mona’s top 17

Hello faithful blog stalkers! It’s that time of year again. #1 fan Mona here to share my list of favorites from the 2012 season. I’m delighted to be doing this for the third year now. For those of you newer to the blog, you can check out the past two years here and here.

This year we saw even more happy, beautiful brides and grooms, new engagement shoot locations, and beautiful families and families-to-be. So what exactly goes into this guest blog? How to choose? Well, by my count, there were nearly 120 blog postings throughout the season. Quite impressive!! But these guys just keep going! Big shout out not only to Big Joe and JP, but to the ladies of Elario Photography: Hayden, Jenny and Jamie. You guys are all great, and it’s been wonderful seeing everyone’s amazing work through all these blogs.
So, why 17 this year? No real reason. It was just *that* hard narrowing them down. I opted for a larger top set and a smaller (relatively speaking) Honorable Mention category.

Ahem… and as usual:

DISCLAIMER: Dear past/current Elario brides, grooms, families and babies,
You know the drill by now right? I can’t choose everyone, lovely as all your pictures are. Every year seems to get harder and harder, and that speaks not only to the talents of Big Joe and JP, but to how photogenic and happy you all are (oh, and stylish too!)

This year brought us new locations, and also new angles on some classic venues. I always say this, but it’s true – Big Joe and JP have a knack of putting a new spin on an old favorite. This year’s weather patterns were a far cry from last year, and the few days where Mother Nature may not have cooperated fully were barely noticed. Each day seemed damn near idyllic!

Per usual, posts are listed in chronological order, and not according to any rating system. Grab your drink of choice, kick back, relax, and let’s get right to it!

Here’s a gorgeous Boston (Charlestown) couple that graced this blog last year with their amazing North End e-session. Needless to say, the big day did not disappoint. This was also the first wedding Big Joe and JP shot in 2012. The snow made for such a great natural background, and these two stood right out. The emotions in these were also great – besides the sweet reaction after Mike saw Danaea, I just loved the picture of her dad holding her tight when he got his first look. Danaea’s dress fit her like a glove, and had a classic-meets-modern look to it. Beautiful mermaid type dress (and we saw so many amazing ones this year). If you look through the pics, I think she’s smiling in every single picture. Love the happiness here.

Even better? These two are expecting a baby in the new year too! Hope to see the little one on the blog soon!

2) Roya
I normally shy away from the kids/family shots because they are all too cute, but I make no apologies for making an exception every so often! This little girl is the reason I’ve taken a bit (ok a lot) longer to comment on all the blogs this year. For any of you who did not know, this past January Andrew and I welcomed our happy, sweet little daughter Roya into the world. In these pictures she was just 5 days old, and slept contently (read: milk drunk) nearly the whole session. It feels just like yesterday that she was this tiny little thing, looking around intently, taking in her new life and surroundings. And there’s something about seeing your significant other interact with the baby; it’s amazing being able to experience love through not only your own eyes, but from theirs as well. Roya continues to amaze and amuse us every day. That’s why she made the blog this year. So special that JP was able to capture this for us (thanks again) 🙂

 

That. Lace. Gown. The birdcage veil. Shannon was absolutely exquisite from head to toe, and really captured a vintage feel with her look. This blog is where JP declared he was “Bringing Yaddo back”, and we’re so glad he did. Their first look in the gardens proved such a beautiful backdrop for such a sweet moment. All the pictures in Yaddo had such a soft, elegant look. Shannon surrounded by her bridal party in that blush color? Again, a perfect classic feel. I really loved all the emotion captured in this post, but I think Christine Wheat said it best. Joe and JP “captured the vintage look through contemporary eyes.” Of all the pics, I think one of my favorites is Matt and Shannon hanging out just after the ceremony, kicking back and relaxing. Who doesn’t feel that moment of elation and relief right after the ceremony?

