In keeping with the fun spirit of their pre-wedding cocktail bash, Sarah and Dave had a blast at their Bathhouse Studios wedding on Saturday. They transformed a space normally used as a professional photo studio into a dream wedding venue, complete with a perfectly lit dance floor. Their wedding also introduced me to my new favorite hotel, The Roger, in midtown. Get all the details here…
A Bathhouse Studios Wedding: Getting Ready
The day started with the couple getting ready in separate suites at the Roger Hotel. If you are unfamiliar with the boutique hotel, as I was, it is hiding in plain sight on the corner of 31st Street and Madison Avenue. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and the rooms, while a tad tiny, have huge terraces. We used the terrace on the couple’s penthouse suite for the perfect ‘first look’ location. Where else in New York can you get a completely private view of the Empire State Building? Even better, the lobby is beautiful and a worthy setting for photos straight out of the pages of Vogue.
A Bathhouse Studios Wedding: Portraits
The ceremony and reception were held at Bathhouse Studios on Eleventh Street in the East Village. Unfortunately, while the East Village is a great location for catching a drink, it’s not the most beautiful location for bridal party portraits. One would think that Tompkins Square Park, the nearest patch of greenery, would be a great place to shoot. Not so. Tompkins Square Park is not a spot you want to bring your bridal party to, much less walk through on a sunny afternoon. While it is technically a park, all of the green areas are fenced off to keep the intoxicated locals out. Memories of the old New York City fenced into one small park. Instead, I had to get creative with photos in the area and ultimately decided to capture the NYC street feel by shooting literally in the street. Note that this requires the utmost in patience and traffic directing skills. Time was of the essence, so I took shots in the street and in front of Bathhouse Studios’ beautiful facade, but one other location you may consider in the area is the East River Park. It’s a hike from the venue, and I would recommend taking a car there, but you will get waterfront views and a bit of greenery to boot.
A Bathhouse Studios Wedding: Ceremony
The ceremony was very sweet, and was officiated by the bride’s mother, Adelia. Starting off the ceremony, Sarah and Dave’s respective families presented each of them to the audience. It was a touching way to include more of the family in the ceremony besides that of the traditional father presenting the bride to the groom. One comment here: I am always on alert to be in the right place at the right time with the least amount of disruption for your guests. This is especially true during the ceremony where I become much more noticeable in the hushed atmosphere. The normal course of a ceremony is for the father of the bride to walk the bride to the groom, shake hands with the groom, sit down, and then the bride and groom stand alone at the front of the venue flanked by the bridal party. If you are going to do anything different than this set up in your ceremony, just let your photographer know. In particular, if any part of your ceremony has your back to your guests, as it did with the touching family presentation part of this ceremony, let your photographer know. This means I will need to remain at the front of the venue longer than usual in order to capture all of the action.
A Bathhouse Studios Wedding: Reception
After the ceremony, the party began with a cocktail hour downstairs, followed by a reception upstairs. Dinner for the evening was a buffet of delights from the couple’s favorite restaurants, including Pies n’ Thighs, Tacombi, and Mile End. Buffet service is a great way to get your guests to meet and greet with each other. Even better, have long family-style tables for seating and no assigned seats to mix up the crowd, as was the case with Sarah and Dave’s wedding.
One note about the venue: the dance floor was part of the studio’s white cyc wall (cyc wall, or cyclorama: (noun) a curved wall used as a background of a stage set to suggest unlimited space). The space was perfect: lots of room for dancing, a cool photo studio vibe, and huge white walls which made for excellent lighting. One last little detail: the wedding cake was a birthday cake-flavored confection from Momofuku Milk Bar, and the cake topper was a 3-D printed sculpture created by a friend of the couple. Enjoy the photos!
Ceremony and reception venue: Bathhouse Studios
Getting ready venue: The Roger Hotel
Event planner: Tina Volfson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florist: Tina Volfson, email@example.com
Invitation and paper goods: Marianna Peragallo
Wedding dress: Leanne Marshall designer, ‘Emma’ dress from the Bridal LM collection
Wedding shoes: Badgley Mischka, ‘Dana’ embellished toe shoe
Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss
Makeup and hairstyling: Cathy Facto
DJ: Ben Goldfarb, aka DJ Scribe
Wedding cake: Momofuku Milk Bar
If you would like to view more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website — www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com