Gramercy Park Hotel: New York, NY: Franco & Stephen's Wedding

Franco and Stephen met over twenty years ago.  It was at a party in Florida where these two transplants to the Sunshine State bonded for the very first time.  Franco was working for an airline at the time and, for one of their first dates, he surprised Stephen with a lunch date…in New York City.  It was a whirlwind visit to the city, with New York-native Franco acting as tour guide.  It was there where they shared a kiss on the top of the Empire State Building and New York forever became a significant landmark in their relationship.  Eleven years later, they returned to the city to seal their commitment to one another.  They could not yet do so legally, so instead they purchased rings for one another and vowed what they had known in their hearts since that first visit to NYC, that they were meant to be together.

This winter, twenty-two years after that first meeting and eleven years after they bought their first set of rings for each other - Franco and Stephen returned yet again.  This time it was to officially marry in front of their family and friends, in the city that had meant so much to them with the skyline they had explored together twinkling around them as they said the heart-felt vows.  Vows that expressed just how much each one had meant to the other over the two decades they have been together and had everyone in the room in tears, marveling at the dedication these two incredible men have for one another.

New Rochelle, NY: Hillari & Danny's Family Session

It’s hard to believe that we have known Hillari and Danny for just about five years now.  Hard to believe, because it feels like just yesterday when we were meeting up with them in Newport for their engagement session - where we heard about (and re-enacted) Danny’s incredible proposal (it included a custom model airplane that Danny had built).  We knew then, after spending the afternoon with them that they were just our kind of couple: asy-going, talkative and always dreaming about their next adventure or new way to pursue their passions.  After their wedding in September of 2010, we were hoping that we would get to see them again and were fortunate that they recommended us to two of their good friends, whose weddings we had the pleasure to photograph as well (and get to see Hillari and Danny at the same time).

We were thrilled for them when they welcomed their first son and had been dying to meet him in person (he’s got the cutest big brown eyes) so we were delighted when Hillari asked us to photograph them as a family when their newest adorable little boy arrived recently. We met them in their home in New Rochelle, a home that they have been remodeling and truly making their own.  And spending the afternoon with them was just like it was five years ago - we had so much fun getting to talk with Hillari and Danny and could have easily spent hours just hanging out.  As we drove home that afternoon, Rob and I talked about just how lucky we are to photograph adorable families like theirs and to have couples who truly turn into friends.

Battery Gardens: New York, NY: Nickie & Jamie's Wedding

It was bitter cold on the day that Nickie and Jamie got married. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at the two of them, braving the wind whipping down the streets of the financial district, seeing each other for the first time.  It could have been 20 below and, in those moments, they wouldn’t have felt it.  In those moments (and truthfully, most of the day) the only thing they were focused on was one another.  All of us (the two of us, their bridal party) were warmed just by seeing the two of them.  Their joy was contagious and there is something about witnessing two people that are so deliriously happy that truly does make everything else (including chilly temperatures) seem inconsequential.

And as the day went on, when we were all in the warm rooms of Battery Gardens with the view of the Statute of Liberty in the distance, it was clear the Nickie and Jamie’s wedding day would be exactly as you would expect it to be: sweet, romantic and so much fun.  Just like the two of them. From their tear-inducing personal vows to the epic dance offs during the reception, there wasn’t a minute of Nickie & Jamie’s wedding day that wasn’t memorable.  And we were thrilled to be there to capture it all.

Venue: Battery Gardens in New York, NY  |  Dress: Enzoani  |  Shoes: Caparros  |  Make-up: Theresa Lupo  |  Officiant: Rev. Annie Lawrence  |  Band: 747 Orchestra  

Lake of Isles: Stonington, CT: Rosa & Irv's Wedding

It wasn’t long after Rosa first set eyes on Irv that she told her friends that she was claiming him as hers.  Irv didn’t know that, of course. He was the new student in their small Catholic high school in rural Connecticut and was busy learning everyone’s names and making new friends. But there was one particularly beautiful face that he did notice right away as well.  So when that energetic, gorgeous girl asked him for a ride home after school one day, he happily obliged.  Rosa was so distracted by simply being in a car with the guy she had a huge crush on, that she actually got them lost on the way back to her house.  Irv was confused, but when he looked over at Rosa he couldn’t help but smile.  They laughed and, in that afternoon, they both saw the potential for something more.  

