Jessica and Kwame were married on April 8th, with a ceremony at Saint Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in New York City and a reception at Giando on the Water in Brooklyn.
I was particularly touched that Jessica had asked me to be her wedding photographer, because she has been the event director for years at one of my favorite wedding venues: Studio Square in Long Island City. With a job like that, she has to meet scores and scores of photographers, so I was honored that of everyone, she chose me for her own wedding.
When I first met Jessica and Kwame, I instantly felt like a longtime friend. These two simply exude joy and love for everyone around them, and based on what everyone who spoke at their wedding said, my experience wasn’t unique, either—they are just like this.
On the day of the wedding, Jessica got ready at Le Parker Meridien in Midtown Manhattan overlooking Central Park, while Kwame was with his family and best man nearby at the Renaissance New York Hotel 57. When Jessica was ready, she emerged in her dress to the cheers of a couple dozen members of her family, who had arrived to greet her and wish her well before they headed to the ceremony.
As we rolled up in the Rolls Royce with Jessica and her father, I was taken aback by Saint Jean Baptiste, the ceremony location. The bright afternoon sun was hitting the venue in just the perfect way, showing off a stunning façade that looked like it was plucked out of Europe and dropped in New York City. I had never been to the striking church before, and I’ll never forget the special feeling of the place.
Jessica and Kwame had opted not to have a first look, which is fairly typical of Catholic weddings. This is due in part to tradition, but it’s also a matter of the simple fact that most Masses are relatively early, which leaves ample time for pictures and other activities before cocktail hour. Whatever the case, I’m glad that they waited, because the moment Kwame saw Jessica walking down the aisle was so emotional and beautiful to capture.
I wasn’t the only one who thought that moment was amazing. It was pretty cool to see tons of guests photographing Jessica walking down the aisle like a queen. There’s a trend toward more “unplugged” ceremonies recently, and I do think that’s appropriate for the more intimate weddings, but the excitement of all the guests wanting to get their own piece of the moment was too fun!
After the ceremony, Jessica and Kwame moved over to Central Park with the bridal party and their families for portraits. The sun was low on the horizon, so it was the perfect time to be there for some stunning portraits.
While we were shooting portraits, the guests had all been shuttled to Giando’s on the Water for cocktails, nestled on the Williamsburg waterfront with a commanding view of the Manhattan skyline. We made the trip over to Brooklyn with Jessica and Kwame for the reception—and I knew as soon as I saw MA Entertainment setting up an extensive system of moving lights above the dance floor that things were about to get really exciting.
I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as the bridal party was introduced, there was an explosion of energy on the dance floor like almost nothing I have ever seen before. It went on for hours until I was done for the night, and I could still feel the music in my bones from the SIX enormous subwoofers the DJ brought long after I went home.
In all that dancing and excitement, I was able to capture my favorite image of the day: just a glimpse of Jessica and Kwame dancing together with their friends. Even though most of the day is spent with the bride and groom front and center, I love it when I get the chance to show off a couple totally wrapped up in a moment and unaware of the photographer hiding nearby.
Throughout the day, I also loved working with McKenzie Miller Films. McKenzie’s work is beautiful, yes, but she is also super professional and easy to work with, especially because she just understands the rhythm of the day—which makes teaming up with her nearly effortless! Be sure to check out her highlights film from this wedding here: http://mckenziemillerfilms.com/jessica-kwame/
Jessica & Kwame, thank you for asking me to be your wedding photographer! It was a true privilege to document the personalities that surround you as well as to experience the truth warmth and love that you pour out on all your friends and family.
Event Planner: Jennifer Graham
Cake: Villabate Alba Bakery
Florist: Quinn Florist
Stationary: Bella Figura
Hair: Carmela Pedulla
Makeup: Christy Ann Cosmetics
Lighting & DJ: MA Entertainment
Videography: McKenzie Miller Films
Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera
Bride’s Shoes: Chanel
Rings: Said Komery Jewelry
Groom’s Attire: Bespoke Tux by Mt Ned’s Fine Tailoring
Groom’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo