Category Archives: Full wedding

Ici Restaurant wedding: Ayelet and Keston

The best way to drive home the importance of every aspect of a wedding is to plan one yourself. Next to that, photograph a wedding for a family you are connected to. With Ayelet and Keston’s wedding, I found both of these worlds colliding. Not only did I get to photograph this wedding with Tatiana Breslow, the talented photographer and extraordinary person I am planning to spend the rest of my life with, but Ayelet is the sister of one of Tatiana’s best friends, Inbal Sivan, another extremely talented wedding photographer (and also our neighbor).

In some ways the pressure was on — again we were working to the standards of wedding photographer clients, and we wanted to do the best we can for these wonderful people and a family that was so kind to us … but that sort of pressure is always on. Instead, by being such an integrated part of this wedding day, and with the wedding itself being so intimate, we felt like guests happily documenting the story before us. After all, not only were we the wedding photographers, but our apartment was the getting ready space, and we even stepped in for a bit as impromptu DJs at the end of the night. Being able to see weddings from the inside-out is a refreshing experience, and reminds us again how lucky we are to tell stories of emotion and lasting importance, and to fill our days with people like these. Congratulations Ayelet and Keston.

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Midtown Loft and Terrace Wedding: Patrick and Lisa

How do you know a couple is really serious about this whole “together forever” thing? Three words: wedding ring tattoos.

If nothing else about Lisa and Patrick’s wedding was extraordinary, it would still have been one of my favorite quick stops in 450 or so weddings. Their gorgeous style presented an incredible juxtaposition against the calculatedly rough interior of the tattoo shop, but it was their sweet expressions during the process that got me. This is more than ink, this is the mark of a new life.

Then you add the hundreds of other touches that they put in to make sure that this wedding stood out: A 007 theme complete with ice luge and baccarat table (along with someone to explain to uncultured louts like myself how to play baccarat); wedding vows delivered by drone (which amazingly did not end in disaster, despite the rooftop ceremony); cake cut with a samurai sword, complete with lessons about how to draw a katana while wearing a tuxedo, and on and on. Tatiana Breslow and I had an absolute ball with this day and are so happy we can share it with you.


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Central Park Boathouse wedding: Jennifer and Marc

Sometimes love is stately, refined and intimate, romantic and quiet. Sometimes it is messy, raucous and public. The vast majority of wedding-related media focuses on the first aspects, but my favorite weddings are the ones that show both: Two people deeply, obviously in love, showing it through countless intimate, gorgeous moments together … and then, as they say, it all comes out on the dance floor. Weddings are public celebrations, so let’s set aside decorum and show how deeply, broadly, and loudly we care about our guests. Let’s get crazy.

Jennifer and Marc’s Central Park Boathouse wedding perfectly exemplified all of this. It was hilarious and heartwarming, wonderful and wild, and made full use of this strange but fantastic record string of nice-weather weekends we’ve been having. (I can’t tell you how much wood I knock on every time I talk about this.)

And I got to share it all with Tatiana, once again proving herself to be the biggest secret weapon in the world of wedding photography.


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Battery Gardens Wedding: Michelle and Michael

One of the things that makes being a wedding photographer feel special is that I so often get to go out and document the formation of a new family. Who knows the trials and strength and joy that lie ahead, but I get to capture the moment when it all coalesces in one giant celebration. This was doubly so with Michelle and Michael, who were not only celebrating their marriage, but their new role as soon-to-be parents. And it was a celebration — at the start of the day, neither of them new the sex their baby would be, but one person did know — the cake-baker. They sent the hospital notice unopened to the baker, who would make the frosting inside blue if it was a boy, and pink if it was a girl. I’ve seen more than 400 cake-cuttings in my time, but none were as meaningful as this one.

Which one was it? Look below and you’ll find out…

Thanks to the awesome Jashim Jalal for second-shooting!


































