It wasn't long after Jason met Joyce that he knew he wanted to marry her. She was everything he had hoped he would find in a woman - smart, beautiful, and a great sense of humor. After all, she did happen to think all his jokes were funny. Clearly, she was the perfect woman. So when it came to purposing Jason knew there was only one way to do it. A native Texan, Jason knows that in these moments in life you must go big. It's the Texas way.
Going big meant it had to be a surprise. Not always an easy task when you happen to be dating a very smart, very observant woman. But he did have one thing up his sleeve. He happened to travel quite a bit and that schedule meant that there were definitely times when Joyce wouldn't even think that Jason was on the East coast, let alone in NYC. So on one particular trip, Jason took an earlier flight home. A whole day earlier, to be exact. He also enlisted one of Joyce's friends to drop her off at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge with instructions to walk up until she found a surprise.
As she walked up the Brooklyn Bridge, Joyce knew there must have been something good waiting for her in the center of the bridge, she just wasn't completely sure what it would be. As the usual crowd of tourists, commuters and bicyclists all hustled by, Joyce scanned them all. She walked the narrow bridge walkway, looking for a clue. Finally she saw something she recognized. Something that just happened to be her favorite thing to look at - Jason's smiling face. There he was, grinning from ear to ear, right in the very same spot where they had walked on their first date. From the look in his eye, she couldn't help but think that this surprise might just be the surprise. When he got down on one knee, her suspicions were confirmed. As Jason finally said the words, Joyce couldn't even contain herself - she burst out in happy laughter and said of course she would marry him. Then she playfully smacked Jason on the arm, shocked that he had caught her completely off guard.
As they walked back down the bridge, hand-in-hand and newly engaged, Jason no doubt brought just a bit of that Texas swagger into his step. He had pulled it off, a Texas-style engagement right in the heart of NYC.
Since they live in Brooklyn, Jason and Joyce knew they wanted to do their engagement session there. They happen to live right near the Brooklyn Bridge and since that happened to be where they got engaged as well - it was pretty much a no brainer that we would head up to the bridge.
First, we started at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6. I don't know how we had never been here before. It's a gorgeous park (there are even sports fields and apparently they have outdoor movies in the Spring & Summer) and the views of the bridge and lower Manhattan are incredible.
Jason really has a knack for making Joyce laugh. Although you can't tell from the pictures - it was quite cold the day of their session but Jason made sure to keep cracking jokes to keep Joyce smiling.
We're always so honored when couples really trust us and go all out for a good photo. Joyce had to be super chilly, but she braved it out knowing it would be totally worth it. And it definitely was - don't they both look amazing?
I know we've said it probably a thousand times, but there is just something so special about the interweaving of hands together like this. You can see how much they care about each other without even seeing their faces.
As you can see - one phenomenal view. If you're ever walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, make sure to set aside time to head to this park.
This just might be my favorite from the session. I just love the way Joyce is snuggling into Jason and how happy he looks to have her do so.
Just steps away from the water, there are these walkways lined with lush greenery - perfect for some relaxed portraits.
I'm such a sucker for long patches of grass with hints of the busy city in the distance. I love the juxtaposition of it all.
We usually suggest to couples to bring two outfits - one dressy and one more casual so they can have that much more variety in their photos. For their casual outfits, Jason and Joyce decided to do a nod to his Texas upbringing.
Joyce has an absolutely incredibly smile, with dimples like that it's pretty easy to see how Jason fell for her.
With all of our sessions and wedding days, we are always looking around at any location (even locations we have been to before) for new areas to photograph. We just happened to spot this red door and staircase that screamed Brooklyn to us.
The other side of Brooklyn Bridge Park has this beach area and a brand-new Carousel that is encased in glass. It's a fantastic spot to visit, especially for families.
On our walk back up to the Brooklyn Bridge, we saw yet another "must shoot" spot - this cobblestone street area with "love" spray painted on the bricks of an old factory building. Jason and Joyce were happy to show off their love with this in the background.
We've done many sessions at the Brooklyn Bridge, but it never, ever gets old. We feel incredibly lucky to get to photograph in NYC - something many other photographers only dream of.
Many people think that you want a bright, sunny day for your photos. This isn't necessarily true. While a sunny day can be great, an overcast day is actually really great for photos. The lack of bright sun acts as a natural light diffuser, making all the bright colors (like Joyce's shirt) pop against the sky.
Joyce & Jason, thank you so much for braving the cold and introducing us to a new spot in Brooklyn. We had so much fun with you both and can't wait for your big day!
