The Roundhouse Beacon Falls wedding: Lee and Chris by Ryan Brenizer

We try always to go above and beyond the expectations clients have of us, sometimes to the edge of fanaticism. On December 26, 2016, we had the joy of finding out Tatiana was pregnant. Soon, we realized two fundamental truths at the exact same time: One, Tatiana would be 38 weeks pregnant at Lee and Chris's wedding. Two, The Roundhouse is beautiful and in pastoral Beacon, NY … and two hours away from Brooklyn. The first wasn't a problem … again, Tatiana is fanatical and would have done a great job swollen feet and all. But the second? We didn't even want to risk causing a scene at a wedding, particularly one that would also distract me like T going into labor far from home.

So we needed a replacement. And it had so be a great photographer. Or even better … two great photographers, and we would look anywhere for them. So Ryan was joined by Anna Nguyen of Zee Anna Photography from Fort Myers, FL, who we call the bride whisperer because she is so good at posing them and making them feel comfortable, and Ben Chrisman of Chrisman Studios in Charleston, SC. When it comes to Ben? Well if you don't know, now you know.

And I was glad that they were able to join be for a wedding that was filled with energy, humor, and affection. The friendship between Lee and Chris and their wedding party was palpable, as was their sheer enjoyment of the day. And anyone willing to get down on a bar floor before their ceremony is all right in my book (luckily the Roundhouse is very clean).

Lee's favorite moment was the first look. "The quiet moment that Chris and I got to share before the craziness of the day was really special. I was so excited, and Chris was so emotional and it was just perfect." But it was also a wedding defined by their love of family. The wedding was officiated by Lee's brother, and they kept their family's enjoyment at the forefront. "We wanted to make sure that it was a true celebration," Lee said, "We both love to dance! The Hora was sheer chaos, but what I loved was watching all of family join hands, dance, and celebrate our union."

And what a celebration it was…

Vendors:
FloristForever In Bloom
Band45 Riots
HairAmy Sardinsky at Beauty and Beyond Salon
MakeupDana Bosco Beauty
Dress designerLimor Rosen
VideographerSeth David Cohen

Whitby Castle wedding: Alyssa and Adam by Ryan Brenizer

The Whitby Castle is a beautiful stately venue with many gorgeous features, but Alyssa had her sights set on one in particular: a beautiful, gigantic tree in the middle of the property that can be integrated into the ceremony as the starting point of the procession. She loved that idea, and wanted to expand on it — also using the expansive interior of the tree (larger than most New York apartments) as a spot for the first look.

Only one problem: Alyssa was terribly allergic to the tree, and couldn’t be anywhere near it.

But where there is a will (and modern medicine) there is a way. We respect anyone willing to load themselves up on anti-histimines and anti-inflammatories to achieve their vision for the wedding day.

And what a vision: The day was not only beautiful but a relentlessly fun celebration of their connection to each other, friends and family. These were their favorite memories, particularly the apex of such celebrations: The horah.  "Being surrounded (literally) by all of our family and friends dancing was a great way to start off the amazing party,” said Alyssa, “I remember smiling all night."

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.