Small Wedding at Knox Farm, a WNY Wedding Venue

Ashley & David

Before we dive in to this super special small wedding at Knox Farm, I want to share a special note I received from the bride, Ashley. I don’t typically post accolades or reviews someone has left, it always feels a little… icky, but this note was particularly meaningful to me.

“Linds…you know how I know these are good? It’s more than the fact that they are beautiful. It’s that they made me laugh…they made me cry…they made me feel everything that was beautiful and memorable and awesome about that day. I think sometimes people get so fixated on making or getting beautiful photography, but the point isn’t to remember how great you all looked (though that’s also fun -haha)…it’s to remember how you FELT. And you gave us that. Thank you for your spectacular work!!!”

In my photography, the element that has always mattered most was that the pictures had a pulse, so to speak. Each picture should breath Life to couples memories – not just serve as a reminder of what everyone and everything looked like, but what it FELT like to be present in that moment. For my storytelling based work, that’s the true mark of a successful photograph.

In the photography world we talk about, “visual literacy,” what the untrained eye can and can not “see” when looking at a photograph. Most people look at a photo and they know they either like it or they don’t, but they don’t ask themselves why, they just feel their way through it. And that’s OK, that’s all the viewer needs to do! It’s my job to understand all the whys and hows of making a great, storytelling photograph. But when a client is able to articulate how their wedding pictures made them feel, beyond a surface level assessment of their initial beauty, that means the absolute world to me. That’s when I know I’m doing my job well and providing couples with something truly important.

Let’s be real though, this was a beautiful wedding and Ashley and David are beautiful humans. They made my job a little easier than normal this day. 🙂

So without further ado, Ashley and David’s wedding photos! We started and finished the day right at Knox Farm in East Aurora, NY – a small town near Buffalo. Ashley and her wedding party had their hair and makeup done at a salon and had me join them for the finishing touches in the mansion on the grounds at Knox. This specific room is SO unique with its mural crawling up on to the ceiling and it’s walls of windows. It makes a beautiful spot for photos. The best part? You enter through a secret spinning bookshelf door!

brides dress hangs in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and grooms accessories sit in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother of bride and bridesmaids help bride get ready in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother of bride and bridesmaids help bride get ready in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother of bride help bride get ready in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother of bride and bridesmaids help bride get ready in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groom straightens tie at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother of bride help bride get ready in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride reads card from groom in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

This wedding had more happy tears than I think I’ve seen at any wedding over the years. You could tell how loved Ashley and David are by their friends and family and how genuinely excited everyone was for them! Dad was the first to start, but you will soon see he was not the last. <3

father of bride tears up while watching bride read card from groom in secret room at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
father of bride escorts bride down stairs of wedding venue before small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Ashley’s dad walked her out of the mansion on the Knox Farm property to where David was waiting for their big reveal or, “first look” beneath some birch trees in front of the house.

groom waits for bride outside mansion at their venue for first look, aka reveal, at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Here comes the bride!

bride walks up behind groom before their first look, aka reveal, at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride walks up behind groom before their first look, aka reveal, at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride walks up behind groom before their first look, aka reveal, at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom see each other for the first time during their first look, aka reveal at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and grooms hands as they see each other for the first time during their first look, aka reveal at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom see each other for the first time during their first look, aka reveal at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom see each other for the first time during their first look, aka reveal at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom see each other for the first time during their first look, aka reveal at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom see each other for the first time during their first look, aka reveal at their small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride poses for portraits against birch trees at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

The couples parents met us for their family portraits before the ceremony. It was so nice for everyone to be able to relax and spend some time together before the guests arrived! This tree-lined road that leads to the mansion at Knox Farm makes for a perfect photography backdrop too!

families stand for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Whenever couples ask me about my style, I love to point them to the way I photograph group portraits. I want your friends and family to look like themselves! Everyone doesn’t need to stand in perfect uniformity for a balanced, beautiful portrait. There can be variety and natural poses as well!

bridesmaids stand for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids stand for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids laugh as they stand for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids make funny faces on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

While I photographed the ladies, David and the groomsmen enjoyed some whiskey in the ajacent field. I love these shots my assistant grabbed of the guys!

groomsmen pose for portraits in field with whiskey glasses at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groomsmen pose for portraits in field with whiskey glasses at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groomsmen pose for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groomsmen pose for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
wedding party poses for portraits on tree lined road at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

I grabbed a few quick portraits of Ashley and David in the field before the ceremony, but the real portraits would come later in the evening. Keep scrolling and your eyes will be very happy.

bride and groom pose for portraits in field at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Time for an outdoor wedding ceremony!

decorations for ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groomsmen straighten ties before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and bridesmaid hang out in house before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

These photos of Ashley with her parents before walking down the aisle are EXACTLY what a second shooter is for. I love having multiple perspectives of the day and can’t imagine this collection without these pictures!

bride and mom look at each other in mansion on property before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and dad look out window of house before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
parents of bride walk her down stairs before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother and father of bride escort bride through grass before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother and father of bride escort bride through grass before ceremony at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother and father of bride escort bride through grass before ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

How gorgeous is this woodland setting for a small wedding ceremony? I often see outdoor wedding venues set up where the couple is side lit by the sun and one poor person is looking straight in to the light the entire time. This shady spot eliminates any squinting and keeps everyone cool and comfortable on a warm summer night.

bride and groom stand between doors with trees behind them during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom look at each other during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
parents smile at bride and groom during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids flowers during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom smile at each other while mother of bride while she reads during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
mother of bride reads during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groomsmen smile during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom laugh during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids laugh during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom hold hands during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
wedding ceremony location under trees in field at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groom reads vows to bride during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride reads vows to groom during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bridesmaid cries during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groom places ring on brides finger during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride places ring on grooms finger between two doors with forest behind them during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groom smiles at bride during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom join hands during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom have first kiss during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom walk up aisle during ceremony at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom walk up aisle during ceremony at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom walk through lawn to tented reception at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

One of the things I love most about this location is that it’s adaptable to weddings of all sizes. A small wedding at Knox Farm can actually be held inside the mansion, but most opt for a tent in the yard. This sailcloth tent from McCarthy Tents and Events was absolutely beautiful. The wooden posts and flags adorning the top really dress it up.

tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
decoration inspiration at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
decoration inspiration at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
decoration inspiration at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
decoration inspiration at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
decoration inspiration at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
decoration inspiration at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guest enjoy cocktail hour in tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests enjoy cocktail hour at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests enjoy lawn games during cocktail hour at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests enjoy lawn games during cocktail hour at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests smile for the camera during cocktail hour at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests enjoy lawn games during cocktail hour at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests smile for the camera during cocktail hour at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

The wedding party was introduced from their seats and greeted the guests with their best royal waves.

maid of honor waives during wedding party introductions at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
best man waives during wedding party introductions at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom share first dance under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom share first dance under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom share first dance under tent at reception at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom cut cake under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom feed each other cake under tent at reception at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom feed each other cake under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
maid of honor delivers speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom laugh during speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
best man delivers speech under tent at reception at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests listen during speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom laugh during speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
best man delivers speech under tent at reception at wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Did I mention there was a lot of crying at this wedding?

guests cry during speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom cheers during speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom clap after speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groom hugs best man after speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride hugs maid of honor after speech under tent at reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

You can do a lot of unique things with your table layout when you have a small wedding at Knox Farm, including a giant head table like this!

wedding guests sit for dinner around giant table during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride and father dance during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Most weddings have a loving, emotional Aunt my camera falls in love with. This might be my all time favorite Aunt. Watch this progression…

aunt takes photo during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
aunt cries during mother of the groom dance during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
aunt cries during dance with bride and grandfather during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
bride dances with grandpa during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
groom laughs during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests cheers during tented reception at small wedding at Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

