Jenny + Dave – Hydraulic Hearth Wedding Photography – Larkinville – Buffalo, NY

It’s easy to lose sight of the, “why” of our jobs, to get caught up in the busyness of it all and forget what makes it matter to us (and hopefully to others) in the first place.  The priceless refresher course for me?  Photograph people I personally know.

Every summer I head out on an annual camping trip with my boyfriend Paul and a group of his longstanding childhood friends.  We spend nearly two weeks on a picture perfect little island in the middle of an Adirondack mountain lake.  Typically there are a ton of friends around at any given time, but for whatever reason on this particular evening, it was just Jenny, Dave, Paul and me.  The sun was getting low in the sky and Dave asked if we wanted to go out in their boat to watch the sunset.  For whatever reason, we declined.  Fast forward an hour or so and we welcome Jenny and Dave back to shore.  Jenny is literally shaking and a sparkly new ring is resting on her finger.  Had we taken them up on the sunset cruise, who knows what/how that all would have went down, but here we are.

Jenny and Dave were one of those, “we don’t want a fuss” couples when it came to planning their wedding.  They wanted little more than a small, laid back celebration with the people closest to them.  As a photographer, I’ve been REALLY lucky.  My friends never ask me if I can, “just bring along a camera and snap a few photos,” and Jenny and Dave were no exception.  And since they didn’t ask, of course I volunteered.  AND I’M SO GLAD!!!  I’m happy to give my friends the gift of photos, but I’m also selfishly grateful for the experience of seeing pictures of people I care about behind my own lens.  It honestly changes things.  I pride myself on capturing my clients personalities, capturing the dynamic of their families and friends, but as an outsider, I’m never really sure if I have told their story properly.  You try to SEE people, like… really SEE them.  Showing clients how you see them is really one of the great joys of this profession.  But when it’s your own people, it opens your eyes to how much we as photographers really do see in others and how important the moments we capture really are.  Little facial expressions or hand gestures, some day those will all be gone, but the photographs that allow those intricacies to live on, that’s what it’s all about.  And I’m SO glad that these memories from Jenny and Dave’s wedding exist.  If these memories matter to ME,  then it also serves as a striking reminder of how special the photos must (I hope!) feel to them!

At any rate, enough sappy photo stuff, without further ado, a few of my favorite photos with my pals Jenny and Dave on their wedding day!  We started the day outside their house, a charming garden cottage in Buffalo, with a little bit of rain to keep things interesting.

From their house we headed over to Hydraulic Hearth in the Larkinville neighborhood of Buffalo.  An outdoor ceremony was planned, but we were rained out and so we gathered inside and got cozy instead.  The sun finally made an appearance after the ceremony ended and we were able to enjoy the rest of the day outside, eating delicious bagel sandwiches from Breadhive Bakery, playing shuffle board and attempting tandem cycling.  Thanks Jenny and Dave for a super fun day!  We all wish you the best!

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 to bring 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 ever thought, “damn, she’s good at this.”  Though I was 11 so perhaps “damn” wasn’t actually what I thought.  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!

This mirror was donated to the church by Lindsay’s grandparents (grandma pictured here) many years ago.  I photographer her cousin Kelly here as well!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


Videographer: Andy Morin

Second Photographer: Teri Fiske


Tahleen + Luke – Faith Fellowship Church, Chestnut Ridge & La Galleria Wedding – Buffalo, NY

I love when I get to know clients a little bit and really enjoy being around them, then meet their families and friends, and it just explains everything about how the couple came to be as they are.  Tahleen and Luke were surrounded by such profound love and support on their wedding day, it was infectious to be around.  I’m so grateful for the opportunities I get to document special moments for people who I know really appreciate it.  It’s unquestionably one of the highlights of this profession.

I began the day with Tahleen at her families home, which is now going to be the home she and Luke share!  I love how much history there is here!

Generally when clients request a “first look” with their dad, that tells me they know dad might lose it a little bit.  Tahleen’s dad was certainly no exception.  He was SO excited for this day, proud and grateful, and as soon as I set him up for the big reveal, he instantly started choking up.  It was such a beautiful moment to witness!

