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Adam and Barbara’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Wedding | New York Wedding Photographer

 “…for aught that ever I could read,
could ever hear by tale or history,
the course of true love never did run smooth.”
―  A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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A Shakespearean comedy like A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect inspiration for a wedding.  Though things often go awry (mostly due to misunderstandings) there is always, without fail, a happy ending.  And in a Shakespearean comedy, that happy ending is almost always a wedding.  But Adam and Barbara have even more special ties to A Midsummer Night’s Dream than just a shared happy ending.  Pulling together a unique wedding that reflected who they are and their unique love story was important to them, and as I talked about in their engagement session blog post, both of them are nature, poetry and theater lovers.  Their wedding took place on June 21st, the summer solstice, which is traditionally “midsummer night,” making their theme all the more perfect.

I felt like the luckiest wedding photographer in the world when Barbara and Adam asked me to photograph their wedding.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream has special meaning for me as well, in fact, in high school I directed a production of it for my senior project.  Needless to say, I quickly found Barbara and Adam to be kindred spirits.  While I was bursting at the seams with excitement for their Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding,  I had no idea just how beautifully executed it would be.  I also don’t think I’ve ever seen a venue so transformed as what BRRCH achieved with the florals at Old Tappan Manor.  A standard New Jersey ballroom was transformed into an enchanted forest complete with birch-bark escort cards, bell jar centerpieces, and tall vases of branches gave guests the feeling of dining alfresco.  For the chuppah/sweetheart table, BRRCH created a canopy of branches, wisteria and other florals.   Barbara’s gorgeous bridesmaids were decked in pale blue or lavender and each had their hair full of flowers.  Barbara called hers a “helmet of flowers,” but I think it just looked like they each took a roll down a hill of wildflowers.   And have you ever seen such dapper groom or groomsmen?  In his plum three-piece suit, Adam was getting as many compliments as his stunning bride!

Despite how gorgeous every detail of this wedding was, it was Adam and Barbara’s tears,  laughter and the heart-melting glances they shared throughout the day that really stole the show.  I’ve never seen a bride and groom have this much fun on their wedding day or guests be more pulled into the couples’ love story.  There was not a dry eye in Old Tappan Manor during either the ceremony or toasts, and I am not an exception. The Midsummer Night’s Dream theme permeated not only the decor, but their vows, which were love poems they had written to each other.  Even Barbara’s Dad, in honor of their love of poetry and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, made a gallant attempt to give his toast in rhyme, much to Barbara and Adam’s surprise and delight.

If it wasn’t for these photos, I think I’d have to pinch myself that this wedding was not a dream.  Did the bride and groom really just perform “Best Day of My Life” like pro-entertainers?  Do I really get to photograph a bride in a deciduous forest with a head full of flowers?  I wasn’t surprised by how much I liked their family and friends however.  When I like a couple as much as I like Adam and Barbara, it is usually a given that their family and friends will be just as warm and hospitable.  My amazing assistant shooters Mekina, Leandra and I were treated like a part of the family.   I loved having those ladies be a part of my team again.  It was also a blast to work with Love and You Video once more.  (You’d think it’d be impossible to get the amazing footage they do given that I never see them throughout the day, but they do!)

 

Susan Helfer Golden - August 22, 2014 - 3:02 am

Caroline – Barbara and Adam are two very special people and you captured their essence beautifully. I have to say, I have never seen such gorgeous, creative wedding photos. These are amazing!

Leandra Brown - August 22, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Gorgeous!

Published in The Knot Magazines: New York and New Jersey

Twenty-six years ago today,  I did something really amazing that I’d like to celebrate: I was born.  *Takes a bow*  “Thank you, thank you very much.” Gabriella at The Knot magazine must have known my birthday was coming up when they emailed me about Jackie and Rob’s engagement photo taken in Hoboken, NJ in front of the New York City skyline.  “We just added a story about how couples met and I found this adorable engagement shoot on your blog. We would love to feature this couple in our story in The Knot New Jersey!”   Five minutes later they emailed me about Christina and Alex’s rowboat engagement session for The Knot New York.   What a present!  Needless to say I was thrilled for my two lovely couple, and of course nothing strokes a photographer’s delicate ego more than seeing their photos printed on the glossy pages of a wedding magazine.  It’s going to be a great day! :)  I was also thrilled to see a lot of my closest photographer friends featured as well- go pick up a copy today!

