[Wedding] Deanna & Blake – Surf Club on the Sound in New Rochelle, NY

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It’s no secret that a packed dance floor is one of my favorite parts to photograph on a wedding day; and the crazier the better! In all the years I’ve been photographing weddings, I can definitely say that these folks will rank in my top 10 for many years to come – these guys know how to party! I mean, I should’ve known better: these star-crossed lovebirds first exchanged glances on a party boat all those years ago, so we wouldn’t expect any less :). Their celebration took place at the Surf Club on the Sound, which was my first time shooting there and it’s simply a wedding photographer’s playground. From it’s manicured driveway, to its waterviews on its terrace, it would be hard to take a terrible photo here. Combined that with one of the funnest couples in the universe, we’ve got ourselves a helluva good time :).

Venue & Catering: The Surf Club On The Sound // Catering: The Surf Club On The Sound // Ceremony/Officiant: Christopher Veteri // Hair: Kristen Okaly @hairstyledby_k // Make-up: Adrienne (@smashbrush_) // Dress: Suzanne Neville // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Groom’s attire: Suit Supply // Jewelry: Nadri // Floral/Décor: Arcadia Floral Co. // Stationery: Minted // Cinematography: Preston Films 

[Wedding] Hollie & Ponce – The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm in New Hope, PA

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Family. At the end of the day, that’s what most weddings are about. In Hollie & Ponce’s case, this would be no exception. It was the first time in a long while since Hollie & Ponce had all the important, wonderful people in their lives reunited, if only for one special day. It served as a simple yet profound reminder that the bonds run deep in a loving family, no matter how far the distance between its members.

We were still in the midst of a cold winter when Hollie & Ponce tied the knot at the Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm in New Hope, NJ, a family owned farm right across the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border. With their best friend officiating one of the most entertaining ceremonies we’ve heard in a while, we were reminded of all the important things that help make marriages successful: laughter, generosity in love, and family & friends you can always count on. While we didn’t have the opportunity to play with the most adorable farm animals I’ve ever seen, we hope to change that on our next visit! Nevertheless, we wish Hollie & Ponce nothing but the best as they embark on this new adventure together :).

Venue & Catering: Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm // Catering: Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm // Ceremony/Officiant:  Chi Chan // Hair & Make-up: Bangz Salon in New Hope, PA // Dress: BHLDN // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Groom’s attire: Suit: Men’s Wearhouse, Vest:Macy’s, Tie: Tie Bar // Jewelry: Larsen Jewelers, Blue Nile // Floral/Décor: The Pod Shop – New Hope, PA // Entertainment: No Macarena DJ // Stationery: Minted // Favors: Triple Bee Honey

[Wedding] Jessica & Gary – Perona Farms in Andover, NJ

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In the brief time I got to spend with Jessica & Gary, I came to learn that they were not your average couple; that much was clear. While most couples would be consumed with all the sentimental aspects of your typical wedding day (First look? who needs it? These two got ready together!), they wanted to make sure it was all about family, and they wanted to make sure everyone was having a great time. So in the end, that’s exactly what we documented: all the important people in their lives, and everyone having one of the most memorable evenings that’ll stay with them for a very, very long time.

Jessica & Gary’s wedding at Perona Farms marks my return to this gorgeous North Jersey wedding venue after an 8 year hiatus, and we love what they’ve done with the place! This rustic barn was the perfect backdrop for this couple, with enough eye-candy to satisfy any photographer’s creativity. Mark my words, I’m not waiting another 8 years to come back to this wonderfully amazing place!

Venue & Catering: Perona Farms // Hair & Make-up: Beauty with Grace // Make-up:  Beauty with Grace //Dress: Justin Alexander // Shoes: Anne Klein // Groom’s attire: Adams Fine Clothing & Tuxedo // Jewelry: Personal heirlooms // loral/Décor: Floral Gallery in Andover, NJ // Entertainment: The Metropolitan Players // Stationery: Zazzle Inc. // Favors: Donation to American Heart Association

[Wedding] Vivianne & Wing – Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ

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It can be easy to become hopelessly entangled when planning a bi-cultural wedding; I personally know this, because Karis and I planned one 12 years ago. There’s an inherent need to accommodate culturally important wedding customs from both sides of the family, while at the same time assemble the kind of wedding celebration that fulfills the needs of the bride & groom themselves (which in Vivianne & Wing’s case involved lots of yummy food and tons of photos with family & friends). For this reason, Vivianne & Wing definitely went a less-than-traditional route, and hosted their Catholic wedding ceremony in nearby Piscataway the day before their wedding reception at the Stone House at Stirling Ridge. This meant more time for photos on the wedding reception day, and more time to spend with family/friends. Additionally, we were treated to a traditional Chinese Lion Dance (in honor of the Lunar New Year) on the day of the reception (which the kids and guests absolutely loved). The icing on this proverbial wedding cake? Instead of plated meals for the guests, Vivianne & Wing instead opted for an extended cocktail hour, which is probably the best idea ever (we wish more people would actually do this!). So instead of your traditional steak, chicken or fish, guests would now have one huge buffet at their disposal, and eat whatever/however much they wanted. And you know what? We love the sound of that!

Venue & Catering: Stone House at Stirling Ridge // Ceremony/Officiant: Father Virgil of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Piscataway // Hair & Make-Up: Dawn Rose Makeup Artistry // Dress: Pronovias Imelda // Shoes: Sole Society // Groom’s attire: The Black Tux // Jewelry: Kendra Scott / Family Heirlooms // Floral/Décor: All Seasons Flowers // Entertainment: Lifetime Entertainment // Lion Dance: Fong’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Association // Stationery: Minted // Favors: DIY

[Trash the Dress] Andrea & James – Southern Nevada

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I once read something about a professional basketball player who absolutely hated being labeled as one of the most talented players in the NBA. “Talent”, as he put it, diminished all the hard work that he put into becoming one of the GOATs of the NBA. Certainly, being born with a 6’6″ 230lb muscular frame helps, but you don’t get to be the best version of yourself simply by showing up; you’ve got to do the work.

This is true whether you’re an athlete, artist, musician, chef…or whatever your calling is: when you are a “Professional XYZ”, your sole mission in life should only be about taking your craft to the next level. Natural-born talent gets your foot in the door; but how far you go is entirely up to you because nothing else matters.

And do you know what else these professional athletes (artists, musicians, chefs, etc) all have in common? They all do it for the love of what they do, even when you remove all the financial incentives. From pick-up games to doodles, to jam sessions and personal work – they do it because they love it, and gain nothing but the satisfaction of having done something well.

Which brings us to how and why we ended up photographing Andrea & James in the middle of a Nevada desert. In the past two years, I’ve been adding more and more personal work into my schedule, along with attending photography workshops and conferences around the world. More recently, Karis & I signed up to attend the WPPI Conference in Las Vegas around the same time Andrea reached out to us about doing a “Trash the Dress” session. The conversation went something like this (not verbatim, but I imagine I’m pretty close):

Andrea: I was thinking about doing a “trash the dress” session. Maybe something with the ocean, or with a pool? What do you think?
Me: How about Vegas in February? Maybe we can go into the desert, maybe we ca…
Andrea: DONE!

And just like that, we found ourselves playing in the middle of a desert.

We had so much fun, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out their Behind-The-Scenes video here (their BTS starts at 3:51 – be sure to Like & Subscribe!):

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