Winter Wedding in the Snow- Rachel & Michael

Rachel and Michael's day was so sweet. 

I remember months leading up to the wedding day, the only thing Rachel wanted was snow for snow pictures. Every time we spoke prior, she always mentioned how hard she was praying for snow! And of course, it went the whole day without snowing... until the most perfect time! It started to snow right after their ceremony, and before we even got to family pictures, we both saw that it was snowing out and ran for the front doors with such child-like joy to go be in the snow! We had a blast taking those snow pictures- it was like the whole wedding day process had just froze (no pun intended) and we were able to genuinely just have fun and take Rachel's dream photos for her winter wedding. I'll never forget that moment of Rachel and Michael's wedding!

Personally, this wedding was really special for me to be apart of and photographing. I actually took Rachel's maternity photos 4 years ago when she was pregnant with her beautiful daughter Renee and I was just getting started with photography. It was so special for me to now see her little girl as one of the flower girls!

Michael and his little girl came together with Rachel and her daughter to make one beautiful, very happy family. What a love story! This day was so emotional and wonderful to be apart of. Thank you Rachel and Michael, for letting me tell your story!

 

xx

Toni

Rachel's mother's wedding dress & Rachel's wedding dress.

Rachel's mother's wedding dress & Rachel's wedding dress.

Longwood Garden's Proposal with Bria & Tommy

Tommy proposed to Bria 3 days after Christmas (A little late to blogging this beautiful session, but always better late than never!) at Longwood Gardens. I can't stress enough how much OF A GOOD IDEA (BOYS) IT IS to have a professional photograph this moment! It's one that goes by quick but forever one of the most important and best moments this sweet life brings. Saying yes to forever with the one you love! I just love being able to have a job that puts people in love in front of me on a daily basis. It's truly beautiful.

Longwood Gardens is absolutely STUNNING and this was actually my second proposal I photographed here in 2017. It literally feels unreal and magical when you're walking through all the magnificently displayed plants and flowers! I would highly recommend doing professional photos here at the gardens, its so much fun and endless photo opportunity! 

Tommy and Bria - Congratulations on your engagement! You two are so sweet and evidently have a giddy-like, fun, genuine love. Thank you for letting me capture this moment and day for you both!

2017 Highlights & A Letter to 2018 Brides

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for stopping by to read and review my 2017 favorites! I wanted to share some of my favorite and most loved photos from this year because it was my favorite year of photographs to date. Both in my personal life and professional, 2017 was the year of unforgettable photographs. If you know me, you know how I am completely fascinated with what a camera can do- how it can capture a moment in time that is otherwise gone. I'm completely humbled that so many individuals have entrusted me to capture such precious moments in their personal history to keep forever. I'm discovering more and more with each year of growth in photography that my job is WAY more than just showing up to a shoot location and taking pictures. It's bigger than me editing photos and then delivering them to people. It's taking apart in individual's biggest, most life altering days- and then photographing the start of their family a year later. It's telling the love story of a couple- from engagement, to wedding, to marriage, to family. It's capturing the growth of a family year to year, and marking all the change through images. It's while living in a world that constantly throws comparison and discontentment in our faces, still being able to make someone feel beautiful. I don't want to just capture bride and grooms on their wedding day and never see them again. I want to photograph their anniversaries and pregnancies and kids. I've grown to love and care for each and every client of mine, and I truly feel so blessed so have had another incredible year of documenting, telling stories, and dancing with my brides at the reception. 2017, you brought some sweet memories. And now, I can not wait to continue to share in the joy of life giving celebrations, moments, and milestones with my 2018 clients!

And a note to 2018 brides,

I just wanted to remind you that your wedding day is something that will be the most beautiful day of your life. Not because of the flowers you chose, or the colors you pick out, or even the dress....though all these things will be wonderful, I'm sure. But this is the day that you enter into a lifetime of marriage with your best friend. I assure you, there will probably be things that don't go as planned on your wedding day. Your timeline won't be perfect. But the thing that will make this day the best is the love that you are celebrating surrounded by the people who love you most. I speak from experience and endless testimonies that this day is well worth investing in good photography. But brides, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Don't settle on your pictures for the cheapest option you can find. Don't leave it up your uncle who owns a DSLR camera. You will NOT regret getting someone you completely trust with a camera in hand to not only document the day, but who will help smoothly guide the day along because they know how a wedding day goes. You will NOT regret investing in an album that tangibly lets you hold on to the day you've put so much planning and effort in to. Whether you hand me the privilege of capturing all the big (and small) moments of your wedding day, or whether you decide to go with another photographer, PLEASE remember when photographing shopping what you want to show your kids one day. Remember what kind of prints you'll be framing a year later. Remember that you should go with who you think you'll fully invest in you as much as you invest in them. And to all my already booked 2018 brides- thank you for letting me be apart of this new coming year. I am beyond thankful, humbled, and just itching to tell your story.

