English Manor Wedding Photographers: Steph & Ryan

Converse sneakers, blue-hooded onesies and even Ironman himself– you won’t want to miss this fun, one-of-a-kind garden wedding…

Stephanie is such a character– she is intelligent, witty, fun-loving and a total planner.  I liked her from the moment that she reached out to me.  Her initial email made me laugh out loud!

It said, “My name is Stephanie and I am about to get engaged. For the last 2 years I have been obsessively following your work. While I am not engaged yet, I do know that I want a Saturday wedding in 2017. I know that you are in very high demand so I am reaching out preemptively to see if you have any available Saturdays for the summer of 2017. My fingers are crossed very tightly that you do. Thank you for your time. I hope that once my boyfriend does pop the question I will be able to make a much more formal request. –Stephanie”

We had our initial consultation before Ryan had popped the question and before she had chosen a venue!  After the meeting, I wrote in my notes, “I like them a lot– her personality needs to be captured– they have such an amazing story!” He did propose, and I captured part of their amazing love story here as we went back to the cabin where they met and photographed them skiing down a double black diamond among other things, it was epic!

As for capturing that fun-loving, energetic personality, I found the perfect opportunity when I saw the gift she bought her bridesmaids, flannel hooded onesies with names on the front and titles on the back.   I asked her how she felt about jumping on the bed– she was game (of-course)…  haha her bridesmaids’ expressions!!!

Ryan shared, “Stephanie and I bring out the best in each other, while I am more relaxed and calm her down she brings out my more adventurous side. She always puts me and our relationship first in everything she does, she helps me seize every moment of the day.”

Again, you can just feel the joy radiating from Steph here, looking at this photo makes me smile…

Steph shared, “Rhinehart Photography has a way of capturing a couple and a wedding that is completely unique. They truly take the time to understand the couple and capture their personalities and interests.  They are also adaptive to change, in our case this was running 45 minutes late.  While things were sped up – Lisa and Kris took care to make sure that Ryan and I had all of the shots that we wanted, to tell our unique story.”

When we first met Steph described what she liked and was hoping to see in her wedding photos, she used words like: creative, unique, different, natural, fun, personal, authentic, artistic and I knew we’d be a perfect fit!  Here is one of my more subtle, artistic shots of the day… if you look closely you can see a bride and groom slow dancing along in the top left corner as well as the maid of honor reflected in this single photograph:

Another reflection, but less subtle, her Steph’s mother puts on her pearls as Steph watches in the mirror.  I used a shallow depth of field to draw all of the attention to the reflection but like the intimate feel of peering through Steph’s veil and the way the veil and Steph’s mother create a frame…

Steph shared, “A month and a half before the wedding, my father had a hemorrhagic stroke. There is a 30% survival rate for this type of stroke. My dad spent 28 days in the hospital, had to have a drain put in (and removed) from his skull, and had to work so hard to make sure that he was able to walk me down the aisle.”

She continued, “Him seeing me as a bride on that day was such an emotional time for both of us.  He had been through so much and I knew how hard he and my mom had worked to make sure that he could be there on my wedding day to support me, to walk me down the aisle, to dance together at the reception…  but that first look with him was so special.”

Steph and Ryan exchanged hand-written notes in the morning and read them to themselves, it was an intimate moment.  I wanted the photograph to feel soft and private, yet crisp and clear– high contrast.

I carry 8 lenses with me on a wedding day and had the perfect lens in mind and settings to capture all of that in a single frame:

The venue was lovely!  Steph shared, “Ryan and I chose the English Manor because of their outdoor space. We were going for a “Hamptons Rustic Garden Party.” The English Manor maintains beautiful gardens around the property with many vibrant colors, I chose the green and white because I thought it would “go” with any colorful backdrop there.”

Steph explained, “As for the bouquets, I wanted movement in all of the pieces and non-traditional flowers, and Alisha Simone from Elegant Event Flowers made it happen!”

She continued, “We had roses but they were damask, we played up the greens with different types of foliage and even an artichoke, we went through the process of picking unique flowers.”

