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My mission as a wedding photographer is to help happy couples celebrate life's biggest joys with high quality photos and a dang good time. I believe the experience is just as important as the photos and that you deserve beautiful, lasting memories.

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wedding ceremony at greate bay country club

Greate Bay Ocean City Wedding | Amy and Colin

Wowowow. What a beautiful wedding these two had to celebrate their marriage! Amy & Colin are what I like to call a full circle couple — I was there the moment they got engaged and I was there the moment they tied the knot!!!! It’s so sweet being with couples through the whole entire process of committing to each other for forever 🥺

You can see their surprise proposal & engagement session riiiiiight here 🙂

I started off the wedding day at Wawa (shocker 🤣) with some extra caffeine and a chipotle cream sauce burrito … freaking DELICIOUS. I had gotten there preeeetty early because their wedding was in Ocean City, NJ, and coming from Philly you literally never know when there will be insane traffic on the way to the shore! So I sat in the Wawa parking lot with my coffee and my burrito and went over the timeline a few times, prepping for the day ahead.

Getting Ready

Amy met me outside when I arrived at her parents’ beach house. The first thing I noticed was her hair – it was STUNNING!!! Her blonde hair was curled and coaxed into a loose side braid with a beautiful gold and diamond hair piece woven into the back. Like, WOW. What a perfect hairstyle for her!!! She led me up a few flights of stairs where the getting ready party was happening. I got right to work photographing her details with her simple yet beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas  — white for the bride, green for everyone else (green was a major theme of the day, as Amy is super proud of her Irish heritage!). 

I then moved onto her dress – which, again … so freaking pretty. I hung it up against the window in the bedroom she would be getting dressed in, but it wasn’t quite right. So I walked around the house, scoping out a place for the dress. And then I found it — the back sliding door!! There were simple, neutral curtains over the windows and the long hallway leading to it would make for some cool depth in the picture. I closed the curtains, moved the colorful fish doormat and took some things off of the table in the hallway to create the perfect frame for the dress. I went back upstairs, transported the dress downstairs to the sliding door and placed her shoes a little bit off to the side to offset the table in the foreground on the other side … okay I realize I’m getting really nerdy here so let’s just say I’m incredibly proud of this dress detail photo 🤣🤣

I could tell that Amy was super close with her bridesmaids, but it was obvious that her Maid of Honor stood out from the rest. They were best friends. I mean, the BEST of friends. It was honestly so sweet to witness their relationship throughout the day, so I made sure to focus on that in addition to the newlyweds’ relationship during the wedding.

After all the girls were ready and Amy’s mom helped button her dress, it was time to head outside for pictures before the limo arrived. We were spot on with timing!!! I put everything back into place that I had moved around for detail pictures and made my way outside to scope out a spot for pictures. The front steps honestly worked perfectly (the gardening was super pretty!) so I directed everyone with how to stand for pictures there. We got through a ton of bridesmaid pictures, parent pictures, and even snuck in a few bridal portraits before the limo arrived to take everyone to the venue! I snapped some candids of the girls getting in the limo, packed up my stuff, picked up my coffee and headed to the venue. It was officially ~bro time~ 😎

I texted Colin when I parked to make sure all the groomsmen were fully clothed before I walked in (a MUST for us female photographers 🤣). I had passed the setup for the ceremony when I drove in and WOWOWOWOWOW I was SO FREAKING PUMPED to photograph their wedding there!!!! I made my way inside and greeted Colin, asking him how he felt — good, a bit nervous, ready to finally be married. Which is pretty much how most grooms feel that I work with! It was pretty dark in the men’s locker room so I broke out the flash for some portraits of Colin. I wasn’t super happy with the background, however, so I rallied the troops to go outside for groomsmen pictures. MUCH better. We had some fun with groomsmen pictures, as usual (Mighty Ducks Flying V for the win!!!), and I snagged some individual portraits of Colin in much better light. Heading back inside, I snapped a few photos of the guys watching the Penn State game on a massive TV before going upstairs to check in with the ladies.

