Can you believe 2017 is right around the corner? It seems like the year flew by in a flash, with a few very long months spent on the election. As a diversion from the political upheaval all around us, I present to you the details of Carolina and Erich’s Loeb Boathouse wedding in Central Park. This was a laid back, daytime wedding — and most notably — my last big wedding of the year in New York. (Next stop: Palm Beach for Rachelle and Brice’s wedding!) Let’s celebrate the calm together, shall we?
You met Carolina and Erich last week at their rehearsal dinner on the Lower East Side. Like most modern couples, these two met online, and after just a few months of dating, they knew they were altar-bound. Erich proposed in grand style by completely surprising Carolina with a trip to the Castello di Amorosa in the Napa Valley. In a room reserved exclusively for them at the top of the castle, Erich asked Carolina to marry him. I’m not much of a romantic, but this story brings tears to even my dry eyes.
While finding each other was fairly simple, selecting a wedding location was a much tougher decision. The couple lives in San Francisco, but Erich is a former Park Slope resident with strong ties to New York City and the east coast. Furthermore, Carolina’s family is based in Brazil. With map at hand, NYC proved to be the perfect halfway point for everyone.
The day started at the Viceroy Hotel, where Erich was getting ready. This hotel, located on 57th Street and Sixth Avenue, has a big front entrance. But don’t let that fool you. The rooms are small, and the interior of the hotel near the lobby is even smaller. If you are staying here, be aware that, aside from the hotel room itself, there are virtually no other locations in which to take photos. The roof deck restaurant does not open until 4:00 p.m., and photos are prohibited both in the main lobby area and in the adjoining restaurant. There is a common area in the lobby, known as the library, but it is very dark. This leaves you with the option of taking photos on the sidewalk or walking two blocks to Central Park. You have been warned.
Carolina, on the other hand, was getting ready in a suite at the famed Plaza Hotel. The room was spacious, even with a flock of bridesmaids and family all around. While Carolina spent the morning getting her hair and makeup done, she multitasked by memorizing her vows – a request by her officiant (and friend) Sean. Right before we left the hotel for photos, it was a very emotional period as Carolina zipped into her dress and attached her veil. The moment when it becomes ‘real’ – when the bride realizes she will be walking down the aisle – is always one of my favorite memories of the day.
The Plaza Hotel let us sneak Carolina down the grand staircase in the lobby for her father to see her in her wedding dress for the first time. With time ticking down, we headed out to the fountain in front of the hotel where, in the midst of New York Marathon preparations all around us, we managed to get some lovely photos.
Carolina and Erich kept to tradition, and did not see each other until Carolina walked down the aisle. This was a touching ceremony, and yes, Carolina was able to remember her vows when she recited them to Erich. The couple wanted to include their families in the service as much as possible, so Carolina and Erich were each escorted down the aisle by their respective parents. In addition, there was a candle lighting ceremony conducted by Carolina and Erich’s mothers.
To make sure Carolina and Erich had enough time to enjoy their cocktail hour, I selected spots for family and bridal party photos that were adjacent to the Loeb Boathouse. Family photos were done on the deck overlooking the pond, and the bridal party photos were shot in the park directly behind the Boathouse. Both locations were fairly private, and kept tourist traffic to a minimum – an essential factor with a bridal party of 14 (plus one flower girl who spoke only Portuguese) in tow.
For photos of Carolina and Erich, we went to the nearby Trefoil Arch and took a few snaps behind the Bethesda Fountain. Keep in mind that as this was a day wedding, we were taking photos at high noon – a time of the day that always produces the brightest sun and the harshest shadows. As such, I wanted to sideline the bride and groom photos until the end of the day when the light was more attractive and we didn’t have to watch the clock to get the Carolina and Erich back for their cocktail hour. When you schedule a wedding like this and have half your photos taken before the reception and the rest after the reception, you run the risk of the bride and groom being too tired (or drunk) to take many photos. As it turns out, our timing was perfect, and Carolina and Erich were a model bride and groom rewarded with a glowing New York City sunset.
The highlights of the wedding reception were Erich’s toast to Carolina, during which he surprised her by speaking a bit of Portuguese, and a boat trip where the bride, groom, crazy groomsmen James, and none other than yours truly took a tour of the Central Park lake. (I’ll have more on this adventure later in the week.) The staff at the Loeb Boathouse really knows what they are doing, and I would like to give a special shout out to James and Harold who orchestrated the catering staff like a well-tuned symphony. The band, Jerry Kravat Productions, played fantastic Brazilian music, and even let the bride take a spin on the bongos. The photo booth, The U Booth, was a hit and included personalized props for the evening. Finally, no mention of the troupe who put this day together would be complete without saying thank you to the event planning team of Hold Your Hand who took care of all day-of arrangements. I know I never have to worry if Vicky and Alexis at Hold Your Hand are on duty.
The day ended with a very passionate cake cutting followed by the presentation of precious brigadeiro, or truffle-like candies. Brigadeiro are traditionally served at Brazilian weddings, and I think other countries should copy the custom. Not only were the candies tasty, but they were beautiful to photograph as well.
Let me leave you with a few final thoughts on day weddings. While most people schedule their wedding for the evening, day weddings are a superb option in terms of budget (venue and catering prices can be much cheaper if your event is held early in the day), and if you have an older guest list who simply don’t want to kick up their heels until the wee hours of the morning. Day weddings are normally more laid back, and for those of us who would never be caught dead on a dance floor, a day wedding is a great option. (Note, however, that if Brazilians are in attendance as they were for this wedding, there will be plenty of quality dance floor action no matter the time of day.)
If you schedule your wedding so that there is light available at the end of your event, then you can split up your photo time. Being able to enjoy your day and take photos afterwards is a huge benefit, but just make sure that you keep your energy up – eat something and don’t drink too much bubbly – and be ready to refresh your makeup. Enjoy the photos, and think warm, relaxing thoughts: Carolina and Erich are in Bora Bora on honeymoon as we speak, and I know I wish I was there as well.
Bride getting ready hotel – The Plaza
Groom getting ready hotel – Viceroy Hotel
Ceremony and reception venue (and caterer) – Loeb Boathouse in Central Park
Caterer – Loeb Boathouse in Central Park
Event planner – Hold Your Hand Events
Cake – Butterfly Bakeshop
Brigadeiro candies – My Sweet
Florist – Lenox Hill Florist
Band – Jerry Kravat Productions
Ceremony trio – Cello NYC
Photo Booth – The U Booth
Wedding dress – Suzanne Hanley designer, Atelier des Modistes
Hair and makeup – Amanda Shackleton
If you would like to see more images from my portfolio, such as these Loeb Boathouse wedding in Central Park photos, then please visit my website – www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com