Rachel and Josh Wedding – 4.30.17

A Sunday brunch wedding with a doughnut tower, spin art, piñata, and lego place holders! Yesss!! It’s not every day I get to shoot a wedding as awesomely unique as Rachel and Josh’s wedding!  These two certainly had some wonderfully unorthodox components to their wedding day.  The day started off with these two getting ready in their perspective corners of the lovely Stone Mill Inn.

Let me tell you, an awesome set of bridesmaids and groomsman surrounded these two. Just picture four groomsman all getting knives as party gifts. Now picture posing them with said knives.  It was awesome!  They even pretended to do a little barber work on the groom!

Guests then began to arrive and file into their seats for the ceremony!  As the party walked to the altar, a string quartet (missing one member, who happened to be the bride’s mom!). The bride’s parents walked her down the aisle as the grinning groom looked on.  The ceremony began, and was being performed by the groom’s sister.  It was lovely!  And then, after some heartfelt personally written vows, these two donned full body smocks and began to do a unity spin art.  Not only was that awesomely unique, but the groom himself built the spin art machine! Talk about being a handy-man to have around!

The ceremony ended with a ring exchange, lovely kiss, and everyone exited to be led into family and couple photos. I mean seriously though, could you ask for a more beautiful place to do wedding photos?  The estates at the Stone Mill Inn were just stunning.  I think the couple’s photos look like they are in a woodland fairy tale.  Those wooded areas are the places wedding photographer’s dream about for couples photos! It also helps when you have a couple so plainly in love that it shines through in their photos!

Following a lovely brunch cocktail hour (with mimosas, of course!), everyone headed into the reception area, grabbing their Legos place cards as they went.  The guests certainly enjoyed those, as much as the bride and groom enjoyed putting them all together!  The groom’s best man introduced the couple and they danced their first dance as husband and wife.  Speeches were had, guests were greeted and thanked, and an epic doughnut wedding dessert tower was cut!  The groom had a special dance with his mom before everyone headed outside to SMASH A PINATA, of course!  Guests took turns spinning and swinging until finally the piñata was obliterated!  Guests scrabbled with their candy gift bags to get some tasty treats.  The day slowly came to an end as everyone posed for photos, said their goodbyes, and exchanged hugs and well wishes. There was even a guest cheerleader pyramid at one point.  These were some great people, guests, and a couple to spend the day with!  So here’s to many more years to this fun couple! And without further ado, Rachel and Josh’s wedding:

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Photography and writing by:

Alysha Yoder Photography

(b) www.alyshayoderphotoblog.com (w) www.alyshayoderphoto.com

(e) alyshayoderphoto@yahoo.com (p) 610.762.7810

Venue and Catering: The Stone Mill Inn

Flowers:  Moonchild Floral Designs

Doughnut Cake: Centercut Doughnuts

Nish and Hamza Wedding – 4.21.17

Take an elegant wedding with a modern twist, add in a wonderful couple, lots of bright colors, and a stunning venue and you have Nish and Hamza’s wedding!  A wedding for the photo books for sure!  Not only did I have a great couple, but it was held at the beautiful venue, The Waterfall.  The Waterfall, decked out in purples, golds, and reds, with fresh flowers draped throughout, two exquisite stages, and dreamy outdoor spaces for photos provided a lovely backdrop for their big day!

Nish was surrounded by her closest friends and family throughout the day.  Her two aunts, who are like second moms to her, flew in from India to share in the celebration with her!  You could tell by all their love and support throughout her day that Nish is certainly cherished by all who know her!

These two lovely people came together to create a truly memorable wedding day!  They have quite the back story too!  While both vacationing in Florida, fate collided and these two met! Nish went back home to Pennsylvania and Hamza went back home to Texas.  These two continued to talk and spent a year flying back and forth between the states to see each other!  Soon after, it was clear that these two were meant to be!  Hamza came with his family to formally ask for Nish’s hand in marriage!  Nish accepted and they had a traditional formal engagement.  This leads up to their beautiful wedding day!

