Veronica + Rob – Wedding at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure – Buffalo, NY

Photographing a wedding at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure always seems to be exactly that, an adventure. The venue is certainly aptly named. Nestled in the hills of Varysburg, NY, you would never know it existed unless you happened to be out on a country drive and spotted an animal you know surely doesn’t typically roam free in upstate NY. With their pre-cocktail hour “safaris” showcasing animals like buffalo, zebra, camel and Texas longhorn, guests are treated to a very unique wedding experience!

Veronica and Rob spent the full day of their wedding at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure. They got ready right on site and had both their ceremony and reception on the grounds. It’s an idyllic spot for photography with beautiful natural backdrops in every direction. Videography can get interesting, as you may also hear some… special… animal sounds throughout the day as well! It’s always a great time.

wedding party poses for portraits  at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

It was starting to look like it may rain any second, so we decided this covered bridge would be the perfect location for the couples big reveal or “first look!”

bride and groom have a first look or "reveal" before their wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom have a first look or "reveal" before their wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom have a first look or "reveal" before their wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom have a first look or "reveal" before their wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

This photo below might actually be the crowning achievement of my career. That’s a lot of little kids all looking right at me! I probably wouldn’t enjoy hearing back the crazy noises I was making to get their attention, but it worked!

wedding party with flower girls and ring bearers pose for portrait on covered bridge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
wedding party poses for portraits on covered bridge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
wedding party poses for portraits on covered bridge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

Check out this stunning setting for the ceremony! A rain shower was brewing though and this scene would become a colorful array of umbrellas!

Guests hovered under the patio umbrellas as the rain began to fall, but eventually a parade of brave guests cuddled together under umbrellas and made their way out to the island for the ceremony.

guests hold colorful umbrellas during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests hold colorful umbrellas during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests hold colorful umbrellas during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
brides walks down the aisle with her father during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests hold colorful umbrellas as bride walks down the aisle during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

The guests were all such great sports about the rain and I have to say, it really made for such a memorable, unique scene.

guests hold colorful umbrellas during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests hold colorful umbrellas during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests hold colorful umbrellas during wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
photography of bride and groom holding hands at wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
photography of bride and groom exchanging vows at wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
photography of bride and groom exchanging rings at wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
photography of bride and groom kissing at wedding ceremony at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

After the ceremony, guests went on a trolley tour of the property and my second shooter Steve joined them! Hidden Valley Animal Adventure is home to 40 species of animals who roam the 63 acre property. Steve was very excited that he, “had to go on a safari” for work this day. (: All of these amazing animal shots are his!

While the guests enjoyed their safari, I stayed back with Veronica and Rob to capture their portraits.

bride and groom pose for wedding portraits in rain at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

The rain was off and on all day, but we ended up having the most incredible “heavy metal” sky as Veronica and Rob called it. We had just a couple brief openings when the sun popped out of the clouds and in those moments this photographers eyes were VERY happy. Rainy day weddings always seem to have an extra little touch of magic!

bride and groom pose for wedding portraits in rain in front of stormy skies at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom pose for wedding portraits in rain at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom pose for wedding portraits in rain at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

Reception time!

If you hadn’t guessed, Rob is a big heavy metal fan. You’ll notice a lot of bull horns from this point in the day onward!

bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride dances with father in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride dances with father in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
groom dances with mother in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
groom dances with mother in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
taxidermy bear growls at entrance to lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
guests dance in lodge at wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY
bride and groom dance in lodge at their wedding at hidden valley animal adventure near Buffalo, NY

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

Hair + Makeup: Serenity Salon

Florist: Russel’s

Bakery: Muscoreil’s

DJ: Toy Bros

Second Photographer: Steve Karosik

Wedding Engagement Session near Ellicottville, NY with Jonna and AJ

Whenever a client presents a location for their wedding engagement session that has a personal meaning to them, I’m always game. This particular location was just a bit extra special though. AJ’s family bought this property near Ellicottville, NY when AJ was just a kid. They set up a tipi on the property and spent weekends and vacations exploring. The property has some pretty fascinating stories. For example, there was an abandoned gas station on the property – which is literally at the end of a dead end dirt road and at the top of a hill, random! Behind the gas station was an old swimming pool. After they closed on the property, they noticed there was suddenly a HOLE DUG IN THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL WITH A SAFE INSIDE IT!!! Unfortunately, the safe was empty. Either way, solid hiding spot that leaves oh-so-much to the imagination!

AJ’s family eventually built a gorgeous log home on the property from gigantic trees that were burnt in a forest fire out in Wyoming. The property has become a second home to the family over the years. They even spend the holidays here. When AJ and Jonna started dating, they made a lot of trips to the cabin. It’s the place they feel they really got to know each other. I’m SO, so glad they suggested a wedding engagement session near Ellicottville, not only because it means so much to them, but it was so stunning and hitting peak fall color in perfect time for our shoot. It was absolutely perfect!

bride and groom pose for wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom pose for wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom walk while holding hands during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom walk while holding hands during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY

AJ brought along his motorcycle for a few shots, what a perfect place to ride!

bride and groom sit on motorcycle during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY

This next series was taken along the driveway leading up to their cabin. The fall colors were incredible!

bride and groom hug in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom laugh in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY

As soon as I saw this pond I knew there was a reflection photo in our future. Unfortunately there was a little bit of a ripple in the water, otherwise this would have been perfection!

bride and groom walk past reflective pond during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom walk past reflective pond during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom hug next to reflective pond during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom laugh in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom embrace in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom laugh in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY

Popping that bottle of champagne you’ve been saving from the engagement party is ALWAYS a great idea.

bride and groom enjoy champagne on bench in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom enjoy champagne on bench in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom enjoy champagne on bench in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY

This field was filled with buzzing fuzzy bumble bees! I thought they deserved a photo too (:

bride and groom enjoy champagne on bench in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom enjoy champagne on bench in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom enjoy champagne on bench in field during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom walk while holding hands during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom stand in silhouette during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY
bride and groom stand in silhouette during wedding engagement photos among fall foliage at their property in Ellicottville, NY

Many thanks to Jonna and Aj for sharing such a special place with me! It was such a treat!

I’ll take another fall wedding engagement session near Ellicottville any day, please and thanks!