Speaking of movement, I love to capture movement whenever I can.  I wanted to capture the movement of the bridesmaids circling Steph, I like how it’s almost foreshadowing for the Hora to come during the reception.  😉

I created this look in-camera using unique manual camera settings, dragging the shutter to capture the bridesmaids while allowing Steph to be in focus…

Out story turns now to the men– Kris totally nailed these men’s photos– they look slick…

Stephanie shared, “From the moment I met Ryan – he made me happy. He has a similar sense of humor to myself. We bonded over retelling Forgetting Sarah Marshall to each other on the day we met. But beyond that – he truly is the nicest and most caring person I have ever met.”

She continued, “When my dad was sick – he did not want me to lift a finger. He said he would figure out how to move us out of the apartment, into Queens, clean, and still work his day job. He told me that I should just be with my family.”

He also looks a heck of a lot like Robert Downey Jr, hence the cufflinks:

Stephanie continued, “When Ryan took on all of that to support me and my family, I didn’t know it at the time, but he was nervous about being able to do it all.  He actually reached out to his friends for help and they supported him.  We have the best friends.”

Chucks– I love Kris’ perspective on this shot– it’s really perfect 🙂

And here he is again pulling off beautiful visual symmetry and the rule of thirds, zen-master Kris :).  You look great, guys!

On to Ryan’s favorite part of the day– the first look, when he saw Steph for the first time on the wedding day.   First Looks have really become a staple of modern wedding traditions.  Having a “first look” allows a couple to really take their time and soak in the moment while also helping the flow of the day and allowing the couple to enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests.

Ryan shared, “My favorite part of our wedding day was meeting Stephanie on the bridge for first look. Knowing that she was going to be so beautiful when I was able to turn around and then seeing her finally being more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Knowing that she was going to be my forever and I will have always have that moment in my mind.”

It was such a beautiful moment for both of them…

Stephanie shared, “Ryan has this way of taking care of me that makes me feel totally safe and loved.  Even when he is mad at me or we have a fight – he still does everything to try to make sure I am ok, and takes care of me, and still will do anything to  make sure that I am taken care of.”

She continued, “That kind of selflessness is so rare and it is something that I am so lucky to have found in my partner.”

Ryan shared, “What made me fall in love with Stephanie was in the simplest words “her weird matches my weird”. We are able to make the littlest moments fun and engaging together, while life is happening around us we are able to step into our own little world together.”

For me, this image captures Ryan’s sentiment…  I see life blurring at a frenzied pace and them stepping out together, laughing…

While I love capturing more creative images, I make sure to take a few more traditional photographs as well.  

They are opposites but similar, and balance each other out…

Steph explained, “People always say that opposites attract. And on the surface we seem to fit that mold. Ryan is more type B and I’m more type A. One of us always feels like we need to be on the go and the other really does take the time to smell the roses. We balance each other out. Ryan reminds me that it is ok to just sit sometimes. That not everything needs to be planned. And I bring Ryan out of his shell and push him to try new things. On the surface it seems that we are opposites, but really we are so similar.”

She continued, “We share the same thoughts about marriage and our future. We can anticipate each others’ moods. We have the same sense of humor. We both like to get out and do things. We truly are best friends. And that means we are honest, even if the other person doesn’t want to hear it. We support each other. And we would both do anything to make the other person happy.”

I think this photograph captures that “opposites but similar balance” well…

Steph shared, “Ryan and I have been extremely lucky when it has come to friends. We had 9 people on each of our sides, the majority of which we have known for most of our lives. These are the people who have really shaped us into the people we are today. When you know your friends as long as we have they truly are family. But the best part is – is that they all get along. They might not hang out all the time, and some might have met that weekend, but they all talked to each other and really seemed to bond over the bridal party experience. We know that not everyone has a friendship that lasts decades – but we are lucky to have so many friendships that have lasted that long. We are just so grateful for the 18 people who did not hesitate to stand by our sides.”

