This wedding!! This one!! So much fun from start to finish. I knew from the moment I walked into the hotel room that it was going to be an exceptionally awesome day. I met Samantha and Nate several times over the last year and they always made me feel like family, so when I met her friends on the morning of the wedding, I felt like I knew them forever as well. Samantha and her bridesmaids have known each other since they were kids, and their lifetime pact of friendship was incredibly palpable all day. Such a great group of gals! You will see below what I’m talking about!

The Gramercy at Lakeside Manor in Hazlet, New Jersey is a sleek and modern venue that was the perfect location for Samantha and Nate’s day. From the courtyard ceremony, to the tearful and emotional toasts, to the crazy dance part…the wedding day was pretty much perfect from start to finish.

Here is their story, as told by Samantha:

How did you meet? We met 8 years ago while working at the Colorado Cafe a country bar! I was working at the front desk taking the cover charge and he was a bouncer lol! We were friends for some time before we started dating 🙂

The Proposal: Nate proposed to me on October 4, 2015. He took me and our dog Ozzy to my favorite place Lavalette ,NJ. We like taking Ozzy to the beach after the season is over so he can run around and play in the water. We ended up on the beach at Vance Ave. which is were I spent most of my summers as a kid and has a lot of meaning to me. And that is where he got down on one knee and proposed. **Fun Fact Nate’s dad’s birthday was on October 4th! Oh! And there was a hurricane coming. J

What’s next on your calendar as a couple? Next on our calendar is buying a house! We hope to be in our new home by the end of August 2017!

How/why did you choose your venue? It was an exhausting process! But it was the last place we looked at and we both knew it the moment we walked in that this was the place!

What were some of your favorite moments from your wedding day? Some favorite moments… well one would have to be our first look! It was something that I had waited for a long time ☺ Another moment would have to be walking down the aisle with my 3 uncles in honor of my dad. It will be a moment that will forever stay with me. A third moment for both of us would be my cousin became ordained and marry us! He did such a great job and we are so grateful that he did that for us! And lastly, it would have to be just getting to share such an unforgettable, emotional, day filled with so much happiness with so many people that are so close to our heart!!

Any advice for future couples planning their weddings? Relax! Let the vendors do what they are great at! It is not worth trying to control EVERYTHING! I know it is easier said than done. But it is not worth the stress! Everything that is meant to be will be.. It will be a great day, because it will be your day!! Live in the moment on your wedding day! And just take some time to soak up all the love and happiness in the room because everyone is there to celebrate both of you!!

Some of Samantha & Nate’s fabulous other vendors include:

  • Wedding Coordinator: Dean from the Gramercy
  • Videographer: Chris from Lvl 13
  • Wedding Dress: Eddy K – Seng Couture Fanwood, NJ
  • Bridesmaids Dresses: Bari Jay
  • Tuxedos: Hollywood Tuxedo – Kennilworth NJ
  • Florist: Hoski Florist Middlesex, NJ
  • Officiant: Jason Corveleyn (bride’s cousin)
  • Cake Artist: Palermos Bakery Ridge Field Park, NJ
  • DJ/MC: Evan from Posh Entertainment
  • Makeup Artist: Makeup Artistry by Denise

Meet the Nghiem family!! They are a blast and full of personality. I met Ted (blue shirt and glasses) while photographing a wedding a year or two ago. He’s a fellow photographer, and his focus is on food and culture in the Philadelphia metro area.  Check out his work here.  I spent a few hours with him and his parents, two of his brothers, and his nephew Vince.  He’s got another brother who’s currently in Taiwan, but he sorta makes an appearance in a photo below. 🙂  Ted thought it was a good idea to get some photos of his family while everyone was visiting Philly, and what a great idea it was! We strolled the streets around Rittenhouse Square on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.  The city was vibrant, and so was the Nghiem family! Here are a few of my favorites… enjoy!