Following the lovely traditional ceremony, everyone gathered for photos, while guests sipped on drinks and enjoyed appetizers. With Grecian columns, fountains, and waterfalls, there were certainly TONS of great photo opportunities.  The couple was then led to the reception area, where they were formally introduced and shared their first dance as husband and wife.  The maid of honor, Valerie, gave a beautiful speech, to be followed by professional dancers preforming for the couple and their guests.

Dinner was served shortly after as guests wandered up to take photos with the couple on stage, and others headed to the photo booth.  Once everyone had their fill of all the delicious food, the couple headed to center stage to cut the cake!  The DJ began the music, and the dancing began!  Everyone headed to the dance floor to dance the night away! I snuck away with the couple to take some night shots (which ended up being some of my favorite shots of the night!). As guests slowly began to call it a night, the couple was presented with gifts, adorned with flowers blessed by their family, and the couple and groom’s family headed out for the night in the luxury car waiting for them.  A stunning end to a beautiful day!  So without further ado, Nish and Hamza’s wedding!  Congrats to the happy couple!

Photography and writing by:

Alysha Yoder Photography

(b) www.alyshayoderphotoblog.com (w) www.alyshayoderphoto.com

(e) alyshayoderphoto@yahoo.com (p) 610.762.7810

Venue: The Waterfall

DJ: DJ Ravi Jackson

Flowers:  

Bouquets  Patel Flowers 

Sweetheart Table and Sign-in TableRhoads Garden

Cake: Isgro Pasteries

Decorator: Wedding Design New Jersey

Catering: Palace of Asia

 

Nicole & Jim Wedding – 12.17.16

It’s not every day that one of your best friends gets married.  It’s also not every day that you have the honor of photographing their wedding.  But this is exactly what happened with Nicole and Jim’s wedding!  First, let me say, that I love these two to death and this wedding has been a long time in the making.  I’ve known Nik since I was young.. like… awkward brace face, acne, middle school young.  We’ve been through a lot together, from breakups and heartache, to becoming coworkers, to being roomies who share a love of Taco Bell and pizza.  I have so many memories with this lady and I’m so happy for her in her marriage to Jim.  It was hard walking in at the beginning of their wedding day and NOT crying when I first saw her… and that’s saying something as I’m not a cryer.

But seriously, could you ask for a more wonderful person both inside and out? Nik is truly the bestest best friend a person could ask for (and Jim’s not so bad himself either!).  Not only did she make a stunning bride, but she made almost every single decoration!  She even hand wrapped and wax sealed all the favors for the guests!  She was a serious DIY warrior for this winter wedding, working into the wee hours of work nights to pull it all together.  There were so many wonderful touches placed throughout their wedding, from the HUGE Christmas ball wreath Nik made to the stunning centerpieces. Wyndridge Farms and Winery could not have been a more lovely venue for this winter wonderland wedding.  Not only was the barn a beautiful place to get married, but the staff made the whole day flow wonderfully.  From start to finish, this was a magical wedding to shoot.

When I arrived and valiantly composed myself to avoid tearing up, all the ladies and gentleman were getting ready in two separate rooms downstairs.   Everyone looked stunning.  The red colors, lights, and wreaths everywhere certainly emulated the holiday spirit.  Now the day was a bit of an ugly one weather-wise. It had iced and snowed overnight, so roads were a little hairy and I gracefully glided on concrete more then once trying to photograph shoes and flowers.  But it definitely helped to give the photos a little “White Christmas feel.”  I only wish it had been snowing big fat snowflakes when we were doing some couple shots, but a photographer’s dreams can not always be met, haha!

The morning went off smoothly with hugs and greetings to be had with all family members.  Nik’s mom and mother in law helped her get in her dress, while bridesmaids helped button her up.  The dress was stunning!  A flowing, strapless dress, with a gold highlighted waistline, and a sweetheart neckline, it was beautiful!  Nik looked incredible and again…. photographer waterworks threatened to occur. The bridesmaids all gathered around to ooo and aww, and I headed over to the groom’s room to see the gift exchange of sports themed shoes.  Not as amazing as Nik’s sparkly Christian Louboutin stilettos, but hey, can you tell these two share a love of shoes too?

