Below is their story, in her own words, so along with the images, tie it in with the text for a glimpse of what their wedding was like!

How

Santino and I met during our sophomore year of high school at Brick Memorial. A mutual friend introduced us and we quickly became close. We would talk on the phone every night for hours and hours, meet by our lockers to pass notes to each other between classes, shared an interest in the same music and went to concerts together. After our sophomore year, Santino and I grew apart and lost touch. Fast forward five years to 2010, I was on my lunch break and a co-worker and I walked next door to Jersey Mike’s to get a sandwich. While we were waiting in line, somebody called my name from behind me. I turned around to see this tall, dark and handsome man who I hadn’t seen in years! Santino and I spoke for a few minutes and decided we should hang out– we still had each other’s phone numbers. Two days later, Santino texted me and asked me to come to a party with him. I agreed to go and the rest is history!

Growing up, many people had told me that when you find “the one”, you just know. I never believed them. I thought there must be more to it– but there wasn’t! After a very short time of dating Santino, I just knew. It felt so right even though, at the time, neither of us were interested in a serious relationship. Santino was interesting, fun, challenging and smart– not to mention really ridiculously good-looking!

Santino and I love to be outdoors together and love bringing our two German Shepherds, Maggie and George, along for the fun. Some of our favorite outdoor activities are hiking, camping, kayaking, spearfishing and skeet shooting. We also enjoy traveling– together, we’ve visited 12 countries so far and plan to explore many more. We also love challenging each other and sharing our dreams and ideas. We both have creative minds and love to formulate and share business ideas, new inventions, house designs, new recipes, etc.

Santino proposed to me on Christmas Eve 2016. We had decided not to exchange Christmas gifts that year but as we were leaving my sister Lindsay’s house to go to his brother Frankie’s house, Santino insisted that we stop home to exchange gifts. I reminded him that I hadn’t bought him a gift and he told me he just got me something little. We got home and I started unwrapping the gift he handed me– it was a yellow watch box! As I opened the box to see my new watch, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said “wait, really?!” and immediately started crying and said “of course!”. He hid a ring in a watch box. I was so beyond excited and despite dating for over 6 years, I was so shocked and surprised! I’d like to note, however, that in typical Santino fashion, the decision to propose to me was made THAT MORNING. There was no prior planning but once his mind was made up, it had to happen. He borrowed a ring from his father to propose and told me that he was creating a custom ring for me. It was well worth the (short) wait to get my beautiful ring he designed with both our birthstones incorporated! Christmas Eve has always been one of my favorite days of the year and he found a way to make it even more special to me.

While looking at venues, the first thing we did was make sure that the cost aligned with our budget. We didn’t want to fall in love with a venue we couldn’t afford! Not only did the cost of The English Manor align with our budget, but the value was great. We were getting more for our money than we would have at the other venues we looked at. Beyond the financial aspect, we loved that The English Manor has character– the building itself is beautiful from the attention to detail in the decor to the beautiful archways throughout to the beautiful newly renovated ballroom. Outside the building, the grounds were absolutely stunning. We are outdoorsy people and we loved the beautiful trees, the meticulously maintained flower gardens, the stream that runs through and the awesome outdoor patio area. The biggest selling point for The English Manor was how helpful the staff was in bringing our vision to life. When we visited, they walked us through the grounds explaining how and where everything would happen on our wedding day and answered all of the never-ending questions we had. They made everything so easy and organized for us and gave us a sense of security that things would go exactly how we envisioned.

What is/was your first dance song? what made you choose that one?

Our first dance song is Fools Rush In, originally by Elvis Presley but we chose the version that is a duo with Andrea Boccelli and Katharine McPhee. We chose this song because we love the simple beauty of it– love cannot be conquered. It will find you even when you might not be looking for it, take you over and never let you go. We also love Andrea Boccelli. We saw him in concert together a few years ago and were amazed by his awesome talent.

ENJOY THE PROCESS. We only get one chance to plan our dream weddings! Yes, making sure every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted and everyone involved is on the same page can seem daunting and stressful but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you feel yourself getting stressed, step away. I promise this process can be enjoyable– give yourself time to gather your thoughts and envision your big day every step of the way. Go back to your task when you’re feeling less overwhelmed. Try not to worry too much about everything being PERFECT. At the end of the day, nobody is going to notice if the shade of nail polish you chose is a little too peachy or the flowers weren’t arranged the way you wanted. You will be happily married to your significant other in the company of the people who are most important to you and thats what matters most!

badgley mischka, wedding shoes, wedding details bride getting ready sheraton of eatontown johndefiora.com, john defiora photography, new jersey wedding photographers allaire state park sisters, allaire state park the english manor the english manor ceremony photos, the english manor, groom

