On a very last minute scheduling frenzy, these two love birds met up with Jon in northern New Jersey for their engagement photos. The cherry blossoms were nearly peaking when this session took place, and we happily soaked in the magnificent colors as we worked our way around Branchbrook Park. Some say this park Newark’s best kept secret– so much so that we almost decided not to write about the location specifics (half-kidding).
Priscilla and Dayton: congratulations to the both of you on your engagement, and thanks for letting Dreamlite Photography be a part of this celebration.
We’re kicking off our 2013 wedding season with Erny and James’ very intimate private ceremony. They officially tied the knot last week in NYC, and celebrated their new lives together among family. Their private ceremony took place at The Water Club, a very choice location situated along the East River. Loved ones flew in from as far as California to celebrate with Erny + James, and the entire night felt like a super fancy family banquet (with extra fancy clothes). It was stress-free, close-knit, warm, and everything a private ceremony should be. Congratulations once again to Erny and James, and we wish you the very best in your new lives together!
Below are a few of our favorite frames from this lovely couple’s event– enjoy! (With single-digit evening temperatures outside, a shout-out to the Water Club for keeping us all warm is definitely mandatory. Although the Water Club’s Yelp! page says that they are closed for renovation, they are actually really open.. and really wonderful!)
At the end of October, Jon had the incredible opportunity to fly to Mexico City and collaborate with his good friend / fellow photographer cohort Victor Zuñiga for an all-night wedding celebration at the Anahuacalli Museum in southern Mexico City. Originally conceived by the legendary Diego Rivera, the actual museum wasn’t completed until after Rivera’s passing.
The daytime was full of the standard preparations, but the evening… the evening was something extraordinary. To call it “one big celebration” would be an infinite understatement. After doing some portraits with the bride and groom, the formal group photos, included a few b&g creative lighting portraits, and moved on to the actual ceremonies. The first ceremony was traditional; bridal party involvement, vows, music, confetti, celebratory kisses + the signing of the marriage license. Afterwards, they conducted a ‘spiritual ceremony’ of some sort, with a spiritual figure taking the lead of this one. Didn’t completely understand this part, but I was fascinated by the environmental uplighting & completely enamored that we were photographing a Mexican wedding under the moonlight. Amazing…(oh, and the couple eventually sealed a hand-written contract with blood drops from pricking their fingers with a pin)
Then the party got started. With multiple live performances (including a few numbers by YouTube sensations TropicalForever), endless cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres, tequila-pumping water guns, and phenomenal dancing all night long. At some point, we lost track of time… which, coinciding with the Mexican Daylight Savings Time, we were thoroughly confused. We officially wrapped up around 3:30am (or was it 4:30am?), drove back to Victor’s apartment, and completely crashed in our respective beds before the sun had risen.
Not only was this my first wedding in Mexico, but it was also my first wedding immersed in 99% spanish. It was quite a challenge (often times, I felt lost by the fast-pace advanced conversational dialogues) but I survived. And I loved every moment of it.
Thank you to my friend Victor for an amazing, out-of-this-world opportunity to join you in documenting this wedding in your country. Congratulations also to our newlyweds, Ximena and Maicol, on your new life together!
Want to see more images? Check out + follow our facebook page. There’s a whole lot more images posted here.
While our lack of recent blogposts may hint at a quieter winter, we’ve actually been quite busy working on a whole lot of exciting things. While Howie and his wife are expecting a new addition to their family any day now, Jon has been spending the last few weeks in Honduras, doing documentary + portrait work with Signs of Love. In fact, this very blogpost has been written + uploaded from Honduras. Enjoy!