I wanted to capture this bridal party of 20 in a unique way and capture their excitement as well as the gorgeous English Manor

Time for the ketubah–

Steph shared, “Ryan really embraced my Jewish traditions and supported me in my faith. Being an interfaith couple is not always easy, but what Ryan did for me really made me love him even more.”

I liked the symmetry of this next photo, the bridesmaids listening to the Rabbi’s words as he prepared the Ketubah…

Signed!

Steph continued, “We found a Rabbi, signed the Ketubah, and filled the ceremony with special Jewish traditions…Ryan’s selflessness is inspirational and it makes me want to be just as supportive of his needs.”

Rabbi fist bump 🙂

Both of Steph’s parents walked her down the aisle and have really taught her what marriage is…

Steph shared, “My parents have been married for 38 years. And they have really shown me what a real marriage looks like.   When my dad had his stroke, my mom was there to help him along, and cheer him on.  She was completely invested in helping him to be able to do all the things that a father does at a wedding.”

She continued, “Together they got my father ready. They both walked me down the aisle.  The moment was unforgettable.”

Ryan is blown away by Steph all over gain…

Dad hugs…

The English Manor garden ceremony was held beneath tree boughs against a wrought iron gazebo…

The florals were absolutely stunning.  Here they perform the traditional Jewish circle ritual

They share wine in accordance with tradition…

Family members were all smiles as they witnessed the ceremony…

At the end of the ceremony, Ryan broke a glass, as the guests shouted “Mazel tov!” (“Congratulations”)

Kiss the bride:

Steph shared, “When I think about our forever – people ask what I am looking forward to most – I am looking forward to everything. I am looking forward to many years in our home, and starting a family… I am looking forward to the hard times because they are what make the better times all the better. I am looking forward to taking on everything that comes our way together… holding hands (we really like to hold hands).”

Dad fist bump: 

As soon as everyone entered the reception, the Hava Nagila began to play and Steph and Ryan were lifted up on chairs– Ryan looks a little nervous, no?

But he was enjoying himself in no time!

The first dance…

Ryan had tears in his eyes as he watched Stephanie dancing with her father…  it was a very special moment for everyone.

Stephanie’s grandfather blessed bread…

One of the most touching moments of the evening was Stephanie’s father’s speech.

Stephanie shared, “One of the most special moments for me was when my dad went to deliver his speech he started to get emotional.  Without hesitation my mom went to go stand by his side and help. It was so touching to see, and a little funny when she couldn’t even get the first word out either, haha!”

She continued, “But with my mom by his side my dad had all the support he needed to get the speech out.  Here is the moment that she stood up to support him:

Cake cutting…

Stephanie stated, “We wanted to make sure that everyone danced the night away. We have friends and family that know how to have a good time. It was great to have everyone out there with us!”

The lighting, created by FNA events was pretty incredible and really set the tone for the evening.  In this shot I tried to capture the elegant setting as well as the packed dance floor.

People had an amazing time and pulled out their best dance moves…

Gotta love the flying tie…

I set out to try and capture the high-octane experience that was the dance floor– this photo almost makes you feel tipsy, right?

At the end of the night be went back to the bridge where Ryan and Steph had their first look.  The atmosphere was quiet and cool, crickets were chirping…

Kris and I took some time to set up interesting lighting while Ryan and Steph were enjoying the party.

For me this photograph says, “and they lived happily ever after” 😉

Steph shared, “When I think about our forever – people ask what I am looking forward to most – I am looking forward to everything. I am looking forward to many years in our home, and starting a family… I am looking forward to the hard times because they are what make the better times all the better. I am looking forward to taking on everything that comes our way together… holding hands (we really like to hold hands).”

Steph and Ryan, it was such a pleasure getting to know you two and I will never forget hour incredible adventure at Hunter Mountain.  Thank you for choosing Kris and I to capture your precious memories.  You two are amazing and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you!

If you want to see more of Ryan and Steph, check out their Hunter Mountain engagement session here.

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