#1 I went to an all girls high school.

We wore a uniform everyday (which I admit, I really didn’t mind!) complete with the most unfortunate black Oxford sneakers. They were so unfortunate that the majority of students left them in their lockers and switched into normal shoes before leaving the building after school. I’m laughing right now just thinking about them! We were allowed to change the shoe laces to whatever colors we wanted, and every year around Christmas time I made mine green & red. I have to admit that that was kind of fun. Kind of.

#2 Architecture and historic preservation are my jam.

The fascination began my freshman year of college while wandering through the architecture building on campus. I loved looking at the house models and detailed drawings scattered around the students tables. Since then, I’ve visited some beautiful places with houses that are rich with history (Savannah and Charleston, I’m looking at you!). If you happen to be heading down that way this summer, make sure to stop here. And if you want to follow an incredible architect on Instagram, click here. Oh, and if you want to see the amazing renovation that an Australian family is working on in France, then you’ll definitely want to check this out. Ok, I’m done geeking out… for now.

#3 I wrote an article on Buzzfeed that went viral last year.

But if you search my name, you won’t find it – and that’s on purpose! I can’t talk about why I was writing an article on Buzzfeed in the first place just yet, but I can definitely clue you in next month.

#4 Schitt’s Creek is my favorite TV show.

That’s right! After years of only watching HGTV (not kidding), my friend made me watch the first episode of Schitt’s Creek with her earlier this summer and I’ve been hooked ever since. We’re counting down the days until the holiday episode airs on December 19th!

#5 I was an Irish Dancer.

I know my last name says otherwise, but I’m actually half Irish! I took lessons for years and used to compete all over the state until shin splints got the best of me in high school.

#6 My full name is Victoria, but I’ve always been called Tori.

This surprises more people than you would think. I was (and still am) always so used to being called “Tori” that I was guilty of not responding whenever professors would call my name for attendance during the first day of classes!

#7 I rarely listen to music unless I’m in the car.

And even then, sometimes I like to just roll the windows down and listen to the wind, especially after a wedding day. Music has always distracted me whenever I have something to do where I need to concentrate. I can’t even listen to it while I’m editing! When I am listening to music though, 9 times out of 10, it’s country. I love Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line.

#8 Beach vacations are my least favorite type of vacation.

I should probably preface this by saying that I love the beach. But the idea of spending a week or more staring out at the waves doesn’t get me excited. I love hiking, visiting museums, and going on as many tours as possible. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t enjoy “relaxing” vacations!

#9 I would describe my overall style as very eclectic.

Everything from clothes, to furniture, to house types, I’ve always been a fan of a wide range of different styles. All of the furniture in my bedroom is actually mid-century modern (thanks to West Elm!). Maybe I’ll give you a tour of it one day!

#10 My favorite book is 1984.

Go read it, it’s a great one.

Photo Credit: Kelly Pullman

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When I received my clients wedding album in the mail earlier today, I couldn’t wait to unwrap it. It feels a little bit like Christmas morning every time they’re delivered to my doorstep! As I opened the box and unwrapped the packaging I found a beautiful, hand-stitched album with thick matte pages inside of a linen wrap for safekeeping. It’s a work of art in and of itself — and I swear I’m not being dramatic. Below are the 5 main reasons why you should consider investing in a wedding album:

1. High Quality

I’m what is known as a shoot and share photographer, meaning that I deliver all of the edited images that I take to my clients. Their images are uploaded into an online gallery and are accessible for 10 years. They can download the images as much as they’d like without any additional cost. I also give my clients a print release. Could my clients technically create their own wedding albums? Sure. But I wouldn’t advise it! Over time, an inexpensive album will begin to deteriorate, become discolored, and fall apart. Furthermore, the image quality could print pixelated or otherwise distorted.

2. Tangible 

There’s something about being able to see photographs in print and physically flip through them that feels so different than clicking around and opening up JPEGS on a laptop screen. Maybe that’s because we live in such a digital age.

I might be biased, but I believe that photography is one of the most important investments on your wedding day! After the vows have been exchanged and the toasts have been given, all we have left are the photographs. On average, people will spend $2,000+ on a wedding photographer.  That’s a large chunk of change, and that’s not even taking into account all of the other wedding day expenses.  Saving money and forgoing the professional wedding album sounds like a great way to cut additional costs. Trust me, I get it! But is this something you’ll regret 10 or 20 years down the line? The additional one time expense may be well worth it when you think about a wedding album in terms of being a tangible keepsake showcasing your marriage.

