Romantic Summer Wedding at Belle Voir Manor • Sarah Brookhart Photography

 

It doesn't matter how many weddings we see, we will never tire of the classics. Brittany + Derek's Wedding, photographed by Sarah Brookhart, is one of those you know will still be loved in 25 years. Brittany's lace dress, the bridesmaid's dusty blue dresses, the stunning florals... all of it more beautiful than the next. 


From Sarah: Brittany and Derek got married on a beautifully sunny Friday evening at Belle Voir Manor in Bensalem, PA. I was loving the way the neutral colors in the bouquet (I have a million heart-eyes for greenery in bouquets) paired so well with the seaglass color of the Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dresses. And the way Derek softly gazed at his bride during the whole evening was swoon-worthy. Enjoy photos from their warm June day :)

Vendors: Venue: Belle Voir Manor | Florals: Eastwick's Florist | Dress: Mori Lee | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo Willow | DJ: Centerstage Entertainment | Cake: Isgro's Pastries | Makeup: Kiss 'N Makeup NJ | Photography: Sarah Brookhart Photography

Unique IKEA Engagement Session • Bryan Sargent Photography

 

There's no better example of staying true to your personality than an engagement session at IKEA. Max + Jessica's engagement session from Bryan Sargent certainly wins our award for the most unique location, and we love how their sense of humor shines through in every photo. If this is what they planned for their engagement session, we cannot wait to see what's in store for their wedding! 


From Bryan: Max proposed to Jessica in the lighting section of the IKEA in Brooklyn, NY. As soon as they told me this, I KNEW we had to do the engagement shoot there. Jessica and Max are both actors and have amazing senses of humor, so this shoot was too easy. We could have stayed there all day. Later, we headed up to their apartment and finished the session at nearby Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan.


Bohemian Wedding at Tall Timber Barn • Redfield Photo

 

One search for "weddings" on Pinterest and you're sure to find lists and lists of "wedding must-haves" or "mistakes not to make"... and while some of the advice is genuinely helpful, any reference to the wedding "rules" would send some couples running in the other direction. We LOVE weddings that break the rules, embrace history and exude personality, and this Poconos wedding from Redfield Photo certainly fits the bill. Jane + Brandon's Wedding at Tall Timber Barn was made up of meaningful, thoughtful details that told their love story from start to finish. Full of laughter, tears (and an astronaut helmet!), this day is one we won't forget. 


From the bride: Brandon and I both come from creative stock (his mom's a dancer, my parents are both classical musicians), so the little details and what they represented really mattered to us. We started out wanting to keep it simple, but ended up making pretty much everything and dragging our best friends and family into it, too. I learned to do a lot of things I didn't know how to do before (Wood carving? No big deal!). A few days before the wedding, it basically became a craft fair in the woods - a few days of summer camp full of DIY, painting, tying, punctuated by karaoke and beer pong and family chats. It was a blast. It helped that the owners of the barn, Mia and Ralph, were awesome and game for making the day what we envisioned. We really just wanted a big ol' party in the woods with all the people we love, and as many of the things we like, as possible.

We wanted to avoid lavish, honor our family and friends, and make it fun and romantic and special for everyone. When we found Tall Timber Barn in the Poconos amongst all the beautiful tall trees, next to an old abandoned resort rumored to be haunted, 15 minutes bus ride from a local casino for an after party, we were sold. We wanted a family dinner outside in the clearing with eclectic table settings, lots of flowers and vases, games, and sunshine, followed by a dance party in the barn with glow sticks and animal masks, lots of things to see and eat, and lots of laughter and bourbon.

Brandon and I both wanted to honor our families' journeys. Brandon's family hails from Hawaii, and my parents and I are from China, so we wanted to make sure we took pieces of our cultures we loved and brought them into our wedding. Both our families have gone through a lot to get to celebrate together and we felt so deeply grateful. That was probably the best thing about the wedding - the realization that whatever was in the past and whatever will be in the future, we were together to celebrate all the great things in life - love, friendship, laughter. We had a traditional Hawaiian lei ceremony officiated by Brandon's uncle Juan, who came all the way from Honolulu to join us. During the ceremony Juan talked about the how we can find the divine in our love for each other and the serendipity of the day, and it was beautiful.