Melissa never believed in love at first sight until she met Craig. She still remembers walking into the kitchen of the restaurant where they worked together, seeing Craig for the first time and feeling something she never had before. Something she couldn't explain. She fell for Craig quickly and he feel for her right back. It wasn't long before they were practically inseparable, the first date turning into a five year relationship before they knew it.
They both knew were the relationship was heading. They knew they would get married someday. Of course, after five years of dating, Melissa was eager to turn that "someday" into someday soon. There was no question in Craig's mind that he was going to propose very soon, but he was determined to make it a surprise. Not exactly as easy task when he's so used to telling Melissa everything, but he came up with a plan. He selected the perfect day to pop the question - a family trip to the beach in Rhode Island. He decided to use the long car ride to back peddle and throw Melissa off. Ten minutes into the ride, Craig tells Melissa that he thinks marriage is a big commitment, one that he doesn't want to rush into. In fact, he wasn't sure if he even wanted to get married at all, he tells her. To say the Melissa was upset is an understatement. She was devastated. To be honest, it made her pretty mad. For him to be suddenly saying this to hear after so many years of dating, how could she not be? They barely talked the rest of the way up. In fact, she barely spoke to him all day.
So when they were all on the beach together and Craig came up behind her and told her he wanted to show her something he found in the ocean, Melissa huffed and turned around still quite annoyed with Craig. She was all set to snap at him but when she turned around he wasn't standing behind her. He was down on one knee. And he was holding the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. Melissa said yes as quickly as she could, pulled him up from his knees and hugged him. It was then she realized that pretty much everyone on the beach (including all of her family) were watching them and cheering. To say she was surprised - understatement of the year. Exactly as Craig planned it to be.
When she tells the story today, Melissa can't help but laugh thinking back about it all. Craig knew exactly how to surprise her, how to create a proposal that she would remember for the rest of her life. He was always keeping her on her toes, making her life that much more exciting and interesting. And she couldn't wait to see just how amazing he would make the rest of the lives together.
Although Melissa and Craig live in CT now, they used to call NYC home. They decided to do their engagement session in Central Park since it's one of their favorite places in the city.
We had actually never met Melissa and Craig until their engagement session. She had been following our blog for years (after some of her friends got married and we were their photographers) and knew that she wanted us to photograph her when she got engaged. As if that wasn't sweet enough, Melissa & Craig also brought along a gift for Malachy to their session. We were blown away by their thoughtfulness.
After spending just a few minutes with Craig & Melissa, it's easy to see why they hit it off so quickly. They have the same sense of humor and seem to make each other laugh constantly.
Any loyal blog follower probably recognizes this location - it's the band shell in the park. It's one of our favorite spots because it's beautiful and it always happens to be pretty people-free. Not always easy in the park.
Melissa said she was nervous at the beginning of the session, but we told her that after even just a few minutes in she would definitely feel more comfortable. By the time we got to the band shell, she totally was. As you can tell by her bringing out her inner model.
Central Park is filled with benches and the beauty part is that they're not all the same. This row of benches right next to The Mall area of the park are some of our favorites because they are reminiscent of a park from long ago.
Besides planning a wedding and working full time jobs, Melissa & Craig also own their own business. They make delicious cake pops (we can attest to the deliciousness of the pops - Melissa & Craig were kind enough to bring some for us to sample). Check out their business Facebook Page and get yourself some pops!!
We had a lot of fun with Melissa & Craig - we could have easily spent the entire afternoon just hanging out with them and talking.
This is probably one of my favorite shots from their session. It's one of Rob's signature wide shots. It just feels like classic NYC Central Park to me.
This is my shot from right around the same time. For those of you that wonder how we don't get into each other shots - this is how. While Rob is shooting the wide shots, I'm usually off to one side capturing shots like these.
Melissa & Craig brought an outfit change for a change of pace. Their autumn in NYC engagement session is the perfect compliment to their destination wedding.
This set of stairs just might be another one of our favorite spots in the park. You've probably seen countless movies and TV shows filmed on them for one obvious reason - they are so much fun to photograph.
While they would have liked to have their dogs George & Gia to their session, Melissa & Craig didn't want to bring them all the way to the city. So they brought them this way. We think it worked. :)
Melissa & Craig, thank you SO much for everything - the delicious pops, the adorable gifts for Malachy (he LOVES them!), and for a wonderful afternoon. We are so happy for you both!