Meanwhile second shooter extrodinaire Teri met up with Luke and the guys at their church, Faith Fellowship in Clarence, NY where they got ready for the day.  Luke’s socks clearly stole the show here.  Cute socks are my favorite.It doesn’t take a whole lot of time in Tahleen’s presence to realize she’s a thoughtful person, but I just love this story about the cards her dad is holding in the picture below.   So the story goes, when Tahleen was in 5th grade, she started making these index cards for when her dad was traveling for work – little pictures, bible verses, words of encouragement and so forth to remind him how much he was loved and missed.  Tahleen’s dad kept the notes with him, and now has 724 of them.  SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR.   When Tahleen and Luke started dating, Tahleen started making Luke index cards as well and some of those have since been pinned to the wall in their house.  When Tahleen’s dad saw those cards hanging, he felt so thankful that she had Luke in her life and that Luke was getting his turn to receive the notes now. <3

After the ceremony we traveled over to Chestnut Ridge Park for a few portraits with the bridal party and family.  Chestnut ridge has a lot of really beautiful nooks to photograph in, it seems like I find a new little spot every time I visit. …When your parents have a really cute idea for a photo and you’re just like, what?…Every once in a blue moon a client will point out something stylistic that I do and it makes me SO EXCITED because it really means a lot to know that people notice these small things.  When I turned Luke and Tahleen for this portrait below Luke commented something along the lines of, “you love that back light.”  Why YES I DO!!!  (:Onward to La Galleria for the reception!  This campfire cookie cake stole a piece of my heart.Many thanks to Tahleen and Luke for selecting us to document this super special day.  It was such an honor to be a part of it!  And thanks to these awesome vendors below for their part!

Preparation: Bride – Private Residence / Groom – Faith Fellowship Church (Clarence, NY)

Ceremony: Faith Fellowship Church (Clarence, NY)

Officiant: Father of Bride

Portraits: Chestnut Ridge State Park

Reception: La Galleria

Flowers: Flowers by Johnny

Hair + Makeup : Jessica Bugay, Ape & Canary on Strathallan

DJ: Artistic Audio Entertainment

Cake: Tracy Wassink, The Ideal Cookie

Second Photographer: Teri Fiske

Lucy + Josh – Trinity Episcopal Church, Delaware Park/Albright Knox/Japanese Gardens & Samuel’s Grande Manor Wedding Photography – Buffalo, NY

Lucy and Josh were married on a rainy late August day that somehow never really rained too much on us. I started the day with Lucy in her parents home where delicious Lebanese treats were instantly pushed on me.  This is ALWAYS a great sign of the day ahead.  Lucy and Josh’s family and friends were such lovely and EXCITED people, you could really feel the pride, love and support for these two.

Now let’s take a moment to appreciate the sparkly things:

Lucy and Josh both selected their siblings as their maid of honor and best man, looks like a good choice to me.

We traveled to Trinity Episcopal Church in Buffalo, NY for Lucy and Josh’s ceremony.  Trinity is a gem in Buffalo.  It’s an inclusive space that welcomes all, and it’s beauty is undeniable.  These cozy, candle lit ceremony’s may challenge photographers, but they sure take your breath away.

From Trinity we continued to the Japanese Gardens outside the Buffalo History Museum.  This is a classic location for wedding pictures and for good reason.  The rain must have scared away the other brides and grooms this day because we somehow had the place to ourselves.

A little light rain encouraged us to move beneath the columns of the stunning Albright Knox Art Gallery, another classic location that never, ever disappoints.

We finished the day off at Samuel’s Grande Manor where a festive reception was under way.  Sparkly table decorations filled the room and were complimented Flowers by Nature’s gorgeous center pieces and Ohlson’s incredible glittery cake! 

No Lebanese wedding is complete with out LOTS of circle dances!

Can you find second photographer Steve?!  I put him to the task of painting the sky with sparklers for a portrait of Lucy and Josh, but he didn’t quite manage to exit this scene on time.  I left him in this shot for comedy sake (:

Any Sound of Music fans?  I can’t help but sing the song “You are 16 going on 17” when I look at these photos in Samuel’s gazebo.

Many thanks to Lucy and Josh for having us document their wedding day!  And as always, thanks to all the other vendors who helped make this day special:

Preparation: Bride – Private Residence / Groom – Hilton Garden Inn

Ceremony: Trinity Episcopal

Officiant: Kirk Laubenstein

Portraits: Japanese Gardens, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Delaware Park

Reception: Samuel’s Grande Manor

Flowers: Flowers by Nature

Hair + Makeup : Hair I am

DJ: CJ Sound

Cake: Ohlson’s Bakery

Second Photographer: Steve Karosik