As a photographer, there are weddings that keep your whole heart. That you wish you could relive over and over. That so perfectly encapsulate everything you love about your craft and that you leave at the end of the night feeling giddy and renewed. That is this wedding. Jen and Steve are the type of couple that I want to photograph every single weekend. Full of pure, pure joy. Full of incredible love and respect for each other. Down-to-earth. Happy. SO incredibly happy. You can see the sunshiney-joy emanating from Jen in literally every single picture above. I was on cloud nine the entire day, watching their love. Telling their story.
When I met Jen several summers ago at a wonderful industry gathering hosted by Karma Flowers, I was instantly drawn to her. Over the next year or so, we formed a really great friendship. She’s a wonderfully talented photographer, and beyond this she is pure genuine goodness. The kind of ‘needle in a haystack’ person that my soul longs to meet, and gets lucky enough to every so often. She joined me on many weddings that following year, and when she asked me to photographing hers, I literally cried. To say it meant so much to me is an understatement. I wanted to do her proud, and I was so humbled and honored. When I finally met Steve for their engagement session, he was every bit as amazing as I knew (and heard) he would be. They share a HUGE love for outdoor adventures, and have gone on many wonderful backpacking trips together, including amazing places like Iceland and Ireland (drinking water from streams via purification thingys! Peeing in the woods! She has broadened my horizon on all matters ‘woodsy’). So when they envisioned their wedding weekend, the Winter Clove Inn in the Catskills was the perfect choice. The right mix of outdoorsy, beautiful, and authentic, with plenty of things for their fun-loving crew to do. From a welcome BBQ to a bonfire to bowling, their wedding weekend had it all. One of the most emotional moments came when Jen and Steve saw each other for the first time. Seeing them walk towards one another to meet under the tall trees, and watching Steve melt into a pool as he saw Jen’s beauty filled my eyes with tears (as a bonus, we were all lucky enough to witness it a second time for her walk down the aisle at their ceremony). Standing in the woods, with an old wooden bridge and waterfall just behind them, it was as if time stood still as they exchanged vows. One special element they planned for their guests was a toast at the end of their ceremony, instead of throwing flowers or bird seed. Such a festive way to kick off the party! Jen hand-crafted a lot of the decor for the reception, including glass bottles she cut in half to turn into tapered candlestick holders (which I hear involved many nights of standing at a sink with googles, some sort of welding apparatus, and a sharp blade). They turned out beautifully and added so much elegance to the moss covered tables, adorned with organically arranged greenery and white flowers from the crazy talented Foxglove Floral in Brooklyn. Hand crafted table numbers of tiny fern branches and beautiful goblets of champagne welcomed guests to their seats. Another favorite moment of mine was hearing their friends and family give impromptu speeches. So as not to burden anyone, Jen and Steve didn’t officially ask people to prepare words. But when the mic was opened, there were too many people with too much love for them not to share. It gave way for so many hilarious (and slightly incriminating??) stories, full of laughter and lots of ‘I love you’ tears. It was the perfect accompaniment to dinner. Guests enjoyed dancing outside on the porch afterwards, as well as three amazingly beautiful naked cakes from The Village Tea Room (including a blueberry cake because Jen is obsessed with blueberries!!). They were literally some of the prettiest cakes I’d ever seen. And of course to honor Steve’s Canadian heritage, and all of the family and friends who traveled down, a Canadian Flag served as a backdrop to the dance floor. Not to be missed was a Canadian smarties vs. American smarties showdown in their guests’ welcome gifts. Verdict: I gotta give it to Canada on the smarties, eh. Diggin’ the chocolate…America take note.
Their wedding weekend truly was perfection and was so incredibly ‘them’. From their beloved fur-babies Bosley and Lola making cameo’s on their hand-drawn wedding weekend map, to the gorgeous ball of peonies Jen carried in place of a traditional wedding bouquet because her mother did the same thing years ago, to the custom suit and his grandfather’s watch Steve wore (because the dude has style), moment after moment was full of so much love and intentional, thoughtful beauty. Jen, I could write 4 more paragraphs on how I truly adore you. How you and Steve are good, kind-hearted, amazing people. How spending the day with you and photographing your wedding was a highlight of my time as a photographer. But, I will just end my novel of a post with this – if your life together is half as wonderful and real and full of love and joy as your wedding day, you my dear sweet friend, have an amazing love story ahead of you. I give all my love to you both and thank you for this honor from the bottom of my heart!
Venue: Winter Clove Inn | Flowers: Foxglove Floral | Bridal Gown: Katalin Varga, custom-made gown | Bride’s Shoes: Earthies – ‘Morolo Wedge Sandal | Bride’s Hanger: BHLDN | Stationer: Bride designed and printed | Bride’s Jewelry: Yania Creations – Pyrite and Coin Long Beaded Necklace | Cake: Village Tea Room | Hair and Make-up: Lorraine Altamura | Groom’s Suit: A Suit That Fits, New York – custom-made suit | Groom’s Shoes: Johnston and Murphy | Officiant: Jamey Hiller (friend of the couple) | Film Processing and Developing: Richard Photo Lab | Assistant: Kristy Timms