Blog ~ wedding photographer
These City Hall wedding photos from Mary & Joreal’s elopement are a prime example of what an amazing wedding day with no guests can look like. Mary and Joreal came all the way up from Atlanta to have an NYC elopement, letting the established process at City Hall provide for easy logistics and the backdrop of the NYC skyline play 3rd wheel in their gorgeous wedding photos.
City Hall Wedding Photos
From the moment they walked into the Marriage Bureau, I knew that Mary and Joreal were going to have amazing City Hall wedding photos. I love that anticipation that builds up before the couple gets called in for the ceremony, and then to see it all bubble over throughout the vows, ring exchange, and then walking outside as a married couple. And these guys held nothing back. Sometimes one of the more challenging parts of wedding photography can be to anticipate these peaks of emotion, but hanging out with Mary and Joreal felt like we were all in a line dance. All in sync.
During this part of the day, I’m mostly operating as a photojournalist so I just let Mary and Joreal be with themselves as I floated around and got what I needed. The ceremony itself is very brief at City Hall, maybe 2 minutes total haha. I might look like a calm and collected photographer in those chapels, but it’s a mad dash to get everything in that short of a time. All while trying to remain as invisible as possible! Luckily the officiants at the Marriage Bureau are all amazing and provide for smooth sailing every time. I love that Mary & Joreal grabbed a selfie with their wedding officiant!
I love this photo above of Mary & Joreal walking towards the exit after their City Hall wedding. And this is also when Mary changed over to her special wedding day kicks to match Joreal. A sneakerhead match made in heaven! Outside we hailed a cab and hopped over the Brooklyn Bridge for portraits in DUMBO (Directly Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass – the more you know!), one of the most requested neighborhoods for portraits. With its skyline views, cobblestone streets, industrial buildings, and the mix of grit and shine, it’s easy to see why people love having it play a part in their wedding day photos. Plus, it’s only a 5-minute cab ride over from City Hall!
Mary and Joreal thank you so much for having me along to document your fun and sweet day. Y’all were so amazing to spend time with!
NYC Elopement Vendors
Elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography
Kayte is a studio manager for a fine lighting company, and Kevin is a marketing associate for a New York-based guitar effects pedal manufacturer. They met online through OKCupid and decided to meet up in person after having a week’s worth of conversations online and over the phone. They wanted to go to a restaurant neither of them had been to before, which was no easy task. Eventually, they found a cool beer bar, where Kayte impressed Kevin when he saw her at the bar enjoying a dark, strong beer. They ended up talking for 6 hours and almost forgot about food entirely as they enjoyed each other’s company. When they finally left, they found their matching Subaru Outbacks were the only cars in the parking lot.
Toward the end of 2015, Kevin told Kayte, “I don’t think it’s going to happen this year, honey,” about getting engaged. But then, the more he thought about it and asked himself “why not?”, the more he realized that he didn’t have a good answer to that question. So, he quickly started to pull together a New Year’s Eve proposal with just under a month to make it all come together.
So, on New Year’s Eve itself, they were celebrating at Kevin’s brother’s house with some of their closest friends. Just after midnight, as everyone was trying to get a rousing game of Taboo together, Kevin took Kayte off to the side to sing her a song: “Offering,” by the Avett Brothers, which is one of their favorite bands. By the time the song was over, Kevin was sweaty and nervous as he stashed his guitar and got down on one knee. He was at a loss for words, but no worries—Kayte helped him right along, and then she said yes. After a cheer erupted from the group, the game continued after everyone caught their breath.
Several months later, I was honored to photograph the two of them for their offbeat and fun wedding. It was obvious to me this couple was focused simply on having fun and on enjoying the time with their closest friends and family. I tried to reflect that in the photographs I took of the day.
It was so easy to get caught up in the love that Kayte and Kevin have for each other. Laughter and smiles come easy to them and their affection is both genuine and so easy to photograph.
Verde Kitchen Wedding
Kevin & Kayte, thank you for asking me to be part of your beautiful day. I loved hearing your story and getting to spend the day with you both.
The Best Long Island Wedding Vendors
Bayshore wedding venue – Verde Kitchen
Long Island wedding photographer – JC Lemon Photography
Shantal and Brian eloped on September 29th, with a first look in Long Island City followed by a ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
The couple met at LIC Bar on a Saturday afternoon in a totally random chance encounter. Shantal traditionally had not gone to bars, and certainly not alone. But, for some reason, that was the case on the day she saw Brian with his head down eating a sandwich. A friend of his started chatting with her and pointed Brian out to her. Although it took a few tries to get his attention, Brian and Shantal eventually got to talking—about food.
They share a passion for food, and once Brian mentioned that he had gone to CIA (the Culinary Institute of America) after Shantal brought up her culinary adventure in Ireland, she was instantly smitten. She asked him how someone who went to CIA could eat such a sad-looking sandwich. He laughed and said that he simply needed something in his stomach. Once again, Shantal was smitten, this time with his smile.
Brian and Shantal talked for hours and didn’t want the night to end, so they headed to a pizza place nearby. That’s where Brian asked if he could kiss Shantal. According to Brian, there was “such a spark I’m surprised the pizza place didn’t catch fire.” After dinner, they went to a creperie, even though neither of them like dessert. But they both wanted the night to keep going and going. They closed the place down, and Brian asked when he could see her again.
They made plans for the next day, and then the next. The two have been inseparable ever since.
The couple got engaged over coffee on May 28. Brian told Shantal how much he loved her and how happy they were before presenting her with a ring with a diamond from his own grandmother’s ring. He worked with a jeweler to design it. Shantal knew instantly how meaningful it was because of how much he loved his grandmother. Brian often spoke fondly of the love she had with his grandfather.
They had “it,” he said. Growing up and seeing the way his grandmother and grandfather were so in love was how he knew he and Shantal also had “it.”
On the day these two eloped, I met up with Brian first on the rooftop of their building in Long Island City. We were able to stage a first look there, with beautiful photographs of the rooftop view before the wedding.
After the first look, we hopped into a classic NYC Checker cab for the ride down to City Hall. I love working with Peter at Film Cars—they are always a great addition to a wedding day. They were married at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, and after that, it was just a matter of celebrating the day together.
Brian & Shantal, thank you for asking me to be your wedding photographer. I loved spending time with you and hearing your amazing love story.