After high school, they went their separate ways for college but did keep in touch.  Once college was over, they both could see that this was the perfect time for them.  They were ready to start their careers, pursue their passions, and there was nothing else they wanted more than to be by each other’s side through it all.  Besides being a ridiculously good-looking couple, they are also a perfect match for one another.  They balance each other out, push one another to be better and just plain make each other deliriously happy.  When Irv proposed on the beach in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Rosa didn’t hesitate for a second when she gave her answer.  Of course she would marry him.  Now she has a ring on her finger that lets the whole world know what she had known so many years before: he was meant to be hers.  And he couldn’t be happier.

Bridal Gown: Monique Lhuillier  |  Bridal Salon: Plumed Serpent Bridal in Westport, Connecticut  |  Shoes: Jimmy Choo  |  Bridesmaids Gowns: Amsale  |  Hair: Jenna Poitras of Naomi Studio & Salon  |  Make-up: Naomi Martinez of Naomi Salon & Studio  |  Ceremony Location: St. Mary Star of the Sea in New London, Connecticut |  Reception Venue: Lake of Isles in North Stonington, Connecticut  |  Flowers: Blush Floral Design in Madison, Connecticut  |  Band: ETA Band of Westport, Connecticut

A Message to the Newly-Engaged

As we have been getting a bit stir crazy from being indoors to avoid the bitter cold and barrage of snow here in the Northeast, there has been one thing that has been a source of solace from the gloom of winter: the happy newly-engaged couples popping up in our inbox and sharing their joy on social media.  I'm still a sucker for pictures of beaming, teary-eyed couples snuggled together, strategically positioned to show off both the ring and their giant smiles.  It gets me every time.  Because really, what's better than love?  What's better than finding that one person that you want to spend your life with?  And, this time of year, what's better than dreaming of a warm summer wedding and a honeymoon in paradise? 

For all your wedding-planning couples, we love to help you out in any way we can when it comes to wedding planning.  We have a long list of incredibly talented vendors we recommend (and love working with), we love helping you create the perfect timeline for your day so you have plenty of time for photos and time with your guests (like actually enjoying your cocktail hour). And since we've worked hundreds of weddings, we have seen what works, what doesn't and what can lead to unnecessary stress.

Here's to all of you couples beginning to dive into wedding planning! Enjoy it! It's not often in life when you get to craft a day that's all about you & the person you love.

Roslyn Royalton: Roslyn Heights, NY: Stephanie & Christopher's Wedding

If there was ever a couple who could brighten a room with their smiles alone, it would be Stephanie and Christopher.  When I tell you that these two are completely enamored with one another, I’m probably not even painting a full picture of just how adorable they are together.  They are the type of couple that you met and can see just how perfectly they suit one another, how gentle they are with one another, how much they truly enjoy each other’s company.  All of which, of course, makes it even more enjoyable to be around them, and makes them a joy to photograph.

From the moment we arrived on their wedding day, we knew their day was going to be wonderful.  It was as clear as the giant smile that was on Stephanie’s face, even as she was having her make-up applied.  It was obvious in how laid-back and relaxed Chris was, a man who was completely confident that he was making the very best decision of his life.  From their romantic ceremony to their sweet first dance, every moment of Stephanie and Christopher’s day was filled with joy, laughter and so much love.

Stephanie & Christopher's Trailer

Central Park: NYC: Melissa & Chris' Engagement Session

Melissa and Chris met working for the same company, albeit in offices that were hundreds of miles away from one another.  When they happened to be in the same office at the same time on one fateful day a few years back, they struck up a conversation that would change their lives forever.  They connected that day, and over the course of the months that followed they fell in love.  With Chris up near Buffalo, NY and Melissa in the city, the distance wasn’t always easy but the journey was always worth it when they got to spend time together.  

When Chris moved to NYC, they reveled in all the time they got to spend together, with Melissa showing Chris all around his new city and the two of them falling even deeper in love as they created new memories in the place they both now call home.  It was no surprise to any of their friends or family, nor their work colleagues, when Chris proposed to Melissa. It was clear from the very beginning that they were going to end up together, no matter how many miles may have separated them at first.

