Things I didn’t know about house buying! | Confessions of a Newlywed

Good morning friends! It’s time for another installment of our newest blog series, “Confessions of a Newlywed!” Now it’s not too late to catch up on the blog series before this one, entitled “Confessions of a Future Bride”. It was where we documented EVERY part of my assistant’s wedding planning process. We thought since we are in the wedding business, why not offer ideas for our newest brides! Now that Rachel is married and we got a lot of great feedback from that series, we decided to continue with it. Not as a future bride but as a newlywed! 🙂

If you would like to get started on the Future Bride series, click here and scroll to the bottom where I’ve mapped out past posts for ya!

Today, we are piggy backing off of last weeks post where Rachel caught us up on what it’s been like to be married for 9 months.

“If you caught up with the blog last week, you would have seen that the only exciting thing Arthur and I have done since getting married is buy a house! We have had OUR house for about seven weeks. And I am still obsessed with it 🙂
So one thing buying a house has taught me is patience. And more patience. And even more patience. Now I know some people who it has taken even longer than Arthur and I to close on their house, but geez it is just not fair to have to wait that long when you have found the house and you are ready to move in!
Erica asked me to write about a few things that I did not know prior to buying a house or some things that had surprised me. First, I didn’t realize that the bank takes the lower of the couple’s credit scores. I guess I thought they would take an average of the two? I’m not sure what I thought lol, but I did not realize that. Also, you will need to provide bank statements after bank statements after bank statements. It feels like a million. Another thing.. It is really hard to decide when to lock in on an interest rate.. Like really hard.. Once you lock in, the rate is only good for a certain number of days.. So if you lock in right away, then your closing takes too long (like mine did due to our super slow seller) you could end up having a higher rate. It’s a total guessing game and I made my dad make the decisions for me 🙂 Lastly, I was told that at the closing I would need to sign a million papers and my hand would feel like it was about to fall off.. But it didn’t, we didn’t have to sign much and we walked out WITH THE KEYS TO OUR HOUSE in a little over a half hour 🙂 !!!!
One piece of advice from this new home owner.. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I think I had a gazillion of them. Lucky for me, my dad is in the banking business so he was able to answer a bunch of my questions. And we had a great realtor, Arthur’s Aunt Suzanne Bongiorno of Century 21 in Montgomery (Shameless plug for the great Aunt Sue 🙂  ). And we had an awesome attorney who I felt fully explained every detail and every piece of paper we were signing. 
So continue to keep checking in with the blog and at some point we will take a look inside my new home!!! :)”

~ Mrs. Bongiorno


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Jadner + Adrienne {Wedding} | Hudson Valley, NY Wedding Photographer

From the moment we met, I knew that Jadner and Adrienne would be a blast to work for! And once you see their photos you will be able to feel the love that these two have for each other. They chose a beautiful country setting for their wedding day! The Tuthill House in Gardiner, NY offers a rustic but refined place to get married! The ladies got ready at an onsite beautiful home, while the guys got ready in another building right above their beautiful restaurant.

Enjoy this small glimpse into their wedding day!

Check out this spread!!!!!

How many can say that they’ve had their PHOTOGRAPHER start a soul train line??!!! Yup! I did it and I got sooo many great shots!!!

Thank you so much Jadner and Adrienne for entrusting Rachel and myself to capture these life lasting memories!!!!

If you’re getting married, I’d love to take you out for some coffee and learn more about your big day!!!!

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Women, Wine & Words | Join our book club!

Part of my New Year’s Resolution was to get back into reading. After having my son, Judah, I didn’t have much time to sit down and read like I wanted to. I was busy trying to figure out motherhood, but I’m excited to get back to it! Now, my sister-in-law Rachel loves to read! She constantly has a book in her hands. One evening, I texted her that I really wanted to have a book club with the many friends and clients that we’ve made since starting my business. I know I always say this but I really do have the best clients! So I thought to myself, “why don’t we connect via my blog here and Facebook?” Instead of having EVERYONE at either of our houses once a month, we could connect via Facebook LIVE!

And so “Women, Wine & Words” was born! I would love for you to join! Our first “meeting” will be Saturday, April 15th. So you have from now until then to read the book of the month!!!

