Summer Wedding at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Who? : Rita + Andre
What? : Outdoor garden ceremony and indoor greenhouse reception at an botanic garden…in the rain!
Where? : Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York
When? : June 2017
gorgeous venue has such a place in my heart. Partly it’s because I live within walking distance, partly because it’s just so dreamily, insistently perfect. I have never seen the rain held off from a wedding ceremony by sheer will and determination, but on this day I did! The downpours stopped precisely twice : once for the portraits of Rita and Andre together, and once for the brief outdoor ceremony. It was an honor to document the wedding of these two dynamic individuals. From Rita’s impeccable red lips to Andre’s gorgeous heart, the day was a dream from start to finish. (There was even a rainbow. Because of course there was!)
Here are just a few of my favorite images of the day:
To see some more images from Brooklyn Botanic Gardens weddings, click
here, here, and here.
Wedding at Old Westbury and Pine Hollow
Who? : Eroulia + Michael
What? : Greek wedding at a church, pictures at a historic garden, and reception at a country club
Where? : Wedding at the Church of Holy Resurrection in Glen Head, pictures at Old Westbury Gardens in Westbury, New York, and reception at Pine Hollow Country Club in East Norwich, New York.
When? : May 2017
This incredible day was flawless from start to finish. From their engagement session to the wedding day itself, Eroulia and Michael were a delight to work with. We began the day at Eroulia’s parents’ house, moved to the church for their gorgeous Greek wedding ceremony, and then went to the extraordinary Old Westbury Gardens for their wedding day portraits. After that it was time to go to Pine Hollow Country Club for a few more family portraits and then their cocktail hour and reception. It was a joyous day full of dancing, love, and phenomenal nods to their Greek heritage.
It’s hard to put my finger on what made this particular
The Hill in Hudson wedding so extraordinary. Perhaps it was the preparations at the Ham House, one of the most spectacular getting-ready locations I’ve ever photographed at. Maybe it was the bride herself, her particular joy, her open smile and ready laugh. Possibly it was the groom, with his “special wedding socks” and joyful charm. Could it have been the Sol Lewitt – inspired chuppah for the ceremony, and open cube chandeliers at the reception? Or the custom chargers that the groom’s mother lovingly decoupaged with Walton Ford artwork? I truly think that it was all of the above, and so much more. These two are such spectacular people separately, and together they are a brilliant force of brains, beauty, and brightness. It was an extraordinary honor to travel to their wedding at The Hill in Hudson!
I started the day with the bride’s gorgeous engagement ring, her stellar pair of gold Jimmy Choo wedges, and some of the brilliant light that the Ham House had to offer.
The bride’s glorious Inbal Dror gown was accessorized perfectly with this delicate headpiece.
I cannot possibly articulate the hundreds of reasons that this Inbal Dror gown was flawless. From the beading at the hips to the perfect cut and drape of the fabric, it’s one of my favorite gowns of all time – and the bride wore it gorgeously.
Bourgeon really went above and beyond when it came to the floral design of the wedding. Every detail was perfect, and fit the aesthetic of the event precisely.
The bride and groom both got ready at the Ham House. This made the timing of the day even more effortless, as I could just switch rooms with ease.
I love this image of the groom getting ready, while his nephews-to-be took a quick bath! These boys were adorable, full of energy, and wore their cream-colored suits to perfection.
As a wedding photographer, light is so important to me. How flawless is this light? The Ham House is an incredible getting-ready location. If you’re getting married in the Hudson area, I highly suggest it!
While the bride and groom had no real official “bridal party”, they got ready surrounded by their family and friends. The atmosphere was fantastic!
The bride and groom opted to see each other before the wedding ceremony and the signing of the chuppah. This gave us a great amount of time to create portraits of the two of them together. This also meant that we could accomplish all of their family portraits pre-ceremony, allowing them time to go straight to cocktail hour after the ceremony was over!
I am often asked how I get “great emotion” in my images. Trust me when I say that it’s not faked, prompted, or in any way posed! It’s always such a joy and honor when clients are themselves in front of my lens, allowing me to document the moments as they naturally happen.
Before leaving the Ham House for their The Hill in Hudson wedding, the bride and groom spent a few minutes in the gardens. It was a great time together, as well as a wonderful opportunity to document some portraits of the two of them!
