These two are on my level. Seriously, they are almost as short as me :) What a fantastic couple. They have an energy and excitement in their relationship that is contagious. I knew this wedding was going to be rad if their friends and family were anything like them! And I was proven right. Princeton, New Jersey is gorgeous as we enter the Chauncy Hotel. The girls were all jammed into one room with hair and make up. All smiles and excitement as the day started to fly by. Megan was cheerful and calm and she sat in the chair getting dolled up. I don’t think she got nervous until the dress was coming down the stairs. The tears, the love, the support in that room- priceless. Meanwhile, Mario and the guys were hanging out in quite a different scene. They were downstairs in the lobby and bar relaxing. Isn’t that funny how that works? Girls=BUSY ; Guys=CHILLING They decided to give gifts to one another before the ceremony. Megan received a hand made piece of art from Mario. I loved watching her open the gift…so many emotions! Mario was given a journal. Megan had written a book of reasons she wanted to marry Mario. So romantic!
Their first look was awesome. We loved the way Megan asked him to turn around and he refused. “NO, I want you to tap me on the shoulder”, he said. But he gave in and turned around to see his beautiful bride. He took the full walk around and really soaked all of her beauty in! It was so heartfelt. First looks always make me cry, and this one was no different. The ceremony and reception were full of laughs and tears. I can honestly say I cried on both parent dances.
It has happened again. Our couple has turned into our friends. Walking through all the moments of the day with them was beautiful and makes me realize how awesome our job is. They are our forever friends. We are so excited to watch their lives unfold.
Love you guys! Cheers!
leaha + jeff
Thank you to Brittany & Dan Maio for assisting and shooting along side us for this wedding.
When we first came to New Jersey it was considered a “Look & See” visit. We stayed a week to house hunt and Jeff went to visit his new workplace as well. We ended up making a friend on the train one evening coming back from NYC who brought us to a party in Morristown. We ran into Danica and Milton and talked about our experience of moving and connected on the top of Burning Man. We shared the love of music, community, dancing and love. We immediately connected and became friends online. Almost a year after meeting these two love birds, we finally were living in New Jersey and they had gotten engaged!! We were beyond thrilled when they chose us to document this fabulous journey ahead of them. Just shows that everything happens for a reason. The rest is history…friends turned clients that are even closer friends now. :)
This wedding was one of the most unique and connected weddings I have ever attended. The Catskill Mountains painted the perfect backdrop for this beautiful celebration. Stone Tavern Farm is tucked in the rolling mountains with picturesque views in every direction. The dreamy pink bridesmaid dresses and the formal wear on the guys against the mountains was just stunning. Danica couldn’t have looked more gorgeous in her gown. I loved that she picked a Tory Burch Blue wedge for her wedding shoes. Smart girl! Those will look good with anything later! And Milton’s suit fit snug as a bug. He was looking very dapper. His smile is probably one of the biggest I have seen and his hugs are the tightest hugs I have ever had. And this day was no different…well maybe a little. I think he was giddy with excitement.
The ceremony was FANTASTIC. I loved the mix of family with burners. Some were in costumes and some were in formal wear. They all cheered as Milton walked down the hill to the ceremony. They cheered as the vintage Bentley made its way up the hill with Danica. And they stood and clapped as she walked down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be husband. It was magical. There were several really special moments that stuck out to me as I think back. They had the passing of the wedding rings through out the crowd so that each person could bless the rings before they were exchange between the bride and groom. I LOVE THIS. Danica has her father tattoo’d on her left shoulder. It is a beautiful tribute to her father. I thought it was lovely that the minister had all of the men in Danica’s life stand up at the wedding and vow to always be there for her. And then all of the audience to vow they would be there for both of them. I just cannot explain how real and authentic this ceremony was. Speechless.
I thought it couldn’t get any better, but it did. The celebration continued in the barn down the hill. The live band, the twinkling lights, the costumes, the sincere speeches…it was absolutely unforgettable. Burners are givers and the wedding was full of just that. GIVING! People gave the gift of speeches, the gift of song and the gift of love. I am so honored to have been a part of this celebration. To see people of all kinds come together and do something different really touched me. And these people like to dance- those are my kind of people. I even changed into a giant black tutu and boots for this party! The night was topped off with a fireworks show and fire dancers. I love how the wedding was a perfect mix of a traditional wedding and a dash of burning man. This wedding will always hold a special place in my heart.