We plan to discuss the book, topics, and end with a giveaway! You read that right! Every month at the end of our Facebook LIVE chat, you will have the option to win something. Anything from a gift card to a free session with us!!! Who doesn’t like to win free stuff?!

So what’s the book of the month? Rachel and I immediately fell in love with this synopsis:

“Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable. Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows. Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.”


Oooohhhhh!!! Doesn’t that sound interesting??! We’ve decided that the book of the month will be, “Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris.

We are totally open to your suggestions of books too! This isn’t just OUR book club! Comment below if you would love to join as well as any books you’d be interested in reading!!!!! Here are just a few that Rachel and I would love to read:

  • “A Separation” by Katie Kitamura
  • “The Orphans Tale” by Pam Jenoff
  • “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins (it comes out in May)
  • “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty
  • “The Widow” by Fiona Barton
  • “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

Looking forward to getting to know some new people as well as chatting about books over wine with friends!!! xoxox

make sure you have “LIKED” my page are following me on > Facebook

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Juan Carlo + Shiela {Engaged} | New York Engagement Photographer

April cannot come soon enough! I am totally looking forward to photographing this beautiful couple’s wedding. When we did their engagement session last summer, we woke up at the crack of dawn to avoid the New York City crowd as well as to take advantage of that morning light! NYC is such a beautiful backdrop for any session!

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We Haven’t Killed Each Other Yet! | Confessions Of A Newlywed

Remember how Rachel and I started a blog series entitled, “Confessions Of A Future Bride,” where we documented her whole wedding planning process?! If you missed all of those post check this one out and scroll all the way to the bottom to see them all listed!

Well I figured, lets keep this thing going! We got sooooo many positive reviews and feedback from it that we thought it would be cool to continue and document the life of a newlywed!

Let’s read the first post!

“Confessions of a Newlywed | Post 1 | We Haven’t Killed Each Other Yet!!!


Well, here we are again… Arthur and I are going on nine months of being married! Can you believe it?! How on Earth did nine months go by?! We celebrated my first birthday as a married couple, our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, our first Christmas as a married couple, our first New Years as a married couple, and our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. And let me tell you something… It feels exactly the same as when we were dating… Or engaged 🙂 
So let’s see, what have we been up to since the last time we spoke in June.. Not much, we are pretty boring people 🙂 The big news (and I guess only news) is that we bought a house!! AHH! Finally! As much as I love my In-laws and appreciate them letting us live in their basement apartment.. I am very happy for us to have our own place!! We closed on our house at the end of January, so we are still putting things on the walls and several rooms are still filled with boxes. Butttttt, we have done quite a bit of work on the house. And let me tell you, I am absolutely in loveeeee with our house.
I don’t think there is much else to share! Keep up with the blog as we get it kick started with more weddings and a few more posts about married life :)”

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Will + Emily {Wedding} | Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer

Hello my friends!!! It’s time to resurrect this blog and share all that we’ve been up to! You’ll be hearing more from my special little newlywed friend (my Rachel) as well as displaying some of the beautiful weddings that we’ve had the opportunity to photograph!!! First up – Will & Emily!!

Will and Emily got married in one of the most adorable little church in Middlehope! The rain didn’t ruin their day as we moved over to Lippincott Manor. Once we arrived, we were able to sneak outside to take advantage of the beautiful grounds there!

These next couple of photos are so dear to my heart! Everyone knows that I love me a “First Look” but I especially love a first look with dad!

Off to this gorgeous rustic venue…

I heart these two so much!!!

This is the first of many wonderful weddings and couples that we’ve had the opportunity to work with! I cannot wait to show you all of them! I can’t wait to continue our blog series that Rachel and I came up with, “Confessions Of A Future Bride” turned “Confessions Of A Future Newlywed!” 😉 And most of all I can’t wait to share the life of two fun, wacky, photographer friends who love life!

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Breakfast at Erica’s | A Beginners Photography Workshop


Have a camera but don’t really know how to use it??? Or are you looking to take better pictures of your children, pets or loved ones?? How about better photos for your business or blog? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this is the class for you!

