Wendy and David were married on July 11th, with a ceremony and reception at the Museum of the Moving Image.
On the day of the wedding, I met up with Wendy as she got ready in the museum’s bridal suite. It was a great way to kick off the day, with my favorite image coming from that getting-ready session. Most of the time, for getting ready shots, I’m trying to paint a soft, romantic image of the bride before she goes to see her groom. That day, a small shaft of light was sneaking into the room, giving us a gorgeous contrast to show off Wendy’s personality that also echoed the style of her dress.
After Wendy was ready, we headed out for a first look and pictures outside. It was a bright mid-afternoon, but the punchy light added to the contemporary vibe and made all the architectural details pop. Wendy and David had met with me a year before the wedding and asked me for a wedding experience unencumbered by photography, so we carved out a concise block of time for formal portraits and family pictures to get those done without taking up the whole afternoon—that way we could keep the focus on the wedding itself and let them stay wrapped up in their day. Then, it was off to the ceremony at the museum.
Every time I go to Astoria Queens for a wedding at the Museum of the Moving Image, I’ve loved the way they utilize a contemporary mold to customize the location for each couple. In this case, they put pink colored gels over the lights to create an edgy space for dining. It really feels like a step outside New York and into another world, with whimsical, interactive exhibits for the guests. Usually, weddings take place in the museum’s theater, but this time around, I was excited about photographing the ceremony out in the courtyard between the museum and Kaufman-Astoria studios. It absolutely fit the feel of the wedding and the style of the couple!
Wendy and David had a separate Tisch where they greeted guests and had a prayer before David processed to Wendy for her veiling, or bedeken. After Wendy walked down the aisle, she circled David 7 times, signifying the commitment and unbreakable wall surrounding a bride and groom. In a Jewish ceremony, there is no kiss; instead, the groom steps on the glass, and the couple is immediately surrounded and escorted by singing and cheering guests off to a few private moments alone, while the rest of us went inside for dinner and dancing.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of klezmer bands. One, Shirim, is more traditional in nature and is led by a klezmer clarinet virtuoso. But this one, Golem, is a more unorthodox orthodox ensemble. It’s unforgettable for its over-the-top energy and a hora like literally no other. If you want a hora that not only has people joyfully circling the dance floor but also adds a jolt of electricity that everyone can only attempt to keep up with, Golem will do that and more.
Wearing a new dress, Wendy came out with David and entered the reception to cheers before the 45-minute (yes, 45!!) hora. Navigating all the moving people and jockeying for angles is one of the most challenging but most exciting parts of a Jewish wedding to photograph, and I love it!
Thank you, Wendy & David, for letting me photograph this unique and quintessentially native New Yorker wedding.
Events – Ashley Chamblin Events
Florist – Mindy Jacobowitz
Hair – Stacey Weinstein
Makeup – Jessica Rothschild
Officiant – Rabbi Simcha Krauss
Band – Golem
Videography – Well Spun Weddings
Wedding Dress – Tony Ward
Bride’s Shoes – Christian Louboutin
Rings – Erica Weiner
Anna and Neal were married on June 11th, with a ceremony at the Reformed Church of Highland Park and a reception in Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick, NJ.
These two met while studying at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Neal is from the West Coast, and Anna is from New Jersey and is the child of two opera singers. We had actually crossed paths in school, but it wasn’t until later that I started to get to know them, as they live near me and I always see them walking their dog through Fort Tryon Park.
On the day of the wedding, I started out with Anna as she finished getting ready at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick before we took a short ride to the church. They wanted an intimate, elegant, relaxed wedding, which is why they picked Rutgers Gardens, surrounded by tons of greenery and lush sunlight.
Once we were at the church, we took some pictures of the guests arriving as well as a few group pictures with the bridal party and family. At the wedding, the amazing harpist Kristi Shade—a mutual friend of mine and Anna’s—added an ethereal touch to the whole day. She is one of the most popular wedding vendors in the New York City area in addition to being a recording artist and musician, and it was amazing to have her there!
The weather was perfect, which meant the reception was completely open and in the outside air. I don’t often get to create pictures in NYC that include the twilight sky and guests partying below, so I enjoy shooting outside of the city when I get the chance so I can capture a more rustic feel. I loved that the guests were able to step outside to chat or look at the stars before going back in to dance.
I was able to take Anna and Neal aside at just the perfect moment, where the sun was just kissing the treetops. That 5–10-minute span, followed by the soft wash of evening light, often produces the best images of the day.
My favorite image was the black and white portrait of them standing in front of the venue during the party, and they must have agreed, because they chose it for their 8×12 studio print enlargement on a cotton rich, heavyweight art paper. It looks stunning! I look for shots like that all day to get that one special print that hangs on the wall forever. Sometimes you just know as it happens, and sometimes you discover it like an artifact when going through the images.
Anna & Neal, thank you so much for letting me be part of your wedding! It’s not often that I get to shoot weddings for people I know, and I’m so lucky that you contacted me early and asked me to be there!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram & Facebook
I’ve been with my wife, Hannah, for 9 years. After getting married last April, it was long past due for me to make the pilgrimage to her motherland. Last month, we traveled to Seoul and Jeju Island where I fell in love with South Korea.
Koreans are a proud, resilient, peaceful people who know how to eat well and take care of each other. Their culture is rooted in centuries of tradition having only really modernized (in a huge way) in the recent era. There is an appreciation and reverence for one another built in to the body language and verbiage of every day life. The former president, Lee Myung-bak, told Barack Obama that his country’s biggest educational challenge was that “parents are too demanding.”
When waiting for the subway, neat lines are formed on either side of the train door. Those on board get out without being rushed by people trying to get in. People sit in circles with one another and serve the oldest (and wisest) first. It’s always a communal atmosphere. All of the food takes time. A year to make the fermented soybean paste which is a base to so much of their cooking. A week to make a glass of makgeolli which accompanies many meals. An entire day to make a broth for one of the staple stews. There’s so much love built in to everything they do. It must be working as they’re said to have the longest lifespan on the planet – 90.8 years.
I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking, but I’d encourage a stop in Korea on your next trip to Asia. It’s an amazing place.
All images taken on the fly with the Sony RX100 IV point and shoot camera. (Hint: You dont need to bring a bulky dSLR on vacation)
Follow me on Instagram & Facebook