In today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing with you Amy and Shaun’s beautiful Sanctuary Roosevelt Island wedding photos. This is a new venue for me, and in case you haven’t made the trip out to Roosevelt Island lately, let me assure you it is worth the tram ride. Picture it if you will: a converted, historic church with plenty of dance space, good food, and a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. The Sanctuary has all that and more, so buckle up as we fly across the East River.
Meet Amy and Shaun
Let me start by introducing you to this week’s lovebirds: Amy and Shaun. The couple met online a few years ago through the website, Coffee Meets Bagel. And if you ever have the chance to meet Amy and Shaun, it is clear these two are a perfect match – just like the breakfast duo. Shaun is a gardening aficionado, and the proposal was a private affair at Wave Hill Gardens.
Rehearsal Dinner at Granny Annie’s
To make everything easier on their guests, Amy and Shaun had all of their wedding adventures take place on Roosevelt Island. The weekend began at Roosevelt Island’s four-star hotel, The Graduate, where Amy and Shaun’s friends and family were booked. From here, guests only had to walk around the corner to Granny Annie’s restaurant on Main Street for the rehearsal dinner. For the next day’s ceremony, Amy and Shaun provided a shuttle from the hotel to the Sanctuary, located on the north side of the island.
I started my own journey to Roosevelt Island on Saturday for Amy and Shaun’s rehearsal dinner. Before the festivities began, I took a few portraits of Amy and Shaun along the waterfront. You are never at a loss for stunning views of the Manhattan skyline on Roosevelt Island, and I made sure our portrait session took full advantage of this unique perspective. Amy and Shaun are incredibly comfortable in front of the camera, so after a quick, thirty-minute session, we headed inside for dinner. Granny Annie’s has a great private room for parties and I can also attest to the kind staff who made everyone feel welcome.
Sanctuary Roosevelt Island Wedding Photos – Getting Ready
The next morning, the couple prepared for the day in the Sanctuary’s renovated bridal suites. While the historical interior of the church has been left intact, the former office space of the building has been completely renovated and features modern, spacious bridal suites. Both Amy and Shaun got ready in separate rooms, and with the exception of a lost pair of suspenders, everything proceeded on time.
Sanctuary Roosevelt Island Wedding Photos –First Look & Portraits
The couple’s ‘first look’ was held on the Sanctuary’s patio, right in front of a heart-shaped sculpture. From here we launched into the bride and groom portraits. I wanted to take care of any interior photos before the guests arrived, so we headed back inside the main church building to make use of the beautiful light flooding through the stained glass windows.
The next stop was a quick walk down to the lighthouse at the end of the island. In case you have never ventured down this way, this end of Roosevelt Island features plenty of waterfront views, a nice little park area, and a rotating display of sculptures.
While the Sanctuary is located closer to the lighthouse, the other end of Roosevelt Island is the more commonly visited side of the island featuring Four Freedoms Park. This is certainly a great option if you are looking for another portrait location. The southern end of the island is nearer the subway and tram stations, and is the spot most people visit when viewing the cherry blossoms in the spring. (Check out my blog post on the Roosevelt Island cherry blossoms here for more information.) At this end of the park, you will also find the more well-known NYC skyline landmarks such as the Empire State Building and United Nations complex.
Sanctuary Roosevelt Island Wedding Photos –The Ceremony
You can’t get a better view of the Manhattan skyline than Amy and Shaun’s guests had during the ceremony. While the spacing was a bit tight with 120 guests, the center aisle was plenty wide. I was able to get side shots of the couple saying their vows from the sidewalk.
One word of caution, however: outdoor weddings on the pier mean that you are completely at the mercy of the elements. The wind was whipping fiercely on Amy and Shaun’s wedding day, but it also offered quite a bit of comic relief during the ceremony.
Sanctuary Roosevelt Island Wedding Photos –Cocktail Hour & Reception
With all the family portraits shot before the ceremony on the main patio, the only thing left to do was party. Guests proceeded into the main church building for the cocktail hour. During the cocktail hour, Amy and Shaun had set up an audio guest book so that friends and family could ‘call in’ well wishes for the couple. There was also a DIY photo booth with instant cameras.
The Sanctuary has a clear tent always in place, making this a fantastic venue come rain, or shine. Guests are able to fully enjoy sunset, and during Amy and Shaun’s wedding we were able to watch the final vestiges of Manhattanhenge.
The reception space has plenty of room for dancing (even the hora didn’t feel crowded), and a raised platform for a live band or DJ. Rock and Soul from Starlight Entertainment were the live band for the evening, and they really brought people to the dance floor. Even better, the band had numerous costume changes. Indeed, the band seemed to don a little more glitter with every song.
Sanctuary Roosevelt Island Wedding Photos –DIY Projects
Amy and Shaun had lots of personal touches at their wedding. Shaun is a horticulturalist, and he used his floral artistry to create the bride’s bouquet and his own boutonniere. Amy loves to crochet, and she created the yarn ‘vines’ that encircled the candle centerpieces at the reception.
I wish Amy and Shaun the best as they interweave their lives together and I hope you feel inspired to make the trip over to Roosevelt Island. Seriously, it’s not that far away from Manhattan.
Enjoy the images, and I’ll have more photo adventures for you next week!
- Day-Of Event Planner – Chantal Stephens, Dream Biz Studios
- Guest hotel – Graduate New York
- Rehearsal dinner venue – Granny Annie’s Bar & Kitchen
- Wedding venue & caterer – The Sanctuary Roosevelt Island
- Bride’s wedding dress – Robert Bullock Bride
- Groom’s suit – The Black Tux
- Hairstylist and makeup artist – Erin from Bespoke Beauty and Bridal
- Rings – wedding bands from Bario Neal; engagement ring from Fitzgerald Jewelry
- Bride’s hair piece – Christine Elizabeth Jewelry
- Guest favors – homemade goodies by the groom’s mother and Shivram’s Bakery
- Live band – Rock and Soul from Starlight Entertainment
- Videographer – Quizzy Pictures
Are you interested in tying the knot on Roosevelt Island? Drop me a line and let’s chat about your photography needs.
If you would like to see more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website — KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com