Carly + Paul's Romantic Wedding at The Sinclair of Skaneateles | Finger Lakes Wedding Photographer

Carly + Paul's Wedding at The Sinclair of Skaneateles

One of the first decisions couples make when planning a wedding is the WHERE. Where will you have your family and friends gather to witness your exchange of vows? And where will everyone gather after to eat, drink, mingle, and dance like there’s no tomorrow late into the evening? For Carly and Paul, their decision to hold their ceremony and reception at an old chair-factory-turned-wedding-venue, The Sinclair of Skaneateles, could not have been more perfect. The venue itself provided an on-site ceremony with the cutest little church pews and the most beautiful woodland backdrop, and the building where chairs used to be manufactured provided a rustic/industrial space that was perfect for the intimate dinner and wild night of dancing for their reception. There is even a beautiful suite upstairs available for the wedding party to get ready in, filled with charming old chairs and furniture, where Carly and her girls spent the morning prepping.

From the laid-back prep of both bride and groom with their crews to the beautiful ceremony with an exchange of personal vows to every wild moment on the dance floor later that evening, it truly was THE most perfect day. And I’m so excited to now share a little peak of the highlights from this special day of love and celebration!

Before diving into their images, here’s a quick word of advice from the bride + groom:

Do you have any recommendations for future couples planning a wedding?

Have fun! We sometimes wondered if we were being too quirky with some of our details (like the guinea pig invites, the Harry Potter reading, or the 90’s pop music) but everyone loved it. Those things are what made it ours. Not everything for a wedding has to be so serious

Special shout-out to all the vendors!

Ceremony & Reception Venue:
The Sinclair of Skaneateles
Officiant: Kathleen Jacques
Photographer: Dawn Gibson (the best photographer EVER)
Florist: Blooming Gals
Caterer: Gance’s
Cake/Bakery: Cake was made by family friend, Valentina Yalanzhi
DJ/Band/Entertainment: Sierra Yaple
Invitations, Programs, and Signage: Alison Kenyon (The Invitation Oven)
Hair: The Traveling Stylists
Makeup: The Traveling Stylists (bridesmaids & MOB only), Bride did own makeup
Bride + Groom Attire: The Black Tux & Something Bleu Bridal
Shoes: Michael Shannon (found them on clearance for $15!)
Accessories: Hairpiece from Etsy shop (AnnaHandwelleryAccs)
Wedding Party Attire: The Black Tux & Azazie
Decorations/Decor Design or Rentals: Most of it came from the Sinclair! Other things we purchased from Etsy shops or craft stores and put together ourselves.
Favors: Treat Yo’ Self candy bags from Etsy shop, StampsJubilee
Guest Book: Etsy shop, Bleudetoi

Katie + André's Catskills Wedding Weekend at Carey Institute for Global Good

My first weekend back to photographing weddings this year was a full wedding weekend celebration with Katie and André out in Rensselaerville, NY at a beautiful Catskills wedding and event venue, Carey Institute for Global Good.

After arriving at the venue and checking in, Katie and André had a ceremony rehearsal with their wedding party, followed by an intimate dinner with their close family/friends. At the end of the night there was a Welcome Bonfire with smores at the Stonecroft building on the Carey Institute’s campus. Upon arrival at the venue, it was raining pretty heavily, and the forecast for the following day was looking to be just the same. There was a heavy fog in the air outside, and yet nothing but lightness and joy for the bride-and-groom-to-be and their families.

After all the worry about rain in the forecast, everyone woke on the wedding day to blue skies and sunshine, and it was PERFECT. I could go on forever about this day, but what I loved the most was how special every single detail was to Katie and André and their story. Katie’s parents have both sadly passed, but she wore charms with their faces and favorite phrases on them, so they could be with her as she walked down the isle. And she also wore a necklace that her mom wore on her wedding day. A close friend married them during their ceremony. They wrote their own vows. Since Katie’s mom loved and was known for her needlepoint work, they incorporated that in the beautifully intricate and handmade ring pillow and table numbers. Their signature drink was the Pina Colada (appropriately named Pineda Colada) – the drink they had many of while on the vacation where they got engaged. They had cookies and pie as dessert – two of Katie’s dad’s favorites. And of course, who can forget the truly unique additions of not one but TWO bouncy castles for all the kids (and of course for themselves) to enjoy and the piñata smashing they did instead of a traditional cake cutting. The dance floor was packed all night long with their favorite music – not a single person was at their seats! And because of the venue being out in the Catskills, the night was clear and crisp – allowing everyone to celebrate under the stars and Milky Way! From beginning to the very end, it was a joyous day of celebration and love.

