GET UNIQUE AND INTIMATE PICTURES (AND INCLUDE YOUR PUPS) WITH A LAID-BACK AT HOME ENGAGEMENT SESSION
Lauren and Tom wanted to get their engagement photos done at home a few weeks before their wedding, and it turned out to be a really great experience. They lived in a beautiful brownstone in Prospect Heights with a private yard, and were about to move to Maine a few months later so Lauren could go to grad school so it was a wonderful way to celebrate their home and their time in Brooklyn.
It was also a very good way for me to get to know them; being able to spend time in their home allowed me to get a glimpse into their personalities and what mattered to them, so I could adjust the way I worked and focus on the important things to please them to the max.
Engagement sessions can feel a bit overwhelming, no matter how relaxed your photographer is, and having someone new in your home asking you to cuddle among your personal belongings can need a bit of getting used to. Lauren waited for the shoot to cut Tom’s hair, and give him his wedding haircut (which was about 3 weeks later). That’s something she usually does for him, so it was a good way to keep them busy while I shot away, and a way to capture this sweet habit they have created over their years together.
Once this was done, we had already shot a bit so everyone was at ease with each other. They spent the rest of the session playing with their dogs, sitting on their stoop, and being overall super cute.
Those two love birds are now happily living in Maine, and I wish them all the happiness in the world with their furry fam!
“WHICH FLOWERS FOR A NOVEMBER WEDDING? WHICH FLOWERS FOR MARCH?”
Besides making masks and hand sanitizers at home (and not enjoying it), I have spent the past 2 months witnessing all of you, husbands and wives to be, navigate all the obstacles that eventually led to the postponement of your wedding. Some of you have reached out to get my input – which I am always happy to give –, and some of you have dealt with it in private.
Whether you needed my help or not, I have been thinking a lot about these changes myself, on my own (in between non-enjoyable mask making sessions).
Some of you are postponing your celebration to the same week-end next year, but some of you have opted for a whole different season. And it got me to wonder: what are the biggest challenges you will have to deal with if your wedding is now scheduled during a whole new season? You might have to think about an extra layer on top of your spaghetti-strap dress, or ditch the long sleeves. And ALL of you will have to rethink your flower options.
So that’s what I’m here to talk about today: how to pick the right flowers for your new wedding date? If your love party was originally planned for May, what kind of flowers can you now pick for your November wedding? Can you even find good flower alternatives out there for colder months?
The answer is a big, heartfelt YES. And to illustrate my point, I have asked the wonderful and badass ladies over at Stems Brooklyn to share their favorite flowers for each season with you with pictures taken by yours truly as well as Stems Brooklyn. So here we go!
WINTER WEDDING FLOWERS (DECEMBER TO MARCH)
Winters are HARSH is the Northeast, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t some beautiful flower choices to pick from. Zara, over at Stems, tells us:
“We are big fans of hellebores. They range in color from frosty white to moody eggplant, and when cut properly can be extremely hardy and long lasting. Other early bloomers include fritillaria, iris, bleeding hearts, and anemones. We’re also obsessed with mimosa, a super bright and funky yellow bloom that occurs on acacia foliage during January and February. Acacia also happens to be our favorite winter foliage, with its purple tinged soft evergreen leaves.”
What’s amazing with winter flowers is that you can go for a cosy, warm feel with velvety hellebores and acacia foliage or an exotic, colorful feel with funky flowers like fritillaria and iris. And of course you can all out with an explosion of color with mimosa, like this gorgeous wedding arch by Stems Brooklyn (pictured below and impossible to miss).
Spring is synonym of blooms and we all wait for the first flowers to point out of the snow to officially declare winter over. There are a myriad of flowers to pick from for a Spring wedding, so let’s see what Zara has to say about this bountiful season:
“Favorites include the well known ranunculus, which has a huge variety of unique colors and varieties in the spring, sweet pea with its unmatched scent and delicate petal, and the mother of all flowers, the peony, our favorite variety being the Coral Charm. This is also the time of year for your favorite blooming branches, like lilac, cherry, dogwood, and spirea, and unique garden locals like Icelandic poppies. We like woodsy garden foliages for spring like soft ferns, whimsical curly willow, and sweet smelling eriostemon.”
Like I said above: bountiful. Those flowers will fit all kinds of weddings, from romantic and classic with beautiful peonies to lush and extravagant with lots of colorful ranunculus (see below). A lot of those flowers come in a wide range of colors as well, making is very easy to match your wedding vision.
