Wedding Tips From a Westbury Manor Wedding

Bride and groom at a Westbury Manor wedding

The sun may not have been cooperative on Saturday, but it didn’t matter at all to Jane and Matt at their Westbury Manor wedding. With a rockin’ dance floor that would rival any evening wedding, this afternoon wedding was a delight for guests (and photographers) alike. In today’s blog post I have all the details from this Westbury Manor wedding plus a few tips that should be helpful to couples getting married at any venue.

Continue Reading

Bouquet and Garter Toss Alternatives

Bride tossing bouquet for an article on bouquet and garter toss alternatives

The majority of my couples are deciding to throw out tradition all together in favor of creating new memories for their wedding. In today’s blog, I offer a few options for couples looking for bouquet and garter toss alternatives. Who needs to toss flowers when you can toss a cat? (I’ll explain.)

Continue Reading

11 Details Your Wedding Photographer Needs to Know

Bride and groom at a rehearsal dinner for an article on details your wedding photographer needs to know

Everyone knows you need to tell your wedding photographer when to arrive for the ceremony, but did you know there are a number of smaller details that may affect your photos? In today’s blog, filled with photos from Stephanie and Shane’s rehearsal dinner at the Smith, I give you a list of the 11 details your wedding photographer needs to know — but that you might have overlooked.

Continue Reading

Sunset Photos: Tales from a Maritime Parc Wedding

Sunset portrait at a Maritime Parc wedding

Vanessa and Nate’s Maritime Parc wedding offered plenty of opportunities for great photos. From her father’s first look at her dress to the final cake cutting, Vanessa and Nate’s schedule was chock full of photo ops. One option their wedding also included was a separate portrait session at sunset. Find out how we scheduled a hassle-free sunset photo session on today’s blog post.

Continue Reading

A Chinatown Rehearsal Dinner: The Perfect Compromise for an Adults-Only Wedding

Bride and groom at a Chinatown rehearsal dinner

It has been a busy week: 4 weddings, 1 rehearsal dinner, and 1 non-profit event all since last Tuesday. Needless to say, I needed a day off from blogging. But I am back, and with plenty of photos to share! Let’s start with Genny and Blaine’s fun Chinatown rehearsal dinner at Dim Sum Go Go. The lesson from their event is pretty simple: dim sum is a great way to get families together before the big day.

Continue Reading

Top Fears About Wedding Photographers

Bride waiting for an article on the top fears about wedding photographers

Over the years I have heard some horror stories from guests and clients about other weddings. These tales of terror have in turn instilled certain universal fears of worst case wedding photography scenarios in the minds of couples. But fear not! In today’s blog, the top fears about wedding photographers, and some solutions to put your mind at ease.

Continue Reading

Creative Wedding Gift Bag Ideas

Florida engagement portrait for an article on creative wedding gift bag ideas

In keeping with this week’s destination wedding theme, I thought I might turn my attention to your guests. No matter where your wedding is located, you no doubt will have out-of-town visitors in attendance. As such, I have put together a list of creative wedding gift bag ideas to have ready at the hotel as a warm welcome to all your family and friends.

Continue Reading

NYC Destination Wedding Guide

Bride and groom kissing for a NYC destination wedding guide

In case you weren’t aware – I am a destination wedding photographer. I love to travel, and welcome the opportunity to take my camera beyond the limits of the New York City subway. Quite often, however, the shoe is on the other foot, and I am hired by clients for whom New York City is the location of their destination wedding. I am always asked for planning tips, so I have put together a NYC destination wedding guide. Enjoy this definitive list (in my opinion) of where to go and who to book for your New York City nuptials.

Bride and groom walking across the street for a NYC destination wedding guide

Basic Information

Neighborhoods of New York and Safety

  • Here is a great map of the city with the neighborhoods marked on it.
  • Have Google maps (not Apple maps) installed on your phone so that you never get lost.
  • With a few exceptions, the city is quite safe – even late at night. All the streets are well lit.

Getting Around the City

  • The quickest way to get around New York is almost always the subway.
  • Here is a link to the subway map.
  • The price of a ticket is almost always changing, but in short, get a MetroCard and put a given amount of money on it. If you will be traveling extensively on the subway (most people end up getting a cab here and there and walking a lot), then and only then, does it make sense to get an unlimited MetroCard. Due to price hikes, paying as you ride is usually cheaper.
  • If you are not using the subway, then use Lyft.

Bride and groom at the NYC courthouse for a NYC destination wedding guideNecessary Details

  • Finding a free bathroom in the city can be a tourist’s biggest challenge. Here is a nifty map showing the most easily accessible restrooms in the city.
  • My personal favorite is the restroom in Eataly.

WiFi and Recharging

  • Wifi is largely available for free throughout the city.
  • The city has just installed new kiosks with wifi and which also allow you to charge your phone.
  • You can also find outlets to charge all of your electronics in Bryant Park.

Weather

  • Weather is a constant enemy of tourists and residents alike. We get unpredictable, overcast skies from November until May. The weather is nice in spring and fall, but both seasons are short. Expect lots of rain in June, and plenty of humidity in July and August.
  • October is always considered a great month for weddings, but note that Hurricane Sandy happened on October 29, 2012. Just sayin’.
  • Everyone has their own favorite weather app, but when I have to know what’s coming next in the city, I go to NBC New York. I just like their weather people.