If you’re ever in Tivoli, New York, you really should stay at the Ham House! The interiors are beautiful, the gardens are perfect, and there is even a pool!
The sky threatened rain all day, but ultimately stayed clear. I loved the moody feel to the portraits, and the dreamy blur over the rest of the day.
The bride and groom are glorious together. Sweet, funny, and always laughing – just my kind of people!
After portraits of the bride and groom, their family, and their friends, it was off to the The Hill in Hudson for the signing of the ketubah and the wedding ceremony itself.
The ketubah signing took place in an old barn, with the most brilliant light. I love when traditional ceremonies happen in untraditional places! The ketubah was modern, crisp, and fit the aesthetics of the day perfectly.
After the ketubah signing, the bride was escorted into the bridal suite. The guests were beginning to arrive, and the bride and groom needed to hide away. This is always a great opportunity to document more emotion, as well as the arrival of the guests!
The bride was escorted down the aisle by her parents. How amazing is her bouquet? And how spectacular is her mother’s dress?!
I love the symmetry of the bride and her mother, with the amazing emotional moment on the far right of the frame.
The custom chuppah was amazing. It was a great nod to the couple’s love of modern art, while still traditionally covering them during the ceremony. I love seeing clients bring their personal tastes to all aspects of the wedding day, and this one was especially excellent.
The wedding ceremony was sweet and light, filled with more laughter and joy. It really is wonderful to see a couple just let go and enjoy their day so fully.
You can see their custom chuppah really well in the background of this image. Isn’t it great? I also love the expression on their faces, and the great wave from the groom!
As befitting the rest of the day, the bride and groom’s recessional was filled with joy and light. And how about her bouquet? Brilliant.
After the ceremony, it was time to head into the The Hill in Hudson barn for the wedding reception.
There were toasts from the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents, and the bride and groom’s siblings. I always love seeing the action of the person giving the toast and the reaction of the bride and groom at the same time!
I adore that the guests crowded around the dance floor to watch the bride and groom dance their first dance as husband and wife.
I love the twirl, the lift, and the emotion in this shot. I also REALLY love the champagne glass to camera left. How can you not toast a moment like this one?
What is a dip without a kiss, really?
After the first dance between the bride and groom, the bride danced with her father. This is always one of my favorite moments during a wedding receptino.
The bond between father and daughter is such a wonderful one. I will always remember dancing with my dad at my wedding, and I can only hope that this bride treasures these images as much as I treasure mine!
After the formal dances and toasts comes dinner. After dinner comes the party. And what a party it was!
The DJ kept the dance floor packed all night long, and the groom showed off his impressive dance moves more than once!
Before cutting the cake, the bride and groom took a few moments to address their guests. Their toast was moving and sweet, with more laughter and joy!
The party kept going WELL into the night, with the dancing just getting more spectacular as the evening moved on….
Clearly, cake cutting is SERIOUS business.
You two, thank you so much. Your joy and laughter was infectious, and you are truly tremendous together. I hope Botswana is the honeymoon of your dreams, and I cannot thank you enough for the honor of being your wedding photographer. Party on, J and Dr. J!
Pleasantdale Chateau wedding isn’t your average, ordinary wedding. There is something so special about Pleasantdale, and every time I’ve been there I’ve been so sweetly impressed. I clearly remember my first Pleasantdale Chateau wedding, which took place during an actual hurricane. Hurricane Irene landed right on top of a past client’s wedding date, and I was blown away by how seamlessly the Pleasantdale staff handled such a crazy day! I’ve been to Pleasantdale Chateau weddings in the rain, the fog, the sun, and on this brilliant fall day, in the beautiful moody autumn weather.
We started the day in the Pleasantdale bridal suite. I am a huge fan of the cheerfully patterned wallpaper, the abundance of natural light, and the variety of locations for photography. I was able to spend a few minutes with the bride’s gorgeous engagement ring and delicate band, not to mention her super-sweet, super-tiny, super-darling blush peach Mrs. ring box!
One thing I love about a wedding at Pleasantdale Chateau is the variety of backgrounds and locations for pictures throughout the entire estate. The wallpaper in this room is a particular favorite of mine. It looks almost like an old master background from a classic portrait studio! I love how the warmth of the background adds a warmth to the image itself, and how the soft light spilling through the window adds to the golden hue of the space.