My parents are both musicians, and my brother and I were forced as children of musicians to learn (albeit rather poorly in my case). Growing up, we used to perform as a family together at retirement homes, so we brought the band back together for a big show, my parents and I on violin and my brother on piano. My dad also plays a host of Chinese folk instruments, and he busted out some mean solos on the Er Hu, a 2 stringed instrument traditionally used in Chinese theatre. Everyone started stomping the floor on the beat and hollering - it was awesome.

Vendors: Venue: Tall Timber Barn | Florist: Bloominous | Videographer: Mint Wedding Cinematography | Rentals: Forget-Me-Not Vintage  | Hair and Makeup: True Beauty Marks | DJ: Joe O'Malley DJ | Caterer: 14 Acre Farm | Wedding Dress Designer: Sarah Seven | Brides Shoes: Chelsea Crew | Bridesmaid Dresses: Badgley Mischka | Groom's Suit: Bonobos chinos, Pronto Blue vest, Tie Bar tie | Paper goods: DIY | Photography: Redfield Photography

Summertime Anniversary Session at Longwood Gardens • Lisa Hornak Photography

 

The perfect end to this week: Sarah + Andrew's gorgeous anniversary session from Lisa Hornak Photography. What we love even more than their incredible photos, is their advice for newlyweds: "Some days that could mean traveling the world and other days that could mean cuddling on the couch at home while watching a movie. But whatever you're doing remember to enjoy every second together"


From Lisa: During the 4th of July holiday weekend I had the complete honor of photographing Sarah and Andrew’s first wedding anniversary session. I knew from the very first email with Sarah that this session was going to be magical! They are so completely in love and not afraid to show it. Longwood Gardens provided the most lush and colorful scenery that complimented Sarah’s Nordstrom Rack dress perfectly!

From Sarah + Andrew: We've been together for 5 years since we met in college and just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We both feel like the other one is truly our other half. We compliment each other and bring out the very best in one another. We make each other better and stronger. We laugh together, cry together, and will happily go through any adventure in life together.

Our best advice for newlyweds would be to try to experience as much as you can together. Create memories that you'll look back on once you're much older. Experiences can bond you. Try to live every day to its fullest. Some days that could mean traveling the world and other days that could mean cuddling on the couch at home while watching a movie. But whatever you're doing remember to enjoy every second together.

During our first year of marriage we've enjoyed every second of being an official Mr. and Mrs. We still get butterflies each time we hear "husband" or "wife". It's amazing to know that you have a partner in life no matter what comes your way, and that there's someone who knows all the good and bad about you and chooses to love you every day forever. Out of the 7 billion people in the world we chose each other. It's a very special feeling that will never get old!


Blogger Bride • Kristen from Maid of Henry

 

We're SO incredibly excited to be introducing Red Oak Wedding's very first Blogger Bride, Kristen Henry! Kristen and her fiancé Kevin, will be married next summer, and their wedding will be their 20th wedding as a couple. TWENTY weddings...that pretty much makes them professional wedding guests, and also means they've seen it all. Kristen shares all of her best wedding tips, tricks and inspiration over at @maidofhenry, and we're so honored to have her here sharing her story. Kristen will be back each month sharing everything from planning advice to wedding registry picks, and of course, all the beautiful events (photographed by our very own Nicole DeTone!) leading up to their big day! 


Introducing our first Blogger Bride, Kristen of Maid of Henry! Photos by Nicole Detone Photography
“And that was the moment. That's when I fell in love with weddings. I knew that I had helped someone on the most important day of their life and I couldn't wait for my own special day.” -Jane Nichols, 27 Dresses

When I’m asked where my passion for weddings comes from, it’s easiest for everyone if I begin by referencing Jane Nichols in 27 Dresses. When I watched the romantic-comedy for the first time as a teenager, I of course adored Katherine Heigl’s role (and wardrobe). But never could I have foreseen that my life would soon become nearly identical to hers…minus the secret love she had for her boss, the beautiful but crazy ‘zilla sister, and the hideous bridesmaid dresses she was forced to wear. Jane and I are detailed planners at heart, share an unconditional love for our extensive group of family and friends, and both marry blue-eyed sweethearts named Kevin in the end.

