There are some statements that people say to you so often that you start to roll your eyes when you've heard it for the thousandth time. Having a baby changes everything. As I got further along in my pregnancy we must have heard that close to once a day. That's not even much of an exaggeration. I get it, I thought. Why does everyone feel the need to say this to me? Of course I know it changes your life.. By time 999, I had to restrain myself from openly rolling my eyes.
The irony, of course, is that more often than not these are the statements that ring truer than any other later on. From the moment I heard his cry and held Malachy in my arms for the first time I couldn't help but think to myself - this changes everything. One look in Rob's eyes and I knew he felt the exact same way.
All of a sudden we went from relatively cool New Yorkers (well, as cool as two photo-nerds can be, I suppose) to freaked out first-time parents. All of the plans we had made were now called into question. Would that be good enough for Malachy? Would he be happy? Safe? Have the best life possible?
During those first days home while we stared at the beautiful, tiny little life we were responsible for, we couldn't help but start to really analyze our life and figure out exactly what we wanted… for him. Because it wasn't only about us anymore. It was about the life we wanted for him, the life we wanted to live while raising him, the life we dreamed for him.
While we have absolutely loved living in the city and had originally planned on staying here for at least the first few years of Malachy's life, we couldn't help but think about the life we each had lived growing up. Rob and I both grew up in the suburbs (he in Naugatuck, Connecticut, me in Monmouth County, New Jersey). We had yards to run in, streets to ride bikes on and family close enough to see on a relatively frequent basis. We kept coming back to it - that's what we wanted for him. We wanted him to grow up near his cousins, with family cheering him on during soccer games and a backyard with plenty of grass where he could do all the gross little boy stuff he's bound to do. A place where he could learn how to ride his bike on the sidewalk and still be just a short train ride away from this amazing city.
So, us being us, when we've decided it's the right time for something - we go for it. We leapt into action to find the perfect home in which to raise our brand-new family. It took a bit of hunting, but we found it. Close to my family, bringing me back home to the Garden State. We absolutely love the house - it's the perfect home for us with tons of charm and plenty of room for Malachy. (Don't worry, we'll be sharing photos soon and share our journey of renovating and decorating).
We'll still be available for weddings & events in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey (and beyond). Our business will still be based in New York City with our studio in Midtown Manhattan. We'll just be commuting in rather than walking a block over for work like we've been doing. It's a small price to pay to give our little boy the kind of life we want for him. After all, he really has changed everything.
So to all those people who told us that over the last several months, I apologize for ever even thinking about rolling my eyes. You were right. And I am so happy that you were.
For a twenty-three square mile island, Manhattan can seem like a vast land with a sea of strangers at every turn. It's easy to feel lost among the crowd, eager to make new connections, meet new people and build a community of your own in the city of over a million people. This is especially true when you're living in the city for the very first time, far from home and trying to navigate your own path through one of the biggest "big" cities there is.
Such was the case for Jeremy, in Manhattan from his native Canada on a neurology fellowship. Little did he know that out there in that sea of strangers was Amanda, a girl that couldn't have been more perfect for him if he dreamed her up. They worked in the same field, but she was on the opposite side of the city. He was all the way uptown in Washington Heights while she working as a nurse practitioner downtown and living in Astoria. Without the Internet, they probably would have never found each other.
But as fate would have it, they both happened to try out the very same dating website around the same time - Jeremy looking to meet new people, Amanda eager to finally find "the" person. It didn't take long for them to find each other on the site and soon a first date was planned. It would be the very first date each of them would take from that website. And it would be the very last first date they would ever have.
That night they discovered just how much they had in common. They both worked in health care, had a similar upbringing (he in the Maritimes, she in New England), and the shared understanding that family always comes first. Soon they were running together and going to see independent films. They were even sharing books and making each other laugh harder than anyone ever had before. It was clear to each of them that in this city of over a million people they had somehow found one another. In that sea of strangers they found someone that could make anywhere feel like home.
They eventually went back to the scene of that very first date in the West Village. Jeremy lead Amanda by the hand to the exact place where they had first met. This time, he had one very simple question to ask. And there was only one answer he wanted to hear. In his heart, he knew what she would say.
This summer, Jeremy left New York City to return to Canada and he brought something back with him. Something even better than a completed fellowship. He brought Amanda, his finace.
