Posts tagged “multicultural multiethnic weddings

Carl + Helen || El Lago, Texas Weddings

For many months, we’ve been anticipating Carl + Helen’s wedding celebration. Not only did we have the chance to photograph a really easy going, no-frills couple, but it would be our first time (as Dreamlite) in Texas for a wedding. Thankfully, this awesome wedding happened because, well, Carl and Helen happened.

Every love story has its roots, and Carl + Helen’s modern story began in Philadelphia. Helen is a world-class athlete, while Carl is a professional-engineer-with-infinite-hobbies-and-talents. Having met online through a Christian dating website, they immediately hit it off. For those of you who have missed it, check out their engagement session from Boathouse Row in Philadelphia.

Blessed with unusually cool temperatures, we couldn’t have been happier to work with the mild climate that passed through that part of Texas that weekend. We flew down to little town of Friendswood, Texas to document their wedding day. Some of our favorite wedding details to date were seen at this wedding. The handmade, shotgun shell boutonniere is certainly creative + ingenious, a homage to the couples’ shared love for the outdoors. The wedding favors were wooden bowls, hand carved and imported from the Philippines, then branded with the couple’s very own customized design. The groom’s cufflinks belonged to Helen’s grandfather when he was stationed in the Philippines. Best of all, the bridal party arrived to the wedding venue by fishing boat, a true first in our book. There are so many more details that we don’t have time to mention, but we know this: our newlyweds put a lot of thought and creativity into planning their wedding, and we certainly saw people appreciate the fruit of their labor.

At the very start of the wedding day, our couple emphasized one desire: to spend time with loved ones. That took center stage above everything else that day, and we were happy to oblige to that request. Having given us ample time for portraits throughout the day, we were grateful to document an evening reception filled with a whole lot of dancing, a few tear-jerking speeches… exactly what the newlywed couple had hoped for.



Meghan + Brian || National Aviary in Pittsburgh

We’ve been to a lot of unique wedding venues– Spanish colonial-era churches, aquariums, island resorts, museums– but photographing at an aviary is a first for us. Even cooler is the fact that this wedding didn’t happen at just any ordinary aviary. Brian and Meghan celebrated their wedding at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, the largest and most diverse aviary within the entire United States. Housing over 600 animals, this venue offered a fun and picturesque setting for their wedding. During cocktail hour, guests were encouraged to roam through the various wildlife exhibits.Throughout the evening, the staff were kind enough to bring out a few different animals for a close-up experience (don’t miss out on the penguin and owl photos below!)

Perhaps our favorite moment of the day was when we photographed the big bridal party portrait below. We gave the groom a few pointers on how to open a bottle of champagne- the photo-worthy way-  and he didn’t put enough emphasis on the pop. Out of nowhere, the bride commandeers the bottle and furiously shook the bottle, unleashing a fountain of champagne all over the bridal party.
(For those of you technically inclined, that photo below was taken at 200mm, full frame, so you can imagine how relieved we were to not have the champagne all over our cameras)

And THAT is how you celebrate your wedding with champagne.



Eileen + Danny || Grounds for Sculpture Weddings

It’s been a wonderful wedding season so far. The only downside with us being so busy is our inability to find time and blog more. Thankfully, we’ve been spend some very late nights trying to catchup on our blog. This one is for you, Eileen and Danny!

When advising our couples in the months leading up to the actual wedding day, one of the things we emphasize most is setting aside “us time”. That is, making sure the couple has some time alone- time for portraits, snacking on food, or simply a nap on the couch in between transitions. This advice serves two benefits: one, it gives the couple a much needed breather from the exciting (and sometimes chaotic) jam-packed events that comprise the wedding day, and two, it allows them to share in the wedding excitement together, as it is happening. Often, we find that these moments alone are what our couples cherish the most, because they can unwind and take it all in, even if only for a minute. For those of you reading this who are currently planning their wedding, consider building in some “us time” in the midst of your schedules. You’ll be thankful you did.

A few weeks back, we joined Eileen and Danny for their incredible wedding celebration at the one-of-a-kind Grounds for Sculpture. The beautiful mix of summer and autumn weather helped cap off a great day already filled with festivities, love, dancing and cupcakes. Check out some of our favorite images from their day.

Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
Gold Armband + Belt: Etsy (vintage shops)
Moonstone Ring: Luna Skye



Angie + Leighton || Westbury Manor Weddings

Going into the day, we knew our schedule would be quite busy. We were excited to see Angie and Leighton’s wedding day unfold, as the months leading up to the big day have been overflowing with anticipation. Their wedding day itself was filled with the perfect mix of family involvement, beautiful color palettes and well-thought-out details… all while making a point to highlight the decade long love story that brought them to this very day.

