Blog ~ The Whitby Hotel
Does it still make sense to do elopement getting ready photos if you’re having an intimate or laid back wedding day? I think the simple answer is yes, because no matter what type of wedding day you’re planning, there are great moments that happen at the start of it.
Why Elopement Getting Ready Photos Matter
From intimate candid moments to the opportunity to create amazing detail photos, the “getting ready” portion of your wedding day deserves to be included in your wedding story. Here are 5 reasons why you should have your wedding photography start earlier in the day.
Start your wedding story from the beginning
The hours leading up to walking out the door to get married on your wedding day are filled with some of the most emotionally charged moments. For this reason alone, I think it’s worth having me around to photograph these important moments. And even more importantly, the more intimate moments that unfold during this “getting ready” portion of the day blend beautifully with the rest of your coverage to show the full spectrum and journey of your wedding story.
Also, if you’ll be staying somewhere special for your wedding day, then why not utilize it for cool photos as well? With some of the best hotels in the world, NYC has some really funky and cool spots to use for portraits while you’re all dressed up.
Break tradition and get ready together
I love it when couples get ready in the same space when eloping because it really stresses the intimacy of the day. While this almost never happens on big wedding days, the ability for the couple to be spending time together that usually has them sequestered from one another is really special.
There’s even a way to preserve a little mystery and still do a first look! You can get ready together up until you need to get dressed, and then one partner will get dressed first and then duck outside, and then the other partner will get dressed. Once everyone is ready to go we can then go to do the first look. That’s exactly what I did with Natalie & Peter at The Whitby.
Capture your details in finer detail
If you really want great detail photos of your dress, tux, bouquets, invitations, and other significant items, then it’s important to have me there during the start of your wedding day. Selecting these items was not a light choice on your end, so capturing them with a bit of care makes for great keepsakes to look back on, even if you choose to sell the dress.
Styling and capturing your details in a more interesting way is a breeze in a controlled environment like a hotel room, your own apartment, or an AirBnB rental. It also allows me to incorporate other details, like the row of family photos behind Johana’s floral bridal shoes.
The rings are the only item that I’m used to capturing out and about in NYC, because this is the one detail photo I have to capture even if I wasn’t there for getting ready photos. Rings, however, are small objects that are easy to pop on and off, and it’s usually easy to find some interesting texture or surface to place them on to photograph. Whereas asking a bride to take off her shoes to photograph them is kind of…an odd request.
A great time to exchange gifts
I love capturing wedding couples opening gifts from their partner on their wedding day, and I especially love photographing the reaction shots as they read the notes that are included. The sometimes humorous, but always heartfelt, notes always get great reactions that are great to look back on.
Some of the best moments can happen at the start of the day
When else would a spontaneous Spice Girls dance-off happen between the bride and her sisters? That happened this past weekend as Alisha was about to put her wedding dress on. One of her sisters played “Wannabe” and they just started going crazy singing and dancing along.
Sure, awesome moments happen at the reception and the ceremony too, but the ones that unfold while you’re getting ready with an intimate crowd are definitely of a different variety.
Elopement getting ready photos enrich your wedding day story
There were 5 great reasons why you should start your wedding photography from the beginning of the day. I think capturing elopement getting ready photos is very important because it allows me to tell your wedding story from the start! So whether it’s just the two of you or you and a small group of special guests, include this part of your day in your elopement photography. You won’t regret it.
Wondering where to stay for all of these great elopement getting ready photos? Check out my guide to three great elopement hotels in NYC.
I’m really excited to share this 620 Loft and Garden wedding! From the classy getting ready location to the rooftop ceremony, to the skyline views from Brooklyn..this elopement was a smashing intimate wedding day. Natalie & Peter came all the way from Australia to get married on a rooftop and they chose one of the best ones to do it on. Located in Rockefeller Center, having a 620 Loft & Garden wedding is an amazing way to get a dreamy scene amongst the skyscrapers of midtown. Amazing views became the running theme of Natalie & Peter’s wedding day as we were using another amazing rooftop terrace just a few blocks away at The Whitby Hotel for their getting ready, and then the iconic waterfront views from Brooklyn for some portraits.
620 Loft and Garden Wedding
I LOVED starting Natalie & Peter’s wedding day at The Whitby Hotel, a very elegant spot in midtown that offers some amazing terrace options. (They even made our recent roundup of three great hotels to stay in while eloping in New York City!) If you’re looking for your wedding hotel to be near all of the bars, restaurants, and attractions that midtown has to offer, then this is definitely my highest recommendation.
