mona’s top 16

Post Nr. 488

Hey there fellow blog stalkers! #1 fan (and a very pregnant) Mona here to share my list of favorites for the 2011 season! For those of you newer to the blog, check out last year’s blog here. What goes into the making of this list? This year had me poring over engagement sessions, weddings, family shoots – well […]

Hey there fellow blog stalkers! #1 fan (and a very pregnant) Mona here to share my list of favorites for the 2011 season! For those of you newer to the blog, check out last year’s blog here.

What goes into the making of this list? This year had me poring over engagement sessions, weddings, family shoots – well over 90 total! As was the case last year, I could not narrow it down to just 10, and included another “Honorable Mention” section. I must say this year it was even more of a challenge. Why? Well, last year I was working full time, traveling here and there and so on. Sure, we’re all busy right?

This year was about the same… except that I have also been growing a little person at the same time. :-) Between that, us moving while 7 months pregnant, setting up for the new arrival, it’s been a busy few months. Catching up on the blog again has been such fun, and I’m thrilled to be gracing the pages of JP’s blog as a guest blogger yet again! So why 16 this year? Well, baby is due on January 16th so I thought I’d go with that number this time. Also, if you know me, I’m a little indecisive. Ok, I’m a LOT indecisive.

Below, please find my standard disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: Dear current/past Elario brides, grooms, families and babies – Unfortunately I could not choose each and everyone one of you. Please know that does not reflect how much I enjoyed your blogs, how beautiful you each are, or how amazing your shoots were. Once again, I spent a great deal of time narrowing down my list in the past few weeks. You all know how amazing your shoots are – you have the best with Big Joe, JP, and let’s not forget Hayden! Your blogs were all a pleasure to see.

2011 has brought a lot of new themes to the blog – new locations, many new couples, and of course some very crazy weather! Pros that they are, our favorite photogs didn’t let any weather issues slow them down, as I’m sure you’ve seen this year.

The following posts are in chronological order, not according to any rating system. Let’s go!

1) Marie and Chris
First I have to say, Marie is another enthusiastic Elario blog stalker. What did I love about this post? Well call me a bit biased, but I have a soft spot for my fellow curly-haired girls. But besides that and Marie’s history on the blog, I have to say that I have NEVER seen such a happy, enthusiastic groom. Don’t get me wrong, every groom is most often smiling all day as well, but Chris took that to another level. He looked like he was about to burst off the pages of the blog. My two favorite shots in this post are when Mr. Fuda gives him Marie’s hand at the end of the aisle, and the “Mr. and Mrs.” shot. Seriously, have you seen a happier groom? So sweet.

2) Jenny and Eddie
This one has all the ingredients for a fabulous wedding. Dream team vendors? Check. (JP’s favorite) venue? Check. Creative, graphic designer bride? Yup! And OH! Did I mention the bride is a very loved member of Team Elario? For those of you who don’t know Jenny, you obviously haven’t ordered your wedding books yet (hint, do them now in the off-season people!!!) Jenny is amazing, and has designed many a book for us brides (mine too!) and much much more! Look at the beautiful attention to details throughout the wedding. Jenny and Eddie’s theme is beautiful strung throughout the whole wedding in a very cohesive, but not overpowering way. It was such a special treat to see one of the nearest and dearest of Team Elario get married. Also, on a side note I have to say I LOVED how the bridesmaid dresses complemented hers so well.

3) Abi and Brad
Ahhhhh, you had me at the cabin. I love all getting ready shots, but it can be so great to see all the details in a place so familiar and loved by the bride. The first look at the Raymond’s was also wonderful, so expressive. And then, ladies and gentlemen, it started raining. A lot. Did it dampen anyone’s spirits and smiles? No. Did the sea of umbrellas look absolutely incredible? You bet they did. From there, all those details stood right out, like the place cards propped up in the tree branches, and all the colors inside the tent. From there to more outdoor photographs in the rain, to the finale of fireworks, this was just a great blog to enjoy. What I really want to mention about this one as well is you really get a sense of love and emotion jumping out at the screen to you… from the first look, to dad taking those last few moments walking Abi down the aisle, to the adorable looks on their faces as they tried their cake, the emotion and joy here are so contagious.

4) Natalia and John (engagement session)
Again we have a new location, and one that holds significance for the bride and groom. If you look back at their e-session, you’ll see that these photos were taken at John’s Aunt Pat and Uncle Peter’s home. Such a beautiful property. The weather was perfect, the light was amazing, and the couple and the property worked beautifully together. Love the shots with the stone pathway, but my hands down favorites are the ones by Glass Lake. It just looks about as deep blue as Natalia’s dress, and as beautiful and flawless as glass.

5) Tiffany and George
We all remember Tiffany, right? She just happens to be a professional stylist and fashion blogger. In fact, Tiffany designed her dresses. That’s right, I said dresses. Her first dress was a two toned beauty with over 200 roses sewn on. And who did the sewing? Tiffany’s grandmother of course. Midway through the day Tiffany slipped into a sassy second wedding dress, black patterned on top leading down to a white finish. Totally 100% unique. Am I surprised? Not one bit. Let’s not leave out her mother Mia. Mia is an event designer, and she wove an intricate and beautiful theme into this wedding. Three generations of very talented women made for a fantastic wedding, this was truly a family affair! A few other things you may remember from this blog – over 8000 roses total, an incredible different look at the Franklin Plaza, and of course the beautiful bride and groom. Tiffany was rarely without a huge smile that lit up the room. By the way George – you did a great job holding the flowers for that one shot ;-)

6) Marisa and Chris (engagement session)
The Historic Barns of Nipmoose. Wow. This was brand new turf for us blog stalkers. What a breathtaking place. I can’t get over all the texture and great feel of every image. But more importantly, what a beautiful couple. Marisa, I’m calling you out here – I remember reading JP’s blog of both this session and your wedding, and you told him you don’t take a good picture (cough cough, yea right, cough). Please. I think we can all agree that both you and Chris are pretty damn photogenic without even trying. Everything was perfect here – the choice of outfits, the props, the light! I loved that the shots were romantic at times, serious and fun all at once. The series on the quilt look like they belong in a J. Crew magazine, I absolutely love them. Finally, the third outfits were so incredible, especially in that teaser with the deep gold light. This is one e-session that raised the bar for sure.

7) Meghan and Curtis (engagement session)
Here’s another example of a great location that means something to the bride and groom. This e-session was shot at Meghan’s Aunt and Uncle’s house. Is this place amazing or what? We’ve got a little bit of everything here: yellow fields (we know JP favors fields!), natural props (the pots, the wagons, etc), a little cabin by the water, great light, and a great couple. The setting is absolutely incredible and allows for so many different tones throughout the session. Very nice. Even nicer? Meghan and Chris’ bridal party chipped in for this e-session knowing how much they wanted to do one prior to next year’s wedding. Nice work guys :)

8) Danaea and Mike
I. Love. Boston. I spent nearly 6 years there after college and really developed a soft spot for the city (including the teams, sorry JP) :)
It is truly a gorgeous city. Here we’re exploring the charming North End, so you’ve got the little parks, alley ways, and the Boston Harbor. Boston is not only pretty, but very historic as well. You really get that feeling from this session with the brick, the statues, and all the other patterns and alley ways that make Boston a little unique. Each shot is just great though overall – each location really highlights both Danaea and Mike, and I’m crazy about the harbor shots! They both look phenomenal. And um, anyone else want to move into their apartment with that amazing deck? Incredible.

9) Laura and Edward (Trey)
Laura and Trey’s wedding will forever be known as the Hurricane Irene wedding. I text JP the day before Irene and said “Gotta ask… any weddings today or tomorrow? I hope not for tomorrow!” He revealed that yes, they were shooting on both days, and very confidently assured me that it wasn’t going to be a problem. Take that, Irene! I should also mention that Laura and Trey completely put their trust in their hands, and ended up with some amazing photos. Brides, take notes! Remember you cannot control the weather on your wedding day. It may be unseasonably warm, cold, snowing, or in this case, a state of emergency! Laura and Trey really seemed to keep things in perspective, and didn’t let the rain spoil a special day. I really love so much about this blog.. the ring shot on the satellite image of rain, of course that one shot outside by the Nott. But one of my favorites is easily Alayne with her head lamp! You see? With great vendors, they’re prepared to brave the elements, bring extra lighting, and make sure a generator is running. I have to tip my hat to you guys at JEP, you even make a hurricane look great. Props again to Laura and Trey for bringing their best too, you guys are really troopers! :)

10) Jessica and Jason
9/10/11 – THE coveted date of 2011, and Jessica and Jason managed to secure it well in advance (nice work guys!) Jessica’s gown fit her like a glove, had those beautiful flower details, and she was looking absolutely fabulous overall. The photos of her dad seeing her for the first time evoke such sweetness and emotion, I could look at those all day. The weather really was idyllic – when couples envision their wedding days outdoors by the water, these pictures must be the mental images they have in mind: bright blue skies, deep clear blue waters, surrounded by lush green trees. Jessica and Jason are just as beautiful as the setting of their nuptials, and have a great mix of romantic shots along with some very real, sincerely fun reception shots. Speaking of reception – the tent lining the room was gorgeous, as were all the arrangements and details. With too many amazing pictures from which to choose, I do truly love all the ceremony shots, but I also love the little killer wave that left them laughing.

11) Isabel and Dave
We all know Iz, right? If you don’t, you should. She is also among the top blog stalkers out there. She and Dave had quite the beautiful September wedding. Looking at these pictures, I keep going back to what I initially said in my comment – with the middle eastern background, dark hair and dimples, she very much reminds me of my sister. Isabel truly was smiling ear to ear the entire day, and you can see that Dave couldn’t keep his eyes off her. The dress details were so unique, and she definitely rocked it. This was clearly a big family celebration, and after seeing so many comments by Isabel, it was great to finally return the favor to another blog stalker. I have to say I love their 1st picture as Mr. and Mrs. as they are walking down the aisle, both looking right at the camera bursting at the seams with joy.

12) Amanda and Shane
Well this was just lots of fun! So many amazing amazing people made this day come together. Amanda could not look more beautiful. Now how often do you see a girl being made Fabulous and Flawless at once? Amanda looked amazing, and I love her getting ready shots. Did anyone else look at the inside of the house and feel like it was painted to perfectly complement the bridesmaid dresses? While we are on the topic: I really love that the bridesmaid dresses are each a different color, style, and each lady has her own unique bouquet. This simply isn’t done enough, and it is wonderful! Now for some priceless Amanda expressions – note the difference on the way down the aisle and back down with Shane – the look of elation is so great, how can you not smile looking at that? The look on her face for the reveal is wonderful too. Who amongst us has not been completely awed and overwhelmed by the feeling of “Wow. This is *our* wedding!” The details like the pastry shop really pushed this already amazing wedding over the edge.

13) Natalia and Carlos
I’m a sucker for romance. Natalia and Carlos were high school sweethearts, so that right there is just plain adorable and wonderful. Now let’s move beyond adorable and talk about this gorgeous couple. Natalia was working each shot looking so elegant, and naturally beautiful at the same time. The shots from before the ceremony and after are so strikingly different: pre-ceremony you have the romantic shots, some serious portraits; post-ceremony it is all pure joy. This post had a lot of great emotions jumping off the page – one of my favorites is easily Carlos admiring his lovely bride with such love in his eyes.

14) Carley and Bobby
This year’s top list has a bit of a recurring theme. What’s that? Don’t worry about the weather! Why? Because if you’ve got Big Joe and JP and Hayden there you’re sure to end up with some amazing shots in the wind/rain/snow/hurricane. A little snow made for some amazing dramatic pictures for Carley and Bobby. I should mention as well that this snow happened in October. OCTOBER. Expect the unexpected folks, and roll with it. Again I’ll lay it on thick here – it doesn’t always have to be sunny blue skies… all that should matter is that you are marrying your love. Carley and Bobby really concentrated their energy on each other in every single shot. Seriously, go take a look at these pictures. You almost want to tap them on the shoulder and ask “Hey are you cold? You know it’s snowing outside right?” Didn’t faze them one bit. Once again we have another couple who were troopers and trusted JEP to do their thing. The teaser is easily my favorite in this series.

15) Meara
I’m breaking my rule here of keeping all family shots in the Honorable Mention Section, but I have good reason. The specific blog I want to refer to here is the one with the birth of her little sister Avery Clare. Yes, it’s true, ALL the families are so so incredibly beautiful and fun! But I am almost certain Meara has made more appearances on this blog than anyone. This year alone she hit up the blog 3 times. The shots of her welcoming her new little sister are incredibly precious. All I can think of is fast forwarding 20 some odd years later to when one of these kids on the blog gets married and calls up JEP to say “So, guess what?” Could be Meara someday, who knows?

16) Ashley and Brian
A new location! A totally new location! So exciting. I loved Key Hall at Proctors. I cannot wait to see JEP shoot here again soon. But I’ll get back to that later. I really enjoyed this blog. My favorite shot from pre-ceremony was easily where Ashley is fanning herself to keep her emotions under control, and the next shot is the little flower girl mirroring her, as if she is coaching her. Great support network there! :-) Inside we have a great space! So large, well lit, very beautiful. The entrance and the vault particularly caught my attention. My favorites shots though are the outside shots (both before and after the ceremony). The shots around town were fantastic, and who else can say there was a parade in honor of their wedding day? ;-)

Honorable Mentions (Again, in no particular order)

1) Melanie and Chris
Another familiar face on the blog! If you didn’t see their e-session from last year, I highly recommend you checking it out. But onto their wedding day, they had a spectacularly beautiful day (Chris apparently got the reflecting pool filled for the occasion – nice work). As always, I’m a big sucker for a first look, and Chris’ face says it all when he sees his beautiful bride.