3. Reliable

Technology is unreliable. I’m only in my 20’s and I’ve already seen the evolution from tapes, to CD’s, to iPods. Just when you think that technology is as advanced as its ever going to be, something new comes along and takes us all by surprise. CD’s get scratched, online galleries eventually expire, and USB’s easily get lost. Albums are forever.

4. Enduring

Albums will stay with you and your husband for the next 60 years, and will remain in your family for generations.  It’s hard to think about your children, grandchildren & even great grandchildren as someone who’s probably only in their 20’s or early 30’s, but think about how exciting it would be to find photographs of your great grandmother and to be able to piece together her story.  Your children and grandchildren will want to snuggle on your living room couch, flip through the photos, and hear stories about how you and your husband met — and I’m sure you’d love to tell them and be able to relive it!

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After photographing my first few weddings during the start of my business, I quickly came to realize that I needed to be prepared for anything and everything – and not just from a photography standpoint! I like to consider myself as an honorary bridesmaid on wedding days, and as such, I’ve been bringing an emergency kit with me to every wedding that I’ve photographed for the past 4 years. By far, the top three most used items in my bag (I’ll use at least one of these at EVERY wedding) are:

  1. Scissors
  2. Tide-to-Go pens
  3. Safety Pins

Other helpful items that I always have on hand in my kit (just in case!) include:

  • A mini sewing kit
  • Bobby pins
  • Tissues
  • Clear nail polish
  • Lint roller
  • Super glue
  • Extra pens
  • Bandaids
  • Tape

Whether a groomsman’s tie was too small and had to be safety pinned on, or a bride found a fresh dark stain on her dress (and, yes, both have actually happened!), my e-kit has helped me on wedding days more times than I can count.

What items do you always bring with you on wedding days?

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There’s a reason why I include an engagement session in every one of my wedding photography packages, and it’s because I believe that they’re an essential part to your overall experience! Engagement sessions give us a chance to get to know each other and work together before the big day. When I know my couples, I can serve them well and tell their love story through my photographs in a genuine and authentic way.

After 4 years of business, I’ve learned that most of my clients are nervous to be in front of my camera during their engagement session. Having your photo taken can feel uncomfortable and awkward, especially if you’ve never been in front of a camera before. It’s my job to reassure my clients, teach them my posing style, and, ultimately, allow them to feel comfortable and have fun during their session. When my clients receive their final gallery of images, I want them to be relieved of any doubt they may have had about looking awkward in their photographs. Instead, I want them to be excited about their engagement gallery and feel equipped to take their future wedding photos!

When I don’t have a chance to work with couples before the big day, photographing their bride and groom portraits can feel a bit like starting from square one because they:

  • Haven’t worked with me before
  • Haven’t learned my posing style
  • Aren’t sure what to expect (missing that trust factor!)

 

This can be a little difficult when the timeline is running behind (which happens more often than not!) and I need to take bride and groom portraits in a shorter amount of time than originally planned. When this happens and my couples have had an engagement session with me, they’re already posing pros and know exactly what to do / expect because they’ve gone through it all before!

Having an engagement session helps me learn about you and who you are together as a couple. By the time your wedding day is finally here, we’ll be comfortable with each other and feel like old friends. Your wedding day should be as A. seamless, B. stress free, and C. as fun as possible – and having an engagement session beforehand help to ensure that your time spent taking photos with me is all of the above!

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Do Chris & Alyssa look familiar? You might have seen them on the blog a couple of months ago when I photographed their proposal at Deep Cut Gardens! When Alyssa told me that she and Chris were thinking about having their engagement session in DUMBO, my ears perked up. I had only been to DUMBO once before, but I vividly remembered the cobblestone streets, old brick buildings, and, of course, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. If you’ve been following around here for any length of time, then you know that I’m huge fan of classic and unique architecture – and I always get excited when my couples are too.

We spent the evening exploring all of the special locations that DUMBO has to offer. From the skyline, to the painted murals, to the Brooklyn Bridge itself, there was so much variety to capture!

Chris & Alyssa, congratulations on your engagement! Enjoy some of my favorites from their session below.

