One of the craziest things about being a wedding photographer is the insane degrees of separation you get between you and your different clients. Case in point: Many moons ago, I was a lowly event photographer trying to make a name for myself (and a living) in New York City. My dear friends Nicole and Jared begged me for months to photograph their wedding and I finally relented. It ended up being the catalyst that launched my wedding career and completely changed my life. A few years later, I documented Jared’s first cousin Alex’s wedding to Lara. Alex’s family recommended me as the photographer for Caren and Adam’s wedding, and a year later I have the pleasure of photographing Caren’s brother Marty’s wedding to Stephanie. I don’t mean for this to sound like the intro to Genesis (the bible, not the band), but it truly means the world to me to become so entrenched in and familiar with a family that it becomes effortless to capture amazing photos of everyone having the time of their lives.
Stephanie and Marty’s wedding took place at the Shelter Rock Jewish Center, about an hour from Manhattan, in the lovely town of Roslyn, New York. The venue serves double duty as a massive, stunningly beautiful synagogue and catering hall. The staff did a brilliant job converting the hall into a room that could challenge some of the best wedding venues in Jersey. You couldn’t imagine that the place looked like a basic (albeit large) multifunction room just a day before. When we arrived, we found Marty getting finishing up getting ready outside. On paper that sounds ridiculous, but having grown to know him, over the last few months, it wasn’t particularly shocking to find him attempting to tie a bow tie sans mirror in front of arriving guests and family. Stephanie arrived soon afterwards, bright eyed and happily anxious to get the day underway. Her massive bridal party crammed into a tiny bridal room where everyone managed to get dressed and gussied up in a matter of seconds. Stephanie looked radiant in her Tara Keely gown, and breaking every tired tradition, all of Steph’s bridesmaids rocked their own beautiful white dresses.
The festivities kicked off with dueling cocktail hours. The groom’s side was ushered into one room to bless him with words of wisdom and to sign the ketubah, while Stephanie and her family partied it up in a separate room. The two met for the veiling of the bride in a riotous procession full of emotion and smiles. The ceremony itself was traditional and elegant. After the rings were exchanged, family members read a prayer to the couple as hundreds of friends and family watched joyously. A first kiss later and the party was on.
With the exception of a handful of Indian weddings, I have never experienced such an amazing display of excitement and raw energy. From the moment the bride and groom tore through the hall doors, the room exploded with dancing, music and roars of laughter and singing. There wasn’t a single person sitting for the hora. Instead, waves of bodies flew around in circles as Moses and I attempted to penetrate through the guests to try and capture a few frames of Stephanie, Marty or any of their immediate family. At one point, the groom’s side was dancing so hard that I actually tapped out and headed over to the bride’s side, which was equally as intense. Stephanie was passed from relative to friend to relative, as guests lined up to dance with her. When the room stopped spinning for half a second, it was only so that chairs could be passed over for the bride and groom to be hoisted in the air. To my disbelief it happened not once, but three times in the first hour reception. This was the type of wedding that I was born to shoot. I couldn’t aim my camera fast enough to capture the hundreds of amazing moments (though I think we caught our fair share). Every time I looked over, I could see Marty and Stephanie grinning from ear to ear as their friends celebrated the joining together of two wonderful families and, more importantly, two people that are so full of life that you just can’t help but be excited when your’e with them. Congrats guys on your wonderful wedding. Here are some of my favorite photos from your big day.
Shelter Rock Jewish Center
New Hyde Park, NY
Hair & Make-up artist
Wedding Gown Designer
New York, NY
Rabbi Martin Cohen
Shelter Rock Jewish Center
A huge thank you to Moses Cruz for second shooting with me and serving as a human punching bag. His brilliant photos are peppered throughout this portfolio.