The Branford House: Groton, CT: Farala & Eric's Wedding

The song began to play in the bridal suite and Farala’s aunt insisted that they turn it up.  “It’s her song!” her aunt shouted, pointing to Farala. One of the bridesmaids happily obliged, and soon Chandelier by Sia filled the room. The bridesmaids, some dressed in robes, some in their gowns, gathered together for an impromptu dance in honor of the bride they all loved so much.  Farala laughed and danced along as best she could while she was getting her make-up applied.  It was Farala’s song, her aunt would say later during a speech, because Farala is like a chandelier - beautiful at all times, but when it’s on and the light radiates from it - it’s breathtaking.  

And when Farala is with Eric, she is pure radiance. You can’t help but look at her when she smiles the way she does when she’s by his side.  He makes her light up, and she does the same for him.  They balance each other - she’s outgoing and bubbly, he’s reserved and calm - and together they are they best versions of themselves. So when it rained on their wedding day, they weren’t phased for a minute.  Because together, they make more light you’d find on even the sunniest of dances.  And watching them that day, they were exactly as her aunt described - beautiful at all times but when they were in each other’s arms, they were breathtaking.

Venue: The Branford House in Groton, Connecticut  |  Dress: Custom-made by Farala's aunt (lace from Eric's mother's own wedding gown)  |  Shoes: Christian Louboutin 

West Village, NYC: Meredith & Andy's Engagement Session

Meredith wasn’t expecting to meet anyone on the night when she met Andy.  It was supposed to have been a girl’s night out. She was at her favorite bar, Welfie and Nell in the West Village, with one of her closest friends, with no particular plans in mind other than catching up, chatting and laughing, as ladies generally do when they get together.  But when the boyfriend of Meredith’s friend arrived at the bar as well, Meredith suddenly found herself the third wheel.  “You better find someone here for me,” she said to her friend, half joking.  Together, she and her friend spotted a guy at the bar and Meredith headed over to start a conversation.  A few minutes in, Meredith realized that this was not a guy she was interested in and was planning to walk away at the first lull in the conversation.  That’s when she spotted a very handsome gentleman across the room.  With big blue eyes and a sweet smile, Andy had spotted Meredith the minute he walked in the door.  He didn’t want to miss a chance to meet the gorgeous blonde sitting at the bar but was hesitant to come over since he was unsure of the status of her relationship with the gentleman she was talking to.  But Meredith smiled back at him, so when that gentleman got up from his place at the bar Andy took his chances.  

When he introduced himself, Andy was surprised to not hear the typical question of “Where are you from?” from due to his thick accent, but rather, “What part of Scotland are you from?”  Meredith, who had spent time studying in Scotland, and fell in love with the country and could recognize a Scotsman when she heard one.  They started their conversation that night talking about their favorite places to visit in Andy’s homeland and soon found themselves deep in conversation about so many things that the next thing they knew it was closing time at the bar.  They made plans to see each other as soon as possible, setting off a whirlwind romance filled with the kind of long conversations about hopes and dreams that give you goosebumps, the kind of adventures that fill you with joy and the kind of love that makes you feel like you can take on the world. 

And to this day, whenever Meredith and Andy lock eyes across a crowded room, they are reminded of that magical moment when they an exchange of smiles led them to find a love in one another like they have never known before.

Trumbull, CT: Jen & Dan's Family Session

Ah, Jen and Dan.  If you’ve been following our blog for a while, they probably look familiar to you.  That’s because we have had the good fortune of photographing their journey as a couple for over four years now.  We first met them back in the fall of 2010 when we photographed their wedding up in Hartford, and we absolutely loved their energy. These two are so perfect for each other - playful, sweet and so much fun to be around. Then we happened to move just a few blocks away from them in NYC, although we didn’t get to see them as often as we would have liked while we were there.  But we did get to spend another gorgeous fall day with them in the fall of 2012, when Jen was expecting and we photographed a maternity session for them in Central Park, even visiting the very spot where Dan had proposed years before.

So this fall, when Jen reached out to us to let us know that she was expecting once again, we were thrilled for them.  And, for us, since it meant that we would get to see them both once again and meet their adorable, energetic son Eli.  We met up with them in Connecticut this time, where Jen and Dan braved the bitter cold and then headed inside to capture some their quality snuggle time with Eli.  It’s so fun for us to see Jen & Dan as parents, to notice the ways Eli is like each of them (he has Jen’s laugh and Dan’s piercing blue eyes), and we honestly just really enjoying catching up with them.  That’s why we’re very much looking forward to seeing them again when their new addition arrives this spring. 

The Hartford Club: Hartford, CT: Rachel & Matthew's Wedding

Rachel and Matthew first met six years ago at a New Year’s Eve party he was throwing at his house.  He noticed her right away and was definitely interested but he found out that she was dating someone else at the time.  A month later, their paths crossed again when they ended up at the same local bar with their respective group of friends.  Somehow, as the night started to wind down Rachel and Matthew each just happened to be the last of their group of friends left in the bar.  They got to talking and before either of them knew it, they had spent the better part of two hours sharing their hopes, their dreams and their goals for their lives.  Matt would later tell Rachel that he left the bar that evening fully confident that she was “the one.”

A year went by.  Slowly for Matt, who had decided to wait for Rachel.  He didn’t want to risk being in another relationship should Rachel suddenly become single.  And when she did, Matt was there for her.  He became a source of comfort for her and when she wasn’t sure if she still had feelings for her ex, he encouraged her to make sure the relationship had run it’s course.  (I mean, how incredible is that? That he cared about Rachel that much that he was willing to let her go just for her to find her happiness.)

She did go back to that ex shortly but found herself thinking of Matt nonstop.  She knew that he was the one she was really meant to be with.  After the tumultuous break-up she had just been through, it took six months for Rachel to officially be comfortable saying they were “dating” but in her heart she knew from the moment she came back to Matt that they were going to be together forever.  Matt knew that too, of course, he had come to that conclusion a little earlier than she did.  So when he proposed to Rachel the following fall, he heard the answer to the question he had been longing to ask since that night in the bar so long before: yes

Ceremony Location: Basilica of St. Stanislaus in Chicopee, Massachusetts  |  Reception Venue: The Hartford Club in Hartford, Connecticut  |  Flowers: Just for You Floral Design in Middlefield, Connecticut  |  Event Planning and Design: Jubilee Events in Cheshire, Connecticut  |  DJ & Lighting: Rob Alberti 

City Winery: New York, New York: Julian's Bar Mitzvah (Photo + Video)

When Julian’s mother, Jenny, contacted us about his Bar Mitzvah a while back, we knew it was going to be an incredible day.  It was clear from talking with her that she was going to make sure the day was uniquely Julian - bright, fun and dedicated to making sure everyone had a fantastic time.  On the morning of his Bar Mitzvah when we met Julian and saw him with his family, we saw exactly what made them so special.  Julian’s parents are welcoming and loving and have raised two amazing sons in Julian and his brother Eli.

And Julian, he’s a force of nature.  He’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s talented. Believe me, you will see his face again someday because he is on his way to doing some truly amazing things.  All of which are all the reasons why it was so much fun for us to be there to capture such a special day for him and his family.   And what a day it was.  From the ceremony to the fun nod to Saturday Night Live in the theme, there were touches throughout the day that incorporated all the things that Julian loves, his incredible sense of humor and his devotion to his faith and friends and family. 

Julian's Bar Mitzvah Trailer

Hoboken, New Jersey: Kristina & Dan's Engagement Session

After chatting online for a while, Kristina felt like she knew Dan pretty well before they had ever met face to face.  He was smart and easy to talk to and she liked hearing him laugh.  So when they did have that first date, she was thrilled that he was every bit as charming in person.  Tall and handsome with big brown eyes; he swept her off her feet.  That was Dan’s hope, of course, because, like Kristina, he had already started to think there was the potential of something incredible between them.  Even through their early communication, he admired her patience, her loyalty to her friends and family. He had started to look forward to simply hearing her voice.  So when he saw her in person - petite and beautiful with dark hair and a sweet, shy smile - Kristina won Dan’s heart right away.

From that first date on, there was an instant connection.  They met each other’s friends and family and were delighted to find that the general consensus was exactly what they had been thinking: they are perfect for one another.  So when Dan filled a room with balloons last March and surprised Kristina with a ring and a big question, no one was surprised when she answered with an emphatic yes. 