Never before have we seen a wedding with so many beautifully-crafted + handmade ideas infused into one wedding day. Keith and Lindsey certainly take the cake when it comes to celebrating their wedding nuptials in a very personal + creative style. Among some of our favorite things were (in no particular order):
+ Bride’s hair accessory, bridal shrug, and all the mens’ ties were handknit by Lindsey’s grandma
+ Bouquets & boutonnieres were handcrafted from the forest
+ Home brewed/bottled beers served at wedding reception by Keith’s housemate
+ Wedding & Engagement band belonged to Lindsey’s great-grandmotjer
+ Birch wood used for table centerpieces + ring shot were collected by L & K
+ Wedding ‘guestbook’ via finger prints
+ Homemade pies by Lindsey’s mother
+ Handmade, lifesized communal Crossword Puzzle for guests
+ Cedar leaves thrown by the guests at the grand exit
For a January wedding in the state of Michigan, we were certainly blessed with a mild wintry day. Their wedding ceremony took place at the Campus Chapel in Ann Arbor, MI, followed by a cozy reception at the Cobblestone Farms. We topped off the night with warm speeches, homemade pies, and a vegetarian/vegan dinner menu so delicious (thanks to Angel Food Catering) I lost all desire for meat that weekend. Four words: Butternut squash bread bowls. If that wasn’t enough to make you wish you were at their wedding, check out the square dancing/River Jordan dancing photos below.
Congratulations once again to Lindsey + Keith, and thank you for letting me be there to tell your story.
A special message from Howie:
My beautiful wife and I are expecting our first child. Diana is due later this month and we couldn’t be more excited. We have not found out the gender of our baby and look forward to the surprise. We wanted to share some great photos that Jon (the other half of Dreamlite) took of us both in New York City. We hope you enjoy these photos and we’ll update you soon with more photos of the new baby! (HC)
We’ve taken a few weeks off from blogging (holidays + traveling + family), and now we’re back! We hope everyone is enjoying themselves this winter.
Be sure to check out our latest photoset below from Dan + Perla’s wedding day… and just in case you missed their teaser post, click this link. Their entire wedding day went by beautifully. The ladies spent the morning getting ready at The Madison Hotel, an upscale boutique hotel located in the heart of Morris County. I was certainly impressed by all of the DIY details that our bride incorporated into the wedding day– among many other things, the hilarious photobooth props. Perla and Dan tied the knot at the groom’s childhood church, followed by an amazing reception at the Madison Hotel. The rest of the night was one big party. Between the excellent food, a decadent dessert bar, a packed dance floor, two lovely newlyweds and a crowd-pleasing photobooth, we couldn’t have asked for a more exciting evening.
For even more images, go to our facebook page + browse through Dan + Perla’s wedding photos.
Last but not least, a proper shoutout to some of the amazing vendors from that day:
When you receive an email from a mother asking to have Halloween costume portraits done of their child, the appropriate response would be “Of course! That sounds great.” When the mother suggests gathering a few other playmates from her neighborhood to join in, the correct answer is (and was): “When?!?!”
Meet the cutest lady bug, princess & witch in all of Manhattan.
In case you need a refresher, be sure to check out the teaser photos from Karl and Michelle’s wedding day. Karl and Michelle’s wedding day celebration was as smooth as could be- their schedule was simple, easy-going, and filled with a whole lot of celebration. The ceremony was held at the Calvary Baptist Church of Little Egg Harbor, followed by portraits at the nearby Freedom Fields Park. Although the weather was quite sunny and humid on the day of, our bride and groom handled the conditions wonderfully (and just as we assure all our couples, you can’t see “yucky weather” in the final portraits).
One of the most memorable aspects of their wedding day was learning that some of the bride’s relatives had come from Ecuador for the wedding. And for those of you who know about Jon’s three month photography work/adventures in Central America, this meant he was ecstatic to practice his Spanish with one of the bride’s aunt.
Once again, congratulations to Karl and Michelle on their beautiful marriage, and we hope you enjoy our latest photoset below.