Getting married at the Westbury Manor was one of many excellent choices made by our bride and groom. Initially, the forecast had some people worrying that the ceremony would be moved indoors. Miraculously enough, the weather held long enough to keep everything outside and everything went according to plan. Imbedded in this garden theme were some really cute outfits worn by the kids participating in the bridal party.

Although our schedule was busy, our checklist was short. Without a doubt, our favorite part of the day was knowing how much emphasis Angie and Leighton had on celebrating the day with loved ones. Carrying this in mind helped us to really concentrate on photographing the moments of the day, and for that, we are very grateful.

Thank you Angie and Leighton for trusting us + having us there for your big day. Congratulations to you both!

Hair and Makeup: Mable Pang ||
Ceremony and Reception: Westbury Manor ||
Photography: Dreamlite Photography ||



Cindy + Derek || Winter Weddings at The Addison Park

Almost one year ago today, we were delighted to have wrapped up our wedding season with Cindy + Derek’s gorgeous engagement session in Savannah, Georgia. Once again, we find ourselves finishing off the 2014 wedding season with the same amazing couple… and we couldn’t be more honored to do so with anybody else.

Truth be told, we at Dreamlite Photography have been looking forward to this day for quite some time. Having already “tied the knot” on paper, Cindy + Derek emphasized this particular marriage celebration be exactly that– a celebration. Shedding away many of the traditional wedding day formalities allowed this couple to have a really beautiful, easy-flowing schedule. By doing so, this couple made room for a whole lot of dancing, laughter, love, and a few tears along the way (the good kind).

Although the winter weather was in full swing by this weekend (with temperatures dipping to the 20’s), you probably couldn’t tell by the portraits we took around the Princeton University campus. That’s how brave our bride + groom were. We consider ourselves blessed by having such courageous couples to work with. Even when things got really cold, Derek + Cindy pushed through, knowing that these portraits would be worth it.


Typically, our blogposts are filled with real moments… authentic emotions, crazy dance moves, and candid images that reflect our couples’ wedding day stories. And in doing so, we hardly ever shine the spotlight on the details. Not that we have anything against details, but we simply prefer to highlight the living over the inanimate 🙂 However, there was no way we could share this wedding without applauding Nada and her team from DB Events for being the creative force behind all the wedding details. The amount of creative energy poured into making this all possible was truly unspeakable. Every single detail– from the suspended wedding cake to the elegantly designed centerpieces to the dream-like ambiance of the reception room– can be credited to the folks at DB Events. We even had the opportunity to watch two separate dance performances that evening: an Irish dance troupe, followed by Pali Dabke Arabic dancers, to honor our couples’ Irish and Palestinian backgrounds. Thank you DB Events for making the magic real.

Above all else, congratulations to Derek + Cindy on celebrating their new marriage!

(To see more of our work, and even more photos from their celebration, visit us on our facebook page)



NaDea + Daniel || Addison Park Weddings

NaDea and Daniel’s wedding celebration was a long time coming. This spectacular couple was so well planned, organized and on top of all their email communications, we thought we were dealing with industry pros, not newlyweds.

Just one year earlier, we met up with this couple for their engagement session at Longwood Garden. A vibrant, down-to-earth couple who also happen to share the love for good food, we got a bit too excited when we heard about their honeymoon plans to Hawaii… So of course, we wrote them a giant email that included all of the local food recommendations on the island of Oahu that we wanted them to experience!

Regarding their wedding day, we had a truly wonderful time documenting their late September wedding extravaganza. The weather just as perfect as we had hoped– a healthy dose of sunshine, a little bit of clouds, and enough of the September breeze to keep us all comfortable. This was also our first time at stunning Addison Park, and the wedding venue certainly lived up to it’s reputation. We loved the effortless blending of their Chinese & American backgrounds, which included a surprise Lion Dance performance, and a very american (but lesser seen) broom jumping tradition at the end of the wedding ceremony. The dancing & speeches portion of the reception was so full of energy, we wish the party was extended for another couple of hours.

A very special + honorable mention goes out to the lovely wedding coordinator Carla of Details Made Simple. Without her professional guidance + wisdom on the day of, we really wouldn’t have had such a memorable wedding experience.

Thank you both for having us at your wedding day, and we wish you two the very best in your new lives together!



