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I am so excited to show you the photos from Jamie and Justin’s wedding. Sometimes when I meet with a couple to talk about shooting their wedding and they tell me their vision for their event, it takes all I have not to wiggle around in my seat, waving my hand in the air Hermione Granger-style hooting, “Pick me! Ooh, pleeeease pick me!” This was the case when I met with Jamie and Justin ten months ago and they told me all about their “getting married in Sleepy Hollow on Halloween” wedding. Right there, in that first meeting in Starbucks, I was like, “You know there’s a guy who has learned to ride a horse in a Headless Horseman costume who’s pretty famous locally. I wonder if we could take a picture with him somehow…” and then I became mildly obsessed, ahem, I mean, extremely committed to making this happen.
More photos with Sleepy Hollow’s most famous undead citizen will appear later in this post, but this one of them screaming and running away is too funny not to share immediately.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. We started photography coverage with the first time the bride and groom saw each other on their wedding day in the cemetery at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow.
Later, during the ceremony, they referenced “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” a hilarious science-fiction book series/radio play/movie that essentially seeks the answer to life, the universe and everything…. and gets it. But the answer is “42.” (It’s a dry, British humor kind of thing.) In any case, in their vows, they told each other, essentially, “You are my 42,” meaning, more or less, that they are each other’s life, universe and everything. I think you can see that in their eyes here.
Then, we took photos all over the historic cemetery, trying our best to keep rollerbladers, tourists and costumed visitors who flood Sleepy Hollow on Halloween out the background of the shots. (Because nothing says “love” like a roller-blading man with a giant rubber spider on his head. Just sayin.’)
I love the details they chose- I love the top hat, the shoes, the hand-made paper flower bouquet with their favorite comic book characters incorporated. Love. It.
Meanwhile, while all the photos were happening at the Old Dutch Church, Tatiana from Whimsy Weddings was setting up for the ceremony and reception at the James House Mansion up the road.
Friends and family began to gather- some in costume, some about to be in costume- and it was time to officially get married!
This was my sixth wedding with the amazing and remarkable Rev D. She did a beautiful job putting together a personalized service for Jamie and Justin, who quite literally RAN down the aisle, high-fiving the guests on the way. You gotta love a groom like that!
The bride and groom chose to do this awesome unity ceremony. They wrote letters to each other and put them in a box with their favorite booze. The idea is that if their marriage ever hits a road bump, they can sit down and read the letters, have a drink together and remind each other why they got married in the first place. If they never hit hard times, they can have a drink and celebrate their love on an upcoming anniversary. Love it!
Oh, and Justin sang his vows in a medley of songs including the Muppet Show theme, Rick Astley lyrics and more. It was perfect for Jamie since their love of music is one of the things that brings them together. Quick aside/true story: a few years ago, Justin sold his amazing, one of kind guitar to pay for Jamie’s 30th birthday present. Her wedding present to him WAS TRACKING IT DOWN AND BUYING IT BACK. Not a similar style, not an exact replica, the original guitar. How lovely is that? A bride like that deserves to be serenaded.
Of course, he serenaded her Justin-style, which meant it was also kind of hilarious.
Her vows were equally touching. She quoted an episode of Scrubs, where one of the characters essentially says, “The thing is, I’m so weird that I always thought I would end up alone.” She told him how lucky she was to find him. And then- now I’m quoting Dr. Seuss from a card sent to me by my own husband on our wedding day- “they fell in mutual weirdness and called it love.”
Then they were pronounced married and declared the king and queen of Halloween by the Rev. D., and we were off to cocktail hour!
At this point, everyone changed into costume, including the bride and groom. He wore his suit of armor and she wore a romantic dress inspired by the Middle Ages.
After a romantic first dance to the song “Nothing Else Matters,” the dance floor opened. Although this wasn’t the kind of wedding with a lot of traditional formalities, they each made a point to dance with their moms. The bride’s grandfather got his own spin around the dance floor, and it was so lovely. It doesn’t matter if a wedding is super traditional or if an honored nephew is dressed as a formal ring-bearer or the Incredible Hulk, these moments choke me up every time.
After dinner, the wedding party offered a few meaningful toasts and a special reading, and the party really got going.