Groomsmen toast for a NYC destination wedding guide

Shopping

  • If you left anything at home and need to pick up any last minute items, there are delis or bodegas (read this to understand the difference between the two) on just about every corner. Most are open 24 hours a day.
  • Target is a great place to pick up just about anything, and the Macy’s in Herald Square will have everything from kitchenware (last minute gift ideas) to a new suit.

What to Do in New York

Where to Eat

  • For restaurant reviews, Yelp is king.
  • My personal best resource for restaurant reviews is New York Magazine.
  • For a fun night out, I can personally recommend Peking Duck House in Chinatown.

Finally, in case you are wondering about the ‘etiquette’ of how to be a real New Yorker, check out this video.

Bride and groom portrait for a NYC destination wedding guide

Photo Locations

First off, just say no to these locations:

  • Brooklyn Bridge: Waaaaay too crowded unless you get there at sunrise. You will never get the Carrie from Sex in the City shot unless you have a film crew block off the bridge for you
  • Central Park: read this article to find out how to do Central Park right if you must go to Central Park
  • Battery Park: too much harsh sun; get on the Staten Island Ferry for the best view of the Statue of Liberty
  • Lincoln Center: the security guards will chase you off the grounds

Note that there are two locations in New York City where you must have a permit in order to take photos:

  • Central Park Conservatory Garden
  • Gantry Plaza State Park

I recommend you try these underrated locations for a real insider view of New York City:

  • South Street Seaport: Stage your own Woody Allen scene with the best view of the Brooklyn Bridge
  • City Hall Park: This is your best (and closest) park option near the City Clerk’s Office
  • Crosby Street: Fashion chic meets cobblestone streets with less crowds than in the Meatpacking District
  • Riverside Park: The best park in the city, and waterfront views to boot
  • The Roosevelt Hotel: Total glam balcony view of the hotel lobby
  • Roosevelt Island: Who doesn’t love a good tram ride? Also, some of the best cherry blossoms in the city if you time your wedding just right.
  • Pell Street in Chinatown
  • Grafitti in Astoria or around the Queensborough Bridge
  • Coney Island
  • Governors Island
  • Staten Island Ferry

 Bridal portrait for a NYC destination wedding guide

Recommended Vendors

My approach to this list is to recommend the vendors I have worked with previously and whom I would be proud to hire for my own wedding. All of these vendors are professional, creative, and will absolutely get the job done. In my seven years of photographing weddings and events here in New York City, I have worked with a lot of vendors. These are the ones that stand out to me personally.

Event Planner

  • If you are planning your wedding from afar, then I always recommend having a set of feet on the ground and to use a wedding planner.
  • Even if you want to just have someone to take care of day-of details, an event planner is never a bad investment. And for this task, I would put my money on Hold Your Hand Events.

Saying ‘I Do’

  • If this is a small wedding, you will probably be tying the knot at City Hall. To find out all the details of what you can expect for a NYC City Hall wedding, read this article.
  • If you want to host your own private ceremony, I always recommend Rev. Mary-Rose Engle. She is so sincere, and can customize your ceremony completely.

NYC City Hall wedding for a NYC destination wedding guide

Unique Venues and Places to Stay

Again, if this is a small wedding, you will probably be getting hitched at City Hall. If not, try these beautifully intimate spaces:

And for places to stay, try these venues. The staff at each of these hotels bent over backwards for the sake of my clients:

Wedding shoes in a hotel window for a NYC destination wedding guide

Wedding Attire and Accessories

Makeup and Hair

  • You can never go wrong with Sephora, and they offer makeup application as well. The Sephora in Times Square is open until midnight, by the way.
  • If you want to stay away from the crowds, I recommend Pucker makeup salon in SoHo.
  • For hair, try any of the Ricky’s Revolver salons. I have always had good luck with their stylists.

Bride and groom portrait for a NYC destination wedding guide

Flowers

  • If April showers bring May flowers, then we are due for a blooming spring. (Seriously, I am sick of the gloomy, rainy weather.) In any case, check out Flowers by Richard for a beautiful, but quick bouquet.
  • If you are in Brooklyn, check out Sprout for lovely succulents and truly unique arrangements.

Decorations

  • Since we are probably talking about a small wedding, you won’t need much in the way of decorations. But if you do, try one of the many Paper Source stores throughout the city. They have paper flowers and other interesting options that can work for centerpieces in a pinch.
  • There are also a few Michael’s craft stores in the city that have wonderfully creative options and a great selection of candles and frames.

Cake and Desserts

So that’s my list.  If you need anything else, from restaurant recommendations to directions, feel free to drop me a line. I am always here to help.

And if you would like to see more images from my portfolio, please visit my website – www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com

Bride and groom portrait for a NYC destination wedding guide

Bride and groom portrait for a NYC destination wedding guide

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Creative Borrowed and Blue Wedding Ideas

Manolo Blahnik blue wedding shoes for an article on creative borrowed and blue wedding ideas

No doubt you are familiar with the wedding superstition that a bride should include, ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.’ What’s a modern bride to do with this 19th century tradition? Here are a few creative borrowed and blue wedding ideas to give the custom a contemporary twist.

Continue Reading

Wedding Website Tips

Bride and groom portrait for an article on wedding website tips

A belated happy turkey day to you all!  With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to get back to work. If creating a wedding website (or ‘wed site’ as it has become known) is on your list of things to do, have I got a blog post for you. Please enjoy this comprehensive list of wedding website tips as you munch on your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Continue Reading