Robert and Kathleen Photographers

Venue Profile: New Haven Lawn Club in New Haven, Connecticut

Wedding PlanningKathleen TrenskeComment

Set in what is (in our opinion) Connecticut’s best city, the New Haven Lawn Club also happens to be one of our favorite venues in the state. The Lawn Club’s distinct art-deco architecture makes it the perfect venue for a couple looking for an elegant ballroom in which to host a black-tie wedding.  Founded in 1891, the Lawn Club is a stately Georgian mansion set in New Haven’s prestigious East Rock neighborhood. The current main building was built in the late 1920’s in the colonial revival style. The club is a staple for New Haven area events, frequently hosting functions for nearby Yale University. It has a long and storied history and counts Eli Whitney as one of it’s founding members.

After admiring the building’s brick exterior, guests make their way through a covered portico and into a circular lobby featuring black-and-white checkered terrazzo floors. Wood-burning fireplaces are located throughout the main floor of the club and are typically filled with candles for events. Cocktail hour takes place in the Main Dining Room which features two fireplaces, large windows and a grand piano. The true gem of the Lawn Club is it’s Ballroom.  Dramatic and majestic from it’s star-accented, barrel-vaulted ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and four gorgeous Austrian Art Deco crystal chandeliers, we have literally heard guests gasp when they walk into the room. The ballroom can host up to 225 people for a sit-down dinner and has a stage that is perfect for a large band. A terrace is located just outside the doors of the Ballroom and can be accessed by guests throughout the night.

For many of our couples who have gotten married at the Lawn Club, one of their favorite experiences of the planning process was working with the Lawn Club coordinator, Christine. We have known Christine for many years and always enjoy getting to work with her because she is so good at what she does.  She is incredibly attentive to the couple and their families. She always makes sure wedding days run on time all while making everything come together so seamlessly it appears effortless.

Guests traveling in from out of state or thinking about staying for the weekend can look forward to some of the many experiences the city of New Haven has to offer. They can try some of the city’s famous pizza, visit area museums and tour the campus at Yale. New Haven also has a number of fantastic hotels, our favorite is The Study at Yale - a chic, boutique hotel where they can enjoy the amazing brunch at Heirloom (the hot caramel apple doughnuts are incredible). 

Stay tuned on the blog for two recent weddings we photographed at the Lawn Club this month. In the meantime, here are some of our favorite images from Lawn Club weddings that truly show off the grandeur of the space.

Stone House at Stirling Ridge: Warren, NJ: Jackie & John's Wedding

WeddingsKathleen TrenskeComment

There are some couples, like Jackie and John, whose connection is so evident that it can captivate you. You can see it in the quiet moments, in the little smiles and passing glances. You can tell that they are able to communicate volumes to one another without even speaking a word. As photographers, it’s always our goal to capture that connection so that couple can see what everyone around them sees all the time: the true love they have for one another that is written all over their faces when they are together.

That was an easy task with Jackie and John. They compliment each other in pretty much every way possible. She’s funny and full of life, focused and passionate about every new task she tackles. He is thoughtful and attentive, universally admired by his family and friends as an excellent gift giver because of his ability to truly understand the people he loves. Together, they are an energetic and thoughtfulness couple whose gentleness and love for one another is abundantly clear.

When it came to their wedding, it was important to both Jackie and John to share the love they have found together with all of the people who have been with them on their journey to find one another. Throughout the day, you could their guests were just captivated by the incredible connection that Jackie and John share as we were.  It was visible with every smile and passing glance, from the moment they saw each other during the ceremony to well into the night on the dance floor. 

Bridal Gown: L'Fay Collection  |  Bridal Salon: L'Fay Bridal in Chatham, NJ  |  Shoes: Monique Lhuillier  |  Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff  |  Hair & Make-Up: Expert Make-Up Artistry & Hair Design  |  Flowers: Somerset Hills Florist in Basking Ridge, NJ  |  Stationery: East Six  |  Ceremony Location: St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Basking Ridge, NJ  |  Venue: Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ  |  DJ: Eclipse Events  |  Cake: Rudy's Pastry Shop in Bloomfield, NJ 

The Patterson Club: Fairfield, CT: Amy & Jack's Wedding

WeddingsKathleen TrenskeComment

It has been said that the very best romances start out as friendships; that friendship is the solid foundation upon which a beautiful life can be built together. If you’re looking for living proof of that, all you need to do is look at Amy and Jack.  