Pía’s parents had contacted us not too long ago about a family photo session in New York City. Excitingly enough, they had heard about us through one of their friends (aka another family we had the honor of photographing last fall). We eventually decided upon Carl Schurz Park, an increasingly favorite spot of ours for photo sessions. Home to Gracie Mansion, an outdoor dog run, and a family-friendly environment, we spent our entire session playing with bubbles and exploring the various areas of the park. Special thanks to our friend YanShu for the lighting assistance- couldn’t have done the family photos without your help. Enjoy some of our favorite images below.
Last but not least, I wanted to include one of my favorite moments from their session– see the last photo & the accompanying text.
(Stay tuned for images from Andrew’s upcoming wedding THIS weekend)
When you are informed that your good friend’s bachelor party is an overnight camping trip, there’s only one thing that you can think about (if you are a photographer, at least…): “Ridiculously awesome lighting possibilities.” Certainly, one could guess that this environment, “the wilderness”, would be on Andrew’s list of top choices for his bachelor party. He’s fond of everything outdoors- blazing campfires, roasted hot dogs, late night conversations, pale ale and good company. We spent the night stoking the campfire with a few good beers, a cuban-seed Don Simon, and planning pranks for whoever went to the nearby outhouse. Earlier, the guys had gone freshwater fishing to no avail. Our plan for the next morning was breakfast (pigs in a blanket, campfire style) and one more try at some fish. Below are some of our favorite images:
(written by Jon. wedding took place on 02/06/11)
Location: León, Nicaragua
Skills Used: Slight eavesdropping, Asking politely, Broken Spanish
Results: One amazing experience after another
It all started with a late Friday afternoon staff meeting. I had been lounging around in the main office of Nuevas Esperanzas (an amazing, Nicaraguan-based NGO), waiting for the 2pm staff meeting to begin. Having been in Nicaragua for a few weeks already, I thought this upcoming weekend would be like any other- exploring the city, enjoying some downtime and sharpening my Spanish. One of my coworkers leaned over and asked one of our directors, “I wonder who is getting married tomorrow at the Cathedral…”
“Wait?! Wedding? Married? How did you know there was a wedding? I’d love to go to a wedding! I’m a wedding photographer!” I jumped in excitedly.
After some more investigating, it turned out my coworker’s husband was the Executive Chef of the premier hotel & wedding reception venue in the region– Hotel El Convento. Saturday’s wedding was to take place at the Cathedral, followed by an evening reception at that exact wedding venue. Better yet, he was happy to ask the newlyweds-to-be if I could tag along for the wedding day, photograph unobtrusively, and deliver them a CD of photos after the wedding. Saturday afternoon came, and still no word about the wedding. I was ready to call it quits and join my friends for a local boxing match, when, a few hours before the wedding ceremony was to start, I received a phone call from my coworker… I was good to go!
Although the wedding ceremony was scheduled to begin at 7pm, the bride didn’t arrive until almost an hour later. Regardless, the ceremony proceeded beautifully. Everyone from the guests to the bridal party looked extra sharp in their attire, and the bride herself was especially stunning in her white gown. Being the one and only Cathedral in the town of León, as well as an important historical landmark, many of the people passing through the Cathedral were a mixture of tourists and locals alike. All throughout the ceremony, I watched a myriad of unfamiliar, traditional Catholic traditions unfold. Coupled with a whole lot of fast-spoken Spanish, I never really understand much at all. Of all the weddings I have been to over the last few years, this was my very first traditional Catholic wedding… and it was in Nicaragua. Thousands of miles away from home, and casually taking photos at a wedding? Thrilled would have been an understatement. (Oh and about the drunk guy who kept harassing me and shouting at me during the ceremony? The one I had to ask National Police security officers to remove? Email me and I’ll gladly tell you the story.)