Katrina + Ben || Ballroom at the Ben Weddings

Photographs alone cannot sum up what an amazing time we had this weekend at Ben + Katrina’s wedding celebration. Every little aspect from their wedding day had us not only impressed, but very much humbled. Beyond their ability to juggle work + law school + wedding planning over this past year, and besides the fact that loved ones had come from all over the world to attend, they made it a point to honor their families in such a beautiful way. During the reception, the newly-wedded couple stood up to offer words of love + thanksgiving to their own families; an unforgettably heartfelt gesture we hope to see more of in our future weddings.

Looking back, there are so many favorite moments that we had as their photographers. We could talk all day about how awesome it was that they had an “unplugged” wedding ceremony, or perhaps go on about how this was the first time we’ve ever encountered a “Man of Honor” (the bride’s brother). But we’ve come to realize that with this couple, we enjoyed simply being around them. Whether it be during their adventurous engagement session around Philly to documenting all the behind-the-scenes stuff on their wedding day, we both agreed that their love for each other, for God, and for others is an incredibly visible testament in itself.

Thank you to Katrina + Ben for having us along at your wedding day celebration. Congratulations!

(and make sure to visit us on facebook to see even more images later this week!)




Irene + Rob || Unionville Vineyards

Irene and Rob’s friday wedding celebration upped the ante in so many ways… Chances are, you’ve never seen a wedding like this, either. Guaranteed.

Irene and Rob’s wedding day themed was inspired by the fantastical world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional “Lord of the Rings”. Without a doubt, they are huge fans of Tolkien. But beyond the details– from Arwen’s Evenstar Pendant (that the bride donned down the aisle) to the countless creative references to the “One” ring to inviting the guests to dress up in Middle Earth attire— all the many months of planning were not about emphasizing their fanaticism for the LOTR series. Irene and Rob, along with the many loved ones who attended their wedding, were there to celebrate a covenant.

This is what made their wedding day so memorable to us. Their main focus was never on the little things– the arnold palmer refreshment was great, the cocktail hour was exceptional, the dinner very filling, the costumes realistic + charming– but rather, on the big picture. They came to make a covenant to eachother, as well as to God. And the many people who loved them back were there to witness it.

They chose to spend their wedding day at Unionville Vineyards, an incredible setting tucked away in the heart of Ringoes, NJ. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, or a more accommodating (and warm-hearted) bridal party. Hands-down, one of the most outstanding moments from that evening was the Maid of Honor’s toast. Her speech encompassed humor, love, a few jokes, and to top it all off, she gave part of the speech in Elvish. That’s right folks. All you linguistics reading this blogpost understand exactly what we mean (it’s a real language, by linguistic standards!!)

Below, we’ve shared with you all some highlights from their wedding day. Be sure to check us out on facebook and see more of our work there!



Amy + Peter || The Mansion at Bretton Wood

One wedding day, two ceremonies, three rings, and four outfits… if we told you our 13-hour work day was exhausting, imagine standing in the bride & grooms’ shoes. Thankfully, all four of us made it through the day with gigantic smiles, an overflow of wonderful memories, and a dozen memory cards bursting with photos.

We had the absolute privilege of documenting this lovely couple’s wedding celebration last weekend. Together, they combined their families (and cultural heritages) for a fantastic + colorful multicultural wedding day. First came the Hindu marriage ceremony, followed by a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony. Colors, details, sweets, humor… they included it all. Symbolism was a key feature in their ceremonies– from the first moment they joined hands (the hasta melap and kanyadaan) to the various garlands + cords joining them together– the deep symbolism and richness of colors never cease to amaze us as photographers.

The evening was spent celebrating their new marriage as husband + wife– delicious cocktails, vast buffet options, and a whole lot of dancing.

We hope you all enjoy the little preview we’ve shared below. Please visit us on our facebook page to see more images! Enjoy!



Deena + Dieter || Ann Arbor, MI

A few months after meeting Deena & Dieter at another Michigander wedding this past January (the bride was Dieter’s sister), they got in touch with me (Jon) and invited me to document their big wedding day on July 9th.

Fast forward to this past Monday. Nothing says unique like a wedding day filled with friends & family hailing from all over the world just to celebrate this wonderful couple’s marriage covenant.

Their wedding ceremony took place at AACRC, with readings + songs in both English and beautiful Malayalam. During the evening cocktail hour, Deena and Dieter brilliantly planned some very unique activities for their guests– games! From beanbag tosses to slacklining (and a whole lot more), this certainly is the coolest cocktail hour I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. The rest of the evening was spent honoring family & friends with, among other things, table games, speeches, toasts, and a humorous duet by the bride & groom themselves (if only I had a video camera…).

