New Jersey Outdoor Wedding | Monmouth University Wilson Hall

This beautiful outdoor wedding in New Jersey felt like the perfect way to start the Summer! It was the first day of June and the weather was gorgeous.

Ashley & Thomas contacted me just under a year before their wedding date, so I’ve gotten to know this couple during that time, and I consider them friends. I couldn’t be happier for them! They are so much fun and know how to kick back, have a good time, and thoroughly enjoy the company of whomever they are spending time with. When we did their engagement session in Sandy Hook, we hung out afterwards at a local spot off the bay and had some drinks. Tons of fun! You can see that session HERE.

Armed with my knowledge of how lovable this couple is, I found it quite fitting that Ashley & Thomas were surrounded by tons of friends & family, as well as a large bridal party of awesome friends. I loved the time in the early part of the day when Ashley was getting ready. All of her friends adore her and were fighting back tears as Ashley shed some of her own while reading Thomas’s letter to her. I admit, I shed some tears too – it was so touching! And, they gushed over her when first seeing her in her dress, just the best group of girlfriends!

Our first look and bridal party photos were taken at Monmouth University Wilson Hall, which was a beautiful backdrop! I wish we had all day there. After our early-in-the-day fun, we headed to the venue and photographed their families and ceremony. Ashley & Thomas each had a glass filled with sand (Ashley’s sand from Long Branch beach, & Thomas’s from his golf course, Emanon) and they poured the sand together as a representation of their union. Once they spoke their vows and sealed their marriage with a kiss, it was time to party! Their band, Mission Dance, was so energetic and no one could resist going out on the dance floor.

Ashley &Thomas had a tower filled with cupcakes, topped with a single layer cake, which they cut together and enjoyed feeding to each other. Ashley couldn’t resist taking a few extra bites to enjoy the tasty confection :). At the very end, they pulled me aside and told me how happy they were to have me there and thanked me. I was so touched and moved, I had to hold back some tears, again! It seriously made my day. I felt so special!

Thank you Ashley & Thomas for the honor of being your wedding photographer. I’m so, so happy for you both and can’t wait to see you again soon! Big, big hugs, and cheers to you!


Interested In Working Together For Your Upcoming Wedding?

First Look & Bridal Party Photos: Monmouth University, Wilson Hall
Ceremony & Reception: Branches Catering
Florist: Marquis Floral by Kim
Cake Artist: Chocolate Carousel
Makeup Artist: Vanity and Mascara
Hair Artist: Belleza Salon
Bride’s Dress: Seng Couture, Stella York
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Men’s Suits: Mens Wearhouse
Videography: Blue Moon Productions
Band: Mission Dance
Photographer: Rachel Watkinson Photography

 

W Hotel, Hoboken NJ | Intimate Wedding | Kimberley & Tom

It was at the W Hotel in Hoboken, New Jersey that Kimberley & Tom shared their intimate wedding ceremony with family and friends, as well as their fur-babies, Gamma & Waffles :).

Kimberly and Tom have their own businesses, running a nonprofit organization WE of Hudson County, and The Cuddly Cottage which involves caring for the doggies of Hoboken and beyond! Their love and passion for their dogs––Gamma and Waffles––is clear, so it’s obvious why they made sure to include them as part of their big day. Gamma wore the cutest little tutu dress, and Waffles looked sharp in his tiny tuxedo. I think everyone was dying of cuteness overload!

Kimberley and Tom took care of everything for their wedding day by themselves, and really succeeded in making it creative and special for their guests. They had a Photo Booth station, a guest sign-in book, Polaroid cameras, disposable cameras on the tables, a lovely brunch buffet, delicious oysters, and mimosas and bloody Mary’s that were free flowing. It was a fun atmosphere!

I can tell that Kimberley is an artist at heart and chose to do things that spoke to her. Her red dress was the statement piece and her crown and veil were unique. All of the vendors that they used were local, speaking to this couples love and appreciation for local artists. While exchanging their vows, they used inspiration from the HBO series, Game Of Thrones, and spoke the words as they put rings on each other’s fingers - “I am yours and you are mine, from this day until the end of my days”. That was a fun moment!

Once the sun came out, we went out on the path next to the Hudson River and captured some beautiful shots of the new Mr. & Mrs. Coming back to Lulu’s, at the W Hotel, there was dancing, fun activities, and lots of pictures & Polaroids taken against the photo backdrop. I was so sad to say goodbye to that wonderful day with this amazing couple, as it was filled with positive vibes, caring people, and fun energy. However, I know it won’t be the last time I see them:).

Congratulations Kimberley & Tom! Please give Gamma & Waffles a treat for me, and I can’t wait to see you again and have fun talks over coffee!


I love photographing intimate weddings, let’s work together!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: W Hotel, Lulu’s
Florist: about-designs
Hair & Make-Up Artist: Marisa Dreesen
Lashes: Amazing Lash Studio, Hoboken
Bridal Gown Alterations & Crown: Adrienn Braun
Veil: Adrianna Gonzales
Photographer: Rachel Watkinson Photography

 

Intimate Wedding Ceremony in the Mountains of Northern New Jersey

Erika and Eric eloped in the beautiful mountains of northern New Jersey at The Mohawk House in Sparta. They had an intimate ceremony inside the lodge followed by a walk outside to take portraits. Their ceremony took place in mid-March and we were lucky that there was still snow on the ground because I think it made for a beautiful backdrop. Erika and Eric are so sweet and I was really excited to be a part of their secret wedding ceremony and I truly felt very honored to document it for them. Eric was in awe of his bride, as she looked stunning, and it was so touching how he helped her with her dress, opened all doors for her, and did his best at every turn to make sure she was having an amazing time.

They wanted to share a special first dance to the song, “Earth Angel.” They also emphasized the importance of photographing the first slicing and tasting of their cake. I must say, that cake – made by Vaccaro's Bakery – was incredibly delicious.

From the first time I chatted with Erika, I could sense she was a very sweet soul and I really loved talking to her. Eric and Erika's love of their fur-baby kitties made me so happy, especially because one of their cats reminded me of my very first cat :). They decided not to bring them to the ceremony, but honored them with little cat cut-outs that were put on top of the cake. Yay!

Capturing elopements is such a lovely privilege because, by the end, I feel such a connection with everyone involved and I’m overjoyed for the couple and their family and friends! The fact that I was able to witness and document these kind-hearted, wonderful people getting married makes me feel really special.

Erika and Eric, thank you so much for choosing me as your photographer. I’m incredibly happy for you guys and wish you the very best on your new adventures together as husband and wife!


Are you interested in eloping or having an intimate wedding ceremony? Let’s talk!

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Mohawk House
Cake Artist: Vaccaros Bakery
Officiant: Pure Bliss Ministries

 

Booth Park, Nutley NJ | Simple Summer Wedding Inspiration

This past Summer, my Photographer friend Olivia, wanted to put together an inspirational shoot and collaborate with other local vendors.  I was honored when she asked me to join the team!  Olivia wanted a wedding style that was simple and could be put together easily, even in one’s own backyard. We went to Booth Park, in Nutley NJ, and everyone joined in to set it all up. It was a perfect Summer evening (besides the loads of bug bites i got, haha) and we started about two hours before the sunset so we could take advantage of that beautiful, evening glow.  Our model, Marie, looked like she stepped out of a fairytale in her Vesa Brides dress.  We even got a surprise visit from Olivia's cute pooch!  Every vendor that came together for this was awesome and I am a fan of them all. Below are the photos that I had taken, but please visit Olivia’s page and Instagram for more of her images. I hope you find some inspiration!

Be sure to also visit Red Oak Weddings to see the featured blog post there!

 
 

Creator:  Olivia Christina Photography
Photographers:  Rachel Watkinson Photography & Olivia Christina Photography
Florals/Wardrobe & Prop Stylist:  Ronya And Co.
Bridal Gown:  Vesa Brides
Model:  Marie Hickey
Makeup:  Makeup By Samantha Linn
Hair:  Styles On Location
Rentals:  Party Rental Ltd
Hand Lettering:  Lace And Belle
Chalk Drawing:  Chalk + Co.
Cake:  Flour Bomb Cake Co.
Cake Pops:  Jou Jou Pops

NYC | Lifestyle Session | Baby Zooey

James and Joy welcomed little Zooey into the world in early October. I photographed their newly expanded family a little over a month later, so Zooey had a little time to relax and acclimate to her new surroundings before being captured on film :). 

James and Joy’s cozy home was the perfect spot for our session because we wanted to make sure everyone was warm and relaxed, and we also wanted the family pets to get in on the action! I love photographing in-home, lifestyle sessions because of these reasons. It gives the family an opportunity to just – be.  

We started in the living room area by one of the windows, moved into Zooey’s room, and then ended our photography session in the master bedroom where there was ample, beautiful light.  We shared lots of laughs and made some great memories.  

I hope both parents and Zooey will look back at these images and feel the love that was palpable in the air.  There were so many sweet and precious moments during our time together, and I am proud to share some of those here.


Interested in having a family photography session?

Liberty State Park, New Jersey | Maternity Session

I was so thrilled to hear from Kayla about photographing her maternity session! 