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Sacred Oaks at Camp Lucy Wedding: Taylor and Brandon

In the world of modern families, we might need some new descriptors. It may sound mostly confusing to say that Taylor is my step-half-neice, but the important thing is that she’s awesome. She’s filled with warmth and giant smiles even when she’s not getting married, so all of the beautiful lighting at Sacred Oaks at Camp Lucy was redundant; she could have lit the whole thing by herself.

It didn’t matter that the off-again, on-again rain turned on again, disallowing the gorgeous outdoor ceremony they had hoped for, they were far too excited for that. And man, I know Texas is proud of a lot of things, but the Austinites’ performance on the dance floor should be high on that list. This would have been a fantastic, uplifting experience even if it didn’t allow me to see my sister and her family, or if I wasn’t seconded by the fantastically talented Tatiana. But I was. Thank you for experiences like these.

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Crest Hollow Country Club Wedding: Mabel and Anil

Three little words. Marriages are based on three little words, and it was three little words that let me know this wedding would be an absolutely amazing way for me to start 2014. Lip. Sync. Contest. And not just any lip-sync contest, but one that morphed into a surprise flash-mob performance of “What Does the Fox Say?” to the bride — this all adds up to the perfect combination in my eyes: We take this marriage and our love seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. We can have an amazingly beautiful day, and look fantastic doing it, but stay focused on celebrating that love with friends and family in a big, loud, hilarious way. I don’t know if the Crest Hollow Country Club knew what it was in for with Mabel and Anil, but they have already given me a great feeling about 2014.

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Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove wedding: Jossie and Andrew

Often, the weddings I shoot have been a long time coming for couples. I photographed a couple who had been together for 16 years and whose official wedding theme was “Fricking Finally!” But in a way Jossie and Andrew’s wedding felt like it had been a long time coming for me.

Six years ago, I’d already been shooting weddings for a while, but I knew next to nothing about the wedding industrial complex, or the photographers in the industry. I was entirely steeped in the work of photojournalism, looking at images off the newswires each morning as well as classic documentarians such as Capa or Smith, but I didn’t know a Jerry Ghionis from a Jessica Claire. I decided it would be fun to network with some other photographers in my area, so when I read about Mystic Seminars — then just a one-day affair in a single hotel conference room — I figured it was worth the chance, and took a snowy drive up I-95.

I met some great people that day and picked up some good tricks, but I wasn’t prepared for some skinny, dapper dude named Ben Chrisman to get up on stage and blow my mind. These weren’t images of cut-and-paste, church-then-banquet hall affairs. These were long-multi-day documentations that dripped with life, energy, and creativity. He’d taken similar inspiration from war photographers like James Nachtway, and had even studied under some, and was quite open that when it cant o choices of an easy life versus art, he chose art. I met him on stage after, and told him I’d buy him a drink and we’d chat about Robert Capa someday.

It took a while, but I bought that drink. Years later, we’re now friends, dance partners,, and colleagues. But when he called me asking “Hey, I’d love to shoot with you sometime, do you have any weddings left this year?” part of me still went back to January 2008’s feeling of “Who is this guy?”

I’m so happy that we got to collaborate on Jossie and Andrew’s Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove wedding, because it was crazy in all the best ways. Jossie is a dance instructor, which is always a good sign for someone who loves crazy receptions, and she told me beforehand that the “crazy dancers” would be out in force. And I thought, “You bet they are!” — with her dance students all over and props in every corner of the room, people were tearing it up.

I didn’t realize that in South American and Latin culture, the “crazy dancers” meant Rio-style costumes, stilts and drums and absolute insanity. We never left the confines of the building the entire day, but it felt like a cultural exchange and as much an extravaganza as a wedding.

Thank you Jossie and Andrew for letting us in to this ludicrous, hilarious, fantastic day, and thanks to Ben for the collaboration: we got the drink, but there’s a lot more to say about Capa.

And incidentally, six years later I am also speaking at this upcoming Mystic Seminar in less than two weeks. Who knows what future speaker will be in the audience?

(A good chunk of the photos are by Ben; the watermarks are automatic to avoid orphan works in the Era of Pinterest.)


