Palace at Somerset Park Wedding Photographers: Michelle & Jim

Join me and this smoking hot couple on their beautiful wedding day at The Palace at Somerset Park...

Michelle and Jim reached out for me looking for a photographer who was familiar with The Palace and would capture an eclectic mix of photos (traditional and candid, tiny details and epic architecture, traditional and creative, etc).  Most importantly they and be able to capture them in the moment, being themselves experiencing their wedding day.

Following the wedding day, they shared, “We loved how you captured moments naturally and also had fun with traditional shots as well. You took the time to get to know us, so on the wedding day you knew exactly what we wanted and even helped everything to run smoothly.  We are so excited to see the moments you caught and hope to be surprised by some of them!

I opened up with a “hot” creative portrait, here is one of those small details, the wedding invitation.  I noticed the gold foil inlay on the edge of the invitation and thought the gold detailing on the mirror would tie that in and capture that classic, elegant look that Michelle wanted for her wedding day.

Some sparkle from Michelle’s engagement ring…

Michelle’s sister was awesome– always busy behind the scenes helping with everything that was needed.  As she dressed, I loved how the ambient light fell perfectly on her cheekbones, hair and the gorgeous lace detailing on Michelle’s wedding gown.  Her wedding dress is from Castle Couture in Manalapan.

She diligently watched in the background as Michelle’s stylists, Beautique Hair Design, put in Michelle’s veil.  She said, “I want to make sure I can do it later if she needs that, after they have gone.” It made me think, whoa, this is the perfect maid of honor, on the ball and so thoughtful and kind!

Michelle shared, “It is difficult to put into words, the relationship my sister and I have. My sister and I have been each other’s best friends forever, even when we had sisterly disputes, I knew I could count on her. We always make time for each other and will always be there for each other to matter where life takes us. My sister and I have very different personalities but I feel that makes her the best person to give me advice. I trust her judgment and her opinions. And the fact that she was willing to stand up there next to me when I marry my best friend means the world to me. And now I have 2 best friends!

All finished!  What a beautiful bride!

While I was with Michelle photographing details and preparations, my second photographer, Denis was photographing Jim and his groomsmen finishing their preparations.  It’s nice to have two photographers so that we can be two places at once.

Here the best man helps the groom with his “New York Rangers” cufflinks.

Jim’s father helped him put on his finishing touches.

Jim shared, “My relationship with my dad is simple and strong. Throughout my life my dad was always with me to support me and offer advice. Whether it was when he was a coach for basketball or baseball, or when he stood from the stands of my hockey game, my dad was always there for me. I knew, that if I ever faced a challenge, my dad could give me the advice I needed to succeed.”

He continued, “If it weren’t for my dad, I would literally not be who I am today. He taught me many of the things that make up my character and my success. I would not have gone to the college I attended, met the friends I now have, or be in the profession I am in today if it weren’t for him. I am so proud of him. I can only wish to be half as good of a father as he was to me.”

It was just about time for the first look, the most eagerly anticipated moment of the day for Michelle and Jim.  You can tell there is a lot running through his mind here.

They shared, “Our favorite part of our wedding day was our “first look” and the time we spent together following it, exploring the Palace grounds as you photographed us.”

Michelle said, “When I first saw him, I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be able to marry Jim, my best friend, the love of my life!  I cannot wait to see what the rest of our lives bring and what new adventures we will go on.  I’m excited to share my life with him, and even just hang out at home and spend time together.”

Jim shared, “Our first look was incredible.  Michelle was absolutely stunning (as per usual). She was absolutely glowing and perfect. Her smile lit up the environment and I was so blessed to have her there in that moment with me. I am most looking forward to sharing many new memories filled with love, laughter and many smiles.”

I have to agree Michelle was absolutely glowing!!!

Michelle shared, “I fell for Jim because of his caring and outgoing personality, and his wonderful sense of humor. I feel like he brings me out of my shell and makes me feel comfortable being me.  He is my other half, my best friend, plain and simple.”

While they wanted mostly candid, natural photos of them just exploring the surroundings, I did make sure to snap a few more traditional portraits as well.

Michelle explained, “We chose to have our wedding day at the Palace at Somerset Park because we went to a Wedding there and loved it. Our guests’ experience was very important to us and we knew they’d love it, too! ”

She went on, “We loved the high ceilings, the open space and the ease of having everything in one location. We were most excited to experience our first look on the amazing palace grounds and to enjoy all of the food cocktail hour had to offer. Most of all we loved to be able to have all of our family and friends in one location.”

As they strolled the grounds together you could tell that this was an absolute fairytale for these two…

For me this photo captures the “swept off your feet” “head over heels” “in love” feeling perfectly!

A benefit of having two wedding photographers again is this, two different eyes on the same situation…

It was early spring and the snow had just melted and the buds started to appear on the trees surrounding The Palace.

Michelle shared, “I wouldn’t want anyone else standing next to me in life.  Jim knows what makes me cheer up on the tough days, he knows what my fears are, and he knows what stresses me out and what calms me down.  I feel so blessed to have him by my side throughout my life.”

They shared, “Aside from our time alone exploring the grounds with you, another real highlight for us was the bridal party portrait time!”

