Tag archive for : Kaaterskill
Early on in my work as a photographer, I found myself drawn to stories, assignments and pictures that feature the themes of faith and family, in every way those two things can be defined. I’m not just talking about faith in terms of religion, but leaps of faith, acts of courage, choosing to love and be loved. I’m a big believer that families are organic, living, breathing, ever-changing things, and there’s power in the moments when those new bonds are formed.
Carter and Greg’s wedding was everything a wedding should be. They are so in love, and their family and friends are genuinely supportive of their union in every way. The families genuinely like each other. The wedding party attendants were amazing, committed to doing whatever they could to help things run smoothly and make the reception a fabulous party. It was great.
Now, people find love, create new families and branch out their family trees in all new ways throughout their lives. It’s actually quite unique to witness a wedding where both the parents of the bride and groom are still happily married after decades together. It’s not better or worse, of course, than parents of brides and grooms who’ve made bold choices for love and happiness and remarried. Finding love, choosing it, day in and day out, takes courage, whether you’re still with the person you married thirty years ago or a person whose love has been a blessing to you later in your life. I’m not saying either way is better or right, only that I had to smile, seeing the love in the bride and groom’s parents’ marriages.
And it goes both ways, generation wise. People joke about their in-laws, and there’s no denying that those relationships can be fraught. The stakes are high. At this wedding, however, the groom was walked down the aisle not just by his mother, but his almost mother-in-law, too. The mother of the groom hugged her new daughter-in-law in the moments after the ceremony and said, simply and genuinely, “I love you.” The groom chose his dad to be his best man. That’s really saying something. In his toast, Greg’s dad said, basically, if they only got Carter as a daughter-in-law out of this deal, that would be amazing. The fact that they were uniting with her family, too, her sister, and her friends… Well, THAT, he said, (and I’m paraphrasing) is icing on the cake. That’s really saying something, too.
My point is, while this wedding had a gorgeous sunset, delicious barbecue, thoughtful DIY details hand-crafted by the couple, moving speeches, and heartfelt vows, I also really wanted to capture the subtle bonds between everyone there. I really tried to shoot pictures that captured little gestures that mean so much.
The bonds I’m talking about, the love I saw, it was in the little things. It was in the look of pride on Carter’s dad’s face when he came to see his daughter in her dress. It was the way Carter’s sister Blythe ran to find a backup “something blue,” wept with joy during the ceremony and made her sister cry during her maid of honor speech. It was the way, when the mother of the bride got choked up doing her ceremony reading, Carter reached out and held her hand. It wasn’t just the newlyweds’ big “You may kiss the bride!” kiss at the end of the ceremony, it was in the way they pulled back and beamed at each other immediately after. The couple didn’t just float down the aisle on a tide of goodwill. Carter literally bounced in the air and exclaimed, “I’m your wife! I’m your wife! I’m your wife!” as they walked back to the inn.
When the mother of the groom returned to her seat after an emotional mother/son dance, she sank into her husband’s supportive embrace. It was in the way Greg pumped his arms, victory-style, while kissing Carter as everyone clinked their wine glasses with flatware. It wasn’t just that Greg’s grandmother made it to the wedding. It was in her joyful smile as Greg showed off his wedding ring before signing the marriage license, and then when he whirled her around the dance floor. It was the attendants’ cracking each other up, tap-dancing, having Madonna dance-offs and corralling all the guests for a big lovefest/photo opp on the dance floor before I left for the night.
There was just so much love in the air last Saturday. I thank you wholeheartedly for the chance to document that. I hope these photos remind you of your love, expressed in gestures both big and small, as your family continues to grow and change over the years, for many years to come.
Of all the things that Natalie and Alex imagined for their wedding day, the last thing they pictured was that the weather on Memorial Day would be cold enough for you to see your breath. Unfortunately, the Kaaterskill, a charming inn and working farm in Catskill, N.Y. gets kind of muddy, and it was raining off and on all day. However, the bride and groom have some seriously amazing friends and family (and are pretty wonderful themselves.) Everyone donned jackets and coats and had a lovely time. Actually, I think the hardest part for everyone was taking photos in between gusts of wind. Thank you all for being such troopers!
The rabbi did one of the nicest things after the ketubah ceremony, which was to ask all of the family members in attendance to take a moment after signing the marriage license to privately offer a blessing, a bit of marriage advice or a kind word to the bride and groom immediately before the start of the ceremony. Even I got to share a few thoughts (namely, that you can fry latkes and zeppolis at the same time during the holidays, something my now Italian-Jewish family does since I married Joel.)
During the ceremony it became very clear that Natalie and Alex compliment each other beautifully. They make each other laugh, and they are deeply in love. At every wedding I shoot, I meet at least one person whom I wish was in my own family, someone so great that I wish I could see them at every holiday and family reunion. That person, at this wedding, was Natalie’s brother Greg. Greg is on the autism spectrum. He is honest, candid, and loves his sister and Alex, and I cried when he sang a love song to the newlyweds at the reception. There were some amazing toasts at this wedding, including the bride’s father’s version of a song from West Side Story, adapted for the occasion, but Greg’s song was my personal favorite.
Once the dance floor got going, no one was cold. Alex held on to his end of the napkin during the horah with his teeth, which is how you know you’re at a great party, right there. Then some one grabbed one of the birch logs that had formed one post of the chuppah and started a limbo contest, which is how you REALLY know you’re at a great party.
Bethany and Darrin’s wedding was one after my own heart, truly, and not just because they’re an ethnically Italian/culturally Jewish couple (like me and Joel) who chose to do to both the horah and the tarantella at the reception (Haven’t seen that since my own wedding!) They had their ceremony and reception at the Kaaterskill, a farm/inn in the Catskills with a pond, horses, pigs, goats, alpacas as well as eclectic but upscale accommodations and a converted barn where the reception was held. AND IT WAS AWESOME. Seriously, I could shoot every weekend at the Kaaterskill and not get bored.
They did so many lovely things to take care of each other all day long. They were both nervous and, as Darrin said during a thank you speech later on at the reception, on “an emotional roller coaster all day,” but I knew as soon as Bethany saw Darrin for their first look, everything would fall into place. And it did! They both laughed and wept tears of joy throughout the day, and I’m so glad they decided to take ten minutes alone after the ceremony to be together privately. They center each other and balance each other, which is just the best foundation for marriage (in my humble opinion, of course.) It makes me really happy for them.
Also, I have to thank them for being such good sports and going the extra mile to get great photographs together. No doubt, they deserve some sort of intrepid explorer wedding photography merit badge. We went under AN ELECTRIC LIVESTOCK FENCE and then Bethany climbed down some rocks BAREFOOT (it was safer than high heels) to get to the waterfall. I was happily clicking away for a solid five minutes as they stood in a sunny patch, not realizing that how hot the rocks must be until Bethany oh-so-politely called out, “Angie? Um, my feet are burning.” To the shade!
Congrats, you guys! Thank you so much for having me be the one to capture these memories for you.