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Gramercy Park Hotel Wedding: Merris and Michael

The world is a pretty cool place. I sit here in the winter wonderland of upstate New York snowfall, the snow thick and clumpy in the ways that only last for about two hours of an average New York City Year, and I think “I want to shoot a wedding right now, right here!” I travel to lands of palm trees or ancient architecture or exotic locales and I think “Give me a wedding party to play with, right here!” I understand the draw of variety and the exotic … but it doesn’t pull at me as hard as it might, because my neighborhood includes places like the Gramercy Park Hotel, a five-minute walk away. And I know that there are people freezing in the snow or melting under and equatorial sun who are aching inside for a wedding as elegant, as personal, as painstakingly gorgeous as Merris and Michael’s.

Hurricane Sandy was a giant pain for me, like many in the region — a week without power right in the middle of peak season, and five or six weddings put into varying degrees of disarray — but good can come out of the darkest days. In this case, Sandy set the scene for a portentous car pool with Merris and Michael, which lead to this day. It was such a fantastic event to document, a real forging of a new family with heaps of raw emotion, and it was made all the more fantastic because I joined the fantastic Tatiana to photograph this day.

Congratulations Merris and Michael — let’s hope for continuing love and fewer hurricanes.


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New Hampshire Backyard Wedding: Demere and James

As a long time New Yorker and Manhattan-based wedding photographer, I’m used to things most people aren’t — the subways underground and constant sirens fade into the background music of my mind, and my sense of personal space was left behind somewhere in the Nineties. But I get excited by exotic things like “trees” and “leaves” and “grass,” so I was thrilled to take a road trip up to Walpole NH in the fall to shoot Demere and James’ backyard wedding.

There’s a certain poetry about transforming a space you have a long history with into a wedding venue. Weddings are so much more than a simple day or a collection of Pinterest boards and Etsy favorites; it’s the connections you’ve spent a lifetime building that make it worth the pain of actually planning a wedding. And those relationships made this day a joy throughout, well worth the 13-hour round trip.

Thanks to David Pun for assistance and being a great road trip buddy.


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Wainwright House Wedding: Naomi and Ben

Sweet. Down-to-earth. Deeply connected. It’s not just that I enjoyed spending the day with Naomi and Ben, documenting their relationship, friends and family, and not enough that I loved the choices they made for their wedding day … I respected them. At every point they chose to focus on the deep relationships they had with friends and family, and keep things simple and beautiful. When I walked in to the Wainwright House, Ben was already at work helping to build his own chuppah (and doing a great job — if I built one I’d nervously watch out for even light winds). Family dogs ran free, even breaking loose into the reception at one point. Along the way the great team at Ruby Stone Productions kept the day well-styled and running smoothly, so that everything just felt easy and fun.

Thanks for Braham Rhodes and Ever Lopez for helping on this wedding, with Ever coming all the way from Mexico!


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Stage 6 at Steiner Studios Wedding: Miranda and Vanessa

At least three of the 10 funniest speeches I’d heard at weddings all year were at Miranda and Vanessa’s reception, and during the third I couldn’t hold back both a shocked laugh at some strange synchronicity: When Vanessa first met her future roommate (and speech-giver), she’d asked her: “Are you the best at anything?”

I am fascinated by people who are among the best at things, the weirder the better. What drives them, how to their brains work, what are their daily lives like … these questions itch at me. I have an ongoing photography project devoted to it, but it’s been put on hold for … well … the entirety of my wedding photography career. Oops.

But life has a way of coming full circle, and this same career brought me to document the glorious wedding of Miranda and Vanessa. At the time, Vanessa had been alluding to her apparently masterful Minesweeper record, but in most circles she’s better known for poker. Suffice to say I made sure to never bet anything with anyone at the wedding.

And for at least this day, my questions were answered — what drives them forward is an incredible bond of love and joy, and deep commitment to friends from all circles of their live. It was as calm and beautiful a day as I’d ever had at Stage 6 at Steiner Studios, because for someone who has mastered a sport famous for steely intensity, it was simply … chill (for a wedding).