When I got upstairs, I was a little surprised to find the ladies ALSO rallied around the TV watching the Penn State game!! Turns out, Amy played basketball on one of Penn State’s campuses so she was a REAL big fan. I texted my boyfriend to inform him of the pre-ceremony football watching since he is a huge football fan — he sent me updates throughout the rest of the game so I could fill the wedding party in while they were away from the TV! Anyway, I saw the three flower girls for the first time in their adorable sparkly dresses … like if you asked me what color the dresses were, I would say sparkly! Haha. I was able to snag a portrait of the mother of the groom in this time and a beautiful candid portrait of Amy right before she got ready to head out to the ceremony. She said she wasn’t nervous until she stood up to head out to the ceremony — then all the nerves hit her and she was just excited to see Colin and marry him!!!!

I took some scene setting shots the ceremony before the day’s festivities truly began. I couldn’t get over how freaking beautiful the setup was!! They were to be married in front of a gazebo, next to a pond, with willow trees in the background. Y’all, willow trees are my FAVORITE!! I was so ready for this ceremony to begin.

Ceremony

There was a long walkway to the arbor, which was honestly kind of fun. It gave me more time for photos and it built up the anticipation for Colin as he waited to see his bride. The flower girls really set the scene for joy when they walked down the aisle with their green buckets of rose petals … without throwing any petals on the ground! When they got to the arbor, Colin motioned to them to toss the rose petals on the ground; so, naturally, the three of them just dumped their buckets of flower petals right there on the ground in front of the arbor. It was so cute and funny!!!! There were smiles all around as everyone waited for the woman of the day to enter the ceremony. I was buzzing with nerves and excitement — I positioned myself perfectly to capture Amy’s entrance as well as Colin’s reaction to seeing her in her wedding dress for the first time. I’m pretty sure he was shocked to the point of speechlessness when he saw her. I mean, how could he not be — she was freaking GORGEOUS, inside and out!!!! She made her way down the aisle arm-in-arm with her father, a massive smile on her face despite the wind whipping all around her. This was about to be a beautiful union 🙂

wedding ceremony at greate bay country club

Amy’s cousin was the officiant for the day. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — it’s always a little extra sweet so have someone who knows the bride and groom to officiate their wedding. They had a few loved ones give some readings during the ceremony, which was really sweet. As I mentioned, Amy’s Irish heritage is super important to her so they had two loved ones read an Irish blessing for them before they sealed their union. After one of these readings, during which Amy and Colin moved to the side to listen, Amy’s maid of honor walked up to fix the train of Amy’s dress when she got back in her position to say “I do”. I kid you not, as soon as she fixed the dress and got back in place, a MASSIVE gust of wind blew the dress right back to where it was before she fixed it 🤣 I felt bad, but also, I couldn’t help but giggle at the timing of that wind gust haha. Before I knew it, Amy & Colin were sliding wedding bands onto each other’s fingers (during which one of the ring bearers ran right in front of them, of course 🤣) and they stepped forward to seal their marriage with a kiss!!!! The crowd erupted in applause as Amy & Colin joined hands and walked back down the aisle with the biggest smiles EVER plastered on their faces!!! Woohoo!!!!!

After a few minutes of chatting with family & friends post ceremony, and of the little ring bearer running around with one of the flower girls’ buckets on his head, it was time for formal portraits! I snuck away with Amy & Colin first for some portraits — usually I save these for last but we were missing a few key family members so I tasked the MOH with rallying the troops and coming down to us when they were ready! I directed Amy & Colin through a few staple bride & groom portraits while we waited for their families to arrive, and MAN, were the two of them filled with absolute JOY! I couldn’t stop smiling myself as I photographed their giddy smiles. 

Formal Photos

We moved quickly into family photos in front of the beautiful gazebo and got through them fairly quickly. I always try to get these done as fast as possible (without sacrificing quality, of course) so the family members can enjoy a decent amount of cocktail hour before the reception. After finishing those photos, it was time for full wedding party photos and bridesmaid singles since we got through all the groomsmen and most of the bridesmaid photos earlier in the day!! The wedding party was FANTASTIC to work with; it seemed like everyone was having a great time with these photos (and it definitely helped that a kind soul brought down some drinks for the wedding party to enjoy during picture time!!). I always try to make it fun for everyone since I know they’re usually itching to start the party! Before heading back up to the venue, I grabbed a few B E A UUUUUTIFUL bridal portraits of Amy in front of a pretty willow tree — pretty sure I squealed with joy while taking those photos!! Wowowow. Beautiful. Time for the second act.

Cocktail Hour

I snapped a few candids of the cocktail hour but mostly took time to rest before the reception so I could be on top of my game for all of those moments. The reception room had green uplighting to match the Irish theme of the day. As the guests filed in, I grabbed detail shots of the table set ups and quite a few “grab-n-go’s” of the guests sitting at their assigned tables. Then it was time for the entrances — let the party begin!!! The wedding party had some awesome entrances that had the whole room erupting in applause … but then, at the worst time (as usual), my flash died during the Maid of Honor/Best Man entrance. Crap!!! I quickly adjusted my settings to compensate for the low lighting in the room JUST in time for the newlyweds to enter the dance floor!! After their entrance I quickly replenished my flash batteries and I was ready to go as their first dance was about to begin. Phew!!!!!

Traditions

Amy & Colin’s first dance was all things sweet and good as they stared lovingly into each other’s eyes while spinning round and round in circles. They moved right into toasts, which were SO much fun. Instead of sitting at a sweetheart table, Amy & Colin sat at a round table with their wedding party so everybody was able to share laughs and toasts together!!! Colin’s brother, the Best Man, steadily teased him throughout his well-written speech with lots of dramatic pauses and plenty of brotherly love, of course. The maid of honor was up next with plenty of stories from a lifetime of friendship with the bride, all said very well and with the crowd laughing and clapping in applause.

The rest of the reception started out pretty chill, with Amy & Colin walking around to greet their guests and the guests themselves split between their tables, the dance floor and the bar in the other room. The kids had a field day tearing up the dance floor and once they figured out the Photo Booth, they couldn’t stop taking pictures! I bopped around, trying to document the joy of the evening as per Amy & Colin’s request.

There was one request that I wasn’t too certain I had fulfilled yet – the loving gaze. Yes they were staring deeply into each other’s eyes during the ceremony and during bride and groom portraits, but those were moments when you would EXPECT that to happen. I wanted to capture that moment happening candidly, without any awareness of my camera. I kept that in the front of my mind as I photographed the rest of the reception.

The parent dances and cake cutting were sweet but low-key —  a new trend I have been noticing in weddings. The DJ will announce them happening but doesn’t command the attention of the entire room. If you wanted to watch, you’d watch; if you were busy doing something else, you’d continue doing that. After all, the parent dances and cake cutting are moments specifically for the newlyweds and their parents; how many guests really want to watch the first piece of cake being cut as long as they get to eat a slice? Amy & Colin were fully engrossed in the moment for these tradition and, honestly, that’s all that truly matters!!!

Reception

And then, the dance floor started picking up. Let’s gooo! A group of friends formed a circle on the dance floor, but it wasn’t quite a dance circle — it was a spin-the-bottle circle, and whomever the bottle landed on had to finish the rest of their drink right then, right there!!!! It looked like soooooo much fun and I had such a blast photographing it hahaha. (Tbh, I’m going to keep this in mind next time I attend a wedding myself!!!) 

Amy entered the dance floor and had a blast with her family and friends. BUT THEN. The DJ did something that he definitely didn’t understand the consequences to. He gave Amy a MICROPHONE!!!! Y’all, the way her eyes lit up when he handed the mic to her was priceless. She immediately started belting into the microphone, walking around the dance floor like she owned the place. And honestly, in that moment, she did. Amy CRUSHED it, exuding confidence and putting on a show for the crowd!!! I fully enjoyed photographing this moment because I knew how much she was enjoying the privilege of the microphone 🤣