To complete the look, Amanda wore Nina shoes and a classic rose and calla lily bouquet made by Ashleigh's Garden in Essex.
Amanda's glamorous up-do and make-up where done by Chameleon Salon in New Haven.
I just love this shot of Amanda on the left - she looks stunning and so excited to be finally wearing her wedding gown.
Since their ceremony and reception were in the same place and they were getting married after daylight savings ended, we recommended that Amanda and Jeremy do a first look. They decided to go to Edgerton Park in New Haven for their special private moment.
Amanda couldn't help but cry when Jeremy turned around and saw her for the first time that day.
And Jeremy couldn't wait to pull her in close.
A necessity for any first look (and not something you get to do if you don't do one, actually) a spin around so that Jeremy can see all of Amanda's gorgeous dress.
Once they had really savored the moments of seeing each other, we took some time for some straight-forward portraits.
This just might be my favorite from the day - it's so simple and so beautiful.
Amanda dressed up her up-do with a brooch.
Ok, maybe this is my favorite. Amanda is just so happy.
Rob is a showman. He strives in front of an audience, feeds off their energy, eager to get someone to laugh or crack a smile. As comfortable on a stage as most people are on the couch, Rob isn't afraid to dabble in stand-up or sing with a band. He's a wonder to watch, not just because he's good but also because you can't help but smile while you're watching. There's something truly special about seeing a person do what they love. It makes you happy too. But there's one person that Rob loves to see smile the most. One smile that he would do just about anything to see. He'd stand on his head if he had to, just to get Gayle to bring out that pretty little smirk that he can't get enough off.
So on their wedding day, with a crowd of pretty much every one they know gathered together in one place, you know that Rob was in his element. He was cracking jokes as he walked up to the front of the aisle before the ceremony, shaking hands, patting backs - making sure that everyone was just as happy as he was that day. He even took the stage with the band during the reception and preformed a song. All of the guests went wild of course, thrilled to see Rob doing what he does best. While he heard all the applause and cheers, there was one thing Rob was focused on throughout the day. The one thing that is the reason he does pretty much everything - that pretty smile. And it was out in full force that day. In fact, it was like Gayle's face had permanently frozen into a smile that day. And it's a pretty safe bet that it won't be changing anytime soon. After all, Rob is going to do whatever he can to keep it that way. Even if he has to put on a show. (Not that he'd mind, of course.)
Gayle and Robert had their ceremony and reception at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills where the grounds provided a beautiful backdrop for their "first look."
We usually suggest a "first look" for couples when their ceremony and reception are in the same place. It gives them the chance to join their guests for cocktail hour (which usually immediately follows the ceremony) and makes the day that much longer and more relaxed.
Plus a first look never takes away from the emotion of the day - we promise. Just look at that reaction on Rob's face when he saw Gayle for the first time.
And it brought Gayle to tears. Who can blame her?
As always, we took some time to get some relaxed portraits of Gayle & Robert, perfect for framing!
The Barns is always beautiful but we almost always luck out and get to be there right in the peak of the fall foliage. The leaves on the ground and the trees just scream "Fall in New England." It's super romantic.
All day we never had to tell Gayle & Robert to smile - they would make each other do that on their own.
Before the ceremony began, we were joined by the bridal party for some shots.
Then it was time for the ceremony, on the grounds of the The Barns at Wesleyan Hills with the water and the weeping willows in the distance.
You see what we mean? Robert's smile was just as big when he saw Gayle walk down the aisle as it was during the first look.
And Gayle couldn't help but smile herself as they said their vows.
I loved Gayle's sash - it was the perfect compliment to her gown.
This shot really kind of sums up Gayle and Robert for us - just look at how happy he is and how sweetly content she is.
Gayle went all out with the decorations - taking the simple barn and making it look absolutely magical.
As marathon runners, Carrie and Randy aren't afraid of taking the long way to get somewhere. They know full well that patience is rewarded when something is really worth it, whether it be with the satisfaction of winning a race or the joy in finding the person you were meant to with with. It has been a fourteen year journey for Carrie and Randy, one that took them from high school in Pennsylvania to attending colleges 150 miles apart and ultimately brought them together in the greatest city in the world.