This fall they’ll tie the knot in Kristina’s home town and celebrate with what will no doubt be a magical reception filled with love for the couple that were so clearly meant to find each other.

Best of Engagements 2014

We're more than half way into January but,  truth be told, I'm just now coming to terms with the fact that we have started a new year.  That's probably because our Fall season was almost non-stop (always a good thing, we love having a full calendar) and we're finally getting the chance to reflect a bit on the year that was.  One of our favorite ways to do that is to think back about all the wonderful couples we have met over the course of the year by looking through all of the images we captured.  We enjoyed doing that so much, we thought we'd share some of that experience with you by compiling a few "Best of" galleries of our personal favorite photos we have taken in 2014. 

We're kicking it off with engagement sessions - some of our favorite portraits from sessions that took us all around New York City and around the country.  Check back for more "Best of" galleries, which we'll be blogging soon!

New York, NY: Abby & Mark's Family Session

It’s always so much fun to get to catch up with a couple whose wedding we photographed several years before - to hear about what they have been up to, to see how crazy in love they still are, and, quite possibly, to meet the newest addition to their family.  I’ve said it before, but I genuinely do miss couples after we have completed everything for their wedding. We have been lucky enough to meet some truly remarkable people and always love to chance to get to see them again after their wedding is done.

This fall we got to do just that with Abby and Mark.  Since their wedding in February of 2012, they have welcomed an adorable little boy named Lincoln and asked us to come capture this time in their lives.  We met them at their home in the city to photograph Lincoln in his full toddler glory.  He is an amazing little boy - completely fearless and so full of energy, with an adorable smile that just melts your heart.  We lucked out with a mild fall morning for their session but still had plenty of leaves on the ground for Lincoln to play in.  Having a toddler ourselves, we know that they are almost constantly moving so when you capture just the right moment that encompasses their personality, it’s a wonderful feeling. 

The Maritime Aquarium: Norwalk, CT: Bari & Rob's Wedding

Bari’s friends distinctly remember the night she met Rob for the first time.  Out to celebrate all their hard work as the semester at school was winding down, Bari and her friends were in a Boston bar having a great time.  A break from studying was much needed and they were going to make the most of it.  Somehow over the course of the evening, Bari started talking to the handsome guy who had spotted her across the room.  Easy-going and tall with a friendly smile, it’s not hard to see why Bari feel for Rob so quickly. Of course, he was taken by Bari’s infectious personality, amazing laugh and big brown eyes.  

From the moment they started talking that night, Bari and Rob were pretty much inseparable.  They understood one another better than anyone ever had before. In each other they had found a kindred spirit. When you see Bari and Rob together, you can’t help but smile.  So it’s no surprise that their wedding was truly a celebration.  Because since the moment Bari and Rob found each other, it’s been clear where they were headed. And no one could be happier for them than their family and friends who have seen each of them become the very best versions of themselves simply by being together. 

Fox Hill Inn: Brookfield, Connecticut: Courtney & Chad's Wedding

Courtney and Chad met online, finding each other via Facebook when they were both high school seniors in Connecticut.  It wasn’t long after their first in-person meeting that they were a couple, falling hard for one another just as their lives were about to change.  After graduation, they were practically inseparable all summer before they headed their separate ways for college, with Courtney staying in Connecticut and Chad heading down to Virginia.  Although miles apart with very much altered day-to-day lives, one thing remained constant for Courtney and Chad: the way they felt about one another.  From that first day to today, they have consistently been crazy about each other.    Through the first three years of school, they committed to seeing each other as often as possible, alternating time between Connecticut and Virginia, with Courtney even visiting Chad in London when he studied abroad for three months. By their senior year, the distance proved to be just too much, so Courtney transferred down to Virginia as well.  

After Chad’s graduation, they moved back north and Chad started to plan the perfect way to ask Courtney to be his wife.  He had known she was the one since the day he realized that she whole-heartedly accepted him for who he is, when he was touched by her unending support and love.  So he knew that the day he asked her to marry him had to be special.  He selected a day when all of his family would be together, going into NYC to see the Christmas tree.  Once there, he brought her to just the right spot under the guise of taking some “family pictures.”  Of course, to Courtney’s surprise, Chad got down on one knee.  When she said yes, cheers erupted, the loudest of which coming from Chad’s family who were thrilled to finally have Courtney become an official part of their family.