And with that, the ceremony was officially ready to begin!  Now, as many of you may or may not know, my mom and I have actually ‘worked’ a few weddings together.  She is a Dr. Rev. and occasionally, when the stars align, we actually get to work together.  She marries them and I shoot them!  All we need is a caterer and a venue and we could be full service organization haha! My mom led in the groomsman, to be followed by the bridesmaids, and then Nik and her dad.  The moment Nik walked down the aisle and Jim saw her was one of those moments that make a wedding.  So many happy emotions and just a truly beautiful moment to witness.  This was it!  Game time.  The ceremony went off swimmingly and ended with two happily married people grinning at each other as they walked down the aisle for the first time as husband and wife.

The rest of the night flowed by.  Dances were had, speeches were given, and laughs were exchanged.  One of my favorite moments was when Jim gave a little speech, thanking everyone and Nik for everything they had done to make their wedding day so special.  And then he said, “Everyone kept asking me today if I was nervous, and I can honestly say, I am not, because I have never been so sure of anything in my life.  I am so happy to be married to Nicole.”  And that folks, is true, happy, butterflies in the stomach, love.

The rest of the night was filled with dancing and a LOT of it.  This was a dancing crowd!  Everyone was out on the dance floor at least once.  Even grandma was a dancing machine! Garter and bouquet were tossed (and there were battles for both)!  And the night wrapped up with a lovely dollar dance.  Nicole’s dad was the last to dance with both of them and that was a precious little moment.  All in all a truly wonderful wedding. I couldn’t be happier for these two and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!  I wish you two nothing but the best!  So with lots of love, I give you Nik and Jim’s wedding.

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Photography and writing by:

Alysha Yoder Photography

(b) www.alyshayoderphotoblog.com (w) www.alyshayoderphoto.com

(e) alyshayoderphoto@yahoo.com (p) 610.762.7810

Venue and Catering: Wyndridge Farms and Winery

DJ: Klock Entertainment – Josh Wagner

Flowers:  Wildflower

Cake: The Couture Cakery

Videography: JKM Productions

A Food Tour of Denver

I do a lot of travel (if the blog didn’t give thhatt away).  I have been to a lot of cities both in the country and out of the country.  Denver, in all it’s wonderfulness, has now made the top of my lists.  From the start of my trip to finish, it was just an amazing place to be.  If you read my last blog post, I was down in Denver to spend a long weekend with my sister and celebrate our birthdays.  Also, one of her residency interviews was here buutttt I mean sister’s birthday weekend is definitely the most important thing here haha!
From the moment I arrived in Denver, I felt at home.  The place is filled with art, food, photographic landscapes, and all around pretty wonderful people.  It has a bit of that Southern Charm but with that crunchy granola, ‘we care about what we put in out bodies’ vibe, plus, it’s a super friendly dog city. These were my people!  And this was my foodie mecca!
Kate and I crammed as much as we could in the four days we were there.  I’m sharing mostly our favorite adventures and highlights but there was so much more we enjoyed that I’m not sharing. If you can go there, do!  You won’t be disappointed.  Especially if you’re a foodie.  Or a hiker.  Or a photographer.  Or you really enjoy delicious fresh mountain spring water.  There’s a little something for everyone here!
After a little debate, coming in at the top of our Denver adventure was a food walking tour with Taste of Denver.  This is a fun, locally owned business, run by sisters Lindsay and Chemae.  Not only were we lucky enough to get Chemae, as our wonderful guide, but we also were the only two on the tour that day.  Seriously, that never happens!  It was a one on one experience and Chemae and all the restaurants we visited made it truly a wonderful experience.
We started our day by arriving in Downtown Denver and meeting Chamae at Milk and Honey.  It’s an upscale restaurant, hidden between two shops.  You walk through their entrance and it opens up into a beautiful courtyard (which I’d love to visit in Spring and Summer).  The inside is stunning and the food was delicious! We got to sample Blistered Shishito Peppers, Balsamic Glazed Ribs, and House Cut Fries.  The balsamic glaze was so good I was licking my fingers!  The bar was also nice enough to let me shoot some of the drinks they were making which were just stunning.

Looks good right? I could have stayed here all afternoon and sipped on cocktails but we had places to be and more food to sample!  The nice thing about the tour is there is A LOT of food you get to try.  Everything is small bites, not like full blown dinners, but it’s filling.  I promise.  Plus, after each restaurant, you get to walk to the next place, as your guide talks about the history and city around you.  You’re getting to learn, burn off some calories, and eat all at the same time.  It’s pretty fantastical.

 

Our next stop was Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen. The building itself is rich with history.  As Chamae told us all about the building we got to sample their house made Beef Short Rib Kielbasa as well as their house-made mustards and kraut.  True story, all the meat from here comes from Colorado animals.  They make and cure almost all their meat. They also have a wonderful drink selection.  We got a coupon for a free drink and we used it!  We came back and sampled some more food and drinks later that evening and it was worth it.

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We left Euclid Hall to be greeted by Christmas carolers dressed to the nines in 1920s garb and makeup/hair.  The city really goes all out during the holidays and everywhere was decorated beautifully.  Chamae continued to tell us about the history of many of the buildings and city as we made our way to our next stop, Little Owl Coffee, a cute little coffee shop with baristas who know their stuff and do some killer coffee art. The hot beverage on a chilly day, was a perfect break before we started in on some more food. I had a macchiato, while Kate opted for a hot chocolate, and Chamae had a latte.

After warming up we headed to our favorite stop.  And no, it’s not what you would think.  And trust me, everything we had was awesome, so this was a hard decision buutttt after much discussion we both agreed EVOO Marketplace was our favorite stop.  Not your usual food tour stop either, which was why it was so memorable.  It’s a family run shop and the brainchild of a husband and wife team, Mick and Carolyn Major.  The whole store is based on the concept of ‘taste before you buy.’  And taste we did.  All their olive oil and balsamic oils are the highest quality you can buy.  From pressed and infused oils to a HUGE variety of white and balsamic vinegars.  It was so much fun and Carolyn gave us a wonderful lesson before tasting about the processes of their different products.  Then the sampling began, you take a little cup and pour yourself a little oil or vinegar and taste away. So many flavors all in one place, we couldn’t get enough! We loved it so much I got a whole case of different varieties for Christmas gifts.

These aren’t your ‘everyday’ oils and vinegars.  I fell in love with their Sage and Wild Mushroom Olive Oil.  Kate leaned more towards white vinegars while I loved the darks.  All the vinegars are aged in barrels and are either infused or pressed (either aged with the product, or pressed into it in the beginning).  We loved the Cara Cara Vanilla Barrel Aged Balsamic as well as the Grilled Pineapple Balsamic.

After EVOO, we headed out again!  This time, Chamae took us into some historic buildings and bars before we headed to our next destination.  Seriously, aren’t some of these places stunning?

Where ‘pearl’ buttons were first invented for cowboy-ware was in Denver, this is their store now.

Next on the docket was Zoe Ma Ma – Super Yummy Street Food. And yummy food it was!  The owner, Ma Ma, was on hand to talk to about her food.  It’s some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had.  And it’s all handmade with recipes from Ma Ma herself.  It’s high quality ingredients include fresh homemade organic noodles, cage-free eggs, and all-natural meats.  Not to mention the ‘sauce bar’ they have where you can mix and match different sauces to top all your food with.  We got to indulge in Za Jiang Mian.  It’s a Classic Northern noodle dish with fresh egg noodles, ground pork sauce, and julienned veggies.  Kate and I almost licked the bowls clean.  Plus, the vibe of the whole place was wonderful. It was like you were stepping into a little restaurant in China. I wish we had a few weeks in Denver because I would be back here every week just to try different dishes.

Ma Ma and our guide, Chamae.