Amy and Jack met while students together at Fairfield University and by their senior year they were close friends. Their group of friends would spend time together regularly, even teasing each other with occasional pranks and good-natured teasing. In fact, many of Amy and Jack’s favorite memories of college involve one another.

After graduation, they reconnected when they both started working for the same company. Amy would often call her best friend, Megan, to tell her all about the fun things she and Jack did together. Megan started to think there was something more brewing between Amy and Jack, but Amy insisted that they were just friends. Amy valued her friendship with Jack and was nervous to risk that for the chance of something more. Jack, though, was falling hard for Amy. He was nervous too, but his fear was of missing his chance of what he thought could be an amazing relationship. So he, too, called Megan for advice. She told him to go for it.

Jack planned a group ski trip, inviting Amy and her friends to join him and his. It was on that trip that Jack finally asked Amy out on an official date and the nature of their relationship changed. After that first date, Amy and Jack both knew what their friends had probably had known for years - that they were meant to be a couple.

Bridal Gown: Amsale  |  Bridal Salon: Amale Flagship Salon in New York, NY  |  Shoes: Kate Spade  |  Ceremony Location: The Chapel at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut  |  Venue: The Patterson Club in Fairfield, Connecticut

The Village Club: Lake Success, NY: Melissa & Steve's Wedding

WeddingsKathleen TrenskeComment

It’s lucky for Melissa and Steve that they just happened to have a mutual friend in common. Even more, it’s lucky that mutual friend took it upon herself to bring them together since she had a feeling that they just might be perfect for one another. She planned a lunch, having Melissa and a few other coworkers get together and inviting Steve (a friend she had known for years) to join them.  It was a surprise to Melissa to see an unfamiliar face at that lunch but she liked what she saw.  Steve was friendly and open, easy to talk to with a smile that definitely caught her eye. The two of them talked quite a bit that day and by the time the dishes were cleared, Steve knew he wanted to see Melissa again. 

Their first date was magical but Melissa was left a bit confused when Steve ended the night with…a handshake.  He laughs about it now, acknowledging that his nerves got the best of him. Maybe it was because he knew that Melissa was truly special and that this relationship would be different than any he had ever had before. 

After dating for a while, he knew he wanted Melissa to be his wife. When he asked her, he took her hand again - just like he had on that first date - but this time he slipped a gorgeous ring on her finger. This spring they became husband and wife, much to the joy of their friends and family and, especially, the mutual friend that just knew they would be perfect for one another.  Safe to say, she was absolutely right.

Bridal Gown: Stella York  |  Bridesmaids Gowns: Bill Levkoff  |  Bridal Salon: RK Bridal in New York, NY  |  Hair & Make-up: Coco Tsang  |  Floral Design: Distinctive Floral Design in Mineola, NY  |  Catering: Philip Stone Caterers  |  DJ and Lighting: Bravura Entertainment  |  Venue: The Village Club at Lake Success

Venue Profile: Gramercy Park Hotel

Wedding PlanningKathleen TrenskeComment

The hunt for the perfect venue in New York City could quite possibly be one of the most challenging aspects of planning a wedding in Manhattan. With the sheer number of venues, everything from vast ballrooms and raw loft spaces, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you’re looking for a venue with a storied New York history and intimate setting, Gramercy Park Hotel is the place for you.  We have had the pleasure of working at the hotel many times over the past several years and can say with certainty that it is by far one of our favorite places in Manhattan.

Built in 1925, the hotel has long-served as landmark in the chic Gramercy neighborhood. It was the location of Humphrey Bogart’s first wedding in 1926 and has been frequented over the years by movie stars, models and athletes - from Babe Ruth to Bob Dylan to Madonna. It still frequently hosts celebrity events and fashion shows.  Well known for it’s expansive art collection, you can see famous work featured throughout the hotel, rotated on a regular basis so you have the chance to see something new whenever you return. Their collection includes work from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol. 

