This is one of those blog posts where all I really want to say is “here, look at these wedding photos” because I don’t think words will add much to the story. From the absolute start to finish, Kim & Tom’s Arnold House wedding in Upstate New York, was jam-packed with moments. Moments that I feed off of as a documentary wedding photographer. There was a certain energy about their wedding that only elevated the beauty of their Catskills wedding venue. As you’ll see, these two are head over heels for each other, so I let their chemistry be front and center when we were shooting.
As far as the events that transpired, no one held back, not even Mother Nature. As cocktail hour was coming to a close, apocalyptic-type clouds rolled into the area super fast. We all knew it was about to go down, so I hurried Kim & Tom to the top of the hill and shot for as long as we could with an insanely dramatic sky behind them. As you’ll see below, we really did use every last second to grab those photos before literally running back inside The Arnold House.
Because their day needed any more special things to happen (#sarcasm), near the end of the reception, Tom escorted Kim from the dance floor for a surprise firework show that lit up the dark Upstate NY sky. It gave the Macy’s firework display a run for its money. Aside from the explosions, it was a blast (dad pun intended) to capture Kim’s expressions since she was not expecting this at all.
When I consider all of the Hudson Valley wedding venues I’ve photographed over the years, the ones I enjoy capturing the most have one major trait in common: diversity. Don’t get me wrong, I love barn venues that have endless forests or rustic venues set around a pond or farm, but when one location can deliver multiple settings, I thoroughly enjoy that. Enter Caitlin and Julio’s Arrow Park wedding in Monroe, New York.
Like so many places I get to photograph weddings, I honestly don’t know they exist until that inquiry comes through and I get to shoot them. New York has a seemingly endless supply of amazing wedding venues, so when I arrived for their Arrow Park wedding, I knew immediately I was into it and wanted to go back there often. Boat docks, beautiful forests, rocky landscapes, and an incredible old mansion atop the hill.
All of that sounds great, but without the moments, it doesn’t really amount to anything. Thankfully, Caitlin, Julio, and all of their guests delivered in a big way. From start to finish, I was inspired by all of these beautiful in-between moments. To end it all perfectly, I had the privilege to capture one of the wildest dance parties I’ve ever photographed at a wedding. Everyone left it all out on the dance floor, including Caitlin, who was my first crowd-surfing bride. Well done.
I mean no disrespect to any previous or future couples doing marriage, but Becky & Jordan are the cutest. They’re just cute. Look at them being all cute and stuff. Okay, okay that will be the last time I say cute in this blog post maybe. Even their wedding location was cute. Sorry, said it again. They decided to get married right in the town they both grew up and went to school at a park in Hastings-on-Hudson which was spot-on perfect for their Hudson Valley wedding photos. At the risk of oversimplifying what they conjured up, they found a park, put up a tent, and brought in the most crucial piece to any wedding…a pizza truck.
I just wrote an entire paragraph without mentioned DOGS. Oh yeah, lots and lots of dog moments which combined with pizza truck, might be the strongest wedding combination ever constructed. Take note, people. Bring your dogs, feed me pizza. Alright, back to these Hudson Valley wedding photos. Beyond the superficial stuff like food and tents, Becky & Jordan’s wedding truly was special to be a part of. It’s obvious these two are crazy about each other but so were their friends and families. I love witnessing these strong bonds at weddings and their day was no different. Pizza and dogs aside, that’s really why we’re here and that’s what it’s about.
An industrial wedding venue. Those words put together used to be a sentence that didn’t exist but thankfully the wedding industry as a whole has become so creative and spaces that were never used for weddings, now are. Brooklyn wedding venues and now even Long Island City has some of the best spots in that category to offer. Enter Sound River Studios. A beautiful yet blank canvas for couples to show their personalities and get creative. Sarah & Paul’s take on the space simply blew me away with the clean design, yet tons and tons of character. From the wall hanging greenery to earthy, textural table settings, the venue came alive.