As the evening progressed, I had my eye on this field filled with yellow flowers. I wanted to wait for that perfect golden hour light. That time of day when the sun is low enough that everything just GLOWS with warm, soft light. When it was time, Ashley and David were ready! One of the things I love most about weddings at Knox Farm is the opportunity for photography at every turn (check out another shoot here!). There are beautiful paths through the woods, glorious golden fields, tree lined roads, it’s a dream for a photographer!

bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY
bride and groom pose for portraits in field during reception at wedding venue Knox Farm in WNY

Back to the tent for the rest of the wedding reception!

guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

This gentleman reminded me just a touch of Meat Loaf (the singer!) in the best possible way.

guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
guests dance during tented reception at wedding venue Knox near Buffalo, NY
rings on book during tented reception at wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY
tent in field at night during tented reception at small wedding venue Knox Farm near Buffalo, NY

Many thanks to Ashley and David for having us document their small wedding at Knox Farm! And thank you to all these venues and vendors who helped make the day so great!

Tent and Rentals: McCarthy Tents & Events

Band: Vin DeRosa

Bride Preparation: Knox Farm State Park

Groom Preparation: Knox Farm State Park

Ceremony Venue: Knox Farm State Park

Portraits: Knox Farm State Park

Reception Venue: Knox Farm State Park

Spring Lake Winery Wedding

Aly & Ross’s Wedding Photography at Spring Lake Winery by Varallo Vinyards

There are certain weddings that are so meticulously planned, there isn’t much space left to be present and let events transpire naturally. There are other weddings that are sheer chaos, but people are having an absolute blast and are completely rapt in the moment. Much to my surprise, this Spring Lake Winery wedding was both meticulously planned and enjoyed on a deep emotional level. THAT is the mark of a really great wedding for this photographer.

Wedding planner Daulton Van Kuren of The Refined Host did a truly amazing job organizing this day. When I first saw her beautiful rainbow colored timeline and all its glorious detail, I feared a bit for my creativity and the enjoyment of all involved. After reading it though, I discovered that it really disbursed events perfectly throughout the day and allowed everyone to really enjoy each and every part.

The timeline also featured a different structure than I was used to seeing at WNY weddings. The dancing, speeches, etc. were broken up and scattered throughout the celebration. It kept the energy high and guests engaged until the very last dance. This also meant the guests were all still present for a very special surprise at the end of the night that you’ll have to keep scrolling to see!

Preparation

I started this wedding day with Aly at her family home in Clarence, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. I just adore all the giggly excitement that shines through from Aly and her crew in these photos!

Aly’s dad was anxiously awaiting his daughters big reveal in the next room. When he came in to see Aly all dressed, he brought her this bouquet of roses. These two were so sweet!

I always love to see the difference between how each couple prepares for the wedding. While Aly and her bridesmaids elegantly posed for portraits, Ross and his groomsmen were posing in bathtubs, with axes, all sorts of… interesting… settings! I’m so very glad second shooter Steve was there to capture these groomsmen in all their glory. Some of these photos are just priceless!

groom poses with axe at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding

On to Spring Lake Winery for a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony and reception! But first, the bride and grooms, “first look!”

“First looks” or “reveals” are such exciting and emotional moments in a wedding day. Couples get to have a private moment to be together and share in the excitement and anticipation of the day. First looks also tend to relieve stress and allow couples to just relax and enjoy extra time together on their wedding day.

Spring Lake Winery has many great spots for wedding photography. For mid-day photos when the sun is just blinding, I love these tall pine trees and all their glorious shade. This area photographs so beautifully and was the perfect spot for this emotional first look.

bride taps groom on shoulder during first look or "reveal" at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
groom sees bride for first time during first look or "reveal" at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride cries during first look or "reveal" at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom smile for photographer at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portraits at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portrait at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride laughs with bridesmaids at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bouquets being held by bridesmaids at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding

Photographing Aly and Ross with these giant balloons turned out to be quite a challenge! The balloons were constantly blowing in their faces and comedy ensued. Eventually we found the right angles though.

bride and groom pose for portraits with baloons at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portraits with baloons at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
bride and groom pose for portraits with baloons at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding

As we wrapped our portrait session, the guests began to arrive for the ceremony on Spring Lake. The flower arrangements by Flourish and gorgeous music provided by String Brothers really set the tone for a sweet and elegant ceremony.

wedding decor inspiration from Flourish florist at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
String Brothers perform at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before WNY wedding
programs are passed out at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
Guests cry at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father escorts bride down aisle at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY

These groomsmen were all smiles for Aly and Ross. It was so moving to glance around the area and feel all the love and support for this couple.

groomsmen smile as bride walks down aisle at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father and bride embrace after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
mother and grandfather smile at bride and father as they walk down aisle at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father and bride embrace and laugh after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
father shakes grooms hand after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY

This photo below is one of my all time favorite processional photos. These three look at each other with so much love and admiration. Makes my heart swell three sizes!

father looks at bride after processional at Spring Lake Winery in Niagara County before wedding near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom laugh during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom recite vows during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride cries while saying vows during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom exchange rings during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom smile at each other while exchanging vows during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom share first kiss during wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY
bride and groom cheer while walking down aisle after wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY

It’s official!

After the ceremony, the couples families gathered for a few family portraits. Unfortunately, Aly’s grandma passed shortly after their wedding. I’m SO, so grateful we got this beautiful portrait of Aly with her Grandma!!! (Also, when you’re done here, check out this years Mother’s Day post for more sweet mom and grandma moments!)

family portraits after wedding outdoor wedding ceremony at Spring Lake Winery in Lockport, NY

Meanwhile a gorgeous wedding reception was set for the guests in Spring Lake’s pavilion. White florals mixed with subtle blue accents, greenery and tea lights adorned every table. It was so cozy while feeling fresh and modern.

decor inspo during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo of pavillion during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo of centerpieces during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo of menu cards during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
decor inspo during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY

Wedding guests gathered outside the pavilion for cocktail hour complete with more live music from String Brothers.

outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
string brothers perform during cocktail hourduring outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
bride hugs guest during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
guests pose for portraits during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY
bride poses for portrait with cousins during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery near Buffalo in WNY

Guests were invited to gather around the dance floor for the bride and groom’s adorable first dance. This was followed by the first dancing segment of the evening.

bride and groom are introduced to outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
bride and groom dance outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests take pictures of bride and groom during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
bride and groom dance outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance as train during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

The wedding’s dancing segments were broken up with speeches and dinner courses. I had no idea dancing in short segments like this would help keep the party rolling so well!

grandfather deliver speech during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

Aly’s Grandfather made the first toast and unfortunately called Ross by the wrong name. It was pretty funny. Aly’s parents followed next and fortunately got the names correct.

parents deliver speech during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

After eating the first course, it was time for the formal parent dances with Aly’s dad and Ross’ mom and more group dancing!

guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

Guests were seated again for the best man and maid of honor speeches followed by the main course.

maid of honor and best man deliver speeches during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

The best man managed to acquire some love notes the couple had written and read them to the guests. It was hysterical!

Dessert was set outside in the cocktail area and WOW these donuts went at record speed. Paula’s Donuts are always a huge hit!

After cutting their cake the bride and groom made one last toast to their family and friends and thanked everyone for celebrating with them. With that, one last dance segment was underway!

guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests dance during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY
guests mingle during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

One last surprise awaited the wedding guests outside the Spring Lake Winery pavilion – a gorgeous fireworks display over top a beautiful full moon!

bride and groom watch fireworks in front of full moon during outdoor wedding reception at Spring Lake Winery venue near Buffalo in WNY

Thank you!

Many thanks to Aly and Ross for having us document your day! And thank you to all these awesome venues and vendors who helped make the day so great!

Event Planner / Stylist: The Refined Host

Bride Preparation: Private Residence

Groom Preparation: Best Western (Lockport, NY location)

Ceremony: Spring Lake Winery

Portraits: Spring Lake Winery

Reception: Spring Lake Winery

Hair + Makeup: Pecoraro’s

Florist: Flourish

Strings: The String Brothers

Catering: Zambistro’s

DJ: CJ Sound

Fireworks: Skylighters Fireworks

Second Photographer: Steve Karosik

Senior Portrait Photographer in Buffalo, NY

I’ve been a senior portrait photographer in Buffalo, NY for many years, but this year will be extra special. With other events and weddings being cancelled or postponed left and right, I’ll be able to photograph even more senior portraits this year than ever before! I couldn’t be more excited!

