If you shoot enough weddings (I’ve shot enough..not ENOUGH but a lot is what I meant ok you get it), rain becomes an inevitability. I know a lot couples worry about wet weather negatively affecting their wedding day, but Brenda & Julian’s Catskills elopement is further proof that rain can equal beauty. Sure, it’s not ideal but it’s also not as detrimental as you might think.
After getting ready inside the gorgeous Deer Mountain Inn, along with their doggo, who I took too many photos of (you’re welcome), we headed up to a beautiful vista for their ceremony and probably my favorite spot at this venue. I had them get married on top of a boulder, overlooking the valley as moody fog rolled in as their backdrop. After the I do’s were done, I took them to a nearby trail for some waterfall shots to cap off their Catskills elopement. Between the dense color saturation of the Fall foliage, thanks to the overcast & rainy skies and lots of dog photos, I’d say their Upstate New York was basically perfection.
Alright, so this seemed fake as soon as I arrived at the treehouse. How could something like this exist tucked away on a private pond in the Catskills? After getting over my initial shock and joy, I knew this was going to be a special afternoon. This reminded me why being a Catskills elopement photographer is essentially a dream come true. I mean, LOOK.
Whenever I think about these elopements I’m so lucky to capture, it should be weird. I just show up, there’s only a couple, ready to get married in a couple of hours and a dude they’ve never met before is there with some cameras. But it’s always just the opposite. The vibe of elopements are just different and unique in their own way. There’s no outside pressure from family members or strict schedules. We’re there for the most boiled down reason possible: marriage. Briana & Jarrett were another amazing example of this. They took their time just being together, walking their private oasis, getting ready and simply absorbing the moments. Score another good one for this Catskills elopement photographer.
Elopements from the Big Pink. What I truly love about elopements is how you as a couple, are not bound by the typical constraints of a full-on wedding. Locations can vary. Timing can vary. You can truly do what means most to you. This is where Susan and Michael’s first email to me comes in. Here’s a snippet: “Michael and I will be taking a trip to Woodstock, NY to get married in a civil ceremony with just the two of us. We’ve been together for 15 years and felt like we wanted to keep things low key. We chose Woodstock, NY so we could stay in the Big Pink House, where Bob Dylan and The Band famously recorded the Basement Tapes, as we were in a band together for years with a name inspired by one of the songs recorded there, “This Wheel’s on Fire.”” That right there is what made their Upstate NY elopement so perfect for them.
On a perfectly overcast, little bit rainy, then eventually sunny afternoon in Upstate New York, I walked into the Big Pink excited to capture a day full of meaning and that is exactly what transpired. Susan and Michael jammed a bit in a kitchen where Bob Dylan and The Band hungout, listened to vinyl like it was 1975 and fully took in the character from a house that felt like you stepped back in time. Here’s their story.
Vegas, baby. I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity of shooting a Las Vegas elopement, so when Rae & John contacted me, I knew I had to make this happen. Las Vegas weddings have always intrigued me from an artistic standpoint due to the in-your-face vibe of the city. When we started to talk about their Vegas wedding plans, it sounded like this could be a unique chance to not only capture the city but also an incredible state park. They tabbed Valley of Fire State Park for their Nevada wedding and as soon as I began looking into the location, I knew this would be a chance to create some pretty unique and special wedding photos.
As soon as the bus from Vegas began entering Valley of Fire, my eyes absolutely lit up. The deeper we drove into the park, the more excited I became knowing just where I’d be shooting. A Valley of Fire wedding is like doing a wedding photo shoot on the surface of the moon. The landscape is like nothing I’ve ever seen before with my own eyes and instantly became a total theme park for photography. Every direction had something interesting. After scouting the area for a bit with Rae & John, they went with my advice to hold their wedding ceremony in front of an enormous rock structure. It played well. After adventuring around for a bit, their Vegas wedding package took us back to the city and we did some night wedding photos on the Las Vegas strip. It was a perfect ending.
How To Elope: Starring Gina & Mike. Everything you hope for in a Long Island elopement came together for them because of them. Gina & Mike just wanted to hit the best possible spots for their portraits as well as their ceremony. We really built in the freedom to adventure around Long Island all day taking advantage of the flexibility that an elopement allows you. On top of that, there was endless laughter and all of the beautiful intimacy you could hope for. This was a total team effort in planning their day and it was an honor being their New York elopement photographer.
I suggested two of my favorite places on Long Island for their elopement portraits and ceremony and they were immediately on board. First we hit what I consider to be one of the greatest hidden gems on the entire island. An abandoned estate in the middle of a glorious forest. Then we drove to the south shore in search for the perfect ceremony location at a more private area of Jones Beach. They brought the trust and I brought the cameras. I think we made some magic together during their New York elopement.
I love being an NYC elopement photographer. And I really, really love elopements when it’s a couple’s first visit to New York. You get that extra layer of excitement on top of the whole getting married thing. Sarah & Mat flew all the way in from Australia and asked me for some advice on where to hold their wedding. I suggested a Wythe Hotel wedding and rooftop ceremony. The problem with shooting in NYC is that you don’t actually see NYC, so a Brooklyn elopement it was.
When their day came, it turned out to be brutally windy & cold, but they didn’t fly across the globe to not get married on the roof. So I think we wound up doing the first dual location wedding ceremony ever. They had most of their ceremony inside and safe from the cold until it was time to say “I do.” Sarah & Mat (but especially Sarah) braved the howling wind & frigid temps to get the backdrop they really wanted. Two Aussies became man and wife with New York City looking on.
And to explain the Playboy magazine. When you secretly elope, you don’t get a bachelor party. So, Sarah picked up a vintage 1978 Playboy mag in a book store down the street (because Brooklyn) as a pseudo bachelor “party” for Mat.
I’m going to mark this one off as an elopement I never thought I’d shoot, but I’m thrilled I was able to. It just took the right adventurous couple and perfect ceremony spot to bring it all together. I’m not sure how you beat a Catskills Mountain elopement. I just don’t think you do.
I love the Catskills. Like a lot. It’s one of the most beautiful regions of New York and being able to combine the raw natural beauty and a wonderful hike with a wedding hit all of the points on my how-to-be-amazing checklist. Jess & Tim are the true outdoorsy couple so doing a Catskills elopement was a no-brainer for them. I met Tim in the parking lot first with his two ridiculously adorable girls and we hiked about 3/4 of the way to Giant Ledge on Panther Mountain. I then reversed course in order to meet up with Jess to get some shots of her hiking in her wedding dress. One of the coolest parts about this is she accidentally left her bouquet at home so she wound up hand picking flowers along the hike to make one herself. How awesome is that?
From the first email I received from Malena regarding her Long Island elopement, I knew we had to work together. Not only was she really into the photography aspect of her day (which is a huge bonus right off the bat), she also threw phrases out at me like “we’re the outdoorsy type,” “frolicking on the beach,” and “hiking through wooded trails.” How could you not get excited about that? Well I did.
Once I arrived at Welwyn Preserve on the north shore of Long Island for their ceremony, I knew the day would be incredible. The first thing Malena and Scott asked me is where I thought they should hold the ceremony. A photographer’s dream. After their ceremony and toast, we spent the next two hours hiking through the forest and finding endless photo opportunities with gorgeous golden hour light. Malena had a route planned to end up at an abandoned green house and ultimately the jetty just off the beach. The following images just go to show that when you put some thought into the timing of your wedding portraits as well as leaving ample time for a relaxed session, magic happens.