4) Laura and Joe
I’m going to start with the flowers on this one. Did you see the Fleurs from Fleurtacious Design? Each maid had her own gorgeous bouquet. Perfection. I’m a big fan of little touches like that to make your bridal party a little unique. In fact, the whole decor of the reception was so colorful and happy. Really stood out so nicely. I’m sure Laura gets plenty of compliments on her beautiful hair, but here’s one more: your red hair is just stunning! The outdoor pictures are just amazing – besides the teaser being an obvious favorite (the dress!), I love the one of Laura’s dad accompanying her down the aisle.

5) Polina and Tony
Anyone who can plan a wedding (and an awesome one, at that) in 4 months makes this list. Done and done.
Polina, being in the industry herself as a make up artist, knew her stuff. She put together an all star team for her wedding. Oh and she did her make up herself (of course she did!) Stunning. Love her hair down, and she and Tony look great with their intimate bridal party. Did you see her go from longer veil, to no veil, to birdcage? Nice way to subtly change the feel of your look throughout the day. Now let’s really cut to the chase – their outdoor portraits. Golden, glowing, buttery light. I’m loving all these images, and again and so impressed with the calculation and precision with which she planned this… in how long again??? FOUR. MONTHS! Ladies, take notes! 🙂

6) Heather and Mike
I’m not sure what deals JP struck up with Mother Nature this year, but this was yet another beautiful one at SNGC. I’m skipping right to the field shots. Another couple in that golden light. I mean, this is the stuff of magazine shoots. Back to Heather – the dress is so pretty, with such unique little touches on it. But what I really love is the unique “getting ready” spots. The inn has so much personality, and Heather’s father’s place was perfect for all the guys prep work. The details are also key here – the cocktail hour is adorable, and I’d be crazy not to mention the amazing fireworks display.

7) Emily and Mike
Every time I look at this post, I just cannot get over Emily in that beautiful dress. The cut is perfect on her – so elegant, so classic. Everything about both Emily and Mike is classy and classic, from the shots at Yaddo, to the ceremony and teaser. The details are great here too – not overpowering, but just right. The groom’s cake? Adorable. But I think one of my favorites is easily the two of them in the living room of that beautiful house. Could you two be any more photogenic?

8) Hilary and Mike
I just love everything about this engagement shoot – the colors of the outfits play so perfectly against one another, and the subjects clearly know how to work the lens! The first outfits were vibrant and stylish, and the second set – watch out now! Total hotness! While the teaser is awesome, I really love the one of Mike kissing Hilary with the hair in her face and that golden light peeking in. All warmth. The light in this e-session is just amazing. Looking forward to seeing these guys next year on the blog as well! They definitely know how to work it.

9) Melissa and Cory
So much to say! 😉 (Prepare yourself for a lot of DMB-related puns.) What other couple gets the honor of having a DMB concert playing for their wedding? No wait, the concert was the same night as their wedding. Well, either way, Melissa and Cory (and our friends at Elario Photography) made the best of what’s around and got some amazing shots. The hustle and bustle of fans around only added to the energy and excitement of this shoot. While all the little ants were marching in the background (last pun), Melissa and Cory were getting some spectacular shots around the grounds. Also, any couple entering to “Jump on it” gets a few extra points in my book. Awesome.

10) Alex and Geoff
Love the setting. Love that it has meaning for the bride and groom, given that the backdrop is Alex’s parents’ lake house. That alone might have been enough to catch my attention, but Alex and Geoff brought their A-game. Their series of outfits is perfect for a little summer/lake outdoor series. Fun colors, subtle details. The shots on the boat with the light and the background of the Sagamore (where they’ll be wed next year): cover to your engagement book? Just sayin’. Anyways, back to the outfits: they went from a fun, bright and casual feel to a nautical look (with the sperrys), and to a little more dressed up. All phenomenal choices. The ones in the water are pretty awesome too. 🙂 We’ll see how daring they are on the big day 😉 Love it.