The getting-ready portion of the wedding day is always a wonderful opportunity to document moments! I love the dozens (if not hundreds!) of expressions that cross a bride’s face while she’s putting on her dress. This is one of my favorites!
I am such a fan of the Mrs. box! It’s a wonderful alternative to an old-fashioned ring box from the jewelry store. They have so many colors that you can choose from, it’s easy to customize your box to the colors of your wedding!
There are many wedding venues where one half of the couple gets a great room to prepare in, while the other gets a small space or no space at all! A Pleasantdale Chateau wedding comes with multiple rooms for brides, grooms, and bridal parties to get ready in. The groom had an amazing space all to himself (well, himself and a bunch of hatchets, but I digress…)
Even though it was overcast outside, the light coming in through the windows was still direct and dreamy. I love these last few moments of preparation before the day really takes over and everything gets exciting and chaotic!
I absolutely and completely love fall weddings. There is something so magical about the fall foliage. A Pleasantdale Chateau wedding is the perfect place to be in the fall. I love the turret peeking out of the foliage in the back of this image. It is such a gorgeous location for portraits!
My clients often ask whether or not they “have to” do a first look, or whether or not they “should” do a first look. I truly believe that is not my decision to make for you. Whether you want to see each other before the ceremony or not, I can help you with a list of pros and cons for each decision. We will make it work, whatever you decide. The day is about YOU, and I truly do want you to choose what works best for you! At this Pleasantdale Chateau wedding, the first look worked best for these clients. I love their reaction to seeing each other for the first time!
This image is a wonderful example of how, as a wedding photographer, you have to stay on top of the unfolding moments! Beautiful moments often lead to other beautiful moments. If you blink, you might miss them!
Isn’t it amazing when all the details you’ve planned for months come together? The floral team did a stellar job with matching the flowers to the rest of the wedding’s vintage glam aesthetic.
While we had no sun for portraits, we did have marvelous scenery. I love the fall foliage and the dreamy light in this portrait!
The bride and groom were so sweet with each other. Completely natural, joyous, and truly present in every moment. It was lovely to behold, and even lovelier to document!
Every year, clients ask if I have suggestions as to when the fall foliage will be at it’s peak. It’s usually sometime within the last few weeks of October, and the first weeks of November. I was so glad to see that the trees were still holding their leaves for this wedding! It provided a beautiful backdrop for the wedding day portraits of the bride and groom together.
The decor was wonderful, marrying the bride and groom’s aesthetic sensibilities with the warm, welcoming atmosphere of Pleasantdale Chateau. I love these vintage-styled cards for their seating card table!
The decor for the reception also echoed that same aesthetic. Quietly glamorous, a little rustic, and infinitely welcoming.
Some of my favorite moments take place during the introductions of the bridal party, family, and bride and groom. I love seeing their family and friends crowded around the floor, cheering them on!
I know this image is during the first dance, but how great is the bride’s headpiece? I loved the styling of her look, and how perfectly it fit in with the rest of the wedding decor and theme.
Back to the moments of the wedding day – how great are toasts? I think the bride’s reaction says it all!
As a witness to so many beautiful moments between families, I am always so honored to be there. Creating images that will live in a family for generations to come is a responsibility that I take very seriously, and am always grateful to each client who hires me for their wedding day!
The bride’s dance with her father was full of so many stellar moments and reactions. It was hard to choose just two to post!
Quiet moments speak just as loudly as the more exuberant ones. Quiet, loud, subtle, or sweet, I love moments of all kinds!
The party was lively all night long! I was so very honored to be a part of this day, and even now this image makes me smile. I often get asked if I remember all of the weddings that I shoot. The answer is yes, I really do. When you spend week in and week out with such glorious people, how could you ever forget?
Lee and Chris’
Fox Hollow wedding had everything a summer wedding should have. Beautiful light, warm but not-too-hot weather, an afternoon spent wandering in a garden, a touching outdoor ceremony, and a vibrant ballroom reception. I am especially grateful to the bride and groom for arranging so much time in Old Westbury Gardens for their portraits. It was lovely to see how important these images were to them, and I hope these do not disappoint!