Introducing our first Blogger Bride, Kristen of Maid of Henry! Photos by Nicole Detone Photography

I began my wedding experience as a greeter and reader and quickly climbed the garland-wrapped ladder to become a bridesmaid and witness. Last year, I was the maid of honor in three of my close friends’ weddings, which all happened to fall in a five-month span. Amongst all of these wonderful weddings, Kevin and I have happily spent most of our other weekends…. at weddings! At this point, it's almost comical and we proudly consider ourselves professional wedding attendees. In between "Shout" and “Don’t Stop Believing” on the dance-floor, you can surely find me floating around the venue taking in every little and last wedding-day detail. Kevin and I are happy to say that our wedding will be the 20th one we’ve attended together in our 10th year of dating!

Introducing our first Blogger Bride, Kristen of Maid of Henry! Photos by Nicole Detone Photography
Introducing our first Blogger Bride, Kristen of Maid of Henry! Photos by Nicole Detone Photography

I can’t tell you how many late-night convos I’ve had with with my girl-friends that ended with them telling me: “Seriously though, you need to be doing something wedding-related, either a wedding planner or maybe a bridesmaid-for-hire. I don’t know what, but you need to be doing something with weddings”. Immediately, I had a startling vision of myself dressed as J-Lo from “The Wedding Planner” with the slicked-back hair, head-set, and powder blue skirt-suit. Let’s just say, I didn’t wear it as well as she did, nor would I ever. I gave the “bridesmaid-for-hire” a few seconds of consideration but quickly became overwhelmed at the thought of taking on more friends. Then, I really thought about it: what could I be doing right now? Having been a part of so many beautiful, one-of-a-kind weddings, where I’ve seen the best of it all, I decided to create a wedding-exclusive Instagram account to share it: On @maidofhenry, I share my best tips, planning secrets, wedding inspiration, and of course some wedding humor!

Introducing our first Blogger Bride, Kristen of Maid of Henry! Photos by Nicole Detone Photography

I know better than anyone that it takes a village to throw a wedding and Kevin and I couldn’t be more blessed with the village we have. Cheers to the festivities ahead!

photography by Nicole DeTone

Romantic Wedding Inspiration • Cinnamon Wolfe and Deborah Ann Photography

 

We love styled shoots for so many reasons, and at the very top of that list is the endless inspiration that happens when a group of talented and creative wedding vendors dream big. This Rustic Romantic styled shoot from TWO of our Vendor Guide Members, Cinnamon Wolfe and DeborahAnn Photography, is overflowing with beauty, style and incredible vision. 


From Cinnamon: Having two photographers plan and prepare a styled wedding shoot is no easy task! But thanks to an amazing team of vendors, Debbie and I were able to pull it off and everything came together so beautifully!

We wanted to highlight a very romantic and rustic barn wedding in the Spring at the amazingly beautiful Sterlingbrook Farm and Events. This venue is to die for! A gorgeous, rustic barn settled in between fields of soft green grass with rustic fences and grand trees. Sterlingbrook is also an equine center so there are plenty of majestic horses to greet you as you come in and look on as you do your first look or bridal portraits!

We loved that our models were a real life couple and wanted to incorporate their two children as a flower girl and ring bearer. They stole the show! How cute are those suspenders? 

We were pleasantly surprised the day of our shoot to have some hot air balloons make an appearance! From the custom calligraphy, perfect naked cake, to the out of this world organic and loose florals...everything about this came together just as envisioned! 

