Weddings and Engagements

Reading Terminal Market wedding: Ally and Andrew by Ryan Brenizer

We have always said that the highest compliment we can give a wedding is that we would have loved to attend even if we weren’t photographing that — well, Ally and Andrew’s wedding was all of that and a bit more, since it was in a venue we would love to explore even when there isn’t a wedding there!

The wedding was in the culinary cornucopia of Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, and it took full advantage of the numerous stalls and marketplaces, as well as a dance floor in the middle of a usually-crowded terminal. To balance the industrial feel of the reception, the ceremony was in the gorgeous and historic Masonic Temple Library and Museum.

We knew from the engagement shoot how much fun this would be — it was sometimes hard to find pictures of them not laughing together, enjoying each other’s and their friends’ raucous energy. It did not disappoint from beginning to end, and we smile just looking back.

Villa Sheherezade Dubrovnik wedding: Lynn and Kristof by Ryan Brenizer

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When Lynn inquired with us, we thought for sure we were being scammed. What would you think if your phone chimed and you read a text message from a strange number: “Quick question. Are you available for our destination wedding in Dubrovnik, Croatia this year? We live in London. I’m from Taiwan and he is from Belgium :-)” And the date happened to be fast approaching and the only weekend that month we were free? It all sounded too good to be true: She might as well have said that she’s a Nigerian prince.

But it turns out that not only are Lynn and Kristof very real, they are also an amazing couple who match each other in zeal for life and each other, if not in height. And so we were on our way to Dubrovnik, an area long known for its beauty and now exploding in fame as the site of much of the otherworldly beauty of Game of Thrones.

Under the planning guidance of Matthew and Bertie at Matthew Oliver Weddings and local coordinator Marcela at Dubrovnik Wedding Inspiration, their wedding took advantage of all the amazingness the area has to offer. The rehearsal dinner was set on Lokrum Island, where Lynn was overjoyed by the preponderance of peacocks and bunnies that have overtaken the island.

The ceremony was a gorgeous affair in the five-century-old Sponza Palace, officiated by a dear friend and mentor, who ensured it was touching and deeply personal. Afterward, Lynn and Kristof headed to the reception on their own boat, speeding down the harbor to the fantastic Villa Sheherezade.

The reception was filled with surprises. Kristof’s best man is a rare combination of entrepreneur and professionally trained clown, and he gave a lion dance performance before revealing himself to the crowd … by taking off the head and blowing a giant fireball.

But nothing could top what Kristof had for Lynn. To begin the dancing, he took her over to the cake-cutting and said “Lynn, I promise I will never stop surprising you.”

And then the sky exploded into fireworks.

That’s the sort of energy and love we’re talking about, and we are so excited that we were able to tell this story.

Stylist: Christine from CC Wedding Studio in Taiwan
DJ: Jordi Ruz from Ibiza
Venue and staff: Anamarija and Lindita Adriatic Luxury Hotels
Video: Justina from HDmoments (their video teaser from the wedding here!)

The Mansion at Natirar wedding: Stephanie and Eric by Ryan Brenizer

The Mansion at Natirar is one of those places that seem to beautiful and spacious to belong in the crowded outskirts of New York City, in the most-dense state of the Union of New Jersey. But it’s there, with gorgeous grounds and winding roads and all sorts of areas that you would just love to lazily walk around in … that is, if it hadn’t been close to 100 degrees like it was for Eric and Stephanie’s wedding.

Luckily the heat and blazing sun couldn’t keep them down, and it was tears of joy, not sweat, that mostly rolled down their faces. It was one of those first looks that felt like the entire emotional quota of your normal wedding day had been packed into the first five minutes of seeing each other … and it only grew from there, the intimacy punctuated with exultant celebration. It was amazing to see Eric and Stephanie dance with nearly all of their guests, a whirlwind of inclusion and deep connections with everyone there.

George Peabody Library Baltimore wedding: Jennifer and Michael by Ryan Brenizer

Probably the greatest honor we feel as wedding photographers is doing a wedding for another wedding photographer. After all, these people spend each day looking at this stuff, and know exactly what they like. But it was an even greater pleasure when that photographer is someone like Michael Stravinos, who is not just talented, but has been a friend, a workshop student, and collaborator.

And then you add that the wedding would be at the fantastic George Peabody Library in Baltimore, a place I’ve wanted to shoot in ever since I first saw it? We jumped at the chance. It didn’t matter that we also had to be in New York and Pennsylvania that weekend … we were going to make this happen.

It was amazing start to finish, filled with tears, laughter, Greek dancing, beautiful details, a solemn church ceremony … dripping with meaning and emotion throughout.

For the photographers out there, this was our first wedding with the Sony A9, and apart from the more technical aspects it was incredible to be able to shoot all of the events of the day completely silently, getting angles during prayers and at moments of peak emotion while intruding as little as possible. We always want to capture the real emotions so that you can look back and feel what it was like to be there in the midst of it, and this has been a helpful tool for us.

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…

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