Lee and Chris are both so vibrant, so funny, and so very lovely. They’re gorgeous inside and out. It was a great pleasure to spend the day with them and their families. From the first emails we exchanged, to their engagement session along the Brooklyn Promenade, I knew these two were going to be a treat to work with. Thank you both for choosing me to photograph your wedding. It was a great pleasure.
The bride started her day out at the Inn at Fox Hollow. Located just adjacent to the Fox Hollow venue itself, this hotel has gorgeous light and really beautiful rooms.
I often mention how I strive to take new, creative images at every wedding I photograph. While I absolutely photographed the rings separately, I wanted to try something interesting with the beautiful light I found. All I needed was a mirror and my beloved Nikon D750, and I had a multiple exposure that I loved!
The bride scheduled her day so well. There was ample time for images of her getting ready. There was time to go visit the groom and his groomsmen in their hotel room and photograph them as well. It was a great start to the day, with no rushing or hurrying necessary!
Lee’s shoes were so delicate. I loved the soft, multi-layered flowers on the toes!
Remember when I said that the light in the Fox Hollow Inn is gorgeous? Yup, still gorgeous.
The mother of the bride was on hand to help her daughter into her Maggie Sottero gown. I love the getting ready part of the day, it’s one of my favorite times during a wedding.
The first time I met Lee in person, I was struck by her grace. She has such an elegance about her. She moves like a dancer. Even her hands are graceful!
I love the final moments before a bride is completely dressed. The anticipation is just so marvelous. Whether she’s getting ready to see the groom for the first time, or heading out to her ceremony, something in the air changes. It’s really marvelous to behold.
The bride and groom arranged for their portrait session to take place at Old Westbury Gardens. It’s a fantastic space. They make sure that not too many brides and grooms are there at once, which makes for a very private portrait session. I recommend it highly for any Woodbury-area weddings!
We had an uninterrupted hour to ourselves at Old Westbury Gardens, and it was wonderful. The heat rose briefly, before falling again. The bride and groom were total troupers in the heat!
Our guide at Old Westbury Gardens even took us to an out-of-the-way location that was simply stunning. She saw what I had been doing with the light during the first part of the portrait session and mentioned that I’d “probably just love!” this area. She was right. I did!
The architecture at Old Westbury Gardens is really spectacular. The grounds are meticulously maintained, and everywhere you turn there is a great photo opportunity.
This image exemplifies everything that I love about wedding photography. There is dramatic light. There are gorgeous, deep shadows. There is a beautiful environment. Most of all, there is a natural connection between the bride and groom. You can pose the prettiest pictures in the most dramatic of locations, but if there is no real moment between the couple, there is no real picture. Lee and Chris are tremendous together. I cannot be more thankful to them for granting me this moment. You guys are amazing.
When the heat broke and the sun started to drop low in the sky, the clouds turned amber. It was really wonderful to witness.
Whenever I have time with the bride and groom together, I always try to create a few images of the bride alone. Sometimes it’s tough to do because of time constraints. but there was ample time on this day to create some beautiful portraits of Lee alone.
After the portrait session at Old Westbury Gardens, it was back to Fox Hollow for the wedding ceremony.
I always love trying to find a new angle during ceremonies. It’s not always possible, especially if you’re in a church, but I was able to quietly walk the perimeter of the ceremony itself. If I’m going to be behind the actual ceremony location, I always want to find somewhere unobtrusive. I don’t ever want to be a distraction to the guests!
I love the flowers in the arbor here! Lee and Chris made excellent decor choices, even during the ceremony.
Lee and Chris’ first dance was sweet, heartfelt, and really charming!
I love being able to see the reactions of the guests in the background. This is always such an emotional time in the day!
After the formalities, it was time for a party!
Lee and Chris, thank you for having me document your day! I hope your time in Long Island was wonderful, and that you were welcomed back to Jacksonville with beautiful weather!
I always love working at venues I’ve never been to before, and this Windows on the Water wedding marked my first time in Millstone Township, New Jersey.
Windows on the Water is a private resort in Monmouth County. It is also the site of the utterly charming Frogbridge Day Camp, and that campground appeal is part of Windows on the Water’s immense charm. From beautiful bridges to sun-dappled fields, this really is the perfect place for a summer wedding. We were so lucky to get glorious weather, after several very rainy weeks!