They met as students attending the same high school. They had a similar group of friends and would run into one anther at concerts and parties throughout Randy's senior year. They became closer while competing together on the track team. While they didn't date in high school, they did manage to make an impression on one another - even taking a picture together at the senior prom even though they were different dates. (A picture that they now have on display in their apartment - a treasured momento that reminds them just how far they have come together over their years.)
Flash forward seven years later, Carrie and Randy had each graduated college and somehow both ended up living in New York City, delighted to find one another again. Randy had been living in NYC for a year already when Carrie arrived so, ever the gentleman, he graciously took Carrie under his wing and showed her around town. Suddenly their friendship was different. While it may have taken them seven years to discover that there was something more to the connection they shared, once they did it took them no time at all to plan that very first date. It was as though they were destined to find each other once again, like their paths were meant to cross and ultimately blend into one. Suddenly all those years in between seemed like the training they needed to prepare them for the ultimate marathon life has to offer - a lifetime together as husband and wife.
Central Park happens to be a special location to Carrie & Randy - it's where he proposed and a place they have come to train for marathons.
We are a huge fan of the benches in the Mall section of the park. Something about them says classic NYC to us.
Like this, probably my favorite shot from the session - looks like a movie poster for one of the many romantic comedies set in the city.
It's difficult to judge when full autumn color will be in effect in the city but Carrie and Randy lucked out, planning their session at the height of the foliage.
There was incredible light streaming through the trees during their session.
A lot of couples tell us that they're nervous about having pictures taken but we always stress that our goal is to capture the connection between the couple. This picture of Carrie and Randy does just that.
Another one of our favorite spots in the park - the Bethesda Terrace. There's such a romantic vibe under there, especially when there are musicians playing.
Engagement session must-have shot: a solid portrait. Maybe Carrie & Randy can hang this in their apartment next to their shot from the prom.
And this one? Perfect for Mom & Dad's mantle.
We usually suggest that couples to have a change of clothes for their session - to have a casual outfit and a dressy one. It gives some great variety for the photos.
Carrie & Randy, thanks so much for a wonderful afternoon in the park! We hope all the wedding planning is going well, the big day will be here before you know it!
Genevra is not the kind of girl that likes a big fuss to be made over her. She would much prefer a low key night at home than any kind of fancy event, let alone one that would involve her being the center of attention. Like so many brides, she couldn't help but be concerned about how she would feel with so many people's eyes on her as she walked down the aisle. The dramatic moment when she would appear at the back of the aisle and everyone's heads would turn to watch her with so much anticipation. It's enough to stress someone out just as much as planning the wedding itself.
But on the day of the wedding a funny thing happened. Somehow, walking down the aisle Genevra didn't even notice the crowd gathered for the ceremony. Not even for a second. Her eyes were focused on one thing. As everyone looked back to watch her walk to him, Genevra stared straight ahead, her eyes set upon the one thing she knew would get her through this moment - those sweet blue eyes that made her heart beat just a bit faster. When those eyes met hers, they locked in a gaze that seemed to promise just as much as the vows that would be spoken in just a few minutes. I will be here for you always, they seemed to say. And that's all she needed. From that moment on, she didn't mind the eyes on her. Because anytime they were, she would feel his hand on hers or his arm around her back and she'd know that some moments are worth the big fuss. Especially when you have something so special to celebrate.
We were very excited when Genevra told us that Diane Gaudett would be doing their flowers. She does amazing work.
Check out that sunflower arch, another creation from Diane Gaudett.
Genevra's wide smile appeared the minute she heard the music when it came time to walk down the aisle.
Her eyes were locked on Mike the minute her shoes hit the grass.
The overcast sky added to the romantic feel of the wedding ceremony, just steps from the water.
We always make sure to take an overall ceremony shot at every wedding - it's a great way to really encompass the moment, get to see all the guests and (especially in this case), see the beautiful surroundings.
Genevra's parents looked on as she and Michael exchanged their vows.
It's always fascinating to see that the world seems to go on even during these amazing moments - like the boats just sailing along in the background, their owners completely unaware of the ceremony taking place.
Michael has a way of making Genevra smile...
and she does the same for him.
Big smiles as they go in for the kiss...
and there it is - first official kiss as husband and wife!
I love the look on Michael's face in this one - he is just so happy.