Mara and I met at New York University shortly after Mara arrived from Hong Kong and instantly bonded over our love for music, theater, coffee, long talks and our faith. Over the next seven years, despite our different life courses we managed to stay in contact. Though we may only have managed coffee three or four times a year, each time we would dive right in, and always managed to get to the heart of each others’ lives even during our shortest visits. I always feel blessed after a visit with Mara who is one of the most caring, selfless, and faith-filled people I know. I remembered a few months before my own wedding expressing to Mara my concern that with so many of my dearest friends on the East Coast not able to make it, Mara told me to start praying and inviting angels to the wedding. On the day of our wedding, during the ceremony, I tangibly felt the warmth of their presence as the rain stopped and the clouds literally parted over our ceremony. Four years later, I had the great privilege of reminding Mara of her own advice as she expressed her regret that her parents couldn’t make it to her wedding in the United States. Though the weather man threatened rain showers all day, her ceremony was blessed with sun and blue skies and the rain didn’t come until later that night when everyone was safe in the barn.
The first time Mara told me about Mark, a Taiwanese-American, Alabama-native from church, her face lit up and I remember thinking what a contrast it was to her indifferent demeanor the last time she had told me about a guy she liked. “I can’t stop thinking about him, Caroline” she told me. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone,” and I knew she was telling the truth. Eventually, I had the privilege of meeting Mark and found him to be charming, fun, smart and incredibly in love with Mara . Not long after, Mark proposed. What Mara thought was a simple walk in the park, became one of the biggest moments of her life. In Riverside Park they “accidentally” came across a Steinway grand piano with a Central Park Conservancy sign that said “Play Me.” (Little did she know, Mark had rented the piano and faked the sign.) Mara was so excited to have found one of these legendary pianos in Riverside Park and they sat down to play some duets. As he changed the song to one of her favorites, she realized what was happening. Before she knew it, he was down on one knee asking her to be his wife.
Our next coffee date was a longer one, and I grilled Mara on every detail of the proposal and her vision for the wedding day. Mara agonized, “I don’t know if I’d rather you be my bridesmaid or my photographer?!”
“Why not both?”
And that’s how I became the super-stealthy photographer/bridesmaid in Mark and Mara’s wedding. (See if you can find me in two bridal pictures above). The decision was an easy one. What a better way to be up close and personal with every moment of my dear friend’s wedding? I didn’t want to miss Mara and Mark seeing each other for the first time, Mara getting into her dress, or simply be watching the first dance from afar. Being their photographer, I got to be a witness to every hug, every laugh, and every tear. As you can see from their photos, I clearly made the right decision. Mark and Mara’s wedding was bursting at the seams with love, laughter and tears, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else than front-row capturing every moment! It must have been prophetic that before Mara had even met Mark, she wrote a song called “Your Bride.” She told me it was inspired by my wedding photos and generously gave me full rights to use the song on my website. Little did I know, I’d be photographing her wedding just a few years later!
This Tralee Farm wedding up in the Hudson Valley was the rustic wedding of every bride’s dreams. Besides the gorgeous pre-war house for getting ready and the lovely barn for the reception, the property had the friendliest horses of all time: Tribeca, who was particularly attached to Mara and followed her wherever we went. The guests enjoyed bottomless sangria served in mason jars, a delicious buffet of southern BBQ as a nod to Mark’s roots, and throwback tunes that kept the dance floor full all night long.
A big thanks to second shooter, Ash Gardner, and my husband, Alex, for your assistance in making my dual identities of bridesmaid and photographer possible that day! :)
New York Wedding Photographer: Caroline Frost Photography Venue: Tralee Farm Catering: Hickory BBQ Rentals: Sav-On DJ: Chinua Green Hair and makeup: Dallas Williams Photobooth (Mark and Mara’s New Company): The Bowtie BoothSave-the-Dates: Hello Wedding Invitations: Minted / Hooray Creative Dress: Vera Wang Bride’s shoes: Calvin Klein Suit: Thick as Thieves LA (Custom) Groom’s shoes: Ralph Lauren Bowtie and pocket square: J.Crew