EricaLee Photography is happy to announce their second photography workshop – “Breakfast at Erica’s!” You’ll have the chance to mingle with other newbies while eating a delicious brunch and learn some of the tricks of your camera in a nice, small intimate setting at my house! Just in time to learn how to capture beautiful memories this holiday season!!!!


Price – $75.00 (with a $25.00 non refundable retainer paid in advance to hold your spot)

Date – Saturday, November 5, 2016

Time – 11:00am – 2:00pm

Place – My Home (Middletown, NY)

Supplies Needed – A DSLR Camera aka digital camera aka not the camera that fit’s into your pocket & Memory Card

Whether your photographing semi-manually or only know how to turn your camera on and shoot there’s always room to learn more. We welcome all ranges of expertise!

Limited spots available so make sure to email me at to book you spot!!

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Rachel’s Honeymoon!

Helloooo my friends! Long time no see! We’ve missed you! Last time we wrote it was a few days before Rachel’s wedding day. We concluded our “Confessions of a Future Bride” series but that doesn’t mean we will stop writing. We received such a great amount of feedback that we wanted to keep this blog alive and running.

Since Rachel is no longer considered a “future bride,” we thought it would be cool to document her first year as a WIFE! Or better yet – “Confessions Of A Newlywed!!” I [ERICA] will also be writing about my life as a wife, mom and photographer showcasing a lot of our work!! So make sure to check back here frequently as you won’t want to miss some great posts!

Art and I had an amazing time in Puerto Rico.. I absolutely loved that our hotel was right on the beach and had beach chairs and hammocks scattered down the beach.. You could find me laying on a hammock reading my book on most afternoons 🙂
Of course it was our Honeymoon, so most of the trip will stay between Arthur and me 😉 But I will share that we had a great time at the beach, the pool, El Yunque- the rainforest, the Bacardi factory and we ate soooooo muchhhhh fooooddd!! And saw lots of little creatures.. Actually the iguanas were not little at all 🙂
Enjoy some pictures from our week in paradise!

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“Confessions Of A Future Bride” | Post 38 [LAST ONE]

Today’s post is a very special one. It’s the last #weddingwednesday post before Rachel gets married. On Friday, June 24th at 5:00pm, Rachel will no longer be a Freitas and will become a Mrs. Bongiorno. I’m already getting emotional just writing this. I am going to cry soo much on Friday. Ahhhh!!!

You will want to make sure that you are either following me on my Instagram {@ericaleephotography} or Facebook page {EricaLee Photography} to see some peeks into her wedding day, as you all know I will have my phone out!!! So make sure to ‘Follow’ or ‘Like’ once you are done reading todays post. Rachel will not be making an entry on todays post since its all about her Bachelorette weekend. And honestly I, Erica, will not be writing much either other than the fact that we went to Ocean City, NJ as well as Atlantic City.

What I will write is, “what happens at the shore, stays at the shore!” 😉 hahahahaha Here are just a few photos from the weekend.

Rachels Weekend-1 Rachels Weekend-2 Rachels Weekend-3 Rachels Weekend-4 Rachels Weekend-5 Rachels Weekend-6 Rachels Weekend-7 Rachels Weekend-9 Rachels Weekend-8 Rachels Weekend-10

Here are some iPhone Pics!

Bachelorette Collage

I hope you all have enjoyed our fun blog series! Be sure to come back as we start a new blog series in a couple of weeks after Rachel returns from her honeymoon! You won’t want to miss it. So many new things will be appearing on this blog.

Now if you missed any of our posts or want to start from the beginning, here are all of our posts from the “Confessions Of A Future Bride” blog series.

Rachel, my business partner/assistant/second shooter, got engaged and with us being photographers, thought it would be cool document her whole wedding planning process. Not only to keep these memories but to maybe help out one of our readers who may be a future bride as well as get suggestions from you guys. Here are the past posts that you’ve missed.