The bride got ready at the American Hotel in Freehold, New Jersey. I was completely charmed by the light in the rooms. The bride and groom had side-by-side rooms with huge balconies and an abundance of natural light.
When I arrived at the hotel, Allison was getting her hair and makeup done. I love the cloud of hairspray! The getting ready part of the day is always one of my favorites, and this day didn’t disappoint. Allison was surrounded by her mother, her future mother-in-law, and her sweet bridesmaids. They were so calm and collected, and having a great time together.
Hansen Photo and Video were on hand to film the day. I had never worked with them before, and they were utterly delightful. I can’t say enough good things about them, and could not recommend them more highly.
At one point in the day, Allison turned to me and said “This is my dream wedding!” Is there really anything better to hear from a bride on her wedding day?
We had a great amount of time to document everyone getting ready. The bride got dressed in a room right next to the groom, so we had to make sure that no one ran into each other on the balcony outside!
I can’t say enough good things about the light in the getting-ready room! It was exactly what I love, and I think it illuminates the scene beautifully.
See what I mean? The highlights and shadows are so beautiful. I could shoot in that room all day long!
The groom’s mother presented him with a deeply personal gift. I was so honored to be there to document it for them.
The relationship between a groom and his mother is so precious. This entire family was so kind, so sweet, and so wonderful to photograph.
I have a lot of favorite things about wedding days. One of them is “crying grooms.” In fact, that might top my list, right above “crying dads” and “playing Uptown Funk so that my 2015 Bruno Mars streak goes unbroken.”
I had twenty glorious minutes alone with the bride and groom immediately after the outdoor wedding ceremony. The light was utterly perfect. The sun was low in the sky, and created such a gorgeous halo around their bodies.
At every wedding I shoot, I strive to make images that I’ve never made before. This rainbow was created entirely in-camera. I didn’t create it in Photoshop later. How was it done? I’ll never tell!
Allison and Nick were so sweet with each other. Allison is vibrant and joyous, and Nick is so lovely and emotional. It was wonderful to witness.
The Windows on the Water employee who drove us around the property in the golf cart said “I’ve never seen a photographer put brides and grooms in light like that!” That’s one of the highest compliments! I love working with beautiful natural light, and I think this image really illustrates why I feel that it’s so beautiful.
Only twenty minutes for pictures? No problem!
We managed to get to several different locations on the Windows on the Water property in a quick amount of time. It’s all about efficiency! I think the trees make such a glorious background. I love summer weddings!
After a few multiple exposures, it was time to get ready to go back to the reception. I love having time with the bride and groom for portraits, but I never want them to be late to their own party!
This image perfectly illustrates the fun, vibrant personalities of the bridal party. Every single one of them were hilarious, funny, and so very sweet.
I love the look on the groom’s face here. He was so overwhelmingly happy to be married!
After a gorgeous first dance, it was on to the rest of the reception!
Allison and Nick, thank you so much for having me at your wedding. You were total troupers in the heat! Thank you for giving us great time after the ceremony for some additional portraits in that beautiful sunset light! I hope your honeymoon is wonderful!
This Brooklyn Botanical Gardens wedding started with not one, not two, but
three engagement session rain-outs. Despite trying to schedule the session multiple times, the weather kept delaying and pushing back the shoot. We finally managed to get it done – three days before the actual wedding date! I was worried that cutting things so close would make the bride and groom nervous, but Jundai and Hong Ma are such lovely, calm people. The session was remarkable, with the heat and crazy weather giving way to a gloriously beautiful afternoon with brilliant light.
After such a wonderful shoot, I knew that the wedding day itself was going to be just fine. Jundai and Hong Ma are pure joy. You can’t help but smile back at them, and when Jundai laughs, you just have to laugh along. They’re so kind, so sweet, and so endlessly adorable together. The entire day was full of brilliant light, perfect weather, and utterly charming moments. The
Brooklyn Botanical Garden wedding venue is so close to my own home, so it was great to practically be working in my own backyard!
We started the day at the W Union Square. It’s a bright, modern hotel with brilliant light.
The second I saw the bride’s dress, I couldn’t help but smile. Jundai was married in the Monique Lhuillier Candy dress, which was the same dress I wore to my own wedding!