Weddings are hosted on the Gramercy Terrace, a unique space on the 18th floor of the hotel with lush, garden-like surroundings and an expansive view of both Midtown and Lower Manhattan - including both the Chrysler Building and the Freedom Tower. The terrace has a fully-weatherized retractable glass roof, giving you the option to have an open-air reception admist the city lights.

The space can host up to 120 guests for a seated reception and more for a cocktail-style reception. You can customize your menu with the catering team from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group.  (Danny Meyer's NYC restaurants have long been revered as some of the best in the city. We have been fortunate to sample quite a bit of the food at GPH and it has all been delicious. He  also happens to be the man behind our favorite East-Coast burger chain, Shake Shack.)

Many of the couples whose weddings we have photographed at the hotel have really enjoyed giving their guests the opportunity to have a true "New York" experience. The hotel rooms are arftfully decorated, the staff is incredibly attentive and the food (from the reception offerings to hotel restaurant, Maialino) is off-the-charts amazing. There is nothing quite like a wedding on the Gramercy Terrace - city lights in the distance, impeccable food on your plate and an experience you will never forget.

Venue Profile: Oheka Castle

Wedding PlanningKathleen TrenskeComment

If in narrowing down your wedding planning you have decided that you would like to have a dramatic, regal wedding, then you would be hard-pressed to find a more perfect location in the Northeast than the Oheka Castle. Nearly 100 years old, it is a French-style Chateau located on Long Island’s famed Gold Coast. At the time it was built it was the second-largest private residence ever built in America (this being the first) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It’s grand opulence is rumored to have been inspiration to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  Oheka might look familiar to you since it is often used in television and movies, most recently it was the location of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space video.

Oheka hosts only one wedding per day and can hold up to 400 guests for a sit down dinner in the Terrace Room. You can have your ceremony on-site, either outside in the Formal Gardens or inside in the Grand Ballroom. There are rooms available to get ready in on the day of the wedding and a bridal suite for the bride and groom for the wedding night. Since Oheka is also a hotel, you can have your guests reserve rooms and have the option of hosting a breakfast the morning after your wedding as well.

We have photographed weddings at Oheka in the heat of the summer and when there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground in March and it is consistently gorgeous.

Wedding Planning: Setting a Date

Wedding PlanningKathleen TrenskeComment

Congratulations, you're engaged! You have hugged your family and friends, gushed about the proposal and stared at that gorgeous ring for more time than you would openly admit. But there is that one question that stumps you. There you are, sipping champagne and telling the proposal story one more time when they ask you. "So... did you set a date yet?" 

Let me start with what I consider to be the best wedding advice there is - learn to tune people out. People have their opinions - good opinions, bad opinions, opinions that make no sense. Remember, those opinions are theirs and theirs alone. There are two opinions that should matter when it comes to your wedding day - yours and your fiancé's. Other than that, pick and choose from what other people have to say. It's that simple. Don't let them stress you, don't let them bully you, don't let them get you down. It's your wedding. It's your vision. It's your date to choose. 

Probably the easiest first step in picking the date is selecting which season you would like to get married in. They all have their pluses and minuses. Like all the choices of your wedding day - it's completely up to you. For me, one of the easiest ways to weigh my options for big decisions is to make a list of pros and cons. So I've put together a few of the pros and cons of each season to help you as you get the ball rolling. Don't worry - they are always more pros than cons. And after working hundreds of weddings, we know how to turn any con on it's head. As an added bonus, we're thrilled to have the input from one of NYC's premiere floral designers (and one of our recent brides), Samantha from The Mini Rose Company who shared with us which flowers are in bloom during each season. 

One note: It is important to be flexible, too. You might fall in love with a venue that just doesn't happen to have any spring dates available this year. Fall could be a great back up. So take a look at our list below and take notes of what you like and what you don't. And remember, there are no hard and fast rules. It's your wedding. If you want something that's typically "Fall" at your summer wedding, do it. 

As soon as you really start making your day your own, the planning will become that much easier. I promise. Plus, once you "Set the Date" you can cross the very first item off your "To Do" list. And that always feels good.

