Melanie looked just like I remembered her. She is my youngest sister’s friend and has been since grade school but I haven’t seen her since probably her junior prom, when I photographed Bria and her friends before the party. The chance to be a part of Melanie’s wedding was something I was super excited for!
Watching her walk down the street with Scott to begin our pictures was the best. You could tell they were a couple. Not just because of the beautiful lace dress and the handsome blue suit but because of the way they walked and talked together. Like a radiant team of two ready to take on whatever 2020 threw at them. Including the rain that had been happening all day. Good news, the rain tapered off just as we were beginning pictures!
( Did you know that having an overcast sky is not a bad thing in photography? It creates a giant softbox in the sky and nice soft light. In fact, unless you are photographing at golden hour, it is often preferable to sunny skies. )
Scott, turns out, grew up one town over in Mt Laurel. He met Mel at a bar in Philly. Funny how small the world is sometimes. He’s got a great smile, a close family, a fabulous sense of humor, and is totes into Melanie. I only just met him but he’s good people, you can tell.
The Shambles is an historic open air street market in Philly’s Headhouse Square. Iconically incorporating some of the history of the city they live in and love, this is where Mel and Scott said their vows. Surrounded by immediate family, Mel’s dad walked her down the aisle to Scott. Officiating was Scott’s parents next door neighbor. In a beautiful and intimate ceremony, they exchanged rings and promises. Officially married!
After some family pictures, we headed over to The Twisted Tail. And here I’d like to give a big thumbs up to them. The original plan was a bigger wedding at a different venue with lots of dancing and friends but … 2020 happened. So things changed a bit. The Twisted Tail was supposed to be the location of the rehearsal dinner, it was special to Mel and Scott, they really like it there. When Twisted Tail heard that the original plan was not going to work out, they really went out of their way to make this wedding as special as they could.
Scotts’ nephew was the emcee and introduced the new husband and wife into the room and their first dance. Parent dances were next and then everyone said a toast. It was perfect!
Congratulations Mel and Scott! Thank you for letting me be a part of your celebration!
Hair / Makeup : Moxie Blue Salon
Venue : The Twisted Tail
Cake / Cookies : Night Kitchen Bakery
Soooo, look what I found! Junior prom! LOL This is medium format film. I was 22, 23 when I took this?? (Don't do any math!)
12x8 Album from Barbara Wentzel on Vimeo.
9x6 Album from Barbara Wentzel on Vimeo.
2020 has been difficult for many people and many reasons but on June 20th in Watchung, NJ you wouldn't know know it. Here there was a celebration! Of love, of family, of close friends, all the important things in life. An intimate Catholic ceremony at Devon's high school was always part of the plan, the larger guest list and party just had to be scooched a bit down the calendar. They will have two chances to celebrate! This one, was a joy for me and obviously for them.
Devon, with her father, walked down the aisle to Rob with her best friend ( from the age of 5! ) singing "Only Fools Rush In." At the end of the aisle, there were HUGE smiles, on Rob's face, on Devon's face, on her Dad, even the Monsignor looked overjoyed. As it was a family affair, both of the sisters had readings and after the homily Devon and Rob exchanged rings and vows. The huge smiles came back again as everyone clapped them back down the aisle and outside as a married couple!
The first thing we did was a group photo of everyone. ( Which I always like to do at an intimate affair. Pictures of your people are important! ) With much joking and making sure everyone looked their best, we proceeded with pictures outside the chapel. Once we finished Devon, Rob and I headed over to Ninety Acres. Which was a nice drive because it was pretty hot and the air conditioning was a blessing.
Now it was just the three of us. Have you ever met a couple and think to yourself, "Wow, they really go well together!"? Well that's Devon and Rob. They met a mutual friends party and Devon agreed to go to a Springsteen concert, thinking it was a joke. Well, Rob bought the tickets for real and they've been together ever since. Ha!
Devon, Rob, you are warm, friendly, funny, and amazing people, it was an honor to be included and I can't wait to see you again in November to do some more celebrating!
Hair and Makeup : Beauty and the Blush
Florist : Cassandra Shah Flowers & Events, Red Bank, NJ
Sign & Menu : The Jess Press, Middletown, NJ
Chapel : Mount St Mary Academy High School, Watchung, NJ
Dinner : Ninety Acres, Peapack and Gladstone, NJ
I love you and I like you
You really couldn't ask for a more perfect day. The weather was divine, the ideal temperature, partly cloudy and no rain. The kind of day everyone hopes for when planning their wedding. And it couldn't have happened for nicer people.
I met Suzanne and Rob 3 weeks before their wedding at their charming house for an engagement session. It was another beautiful Sunday, foreshadowing the upcoming nuptials. We spent an hour together, taking pictures and having fun with Jay, their 3 year old son. Engagement sessions are like an intense practice. They allow you to become more comfortable in front of the camera, with your photographer (me) and with pda. I know it's weird to have someone watching you make out and cuddle, but it looks great in photographs! Connection is a big part of a great image, your connection together, trust in me, knowing the posing, your comfort in front of the camera. So the more prepared and comfortable you feel, the more smoothly and quickly we can get everything done during your wedding day. I feel like Suzanne and Rob didn't need too much practice, they were obviously very comfortable with each other. You know when a couple's been together for a while, and you can just feel the bond and anticipation of what the other person thinks/needs? That's what Suzanne and Rob have.