  1. Post 1 ~ We got a glimpse of how Rachel and her fiancé, Arthur met! It’s an adorable story including some very young pictures of them.
  2. Post 2 ~ We got to hear the story of how Arthur proposed in Bermuda! Check out that post to see her ring! It’s beautiful!
  3. Post 3 ~ Rachel said YES TO THE DRESS!! Check it out to see her experience at David’s Bridal!
  4. Venues! Venues! Venues! Post 4 | Post 5 | Post 6 | are her weeks in search for the perfect venue! And in Post 7 you get to hear the place that she chose!!!
  5. Post 8 ~ We are back at Davids Bridal picking out the Bridesmaids Dresses as well as seeing who she chose to stand up there with her on the big day!!
  6. Post 9 (maid of honor & big sis), Post 10 (little sis), Post 11 (cousin), Post 12 (sister-in-law), Post 13 (best friend), and Post 14 (MEE) ~This is where Rachel introduces her bridesmaids and tells us the background stories of how she knows them. There are some pretty funny moments and awesome pictures!
  7. Post 15 ~ Engagement Pictures!!!! Here, we get to see Rachel’s engagement session. I also give some tips on how to make the most of your engagement session.
  8. Post 16 ~ All about the “Save The Dates.”
  9. Post 17 ~ All about the DJ and some songs you don’t want to miss being played at the wedding!
  10. Post 18 ~ Bridal Registry! This is a fun post because I filmed it rather than photographing it!! Check it out!!
  11. Post 19 ~ Speed Round Questions with the Fiance’ himself!!!
  12. Post 20 ~ Special Valentines Day Post!
  13. Post 21 ~ To Peek or Not To Peek…That is the question!!! Will Rachel be doing a first look?
  14. Post 22 ~ Flowers, Flowers, Flowers!!! Time to talk about the Bouquet.
  15. Post 23 ~ This post is all about the Wedding Cake! mmmmmmmmmm
  16. Post 24 ~ Checklist of what has been done so far and what’s left to do!
  17. Post 25 ~ Tuxes Tuxes Tuxes!!! Arthur get’s his Tuxes! Rachel came up with a beautiful look for the guys!
  18. Post 26 ~ A Wedding DIY!!
  19. Post 27 ~ Rachel’s Hairstyle Ideas | Part I
  20. Post 28 ~ A post all about the rules or traditions that Rachel is either keeping or doing away with!
  21. Post 29 ~ The post that everyone has been waiting for!!! RACHEL’S WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!! WOOHOO!!!
  22. Post 30 ~ She booked her honeymoon! Check out where Art & Rachel are going!!!
  23. Post 31 ~ Wedding Bands! Soo pretty!!!
  24. Post 32 ~ Invitations
  25. Post 33 ~ Rachel’s Hairstyle Ideas | Part II
  26. Post 34 ~ Another Wedding DIY – Table Numbers
  27. Post 35 ~ Rachel’s Bridal Shower
  28. Post 36 ~ Another Wedding DIY – Card Box
  29. Post 37 ~ Wedding Favors

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“Confessions Of A Future Bride” | Post 37

Getting down to the wire!!!!!! 🙂

“Being at so many weddings I see lots of really great ideas for the favors. Some great ones from past weddings are seed paper with something like “watch our love grow,” jam/jelly with “spread the love,” drink koozies with one saying or another…
After scouring Pinterest {of course, what else would I do} I found some other great ideas.. Some needed lots of craftiness.. And others needed lots of money 🙂
I did some searching on my second favorite website, Etsy, and I found something that was different from what I had seen before and I absolutely loved it… Succulents! {Here’s the link for the shop on Etsy } They offer a million different options.. Different types of assortments. Some come in pretty little pots for wedding favors {but of course those cost more 🙂 } So I went with the cheaper option and if you remember back to all of the burlap I had purchased, I will be wrapping each plant in burlap :). It will be a bit of a task, but that is what I have my amazing bridal party for 🙂

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They should be delivered by Friday, so get ready girls 🙂
Almost a week until the wedding! This is all happening so fast! This week we picked up our wedding bands, met with the DJ, today I will meet with the florist and tomorrow we sit down with my brother {David, our officiant} to go over the ceremony.. And I also scheduled for me and my girls to get our manis and pedis 🙂 It has been a super busy week!”
~The Future Mrs. Bongiorno

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