Even though they were staying in the same hotel room, Natalie ducked into one side of the room while Peter got ready on the other. After sneaking Peter out onto the terrace for a few portraits, he was off to get set for the ceremony…and their first look! As I turned my attention back to Natalie, the floor to ceiling windows were just begging for a photo of her checking out her dress. I think that’s just such a classic photo. Once Natalie was dressed in her stunning Lover wedding dress, we popped out onto the terrace for some portraits and then we made the short walk to 620 Loft & Gardens just a few blocks away.
It was an incredibly warm day with the sun shining, and the couple just couldn’t hold their smiles back as Natalie made her way out onto the amazing rooftop terrace. Larissa of Weddings by Larissa ran a beautiful ceremony with the subtle sound of midtown traffic buzzing below. This is of the most iconic rooftop scenes in the city, where you’re facing the incredible front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral just across the way and loads of skyscrapers are on top of you. I love it!
After popping onto 5th Avenue, it was a hop in a cab down to Brooklyn Bridge Park to catch some skyline views from across the water. DUMBO is definitely still one of the hottest destinations for wedding portraits, and for good reason. Look at those views, people! Day or night, it’s a classic scene that will always look amazing.
Natalie and Peter, it was such a pleasure to document your wedding story!
The Best NYC Elopement Vendors
Getting ready hotel – The Whitby Hotel
Elopement venue – 620 Loft & Garden
Wedding officiant – Weddings by Larissa
Wedding dress – Lover
Bridal shoes – Jimmy Choo
Elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography
Are you traveling to New York for your elopement? One of the hardest things to figure out might be where to stay! With so many amazing options it can soon get overwhelming to choose, so I’ve put together a short list of some of the best elopement hotels NYC has to offer. These are great hotels in their own right with amazing customer service and amenities, but they also look incredible and make for a sensible place to start telling your wedding story.
I love starting with my couples before they’ve even gotten dressed (haha, not like that), spending a few moments to capture their outfits and other small details and moments. These add so much richness to the wedding story! Really great hotels also have awesome spots to use for portraits before we head out the door, allowing us to capture some more variety in your final photos without even having to travel anywhere.
Best Elopement Hotels NYC
The Whitby Hotel
Located near Central Park, The Whitby Hotel is a celebration of contemporary art and design in a neighborhood that’s usually much more sterile. As soon as you walk into the lobby you’re greeted with a splash of color from all of the different art installations. This feeling of colorful luxury translates to all of their individually-styled rooms, many of which feature a private terrace with views out to the skyline. Quirky touches like a briefcase record player round out the charm, but the large industrial windows that bathed Natalie & Peter in gorgeous north-facing natural light are what got me excited.
While is a fantastic hotel to get ready in before your ceremony in Central Park, it’s also a great option for venues like 620 Loft & Garden or the 3 West Club. You’ll also enjoy the hotel’s central location in midtown, with easy access to numerous shows, activities, restaurants, bars, and transportation options.
Bonus – The English countryside-chic lobby bar and restaurant are bathed in natural light, and they serve a traditional Afternoon Tea!
Best nearby restaurant – Quality Italian
Best nearby bar – Tanner Smith’s
The Bowery Hotel
Nestled on the border of NoHo and the East Village, The Bowery Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel with a seriously cozy vibe. A doorman in the hotel’s signature red vest glides the door open for you, leading into the dim wood-paneled lobby. A stone fireplace beckons from across the room. Humphrey Bogart would definitely grab a drink or two here. While the lobby is off-limits for photos (they frequently have celebrity guests), the rooms ooze with the same character and make for great getting ready photos at the start of your wedding day.
Just outside the doors and within short walking distance are some of the best spots for graffiti in the city, along with great pocket parks and blocks with some of the edgier NYC look that some couples want. Before and after your wedding you’ll also love the hole-in-the-wall restaurants and quirky shops of the East Village, along with a healthy nightlife scene.
Bonus – Gemma (the on-site restaurant) has a private dining space that’s perfect for a small group!
Best nearby restaurant – il Buco
Best nearby bar – Saxon + Parole
Gramercy Park Hotel
Staying here is like getting a key to the city, because you literally get a key to the most exclusive park in the city — Gramercy Park. Photos there are strictly prohibited, but you’ll get to enjoy the park during your stay…which is quite a privilege on its own. Besides that little perk t enjoy on your own, we’ll also have a few moments upstairs in the stunning terrace bar for some unique portraits (as long as there isn’t an event going on).
The hotel’s location is very central while being tucked away into one of the quieter corners of the Flatiron District. Nearby you’ll find plenty of upscale dining along with easy transportation options. And did I mention that key?
Bonus – You can book out the terrace for your ceremony!
Best nearby restaurant – Gramercy Tavern
Best nearby bar – Dear Irving
But what if we want something more unique when we elope to NYC?
While the three hotels above are some of the best elopement hotels NYC has to choose from, some of you are still searching for something different. Fear not, for I’ll be doing a roundup of some awesome AirBnB rental options and the city does not disappoint!