We remember it like it was yesterday but in reality it was almost a year ago. It was a cool, slightly windy and very sunny autumn afternoon when Kathleen and I found ourselves waiting on the corner of 42nd Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan to meet up with our real estate broker for the first time. It was that day that we started our NYC apartment search. We remember how excited, overwhelmed and scared we both were to be making such a huge move. Despite our fears we knew that without a doubt this was the right time for us to be moving into the city and we were not going to let anything stop us from getting here.
It was absolutely exhausting navigating the NYC market and to be honest emotionally draining. We continually questioned how we were going to find the place that was right for us and all that we had planned. There were days that we thought we were getting no where. Finding the right place in NYC is certainly not for the faint of heart. But this was important to us and again we were not going to let the fact that it was challenging stop us.
There were many buildings and many apartments that we looked at. Each of them had things we liked but every time we were close to choosing one, something stopped us. Kathleen would say "Are you sure we could make it in a 1 bedroom? What about when we want to start a family?" I quickly agreed and we moved on. Then we would find another apartment we thought would work and Kathleen would say: "Are you sure that we are going want to live in an apartment without a washer and dryer?" What about when we want to have a baby? Are you going to want to go all the way to the basement or the laundry mat every time we need to clean baby clothes?" Great point I thought. We knew we always wanted to have kids but in no way were we planning to start our family at this point in our lives especially with all the stress associated with moving both ourselves and our business into NYC. Somehow though Kathleen in her subconsciousness knew that we would be starting a family far sooner that we both knew at that time.
When we walked into the apartment that would eventually become ours we knew pretty much right away that it was the one. We could easily see ourselves living there. And as we were doing the walk through Kathleen pointed out how nice that second bedroom would be for our office and eventually our baby's room. She also was incredibly excited for the washer and dryer and I was blown away to find an apartment in NYC to have two bathrooms. It was as if this apartment was made for us. When we were looking at this apartment we could have never known all the amazing things life really had in store for us. We moved into this apartment in the middle of November last year and in February of this year found out that Kathleen is pregnant.
Around the time we found out we were also going through a very difficult time. My Great Aunt Shirley who was more a grand mother to me then an aunt was becoming more and more sick. While at the hospital only days before she passed away, Kathleen and I thought it was really important that she be among the first to know that Kathleen is pregnant. We told her and for that moment it was as if all of her pain went away. She sat up with a huge smile on her face and told us how happy she was for us. We truly believe that she along with relatives from both my side as well as Kathleen's have been working very hard (and probably having a lot of fun) picking little Mr. T out for us. We truly wish she could have met him in person but just knowing that it made her so happy meant more to us than anything.
It felt like we just got everything settled in and just started to get used to living in one of the biggest cities in the world when we got the news of Kathleen's pregnancy. Since we were going to now need that second bedroom for a nursery we started to look for space for our business. We couldn't believe that it was only about four months since we moved into our new place and we had to once again navigate the NYC real estate market, this time the commercial side. We quickly found a great place for our studio and started to work on the nursery for our baby.
We always knew we wanted to be here in NYC but as we mentioned in other posts, but the timing had to be right. The timing certainly could not have been any better and as fate would have it everything really works out in truly amazing ways. What we find even more interesting is that this has quickly become a tradition in Kathleen's family. The day that Kathleen's parents broke ground on the house that they still live in, they found out that they were pregnant with their first child, Kathleen's oldest brother Billy. Within days of Kathleen's brother Michael and his wife Maren moving into their new house they found out that they were pregnant with our beautiful niece Julie. We are happy to carry on this tradition. It is also fun mentioning that Kathleen is the youngest of four, she has 3 older brothers. The first 3 grandchildren that came into her family are girls and our child will be the fourth grandchild, a boy. It's really funny how life works out, isn't it?
Fast forward to today, we are very close to our little boy's due date, his nursery is all decked out with vintage airplanes and luggage. Each minute that goes by our yearning to meet him grows stronger. Our studio feels like we have been here for years and has become almost as second home as we spend so much time here. Autumn is here again and when we think back to that cool October day almost a year ago when were standing on the corner of 42nd and 10th; we could never have imagined all this year had in store for us. We feel incredibly blessed and can't wait to see all the good that the next year brings.
