Misato + Chris // Handmade DIY Wedding in Arlington, VA

A designer and a chef fell in love. Misato and Chris wanted their special day to be simple and easy going – just like the two of them. Since they’re both rather crafty, they handcrafted many of the items that became a part of their day. They love animals, color, and delicious food – so it was only natural for them to include all of the above!

A huge thank you goes to Green Wedding Shoes for featuring their fun + colorful, DIY wedding celebration on their amazing blog! You can view the full feature, here.

“The wedding favors were sake glasses that we hand wrote our initials into. They were also used for the toast, during the reception. Misato’s mother brought coasters made out of Kimono fabric from Japan for everyone to take home as well!”

The lace centerpiece on our sweetheart table was hand made by Misato’s aunt and took almost a year to complete!

“We used little animal figures (dollar store purchase and spray painted) as guests’ name cards and a pair of elephants (it was a salt and pepper shaker that we bought online, filled the holes and spray painted) as the cake topper. Christopher’s last name is Horton, so we have embraced Horton the Elephant!”

“Our wedding bands are made by each other with the casting of Red string. In some Asian countries, it is believed that people who are meant to be together are connected by red string. When we got married in the summer of 2010, we tied a red string on each others ring finger. We used that string to make our wedding bands to be connected by red string forever.”

And, to wrap, a wedding short film by the awesome Caravan Cinema Co. We had such a blast working with them!

Bridal Gown: LM by Mignon via Bloomingdale’s
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Anthropologie
Cake: Sophie Camp
Catering: Northside Social, Lyon Hall, Liberty Tavern
Decor: DIY – Lace sweetheart table centerpiece handmade by Misato’s aunt
Florals: DIY – Flowers from Potomac Floral
Hairstyling: Keiko Goto via Ozuki Salon Georgetown
Jewelry: Anthropologie
Makeup: Akea via SephoraBanana Republic, Express, Topman
Shoes: Nine West
Stationery: DIY
Venue: Northside Social / Bon Air Park
Videography: Caravan Cinema Co.
Wedding Bands: Designed by Misato; Made by each other for one another


Marcella Treybig Northside Social !! wow. you have some really unique & inspiring couples :)

Joseph Hall Love the details, this is a really great wedding – wonderful photos too!

Theresa I can’t believe this couple got married at Northside Social..I love that place to go for editing with some wine during happy hour! Beautiful images, Serena! :)

Derek Martinez Beautiful wedding! Love all the emotions you captured!

Mirela Kasimovic Congratulations for your happy life. Maintaining a blog with lifeloveblog name is a good idea. The blog name is beautiful and your couple also too beautiful. Go ahead live happy life. All the best and keep posting..

Yolandé Marx Beautiful storytelling. Those blue dresses with the popping yellow is too cute for words! Love this!

Victor Saidov This is a beautiful wedding and you did an amazing job capturing it! Very inspiring!

Darren Gair Really nice collection, im sure they will love them, well done!

/mariahedengren So beautiful. Love the colors and the details of this wedding!!

nora Such a lovely wedding. Great work!

Veronica Varos So, so, so lovely! The portraits of the two of them are especially touching. Fabulous work!

sam Really bold images, gorgeous tones and a lovely looking couple. What’s not to love :)

Porter they got married IN northside ?!?!?! thats SO AWESOME!!!! gorgeous coverage serena!

Derek Olson I love the details you incorporated, gives a great sense of ‘being there’. Beautiful couple and great photos!

Charity mhmm. these are GOOD. I love how natural and simple your editing is–you really let the couple shine through and take such lovely shots. Gorgeous!

Angela Snyder Love every single detail and how unique and happy everyone and everything is. You really captured such beautiful moments!

Katrina Akins-Jackson such a cute wedding! So many special details and memories they will sure cherish for the rest of lives.

Brea I love everything about this wedding! The colors are so perfect and their style is just amazing. So adorable.

Dani So in love with this wedding!! Love the chairs so so so much!

Stephanie + Soner // Urban Engagement in Jacksonville, FL

I first “met” Stephanie online via Reddit. We had both attended the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear back in 2010 and started chatting sometime after that. We became Facebook friends and would leave comments here and there, since we both share a love for photography. She’s pretty stellar + fun… and you can check out her lovely work here.