Arriving at the Maplewood Country Club, I walked in and found Suzanne getting her hair and makeup done, while chatting with her bridesmaids. They helped her into her dress and shoes and assisted with some last minute jewelry choices. ( I loved what they chose, really went with the look. ) Once we had taken some bridal portraits, it was time for first look.
Rob was waiting outside with Jay, who wanted to see Mommy! We assured him she was coming and soon enough, Jay ran to greet her and then Rob turned around and got a good look. He was grinning from ear to ear! We walked around the golf course ( never on the greens ) and took some gorgeous shots. What a beautiful venue! The bridal party was very close friends and family.
The ceremony began with friends playing Irish music. Jay walked his parents down the aisle and then headed out for a well deserved nap. Suzanne and Rob said vows to each other with love, laugher and a tear or two. They included a special sand ceremony, mixing three different colors together to represent the members of their family. After the first official kiss as husband and wife, Rob grabbed Suzanne's hand and triumphantly swung their hands in the air! It was time to party!
I mean take family photos. Which only took about 15 minutes. And then party!
Many of the guests chose to spend cocktail hour outside. As I mentioned earlier, it was a beautiful day which transitioned into a beautiful evening. There was some fantastic jazz music too. ( I don't know a whole lot about jazz but I really enjoyed what I heard.) After dancing to the classic "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra and a short dance set, it was time for toasts. I enjoy listening to toasts, you can always learn something fascinating. Like Suzanne plays the fiddle with an Irish music group or Rob is someone who goes "all in" and loves jazz. The rest of the evening commenced with dining and dancing and dessert. SO MUCH DESSERT! Cake and ice cream and cookies and cupcakes and ice pops! It was a sweet tooth's dream come true. And Jay's, I think!
Thanks to Lynda Bailey for being a great second photographer, Maggie McGill for recommending me, Eileen for being awesome to work with, and most of all, Suzanne and Rob for trusting me on your big day!!
Wedding Planner: An Affair to Remember
Hair and Makeup: Truly Happy Beauty
Florist: Lotus Petals Floral Design, LLC
Videographer: Volyar Media, LLC
Officiant: Dana Lawson
Jazz Trio: Yuma Uesaka
DJ: Unique Musique
Venue: Maplewood Country Club
Hainesport is a small NJ town that most people have no idea exists. I know this because, I must clarify with "near Mt Laurel" or "between Mt Holly and Cherry Hill" to well, everyone, including people who have lived in NJ all their lives. It is small enough to have a K - 8 school, which is where I met Lisa. Her big brother Mike was in my class of 30ish people and we spent ages 5 - 13 learning and growing together. Although that was "several" years ago, Lisa, Mike, and Brian are the kind of people who go out of their way to make everyone feel like family. So you can imaging how excited I was to be asked to photograph Lisa's big day!
Turns out she's a cop now, and I am a little awed, as I can only imagine that's one of the more difficult jobs to have. That and being a mom. Here's some other fun facts; in the last year, she and Rob planned a wedding, bought a house, moved, and had a baby. So Lisa's a tough, multi-tasking, cross-fitted, mom!
Rob so obviously loves Lisa, you can see it from space. (Okay, I exaggerate here but it's close!) Other people he loves; Briana and Ryan, his beautiful daughters. Briana ADORES her dad, she spent every minute possible with him, including on the dance floor. I'm sure Ryan will too but she's a little young for dancing as of yet. She was an excellent sleeper for most of the day though!
Arriving at the beautiful Greenbriar Oceanaire, with hair and makeup done fabulously, the ladies had some time to relax, have a snack and get the four flower girls ready. Who, by the way, were adorable, (you'll see!) Their dresses had this cute heart cutout in the back and flowers in their hair. Ryan was extra special as she had unicorn booties for her little, teeny, tiny baby feet. After the bridesmaids were ready, Lisa's mom and sister-in-law helped her into her dress. A couple of bridal portraits later and we were first look ready!
We walked out to the bridge on the golf course with Rob, who was looking very dashing in his suit, and waited patiently for Lisa to arrive. It didn't take long. Hopefully, Lynda and I faded into the background like ninjas as Lisa and Rob had a few minutes to themselves. It's always such a special moment. They were SO HAPPY to see each other. We hung out on the course for more pictures, which both was beautiful and seemed appropriate as Lisa and Rob are both golfers. No stepping on the greens on this day though! (Heels put holes in them and apparently that's bad for golf. And the groundskeepers.)
The cloud cover was menacing at times but the rain held off all day. Lisa, fighting back tears, and her very proud father walked down the aisle to a beaming Rob. I do's said and rings exchanged, the outdoor ceremony was over in a blink. Rob and Lisa were MR. and MRS.!
Husband and wife high-fived and cheered their way into the reception to the delight of family and friends who were ready to party! Lisa and Rob couldn't take their eyes off each other during the first dance. I love to take dancing pictures, there's such a great energy, the love that shows while slow dancing or joy that comes through when people are moving and grooving. Towards the end, the cake was cut. I'm not sure who the bigger fan is ( I heard Rob say Lisa yells more at the TV )so an Eagles wedding cake was totally them and the perfect dessert.
Lisa, Rob, Briana and Ryan thank you so much for letting me be a part of such an important event! It was a pleasure and an honor.
E - A - G - L - E - S !!!
Venue: Greenbriar Oceanaire Country Club, Waretown, NJ
Caterer: Touch of Elegance, Waretown, NJ
Flowers: Black Eyed Susans, Barnegat, NJ
DJ: East Star Productions, Barnegat, NJ
Cake: Big Apple Bakery, Manahawkin, NJ
Second Photographer: Lynda Bailey