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Yesterday our truly amazing friends Vicki & Erik Souza of Victoria Souza Photography came into the city to photograph some maternity photos for us. It was really important to us to have this part of our lives captured so we could remember exactly what we looked like before he comes into our lives. Vicki & Erik also took those images of us with the yellow airplane which we still absolutely love today. We wanted to keep our maternity photo session really simple and we of course wanted it to be in NYC. We thought it would be really fun to go to the roof of our apartment building. To say we are happy about what they captured would be a complete understatement. We feel so lucky to have friends like Vicki & Erik who are not only incredibly talented but would drop everything and make time for us. Thank you both for everything, you guys are amazing!
Here are just a few of our absolute favorites from what they captured for us.
We are often asked if going to so many weddings ever gets old. With a slightly confused look on our face without a doubt our answer is always "no of course not". Wedding days are filled with so many amazing emotions, with so many happy people and with couples bursting with happiness that they finally found each other. How could that ever get old? Plus with every wedding we attend and every engagement session that we photograph we are continually reminded about our own wedding day, our own engagement session and our own story. We constantly think about the times in the beginning of our relationship and how far we have come. Seriously how could that ever get old.
The last few weeks for us have been incredibly busy. Most of you know that we are getting ready for the arrival of our son (our first) in just a couple of weeks. So in addition to emerging ourselves in so many wedding and engagement images our days have been filled with making sure we complete all the finishing touches to his nursery (more photos coming soon!), washing all the clothes we got for him and making sure we are stocked up on all the essentials like diapers and wipes. It has been a great whirlwind and we seriously can't believe that we are almost already in October. Where did the summer go?
In the midst of all of this we have been so lucky to spend our weekends at some truly amazing weddings and some of our weekdays photographing an engagement session or two. We can't wait to share all the stories of our couples in full but for now we thought we would give you a little glimpse of what we have been up to.
As commonplace as it's become it's easy to forget that it takes a lot of guts to jump into the world of online dating. It's a challenging task to boil yourself down to few short paragraphs in an online profile and say to the world of the Internet - here I am…are you the right fit for me? It takes a conscious decision to put yourself out there and see what comes back to you. More than anything, it takes a positive attitude that if that perfect person for you is out there in cyberspace, you will in fact find one another. For Charity and Brian, it started with the click of a mouse, carving out the time to fill out the daunting multi-page eHarmony profile and then navigating the many pages of potential dates in order to find that one someone who happened to catch their eye. Somehow among the crowded pages, they did in fact find one another. It started with e-mails, quick conversations where they got to know each other just a bit better, the beginning of their relationship just starting to form. And the inkling that this could be something was definitely there, when Charity would smile when she received a new e-mail from Brian, the sense of accomplishment Brian had when he finally got Charity's phone number and gave her a call.
The first date was simple - meeting for coffee at a nearby Starbucks, easing into that initial in person date as smoothly as possible. Brian peppered Charity with questions, eager to get to know her in person just as well as he had via e-mail. Charity was thrilled that Brian was just as sweet (and as cute) as he was online. They made plans for a second date, this time an official dinner date at a local restaurant. Before the date even began, Charity had a feeling that Brian was a different type of guy, the exact type of person she had been hoping she would be able to find when she bit the bullet and filled out that online profile. Her feelings were confirmed when Brian showed up on that date, his hands full with a bouquet of yellow lilies and irises and a gentle smile on his face. When Brian handed Charity the bouquet and saw her eyes light up, he knew without a doubt that he had made the best decision of his life just a few weeks earlier - going online and putting himself out there. Sitting across the table from Charity at dinner that night he knew that he had gotten something even better than ever could have imagined. Somehow, in the maze that is the world of the Internet, these two had found each other - exactly as they were meant to.
* * *
It seems as though fate stepped in when it came time for Charity and Brian to chose their wedding photographers as well. Rob and Charity have actually know each other for years, having met when they were both undergrads at Sacred Heart University . He hadn't seen her in a few years when he happened to run into her again while we were photographing a wedding. Not just any wedding, of course, it was Brian's brother Rob's wedding. It was one of those days where you are reminded about just how small a world it really is. After all, what are the chances that Charity would happen to meet the brother of one of our past grooms?
We started the morning with Charity and her girls at the Hartford Marriott where they were getting ready. Charity had recruited her incredibly talented friends and family members who were hard at work styling her hair and make-up, making her extra gorgeous. While we spent some time getting some shots of Charity's beautiful Maggie Sottero gown, her girls were finishing up getting ready and making Charity laugh all the while. Once Charity was all dressed and ready to go we headed outside for the "First Look." We happened to find a secluded area in downtown Hartford (no easy task since there happened to be a very large parade going on that day) that was the perfect spot for Charity and Brian to see each other for the first time that day. It was a sweet, personal moment when they Brian turned around and saw Charity in her gown the first time - telling her over and over again just how beautiful she looked.
The ceremony took place at The Congregational Church in South Glastonbury, a simple ceremony customized by Charity and Brian to reflect what was most important to them. Although clouds were rolling in when they walked out of the church, the rain managed to hold off insuring that we had time with Charity and Brian and their wedding party at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford before we all headed indoors to The Pond House for the reception. We were happy to see a familiar face, DJ Todd Armstrong of Powerstation Events, who kept us and all of the guests thoroughly entertained all night long. The night was topped off with a special surprise just for Charity. In addition to their wedding cake from Creative Cakes by Donna, some of Charity's family members had made another whole table of desserts just for the occasion - all different types of pies, Charity's favorite type of dessert. Not only were Charity & Brian thrilled, but so were their guests who used the extra dose of sugar to give them the energy to stay on the dance floor straight through to the final song of the night.
Charity's beautiful Maggie Sottero gown looked like it was made for her.
And it went perfect with her classic choice for her hair style - an elegant bun.
To compliment her dress, Charity selected jewelry with pearl and crystal accents to pick up the detail in her dress.
Charity's friend Dena did an amazing job on her make-up.
While Rob was spending time with the girls, I went down Brian's room to grab some shots of him with his guys. I love this moment when Brian's brother helps him with his tie.
While at the very same moment Charity's sister was helping lace up the back of her gown.
Then it was time to step into her super high-heels so she can get ready to see her future husband!
But not before making sure to see the first man in her life, her father.
Our intern Kaitlyn and I had some fun with the guys outside, taking advantage of being in the heart of downtown Hartford.
Before we knew it, it was time for Charity and Brian to see each other for the first time. Neither one of them could wait to see the other.
Brian couldn't believe his eyes when he turned around and saw how beautiful Charity looked.
And he couldn't wait to pull her in for a gentle kiss.
Before it was time for Brian to head over to the church, we spent some time getting some shots of just the very happy bride and groom.
Once Brian headed out to the church, we spent some time with just Charity and her girls.
Brian couldn't stop smiling while he slipped a ring on Charity's finger.
And Charity couldn't stop smiling either, as she starred into Brian's eyes while she said her vows.
In place of a traditional unity candle, Charity and Brian decided to do a sand ceremony - having their mother's fill it up to start and then taking over themselves later on in the ceremony.
Charity's cousin had the special honor of singing during the ceremony.
The ceremony ended with Charity and Brian's official first kiss as husband and wife.
Before they hopped into the limo to head over to Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Rob grabbed this shot of Charity and Brian.
The reception took place at The Pond House, right on the grounds of the park.
The grounds of Elizabeth Park are absolutely gorgeous and we had a lot of fun exploring them with Charity, Brian and their wedding party.
Linda A. Pare of Mountain Laurel Flower Shoppe in Ashland, NH did an amazing job on the flowers, which complimented Charity and Brian's colors perfectly.
The rose garden section of Elizabeth Park is beautiful during all seasons, whether or not the roses happen to be in bloom.
Even if the rose archways aren't in bloom, you never have to look to hard in the park to find some beautiful roses.
Charity and Brian are incredibly sweet together, they made it so easy for us to capture their natural chemistry.
This is definitely one of my favorite shots of the day. So simple and understated.
Charity and Brian decorated The Pond House in their wedding colors of brown, green and pink.
Charity and Brian surprised their guests with a choreographed dance that had them all cheering.
Just check out some of Charity & Brian's fancy moves, it was absolutely adorable.
Dinner kicked off with toasts from Charity's sister and Brian's brother - each of them reminiscing about what it was like to grow up with the bride and groom.
Family members of Charity surprised her with an entire table of pies - her favorite type of dessert.
Charity & Brian, we are so happy for you both! Your wedding day was absolutely perfect and we are so honored that we were there to capture it all. We hope that you had a great time in Antigua on your honeymoon!
Lauren was dating someone else the night she met Colin. The guy she was dating was a nice guy, but deep down she knew that he wasn't "the" guy. Out at a local bar one night with a friend, Lauren happened to spot Colin across the room. When she started talking to him that night, she wasn't looking for a relationship. But what she found was even more than that. Initially chatting Colin up to see if he'd be good for one of her friends, Lauren was surprised to find that they had quite a bit in common. They talked and laughed quite a bit that night and when Lauren left the bar she knew there was just one thing she had to do - break up with that other guy. She couldn't deny the almost instant connection she had with Colin and knew that she would regret it if she didn't see where it would lead. Never would she had thought that when she went out with friends that night that she would just so happen to be meeting a guy that would change her life. But he has. And now he's her husband.
* * *
About a week after their wedding, we got an e-mail from Lauren. After thoroughly enjoying the experience of being in front of the camera during their wedding day, she had been thinking about possibly taking more photos. An "engagement session" style session, just one that happened to be after their actual wedding. Of course, we were more than happy to oblige since not only did we have a great time with Lauren and Colin on their wedding day but also since we always believe that having more photos of the two of you as a couple are always a good thing. It's something we discovered pretty quickly while we were starting to plan our own wedding, how few pictures of the two of us together actually existed (let alone ones that we actually liked!). And while doing an engagement session before the wedding isn't always possible, it doesn't mean that you have to forego having that experience and the pictures that go along with it.
Lauren & Colin decided to do their session at Harkness Memorial Park, a place they both happen to love and where they had even considered for their wedding venue. But this gave them the best of both worlds, getting to have their wedding at the Saybrook Point Inn and doing a post wedding session at Harkness. As an added bonus, since Harkness happens to be close to home for them, they were able to bring along their dog Dash so he could have some fun being in front of the camera as well.
This is Dash - Lauren & Colin's adorable airedale terrier who is just as sweet as she looks.
We were so glad that Lauren and Colin brought Dash along for the session, it gave a feel like we just happened upon them while they were out with a usual walk in the park.
Lauren, who has quite the eye for detail, made she that Dash was decked out for the session as well in her adorable bows.
Rob and I took turns walking Dash around so we could get some shots of Lauren and Colin by themselves.
Then we all headed down by the beach. You wouldn't know it by seeing these images, but the park was actually quite crowded that day.
To take a break from the heat and sun, we headed over to the mansion area of the park for some more quiet time with Lauren & Colin.
We always think it's really important to have a solid portrait of the two of you as a couple. It's something we make sure to take not only on your wedding day but also at an engagement session as well.
Of course, we couldn't resist taking just a few more shots of Dash all by herself. She was loving the camera.
Lauren & Colin, we're so glad that you decided to do an "engagement" session! We had a great time with you both! Let us know if you're going to be in the city anytime soon, we'd love to catch up again!
It's too easy to go through life thinking that you might never find that one person that would really understand you. Too easy to let that fear allow you to hide who you are, to make you shrink away from the quirks and wacky sense of humor that make you who you are - too afraid to be yourself for fear of how other people may react. Far too easy to try to fit into a mold just so you can find someone, knowing that deep down that person may never know the real you because you're too afraid to let it show. Or you could be brave. You could be confident, embracing who you are, knowing that all of those quirks, your wacky sense of humor and your unique approach to life make you that much more desirable. You can walk with your head held high with the full confidence that you will find that one person in the world that not only understands you, but encourages you to be everything that you are and nothing that you're not. In short, you could be like Laura and Craig.
You would be hard-pressed to find two people more perfect for each other than Laura and Craig. And seeing them together, you know that it's no coincidence that they happened to find each other. They were meant to. And thanks to their mutual friend (and our past bride), Jen, they did find each other. Probably because Jen saw back then what we can all see now: that Laura and Craig are kindred spirits. Two people that aren't afraid to be themselves, to laugh out loud when they find something funny, to dance in public if they feel like it, to be silly without fear of ridicule. And when are together, they create something truly magical. Without saying a word, they express an energy that is undeniable. A kind of energy that make everyone around them want to find exactly what they have found - the one person that truly understands you. The person that not only encourages you to be who you are but brings out new pieces of yourself that you didn't even know were there. The person that makes it clear that there is never any reason to hide any part of yourself - because they love you, exactly as you are.
* * *
Ever since we first met Laura and Craig at Jen & Jeff's Wedding last year, we have been looking forward to their wedding. They made it clear that this wedding was going to be different, because they were both really excited about it all. Plus, they were just so incredibly sweet together we couldn't wait to spend a whole day with them.
We started the morning at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel where pretty much everyone involved in the wedding was getting ready. Having taken over nearly an entire floor of the hotel, it was almost as though the party had begun that morning. Laura and her girls were spread out over a couple of rooms, getting glammed up with hair and make-up. When we saw the bridesmaids jade-colored tea-length dresses and the bright colored bouquets from The Green Cottage in High Falls, NY, we knew that Laura and Craig had definitely brought their personal style into their wedding day - just as we had hoped they would. We love it when couples really make their day their own, from their approach to each thoughtful detail.
Since Laura happens to teach photography, she made sure to plan out plenty of time for photos throughout their wedding day. With that in mind, they decided to do a first look - seeing each other before the ceremony and actually taking nearly all of the formal pictures beforehand to ensure they wouldn't have to be rushed at all and that they could relax and enjoy their cocktail hour with their guests. And the best part? Laura selected a fantastic location for the first look, the Poughkeepsie Train Station, a historical building that is pretty much a photographer's dream come true. We could have easily photographed Laura and Craig and their wedding party in the station all afternoon. But, there was a wedding to get to! :)
The ceremony and reception both took place at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, NY. With the Hudson River and the Mid-Hudson Bridge as their backdrop, Laura and Craig exchanged vows with a lot of tears and, of course, a few laughs. Laura even started her walk down the aisle with her father by taking a picture of her own when all the guests turned to look at her for the first time as she started down the aisle. Of course, to kick off the reception Craig quite literally had something up his sleeve as well. As they were introduced into the reception as the first time as husband and wife the DJ played the song "The Final Countdown" and when the perfect moment in the song came, Craig littered the dance floor with confetti as their guests cheered them on. It was hilarious and adorable, just like Laura and Craig themselves.
It's no surprise that the dance floor was packed the entire rest of the night. WIth Laura and Craig's infectious energy and the crew from Enriquez Entertainment keeping the music coming, guests had no reason to stay in their seats. After all, you had to be up on your feet to see the true action of the night: Laura and Craig in the middle of the dance floor - making each other laugh and reassuring everyone's faith that sometimes you really can find that one person that has so obviously been made for you.
It just so happens that the hotel has some great views of downtown Poughkeepsie, a town especially significant to Laura and Craig because they happened to meet while both attending Marist, which happened to be in Poughkeepsie.
When we arrived at the hotel Laura had already returned from having her hair done, playing up her curls and finishing up the look with a large flower accent and a cage veil.
I absolutely loved Laura's Demetrios gown. It was perfect for her and the floral brooch she found to compliment it looked like it was made for it.
Laura decided to do her own take on the classic pearl necklace.
And, of course, a cage veil tilted off to one side to pull the whole look together.
Once Laura's mother zipped her into the dress all the girls in the roomed agreed that she looked absolutely stunning.
Then... it was time to head over to the train station.
It was time for Laura & Craig's first look. Craig couldn't wait to see Laura in her gown and she was really excited as well. We loved all the bystanders that we there just waiting for their train. They were really enjoying getting to see this moment.
And it was totally worth it - just look at that smile on Craig's face....
... and the gentle way he took Laura's hands so he could admire just how gorgeous she looked.
I mean, come on - doesn't she look perfect?
The train station had old-fashioned long benches throughout, which we thoroughly enjoyed incorporating into their photos.
Since the town of Poughkeepsie was so significant to Laura & Craig, we loved being able to play up details like this in the train station.