Summer is a fun times for weddings; everybody is thinking about their upcoming vacation, drinking on rooftops and BBQing with friends every week-end (that’ genuinely what I think New-Yorkers do all over town). Zara has lots to say about Summer flowers:
“We love to source most of our summer flowers direct from local farms and make use of their abundance of blooming field flowers like cosmos, phlox, rudbeckia, celosia, and larkspur. Bouquets and arrangements from the summer season really feel freshly picked and straight from the ground, and can incorporate seasonal herbs like flowering dill, basil, and borage. Bright green foliages like bupleurum, raspberry leaves, and blueberry branches pair well with the colorful palette.”
Check this gorgeous bouquet below. Bright colors and fun color combinations go so well with the carelessness of Summer. I am in love.
Summer bouquet by Stems Brooklyn, including some their favorites: rudbeckias and larkspurs
FALL WEDDING FLOWERS (SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER)
Fall is prime wedding season. The weather is less extreme and leaves start turning into their gorgeous shades of yellow and orange. Zara points out that couples love to honor nature’s natural colors and textures during this special season.
“The flower of the season has to be the dahlia, with our favorites being the ideally colored burgundy varieties, and the big blush cafe au lait. These pair wonderfully with queen red lime zinnias, lisianthus, scabiosa, amaranthus, and tardiva hydrangea. For foliage we like to honor the season with grassy cuttings like explosion grass and pampas, and seasonal branches like russian olive, forsythia, and maple.”
Fall is all about deep colors and textures, which go so well with the changing greenery outdoors. Check the photos below to see how comforting dahlias and pampa grass feel in a flower arrangement.
That’s all for this one, folks. If you have any questions about which flowers to use for your wedding, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to Stems Brooklyn. These ladies are the BEST, and as you can tell from all the Googling you’ll have to do after reading about their personal input on seasonal flowers, they know their stuff.
FACETIME PHOTOSHOOTS ARE IN! AND THEY ARE A TON OF FUN
With all this time on my hand, I have a lot of room to think about what the future will hold for my loved ones, my clients, and the wedding industry.
How can I keep shooting if we can’t all be in the same room? Weddings and family photography are all about contact and intimacy. And don’t get me started on the sweaty dance floor dance parties. But then it dawned on me that physical distancing didn’t have to be the end of people-related photography.
It was late one night and I was going down an Instagram rabbit hole (who hasn’t, since the beginning of lockdown?! Don’t lie to me.), thinking how strange it was that I could just dive into someone’s personal life so easily; looking at their pets, their kids, their home.
That’s when it all started to make sense. My phone was the answer to bridging the gap between my couples and me. I researched it a bit, and found out that FaceTime allows one user to take a photo of the other user’s screen when they are on a video call. Creep-much? Yes. But also very useful.
HOW DOES A FACETIME ENGAGEMENT OR WEDDING WORK?
I did a test with my husband Chris, which was a bit ridiculous since we were in the same apartment. Then I did another more serious test with my best friend who happens to have a lovely place with tons of sunlight going through her huge windows. We decided on the perfect time to catch the best light in her apartment, which was 10am, and off we went.
The shoot was hilarious and very challenging, because I couldn’t move around. My friend was my camera and my body, and I was the eyes only. I had to have her start by showing me all the nooks and crannies of her place to decide which room to shoot in, then she had to prop the phone up at various angles and distances before I hit the virtual shutter on the screen to take a picture. The pictures were taken through her phone camera but they were saved directly to my camera roll (I told you. Creep-much). It took a lot of directing on my part, a lot of “go back this way” and “pivot the phone a hair that way” but the results were surprisingly good for a first time!
After a bit more training, I decided to make this my thing. My lockdown thing. I will be the FaceTime photographer who shoots engagement pictures and weddings via her phone. And it felt like fate when Andrew Cuomo announced a day later that he would allow virtual weddings to take place in the state of New-York.
So finally, after speaking with wedding officiant Daniela – half of the awesome duo behind Once Upon a Vow – we decided to join forces and offer virtual weddings to our couples.
Daniela and her sister Karla were as excited as I was to hear Cuomo’s big news, and in the next few days they will be sharing a bunch of cool and useful information for couples to get hitched over Zoom and how to proceed. Stay tuned, because those two are a well of information.
And if you want somebody to take pictures of your big-small day, I am available to be your gal for the photo portion of the day. I am offering ceremony-only FaceTime coverage for $50 and ceremony + a choice of FaceTime engagement pictures or wedding pictures for $125.
So hit me up if you want to get married in 2D! We might all be stuck at home, but FaceTime engagement shoots and weddings will connect all of us again.
EDIT: you can find a complete FAQ on virtual weddings over here as well as the procedure to follow to make your FaceTime wedding official.
COVID-19 CRASHED YOUR WEDDING? YOU CAN TURN YOUR BIG LOVE PARTY INTO A COOL NEW-YORK ELOPEMENT
Man, I thought I had seen it all. Then a virus came along, and I realized I had seen nothing at all. Life has been shaken in more ways than one, and as a wedding photographer my whole year has been turned upside down. 2020 dates became 2021 dates, Spring weddings became Winter weddings. And some folks have decided to hold off altogether until the horizon gets a little clearer.
