Amanda Joy Photography

Chrissy & Erik | DIY Backyard New Jersey Wedding

Amanda Mohinani2 Comments

My husband and I have known Chrissy for several years, and I was SO honored to photograph her and Erik's DIY, backyard, New Jersey wedding this last weekend! The entire event was a planned masterpiece; Chrissy, along with the help of her beloved family/friends/slave labor, went to work creating every detail for her dream destination wedding on her sister's farm and the results were simply flawless 

Chrissy and Erik have been long distance for their entire relationship, which is a challenge that few couples can overcome. But their fierce loyalty and commitment to each other was evident throughout the day! After years of waiting for each other and months of decision making, they simply floated along as if they were in their own little world and blissfully soaked in every moment of their absolutely perfect celebration. 

Literally EVERYTHING you could see was homemade - Chrissy is a genius with a vivid imagination and their set up on the edge of the woods was charming! 

Legacy is deeply important to both Chrissy and Erik, so they incorporated heirlooms, memories, and photos from their previous generations weddings. It was a beautiful display! 

Every girl in Chrissy's family is given the same sapphire ring to borrow for their wedding - a beautiful contribution from their grandmother. 

The gold rose on Chrissy's bouquet was the last gift her grandfather gave to her grandmother before passed away. It was Chrissy's desire to keep it close to her so she could remember their love and commitment to each other. So beautiful!! 

Her dress was handmade with love - a work of art designed and sewn alongside her mom. The 180 buttons are a beautiful tradition passed down by her mother. 

Chrissy was a bundle of energy getting ready, and was SO excited to finally see her groom!! (Yay no more long distance!!)

Both Chrissy and Erik made sure to surround themselves with people who would bring them joy - laughter rang out often throughout their day. :)

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She made a stunning bride!!

Erik is an officer in the army, and looked SO dapper in his uniform! 

Their first look was SO sweet, and they giggled together as Erik explained his uniform to his new bride. 

We wandered the woods on the family owned farm, and Chrissy and Erik fell naturally into each others arms. 

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LOVE!!

While I photographed Erik in his officer uniform, my amazing assistant Allison captured these GORGEOUS photos of the beautiful bride! 

So stunning!!

The flowers were all handmade, and they complimented the bridesmaids perfectly! 

Such sweet girls!

Let's face it - these gentlemen stole the show. ALL THE CUTE!! 

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The entire bridal party was relaxed and so helpful! They were such a calming presence to the happy couple (which is always a good idea - weddings can become stressful!). 

I don't normally share family photos here on my blog, but I couldn't resist sharing this photo of Chrissy's immediate family. They look so beautiful - all five daughters together and the growing number of nieces and nephews!! 

Right at the beginning of the ceremony, Erik (who isn't usually emotional) shared a sweet moment with his parents. They're so happy to be getting such a wonderful daughter-in-law! 

Their vows were spectacular, and I cried through them. As an outward symbol of their love, commitment, and service to each other, they chose to wash each other's feet as they recited their beautifully written vows. It was probably my favorite part of their entire day!

"Mrs. Bergen, you may kiss your groom!!"

YAY!! Married!! Happy tears were shed all around... 

And we snuck the bride and groom off for a few photos... 

Before the cake smashing and other festivities began. :)

Near the end of their reception, Chrissy and her father laughed their way through a special dance together....

And after one last hug with mom... 

They were off to begin their new life together. 

Chrissy and Erik... YOU DID IT!! I'm so so happy for you both, and I'm so thankful that I got to be a part of your beautiful wedding day. Thank you so much for trusting me with your memories, and for being such lovely hosts! I hope you enjoy every moment of your trip to Italy together and the rest of your lives as you begin this new and beautiful journey. Love you both!! :)

Kemmling Family | Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer

Portrait, Children, FamilyAmanda MohinaniComment

Last year I fell in love with these red-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned, lovely children... and I was SO thrilled when my dentist has me to do their photos again!! They even added a sweet baby into the mix, making their lovely family a nice even 6. :)

We met up by the Kauffman Center downtown Kansas City and explored the long grass and awesome architecture! 