Another reason the train station was a photographer's dream come true? The incredible light pouring in from the windows which made for some great dramatic shots like this one.
And this one! :)
Laura's father's pride and joy (besides his daughters, of course) is his vintage Jaguar which he drove all the way up from New Jersey for Laura & Craig's big day.
And it just so happened to look amazing outside the train station - like it came from the exact era the train station was built.
After spending quite a bit of time with just Laura & Craig, we decided to have some fun with their wedding party as well - once again using the benches to our full advantage.
Then, since we had plenty of time before the ceremony, we headed off to the tracks with Laura & Craig.
Which was where we spotted this brightly colored stairwell that seemed to be calling our name.
And you can see why.
Plus, it was a great backdrop while Laura & Craig got extra close.
And extra cute. We just loved the way Craig made Laura laugh.
Before heading over to The Grandview for the ceremony and reception, we headed back to the main area of the station for a few more photos of Laura & Craig.
And, of course, some shots of them alone. We feel it's really important to have a classic solo portrait from your wedding day. Your kids will definitely want to see that one day.
We were loving the bridesmaid's style, from their bright colored dresses to the chunky black necklaces, feather accessories and black peep-toe pumps they were the perfect modern take on an old-school look.
Finally, it was time for the ceremony at The Grandview which just so happened to have quite the view of the guests.
Laura & Craig brought the feather accents into the ceremony as well, adorning the chairs lining the aisle with them.
Then, the moment they had all been waiting for... time for the ceremony to begin.
When Laura got to the back of the aisle, she picked up her camera (handed to her by our awesome intern Kaitlyn) and took a photo of everyone turning around to see her. This was far from the only photo Laura took that night though and who can blame her? We know all too well that when you love photography, you're always seeing the moments you can be capturing.
After the photo - a big smile once she locked eyes with Craig and made her way toward him.
Ok, maybe that same smile stayed on her face throughout the whole ceremony. Laura could barely contain her happiness.
Their very first kiss as husband and wife - greeted with tons of applause, naturally.
As an artist, Laura loves color. So much so that when it came time to pick colors for her bouquet she couldn't narrow it down. So she told her florist, The Green Cottage in High Falls, NY, to use all of them. Her dramatic, colorful bouquet was even better than she could have hoped it would be.
Knowing Laura & Craig, it's no surprise that their wedding party were so much fun to be around. And they were up for anything - even jumping straight up in the air when Laura & Craig asked them to. I mean - look at how much air some of them got!
One of Laura's art students actually drew the picture that was on Laura & Craig's favors for their guests. The "starry night" picture with the MId-Hudson bridge in the background was printed on playing card favors.
Laura & Craig bright floral color scheme was used for their centerpieces as well, displayed in birdcages on every table.
Also on every table, the table numbers that were photographs taken by Laura & Craig - each one feature Laura & Craig in a clever pose with the number of that specific table.
Laura knew that Craig had quite a surprise for their guests as they made their grand entrance into the ballroom. We just love the look on her face as she watches him as they walk in.
And, of course, Craig's face is pretty priceless as he unveils his surprise - showering the dance floor with glitter as they walked in to "The Final Countdown."
Then it was time for their romantic first dance...
...ending with a sweet kiss.
As dinner got started, Laura & Craig were toasted by their best man and maid of honor.
At the end of dinner, Laura and Craig cut the cake...
...and then Laura danced with her father followed by Craig dancing with his mother.
Here's another happy couple you loyal blog readers might recognize - Jennifer & Jeff who got married just about a year ago AND happened to introduce us to Laura & Craig.
This is just a taste of how crowded the dance floor was. It was clear that Laura & Craig love to go out and have a good time with their friends. They also all happen to know a choreographed dance to Katy Perry's "Firework." I'm still trying to figure out how or when they all learned it. It was definitely fun to watch.
For the last song of the night, everyone gathered around Laura & Craig and cheered for them as Craig triumphantly raised his hands in the air. He knew that marrying Laura was easily the best thing he had ever done. We're sure she agrees! :)
Laura & Craig, thank you so much for inviting us to capture your day! Thank you even more for putting such an emphasis on photography and scheduling so much time for it. We loved being a part of your day!