If you’ve ever been at the tail end of a wedding day, you’ve probably seen the rushed goodbyes given out to the bride and groom. It’s a whirlwind, and at the end of such a busy day it’s really hard to take it all in. But one benefit of having a wedding weekend is that you don’t have that. Katie and André were able to celebrate ALL NIGHT LONG and then woke Sunday morning to enjoy a full-spread of delicious food and reflective conversation at their morning-after brunch. Guests filled their bellies before their travels back home and the bride and groom passed out warm, genuine hugs to everyone.

It was such a beautiful and meaningful wedding weekend, and it was such an honor to be there for every single moment. Katie and André, congratulations again and thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your story!

Bride and Groom’s favorite moments/memories from the wedding? This question is SO HARD. Every time we pick one, we think of 5 others that were just as great. So here's a not-so-short list:

- The dance floor. We both love to dance, and we get really into it. We each had a song when people spontaneously formed dance circles around us and people chanted our names. It was so, so fun. Will never forget how it felt to be surrounded by people we love celebrating with us

- The piñata! Instead of cutting a cake, we had a cake-shaped piñata bashing. The piñata came with a stick to break it with – didn't work. We upgraded to a broom, and we broke the broom while smacking the piñata. Then André bashed it with a chair, but the piñata still didn't break. Everyone was cheering us on and laughing. We had to take the piñata down and stomp it open. It was hysterical!

- The bouncy castles! Katie wanted bouncy castles SO BADLY. Jumping in them together was so silly and great.

- THE WEATHER. It had called for rain all week, but the night before the wedding, the forecast cleared. It was sunny and gorgeous on our wedding day, so our guests got to enjoy swimming/hiking/tennis/relaxing, and we got to have bouncy castles and cornhole. The night sky was so clear – I couldn't believe there were so many stars. You could even see the Milky Way! We had glow sticks and light up shutter shades, and many of our guests went outside the tent and had a mini-rave.

- The afterparty. We all just hung out on this beautiful patio, listened to music, and talked to our friends and family. Such a perfect end to the day.

- Right after I walked down the aisle, and before our officiant started talking, André kissed me, and everyone laughed about it. We were both just so excited and couldn't wait till the end of the ceremony.

- My uncle walked me down the aisle, and as we walked he gave me a running commentary of all the wonderful things around us – the weather, how beautiful I looked, how so many people had come to share this special day, how much love was around us.

Do you have any recommendations for future couples planning a wedding? For us, the most important parts of planning were to be a team and compromise, and find the best vendors. Our wedding could not have happened without the incredible team we had that day!

Get EVERYTHING you can done before the wedding day! The day is so fast as it is, so if there's anything you can get off your to-do list beforehand, take care of it!

Also, paradoxically, plan some time the week of the wedding for some solid self-care/relaxing. You'll want to be ready to go on your wedding day!

If you/your future spouse is prone to stress/getting overwhelmed, plan a breather for yourself after you eat! Have a good friend check in with you and take a walk. It can help you reset and re-focus from any stress you're feeling so you can go back to your party and have fun.

Special shout-out to the vendors!

Ceremony, Reception, and Lodging Venue:
The Carey Institute

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Majority of Planning: Bride & Groom; Venue Coordinator/Planner: Tina Stannard; Day of Coordinator: Heather of Cullen Creations

Officiant: Chris Jackson

Photographer: Dawn M. Gibson Photography

Florist: Jess at Farmhouse Floral Designs

Caterer: The Carey Institute - Head Chef John Murray

Cake/Bakery: Cake: Treatie Beatie Cakes by Evelyn; Other Desserts: The Carey Institute

DJ/Band/Entertainment: DJ Benj

Invitations: Precise Continental

Hair: Lari & Assistant of Lari Manz Hair & Make Up

Makeup: Jess of Aranda Artistry

Rings: Greenwich Street Jewelers

Bride/Groom Attire: RK Bridal / Robbie & Co. Men's Shop

Shoes: Shoes of Prey / Aldo

Accessories: Hair Pins: BHLDN; Necklace: Bride's Mom; Shoe Charms: OOAKResinDesigns @ Etsy; Cufflinks + Ties: Robbie & Co. Men's Shop

Wedding Party Attire: Bridesmaids - Weddington Way; Groomsmen - Men's Wearhouse

Decorations/Decor Design or Rentals: Decoration & Design a joint effort between bride & groom, Heather at Cullen Creations, Jess at Farmhouse Floral & Design, and Tina at the Carey Institute

Bouncy Castles: Jumping Bean Party Rentals

Table Numbers: Handmade by bride, Emily, Jessica, Caitlin, Annie & Co Needlepoint, and by kathrynslater @ Etsy, who was kind enough to rush orders for us!