Capturing all the excitement that comes with being a senior is so much fun. As a photographer, it’s important to me to capture not just what the seniors look like, but what it FEELS like to be around them during this fun, transitional time in their lives. I work with each senior before their session to learn a bit about their personality, their interests, etc. so that I can customize the backgrounds, posing, etc. to suit THEM. No two sessions are the same. I want to be sure each portrait session represents the seniors individual energy and spirit, no stale portraits here.

If this sounds like something you or someone you know may be interested in, please contact me!

Check out the sample gallery below from Zach’s senior portrait photography session near Buffalo, NY.

I photographed these first few images at Maple Grove High School. Football has been a huge part of Zach’s life so it was important to him to get a few shots at their home field.

senior picture of football player on field holding ball at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY
senior picture of football player on field holding ball at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY
senior portrait photographer lays on stomach in grass on football field near Buffalo, NY to get perfect angle for shot

By the way, this is what it took to get this angle with the school logo behind Zach. Thanks to Zach’s mom for capturing this ridiculous photographer moment!

senior picture of football player on bleachers at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY
senior picture of football player on bleachers holding ball at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY
senior football player standing with ball on football field at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY
senior football player standing with ball on football field at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY

Zach requested a photo in front of one of his friend and mentors jerseys in the lobby of Maple Grove High School. I thought this was such a sweet gesture and and amazing tribute to the players who came before him!

senior football player standing in front of jerseys in school at Maple Grove high school during portrait session near Buffalo, NY

From Maple Grove, we took a short drive to nearby Jamestown for a few additional portraits of Zach in a more urban setting. Jamestown has some really amazing old industrial photography locations right in the downtown area!

senior portrait of young man walking in front of brick wall in Jamestown during photography session
senior portrait of young man leaning on fence in front of brick wall in Jamestown during photography session
senior portrait of young man leaning on brick wall in Jamestown during photography session

Thanks for being such a fun senior to work with Zach, and best of luck at North Park University next fall! Go Vikings!

If you would like to see more senior portrait fun from a Maple Grove student, check out this gallery from Zach’s sister Allison’s senior portrait session a couple years back! Her session was completely different from Zach’s (think microphones and guitars instead of footballs) but just as much fun.

And as always, if you know anyone looking for a senior portrait photographer in the Buffalo, NY area, please reach out!

A Mother’s Day 2020 Tribute – “Mom Moments” from Family Portrait and Wedding Photography in Buffalo, NY

Today is Mother’s Day, 2020. It’s a weird Mother’s Day. No one is going out for brunch. No one is really going anywhere. The world is on pause and so are our Mother’s Day festivities. It’s lame. But, all the more reason to celebrate the Moms of the world and reflect on all they do. As a photographer of family portraits and wedding photography in Buffalo, NY, I’m fortunate enough to have a front row seat for a lot of really, really special Mom moments. As I assemble this little collection every year, I realize how important these pictures are to families and what a privilege it is to make them for people. I’m feeling extra grateful, especially this year, not knowing when I’ll get to witness moments like this again.

Anyhoo, to all the moms out there, thanks for all you do to keep this world together. Without you, we have nothing! And to all those whose Mom’s are no longer with us, to those yearning to be a Mom, to those with complicated Mom relationships, socially distant virtual hugs from me to you.

But without further ado, a review of some favorite moments with Moms to soak up during this particularly mom deprived time.