As stated earlier, I was nothing more than an “unofficial third shooter” by most accounts. Technically, I did in fact receive the permissible “OK” from the bride & groom to attend the wedding. In fact, I spent most of the ceremony photographing from the right side of the pews, maneuvering slowly and trying to ignore the incessant (and well deserved) stares of others… among other things, being the only Asian-looking person in the entire cathedral of hundreds of attendees (Not to mention my 2 DSLRs on me, a camera bag, blue polo shirt, beige khakis, and running sneakers amongst a throng of suit+ties and gorgeous evening gowns). As for proper photographer etiquette, I did make it a point to introduce myself to the two official photographers before the ceremony started– Otto J. Mejia & Enmanuel Barquero. They were both incredibly friendly & welcoming, and though I assured them I wouldn’t step on their toes throughout the night, they welcomed me like family. I carpooled with them to the reception, joined in for some portraits, and ate a fantastic meal at their table. Be sure to click on their names above & check out their photography work.
Some fun facts:
-Initial construction of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of León began in 1747
-Had been told that the strawberries served at the cocktail hour were imported for that special evening.
-While everyone I met that night spoke Spanish, many spoke a high-level of English, too. Not common to find oneself in this kind of situation in Central America.
-Hotel El Convento was originally built in the 1600′s, deteriorated, and rebuilt to it’s current state in the mid 1990′s. Find them also on facebook.
Last but not least, below are a selection of my favorite images from that evening. Enjoy.
Dan and Perla’s engagement session this past weekend was amazing. Although the previous few days have been cloudy + gloomy, we were blessed with beautiful, sunny weather & clear blue skies. We started our session at D.U.M.B.O, and later ventured on a bit more south towards Prospect Park. Along the way, we had multiple encounters with the city garbage collection truck, of whom we were certain had been following us around.. On a lighter note, we also ran into a group of Boston Terrier-loving folks (Dan + Perla’s favorite dog breed) who were glad to join us for some photos. It was a ton of fun to photograph Perla and Dan- the best combination of relax, goofy, patient and romantic a photographer could ask for (and of course, a special thanks to Yanshu Liu for the lighting assistance).
Looking forward to your big day in October!
On the second day of their wedding celebration, Raheel and Zoya joined their loved ones at the Worlds Fair Marina Restaurant & Banquet Hall. Saturday’s schedule was a whole lot more relaxed; food, games, dancing, speeches and a full night of celebrating. As a photographer, observer and cultural outsider, it was fascinating to be immersed in a completely different kind of wedding than one I was use to. Many of the wedding practices had great significance behind them too; something that really made their two day celebration very special. When the Groom and his family entered the banquet hall, Zoya’s family showered rose petals on them as a traditional form of welcoming. When the time came, Zoya came out of the bridal room and proceeded to the ceremony area with her family members. Raheel and his family met them midway, whereupon the father of the bride symbolically joined their hands together– perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the evening. As husband and wife, they took their seats together on stage. After rounds of group photos and plenty of food, rings were exchanged and the cake was cut.
One of the most entertaining activities of the night came next: the “Juta Chupai” (the hiding of the shoe). In this lighthearted activity, the brides’ friends and family steal the groom’s wedding shoes. In order to get the shoes back, he must pay their requested ransom… in cash. After a little bargaining between both parties, the groomsmen pay the ransom and the game is complete. This payment (many hundreds of $$, believe it or not) also doubled as a thank-you gift for the tremendous amount of hours the bridesmaids devoted in making the wedding celebration happen… so obviously both sides bargained pretty tough.
The last few hours were celebrated with a whole lot of really fun dancing. In the final phase of the wedding ceremony, an event known as the “Rukhsati” took place. Zoya’s family gave their final blessings to the bride & groom, and wished them both a happy marriage. This was definitely the most emotional, tearful event for everybody. Although in many other cultures it may sound like a simple “goodbye”, for the bride’s family it was anything but. Her family was essentially saying farewell as Zoya literally ‘departed’ from her family’s household to join the new household that was her marriage. And my favorite images? The last three. In the few moments that the bride was alone, she is given her final, tear-filled goodbye by her own father.