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Long Island Engagement - Avalon Park and Preserve - Megan & Schuyler

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Avalon Park Long Island Engagement Photo Shoot Session

“Do you want some dessert?” asked the mother of the bride-to-be.

It’s not every day that an engagement session ends with a home cooked Easter dinner on Long Island, but with the Minutillos, heading back to NYC on an empty stomach wasn’t an option.  Like everything else about this couple, the invitation for dinner, and dessert, was irresistible.  Their zest for life is contagious and something I want to be around.

Megan and Schuyler, it was a joy to spend a few hours with the two of you.  Megan, I love how easily Schuyler can get you to laugh.  Schuyler, I love how you are game to do whatever it is that will bring Megan joy.  (Namely, this photo shoot!)  The two of you are so easy to be around, and I can’t wait to celebrate and photograph your wedding this summer… especially because I have a feeling I’ll be invited to have some more dessert.  :)

Enjoy this sneak peek!

Key West Engagement - Jamie & Garrett

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Key West Engagement Photography Session

When an Instagram post leads to magic…

Jamie and Garrett and I had already planned on doing their engagement session in New York, where we all live.  We had a time, a place, and a plan.  However, I posted a picture of myself on a plane excitedly getting ready to go to my home away from home: Key West.  Shortly after, I got a message from Jamie saying that they were going there as well!

It’s a coincidence, but also not a total surprise.  Jamie and Garrett had reached out to me about shooting their Key West wedding because they knew that we shared an obsession with that magical island.  I was already so looking forward to shooting their wedding there… this engagement session was the whipped cream on top of the key lime pie!

Jamie and Garrett, it’s no surprise that I've fallen for you how I fell for our favorite place.  You two embody what I love about the island: the fun, the passion, the love for life.  I am so excited to shoot your wedding on the beach in our favorite town.  For now, enjoy this sneak peek from your engagement session!

SmogShoppe Wedding - LA - Augustus Prew & Jeffery Self

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SmogShoppe Wedding LA Augustus Prew Jeffery Self Same Sex Gay Wedding Los Angeles

“Just have fun. Do your thing!”

It was the shortest consultation phone call I’d ever had, and it seemed to be more for me than it was for them.  On the five minute phone call, Augie and Jeffery invited me to do what I wanted and have fun at the wedding!

During one of the speeches at the wedding, I had a full circle moment.  Amidst some of the most entertaining, hilarious, and emotional speeches I’ve ever experienced (that’s what you get with a room of artists at the top of their field), someone said something that struck a chord with me.  He said that Augie and Jeffery are so authentic that they allow others to show up authentically as well.

I was brought back to our phone call.  The grooms didn’t give me a shot list, didn’t prescribe the types of photos they wanted, they didn’t demand anything or ask a bunch of questions.  They gave me the freedom to show up authentically and do my thing.

Augie and Jeffery, it’s clear to me that the way I was treated - with utmost trust, respect, and support - is the way you treat everyone in your lives.  It’s also clear that your love for each other is rooted at the deepest level of acceptance, support and love.

You are true inspirations in that you don’t inspire others to be like you, you inspire them to be more of themselves.  Thank you for your trust, and enjoy the sneak peek!

Venue - SmogShoppe

Planner - Jason Mitchell Kahn and Co.

Suits - Mr. Turk

Grooming - Jonathan Van Ness

Officiant - Eric Gilliland

Flowers - Georgiana Johnson & Alexis Di Salvo

Cake - Cake and Art

Artwork - Somerset Prew

Food - Border GrillNight + Market

DJ - Micah James

Witchcraft - Miguel Pinzon

Video - Jake Wilson

Prop Masters - Oliver Jackson Cohen & Jim Hansen

Customized games - Etsy

Orthodox Jewish Wedding at Congregation Keter Torah - Teaneck, NJ - Karen & Baruch

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Orthodox Jewish  Wedding Congregation Keter Torah

In the middle of the most celebratory horah I have ever witnessed, Karen’s friend made her way through the crowd with a glass of water for the bride. Karen took just a moment to hydrate and then got back to the most joyful and energetic circle dancing I’ve ever seen.  A few minutes later, the bride was presented with another glass of water, from which she dutifully took a few sips.

