph their wedding day, but to get to know these two incredible women on a personal level and I thrilled to now call them friends.  Jess and Nuriya, I hope you are enjoying every minute of this crazy thing called life and that you know just how honored I am that you chose Jordan and I to photograph your wedding day!  Enjoy my (many!!) favorites ya'll! 

Jimmie and Chris - An Old City Philadelphia Rooftop Elopement

Old City Philly Rooftop Elopement 58.jpg

From my very first email exchange with Jimmie, I knew I would like these two. From her sense of humor, to the way she wanted their wedding day to be a celebration of them, to her openness to ideas, to the way she described her and Chris’s relationship, I knew they were the kind of couple I had to work with. Together we planned a weekday afternoon wedding a top Bridge On Race Apartments (where Jordan and I live) and for them to get ready at Lokal Hotel, which is right around the corner and then end the evening with some portraits.

The day of their elopement there was not a cloud in the sky. Their suite at Lokal Hotel was bustling with their friends and family and Jimmie and Chris getting ready. After taking some photos of each of them getting dressed we did a little first look in a gorgeous alley right beside their hotel. This was my favorite part of the day…watching Chris see his beautiful bride for the first time and to see him cry with joy, it was just so beautiful. These two really love each other and it was so evident in that moment as well as in their vows a few minutes later.

They said “I do” 18 floors high overlooking the Ben Franklin Bridge with 6 of their favorite people around them. They chose to self unite, or have a Quaker Ceremony, which allowed them to not need an officiant. This made their wedding ceremony so perfectly them. Their vows were long and sweet, giggles were shared, her mom took photos and with a kiss it was all official. They were married! After pausing to take some photos of them with their guests, we headed down the street to the Painted Bride for some photos of the two of them. I loved this time with the two of them, the way they just laughed and made jokes, the way they were just so completely themselves. And it shows in their images, which made my initial thought true…I really did like these two!

Jimmie and Chris, thank you for allowing me to be apart of your start of this next new adventure. You two are so much fun and even though this blog post is far too late, I couldn’t not share your incredible day! Enjoy a few of my favorites!

Niki And Jen - Sage Farmhouse LGBT Wedding

I met Niki and Jen for the first time at a Philadelphia area Starbucks and for the jump, I adored this sweet lesbian couple.  Jen is sarcastic and kind, Niki is sweet and funny and they quickly became more than just clients, but friends.  Their wedding at The Sage Farmhouse just outside Philly was everything a wedding should be, a perfect reflection of them.  Niki wore the most STUNNING black wedding gown and Jen complimented her perfectly in a traditional white gown and even with a little rain and some vendor missteps, the day was perfect.  

The Sage Farmhouse in Media, Pennsylvania was the perfect aground for their LGBTQ Wedding.  They had their ceremony on the lawn the garden, dinner in the most charming of vintage dinning rooms and then danced the evening away in the garden.  Their wedding party was delightful, their love for each other was evident all day long.  My favorite part of their wedding day was watching them dance and laugh with each other, so lost in their own world of married bliss.  

I mentioned vendor missteps earlier and thats not normally something I would add to a couples blog post but I felt like it was important to note and something I know these brides would want other LGBTQ couples planning their weddings to think about.  The vendors you hire should be able to refer to you, the entire day, as MRS and MRS and BRIDE and BRIDE, without constantly defaulting to the heteronormative Mr and Mrs and Bride and Groom.  When you meet with any potential vendor, make sure that they are using inclusive language all of the time and that you know who will be showing up the day of your event.  And to other wedding professionals who might be reading this - make sure you are always using the right language, pronouns and titles for your clients! These are INCREDIBLY important, especially with LGBTQ couples!!

Niki and Jen, we adore ya'll more than I have words.  As I said last weekend, we are thrilled you love your photos and we are thrilled that you are now officially just our friends, not clients!  We wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness and all the adventure life can bring!  

Vendor List:

Photography - Swiger Photography

Officiant - Lindsay Cook

Venue - The Sage Farmhouse

Flowers - Blair's Florist

Jen's Wedding Gown - David's Bridal

Niki's Wedding Gown - Claire's Fashion

Wedding Party - David's Bridal

 

Wedding Resources - Make That Ring Sparkle!

Today's Wedding Wednesday post is a fun one because it is FULL of gorgeous ring shots, and lets be real, who doesn't love staring at some sparkle!  But how do all my couples have such sparkley rings in their photos?  Great question!  And today I am going over a few ways you can have your rings look their best for photos!

Ring Tip #1 - Get it cleaned!

This one may seem a little obvious, but a ring that's just been cleaned will ALWAYS look better than one that's been worn!  Sometimes we forget how much dirt and dust can build up around our ring, so even if its not for photos, its good to get that bad boy cleaned every so often!  If you can, it's best to take it to your jeweler as they will make sure your stones are looking good too but most chain stores like Kay's or Jared's will offer to clean your ring for free!  

Ring Tip #2 - Great Light

This tip is more for wedding day's but in general, great light is the most important part to getting those amazing ring shots.  On a wedding day, I will often ask my couples, if they mind if I step into another room or go outside with their details so I can find great light and a great background!  This is where trusting your photographer is key!  If they are an experienced photographer, they know how to set up a great shot, but it may mean taking that sparkley ring out of your site for a few minutes.  During a lot of our engagement sessions, we willl have our brides leave us their rings while they change into their second outfit.  BUT - always trust your gut!  If you don't feel comfortable giving your ring to them, that's ok too!  Offer to go with them or send a bridesmaid to keep tabs!  But again, if you trust your photographer, you know you and your rings are in good hands!

Ring Tip #3 - Get Your Nails Done!

You wouldn't believe how many of my couples show up with their nails looking a mess for their engagement photos because they assumed their hands wouldn't be in the shot!  And even for guys, while they don't need to have a manicure, having their nails trimmed and clean, def helps makes ring shots look better!  I love taking photos of the rings on my clients hands because hey, that's where they belong!  So treat yourself to manicure! :)  

Ring Tip #4 - Where You Focus Matters

This one is for all my photographers out there!  I recently figured out a little trick, especially when I am on a time crunch and shooting details with my 24mm or my 50mm!  Focus on the prong closest to the camera.  This may make the rest of the ring look a little soft BUT because that is the part closest to our eyes, the image will look more in focus.  I use to try and focus on the diamond or main stone itself and never loved the way it looked and then recently tried this and noticed the look of my ring shots were more sharp.  

And now because, why not show off more gorgeous rings, here are some of my favorite rings from the last SIX years of business!!!!!  Enjoy friends!  

Wedding Resources - How Long Should I Allow for Family Photos

Wedding Resources - where we are answering your questions about wedding planning!  If you are like most couples, you've never done this before, so it's totally understandable to have questions!  And we are here to help!  Today we are talking about how much time should you allow for family photos and we hope that this helps you plan a stress free wedding day timeline!  

Your wedding day is one of the few days of your life where you will have most of your friends and family around you, so of course, you will want pictures with them!  But how long should you plan for them?  When should you take them?  What if your venue or planner told you that 10 or 20 minutes is enough but your photographer tells you different?  Today we are going to unpack ALL of that and hopefully help you make the best decision for you!  

Regardless of what anyone tells you, family photos take time.  Depending on the timeline for your wedding you are either doing your photos right before or right after you say "I do" which means emotions and excitement are running high!  And you want it to be that way!  But that also means you don't want to be rushed or stressed too!  As part of what we do with our couples, we send out a survey before the wedding that asks our couples for any and all groupings they want in terms of family portraits.  Below is an example list we got from an actual couple!  

Bride with just her parents, bride and groom with her parents, bride with only her siblings, bride and groom with siblings and spouses, bride with grandma, bride mom and grandma, bride and groom and grandma, bride groom and aunts and uncles, bride and her aunt Shelly, Bride and groom and Aunt Shelly, Bride groom and all the cousins.  

That was only the bride's side, but that was 11 poses.  The groom's list was similar and had 10 shots on it and they also asked for 4 other group shots as well.  So that's 25 poses!  Which is actually quite a lot!  Even at a minute a piece (which is impossible!), right there is 25 minutes just for family photos!  

We typically tell our couples to allow 3 minutes per grouping and suggest that there is a total 10 groupings, so a half hour for family photos.  We typically can do it in less than 30 minutes but this is a great guideline!  And if your family/families are really large, we will often suggest doing just immediate family then and planning time during the reception for more family photos as well! 

Another option that a lot of our couples choose is to do a first look!  This allows you to see each other in a relaxed, personal experience prior to the ceremony AND allows for you to have a lot more options for photos!  With this kind of timeline, you can have a lot more time for photos before hand and even do a few bigger family shots right after the ceremony!  This also allows you to attend your cocktail hour!

If a first look isn't for you but you want a lot of family photos, another option is to do as many family photos with each of you before hand.  For example, photograph the brides family before hand and separately photograph the groom/other bride's family before hand as well!  This allows half of the poses to be done and cuts down time later!

So you have a lot of options!  No matter what you do, make sure you make a list of those must have family photos and give it to your photographer!  Family plays a huge role in your life and in your wedding day, but without knowing who is important to you, its hard for your photographer to make sure they capture the right people!  So make that list!  And then make sure you talk over what you want with your photographer too!  

And because who doesn't love a little inspiration, here are a few of our favorite family photos!

Wedding Resources - Why We Love Veils

Why we love wedding veils
Wedding Resources - where we are answering your questions about wedding planning!  If you are like most couples, you've never done this before, so it's totally understandable to have questions!  And we are here to help!  Today we are talking about how much time should you allow for family photos and we hope that this helps you plan a stress free wedding day timeline!  

One of my favorite parts of photographing weddings is the bridal details.  The sparkley rings, the perfect shoes, the bouquet, her dress and if she chooses to have one, her veil.  So much goes into choosing what she is wearing that day and having the honor to photograph it is always one of my favorite parts of the day.  Because I am often one of the first vendors a couple hires, I often get asked questions about where to go to buy a dress, what she should she look for and should she wear a veil.  As with everything else, there is never a right or wrong answer!  But I thought today I would talk about who choose to wear a traditional veil for a Wedding Wednesday post!

If you have ever watched even one episode of Say Yes to the Dress, than you have probably heard the phrase "jack her up."  While it sounds nothing like this, it means take the bride who likes the dress she has on and add on all the accessories so she can see what she might look like on her wedding day.  And one of the big things you will always hear brides say is "it wasn't real to they put the veil on."  It also is the one thing that tends to get the water works going!  But why? Well your wedding day is really the one day you can wear a veil so something about it has that "bridal feeling" attached to it.  So for many girls, they go from loving the dress, to loving the way they look as a bride once that veil goes on!  

But there are so many kinds of veils!  Birdcage, short, fingertip, chapel, cathedral...just to name a few!  And then what about a blusher?  With so many options, how do you choose?  Just like choosing your dress, once you put on the right one, you'll know.  For me, I have always dreamed of a long Cathedrial length veil!  For someone else, they might love the look of a shoulder length veil with a blusher!  Try on a few and see what makes you feel the best!  

As with your dress, always try to find what makes YOU shine the most.  There is no right or wrong way to do things, but at the end of the day,  you want to feel beautiful on your wedding day but you also want to feel like you!  So do what feels right to you, no matter what any one else tries to say!

I love shooting brides who choose to wear a veil because I love how they photograph!  From shooting them as details, to the bride by herself, to wrapping up my couple in them, they add such a wonderful element to photos!  Here are a few of my favorite veil photographs and I hope this post was helpful!!

Wedding Wednesday - Who Walks You Down The Aisle

Today we kick of our new series - Wedding Wednesday - where we are answering your questions about wedding planning!  If you are like most brides, you've never done this before, so it's totally understandable to have questions!  And we are here to help!  

We got this question a few weeks ago from a bride who wasn't sure who should walk her down the aisle.  While normally this wouldn't be a question you would ask your photographer, she was curious what my experience had been in 6 years!  Was there a normal way of doing things?  Did just her dad have to?  What about walking herself down the aisle?  So this is what we emailed her back:

That moment when you walk down the aisle is a big one, so I can totally understand wanting to have it right, but sadly, there is no “right” answer! In 6 years, we have seen it all! Dads, Moms, big brothers, little brothers, uncles, sisters, The couple’s kid/s, friends, the bride walking down the aisle on her own or even two brides that walked down the aisle together. While the traditonal way of doing it is to have your dad walk you down the aisle, you can really do anything you want! Just do what feels right to you ok? That’s the most important thing!

And it really is true!  With so many options, the most important thing you can do is what makes the most sense to you!  When Jordan and I got married, her parents walked her down the aisle and I walked myself.  And it was something I struggled with as my parents didn't attend our wedding.  But at the end of the day, doing it myself made every single one of those steps mean so much to.  No one gave me away, but for me it symbolized that I was the one making that decision, no one else.  And for me, that was important!  But for other brides or grooms, having their parents walk them down the aisle could be something they had been dreaming about!  And that's ok too!  

Here are a few of our couples walking down the aisle and as you'll see, they each have their own style and way of doing it!  And that's what makes it personal!  

Have a question you want us to answer?  Leave us a comment and we'd be happy to!

Wedding Wednesday - A New Series

We are starting a new series here at Swiger Photography - a Wedding Wednesday post!  We get SO many questions about wedding planning and so we figured rather than only share those answers as we get questions, why not turn them into blog posts for all of you to read too!  We have got a list of awesome topics to talk about, but we also want to know what you want to know too!  Got a question about wedding planning?  Comment on this post and we will add it to the list!  Our first post in the series goes live NEXT Wednesday so keep an eye out!  Can't wait to help you plan the perfect wedding day!

Philadelphia Wedding Wednesday Series Swiger Photography

Stephanie and Joshua - An Old Mill Wedding Preview

As soon as we pulled up the Old Mill on Saturday afternoon, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to wait to blog this one.  The venue is one I have wanted to shoot at since I heard about it a little over a year ago and it did not disappoint!  Stephanie was a gorgeous bride, but more than that, she is the sweetest person.  Her first look with Josh was perfection, and their love was so evident all day long.  I loved all their blush and coral and lavender details and just you wait till you see their centerpieces!  So beautiful!  Fresh Florist did an amazing job! (Go check out more of their work HERE!)

Stephanie and Joshua, thank you for allowing us to be apart of your day.  I am so happy you loved your preview gallery and I can't wait to share the rest!  And thank you to the Old Mill for being SO amazing to work with!  To check out more info on all the amazing Vendors that were apart of this wedding see the vendor list at the bottom of the post!  

A special thanks to the amazing vendor team:

Photography - Swiger Photography

Wedding Dress - David's Bridal  (http://www.davidsbridal.com)

Bridesmaid Dresses - David's Bridal  (http://www.davidsbridal.com)

Groom's Suit - Men's Warehouse  (http://www.menswearhouse.com)

Groomsmen Suits - Men's Warehouse  (http://www.menswearhouse.com)

Cake - Sophisiticakes  (http://www.sophisticakespa.com)

Venue - The Old Mill Pa  (http://www.connercatering.com/oldmill/weddings)

Caterer - Conner Catering  (http://www.connercatering.com/oldmill/catering.htm)

Flowers - Fresh Designs Florist  (http://www.freshdesignsflorist.com/)

DJ - Brian Kania 

Cindy and Scott - A Doylestown Mercer Museum Wedding

I remember meeting Cindy and Scott at a Starbucks in Doylestown last fall and talking about their spring wedding like it was yesterday.  Cindy was a bundle of nerves and excitement, Scott ever as much her calm and cool other half.  The way they leaned into each other and talked about their wedding plans had me so excited for their wedding, but what I didn't realize then was that these two really understand what true love looks like.  

At their ceremony, the priest talked about who they both were as people.  They are both older and on their second marriage and they both have kids from those previously relationships.  Each of them had a great respect for the other, for the family they had created.  And they both believed full heartedly that God had brought them to this place and they were honored to call each other theirs.  It was beautiful.  He described them as kind, full of life and love people, genuine and joyous.  And that couldn't be more true.  All day long, Scott seemed in awe of Cindy, that she was his to love.  And what better is there?  They have a love that is based on faith, and trust and pure joy in who the other is and it was magic to photograph! 

They had the most perfect spring wedding, surrounded by their families and friends.  We loved getting to shoot at one of our dream venues, The Mercer Museum!  It's so full of history and grandeur and made for the perfect location for their day.  Their sweet little grand kids stole the show and I teared up more than once thinking about how sweet it will be for them to one day have these photos to look back on when they get married! 

So congrats Scott and Cindy!  May your love always be as sweet as it was that day!  And enjoy a few of my favorites!

Sophia and Lisa - A Philadelphia City Hall Lesbian Elopement

When these two got married, I was knee deep in redoing my blog and website and I didn't want to post them to the old site.  So I have been waiting to share this wedding with all of you for quite some time!  Sophia is feisty, sweet and oh so gorgeous and Lisa is her hilarious, little bit bad ass and so kind other half.  I've known these two for a while and when they asked if i would be free to shoot their weekday City Hall wedding, the answer was an immediate yes!!!

These two are so in love.  The kind of love that you see on facebook and in real life and know that its not fake or temporary.  They embody the idea of being partners, supporting each other and loving each others families.  They also keep each other (and me!) laughing with their adorable bickering and commentary on everything!  It was a great day and I am so happy that these two have joined the #marriedlesbianclub and are loving life as Mrs and Mrs Crespo!  

Lisa and Sophia....thank you for being such sweet friends and for allowing me to be the one to capture the start of this exciting chapter in your lives.  I adore the two of you to pieces and can't wait to see where life takes you next.  Thank you for being patient for this blog post!  And now, a few of my favorites!