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Jersey City, New Jersey, was the location of the highly anticipated wedding of Marie and Ricky. The breathtaking views of the New York City skyline, which was practically a guest at their wedding, is one of the reasons they chose the delicious Battello for their ceremony and reception.  Let me personally thank Mother Nature for providing some kick ass clouds and light for us all day!  And I also need to thank the NYC Gay Pride parade for helping us celebrate with the amazing fireworks display they put on right across the river during the reception. What a great surprise and treat that was for Marie and Ricky and all their guests!

Here is their story, as told by our handsome hero, Ricky:

How did you meet? Marie was working at a restaurant that opened up a block away from my job in 2010, and like any establishment new to the area, it was extremely busy and everyone always wanted to go there. My coworkers would want to go for lunch or happy hour at quitting time, and my friends would want to go for dinner and drinks. Fitting into two separate groups of people who soon both became regulars, I wound up going there more often than I should. We became friends from there, and were just friends for a couple years, until one day we were talking and I asked her out, or so I thought. We went to see a movie, followed by dinner at Friendly’s and then a bar for drinks after. What I believed to be a successful date. Until I get a message from her a day or two later, asking if we had gone on a date. Apparently Marie had assumed we were just hanging out, and her friends told her it sounded like a date. Embarrassingly, I admitted I had intended it to be a date, and I must have done something right because I was able to secure a second (or is it first?) date.

The proposal: Marie had always dreamed of a destination wedding in Key West at the Hemingway House, but it just wasn’t feasible. So in September 2016 we went down to Key West for a few days. I got down on one knee in Papa Hemingway’s writing studio. I’m terribly allergic to cats and they have about 80 living on the property so I had to do my best to avoid them at every turn the whole time we were there. Right before we went to the Hemingway House, we had gone to see the Southernmost Point buoy and watched another couple’s engagement proposal. A random couple asked us to help film their proposal, so in fact we took part in 2 engagements that day. After getting engaged, and making sure it was well documented on any and all social media, we spent the rest of the day in true Key West fashion, on a celebratory pub crawl.

How/why did you choose your venue? We picked Battello because of the exquisite view of New York, its beautiful architecture, and their delicious food. We fell in love with the charm and elegance at Battello, and the ricotta gnocchi.

What were some of your favorite moments from your wedding day? Our favorite memories of the day were the circle sing-a-long at the end, the surprise fireworks (Thank you NYC Gay Pride), and of course, the ceremony. We had spent so much time personalizing our ceremony from the pop culture references to the music choices and we were so glad everything went well.

Any advice for future couples planning their weddings? Listen to all the advice from your married friends and family. Everyone is going to have opinions, suggestions, helpful experiences from their weddings. Thank them for their input, and then do what you want. It’s your day.

Bride and Groom and NYC SkylineHelpful bridesmaid feeding the brideBride getting gussied up on wedding dayBridesmaid helping bride get dressed on wedding daybridemaid zipping up wedding gown in Jersey CityBeautiful bridal portrait taken at the Westin in Jersey CityFirst look of bride and groom on a pier in Jersey CityReaction after first look of bride and groom in Jersey CityBride and groom portrait at Lefrak Point Lighthouse in Jersey City New JerseyBridesmaids and bride throwing confetti in Jersey CityBride and groom with NYC skyline, as taken from Liberty State Park in Jersey CityFun bridal party at Liberty State ParkBattello Jersey City Wedding CeremonyEmotional bride at Battello Jersey City Wedding CeremonyVows and ring exchange Battello Jersey City Wedding CeremonyBattello Jersey City Wedding CeremonyBeautiful table set up at Battello Jersey City Wedding CeremonyThe grand entrance of bride and groom at Battello Jersey City Wedding ReceptionThe first dance of bride and groom at Battello Jersey City Wedding ReceptionThe first dance of bride and groom at Battello Jersey City Wedding ReceptionToast by maid of honor at Battello Jersey City Wedding Receptionbride and groom cut the cake at Battello Jersey City Wedding Receptiondancing bride at Battello Jersey City Wedding Receptionlast dance of bride and groom at Battello Jersey City Wedding ReceptionNight portait of bride and groom taken from Battello Jersey City Wedding Reception; NYC skyline

