Carla and Chris Lesniak got married on June 8th of 2019 and it was Sandi and Jay‘s first time photographing a Ryland Inn wedding. This has been an interesting and fun year for the two of them when it comes to wedding venues as they’ve had the opportunity to shoot at a few new ones this year. Not only that but venues that have turned out to really impress them and produce some of their best work. The last blog post was from the wedding before Carla and Chris’s which was also at a venue that Jay and Sandi hadn’t shot at before and they both turned out to be amazing weddings.
The funny and ironic thing about that is a lot of times when talking to potential clients the question often comes up if any of our photographers have shot at a certain venue, or they specifically ask for the photographers who have. In reality, as most photographers will agree with me on, it’s often the very first time at a venue that produces their best work. Think of it like a painter with an empty slate. They aren’t worried about doing the same shots over again, instead, they simply look at it like they’re a kid in a candy store. When your clients are Carla and Chris who look like they just stepped off the cover of a magazine, it really doesn’t matter where the wedding is. It’s tough to take a bad photo and you do your best just not to screw up.
Below, you’ll find one of our favorite blog posts from Jay & Sandi. From beginning to end, we have no doubt that you’ll feel like you were there. Not only that, if you’re like the rest of us here at Twisted Oaks, you’ll actually wish you were there to see this first hand. Carla & Chris’s Ryland Inn wedding was undeniably an amazing day and we wish these two nothing but the best in the future. We look forward to watching their family of four grow (including their current children, a cat named Sylvester and a dog named Rizzo) and working with them again in the future. We wish them nothing but the best and hope you enjoy scrolling through these photos as much as we did!
HMU: La Belle Visage
BRIDE’S GOWN: Eve of Milady
BRIDE’S SHOES: Badgley Mischka
GROOM’S TUX: Men’s Wearhouse
GROOM’S SHOES: Calvin Klein
VIDEOGRAPHER: Matt Koza
FLORIST: Twisted Willow
From the very first Facetime consultation that I had with both Natalie and Andreas, I knew that Sandi and I would be the perfect fit for their Fernbrook Wedding. As with most consultations, I ended the call letting them know that there would be no rush on making a decision. Meanwhile, I was really hoping to hear back from them that same night, excited to get them signed and the planning process started. They were a very laid back couple, with a new son that was less than a year old at the time that we first spoke. Talking to them felt like talking to old friends and their venue was one that I had been wanting to shoot at for a while yet somehow it had managed to dodge us up until two weeks ago. Once they booked, I convinced them into meeting up to hang out to capture some family photos just before the holidays instead of an engagement shoot. We met at our favorite Christmas Tree farm and got to not only meet the two of them in person but also their son Dieter, which only made us even more excited for their wedding.
On June 1st, Natalie and Andreas’s Fernbrook Farms Wedding turned out to be better than we had even expected, and I know it was everything the two of them had dreamed it would be. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it didn’t take long for Fernbrook Farms to quickly become one of our favorite venues to shoot at. The day started off with Andreas and his groomsmen hanging out and trying their best to catch as much of the Liverpool champions league game. You’ll even see one photo where they had to watch it on Andreas’s cell phone to get the best reception and if you look closely you’ll see Dieter is drinking his formula and watching the game as well. I personally didn’t get to see the girls until just before the ceremony, but I did get to work with Sandi and capture a few shots of Natalie in her wedding gown just before heading out.
The ceremony was gorgeous and A Garden Party did a stunning job with all the florals, including the unique looking arbor. After officially becoming the Natoli Family, we headed out to document them spending some time together away from everyone else, simply enjoying the day that they spent so much time planning and preparing for. For those who know me, it wouldn’t be too difficult to realize what is that I love so much about shooting at Fernbrook Farms. They have a ton of farm animal. Some roaming around freely, others in their pens, but we got to spend some time hanging out with them, just before sunset, as you’ll see. Natalie and Andreas danced their first dance together as husband and wife (a pretty impressive choreographed dance) as the sun was slowly going down, giving us some absolutely beautiful golden hour light to photograph them with. As soon as their dance ended we ran out and captured one last photo of them both enjoying their first beautiful sunset together.
VENUE: Fernbrook Farms
BRIDE’S GOWN: Hayley Paige
BRIDE’S SHOES: Stuart Weitzman
GROOM’S TUX: Kenneth Cole
GROOM’S SHOES: Florsheim
FLORIST: A Garden Party
HAIR & MAKEUP: Philly Hair Girl
WEDDING CAKE: Fernbrook Farms
COOKIE NAMETAGS: Art on a Cookie
The 2019 wedding season for Sandi and Jay started out at one of their favorite venues in Philly, The Ballroom At The Ben. Luckily, for them, they had the perfect bride and groom for a mid-January wedding, Brittney and John. A good looking and fun couple who wanted to have an awesome time on their wedding day with their close friends and family without caring one bit about how cold it was outside. They looked like they stepped off the cover of a wedding magazine while Jay and Sandi sat back and did their best to capture their big day as creatively as possible.
The day started out at the Hotel Monaco, over to the Fillmore for some bridal party photos, then over to The Ballroom At The Ben for the ceremony and reception. The Fillmore was the perfect spot to bring the bridal party, which you’ll see was pretty big, since it offered some pretty unique backdrops for photos. City weddings seem to be what we shoot the most during the winter months and it’s always difficult to tell how they will go with the weather being so unpredictable. If every winter city wedding went as smoothly as this one I don’t think we would ever worry or stress out about them, especially when the bride and groom look as good as these two. Congrats again to Brittney and John, looking forward to seeing their albums come in!
PREP: Hotel Monaco
RECEPTION: Ballroom At The Ben
BRIDE’S GOWN: Martina Liana
BRIDE’S SHOES: Christian Louboutin
GROOM’S TUX: Indochino custom suits
VIDEOGRAPHER: Florencio Films
WEDDING CAKE: Termini’s
FLORIST: Leigh Florist
LIVE BAND: Strangers of BVT
DESIGNS: House of Catherine
This past Thursday, May 9th, myself and Eric Talerico traveled down to Charleston, SC to photograph one hell of a wedding story at the Lowndes Grove Plantation. Along the oak-lined banks of the Ashley River, Anthony Reto and Tommy Berner shared their vows and were married with plenty of family and friends in attendance. Sandi sat this one out and stayed home with our 4-year-old son Luke since we had just recently traveled to Vegas for WPPI, so I brought our associate photographer Eric Talerico to 2nd shoot with me. Eric helped me shoot their engagement photos in Philly just a few months prior so it worked out perfectly, especially since he had already built up a level of trust with them.
If you’re wondering if this is the first same-sex blog post on the Twisted Oaks website you would be correct. To be completely honest, it’s also one of the blog posts that I’m most proud of. This was a wedding that would come with a slightly higher level of pressure. A level of pressure that Eric and I would ultimately put on ourselves for no other reason than the lack of experience that we had with photographing same-sex weddings. Sure, I’ve been told that as a professional there shouldn’t be a difference between how I photograph a heterosexual wedding and same-sex wedding. The truth of the matter is that no matter what kind of wedding it is, the unknown is always tapping you on the shoulder asking if you’re ready. Asking if you’re prepared for the job ahead. As a photographer who is used to posing a bride and groom, or capturing the natural behavior between and man and a woman, a same-sex wedding like this can easily throw you off and lead to an unnecessary level of anxiety and added pressure. The funny thing is that as a storytelling photographer, the lack of experience means one thing, and basically one thing only. There’s absolutely no need for any of it. Once the day gets started, you simply begin to photograph two people who are madly in love with each other on their wedding day. That’s it, end of story. The most important part of the job happened long before the first click of the shutter on the actual wedding day which is earning my clients’ trust. Without trust, Tommy and Anthony wouldn’t be able to naturally be themselves in front of mine and Eric’s cameras.
The first time that I spoke to Anthony and Tommy regarding their wedding, they asked if I had any experience with photographing a same-sex wedding with two grooms. I did, but only one, and because of that fact I wanted to make sure that if the two of them were interested in having me photograph their wedding that I would be a good fit. After talking with them for probably close to an hour about their relationship and their wedding plans, I knew that their wedding would definitely be a special one. I wouldn’t be able to tell you why, but I knew that I would be able to capture their wedding day exactly the way they wanted. The way that I knew I wanted, in an artistic and storytelling way that I knew I would be able to tell as long as I let go of my fears and anxiety. After the call had ended, I was worried that they would want to have someone with more experience with same-sex weddings be their photographer. Luckily, I was wrong… and the rest is history.
This was both mine and Eric’s first time in Charleston and we arrived the day before to explore the downtown area a little to scout out shooting locations. Downtown is where we would be spending a good chunk of time taking portraits the next day. It was honestly like walking through a photographer’s playground with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, preserved history and alleyways that give the feeling of being taken back into a previous century. Charleston had so much to offer that we basically scrapped any ideas of planning the day out. It really didn’t matter where we went, we knew it wouldn’t be too difficult to photograph them.
The next day, their wedding day, couldn’t have gone any better. I woke up feeling a ton of pressure to make sure that I basically brought my A-Game, but once Eric and I arrived at the AirBnB that Tommy and Anthony were getting ready all of the pressure faded away. The rest of the day couldn’t have gone smoother, and as you’ll see in the photos below this wedding turned out to be one of our best. Walking the streets of downtown Charleston was just as we had expected and the photos we captured do a pretty good job of showing you why. After about an hour of basically letting the two of them enjoy each other’s company and soak in all the feels from their wedding day, we drove over to the Lowndes Grove Plantation where their ceremony and reception would be. If you’re a fan of our work, it won’t take you long to see why this venue fit our style of photography perfectly. Overall, this wedding turned out to be one of those weddings that you put so much pressure on yourself to make sure you came through in the end only to have it be one of your favorites. Personally, I couldn’t be happier that Anthony and Tommy got to share their wedding day at such a beautiful location in front of family and friends as I know they had always dreamed of, but also that myself and Eric were the ones who were there to make sure that each and every special moment will live on forever. Congrats again to the both of you and thank you one more time for not only having us share in your special day but for trusting us with such an important job. It really does mean the world to us and I know that I speak for both myself and Eric.
VENUE: Lowndes Grove Plantation
TUX: Boyd’s – Canali
PLANNER: Zachary Andrew Events
VIDEOGRAPHER: Blu Couture Wedding Films
FLORIST: Palmetto Bloom
DJ & ENTERTAINMENT: Dj Wade – Wedding DJ Charleston SC – OtherBrother Entertainment
Gigi and Geoff’s engagement shoot at the Paxson Hill Farm in New Hope, PA. Sandi and I had a great time hanging out with these two hanging out in the Paxson farmhouse and then exploring the property a little. Definitely one of the coolest places we’ve shot at which made for an awesome way to knock the rust off from not shooting a wedding or engagement in a while. The property looked much bigger in person than it did on the AirBnB site and had a lot more cool little areas to shoot than I would have ever imagined had I seen it in person. There were log bridges, greenhouses, little gnome like houses, and a lot more than what we got to see in the two hours that Sandi and I were there. We love when we get to spend time like this with our clients and we had a lot of fun getting to shoot inside and out like we did with them. Really looking forward to their wedding now!