I spent a few days in Jacksonville with them and it was a grand time. We wandered the city, explored a museum, and spent a chunk of time discussing Doctor Who (one of my favorite shows) and watching fun shows on Netflix (ie. A Bit of Laurie & Fry – which is now a new favorite of mine). Stephanie and Soner will be saying their wedding vows under a gorgeous historic tree in Jacksonville this upcoming November. It’s going to be pretty rad and I absolutely cannot wait!

Nerd moment: My favorite Star Trek character of all time was featured not once, but twice, on this random wall.


Derek Martinez What a beautiful couple and gorgeous session!

Sam Le Oh so so so pretty and full of whimsy. I absolutely adore the first shot!

Steve Koo Great work! Feelin the love!

kong wai Wow, the first one is amazing. love it

rahul Love that first frame….great engagement session!! :)

Albert Palmer Love that shot by the yellow tiles – AWSOME!

james readhead stunning session – congrats!

ed peers Frames fantastic!

Sara These images are simply beautiful! Well done :)

Nathan Gilmer Really cute couple! I love these.

tobiah Gorgeousness! love the tones to your photos!

Heather K Okay, first of all, she is freaking ADORABLE with glasses (well, she is without them, too- but you know what I mean). These are awesome!! I especially love the shot in the third row with the yellow blocks. Gorgeous!

Jessica Oh RAD SESSION! seriously killer location + such a cool couple. cheers!

Ashley Lovely session – that first picture is awesome!

Krista A. Jones These photos look amazing! I love that mural wall and the close up snuggling shots! Incredible work Serena!

Dani Beautiful!! I love the one of them running in the empty parking lot and the one right after that! So pretty!!

Amber Wilkie I love all of this.

Natalie AMAZING. You are so gifted!

Alison Harper Such a beautiful session!! I love Spock!!

Stephanie Hooray! Ok, seeing them paired up like this here is so nice and is getting me excited to put them on my wall. And I have decided I love British TV too much for my own good…Fry & Laurie night needs to happen when we visit, haha.

Andrea These are so lovely!

Korie Lynn What a cool session! Completely loving the vibe on this one, Serena :) And that first image better be on a canvas somewhere, it’s rad!

Urška Majer Simply gorgeous :)

Farewell, 2013 // A Year in Review – Destination Wedding & Lifestyle Photography by Love By Serena […] Stephanie & Soner’s Urban Engagement in Jacksonville, Florida […]

WPPI 2013 // Desert Lifestyle Photography in Las Vegas, NV

Last month, I packed my bags for Las Vegas, Nevada to attend WPPI. It was my third year attending the convention and my absolute favorite year thus far. I had the lovely privilege of rooming with two talented photographer friends, Natalie Franke and Kelly Cummings, and met so many wonderful photographers who I now have the pleasure of calling my new friends.

This year, I spent a lot of time networking and exploring the area. I attended a couple of fun desert shoots where I was able to photograph, without pressure, and play around with my Fuji Instax. Here’s a quick glimpse of some favorites from the trip…

Ryan & Tatiana are just the sweetest.

Kelsie, you’re stunning and have the best hair, ever!

I’m already looking forward to next year’s adventures!


Derek Martinez Wow these are gorgeous! Fun times in the desert!

Drew W I’m so bummed that we didn’t get to go this year and meetup with all of you. Next year we have to go! Awesome photos of the fun.

Jessie Loving those desert shots!

/mariahedengren Those desert shots – wow. Seriously, too good.

Tracy Morter Stunning!

Adonye Jaja very beautiful, awesome job

Jakob Awesome.

Nora Looks like a lot of fun. Love all the desert shots.

Mike Wow, absolutely beautiful images and people you captured in the flats.

Julianne oh so lovely! You guys look like you had a blast!

small How fun! Looks like it was a great trip!

ALMA // Awesome!! I wish I was there.

Victor Saidov Amazing location and great photos! Your photos are magical and very inspirational! Keep it up!

Emily Love the desert ones! So beautiful.

Angela Snyder Holy smokes those are gorgeous! Jealous doesn’t cut it :)

Kelly Cummings Your desert shots are all so gorgeous! I loved hanging out with you and Natalie, and I’m glad to call you a friend! Thank you for being awesome!

Stephanie Amazing amazing amazing. I could look at those desert photos all day!

teri pozniak // tPoz LOVE!! that first b&w one of Kelsie – she looks like Wonder Woman!!
Looks like it was an amazing trip – bummed to have missed this year!