We started the morning in the rain with slug bellied clouds and low hanging mist. There was hope in the air and the sweet smell of Spring. The staff at the Hasbrouck House busied themselves with keeping things dry and tidy while the Bridesmaids keep a keen eye out the window. Allie never seemed too worried or bothered and so the morning just keep moving along at its own pace, a bit sluggish from the dampness in the air.
When she finally put her gorgeous wedding dress on the rain had made up its mind and hitch-hiked south for the weekend just in time to have her First Look with Harris. She mentioned the little smoke house out back with the ivy climbing it’s stone walls and I couldn’t blame her, it called to me too. His face was perfect. A mix of swoony and sentimental and I may have been the one tearing up after all.
When we arrived at Red Maple Vineyard for the Ketubah signing, all signs of Spring had arrived. The trees were lush and green, the flowers were showing off their new skirts, dancing just for us. It was if they were all courting each other, ready to be next in line.
We headed to the top of the hill for the ceremony overlooking the Hudson Valley with the river in view down below. I’ve never seen a happier Bride come down the aisle. Allie’s smile takes full command of the room and rightfully so. No one could take their eyes off her.
The Groove Shop is my new favorite wedding band. And Faye and Rene absolutely blew me away with their floral design. They made a gorgeous flower and leaf backdrop for behind the sweetheart table that was straight out of a fantasy story book. I was floored. Let’s just go take a look, yes?
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I always work with my couple's on their Wedding-Day-Of-Timeline. Let's face it, they've never done this before and how should they know how much time I need for certain parts of the day, right? I talk with every couple about the Pro's and Con's of doing a First Look but I NEVER push them into it. So Laurena and Mark decided to see each other for the first time as she came down the aisle. And it was beautiful and emotional.
Fast forward to Cocktail Hour where we quickly photographed their large wedding party (like 20 people large!) and then their amazing Family and when all was said and done I had 6 minutes to photograph them as a married couple. And then that 6 minutes turned into 3 minutes when the wedding planner came and grabbed them to line up for Introductions. And my heart was broken. All this time and work for them to have 3 minutes of Bride and Groom Portraits. And the reality of it, is that this is common.
THIS is why the First Look exists. So we can knock out Wedding Party and Family pictures before the ceremony and in return, the Bride and Groom have as much time as they want for portraits.
A couple weeks after the wedding I got an email from Laurena. She said, "Sam, you were right. We had NO time. So what do we do now?"
Well I'll tell you what we did. They put on their dress and suit again and we went to my favorite new Catskill Wedding Venue in Rountop called The Glen Falls House. We went to waterfalls, we danced in the magical forest, we drank beers and told jokes and laughed. We laughed a lot. And we made some gorgeous portraits. As a married couple. Just on a different day. And we all loved it. I hope you love it too.
Here is Laurena + Mark's Trash The Dress Session/Makeup Wedding Portrait Session. Enjoy!
When you find out that your couple had a soul bonding experience at Burning Man in the first few months of dating, if you're anything like me, you do a happy dance! Brett and Talia were leaving Brooklyn last Thursday to come to Hudson, NY for a dress fitting so we scheduled their Connection Session for the same day. I am quite fond of Hudson and a little biased as I got married at the Basilica Hudson in 2014. The magnificent brick building sits on the very edge of town, in a seemingly forgotten area that houses broken down trailers, old industrial buildings long ago abandoned, several non-working railroad tracks, and it's eye candy everywhere! Founded in 2010 by musician Melissa Auf der Maur and filmmaker Tony Stone, Basilica Hudson makes its home in a spectacular solar-powered reclaimed 1880s industrial factory on the waterfront of the historic City of Hudson.
We met for drinks and guacamole at Mexican Radio in town and then headed down to Front Street. Even though it was super cold out, the sun was luring us with her golden magnificence. The birds were starting to come out and buds on the branches told a long-awaited story of the Spring to come. We wandered around the area on foot, stopping to laugh and chat anywhere that called to us. The textures and debris that I found to work with made my heart happy and lent itself to so much depth in their final Collection. It was so nice to be back in the good vibes of the Basilica and in the sweet town of Hudson, NY.