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Leandra Brown - August 8, 2014 - 9:53 am

Congratulations Caroline! :) That’s such a great Birthday present! :)

How to Help Your Photographer Get You the Best Wedding Photos Ever

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So you picked your wedding photographer; you love her personality, her style, her work.  But let’s be honest: she’s human.  You’ve seen her wedding photos that are good and her photos that are AMAZING.  What can you do to help your photographer do her very best work for you? Here are a few tips to help your photographer get you her best wedding photos ever:

1.Trust her to use her Creative Eye

Skip the shot list.  You may have seen a photographer do photos in front of a fountain or a gazebo on your wedding venue’s property,  but remember, you didn’t hire that photographer for a reason.  You hired YOUR photographer because you love the way she composes photos, creates scenes, uses light and creates candid moments.   She may see lighting issues you don’t see, or she might realize how awesome the light looks in what you thought was just a drabby little staircase, or and how magical it’s going to look when its blurred out in the background of your photos.   If you want her best work, trust her to do what she does best.  Give her a general idea of where you want to go and leave it to her to find the magical gems you would have never looked twice at.

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2. Allow Double the Time You Think You Need

If anything goes wrong on a wedding day, guess what’s the only thing you can cut time off of?  You guessed it: the photography.  The more rushed your photographer is, the less chance she’ll be as creative and seeing those opportunities for jaw-dropping photos or the amazing moments unfolding.  To avoid this, make sure to leave extra time for photos and any traveling between locations.  Especially if you aren’t doing a first look, make sure your cocktail hour is sufficiently long to fit in all the photos you want.  I recommend 45 minutes to an hour for bride and Groom portraits. Why so long?  This allows us to walk around the property to different locations,  to play with different techniques and most of all to give YOU time to get comfortable in front of the camera and for me to discover what angles and poses are the most natural and flattering for you.  If you are considering doing photos off site, which I sometimes recommend if the venue doesn’t offer many options, leave double the time you think you need for travel.  Keep in mind that photographers have a lot of equipment to pack and unpack at every location, so be sure to leave time for that as well.

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3. Make and Manage Your Family Photo List

Everyone wants family photos, but no one wants to pose for them.  To keep them moving as fast as possible, I ask my clients in advance to provide a list of each shot they want with each family members name listed out. Moving from larger to smaller groupings allows us to move through the photos very quickly by pulling people out rather than having to repose a group several times.  Always make sure family knows when to arrive for family photos and I recommend telling them 10  minutes before the real start time if you don’t want waiting on your notoriously late aunt to hold up the day.  I do not recommend family photos in the middle of cocktail hour as gathering everyone can be impossible.  Doing family photos directly before or after the ceremony usually works best.

Sample Family Photo List:

-Harry, Ginny, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Fred, George, Ron

-Harry, Ginny, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fleur

-Harry, Ginny, Molly, Arthur

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4. Consider an Engagement Session

Though I don’t require that all my couples do an engagement session (and indeed for some of my out-of-state couples it’s not possible), but I do highly recommend it whenever possible.  So many brides and grooms come into their  wedding day unnecessarily nervous about the photo portion of the day, and the photographer ends up spending the first 15 minutes getting you relaxed and warmed up.  That’s time that she could have been getting “Best-Photo-Ever” material, if you had already been warmed up to your photographers style of working before the wedding day.

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5. Sunset Photos

It’s true what they say!  On a sunny day,  the 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after sunset gives of the most beautiful, soft, light.  That’s why us photographers call it “Golden Hour.”   If it’s at all possible to do your portraits during this time, or to take 15 minutes for sunset photos, I highly recommend making time for it.