Below are some of my favorite images from their wedding day. Stay tuned for more images to come, and be sure to check us out on Facebook! Enjoy.


Maya + Pierre || Quakertown, PA

We’ve waited six months for this wedding day, and we’re thrilled to share some images from this Saturday’s celebration with Maya and Pierre.

Last November, we were honored to join this amazing couple for their engagement party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art– an evening so fantastic that we (of Dreamlite) couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks on end. Indeed, they were that kind of couple, and their party was that kind of awesome. Fast forward to this past weekend, where we documented Maya and Pierre’s catholic wedding ceremony at the Church of Saint Isidore in Quakertown, PA. Following their ceremony was a lunch reception at the Melt Restaurant, a new-americana food experience housed in an upscale setting. Thinking about their food still makes us salivate. Their evening celebration was one giant party, hosted at the bride’s familys’ estate, filled with hundreds of friends & family, delicious indian food (including a charcoal oven for fresh baked naan), and a whole lot of celebrating. From choreographed dance performances to comical music presentations by Pierre’s relatives (they flew in from France!), this truly unique wedding celebration could not be properly summarized by words alone.

Did we mention that our groom Pierre, a Parisian native, self-studied Hindi throughout the course of their dating life? If that isn’t a mark of real commitment, we don’t know what is. Better yet, when you check out the henna photos below… a word of advice: find someone who reads Hindi and see if you can find something ‘hidden’ within the henna.

For now, we’ll leave you with a whole set of teaser photos. Please enjoy them below, and follow us on facebook for more updates to come!


Joanna + Joel’s Wedding || Arisaig House, Scottish Highlands

First of all, the sheer creativity + multicultural richness + countryside charm that embodied this wedding might make you pass out.. but please don’t! Like a fine glass of whisky, we ask you to enjoy our photos slowly. 🙂

With that being said, we recognize it will be impossible to properly summarize Joel and Joanna’s celebration by words alone… and yet, we’ll do our best to highlight some of amazing moments (and people) that made their wedding day so special.

Our bride and groom’s big day took place in Arisaig, a picture perfect village nestled on the western coast of the Scottish Highlands. The morning hours were spent preparing at Arisaig House, followed by an afternoon ceremony at St. Mary’s Church, a gothic-style church dating back to the mid-19th century. Our late afternoon schedule consisted of a traditional Cantonese Tea Ceremony, followed by an awesome portrait sessions on the houses’ property. Let it be known to all our readers that Arisaig House is anything but a regular “guest house”- it’s more like a country estate/luxury B&B. To add to it’s charming allure, the house is family-owned, staffed with a full-time chef, and maintains their own onsite greenhouse. Phenomenal doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The evening dinner was incredible- delicate cheeses, (really) fresh seafood platters, garden-harvested salads, and tasty venison steaks.…And then there was the speeches. Joel’s best man gave a hilarious speech, sported a jimmy wig, and to top it all off, handed out miniature flipbook to all the dinner tables chronicling the groom’s one particular water sport mishap. If that weren’t enough to keep people laughing, Joel’s gave his own toast in Cantonese (presumably having written out the pronunciation in IPA-fashion), followed by a mini-speech in his native British-English tongue.

If we could give out awards for the coolest parties thrown at a wedding, Joanna and Joel would definitely be the front runners. The first few hours of their evening celebration was led by the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band. They played a fantastic set of traditional folk music, all the while teaching the guests various kinds of ceilidh. When the band had finished, Joel and Joanna introduced their guests to Nigerian (Naija) hip-hop, as well as the concept of a “Nigerian Money Dance”.

As the bride & groom dances, guests may “spray” (flick currency bills ‘at’) the couple, or for the equally adventurous, may “stick” the bills onto the dancing couples’ sweaty body. Better yet, our couple even prepared their guests with wads of Nigerian Naira. Combined with catchy songs like P. Square’s “Chop My Money“, this could probably explain all the crazy dancing photos you see below. Last but not least, my favorite image of the evening? The very last photo… it’s Joel’s grandma 80-something years young showing off her moves on the dance floor to Nigerian R&B.

More details & fun facts:
The Cantonese Tea Ceremony: a proper way of honoring all the “elderly” figures in the couples’ lives (in this modern age, it’s basically anyone relative who has more years than you). After serving them tea, the couple receives gifts + plenty of words of wisdom.

