Mitzvah Monday is back with my SECOND Bat Mitzvah in a row! February and March were filled with four lovely ladies, four fabulous families and rainbows of color, glitter, shine + FUN! 

Next up is Jaime - a stunning, confident, blue-eyed darling, the daughter of Beth from Amy Zaroff Events & Design. When Beth asked me to "save the date" for Jaime's big day over a year ago, I KNEW the day would be filled with details, colors and big surprises. The "Sea and Be Seen" theme was absolute perfection and I loved every second! Before we get to the party, let's check out their family portraits taken at Adath Jeshurn Congregation and the blue hues? My heart! 

To Jaime, Jonah, Tony and Beth - thank you for choosing me to document this fabulous celebration and big moment in Jaime's life! XOXO!

xoxo,
Sydnee 

Peyton's Bat Mitzvah party is here and filled to the brim with pink + gold - two of my very favorite things! Because the big day fell on Valentine's Day, the "Love Peyton" theme was perfect - the decorations were sparkly and shiny, the pink carpet rolled out just for the occasion, the photo wall had fun props centered on the theme, the napkins were pink + gold foil, the mashed potato bar with pink martini glasses and of course, Peyton's dress was a stunning shade of PINK! 

Level 11 kept the music pumping and kids dancing all night, but my most favorite moments? The ones centered around family: the cousins dancing on stage with aunts + uncles, Peyton's cousins singing a custom-written song just for her big day, the candle lighting ceremony that brought the whole space to tears, the Horah where Peyton, her brother and her dad had their moments to shine and the video filled with memories. I loved every minute!

Thank you, Peyton, for choosing me for your big day! I'm so grateful to have captured these memories for you - I'll always remember Valentine's Day 2015! XOXO

xoxo,
Sydnee

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VENDOR LOVE
Venue + catering: The Venue, Minneapolis and Ben & Jerry's
Entertainment + DJ: Level 11 and Space Pix Photo Wall

Peyton's Bat Mitzvah part 2 is here and filled with lots of big, beautiful smiles from Peyton and her family! Before the service started, a big surprise arrived: a dear friend who recently moved to Florida showed up to celebrate with Peyton - it was such an endearing moment, watching Peyton realize what was happening and it brought everyone to tears! I of course didn't stop crying there - to Peyton's speech, her mom's speech and watching Peyton and Tyson's relationship reminding me of my own with my brother... it was fabulously filled with emotion. Peyton's confidence was exuding all day! 

The luncheon brought a change in traditional buffet setup - the family-style soups and sandwiches from Kafe 421 were delicious and totally connected to the family atmosphere surrounding Peyton's celebration. Of course, I loved the gold touches in the placemats, the chevron table runners, the sweets table and the balloon centerpieces. And the heart-shaped grilled cheese?! LOVE! 

Stay tuned for the biggest, pinkest party - coming soon!

xoxo,
Sydnee

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VENDOR LOVE
Synagogue: Temple Israel
Luncheon catering: Kafe 421
Floral: Pink & Green Floral Design

Mitzvah Monday is back for 2015 and with a fabulously pink + gold bat mitzvah for Peyton! Peyton's mama Amy did a great job creating such a beautiful event - I loved all the custom details of this Valentine's weekend celebration - the gold foil on the invites, the pink lighting, the chocolate hearts, pink kippahs, the custom heart braid challah for the Shabbat dinner... it was endless! 

Friday kicked off the weekend with the Oneg and out of town guests arriving at Temple Israel in Minneapolis for Shabbat and the dinner at the W downtown Minneapolis. Beautiful, classic and filled with love from family - I can't wait to show you parts 2 and 3 coming later this week!

xoxo,
Sydnee 

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VENDOR LOVE
Synagogue: Temple Israel
Shabbat dinner venue: The W Hotel, Mpls
Challah: Breadsmith, Edina 

Part 2 of Carly's Neon Lights Bat Mitzvah is here!

When I was taking these images and even now looking through them again, I'm struck with the feeling of being a teenager and LOVING all things purple, pink and BRIGHT! Although, my childhood didn't include a feather dress, beautiful flowers, flash tats and a cupcake tower. Totally bummed about that last part ;) 

But the good news is that Carly's Bat Mitzvah party included all of these things! YAY! A ballroom at the Minneapolis Marriott West was transformed into a purple - pink - black - white fabulous space, totally fit for a dancer like Carly. Mom Lisa did the decor, along with the help of the staff at the hotel. Level 11 Entertainment kept the party moving and the super-tough Mitzvah Bouncers helped with crowd control and also helped with the flash tattoos. SO FUN!

Thanks for having me along for the ride, Carly! Mazel Tov!

xoxo,
Sydnee

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VENDOR LOVE

Venue: Minneapolis Marriott West
DJ + Entertainment: Level 11, Mitzvah Bouncers
Cupcakes: Gigi's Cupcakes

Mitzvah Monday is back! 

Carly's Bat Mitzvah last fall was a casual and FUN party! This baby sister of the family held her own and totally shined brightly. It was so hard not to photograph that mega-watt smile! 

We photographed the portraits at Beth-El Synagogue in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon. Seeing Carly reading from the Torah with her big brother and sister and parents watching on was such a special moment. Of course, the grandparents always seem to steal my heart! I loved the moment between Carly and her grandfather above - so sweet! 

Stay tuned for part 2 - Carly's Neon Lights party!

xoxo,
Sydnee 

Happy Mitzvah Monday, friends! 

I'm doing cartwheels with fingers crossed today as I just sent out a gold-glittery newsletter to my favorite bar + bat mitzvah clients (and some new friends too), announcing that I'm currently booking 2015-2016 mitzvahs! YAY! 

Over the last year or two, I have found my heart and my passion in these life events for reasons I've told you a thousand times before: they're oodles of fun, with a beautiful mix of both tradition and modern aspects and the families? They make my heart SOAR! 

Beyond the event, the most fulfilling part of the process is the album. Several families have chosen this option over the last year and they are INCREDIBLE!

Here's Joely looking through her two books for the first time and this was such a special moment for me. Joely's heart is so sweet and giving - she kept saying "thank you" and I couldn't help but beam! Because as much as she was grateful to me for creating these memories for her, I'm grateful to her and her family for picking me to tell her story. 

The album option is a 10x10 art book with matte pages and custom cover options. And the best part? They're hand delivered by yours truly! And always come with a side of dark chocolate gold-foil hearts, of course :)

Contact me for bar + bat mitzvah pricing - I'd so love to meet you! And in case you need more convincing, read more HERE + HERE :)

xoxo,
Sydnee 

 

I attended a workshop last week focused on branding and business for creatives. It was one of those things I looked forward to for a while, had high hopes for and went in with my head held high. This world of glitter hearts and love and shiny amazing things that I found myself in two years ago has been such a blessing, but it's a place that I've suddenly found not fitting quite right. Like those awesome pants you buy on sale that fit perfectly except for the length or the size of the pockets. Those small details that make you question the whole. 

You see, I just turned 29. Well, I guess I've been 29 for just 30 days now and holy cats, does it feel uncomfortable. 29 is so close to 30 and no, it's not that 30 scares me. I'm actually hoping to welcome 30 with arms wide open. It's that this number represents a sort of passage, a kind of growth. Personally, professionally, in all the ways that matter most. 

At this workshop, and actually, in most of my daily life, I find pride and accomplishment in being the age I am and what I would deem a success. This business sort of happened upon me seven+ years ago and I can easily say I found myself in creating these images that make people so so happy. I went from being that awkward kid in high school to being this business woman who's slowly / quickly sometimes making a name for herself in this industry.

When I made the decision only a short two years ago that bar + bat mitzvahs are the events I want to photograph for the rest of my life, it was like someone turned on the light in my heart. Documenting these events is like looking into one of those fortune-teller globes; these kids hold so much promise. I could be in the midst of future presidents, doctors, lawyers, teachers who are going to impact other kids forever. Their future is unknown and SO SO bright. And for as much as I hope the world for them, I also realize who I was always meant to be when I'm in the midst of them, dancing and eating cupcakes and wearing glowsticks on their heads. Feeling the beat of the music and laughing and making memories with their friends. 

On Tuesday, I thought I had it all together. 

At day's end on Tuesday? Total mess. [Slight disclaimer: my mess came in the form of a call home to Mom, reassurance and a slight kick in the pants. See also: Ben & Jerry's pint of strawberry cheesecake]

After the ice cream was gone, I realized something quite remarkable: I had already known I needed to make a change. But that tug in my gold-glitter heart became an unavoidable pull. For as much as I'm growing more every day into who I'm meant to be, these kids are too. The word is spreading and the events get bigger and bigger. I photographed 5 past clients for their senior portraits this year. These kids are growing up! (Insert sobbing / proud me here)

It's time for this cute gold glitter heart-filled world to grow up a bit and change into something a bit more sophisticated, a bit more classic but still 110% me. 

I want to assure you I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be blogging, still be working (oh goodness, the number of families I'll meet this month is AMAZING!) and come early 2015, I'll be a little bit older and a little bit more me :) I say this always and I never want to not say it: your trust and faith in me to continue doing this work pushes me to do even better every time. When your business is YOU, there are decisions you can make that are both personal and professional. This brand refresh is both of those intertwined. And for the record? I know you're all going to love it even more than you love this look + feel. 

As always, you all rock my world. The amount of people I connected with yesterday at a bar + bat mitzvah event fair was astounding - I wanted to hug all of you! I hugged a few, passed out more chocolates and am crossing fingers they call to book me into 2016. The families who have booked for this fall's mini session dates? You make my heart sing. This business feels like a team effort much of the time - I'm putting myself and my work out into the world; you're receiving it with open arms and spreading the love.

Thank you. I'm forever indebted and in love with each and every one of you.

xoxo,
Sydnee 

Part 2 of Joely's Bat Mitzvah is here! 

I loved working with Joely and her mom Lisa to photograph the image they used on the poster, welcoming everyone into the event - isn't Joely so adorable and fabulous?! It was great seeing Lisa's vision come to life! Special thanks to my second shooter, Kristine Erickson, for her help photographing everyone on the Step and Repeat - another fun addition to the party. Other additions? The custom "Joelys" - a special concoction that I'm still dreaming about - the Mobile Photo Wall, the Text Tunes wall from A-List Entertainment and to cap off the night? DONUTS from Angel Food Bakery!

Can you believe I resisted the urge to eat one?! I was on the last and final day of my self-induced donut fast...and I can tell you, I'm never doing THAT again! :) A fun tidbit: This event marked almost 5 years to the date when I first photographed a mitzvah event at the Varsity Theater and also 5 years from the first time I met A-List / MC extraordinaire Ross Marcus - happy friendiversary, Ross! 

Thank you to the Gendlers - you four are truly cool cats. I loved working with you and thank you for sharing your fun personalities and close ties with me. I hope you love these images as much as I do!

xoxo,
Sydnee 

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VENDOR LOVE

Venue: Varsity Theater
Planner: A2Z Do It Directed (Allie Markman)
Catering: Loring Pasta Bar
Photo booth: Mobile Photo Wall
Entertainment: A-List Entertainment
Treats: Angel Food Bakery 

#MitzvahMonday is back with one of my favorite bat mitzvahs to boot!

Joely's mom Lisa contacted me almost a year and a half before her big day, so when the day finally arrived, it was so fabulous to see all her hard work and planning come to fruition! And all a day to celebrate Joely's accomplishments - complete with donuts... but those are coming tomorrow!

In this post, you'll find our portrait session at Temple Israel + the Shabbat dinner at the uber-amazing Create Dining Studio in NE Mpls, PLUS the tear-jerking and beautiful service at Temple Israel. All with a simple and classic elegance that is total Joely :)

Dearest Gendlers, thank you for choosing me to document this most amazing weekend for you! I had such a blast getting to know all of you and working (but not work, totally fun!) to bring out Parker's fabulous personality and showcase Joely in all her awesomeness. Your laidback personalities made my job so easy - I hope these were the moments you were hoping for and will hold dear for years to come! I can't wait to see you in a few years to celebrate Parker's big day!

xoxo,
Sydnee 

 

VENDOR LOVE:
Synagogue: Temple Israel
Planner: A2Z Do It Directed (Allie Markman)
Shabbat Venue: Create Dining Studio
Photobooth @ Luncheon: The Traveling Photobooth
Catering @ Luncheon: Deco Catering

Happy Mitzvah Monday (Tuesday), friends!