And then it all became clear to me.  This wasn’t a random act of kindness by a sweet friend.  It seemed to be part of the tradition in which Karen and Baruch were treated like royalty.  At one point, the couple was seated while individual groups entertained them with previously rehearsed dances and skits.  Guests knelt down before the groom so that he may lean back in his chair and put up his feet.  People were fanning the couple with napkins and even carried them to their dinner table when the horah was over.  I turned to the mother of the bride and said “That makes me want to do my wedding over again!”

Karen and Baruch, thank you for inviting me to be part of your incredible wedding day.  From the moment I met you at your engagement shoot, you were so relaxed and inviting.  You are one of the sweetest and most laid back couples I’ve ever met, and you have a love that is so pure and hearts that are so kind.  You make me proud to be Jewish, and I know you will continue our faith and traditions with integrity and heart.  Mazal Tov to you both!

A Windy, Wintry NYC Engagement Shoot - Mila & Aaron

Keep scrolling down for more images from this engagement shoot at the Whitney Museum, the Highline, and more.

NYC Engagement Shoot

“And that is why I’m marrying her,” Aaron said with a broad smile. “That is reason number three hundred sixty eight why I’m marrying her,” he corrected himself as he pulled Mila closer into him.

The truth is, it was freezing cold.  The weather reports said it would be slightly chilly, and the day had been quite nice, but all of a sudden, right when we started our golden hour engagement shoot, the freezing winds picked up and were absolutely relentless.

But Mila, with exposed legs and only a thin dress underneath her coat, had a smile on her face and was totally game for our shoot.  Even though she had substantially less layers than everyone else, she wasn’t about to let some freezing wind dampen her spirits.  And that is reason three hundred sixty eight why Aaron is marrying her.

Mila and Aaron’s engagement session spanned the Whitney Museum, where they had their first kiss, and the Highline, where they had their second date. We also had some pit stops for coffee and warmth, and I was in photographer’s heaven when Mila and Aaron ducked into a furniture store for warmth and continued to cuddle and smize through the window (see below).

Mila and Aaron, you two are a dream!!  If we can have this much fun and get such beautiful photos during the freezing cold January, I can only imagine what your wedding will be like in April.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…  I’m obsessed with you two!!!

Rainy Winter Wedding at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park - NYC - Tina Marie & Brian

Keep scrolling down for tons of images from this romantic rainy winter wedding.

“It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow.” We were at the rehearsal dinner going over some last details for the wedding the next day.

Without skipping a beat, Tina Marie responded matter-of-factly “Oh, that’s good luck.”

The truth is, rain on your wedding day is only good luck if you say it’s good luck. If you say it’s a disaster, a bummer, an inconvenience, it could be any one of those things, too. For Tina Marie, there was no question. Rain on her wedding day was good luck. Because she said so.

The next day, Tina Marie and Brian said a lot of things. They said they would love each other for all time. They said they would care for each other, and for Tina Marie’s eight-year-old daughter, through sickness and through health. They said they would treat each other with respect and admiration. And because they said those things, they would be the truth.

These two lucked out with a snowy engagement shoot, and on their wedding day, it did indeed rain all day. Except, as luck would have it, for the hour that we were scheduled to take portraits outside.

Tina Marie and Brian, you two have my heart. I love that this was a family wedding of sorts, with Adriana taking part in many of the traditions usually reserved for the bride and groom. Your welcoming and positive spirits drove this entire process, and I couldn’t be luckier to have been a part of it. Enjoy this sneak peek of wedding day photos!

Venue: The Loeb Boathouse

Getting Ready venue: Park Lane Hotel

Officiant: Father Joel Daniels

Flowers and Decor: Crest Florist

Dress: Pronovias

Tina Marie's shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Brian's jacket: Armani

Pants: Dunhill London

Tie: Hermes

Brian's shoes: Allen Edmonds

Cuff links: Cartier

Hair and Makeup: DreamDry

Rings: Tiffany and Co

Cake: Caked Up

Metropolitan Museum of Art Engagement Session - NYC - Karen and Baruch

 Metropolitan Museum of Art Engagement - NYC - Karen and Baruch

Karen and Baruch’s engagement session was unique to me for three main reasons.

For one, it’s indoors. We had planned to shoot outside at the beautiful Fort Tryon Park, but then we got thrown a curve ball. It was 12 degrees outside. We opted to shoot in the Metropolitan Museum, which was fine by me! Beautiful natural light, heat, and a fun, iconic setting for these museum lovers.