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I had been looking forward to Annie and Eric’s wedding day ever since we had our engagement session at the Bethlehem Steel Stacks last year! I’ve always been such a huge fan of fall weddings, and I knew that Annie and Eric’s was going to be very special. A little rain couldn’t even put a damper on their day — it was such a fun and beautiful celebration!

Every detail of Annie and Eric’s wedding was so thoughtfully planned. One of my favorite details was Annie’s bouquet (and all of the other floral arrangements!), which was designed by her family friend, Tina. Annie tied a bible to the back of her bouquet with a piece of blush ribbon — the same bible that her mother and grandmother carried down the aisle on their wedding days.

Another detail (or maybe I should say performance!) that I loved was Annie and Eric’s first dance. When I called Annie the week of the wedding to chat about their timeline, she told me that she and Eric choreographed their own first dance. How incredible is that?! The dance was a secret, and no one at the wedding knew what they had planned — and, let me tell you, it was amazing!

Annie and Eric, it’s been such a joy working with you both. Congratulations, newlyweds!

Enjoy some of my favorites from their wedding day below!

If Annie and Eric receive 30 comments on this blog post, I’ll send them a complimentary 8×10 print of their choice!

All of the wonderful vendors involved:

Photographer | Tori Petrillo
Second Photographer | Monika de Myer
Venue | Brooklake Country Club
Wedding Planner | CBC Events
HMUA | Brandy Takikawa of Color Me Beautiful Salon
Florist | Tina Freeman
Invitations | Live Love Party Designs
Videographer | James Boburka
DJ / Band | Daddy Pop
Wedding Cake | La Promenade
Bridal Gown | Pronovias purchased at Say I Do Bridal
Bridal Shoes | Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaids Dresses | Bari Jay purchased at Say I Do Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen Attire | Biltmore Tuxedos

 

 

Veronica and Andrew met during their freshman year of college while living in Demarest Hall at Rutgers. Throughout their four years, they were involved in their dorm’s government and interest sections, and had a lot of mutual friends. However, they didn’t start dating until near the end of their time at Rutgers! Veronica says that their feelings for each other snuck up on them during the last month of their senior year.

Veronica and Andrew were both sitting together waiting for an event to start when they began listening to a dorm mate’s story. Him and his girlfriend had known each other for years and then, one day, something had changed and they declared that they liked each other. Veronica and Andrew both immediately thought of each other while listening to his story, and later that evening they finally admitted their feelings for one another!

This sweet couple got engaged on April 9, 2016. Andrew coordinated with the Residence Life staff at Rutgers and the current Hall Government of Demarest to use the Open House as a cover for the engagement. For months, Andrew, their friends, and the Residence Life staff secretly planned how the day was going to go. They were so good at keeping their secret that Veronica had no idea what was happening up until the moment that Andrew dropped to one knee and popped the question; she even says that she interrupted Andrew’s speech not only once, but TWICE! Be sure to check out their engagement session at Demarest Hall by clicking here.

Veronica and Andrew’s fall wedding at Westin Governor Morris was such a classic and elegant celebration! Veronica looked like royalty in her beautiful wedding dress while wearing her older sisters cathedral length veil. Some of the pieces that I loved most about their day were all of the handmade elements. Veronica crossed stitched the Mr. and Mrs. signs for the sweetheart table, her Dad handmade the engraved wooden ring box, and her sweet Mom made the flower girl baskets and card box. Talk about talent!

From the incredible floral arrangements to the various handmade elements and the beautiful merlot color palette — every detail of their wedding was so special and beautiful.

Congratulations, Veronica and Andrew! I hope you’re both having an amazing time on your honeymoon. Enjoy some of my favorites from your incredible day! XO

If Veronica & Andrew receive 30 comments on this blog post, I’ll send them a complimentary 8×10 print of their choice!

Lead Photographer: Tori Petrillo
Second Photographer: Jennifer Larsen
Venue: Westin Governor Morris
HAMUA: Mary Adams of Backstage Beauty Salon
Florist: Pink Dahlia Floral Design Studio
Wedding Planner: Joyce Beighley
DJ and Videographer: Enchanted Celebrations
Invitations: Little Black Dress Paperie
Wedding Cake: Berry Rich Bakery
Choreographer: Michele Quinn of Arthur Murray Dance Studio

When Chris first contacted me a few months ago about photographing his proposal, I couldn’t have been more excited! He decided on Deep Cut Gardens as the location, which made for the most magical backdrop for such a special moment.