December, January, February

Pros: There's something inherently romantic about wintertime. There's a chill in the air, you hold each other close and cuddle up by candlelight. And a few flurries outside? Well, that could just be a bonus, especially if you don't mind the cold. Even better, winter is considered "off season" by some wedding venues. Because of that, you will probably have an easier time getting the reception venue and vendors of your choice since you won't be competing for the "most popular" wedding dates which tend to be in the spring and fall. Some venues even have lower per guest rates for winter weddings. If you plan on a church ceremony in December, you can save on some of your floral budget since the church will already be decorated for Christmas. 

Cons: Weather. There could be a blizzard, it could be unseasonably warm - you can't really know for sure. A friend of mine got married on January 1, 2011 and it was 60 degrees in Long Island. The week before there was a blizzard that shut down NYC. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. You could also save your guests some travel stress by opting to have your ceremony and reception all in the same location. 

How to Make the Most of your Winter Wedding 

Venue: Winter is the perfect time of year for a wedding in a elegant ballroom. Uplighting, candles, branches and full floral centerpieces can transform even the simplest ballroom into a winter wonderland. 

Photography: Pick a stunning venue or a separate indoor location as a back-up for your photos in case it's just too cold (or too wet) to be outside. Be willing to brave the cold for at least a few minutes though, the bare trees can actually make for dramatic and beautiful photos. And if there does happen to be snow, embrace it. Head outside, cuddle and get some shots of the two of you surrounded by the falling snow. 

Flowers in Season (From Samantha of The Mini Rose Company): Amaryllis, Hyacinth, Narcissus, Evergreen and Pine. Colors that are prominent are whites, greens, deep reds and purples. Fun elements like birch wrapped vases, pine cones and winter greens in floral arrangements give a funky and custom winter look. 

Winter Accessories: A dramatic cape, cozy wraps for your bridesmaids, a faux fur stole 

Food: Hot Cocoa to greet your guests at cocktail hour, comfort food for passed hors d'oeuvres and a warm dessert to send them on their way.

March, April, May

Pros: The warmer weather means people are eager to head outside and welcome a reason to celebrate. It’s a busy floral season, so you'll have a wide range of gorgeous blooms to choose from for your bouquets and centerpieces. If you're the ultimately girly girl, this is the season for you. Pastels and hues of pink and purple are a natural fit against the lush green backdrop of spring, adding a pop of color. Touches of lace, crystals and pearls can adorn your tables (and you and your maids).If you are more into preppy-chic, mix it up with patterns in your linens or invitations. Select fragrant flowers for your centerpieces to add one more layer of atmosphere to your reception or ceremony. 

Cons: It just might rain. But, believe it or not, in our experience it hardly ever rains for the entire day. We always check the forecast and look for the best pocket of time when the skies will clear. With umbrellas in hand, we take that time (even if it's just a few minutes) and head out with the bride and groom to get some outdoor shots. So, prepare for some showers, but don't obsessively check the forecast for your wedding day as the date approaches. It always changes. Usually, for the better. 

How to Make the Most of your Spring Wedding 

Venue: Spring is the perfect time of year for a wedding at an estate. A dramatic tree-lined front entrance, expansive lawn or terrace for cocktail hour and then on to the dance floor for an evening of dancing. 

Photography: Plan out enough time to really take advantage of the gorgeous surroundings of spring. If there does happen to be rain, have fun with it. Have a cute pair of Wellies tucked aside just in case and head outside for some romantic shots under an umbrella. If you're planning to marry in an area where there are particularly gorgeous blooming trees, keep an eye on the peak season for those blooms. New Haven native, Chrissy, selected her wedding date to be in the prime of cherry blossom season because she loved the blooming branches since childhood. 

Flowers in Season (From Samantha of The Mini Rose Company): Peonies, Ranunculus, Tulips, Anemone, Blooming Branches such as Cherry Blossom and Quince, and Lilac. Colors for this season lean in the purples,peaches, and pastel tones. Soft garden textures and tall blooming branches are always a hit. 

Spring Accessories: A pearl or crystal clutch, patterned cardigans, a lace bolero 

Food: Mint Julep in classic silver cups, mini sandwiches for d'oeuvres, peach parfaits for dessert

June, July August

Pros: If you're dreaming of an outdoor wedding, this is your season. Summer nights are perfect for tented weddings with guests free to roam the grounds at your reception that has no walls. If your fiancé is more keen on wearing a light-weight suit than a formal tuxedo, summer is perfect for him as well. Also, people tend to be willing to stay up a bit later and party a bit harder in the summer, so if you know you want a lively reception, this is your season. 

