September 28, 2007

Kara & Dev, September 23; Oheka Castle

Kara and Dev come from different backgrounds, so they decided to mix parts of both their Irish/Italian and Indian cultures in a daylong celebration at Oheka Castle in Huntington. (New York Times Above)

Photographer Roberto Falck and Tim Alan Studios videographer, Adam, arrived early to capture the bride getting ready in her amazing suite that overlooked the ceremony site and gardens below.

I arrived a few hours later from Julie and Garrett's wedding in Montauk to capture more of Kara getting ready as well as the arrival of guests, family photographs and the ceremonial march of Dev to meet Kara's family in front of the castle.

The ceremony was great, and Adam's view from the balcony in the bridal suite captured the amazing views below to complement my footage from the ground.

After the ceremony, the guests enjoyed cocktails and limitless food on the expansive grounds before all entered the grand ballroom for an evening of great food, moving toasts and spirited dancing....

Julie & Garrett, September 22; Montauk

Julie and Garrett prayed to the rain Gods last week, and they listened. Much of the wedding revolved around being outside and enjoying the views and landscape that the private beach at Gurney's Inn in Montauk would provide.

When I arrived, Julie was getting ready in Gurney's spa, before heading to the bridal suite to change into her dress and apply the finishing touches to her make up. The footage of the bride and her bridesmaids is a Tim Alan Studios specialty, and Julie and her friends natural banter and excitement were a joy to capture. While the girls got ready at Gurney's, Garrett and his groomsmen hung out on a yacht before heading to the beach for the ceremony.

When Julie walked down the aisle, Garrett practically fell out of his shoes with excitement as she neared. The ceremony ended with all the guests posing on the beach with the bride and groom for a group shot from photographer Beth Keiser. They then flooded the top-deck of Gurney's to enjoy cocktail hour before filing into the main room for the reception. The ocean was the theme, with sand, starfish and shells at all turns and ocean views plentiful for all.

When the band played the last dance, there were no tears shed as most of the crowd spent three more hours on the beach enjoying coolers full of beer and acoustic performance by a guitarist who seem to know every song they wanted to hear. A day to remember and a night that will be hard to forget....

September 27, 2007

Ondrea & Mark, September 22; St. Patrick's Cathedral & The Metropolitan Club, NYC

Ondrea and Mark started the day getting ready at one Manhattan landmark, The Metropolitan Club, before heading over to another in St. Patrick's Cathedral for the ceremony. This was the second Tim Alan wedding of the year at St. Patrick's, both shot by Lu. Mark awaited anxiously at the front of church for his bride to be gracefully escorted down the aisle by her father. Throngs of tourists lined up in the back of the church to catch a glimpse of the bride and snap photos as she walked down the aisle.

After the amazing ceremony, the couple was greeted by a New Orleans Jazz band that serenaded them and the crowd. The couple was then whisked off in a limo for NYC photos. At the Metropolitan Club, the decor was incredible and dancing non-stop as
Ondrea and Mark enjoyed a night they won't soon forget.

Janell & Drew, September 21; Naragansett

Janell and Drew knew from the day they met in college at the University of Rhode Island that they had a special bond. Even before Janell and Drew met, she knew that she would someday get married to someone at the Towers in Naragansett, where she witnessed a wedding from the back of the family car soon after arriving on campus.

On Friday, Janell and Drew's initial attraction proved to be on the mark and Janell's prediction of her wedding day equally on point as the two wed. The ceremony was held in a beautiful church just off URI's campus before the party headed to the Towers, whose views of the Atlantic Ocean were awe-inspiring. Jared Charney was once again on hand to capture the day and the beautiful backdrops that both the ceremony site and reception provided.

Janell, who I have been friends with for ten years,looked beautiful in the gown her mother Susan wore down the aisle 40 years before. The reception highlights included the clam shell table cards created by hand by Janell, a phone call from Drew's good friend serving in Iraq, a toast and blessing from Janell's father Gary, bridal party performances on stage with Boston band Men in Black, and the first dance to Queen's 'Best Friend'.

September 20, 2007

Alex & Kate, September 15; Garrison, NY

Dave & Jess, September 15; Bay Shore

Living in Washington D.C. and planning a wedding in Long Island probably wasn't the easiest thing for Dave and Jess, but everything clicked on Saturday as friends and family convened in Sayville and Bay Shore for a day-long celebration.