After Alyssa said yes (of course!), we explored and took photos all throughout Deep Cut Gardens. After we were done, Alyssa and Chris headed back to their house where their closest family members and friends were waiting to celebrate their engagement!

Congratulations, to the newly engaged couple! I couldn’t be more excited for you both!

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Heather and Josef both swiped right on Tinder, and well, the rest is history! They both went into the dating world not looking for anything serious, but when they me at Heather’s favorite sushi restaurant on their very first date they felt an instant connection and didn’t want the night to end. Josef proposed to Heather 10 months after they started dating in the sweetest way possible!

Now, if you know Heather and Josef then you know that they enjoy playing video games and share a mutual love for the game Halo! Heather hosts girls night at her house every Tuesday and Thursday night, and Josef bought her a brand new game controller so that her friend didn’t have to bring her own with her each time she came over. When Heather’s friends arrived, Josef had her open the controller. It took her a while to get the battery part open, but once she did, she saw that there was a beautiful engagement ring placed inside. When Heather looked up, she saw Josef was on one knee asking her to spend the rest of her life with him. Heather says that it was the best moment of her life, and she couldn’t have asked for a more romantic proposal!

Heather and Josef have been an absolute a JOY to work with throughout the past year. They’re a joyful, laid back, and thoughtful couple who are so much fun to spend time with. I can’t resist mentioning that they bought ME a gift on their wedding day. Say what?! It’s a beautiful coffee mug that I just can’t wait to use 🙂

Heather and Josef, it was SUCH an honor to photograph your beautiful wedding! The day was so magical from start to finish. Enjoy some of my favorites below, and have a wonderful honeymoon — congratulations, you two!

If Heather & Josef receive 30 comments on this blog post, I’ll send them a complimentary 8×10 photo of their choice!

The biggest thank you to all of the fabulous vendors involved:

Second Photographer | Jennifer Larsen
Third Photographer | Kate Milford
Hair Stylist | Jaime of Kathleen Benjamin Hair Studio
Makeup Artist | McKenna Burns Makeup
Florist | Monarch Floral Designs LLC
Venue, Cake, & Caterer | The Primavera Regency
DJ | Sal from Night Owl Entertainment
Invitations | Invitations by Dawn
Transportation | Riviera Chauffeured Services
Videographer | NJ Videography
Bride Attire | Melissa Sweet from David’s Bridal
Bridal Party Attire | David’s Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen Attire | Men’s Warehouse

Are you ready to see Krysti and Taylor’s incredible beachside wedding at the Inn at Salem Country Club?! Krysti and Taylor are high school sweethearts who got married on their ten year anniversary — August 4th. They are such a joyful and laid back couple who were up for all of the photo opportunities (seriously though, I took them out for couple portraits THREE times!). I just loved spending the day with all of their sweet family members and friends.

Thunderstorms were in the forecast the entire week leading up to Krysti and Taylor’s wedding. As luck would have it, the skies cleared up and we had a beautiful sunny day that was perfect for a ceremony on the beach! Some of my favorites moments from their wedding include the tear-filled first look, handwritten vows shared during the ceremony, heartfelt toasts, and Krysti seeing their sweet boys dressed in their wedding attire for the first time.

Every detail from their wedding was so perfectly curated, from the nautical color palette to Taylor’s personalized converse sneakers which were embroidered with their wedding date. Krysti wore a stunning Grace Loves Lace wedding gown that gave off some serious mermaid vibes (scroll down to the sunset portraits, and you’ll see what I mean!).

Krysti and Taylor, it was such a JOY to photograph your wedding day! You deserve all of the happiness in the world. Congratulations to the newlyweds and their beautiful children!

Enjoy some of my favorites below, and be sure to check out their engagement session by clicking here!

If Krysti and Taylor receive 30 comments on this blog post, I’ll send them a complimentary 8 x 10 of their choice! 

A HUGE thank you to the wonderful wedding team!

Second Photographer: Rachel Watkinson
Venue: The Inn at Salem Country Club
Hair and Makeup: Your Day Your Way
Wedding Planner: Kimberly Jordan
Botto’s Italian Line restaurant
Zazzle
Transportation: BR Williams
Wedding Dress: Grace Loves Lace
Groom / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal