jewish wedding

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.

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.

Kimmel Center Wedding: Dana and Zal by Ryan Brenizer

Speaking as a groom about to plan his own wedding: Zal, you’re making it harder for the rest of us. First, the proposal: Both Dana and Zal are actors, knowing that Dana’s favorite movie was “Pretty Woman,” he faked an audition for her to go try out — but when she got there, all she found was that she had been put in the right place for Zal to come up, sticking out a limo a la Richard Gere. I knew right from this description that they were going to have a heck of a wedding, but this is only the beginning. Zal had been a member of the Broadway Boys performance group, and Dana knew that he had convinced them to perform at the reception … but not that he was rehearsed and ready to perform a few song with them. At every moment this sense of whimsy and delight at marrying Dana was written in exclamation points on his face, and in every aspect of planning. I got more involved in the planning of the day than usual, helping not just with the schedule and some of the other vendor recommendations (such as our pal Paul Hairston on video) but also things like lighting design, and loved it because both of their excitement even carried through the logistics.

It doesn’t hurt that Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center is a beautiful, dramatic place to hold a wedding. It’s also big. Really big. We were wearing fitness bands that day, and I’m glad, since both Tatiana Breslow and I hit all-time records. We’d love to shoot there again for that cardiovascular fitness, if not for the beauty.