Last October, the editors of New Jersey Bride Magazine approached me about teaming with them on a full location shoot (professional models, extensive wardrobe, stylist and make-up artists, fabulous baked goods) at the exquisite Natirar Mansion in Peapack/Gladstone – the perfect place to create and photograph some lighthearted, Marie Antoinette inspired looks for their Spring 2014. What an opportunity! …and what fun!
The result – My first ever magazine COVER! (actually four different covers) and a ten page feature spread inside. The talent was adorable, the gowns and details gorgeous. And the NJB art directors produced a fabulous layout. Take a look.
So pleased. So proud.
I am thrilled to share the pages from the current issue of WellWed-Hamptons Magazine, in which the wedding of two of my lovely clients, Lilly Schonwald and Niklas de LaMotte, is featured! The fantastic couple celebrated their love with a personal and chic wedding in Water Mill, NY, marrying in their own backyard.
Choosing a natural pallet of greens, browns, and earth tones, the intimate ceremony bespoke of a verdant enchanted forest with an air of summer romance. I was humbled when Lilly, who had referred me to her sister seven years earlier to document her wedding at Blue Hill Stone Barn, called me when she became engaged to see which dates I had available. This type of trust between a photographer and her client is incredibly important, and it was right from the start with Lilly really enabled us both to achieve and capture hers and Niklas’ vision for their day. Lilly also smartly worked with a notable Manhattan-based wedding planner Save-the-Date and florist Kim Jon Designs to assure that couple’s playful personality and love for the Hamptons – which was where they spent many summer weekends happily cultivating their relationship– was poignantly conveyed. I was lucky enough to be able to document the entire wedding weekend– from the beautiful clambake on the beach the night before to the brunch held at Lilly’s aunt’s house the following morning. This investment enabled Niklas Nad Lilly to relive the full story of their singular weekend, ensureing that all of the special moments – both grand and candid – were professionally and beautifully documented.
My job as a wedding photographer is to capture the true magic and emotion throughout the day, and it’s wonderful to be recognized by the discerning and elegant INSIDE Weddings, and to share Adriana and Don’s spectacular wedding day with a wide audience. We started their warm, June wedding day at Adriana’s parents’ home where I was able to document the flurry of activity with her bridesmaids, (and honorary canine bridesmaid). As the preparation was finishing, the opportunity presented itself to gather the three generations of Lombardi women, a photo that I am sure will be treasured by them. The Ashford Estate was such a beautiful backdrop for the elegant, sliver and pearl feel of the wedding. We had a gorgeous day to photograph Adriana and Don in the formal gardens and later at dusk against the European architecture.
Every wedding I photograph presents unique opportunities to capture the meaningful, special moments of the day. It’s especially gratifying when clients allow me the time to carefully and thoughtfully do that. Adriana and Don and their families were wonderful to work with!
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When I envisioned my wedding day on October 29, 2011, I pictured a crisp and sunny afternoon in Central Park, with glorious plums, burnt oranges, and deep reds circling above us in a flurry of leaves eager to drop—nay, cascade—down around our feet, as my new husband and I posed for photos in wedded bliss. What I actually got was a historic blizzard, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the tri-state area in October since the Civil War. Instead of leaves falling delicately about our feet, full trees crashed down, power lines dangled over highways, and the electricity went out in my parents’ house in Northern New Jersey mere moments after my hair stylist positioned the veil in my freshly-coiffed hair. In short, the vision for my “fall chic” wedding at the Central Park Boathouse quickly turned into a Winter Wonderland.
Before having a full-on panic attack, I remember Berit reassuring me—as my father and husband-to-be frantically searched for back-up locations where the wedding party could take photos—that in her experience, these unexpected change of plans always lead to a photographic gift. She told me that despite the weather and the need to revise the image I had in my head for the perfect backdrop for our wedding photos, there would emerge photos that were spectacularly special and unique that we would never have captured otherwise.
She was right. When I look back on the photos from my wedding day, I see a playful image of my bridesmaids and I, huddled in front of the door of my parents’ house, smiling and laughing in disbelief as the snow danced around us. I see my father in his tuxedo shoveling the driveway. I see my bridal portraits against a backdrop of majestic white. I see the glow from hundreds of candles in the Boathouse’s rustic reception room offsetting the snow still falling outside onto the lake. I see an abandoned martini glass stained with my pink lip gloss beside my pearl-beaded clutch and my bouquet of all-ivory garden roses (wrapped in my grandfather’s handkerchief)—an image Berit later told me she took because it was “totally Lauren.” I also see our formal wedding portraits in the majestic Riverside Church where we exchanged our vows that look like something out of a Victorian novel. In short, I see special and unique shots that my husband and I treasure honed by Berit’s professional and talented vision.
I learned two important lessons on the day of my wedding. The first was that you must always have an equally beautiful and perhaps more reliable back-up plan for the location of your wedding photos, especially if you’re planning on taking photos outside. You just never know when Mother Nature is going to give you a little wedding gift you wish you could return. The second lesson was that spending the extra money to have a wedding photographer who is a consummate professional and who understands your personal vision for the day is invaluable.
While some may attempt to save money by hiring a less in-demand photographer or pass the job off to an amateur friend or family member, for me, having Berit on hand to not only keep the entire wedding day unfolding in a timely and organized manner but also to find the photographic gifts in our new and impromptu photo location was priceless. She turned what could have been a truly heartbreaking dilemma into a fabulous and singular opportunity.
In the end, our wedding was a timeless, incredible event that no blizzard could spoil. All of our professionals and guests showed up. My husband and I said “I do.” Most importantly, Berit was there to capture every beautiful moment, from the formal walk down the aisle to the impromptu dance-offs between groomsmen. And while Berit graciously offered to take my husband and I back out to Central Park after our wedding to take portraits that fit my original vision, we declined, because Berit’s ability to capture our actual day became an even more beautiful and incredible memory.
“Well, hello there! Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Lauren Fanelli Teague and I am a writer and adjunct college professor in literature working on my Ph.D. I am, more importantly, a fan and client of Berit Bizjak’s, who not only shot my own wedding in October of 2011 but my two best friends’ weddings as well. Recently, she took gorgeous and precious photos of my 9-month-old daughter.
I suppose you could say that at this point, Berit is part of my family, as she’s been present to capture so beautifully two of the most important experiences in my life. Imagine my excitement, then, when she graciously asked me to write a monthly blog for her website, Images by Berit, to cover and present ideas, current trends, and sage advice in the bridal stratosphere, while highlighting Berit’s unique and gorgeous portfolio of wedding albums and engagement portraits, among other things. Berit’s committed work as a professional wedding photographer combined with my experience as a bride (once a bride, always a bride!) and my love for writing seemed a happy synthesis of energies and a great opportunity to participate in the ever-evolving bridal community. And so, without further ado, we present September’s post. We welcome ideas, recommendations, and comments any time!”
Get GORGEOUS: Current Bridal Hair and Makeup Trends
Every bride has a vision of how she wants to look on the day of her wedding. Whether she hopes to showcase a smoldering eye and elegant chignon or a dramatic lip and old Hollywood barrel waves, her desire to look “the part” reigns supreme. Ultimately, however, every bride wants to look like herself—albeit the most glamorous, stunning version. Veteran makeup artist Meryl Schwartz Proctor of Ashimoto Essential Beauty (www.ashimoto.com) attests to the current trends in bridal makeup: “Brides today still want to look like themselves. However, we are seeing more of a smoky eye with the use of neutral tones in taupe, mocha, and rich deep hues of chocolates all done with techniques of brushes that leave the eye with a beautiful smoldering look that photographs amazing.” Runway models in the Spring 2014 Pronovias bridal collection fashion show indeed rocked a hypnotizing, smoky eye, dew-kissed cheeks, and neutral lips. They also awed in oversized chignons, exhibiting a fun modern take on a classic bridal style. Hair bling—as seen on models in Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2014 bridal collection fashion show—also set the runways ablaze! Brooches, combs, necklaces, and bracelets glittered and wowed under long gossamer veils, chic birdcage veils, and on their own as the perfect accessory to a polished bridal look. Naomi Burton, hair magician and owner of Cranford Hair Company Salon and Team Wedlock (www.teamwedock.com) speaks to this new trend in hair baubles: “As we move into the Fall of 2013, brides are now starting to richen the tone in their hair color and also go for the more classically-structured glamorous updos (i.e. the chignon and very artistic side swept updos). Alongside these beautiful updos, we are seeing more embellishments in the hair, such as a gorgeous diamond brooch as opposed to a crown or tiara. This accessory just adds to the class and sophistication of the old-made-new updo.” And fortunately, hair bling is a versatile accessory—working with a myriad of materials including lace, satin, silk, and organza. If the bauble you choose also has sentimental value (something borrowed, perhaps?) all the more memorable and on trend!
Color You Happy
There is something to be said about the bride who wants all of her bridesmaids to be comfortable and happy on her wedding day, and so generously gives her gals free reign to choose their own dresses and even the color that flatters them best. On occasion, this freestyle approach can create an interesting and fun wedding palette, but usually, the overall result is a wedding party that looks more discombobulated than adorably quirky. Certainly one doesn’t have to demand (though many do) that all her maids are dressed alike from head to hem to achieve wedding portraits that are cohesive and elegant. But, choosing perhaps one color to work with (even if the shades slightly vary and the dresses reflect each maid’s personal style) can transform the look of one’s wedding photo session into one that is enviably chic and unique. A photographer’s view of the ultimate product of one’s wedding album is incredibly resourceful; he/she can be a keen asset in guiding a bride towards a vision she feels reflects both her current style and one that will remain fresh and contemporary through the years. A photographer can also be a bride’s best friend in terms of helping to manage the timing of her wedding day. A photographer’s experience and understanding of how most wedding days unfold (from prepping for the ceremony to shaking a tail-feather during the last dance of the evening) can help coordinate the logistics of the day to assure that the happy couple achieves their vision. Common issues that often derail important timelines are hair and makeup prep running over, drivers getting lost, and other professionals advising the couple without “closing the loop” on communications with all involved in making the day a success. So in addition to your wedding coordinator (if you have one), by all means lean on your photographer to use her singular vision to help orchestrate your day to a smooth and seamless finish. Your job is to have that extra glass of champagne and savor every delectable moment. Cheers!