The second thing that sets this shoot apart is that Karen and Baruch will be saving all the hand holding, embracing, and sweet kisses for the photos after their wedding ceremony. No touching during this engagement shoot!

The third, and most important, thing that stands out about this shoot is that none of that matters. Karen and Baruch’s connection goes beyond the cold, beyond location, beyond touch. These two are so lit up to be around each other; they’re so full of smiles, affection, and easy conversation. Within minutes, I felt like I had known them forever, and although they claim they hardly take any photos, they were so immediately relaxed and authentic with each other and with me.

Karen and Baruch, I cannot wait to celebrate your wedding with you this coming weekend. Until then, enjoy this sneak peek!

Sunrise NYC Engagement Session at Carl Schurz Park - Amber & David

NYC Engagement Photos-1.jpg

When Amber and David stepped out of the Uber at 7 am and 27 degrees, I was smitten.  Not only were they awake, they were full of giddy laughter, and they looked like a million bucks.

Honestly, before I even met them that morning, I was slightly obsessed. They were only going to be in NYC for a few days, and because of our conflicting schedules, I suggested doing a sunrise engagement shoot. To my surprise and delight, they enthusiastically agreed!

Before even knowing them, I knew so much about this couple. I knew they were willing to trust. I knew they were excited about going the extra mile. And I knew that they were the kinds of people who gave it their all.

Amber and David, we shared one freezing cold early morning together, and it’s only fitting that you two were so full of warmth and vivacity. Amber, your laugh and zest for life is obvious and completely infectious. David, your support and commitment to Amber is so clear and inspiring. I am thrilled for you both on your engagement, and I am happy to know you. Enjoy this sneak peek!

Snowy Central Park Engagement Session - NYC - Tina Marie and Brian

Snowy Central Park Engagement NYC.jpg

Near the very end of our session, as I was putting all my gear back into its bag, and we were warming up from the chilly shoot, I noticed Tina Marie and Brian having some hushed conversation. She walked over to me and made maybe the sweetest invitation I’ve ever heard. “Do you want to bring your husband to the wedding?” My heart absolutely melted.

Even though we had spoken on the phone only once and had just met earlier that day, I feel like I’ve known Tina Marie and Brian forever. They are both so magnetic, warm, and engaging that I feel like I’ve been sucked into this cocoon of friendship and excitement.

Their invitation speaks to their character; they are basically one big walking invitation for fun, love, and inclusion.

Tina Marie and Brian, I cannot wait to spend your wedding day with you, Adriana, and the rest of the gang. The fact that you were as excited about shooting in the snow as I was just makes me that much more excited to get ALL the photos of your big day. I have a feeling it’s going to be just like you two: a big, awesome party with a warm and fuzzy loving center.  Cannot wait!

City Hall Wedding - NYC - Ambe & Marzio

NYC City Hall Wedding

Ambe’s smile is pure joy.

Nothing against the other couples at City Hall that day (and it was bustling!), but the megawatt joy and excitement pouring out of Ambe and Marzio was unmissable. Marzio’s parents were visiting from Italy, so the couple decided a few weeks earlier that it would be a great opportunity to take a trip to NY City Hall to make it official.

Ambe and Marzio, I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to photograph your infectiously joyful wedding. The fact that you are both photographers that I admire makes your decision to choose me even that much more flattering.

At the end of the day, though, I know it wasn’t the photography that was important to you. (Especially considering I had to talk you into 20 minutes of portraits…. which I’m hoping you don’t regret. :P ) The day wasn’t even about the wedding. The important thing to you both, so clearly, was that you joined together in marriage in the company of your parents.

You are an inspirational couple, so calmly solid and soothing, and with such an access to uninhibited joy and light. It’s amazing that a couple so cool could also be so unapologetically warm. Congratulations to you both; enjoy the sneak peek!

Ceremony: City Clerk's Office - Marriage Bureau

Dress: Halston Heritage

Ambe's Shoes: Franco Sarto

Hair: Olithea Anglin

Makeup: Ambe Williams

Ambe's jacket: Calvin Klein

Engagement ring: Family stone. Custom band from Antonacci Gioielli.