But having to postpone your wedding doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Although social distancing is fundamental right now and I am not advising anyone to have any sort of elopement unless it really is just the two of you (like those badass ladies somewhere in the city), planning a small and last minute wedding can be a great way to celebrate the end of these crazy times – soon, I hope! – and shout your love from the rooftops. You can always have your bigger wedding later this year.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, it is much easier than you think. Small elopements are very simple to organize. I had a 48 hour engagement before I eloped six years ago and we had 4 people in attendance, so I know how easy -and fast!- it can be to get married, so here are my tips on how to organize a last minute elopement in New-York.
1. KEEP THE GUEST LIST AS TINY AS POSSIBLE
Whether you’re having 200 or 80 guests, the guest list is always a headache. How to decide who to keep off your list? Should you invite people who invited you to their wedding, even if theirs was much larger than yours? Should you invite all your cousins even if you are close to a couple of them only? How do you break the news to the people you cannot invite?
Having a very small and last minute elopement gives you a very good excuse to not invite everyone. Include your parents and siblings, and a handful of your dearest friends. This should keep the guest list under 20. If your family is far away and you don’t want them flying twice this year to come see your get married, have a friends-only elopement. These can be a ton of fun, and have a whole different dynamic than a family wedding.
2. CHOSE YOUR BACKDROP
The point of having an elopement is to simplify the planning process. By choosing a spot with a gorgeous backdrop, you will need nothing else than yourselves and your guests to make it beautiful. Central Park allows parties of 20 guests or less to have a wedding on their ground without a permit. Although the gazebos such as the Cop Cot or the Ladies Pavilion are usually quite busy, it isn’t hard to find a great spot to have a ceremony in the park. How about one of the beautiful bridges or Hernshead, which boasts beautiful views over Midtown?
Dumbo, in Brooklyn, also has a lot of great spots for an impromptu ceremony, such as the beach, St Ann’s Warehouse, or even the promenade in front of Jane’s Carousel.
There are many small parks all around the city that would be a great fit for a small elopement. Some of them are technically private, but they are so secret that you can easily find a good time to go and have a quick ceremony. These spots are better for very small elopements with 10 people or less though, so keep that in mind if you decide to go the “guerilla”wedding” route! Some of those spots include: Amster Yard and Greenache Park in Midtown East, Alice’s Garden in Midtown West, or the McDougal-Sullivan park downtown.
You can also pick a quiet street in the West Village and have your ceremony out there for the world to see. A street like Gay Street could be ideal for this, since it is stunning and very quiet. You can also check if any of your friends has a rooftop you can use to have your celebration. Most of us have one, and the views are usually quite awesome!
And of course, you can also get married in your own home. This will ensure that your venue will hold no matter what virus is trying to kill the planet on your wedding date (let’s hope none, but we never know), plus it will allow you to wrap yourselves in those memories anytime you step into the room.
3. PICK MUST-HAVE VENDORS
An officiant is all you need to make your wedding official, and New-Yorkers are lucky enough to be allowed to get married anywhere by anyone who has been ordained. But if you want to make your day even more special, you can hire more people to beautify your day. A florist can make you a bouquet or a boutonniere, a cake maker can make a small cake for you and your guests, and a photographer can capture your celebration. Most vendors have special prices for elopements, so make sure to check with them when you inquire about your elopement. With those must-have vendors, your wedding will be as stunning as any other, and you won’t break the bank.
There. With those tips, you have a solid base to build on top of. Now let’s show this virus who’s the boss (hint: not him) and let’s get married already!
KATELYN AND RYAN: A SWEET AND INTIMATE CELEBRATION AT A HIP BROOKLYN RESTAURANT
I was honored that Katelyn and Ryan picked us to shoot their Fall wedding at Celestine. After spending a lovely Sunday afternoon with them in the Spring for their engagement photos, I discovered that their relationship was very special and that their wedding was going to be a good one. And it totally lived up to our expectations. The venue they picked, Celestine, was a treat for our eyes – and cameras –. Tucked right beside the Manhattan Bride, Celestine boasts beautiful views on the city and the two bridges. And if you plan things well, you can have your ceremony outside right as the sun sets behind Manhattan.
That’s what Katelyn and Ryan did. After some family photos and wedding portraits around Dumbo, we all headed to Celestine for their ceremony. It started right when the sun started disappearing behind the buildings, and ended during the special Blue Hour that follows sunset. The night ended with some dancing indoors and cigar smoking outside. Celestine was the perfect venue for this laid back and intimate wedding. And I cannot wait to get back there again and shoot!
Photography by the super talented Jonica Moore for Carole Cohen Photography