Soon after, Colin joined Amy on the dance floor and started popping off, which made for some fanTASTIC photos on my end. They had both been busy talking to guests leading up to this point so I was pumped to get some fun dancing pictures of them!! After a very fun Don’t Stop Believin’ set, Amy & Colin got niiiice and close for just a few moments. I remembered Amy’s request for a “gazing” shot, so I focused in on those few moments before they parted ways once again. I quickly looked down at my camera to make sure I got what I thought I got — A GAZING SHOT!!!! I literally had about 15 minutes to spare before I took off for the night!! HECK YES!!!! Very very very happy I was able to get that candid look between them before the night was through!! Yeeeeehawwwww 🥳

A few songs later, which included the Maid of Honor trying to get Amy’s dad to dance to Get Low 🤣, I hugged Amy goodbye and wished her the absolute best the rest of the night!!! What a freaking fun wedding to photograph. Amy & Colin, I wish you two the absolute BEST as you pursue married life together!!! It was an honor documenting your engagement AND your marriage 🙂 💛

wedding reception at greate bay country club

Vendors who made this day as special as it was:

Venue: Greate Bay Country Club

Men’s Wear: Men’s Wearhouse

DJ: Bob Morgan Entertainment

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- Melissa d.

“Gabriella was absolutely amazing!!! Words cannot even describe how perfect she was, but I’ll try my best. Right from the beginning, I knew she was the one. She was so caring, calming, organized, and just a genuinely happy person. She made me feel even more excited for my wedding. She was so helpful throughout the entire process right down to the big day. AND THE PICTURES - OH MY GOD. They are absolutely breathtaking and she definitely tells the story of your day in the most perfect way. She captures every precious moment while having a smile on her face the whole time she’s with you. I can’t say enough amazing things about her. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone looking to have the BEST photographer for any occasion. We had such an amazing experience with Gabriella and we can’t thank her enough!”

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- Dawn g.

“Gabriella is a very great planner, very organized and an absolute delight to work with. Her planning and organization helped me prepare for the big day without any fear that I left any important photo out. Her planning skills ensured I didn't miss any details. She is such a delight to work with she was even happy to help me with my little surprise I had for my husband, it went off without a hitch. She captured all the photos we could imagine....all the fun, sweet, sincere moments throughout the day. She even provided the photos to us in a timely manner. I HIGHLY recommend her; she's highly energetic, personable, easy to work with, a planner, organized, and she captured lots of beautiful pictures. She exceeded all of my expectations. She was such a great photographer.”

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Making my dream wedding come true!
Gabriella was hired by my (now) husband, as a surprise photographer for our proposal. She was phenomenal and we hired her for our wedding as well! Her energy and vision for our wedding photos captured every moment and emotion. She was amazing in every way. Her attention to detail and knowing what was important to me on my big day was awesome - she went the extra mile. I would 10/10 recommend her to any one wanting to capture beautiful moments in life - for their engagement, wedding, and more.

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- Megan W.

Hiring Gabriella was one of the best decisions that we made during our wedding planning. From our very first conversation, Gabriella was warm & bubbly. She radiates positive energy that I knew that we needed for our big day. Gabriella has a vigorous work ethic and eye for detail. Her ability to transform any setting is pure magic. We enjoyed working with her throughout the planning process and are absolutely thrilled with our engagement and wedding photos (which she had edited and back to us in less than one month!).

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- Lisette & Tyrus b.

What can we say about Gabriella Marie Photography. There are so many words to describe the amazing job Gabriella did on our special wedding day. Gabriella will not only shoot your wedding, she can help you design what your wedding will be. She is there every step of the way. She has amazing attention to detail. Before the big day, Gabriella has a plan that will ensure that your day will be spectacular. She is always available via text, call, direct message, FaceTime or Zoom. Gabriella is the absolute best photographer ever. The best quality that she has is that she is more than a photographer, she is a true friend. She cares about her clients and makes us feel like a trust-worthy friend is there to help. For example, she sent my wife and I a pre-wedding care package. This gift proved to be so valuable for us while dealing with wedding stress. This gift was the most thoughtful thing my wife and I ever received. A simple thank you is just only the tip of the iceberg with regarding Gabriella Marie Photography. Everyone please check out our new friend Gabriella. Trust us, she is worth every penny and more.

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