2) Lindsay and Anthony wedding
Beautiful. Dress. I have been seeing a lot more brides going with the mermaid or modified mermaid styles and you are all pulling it off beautifully. Also loved that Lindsay did a little bit of the reverse – hair up for the ceremony, then half up/down for the reception. She and Anthony look so in love and happy, I was glad to see their wedding so close after their e-session. Especially love the shot of them at the bridge from the e-session and wedding again.

3) Billie Jo and Sean e-session
This one caught me for several reasons – adorable couple, great choices of outfits, but especially the patterns. I love each background, between the stucco-looking wall, the ivy covered wall, and the giant brick background. As always, making some familiar places look so different, loved it.

4) Melissa and Dave
First look? Pure sweetness. I always love the expressions of the bride and groom when they first spot each other, and Dave’s expression is especially great here. Who isn’t overwhelmed by their first look (whether it is before the ceremony, or during that first moment walking down the aisle)? Beautiful couple, beautiful decor.

5) Nicole and Nick
Their wedding made 42 weddings that they have attended together! I think that’s got to be some sort of a record, right? Needless to say, I’m sure #42 did not disappoint for them, nor did it for us blog stalkers! Favorite shots include the one with her in the foreground just about to head down the aisle with her hand on her chest, the shots outside with the wet bricks, and of course the energetic party shots. This was yet another shoot where you couldn’t tell there was any threat of rain – looked beautiful and bright to me!

6) Christine and Dan
I really loved the warmth, smiles, laughter, and emotion in this one. The exchange between Christine and her father just before the ceremony was so touching, so moving. Christine was looking radiant, and both she and Dan were grinning ear to ear all day. Nice work on the swanky bridesmaid shoes, btw. FInally, I adore the shot of them crossing the street like they did for their e-session.

7) Jamie and Brian
Mills Mansion – this was a brand new location, and it was a beauty! Jamie and Brian prepared with some great props and outfit changes (I especially love that salmon colored one-shoulder dress – beautiful). I hope we get to see more shoots here in the future. Really loved the shadow shots, and all the beautiful light permeating just about every image. Beautiful stuff.

8) Katelynn and Wallen
The details for this wedding really caught my eye – she had a little black and white theme (and a little feathers too) and put everything together so elegantly. The bouquet was very unique, very beautiful. I noticed that she has some black and white accents on her dress, some feather flair, and Wallen had some of that in his boutonniere as well. Did you see the programs? Great touch. The Hall looked lovely with the ceremony in the round, and the uplighting really brought out a golden glow in the place. Very classic, elegant, a touch of retro meeting modern.

9) JP Turned 30!
Well JP of course I had to put this one in here. Kris Ann really put together an amazing celebration with the help of Jenny, Christine Wheat, Clark+Walker, Clifton Park rentals, and many other friends! This was a really neat thing for you to share with us all. You work so hard, and to see a little celebration in your honor was a real treat. Again, huge props to Kris Ann! Thanks for sharing JP :)

10) An Elario Wedding Video
Who doesn’t love a little behind the scenes video? This was a great wedding to feature (hello, Tanya had a BABY two months prior to the wedding – you look incredible woman!), but we love seeing you all in action. Those of us who have had the pleasure to work with you guys know how hard you work, it’s great to see the enthusiasm of capturing a wedding day, your thought processes, and how you all work together as well. Really fantastic.

11) Chelsea and Shawn
I really loved both their e-session and wedding, but the wedding was something else. Besides both being incredibly photogenic, I like some of the personal details: her “something blue” was her bridesmaids signing the bottoms of her shoes – adorable; her 92 year old grandfather married the couple; there was a tribute to Chelsea’s late mother to keep her presence at the wedding; and who doesn’t love a cute little VW bug??? I loved most that they were able to revisit so many sites of their engagement shoot, it makes for such a beautiful comparison.

12) Kids/family shots
There were too many of you, you are all very cute. I’m sorry but Meara was made an exception since she’s easily been on the blog way more times than I have :) I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful families in the months and years to come :)

A big, HUGE thanks to JP for giving me the fun opportunity to guest blog again this year. JP, you were exceptionally patient as I worked on this blog. I know I ran further behind this year what with being all pregnant and such, and I can’t thank you enough :)
It’s really an honor to be asked to compile this list for the second year, and it means a lot to be involved at this level. Thanks for making me feel like part of the JEP family. :-)

To everyone who graced the pages of this amazing blog this past year, I thank you for your enthusiasm, spirit, faith in Big Joe, JP and Hayden, and the love you all exuded in each and every shot. You all are beautiful. :)
Happy belated 2012!!! Baby and I will be blog stalking I’m sure. :-D
Happy commenting, happy blog stalking!!

Mona

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