After the ceremony, we joined the burners at the camp down the road. Pitched a tent, grabbed a drink and hung out over the camp fire. The fire dancers, dj and friendly folk welcomed right in. Again, unforgettable.
Thank you Danica and Milton for letting us celebrate with you. We wish you the happiest of happy! You are very special to us. Congrats!!
I honestly have no idea where to start with this blog. I guess I will start with one big word: GODSEND.
Mario and Ariana were perfectly placed in our lives at the very moment we needed them. We were fresh off of our move from Texas to New Jersey and they were the first couple to book us. We spent an afternoon that turned into night with this fabulous duo at Asbury Park shooting their engagement. We ended with dinner and hugs and I knew at that moment they were our forever friends. It was like God was showing me what was to come. My dreams were coming true and the promises God had given me were being fulfilled. They made the future seem less scary. They loved on us and encouraged us. We are FOREVER grateful to them for their hospitality and authentic friendship they gave us and still continue to give.
Sharing this past year with them has been so special to us. And we were even more excited to see them get married. It was a day to remember. There was a beautiful sense of calm and love floating in the air. Everyone was light on their feet and so darn happy! I have seen the love between Ari and Mario. It is authentic, sincere and contagious. When I met the family and friends surrounding them on wedding day- it was just another confirmation of how amazing they are. The first look was epic. Ariana coming down the stairs to see Mario for the first time was absolutely stunning. They were whisked off to their dream cathedral St. Michaels in Jersey City. This cathedral was one of the most beautiful we have ever been in. The long aisle let everyone really soak in how beautiful Ariana looked.
After the ceremony, the wedding party jumped on a big red trolly and headed towards the best view on this side of the Hudson- Liberty State Park. I have been dreaming of shooting here since we moved from Texas. The rain held off and it was a gorgeous time over looking the city and dancing into the night. Thank you to Ariana and Mario for entrusting this special time in your life to us! We have enjoyed the journey and can’t wait to watch your lives unfold. Our friendship now continues and we can plan more fun times together. We love you both and your wedding day was simply perfection. We are so blessed that you are in our lives.
Congrats to you and your beautiful future.
leaha + jeff
Thank you to Brittany Maio for assisting and 3rd shooting with us on this wedding.
I can’t say enough how much I love this woman’s tutus! I know that sounds funny, but its true! Not only are they amazing, luxurious, and fairytale-like- they are FUN to wear. When you put on the tutu something magical happens. You don’t walk…you float! Everyone girl and woman should put on a tutu once in their life. And have their photos taken if possible. She puts her heart into every piece she makes. I have gone back to her 3 times for tutus! And I’m sure it will not be the last. Everyone enjoy this beautiful and talented lady! Thanks for always delivering amazing work to me and many other photographers. -leaha
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Being able to wear one of Bella Olivia’s tutu’s was magical!
Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with your business.
I’m a stay at home mom to a little (almost) four year old boy and wife to an amazing husband! In my downtime I love to be outdoors where anything goes! Two weeks ago I would’ve written that I’m a runner. But over the last few days I’ve gotten into biking and swimming, too… I just signed up for my first triathlon later this fall!
What or who inspired you to craft and make these beautiful pieces?
After a Matilda Jane Trunk show at my house, my (then) eight year old niece wanted a headband to match her new outfit. At a shopping trip to a local big name retailer, we finally found one! She then said to me, “Aunt Meggie, I bet you could make this!” So I did. J After posting photos a couple of my friends asked for some, too. Business was slow at first…it was more a hobby to create for friends. A couple months later, one of those friends had a craft show director contact me about an upcoming Christmas Fair. We (my hubby came to help represent me) sold out the first day and I stayed up all night making products for the second and final day of the craft show. I was floored at the reaction, but very, very happy to have done well. Fast forward to a couple months…my friend asked if I’d ever made a tutu before. To humor her I made one (after googling and watching a couple DIY videos)…the same thing happened, more and more people requested a custom tutu and business took off! I wasn’t happy with how some of them turned out based on the DIY videos, so I started my own version with a different type of knot and weaving of colors. Which brings me to today, working with you. Seeing my tutu on theknot.com (that’s from you, Leaha!!). Having my products in print in Babiekins Magazine. This fall I’ll be doing a collection for Child Model Magazine’s Fashion Parade 2014 in Atlanta, GA. Pretty neat stuff, right? I mean, who doesn’t want that kind of exposure?! But….there’s always a “but”, right? But, the most flattering and fulfilling photos are of a friend’s newborn with a simple tutu or bow tie. Or bringing joy to a friend’s wedding by providing her a headpiece. Making my niece something pretty to play in at home. *That* is what it’s all about for me. And that’s why I do what I do.
