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Kiss + Tell with Susie Forrester

My friend, photographer Susie Forrester is one of these gifted, reflective observers who experiences awe when witnessing the magic of a loving kiss. She describes those kisses as, "filled with everlasting promise, desire, soulful connection and trust."

When so much beautiful emotion is present, it's easy for a talented photographer to capture it. Here are some of Susie's favorite kiss shots.  
Love how the bride's cakey fingers are held away from her groom...for now at least.
I choose you in the privacy of our hearts...
"The kiss is beautiful, always so happenstance, spontaneous.
It is filled with childlike innocence and delight.
It is filled with ageless wisdom and purity of faith.

I have photographed many newly wedded kisses.  
They are each different, yet resonate love, as love does so well!
My heart opens each time....always"--Susie Forrester

Susie Forrester is a celebrated fine art photographer based out of Stroudsburg, PA in the Pocono Mountains. She does wedding, event and portrait photography. See more of her work at her website

The Sofreh, the centerpiece of the Persian Wedding Ceremony

I recently had the pleasure of officiating the symbol-rich and perfectly-appointed wedding of Raha + Adam at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center of the Performing Arts.  An inter-faith couple, Raha wanted to incorporate some of the most meaningful elements from her family's Iranian tradition.

Raha's Sofreh was lovingly curated and prepared by her mother and two aunts.

The centerpiece of the Persian wedding ceremony is the Sofreh. During the ceremony, the couple sits in front of a table filled with family heirlooms and exotic items, each meant to serve as a blessing to the couple in their marriage. 

Raha's reflection in her Sofreh mirror as the bride and groom share a glance.
Among the many items present in the Iranian marriage spread are things like a candelabra with lit candles and a mirror to signify a bright and energetic future.  Wishes for wealth, health, family and a life filled with beauty are also represented by nuts, herbs, flowers, eggs and beautiful silks.

In the Kalleh Ghand tradition, a happily married woman, rubs two cones of sugar together over the bride and groom's head, showering them with blessings for a life filled with sweetness and love.
Wishes for the bride and groom to have a shared life filled with sweetness was shown many times throughout the day. One of my favorites was the tradition of the Kalleh Ghand. While Raha and Adam were still seated looking at their Sofreh, a beautiful silk was held over the heads while the bride's sister Sara (a happily married woman) generously rubbed two cones of sugar together, showering the couple with flakes meant to bless them with a life of sweetness and love.

Kahl Weddings

At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom each dip their pinky finger in honey and touch it to the others' lips.  This is meant to show their intentions and hopes for a sweet future.

As I watched Adam and Raha partake in this ancient Asal ritual, I couldn't help but see it also as a personal promise to bring sweetness to the life of the other as they embark on the grandest adventure of all. 

A special thanks to Andy from Kahl Weddings for capturing so many beautiful moments. And congratulations to Raha and Adam--may your life be filled with enough sweetness and love so as to last a thousand years.

Kiss + Tell with Douglas Benedict

Although each of my couples inspires a unique ceremony, one thing remains relatively constant—the way each ceremony ends. No matter the religious beliefs, ages, size of the wedding or particular journey the couple took to get to this moment, all of my weddings end with the Declaration-where I announce that they are now officially and legally recognized as a married couple. Then they kiss. 

Most people recognize this part--the kiss--as the end of the ceremony. Crossing this threshold of life together, the couple kisses, the crowd cheers and claps, cue some awesome uplifting song and the glowing couple exits.

Although a couple will probably end up with many pictures together kissing and canoodling on their wedding day, there’s something really special when the stars align and a photographer can capture this moment as it is happening.

Here's some highlights from my Q&A with Lehigh Valley-based Photographer Douglas Benedict about his kissing advice and where he finds inspiration...

Alisa Tongg: Do you have any general advice for couples who want to have their ceremony kiss captured?

Douglas Benedict: Sometimes it's as simple as making sure they don't have their backs to the audience and the camera.

AT: When you're out on shoots alone with a couple, do you have any hints for helping them to relax and get lost in the moment? When being photographed most people feel like they have to pose, look a certain way, or get stuck in a hard smile (that happened to me recently, thanks for easing me back off the ledge C.J. Dewolf). Do you have a mantra or something that you share with people to help them enjoy?

DB: Very few people genuinely want to have their photo taken but everyone wants good photography. Wedding days are easier because couples tend to be all wrapped up emotionally in the day. On those days, I am all about the candid--catching moments as they really happen, staying out of the way and letting reality unfold.

"The body language in these photos show a moment of true intimacy between the couple. They are the only people in the world at that moment. The trick? It's the same trick you need for the entire day: Be lost in the moment. Dial out all the wedding day noise and let yourself get lost in the day. Don't worry about how your kiss will look - just kiss! You just got married!"--Douglas Benedict

Douglas Benedict Photography, LLC is a small independent studio in Bethlehem, PA. They accept a limited number of weddings each year in order to give each couple the personalized attention needed to capture their story in an artistic a beautiful way. For more information visit his website