Archive: May 2009

Sam & Elisa’s Wedding at the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont

Posted on May 30, 2009

This was another fabulous destination wedding for us! It was actually a destination wedding for many of the guests, as they were from all over the world – including Chile, Australia, California, New Zealand, and Minnesota – too many places to mention! It was the most interesting and diverse group of wedding guests we’ve ever encountered. As both the bride and groom grew up on the ski slopes, many of their friends and guests were avid skiers as well. That was something many people there had in common.

This was the wedding of Sam von Trapp and Elisa Sepulveda. Sam’s family owns and operates the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Elisa was raised in Chile and her stepfather is the owner of a magnificent ski resort in Portillo This is actually where she met Sam, who was a ski instructor at the resort at the time. Sam and Elisa have known each other for 13 years believe it or not, which is one reason why their wedding day was so highly anticipated by family members and friends alike! Sam’s “singing” family and their history of leaving Austria back in the 1930’s was the inspiration for the Broadway show and later the 1965 film, The Sound of Music. Sam’s late grandmother, Maria, was the actual Maria that Julie Andrews portrayed in the film. His father, Johannes, was Maria and Captain von Trapp’s last child. Several other relatives, including Sam’s Aunt Maria and Aunt Rosmarie also attended the wedding. The von Trapp’s history is so unbelievably interesting. The Trapp Family lodge has a magnificent collection of photos and memorabilia of the family’s long history, plus in each room there is a book with more photos and information about the family. We didn’t have time to read the whole thing so I bought it at the gift shop to read later at home.

We really can’t say enough about both Elisa and Sam’s families. Everyone we met was gracious, friendly and most hospitable. They are all really great people in every sense.

We were also really impressed with the Trapp Family Lodge itself. We’ve been to Stowe many times, but had never stayed at the lodge. Everything there was impeccable – the staff was friendly and helpful, our room was comfy and large and the overall surroundings magnificent. Also, the cuisine at the lodge was to die for! Check out the "TASTY STUFF" section of this blog to see cuisine photos from the Trapp Lodge. We were given the opportunity to photograph (and taste) many of the meals that were served over the course of the weekend. As you’ll see from the photos in this post, the scenery around the lodge is just breathtaking. Also, we are usually in Vermont in the winter, so seeing the green rolling hills in the spring was really neat.

Sam and Elisa’s wedding weekend started off with a rehearsal dinner in the Mozart Room of the lodge on Thursday evening. It was a delicious meal, including soup, salad, a game course and an entrée. There were many entertaining and emotional speeches made during the dinner and the bride and groom were filled with emotion as their many guests and relatives shared story after amusing story for all to hear. A delectable dessert table was set up later in the downstairs lounge, where the guests were invited to a welcome reception and live music.

The next night, we were invited to the groom’s parents’ home for a cocktail party. Johannes and Lynne, Sam’s parents, were terrific hosts as they opened up their magnificent home to all wedding guests. It was a great time and we took the opportunity to photograph Sam and Elisa in a more casual atmosphere before their wedding day. We photographed the food served here as well and as many people as possible as they enjoyed the party in this beautiful, rustic home.

As Saturday approached, so did the rain clouds. By 2pm, however, the clouds began to lift and the sun finally came out. After several days of on and off rain – this was truly perfect timing! There was definitely a concern about rain, as this was pretty much planned as an outdoor wedding. The ceremony was at a chapel that was built by one of Sam’s late uncles (Werner von Trapp) over 50 years ago. To reach this chapel, one has to basically hike uphill through the woods to get there. It is certainly a pretty trek, though, and well worth it! The chapel is made of stone and so quaint – only about 4 people actually can fit inside, so the ceremony was conducted right in front with wedding guests and musicians standing all around in the woods.

From there, we hiked down the mountain with Sam and Elisa and took pictures along the way. There were just too many picturesque spots to stop at all of them! The cocktail hour was held outside amidst a forest of birch trees followed by a reception in a huge white tent. The meal at the reception consisted of a huge variety of passed hors d’oeuvres as well as sumptuous food stations that included a magnificent cheese table, sushi, raw bar, crudités, carving station, fruit and of course, dessert. A high-energy band rocked the tent until 1AM – the dance floor was constantly filled with energetic guests boogieing the night away!

Now this is something we have never seen at a wedding before – a lamb roast on a huge open fire pit! Elisa wanted the lamb to be ready to eat at 2AM, so it was set to roast for HOURS before! Also available to roast were marshmallows and all the makings for smores – so yummy! Guests wandered out of the tent periodically to check out what was happening at the fire pit – it was also the warmest spot around, as the Vermont evening air was quite chilly.

Sam and Elisa and all of their guests had an incredible time during this festive wedding weekend - and so did we!

The grounds of the Trapp lodge is home to a herd of unique Scottish Highland cattle. They are very friendly.

Rehearsal dinner set-up in the Mozart Room at the lodge.

Same and Elisa share a moment in the doorway of Sam's parents' (Johannes and Lynne) gorgeous wooden home.

The path on the way to the chapel was a steep climb through the woods...

Elisa with her bridesmaids and flower girls, nieces Annie and Stella (left to right).

Elisa is emotional as she speaks to her maternal grandmother via cell phone.

The girls have fun making the trek to the chapel.

Sam and his groomsmen pause for a photo on their way to the chapel.

Sam looks on as Elisa's father walks her up the (somewhat muddy) aisle to her.

Have you ever seen wedding guests situated like this? Unusual and beautiful!

Sam's two aunts - Rosmarie at left and Maria von Trapp at right. Maria is 94 years old and one of the original "children" portrayed in The Sound of Music.

Wedding reception set up in a beautiful huge tent. Look at those rustic flower arrangements - perfect for this wedding!

Same and Elisa enjoy a speech by Elisa's mother, Mary.

Ok - now this is something you don't see every day! There was a huge open fire that was used to roast a lamb as well as marshmallows and all the makings for smores. This fire burned way into the night - the lamb wasn't even eaten until 3AM! Guests gathered around the warmth of the fire for hours.

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Leyla & Hossein’s Incredible Washington D.C. “Destination” Wedding

Posted on May 15, 2009

Leyla and Hossein found me through a friend – and I am really glad they did! I traveled to Washington D.C. in April to photograph their amazing wedding at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Robin came along to assist, as the wedding included 280 guests! This was a true destination wedding for us and we were really looking forward to it.

We arrived in Washington D.C. on Friday and immediately set out to scope out the hotel where we were to begin and then the U.S. Chamber of Commerce itself. It was a beautiful walk from our hotel near Dupont Circle to the Chamber, which is located directly across from the White House. We couldn’t resist stopping in front of the White House for a few photos and also to admire the incredible flowers that were in full bloom along with the famous cherry blossom trees. The weather couldn’t have been better – perfectly sunny and warm, not too hot and not too cold. Anticipation began to rise for the wedding the next day!

Pausing for a moment in the hallway of the Hotel Sofitel...

Leyla and Hossein were enthusiastic about doing pictures all around Washington D.C. and with the help of their amazing wedding planner, Sara Franklin of Social Scene Events, they set aside plenty of time to get the shots you’ll see here. We were able to ride all around Washington D.C. before the ceremony and capture these gorgeous photos of the bride and groom in this majestic city.

There are several photos here that were taken in the gardens of the Smithsonian Castle including these two (above and below).

We just HAD to do a photo at the Washington Monument.

We couldn't resist including this photo since the White House is actually right across the street from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where the wedding took place.

Once back at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the wedding activities kicked into high gear, as Leyla and Hossein quickly prepared for the ceremony. Theirs was a traditional Iranian wedding, so many customs were involved throughout the evening. From the ceremony right through to the reception, this was an extremely festive affair complete with tango dancers, a knife dance and a lavish meal for their guests. Leyla, an avid cook, was intimately involved in the recipe for their wedding cake as well.

The food was exotic and beautifully served.

Leyla and Hossein share a romantic dance as husband and wife.

We had a great time photographing this wedding in a most beautiful city, Washington D.C.. We would like to give special thank Leyla and Hossein for having us there to capture their interesting and colorful Washington D.C. wedding! Thanks also to Sara Franklin of Social Scene Events their incredible wedding planner for being so helpful and accommodating to us. Also thanks to Tom Trainor of Suburban Video for being so pleasant and easy to work with.

OK - here is the moving blush brush.

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Rebecca & Steven’s “Delicious” Wedding at Boca Grove Country Club

Posted on May 7, 2009

This was one fabulous wedding! Linzi Etzion of Linzi Events outdid herself planning Rebecca and Steven’s tantalizing and tasty wedding at Boca Grove Country Club. The groom is a major food connoisseur, thus the main emphasis for the wedding was the cuisine. It seemed as if the food selections were endless! Everything from sliders to authentic Philly cheesesteaks to lobster tails and claws were served. Steven was meticulous in his direction to the chefs on the preparation of the food – he even explained to me just exactly how the perfect Philly cheese steak should be prepared! Good to know, since I love cheese steaks!

Linzi expertly worked with the bride and groom to devise the perfect décor for the event which consisted of centerpieces loaded with candles that added a warm glow to the room. Everything went beautifully and Rebecca and Steven and their guests had an amazing time all night – without a care in the world - thanks to Linzi! As far as a Boca Raton wedding goes, this one was just fab. Xquisite Events created the decor. I was thrilled to be there alongside Linzi to contribute to Rebecca and Steven’s special day.

No one is going home hungry after this wedding!

If you tasted one of these cheese steaks you would swear you were in Philadelphia.

It took a lot of partying and dancing to burn off all the extra calories!

Don't forget your candy apple!

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Picture Perfect in your Wedding Gown

Posted on May 7, 2009

Looking beautiful in your wedding dress is not just a matter of perfect hair and make-up application or even in the gown you select for yourself. Much of how you actually look in your wedding photographs is due to the skill and creativity of your wedding photographer. Of course, choosing the most flattering and appropriate gown is also very important and often guidance of a professional is needed to assist in this crucial decision. We will address the importance of hiring a skillful photographer further down in this article, but for now I’ll address the dress situation.

Dress below by Manuel Mota.

The first, and perhaps most exciting task for a newly engaged woman is to venture out to shop for the perfect wedding gown. This project can take as little as one afternoon of targeted shopping or months of frustrating trips to bridal shop after bridal shop with next to no progress. It is obviously best, then, to target your shopping as much as possible to avoid wasting time and possibly paying rush charges to have your dress ready in time for your wedding day. Jan Corcoran and Jack Jones of Boca Raton Bridal and Consultants, have told us that brides need to be saavy and smart when making this most special purchase. In addition to being realistic as to what gown styles might suit her best, a bride also needs to be realistic about her budget as she begins to sift through racks of designer gowns as opposed to “non-designer” gowns. While large chains such as David’s Bridal carry a huge selection of gowns, many are non-designer brands and are oriented to more budget conscious brides to be. Jan and Jack’s shop, Boca Raton Bridal, however specializes in higher end designer brands such as Vera Wang, Kenneth Pool and Jenny Lee just to name a few. Anyone who knows fashion will be aware that these are exclusive designers and ones that can command a higher price tag for their high fashion looks. An individual boutique shop such as Boca Raton Bridal also prides itself on more individualized service for its clients which is part of what brides pay for when they shop there. This attention and detail to service is worth every penny, as it helps alleviate the stress involved in making such a large and important purchase.

Jan and Jack can be counted on to assist a bride in selecting the most flattering gown for her figure and personality. The gown will, in fact, become an true reflection of the bride herself on her wedding day. Jan and Jack are experts in helping each bride choose exactly what is right for her. If a bride is small and short, for example, a large heavy dress with a long train might be overwhelming, both in appearance and practicality. Whereas, a taller bride might be able to wear such a dress with no problem and appear elegant and regal, not clumsy while walking down the aisle. The most important factors are for the bride not to be overwhelmed or “under”whelmed by her gown, she should look natural and comfortable in her dress. After all, she will be wearing it all day and night – dancing in it, sitting in it, walking in it.

Dress below by Kenneth Pool.

Recently, we conducted a photo shoot with Boca Raton Bridal at the incredible Acqualina Resort in Miami Beach, Florida. The shots included in this article represent how posed the models to show off their best assets as well as highlight the unique features of the gowns. The gowns featured were by designers Manuel Mota, Kenneth Pool and Jenny Lee. This was a staged photo shoot, but as on a real wedding day it is vitally important to position the bride in a flattering pose, yet in the most natural way possible. Placing her in the best lighting situation is also crucial to the outcome of the picture. The light must be hitting both the bride and the dress just so in order to look appealing and even. As most wedding dresses are white, they tend to “blow out” if there is too much light on them. It is important to be aware of this factor as a blown out wedding dress will lack any detail in the picture and simply look like a bright white glowing gown. So many dresses have intricate details, such as beading or lace – details that are meaningful to the bride who selected them, that improperly lighting the gown could be disastrous in terms of final look of the photographs.

Dress below by Jenny Lee.

When photographing a bride, it is important to lay out the train of the dress to illustrate how that feature looks as well. It certainly doesn’t have to laid out in every photo, but in photos that are showing primarily the back of the dress, or full length from the side, it looks much neater and prettier to have the dress laid out properly. Also, I make it a point to photograph close-ups of the details of each gown, whether it is beading, lace or simply the way the fabric is gathered. It is always nice to have time at a wedding to take a variety of photographs of the bride in different poses to show her off in her most special dress. If short on time, I make sure to get at least one full length shot with the dress laid out, and half or quarter length shots that show the details closer up as well as the bride’s face, veil etc.

We always look forward to planning photo shoots with a shop such as Boca Bridal, as we have the time to really focus on how to make the gowns look amazing on the girls without having the stress of an actual wedding day to contend with. We have another shoot coming up soon, so we will follow-up this article with some more examples from that shoot and more shopping tips as well.

Dress below by Jenny Lee.

For more information on Boca Raton Bridal, please visit their website at:

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