11) Emily and Michael
I quite literally don’t know where to begin on this one. There was so so much attention to detail, it made for a magnificent event. No detail was overlooked. The stationery, the flowers, the TREES?!?! The lighting – everything. If you have any doubt (which you shouldn’t), just take a look at the list of professionals at the end of the blog. Something I noticed was that Emily had her hair down for the first look and some earlier portraits, and then brought it up for the ceremony and reception! A different spin on things. Loved the shot of the bridesmaids and the two marines, and the seated Elario configuration. Those are my top two favorite shots of this wedding. Those two capture the setting, the couple, and the feel of the day so well.

12) Janelle and Dennis
These two seemed particularly at ease behind the camera. One reason for this is certainly because of all the wonderful personal touches for their wedding. We all know that Big Joe and JP have a great connection with their brides and grooms, but what an honor to be able to shoot and attend a friend’s wedding? I can see why Janelle wouldn’t take no for an answer. Also, Kris Ann served as both matron of honor and floral designer extraordinaire! So special knowing your MOH is taking care of you on so many levels. Jenny was also representing beautifully with her stationery. This team (and more) all made for a beautiful wedding. The shots around State Street are so vibrant, and they wove in the blue theme everywhere. Yet, the theme still didn’t feel overdone – just perfect. I love the street shots, but one unusual fave for me was the look between Dennis and Dominick before Janelle came down the aisle. True happiness and support.

13) Sara and Eddie
This looks not unlike something you’d see in Vogue or Vanity Fair, right? These images are hot (or haute, haha, bad joke I know). The locations they chose were so unique, colorful, with so much character. The gate, the fountain, the lily pads? The boats? Love it all. Now let’s talk about the outfits – Sara opted for a neutral, flowing look for the first two outfits (beautiful), and then changed into a dark little number (with dark red lipstick, yes I noticed the change in makeup, good call). Eddie went for a classic suit and more casual pant and button down shirt – both accented Sara’s outfits and were perfect for the location. Overall, this was a great shoot, beautiful images. Can’t wait for the wedding, always great to see a family member of a past bride (or groom).

14) Kate and Kyle
This was such a tough decision. As a first for me, I honestly wanted to choose both their engagement and their wedding. So while I’m going for the wedding, I’m also going to make a couple notes about their engagement shot (because it was just that good). First, the wedding: I normally focus a lot on the brides, but every so often you get a groom who’s smiling ear to ear all day. This was Kyle. His first look with Kate was priceless – total and utter joy. I’m a big sucker for those kind of reactions. You can’t stage this stuff, folks. Can you blame him? She looked stunning. Their expressions during the ceremony were also so sincere and sweet. And you can’t beat those pics on the boat. For their e-session, I loved the last bit with Kate’s gorgeous dress and the top of the rock (and nearby).

15) Lauren and Neil
Three words: Hot. Air. Balloons. Yes please! I just love all the color and the action around these pictures. So cool. Love the first one of them sitting on the balloon. I can see it now “Excuse me guys, we’re about to fire up the torches now”. These two looked really at ease too, and that was no easy feat with so many people watching. But these images are definitely top blog worthy in so many ways. Though all of them are incredible, especially the teaser (with that balloon centered right above them), I’m also a big fan of the last one with their silhouettes.

16) Rhiannon and Vinny
I love fall e-sessions and weddings. Love them. What’s even cooler about this e-session? The teaser was their official social media announcement; in their case this meant waiting 5 (FIVE) whole weeks before making that public announcement! I’m surprised no one blew up their spot on facebook. You know, there’s always that one person who decides to congratulate someone publicly before they make the announcement themselves – engagements, pregnancies! So I’m quite impressed, guys! Anyways, back to the blog. In this lovely e-session with Rhiannon and Vinny, the color hits you everywhere: bright greens in the background, flares of orange, scattered red leaves. It was so incredibly vibrant. My faves are definitely the first picture, and the one with the red leaves covering the ground.

