New York backyard weddings. Sign me up every single time. As much as I love all of the incredible wedding venues in Upstate New York, there’s something special about turning your own home and property into something that has all of the features a great venue would have. A beautiful ceremony location. Gorgeous tented reception. Epic locations for couple photos. As Upstate NY wedding photographers, these are all of the characteristics of stunning wedding locations I’ve been fortunate enough to be accustomed to. Well, Ali and her family packaged all of that in their own backyard.
I think the best part about throwing a backyard wedding is that it inevitably takes any possible stuffiness out of the equation. As a couple it’s easier to just let the day unfold how it may. As a guest, you know that the wedding is all about the important stuff and just having a good time. Guards come down. People are more relaxed. The overall vibe is what every couple strives for no matter where they get married. Job well done, Ali & Matt.
Oh hey there, Basilica Hudson. You’re looking good. I’m incredibly grateful for the number of amazing and unique Hudson Valley wedding venues I’ve had the opportunity to photograph marriage in and the Basilica Hudson is right up there in the awesome department. A beautiful, raw industrial space, it can handle anything you throw at it and look really good in the process. Rachael & Jeronimo came in strong with the ferns and greenery which lit up the space in the perfect way for a summer wedding.
All of that aside, the true show with any wedding isn’t decor or flowers but the real moments and emotion happening throughout the day. This is what gets me excited. With family flying in from Colombia on Jero’s side, you have that little extra element of excitement with it being a destination for half of the family. Meaningful element after meaningful element in the way Rachael and Jeronimo wanted to do it was the theme of the day. Speeches outside during cocktail hour? Sure. Guests standing up and speaking during the ceremony with pieces of advice? Let’s do it. One of my favorite trends in the wedding world I’ve noticed over the past few years are couples taking control of their day and truly doing it how they want to. Not for the sake of tradition and making it their own. These two owned it.
One of the best parts of documenting weddings is the vast number of people I get to meet every year, but it’s bittersweet sometimes. You come into people’s lives so heavily invested in their story, pour every ounce of yourself into the 8-10 hours you have with them and 99% of these people you’ll never see again. Thankfully, Lauren & Trevor are in that 1% category. They were guests at a wedding I captured very early on in my career and once I wrapped up coverage on that wedding, I spent some time around a bonfire talking. We stayed in touch over the years and I always hoped that I’d be able to re-enter their lives once they decided to take that next step in life. When I got that email from Lauren years later, I let out an audible “about time” to myself. She told me they were looking at Pennsylvania wedding venues near where they lived but knew one thing for sure, they wanted me there and they wanted a wedding that meant something to them. I was honored, of course.
Their wedding was a true down-to-Earth, only-the-things-that-matter wedding with no frills. I say that in the most admirable way possible. I know it’s probably hard for some couples to disregard traditions that have been a part of weddings for decades but I truly respect the ones that are able to do that. They settled on a wedding at a state park near their home. Brought in food (TACOS!) from a nearby vegan restaurant and let the day be what it would be. I felt so much freedom from a story-telling perspective because I knew I had their full trust. This was a special one for me.
Oh, summer farm weddings. Give me all of them. I have yet to be unimpressed with any farm wedding venue I’ve ever been to and happily, that streak is still alive after documenting Heather & Mike’s Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm wedding. The one thing I love about the east coast and rural Pennsylvania specifically is the lush greenery everywhere you look. Especially on wedding days, it’s just a beautiful color palette with white dresses and fancy suits. It just works. So, for Heather & Mike’s Pennsylvania wedding photography, that’s what we focused on and let shine through with their photos. If you get married on a farm, we’re going to do it right.
Yes, the location was stunning, but what made all of this work so beautifully was the uninhibited, honest, raw emotion all day long. As important as an amazing setting is, it’s empty without the emotion. But, combine the two of those things and you get this. Every wedding I’m able to document is an honor and Heather and Mike’s was no different. Scroll on to get an intimate look inside of their day and I bet you finish up happier than when you started. And that’s what this whole wedding thing is all about.
Vermont is a very special place to me and the family. We’re lucky enough to spend many winter weekends up there and over the years it truly has become our home away from home. Most people associate Vermont with winter and rightfully so, but the Green Mountain State really shows off during the summer months as well. If you like nature and trees and greenery and fresh air, it’s truly hard to top. Every year we make it a point to spend some time each summer up there which coincides really well with my Vermont wedding photography.
Having our home base in Okemo Valley, I was super excited for Amanda & Lucas’s wedding up at Edson Hill in Stowe, Vermont. As much time as we spend in VT, there is still so much of the state I haven’t explored so it was special to travel further north and capture their wedding amongst the lush greenery and farmland that Vermont wedding venues have to offer. These two are avid travelers and love exploring what nature has to offer, which made my job really easy as I knew I wanted to traipse through as much forest and nature as possible. It was a glorious day filled with sun and rain and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Take me back.
When you think of winery wedding venues, you usually just envision rows of grape vines on flat land with not much more to offer visually. To my very pleasant surprise, Jonathan Edwards Winery had those rows of vines but much, much more. Which played really well with Meg & Joe’s aesthetic and care-free, down to Earth, energetic passion towards each other and their Connecticut wedding photography. We had lots of acreage to roam around and explore and in Meg’s poetic words when I asked them if they’d be cool to scale a rock wall in very formal clothing, “Jesse, we’re down to clown.” As excited as I was that we’d be climbing rock walls for photos, I was even more excited to introduce that phrase into my vocabulary going forward. So, I say that now. Thanks Meg!
I have a theory, which I suppose isn’t as much of a theory as it is scientific fact that when a bride and groom are going nuts on the dance floor, the entire wedding follows. Meg & Joe’s wedding was no exception. This was one of the wildest dance parties I got to photograph this year and there’s nothing better. After weaving your way through so many formalities all day long, it was a nice reward to be in the middle of that craziness. I’m a big fan.