Following happy bellies full of noodles, we headed off to Mercantile. It’s kind of like an open air market that specializes in cheeses and meats.  They also have a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries. It’s one of those places you’d want to come study or read a book so you can keep going back and getting little snacks all day.  It was lovely.  I wish we had time to sample everything, because let’s be honest, cheese is quite frankly one of the greatest foods in the entire world.  We got to try Sheep’s Milk Ricotta from Fruition Farms, it came with little crackers and house-made jam.  It was super yummy.

Our last stop (sadly) was Union Station which was a plethora of different food shops.  We ended with dessert at the Milkbox Ice Creamery.  It was pretty good in the ice cream front.  It’s gmo free, 100% natural, and all sourced from local farms.  I had salted caramel pb cup while Kate had Mocha Chip.

And with that, it was the end of our food tour.  Sad day.  Chamae was nice enough to walk us back to EVOO so we could continue to taste test.  But what a great experience!  Tons of good foods and off the beaten path food stops. Literally the cat’s meow of foodie tours.  If you’re in Denver look up Taste of Denver.  They do all sorts of food tours too! So you can pick and choose what works best for you.

Following our full bellies and food coma, we headed to the Parade of Lights!  What a wonderful holiday tradition!  The city is all lit up and the whole parade is filled with lights!  They have lights on horses, dogs, even Santa!  You name it and it most likely has a glow stick or lights attached.  A fun little excursion that day and a cool thing to see in the city!  It happens every year and even if you miss the Parade, the city itself is all lit up and is lined with little shops all decked out in holiday gear so that’s a pretty photographic experience too!

Now aside from the food tour, Kate and I seriously ate like queens for honestly, really cheap. We probably didn’t spend over $50 a day for three square meals and that’s pretty freaking awesome.  We had three favorite places.  Cafe Paprika was seriously the best. It’s a little hole in the wall and as soon as you pull up you’re hit with the wonderful smells of Mediterranean food wafting in the parking lot.  Mediterranean food and me is like white on rice.  I’m still thinking about the gryo meat (house-made) and mint tea that they pour from authentic teapots wwaayy up in the air. We also tried a dish called Bastilla which is like nothing I’ve ever had (which is rare).  It’s layers of puffed pastry filled with spiced shredded chicken, nuts, savory herbs and topped with powdered sugar and more spices.  Now sounds crazy right? But honestly, it was soo good.  If you’re here in Denver and you have a love affair with Mediterranean food like I do, go here.  You certainly won’t be disappointed!

Next on our list was the the The Denver Biscuit Company.  Confession.  This was the only place we ate at twice.  The biscuits were that good.  They have appeared all over various tv shows, probably most notably Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  The biscuits are almost the size of your head and literally melt in your mouth.  The sausage gravy would have any Southern Grandma begging for the recipe and the jams and butters will make you want to get another biscuit just to use them.  If you looked up biscuit in the dictionary, The Denver Biscuit Company’s photo should be there.  They’re that good.

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Yes, be jealous of that biscuit.  I’m jealous and I already ate there.  Excuse me while I lick the screen.  Last, but not least, on our list was the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.  We went here during our day trip to Boulder.  Starting off we drove Boulder Canyon, which is stunning in itself and has great hiking/biking trails as well as a number of pull offs to stop and absorb the beauty around you.  If you have a few hours to spare, take the drive up Boulder Canyon and stop off and hike a bit.

The Dashanbe Teahouse is kind of a combo food, drink, architecture and artwork visit.  The building is breathtaking.  The whole building was created by 40+ artisans from several cities of Tajikistan.  They created the decorative elements the Teahouse, including its hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels.  It’s absolutely stunning.  I’d recommend going here even if you’re not hungry.  The craftsmanship of this building is so unbelievable. But we did eat there.  And drink there.  They offer unlimited chai.  YES.  YOU HEARD RIGHT.  UNLIMITED CHAI.  You empty your coffee mug and they REFILL IT.  FOR FREE.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  We were in hog heaven.  Add that to the artistry around us and the yummy small plates we had of hummus and veggies and a little sampler plate.  People come here for tea (obviously) and the tea sandwich sit down experience.  You have to have reservations for that, so plan in advance people!

Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine is and I’m the one writing this!  But, in all fairness, I also got to eat all this deliciousness too.  Hopefully that was a good little food tour of Denver.  You can eat like kings and queens for cheap.  Plus, there is soooo much to see!  The scenery is breathtaking, the locals are wonderful, and there are more craft breweries and wineries then I could count!  But go to Denver!  Seriously.  You won’t be disappointed. Especially if you’re a crunchy granola foodie like me!  Until next time! -Alysha

Photography and Writing By:

Alysha Yoder Photography

(b) www.alyshayoderphotoblog.com (w) www.alyshayoderphoto.com

(e) alyshayoderphoto@yahoo.com (p) 610.762.7810

(i) www.instagram.com/ayoderphoto/

Mentioned Restaurant and Business Links:

A Taste of Ghent

Sooooo… this post has been a LONG time coming.  Between travel, weddings, holidays, and all around no free-time I have just not had the time to write this post.  I’m sitting in front of a large fireplace in Denver at this very moment and thinking about how blessed I am!  My sister is interviewing for different residency programs all over the US and I’m so, so, proud of her (and my brother too) and when she asked me come down to Denver during one of her interviews I jumped at the opportunity. It also helps that it coincides with both of our birthdays, so after interview’s we’re going to hit the town and celebrate (and we’re always open to great places to visit, eat, or enjoy here).

It’s crazy how quickly life happens.  4 years ago, we were celebrating our birthday’s again, this time in New Orleans, as she interviewed for medical school and now here we are.  On graduation’s door and here I am again, being able to enjoy this exciting moment in my sibling’s life and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m glad all of my siblings share my travel bug.  None of us stayed close to home while studying, much to my mother’s dismay, though we visit regularly.  We’re all always learning, traveling, and growing in our professions.  This leads me to my wonderful learning and travel experience to Ghent, NY with the lovely team of the Made in Ghent farm, and our teacher’s  Michael Piazza and Kevin Masse.

From the moment you pull up to the lovely Made in Ghent farm, you’re greeted by farm dog, Bumble, and the farm owner’s, Richard and Mimi. Warmth and homeyness emits from this place like you wouldn’t believe.  It’s like a little slice of paradise complete with wildflower fields, chickens, and Mimi’s fresh made sour dough bread (that I’m still dreaming about).  They have a wonderful set up kitchen/store that is the first building you pull up to.  Here, Mimi and team make TONS of farm fresh food, from jams and ice cream to pork rillettes and breads.  It’s also the perfect setting for classes, with cooking books lining the walls, kitchen props, tables, and chairs.  A breeze blows through the open space with a pond in the back to gaze at as you sip coffee and snack on homemade yogurt and granola. I was in foodie, photographer, traveler heaven.

Through corporate photography day job, I had signed up for the “How to Create Magazine Quality Food Photographs’ 2-day course.  We learned photography and styling from Michael Piazza and social media and networking expert Kevin Masse.  In between lectures, Mimi and team cooked us up spectacular meals (that still make my mouth water thinking about them) and we were also free to wander the farm and take photos of all the livestock, wildlife, and meal prep.  Our group was small and filled with everything from food stylists, to lawyers, to bloggers.  It was such a great plethora of people passionate about food and photography.  These are my people!  You know the ones?! The people who get you…. when you start talking in depth about how beautiful pastries look when lighted correctly and who get excited about shooting food tablescapes.  Those people.  My people.

We started the day off with tons of delicious breakfast, meeting and greeting everyone and literally breaking bread (sourdough, yes!).  Michael led us up to the main house, i.e. natural light photographer’s dream.  Seen in photos above, I swear half of it was windows, with a stunning open kitchen (with a blue-tiled back splash I was obsessed with), HUGE farm table, beautiful prep and sitting area, and a garage loaded with food props for us. We started with basics, natural lighting, and learned Michael’s favorite food photography techniques.

Isn’t that backsplash dreamy?

Experimenting with different light setups.

Another bomb-diggity meal done by Mimi and crew.

Wandering the farm post-lecture.