I love the light coming in from the window, and the way the bride’s delicate skirt flows into the shadows. Jundai is so graceful, and everything she does is elegant.
One of my favorite details of the Monique Lhuillier Candy dress is the delicate grosgrain ribbon belt.
One of the sweetest things about documenting wedding days are the quiet moments. Not every “moment” has to be a huge laugh or a flood of tears. Sometimes it’s just a quiet breath, a simple smile, or a second of peace.
Jundai’s mother is just as kind and sweet as her daughter. I love this sweet moment between the two of them while Jundai was getting dressed.
Every wedding day is different. Every timeline allows for different amount of time with the bride alone, families, bride and groom together, and so forth. We had a glorious hour in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for portraits of the bride alone, and the bride and groom together.
This is Jundai’s reaction to seeing Hong Ma for the first time. I’ve tried to write a caption for this image for a solid fifteen minutes, but what words are needed when the picture tells the whole story?
The joy and happiness that these two have together is really breathtaking.
After the bride and groom saw each other for the first time, we spent about an hour in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden taking portraits of them together.
The staff at the Garden provided a golf cart for us to get around. This really helped us get to as many locations as possible! I especially loved the Rose Garden.
A lot of potential clients ask me how I pose brides and grooms together. Will they feel awkward? Will they be forced into unnatural poses? I do my best to reassure them that my job is to document your relationship, and the “poses” are just gentle suggestions. My goal is to create pictures for you like this one, where you’re just alone together, interacting naturally.
July weddings can be mild and lovely, or over a hundred degrees. The weather on this day was perfect, not too hot but just warm enough!
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is gorgeous at all times of year (the cherry blossoms are especially excellent), but I think there is something special about it in the summertime. I love how you feel like you’re in the middle of a secluded garden, when you’re really in the heart of Brooklyn.
The casual posing I employ with brides and grooms also carries over to portraits of the bridal party. Do I take pictures of everyone smiling directly at me? Absolutely! I also like to try and create a few images like this one, time permitting. I love how everyone is interacting!
I try to be observant all day long. I am looking for all kinds of action and interaction. I caught the littlest ring bearer before the ceremony, being dragged off to the processional. I absolutely love his face!
The ceremony took place on the lawn of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. One of my favorite parts about the ceremony was the processional. Everyone came from behind this gorgeous foliage to walk down the aisle. Isn’t it dramatic and lovely? The sun is even beaming down from the perfect direction!
Jundai smiled the entire way down the aisle. I love her flowers, and I love the sun streaming through her veil.
When Jundai hugged her father, the sun shone directly on her face. It was really glorious to see.
The ceremony was scheduled perfectly to coincide with the setting sun.
I love the great contrast between the sun in the bride’s veil and the dramatic dark background. It really brings your attention right to her lovely face.
The ceremony included the parents of the bride and groom, which was really lovely.
I am always drawn to layers in photographs. I love how Jundai and her mother are a frame alone, but when you add the reaction of the officient, and Hong Ma with his mother, you have a richly layered final image.
On their way back down the aisle, Hong Ma grabbed Jundai and dipped her. Her reaction was priceless, as were her other facial expressions throughout the day!
The last bits of sun shone on the recessional, and then it was twilight. The entire ceremony was timed to perfection!
After the ceremony, the bride and groom spent a few minutes with their bridal party. I love how sweetly Jundai is touching the face of her emotional bridesmaid. What a lovely moment. It was such an honor to be there to document it.
There are moments everywhere at weddings. Even a bit off the beaten path. The flower girl was all alone during cocktail hour, and I love her little solemn expression.
At the end of cocktail hour and before the reception, Jundai and Hong Ma held a brief tea ceremony with their parents.
After the tea ceremony was a quick hair and lipstick change for Jundai. Her hair is SO gorgeous down!
The first dance was short, sweet, and deeply emotional.
I always love it when parents get up and speak at receptions!
I utterly adore this angle of Jundai and Hong Ma listening to a speech. I love his solemn expression. I also love her adorable smile.
The little solemn flower girl was so longer so solemn once the dance music began!
A sunset, a quiet moment, and a beautiful composition. As a wedding photographer, who can ask for anything more?