Brett and Talia are two very special people who just welcomed their daughter to their amazing world. I loved hanging with them for a couple hours and if they didn't have a baby to get back to, I have a feeling we would have ended up at dinner talking into the late night. We found so many things we all had in common in the short time were together and now I am even more excited for their May wedding at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY.
I really get stuck trying to describe how much I love documenting weddings at Red Maple Vineyard. So many thoughts rush in at once that it's hard to choose the first ones to mention. The Stone family, who started Corner Stone Catering 25 years ago, bought the old West Park Winery and magically transformed the property into the premier Hudson Valley wedding venue that is today. There is so much attention to detail, so many well thought out moving pieces.
When Claudia and Robby first got in touch with me about being their Red Maple Vineyard wedding photographer, I was immediately excited to meet them. There is always something so special about the couples that fall in love with Red Maple Vineyard. And I was right, I loved them immediately. We first met for their Connection Session in New Paltz, NY where I took them for my victory drive around the Hudson Valley just chasing the light. We stayed around the base of the Mohonk Mountain and had a great time chatting, laughing and getting to know each other. It is such a big help to not arrive on the wedding day as a complete stranger. It gets all the awkward out and allows us to kick ass on the wedding day if we only have ten minutes.
Claudia and Robby decided to do a First Look. I picked a gorgeous spot along one of the many gardens on the property. When Robby turned around and saw Claudia for the first time, his face just lit up. They were so so sweet together and it was such a pleasure to bear witness to their private moment. We walked around the wedding venue to some of the gorgeous and diverse spaces that I love. The huge old oak tree, the tree-lined street, the secret garden hidden among one of the rows of grapes and we were even greeted by the horses that live on the property.
Red Maple Vineyard really knows how to throw an amazing party! They never have the guest sitting for too long which helps the party keep its upbeat vibe. Even though it rained for most of the reception, the guest were still grabbing umbrellas and running out to the Airstream Photo Booth. Yes, that's right- an Airstream photo booth!! Rose & Dale Photo Co. has got it going on! It was impeccably decorated and such a cool and different idea.
Oh Claudia and Robby- thank you from the bottom of my heart for honoring me with documenting your amazing wedding. Your friends and family were so much fun and I wish you the best in your new lives together! And another big thank you to my amazing assistant Caitlin for documenting this Red Maple vineyard wedding with me!
Even though I live in New Paltz and know all the nooks and crannies of the amazing Shawangunk Mountains, I love it when I get to venture out into other amazing parts of the Hudson Valley. Lately, I've been obsessed with Cold Spring. It had been a long long time since I had taken a couple there and once I did... I couldn't stop. Especially for those couples who really want to bring their dogs. It's perfect! And Emily + Michael's Husky's were in heaven!
There is something really magical about Engagement Sessions, or as I like to call them, Connection Sessions. Watching two people enjoy a couple hours together, with no phones, no distractions, and beautiful views... it's hard to not enjoy it.
This particular spot in Cold Spring is off the beaten path. It truly has it all. The forest path eventually opens up to a sandy beach at the edge of the Hudson River, with overgrown patches of grass, fallen trees, branches that have beaten by the river and turned to driftwood, and big open skies as far as the eye can see. Every once in a while, a boat comes by reminding you how remote you really are.
I love documenting Engagement Sessions. This is when I first get to know my couples, months before their wedding, with no time restrictions, nowhere to be, just chatting and getting to know each other. When I document engagements, I tell my bride and grooms to pick a location that really means something to them. Somewhere that is meaningful enough to stand the test of time. But other times, my couples just want to be out in nature and so they defer to me to pick their engagement session location. That is when I can dig into my arsenal of amazing Hudson Valley locations and chose something that suits their personality. When my bride and groom want to include their dogs, I have specific areas that I usually gravitate towards for their engagement pictures. I don't want to choose a location that would be too crowded, as then the dogs get distracted. I also don't want to choose an area that is too urban where they don't feel like they can relax. Being out in nature is always my first choice for Engagement Sessions with dogs.
This Cold Spring Engagement Session with dogs was easily one of my favorites. The couple was so sweet and so amazing, their dogs were so well behaved and absolutely gorgeous, and the weather couldn't have been better. As far as engagement photography goes, this session is up there as one of my favorites.