Suit: J. Crew

Marzio's Shoes: Dockers

Rings: Unoaerre Italian Jewelry

Flowers: Urban Stems

Restaurant: Dar 525

The Green Building Wedding - Brooklyn - Alysha Umphress & Cody Williams

Green Building Wedding Brooklyn-1.jpg

“Let me know if you and Cody want to do an engagement photo shoot!  Like, for free.  I’m trying to build up my portfolio for non-headshot stuff, AND plus it would be super fun!!  :D”

That text to Alysha resulted in an audio text response where she said she wanted to pick my brain about maybe photographing their wedding. “I mean, obviously we would pay you… But like, also, FULLY say ‘I would rather just be a guest’ and I will be like ‘Absolutely. Understood.’ because, you know, first and foremost you’ll be a guest… I don’t know. Thoughts? Feelings?”

Thoughts:  YES YES YES YES.  Feelings:  joy, excitement, happiness, glee.

Alysha and Cody's wedding, in the words of the bride herself, was “a magical celestial neon galactic dream.” The Monday night affair (that’s the night off for theatre people) had no less than three surprise drag queen performances, two dogs, and an unabashed amount of neon, moons, and stars. True to their hashtag, it was lit AF.

But underneath all the glitter, the evening was, simply, about the joining of two people whose relationship is authentic and inspiring.

Alysha and Cody, thank you for having me as your guest and for trusting me with the honor of photographing one of the most spectacular evenings I’ve ever been a part of. You are two people who are so charming, talented, and driven that you could get away with being not much else. But those things pale in comparison to your kindness, warmth, and generosity. So thrilled for you and Dizzy (the dog). Enjoy the sneak peek!

 

Venue:  The Green Building

Wedding Planner: Jason Mitchell Kahn

Officiant: Jeff Blumenkrantz

Decor: The Color Condition

Neon: Name Glo

Dress: Hayley Paige

Shoes: Chiara Ferragni

Suit: Suit Supply

Hair: Billie Aken-Tyers

Makeup: Bryan Campbell-Leavitt

Nails: Paintbox

Alysha's Jewelry and Cody's ring: Catbird

Engagement ring: Phoenix Roze

Alysha's wedding ring: Sofia Zakia

Flowers: Kukka

Sign calligrapher : Michelle Eliza Beatty

Invitation:  GoGoSnap Vintage

Food trucks: Korilla and Chick'n Cone

Dessert: Zac Young and Pineapple Express

Rentals: Broadway Rentals

DJ: 21st Century Sounds - Brian Fitzsimmons

Photo Booth: Dirty Sugar

Videography: Fine By Media

Drag Queen:  Busted

Gantry Plaza State Park Engagement - Chelsy and Will

Gantry Plaza State Park Engagement 5.jpg

Chelsy and Will make my heart sing. One of my favorite parts of the session came as we were just getting started, when Will admitted that he doesn't love having his picture taken. This was great because it gave me the opportunity to set a context for our engagement session -- it wasn't about taking photos, it was about Chelsy and Will taking some time to be with each other, to breathe and relax together in the very park where he proposed to her a few months ago. I also loved Will's confession because it revealed something huge about him -- that he is willing to do what it takes to make Chelsy happy.

I have to say, it took Will about five minutes to come around, and if he wasn't enjoying himself, he was really great at faking it. :P

Chelsy and Will, thank you for inviting me to spend the afternoon with you during this exciting time in your lives! You wear your generous spirits and warm, giving attitudes on your sleeve. It makes absolute sense that you both spend your days in service to others, working at hospitals to improve the quality of people's lives. It also makes sense, and makes me warm and giddy, that you've committed your lives to each other. I am so happy for you and for your upcoming wedding!

Central Park Engagement Session Photos - Stefanie Brown and Kyle Harris

For two months of my life, every night I would try to get Stefanie to marry me. And now I couldn't be happier that she is engaged to Kyle.

Huh? Let me explain. About a year ago, Stefanie and I were cast as actors in the Off-Broadway production of A Dog Story, in which my character desperately wanted to marry her character. Make more sense, now? In one of our first conversations we bonded over how happy we were in our relationships - mine with my husband Trey, and hers with Kyle, her boyfriend of 12 years. Their relationship is one that is so solid without being stagnant, exciting without being dramatic. These two are passionately supportive of each other without being co-dependent. In short, they just make sense together; you can exhale around them.

Stef and Kyle, I couldn't be happier for you two. I'm thrilled to be a small part in the journey of your relationship, and I consider myself lucky that I get to hang out with you beyond this super fun photo session in Central Park.

