Congrats, Nicole and Joel!- Stewart Manor Wedding Photographer
Nicole ad Joel had such a beautiful, amazing and personal wedding. There are so many fun surprises and details to show you from their big day last Friday, but the thing that really left a lasting, heartwarming impression and keeps popping up in all the photos I’ve selected so far (I’ve picked out 1,034 and counting!) can be found in all the beautiful relationships they’ve cultivated with their friends, family and wedding party.
Yes, their relationship is beautiful. They absolutely have a deep and abiding love for each other, and something clicked early on from the moment they realized they were both wearing matching black Converse sneakers, entirely by coincidence. They love books and Star Wars, nerdy puns and games and sci-fi, but they have genuine hearts for God as well. Their Christianity is not ostentatious or showy. Their love for God is humble. It’s just a peaceful thread through the tapestry of their lives.
I’ll try to show you what I mean. Their loving relationships and spirituality imbued the entire day with kindness, love and faith.
Okay, so yes, Nicole got ready with her bridesmaids and her mom, but everything she wore had a deep connection to a relationship she treasures. Take, for instance, her earrings.
They were a gift from her grandfather to her grandmother, but her grandmother refused to wear them until he returned safely from the war. Thankfully, he did, and she wore them on their wedding day. Now they’ve been worn by three generations of women in her family on their wedding days. Her mom told us this story as she adorned Nicole.
Her bestie got her all laced up and practiced taking the veil off for later. You’d think Nicole would be dying to see herself in the mirror, but instead, she turned to her maid of honor to thank her. They had this moment instead.
Honoring her friendship and expressing her gratitude mattered more to Nicole than looking in the mirror (although she looks gorgeous!) and I think that tells you a lot about her. Her relationships matter most. In fact, I had to ask her to look in the mirror and pose her to try and get a “bride looking in the mirror” shot, because that’s how centered and at peace Nicole was in that moment. (That photo is fine and it will be in their full set of edited photos, but I’m not even posting it here because there’s an even better mirror shot coming…)
Back to the getting ready room… Her mom gathered them all together, and they formed a prayer circle. The mother of the bride’s words as she asked for God’s blessing were deeply moving.
Her mom gathered her up in a big hug, and then we were off!
See, I thought the mother of the bride’s tears of joy were moving, but her father’s reaction when he saw his daughter in her wedding gown was THE BEST.
So in Nicole’s parents’ wedding album, there’s a photo of her mother and her grandmother posed in front of this very same mirror on the mother of the bride’s wedding day to her Nicole’s dad.
Recreating that photo and honoring her grandmother’s memory was so important to her, that Nicole had planned her entire limo journey in this portion of the day around going to her childhood home for this special photo.
I loved that her grandparents’ engagement photo could be seen in the background, and it was such a unique way to honor and include them. Are you emotional yet? Nicole was…
Her bridesmaids serenaded her with “Going to the Chapel” in the limo, which was a fun surprise the mother of the bride pulled together. (Pulling off fun surprises seems to be a family trait, because just wait until you see Nicole’s entrance at the ceremony!)
Meanwhile, Joel was waiting in front of the fireplace in the ballroom at Stewart Manor Country Club.
His adorable nephew MIGHT have stolen the show with his super-cute sign on his ring-bearer pillow…
But then the processional began (To the Downton Abbey theme!) and it was time for the bride to appear on her father’s arm… except he walked in by himself.
Just then, the catering manager cued up a distinctive sound effect, and the staff pulled back a curtain to reveal… this.
This is a TARDIS. That’s an acronym that stands for Time And Relative Dimension in Space. Sci-fi fans will recognize it as Dr. Who’s signature transportation, a time machine/spaceship capable of traveling anywhere in time and space. Adventures await!
Here comes the bride!
Three bridesmaids crying happy tears at once!
Nicole and Joel were united in Christian marriage. They entwined their hands and their lives.
The bridesmaids were still crying happy tears after the ceremony. There was just a lot of love in the room, and then I swept everyone outdoors for pictures.
I know photos can be the most stressful part of the day, and sometimes it can be confusing for wedding parties because I, especially, am full of interesting instructions like “Throw your jackets over your shoulders and walk toward me. All bridesmaids under Nicole’s veil! Yup, under! Throw your bouquets. All the bouquets! And again! And, um, one more time, thank you!” Truly, thank you for humoring me.
(Extra special thanks to James from Stewart Manor for his excellent veil-tossing skills!)
Meanwhile, cocktail hour was underway inside…
Mac and cheese, which Nicole and Joel had on their first date, was, naturally, on the menu.
We took just a few more photos with Joel’s grandparents, who will be celebrating 70 years of marriage later this year.
After the Dr Who-inspired grand entrance to the ceremony, Nicole and Joel came into the reception through a light saber arch. (Like you do.)
I loved that their toasting glasses matched the Han and Leia/Star Wars-inspired t-shirts they wore during their engagement session.
Love their D&D gaming crew crammed into the TARDIS!
After signing the marriage license and taking all kinds of fun pictures in the library-themed photo booth and of course, in the TARDIS, a light saber battle happened at the wedding party table.
After some special dances and the cake-cutting, they threw a throw blanket instead of a bouquet or a garter. Yep, they threw a throw, because Nicole and Joel love each other only a little more than they love nerdy puns.
The tarantella was danced with gusto.
Then I look them outside for just a few more photos. There was a luminous gazebo shot…
And then more light sabers…
And then gazebos AND light sabers…
We bounced back inside, ready to end the evening, so I packed up my gear.
And then I promptly unpacked it again, because I heard the bridesmaids singing in the lobby. They surrounded Nicole, singing “My Help (Cometh From The Lord),” a Gospel song inspired by Psalm 121, and I knew this moment had to be documented.
The wedding party sent them off with peace and music and a wish for help and protection from God as they know Him, and really, there’s nothing better. Peace and joy and puns to you, Nicole and Joel. Thank you for letting me capture the start of your epic adventure.
Hair and Makeup: Danielle D’Alessia from Geeks Get Glam
Dress: David’s Bridal
Cake: The Sweet Peace
Limo: Camelot Specialty Limos
Venue: Stewart Manor Country Club
Gallifreyan Time Machine/Spaceraft: Long Island TARDIS
Filled Under : Wedding