Venue: The English Manor
Dj: Jason Jani of SCE Event Group
Associate Photographers : Nikki and Chip
PhotoBooth :  John DeFiora Photography

Wedding Dress : Monarch Gown by BHLDN
Shoes : Marla Peep-Toe Heels by Badgley Mischka and Tulum Sandals by Bella Belle
Accessories: Angel Aura Quartz necklace by Sara Weber Jewelry & earrings by Francescas

Tuxedo: Jos A. BankJoseph Abboud Two-Button Navy Super 120B.s Framed Notch Lapel

Hair- Lock & Shade in Asbury Park, NJ- Celeste Docherty
Makeup- Katie Paserba at K Kosmetics
Rings- Stuart at Gold Fever Catch It in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Photographed my first ” day in the life ” family sessions recently, and I loved it so much, I can’t wait to do more! This session was unique in the sense thatit has more of a documentary feel than most of my other family work. Most sessions last about an hour, but as this family was close and dear to me, I documented an entire day and focused almost all on candids. I loved telling a story with all the interactions between both dog and humans as well as seeing everyday life as the beauty it is. This was such a fun day with many memories that I, in addition to the family, will remember for years to come.
New Jersey Family Photographer, family photography in New Jersey, New Jersey, Pacifica, California, documentary, candid, dog photography, pet photography

 Documentary family session, Pacifica

New Jersey Family Photographer, family photography in New Jersey, New Jersey, Pacifica, California, documentary, candid, dog photography, pet photography

New Jersey Family Photographer, family photography in New Jersey, New Jersey, Pacifica, California, documentary, candid, dog photography, pet photography New Jersey Family Photographer, family photography in New Jersey, New Jersey, Pacifica, California, documentary, candid, dog photography, pet photography

Venue/Catererhttps://www.garrewinery.com/
https://www.facebook.com/garrewinery/
Wedding Coordinator: Kristine Tsai Wedding Planning
Instagram @hellokristinetsai
Facebook : Kristine Tsai Wedding Planning
Floral Designer: Petite Petal Co
Instagram Petite Petal Co
Facebook Petite Petal Co

Videography/Photo Booth JKapture Studios
Facebook JKapture Studios
Instagram JKapture_Studios
DJ/MC The Spinheads

                                                           String Quartet An Elegant Touch of Strings                                                                     

 Hair  (Bride + Bridesmaids)Princess Sarah Bridal Salon
Hair & Makeup (Mothers) Princess Sarah Bridal Salon
Bride + Bridesmaid’s Makeup Self done

Cake & Desserts Studio Cake

Facebook Studio Cake
Rentals Standard Party Rentals

I have reached out to a number of wedding professionals, and asked them for a few helpful tips in relation to their respective fields. This will be an ongoing thread of blog posts for couples getting married for the first time to get the best out of each vendor as well as things to consider. This first post I got to ask Michelle about some things that people might want to know in terms of the actual planning part of the day. Some of these are actually quite brilliant, especially in terms of saving money in both the short and long terms. Here are her own words.

When it comes to coordinating a perfect affair, no one knows weddings better than a planner herself who sees almost every different wedding scenario. Although a  New Jersey wedding planner will do everything in her power to steer a bride in the right direction, at the end of the day, it’s not her wedding. After planning many weddings I’d like to share with you what this Knot Just Wedding Event Planner avoided during my own wedding planning process in March of 2016!

Looking to save money? trim down the guest list

Big guest lists come with added costs, but they can also stir up drama. The rule between my husband and I was if we didn’t meet the person ever before in our 5 years of dating, they shouldn’t be at your wedding. Wedding guests should personally know the bride and groom well. Otherwise, it’s just random people you’re supplying with an open bar and some food! Avoiding a large guest list also helps with your budget. This will also ensure a more intimate wedding as only the closest individuals that you really care about will share in your special day.

wedding images, floral, weddings in texas, texas weddings,

Going cheap on your wedding Photographer/ Videographer costs more in the long run

A good wedding photographer is worth their weight in gold! You don’t want to go cheap on this particular vendor because your wedding photos and video are priceless. I could thank my wedding photographer/ videographer a 100x for the great images and video they captured! and it was worth every cent!  Not to mention, several times clients have gotten sticker shock at the initial cost, gone cheap, and regretted it. Often times, the difference is negligible, especially since these are priceless memories to cherish in the future.