Dave and Jess booked photographer Roberto Falck who then referred them to Tim Alan Studios for video. Demonstrating the importance of photographer/video compatibility and a good referral, the couple signed on soon after. Tim Alan shooter Geoff arrived at St. Lawrence the Martyr in Sayville to capture the guests arriving and a beaming Jess being escorted down the aisle by her father. After a lengthy ceremony and greeting line in the lobby, Dave and Jess were given a shower of flowers as they exited the church to their waiting vintage car.

The wedding party, traveling in a trolley, followed the couple to Bayard Cutting Arboretum where photos and good times were had. The groomsmen showed off the pocket watches they received as gifts while some of the bridesmaids helped Jess touch up her make-up in the trolley before taking photos.

The group then headed to the Southward Ho Country Club where the grounds proved to be a perfect backdrop for photos as guests enjoyed cocktail hour, bagpipers and the personalized 'Jess & Dave' drink holders.

Dave and Jess were introduced to a warm reception and then the festivities commenced. To simply say their friends liked to party, would be like saying that most brides take some interest in planning their weddings. The highlight was probably a group of 30 holding candles and singing Elton John's "Ballerina" as they swayed to the beat.
A night to remember to be sure....

September 18, 2007

Risa & Michael, September 15; The Westchester Country Club

Tiger Woods has had his moments at the Westchester Country Club over the years, but one thing he will never experience there is the amazing experience of having a wedding on the lush grounds nestled in bucolic Harrison, New York.

Risa and Michael were lucky enough to have this experience on Saturday with weather that was near perfect and good times that were non-stop.

Risa hired two separate photographers- Jared Charney and Bruce Plotkin- to ensure all aspects of the day were covered and to enjoy the unique creativity and photojournalistic eye each possesses. The three of us entered the bridal suite at the same time and captured the excitement of Risa and her bridesmaids as the ceremony approached. Risa was busy getting her hair and make-up done and even admitted out loud a couple of times that she was getting very nervous.

Michael and the groomsmen were relaxing outside and also did a quick rehearsal to make sure all locations were set. Her parents escorted the beautiful bride down the aisle and Risa's tears flowed soon after as she exchanged vows with Michael.

Photos on the lawn of the country club followed the ceremony with cocktail hour in the Country Club. Banquet manager Richard Smith guided guests into the main room for the reception. When the bride and groom were announced, a raucous standing ovation welcomed them into the room.

After the first dance, Risa's father provided a touching and humorous toast. He was followed by Michael's two best men who each toasted the couple with a special emphasis on roasting Michael.

The band from Synergy Entertainment played a nice mix of Motown, contemporary favorites as well as traditional wedding songs to keep the dance floor packed most of the night. The excited crowd did not want things to end when the lights went up at 11:30 so a spirited chant of 'one more song' took shape. Unfortunately, like all good things, the night had to end but the memories will last forever....

September 13, 2007

Marci & Mark, September 8, Milford, N.H.

I found myself in New Hampshire last Saturday for the wedding of Marci and Mark, because Marci, who lives in Boston, had seen and loved the Tim Alan wedding video of a friend of a friend (Katie and Brad, July 2005) while on a trip to NYC last year. Thanks Katie!

The day started at the home of Marci's parents in Derry, where Marci told of how she started dating Mark on September 8 of 2002, got engaged on September 8 of 2006 and finally was getting married on the date this year! All coincidence, no less.

Marci also spent time in the room where she grew up before getting joined by her bridesmaids who had spent the morning at the salon. The beautiful scenery of the backyard was a great way to start off the day for me and Jared Charney, the photographer. Jared and I will be working together the next two weekends, as well so it was good to catch up.

While Marci's limo took her and the bridesmaids to The Mile-Away Restaurant, Mark and his groomsmen were making the trip from the Hilton Garden Inn in Manchester. The Mile-Away proved to be a beautiful, rustic spot in the heart of New Hampshire. The scenic views, old-fashioned charm and excellent service make it the perfect location for a New England wedding.

