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.
How do you beat the North East in the fall? That was a rhetorical question because you can’t. At least I don’t think you can and I’m pretty sure science hasn’t been able to prove the contrary. This is why when Kamelle & Keith reached out to me for their October wedding in Upstate New York, I got excited. Very excited. Not only was the timing of their wedding great, but it was also being held at one of my favorite rustic wedding venues NY, Gilbertsville Farmhouse. This was my second time back to Gilbertsville to shoot a wedding and there was no sophomore slump. The property may have been even better than the first time around due to some small touches here and there. What I love about this farm is that it strikes that perfect balance between rustic and clean.
I’ve been so lucky to work with tons of couples who have amazing chemistry and energy. Kamelle & Keith hit that beautiful combination. Hard. It was clear as an autumn day (see what I did there?) that they are head over heals for each other and they weren’t afraid to simply be themselves and allow me to capture it. Some of my favorite frames from their wedding was between moments when I stepped back and witnessed laughs and moves I could never pull off. To top all of that off, Keith is rivaling almost every dude out there in the style department. How I wish I could pull of wearing a hat like that. Maybe in my next life.
I’ve shot at quite a few New York wedding venues and it’s tough to beat anything that involves a waterfall. So yeah, this one was pretty cool. Sprinkle in some fall colors and top it off with an emotional ceremony in the middle of a forest and that’s how Allison and Julius were wed. For a New York outdoor wedding, this day had everything I love about documenting marriage. There was loads of emotion, especially by Allison’s dad. Give me an emotional father of the bride any day of the week. There was a ceremony officiated by a close friend who was intimately connected to the couple. And there was hiking in wedding clothes.
I’m constantly in awe of the stream of adventurous couples I get to work with. This is a couple who loves camping and the outdoors as much as their photographer, so that photo further down of a bride in her dress scaling a wall of a waterfall for a photo will make even more sense when you get to it. Even with as many adventurous couples as I’ve had the pleasure of working with, that moment just made me laugh even while I was shooting it. How lucky am I that I get to do this? Very.
I absolutely love discovering incredible, new-to-me venues around New York. Old Bethpage Village Restoration fit that bill with an added bonus of it being mere minutes from my home. Yep, a beautiful, barn-filled, farmland wedding venue I didn’t know existed that close to where I live. Good job, me. Old Bethpage Village Restoration is a sprawling property with endless avenues to discover, hidden tree paths and active plots of farm land. Thankfully, Andrea & Dennis were excited to adventure around as much as possible giving us ample opportunity to really take advantage of one of my now favorite New York barn wedding venues.
Along for the ride, literally, was an old Chevy truck Andrea & Dennis borrowed from a family friend. And they put it to good use. It fit the ambiance of the property so perfectly and doubled as Andrea’s arrival vehicle to their ceremony which took place in a stunning field under a tree. After doing the marriage thing, we hopped back into the truck in search for more rustic beauty as the sun was setting. After spotting another stunningly beat-up red barn in the distance, we pulled up to make more photos. That truck was definitely the most useful wedding prop of all-time. Now, on to their Long Island wedding story.
Long Island weddings come in all shapes and sizes. If you look hard enough, wading through most of the cookie-cutter, fabricated wedding venues, you’ll find some gems. Before Ana & Matt contacted me about their Peconic Bay Yacht Club wedding, I didn’t know this place existed. Somewhat for good reason since it’s only a couple of years old. The wonderful part about this Long Island wedding venue is the seamless tie-in to the natural environment surrounding it. I’m a guy who gets excited about embracing the beauty of the natural world so when I arrived to do a little bit of scouting before their wedding, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the areas we could shoot to capture that north shore vibe.
The way I crafted this blog post is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a long time. I love black and white images. The distraction of color is taken out of the equation and what you’re left with is pure emotion. You can’t help but to be laser-focused on the story that is happening in each frame. There is no hiding from expression. Ana & Matt’s wedding felt like the right one to finally go ahead and post an all black and white story. So, here it is.
The rain poured down and the fog rolled in. This is usually not what you consider to be ideal conditions for a wedding, but when you embrace the weather instead of running from it, it’s all the more beautiful. I’ve encountered my fair share of rainy, upstate NY weddings, so as soon as I arrived at the Deer Mountain Inn for Josh & Estan’s wedding, I knew if they were on board with the usual hiking through forests and up mountains, we’d be able to create some magic together. And that’s exactly what happened. For any couple in search of amazing gay wedding ideas, look no further.
My favorite part of how this day unfolded, aside from the scenic beauty we encountered, was how they made this day about them and their closest friends and family. The focus wasn’t on superficial details but rather the celebration of them, their love and how much each and every guest meant to them. The feeling of love during their ceremony was palpable and it truly was an honor to witness and document their love story. From the minute I showed up, I could tell this would be a special day. Josh & Estan’s New York gay wedding.