lovely texas weddings, texas wedding photography

DIY-ing your wedding flowers often times leads to more aggravation

Unless you are a professional florist, it’s not worth the last minute stress! Even If you have a professional NJ wedding planner to execute these huge details, it’s still a stress on your mind to be sure it is setup to how you envisioned. Flowers don’t have to be on top of the list to blow your budget on, but you can get affordable flowers by a professional, it is possible! My florist for my own wedding delivered bouquets and boutonnieres to my parents and my husband’s parents. Followed by delivery to the church and venue, along with full setup of everything. I didn’t have a worry in the world! The fact that it alleviated stress by not having to worry was worth it.

brides in texas, beautiful brides, world's best wedding photographer

Setting up or breaking down your wedding (or asking family & friends to do so for you)

Who wants to work all day on their own wedding day and pay for everyone to come party? I wouldn’t ask my family or friends  to set up or break down the event either. They are there to celebrate, so let them. It’s worth the investment to hire good vendors to take care of this for you. Your wedding planner is a key to this particular task! It also allows you to concentrate on the day and not the logistics.

Budget a concern? Nix getting married on a Saturday

Sure, Saturday weddings are easy on guests’ schedules, but the costs may not always be  convenient for every couple. Saturday events cost more money than any other day of the week, no matter what month you choose. I personally picked a Thursday in an off month. People who love you will come no matter what the day you choose. It is also becoming more and more common for venues to open up during weekdays so that the couple can have the wedding in their desired year if the date they originally chose is already taken. In these cases, most will choose a weekday for the event, and then use the remainder of the week to rent a shore house and use as an in state honeymoon/vacation.

I would like to personally thank Michelle for taking the time to write some of these helpful hints. If you’d like more information of how she can be of service, or have any questions, feel free to reach out to her!

You can check out more information and details by visiting Knot Just Wedding Events LLC located in Garwood NJ .  You can also reach her at  732-735-3189 as well as clickin her website below

http://www.knotjustweddingevents.com

 

 

2017 was pretty interesting. I met a ton of amazing people, connected on a deeper level with even more. Lost some friends, gained some more. Even managed to fall in love in the process. As I sit here updating my website, to make it more streamlined for clients, I got to see some of the memories I got to be a part of this year. It felt good to know that so many people entrust me with capturing the important moments of their life. From weddings to engagements to family to maternity and everything in between. Below are some of the favorite parts of my year. Thank you for taking a moment to stroll down memory lane of this past year as well as all the clients I got to meet!

If 2018 is even remotely as fruitful as this year was, I can’t wait.
Family Photography in Rumson, Rumson New Jersey, Family Photographers in New Jersey Family Photography in Rumson, Rumson New Jersey, Family Photographers in New Jersey new jersey family photographer, family photos, photographers in new jersey, best photographers in new jersey, luxury photographers Fall Family Session, Autumn, Fall in New Jersey, Freehold New Jersey Fall Family Session, Autumn, Fall in New Jersey, Freehold New Jersey rustic family session, Lambertville, New Jersey , Rustic Pumpkins, Fall, Fall Foliage, Howell Living History Farm New Jersey Family Photographer , Family Photographers in New Jersey, Cattus Island Family Session, John DeFiora Photography luxury weddings, style me pretty, high end weddings engagement portraits, engagement session,engagement photography,engagement photo ideas,couples photography,couple engagement,photography, palo alto, photographer'scolumbus oh photographyengagement Combine with: +engagement portraits+engagement session+engagement photography+engagement photo ideas+couples photography+couple+engagementphotography+columbus oh photographer's+columbus oh photography+engagement Lifestyle model, Lifestyle Photography, Commercial Photography Carmel Beach, Carmel, California, California Wedding Photographers, Proposals, Proposals in Carmel Carmel Beach, Carmel, California, California Wedding Photographers, Proposals, Proposals in Carmel san jose wedding photographers, san jose wedding photography, wedding photography in san jose, bald mountain, santa clara park system san jose wedding photographers, san jose wedding photography, wedding photography in san jose, bald mountain, santa clara park system Ocean Township, Deal Test Site, New Jersey Wedding Photographers Ocean Township, Deal Test Site, New Jersey Wedding Photographers John DeFiora Photography, California Photographers, New Jersey Photographers, Pacifica , Moss Beach John DeFiora Photography, California Photographers, New Jersey Photographers, Pacifica , Moss Beach vineyard engagement session, photographers in san jose, san jose photographers, california wedding photographer