Bridal Gown: Enzoani  |  Bridesmaids Dresses: Mori Lee  |  Tuxedo: Vera Wang  |  Earrings: Bride’s grandmother’s  |  Necklace: Gift to Courtney from Chad’s mother  |  Church: Holy Trinity in Sherman, Connecticut  |  Venue:  The Fox Hill Inn in Brookfield, Connecticut  |  Cake: Beth & Bella's Creative Confection  |  Florist: Floral Designs by Nancy in Danbury, Connecticut |  DJ: Vivid Events in Brookfield, Connecticut

Central Park: NYC: Katie and Henry's Engagement Session

There are few places more romantic than Central Park in the fall.  Maybe Paris in the fall could tie for that honor.  Or Hawaii, well, just about anytime. Some people may only dream about visiting just one of those locations.  But Katie and Henry are lucky enough that each of those places will hold a special place in their hearts for the rest of their lives because it will represent a time in their lives or an event that took place to mark the next step in their relationship.  

Last fall Henry proposed to Katie in Paris, surprising her by popping the question on one of the most beautiful and famous bridges along the Seine.  This fall, they decided to have their engagement session in Central Park, capturing the place they currently call home.  In just a few short months they will gather all of their friends and family in Hawaii, where they will become husband and wife in Honolulu.

We had a great time getting to know Katie and Henry a few weeks ago when we lucked out with a gorgeous warm fall day and a not-too-crowded Central Park that served as the perfect backdrop for this time in their lives.

Sole East: Montauk, New York: Michelle & Steve's Wedding

The morning of Michelle and Steve’s wedding, some of their friends were jokingly placing bets on just how many times Michelle would cry that day.  There was little doubt that she would, of course, and whatever the highest estimate was - Steve guessed the actual number would be higher.  Not because Michelle’s more emotional than anyone else, but because she is so completely genuine. When she’s feeling something, she feels it fully.  And if you spend just a few minutes with her family, you can see that is a family trait.  This is a family without artifice.  If anyone was going to cry more happy tears than Michelle, it was probably going to be her parents.  Or maybe her grandparents. Or her sister or brother.  And, in truth, Rob and I cried some happy tears for Michelle and Steve too.  Really, I think you would have to be made of stone to not tear up at their wedding.

Because theirs was a day that no one will soon forget.  From their incredibly sweet first look to their heartfelt hand-written vows, Michelle and Steve laid bare the way they feel about each other and it was amazing to watch.  It’s not often you get to see two people so perfectly matched, so completely in sync and that made the celebration even more joyous and beautiful.  The setting, the decor, the tables, the flowers were jaw-droppingly beautiful (not a surprise since Michelle has organized countless weddings at the NYC hotel where she works), but they didn’t for one minute distract from the magic that was watching Michelle and Steve together.  When they are together, you can see them just kind of melt into each other’s arms.  They are free to be themselves.  And that’s exactly what they wanted for their guests that day: a wedding that was romantic but relaxed, where their guests would be comfortable.  Theirs would be a wedding were everyone was free to be themselves, to cry happy tears and dance like crazy.  And at the end of the night, after Michelle and Steve had no doubt greeted everyone in that tent with big hugs and contagious smiles, they walked out under a sea of sparklers held by all the people they love most.  And there wasn’t a dry eye to be found.

Venue: Sole East in Montauk, New York  |  Wedding Gown: Kira by Hayley Paige from the Lovely Bride in New York, NY  |  Shoes: Calvin Klein  |  Jewelry: BHLDN  |  Bridesmaids Rompers:  LJC designs  |  Custom Champagne Flutes:  Style Dahlia  |  Bridesmaids Dresss: Amsale from Claudia Hanlin's Wedding Library  |  Invitations: Minted  |  Graphic Design: Designed by Kristin  |  Rings:  Kent Jewelers NYC  |  Groom & Groomsmen's Suits: Vera Wang Black  |  Ties:  H&M  |  Ring Bearer's Outfit: Nautica  |  Floral Design: Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery  |  Table Numbers: Z Create Design  |  Day of Coordination: Angie Nevarez of Baton NYC  |  DJ: Ray Jarrell of Jarrell Entertainment  |  Ice Cream Sandwiches: Melt Bakery