Thankfully, it didn’t end there in terms of personality and energy. Sarah & Paul are a couple who have that obvious connection with each other so documenting their wedding at Sound River Studios was almost effortless. The good feels flowed all day but the best part wasn’t even them. It wasn’t even human. It was their doggo. Okay, I’m kind of kidding but not really. I think this entire blog post could have just been him and I’d be totally satisfied. If there’s one thing I pride myself in, it’s taking too many dog photos at weddings, which you’ll see below. Start scrolling.
Usually when you consider taking full advantage of Autumn light and colors for your Fall New York wedding, outdoor wedding venues in upstate New York like the Catskills or Hudson Valley come to mind. A city location like Brooklyn, most likely, isn’t where you think you could pull this off, but Emi & Shota’s showed that you very much can. Searching for Brooklyn restaurant wedding venues, they landed on Frankies 457 Spuntino, an incredible Italian restaurant (I didn’t want to leave and just eat all night while taking photos) with a beautifully Brooklyn courtyard for their ceremony. It was quintessential BK.
But, back to taking full advantage of the Fall in a city environment. First stop, Prospect Park. It’s always pretty amazing to me when a huge natural setting can be found in the middle of a bustling cityscape and Prospect Park has delivered for me time and time again. As you’ll see, the light, the trees, the everything was downright magical from Emi & Shota’s first look and beyond. There are so many nooks and crannies in this park that I feel like I see it anew every single time I shoot there. With an early sunset, we made our way to one of the finest Brooklyn restaurant wedding venues, Frankies 457. It was a glorious land of cured meats, cheeses and lots of Italian wine that as a responsible business owner, I simply observed from afar. It was a great evening so please start scrolling.
Calli & Pierce’s wedding was so summer you can feel it through the screen. The lush greens, the warm hues of the summer sun, it’s what you hope for when planning a summer wedding and they got it. Which is real nice because they’re real nice so it was well deserved. Personally, what I love about Westchester wedding venues is the space to roam when telling these wedding stories. With so much open space, it really opens up my creativity to not only capture honest and real moments, but the ability to give them a feeling in terms of space and environment. I really believe it adds to the gravity of the day. Callie & Pierce certainly wanted to embrace all of that openness and that’s exactly what we did.
I tell every couple I speak to that you will get out of your photos what you give. I’m not there for you to be an actor for me or to be a wedding version of yourself. I want you to be the real deal, have fun because that’s why we’re here and celebrate with your closest friends and family. Callie & Pierce took that advice and ran with it and what they got out of it was endless in-between moments of real laughs, hugs, tears and fist-pumps. Westchester wedding venues are perfect for this and I loved capturing every minute of it.
Allow me to tell you about a little thing called Fall weddings in the Catskills. It’s basically heaven. You take one of the most beautiful, mountain areas in New York State and get married while the trees are bursting in color and win at life. That’s it. The formula is simple. If you want to complicate things ever so slightly but reap huge rewards, you can purchase your own property and convert your barn into a wedding reception, get married on your own majestic lawn with mountains surrounding you and REALLY win at life. That’s exactly what Meagan and Emilio did for their Catskills barn wedding. Yeah, this wasn’t a Catskills wedding venue until they turned it into one and I was truly blown away.
As a Catskill wedding photographer, I’ve been so fortunate to capture wedding stories on all sorts of properties. Some are rustic Catskill wedding venues and some are backyard weddings. They all have their own allure but it’s hard to beat a backyard wedding that looks like a mountain venue location. The huge benefit that Meagan and Emilio got out of all their hard work in crafting their own Catskills barn wedding was the ability to allow their day to flow naturally and without a super strict timeline.
Witnessing this first hand really allowed for so many real, organic moments to occur without the worry things were falling behind or having to cater their every move to a clock. It was basically a perfect situation for me as a wedding photographer who focuses on unstaged and honest moments. My creativity felt free and the story I was telling just wrote itself. This Catskills wedding was a pure joy to document and I feel very lucky to have been a part of it. Here is Meagan and Emilio’s Autumn wedding in Upstate New York.