To the Moms raising little rebel girls, high ten.

mother hugs baby in front of murals at Thin Man Chandler St. in Buffalo, NY
mother kisses baby in front of murals by Thin Man Chandler St. in Buffalo, NY

Devon’s also a rescue dog Mom, you’re doubly amazing, Devon!

mom pets dogs in front of murals by Thin Man Chandler St. in Buffalo, NY

The Moms who keep us put together and lookin’ sharp…

mom helps bride get ready for wedding in Buffalo, NY
mom helps bride get ready for wedding in Buffalo, NY

(see more from this wedding here!)

mom helps bride get ready for wedding in Lewiston, NY

…helping us balance and just… helping – we thank you!

mom helps bride get ready for wedding in Buffalo, NY
mom helps bride get ready for wedding in Buffalo, NY
mom helps groom get ready for wedding in Buffalo, NY

Mommas that keep us laughing…

bride and mom laugh before wedding in Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids laugh at mom before wedding in Buffalo, NY
bride and mom laugh before wedding in Buffalo, NY
mother and groom dance at wedding reception at muranda cheese factory in Ithaca, NY
mother of bride delivers speech at wedding reception at Statler City in Buffalo, NY
mother and groom dance at wedding reception at Statler City in Buffalo, NY

…And Moms who let loose…

bride and mom dance at wedding reception at the Foundry in Buffalo, NY
bridesmaids and mom dance at wedding reception at the Admiral Room in Buffalo, NY

And especially Grandmas who tear the house down with their rendition of “Who Let the Dogs Out” at every family wedding, you’re the best.

bride and grandma dance at wedding reception at the Admiral Room in Buffalo, NY

Thanks for teaching us to walk on our own two feet…

mother holds baby up during family portrait photography session at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY

…celebrating us…

mother claps for baby during family portrait photography session at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY

…and knowing how to let go.

mother escorts bride up aisle during wedding ceremony at Hayloft in the Grove in Buffalo, NY

Thanks for those looks of admiration and pride, moms.

Mother and groom dance during wedding reception at the Barrel Factory in Buffalo, NY
Mother looks at bride getting ready for wedding at the Curtiss Hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY

Thanks for the big, warm, comforting Mom hugs… mmm. Remember hugs?!

mother hugs bride before wedding at the Foundry Suites in Buffalo, NY
Mother hugs son at wedding reception at Brookfield Country Club near Buffalo, NY

Moms who make two babies in one go… SUPERHEROES

parents with twins during day in the life family portrait photography session in Buffalo, NY
parents with twins during day in the life family portrait photography session in Buffalo, NY

I always have to send a shout out to the Aunts who are like second Moms – I had a couple of those myself!

mom and aunt help bride get ready before wedding ceremony at Hayloft in the Grove near Buffalo, NY
Aunts cry after bride and groom share first look at their wedding in Niagara Falls, NY
Aunts cry during wedding ceremony at the Westin Hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY

Thanks, Moms, for doing weird things like this pointy handshake? I’m not sure about this entry, but I couldn’t leave it out!

Bride and Mom gesture at each other before wedding ceremony at Hayloft in the Grove near Buffalo, NY

Thanks to the Mommas who are present and soak it all in…

Mom cries while hugging groom during first dance at wedding reception at the Foundry Suites in Buffalo, NY
Mom cries while hugging groom during first dance at wedding reception at Hayloft in the Grove in Buffalo, NY
Mom cries while hugging groom during first dance at wedding reception at the Park Country Club in Buffalo, NY
Mom cries during wedding ceremony at Marcy Casino in Buffalo, NY

To all the new Mommas holding their babies close, savor it all!

mom hugs baby during family portrait photography session at Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY
mom laughs with baby during family portrait photography session at Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY
mom holds newborn baby on staircase landing during family portrait photography session in Buffalo, NY
mom holds newborn baby on staircase landing during family portrait photography session in Buffalo, NY

Thanks to all the Moms still laughing at bad Dad jokes…

Mom laughs while dad delivers speech during wedding reception at the Westin Hotel in Buffalo, NY

To the Grandmas bringing smiles to generations…

Brides and groom pose with grandmas for portraits at weddings in Buffalo, NY

…and setting amazing examples for longevity.

This is Shirley. She was married to her husband for 65 years and received the bouquet for being the longest married couple at Eliana and Mark’s wedding! Unfortunately, Shirley is no longer with us, but what an amazing privilege it was to honor her legacy in this post. THIS is what wedding photography is all about.

