Perona Farms wedding: Eileen and Johnny by Ryan Brenizer

There are a few phrases that, when you hear it, you tend to steel yourself into placating mode: "Come see my one-act play," "Read this poem I wrote," and, of course, "I wrote you a song." It simply makes sense that most of us can't do these things at world-class levels: They're really hard work, they take a lot of time to get right, and we have other things to do.

So I knew I was in for something special when Johnny started the day practicing the song he'd written for Eileen and … it was good. Really good. It-should-be-on-the-radio-good.

Of course, given the amount of musicality in this wedding, it all makes sense. This was a day that featured performances from: Johnny and Eileen together, Johnny's mother and father together, and Johnny and his mom together, and then backup vocals from the entire wedding party bedecked in Santa hats.

Yes, this was a winter wedding … and then some. It was cold. So when you see the pictures below of people wearing dresses outside? There were a few ingredients to that: 1) With the wedding party we practiced each group pose inside before having them run out and shoot as quickly as possible and 2) Eileen is a bad-ass who wanted her photos more badly than she wanted feeling in her fingers and toes.

All of this against the fantastic backdrop of Perona Farms. We love any place close to NYC that lets us indulge in a bit of the pastoral, so we were also quite happy to brave the cold in this beautiful location.

New Year's Eve Angel Orensanz wedding: Jenna and David by Ryan Brenizer

Jenna and David managed to pack in a heck of a lot into their day: Not only was their wedding at the Angel Orensanz Center also a New Year's eve party, we stopped in for photos at …

Not bad for a freezing December day. And, of course, it was packed with the kind of love and joy you get when you put 200 friends in a gorgeous space with ample reasons to celebrate.

It's wonderful that Tatiana and I not only get to spend New Year's Eve together, but doing something that we love: Capturing the story and union of some really great people.

Montclair Golf Club wedding: Kirsten and Chris by Ryan Brenizer

I think our impressions of Kirsten and Chis are best summed up in the photo in front of the church door we chose to run below. You see, we also have photos from that moment that show off their style and elegance, Kirsten's gorgeous Pronovias dress and Chris cutting a dapper figure in his suit … but as soon as Chris gave that thumbs-up, I knew it would be their favorite and ours from that moment. Because Kirsten and Chris relentlessly focused on the things that really matter in the end … having fun together, celebrating their love with each other and with their friends and family.

And oh, how they celebrated.

Fun fact: I often edit weddings backward -- from the end of the day to the beginning -- mostly because there structural advantages to this, but also because it's fun to watch people become more and more sober. As you can see, Kirsten and Chris even pulled us into the celebration (though not the inebriation) toward the end.

Even through hosting such an amazing party, they have a laser focus on the joy they bring each other, so it's no wonder that their favorite memories of the day are the little moments between them. Chris fondly remembered the car ride to the ceremony, one of their few times truly alone during the day. Kirsten remembered how she felt when she walked down the aisle and saw the Chris was crying. "It made my heart melt!"

"Without question, the ceremony was the best part of the day," Chris agreed. "Our family, our friends … the people who all really wanted to be there were there. It's an amazing moment in a person's life. It's hard to put into words."

Luckily, there are pictures.

Russian Tea Room wedding: Adriana and Stephen by Ryan Brenizer

Like so many of those who keep making the choice to deal with the complication and expense of living in New York City, Tatiana and I are huge fans of its culture, idiosyncrasies, and history. So we were excited at the outset when Adriana and Stephen came to us with their wedding in New York's iconic Russian Tea Room, which has connections to Adriana's family. Of course, most excitement came from Adriana and Stephen themselves, and how fun they were to work with.

We asked Adriana what was most important to her while planning the wedding, and … well, we have to swear this isn't a paid advertisement: "Booking our photographers!" You see, Stephen wanted to become a wedding photographer himself in part from seeing our work, which is one of the biggest compliments we could possibly get. Adriana reached out to us the day after they got engaged, and kept it as a surprise to Stephen for a while. "I wasn't above planning our wedding around your schedule - anything to lock you in!"

As avid photographers themselves, it might not be a surprise that the photos were one of their favorite parts. When planning weddings, we know that the thought of mid-reception photos isn't for everyone, since it takes a few minutes away from valuable action, but for some couples it's a perfect time to actually get to see and talk to your new partner amidst all the chaos.  "It was so wonderful to just be able to steal a moment away and go off without anyone knowing where we went (or realizing we were gone) so we could enjoy some time alone and take more photos."  She also fondly remembers her brothers -- Ken, who officiated, and Adam, who "sobbing like a baby during my dance with my dad - it was super sweet."

Family appears prominently in their memories. Stephen remembers Adriana's sister having a brief but "extremely intense" show of emotion at the wedding. "(She's not one to ever really show emotion - so it was amazing!)"

Guastavino's Wedding: Max and Ashley by Ryan Brenizer

There is something extra-special about photographing a wedding for a sibling of a previous client -- it's a sign of trust and appreciation, not just for us but of one sibling for the other. And we love stepping back into families that we had already come to appreciate. Ryan had photographed Ashley's sister's wedding in 2012, and it was such a thrill to see familiar faces in such a personal, lively setting.

It was also a thrill to get to know Max and his family, and to return to the amazing Guastavino's, a place as thrilling to photograph in as it is hard to spell. One of the great things about Guastavino's is how easy it is to host every part of the wedding day there, taking the extreme logistical difficulties of Manhattan traffic out of wedding planning.

It's a place made for a good party, and with the help of Hank Lane Music and countless additions like cotton candy passed out on the dance floor, it was a great one.

Of course, the only sad part is when one of these wonderful families runs out of siblings.