They explained, “Our wedding party consisted of all family and very close, long time, friends. Each person is significant in our lives and we love each of them! We are so honored they all were willing to stand beside us on our special day.”

One of my favorite things to do with a bridal party is a formal portrait.  They are so glamorous and dapper and I love to let their inner model and my inner Annie Leibovitz shine…

They were super supportive and so happy for Michelle & Jim!

Photographing traditional family portraits were very important to Michelle and Jim.  We took the time to photograph several family portraits on both the bride and groom’s side prior to the ceremony.  Here is just one showing Michelle’s immediate family:

Kiss the bride…

The wedding professional began– one of the leaders was this charming young man…

Michelle’s father escorted her to the grand staircase…

Jim was head over heels as he watched his bride walk towards him…

He even wiped a tear…

Jim shared, “I fell in love with Michelle because of her caring and compassionate behavior, her dedication to her hobbies and goals, and her contagious smile and laugh. All of these traits and attributes are the reason why I fell in love with her.”

He continued, “What I like best about her is her willing to put aside her own needs to help others and be a team player. There have been times where I have a priority that conflicts with hers, but she will be there to support me regardless. I knew she was the perfect partner for me when she was willing to put aside her Devils fandom and root for the Rangers when we were at a hockey game (when they weren’t playing the devils, haha!).”

Michelle shared, “There was this culmination of the anticipation and excitement of the entire day and the sheer happiness we were feeling after we said “I do” and shared our first kiss.”

I photographed this from above and love the classic, romantic feel of it!

They shared, “The moment the ceremony ended and we processed out as husband and wife we took a moment alone and let it all soak in and our tears began to flow.  We were just so happy to call each other husband and wife!”

I love dramatic silhouettes and these two against the blue sky with the sun shining and veil caught up in the wind, it doesn’t get much better than this…

Party time!!!  This is a candid moment I noticed as the bridal party prepared for their announcements.  I love the colors and the detail on the columns…

The new Mr & Mrs got a standing ovation 🙂

Jim shared, “I’ve had my first dance play out in my mind for a long time, even as a kid growing up. I always imagined myself, dancing slowly with my soulmate. Who knew dreams can come true? Dancing with Michelle was the single most special and heartfelt moment of my life. During our first dance, our bond, which has grown since the time we first met each other, was the strongest it had ever been.”

Jim shared, “My mother and I found “Perfect” to be, well, ‘perfect’ for our Mother/Son dance. It truly reflected the special bond between the two of us. Our dance was heartfelt and emotional. I will never forget the words and tears my mom and I shared with each other then.”

Jim continued, “People always called me a “Momma’s Boy,” I guess they were right. She has always been my light, guiding me to success and providing me with the caring and compassionate attitude I now possess.”

Michelle shared, “My dance with my dad was everything I imagined it would be and more. The song “I loved her first” perfectly describes my dad’s and my relationship. He has always and will always be there for me, to help me when I’m down and support me when I’m succeeding. He (and my mom) have been there since the beginning and truly were the first to love me and the first people I ever loved. They taught me what family means and what unconditional  love and support means. I am so grateful!”

Michelle shared, “We were beyond happy to hear our best man and maid of honor speak, their speeches were perfect.”

Cheers!!!

Michelle recalled, “We knew from the beginning that we wanted to dance and wanted everyone with us!  We gave our DJ, Jason Jani from SCE event group, one request.  We wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and to be up and dancing. He definitely delivered.”

I wanted to get an aerial shot to show the high ceilings, chandeliers, fireplace and columns that Michelle loved so much about The Palace at Somerset Park.  Combining that with a packed dance floor was perfect!

Everyone had such a blast!

The ring bearer was dazzled by the lights!

And Michelle was dazzled by the ring-bearer!

The best man definitely busted a move and got down on the dance floor…

Cheers!  I like to play with perspective and “got down on the floor” in my own special way…

I love to play with DJ’s lights!

A little impromptu karaoke…

Haaa these guys got down, too!

Everyone really had a great time!

The dance floor was literally packed.

They laughed, “Our cake cutting mess was not planned, it was just us playing around with each other and having fun!”

One thing I love about having great camera equipment is being able to control fantastic light and how it can even capture crumbs of cake flaying through the air, lol!

Jim shared, “We’ve been at weddings where cigars were passed around and I always thought it would be a nice touch for me and the guys.  Michelle doesn’t even smoke, but thought she’d try it out at the wedding!!!”

Jim smiled, “It’s funny, I knew Michelle was meant for me when she was willing to try new activities and unfamiliar experiences.  This was kind of a perfect example!”

Haaa!  She looks like a pro!  I like to play, too and used a special lighting set up to illuminate the smoke and color it blue…

The shared, “We push each other to be the best versions of ourselves. Both of us are driven and competitive and only want to help the other succeed in all aspects of life. We challenge ourselves to learn and grow as a couple. We know what the other needs to succeed and how to help them and we always provide unconditional support.”

Congratulations Michelle & Jim, I wish you both a lifetime of love, joy and happiness!

Thank you so much for entrusting me to capture this special time in your lives, when you officially joined together and became a family!  I hope that these photos are just the sort of eclectic images you were looking for and a good mix of: candid/traditional, details/epic scenes, traditional/creative.

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