Classic Buffalo Wedding at St. Gregory the Great Church and Adam's Mark Hotel | Buffalo Wedding Photographer | Catherine + John's Highlights

Catherine + John were married last month in a beautiful, heartfelt ceremony at St. Gregory the Great Church, followed by a dance-all-night type of reception at Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo. It was the perfect definition of a classic Buffalo wedding – right down to the homemade Italian cookie spread – and I LOVED every minute of photographing this joyful day! Here are a few highlights!

The bride and groom's favorite moments/memories from the wedding?: Catherine: everything! Father Sibby made our Mass so special. I also loved being with family and friends and dancing the night away! John: It was awesome to spend the day with all of the people that mean the most to us. We both had family members and friends that traveled from out of town to be apart of our day which we really appreciate. It's really difficult to pick one favorite memory.

Huge shout-out to all the vendors!

Ceremony Venue: St Gregory the Great RC Church
Reception Venue: Adams Mark Hotel
Officiant: Father Sibby
Photographer: The AMAZINGLY AWESOME Dawn Gibson
Videographer: Brianna Blank
Florist: Flowers by Johnny
Caterer: All food was through the Adams Mark
Cake/Bakery: Chrusicki's
DJ/Band/Entertainment: Whirlin Disc Sound
Transportation: Affordable Limo
Invitations: Gallagher Printing
Hair & Makeupo: Lox Salon
Bride/Groom Attire: Bride- Bridal Chateau; Groom- Men's Warehouse
Shoes: Bride- Nike :) Groom- Men's Warehouse
Accessories: Bride- Necklace was a Lavalier given to her Great Grandmother from her Great Grandfather to be worn on their wedding day. Earrings and Bracelet are from Bridal Chateau. All of the groom's accessories were from Men's Warehouse.
Wedding Party Attire: Bridesmaids- Victoria's Bridal; Groomsmen- Men's Warehouse
Decorations/Decor Design or Rentals: EBay, Etsy, and Target dollar bins
Late night food/snacks: Chicken Fingers Subs and Fries; Homemade Italian cookies by Catherine's family
Custom Guest Board: Buffalo Collective

Buffalo Birth Photography at the Birthing Center of Buffalo | Welcoming Audrey

When preparing for the monumental day of bringing a child into this world, it is so important to not only choose a birthing location that feels right for your specific needs, but to ensure you are with a provider who is always going to have the best interests of you and your baby in mind.

Last August I had the honor of photographing two all natural births at the Birthing Center of Buffalo, and in addition to being amazed at how strong both mamas were in their labors, I was equally amazed over the hard work, care, and attentiveness that Dr. Katharine Morrison and her assistant, LuAnn, provided to both laboring women and their husbands. In my experience photographing such a variety of birth stories, I've had the opportunity to see different providers in action, both in the hospital and out. And Dr. Morrison was definitely one of the most attentive providers I've had the pleasure of working with.

My hope in sharing birth stories of women throughout the WNY region – regardless of location and provider – is that it helps to break this idea that birth has to be a certain way, or in a certain place, or fall within a specific time frame. After all, each birth story is truly unique and special and we should celebrate all the different ways mamas choose to labor and babies choose to enter this world!

And now some first-hand thoughts from this powerful first-time mama:

Why did you choose the Birthing Center of Buffalo for your labor and delivery?

I chose the Birthing Center of Buffalo because it was a wonderful medium of a comforting homelike atmosphere with the expertise of Dr. Morrison and LuAnn Conte. They also require you to have a doula attend the birth and that was something I was very interested in! I hired Kayla Rogers of Divine Lotus Doula Services and she was wonderful! She made sure to not only to make sure I was comfortable but my husband as well. 

What was your favorite or most memorable moment from your birth story or labor/delivery experience?

I think delivering but that’s a given so I’ll go with the next. I remember after I had rested for a while and Audrey was being weighed and measured I was eating these Grapes, triscuts, and hummus. It was the most delicious and mouth watering thing I ever remember eating in my entire life! The grapes we so sweet, the crackers were so crunchy, and the hummus was so creamy!

Why was having your baby's birth photographed important to you?

I have a bad memory so I didn’t want to forget anything about that experience. In hindsight I’m very thankful because I had my eyes closed for a majority of labor so it was great to know after the fact what was happening behind the scenes!

What does having the photos of your labor & delivery mean to you?

Having these photos means I’ll be able to share these with my daughter and show her how raw and beautiful it was when she came into this world.