Happy New Year!

Nicholas & Heather's Engagement

I grew up with Nicholas' family. Getting to photograph his proposal to his lovely lady Heather was truly something so special to me. Nicholas did an amazing job planning out this day. Not only was Heather completely surprised when he popped the question in a beautiful treehouse in Longwood Gardens, but HE GOT A PHOTOGRAPHER TO CAPTURE THE WHOLE THING ;)

 (hint hint boys) 

Everything about this proposal was so well thought out! This was my first time at Longwood Gardens and I was so excited when Nicholas called me and told me this is where he wanted to propose, because I have always wanted to go! AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Longwood Gardens in absolutely BEAUTIFUL. If you've never been, I highly recommend going sometime! And couples reading this- I'd advise you to consider having engagement photos done here at the Gardens. I was having a field day capturing all the endless beauty that is so photogenic around me! ;) Just saying. 

I love photographing proposals because it basically means I get to be an undercover spy for the day. The treehouse that Nick proposed in wasn't exactly the first thing you see when you walk into the park, so we had a bit of ways to go before we got to the designated proposal spot. So to stay hidden and unnoticed by Heather, I tried to keep my distance from them as I followed behind and tried to looking busy with taking photos of the scenery. When we got to the spot where he wanted to propose, there were a bunch of teenage girls behind me as I was shooting- watching Nicolas propose and screaming and clapping when Heather said yes! It was perfect timing that we had a little audience in the background cheering the couple on. We couldn't stop laughing about this the rest of the time. 

Once Nicolas and Heather were officially engaged, Nick's parents (who are the sweetest people on the planet and considered family to me) popped out from hiding to hand Heather flowers and congratulate them both. What a sweet moment to be able to photograph. 

Afterwards, having walked around taking some fun photos of the newly engaged couple, we stopped at a beer garden halfway around the park to rest and fellowship over some pretzels and lemonade. Life is so sweet when your job allows you to be a bit more intimate with what you're engaging in. (no pun intended). Needless to say, I was so honored to take these photos for a dear family friend of mine so that it's remembered tangibly. 

Here a few from the day! Congrats Nicholas & Heather!

Jesse & Genna's Engagement

BOYS: make sure that this moment is documented for your girl. It's something you won't regret and she will be happy you thought of it! And I will be happy to hide in sand dunes or a close by bush! ;D (No, but really.) 

Jesse and Genna are the sweetest! I was so happy when Jesse reached out to me to photograph his proposal to his high school sweetheart. Congratulations guys! 

Natasha & Don

Natasha & Don's wedding day was beautiful in the purest way. Though it was a rainy summer day, it was the people that surrounded and supported this ceremony of Natasha and Don coming together that made this day beautifully warm and vibrant. 

I first met Natasha and Don for their engagement photos last year, and we instantly connected. I love being able to shoot with my couples before the actual wedding day, because it really gives us a chance to get to know each other and get them comfortable in front of the camera. It's so important to chose the right photographer when you're looking for the person that will capture your wedding day. It's not just about price point. It's about style and personality and personal connection. To all those who are engaged and looking for a wedding photographer: keep in mind that you want to look for someone who can connect and dive into your love story. Someone that can really be able to tell the story of YOUR day.

Natasha and Don, I hope your love stays young forever. You two are a true joy to be around and I was honored to say the least to capture each step of your special day. Thank you for letting me partake in your day! Just like how the clouds cleared up just in time for us to take photos, I hope that the sunshine always peaks through just in the perfect timing for you whenever you need it most. Love you guys!

 

xx

toni

Photography: @tonivalentiniphotography / Dress: The Wedding Factor

Beka & Chris - Engagement

Sweet Rebekah and Chris. 

I have to admit, these two are quite perfect together. Watching them interact together during this session was a real pleasure for me. They spoke so sweetly to each other and have an evident connection. Just like most couples I shoot with, they arrived at our meeting spot, nervous for pictures being taken of them. But like most people that get their photograph taken, no matter how uncomfortable they may start with feeling in the beginning, the more and more I work behind the camera with them, the more I start to see them open up and become comfortable. Letting loose a little and having fun. Their authentic selves start to shine through.  

