We got to spend the most emotional, fun day with Alanna and Ben last Saturday while creating the photography for their wedding as they celebrated with their family and friends at Wilkseon Pointe and the Barrel Factory here in Buffalo. These two cried, and laughed, and cried, on repeat, all day long. It was exactly as weddings should be. I started the day with Alana at the Hilton Garden Hotel. The views from her room were out of this world!
Meanwhile my partner in photo for the day, Teri, joined Ben and his groomsmen (and this adorable pup) at his house.Alanna and Ben love games – you’ll notice a game piece theme sneaking in to the details throughout the wedding from the cake topper to the guest book and more!When everyone was dressed and ready, it was off to Wilkeson Pointe on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor for a (very) sunny ceremony next to a perfectly sparkly blue Lake Erie. A few rowdy boaters aside, it was an incredibly emotional, beautiful ceremony. Not a dry eye to be seen. Next we visited Main St. in Buffalo for some iconic Buffalo backdrops. I think maybe we had a little fun with the photos… And finally we finished the day at the Barrel Factory in Buffalo’s Old First Ward neighborhood. The factory is 116 years old but newly restored and now home to several great tenants, including this fabulous event center. Don’t worry folks, those train tracks aren’t currently in use. (:About this bouquet! Alanna had her shower guests bring her a broach as a gift for her to create this fabulous (and HEAVY) bouquet from. Some are family heirlooms, some new and some newly thrifted, they make quite a collection!There’s a lot to love about wedding photography at the Barrel Factory. This venue has quickly become one of my favorites in the city. Not only are there a plethora of indoor spots that make great wedding portrait locations, but the vibe is so cozy and comfortable. I could shoot in this space all day long!
Many thanks to Alanna and Ben for having us create your wedding photography at the Barrel Factory and Wilkeson Pointe! It was a perfect day. And thank you to all these venues and vendors who helped make the day so great!
Caroline and Paul had the most wonderful wedding filled with warm, lovely people and personal touches as sweet as them. We ventured around Buffalo, NY to a few of its loveliest wedding photography locations including the chapel at Buffalo Seminary, the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Delaware Park and the Hotel Lafayette Greenhouse Room run by Pearl Street Brewery (check out a Pearl St. wedding here!).
Home Sweet Home
I started the day in Caroline’s parent’s house, the house she grew up in (a renovated barn!). Caroline is from a traditionally Irish neighborhood, South Buffalo, so it was no surprise at all to see these lucky shamrocks hanging from the rafters of Caroline’s family room. Add an old nail to the beam and there we had the perfect place to hang Caroline’s dress. Meanwhile, Steve was off with Paul and his groomsmen at Paul and Caroline’s place
Caroline and Paul both wrote each other thoughtful notes to read the morning of the wedding. I feel like these letters always set the tone for the day – they bring laughter, tears and excitement, and the loving, calming words always seem to get things started right.
Once everyone was dressed and ready, we were off to Buffalo Seminary for the wedding ceremony. Caroline and all but one of her bridesmaids went to highschool here! It’s a beautiful, historic building right in the heart of one of Buffalo’s nicest neighborhoods. It was clear that Caroline had many fond memories of her time here and no surprise they chose this beautiful chapel for their ceremony.
The bride was greeted by a former teacher, “Mr. Sutton,” in the library. It was clear he was a beloved educator and staple of the school. Mr Sutton has since passed away and I’m SO grateful to have been there to photograph this moment!
As former students of Buffalo Seminary, it was only fitting while in this glorious library that the girls be photographed drinking champagne beneath the infamous head mistress.
Meanwhile guests (and doggie) gathered in the chapel upstairs as music filled the halls and friends and family greeted one another.
Easy to see, Caroline made quite an entrance and an emotional ceremony was under way. I love the two perspectives Steve and I got of the same moment!
They don’t call him the best man for nothing. Tissues were handed back and forth between the groom and the groomsmen until the best man finally took matters in to his own hands and did the wiping himself.
Albright Knox Art Gallery and Delaware Park
After the ceremony we made a quick trip down the street to the Albright Knox Art Gallery/Delaware Park for a few portraits of the wedding party.
And finally, it was time to make our way to the Hotel Lafayette Greenhouse Room for more wedding photography and one heck of a fun party.
A well known fact about the groom – HUGE Star Wars fan. He gifted each of the groomsmen a proper light sabre with their names engraved on the handles. They were awesome. I’ve always been a fan of the military sabre arch at a wedding, but this was next level.
This reaction right here was the moment people started confessing to the groom they had never seen Star Wars. Hysterical!
