Tag archive for : elopement

For a couple of years now, I’ve been saying, “October is the new June.” This is one of the most popular times of the year to get married, and it was a pleasure documenting Tiffany and Dariel’s courthouse wedding last Wednesday. I’ve also been jokingly calling the city clerk’s office “the happiest DMV on earth” because it is truly a special place.

It is decidedly DMV-like; I’m not gonna lie. You walk in. You tell a most definitely underpaid attendant who clearly answers the same questions over and over again all day long what you’re there to do, and you get a number. When that number comes up, you go to a booth and fill out paperwork. It’s a little bit like lining up to buy cold cuts, so I did my imitation of this commercial, and only one person in attendance even remotely knew what I was referring to, which was ever so slightly embarrassing for me. Ah, well. It was a happy dance for a happy day.

After you fill out the paperwork, you get a different number and wait again, this time for a chapel. After another wait, which can last five minutes or the better part of an hour, you go into a small chapel and get married in a short ceremony that lasts a maximum of ten minutes from putting down your purse to hugging the last of your witnesses. Yet, all around you, everyone is happy. People are smiling, kissing, taking pictures, mugging at the courthouse photo backdrop set up by the city for that exact purpose, even buying “I got married in NYC” souvenirs.

Last Wednesday, Tiffany and Dariel were among the happiest people there. From the moment Dariel took off his blindfold to see his bride, all through the bureaucratic necessities, during the ceremony itself and then humoring me for photos all around Lower Manhattan (including at the African Memorial Burial Ground- a location no one has ever asked me to shoot before but where we got some very meaningful and artistic pictures), they were smiling ear to ear. A love story that began in the late ’90s when they met right at the beginning of college began a new chapter with married life last week. This couple is so fun, so happy (and so game for whatever might make for awesome photos, which, honestly, is a dream come true for me!) that I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get to be with them at their big bash sometime next year.

For now, congratulations on “getting legal-ed,” Tiffany and Dariel! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed creating them for you. P.S. The cupcakes were delicious OMG NOM NOM

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Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

Don and Tracey met when she was just 16 years old and lived in the Caribbean. She describes it as breath-taking, amazing, wonderful first love. “You just can’t imagine anything will ever go wrong,” she said. They’ve been married in their hearts for a long time, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. That’s how 18 years, moving from the Caribbean, settling in New York and the birth of their adorable two-year-old son unfolded between meeting, falling in love, and getting married on Friday morning at City Hall in Manhattan.

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Their son is the cutest! Those curls!

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The bride’s first bouquet accidentally got left behind in Brooklyn, but luckily there is an enterprising florist who sets up every day outside the City Clerk’s office.

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It was crowded! In addition to our party of 25, there were dozens of other couples of every walk of life and level of fanciness lined up to get married.

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Donato snuck in a kiss or two of his own while we waited. And waited!

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We took as many pictures as we could inside while waiting to get the license, and then we had an another hour until we called to the courtroom to actually get hitched.

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The flowering trees and blooming tulips and daffodils were at the height of their beauty, so we took lots of photos outside.

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Twenty-three of their nearest and dearest family and friends came to see them tie the knot.

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Soon it was time to head back and see how much progress we had made up the list.

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Donato entertained everyone with His Royal Cuteness and several renditions of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”

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Finally we made it to the front of the line!

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I had plenty of photographic backup.

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When the officiant asked if anyone objects, someone shouted good-naturedly, “It’s about damn time!” and the bride and groom cracked up.

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And just like that, it was official!

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Tracey’s mom was so happy.

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The wedding party moved on to Times Square via their own cars, cabs and subway, and I wished them all the best! Congratulations, Don and Tracey! All the best wishes to you and your family. May your next 18 years be as full of adventure and love as the past 18 years have been. Enjoy starting and ending each day together, now and always, as you raise your son and conquer the world. Thank you for trusting me with your wedding memories!

Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

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!

Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

Joyce and Jeff’s wedding was the BEST way to end 2011! My phone rang out of the blue last Wednesday. Joyce had seen my vendor listing on OffbeatBride.com where I offer, among other things, to be the witness at courthouse elopements for my clients. It’s a very long story, but suffice it to say, Joyce and Jeff encountered more administrative snafus and mishaps on their journey to marriage than anybody else I’ve ever met. I was so pleased that I was able to be there for them at the city clerk’s office in Brooklyn with relative ease. I was with Joyce and Jeff for exactly one hour, but I was so moved by all the personal touches they incorporated. For a wedding with no flowers, no attendants, no music and no rings, they still managed to share something that was so… THEM.

Almost everything Joyce is wearing is a gift from Jeff, from her sari scarf to her earrings. They love the neighborhood in Brooklyn surrounding the city clerk’s office, so afterwards we dashed down to O’Keefe’s, one of their favorite date night spots, for bacon cheeseburgers and a few rounds of Big Buck Hunter Pro. I have faith that the paperwork for Jeff and Joyce’s Catholic Church wedding in April (in Guam!) will go off without a hitch in the end, but in the meantime, I am glad you can tell the world you are OFFICIALLY MARRIED now (and that I could be there for you.) Congrats!

Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

There is so much to tell you about Sam and Andrew’s tiny courthouse wedding! I know that sounds strange, but really, Sam and Andrew put so much thought and love into their wedding plans, it’s hard to know where to begin even though everything took place in just a few short hours on Friday.

I guess I should start with my role in this surprise wedding. Back in July, Sam and Andrew booked me to photograph their wedding, slated for June of 2011. They have a beautiful, private, self-uniting ceremony plans in a forest not too far from where I grew up in Pennsylvania. Their parents plan to throw them an awesome backyard reception, and they tried as hard as they could not to be too sad at the fact that Sam and Andrew are planning, for all intents and purposes, to elope in that they will be taking their vows privately.

But.. their parents WERE sad at the thought of missing it, so Sam and Andrew began planning the legal ceremony as a special surprise. We decided that we’d tell their parents that they’d hired me to come shoot a family Christmas photo, and we’d all gather at the local library.

This was actually perfect, since both Sam and Andrew are self-identified geeks and bookish type peeps. (Their cats are named “Love” and “Library.”) Sam loves comic books, and her bouquet was made from D&D character sheets. We took some pictures and the remarkable Matt Odom shot a little video.

As their parents arrived, they saw Sam and Andrew and their sign that said, “Surprise! We’re getting Married TODAY.” I should have made a little sign of my own that said, “Please don’t blame the decoy.” Ha! Their parents’ reactions were absolutely priceless, and even I got teary as Sam’s dad wept when he realized he got to walk her down the aisle.

Truthfully, you couldn’t ask for a better reaction to a surprise like this. They were so completely surprised, happy and excited. I got to put my decoy hat on again and stall the happy couple, insisting on photos with their cats so the bride’s parents could acquire a cake. The groom’s parents arranged for a last-minute honeymoon suite at a nearby hotel.

Don’t even get me started on the way Andrew looked at Sam as she said her vows; the look on his face was so loving, so tender (it’s in the mix below, see for yourself.:)

Now, let me also tell you that Sam is a dreamer. When we set the plan over the summer for this amazing December surprise, Sam was like, “It will be so Christmas-y! And snow-y! Yay!” But being a Central PA girl myself, I instantly went into expectations management mode, knowing how touch and go PA winters can be. “Or it could be gray and gross!” I said. “Don’t get your hopes up too high for snow… okay? Please?”

That’s me, professional wedding photographer and party pooper at your service. But oh, did we ever have the most perfect, fluffy snowfall ever AND they agreed to lay down in the cold wet ground so I could get this snow angels shot. Above all else, I was so glad that everything went the way Sam and Andrew had dreamed. Keeping my fingers crossed for a bright blue sky and warm waterfalls for the spiritual union in June! Congrats, you guys!

Filled Under : Wedding

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