Vendors: Photography | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography and Deborahann Photography | Venue: Sterlingbrook Farm and Events | Dress: European Bridal NJ | Florals: Kerry Patel Designs | Styling: Style Concierge by Jennifer | Invitation Suite: Bella Carta Boutique | Cake: Love Bites by Erika | Hair and Makeup: Make up by Dana Marie | Calligraphy: Lovely Scribe | Table Design: Gayle Ahers Design | Macarons: Le Mignon Macaron | Models: Alyssa and Chris

Meet-the-Maker • Jennifer Larsen Photography

 

It's Tuesday, which means we're doing a little happy dance! We're so excited to introduce you to our newest Vendor Guide Member, Jennifer Larsen Photography! We love this girl so much: she's sweet, ambitious and insanely talented. Jen's blog is by far one of our favorites, and her Instagram feed is always overflowing with gorgeous images and inspiration. We're so excited to share her story! 


Tell us a little bit about you, and how you got started! 
After a little detour in the Industrial Design program at Montclair State, I found what I was truly passionate about, and changed my major to photography. After testing the waters with a bunch of different kinds of potential photography career paths during college, I started second shooting weddings and completely fell in love! I had never experienced anything like it – I was so inspired by the couples I was photographing and their love for each other. After every wedding my cheeks hurt from smiling all day, and by the end of the night I felt like part of the family. That really lit the fire in my heart to become a wedding photographer, and it's been an amazing journey of growing my business ever since.

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

What services do you offer and/or what do you specialize in?
I am a wedding and anniversary photographer! I specialize in telling authentic love stories, and serving my couples with my whole heart! :)

What makes your business unique?
I really focus on keeping my business personal and connecting with my couples and their stories. And that continues far beyond the wedding day! It's so important to keep on documenting and telling your story - which is just one reason why I love anniversary sessions!

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

What is your favorite part of working with couples?
It’s so hard to pick just one!! My favorite thing is creating genuine relationships with my couples, who become friends. Seriously the best! It also makes my heart really happy to be part of their wedding day, and give them photographs that will be cherished by them, their children, and their grandchildren for years to come. For me that's what it's all about - it's something I am so passionate about and feel so honored to do!

One piece of advice for couples?
To quote a Lee Brice song that says it so simply and perfectly, "Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse 'I love you'". :)

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

Childhood career aspiration?
I had a ton. Haha, I wanted to be astronaut at one point. I was always fascinated by outer space. My dad got me a telescope and all things space-related for my 10th birthday - it was awesome...and still my favorite t-shirt to date! I also really wanted to be a veterinarian for a while because I love animals so much.

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

Coffee or tea?
Coffee! Lots and lots of coffee!

Hidden talent?
Knowing the location of the nearest Wawa to me at all times. ;) Haha, kidding! (Kind of.) I'm also pretty crafty, and love to make dream catchers!

Website | Facebook | Instagram 

Charming and Emotional Wedding at Valenzano Winery • Aaren Lee Photography

 

Get ready... lots of pretty for your Monday! This Valenzano Winery Wedding from Aaren Lee Photography is full of everything we love: gorgeous details, pops of color and genuine joy. Brenda and Chuck are absolutely adorable, and with one of the most emotional first-looks we've ever seen, this wedding certainly tugged on our heartstrings. Get ready to fall in love! 


From Aaren: The forecast was gloomy with steady chance of thunderstorms for Brenda & Chuck's wedding day. Determined to help them trust that everything would be okay, I went in with a few extra umbrellas and lace parasols for the 'just in case'. However, much to all over our surprises, when we awakened on Friday, the forecast was clear of rain and promising only clouds for us. We took it with smiles on our faces! When Brenda arrived to the aLOFT hotel, her face was GLOWING. In fact, I'm not sure that I ever truly saw the smile leave her eyes that day. As we moved through the flurry of preparation, headed to the first look and saw Chuck waiting there for his bride, it was clear that this was going to be an incredibly special day. From an emotional first look and a hilarious bridal party to one of the most incredibly moving and important mother-son dances I've ever witnessed with not a dry eye in the house and a magical few minutes of night portraits, this day was one I will surely never forget (and I'm sure they can say the same).