Grandmother receives bouquet from bride after winning anniversary dance at wedding reception at the Foundry Suites in downtown Buffalo, NY

Hope all the moms out there had a happy and healthy Mother’s Day! Here’s looking forward to getting back at it, documenting family portraits and wedding photography in Buffalo, NY very soon!

[…] portrait of Aly with her Grandma!!! (Also, when you’re done here, check out this years Mother’s Day post for more sweet mom and grandma […]

Lindsay + Isaac – Lewiston Presbyterian Church, Gazeebo and Niagara Falls Country Club Wedding Photography

As a photographer, walking in to a wedding with a sense of familiarity is always advantageous.  It brings a level of comfort and ease for both the clients and the photographer  – which inevitably leads to people feeling more themselves in front of the camera and thus, looking more natural in photographs.  This is a win for all.  Typically familiarity is gained from a couple meetings, maybe engagement photos, but with Lindsay and Isaac’s wedding, the familiarity came in many forms.

I first met Lindsay many years ago when she was a bridesmaid in her cousin Kelly’s wedding.  Kelly was my good friend in high school.  We actually performed in the talent show together senior year – her beautiful ballet skills combined with my mediocre piano skills brought us a win!  Kelly’s mom was also my Homeroom/English teacher (sorry for any typos here Mrs. Ruest!) in the 6th grade, the year I came to a new school.  I remember that Mrs. Ruest made me feel comfortable in a scary new place all those years ago.  I remember her being incredibly eloquent and the first teacher I recognized as being particularly good at what she did. At any rate, she was intuitive and heartfelt, and when you see the photos of her reading during Lindsay and Isaac’s ceremony, you’ll see not much has changed! 

To add to all this, Lindsay grew up in a pretty special house – the house next door to where I grew up and a place where I spent practically every day playing as a kid with a childhood bestie, Kristen.  I moved away long before Lindsay’s family moved in, but being back in this place where I have SO many happy memories was such a treat.  The 80’s lego phone and spiral stairs may be gone, but I still felt so much nostalgia being back here.  Memories of tree forts and diving rocks, macaroni n’ cheese in rainbow colored bowls, roller skating rehearsals, ghost in the graveyard, archeology digs, chalk walks, and so much more flashed before my eyes and added just a touch more familiarity to make me feel somehow connected to people I barely knew. Run on sentence, whatever Mrs. Ruest, I know! 😉

This story will carry on next July when I photograph Lindsay’s sister Julie’s wedding.  I’m so grateful to be a part of photographing the ongoing history of this family.  This day was such a blast and I can’t wait until the next one!

Without further ado – I began the day at Lindsay’s parents house while my second shooter extraordinaire, Teri, was with Isaac and the guys at the Niagara Crossing Hotel.  Oh hey there sparkly Kate Spade’s!

The Lewiston gazeebo will forever be the prettiest gazeebo I know. I’m so glad we took the time for a quick detour here before heading to the Niagara Falls Country Club for more portraits and the reception!

Ted’s Hot Dogs (truck) for the win!!!

Family tradition here is that every wedding ends with a circle of guests around the bride and groom, arm in arm singing, “Piano Man” at the tops of their lungs.  Why, “Piano Man” you ask?  I haven’t got that far.  It’s a VERY common tradition despite being a pretty sad song about a bunch of lonely people together in a bar –  but drunk people love it, and so I do too  (:

Many thanks to these two families for inviting me in for the day, it was such a pleasure!  And as always, much appreciation to the other vendors who made the day what it was!  Here they are:

Preparation: Bride – private residence, Groom – Niagara Crossing Hotel

Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church – Lewiston, NY

Portraits:  Hennepin Park Gazeebo, Niagara Falls Country Club

Reception:  Niagara Falls Country Club

Flowers: Summertime Blooms

Makeup Artist: Lauren Miller

Cake/Desserts: The Village Bake Shoppe

Officiant: Rev. Dr. Joyce Sirianni

Videographer: Andy Morin

Second Photographer: Teri Fiske