Becky had trained for the day for months. Months on end she practiced, she trained and she ran until her legs and feet ached and her body finally let her know for sure: she was ready. Ready to run the streets of her adopted city, to go from borough to borough, to make it through the full 26.2 miles. All the while - through the months training, through hours of the run itself she kept her mind set on one single thought: when she crossed that finish line, it would all be totally worth it. And it definitely was.
Dave had been planning the day for months. Months on end he searched, he planned, and he brought all the people and details together so that he finally knew for sure: he was ready. Ready to finally ask Becky the single most important question he's ever asked anyone, to sweep her up in his arms and place a ring on her finger, to announce to all their closest family and friends that she was going to be his wife. So while Becky was running that race, Dave couldn't help but feel incredibly proud - of Becky, who was running her heart out, and of himself that he was able to not only find a woman as amazing as Becky but also because he was able to keep his plan a secret for so long. And as she approached the finish line, Dave knew that when he looked at her face when he asked her to marry him it would all be totally worth it. And it definitely was.
We really love getting to work at the Gramercy Park Hotel for many reasons: it's gorgeous inside and out, the staff are incredibly nice and the food is delicious.
This is the lobby of the hotel, just a hint of the glamour of a wedding in Gramercy Park.
The hotel seems to pride itself on it's darkly lit hallways, kind of setting the town for the relaxing nature of the rooms which feature great views of the park.
We're a sucker for the artwork and decor in the rooms of the hotel. We could easily do a photo shoot of the rooms alone, they're that inspirational.
In spite of the dark hallways, the rooms are bright and cheery - with large windows streaming in light all morning. Becky had her hair done by the window, with Jeff Chastain doing a vintage Hollywood inspired down-do.
Becky wore a stunning Monique Lhuillier gown - elegant and understated, much like Becky herself.
Becky wore jewelry that was borrowed from her mother, a beautiful and meaningful choice.
Becky looked flawless, with her make-up done by Nam Vo.
Becky's bridesmaids were so happy for her smiling with her (and at her) all morning.
Gramercy Park hotel rooms are filled with artwork and art books - one of which was perfect for a shot with Becky and Dave's rings.
Just another piece of artwork hung in the hotel, this piece was in the Rose Bar on the day of Becky & Dave's wedding but the hotel makes a point of moving the artwork on a regular basis so it always looks just a little bit different.
While Rob was finishing up photographing the ladies, I headed over to Becky & Dave's apartment where Dave was getting ready with his groomsmen. They were relaxed and joking and toasting Dave for his good luck in finding Becky.
While at the apartment, I got to see Dave's special wedding gift to Becky - a Fender guitar autographed by all the members of Radiohead.
The actual park of Gramercy Park is private - and actually really difficult to get into, even if you are getting married at Gramercy Park Hotel. Dave worked his magic and was able to get an elusive key to park so he and Becky could do their "First Look" there.
And it was a sweet and romantic first look, with Becky and Dave laughing as she could hear Dave walking up behind her.
The very first thing Dave did was pull Becky in for a big hug - he couldn't wait to hold her.
Becky looked absolutely stunning. This is the type of picture their grandchildren will cherish.
Like we've said before, it's hard to guess when the leaves are going to change in NYC but Becky and Dave lucked out and seemed to hit the peak of the fall colors.
This just might be one of my favorites from their day. I could easily see this hanging up in the apartment.
Ok, maybe this one is my favorite. (Disclaimer: I definitely have a lot of favorites in this post!)
Becky's all-white bouquet and Dave's boutonniere where made by Celadon & Celery.
Before we headed back inside, Becky and Dave's bridal party came and joined us on the street. They looked fantastic, especially the ladies in their bridesmaids gowns by Dessy.
The Rose Bar just happens to be one of the most popular night spots in the city and is pretty hard to get into on your average Saturday night. Becky and Dave got to have it all to themselves.
Before the ceremony, we stopped at Becky's hotel room for her to do some finishing touches on her make-up. We happen to love the hotel rooms and jumped at the chance to photograph Becky and Dave together inside the room. I'd have to say it was totally worth it - this is my absolute favorite shot of the day.
We pride ourselves on blending into the background once we're done with the formal photos of the day (bride & groom portraits and family photos). In doing so, we get to capture some really special moments when the bride and groom don't even realize we are there. This is one of those moments. It's a quiet moment between Becky and Dave - he is putting on the sash that matches her gown.
Becky and Dave's ceremony and reception took place on the top floor of the Gramercy Park Hotel. The floor was originally the private apartment of the hotel's architect and still has the distinct feeling of being someone's home which made it that much more special as a reception venue. At every wedding we've been to at the hotel, we always see a group of people hanging out in this room, just like they're at someone's home.
