As a NJ wedding photographer, Monmouth University has always been on my bucket list of “Awesome Places in NJ to Shoot an Engagement Session”. Though this institution is well known for its polling institute and its impressive list of famous alums, its gorgeous grounds are probably one of NJ’s best kept secrets. When Ayanna & Patrick proposed to do their engagement session here, I was pretty much doing cartwheels in my office. With its magnificent architecture and meticulously manicured landscaping, Monmouth University has officially become one of my favorite places to photograph in New Jersey, and was the perfect backdrop for Alyanna & Patrick’s romantic engagement session. Afterwards, we kicked off the heels (to slip on another pair!) and headed to Red Bank for something a little bit more fun and casual.
As I get older and older each year, I get fewer and fewer opportunities to visit my hometown of Baltimore. It’s hard to imagine that it’s been over 11 years since I’ve been hanging my hat here in New Jersey, setting roots with my own family and building a new life here in the Garden State. Most of my friends in Baltimore have since gotten married, started families, and have gone off to do amazing things in faraway places. To put it quite simply, most of my hometown friends won’t be needing a wedding photographer for the very foreseeable future; that proverbial well, for the most part, has pretty much run dry.
Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to have run into Jolinta & Jason while on my cross-country drive last winter…in ATLANTA of all places. Then I come to learn that they were planning to get married in MY home town. I mean seriously, how does this even happen in real life? Fast forward to several months later, we photographed their epic engagement session in my college stomping grounds of Washington DC, followed by their ridiculously gorgeous wedding at the Four Seasons in Baltimore just a few short months later.
Jolinta & Jason kicked off their big day in their suites, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor. Though our original plans called for some photo fun along the cobblestone streets of Fells Point, we had everything we needed on the rooftop terraces of their hotel. Who needs to walk in all that notorious Maryland summer heat with all that wedding dress, when you’ve got that ridiculously amazing view on the rooftop of one of the most luxurious hotels in Baltimore? But you don’t have to take my word for it, see for yourself!
Venue & Catering: Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore // Ceremony/Officiant: Jack Huang // Hair: Sandy Chen // Make-up: Ping Sun // Dress: Casablanca // Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Groom’s attire: Suit Supply // Jewelry: Rolex (groom’s watch), Cartier (bride’s watch), David Yurman (wedding bands), Mikimoto (earrings, bracelet), Blue Nile (engagement ring) // Floral/Décor: Huiling Kuo // Entertainment: VIP DJ // Favors: designed by Catie Otten // Cinematography: Simon Cook Films // Planner/Coordinator: Katie Nelson
High school sweethearts Sarah & Paul have been together for longer than most couples I’ve known (myself included!). When they initially inquired about their wedding at West Hills Country Club (one of my fave venues), Sarah totally had me with her signature details – which may or may not have included the name of a very yummy burger chain that I sorta-kinda frequent on a regular basis. Needless to say, I was all over it. Although Sarah & Paul originally hail from upstate NY, they currently call Brooklyn their home – which was the perfect location for their laid-back engagement session.
For those who’ve spent any amount of time with me, it’s no secret that I talk…alot (much to my wife’s chagrin). For senior superlatives during my high school years, I was in the running for “Most Talkative”, but lost to a much taller version of Kevin Hart (I’m not bitter…well okay, maybe just a little). It’s not that I’m trying to entertain my present company; it’s just that I find EVERYTHING incredibly fascinating. Groom’s got new shoes on – “What are you thinking, wearing them for the first time during your engagement session?” which turns into “Two pair of socks will do the trick – wait, who has an extra pair of socks lying around?”, which turns into “You know, that’s how we used to stretch out our lacrosse cleats in high school.”
“Wait…you played lacrosse too?” I replied, with genuine (and likely over-the-top) amusement.
Long story short, I happened to have an extra pair of clean socks in my bag – which I happily gave to Ryan: afterall, it was a fair exchange for the ginormous box of donuts they brought all the way from Connecticut for
me my family that day. In somewhat un-related news, did you know that Slavs can squat like Asians – but instead of calling it the “Asian Squat”, it’s called the “Slavic Squat”? #knowledgeispower But back to related news, Ryan and I concluded that midfielders and attackers on a lacrosse field always got the ladies (I had apparently missed that memo in high school). Ryan acknowledged that defenders like himself were somewhat lower on the totem pole, but was consoled by the fact that the goalies probably had it worst. In hindsight, I very well could’ve been a goalie and not known it my entire life.
But back to this engagement session at hand. Though Sindy & Ryan both currently hang their hats in Connecticut, their love story started here in the Big Apple – and Brooklyn was the perfect backdrop to tell their story. They shared their first kiss in Grand Central (how romantic!) over 4 years ago, and the rest was history. These two are some of the sweetest, most thoughtful clients we’ve ever had the privilege of photographing, and we can’t wait to get them in front of our cameras again!
I had a great time getting to know Courtney & Kevin these past few months. For starters, I learned that it was love-at-first-sight when she first saw Kevin jamming on his bass guitar at the neighborhood bar. On the ranking of cool musical instruments you can possibly play to impress the ladies (based on a list that I just made up right now), the bass guitar is right up there along with the air microphone and the air drums (which is pretty much how I dazzled Karis all those years ago). When Courtney is not busy being Kevin’s biggest fan, they spend their free time going on culinary adventures and playing in the rain with their favorite photographer!