Top of the Rock and Central Park Engagement - Kashika and Ashish

Top of the Rock Engagement

Before heading to Central Park for our engagement session, Kashika and Ashish had arranged to take a visit to the Top of the Rock. Once we got up there... wow!  I could see why. I've lived in New York City for 18 years, and this was my first visit up to see those incredible and breathtaking views.

Still, though, the stunning views are not what I remember most about this day. The tenderness with which Ashish treated his soon-to-be-bride. The way Kashika's smile and laugh were unfailingly contagious. The bond that these two shared to withstand years of a long distance relationship. The fact that Kashika moved to the US from India to give their relationship a real chance. Their kindness and consideration not just to each other but to me as well. And of course the obvious and unshakeable love they have for each other. These are the things that stood out to me most.

After visiting Top of the Rock, we moved on to Central Park for a truly dreamy engagement session. Kashika and Ashish, thank you for being so game, so trusting, and for an absolutely inspiring day!

3 West Club Wedding - Amanda and Maria

3 West Club Wedding

Amanda and Maria had my favorite kind of wedding; it wasn't about the wedding, it was about two people committing their lives to each other. With the support of their community.

And I'm not just talking about their wedding guests. The three of us snuck out of the beautiful 3 West Club and into Rockefeller Center to grab some photos. "Congratulations!" people started yelling out. New Yorkers' faces lit up as they looked up from their phones to see these radiant brides walking down the street. At one point a little boy was looking over, and with the gentle encouragement of his mother, he asked if he could see Amanda's flowers. His mother leaned over with a smile and whispered, "He thinks you're a princess."

One part of the ceremony (among many) that got me choked up was when guests were asked to hold a small stone in their hands. If they so wished, they were invited to put their love, their best wishes, their warm, supportive energy into those stones. Later in the night, they would place the stones in a bowl for the brides to keep with them for life. To support their marriage.

Amanda and Maria, thank you for including me in your wedding. Your trust in me and your welcoming of me are such clear signs of the kinds of people you are. You earned the support of your community by creating a relationship that is so clearly based on respect, understanding, partnership, and of course a deep love for each other. I couldn't hold a stone during your ceremony (my hands were full of cameras!), but I want you to know that I took these photos with love, support, and the very best wishes for your marriage.

Venue:  3 West Club

Amanda's hair:  HairByNany

Cold Spring Lodge Wedding - Michelle and Peter

Cold Spring Lodge Cabins Wedding Photography Catskills

What I love most about Michelle and Peter’s wedding is that it could have been no one else’s.

There was no wedding planner, no caterer, no DJ (and I’m not knocking those things - we had ALL of those wonderful people at our wedding!).  For Michelle and Peter, they wanted to begin their marriage as they would sustain it — surrounded and supported by their closest friends and family.  They began their marriage eating their mothers’ cooking, surrounded by flowers that their best friends had picked, staying on schedule with the help of their bridal party, and standing under an archway built by family.

From their wedding, it is clear that this couple is committed to creating an atmosphere that will support their love and relationship, not just on their wedding day, but for the entirety of their marriage.  And on top of that, they were able to do it with humor, grace, and a warm welcome for this lucky photographer.

Michelle & Peter Engagement Session in Union Square

Union Square Engagement Photography Session

I was thrilled that Michelle and Peter wanted to take photos in Union Square - because that is where they met!  Once I met them there, I got the full story.

Four and a half years ago, Peter was working in a food truck right off Union Square when Michelle came up to his window.  She wasn't looking for food but rather a place to charge her phone, which we all know takes a little while.  This gave these two plenty of time to get to know each other a little bit, and a few days later when Michelle was in the area again, she stopped by Peter's truck; this time they exchanged information!  Many of their first dates were around Union Square (Union Squarea as I call it), so we made sure to visit one of their usual date spots La Maison du Croque Monsieur.

These two are getting married in a just a few short weeks, and I am so excited to capture their special day!

Amanda & Maria Engagement Session in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Engagement Photography Session

As I approached the Brooklyn Museum, one of Amanda and Maria's favorite spots, I was welcomed by two big smiles and two warm hugs.  I had a blast hanging out with these two and visiting the Museum, the Grand Army Plaza, and some of Brooklyn's beautiful greenery.  They also have a fondness for Mr. Softy (who doesn't??!), so we decided they had to get some -- for the shoot of course!

Amanda and Maria are getting married later next month, and I can't wait to capture their beautiful day!  Until then, this fun and romantic engagement session will have to tide us over...