The sun was starting to set as the ceremony began, with the lights strung on the ceiling providing romantic atmosphere for the ceremony.
Before heading down the aisle, Becky did one final check in the mirror as she put on her veil.
Becky was escorted down the aisle by her father while the song "All I Need" by Radiohead played.
It was a romantic ceremony, with plenty of personal touches and laughs for Becky & Dave.
Becky's mother looked on with pride as she watched Becky and Dave exchange their vows.
It was a mixed faith ceremony, ended with the Jewish tradition of stomping on the glass which was greeted with cheers from all their guests. They then walked down the aisle to "Do You Realize?" by the Flaming Lips.
One of the best features of the Gramercy Park reception area is the room which features a ceiling of lightbulbs (an original feature put in by the architect of the building).
While the guests were ushered into another room for the cocktail hour, the staff of the hotel (and the ladies from Celadon & Celery) transformed the room.
I loved Becky & Dave's centerpieces done by Celadon & Celery, the bright beautiful blooms in the mercury glasses really set the tone for the reception.
Becky had a unique idea in place of the traditional place cards - she listed the table numbers on antique mirrors. Her simple white-on-white cake was made by Sugar Couture.
Sugar Couture outdid themselves with Becky and Dave's cakes. The wedding cake was simple and elegant, picking up touches from Becky's Monique Lhuillier gown. The groom's cake was a surprise for Dave and inspired by his love of travel.
The hotel installed a new bar in the reception area - a dramatic piece that really encourages guests to spend a lot of time on (or near) the dance floor).
It's clear that Becky and Dave love music and they made thoughtful choices with each song. For their first dance, they choose "Something" by the Beatles.
Becky and Dave chose to do a private cake-cutting, inviting over only their parents to watch the moment.
Becky and Dave had many people get up and toast them - each offering up sweet antidotes and memories of the happy couple.
Becky's Dad had many reasons to be proud of his daughter - not only did she find an amazing husband but she also followed in her father's footsteps (literally) since he is a marathon runner as well.
Dave's mother was beaming with happiness. She was so glad that Dave found such an amazing woman to be his wife.
Becky & Dave, thank you so much for choosing us to capture your incredible day. We had a wonderful time with you, your family and your friends. We wish you nothing but happiness!
It started all the way back in the ninth grade, in band rehearsal of all places. Two fourteen year-old trombone players and one single gesture that would spark a will-they-or-won't-they romance that spanned more than a decade. Joel reached over and fixed the collar of Kim's shirt. And in that single moment, Joel set himself in Kim's heart. A huge fan of all things neat and organized, Kim knew that she had found a kindred spirit in Joel. It's no surprise that they became close friends throughout the rest of middle school. What may have surprised them was the feelings they would start to feel over time. The inkling that maybe there was the potential for something more between them, something more than friendship.
While they may have been unsure of how they felt, it was pretty obvious to those closest to them. Although Kim may not have said it out loud, her family could tell exactly how she felt about Joel. Her feelings are always written all over her face. And if Joel's parents were unsure of how he felt about Kim, they found all the proof they needed when they moved furniture in his bedroom and found the name "Kim" carved into the back of his desk.
The middle school friendship created a deep foundation and a connection neither of them could deny as they grew older. Several times they each came to the conclusion that they wanted to see if there was something more between them. It just always seem to happen at opposite times. She would be ready, and he wouldn't. Then he would be ready when she wasn't. The timing was never right... until the one day it finally was.
It was a day with another simple gesture. Joel picked Kim up from the airport. In that single moment, Kim finally could see this was the perfect time to see what else there was between them and Joel knew that he didn't want to let even one more week go by without taking Kim out on a proper first date. A trip to the comic book store, he decided. It would be romantic, he said. I like to think that's because comic books remind him of when he was fourteen years old back at band rehearsal when he reached over a fixed a pretty girl's collar and found his best friend.
Rob took advantage of the basement location where Kim was having her make-up done to get this unique shot.
Kim got ready at her grandparent's house in West Hartford. She decided to go there because she had fond childhood memories from there and because she thought her grandparent's decor would make for some fun photos. We agreed.
This is Kim's mother's childhood bedroom, meticulously maintained for decades. Kim loved the wallpaper and decided that would be the perfect place to put on her dress with her mother and grandmother zippering her into it.
I love this shot, you can see how happy Kim is without even seeing all of her face. She's glowing.