On the way to last week’s family session, I was making my way through Rumson and caught this park out of the corner of my eye.  In those few seconds, I knew I wanted to come back and do a session there. The opportunity to do so presented itself yesterday on the Ostrowski Family Session. It was time for their annual shoot, this time , bringing the parents and sister along to join in the fun. The park made for a perfect rustic backdrop , and the leaves were still on the trees and of good colors.  With one of the last few good weekends with good weather, we walked around and got to make some memories, here are a few of my favorites.Huber Woods , Huber Woods Family Session, Family Sessions in Rumson rustic, family session, rumson new jersey, new jersey, family photographers in rumson rustic, family session, rumson new jersey, new jersey, family photographers in rumson, grandpa, grandaughter Huber Woods , Huber Woods Family Session, Family Sessions in Rumson rustic, rustic, family session, rumson new jersey, new jersey, family photographers in rumson Huber Woods , Huber Woods Family Session, Family Sessions in Rumson Huber Woods , Huber Woods Family Session, Family Sessions in Rumson

Over the past few years, I’ve photographed the Corbran Family for various engagements, wedding, and family events. I  left my home the morning of their session and was stoked to start doing their pictures at , what turned out to be my new favorite location in Rumson. I remembered this park as I had been there a few years ago, pre Sandy, and was excited to see it was still in good shape. I always love bonding with tthe Corbrans, as over the years, I’ve got to see their family grow.We walked around, explored, and were led by Ethan around the park. On the way to another part of the park, we were discussing about how every time I come to ” work ” it’s always at a great time in people’s lives. It’s as if everytime you showed up, it was to mark a tiny point in time, with which to create memories.  Seeing kids grow up, watching as the years go by, so much so clients morph into friends. Pretty neat, huh?

Family Photography in Rumson, Rumson New Jersey, Family Photographers in New Jersey Family Photography in Rumson, Rumson New Jersey, Family Photographers in New Jersey Family Photography in Rumson, Rumson New Jersey, Family Photographers in New Jersey Family Photography in Rumson, Rumson New Jersey, Family Photographers in New Jersey

It all started many years ago, when I got to assist on Melyssa and Tyler’s wedding. Fast forward some years, and now their family has grown twice. So on an unseasonably warm day, especially for New Jersey in November, we took the troop to Monmouth Battlefield. I shot there recently and saw some spots I wanted to check out on my next trip there. The light couldn’t have been more perfect and loved getting in all the colors of autumn.

 

Fall Family Session, Autumn, Fall in New Jersey, Freehold New Jersey Fall Family Session, Autumn, Fall in New Jersey, Freehold New Jersey Fall Family Session, Autumn, Fall in New Jersey, Freehold New Jersey Fall Family Session, Autumn, Fall in New Jersey, Freehold New Jersey new jersey family photographer, family photos, photographers in new jersey, best photographers in new jersey, luxury photographers new jersey family photographer, family photos, photographers in new jersey, best photographers in new jersey, luxury photographers

I have known The Robertsons for quite a few years now. Laurie had suggested the Howell Living History Farm for her maternity session.  I hadn’t been there before, so with a quick google search, I found a few pics online to see what it would look like as well as the history of the farm.

The history of Howell Farm is long and varied. Since farming began on this site in the 1730s, just about every type of farming situation has occurred there. The farm has evolved from a grain producing farm to a dairy farm and over the years various crops have been grown, animals raised, products produced, etc. The farm has gone through periods of family ownership and occupation and absentee owner/tenant farmer occupation.

Today the Farm exists in its rural setting as both an example of farming as it was practiced in New Jersey in the period 1890-1910 and as a landscape where one can find the remnants of over 250 years of farming practice and life

I also saw it happened to be close to my favorite town in New Jersey, which is Lambertville, and knew by default it would be great. Fall colors, pumpkins, and rustic barns and I silently said to myself, yass… yasss. We walked, we talked, we got hissed at by a feathered friend, and a good time was had by all. I definitely want to go back here again as it was a hidden gem of beauty. I also wanna thank my partner in crime, Kelly, for helping on this session. Several of her images are in with mine.

rustic family session, Lambertville, New Jersey , Rustic Pumpkins, Fall, Fall Foliage, Howell Living History Farm Pumpkins, Fall, Fall Foliage, Howell Living History Farm Hasan's sidepiece rustic family session, Lambertville, New Jersey , Rustic rustic family session, Lambertville, New Jersey , Rustic Pumpkins, Fall, Fall Foliage, Howell Living History Farm Pumpkins, Fall, Fall Foliage, Howell Living History Farm Pumpkins, Fall, Fall Foliage, Howell Living History Farm

A few days ago, I got to photograph The Barsoum Family. Christina is also a photographer, so knowing how good the leaves were turning, and light was getting around this time of year, we headed to Monmouth Battlefield Park to make ample use of their grounds. What I love about this park is not only it’s size, but every time I go back there, I see something different. I loved so many moments from this session, here are just a few.

P.S. how cute is Cooper the doggy?