Wedding pie for the win! A family friend made ALL of these pies for the guests to eat. Yum!
About the band they hired. James Blonde. They’re a big YES from me. They killed it and the guests lost their minds dancing to their favorite songs. The groom even got up and rocked out the most epic version of Raconteurs, “Steady As She Goes” that 100% brought the house down. Big props to the groom. And also, hire James Blonde for your next event. They’re great.
Then something really fortunate/unfortunate happened. It was an absolute monsoon outside the entire evening so I hadn’t taken an exterior shot of the reception venue. I looked out the window at some point and noticed it had let up a bit, so I headed outside to grab the shot. Then all the sudden… this LIGHT!!! I crossed the street to get this photo of the block and when I turned around, wouldn’t you know, an epic double rainbow right over the Hotel Lafayette!!! So there I am a block and three floors away from the party without my phone to try and get my assistant to get the couple outside. Rainbows are fleeting. Opportunity was lost. But at least now Caroline and Paul will forever know their wedding was adorned with magic.
Then we played with light sabres more….and a light sabre tickle fight ensued…
Many thanks to Caroline and Paul for having us document this wonderful day! We couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. And thank you to all these venues and vendors who helped make the day so great!
One of the funny things about photographing weddings is that a lot of people assume I photograph the same basic things from celebration to celebration. Certainly a lot remains the same week to week, I see a lot of white dresses and tiered cakes. I hear a lot of vows and toasts. But it’s not the same really. There’s an entire collection of unique personalities who have an intensely deep history, and when together, they create a one of a kind dynamic. What keeps wedding photography spicy for me is diving in to this dynamic and allowing a couples deepest, truest relationships to shine bright in their photos.
I see weddings as a culmination of sorts, the actual marriage is simply a capstone to an entire lifetime of moments that got them from A to B. So much of that history, that collection of moments, is reflected in the eyes of those the couple surrounds themselves by. As the photographer, providing the viewer of the pictures an outlet to truly FEEL the nature of these relationships, that’s what it’s all about for me. Parents are undoubtedly the biggest reflections of this history in most unions. And since we’re celebrating moms today – this post is about some of my favorite moments with moms this past year.
I’m not a mom. Becoming a mom has never really even crossed my mind in any sort of serious way at this juncture in my life. And maybe it’s just because… I get it. The sacrifice, the responsibility, the time and attention, the capacity to love unconditionally, the list is endless and it’s a wild leap to take in ones life. One I quite literally haven’t been able to wrap my head around. A lot of my friends are moms, my mom’s a mom, my sister is a mom, I know a lot of moms. And THEY. ARE. ALL. SUPER. HEROES. I stand in awe of every one of them and their commitment to others.
So, this one goes out to all the moms.
The moms who prepare us and lend helping hands.
Moms who “can’t even” during life’s biggest moments
Mom’s who still have wise words, even for adults.
Dogs moms count too. Don’t be a hater.
Moms who teach us about friendship, sharing, helping others
and then become friends themselves
sisters can be like moms too
moms who look at their children with wonder and pride
Mom’s who are still learning and embracing the ride (those lighters really are impossible sometimes)
Grandmas who have passed a strong legacy and soak it all in too.
Moms who aren’t afraid to be silly and enjoy every moment
Mom’s who support dads.
…and let everyone know it’s ok to laugh hysterically at his bad dad jokes. For the record, this was not a bad dad joke, this guy was hilarious. Then again, I love bad dad jokes…
Moms who have adorably cheesy ideas supported by no shame when it comes to embarrassing you
This isn’t a mom photo, but to whoever makes kids this cute. Props.
Moms who laugh with us and share their joy, unabashed.
Aunts who are like second moms, I had my share of those
Moms who are the best huggers, ever.
…and Grandmas who spark spontaneous standing ovations for all they’ve done
moms who celebrate us, with open arms
Mom’s who still fix our hair
And moms who uphold family traditions
to the moms who are no longer with us, your legacy is carried in these photos and our hearts
and finally, to some of the brides who became moms this year too
It’s a true honor to have the opportunity to immortalize so many moms in photos throughout the year. Your support and love for your families inspires me every day. Thanks to all the great moms in this world, nothing exists without you. Literally. And we love you! Happy Mother’s Day!