Soon after arriving, the ceremony began. The heat was oppressive, but that did not stop anyone from enjoying the beautiful ceremony that included poem readings by an aunt and uncle, a special song from Marci's cousin and a unity 'flower' ceremony.

The cocktail hour took place on the deck outside the restaurant before everyone moved under the enormous tent out back. The tent was key as the beautiful day gave way to a rainstorm towards the end of the reception, but all were dry due to quick acting staff that put up the walls on the tent as the rain came down.

Marci and Mark enjoyed a first dance, a comical speech by Mark's brother and a wild dance by Mark's friend with the bride, before retreating for an evening of drinks and fun in Manchester with any guests who still had energy to party!

September 12, 2007

To Cocktail or not to Cocktail, that is the question.....

In my years filming weddings, I find many of my clients agonize over cocktail hour ideas and options. This is especially true if their ceremony and reception are at different locations.

How long should cocktail hour be? Should they take photos during cocktail hour and miss the entire thing? Should they take a few photos and make part of the cocktail hour? Should they skip posed photos entirely? Should they break tradition and get some photos/video as a couple before the ceremony so they can enjoy the cocktail hour in full? What should they do if the reception site won't let them start ANYTHING until seven and their off-site ceremony ends at three?

These are all valid and important questions when considering the logistics of your wedding day. The wrong choice can make the difference between a fun, stress free day and one in which your cocktail hour becomes an instant hangover.

My first piece of advice would be to go to your cocktail hour. All of it. If that's not possible, for whatever the reason, at least make it to part of the cocktail hour. It is your wedding day, so you can do what you want. If you don't feel like taking formal pictures and missing cocktail hour, don't do it. If you want to get all those amazing photos AND go to your cocktail hour, you can control that as well.

Many couples dread the three or four hour gap between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of cocktail hour that is sometimes mandatory due to church restrictions on ceremony time and reception limitations on start times. Where will grandma go for 3 hours? Will my cousins from Minnesota get lost in Manhattan and sucked into the tourist black hole called Times Square? Will guests get mad that there is so much time before the party? What will my new spouse, wedding party and immediate family do with all that downtime?

Valid questions? Yes. Something to REALLY worry about and stress over? No. Embrace the space and gap that you have been given. Give your guests a list of touristy things they can do in between or suggest a bar they can meet to pre-cocktail before the cocktail. As a guest, I once had seven hours in between the ceremony and reception in a town that was definitely NOT NYC. Did I get mad at the couple and wish I had never come? No! I took time to take in the sites, watched a movie, had a nice lunch, bought new shoes caught part of the Yankee game on TV and then had an amazing time at the reception.

I recently filmed a wedding with a large gap in between the church and the reception. The couple had the reception at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park and decided to spend nearly two hours of that extra time taking photos in Battery Park. They were able to relax and get all the photos and video they wanted knowing that they would still have the full time to enjoy cocktail hour. The photographer (Nelson Hancock)and myself were able to get all the coverage we wanted without worrying about having to rush. I was even able to use the Super 8 camera to catch some candid moments of friends and family hanging around, enjoying the weather and scenery while waiting for their call to be formally photographed.

If you are getting married in NYC and you have that large break, take advantage of the city as a backdrop. Take the limo and get some shots in Times Square, Central Park, a botanic garden, the South Street Seaport or even your favorite places in your neighborhood. Do this and STILL get to your cocktail hour (or hour and a half, which I recommend) and stay in full.

A cocktail hour that is longer than an hour is actually a good compliment to the long break in between. It's really the only time the bride and groom can really mingle and get around to see a lot of the guests that have made the effort to come to the wedding and who will appreciate any time they get speaking to you on such a hectic day.

As a videographer, I LOVE a longer cocktail hour. It gives me a chance to get some really creative, artistic shots in a non-stressful atmosphere as well as a chance to include many if not all of your guests in at least one shot. You took a lot of time planning the wedding and choosing the guests, so it's nice later on to see a lot of them when you're watching the video. With a longer cocktail hour, this is more likely to happen.

After this extended cocktail hour, you will be able to relax and enjoy the flow of events at the party, knowing you've already taken amazing photo and video, enjoyed your full cocktail party AND actually had the time to enjoy conversation with most of your guests.

You will ultimately do what you feel is best for you, but I just wanted to give you some finger food for thought!