The knight battles… um, the Dark Knight? I am not 100% sure what was happening here, but I love it.
If you get married on Halloween, I think you have to do the Thriller Dance. It’s practically a law.
I love everything about this cake-cutting. From the Stanley Cup cake that honors the couple’s love of the New Jersey Devils to the sword to the extreme commitment to cake-smashing, this was amazing.
After a few more photos and words of wisdom from the bride’s grandparents who just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, the party went on into the night. And what a night it was!
Thank you for letting me be a part of this! May your marriage be filled with many years of happiness. Congratulations, Jamie and Justin!
I’m pleased to share photos from Ben and Stefanie’s wedding this past weekend for SO many reasons. For starters, this was my first wedding since I came back from maternity leave and my first event of the 2015 wedding season, so I was really pleased to have so many wonderful people to work with. Before I dive in, I have to thank my assistant, protege and like-a-mom Cheryl who has been offering to assist me since I first found out my son was on the way! She moved umbrellas, bags, furniture; you name it! I could not have done this without her. Thank you! Okay, here we go! So… When you work on the weekends and have time away from your family, particularly a newborn, you want that time to be really meaningful. It was such an honor to be a part of a unique and fun wedding where, truly, everyone was excited to be there. Stefanie didn’t have bridesmaids, but she had a posse of gorgeous woman from all different phases of her life there cheering her on and helping her get ready. I love this paparazzi shot!
Ben and Stefanie are incredibly expressive, and their love and excitement is absolutely contagious. Look at her eyes! I’ve never had this much fun shooting portraits and informal candids of the bride and groom with their guests, which you’ll see in just a second… When I first started talking to Ben and Stefanie about their wedding a year ago, one thing that they had decided on early in their planning was to work with the remarkable Rev D. DonnaMarie SanSavero never fails to deliver a meaningful, personal ceremony with just the right blend of humor and customization. It was just great. The newlyweds’ extended family (including the bride’s side, above) came from all over the country to be a part of their day. Ben’s dad was particularly excited to help his son get ready before he saw his wife-to-be in an awesome first look. The bride and groom chose to see each other on the balcony overlooking the Queensboro Bridge, thanks to Stefanie’s brother and his wife offering their hotel room for the moment. This is the first time that I got to see how animated and happy Ben’s expressions can be. It’s a happiness that is only mirrored by Stefanie’s joie de vivre, and it’s absolutely contagious. I love this shot of them signing the marriage license. This is how it was ALL DAY. The bride and groom’s expressions went from ecstatic to emotional to smooching and back to laughing within seconds, and everyone they spent time with started doing the same thing. As a wedding photographer, honestly, my job doesn’t get much easier… Stefanie’s dad looked so proud throughout the day, first when he saw his daughter in her wedding dress, then when he walked her down the aisle. I loved that the bride and groom were accompanied down the aisle by their loved ones, particularly including their siblings, parents and grandparents in the processional. Both Stefanie and Ben are musicians, so they had friends and colleagues perform everything from opera to the Beatles before a jazz trio kicked off the celebration. Ben’s mom mentioned that it was obvious early on that her son was meant to be with Stefanie for the long haul. Although they credit Stefanie’s friend Jiliane with setting them up… sort of… it was a birthday gathering of mutual college and childhood friends more than five years ago, and no one quite remembers how the newlyweds ended up sharing their first kiss ever at a bar…? But it was a moment that resonated nicely when the happy couple recessed down the aisle, walked directly to the bar for their first cocktail as a married couple and then smooched some more before hugging everyone who lined up to congratulate them. See what I mean? You don’t SQUEE! like this while waiting in very long line to hug someone unless you are genuinely happy for them! The jazz singer knew Stefanie from college, so they were surrounded on all sides by music and love. They also chose to get married on Super Pi day. Not only did they chose March 14 (3.14), but since the calendar year 2015 has complementary digits that mathematically continue the sequence, it was even better! (3.14.15…. and so on.) Pi continues, actually, with the numbers 926, so it was even more special when the father of the bride, a math teacher, offered a toast to the newlyweds at 9:26 p.m. after which they cut their “cake,” which was in reality a tower of pie! Get it? Get it? Pie? Pi! They had special custom plates and everything. Just when you think it can’t get any cuter, the bride busts out her Doctor Who/TARDIS-themed dancing shoes and takes her grandma out for a spin! And THEN the bride starts rapping…. Her knowledge of ’90s hip hop, including a word-perfect rendition of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” is kind of epic. I don’t even know what was happening here, but I LOVE IT. Ben and Stefanie, I am as excited and happy for you as everyone who attended your wedding on Saturday! I can’t wait to show you more shots in your highlights slideshow later in the editing process. I wish you all the best. Forever starts now!