Melina and Mike, Mike and Melina, they even SOUND good together! And on this rainy Saturday in early spring, they made together a forever thing. This day was the perfect balance of elegance and sweetness. The locations Melina and Mike picked for their celebration represent some of the cities finest architectural feats, including a St. Louis Church ceremony, some Ellicott Square Building portraits and an Admiral Room wedding reception in Buffalo, NY. More importantly, the crowd of family and friends Melina and Mike brought along with them were spirited and engaged in every part of the day. It was easy to see how much love and support follow Melina and Mike and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to document all of this for them.
I began the day with Melina and her bridal party at the Courtyard Marriott while Steve joined Mike and his crew over at the Hilton Garden Inn.
I must have taken 25 photos of these two little ladies on this couch and each one is as cute as the last. <3
Melina got Mikes mom a rock as a gift. Never got the story behind that and I think maybe I prefer it that way. All I know is this rock clearly brought a lot of joy to their faces.
On to the stunning St. Louis R.C. Church for the ceremony!
Classic spring Buffalo weather, high winds and torrential rains.
This flower girl gave up pretty early…I genuinely love when this happens… makes for a far more memorable photo!
Steve took this photo. He calls it “money phone.” It’s random and I like it.
The Ellicott Square Building served as the backdrop for our wedding portraits and it’s truly the “rainy day backup” location of photographer dreams. This office building from 1896 was at the time of its completion the largest office building in the country! I think my favorite thing about this building though was the mantra of the architect Daniel Burnham, “make no little plans, they have no magic.” I think of that line every time I come here.
Next stop, a wedding reception at the Admiral Room in Buffalo, NY
The Admiral Room is one of the biggest and most impressive ballrooms in Buffalo. I had the opportunity to tour the Admiral Room several years ago when it was up for sale. A friend of mine had visions of turning it in to a wedding venue and wanted some feedback from a few of us in the industry. It was a big time YES from me, but he ended up passing on the opportunity. I’m SO glad someone else went through with this though because a special place such as this should not be sitting idle as an abandoned bank! The last time I saw the space there was carpeting and cubicles in here.
It has taken a lot of time to get the Admiral Room up and running, but at long last it’s here! The staff was great and everything ran smoothly. I’m so excited to have this new space to work in – I’ll be back for a few more Admiral Room weddings in Buffalo this summer! (Update, check out another Admiral Room wedding here!)
It’s hard to take a bad photo with backdrops like this at Admiral Room Weddings in Buffalo.
As it turns out, frozen wedding cakes are hard to cut!
Many thanks Melina and Mike for inviting us to document this gorgeous wedding. It was an absolute joy! Additional thanks to the amazing wedding venues and vendors who made this day what it was! Here they are:
Morgan + Tim – “seeking semi-adventurous couple for free photo shoot”
Those were the words I tossed out in to the weird world of facebook, in hopes of getting someone, anyone, to volunteer to indulge my weird ideas. Some 50 people replied!!! How ever would I choose?! Actually it was pretty easy.
I think a lot of people thought I was going to draw names out of a hat. Maybe that would’ve been the right thing to do. But this shoot was for ME, a rare off season treat where I could just go shoot for fun, and so I decided to be a little selfish. I hand pick these two deserving people and gave myself an opportunity to serve a couple who has been serving me for years! You see, Morgan and Tim own two of my favorite restaurants/bars, Lucky Day and Ballyhoo, and so it was nice to give back a bit. Not to mention these two haven’t had their photos taken together professionally since my friend Aaron Ingrao photographed their wedding out in San Diego nearly a decade ago. It was time. Plus, c’mon look how cute they are?!
What planet did you take these photos on?
Thought you would never ask. Planet earth, actually. The inspiration for this location came earlier this winter while photographing one of our lovely Buffalo blizzards for my “side hustle,” Reuters. As part of that assignment, I was taking photos of a very frozen Lake Erie and noticed large buildups of ice forming along the break-wall that protects the city of Buffalo from some of the turbulent water that passes through this choppy section of the lake. These icy towers looked awesome, but getting a couple out on to the break-wall was going to be near impossible. I decided to wander further down the lake, past the break-wall, to see if the beaches there had this type of ice build up. The first beach was closed off for the winter and the second beach had a lot of ice, but it was as flat as could be. Looking back toward the city though, I noticed one small section of beach with what appeared to be the giant ice towers of my dreams, and I was determined to find a way to get to them. That turned out to be not so huge of a challenge. I drove down all sorts of random side streets trying to find an access point to this part of the beach, but it’s an industrial area that is completely fenced off. Then suddenly, an opening in the fence with a sign that said, “park closes at dusk.” It was a legit, completely open to the public, no trespassing required secret little beach that had piles of ice piles sunbathing upon it. And so the shoot was on.