Steve and Kayla were quickly approaching their due date and wanted to capture their first pregnancy photos outside and in a natural setting. I was excited to be able to show them all the possibilities within the expansive Liberty State Park, in Jersey City, NJ.  Kayla and Steve were real troopers, braving the chilly air, and the crazy-strong winds.  But, I interpreted the winds as a beautiful, natural gift of movement and interest.  

We took a stroll through the paths and trees, eventually ending up near the water as the sun set.  As this was their first time at the park, I wanted to grab a few shots overlooking the Statue Of Liberty, but had to do so before we lost all daylight.  Kayla, a gorgeous mom-to-be, looked flawless while rocking high-heels during the entire shoot!  

They had so many sweet moments between them, and I now know that this is a couple that loves to laugh. I am honored to have been a part of this incredibly important time in their lives, and I can't wait to hear all about the arrival of their sweet baby!

 

Interested in maternity photography sessions?

Central Park | Engagement | Ruby & Hassan

Ruby and Hassan first met in the Summer of 2014 while Ruby traveled to Morocco with a group of educators.   Hassan was one of the greeters that showed the group around and really provided the group with a first hand experience of Morocco.  It was over dinner and mint tea where a connection really began.  Once Ruby left and came back to America, the two stayed in touch and continued their relationship long distance.  One year later, Ruby went back to Morocco to teach at the Ifrane school with Hassan and to experience life with him.  In May of 2016, with their parents present, they got engaged.  They both moved back to America where they got married in a small backyard ceremony.  But, this August is when they will have both sides of the family, and friends, come from different places of the world to meet for a celebration of their marriage! I can’t wait to be a part of the big day, experience all the festivities, and watch Ruby and Hassan feel all the love from their family and friends.

 

Morristown, Speedwell Park | Engagement Session | Jamie & Mark

When Jamie told me she would like to take her engagement photos in the Winter, I thought, “How cool and different!” I know that I was really hoping to get some amazing snowy shots and I had visions of fresh powder and being lost in an enchanted forest! I’m not sure if Jamie was thinking about getting lost in a forest, but I was pretty sure she was thinking the same as me…fresh, white snow!  Well, the season changed to Winter, and we only had one snow storm, and the rest of the Winter season was quickly going by with no snow in sight and unseasonably warm.  I thought, well, we can still go on a great nature walk and capture some beautiful moments!  We set our date to get together for the engagement photos, February 9th.  And, wouldn’t you know it…a big snow storm was coming our way! I made sure to get my snow tires on so that I can be prepared.  Unfortunately, the blizzard raged on throughout the day and Jamie was smart enough to tell me to not go driving, thank you Jamie! ;) So, we decided to wait for the morning after.  Jamie and Mark looked amazing for their engagement session with pops of red and classic jackets.  And, Jamie's hair was ridiculously gorgeous!  I'm very jealous :) After a quick run-around with cute, little Roxy, their Boston Terrier, in the front yard of their house,  we all made our way down to the park that Mark and Jamie walk Roxy often.  The fresh snow and the brisk, cold air was exhilarating!  Mark had Jamie cracking up so much, which in turn had me laughing too.  Watching their love and connection was so sweet and I am so happy for them.  We went back to their house to capture some fun, warmer moments inside their first home together.  Once again, this fun couple had me cracking up!  They are so funny and sweet with each other.  And, their home is so cute!  I loved hearing about what they did to fix it up and renovate their kitchen to make it truly theirs.  I can’t wait for their beautiful, intimate wedding in April, the countdown is on! 

Balloons!

I was just looking at my

Dog Park Publishing

Pitbull calendar and saw "Fall Begins" on September 23rd (along with Yom Kippur) and I couldn’t help but think about how time just flies by pretty darn quickly.

This Summer has been quite eventful and I've shared some great times with my family and friends. BBQs, fairs, long days, a massive lack of rain, camping and hiking are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking about the last few months.

Although, I wasn't able to make it to one of my usual summer events, the local 4-H Fair, I did attend another event that brought a smile to my face -

The Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

. I remember trying to wake up at 5AM so I could avoid the bottleneck of cars that were sure to be stuffing the entrance. But, I couldn’t  get myself up until 6am :)

Luckily, I was still able to arrive right when they started setting the balloons off into the sky. The Star Wars song, Imperial March (by John Williams {yes, I'm kinda a nerd}) was blasting as I walked in because they had just let the Darth Vader balloon drift into the air. I have to say, the song gave me those fun, tingly feelings and I got really excited!

Even though the Summer has pretty much come to a close, I am looking forward to the cooler, crisper days of Fall. An extra layer here, a light jacket there, and a scarf for fun! So for this journal entry, I thought I'd share a few of the shots I took (35mm & medium format film) while the balloons at the festival were just taking off into the early morning light.