6. Complimentary Videographers

Your photographer, whether they know it or not, has a method for getting her best photos out of her clients.   Some photographers, like myself, chat a lot to their couples to keep them feeling relaxed and at ease and to create candid moments during portraits.  I will also move very fast from one pose to the other to keep clients from getting bored or feeling embarrassed or stiff.   I never interfere in the real moments of the wedding day or ask couples to “redo” their first look or cake cutting or to smile at the camera during moments like that.  Whether you know it or not, the videographer you hire could affect your photographer’s ability to  get those relaxed, candid-looking portraits  or real candid moments if they have a different method.  In my case, I do not produce my best work when I work with videographers who are directing the couple during portraits, interfering with real moments (or even worse, trying to create cheesy fake moments).  Chances are your photographer has a list of videographers that she loved working with who were a great compliment to her style and a list of ones that were not.  Check in with your photographer for her recommended videographer list, and if you don’t see what you are looking for on her list, talk to her about it.  What kind of video are you envisioning?  Show her vendors you are looking at and like.  She will probably be able to tell from their website sample videos if she thinks it would be a good fit or not.

 

To Keep in Mind: Obviously picking a gorgeous venue, a great florist, an amazing wedding designer etc.  is going to make some weddings photos stand out more than others; however, the above tips paired with an excellent photographer will help your photographer give YOU her best photos for YOUR unique wedding story and venue.  The fact is, weddings are living breathing organisms.  Every wedding is different and every day plays out differently.   While no wedding is perfect, and a good photographer should be able to adapt to any situation that might come up, the above are just a few tips to help avoid unnecessary problems that can affect your photos!

 

Jim Pollard - August 5, 2014 - 2:33 am

Beaut of a write up Caroline

Bob Patterson - August 7, 2014 - 3:09 am

Dan Moore Designs, check this article out.

Bob Patterson - August 7, 2014 - 3:10 am

Dan Moore Designs, check this article out.

Lauren and Ryan’s Ryland Inn Wedding | New Jersey and NYC Wedding Photographer

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What can I say about Lauren and Ryan’s charming Ryland Inn wedding that these pictures don’t already convey?  A wedding is a wedding.  They are  all beautiful, romantic and joyous occasions; but a wedding with so many happy tears and hearty laughs from supportive friends and family is a wedding that this photographer never wants to leave.  If happy tears wasn’t enough to keep me there thirty minutes later than I was hired,  then it would have been the cake-dropping cake-cutting, the dance floor busting grandma, the fun videographers or the friendliest group of guests that I’ve ever met.  Lauren and Ryan joked with me later that everyone cried at their wedding except them, but I think they were just having way too much fun as is evidenced by all their pictures.   The weather could not have been better or the day gone smoother – it was in short, a perfect day.   While I don’t have more words to convey how much fun I had capturing Lauren and Ryan’s wedding day, I hope it’s pretty obvious in the pictures themselves.

Ryan and Lauren filled the recently opened Ryland Inn ballroom with gorgeous rustic decor that made use of tree stumps, birch bark, and rustic lanterns.  The flowers and foliage added pops of mint and pink everywhere that transformed this beautifully open, bright ballroom into a garden party.  They had an adorable first look before the ceremony, which contributed to it being such an easy-going, stress free day, and after the ceremony we had a few minutes to take advantage of the gorgeous sunset light for a few more bride and groom portraits.

I could hardly believe my ears when my assistant Leandra warned me that I only had one roll of Fuji left.   In addition to my digital images, I had shot 22 rolls of medium format film, which many of the images you see above.   I’m excited that incorporating film into the wedding has become so seamless.  My second shooter Julieanne captured awesome moments throughout the day and my assistant Leandra’s help was invaluable.  I’m so lucky to work with such talented, hard-working people.

 

Sidney Morgan - July 31, 2014 - 12:59 pm

I am looooving this wedding. I think it’s my favorite wedding that you’ve ever posted. Gorgeous storytelling. xo

Rebecca Yale - July 31, 2014 - 2:55 pm

Gorgeous photos Caroline!! Love all the wonderful moments you got!

Cassi Claire - July 31, 2014 - 4:56 pm

So pretty Caroline!! :)

Karen Scott Koch - July 31, 2014 - 7:25 pm

Well done.Beautiful pictures.

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