However, even though Beka and Chris said they'd be awkward in front of the camera, not being used to having pictures taken, they were naturals. But it wasn't anything special I was doing to make it happen. They were having fun with each other. They made each other laugh. The comfort that they had in each other's arms shone through every photo I took.

 "You captured perfectly my love for him and how he makes me laugh!" was the rewarding reaction of Bek when she first saw the final product of their engagement session together.

What started off as their "nervous in front of the camera" selves turned into Chris whispering in Beka's ear at the very end why it is her that he chose to spend the rest of his life with. When I asked Chris to pull her in tight for a photo and tell her why she's his 1 in 7 billion, the reaction was outstandingly beautiful. It took my breath away to see real tears stream down Beka's cheek as she was the only one in the universe that was hearing the gentle words coming off of her soon to be groom's lips. This is one of my absolute favorite moments in my photography career to date. 

I absolutely can not wait to take part in capturing their wedding day this fall. Here are some of Beka and Chris's engagement session!

Caroline & Nazar

Let me brag to you a little bit about Caroline and Nazar. These two have to be a pair of some of the SWEETEST humans I've ever met. When we were done shooting together, I left with the biggest smile on my face from just getting to be with these two for a few hours. My couple clients are THE BEST. They make me so happy, and Caroline and Nazar are a perfect example of why I love my job. They were so much fun to document. They loved the raw and genuine moments like I do when shooting. These two are so connected in every kind of way you want two people to be who are committing to be together for the rest of their lives- and NOTHING makes me happier than a couple who is deeply, lovingly, sweetly connected. So proud of these two for being willing to do whatever for a fun picture. I had these two climbing things, laying down in fields and leaves in the cold, but they faced it like a champ and never complained! 

Congratulations Caroline and Nazar on your engagement, beautiful things are ahead of you two.

Jessie & Keith

I had the privilege of meeting and working with this power couple. Jessie & Keith were such a sweet couple to photograph. Jessie reached out to me wanting to surprise her boyfriend with some pictures before he left to go back to serve our country. Thank you Keith for your service, it was an honor meeting you! And Jessie was just the sweetest. Her heart shines through and she really is beautiful inside and out! Here are some highlights from our time together. 

Christianna & Jeremiah's Wedding

Christianna & Jeremiah's day was a DREAM. 

Christianna made a drop dead gorgeous bride and Jeremiah was one of the sweetest grooms I've had the privilege of working with. They both had the chillest and most relaxed spirit about them on their day. Their love is beautifully natural and authentic, that kind of raw love that everyone wants to find. In my opinion, this is how it's meant to be. 

Getting to be a part of their gorgeous day was such an honor! Being around both of their incredibly sweet families and witnessing them come together as ONE to celebrate the result of love. It made me think of how special it is for me to get to capture the start of a brand new family beginning-- not just getting to capture the wedding day itself, but everything that day leads to and means!

So thankful that this couple was one of my clients this year. They were so laid back and were always down for photo ops throughout the day, no matter what my next crazy idea was. Christianna and Jeremiah are what we call a POWER COUPLE. I really can't brag enough about how awesome they are. 

Here's some highlights from their gorgeous September wedding:

Kaela & Jonathan's Wedding

I met Kaela a little over 2 years ago at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, CA. I remember Kaela always talking about Jonathan since the day I met her... she was always so proud that she was dating him. I've always admired their relationship and how much they respected and cared for one another. Getting to watch Kaela and Jonathan from the side lines go from dating to engaged to married has been such a sweet experience and memory I'll have forever. 

I had the greatest honor in getting to fly out west to Spokane, WA to photograph Kaela and Jonathan's special day. This day had been anticipated by every single guest at their wedding, which was all of their closest family and friends. Everyone there was just overflowing with joy and relief that these two are finally married after dating for nearly 5 years! 

I think it's such a beautiful thing that I get to photograph the beginning of two lives joining together as one and the start of a family.... and it's exactly the word "family" that comes to mind when I think of Kaela and Jonathan. Not only their wedding but their entire lives have always been so focused and centered on Christ and Christ-loving FAMILY. It was truly such a sweet wedding to be apart of and witness. 

These two mean an extra special amount to me since I've gotten to watch their love grow and develop and mature. Getting married young is a beautiful thing to me because they get to continue to grow up and figure things out together, as best friends. Love you K and Jonathan! Congratulations on making it to marriage and having a beautiful day!