Ok, who doesn’t love a good old romantic City Hall Wedding?  I know I do. Big time.  So when Abby and Darin booked me to shoot their September 10th wedding this year, and opted to have me shoot their civil ceremony at NYC’s City Hall prior to the actual wedding, instead of an engagement session, I was uber excited.  Abby and Darin’s officiant isn’t ordained, so in order to make this matrimony legal they had to head downtown ahead of time.

Abby did NOT wear white, which I loved, and Darin wore jeans.  YES, jeans.  Which was even more awesome.  It wasn’t about putting on a show, or following any rules.  It was ALL about them.  We were joined by their very fun loving and fabulous group of friends.  Abby #2, Georgia, Mike, and Jessie/y did such a lovely job of adding a positive and meaningful energy to the experience, and giving me even more fun things to photograph.

Our original plan after the nuptials was to head up to Harlem, where Darin used to work at Dinosaur BBQ, to do some portraits. *Side Note: They are having Dino cater their wedding on 9/10/11, which is soooo awesome, and I know first hand because Michael and I also had our wedding catered by Dino!*
Anyhoo, we decided it wouldn’t be necessary to make the long trip uptown.  So instead, we set out on a quest to find some cool and spontaneous spots for pictures in the general downtown vicinity.  We worked our way through the out skirts of Chinatown, up into Nolita, and wound up just inside Soho at Osteria Mornini and Lobster Bar.   There were oysters, and champagne, and lots of love and laughs.  I was having so much fun “at work” with this group of people that I broke my cardinal rule of no drinking while on the clock, and toasted to their love and long life together with a glass of champagne(ok maybe it was more than one, shhhh don’t tell anyone), but what a fun, inspiring, and fulfilling afternoon/early evening it turned out to be.

Thank you Abby and Darin, I’m very much looking forward to your next big day in September.

Did you guys get a chance to check out Lauren and Tim’s engagement session below?  Well if not, take a look, but first click this link to read the really lovely blog entry that Lauren made on the Destination Weddings and Honeymoons website today.  Such an honor to be working with her.  She is doing a whole blog series on the planning of her own Destination Wedding, and this week’s topic was “The Ultimate Quest:  Finding a Destination Wedding Photographer,” which talks about the process that lead her to hiring yours truly.


Michael and I have been working on the set of Destination Weddings and Honeymoons bridal fashion stories for a few years now.  When Lauren came on the scene in the Spring of 2010 and took over the role as the magazines art director, I could never have anticipated the kind of connection we would have.  Both on set, and off.  When it comes to art direction and photography we could not be more on the same page.  We found it eerie how quickly we began finishing each other’s sentences, and basically reading each other’s minds.  Aside from an uncannily well balanced professional relationship, we’ve developed a very deep and meaningful friendship.

SO! I was beyond honored when she asked me to be her wedding photographer.  She was a bit apprehensive at first, as she didn’t like the idea of me “working” at her wedding.  But I explained to her that for me, it’s not “work.”  And all it means is that I’m the one who gets to spend the ENTIRE day on a very intimate level with her, Tim, and their families, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  But more about that later.  March 11, 2012 in Savannah, GA to be exact.

They flew me down to Orlando, FL a couple weekends ago to photograph their engagement session.  And what a great day we had.  It was 98 degrees outside, and something like 110 with the heat index, but that didn’t stop us.  We hit up Leu Gardens first, which I would describe as basically being inside Jurassic freaking park.  Look at those HUGE bamboo shoots in the first image.  IN . . . SANE.  Next we had a little fun with their pup, Maggie, on the front porch of their home.   Then we took some quick pics at Orlando Wetlands Park, where Tim proposed a couple months back, before heading over to the Church Street Train Station in downtown Orlando.  This was my personal favorite part of the shoot.  We did some cute shots on the train tracks, which was lovely.  But all of the sudden there were two trains coming our way, one from each direction. They were so powerful and magnificent.  It was so amazing to be so close to them. I told Lauren and Tim to start kissing, and I just shot and shot and shot.  They were so in their own world, and the scene was just so stunning to watch, I actually got very choked up.  It was definitely an “I LOVE my job” moment.  It was like watching an old movie.  Breath taking.

Anyways, I’m PSYCHED about their wedding this coming March.  And I’m so happy that these two found each other.  The world is a better place with them together.

This spectacular event took place at the Renaissance Aruba Hotel and Resort.  If you fancy delicious food, beautiful restaurants,  gorgeous pools, luxury casinos, high end shopping, a private island with sandy beaches for Renaissnace guests only, and a never ending supply of yummy cocktails, then this is the place for you.  The entire weekend was one big highlight for me, but I would have to say that standing literally a foot away from a flamingo was an awesome experience I wasn’t expecting to have.  On the private island one of the beaches is named “Flamingo Beach,” and fittingly a flock of flamingos lives there.  These creatures are so odd and so beautiful all at the same time.  As an animal lover, that was definitely a top moment.
It was also really lovely to take a break from the modern luxury of the hotel, and head into town to attend Marisa and Brian’s civil ceremony at City Hall.  It was a really neat old building that still had all of its old school charm intact.  Marisa and Brian had to officially get married there on Friday morning, prior to their actual wedding that was to be held at 6pm on Saturday evening.  I believe this had something to do with them being married in a foreign country.  The lovely bride wore a short white dress, which turned out to be a smaller version of the Pronovias gown she wore Saturday. How cute!  Anyways, we had a great time shooting a mini portrait session in honor of this occasion.
Marisa did a phenomenal job planning this wedding from afar, and making sure that she put her and Brian’s own personal touch on everything.  Marisa and her sister, Christina, actually run their own print shop on etsy.  So together they hand crafted her Save The Dates, invitations, and a plethora of items with a really cool M+B logo that went into a super cute welcome bag for all their guests.  They even found a local Aruba company to make custom rum bottles for them.  So fun!  My personal favorite welcome bag item was the inflatable flamingo drink holder!!
Even though they were getting married on the beach of a private island they still wanted a formal elegant affair, but one that catered to the light hearted extremely loving nature of them and all of their guests.  So when it came to designing her table settings, it wasn’t lavish flower arrangements that Marisa wanted.  Instead they had rustic tea lights put out along a black burlap table runner.  It created a perfectly intimate ambiance.  As a combination party favor/seating card their guests all received a personally tagged gold box with a metal starfish shaped bottle opener inside.  They even had a local brother and sister team there hand rolling cigars for the guests.  I mean come on!! How cool is that?!  Although, I must say I think they beat everyone in the creativity game when they had their cake covered in white rock candy, pretty impressive!
I was wowed by it all.  Marisa and Brian’s love . . . what a wonderful time I had being part of their family for a weekend . . . Marisa’s attention to detail . . . the beautiful ceremony . . .
I am officially in Marisa and Brian withdrawal.  If I could relive their wedding weekend over again, I would in a heart beat.  Their love was a raw and real kind of love that every photographer dreams of capturing on film (or chip), not to mention the tropical island, turquoise waters, and ocean breezes.  This home grown Staten Island couple came all the way to the little island of Aruba for their nuptials, and made it their own!  Their friends and families could not have been more of a pleasure to be with.  It is easy for me to say that this fun filled weekend did not feel like work, not in the least.
I can’t thank you all enough for such a wonderful experience.  And I want to give a special thank you to Christina Ripo and Uncle Mark for being my part time supporters and photo assistants.  You were both a great help, and great people to get to know.
Enjoy the pictures!!!
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