Cons: It could be pretty hot, so be sure to have fans and cold water waiting for your guests if you choose to do the majority of the events of your day outdoors. To combat potential heat, see if you can have an A/C option for your tent. Summer is in the middle of prime wedding season, so nail down your vendors as early as possible, especially those that book up quickly. Many guests plan summer vacations, so send out Save the Dates early so they mark their calendars, especially if you're marrying on a holiday weekend. 

How to Make the Most of your Summer Wedding 

Venue : You can chose to say your vows with your toes in the sand or set up a tent in your backyard of your childhood home. Either way, incorporating the outdoors is the way to go. Your guests will want to spend time out in the night air (talking, dancing, drinking, etc.) so make sure that wherever you choose has easy access to the outside so they can come back and forth without breaking the momentum of the party. 

Photography: If you plan on having your ceremony at the same place as your reception, we highly suggest doing a first look. Cocktail hour will begin very shortly after your ceremony ends and you're going to want to join your guests. We will help you schedule your day so that you can have a sweet, emotional first look that will in no way take away from the moment you walk down the aisle. 

Flowers in Season (From Samantha of The Mini Rose Company): Sunflowers, Hydrangea, Wildflowers, Coxcomb, Amaranthus. Vibrant tones such as yellows, oranges, crisp greens and bold blues are common for summer flowers. 

Summer Accessories: Flowy, flirty bridesmaids dresses, a long dramatic veil to blow in the summer breeze or a floral crowns for you (they are perfect for summer brides) 

Food: Serve up your favorite summer fare. Fresh squeezed lemonade to greet your guests, BBQ sliders for passed hors d'oeuvres, milkshake shooters passed around the dance floor before last dance.

September, October, November

Pros: Fall has actually become perhaps the most popular season to get married and for good reason. The sky is bright blue (especially in October) and there is, quite literally, a cascade of colors all around you. The weather is typically "just right," not too warm, not too cold and comfortable for the gentlemen donning three-piece suits. If you love golds, oranges, purples and reds, this is the season for you. And if you're a foodie, the harvest season has so many rich flavors that you can incorporate into your menu. 

Cons: You will probably have to set the date further in advance to ensure a Fall wedding date. In the early fall (September and October) you might have the chance of rough weather coming on the heels of hurricane season (either for your actual wedding date or if you were planning a Caribbean honeymoon). The later fall (November) might mean a day that is a bit on the chilly side. 

How to Make the Most of Your Autumn Wedding 

Venue: Fall is the perfect time for two very distinct locations: a classic New England-style barn or a vineyard. Each has their own distinct charm and they have one very important thing in common: tying in the natural elements of the season into your wedding day. 

Photography: If photographs among the foliage are really important to you, seek out advice for when peak season will be at your particular venue. Have a wrap or cardigan on hand to keep your warm in between shots and/or to have a different look. If a windy day is scheduled, talk to your hair stylist about the best way to keep your hair looking perfect even against strong gusts (maybe even have a back-up hairstyle planned out, just in case). If your wedding will be taking place after daylight savings, make sure to plan your day to ensure plenty of time for photos before the sun sets. 

Flowers in Season (From Samantha of The Mini Rose Company): Hydrangea, Dahlias, Autumn foliage pods and berries, Bittersweet. Autumn tones are fabulous and give you tons of flower and textural options in this season. Rich and deep flowers and funky elements like pods, and berries are great. 

Autumn Accessories: Colorful accents look beautiful against the rich tones of Fall. Think of a dramatic headpiece for you, patterned linens for your cocktail tables and gold clutches for your bridesmaids. 

Food: Hot apple cider to greet your guests, butternut squash soup shooters for passed hors d'oeuvres, warm apple cobbler for dessert. 

So, pull out your calendars, make some appointments for venue visits and, most importantly, remember to have fun. Wedding planning doesn't have to be stressful. It can actually be fun. You're planning a day that's all about the two of you and how you feel about one another. Enjoy it!