Some of Marie & Ricky’s fabulous other vendors include:

  • Wedding Coordinator: Jayd Kingston
  • Videographer: Live Picture Studios
  • Wedding Dress: Madison James MJ264
  • Bridesmaids Dresses: All from Rent the Runway.
  • Florist: Whole Foods of Edgewater
  • Cake Artist: Palermos
  • Band/DJ/MC: Steve & Co. DJs

The Grove in Cedar Grove, New Jersey was the scene for the Jewish modern Orthodox wedding of Ariela and Azi. This was my first time primary photographing this type of Jewish wedding, and let me tell you it was one of the most energetic and fun dance floor crowds ever! I absolutely loved documenting this day for them, witnessing the deep traditions and customs, and pretty much being treated like one of the family.

After Ariela and Azi’s first look and portraits, Ariela was led by her mother and Azi’s mother into a cocktail hour where lots of guests greeted her and shared their best wishes. After about an hour, Azi was led in by dozens of his friends and family where he “veiled” his bride, also called the bedeken, which indicates the beginning of the ceremony.

The ceremony was traditional, and immediately after the ceremony our newly married couple were paraded upstairs where they would finally be alone for a bit. When they were ready, Azi and Ariela entered the reception room where dancing immediately commenced. Ariela with the women, and Azi with the men. After a few hours of the reception, the men and women joined forces and danced together until the lights were practically turned off!

This was a great day indeed.

Meet Ariela and Azi, in their own words:

How did you meet? We met the oldest way in the book – Azi’s mom and Ariela’s aunt. They walk together every Monday, so while Azi would usually never go out with anyone his mother suggested to him, – he figured he would hear about Ariela EVERY MONDAY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE if he said no.

The proposal: We went to a concert at the NY Philharmonic at Lincoln Center (which we went for our third date), and when it was over Azi proposed at the reflecting pool. Afterwards, we had champagne on a friend’s roof in midtown overlooking the city followed by some midnight sushi and doughnuts at home.

What’s next on your calendar as a couple? Taking things one day at a time…

How/why did you choose your venue? Not too far from either of us with a beautiful updated space. Historic house and garden on the property were a nice bonus.

What were some of your favorite moments from your wedding day? Seeing each other for the first time and dancing the night away with friends and family!

Any advice for future couples planning their weddings? Be patient with each other and don’t stress too much – things have a way of working out.

Thank you to Ariela and Azi for inviting me to photograph this amazing day for you and 300 guest! Congratulations. 🙂

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I’ve photographed ten weddings so far this year, and I haven’t fully blogged a single one yet. And I miss it! So I figured what the heck, let’s start with the latest wedding and work my way backwards.  First up is the incredibly fun wedding of Michelle & Ethan – and the closest wedding to home I have photographed all year. 🙂

Michelle got ready in her old bedroom at her parents’ home in Califon, New Jersey, and from there we headed to the ceremony in Long Valley at Our Lady of the Mountain RC Church.  This church is special in so many ways- it’s how Ethan and Michelle first met, and also Ethan’s grandparents were married there.

After the ceremony wrapped up we all headed to Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington, NJ where 200 people partied their asses off. And I mean it! What a fun crowd it was to photograph. Michelle and Ethan’s friends and family jammed the dance floor all night long, truly enjoying each other and having some good old fashioned fun.

Congrats to our bride and groom! Here are my favorites from the day. Enjoy!

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Some of Michelle and Ethan’s other fabulous vendors include:

A few weeks ago I hung out with Stacey & Jeff and they did a couple things that I also love to do: stroll around a city and make a few pit stops for an icy beverage. 🙂  This session was a lot of fun for me, as I got to know these two kinds souls over some good laughs and good beers.  We met up in Jersey City, which as you can see has one of the best views of lower Manhattan.  As Woody Allen would say: “It’s really a knock-out, you know?” I agree.  And so are Stacey & Jeff.  Enjoy my favorites from our time together! 🙂

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