Weddings and Engagements

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

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.