Miranda’s kindness and warmth kept things throughout the day, right to asking me whether I could teach them how to Dougie. Sadly it never played, but we shared a gorgeous night on the Steiner Rooftop, with my second Sidney Morgan and Photo Booth master Steven Tang. Thank you, Miranda and Vanessa, for having me document this day; you’re the best.


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New Leaf Cafe Wedding: Brenda and Solomon

When you take two people with something like nine degrees between them, and you surround them with their college professor friends and family, there are some things you might expect, like the heartfelt, clever, well-executed speeches, or the performances of classical music by some of the groomsmen. You may not expect breakdancing. But Brenda and Solomon’s wedding hit all of these notes and so many more, from a gaggle of adorable flower girls dressed as fairies, to a beautiful ceremony at the surprisingly pastoral northern tip of Manhattan in the New Leaf Cafe, and exquisitely managed details (that I may add in a director’s cut of this post — I’m posting from the road at the moment).

In fact, there was so much to pack in that I found myself desperately wishing that the wedding day were longer, not something that often happens after a full day of beating myself into a pulp to get the best photos I can at every moment. When their friends finally let loose on the dance floor, it was like a coiled spring ready for release. These professors can party.

Thanks so much for having me share this day, and thanks to Pieter Sientara for his help.


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Venetian Wedding: Erica and Dan Eric

Filipino weddings tend to be an incredibly vibrant mix of deep ceremonial meaning and broad family ties, with more people in the processionals than even attend many of the weddings I shoot. These both lead to a deep sort of community investment in the wedding … or in other words, people are ready to party.

How do you take this energy and turn it to 11? First, you invite a LOT of people, whom The Venetian does a great job at housing in style.. Second, you be twin vibrating bundles of energy like Erica and Dan Eric. A couple that taught everyone how to Dougie for their first dance, and who had her father do a mean Beyonce impersonation for the father/daughter dance. There is warmth and then there is Erica, who at a number of times throughout the day would stop whatever she was doing and give me a hug. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

I was glad too. Glad to be there with such amazing, crazy people. Glad to share the day seconded by the amazing Tatiana, who also got her share of hugs, and my intern Leah. And really, just glad to show you these photos.


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Tappan Hill Wedding: Amanda and Mitchell

It’s sometimes hard to describe the unique thrill of a wedding day to people who haven’t experienced them as a photographer. There’s an incredible, omnipresent pressure, knowing that you just have one chance, that you should always do the best you possibly can no matter what … but at the same time it’s so incredibly enjoyable. And it’s made all the more so with hilarious clients like Amanda and Mitchell (who does a mean “slap the bass” impression from I Love You, Man), a fantastic venue like Tappan Hill Mansion, and help from Tatiana’s capable skills and winning ways.

I don’t need to tell you how emotional the day was — you’ll see that. I can only say that I shared in every moment of exhilaration.


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Hempstead House Wedding: Maggie and Jonathan

Maggie is a decisive person. When she first met with me, not long before her wedding, she was just in for a couple days from her home in China, and I quickly realized that this was not the traditional “Convince me why I should hire you” meeting, but rather “This is why I’m hiring you.”

Weddings are hard enough to plan when you have plenty of time and are able to keep checking in the venue — it’s another story when you live almost 10,000 miles away and with just a matter of weeks to put the major details together, but she handled it with grace and all sorts of style, for example putting a modern twist on Chinese cultural traditions by ending the reception in a killer (Western-style) red dress.

As the thermometer pushes 100 degrees this week, we forget what a short time ago that it was cold and windy, but the wind whipped so hard during the ceremony that for a bit I was sure I was going to be documentarian of disaster. But clearly Maggie’s decisiveness included some very strong tents — and of course, no winds are going to bother the sturdy Hempstead House.

Thank you Pieter Sienatra for your help on this fantastic, blustery day. And thanks to Maggie and Jonathan’s friends and family for making it such a fun day — not every groomsman out there would dress themselves up in toilet paper and re-enact the proposal just so the groom could earn the right to see his bride. And we won’t discuss the body hair collection part.


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