Em and Alicia first contacted me four years ago. This is so incredibly humbling, that two brides would follow my work for so long. I can’t even begin to describe how I touched and I honored I was to finally- FINALLY!- get to work with them and be there for their wedding day. They got married at Boldt Castle, an amazing castle on a heart-shaped island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, followed by a reception at the Thousands Islands Winery. It was a beautiful day.
The brides met online about 6 or 7 years ago. They had a mutual friend on FanFiction.net who lives in New Zealand. She was like, “Hey, this person is cool; you should be friends with her!” Despite that somewhat awkward overture (I mean, how do you start that email?) they began talking on the phone and face-to-face chatting online. Em’s brother Jim said in his toast that he knew right then that they were meant for each other, but it took Em and Alicia a little longer.
And then, there was this snake. One night, Em saw a snake in her basement and pretty much freaked out. Her bedroom was in the basement, so you can imagine how disinclined she was to go to sleep. Alicia spent hours trying to calm her down over video chat, and it hit her like a ton of bricks. Somewhere in all the long-distance chatting, phone calls, shared geekery over pop culture and video games, they had fallen in love.
Em and Alicia sustained a long distance relationship all throughout college and finally moved to be together for Em’s senior year after Alicia’s graduation. They scrimped and saved for the wedding of their dreams as they built a life together, adopting their bunny, cat and Frostmourne, their St. Bernard. (Frostmourne, who is named after a World of Warcraft sword, a replica of which the brides used to cut their cake, made an appearance for the day-after session. She is just the SWEETEST 130-pound lap dog!)
They slowly saved up money for travel, accessories and dresses for their wedding party (except Alicia’s! Her mom made it, and it was just impeccable). They found ways to incorporate their signature colors: red for Em, blue for Alicia, with just the tips of their fingernails painted in their sweetie’s color.
They brought me all the way in from the New York City suburbs and the Rev D from Brooklyn (although if every faraway wedding included a road trip with the Rev, I would be a happy, happy woman). Family members and guests drove through Canada from Michigan and beyond for this amazing day.
Oh, the happy tears just flowed at this one. Em dried her own tears during the ceremony, then reached out to wipe away Alicia’s. Em’s little sister Cecelia wept all day long… oh, my heart. I even wiped a tear away behind the camera as the brides danced with their dads, and then their moms.
I wish you all the best. I hope you still LARP as old ladies and make each other as happy every day as you were on Sunday. Viva Las Vegas, honeymooners!
On Saturday, a snowstorm hit New York, and Alyssa and Joe got married in Central Park! Although the snow looks quite lovely, it was blustery and cold in the Ladies Pavilion by the Lake. All the guests passed around hand warmers as we waited for the bride and her dad to make her way down the path. Friends and family came from far and wide- Joe the groom is British- but the ceremony was short and sweet and very endearing, courtesy of the amazing Rev D!
After that, we had a short photo session in the covered Ladies Pavilion. You can see snowflakes in front of the subjects posing for pictures though, and that’s because the wind was blowing sideways through the gazebo! We got all the important combinations and then everyone ran off to hail cabs for the reception, an informal dinner in an upscale pub downtown on Lexington Avenue.
Although I love, love, love the portraits of the bride and groom- I think Alyssa looks like a snow queen with snowflakes on her eyelashes, and we got so lucky as a gorgeous cardinal alighted on a branch above the lovebirds- we scurried off to hail a cab ourselves, taking refuge in the historical society on Central Park West to warm up when it got really cold.
The happy couple made their way into the reception to applause with a champagne toast and a celebratory shot with warm cider on hand. And thus begins a marriage! I am so happy for you both, and I’m so glad you get to start this new phase of your lives together- truly together, one life, one continent! Congrats!