17) Erica and Mike
This is another one where I really struggled to choose between their wedding and e-session. Like Kate and Kyle, I’m going with the wedding, but making mention of their amazing e-session (also shot in NYC). I had to choose the wedding because, come on guys, this is Mike. You know, Mike who dances awesome at all the weddings? In fact, this party was so great, the dance shots earned a separate blog (where we got to see more of Mike’s moves… this man means business). Besides that though, their pictures are incredible. Erica and Mike look every bit the beautiful, happy couple. Did I mention beautiful? Yea. Erica is a stunner in her dress. And now I want to make reference to their e-session. The Lincoln Center shots really got me. Near my old stomping grounds, that place holds a special place for me in NYC. And MAN you two made that place look even better!

Honorable Mentions (in chronological order):

1) Jennifer and Ryan
What else can I say but this: When you capture that very moment it starts to snow, and the reaction on their faces, it will make it to this blog post. Great. Picture. It was just there for a little bit before it disappeared again, but that was plenty of time to get some amazing images.

2) Meghan and Curtis
First and foremost, Meghan has the most intensely blue eyes ever. So so pretty. Worked very nicely with her blue theme as well. What I really loved about this, and my favorite shot, was easily the shot from “above” the casino. That vantage point was brand new, and definitely perfect.

3) Gina and Mike
Ah, Tappan Hill! Beautiful venue. Gina and Mike paid a lot of attention to detail here. On top of that, they had a beautiful day for pictures. Overall, great emotion, lots of smiles, and I love the picture with the crazy sky in the background. Gorgeousness.

4) Rachael and Danny
These two were too sweet. Nearly every picture they are looking at each other adoringly. You really get that feel from their wedding day. It is as if no one else was there but them. Love that. Sidenote: love that Danny blinged out her shoes for her. Also loved her second dancing dress as well.

5) Melissa and Matt
So much attention to detail here: the hanger, the shoes, the invites, the umbrellas, the “I do” “Me Too” forks, the card box, the flowers, the menus… you get the idea. So many special, pretty little details really set Melissa and Matt’s wedding apart. Let’s not forget the beautiful bride and groom, the “secret service” ringbearer, fireworks, and great SNGC shots!

6) Jess and Clinton
What I love about this e-session is the distinct country feel. It’s just relaxed and casual enough, and Jess and Clinton work both the casual and dressier outfits. Plus, I love me some sunflowers.

7) Jessica and Brian
I love the shots of the ceremony – that water is just sapphire blue. So incredible. It gets even better with the boat shots as well. But two pics I really loved was dad looking on for the first look, and the shot of their silhouettes against that awesome darker sky. Love it.

8) Jamie and Jim
Classic Albany e-session. I love seeing familiar shots looks new and fresh with new couples. Never disappoints and never gets old. Also, the foliage make for a great flash of color.

9) Jamie and David
Fall colors! FALL COLORS! I’m sorry, but the shots of the golden leaves and the light are just too much. Also really love the different take on the shots we had from SNGC. Great great work there. Loved seeing it from a different vantage point. But again, loving the colors in this one.

10) Erin and Tim
Gotta show some love for another sibling of a former Elario bride here. And also (bear with me), we all know I love the fall. Here the colors and textures of the leaves and their outfits work so well together. Really liked bringing in some of those personal aspects: the guitar, the pup, the pictures with the dates (one is kind of hiding on the ground). And Lucy is adorable. It’s too bad Lexie couldn’t go too for a playdate. Hopefully we’ll see Lucy in June with Erin and Tim as well 🙂

11) Once again, families, babies – you are all much too cute for your own good. Call it a tie?

HUGE thanks to JP for inviting me back this year to guest blog. Though I’ve been on the later side with my comments, you know, I’ve got a cute little reason at home. And I always catch up in time. 🙂 Thanks again for hanging in there while I finished this up. It was once again a pleasure and honor to participate in this way. I continue to be impressed with you and your dad’s artistic vision, and your ability to really gear the shoots towards each couple. You guys are great. 🙂

To all of you who graced the pages of the blog this year, I thank you for your joy and love. It comes through on the blog, and it’s really uplifting. There’s a reason there are so many of us blogstalkers here – it is such a wonderful experience to see so much love. May you all enjoy more of that in 2013!

Happy commenting, happy blogstalking!

Mona

 

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