Scottish Kilts– ‘Tartan’ is another name for the criss-cross patterned fabric associated with kilts. Kilts are traditional Scottish formal wear, highly regarded as the attire proper Scotsmen wear to formal events (i.e. weddings, ceremonies, funerals). In America, we often tease this practice as merely “men wearing dresses”, but in reality, it’s really fascinating. To don a kilt is to pay homage to the Gaelic culture. After having spent 11 days in Scotland, 3 days of which included wedding-related activities, I’ve certainly attained a newfound respect for this traditional practice. One really cool fact about tartans? Historically, each tartan pattern was associated with a particular warrior clan (family clan), and clans would wear a specific tartan pattern as a form of identity/family pride, much like a family crest or a flag. Therefore, people belonging to the Macdonald Clan would wear a different tartan than, say, folks belonging to the MacLeod clan.

Nigerian Money Dance– Fun fact #1 Jon spent 2 semesters of his college life studying Yoruba, one of the major languages in Nigeria. Fun Fact #2: Joel and Joanna met in Nigeria, where they both work for really cool organizations. So what better way to represent their Nigerian pride than to include a traditional money dance into their evening celebration? Other cultures around the world also include a similar form of money dancing into their wedding reception. While this is all in good fun with Nairas, more traditional couples will use this time to receive actual money for their honeymoon/future marriage, which doubles as a sort of gift receiving event.

Scottish Highlands Catholic Traditions(?)- The first look between the bride and groom happens at the end of the aisle. As the bride walks down the aisle, the groom stands facing front. He holds his hand up  + out (palms up), and stays there until the bride’s hand is placed in his– this placement is done by the honorary person who escorts the bride down the aisle). It is then that the bride + groom see each other for the first time.

For more traditional Scottish Catholic wedding ceremonies, when it comes time to place the wedding bands on eachothers’ hands, you don’t simply slip the ring on your spouse’s fourth finger. The person who is placing the ring must first touch the ring to the receiver’s fingers- first on the thumb (symbolically representing the Father of the Trinity), then the index finger (for the Son of the Trinity), then the middle finger (for the Holy Spirit), and then proceed to place the ring on the proper finger. Both wedding bands are placed in this manner.

List of Wedding Vendors:

Arisaig House: luxury bed & breakfast, contact page
Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band: traditional scottish and folk music and masters of Ceilidh, facebook page
Forget Me Nots: wedding flowers, contact page
Two for Joy Paper Studio: wedding stationary (seating chart, place cards, menu, program) etsy page
Hair & Makeup Team: Catherine of Sparkle Scotland main page
Photography: dreamlite photography! facebook page


Nicky + Vlade’s Wedding || Valley Regency

While documenting the wedding day is our job, our favorite parts are really the little moments in between. Often times, it’s these very moments that we get so excited about witnessing. For everyone that knows Nicky, she’s a no-holds-bar-in-your-face-gets-the-job-done kind of woman…(Jon’s allowed to write this in our blogpost– Nicky use to be Jon’s boss when they worked together at New Horizons in Autism) But on her big day at the Valley Regency, she was all tears.

One of our favorite moments below is when her older brother escorted her down the aisle. As they slowly passed our cameras, it was really hard not to get blurry eyed by that moment, knowing how special that day (and that walk) was for our bride. Another beautiful part of the day took place during the reception. Nicky included two special ‘first dances’ with two of her students from the school… for all the staff/friends/family, this was really precious to watch.

If we gave out trophies for “guest of the year”, we would certainly be paying a hefty price to ship this one out. One of our brides’ sisters couldn’t make it to the wedding, as she was in Korea. So she did what any loving sister would do- Skype into the wedding (she joined in for a few group photos, as well as the photobooth, too).

As for all the other moments? Best man intermittently recording the wedding ceremony with a pocket cam, ring bearer taking a peek at the rings he just gave up, nephew running through the dance floor during the first dance, and the bouquet dodging??… yes, we included all those images, too.

Congratulations once again to Vlade + Nicky on their new marriage, and we thank you two for allowing us to be a part of it all.


Nicky + Vlade || Valley Regency in Montclair, NJ

What an amazing way to start off our April wedding season. This past Saturday, we joined Nicky and Vlade in celebrating their new marriage. With beautifully temperate weather and an awesome bride & groom, we couldn’t wait to get home and get working on their much-anticipated teaser post… and here they are! Below are a few of our favorite moments from their wedding day. We hope you enjoy the photos, and be sure to follow us on facebook to see more photos in the coming weeks.