Mom picked out the most beautiful headpieces for the girls, and I just LOVED the personality it added to their photos!

So sweet!

I was so jealous of the girls' dresses! They loved twirling and it made me want to be little again. :)

I love how this family loves each other. Their children obviously enjoy spending time together and the deep bond they share is so evident! 

Silly kids... :)

Dad can carry all his girls at once!!

Mike and Chris, thanks SO much for letting me photograph your beautiful family yet again! It was SO much fun! :)

The Bailey Kids | Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer

Children, Family, PortraitAmanda MohinaniComment

Being an aunt is an awesome thing - I get to snuggle, play, spoil and then leave them at home for their mother to sort out! :) These kids know me best with a big, black, "clicky" thing in front of my face and when I was visiting back in May we were able to venture outside for some birthday photos. Seriously, you guys... birthday photos are the best. :)

It's a big tradition in their family. Get dressed up, get your hair 'did, then wander around with Aunt Amanda while she tries to think of ways to make them giggle. 

But serious faces work just as well. :)

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And crazy faces... 

Then we drag mom into the yard (make up or no make up!) and make her snuggle too! 

It makes for wonderful birthdays. :)

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A day in the life of surgery | Legacy Lifestyle Photographer

Cancer, Legacy, PersonalAmanda Mohinani4 Comments

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a week ago that my dad had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his abdomen. This was his fourth abdominal surgery to remove tumors in that area since his cancer diagnosis in 2009. Mom and dad have a team of phenomenal doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and we knew that dad was in good hands. 

The surgery was scheduled last minute, but I made the drive up to MN the night before... not because they really needed me, but because living seven hours away from my parents as they struggle through the valley of cancer has made my heart long to help in any way I can. Surgery days are long days... not just for doctors, but also for family who wait anxiously - slowly and repeatedly imagining every worst possibility. I knew mom would appreciate the familiar hand to hold. I'm so glad I was there. 

Surgery days are pretty familiar to us, but each one is a little bit different. A different building, a different schedule, a different set of nurses, a different hallway, a different length of waiting. 

I always bring my camera on these trips, and force myself to document the day. Not because it's exquisitely beautiful or photo-worthy, but because these photographs are snapshots of God's grace to us as a family. Celebrating life is not just about remembering the good times, but also the times of hardship and anxiety that we made it through. Those moments are worth holding on to. 

Oftentimes raising my camera to my eye in the midst of a tender moment is awkward and uncomfortable, but other times they produce a humorous moment of sweet relief. A chance to be silly and acknowledge that this medical world they live in can seem quite odd to outside eyes. (Especially robes that puff up with air and make you look like Baymax!)

Other times my mom is NOT interested. :)

After hours of waiting, the moment comes to say goodbye and we linger in our embraces. This is the awkward moment when I wish I wasn't a photographer with a loud camera, but I push my shutter knowing that these images of my parents' tenderness will be cherished for many years. 

And somehow stepping into my photographer box makes it easier to hold back the tears. 

We wave goodbye with anxious hearts, but so thankful that the process has finally begun. 

We take one last look at the empty chair that is still warm from the man in the silly Baymax suit and we head out to distract ourselves for as long as we can. 

Distraction usually takes place in the form of walking for mom and I, and we set out to explore the beautiful campus. 

Mom is so cute. :)

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After what seems an eternity, we hear that surgery was successful and we can see dad. 

He's alive and groggy, and after we enjoy a few moments of reunion, we settle into the familiar routine of fussing over dad. 

Mom puts on the hat of the Head Nurse who make All The Rules and you do not mess with her or else you will feel the wrath of Mama Bear. 

But don't be fooled. She's just so happy to see him. :)

The next day he's sitting up and walking down the hall and telling jokes to the nurses and I feel confident enough to head home... knowing that, once again, he's in good hands. 

Thankful for the courage and hope of my parents. :)

PS - If you want to stay updated with dad's progress, you can check out his CaringBridge page here. His cancer journey isn't over, but we're thankful that he's still healthy and still with us.