I can't wait to share these images with you! Mollie's Bat Mitzvah happened a few weeks back and I don't think I'll ever forget it!! My trip to Mollieland began with portraits at Adath Jeshurun with her grandparents, sister and parents. We bonded over bow belts, gold glitter and how amazing their smiles are - all key elements for fabulous images :) 

Mollie was a natural at the bima and of course, the camera loved her! Her pink tallit featured stunning embroidery and her kippah made by her grandmother - love that!

Stay tuned for our next stop on the trip to Mollieland: the party! You're not going to want to miss this!! Mazel Tov, Mollie!

xoxo,
Sydnee

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VENDOR LOVE:
Synagogue: Adath Jeshurun
Event Planner: Amy Zaroff Events + Design 

Alex's Bat Mitzvah was a party for the record books! Mini EVERYTHING and extra AWESOME - appetizer bar with pizza and pretzels, pasta bar for dinner with mini burgers, french fries and then the DESSERTS! Alex sure set a precedent for parties to follow! A candy bar with every kind of treat that anyone with a slight sweet tooth would crave PLUS a mini cupcake bar and hot cocoa?! I LOVED EVERY MINUTE. 

Lauren from Event Lab worked closely with Alex's mom Tammy to bring the vision for the party to life. Alex LOVES vintage typewriters and I think they nailed it! From the font to the decor to the colored lights - it was simply stunning and an easy party to photograph the details! Level 11 helped get the kids on the dancefloor with fun glow props, glasses and hats, while the Virtual Graffetti Wall competed for attention. Tammy painted fun photo frame props in the colors of the party and they were a hit! 

Before we get onto the images, a few words from Tammy about the day: "We had simply one of the most amazing moments in our lives. Thank you for being such a joy to work with. I hope it was a good experience for you too! Alex was telling me last night how much she loved you and how nice you are!" 

Mazel Tov to Alex! I hope you loved re-living your amazing day!

xoxo,
Sydnee

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VENDOR LOVE!

Venue: Westin, Edina
Event Planner: Lauren @ Event Lab
Catering: Westin, Edina
Cupcakes: Sweet Retreat
DJ / Entertainment: Level 11 + Virtual Graffetti Wall 

Happy Mitzvah Monday, friends! Today, I'm featuring Alex and her Bat Mitzvah back in December - What a way to close out the year! Alex is a super-talented gymnast and a super-sweet girl, surrounded by a GIGANTIC support system made up of four lovely grandparents, an adoring mom and what feels like one billion cool friends!! 

Alex's mom Tammy contacted me earlier last year about photographing the event, that she had been at the JCC Showcase in 2012 and was interested in meeting me. We met in early fall at their home and I was met at the door by two of the cuuuuutest pups you've ever seen! Tammy herself loves photography, specifically documenting Alex with her friends and being the rad gymnast that she is, so we instantly connected on that level. I couldn't wait for Alex's big day in December!

An interesting note about this event: Alex's dad Andy unfortunately passed away a few years ago and a few years back, Alex decided to go through the Bat Mitzvah process in his honor. Her mom is not Jewish, but supported Alex 1000% throughout the process of learning Hebrew and preparing for the day. Alex's grandparents + mom Tammy were BEAMING all day! It was so fabulous to see how Alex chose to honor her dad at specific points in the service. 

The service and luncheon were held at Bet Shalom, a temple I've not photographed at before. The architecture is fantastic and lets in so much natural light - a photographer's dream! Tammy was so helpful in setting up a meeting with the synagogue staff prior to the weekend's events so I could get acclimated. 

The day arrived and for one of the first times, I was able to simply watch and observe Alex become a Bat Mitzvah, because photography is not allowed at Bet Shalom during service. However, while I waited outside photographing the luncheon details, those AMAZING treats beckoned my name! WOW! Alex's Grammy's friend was the mastermind behind the dessert table, and let me tell you, I sampled almost every single one and they were DELICIOUS! Spirit of Asia did a fabulous job coordinating the meal, as always. Mini grilled cheese and tomato soup for the kids? Totally loved it!

Check back later this week for the PARTY images - I can't wait to show you Alex's Sweet Treats!! Mazel Tov, Alex!

xoxo,
Sydnee