We LOVE your tutus! They are high quality and to die for! Tell us a little about how you discovered you were a “tutu extraordinaire”!
I wouldn’t call myself an “extraordinaire”! I just pay attention to the little details, triple check my work, and take extensive care to make the finished product “runway worthy”. If it’s not something I would wear, I don’t ship to my customers. They have to be perfect and solidly made with white gloves in a pristine (okay, okay, I *do* have a little one, so as clean as can possibly be!) studio to ensure nothing rips, tears, gets stained or marked in any way.
Who can wear your tutus?
Tutus can be worn by anyone!!! Brides, bridesmaids, bachelorettes, engagement photo sessions, 5K-Ultra Marathon runners (especially the Color Run races!), pregnant mamas, teens for prom and homecoming dances, baptisms, confirmations, themed birthday parties, dance recitals, smash cake sessions, newborns, puppies….the list goes on and on for me! And…I have had some men purchase as a gag gift for a stag ‘n drag!
When someone orders a tutu what should they consider?
You need to consider the event and the potential weather. If it’s going to be super-hot, a double layered poufy tutu may not be ideal. Talk about hot! You’d want to have a single layer to allow air flow. But you also have to consider modesty…I always recommend a nude slip under for the adult (or bike shorts/onesie/tights for the littles) to prevent any see through. The tutu silhouette (and how it hangs) is completely up to the customer, but I can help guide the recipient based on the event and their needs. For example, a lot of brides want a tutu that drags. But who wants to be pulling up on tulle to prevent tripping on your big day? In these cases I custom design one to be just above the floor in the front, with graduating layers that end up dragging in the back. No tripping! J Measurements are important for that reason. Not only the length but the waist, as well. But you don’t need to wear it tied around your waist…some prefer the “hipster” look and wear them low. Elastic is great! But not for me. I find after a couple wears its elasticity fades and the tutu will lose its shape. So not cool. With my tutus, they are made on a double sided satin ribbon. This allows the wearer to cinch it in tight or let it out, as needed. And a pretty bow is always awesome!
Do you work with photographers? What is the best way that a photographer can get in touch with you?
Any photographer may email me through any avenue! Email, FB, Etsy. I answer all emails within five hours. Sometimes sooner, unless I’m running a half marathon or something. ;) Even on vacation I try to be prompt and answer all correspondences.
Are your tutus’s pre-made or custom made to order?
You know, I started making a ton of tutus in sizes I thought were popular, but that didn’t go too well. Since everyone wants something different, I make everything to order based on color, size and layers desired.
Where is the craziest place you have seen your tutu show up online? That would be from your wedding shoot! On the horse!!!
Depends on the recipient. I offer discounts to photographers in exchange for a couple photos to share on my sites. My friends are all photographers (I seriously have 12 friends who are professionals) and I know how costly props can be. I try to help them out as best I can. They range from $15-80. The more outrageous and long, the more it will cost in materials and time. To be reasonable I usually waive the shipping costs to help customers catch a break.
What are your all time favorite photos of your products?
It’s not anything I’ve designed, it’s keeping the balance of family and work maintained. That is sacred to me. It’s so tough, though! When a major magazine asks you to do to a photo session for them, and you really, really want to do it, you need to take a step back and get your feet on the ground. Are you taking too much time away from your husband? Is your son really struggling for your attention? Saying “no” is important, no matter what the opportunity. That’s what makes me content and proud to do what I do.
What are your goals for the future?
Truly, I don’t have any! Just take things day by day and hope that people still need tutus and other photographer’s props tomorrow! Businesses come and go, and I’m not immune to the economy and what may come of that…all I can do is continue to put my family first and let things happen as they do.